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Thrilling experiences with Bhagavan: In an interesting interview Prof Anil Kumar tells Dr. G Venkataraman how Bhagavan imparts invaluable lessons...
ou ARE A VERY GOOD TEACHER and you also know a lot about how Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Supreme Teacher, moulds students. In particular, I want you to share with all of us your thrilling experiences of Kodaikanal. You have been to Kodaikanal with
Bhagavan many times. It is indeed a very very extraordinary event, an event with a purpose.
Swami selects students whom He takes to Kodaikanal, and the selection is based on their performance here in the college, their conduct, their devotion, their excellence in sports and games, their talents in singing and dramatics as well. Besides, a few teachers are
also selected by Bhagavan to accompany Him. Kodaikanal is an extremely beautiful place. The description of heaven or paradise in the scriptures of any religion would certainly match with the life at Kodaikanal in the divine proximity of Bhagavan.

At Kodaikanal, Swami gives us everything, right from a sleeping bag... One suitcase load of gifts of daily need and certain presents that
we feel like preserving for the posterity.

We take one suitcase and bring back with us three suitcases. Also, at times He takes boys to certain distant places on a picnic where
He virtually plays with them. It reminds us of Krishna and Gopalas except for so-called age difference of the physical bodies.

I think that's all action replay as you call it. He crosses all age barriers and He materialises certain things. One year, He materialised the white stone ring presented to Sri Ramachandra by His father Dasaratha. Then, He materialised another green stone ring presented to  Him by His father-in-law Janaka. I am told that these rings are very' big. Very big. I said, "Swami, it is almost of the size of my wrist. It is such a big ring!" Then Swami said, "Ramachandra's personality was such... Ajanubahu, very tall stature." And He also materialised Mangal Sutra (sacred thread worn by married woman) worn by Sita. I have also seen Swami materialising the necklace of Ravana with 365 Siva Lingas, three large Siva Lingas at the centre, down below, where you have the pendant, one yellow, one green, one blue and all the other 362 Lingas made of gold.

What happens to these things afterwards? These things go back to 'Sai stores'. He also materialised the golden deer that had drawn the attention of Mother Sita.
You are allowed to touch these things?
Yes, we are allowed to touch these things. I have also seen on another occasion, Swami materialised an arch with diamonds in three to
four rows! How big was the arch? How many centimetres ? I can say, it was not less than 15 centimetres.
At the centre of the arch, there was a gold chain from which a swan was hanging, with eyes very clear, beak very clear, stomach very
transparent and translucent. Then everybody started looking at it. Swami came and said, "Hey look, look deep, look deep." And when I
started looking, there in the stomach of the swan we saw Bhagavan Baba in reclining posture, like Sesha Sai (Lord reclining on the
thousand-hooded snake). He also materialised Chudamani, the jewel that Sita gave to Hanuman as a mark of identification to establish his credibility.

I see! Fantastic! Can you recall some really moving or heartwarming incidents, because there must be quite a few of these.

About seven years ago, there was one student from the State of Kerala. Swami was showing special concern for him. Even I was feeling
a little jealous. He materialised a ring for him, a chain for him, a watch for him as if the whole trip was meant for that boy. After a few
days, He materialised a pair of earrings for that boy.


Yes, He materialised earrings for the boy! I didn't understand. After a few days, He materialised another set of earrings for the same boy. I thought to myself, "Swami, I have three daughters, You can give me those earrings. Why to that boy, after all an unmarried fellow!" Then, after a week, Swami in His Discourse said, "Some people started questioning why Swami was showing special concern for that boy. Some people were also doubting why I gave earrings to that boy. They do not know. That boy lost his mother long ago. He
has two sisters. His mother's wish was to present gold earrings to her daughters. Before that wish materialised, she died. I am his mother, I am their mother also. If not Me, who else will care for them? So, I materialised these earrings for the boy. You don't
understand what I do. Whatever I do, whatever I say has got a deeper significance and inner meaning. The boy's father, out of frustration, wanted to commit suicide. I made him come here and took a promise from him that he would not make an attempt to die. And
I am taking care of the family. It is only after that day, the boy started smiling." That really touched my heart. Swami! You are the mother
of mothers, dearer and nearer than the physical mother. You care for them. I am sure that none of us experiences that depth, that intensity, that magnitude of love which we receive from Bhagavan.
Can you recall! any other memorable incidents that you witnessed at Kodaikanal? There at Kodaikanal, one day Swami was distributing
peppermints and chocobars and various other things. Suddenly, He said, "There is one fellow who is not eating and he is dumping them
all in his bag. Come on boys, search everybody's bag." It was something like income tax search, income tax raid! Then I said softly, "Bhagavan, why all this trouble? Yes! I'm not eating. I am keeping them in the bag." Bhagavan said, "Why do you do that?" "Swami! I
have four children, they expect something from me. Whatever You give is most valuable for us. When I take back these most precious things, the children will jump in joy." Swami said, "Oh, is it so?" Then He told everybody there, "Hereafter, you give Anil Kumar five
items, four for his children and one for him." Then He said to me, "Just as you feel happy when your children eat, I feel happy when you eat here." How can I forget that incident! I don't remember anybody loves me more than Bhagavan Baba. This is the feeling of every devotee. It is the experience of millions of devotees all over the world.

Now, what does Swami expect in return for all this? This is a sort of typical human question. I know God does not expect anything in
return. But let us hear what you have to say. He only wants us to learn from Him. Just as He loves us, we need to love our fellowmen,
family and God, because God is love and love is God. Live in love. That is the message He wants to convey.

I am told that one year on Easwaramma Day, Swami personally distributed blankets to the poor. That seems to be a very moving
incident.So, why don't you tell us something about it?

The blankets were distributed to the poor people who had assembled in "Sai Sruthi" Mandir (Swami's residence at Kodaikanal.)
Suddenly, Swami said, "Let us go out." He got into His car and the convoy started moving. He stopped here and there, noticing poor
people, got down and started personally distributing the blankets. It was because some of them were disabled and could not come to
receive the blankets. He said, "You should take every opportunity to serve the poor and the needy." This is an example that everybody
should learn from Bhagavan. You should not expect them to come to you; you should go to the daridra Narayana (God in the form of poor people) and serve them with love. Not only that. On our way to Kodaikanal, sometimes He suddenly stops the car. He finds a
beggar going over there. He finds a village woman carrying a head load of firewood. He stops and gives them money. They never see Swami and they never know that it is Sai Baba who gave them the money. He simply gives money like that. When I mentioned this to
Him, He said, "I do not want recognition. I don't want publicity. I cannot see these poor people suffering like that."

You will be thrilled if I tell you another incident. Bhagavan bought candy puffs (Peechu Mittayi).
He bought about twenty-five of them and His car was full of these. He started distributing to all V,l.P.s. They were rather surprised. Then Bhagavan told them, "You know why I bought them? Here at Kodaikanal, there are some aged people. They cannot move about. Their
children carry on their livelihood by selling these candy puffs. So, when I buy them, they go back home with the money, give it to their parents and in this way they are taken care of."

From that day everybody started buying candy puffs, because Swami said you should buy! For twenty-five candy puffs, after all we may
have to pay ten or twenty rupees. But Swami gave him five hundred rupees. I said, "Swami, You have given much more than the actual price." Then He said, "It is not the price of the candy. It is the love of Bhagavan towards them." I was deeply touched by this incident.

He calls the boys and tells them, "There are some Tibetan women, selling woollen clothes.They are poor people. They carry on their livelihood because of these sales only. Go to them and buy whatever you require. They will be happy that they have got good business."
One day, Swami bought a straw hat and wore it. Then everybody bought straw hats. In this way,He helped the poor man who was not having good business.They are all poor people. They all wait for Bhagavan,because the goddess of wealth follows Him necessarily.

One day, He called two servant maids and gave them silk Saris. I said, "Swami, You are giving such costly silk Saris to servant maids!" Swami looked at me and said, "When I give, why do you cry like that? Are you jealous?" Then Swami said, "When they go and attend
marriages and when they go to their relations, they can wear these Saris. It will give them a lot of joy". That is Sai's love. It is uniform for everyone.
Yes, He is always trying to make everybody happy. And the message is that we should try to do the same. It is said, "Living with God is true education." So, can you tell me what are the lessons He subtly imparts to the students?

He watches every student how he conducts himself. And if there is any mistake, He will at once point out. Starting from dining manners, He teaches how one should conduct oneself in day-to-day life. When there are so many guests, how to serve? That also He teaches
them very carefully. And how to receive guests and extend hospitality, how to talk to elders, how to dress? All these minute things Bhagavan teaches them. These days, even parents have no time to observe their children and teach them these basic things. They are
busy in their own way. But Bhagavan being more than a parent cares for them. The result is, the parents will be surprised to see a great transformation in their child when he returns home. That is Bhagavan's way of bringing about transformation.Do you feel it is rather strange that God has to do even these small things?

God comes for both. For reformation and also for transformation; reformation from the worldly point of view and transformation from
inside. You say boys are immensely talented. How does Swami help them to develop their talents further at Kodaikanal? Swami makes them sing devotional songs. They will be asked to play on musical instruments. Boys who are gifted with the talent of
public speaking will be asked to address the devotees. And sometimes we have Kavi Sammelan (poets meet) also. Sathya Sai University is unique in the sense that we have students from allover India and a few from overseas also. Each student is talented. Some of them
can write poems and compositions in their own language. They have altogether some fifteen languages. Swami organises the Kavi Sammelan, the assembly of poets. Swami will ask the boys to sing a song or recite a poem in his own native language. Swami explains, interprets and translates them. He also corrects them wherever they go wrong.
Oh! That is amazing. Now please tell us something about picnics. I heard Swami takes boys for picnics at Kodaikanal.

Swami takes boys to the nearby mountain area for a picnic with food packets. They all sit in the form of a circle. Swami talks to them in
a very informal way. There small slips are picked up. And on the slips are written various items. "You tell a story, you sing a song, you tell a joke" like that. The number of slips will be equal to the number of boys and the elders who are present there. And these slips are picked up by each and every one. And everyone has to necessarily do what is written there.

Once it so happened, Prof. Sampath was in the group. He was a scientist par excellence.
He was very well known in national and international circles. He was a man of wit and humour. When he picked up the slip, it was written - you sing a song. He said, "Swami, should I sing a song? Can I be exempted?"

Swami said, smilingly: "I cannot help it. That is what your slip says." He was not used to singing at all. He started singing in his hoarse voice. .. .And everybody including Swami had a hearty laugh. If you have to summarise these extraordinary experiences that Bhagavan
gives to students at Kodaikanal, how do you describe them? There at Kodaikanal you have a number of opportunities to put any number of questions to Bhagavan covering all topics. Once I started singing some songs. Swami at once filled the gaps. I asked Swami, "How You know these songs?" Swami said, "I know before the composer starts writing."

Oh! Very subtly He says that He is the source of everything. How are the boys changed or influenced by all these experiences?

When they go out with Bhagavan, they see thousands of devotees waiting. It is an opportunity for the boys to know how lucky they are.
"People wait right from the early hours in the cold just for a glimpse of Bhagavan. .. .And Bhagavan is moving with us; how lucky we are!
Swami is spending time with us. We are really fortunate." This is the first experience of the boys.

If Swami watches a boy relishing a particular item, He sees to it that the boy is served that item extra. When you see all this, you will understand how much He cares for students.

The concern and love of Swami really touches the heart. The students might not have experienced that type of love till then. This brings about transformation in them. They start thinking, "What shall I do in return for all that He has done for me, for all the time He has spent
on me, for all the love that I have received from Him?" But Swami says, "I do not want anything from you. I want you to get a good name for yourself, for your parents and for the institution in which you have studied.That is the only way of expressing gratitude to Me." "Do Good, Be Good, See Good" is the quintessence of Sai Message.

It is incredible! We do not know whether Lord Ramachandra ever did such a thing. Probably the Vanaras had the thrill of being in His proximity and certainly we know extraordinarily wonderful time the Gopalas had with Lord Krishna. We do not need to read scriptures to
understand all that. If you go to Kodaikanal with Bhagavan or just hear about it, it is enough.
It is so wonderful. It is said in our tradition that hearing about the Lord itself brings one redemption. I hope that all our listeners would feel thrilled.