The Memorable First Meeting

My first meeting with Swamiji was in late 1996. At that time, my husband was posted in Saudi and my parents were living in Karnataka. My aunt (mother’s younger sister), who lived in Madras, had heard of Swamiji through a relative of hers and she told us that there was a Swamiji in Nanganallur, an Aanjaneya Upaasakar, who gave correct predictions and called people by different identifications such as their date of birth, star, or relative’s name. We were all eager to visit him so my aunt, uncle, mother and myself went to his house opposite the RajaRajeshwari temple in Nanganallur on a Saturday. There was a huge crowd and we were given a token and asked to wait in the hall with other devotees. I remember thinking to myself that we may have to wait for a long time, when suddenly one of the helpers came out and asked "Who has come in vehicle number ‘xxxx’". It never occurred to us that that was the number of my Uncle’s car in which we came! The question was repeated, but we still did not answer. Then the person said, "Who has come in vehicle number xxxx? There is a person who has come from Saudi with him" Only then did it strike us that it was our car number and we got up and were ushered into Swamiji’s prayer room. Swamiji was sitting in a chair and there was a crowd of people sitting there. He did not ask us to sit so we stood against the wall.

My first impression was that He looks like any ordinary person.

We were watching as He spoke to others and after some time He asked, "Who is Saraswathi"? Then He looked at my mother and asked her "Don’t you know who is Saraswathi"? She replied that no, she doesn’t know. My mother and my aunt were then debating with each other who this person might be, when suddenly my mother realized and pointing to me she said "Oh Swamiji, this is my daughter and her second name is Saraswathi". I remember Swamiji telling her that I was standing right next to her and yet she did not know my name! He then proceeded to ask about my aunt’s family and my family members. My father was working in the engineering college in Karnataka, my younger sister was studying medicine and my brother was in school. Swamiji asked my mother "Don’t you want to get your second daughter married? You would have received some jaatakam (horoscope) from Washington"? My mother replied that "Yes Swamiji, we have received one horoscope from Washington." He did not say anything further about my sister at that time.

Swamiji then asked me about my house in Saudi, He described the layout and the arrangement of things inside. He asked about our friends, my husband’s boss whose name was Mohammed. Then he asked me "Who is Ramakrishnan?" I replied that it was my husband’s name. Swamiji said that one day Ramakrishna would come and meet him. I was amazed because I did not have the faintest idea how I could convince my husband to meet Swamiji. This was the first time I was meeting Swamiji, and I myself did not know whether I was going to meet Him again. My family are Sathya Sai devotees and we used to conduct bhajans in our house but my husband always used to tell me that I could do as I wished but I should not force him to participate. He preferred to remain aloof from these activities.

Before the Aarthi, Swamiji told me "I do not want to tell you everything now, because if I tell, then later on you will not come to see Swamiji".

We all went home that day feeling very excited and happy and wanting to come again as soon as possible. For my aunt, uncle, mother, myself, this was our first meeting with Swamiji and it turned out to be a miracle for all of us. Specially so, since my uncle was a person who never could believe in Saints and Swami’s – even he completely turned around and today, nearly all our family are his devotees now.

And I remember coming away with the feeling that Swamiji is certainly NOT any ordinary person!!

The next time we visited Swamiji, He made me sit next to him and asked me to sing. I remember him asking me, "You sing very well, you should sing a song here, shouldn’t you?" Swamiji himself was singing ‘Chilanga Katti..’ and he kept looking at me and asked me "How am I singing?". He also asked me whether I wanted to go to Dubai and the US and continue further studies etc.

The Miracles Start

My father, Dr. SeethaRaman was working in Karnataka, and my parents were contemplating whether they should move back to Madras and settle down there. I was in India with them. One Thursday, my aunt in Madras along with my mother’s elder sister went to see Swamiji and it seems Swamiji told them that "Dr. SeethaRaman, he is moving to Madras." That night itself my aunt called us and asked my mother why she didn’t tell them this news! My mother was extremely surprised and said that two offers were there, one in Bangalore and one in Madras, but nothing had been finalised and moreover, they had not told anyone about this desire to move from Karnataka. They had not even talked to the concerned person in either place! My aunt said to her that Swamiji had told them that my father was ‘on his way to Madras’! Soon after, that is what transpired and my parents are now settled in Madras.

During that move, my parents were worried about my brother’s education. Even though he had scored 99 per cent, admission in Tamil Nadu was difficult for members of the ‘forward community’. Once again Swamiji told my aunt and uncle in Madras "Don’t worry about him. He will study here. I have already arranged for that" My brother is now in final year of his engineering course.

My sister, about whose marriage Swamiji had asked on that first day we met him, is now married to ‘the horoscope from Washington’!! She and her husband now live in San Fransisco and Swamiji has conducted pujas in her house.

After the move to Madras when we went to see Swamiji in one bhajan puja, Swamiji told my father "You are a very true devotee, Seetha Raman. All your children are blessed by Swamiji, they have your grace. Don’t worry, I will take care of each and every one of them". At the time my father was worried about my brother, he had just joined the hostel and was homesick. But my father did not voice this thought out loud. Swamiji heard his thought and said aloud, "Until he completes his education, your son is my responsibility. I will take care. Don’t worry".

And now, each time my father goes to see Swamiji, the same words are repeated to him. And after each visit, my father speaks to me and tells me that Swamiji is a living God and does only good things for us and I must always do as He says.

My husband and I had purchased a house in Madras and all arrangements were made for the auspicious ‘Grihapravesh’ ceremony. Certain members of our extended family did not wish that we should have this function and were trying to stop us from doing it. I rushed to Swami as usual, worried because even the invitations had been sent out and all arrangements been made. Swami just stated that He would ensure we have a grand function. And we did.

My Direct Darshan of Swamiji

In 1997 there was a severe family crisis because of which I was not sure whether I would be able to return to Saudi and join my husband. I was in agonizing turmoil over this and it is hard to describe my personal feelings at the time. I was in Madras during that time and I would always go to Swamiji and tell him of my anguish. Swamiji’s Ashram was under construction in those days and Swami was always busy taking care of the construction matters. Nevertheless he gave me permission to call him any time of the day or night, or to walk into his home at any time without prior calling. I do not want to name the people or describe the details of the situation. Those details are not important. What is important for me is to describe here the way in which Swamiji protected me and brought about a complete change to the situation.

After almost a month of facing this crisis, one day I went to Swami’s home and started crying saying "Swamiji, I don’t know…you have to do something". Swami listened to me patiently and then asked me to take the phone and call the particular person who was the source of the problem. I did so, but the person refused to answer my call and hung up. Swami said to call again, immedietly. I did that but the same thing happened. Swami said to call again. I was just following Swami’s instructions and did as He told me. On the third try when I received the same hostile response, I replied that if they did not hear me, I would call the police. Till today, I cannot believe I said that! Swamiji, was sitting there and laughing! I was in total anguish but Swami kept telling me not to worry and I would definitely go to Saudi and rejoin my husband. At that moment, it seemed the most unlikely thing in the world. After the third call Swami told me to go to the person’s house at once. I flatly refused and told Swami I would never set foot in that person’s house. But Swami insisted I go there and said He was coming with me. Swamiji told me "Go and shout at the person. Let everybody there know who you are."

I went there accompanied by two relatives. I remember wearing a black dress. As soon as I stepped in I asked the person whether they thought I was some kind of fool. For the past one hour I had been trying to speak but they continued to maintain a stubborn silence. I remember going to the balcony and taking deep breaths and feeling some sort of vibration come over me. I was drinking lots of water and pouring the water all over myself. I personally don’t recall what I said or did after that. Later I was told that the following miracle happened!

- I kept repeating to everyone that Swamiji is standing here. Next to him is standing the 32 feet Aanjaneya.

- I pointed at everyone assembled there and shouted at them not to behave in such an ill-mannered fashion.

- I said that they had no right to ill treat elders in the family and they should take care of and respect them.

- I said that nothing and no one would stop me from joining my husband.

After that I fainted.

This incident completely stunned all the members present there and the neighbours as well. And it changed the situation completely. That evening we called Swami and He simply asked me whether I saw Him there and that He had come to resolve the situation satisfactorily. This is the protection I received from Swami. I soon joined my husband in Saudi, and today we are both eternally grateful to Swami for this.

We still have a lot of tension in our relationship with these people. Swami has been such a patient and loving advisor to us on how to carry on with our lives despite these problems. Swami had said that neither my husband nor myself, were at fault in this and the problems were caused other people. Swami has told me that one day, ‘that person’ who was troubling us, will come and fall at His feet.

The Miracles Continue

Soon after this, when my husband and I were in Madras again on vacation, I casually asked my husband whether he would come with me to meet Swamiji. I had been very doubtful whether he would willingly meet him, as I mentioned earlier, he was always aloof from any satsangs and saints. To my astonishment he readily agreed without any hint of doubt. I was still worried what Swami would ask him and what my husband would reply. But my husband confidently answered everything Swami asked him. Swami told him that he would meet us in Dubai. Swami had mentioned this to me earlier as well. That day He gave us a tulasi mala and said that it was a good period for us and when we next met Him we would have a "good news".

My husband and I went back to Saudi, and whenever my aunt and uncle went to visit Swami, he would always ask them about us and whether any "good news" had come! In our culture, "good news" is usually understood as the coming of a child, and for any married couple, wanting children, this "good news" is eagerly awaited. It was the same for me, except, now, every family member started questioning us about the "good news"!

While we were in Saudi, my husband had a job offer in Muscat. After speaking with Swami my husband accepted this offer. The contract had been signed and sent! Swami had said that Muscat is a nice place with temples and we could go there and He would also visit there. We informed all our friends that we were moving to Muscat. We even received a farewell party. Our minds were tuned to moving there and we had collected a lot of information about the place and the areas to find good housing etc. Then my husband came home one day and said he had an offer from Dubai! Somehow, he was convinced that this Dubai job would work out, as Swami had always referred to Dubai. We were confused about which one to take up. Swamiji was in Kuwait at the time, and we decided to call Him and take his advice. Swamiji asked my husband whether he wanted a lot of money. My husband replied that whatever Swami gives is fine with us. Swami said that we could go to Dubai. It was a better place than Muscat and the job offer from Dubai had better salary than the Muscat offer. Just one week was left before we were due to go to Muscat! The last week in Saudi was traumatic and hectic! I was worried about what people would think, that we were fickle minded, how could we suddenly change our minds like this. My husband said that we believe in Swami and once Swami has said to go to Dubai, we have to go there.

This was coming from my husband who, I didn’t believe would even agree to meeting Swamiji, in 1997! The company was hesitant in giving my husband, the full amount of benefits due to him. Swami reassured us saying He would arrange for it. With His blessings we received the full amount without any difficulty.

On February 11th 1998 we came to Dubai and February 26th was the bhajan in Astoria hotel. There was a huge crowd and we were in a corner near a pillar. The gents were seated on one side and the ladies on the other. Swamiji, immediately called out to us and asked us whether we liked Dubai and said He would arrange a good house for us. But He was not referring to my "good news" at all. Swamiji called my husband up to the stage and I was upset because He did not call me!! Swamiji told him that we would have two children, one boy and one girl. Next day I called up Swamiji and I was upset that I had not conceived as yet and everyone kept asking me about it. He said that the next time I met Him I would be pregnant. The very next month I conceived! I first told Swami the ‘good news’ and only after that, I told my parents. When I was about three months pregnant, Swamiji visited Dubai again, and there was a bhajan in the temple. Over the microphone, Swamiji, announced to everyone, that I would have one boy and one girl. I just thanked him for the blessings, little realizing that after so many years of waiting, I would have my children just a year apart. When my son was three months old, Swamiji came in my dream and showed me a photo of Goddess Durga. The very next time we met Swamiji, my husband asked him what is the significance of this dream. Swamiji did not reply but He just smiled. Soon after, I realized I was pregnant again!

Just before my son was born, Swamiji was giving prasad to everyone. It was my mother’s turn, and the kumkum He gave her was like a lotus leaf and we understood that I would have a boy. Swamiji has named both my children. I recite Lalitha Sahasranamam every day and I used to pray to Swami that I want to name my children from there. My son is Sai Vikram and my daughter is Sai Varshini. The official passport names are Sreenivas and Shruthi, which are the names that Swamiji has given them. ‘Sreenivas’ is also the name of our house in Madras. Swamiji has told my aunt and my father in Madras that both children are very blessed and will have interest in music, especially Shruthi. That is why He has given the name Shruthi, which He normally does not give to anyone.

My son’s first birthday was on 24th November 2000 and we wanted to do the ‘Aayush Homam’. At first Swami said to go ahead, later he asked us to wait. So we arranged a small birthday party for him and called a few friends. I was afraid I would go into labour at any time. On 25th night I started having some discomfort and told my mother and husband that I was having some pain. It was actually the proper labour pains, but with Swami’s grace they seemed mild and bearable to me. 26th November 2000 my daughter was born, in Dubai. It was a Sunday and in Madras in Swamiji's’Ashram, Swamiji was telling my father and aunt and uncle that Saraswathi has delivered a baby girl and the child is very blessed, born under a good star. My father returned home from the Ashram and called up our house in Dubai, but since we were all at the hospital, he could not speak to anyone!! So when my husband called Madras, everyone already knew the news!

Swami is the Supreme Doctor

When I was eight months pregnant with my daughter, my husband had to go to Italy and I was very nervous about staying in Dubai on my own with my son who was just 10 months old. I could not lift him or carry him for long, so I was very worried. I was also worried about how to manage if my pains started while my husband was away. We called Swamiji and He said He would give me the courage to stay alone, or He would arrange for me to stay in another devotees house. I was not comfortable with that at all. Swamiji said, if I wanted to go with my husband, I could do so and everything would be alright. I was nervous about that too!! Finally, my husband said I had to decide either way, and he said that when Swami has said everything will be alright, then I should believe in him and have courage. So I decided to go to Italy. When we told my parents, my mother screamed at me asking whether I had taken leave of my senses and would anybody travel like this in the middle of the eighth month of pregnancy. After hearing her again I was in two minds. My husband finally picked up the phone and called Swamiji and asked Him to speak to me and make me decide what to do. I was not prepared to stay without him and at the same time I was scared to travel with him. Swamiji asked me whether I had spoken to my parents and when I said yes, He said that they would have told me not to travel! Swami said that I could go, and He would give me the courage, and I could proceed. Those words gave so much of confidence to me! At every point, while boarding the plane, take off and landing I was just chanting Swami’s name and believing in His words that everything will be alright. Whatever anyone around me said about the madness of travelling in the eighth month, I used to just say that Swami is my doctor and He has said I can travel and I will be alright. Throughout the flight I kept Swamiji’s photo on my stomach. While we were in Italy, I walked so much with my son in the stroller. When I think back now, I believe that strength only came from Swamiji. Throughout the trip, my husband kept repeating only one thing to me. Swami has said you will have a safe delivery, so stop worrying and believe in that.

My husband has complete faith in Swamiji now. Every decision whether big or small, is taken after consultation with Swamiji. He doesn’t speak much and is usually a silent spectator at the pujas and bhajans. He believes that Swamiji will arrange everything at the correct time and in the proper way for us in our lives. Whatever we do, we need His blessings always.

One of Swamiji’s sentences that has made an impact to me is, "When any devotee takes 10 steps towards me, I will take 30 steps forward towards that devotee. But if any devotee takes 10 steps away from me, then I will take 100 steps backwards away from that devotee." And I always pray that let me have full faith in Swami always. Let me not always go to Him with problems, but let me go to Him with my joys and happy moments too.

Recently we have moved to a villa, with Swami’s blessings. Swami told us not to worry about the higher rent we would have to pay, and said He would make due arrangements to cover the financial requirement. We saw a similar villa in the compound but the one we wanted was not free. Swami had told us to take villa number 9, but we were not able to view it as some embassy staff were staying there and were not available to let us see the house. Swamiji, was teaching us to be patient! Now, we are settled in the house, villa number 9, and there is place for my children to play.

Every room has a photo of Swamiji and my son always points to Swami’s picture and talks to it.

With Swamiji’s blessings on Thursday June 7th 2001, we had a big puja at our house. It was very grand and a very happy occasion for all of us and all the devotees who attended the puja that day. There were around 300 devotees gathered in our hall that evening. The puja ended at around 5.00 am on Friday morning and as Swamiji left the house at about 6.30 am, He said "When I entered the house it was dark (night) and now as I leave, it is bright, (morning) which is a good sign."

In that one small sentence, Swamiji summed up beautifully what we feel about Him. His blessings are the light of our lives and having Him as our Guru, we feel the darkness being dispelled and the brightness of His love and care, surrounding us always.


Mrs. Saraswathi Ramakrishnan


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