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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group I | Mr. Deepak Gogna

Mr. Deepak Gogna
27 Alderbury Road West,
Slough, Berkshire, UK.

Mr. Deepak Gogna, aged 48 years, is presently working as an independent Chemical Consultant in the UK. He narrates the experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in his own words.

I would like to share our own, small but subtle, experiences whilst we have been in Swami's fold.

Both my two sets of grandparents had been settled in East Africa since the early 1930s, and my parents were brought up there too. Being of Indian origin, my first visit to India was a short one in 1959, as a young boy of 3, and I have very dim memories of the trip.

In 1967, whilst we were living in Nairobi, Kenya, my mother had a major surgery and was slowly recovering. One Thursday evening, she asked me to take a thaali (plate) full of freshly cut apples to a house around the corner, where every Thursday there was a Kirtan (Bhajan). Not knowing what to expect, I arrived at the place and was greeted silently. A strange photograph of a man in an orange robe was on the makeshift altar at the end of a large narrow room with ladies seated on the left and gents on the right-hand side of the room.

Having placed the prasad-thaali on the side of the altar, I was about to leave when a middle-aged gentleman sitting at the back gently requested me to stay. I enjoyed some of the bhajans, words of which I could partially grasp.

The bhajan ended and the prasad was distributed. The owner of the house, Mr. Ramnik Vithalani, told me a little bit about Shri Sathya Sai Baba. I was very interested and started attending Bhajans regularly. Whilst our parents and friendly neighbours would get together or go to hotels, our small troupe of children would go to the Bhajan!

We were fortunate enough to see Baba when He visited East Africa in 1968. My wife-to-be and my younger sister, being very young girls, had the good fortune of being blessed by Swami.

Our enthusiasm and love for Swami increased dramatically and all my parents' friends wanted their children to attend the Bhajans. Soon, Vithlanis moved to Bangalore and we have not seen them since. But the seed had been sown and Sai's grip had taken hold - never to leave again.

I came to Britain in 1972 to study, carrying Baba's pictures and Vibhuti with me. I stayed with my ageing grandparents. I was always very attached to my paternal grandfather and he had read the Shrimad-Bhagavatam to me many times from cover to cover. Other members of the family, uncles and aunts would often joke about Baba and ask me about the man with the Afro hairstyle. In time, they also got into Baba's fold and have seen the light. After completing my studies, I was joined by my parents in England. Through coincidence, our family met my wife's parents in London once again and I got married to the girl I used to supervise during our visits to the Sai Bhajans in Kenya!

Time moved on and my grandfather became very ill, with suspected cancer, and a lot of fluid on the lungs. One morning when we went to visit him in hospital, we were amazed to find him sitting up and smiling in bed. He told everyone that he had seen Baba sitting on the edge of the bed the previous night. By morning he was much better, the X-rays showed nothing wrong and he was soon home! He survived for another 15 years, finally passing away at a ripe old age of 92. His belief in Swami's Divine Avatar-hood was unshakeable.

My wife and I had often wondered if we would ever see Swami in the physical form again. Our children were still young and the prospect of going to Puttaparthi was very remote, yet we carried on Swami's work in our own little way at the local Centre in Slough, Berks - which incidentally is a 5 minute walk from where we live!

I had worked as a Scientist with the topmost chemical firm in the UK since graduating as a Chemist in 1979. My career had developed really well. It seemed that this would be a job for life.

Then in 1999, I started having many problems at work. There was much speculation that our business unit was going to be sold to an American organization. On top of this, there was enormous pressure on me to deliver a major project in time for Legislation compliance. One Friday evening when I arrived home, I was in a very depressed state, very unsure about the future. My first thought was to switch on the computer and to update my Resume. My intention was to apply for other jobs and to resign from the company.

As I approached the computer, a strong voice inside asked me to reach out for a book, which was in a crate on the opposite side of the room. At that time, I used to look after the books belonging to our Sai Centre library. It was a small collection of 30-40 books on Swami and His teachings. Before I realized, I had picked up a book, opened it randomly and my eye fell on the sentence, 'Swami, shall I leave my job?' Dr.Hislop was asking Baba this question in his book, Conversations with Sai.

Swami replies by saying that one should look upon one's work as worship and not to shirk away from duty. I was totally overcome with emotion at Sai's benevolence and timely message, and preceded to carry on my work to the best of my ability. This may sound silly, but I have personally flicked through the book from cover to cover many times since, but cannot find that page again. I am sure it is there, but I cannot find it!

Well, the inevitable happened. In 2000, the business unit was sold and the Research Department was shut down, and relocated to America. I was placed on a redeployment list on full pay for one year after Christmas 1999 and was not required to attend work.

One evening in January 2000, whilst listening to Bhajans in the kitchen whilst my wife was cooking dinner, we came upon Ravi Raj Naseri's Bhajan, 'Sai Prasanthi mandir tera'. There and then we made a plan to go and see Swami. The Travel Agent showed us that there were just 4 seats available on the day that we wanted to travel. We booked there and then. My two children took some time off school, and together with my wife, we finally got our first real, physical Darshan of Bhagavan on Valentine's Day in February 2000. Pure Ananda! Swami made everything go so smoothly.

If the turn of events had not occurred, we would probably still be waiting for a chance to someday see Him!

Looking back in retrospect, we are so thankful for Swami's timely intervention. Had I voluntarily resigned from my job in 1999, I would have lost all the benefits of 20 years of service and that precious visit would not have possible. Though I am still unemployed to date, Swami's Kripa has kept us going. He is protecting us. The gifts He has showered on us are not tangible; they cannot be weighed in the scales of the material world.

We pray to Him always for His Grace and thank Him for everything we have.

Lokah samasthah sukhino bhavantu!!!

-- Mr. Deepak Gogna.

(As sent to Mr. B.Parvala Rao on e-mail at on May 4, 2004.)