To us students who have been in Swami's school, the single, foremost experience He confers on us is that of His unbounded, all-embracing Love.
We have completed our XI and XII standard at the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School. Swami, knowing that this was to be our first venture away from home, called us for an interview before we joined the school. He said, "I know you have a lot of attachment for your mother, but she is only your physical mother; I am your real Mother; I will look after you". And there was not a moment when He didn't.
There have been so many instances wherein Swami has blessed His students and taken away their illnesses. At sports time, (in our XI standard) one of us fell sick with a terrible attack of asthma. This was the time when she most desired the care and affection of our bodily mother to get better. The school doctor had given her some homeopathic medicine, besides the other allopathic medicines that she was taking. But they were of no avail. The asthma persisted and it was getting worse. Our Principal spared no efforts to make her comfortable. She even shifted her from our dormitory to the Principal's room. Our father informed Swami about her illness. At the next darshan, as Swami approached the Principal, He asked, "Where is that girl? How is she? "She stood up and with a half-choked voice told Swami, I can't breathe, Swami." (Now we must mention that owing to some smoke in the atmosphere she felt that her asthma had been aggravated. But Swami smiled and very lovingly and turned it into a joke. He said, "A lot of breeze comes into the dormitory, not smoke. Smoking only your husband does." (much laughter) They all knew she was unmarried. Thus the Divine Mother consoled and cajoled her and allowed her to take padanamaskar! That did it! The asthma disappeared!
One day as she was tidying her shelf in our dormitory, she found yet another sign of His infinite Love. She had taken the homeopathic medicine and had left the empty paper folded in a corner of the shelf. Some days later she unfolded the paper and lo and behold, it was full of Vibhuti.
During our XII standard, at the time of Akhanda Bhajan both of us fell sick with the same problem of asthma. Once again, where medicine did not work, Swami sent us twelve packets of Vibhuti. A few days later, when we were better and sitting for darshan, He came straight to us and enquired, "How are you?" We replied, "Better, Swami." He materialised Vibhuti and gave it to us. Once again the Divine Doctor had cured us.
It is our experience that Sai, our Mother pays attention and fulfills our smallest need. For instance, when we were in the XII standard, a friend's Physics record had been misplaced by Ushaina. She was very much upset and searched everywhere. She checked her friend's desk too, it was nowhere to be found. She prayed sincerely to Swami and after a few minute, the book just appeared on her friend's desk. Another similar incident occurred in our XII std. We were watching a film in the Poornachandra Auditorium. We had to shift places for some reason and Ushaina found to her dismay that in the dark she misplaced her Chemistry text book. After a thorough search she gave up and prayed to Swami. Within a few days the book appeared on the top of a pile of books in our school prayer hall! Now, who do you think put it there? In a recent discourse Bhagawan said, "Do not beg from others, instead of that, beg from God. He will give what is essential for you."
When the Final Board Examinations were nearing, Our Headmistress remarked as to how healthy we were. It is true we were off all medicines and without the slightest trace of asthma. Our Divine Mother knows what is best for Her children and accordingly takes care of us.
Owing to the pressure of our studies we used to get up early in the morning and we had an alarm clock ring. Invariably the alarm would go off awakening a number of friends, but tired, sound sleepers as we were, we would miss the alarm only to wake up later 'in alarm'! Realising this we thought better and decided to rely on the Divine Alarm within us. On the eve of our Biology Board Examination, as we still had to revise seven chapters, we prayed to Swami to wake us up at the appropriate time. Indeed the Divine voice woke us up at 2:30 a.m. sharp.
In December 1987, Swami instructed our parents to have us initiated into the Zoroastrian Navjote Ceremony and to come for blessings thereafter. We were invested with the sacred Kusti, which is like the Yajnopavitam. Thereafter we came to Prasanthi Nilayam. Beyond our wildest expectations the Mother of the Vedas initiated us into the Gayatri Mantra. It was the1st of January, 1988, and Swami told us, "This is My New Year's Gift." Then the Divine Mother proceeded to materialise a gigantic laddoo (6" in diameter), which was broken and distributed to all the devotees present there as New Year prasad. How kind and loving the Lord was that day! This Gayatri Mantra has been our guide and support ever since our initiation. Whenever there have been any doubts or problems we have been able to solve them with the help of the Mantra. For instance, in our Biology Board Examination, after chanting the Mantra, we were able to pinpoint two specific pigments, which had eluded us.
We experienced the real meaning of selfless service from the Warden, Headmistress and our teachers. We admire them greatly and take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the staff. The teachers took great pains to prepare the students in their subjects and were ever willing to solve doubts. Students studying for their Board Examinations would be given 'Night Food' to reinforce their energies.
There was nothing they would not do to help the students. When we were ill and missed our home environment, it was the Warden and Headmistress who took full maternal care of us. We have never experienced such a variety of excellent food as in the school. The best 'sambar' we have ever tasted has been at the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School!
Every Thursday and Sunday, Swami as the Divine Mother (knowing the pangs of hunger creeping up on us children who had breakfasted very early in the morning) would distribute sweets to His children. Lovingly enquiring if every student had received a sweet, He would sometimes tell the little boys to eat their sweets quickly for they would be safe in their stomachs.
Experiencing Swami's Darshans, His loving glances, consoling words and listening to His nectarine discourses have anchored us firmly in the ideal way of life to be good, see good and do good. That is the way we have to earn a good name for our parents and Swami's Institute.
Swami is truly love personified forever giving and forgiving. How fortunate are we a handful of students chosen by the Lord from among thousands and thousands of children yearning to study at His Lotus Feet! To have basked in His Love and Grace is indeed our greatest good fortune.