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SAI - THE CEO OF MY LIFE

By Mr. N. T. Arun Kumar

 

Mr. N.T. Arun Kumar is the Chief Executive Officer of Dun & Bradstreet Predictive Science & Analytics, part of a US based global organization. He has extensive leadership experience with multi-national companies like Citibank and PepsiCo. Arun came into the Sai family as a young Balavikas student in Trichy while in secondary school. In 2001 Bhagavan permitted Arun to visit Sri Sathya Sai University (SSSU), Puttaparthi to offer guest lectures in technology management to the MBA students. Since then Arun has had numerous opportunities to visit SSSU as a guest faculty for MBA and M. Tech classes and has had a few life-altering encounters with the Divine.

While the whole world is agog over the “information revolution”, Swami says the information age is over, it is now transformation age! Working in a company (Dun & Bradstreet) that has been in the information business for over 165 years, I cannot but be astounded by Swami’s Absolute Truth synthesized so beautifully – information by itself is useless: its purpose is to transform through action.

In Air or Fire – Always in Sai’s Care

I joined this company in 2005 as Chief Technology Officer and had to travel a lot all over the world. Swami’s Omnipresence - and His eternal promise to be always with us - was once again revealed to me that year when the airplane I was traveling on in Russia developed problems mid-air and could neither proceed to its destination in India nor return to Moscow. In the gloomy silence that followed within the aircraft, I clutched involuntarily with all my strength to the green diamond ring Swami had created for me a few years back and prayed.

Sai Kumar
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The Ringmaster of this Divine Drama
 

I do not remember how, but we landed safely back in Moscow. And then I had a grueling 24 hour journey back home, and by the time the plane landed in India, I was completely worn out. After reaching home, no sooner than I had done my prostrations to Swami’s Robe, the ring split into two! Maybe Swami had absorbed all the energy while averting the disaster through his ‘visiting card’, the ring, which is now in my altar.

Swami’s Grace has extended to the whole office too. In 2006, when we first expanded into new premises, disaster struck a week before our inauguration – while testing the fire extinguisher, the pressure valve gave way and the whole office got flooded. It meant losses of several lakhs of Rupees and I was on the way to Sri Lanka on an urgent meeting.

We had no insurance yet to recover, and worse still, there was dispute as to whose mistake it was! Swami appeared in the dream of our manager who was handling the project (he was not a ‘devotee’ then), gave him an ‘interview’ and asked him why I did not come to see Him. Upon being told I was traveling to Sri Lanka, Swami said I could visit Him in Colombo as well!

That same day in Colombo, I got an email informing me the address of the Sai Center there! I had been to Colombo several times but could never find time or means to visit Swami and this was completely out of the blue (orange, should I say!). I had a blissful time in “Sai Mandir” in Barnes Place, Colombo, and back in Chennai, all our vendors by themselves agreed to fix the damages and the builder paid for their losses! There was no debate and no loss of time to inaugurate our global operations. In fact, Swami’s students employed with us chanted vedic hymns and did homam as an expression of the entire company’s gratitude to Him, instead of the typical MNC practice of calling VIP’s to inaugurate.

U-Turns Devised by the Divine

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Swami and Me Sai Radha

In January 2007, one of our colleagues had a serious head injury while returning home late night after work. Doctors gave up completely as he was paralyzed from top to toe. The next day, Swami was to visit Chennai for the Athi Rudra Maha Yagna. We all prayed to Him earnestly and sent an “emergency” fax. After a tense period, our colleague started recovering miraculously, and today, that is, a year after his accident, he is on his feet and at work – something that was completely ruled out then!

Another amazing experience I had in office was when a very tough and demanding client visited us for a project review. He was intractable on all issues and wanted us to do more work within the same contract. Our deadlines and costs kept extending, and despite all our hard and sincere work, the project didn’t seem nearing completion. After grueling meetings where we were forced to agree to all his terms, I persisted on our constraints and he and I had a private review again.

He came over to my office and upon seeing Swami’s picture, suddenly exclaimed that his wife is an ardent devotee and they are doing a social service project based on Swami’s principles near Bangalore. From then on, the conversation suddenly turned warm with discussions of Swami more than work issues in hand, and at the end of the meeting, he not only agreed to proceed our way but also said he will sanction extra budget to be paid to us!

“I will bless your career” - Swami

Swami, in every way, has been with us throughout the journey of our company. Last year, when the Chennai division was made an independent company, I was made the CEO. I was actually quite surprised since there was absolutely no debate or nominations going around at the level of the Board of Directors – it all happened as if I was destined to become the CEO. I then realized Swami’s Omniscience and Omnipotence when in 2004 He had predicted this to me.

Sai Kumar
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Mr. N. T. Arunkumar with the CEO of his heart
 

It was March 26, 2004, when our Beloved Swami hosted 11 of us from Polaris (a software company) and graciously allowed me to read to Him the contents of the folder we had prepared.

On the portico that day, when He called me, His first question was, “Arun from Polaris?”

I said, “Yes, Swami”

“CEO?”

“No, Swami”

“Oh, that is another Arun…”, He said with the characteristic twinkle in His eyes!

Then much more of the drama and conversation followed, at the end of which Swami materialized Vibhuti, and said, “I will bless your career”. Well, I did not know what to make of it thinking, firstly, that Swami mistook me for another Arun who was the CEO; and secondly, the fact was that I was leaving the company at that time and was actually already in the notice period!

When I mentioned it to a few people that day, I heard a story involving Mr. Deve Gowda who once was referred to by Swami as “our Prime Minister” in a speech, when he was only the Chief Minister of Karnataka, and quite unexpectedly, beating all odds, a few months later Mr. Deve Gowda indeed became the PM of India! Given the difficult situation I was in, I could not imagine anything great from this story – I was only in bliss with Swami’s blessings and gift.

Now, I definitely know that what has happened to me today in D&B is hundred percent because of what Swami said that day and nothing else; it is completely His Grace and Mercy. In the last six months, I have seen situations in the company turn 180 degrees by His Omnipotence, and in the previous year, I felt Swami was literally carrying me in His arms through the chaotic times.

His Students, His ‘Proper Ties’

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Swami and Me Sai Radha
 
Mr. Arun (centre) with students of Swami's University in the quadrangle of Prasanthi Nilayam college

I have been extraordinarily fortunate to work with many of Swami’s students (MBA as well as M. Tech boys). The experience I have gained interacting with them has shaped my thoughts and attitude greatly towards being more balanced and in being better able to relate to Swami’s teachings in the corporate context. The students I have worked with – and am working with – are shining examples of practice, perseverance and perfection!

In August 2000, I was traveling to the USA with a team member who happened to be an MBA graduate from Swami’s Institute. Not only did he become a close colleague but also a constant reminder of the fact that Swami was always with me at all times.

One night, after I lost my gold chain that was gifted to me by Swami, both he and I had separate dreams wherein Swami gave us interviews and lovingly talked for a long while on our work and life. The next day, when the two of us exchanged notes, it was simply amazing to realize that Swami had actually given us important messages pertaining to both our work and personal life.

Exactly a year later, while I was in Puttaparthi for a guest lecture at His Institute, Swami called me for an interview (real, not dream!) in Puttaparthi and recounted the entire incident, and more importantly, to assure me that He was really there, materialized again for me the same chain that I had lost! Swami’s Omniscience and Omnipresence, though understood by me through vicarious experience, was for the first time revealed to me in all its glory and in the form of His Pure Love.

For someone like me, caught in the glamour of a high-profile globe-trotting job and the heady power of technology, this simple yet absolute act of Pure Love started an irrevocable transformation of the heart. It taught me that the most important contribution we make in life is not merely by our intellect but through our heart – a lesson that is apt to the world of technology!

Swami’s Count is Always Right!

Sai Kumar
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And on a visit to the Institute artifiial intelligence lab
 

Swami’s students also set a very high standard of performance and behavior in the workplace, albeit in a quiet manner. The Institute, its philosophy and the faculty members obviously shape this outcome. In an age where higher education has largely become a fashionable and unaffordable commercial venture, the Sri Sathya Sai University stands out as a beacon of hope through its unique input, process and output!

In my previous assignment, I had about 15 students of Swami’s Institute in my business unit, almost each one of whom had won some recognition or award from the company management and clients! To thank Swami for this, we all prayed to Him to visit Him together and we got the Divine opportunity in March 2004. Along with me were 12 students (3 could not make it owing to work related travel). On our very first day at Darshan, Swami enquired from me the details of every student’s performance and patiently went through the citations of their awards!

His face was beaming like that of a proud Mother and while materializing vibhuti, He spoke omnisciently about the company and its management, with words of comfort and blessings! The same day, Swami distributed His Robes to all students and staff, and we were fortunate to receive one each too. But wonder of wonders happened when we returned to our room and counted the Robes in our bags; there were three extra Robes for the students who could not make it with us!

This extraordinary Love and care can only come from the One in this world – our Creator, who is our very own breath! No wonder, Swami often says that even if we forget Him, He will never forget us! While we need our technological gadgets and calendars to remind ourselves of small things, the Master Divine Technologist just needs a spark of our love to reciprocate a million times over!

 


Dear Reader, did this article inspire you in any way? Would you like to share you feelings with us? Please write to us at [email protected] mentioning your name and country.  Thank you for your time.


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Vol 6 Issue 03 - MARCH 2008
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