What made Adi Shankara, who restored the pristine purity and grandeur of Vedic thought and awakened the quiescent intellect of millions, one of the greatest philosophers of the modern era? How did Gandhi acquire such steely and sacred character so as to be honoured with the sobriquet ‘Father of the Nation’ of a land, which has existed since time immemorial? Born of uneducated farmers, if Lincoln became one of the greatest Presidents of America and was hailed as ‘the saviour’, what was it that propelled him to such noble heights? How did Shivaji, the great Maratha Emperor, become a chatrapati (‘formidable protector’) who liberated thousands from vindictive rulers? What was it that drove all these men with humble beginnings to achieve Herculean heights of human excellence? Was it their impeccable virtues and indomitable determination? Yes, certainly, but that is only half the story. Just as a fully blossomed flower would not have been a thing of beauty but for the relentless support and sustenance from its roots, these individuals became legends because they had the strength and shield of a superior being - Their Mother.
“It is because of the noble feelings of the mothers that children become virtuous, intelligent, attain exalted positions and earn name and fame,” Bhagavan Baba has said, and added, “Gracious souls like Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa could attain exalted positions in their lives only due to the sacred feelings of their mothers.”
In fact, no person is ever self-made. We are the gift of our mothers. Why only we, even when God decides to walk on earth donning a human frame, it is always through a mother. And so it was that Mother Kausalya had the blessed opportunity to rear Lord Rama for the sake of humanity eons ago. In the Dwapara age, Mother Devaki delivered the enchanting Krishna for the emancipation of the world. As eras rolled by, Mother Dughdova was the instrument for the incarnation of Zarathustra. Again, it was the pious Mother Mary who was chosen by the Almighty when He descended as Jesus Christ. Allah gifted Prophet Mohammad to the world through the pure soul, Mother Amina. When the Supreme One took birth as Buddha, Mother Maya was the divine conduit, and it was to the holy Mother Trishala that Mahavira was born. Thus continues the saga of the Infinite Divine manifesting in a finite form by choosing one immaculate soul.
In recent times, when the Lord decided to adorn the human cloak again, now three times in quick succession, it was Mother Devagiriamma who was bestowed first with the blessing of bearing the body of Shirdi Sai Baba. And next, was the glorious good fortune of Mother Easwaramma. Bhagavan Baba emphatically declared in a divine discourse on May 6, 2001, “There may be many noble mothers in this world, but Easwaramma is the Chosen One. I chose her to be My Mother. This is the intimate relationship between Easwaramma and Myself.” Just like the Lord, the Divine Mother too was childlike and simplicity personified. Nothing mattered to her more than alleviating the suffering of the poor villagers of Puttaparthi and ensuring the comfort of the hundreds of devotees who thronged to her Son’s presence. Even though she was unlettered, simple and unassuming, the Mother was deeply concerned about the health and education of the innocent village folks.
It was she who asked Bhagavan to start a small hospital in Prasanthi Nilayam to look after the medical needs of the poor village residents and devotees, especially women and children. Acceding to her wish, when in 1954, Swami laid the foundation stone of a twelve-bed Hospital on the hill to the south of the Mandir, her joy knew no bounds.
So ecstatic was she that she joined the women devotees hauling sand, stone, bricks, and cement from the road up to the construction site, and lifted bricks herself, brushing aside protests from the other women. When the wards were ready, she sought out women patients, brought them to the doctor, pleaded that they be admitted, and looked after them until they could move about and take their normal share in the work at home and in the fields. Dr. Jayalakshmi, who served for many years in this Hospital, recollected that Easwaramma was a pioneer in serving pregnant women and babies. Though very religious, she advised against superstitious rites that the villagers used to resort to drive diseases away. She sat with the patients while they were questioned, waited for the diagnosis, and held them firm as the dreaded needle was administered. When ladies were admitted as patients, she climbed the hill to the Hospital to make sure they knew there was a Mother interested in their recovery.
Today, if the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Prasanthi Nilayam, is the lifeline of thousands of deprived patients from all over India and even abroad – which performs over 2500 deliveries annually and is equipped with a most modern neo-natal ICU; saves over 500 lives a year from vicious snake-bites; assuages daily the dental pain of many, young and old; operates full-time operation theatres to clear ENT ailments and do general surgery; has scores of doctors and hundreds of qualified nurses who willingly work overtime to ensure each of the 150,000 patients who walk into this home of healing every year returns with a smile – it is because of the pure and absolutely selfless yearning of Mother Easwaramma. To know how this once-upon-a-time twelve-bed hospital has grown into a sophisticated primary and secondary healthcare centre with 100 beds, a plethora of departments, and most importantly, a large but cohesive family of medical professionals and support staff with many talents but only one goal – to serve the Swami present in every patient – read our cover story “When Love Greets You and Grace Cures - Vol II”. Based on your overwhelming response to its first installment, this is the sequel to the earlier H2H cover story on this marvelous institution. Yet, we have barely scratched the surface as there is still much about this mansion of love that remains largely undiscovered.
While this Hospital was the immediate response of Bhagavan to the pure wish of Mother Easwaramma, way back in the fifties, it was only a precursor to the unfolding of a golden chapter in His grand healthcare mission. In 1990, when Bhagavan announced the setting up of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Puttaparthi, to provide state-of-the-art tertiary care to the poorest of the poor, again absolutely free of charge, it was an awe-inspiring eye-opener, not only for the worldwide medical profession, but also for all of humanity. Even today, ill-informed individuals, especially in the West, refuse to believe such an institution exists, while Bhagavan has gone ahead and set up another sister institution in Whitefield, Bangalore! When you read the story of Sunil Verma in the Healing Touch section, you will know why, patients who arrive at this hospital devastated and desolate, leave it feeling contented and peaceful saying, “This is a Temple of Healing… Sai Baba works through everyone here and each one is a living embodiment of His love.”
The Hospital was actually one of the three wishes of the Divine Mother; the second one being the construction of a school for the little ones of the village. Again, Bhagavan immediately started the Easwaramma High School, but later unfurled an entire system of elementary, secondary and university education. The alumni of the majestic Sri Sathya Sai University are internationally sought by employers looking for professionals of the highest caliber. Every year hundreds graduate from the portals of this ‘Temple of Learning’ equipped with not only secular knowledge, but also sound wisdom. To get a glimpse of the products of this University, please read the article “How I Made My Decision-Making Easy” in the features section.
There are more stories from the alumni of this University in the Swami and Me section. When you read Dr. Ravi Kumar’s account “Mother Supreme – Mother So Sweet, So Dear”, you will get a peep into what makes every student of this Institute so special. Bhagavan says, “Mother’s love is the greatest; it is imbued with immense power.” Now imagine, if we have a thousand mothers’ love, what a colossus of confidence and care will we be blessed with! In fact, we may not realise it, but even now we indeed have this amazing good fortune. As Dr. Ravi Kumar in his article says, "They say 'the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world', but now 'the Hand that rules the world, rocks our cradle!'" How fortunate we are! And how grateful we should be, if not for anything else other than to just be alive at this point in time in history: to be contemporaries of the Avatar.
Before concluding His Divine Discourse on May 6, 1993, Swami said, “This is what I expect you to learn today. On the occasion of Easwaramma Day, I exhort all of you to practice these three principles of service, experiencing bliss and sharing it with all.” In H2H, it has been our constant endeavour to share the bliss of Sai Love to the utmost extent possible. If this journal is alive and running, it is purely His visible and invisible Grace. And in this month of May, as an expression of our sincere gratitude to our Dear Lord Sai and to the Divine Mother Easwaramma, we offer a new website www.h2hsai.org. This will be a dynamic portal, completely dedicated to H2H, which will strive to connect all our ‘little loves’ to that ‘One Love’, so that we can experience the Bliss of Sai, increasingly and uninterruptedly. Do let us know what you feel about this new effort and we will do our best to serve you better.
Let love surround us, subsume us and reverberate in every cell of our being.