Volume 7 - Issue 01
JANUARY - 2009
"What Thanks Can I Render Sai?"
By Mrs. S. V. Radha
I had bought a potted flowering sapling which I had placed, under the Sun strategically, just a few metres away from the window of my bedroom. Everyday, gladly I watered it, and watched it grow. This was one of my joyful rituals every morning, month after month, until the festive season of this October (2008). Being the wife of a globe-trotting executive, daughter-in-law of old in-laws, and mother of a little one had taken its toll; somehow the plant slipped out of my busy mind completely.
But one morning, I woke up with a start, as if startled by a bad dream, and rushed to the garden. I suddenly remembered my dear ‘little green friend’.
And what did I see? A sprightly and healthy young one with 1, 2, 3, 4….10…no, 20 leaves and three beautiful red flowers! And around it was lush green grass adorned with shining dew drops! I just stood there transfixed with delight. It may not mean much to anybody else, but to me they were among the most beautiful seconds of my life.
But soon, another thought seized me as completely as the previous moments of joy. “How did it grow so well and so beautifully? I had actually completely forgotten about it! I haven’t even watered it for days together!”
As I pondered over these reflections, I carefully picked one beautiful bloom and started walking towards our pooja room. I had realised the secret behind the plant’s budding beauty, and now wanted to offer the first blossom to the One who actually made all this happen.
As I knelt down in front of the shrine of my Loving Lord, I stared at His beatific image speechlessly, and the next moment, my head touched the ground in complete submission at His Lotus Feet.
My mind had now transformed into a sea of thoughts…I could not but draw a parallel to the events of my life to that of my ‘green companion’ which was no more ‘little’. I too had grown because He, silently, took care of me when my world came crashing down and there was no one to hold on to.
So many scenes of my life just filled my mind’s screen. I went back to 1963.
When TB turned out To Be a ‘T’rue ‘B’lessing…
I remembered how that fateful year our entire family was struck by a massive jolt - my father was diagnosed with advanced stage of tuberculosis; the doctors actually gave up all hope. I was only a 6-month old baby then and my older sister was a little one of two years. It was at this time that my uncle, who was a believer in Baba, took my father to Prasanthi Nilayam for the first time.
While my father was away, the predicament of my mother at home suddenly became pathetic; both I and my sisterfell seriously ill. There was no one to help my innocent and unlettered mom. Those were days when there were only a handful of telephones, only with the rich and powerful, in the whole city of Madras (now Chennai).
My father and uncle, who were in Puttaparthi, obviously, had no clue of my mother’s tribulations. But soon they came to know of it, and guess from whom? Swami Himself! The loving Lord had actually called them for an interview! As soon as they entered the room, Swami first materialised a big lump of Vibhuti and instructed my father to swallow the whole quantity then and there.
Next, He blessed him profusely, and then persuaded him strongly not to worry about the doctor’s verdict. He went on to assure him of a long and extended life, and said, “What can even the best doctors do? I am there…I will take care.” And finally, as they were about to leave the room, Swami once again called my father and materialised Vibhuti.
While giving it this time, he said, “Your daughters are very sick. What can the doctors do? As soon as you go home, apply this Vibhuti on their foreheads, and also mix a portion of it with water and let them drink this; all will be well.”
When my father heard this, he was completely perplexed. When he had left for Puttaparthi, we were all hale and hearty. Now, what had suddenly going wrong with his little angels in a few days? He didn’t know whether to be sad or happy as he accepted Swami’s gift of Vibhuti. With trepidations in his heart, he began his return journey.
The moment he reached home he realised the gravity of the sorrowful condition and also how Swami had mentally prepared him to bear it all with fortitude. Not only that, Swami had also given the treatment for their maladies. In fact, within hours of taking the Vibhuti, our mysterious fever vanished without a trace. And most importantly, we had with us our father - healthy, happy and contended – for another 23 years!
That was how He loved and rescued us, and also how we fell in love with Him. Since then there has been no looking back. Very soon we joined the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation and we, little girls, enrolled ourselves as Bal Vikas students. Years passed and when I was a Pre-Sevadal student, my sister had actually grown to be the District Bal Vikas Convener. There was not a single day when our house was not busy with some Sai activity or the other, be it a bhajan session, a study circle meeting or preparing for a seva activity.
The Penance and the Divine Prize
During those days, Swami used to visit Madras frequently and would joyfully give a lot of His time to the Bal Vikas children. The top rankers of the annual Bal Vikas examinations received their prizes surely from the Divine hands. Knowing this, I longed to be blessed with such an opportunity and prepared very hard for these tests.
The year was 1983 ; it was the month of January, and Swami was already in Chennai. We were busy decorating the Sai Leela Kalyana Mandapam as Swami was likely to arrive there the next day. Suddenly, at four o’ clock that evening, I was informed that I had indeed secured first in the All India Bal Vikas examinations! And what is more, my sister was the top ranker at the state level!
And then the best part - Swami was Himself going to bless us with the prizes the next day! Our joy knew no bounds. When the much-awaited and fervently-prayed-for event arrived the next day, Swami lovingly smiled at me, put His hand on my head and blessed me gently as He filled my hand with the reward. I was simply ecstatic; what a wonderful dream had come true! How I relish the thrill of that moment even now!
In this manner, months turned into years and how Sai-suffused I was! The next big milestone in my life came when Swami blessed Mannivakkam, the first adopted village of the Tamil Nadu Sai Organisation, with His own visit. My sister and I were deeply moved seeing the Lord of the Universe traverse on foot in this rustic and backward village, blessing the village folk, consoling the sick and enthusing the youth to be united and dedicate their lives to make others’ lives better.
The seed of selfless service that was sown in our hearts right from the time we joined Bal Vikas now wanted to sprout, without any further delay.
Sri Vishwa Vidyalaya – Serving Him Through His Children
We were absolutely sure about the direction and purpose of our lives, and thus, was born Sri Vishwa Vidyalaya Matriculation High School (SVVMHS), in Otteri extension, just adjacent to Mannivakkam. In over two decades, from 1986 till now, how magnificently this “oasis of learning” has transformed an area which was known for breeding criminals into one from where exemplary and much-envied boys and girls step out every year to the wide world with self-confidence and faith in their moral fibre! Clearly, He has worked through us every step of the way. And that is how daunting challenges have disappeared just at the nick of time any number of times.
In fact, in 1996, Swami confirmed this when He blessed us all as a family with an interview. How He showered a lot of blessings on us, and then reassured us saying, “Why fear when I am here? I will take care of the school. A single flower cannot make a garland, I will send the flowers.” And indeed, He has been doing that in so many beautiful ways...
The Beautiful Blossoms of the Sri Viswa Vidyalaya Matriculation High School
(For the full story on the SVVMHS - its genesis, growth and glory, please click here)
While I was happily busy working for His school, there was one unfulfilled desire lurking in my heart - I wanted to somehow become a student in Swami’s own University. And therefore, once the school started and stabilised to a great degree, I applied for the Bachelors of Education course in Sri Sathya Sai University in 1990. By His grace, I was selected, and luckily for me, exactly in that year, Swami resumed the Summer Course in Indian Culture and Spirituality (which is generally held before the start of the academic year) for the students.
The Scintillating Summer of ’90
For me, every minute as a student of this great University was most valuable. I knew the B. Ed. Programme was going to be only for a year and I wanted to make the most of my stay at His lotus feet. I took keen interest in the Summer Course, and was really overjoyed when I secured 100 marks in the Summer Course examination which was conducted on the last day of the course.
And from then on, the next 12 months in Swami’s University was the most memorable period of my life. It was not only filled with rich experiences but also equipped me with a lot of inner strength and vigour.
The most coveted moment of my life came when I received the gold medal in B.Ed. from the hands of the Divine Chancellor, my dear Lord. I felt as if there is nothing more to achieve for me in this life. Thanks to my long years of prayers and hard work, all my dreams, I felt, had found fulfillment.
And today, when I look at the school, which is truly His school, I do not know how to express my gratitude to Him. What began with a modest strength of 54 students is now bustling with over a thousand students. It is like an oasis in a desert, a beautiful testimony of His love, a touching story of what can materialize out of us if we offer ourselves to Him and He takes over….
“Amaaaa….” Hmm…my reverie was broken! That was the cry of Varsha…how I had got lost in the lanes and bylanes (or rather ‘Sailanes’) of my unforgettable past…. Varsha, yes, is my daughter, another miracle in my life; she was gifted to me by Bhagavan, when I was 45 years old.
Once again my eyes stared at the flower I just offered at His serene Lotus feet and then at His most lovable form….
Dear Reader, did this article inspire you in any way? Would you like more such Divine Love stories from Sai devotees? Please write to us at [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.
Vol 7 Issue 01 - JANUARY 2009
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