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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group I | Mr. Oruganti Sitaramayya Sastri

Mr. Oruganti Sitaramayya Sastri,
Sri Sathya Sai Vriddhasrama,
Kadugodi, Bangalore - 560 067
Tel: 080-28454624 (preferably, between 8:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. - IST)

Mr. Oruganti Sitaramayya Sastri (60), a retired Engineer, has been in-charge of Sri Sathya Sai Vriddhasrama, Kadugodi, Bangalore. He narrates a few of his many experiences in his own words.

Since my childhood, my personal deity has been Lord Sri Rama. Though I was a student of engineering of the Indore Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, it, somehow, did not occur to me to have Darshan of Bhagavan when He used to be at Brindavan. After my studies, I joined service at Garividi in Andhra Pradesh and was attending Bhajans, organized by Sai devotees there. In 1978, Mr. S.G.K.Raju, my well wisher gave me a Photograph showing Sri Sathya Sai Baba inside Sri Rama's Picrture. That was exactly the type of Photograph I was longing to receive as it showed Sri Rama, my personal deity, with Sai Rama.

I went to Puttaparthi in 1985 for the first time. We were allowed to sit for meditation near Gopuram. At that time, Sai Kulwant Hall was not there. As I sat for meditation, I had the vision of Viswarupam - the cosmic form of the Almighty punctuated by the stars and planets. Some one tapped me on my shoulder and I awoke only to find Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai on the balcony of the Mandir giving Darshan. I turned to be a devotee of Bhagavan from that time, as I could find no difference between my Sri Rama and the Sai Rama. I was regularly going to Puttaparthi for Swami's Birthday since then. In fact, I could not remain without having His Darshan at frequent intervals, by going over to Puttaparthi though I had to spend two days each time in journey alone. Due to Swami's grace both our two sons and daughter were students of Swami's Educational Institutions.

In 1990, I was at Puttaparthi once again when I had a strong desire to get 'Aksharabhyasam' done to me by Bhagavan. At my age it would appear odd, and expose me to ridicule. So I prayed to Bhagavan in my mind, 'Bhagavan! I pray you perform 'Aksharabhyasam' to me. Normally we do it at the age of 5. I came to you in 1985. This is 1990. So I am only five years old as Swami's devotee. This Aksharabhyasam is not to make me literate but to realize Aksharaswarupa. As people would think it odd for an aged person to undergo this ritual, I will tell others that I am getting it done for Bala Vikas children'.

After praying to Swami thus, I sat in the lines with a slate and a slate pencil. Swami came to me, took the slate and wrote 'AUM' on it. I took it to our Bala Vikas children and got it framed up and preserved carefully.

While I was at Sri Rama Nagar Township, Garividi, I had the good fortune to be the organizer of Gita Yajnam for 18 years. Each time after the Gita Yajna, I used to submit to Swami in my mind, 'Swami! I cannot continue the Yajna next year'. But after Darshan, I used to feel as if some new energy was infused in me and the Gita Yajna used to be held next year, by Swami's grace, on a bigger scale successfully.

On the 18th year, we wanted to do it for 18 days. Earlier, we used to do it only for three days with Gita Parayana with commentary of one Shatkam (Six chapters) of Gita with Homam, and Veda parayana in the evening each day. We used to arrange spiritual discourses. With the grace of Swami, we could perform the 18th Gita Yajna with redoubled vigour. On December 30, 1999, the 18th day, the Gita Yajna concluded. I was transferred from Garividi on December 31, 1999! I joined on January 1, 2000 at Visakhapatnam. It was as if I had been kept at Garividi only to complete 18 years of Gita Yajna with the crowning 18-day finals to round it off happily on a grand note.

Later, I applied for voluntary retirement and came to Puttaparthi on Februaly 20, 2000. After Shivaratri, Swami let for Brindavan but I stayed behind at Puttaparthi to make arrangements to settle down there permanently.

On March 6, 2000, I came to Brindavan and sent my bio-data to Bhagavan. On the same day, I was informed that Bhagavan instructed that I should be kept in-charge of the Vriddhashramam at Kadugodi. 'I know him', Bhagavan reportedly said, 'I see him frequently in Darsan lines and Bhajans. He can be kept in-charge of Vriddhashrama!' I joined immediately. The Ashram was inaugurated on March 18, 2000.

In May 2002, I was thinking about my children - not without some anxiety. Just at that moment, Bhagavan, who was delivering a Divine Discourse at Brindavan, said, 'don't worry about children. I will look after them'. Though He seemed to have uttered these words as part of His Discourse, there was, in fact, no context at all. I assumed that the words were meant for me.

At that time, I was not aware that my second son who was at Hyderabad had met with an accident while he was going with his pregnant wife and son on a scooter on that very day. When they were thrown on the roadside with my son becoming unconscious, a person came there in a car, took all the three in his car to a Hospital, paid Rs. 5,000/- as advance to the Hospital and told my son who, by then, regained consciousness, that he would come the next day again.

Meanwhile, some students who were in the upstairs portion of a building in front of which the accident occurred came, lifted the scoter and brought it to the Hospital following the car. My son, his wife and their son escaped with minor injuries. The scooter, too, was intact and safe. Fortunately, there was no adverse effect on the pregnancy of my daughter-in-law, owing to the fall. She delivered a female child in due course safely. I came to know of all this only later. When my elder son, who was at Brindavan serving at Swami's campus there, mentioned this to Swami, He gave vibhuti for my injured son and said, 'no need to worry'.

Earlier, when I was at Visakhapatnam, we gave new clothes to Panduranga and Rukmini at Panduranga Temple there as per the wish of my Mother. When dhoti was worn to the idol of Panduranga, it was a little short. I felt unhappy that we could not buy the attire of required size. On that day, Swami wearing the same dhoti appeared in my dream and said, 'pancha bagundi (the attire is good)'. This has only established to me that Panduranga and Swami are one.

Swami blessed me with Darshan while I was in meditation, as Dattatreya, Sri Krishna and Vinayaka on different occasions.

I do not remember the date I happened to read the book 'Prema Bandham' by Mr. Ramana Rao in which Swami is reported to have observed that He would accompany His devotees who leave, without an opportunity to take leave personally from Him, to their places and drop them safely. I wondered if it would happen actually.

Sometime later I left Puttaparthi by train for Visakhapatnam. I lay on my berth with eyes closed contemplating about it when I had a vision of Sri Sathya Sai preaching Gita to students in the form of Lord Krishna. I was reluctant of opening my eyes lest this vision should cease. It was before my eyes till I reached Visakhapatnam demonstrating to me the truth of Swami's observation that He would accompany devotees to their places to drop them there safely.

Bhagavan gave me two precepts to follow when He appeared in my dream in 1994. The first is in English: 'Carry out all activities knowing that they are activities of ignorance.' The second is also in English: 'Leave the things before they are taken away.' 'Leave' here means to give them up through detachment, and not throw them away in physical sense because all are like passing clouds.'

-- Mr. O.S.Sastri

(As narrated to Mr. B.Parvatala Rao at Sai Gokulam, Brindavan, Bangalore on 28.05.2004.)