Medical College. Time: 4 pm. This incident happened four decades back but
it is still fresh in my mind.
The chief guest of
that evening's programme was Mr. Valluri Parthasarathi, who said, “I have
not come to this programme in the position of Chief Justice of the High
Court. In fact, the day when I was appointed as the President of the Sri
Sathya Sai Organisation of Andhra Pradesh is more memorable than the day I
was sworn in as the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court.”
At the same
meeting, yesteryear's eminent scientist and great speaker, Sri Suri
Bhagawantham was also present. He said, "You have introduced me as the Vice
Chancellor of so many universities that I work for; you have introduced me
as a great scientist and as the secretary of Home Affairs. All these
positions might be true on a worldly level, but I have come to this
meeting as a Sai
All those worldly positions don’t matter to me as they are momentary.”
My father, Sri
Kamaraju Bapayya, who retired as Joint Director from the Education
Department, was a student of Sri Suri Bhagawantham. My father attended this
meeting just out of respect for his teacher. In those days, my father had
neutral views on Swami. In fact, no one in my family had any views on Baba.
I just accompanied my father to the meeting.
Bhagawantham’s talk on that day was very unique. He was sharing the
beautiful experiences he had with Swami. After every narration, he would
would you do if you were in my position? If you were a scientist like me,
how would you look at such a phenomenal happening?" He
was trying to say that no matter whom you are in your professional life, be
it a learned scholar or a scientist, at the end of the day you are nothing
One day, Sri
Bhagawantham and Swami were walking on the bank of a river. Suddenly, Swami
stopped and asked, “Bhagawantham, can we sit here?” He thought, "Baba is
capable of doing so many miracles. Let me test Him now." He replied to Swami
saying, “Swami, let's walk a little bit further." After walking a bit, he
said to Swami, "Let's sit here." After a short informal talk, Swami
removed some sand from the river bank and took out a mini Bhagavad
Gita and gifted it to Sri Bhagawantham, to
which he was completely taken aback. When he asked where this mini book was
printed, the reply came," In the SAI PRESS."
occasion, walking along the seashore, Swami asked, "What is the other
name for sea?" Bhagawantham replied, "Ratnakar." Swami
then said, "In that case it (the sea) should be full of GEMS." (‘Ratna’
also means ‘gems’.) Just as Swami said these words, a huge wave came from
which a garland with precious gems adorned Swami's Lotus Feet.
On that day, Sri
Bhagawantham also explained a strange leela that happened years ago
when Swami visited a Shirdi temple where He materialised a diamond and stuck
it on the marble statue so easily, as if the statue was made of very soft
material. When he saw this rare leela, he was surprised to see how
Swami could fix the diamond so easily on a marble statue. Reading his
doubtful mind, Swami said, "Can't
the Creator glue on the diamond?"
evening’s meeting, my father met his teacher Sri Bhagawantham. That was the
first time that we saw Swami's photo placed on the dais. Probably it was a
TEST DOSE sample prescribed by Baba for us. After about two years, our BOND
with our beloved Swami started to grow.
Our family was
staunch followers of Brahma Samaj. Both my paternal grandfather, Sri
Kamaraju Hanumantha Rao, and my maternal grandfather Sri Palaparthi
Narasimham, were very well-known activists of Brahma Samaj. Both of them
were multi-lingual, having a very good command over English, Telugu and
Bengali. They were also close associates of Sri Kandukuri Veeresa Lingam
Panthulu, the man who first brought about a renaissance
Telugu people and Telugu literature. Both
my grandfathers published two magazines,
Dharmasarathi and Dharmajyothi respectively, for fifty long
Being followers of
Brahma Samaj, they were completely against idol worship, rituals and other
such deistic spiritual activities. We believed in the formless Brahman. My
forefathers also tried their best to abolish the caste system by educating
and letting people know its ill effects on the society. Neither did we have
any photos of gods or goddesses at home nor did we pray to any gods. But we
did have a collective family prayer everyday at 7 pm, and we attended the
local Brahma Samaj temple every Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, in the
back drop, the DIVINE PLAN was slowly making its impact. Swami had all His
strings tightened to pull us towards Him by bringing this one ‘excuse’ into
the picture. This ‘excuse’ was my wife's ill-health. My wife had a cyst in
the uterus and the doctors suggested removing it, as it could lead to
cancer. My native place of Guntur is well-known for its world class
hospitals and schools. With no other option left, a famous doctor of those
days, Dr. Y. V. Subba Rao, an ardent devotee of Hanuman, operated on her.
The operation went on very well, but Baba put a small twist here.
She started experiencing excruciating pain. Every doctor we went to used to
do the tests and say that everything looked good and there was nothing
wrong. From outside, everything looked good so many doctors were looking at
us strangely when she complained of unbearable pain, even though the reports
said everything was perfect.
Then one thought
came to me. I told my wife, "You come from a ritualistic family who believes
in visiting temples and undertaking rituals. Why don't you start doing your
routine from now on? Let's go to one temple every day. You may meditate or
circumambulate around the temple, which is up to you. Just please don't ask
me to come inside the temple. I belong to Brahma Samaj and it is against my
In those days, it
cost one and a half rupees to hire a rickshaw for two hours. We started
spending our evenings in different temples. To maintain my ‘discipline’, I
never stepped into any temple. I used to stay outside the temple playing
with my kids. Meanwhile she was becoming more cheerful, even though the pain
still existed. This came as a big relief to me to see her more in her normal
One day, as we
were passing by Rama Vysya Dharma Satram near Guntur Railway station in a
rickshaw, we heard a group of people singing bhajans. Suddenly, my
wife said, "Let’s attend the bhajan today." As I went into the hall
and saw Swami's photo on the dais, I was completely taken aback. Immediately
my thoughts went back to that day, which happened in my college, when I sent
a girl out of the classroom for wearing a Sai Baba ring. Another girl was
sent out of the classroom by me for wearing a Sai Baba locket. On another
occasion, when a student asked me to give the important questions that would
be asked during the final exams, I said, "I am not Sai Baba to guess the
important questions which would probably appear in the final exams."
arathi we went home. My wife who looked content and much relaxed said,
"I am very peaceful and happy."
day onwards, we started attending bhajans at various homes. Our
children started to join us as they liked the prasadam served at each
venue. Being a joint family, our absence was not noticed at home. Just as
Kaika of Ramayana asked Rama to fulfill her only wish, my wife
asked me to fulfill her only wish . . . and that was to take her to
I felt as if a
thunderbolt had hit my head. Being a 100% follower of Brahma Samaj—moreover,
being one of their key preachers—I asked myself why I was allowing myself
to go through all these trials and tribulations. In fact, when I am actively
spreading the message of Brahma Samaj in the society, will the heads of my
family allow us to visit Puttaparthi? With great difficulty we convinced my
maternal grandmother. Afterwards she was able to tactfully convince my
grandfather. It felt as if we had accomplished a huge mission.
I started for
Puttaparthi on three conditions with my wife. The first condition: being a
member of faculty in the Christian college in Guntur, I could not stay there
(in Puttaparthi) for months together. “I cannot be in Puttaparthi for more
than four days." The second condition: “You should not pressurise me to do
namaskar to Swami." The third condition: "You should not ask me to
come inside the darshan hall." After getting reassurances to all my
three conditions, we left for Puttaparthi, accompanied by my children and
mother-in-law. Just to play it safe, we packed mango and tamarind pickles in
In those days, we had to take the Amaravathi Express train, alight at a
place called Guntakal (about 8 hours from Puttaparthi), take another train
to reach Dharmavaram railway station, take a horse cart (locally called as
jataka) to Dharmavaram bus station and then take a bus to Puttaparthi.
Somehow, we reached Puttaparthi safely.
Being a newcomer,
we had to rent a room outside. This room was a bit weird. All the doors and
windows would come off into your hands! You could easily carry them in your
hands and put them back into their positions. They used to charge half rupee
for a bucket of hot water.
In those days, the
ashram cleaning used to start exactly at 3.30 am. By 4 am, one would
see the devotees lined up for nagarsankeertan amidst the chirping of
birds, sweet fragrance of the flowers, and not to forget the sound from the
brooms sweeping the ashram premises, which also made a sweet melody.
The atmosphere was
very pleasant. In those days, the discipline in the ashram reminded
one of military discipline. They used to send you out even if you coughed.
In those days, there used to be one elderly man, Sri Narayanayya, completely
bent over with a big torchlight in his hand. If anyone whispered or murmured
or jumped the lines, he would immediately catch them and send them out!
One fine morning,
I met a person from my hometown, and unable to control my happiness, I
loudly said, "Oh friend, how are you?" My friend immediately said," You are
not supposed to talk loudly." In the ashram, silence is important.
That was my first lesson in the ashram.
On another morning
when I was in the ashram, my children asked for drinking water. In
those days, people lived in small sheds right next to the Mandir. Sri
Kasturi's house was the first one. When he was about to leave his home for
darshan, I went to him and asked, "Sir, my children are thirsty.
Could you please give some water?" He immediately gave us water and quenched
our thirst. I politely said, "I apologise if you were made late for
darshan." Kasturi replied, "To me, giving you water is more
important than darshan." For the first time, I learnt what real seva means.
According to the
prior agreement, I stayed with the children outside the darshan hall,
playing with them. Unhappy with me, my wife used to ask, "What will you lose
if you come and sit inside the darshan hall for bhajans?" But
I stuck to my promise and stayed outside the darshan hall.
departure date was getting closer. Not sure why, but somewhere in my heart I
felt, even if it were from a distance, it would be nice to see Baba once.
That evening, I was standing by the Gopuram with my children. The
Poornachandra auditorium was still under construction. Swami seated far away
on the throne was hardly visible. The bhajans were on and suddenly
Swami rose from His throne and started walking towards where I was standing.
My heart started beating faster. As He came closer and closer, my heartbeat
became so loud that it was clearly audible to me. Baba came directly to me
and stood in front of me. My legs started shivering. My mind was full of
negative thoughts. I thought He would ask about all the negative articles
that I read in Blitz
‘If He does ask,
what should be my reply?’ I felt like running away from there. Baba, who was
standing right there before me, stood still and started gazing at me from
top to bottom. Every cell in my body started to fear and, not knowing what
to do, I stood in front of Swami.
Slowly Swami moved
towards the Poornachandra auditorium to oversee the construction work. What
a great surprise!! While
I was curiously watching Him, suddenly a plate appeared in Swami's hands.
The plate was full of laddus. He started distributing one laddu
each to the workers there. I thought we also would get one laddu if
there were any left over. When there was one laddu left on the plate,
Swami gave it to the last workman.
In no time, right
in front of my eyes, the plate disappeared. I was disappointed not having
gotten the laddu, but meanwhile I was wondering where the plate and
laddus came from, and where the plate had vanished to! I didn't get
any answers to my questions. This was the first miracle I witnessed by
© Copyright Prof. Anil Kumar
Kamaraju – Puttaparthi. All rights reserved.