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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group IV | Mr. G.S.R.C.V. Prasada Rao

Mr. G.S.R.C.V. Prasada Rao,
W6-B27, Prasanthi Nilayam - 515134,

Mobile: 94407-51114

Mr. G.S.R.C.V. Prasada Rao (63), a retired IAS officer, relates a few of his experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in his own words.

'My marriage took place in 1964. My wife, Mrs. Sarojini has happened to be a devotee of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba since her early childhood, coming from a family of Sai devotees. I leant about Bhagavan from my wife.

When I was working at Tirupati in 1967, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam with my wife. That was my first visit. There was a meter gauge train from Tirupati in those days. We got down at Mudigubba at about 4:30 a.m.; there was no bus till 6:30 a.m. to Bukkapatnam. As we waited on the platform, I said to my wife in lighter vein, 'see! What happened? You brought me here, saying Swami, Swami! What a time-consuming journey! We could have gone to Madras and returned three times meanwhile.' Later we reached Prasanthi Nilayam.

We went and sat for darshan. Swami came along and called us for interview. As I was entering the interview room, Swami told me, 'I may be new to you, but for me, you are not new'. During the interview, my wife caught hold of Swami's hand. We were married only three years ago. My wife was only 18 years old then. Yet, some aged people in the house always used to talk about our not having children till then. My wife was feeling unhappy about such talk and wanted, perhaps, to represent her predicament to Swami. So she clutched Swami's hand, but did not say anything. Swami answered her silent prayer telling us, 'you will have children'.

Swami, at the outset, began by saying, 'how was the journey? You must have felt a lot of inconvenience'. Then he repeated all that I had commented on the journey with my wife at Mudigubba, as if He was replaying a tape recorded version. I was amazed.

We stayed there for four or five days. One day, during darshan, a teenaged boy sat by my side. 'I came here only as company to my mother because she cannot travel alone', he told me, 'in fact, I am not interested in all this'. Swami came along darshan line; stood before that boy and said, 'you can worship your own deity'. So saying, Swami materialised an idol of Krishna and gave him.

Later, that boy told me, 'I don't do any pooja, but, if at all I do, I worship only Lord Krishna'. He was visibly moved that Swami had given him the idol of his personal deity Krishna only. He came to Prasanthi Nilayam as company to his mother, but went back as a devotee transformed by Bhagavan.

On another day, Swami took me to His room on the first floor of the mandir. In those days, He used to reside on the first floor of the mandir at Prasanthi Nialyam. 'We are constructing Dharmakshetra, our ashram in Bombay', Swami told me, and 'these are the plans of that building. Do they look all right?'

'Very good, Swami!' I replied. He materialised a locket with Shirdi Sai on one side and Sri Sathya Sai on the other, and gave it to me. 'Give this to your wife' Swami told me, 'let her wear it always. She asked for it when she was a child. I did not give it then. So I am sending it with you'. Later, my wife's grandmother confirmed that, as a child, my wife used to ask Swami to give her something.

During our stay there, Swami used to talk with me, at least a few words, during darshan, invariably. One day I took a bust of Bhagavan made of plaster of paris. It was of pink colour. I wanted Swami to bless it. Swami blessed it and said, 'look, I (in the idol) will be moving my eyes now and then'. The idol is still with us.

When I returned to Tirupati where I was working at that time, my colleagues asked me, 'what is your impression of your first visit to Sri Sathya Sai Baba?'

'He is giving food and clothing to poor', I told them, 'and free education. You have to accept Him as Mahatma whether you agree that He is God or not, and we do not know the definition of God'.

After that I could not go to Prasanthi Nilayam again for nearly 15 years.

In 1980-81, we admitted our second son G.N.A Rao in Class V in the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, Prasanthi Nilayam. Once I came to Prasanthi Nilayam to see my son. At that time, swami was not there. I went to the mandir, sat there for a few minutes when I was overwhelmed by a feeling of remorse for not having visited the place for 15 long years. My heart became heavy as I wondered how I could have been away for such a long time from Prasanthi Nilayam to which I then felt a sense of belonging. Actually I broke down and wept for about four or five minutes inconsolably non-stop before I could control my self. At that time I was hale and healthy with no problems whatsoever. I had no known reason to feel that way.

My first son, G.S.N. Sai Ram was then studying in the Sainik School at Korukonda.

'You have admitted my brother in Swami's school', Sai Ram told us one day, and 'I also want to study in Swami's school. Admit me there'. Normally, we would have overruled him and tried to convince him on the advisability of continuing in the Sainik School. There he got adjusted well and was meritorious. But, we condescended to get him admitted in Swami's school. Luckily, he got admission in class VIII owing to Swami's grace. He belonged to the first batch of the Swami's school to pass the 12th class exam conducted by the CBSE, and was a topper at the national level.

My daughter Satyasri was also a student of Swami's school. She joined in VIII class in the Primary School here and studied up to X class. She went to the Anantapur campus and received her B.Sc. degree from there.

'I want to do M.Sc. Swami', my daughter asked Swami during darshan one day.

'Get married', Swami counselled.

When she returned to Hyderabad, an alliance was set for her. We could perform her marriage within a short period owing to Swami's grace.

Though Swami called our family for interview thrice, our daughter missed all the three times, and had to be content speaking to Bhagavan in darshan line. We used to visit Prasanthi Nilayam four or five times a year - partly to see our children and partly to have darshan of Bhagavan.

In 1985, Swami called us for interview. My wife, my two sons and I went in.

'What do you want?' Swami asked my second son in the interview. 'I want only Swami' he replied.

Swami materialised a chain and gave him.

Another time, Swami called us for interview. At that time, names were being considered for conferring the IAS on the APAS officers. I, too, was eligible, but I was being overlooked year after year. I did not make any trial or approach any one for help. Swami told me, 'they are overlooking you, but I will give'.

As foretold by Swami, I was selected, owing to Swami's grace, to the IAS in 1991, but with seniority from 1982.

Once, Swami materialised vibhuti for me. When He was doing so, a photographer clicked his camera. The photograph showed vibhuti literally dropping down from the hand of Bhagavan. That was a rare shot and earned recognition as it was showing vibhuti actually emanating from Swami's hand and falling into mine. It is on display in the central hall of the SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram.

One day I happened to come to Anantapur on official work. From there, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam. I had darshan of Bhagavan and went back. Next morning I came for darshan again from Anantapur.

'You were not to be seen in the evening yesterday', Swami remarked as He came to me.

'I went to attend some official work, Swami', I replied.

Swami smiled and said, 'Swami-karyam, swakaryam' (both Swami's work and personal work). From then onwards, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam only on leave.

In 1981, when I was in Amudalavalasa, we arranged akhanda-bhajan in the Sugar Factory quarters. At the end of the bhajan, we requested all those present to partake lunch. By 1:30 p.m., only one-third of the persons that attended the bhajan ate while two-thirds of the preparations were over. We estimated that about 300 would come, but the turn-out was unexpectedly huge. My mother, Mrs. Venkataratnam and my wife were in jitters and began to pray to Bhagavan. There was no time to prepare food again for all those that were waiting to take lunch. But owing to Bhagavan's grace, all could partake lunch satisfactorily, and some more was left. It was as if Bhagavan had blessed the food to become akshaya that day.

In 2004, my sister had an attack of paralysis. I wanted to go and see her. So I got railway reservation made for me by 3rd AC. In the last minute, my wife also wanted to come. How to get reservation for her in the last minute? We started at the house for the railway station praying to Bhagavan. In spite of summer rush, she got lower berth in the same coach in which I had reservation; that, too, just on the opposite side. The same thing happened for the return journey also.

The engagement for the marriage of my elder son was on August 2, 1998. The marriage was scheduled for August 9. Hardly there was a week's time. How to get a suitable venue for the wedding? The bride's father went to a noted kalyanamandapam in Vijayawada. He got it booked. In fact, it had been booked in advance for August 9 several weeks earlier by some one. He had come there only half-an-hour before the bride's father went there and cancelled. So he could book it. It was, indeed, a Sai miracle. Mr. Chiranjeeva Rao told me later, 'Swami was telling me one day, 'I arranged everything well for the wedding of Sai Ram'.

Swami Karunyananda once told us that Bhagavan had remarked to him earlier, 'My devotee Mrs. Sarojini turned the key, and made her husband my devotee. We feel that Bhagavan is guiding and guarding us through thick and thin, every moment of our lives.'

-- Mr. G.S.R.C.V. Prasada Rao

(As narrated to Mr. B. Parvatala Rao at Prasanthi Nilayam on 01.07.2005)