Anyatha Sharanam Nasti
She knew not where she was getting pulled, and who He was, but she felt unflinchingly drawn towards Him. The story of how Ms Sunitha Dodda, who works in Dubai came to Bhagawan is a divine concoction of grace and prayer. She had never seen or experienced Bhagawan in His physical form. But since she came to know of Him in April 2011, she did everything in her power to experience for herself, what she had missed earlier. Bhagawan soon became the centre and periphery of her life and a chance encounter with the subtle presence of Bhagawan only strengthened her faith in Him.
A mother of two, Ms Dodda is an active and enthusiastic participant in all the seva activities of Sai Hridayam, Dubai. Read on to know more about her journey to and with Sai.
It all began in April 2011. The little I knew about Swami was through my kids who had just started attending the Balvikas classes conducted by the Sathya Sai Organisation, Dubai. The bhajans, the devotion and discipline that they started to practise in their lives due to the balvikas classes, impressed and inspired me, and that was the first attraction I felt, to start attending the mandir bhajans myself.
There are different paths to reach the Lord, viz. through Karma, Nyan, Dhyan, and Bhakti. From my young days, I had a keen desire to engage in service to society. And this dream of mine was fulfilled by Swami as Sri Sathya Sai Organisation’s motto is “Love All, Serve All”. So, this motto was in total congruence to my line of thoughts and with immense pleasure and eagerness, I started to participate in the seva activities. The level of happiness I receive while serving is undefinable. It is an opportunity given by Bhagawan to transform ourselves.
I started to become curious to know more about Sai Baba and it was at this time that my dear friend gifted me the book Anyatha Sharanam Nasti by Smt. VijayaKumari. I had no spiritual guru or a very staunch spiritual inclination in my childhood days. I believed in God and prayed to Him, and that was the only connection I had. Sathya Sai became my first guru, and whatever I saw, I absorbed without any inhibitions. Swami pulled me towards Him and I was ready to go towards Him. It was natural, without any inhibitions or hindrance in my mind, whatsoever. Reading Anyatha Sharanam Nasti was an amazing journey of divine love. I got to know Swami and of His love and compassion through this book. Every word and experience awed and attracted me towards Him even more.
Once, while reading the book, I happened to get the smell of Vibhuti in my room. I later came to know that Swami shows His manifestations through many ways, and one of the ways is through His Vibhuti which He often materialises for His devotees. My love and affection towards this “newcomer” in my life started to grow.
First encounter with the subtle phenomenon
I was very excited to learn from my dear friend about the subtle form and was excitedly looking forward to welcome, see and experience Him for the first time in 2015, in Mr and Mrs Gupta’s residence. I had never seen Him physically, and I did not want to lose this opportunity. I didn’t feel the need to discuss and dissect the phenomenon with anyone as I had no doubt that it was Bhagawan indeed. I submitted myself to Him.
The first meet with Him will be etched in my memory forever. It was one of the best moments in my life, hearing the Lord Himself talk to a small group of devotees that were present. It reminded me of Smt. Vijaya Kumari’s experiences during her childhood days. Swami spoke to us so lovingly and asked me, “Why did you wear this saree?” I replied, “I wanted to wear the saree colour that You would like” (I had heard from my friend that Swami likes darks colours). He said, “You wanted to wear another one, green colour.” He continued, “You should listen to your heart, I will be happy if you are happy, always do what your heart says”. This was the first lesson He taught me, “Listen to your Heart”.
Swami blessed us during His two visits to Dubai in 2015. He always emphasised on being united, serving others and working towards self-transformation with an overriding message of pure love. I was blessed to get a few opportunities of designing the Gratitude, Guru Purnima and Birthday cards for Swami and those opportunities were as if I was directly communicating with Him. It is said, “In the depths of silence, one can hear the voice of God.” Many a times, I have felt that Swami and I were communicating with each other. The experiences were overwhelming and words cannot do justice to the soulful tête-à-tête; one has to experience it to fathom the beauty of it.
Another great moment in my life was when Swami blessed my daughter with a chain for giving a small speech during His second visit to Dubai. It was a humbling moment to hear the Lord talking and applauding my daughter, Spurthi for her speech. I, for one, did not expect it at all, but then Swami has the ability to surprise us all. He spoke lovingly to our family and blessed my son Vamsi too and said that he would become an engineer.
He also invited us to come for His 90th birthday. Though I was very happy and excited about the invitation, I wasn’t very sure if I would be able to make it to Muddenahalli for His birthday, due to some personal commitments. But, Swami’s word, His blessings, and a devotee’s yearning can never falter. As was His wish, everything fell in place and I could participate in the 90th birthday celebrations. He filled our hearts with love and compassion.
Gratitude – one word that sums it all up
It has been my habit to always thank Swami for all that He has blessed me with. And once in a discourse Swami said something, which felt like an advice exclusively for me! He said that devotees should never say, “Thank You” to Swami. They should instead show their gratitude and be grateful to God.
Swami continues to guide His devotees in every aspect of their lives. During His visit to Dubai in 2016, many guests were invited so that they could experience the Lord’s love and care directly. I was thanking them all in my mind for coming. But the Lord had another lesson to teach me. He looked at me at that precise moment and told me that I need not be thankful to the invitees. It is they who should be thankful to me for helping them experience such an opportunity. He further added, “They don’t have vision in life; you are showing them a vision, a path for their self-transformation”.
Living a life in His service is what dreams are made of. And I am truly grateful to Bhagawan for loving me and guiding me. He has given me a life purpose I did not have earlier. With Him leading, my life feels complete. I humbly pray that Bhagawan should always be the light of our lives, making our journey purposeful.
“Anyata sharanam nasti, Twameva sharanam mama,
Tasmat karunya bhavena, Raksha Raksha Sayeeshwara”