As a kid when I was introduced to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba as God, I accepted and embraced Him as my only God. Very soon He showed me how He alone is our Best Friend. Now something I always looked forward to was to see and experience Swami's love of a thousand mothers that has been described by many devotees and students.
As a kid of Class 4, when I came across a book entitled, 'Ananta Prematarangini' (A book of experiences of the staff and students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus), I had decided and prayed that I be a recipient of His motherly love whilst being a student in His institution.
Little did I know that my desire to experience Swami as my mother would come true when my 9 year old prayer to study in His institution bore fruition. .
In this blog post, I would like to narrate two incidents wherein He proved to be a 'Mother' to me. I would call these two incidents 'The Sinus Incident' and 'The Pani Puri Incident'
Without further ado, over to the narratives...
The Sinus Incident
It was soon after a "Miracle Season' at Anantapur, that I was down with heavy cold and cough. It got all the more problematic when I suffered severe sinus headache. Let me tell you here that for people without sinusitis, a common cold is, "Ah! Its just a common cold." However, for people with sinusitis, "It is COMMON COLD!!!" These 'sinus attacks' as I call them, are at their peak in the mornings, making it very difficult to get up from the bed. One is unable to even open one's eyes due to heaviness around the face and head area. Thus on 12th September 2014, I decided to write my first leave application at SSSIHL (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning) However, the teacher-in-charge for signing the leave applications of students gave me only a half day's leave, which meant that I would have to drag myself to college for the post-lunch session.It was on that day for the first time since my entering SSSIHL, I missed my family. I missed my mother. I thought, "If I was at home, Amma wouldn't have questioned me a gazillion times before permitting me to take an off from school. One look at me and she would know I was feeling so unwell."
My very loving and caring seniors and co-junior helped me so much by feeding me breakfast and getting me relevant medicines. I still did not feel any better throughout morning.Soon it was time for lunch. I had no hunger. In fact, due to nausea I had thrown up all that I had eaten. I still took medicines and went to college for the post-lunch session. I am a person who hates to be noticed by anyone except my mother as being sick. That day everyone made out that I was sick, thanks to my swollen face. It was the Quantitative Techniques hour and I was just not able to concentrate and got most my sums wrong, when I ran to the washroom for throwing up the third time since morning. Looking at my condition, our QT teacher asked me to go back to hostel and rest.
I came back to hostel but could not sleep due to severe pain. I finally slept after so much of crying. Within a few minutes I woke up to the sound of the door banging open. I then realized that it was my senior who had come to take something from the room. I then resumed my sleep after latching the door this time.I slept facing the wall. Again the latched door banged open. But I was too weak to get up and close it. So I left it to be the way it was. I then felt a warm and soft hand patting me on my head and cheek, soothing and healing me. I was at bliss. Suddenly, I turned around and got up to see whose hands were those and I knew for sure that it was Swami's hands that put me to sleep. I still wanted a confirmation. Praying for a confirmation I went back to sleep. There I had a dream of Swami standing at a height and putting something that looked similar to honey into my mouth. The dream ended with Swami giving a smile of assurance. It was 3:30 pm and my co-junior came to the room all excited to tell me about the room next to us, A-17 that had nectar coming from a photo. But I was fast asleep and in my sleep, I told her, "I know.". She now shook me more to ask me how I knew there was nectar coming from the photos in the next room when I was asleep in my room. I then told her of my dream and how that heavenly taste of the nectar lingered on my tongue. Even as we spoke all this, I realized that my temperature had gone down, I could move my head freely without heaviness, the pain on my face had vanished completely, there was absolutely no swelling, leaving no sign of having been sick. The best of all was that I didn't feel weak at all. I felt strong enough to go running around the whole campus!
Ah! I wouldn't mind getting such sinus headaches any number of times if Sai Maa were to come and sit by my side to put me to sleep with those tender hands of Hers!
The Pani Puri Incident
It was one of those hectic days at ATP (Anantapur) and probably only one of the very few days I remember studying. Not that we never studied otherwise. It is just that on other days, studying was fun and time just flew.Studying was never something that was being forced into us. But that day, every 40 minute period seemed like 40 days.However, even in those tiring circumstances, I developed craving for Pani Puri so randomly! I thought to myself, "If I were at home, I would just have to voice out my orders and Amma would treat me like a princess with not just Pani Puri but all sorts of Chaat items. I can only dream of it here. Pani Puri at Anantapur. No way! Forget it, Sreenidhi!"
If that was one disappointing and tiring day, a week after that was such a big day. Big day, not because of any celebrations but because the day didn't seem to end and it felt like it was going bad, I had been coughing throughout the previous night, felt sleep-deprived that morning, got late for the Auditorium session which meant I could not meet our Ganesha of ATP , forgot my Veda book in the room, Balance Sheet was not getting tallied, lost my Economics notes and to top it all the craving for Pani Puri hadn't ceased.Trust me, at certain points of time, the disappointment of an unfulfilled craving for food is more than any other sorts of disappointment. I still wanted it knowing I will never get it. I was badly waiting for the day to get over and thought of treating myself with a nap spanning 20 minutes after College and before I am off for music practice. So I had decided to bunk evening snacks that day.
As I entered my room in the Hostel, put my bag in place and landed 'thud' on the bed, I heard an announcement being made on the PA system, "All the students are requested to come to the Dining Hall immediately. EVEN THOSE PLANNING TO BUNK SNACKS MUST COME. There is something special awaiting you." Now my ears picked only the second sentence. I thought, "Let us see what is so special" Even as I was going to the Dining Hall, I could see the door closed and all the students waiting outside. We waited and waited for 12 minutes (Yes, I was counting! Just so that I could go back to the room and sleep if they were to delay serving snacks further) Suddenly the doors flung open with Sharada Ma'am (Deputy Warden, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus) welcoming us inside with her wide and warm smile. I was wondering what was so special about an evening snack? I go the counter and my jaw dropped at what I saw! We were being served Pani Puri! When I asked a 3rd Year Senior about how often they got Pani Puri for snacks, what she said blew me off. She said, "Ever since my 1st Year, we have never had Pani Puri for snacks. Don't know whose prayer is being fulfilled!" Even as I sat down to eat my heart, there were tears rolling down my cheeks, not because of the spiciness of the Pani Puri but the sweetness of His love. My eyes then fell on this photograph of Swami and I could feel Him tell me, "Now, how is that? That's my timing!"
|"Now, how is that? That's my timing!"|
Thinking back now, I cannot but help marvel at Swami's timing. He knew when to give me what. There was a day when I did crave for Pani Puri but then, He foresaw that I would meet an even more tiring day and decided to give me Pani Puri as a surprise on that day.
Also, this is something that struck me - Even if I were at home, I would have had to voice out my desire to eat Pani Puri to my parents so that they fulfill my wish. But here, I hadn't even asked Swami for Pani Puri.I just wished for it in my mind and there it was in front of me, for doesn't Swami know our thoughts even before they arise out of our minds?
I know these incidents are too small to describe His love that is not just that of a thousand mothers but equal to and more than that of a thousand mothers. But these are just to drive home a point that none should ever feel left out and not loved by Swami. A mother's love never gets diluted, how many ever children she may beget. Similarly, Swami's love is so abundant and equally spread that none can claim to not have been its recipient. It is just that one has to keep their hearts and minds pure and be alert to receive one's share of that Love of a thousand mothers.