My First Meeting With Swami (in his subtle form) – by Sai Keshav

Sairam,

When I first heard about the happenings at Muddenahalli, I was shocked and sad at the same time. For, I had limited Swami to that 5’5 adorable form. Being a student at Muddenahalli and Prashanti Nilayam myself, I even criticized about these ‘happenings’ in Muddenahalli. My mind was really disturbed. One particular night, I was recollecting my school days and remembered those pure hearted teachers of Muddenahalli. I was so delighted to even think about those teachers who sacrificed their whole life to serve Bhagawan and the Nation. Probably, they were the most highly evolved and devoted souls whom I have come across till date. And that made me all the more curious and confused. It flashed in my mind “Swami would never do that to them. If at all, HE would only provide them more succor and solace for all these years of selfless service. They never demanded respect or power or influence. They never ever bothered about name or fame or wealth. There was no wonder why Swami always referred to them as Tyagajeevis. Swami will never let them be fooled by someone for their years of selfless service.”

To be honest whenever devotees speak about heart-to-heart connection, the faces of these teachers flash across my mind. They all visited Puttaparthi twice a year – that’s all. Yet, that unflinching faith, that powerful spiritual vibes, that childlike innocence, that blind faith in HIM – all these mesmerizes any spiritual seeker. There were times, when we had sessions with them wherein they taught us how to serve our country and the country men. We would have had countless interactions wherein they explained to us on the need and importance of having a heart-to-heart connection with HIM at the same time, serving HIM in the poor and the needy! I remember one of the teachers telling me “Swami might be at Puttaparthi in his physical body, but don’t forget that right now he is standing right next to you. Live only for him”. After one visit to Muddenahalli, I was completely sure that this is our own Lord alone. Yet, I had this thought – if all these were mere lies, there is absolutely no way any teacher would fall for it nor support it! Because, they truly developed that ‘heart-to-heart’ connection with HIM! With all these thoughts inside my head, I finally decided to pray to HIM – “Swami, if all this is true, then call me!”

One fine morning, I got a call from a Parthi alumnus asking me if our studio was free as they had to record a drama which will be staged in Muddenahalli. The drama included few scenes from Ramayana. He mentioned that no other studios were available for recording in Bangalore that particular day. It was strange since there are quite number of recording studios in Bangalore which would usually be free. Anyway, we readily agreed as we always feel that ‘All Good Work is God’s Work’. The recording experience was so amazing since many of them who came for giving their voices were all veteran actors from Parthi. They were so experienced and working with them was a revelation to me as I watched their dedication and love for Swami. We completed recording of the whole drama quite quickly. Thanks to their efforts. Finally, the day arrived for the final performance of the drama. Unfortunately when it was staged in HIS divine presence, I wasn’t present. And that was the time, when I prayed to HIM again to call me and bless me with that bliss which people were referring to. They say a personal experience is far better and richer than pages of explanation.

A few days passed by, and one of our teachers called me up to give me this surprising news – “Swami wants to talk to all the boys who participated in the drama… In other words, an Interview!!” He also said that all the boys were trying to fix a date after which we could pray to Swami to grant us too, a Divine audience. I told him clearly that Himanshu and I were free ANYTIME since both of us had worked for the recording. The discussions on the possible dates for the interview was initiated and they were all planning for a weekend since most of them were working professionals. In the meantime, a teacher prayed Swami, on our behalf, if the Studio Boys who recorded the drama could get a Divine Audience with the Lord and informed HIM that we are ready to seek HIS blessings anytime to which Swami, in all HIS compassion, asked us to come on the following Thursday. I was thrilled when I got to know that our Interview with HIM would be all the more personal as it would be just me and Himanshu. Was my prayer being answered? I wasn’t sure. But it was all that I could think about till Thursday. I requested sir to pray on behalf of my band as well, as all of us are alumni of HIS institutions. He suggested we all could come together; I and Himanshu could pray to Swami if others could come and join us for the interview.

We were all waiting for that epic Thursday! On D-Day, we left for Muddenahalli from Bangalore at around 12 noon. A few of my band members had their own apprehensions just like I had initially. They did not believe in all this. They even wrote down a list of questions to ask Swami and probably judge HIM based on the answers. But they were ready to know ‘The Truth’. We reached Muddenahalli at around 2 pm, met our teachers, and proceeded to Sai Anandam gate by 3 pm. Our heartbeats started racing I guess. With every passing moment, we were getting more curious. We were supposed to wait at the gate itself until Swami calls us. Meanwhile, the senior alumni brother who had called me joined our group. An hour passed! And another one passed!! Now, we started getting quite nervous – some of them angry too. Are we not going to be called having come till the gate? Why would HE want to make us wait for so long? We were longing to get inside HIS interview room and spend more time with HIM! Lot of thoughts flashed across my mind. All I got was a sudden tap on my shoulder and I realize the call came finally….Oh well, not to us; it’s for the senior alumni brother who was waiting with us. However, we too rushed onto the mountain top – the Divine Abode of the Lord! Even as the alumni brother rushed upstairs, he asked to stay downstairs; meanwhile he would pray to Bhagawan on our behalf for an interview for our whole band team. Our excitement knew no bounds. Definitely, our lives are not going to be the same in few moments, we knew. In 2 minutes, the alumni brother came down with the good news and it seems Swami had commented to his request for the interview “Enti ra, recommend chestunnava? (Are you making recommendations?)” Wow. Now, that was typical Swami’s dialogue!

Anyway, without wasting much time, we rushed to Swami’s interview room upstairs. The moment we entered, the vibrations were simply mesmerizing. It was the same chills I had always experienced in HIS presence. Brother Madhusudan welcomed us and told us to sit down in front of Swami’s chair. He sat by the side of Swami – typical style followed by ‘form boys’. Madhu brother started describing to us how Swami was seated – which color HIS robe was and so on. He said he would repeat as Swami speaks! Our hearts were about to be filled with Divine Eternal Love.

                A slight deviation here – when I initially heard of this, I always had this thought in my head, how come only Madhu brother is able to see HIM, and not the other senior stalwarts of the Sai fold who continues to serve HIM there in Muddenahalli. That was something strange according to me, according to my limited understanding. BUT, It was in Kodaikanal this year, that I understood that it’s not just brother Madhu, but there are quite number of devotees as well as alumni who were seeing Swami in flesh and blood as brother Madhu walked behind Swami. Now that was really exciting to me. Some of them were blessed with dreams and visions of Swami at their own homes and eventually they were all guided to come to Muddenahalli for a specific reason which only HE alone knew. Some people were important for HIS mission and HE called them as early as 2011. Some of them joined later. However, the best part was that HIS call wasn’t necessarily about coming to Muddenahalli in specific. But to take up a service activity wherever one was put up, in whichever part of the Globe one was located in. Prashanti Nilayam or Muddenahalli or Brindavan or Sundaram or Shivam, etc…are all those recharge points, where people would throng to, as years by as these centers of HIS mission continue to provide that much needed spiritual vibrations to those ailing hearts who crave for that Divine Love. I understood eventually that the place of HIS mission was immaterial. But HIS work is all that matters. HIS love is all that matters.  

Coming back to the story, the moment I stepped in, I knew I had found HIM again. How foolish of me to even think that HE had gone missing in the first place! We were bowled over when HIS divine words were repeated by brother Madhu “Why are you all sitting back? Always aim to come closer to me”. We all rushed towards Swami’s chair. Swami had asked Narasimha Murthy Sir too to be present during this session inside the interview room. Sir was seated towards the left side of Swami on a chair. Swami remarked to Murthy sir “Do you know that this boy wanted to become a big music director. He wanted to go to Mumbai. He even tried running away from his house 3 times in his childhood and I had to tell him GO BACK!”

Now, that was a Googly!! A lot of my friends surely knew that I wanted to be a Music Director. But this incident of me running away was something which only I knew about. I was so embarrassed to even speak about it with anyone about that incident. To put it brief, in my 6th grade, the only crazy ambition I had in my life was to become famous. My dad merged with Swami when I was a very young boy, and my mother became be all and end all of my life. One day I collected 100 Rs and decided that I will run away from home, become famous and then come back to my mom. I left with just 100 Rs in my pocket and half way through my journey, I heard a voice shouting at me quite loudly “GO BACK”. It was quite clear and vivid in my memory. I was sure it wasn’t a hallucination or imagination. I got so scared and ran back home. Here comes the plot twist – the same thing happened thrice!!! Here, I am now, sitting in HIS divine presence and suddenly all those incidents came like a flash. That very moment, I knew was Swami and Swami alone!

Then came those Divine revelations “Your plan is ordinary plan, My plan is MASTER PLAN. You think about the present, but I think about the future too. If you would have gone to Mumbai, you would have got lost in that crowd!” He continued, “Surrender to me and leave everything to me. I will take care.” What more did I require from the Lord of the Universe; what more could I have asked for, when HE decides to take over the reins. Swami always has HIS way of connecting with each and every soul. He decided to give each and everyone in our band such similar shock treatments. Then as a loving and caring mother, He enquired about our parents. To be frank, I am not sure if we deserved this. I mean Swami need not have to really do that, to prove HIS omnipresence and omniscience. HE has already ‘proved’ HIS divinity a million times. Yet, our confused and monkey minds sometimes are not convinced, and we keep subjecting HIM to all sorts of tests. Even though HE need not do it, still to just show us that HE is the Indweller within us, HE decided to play this game of Subtle Form and prepare us for something bigger and more precious than HIS subtle or physical forms.

Swami went on to reveal to us a lot of great insights about Music. We were in total bliss. What great fortune of ours to listen about Music from Nada Brahma HIMSELF. He then remarked that we were always taking loans to buy new instruments. He said we had a good set of friends to help us in times of difficulty. He then asked me “How much money does it take to build a studio?” I told HIM that it took almost 6 lakhs to build our studio. Swami then pulled my legs asking who gave me the loan for building a studio (as if HE did not know).  I told him that it was my mother who helped me with the finances for the setting up the studio. Later, Swami revealed HIS plans of building a recording studio at Muddenahalli!

Meanwhile, we had prepared few songs to be sung for HIM in the interview room. The Divine Mother, in all HIS compassion asked us “Will you sing these songs today in the Darshan hall?” I replied promptly “If you say so, we will sing Swami.” He then commanded us to sing the songs. He listened to all the songs and asked the elder alumni brother who was seated on a chair inside the interview room about one of the songs that we sang “Which raga is that song tuned to. This alumni brother is a Mandir singer right from his college days at Parthi. Later, he remarked Swami used to do the same thing while in HIS physical form as well enquiring with the bhajan boys about the raga of various bhajans, etc…Swami then told Murthy sir “This boy is young, But sings very well”. Swami then enquired with us “Where is your studio?” “Swami, it is in Marathahalli in Bangalore”, I replied. He then asked me if I had Swami’s photo inside the Studio. When I replied in the affirmative, Swami said “But why are you hiding it behind the computer?? And that bowled me over a third time! Swami told Murthy sir “Maybe they are feeling shy that people may think that they do only bhajans”. We laughed sheepishly at that comment of Bhagawan, since what Swami said was true that the photo is indeed kept behind the computer. We wanted the photo to lean against the wall. But someone mistakenly had kept it behind the computer. We were thrilled when we came back and found the photo lying behind the computer. Well, that was too much Omnipresence to take in a single day! When the Lord of the Universe points out that HIS photo was kept behind a computer, goes onto indicate the level of perfection HE expects from each and every one of us. He advised us not to feel shy to say that we belong to HIM at any point of time. I, for sure, did not even entertain such a thought, but I was pretty sure that message was for someone in the group who hid that photo of Bhagawan behind the computer. Message received! I should confess.

The Loving Divine Mother then assured us that he will call us again. He then commanded us to perform the songs we sang downstairs during the Darshan. As instructed, we did sing for HIM and out of HIS infinite compassion HE blessed us all and expressed HIS happiness. The icing on the cake for us was when HE started mentioned about us in HIS discourse, “These boys studied at our Music College. They have taken up music as their profession. These days everybody wants to become engineers and doctors; they hold a begging bowl and walk around the streets for jobs. They should instead stand on their own feet and do their own jobs and swami will always support them.” Swami went on to say that parents should always support their children – be it sports, music or anything for that matter. Swami gave the example of Eshwar Chandra Vidyasagar – how he struggled in life and eventually stood on his own feet. The sweetest thing Swami did that day was when HE praised us in the discourse – I mean what more could we ask for in our lives. HE said “These boys are working hard, and they need to work harder. I bless them with all the success.” To top it all, Swami sent us white clothes after the Darshan!

I am yet to come to senses ever since that day. What can we ever gift the Lord who has everything at beck and call! The love which HE showered on us were more than we could ever take in. We can only count on our blessings for gifting us those blissful moments, and for that one gesture of HIS, we cannot thank Swami enough for bringing us closer to him. And that, dear friends, was my first meeting with the Formless Sai, who taught me the importance to look for HIM within instead of looking outside. A lesson learned too late. But as they say, it’s better late than never! J

Jai Sai Ram.

Love and only Love,

Sai Keshav

Muddenahalli (2007 – 2010)

Music College Puttaparthi (2010 – 12)

2 Experiences Shared
  1. Michael Duncan
    Michael Duncan says:

    I Michael Duncan, an American living in Las Vegas and parking cars at the Luxor Hotel, a few years back Swami Satcha Sai Baba appeared to me in the back seat and spoke to me. His words were heard inside my head, then he vanished as quickly as he appeared! What a beautiful and sacred experience I received! I am humbled to have received Darshan that auspicious day. I speak to Shirdi Sai baba everyday as well as Satcha Sai baba. Please know this is Truth, and surrender with unwavering Faith, Patience, and Courage. Shraddha, nishta,and suburi. Ohm Sai Ram, Divine Mother, Father Sai Baba.

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