Sri Madan Gupta is a high-ranking Chief Financial Officer in Dubai. Originally from the UK, he has lived in Dubai for more than 20 years with his wife, Smt. Shobhna Gupta and their son. They are ardent devotees of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, despite coming into Bhagawan’s fold after His Mahasamadhi. Bhagawan Sri Baba has visited and stayed at their home in Dubai twice in 2015.
Sri Madan Gupta with Swami in subtle form at Sai Hridayam, his residence in Dubai
Our experience with Swami in the Subtle Form began on Maha Shivaratri (the night of the darkest New Moon of the year, dedicated to Lord Shiva) in February 2012, during our visit to Prasanthi Nilayam. At 2:00 a.m. in the morning, an old lady approached my wife inside the South Indian canteen. After some small talk, the lady told my wife that she had a message from Swami that we should visit Muddenahalli and then, she promptly disappeared, having clarified that she didn’t need anything from the canteen. We later came to believe that this old lady was our Swami in one of His multitude forms. We immediately changed our plans and went to Muddenahalli the next day. We were shown around Muddenahalli by ashram staff, who had several uplifting stories to share about Swami’s presence in Muddenahalli in His Subtle Form.
From then on, we heard of the many projects being undertaken by Swami during this phase. We were particularly attracted to a school project in Mandya, and wished to be a part of it and assist in any way we could. With this burning desire, we went to Muddenahalli again in December 2013 and met with Sri Narasimha Murthy, who patiently explained the various projects planned by Swami in the Subtle Form, along with his own personal experiences with Swami’s Subtle Form. We then went to Mandya to see the school project. It was humbling to witness a very experienced group of people working tirelessly to carry out the Lord’s mission.
Around the same time, we read the now well-known book, ‘Sai Thy Kingdom Come’, and understood that Swami could reveal Himself in one form or another to continue His Avatarhood. We then came to know that Swami had given a series of discourses in Kodaikanal in 2014. We became excited and started to actively scout for any material we could lay our hands on to comprehend the Subtle Form phenomenon. Little did we know that we would directly experience this unique and great phenomenon very soon.
The experience with the Subtle Form came a month later, when Swami visited the home of my brother- in-law in London. Swami graciously blessed us with an interview. We felt that He had read our innermost thoughts and benevolently assured us that He would visit our home in Dubai in January the following year. All doubts about the Subtle Form were clarified through this direct experience with Swami. It is not possible to fully describe our first experience of Swami’s Subtle Form in any way, other than the feeling of total love, humility and compassion.
Our dear Lord kept His word and, soon, we were busy making all the arrangements for His divine visit to our home in Dubai, in January 2015. However, as part of His leela, our Lord did not make it easy – we got to a stage where, even a week before the visit, we were questioning whether the Lord was coming just to see our small family of three? Almost all the 300+ Sai devotees we knew in Dubai were in their own mental turmoil whether to come for the darshan of our Lord during His visit to Dubai, or to stay away in disbelief of His Subtle Form. So, we truly had no idea how many would attend the planned satsang at our home.
During the divine visit, Swami blessed our house, naming it ‘Sai Hridayam’, and patiently explained how He had made all the arrangements for the satsang and that only those devotees whom He had invited would be able to attend. It became clear that our Lord had chosen who would attend and, in the end, devotees from all over the world came to the satsang – many of whom we had never met before. Swami guided us on many aspects of our life, including how to deal with those who did not believe in His Subtle Form. Our compassionate Lord told us that we should show love to all, as even those who do not believe in His Subtle Form pray to Him. The love that Swami bestowed on all of us during His Dubai visit will always be etched in our memories and we are grateful to Him for showering such abundant grace.
Mr Gupta following the Lord in Sai Hridayam
Another incident worth mentioning is that, during this visit, alumni of Sri Sathya Sai University who were living in Dubai expressed interest in meeting their beloved ‘Warden Sir’, Sri Narasimha Murthy. Around 20 students came for this impromptu satsang. It was very heart-warming to see the students meet with Sri Narasimha Murthy and express openly the doubts they had about Swami in His Subtle Form. The patience, frankness and openness of the conversation was an eye-opener to us. We were pleasantly surprised when some of these students attended the public satsang the next day and subsequently joined ‘Sai Hridayam’ as very active members.
True to His word, since Swami’s visit to Dubai in January 2015, we now have the ‘Sai Hridayam Group’, a gathering of a number of devotees who are focused on service activities. Many of Swami’s valuable ‘properties’ – His students, are very active in this group. Since the Lord’s visit, the group decided to offer 90 seva activities as part of the Swami’s 90th birthday celebrations. The group felt that, if the Lord has taken them under His wing, the onus is on the group members to continually demonstrate that they will follow, and live, His message. The goal of offering 90 seva activities was completed as early as July and Swami blessed everyone by hosting them in Muddenahalli for two days prior to Guru Poornima. The love shown by our Lord during this visit brought many to tears, yearning and pining for Him. Above all, the inner transformation within the group from following His message and undertaking seva was specially highlighted by our Master during this visit. The Lord incarnates time and again only for His devotees’ sake.
Whilst in Dubai, Swami had invited us to Kodaikanal in May 2015 – a dream come true. It became very clear that, in part, Swami had brought various people to Kodaikanal to get to know each other, as He has specific plans in His mission for each person. Only the Lord can connect such a group of people with wide and varied backgrounds, whose main desire is to serve Him.
We were excited when Swami chose the Sai Hridayam Group to adopt the first ‘Ideal Village’ project, which was officially started in August 2015. Our group had the opportunity to visit the village and interact with the students of the local school. The breakfast seva for this village has, with the help of volunteers from Bengaluru, continued even today, whilst there is on-going assessment of the real needs of each villager. We are very grateful to Swami for giving us this opportunity.
Mrs Gupta offering Arathi to Bhagawan
Swami visited Dubai a second time in August 2015, on His way to the UK, this time informing the Sai Hridayam group that He would guide each family individually on their sadhana and seva activities. It was very joyful to witness the outcome of each family’s interaction with Swami, many crying from tears of love for Him or simply touched by the love and guidance they received. Even though Swami was in Dubai for only two days, He delivered three public discourses and had several meetings with small groups to guide them on various aspects of His mission. The energy from our Lord’s visit has made a true difference in the group’s activities. Now, we have embarked on even more intensive seva in the form of various activities to be completed before His 90th birthday.
In the last eighteen months, our lives have changed completely. Swami’s teachings are a treasure beyond words. Through His guidance, our hearts are opening and life feels more purposeful, as we become more and more aware of the responsibility of living His message, each and every day. We are immensely grateful for His daily guidance in our lives, as well as allowing us to be a part of His ongoing mission.
We had always been attracted to Swami’s mission, even well before it continued from Muddenahalli in 2011 – in fact, well before we ever became aware of the Subtle Form. So, we feel particularly blessed to have been able to believe before perceiving His Subtle Form. We pray to Swami to continue to bless us and keep us near and dear.
Sri. Madan Gupta