Dr. Ram Setty is an eminent cardiologist practicing at Santa Maria in California, USA. He and his wife, Smt. Usha Setty, have been ardent devotees of Bhagawan Baba for more than three decades. They have been serving the divine mission of Bhagawan in innumerable ways. Bhagawan Baba has visited their residence three times in California in the Subtle Form.
We still remember the day when we received a phone call from Sri Narasimha Murthy Anna from Muddenahalli. That was the day our depression, our vision-less and aimless lives instantly changed. It was as if our inner light had been turned back on to brighten the dark room.
April 24th 2011, Easter Sunday, stands as a day that no Sai devotee will ever forget. On that day, we were in Puttaparthi, sitting in the Sai Kulwant Hall, praying for Swami’s health to improve. We received the dreaded message at 8:30 a.m. that Swami’s health had taken a turn for the worse. We immediately left the Mandir and rushed to the Super Specialty Hospital, where we were stunned by the news that the physicians had pronounced Swami’s body to be ‘dead’.
Usha went with the other ladies and had Swami’s darshan. She kept on saying, “Swami, wake up! Swami, wake up!” She had a strong feeling that He would wake up before His body was taken to the Samadhi. She was praying intensely. When it didn’t happen, she broke down. Ram was in the line of people and was crying and hyperventilating uncontrollably, as he was in utter shock at the events that had unfolded, which didn’t fit either of our expectations. Soon, Ram lost consciousness and fainted. After being helped to his feet by others, his turn came and he viewed Swami’s body, went around His body once (Pradakshanam), and left the hall, still in an emotionally unstable state.
That day, we thought of ourselves as orphans, as we had lost our mother, father, friend, Guru and God, as we knew Him. Spiritually, we knew that God is always with us but, with the relationship we had experienced with Swami for over 20 years, it brought back to us a lot of fond memories and emotions. Since that dreadful day, until we received the phone call, we were often depressed and in tears, especially during the Mangala Arathi, at the thought of Swami’s love and God’s utter magnificence in His physical form.
We all have our special, unique relationship with God and, for us, that included Swami’s parental and divine advice regarding any problem, big or small. He would constantly tell us to have faith and would say, “I will take care of you and your family.” Our lives revolved around Him.
Our work included several service projects, both in the United States and in Puttaparthi. He was – and still is – everything for us. We used to make trips, from our home in Arroyo Grande, California (named “Sai Arpanam”) to Prasanthi Nilayam and back. Sai Arpanam was dedicated to Swami after we built it, about 25 years ago, and we always felt that we were the caretakers of His home. Swami used to tell us that He liked the name ‘Sai Arpanam’ and that He also liked our altar. In those days, we used to go to either Puttaparthi or Brindavan, three or four times a year. During one of our visits to Brindavan, He promised that He would come to visit our house. After He left his body, we seemed to lose our goal in life. Our daily lives became dull and mechanical.
All of this past history came to our minds as the light was revived in our hearts when we received the phone call. The exact day and timing of that phone call came at a very crucial point, as we were just about to commit to a large donation to an organisation. The phone call came and saved us from making a rash decision. We deferred making a decision and Swami later instructed us regarding the correct way to carry out the project, as he had done countless number of times in the past.
What perfect timing, as Sri Murthy Anna said, “Swami is in the Subtle Body and asked me to tell you that He will take care of you and your family, and not to worry!” This is the same sentence we had heard so many times from Swami when He was in the physical body. We had complete faith in Swami’s Divinity and belief in Murthy Anna’s Message. We knew that Murthy Anna had served Swami for more than five decades and was greatly respected by one and all. We had full faith in his words. We were so happy to know that Swami was back in our lives. The statement that ‘He is now in His Subtle Body’ did not affect us at all, and we immediately felt our spiritual growth and our past relationship with Swami were back on track. This was similar to when we had experienced Swami the very first time and accepted Him as an Avatar Purusha (Divine Incarnation).
Swami sent an invitation for us to attend the Raipur Hospital opening ceremony. The newly built Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital is located in Naya Raipur in the State of Chhattisgarh. The construction of the hospital was completed within only one year! It is a hospital which has a focus on pediatric heart care, with Swami as the Founder and President, providing care with compassion, free of charge, to the ailing and needy. Swami wanted our son, who is a pediatric heart surgeon, to help set up the operating room and perform the first pediatric cardiac surgery. As a matter of fact, our son returned on two later occasions and performed surgery at that hospital to get it started.
We arrived three days before the opening ceremony and were surprised to see that the hospital was not ready. So much work was going on and so much work needed to be completed. We thought that there was no possibility that it would be finished, even if they worked continuously. The roads around the hospital were not paved and the lighting and flooring needed to be installed in the hospital. We were nervous about how they were going to finish it. We also participated in the finishing touches, which gave us much joy.
Lo and behold! The next morning, it was like magic, as everything was completed. That is Swami’s sankalpa (divine will) and repeated a familiar theme we have seen in a lot of His projects, including the other hospitals. Without His divine will, none of these projects could have come to fruition.
It was a beautiful ceremony and the ministers of Chhattisgarh inaugurated the hospital. On His 88th Birthday, Swami called us all for an interview and reminded us that He used to give us an interview on His birthday every year when He was in His physical body. As He was in His Subtle Body, He communicated through Madhusudan, who translates and communicates Swami’s words to many of us. We could ‘feel’ His speech, expression and content, just as if He were in His physical body, but without seeing it. It was typical of Swami’s past interviews. His love was evident just as if He were in His physical body. His message was just as profound.
Since that time, we have been invited by Swami to attend various functions in Muddenahalli, Gulbarga, Mandya, and Jayapura, when His new schools were inaugurated. We also participated in medical camps at Gulbarga. On His 89th Birthday, we participated in Grama Seva (rural service). We feel that our spiritual awareness has increased tremendously. We were detaching ourselves from worldly life, even when Swami was in His physical form, and now Swami seems to be taking us all to a higher level.
Swami is undertaking multiple, large-scale projects in the Subtle Body. We have seen six new high schools built in the last two years, which house and teach over 2,000 students, including 1,500 boys and 500 girls. Swami says that the main reason for these schools, besides providing secular education and spiritual growth, is to inspire young minds to adopt ideal human values, so that they can serve the less fortunate.
When Swami was in physical body, He also established two state-of-the-art super specialty hospitals – one at Prasanthi Nilayam and another at Whitefield. Now, in the Subtle Body, Bhagawan has set up a new super specialty hospital in Central India at Naya Raipur, the capital of the State of Chhattisgarh. High quality medical care, including all levels of treatment and surgeries are provided free of charge to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, and financial status, in an atmosphere of love and care. He has started yet another super specialty hospital near New Delhi.
The manner in which the buildings are planned, the short time taken and efficiency in building these magnificent structures, brings back memories of Swami’s work in Puttaparthi and Whitefield. No Avatar in the Indian tradition has come back in the Subtle Body to continue their teaching, and their transformation of spiritually hungry people. His level of compassion and love for humanity is unmatched. He is Bhagawan; ‘Bhaga’ means ‘an indication of supreme glory’ and we are seeing some of this in our time. We are all lucky to be included in His Mission. Swami says He will transform every one of us.
Swami has visited the homes of devotees in various parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, United States of America, Singapore, and Australia, and has plans to visit Europe very soon. He says that anyone who has had the intense wish to have Swami in their home, when He was in His physical form, is now having their wish fulfilled, as He had promised.
We were very fortunate to have Swami visit us at ‘Sai Arpanam’. Swami had promised us long ago, while He was in the physical form, that He would come to our house. While at our house with several guests, He told us, during a group session, that His physical body had deteriorated after He repeatedly took upon Himself the calamities faced by many of His devotees and negative influences affecting the world. Thus, He had averted many disasters which otherwise would have harmed life on Earth. There was not a dry eye in the room after these revelations.
What love our Lord has for us! He also stated that, without the extra baggage (of the physical body), He can appear anywhere He wants and jokingly told us that He does not need a passport or visa to travel! He also said that there would have been so much preparation needed if He had traveled internationally in His physical body, that the devotees would have been overstretched, and He didn’t want to put that burden on them.
Bhagawan also started Kodaikanal trips again, taking selected students there along with teaching staff, administrators and guests. The interaction between the students and Swami has not changed, but the level of the Question-Answer sessions is mind-boggling! The students ask questions, like sages asking questions to the Lord Incarnate. Swami states that many of these students were longing to see God in their previous lives. Now, He is fulfilling their wishes. He also says that it is the older adults who have a problem of not being able to accept Swami’s Subtle Form, whole-heartedly.
Swami has revealed many interesting facts about his divine mission. One such important revelation is that He had completed only one-third of His mission while in the physical body, and that two-thirds of the mission would be completed in the Subtle Body. Moreover, He has stated that He now feels free from the burden of physical body.
Once Swami has given a promise, He will fulfill the promise. He said He had given a promise to Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat, whose aspiration was that there should be a school in every district of Karnataka, similar to that what he had started at Alike, Dakshina Kannada District. Sri Narayan Bhat was a young man with a grand vision to build schools all over Karnataka. He started building the schools, but was unable to finish the project during his short life. His untimely death made Swami take up his work, as He had promised. That is where the goal of a ‘school for every district’ came from. This reminded us of Sri Rama going to the forest for 14 years, leaving the throne to his younger brother, just to keep his father’s promise to his third wife.
When He was in the physical body, Bhagawan established two super specialty hospitals in South India. In the Subtle Body, He has already established a super specialty hospital at Naya Raipur in Central India. Furthermore, He revealed that He would start four more such hospitals in the Northern, Eastern and Western regions of India. This reminded us that in 600 A.D., Adi Shankara built five ‘Maths’ (spiritual centres) in the four corners of India, which He journeyed to on foot; he never used any type of vehicle.
While in the physical body, Bhagawan Had announced a drinking water project in Adilabad District, which is towards the North of the city of Hyderabad in the State of Telangana. However, it was not completed then. He has revealed that He will complete the project in the Subtle Body.
No Avatar in known history has done anything like this. After leaving His physical body, His mission continues in His Subtle Body; that is His compassion and love for humanity. We say ‘ocean of love’, but an ocean also has limits. However, our Lord Sri Sathya Sai’s compassion and love is limitless. In a recent discourse, Swami said that He would transform each and every one of us. How fortunate we are! He tells us, step-by-step, how to purify ourselves. He clears all our doubts and encourages us to ask any questions we have in our minds. He says that we should not have any doubts. None of us is perfect; still, because of His mercy, compassion and love, this unique Avatar has come in His Subtle Body, or the Light Body, to transform us all. Otherwise, we would have to go through thousands of lives to gain liberation. The only thing we have to do is to perform selfless service with a pure heart, and practice selfless love with our fellow beings.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the unique Avatar has come to save us from repeated births and has come to give us Self Realization by transforming our hearts. We should not lose this opportunity! He is the Embodiment of Love. He is love. He gives love, He takes love, He spreads love, and the whole of creation is based on LOVE.