Thursday, 14 February 2013

1. The HINDI speaking class and a REVELATION

Many memories come crowding up into the conscious mind as I write of my experiences in the holy portals of Bhagawan's college at Anantapur. Every day, there was something new to learn in this apprenticeship to a spiritual way of life; every day brought an unexpected lesson and sometimes there were gifts. I refer to the gift of awareness, of experiencing the Hand of God.
In college, I had taken Hindi as my second language. We had a very inspiring teacher, who still continues to teach at Anantapur today. The highlight of her classes came on Thursdays, a day we dreaded and looked forward to ! Let me explain why. For, that was the day of the HINDI speaking class. She knew that to be fluent in a language, you must practise speaking it. Even today, if at all I speak Hindi, all credit goes to dear Kironbala Arora ma'm, (current Warden of the Anantapur Campus), who insisted on this exercise! For a South Indian like me, who could write and quote Hindi (and did so all through school), but balked at speaking, the butterflies in my stomach refused to go away. My turn was coming soon and there was another reason to be worried. The TOPIC: the topic had to be about Swami's presence in your life.  
I came from a family of devotees, but coming from far-away Durgapur, West Bengal, I had had Bhagawan's darshan only a few times. So as I listened to my batch-mates from the Primary School at Prasanthi Nilayam narrating how they literally had Swami looking over their shoulders very often, or singing and speaking in front of Swami, my nervousness increased. And then there were my classmates who had studied two years Intermediate course. Even they were veterans, when it came to Swami, compared to me, who had joined for Degree. I did not even have a dream to talk about!  So I prayed to Swami fervently and begged Him to at least come in a dream so that I could speak of it in faltering Hindi and save the day. The content might distract my teacher's attention from my grammar !! 

Swami in the Hostel premises, in the garden
We very often grasp a treasure in our hands and instead of acknowledging what we have, we run hither and thither looking for elusive happiness. I was doing the same thing. We look at the SEEN world and imagine we need to possess what someone else has to be happy. Meanwhile, the SEER sits within and when we finally turn to Him, He in gracious mercy reveals that what we seek was always with us. A day prior to my speaking day, some friends and me were casually discussing how each of us came to be studying here, and that is when I made a discovery that not just stilled my two-fold anxiety but filled me with wondrous joy. And so I finally spoke in the Hindi speaking class, but more to my own self than to anyone else. Devoid of self-consciousness, I spoke the following without faltering:
This was the in the late 80s. I had applied for admission to the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and I was anxiously waiting for the admission form at home, in Durgapur, an industrial town in West Bengal in Eastern India. I desperately wanted to join Swami's College, more so because I was fed up with what passed on as education in the then climate of Bengal. The college atmosphere was vitiated with strikes, indiscipline, irreverence, indifferent teaching, politics and what not. I was looking for a haven and Bhagawan's Institute sounded like one. Also, the thought of being able to see Him, listen to Him and experience His Love, as chronicled in many books and articles impressed my mind, depressed by the sense of purposelessness around me. I prayed hard and long. Before me, there were only a handful of people from West Bengal, who had joined here and I knew just one of them, personally.
One afternoon, it arrived, my application form. I split it open and what fell out first were three packets of fragrant Vibhuti in the typical small plastic covers, characteristic of the Vibhuti that Swami used to directly give people. But I did not know it then. My mother (as mothers usually are) was very excited and went to the altar in tears thanking Swami for this token of Grace!! ME? Oh I was very cool; I told my mother in a very practical tone that this must be the norm with mail/letters from Prasanthi Nilayam. Not everything needed to be a miracle.

It was only much later after I joined, and on that day when I hesitantly shared with my friends about the Vibhuti packets with my application form that I got a jolt. None of them, including the 'veterans' had had that experience. My discreet enquiries revealed from my knowledgeable friends that no one at the Ad. Block of the University actually inserted Vibhuti packets into Application Forms (they had better things to do !!).

The Administrative Building of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Leaning

I was truly happy. So Swami did love me! I saw no sign of Him in any dream, and neither had He spoken to me physically (yet), but to all practical purposes, it was He who posted my application form, deciding to choose me as His student. I remain convinced of that till today.


  1. How beautiful and so very touching!

  2. sairam dear lakshmi congrats for such a meaningful and soul searching blog!!
    i too was blessed to be in swamis college in (1986-1989).i was a new comer in all ways from non devotee background-it was swami who almost
    everyday came in my dreams and held my hand--till now ...forgiving me &forgiving my mistakes!! The first dream was so heart touching SWAMI
    very clearly uttered these words I AM YOUR BEACON... early morning i wake up &ask my senior room-mate satya didi(who was doing M.A(litt.) when she told the meaning i was in total bliss!!!!!!

  3. He is truly our beacon light, through Eternity !!


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