It was in January 2015 that Ms Sindhu Vinod first heard about Swami in His subtle body visiting Dubai. Even though she didn’t completely understand the concept, she went for the Satsangh, driven by an inner urge to witness this phenomenon. And life, she confesses, hasn’t been the same.
Seva has since become her sole motivation, following Swami’s teachings her life purpose and Sai, her very breath. Read on to know more about Sindhu’s journey of finding her God, both within and without.
Ms Sindhu hails from Kerala. Her parents were drawn into Bhagawan’s fold in the early sixties. Her childhood was shaped by Balvikas and innumerable visits to Prashanti Nilayam, where the family celebrated many a festivals with their Lord. Currently, she resides in Dubai and takes immense pleasure in participating in the seva activities organised there. She is an active member of the transcribing team that works to produce the Divine Booklets of Swami’s overseas visits.
I consider myself fortunate to have been born to parents who revered Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba as their mentor, well-wisher, and verily the Guiding Force of their lives. My father visited Puttaparthi for the first time in the early sixties. The moment he set his eyes set on Bhagawan, he realised that he was in the presence of the Lord of the Universe. And from there began our wonderful journey with the Divine Avatar.
God becomes the center of our lives
In the years that followed, Swami granted my father numerous interviews and guided him in many aspects of his life. Ever since that first visit, Swami has been the Master of our home. At every opportunity, we would rush to celebrate our festivals and holidays in the Abode of Highest Peace, which we considered as our ancestral home.
I would like to narrate an enthralling account, where the Divine Doctor intervened to heal my father. In the year 1984, my father was diagnosed with a problem in the gall bladder. The only solution was its removal. The doctors warned us that the operation would be of high risk as my father had already undergone two major operations in the past. (Swami had even appeared in the operation theatre, during one of these). We sank in a state of great mental turmoil. Meanwhile, the physical pain aggravated to such an extent that my father was unable to look after his business, resulting in huge financial loss.
However, my parents had the steady faith that Swami would not forsake them. When the abdominal pain became intolerable, my father decided to go to Swami for solution. It took sheer determination to arrive at Parthi. Swami ignored my father on the first two days during Darshan. On the third day, when Swami came, my father managed to raise himself on his knees. With tearful eyes, he pleaded, “Swami, I am unable to bear this pain”. Instantly, our benevolent Lord turned, looked at him and asked, “Is it so?” Swami then gave some vibhuthi to my father, and placing His Divine palm on my father’s head uttered, “Swasthi, Swasthi, Swasthi”. From that instant, the pain and disease vanished forever! All glory to the Lord!
Thus, our lives, albeit with many trials and tribulations, had Bhagawan’s invisible hand supporting and guiding us all the way, such that all our pains were indeed blessings in guise.
Then came 2011, when Swami shed His mortal coil. As with every Sai devotee, our family struggled to come to terms with Swami’s physical absence. My father was fortunate, since he had merged with the Lord on 14th of April 2011. My mother known for her sensitive nature, amazingly withstood the pangs of the double departure. She assured my sister and myself that she would not like to accompany us to stay in Dubai for Swami would take care of her every need, wherever she lived.
Thus, we grew in a household guided by parents who derived strength from God alone.
The Journey with Sai Continues
It was in January 2015 that my sister and I heard about Swami in His subtle body visiting Dubai. We did not quite understand the concept of subtle body nor did we know the hosts who were receiving Bhagawan. Nevertheless, we went for the Satsang that was arranged in Dubai. Whenever we reminisce this experience, we realise that Bhagawan had a Masterplan, and that it was His calling that got us to the Satsang at Dubai. Seeing brother Madhusudan translate Swami’s discourse with his gaze fixed at Swami’s throne, and the inimitable style in which Swami answered the questions of the devotees gathered, we had no doubt that our Bhagawan was back. It was an instant connection of knowing and belonging and recognising your own Lord. The sense of joy we derived thereafter was ineffable.
After Bhagawan’s visit, the devotees came together as ‘Sai Hridayam’ in a collective effort to plan and render seva activities in the region as per Swami’s instruction. I feel fortunate to be a part of the group and offer seva to the Lord. For truly, seva gives me a deep sense of calm and peace.
Soon after Swami’s visit, my younger sister and brother-in-law (an alumnus of Puttaparthi campus) had the opportunity to take part in the Prema Pravaham meet organised for the alumni of Swami’s institutions. At the group interview, Swami asked my sister about our father and said to the group members that he had come to Swami at a very early age. Indeed, it was a fact which brother Madhusudan in his individual capacity could never have known! My mother, who had also accompanied them, had a silent prayer in her heart asking Bhagawan to take care of me since I have joint-related problems. Though she did not utter a word to Swami, He gave her vibhuti and said, “To your other daughter”. These experiences cemented my faith in the subtle body manifestation of Bhagawan.
Later that year, we all travelled as a group from Dubai to Muddenahalli for Gurupoornima 2015. This was my first visit to Muddenahalli. We were really touched by the love we received from Swami’s team at Muddenahalli. Indeed, how aptly He chooses His instruments! During this visit, a cherished dream of mine came to fruition. My daughter had a golden chance to sing a bhajan in front of Swami. I was besides myself with ecstasy. I had longed for such an opportunity with Bhagawan ever since I had known my daughter to be musically talented. Swami fulfilled my heart’s deepest desire in my very first trip.
A Memorable Personal Interview
Swami visited Dubai next in August 2015. He blessed many of us with individual /group interviews. Our family too was called for an interview, wherein Bhagawan gave us guidance in many personal matters.
I would like to recount a particular conversation that ensued in the interview. Swami asked me about my health and enquired who my doctor was. I gave Him the name of the Indian doctor whom I visited for check-ups, but added that I had stopped the treatment after coming to Dubai. Swami immediately advised that I should continue treatment with her since she was giving me the right medication. He went on to say that He knew her as she was an old devotee, and that He would talk to her soon! Indeed, she was an old devotee of Bhagawan, who had rendered long-standing service at the Super Specialty Hospital, Puttaparthi. Again, brother Madhusudan and my doctor have never known each other!
Without wasting any time, I wrote a detailed email to my doctor communicating what Swami had said about her. The doctor, who did not have a clue about the subtle form of Bhagawan, was wonderstruck. This incident urged her to visit Muddenahalli as she earnestly sought to learn more about the subtle phenomenon. This doctor was none other than Dr. Hiramalini Sheshadri, who has authored the much acclaimed book ‘Sookshma Sathya Sai, The Unseen Basis of The Seen’. Bhagawan wanted this ‘old devotee’ back, and I am humbled at the thought that He chose me as an instrument.
The next visit of the Lord to Dubai was in March 2016. Days before this visit, I felt a strong inner urge to write a song. I wondered how to proceed as I have no knowledge about music, yet I felt Swami’s gentle assurance that He would guide. Through His Divine Inspiration alone, the song was written, set to music and was presented before Him by the kids of ‘Sai Hridayam’. After the song, Bhagawan acknowledged the effort and said, “It has apt lyrics for Swami. Swami liked it. Give her a clap.” Words fail to describe the deluge of bliss and gratitude, as I sat face to face with my dearest Lord! I could not see or hear anything else around me. My only thought was, “Swami, You yourself have written the song. Why do You have to give me the credit?” Such are the ways of our sweet Lord!
Unparalleled Grandeur of His Continued Mission
Being closely associated with the seva activities at ‘Sai Hridayam’, I came to learn the scope and magnificence of Swami’s ongoing mission across different parts of the world as also of the many to unfold. That gave me an emphatic affirmation that there is no replacement for Bhagawan and His ways of working for the uplift of mankind.
Anyone who takes a sincere effort to understand the magnitude of His continued mission can clearly see Lord Sathya Sai behind the curtain of delusion. The uniqueness of His Ideal Village project, His continued Water Care, the expansive Educare, the innovative Energy care and His unparalleled style of Medicare – no power on this Earth or beyond can execute projects with such precision and magnanimity than Lord Sri Sathya Sai Baba! All the money in this world cannot buy the majesty of Bhagawan’s mission, which I have been fortunate to witness since I came to know of His subtle form.
Not to forget the team He has chosen to be with Him in this phase. Their dedication, sincerity, humility and single-pointed devotion to Bhagawan is so humbling. Anyone who has had the opportunity to be with this team cannot but feel awestruck at their commitment towards Swami’s fast-paced mission to usher in the golden age.
Individual Transformation – the Underlying Message behind His Mission
Bhagawan’s mission is not confined to grand projects for humankind. On the contrary, He has iterated time and again that He has not come to construct schools and hospitals. Those are just His ways of making us understand the importance of serving the society. Swami has stated that His mission will be fulfilled only when every human being in this world realises her innate nature of pure Love and arises to his Divine self.
I confess that I am just an ordinary devotee with shortcomings and follies, in spite of my parents’ extraordinary devotion towards Bhagawan. I can now loudly proclaim that it was His subtle form that has brought me closer to Swami and His teachings. Every time I heard the discourses Swami gave in His subtle form at Dubai, Muddenahalli or around the world, I realised that although He was talking about the same things He used to, I was hearing it all in a new light. In the earlier days, as soon as I returned from Prashanthi Nilayam, the impact of His Darshan and discourse would start to diminish. But now, it wasn’t so anymore.
What had changed now? Earlier, I had confined Bhagawan to His physical form, such that spirituality remained a theory for me. Whereas, now in His subtle form, Swami walks beside me holding my hand, teaching me how to practice the theory I had learnt -because I learnt to connect Within.
The Heart-to-Heart Connect
In many discourses given in His subtle form, I found Bhagawan stressing more than ever the point that anybody who tries to genuinely connect with Him internally shall get His guidance and shall even be able to see Him. These words had a tremendous influence on me. I started doing my long- forgotten morning prayers and meditation, praying intensely to Swami to bless me with a heart-to-heart connect. The Compassionate Lord always responds to an earnest entreaty. Soon enough, there was no denying Bhagawan’s infallible Presence by my side. From correcting certain lines of a couple of songs I had written post the first song, to steering me through significant personal problems, I felt Swami’s guiding Hand in my day-to-day life, irrespective of how big or trivial a matter.
He Reaffirms My Faith
In fact, Bhagawan even invited me to the Kodaikanal showers 2016. How foolish of me to not attend it, since I thought it needed a formal invite from Bhagawan. Disregarding the inner voice, I awaited a formal invitation from Bhagawan. When the invite did not come, I was besieged by doubts. I started thinking that perhaps it was not Swami who was responding to me in my inner space. When the clamour of confusion became unbearable, I sat in meditation and prayed to Bhagawan, “Swami, is it not You who is guiding me from within? Please give me a sign to assure me it is indeed You”. A second later I clearly heard a soft voice saying, “Today a person will come to you with My message. Do the needful and also offer food.”
In fervent anticipation, I awaited the arrival of ‘the person’. No one turned up until evening. With the passing of the sun, my heart began to sink as I thought whatever Swami spoke to me till then was all my mind’s play. Around 7:00 PM, the doorbell rang. At the threshold stood a stranger, a woman. I asked her what she needed. She said, “I have come with the message from Christ. There is a boy who needs help for his treatment at the Kuwaiti hospital. Can you do something to help him, sister?” The words “Message from Christ” sent an electric shock all over my body. I knew instantly that this was the person Swami told me in the morning who would come with “His message”! I wasted no time in calling her inside and doing the needful as Swami had instructed. She left with the words, “God will bless you and your family, sister”. Indeed! Swami has His own ways to dispel our doubts and strengthen the bond with Him. We only need to take a single step towards Him to see Him leap a thousand towards us.
This internal connect with Swami has changed me a lot as a person. It has visibly changed my outlook towards life. I feel it has made me more compassionate, more selfless and helped me a lot in understanding the principle of ‘letting go’. My sincere effort now is to ‘Awaken” and to ‘Rise Above’ as Swami constantly asks of us.
Most importantly, I have started feeling a deep sense of responsibility to reflect Him in anything I do, for I understand that it is only then I have the right to claim myself to be His DEVOTEE. Calling myself a devotee and conducting myself in a manner contrary to His teachings would be belittling my Supreme Master. Without doubt, only our Sai can trigger and transform hearts in this beautiful, loving manner.
The All-pervading, formless cosmic energy, who was called Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus or Allah, had taken a form in this Kali Yuga as Sathya Sai. Now He has chosen to return to His Omnipotent Formless Self, and to continue His mission of transforming human hearts. Why He has chosen this Sookshma form is beyond human comprehension. Let us just remember that this is a golden opportunity for us; and whether we are a part of it or not, His work will go on in all splendour.
Swami! My dearest Lord, my Matha, Pitha, Bandhu and Sakha, I pray to You – Keep me in Thy fold forever, and make me a worthy instrument in Thy glorious mission.