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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group VI | Mr. Ch. Raja Rao

Mr. Ch. Raja Rao,
Shed No. 31, Prasanthi Nilayam - 515134.

      Mr. Ch. Raja Rao (77), a retired Hindi teacher, a long time devotee of Bhagavan and a resident of Prasanthi Nilayam, relates his experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in his own words.

'In my family, in the beginning, all were devotees except me. I was an atheist in those days. My father's brother, Mr. Narasayya went to Prasanthi Nilayam in the sixties and returned.

'If your God is Rama, Rama is born again' he told me, 'if you believe in Krishna, Krishna has come again. He is God walking on earth.' I, being a non-believer, pitied him for his superstitions and looked at him patronisingly.

In 1967, I visited Prasanthi Nilayam. One friend who came with me told me 'if He calls you (for interview), I will come with you. If He calls me, you come with me.' 'I don't come if He calls you' I replied, 'I will go only if He calls me.' Swami called him but I did not go with him. Though I did not believe in God, I was much impressed with the discipline and silence there. I was an ardent advocate of morality and principles in life. So I admitted my son in the Veda Pathasala there. I don't know why I did it, in spite of being an antagonist of Vedas and Brahminical rituals.

Next year, my son had an attack of typhoid. I was informed by my wife who was there about the boy's serious condition. 'I admitted my son there thinking that He is God' I replied to my wife by a message, 'I won't come. I leave it to Him.' At one stage, the doctor lost hopes and asked the boy to be taken out and laid outside. It is customary to keep the patient out doors at the time of death for fear of evil spirits haunting the residence in the event of death within. They informed Swami. Swami gave vibhuti. The boy recovered miraculously and came back to Veda Pathasala.

I did not want to educate my son. I wanted to settle him on the small chunk of land I own in my village. But Swami had other plans for him. Unexpectedly Swami wound up Veda Pathasala and started a school in the old mandiram. My son was admitted there. Thus my son became a student of the first batch of Sri Sathya Sai School.

After my very first darshan of Swami in 1967, many changes came in my mind-set. Till then I was a non-vegetarian. I seldom ate food without non-vegetarian content. On Kartheeka Ekadasi day that year, I gave up non-vegetarian food, including egg, just like that. I always believed in practice not just in precept. I also decided to follow celibacy. I informed my wife of my decision and obtained her concurrence. I sent her away to Prasanthi Nilayam to be there with my children. I ate only raw vegetables and fruits that are seasonal.

Swami used to call my wife for interview almost alternate days. He called me for interview only once or twice. My first interview was in January 1972. 'I will admit your son here in my school' Swami told me. I was surprised because there was no school at Puttaparthi, not to speak of Swami's school. When I told Sri Padmanabha Sastry of this, who was the priest in Swami's mandir, he was happy. 'I am worried about the fate of the boys of the Veda Pathasala as it has been wound up' he told me, 'you have brought good news. They can join Swami's school.'

'But there is no Swami's school' I protested.

'Bhagavan will start one' Mr. Sastry told me. And Bhagavan did so.

In 1973, I had fever while I was working at Piduguralla. I was getting 104 degrees on Saturday evening and Sunday and 100 degrees on Monday onwards till Saturday. So I could attend school but rested on holidays. I continued to eat cucumbers and guava fruit. I did not inform my wife who was at Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami called her to interview. 'Your husband is not well' Swami told her, 'he is down with fever. Go and help him.' My wife did not come to me. Instead she wrote me a letter about what Swami had told her. I did not want my family to come to me. I wrote back saying that I was all right. My wife thought that there was no need for her to go to Piduguralla as I was all right. Swami again called her and said 'why are you still here? Your husband is not well.'

'No, Swami' she replied, 'he wrote to me that he is all right.' 'It is not correct' Swami told her, 'he is ill.' My daughter, who was also present when Swami said it, insisted on my wife going to Piduguralla. My wife came to me. She took me to a doctor who got various tests done. All tests showed normal. But he prescribed some medicines. I told the doctor 'what is wrong with me and for what illness you are prescribing these medicines?' He did not specify the disease and I did not use the medicines. I used to think of Swami but I never prayed to Him to heal me. After a month, my fever disappeared. I neither used any medicine nor did I stop eating cucumber and guava.

I was not a poet. I did not have any literary interests. But after my first interview with Swami, I began to scribble some songs on Swami. I did not mention this to anyone. One day one of my colleagues in the school saw the songs written by me. 'You write well' he told me, 'why don't you write poems with metre?' He, being a Telugu pundit, taught me prosody. I could write Tetageethi and Seesa padyams well. I wrote more than a couple of hundred of them.

In 1970, I sat in darshan line at Prasanthi Nilayam with the book of my songs. Swami came along the darshan line. He walked past me, but turned back after going a few paces. He came straight to me and took the book away. He returned again and threw it into my lap and left.

In 2002, I placed the book of my poems in a tray along with a few cloves. Swami came to me, took a clove and put it in His mouth. He took the letter which I kept in the tray on the book of my poems. I composed the letter also in 21 poems. He took a clove again and put it in His mouth before He left.

I used to sleep in the verandah of the mandir while Swami slept in the room upstairs. I have been doing so ever since I came to Prasanthi Nilayam after my retirement.

In 1990, I was called for interview: 'The marriage of your daughter will take place in Magham' Swami told me. I had no money. I did not know how it could happen. My father's brother Mr. Narasayya who told me that God is walking on earth at Prasanthi Nilayam fixed up the alliance with his sister's son. I simply went with a pair of new clothes. Everything was done by the groom's party. The marriage was arranged at my father's brother's house. It was held in Magham as foretold by Bhagavan.

One day, one of my colleagues came to me. 'I want to buy some land near Nagpur' he told me, 'can you come with me and help?' My daughter whose marriage was performed in Magham was in Nagpur because my son-in-law bought some land there. So I agreed. We went to Nagpur. As soon as we reached my daughter's house, the father-in-law of my daughter whisked me away to a hospital. When we went there, I was shown the dead body of my son-in-law. 'My son had sudden illness, and died soon after reaching the hospital' he told me, 'I sent telegram to you'. I went there even though I had not received any information. As there was no one to perform cremation rites, I had to do it. 'Swami! You have brought me here', I prayed to Him silently 'to be available to do this'.

I brought my widowed daughter with me to Prasanthi Nilayam. I wanted to educate her and make her stand on her own feet. I did not share my thought even with my wife. Swami called my wife for interview. 'Your husband wants to educate your daughter' Swami told my wife, 'better get her married again. She is only 17.' As advised by Swami, I arranged for her second marriage. It was consummated at Prasanthi Nilayam before Sivarathri.

When I fixed up her marriage with an agricultural labour, I did not inform my wife. Swami asked her 'who is the bridegroom? What is he doing?' 'We don't know, Swami' she replied. 'Don't know, don't know for everything' Swami remarked sarcastically.

I wanted to arrange the marriage in the mandir. Swami sent word through Mr. Kasturi to perform the wedding outside and bring the couple for blessing. But I caught hold of a priest who performed, in a simple ceremony, the marriage near the Ganesh gate by making the bride and bridegroom take a pledge that they would live together being faithful to each other. No one in the Ashram knew that the wedding was performed inside. We took the couple to the mandir for the blessings of Bhagavan, and He blessed them.'

-- Mr. Ch. Raja Rao

   (As narrated to Mr. B. Parvatala Rao at Prasanthi Nilayam on 05.03.2006)