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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group I | Mr. K.Thillainayagam

Mr. K.Thillainayagam
Sai Nivas, No.9 (Old No. 22)
Joseph II Street, Nehru Colony,
Palavanthangal, Chennai - 600 114
Tel: 044-2232 0966

Mr. Thillainayagam (60), a Civil & Sanitary Engineer, worked initially in the Tamil Nadu Water Supply & Drainage Board. Later he moved to the Corporations of the Government of India. From there he moved to Bahrain to work in the Government there for about 20 years. He just resigned service and moved over to Chennai. He plans to move over to Puttaparthi in the next few weeks to spend the rest of his life at the Feet of Bhagavan. He has several experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan of which he narrates an important one in his own words.

'Swami called the then Ashram Engineer Sri Jeyakumar a few months before the 65th Birthday Celebrations in the year 1990 and instructed him to begin the construction of a 65 feet tall statue signifying the 65th year of the Advent of the Avatar, for His Bhaktha 'Hanuman', at a place selected by Him on the hill top overlooking the Hill View Stadium.

I had been then working as an Honorary Engineer of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning at Prasanthi Nilayam for a short while. Sri Jayakumar formed a team of three, comprising him, Sri Subrahmanyam the Ashram Shilpi and me. Swami blessed all of us together expressing His approval for the joint effort.

Sri Subrahmanyam colleted a few pictures available in the market and also prepared a few hand sketches, and submitted all those for Swami's approval. Swami selected a particular picture depicting Hanuman lifting Sanjeevani Hill in his left hand, the bent left leg on small hillock and the straight right leg behind. None of us had any idea as to how to proceed. Sri Subrahmanyam, though involved in creating many statues earlier, also had no definite ideas about this tall statue.

Sri Subrahmanyam, however, made a small-scale model of the statue. I took measurement of the various components of this scale model, and made load calculation of the prototype statue. I found that the statue was going to weigh several hundreds of tonnes. We thought that it would be too difficult to support this massive statue, and hence we prayed to Swami to allow us to make the statue hollow.

Swami, while disapproving our proposal, said, 'this statue is going to last hundreds and hundreds of years. Therefore, no hollow work, no false work. Make it solid and strong.' Owing to the heaviness, I decided to support the statue using rolled structural steel sections. Swami, though He did not instruct me directly, used to flash the right solution at the right time, of course, only after we had strained our nerves. Unable to resolve many issues related to the structural stability of the statue, I used to go to the Prayer Hall, kneel before the Chair with my sketchbook, pencil and eraser and prayed to Swami to give me the correct solution. I used to get the correct idea as if some one was dictating. This happened on quite a few occasions during the period.

The statue had been designed on the following principle. The structural steel sections were to form part of the skeleton, and reinforced cement concrete (RCC) would make the flesh. Brickbats fixed on specially prepared cement mortar were to be used to create the shape and curves of the statue.

After having completed the preliminary calculations, the next step was the site clearance, levelling, grading and preparation of the base area for the statue. We engaged local labour to clear the site over the rock underneath. Once we removed the weathered rock, lo, we found a flat, level, solid rock bed, which did not require any further treatment to bear the massive statue! Remember, Swami Himself chose this site!

Next we wanted to procure the rolled structural steel sections from Bangalore. To fabricate the legs and other important parts, we needed ISMB 600 steel girders. This is the largest and heaviest rolled steel section manufactured in India. This section is normally used in railway bridges and in heavy steel construction. This section was not available in Bangalore city. We went round and round, but of no use.

We suddenly heard from one dealer that freshly rolled ISMB 600 girders in required quantity and length had just been received through railway wagons in the goods yard, and could be delivered to us the next day! We transported these and other smaller sections through long body trucks. Lord Sai made it possible for us to get the steel sections not commonly used by the general public and not easily available in the open market. Normally one has to place orders for these sections and wait for a very long time, whereas we got them just like that.

While gracing the Bhoomi Pooja for the statue, Swami created a three inches and a half (approximately) tall statue, and instructed us to construct the actual statue according to this model. This model was different from the one approved by Swami earlier, but it was a beautiful one. The statue now standing on the Hilltop was built on that model. Swami blessed a few stone blocks and bricks by touching them. Swami also placed them in position on cement mortar bed thus signalling the commencement of construction. The Divine Feet consecrated the whole area. Swami broke a few coconuts and sprinkled the water all over the place.

Swami directed me to go to the ECC Design Office to finalize the design, detailed engineering and drafting the construction drawing. They allocated a draughtsman to assist me in preparing the drawings. Within a couple of days, that draughtsman was withdrawn saying that his services were required for a very urgent tender work. As I could not wait for long, I requested the ECC Management to make alternate arrangement. They borrowed the services of a draughtsman from another division. Once again Lord Sai came to our rescue. The draughtsman suddenly withdrawn from this work is a RCC specialist where as the one who replaced him is a structural steel specialist. Thus Swami arranged the services of the right person for this job.

Swami used to visit the site very frequently. One day, during one of His site visits, He instructed me to place the statue on a pedestal and not directly on the rock, because the lower part of the statue might not be visible to the people at the ground level.

I prayed to Swami to indicate as to what should be the height of the pedestal. Swami said, 'My height'.

In order to counterbalance the overturning effect of the wind on the statue, we needed a very heavy base for the statue. We found, by calculation, that we needed a 45 feet long and 25 feet wide pedestal. But what should be the height of the pedestal? After calculations we found that the height of the pedestal required to counter the wind forces is the same as Swami wanted it to be!

The leg girders were actually anchored into this pedestal, which is simply resting on the sheet rock. Because of this base pedestal, there was no need to excavate deep into the rock or drill holes into the rock for anchoring the statue. Thus Swami saved us from the difficult task of anchoring the statue.

Swami evinced keen interest on this work. He used to bless us with His frequent Darshan at the site. He always came with carloads of snacks, sweets, and fruits to the site. Swami used to bring many visitors and show them the construction work.

The steel frame supporting the Sanjeevani hill had to be hoisted and placed in position. The frame was ready. Hoisting arrangement was made ready. I was requesting Swami to come to the site and bless us to commence the hoisting. Swami was somehow postponing the site-visit. But I was continuously praying for the Divine site-visit.

One day He came and broke a coconut on the steel frame and directed us to start lifting. Swami got into the car and drove off. The car would have gone only a hundred yards, and suddenly stopped. I ran and reached Swami's Presence. Swami asked me, 'when will you complete the hoisting work?' I replied, 'Swami, with your grace, we hope to complete the work around lunch time and I will inform you when I come for the afternoon Darshan'.

No sooner had Swami left the scene than the steel beam on top carrying the hoisting pulley was twisted (torsion failure), and the steel frame, which was lifted above the ground by a few feet, crash-landed on the ground. Because of this unexpected event, we had simply to abandon the hoisting work!

I went to the Mandir for the afternoon Darshan and sat desolate in the verandah. Swami's door opened, and Swami came straight to me with thumb- down signal even before I could open my mouth to explain the debacle. Swami said he had known everything. There was no damage to men or materials. Swami saved us all from a major site accident.

The next day Swami told me that I had chosen a very bad time for the hoisting operation because all the planets at that time were in unfavourable position. He directed us not to do anything for the next few days. Accordingly we waited for a few days and recommenced the work on instructions by Swami. No need to mention that we could successfully complete the work soon after.

The steel fabrication and erection work of the statue was a heavy construction work, something similar to major bridgework. The hard working and highly skilled site engineers and technicians of the ECC accomplished the construction work in time. Every one of us associated with the erection of the Hanuman statue could feel the Divine Presence every moment in its execution.

Jai Sai Ram'

-- Mr. K.Thillainayagam

(As narrated by Mr. K.Thillainayagam at Prasanthi Nilayam on 10.06.2004.)