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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group I | Mr. Saratchandra Vaghjibhai Patel

Mr. Saratchandra Vaghjibhai Patel,
117, Satya Sai Kripa
Swamy Narayan Society
Anand - 388 001, Gujarat

Mr. Saratchandra Vaghjibhai Patel (60), a retired employee of the Amul Dairy, relates a few of his experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan, in his own words.

'As my parents were devotees believing in God, I was brought up in spiritual environment. Since my childhood, I used to light one incense stick before Devatarchana in my house daily.

I was not aware of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in the beginning though I was a devotee of Shirdi Sai. During 1967 I was working in the Veterinary Department of a dairy at Baroda, and I had to go from village to village on official work. One day, I was going at about 7 a.m. from Kure to Anastu. I was passing through a cotton field. Near about the village Kure there was an Amla tree (Phylanthus Emblica).

A person in green gown with bushy hair was standing under that tree. There was nobody to be seen nearby. So I was afraid of this stranger. I did not look at him, and hurried on my way. I was literally on the run. I reached Anastu safely looking after my work enroute, and was there by 12 noon.

I was to return to Kure the same day. There are two routes. The one I came by is the short one. But would that stranger be still there? I thought that it was unlikely that he would be there even after such long spell. So I came by the same route. When I was nearing that Amla tree, I was afraid and hesitant to look at it. When I stole a glance, I saw the same person in green gown still standing under that tree in the same manner. I shuddered. He smiled at me. I felt a little reassured on seeing him smile. Nevertheless I ran away from that place as quickly as possible and reached my house.

Next day, I went to Anand to take my salary. There I saw in newspaper about Sri Sathya Sai Baba's programme at Ahmedabad.

'Who is this Sathya Sai baba?' I wondered, as I knew only about Sai Baba of Shirdi. Then I happened to see a Photograph printed by the side of the news item. The Photograph was exactly like the person I had seen under the Amla tree the previous day.

I was surprised. Later, I came to know that the local petrol bunk dealer was a devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I went to him and told him about my seeing Baba under a tree.

'You should have prostrated before Him', the petrol bunk man remonstrated me.

'It did not occur to me', I replied; 'besides I was scared!'

'Go to Puttaparthi', he advised me, 'have His Darshan and Blessings'.

Only in 1970, I could come to Puttaparthi. It was my first visit. Swami came to me in Darshan line. At that time, there was no Sai Kulwanth Hall. Nor there were any buildings for accommodation. I saw Swami and instantly recognized him as the person I had seen under the Amla tree. The only difference is that Swami wore ochre clothes, while he had worn green under the Amla tree. I caught hold of His feet and wept.

On this visit, we stayed there for about 12 days. Swami called my wife along with other ladies for interview. Usually, when wife is called, her husband also can attend. That time Swami said, 'only ladies!' So I could not go in. Swami materialized sugar candy and gave it to my wife. I too ate a part of it as prasadam.

In 1971, I came away from Baroda Dairy and joined Amul Dairy at Anand. In 1972, my daughter cried saying that her hands became stiff and that she was unable to stretch them. I could not think of any remedy. I prayed to Swami, did some Pooja and put some vibhuti on her hands and in her mouth. Miraculously, the stiffness was released and she felt all right.

In 1974, we came to Puttaparthi. We stayed for 10 days.

'We don't have a house', my wife told me, 'why don't you give a letter to Bhagavan about it?'

I could not make up my mind. On the 10th day, I sat in Darshan line. Swami came to me. I took Padanamaskar but Swami did not take my letter. I was a little disappointed. We had to leave that day at 9 p.m. We came to the bus stand by 8:45 p.m. In those days, there was no bus stand. There was open space where the bus used to come and leave. When we went there, the bus had gone. What to do? We returned to Mandir. In those days, ladies used to sleep inside the Mandir while gents used to sleep in the verandah. Next morning I was in the Darshan line. Swami came to me. I caught hold of His feet. He asked for the letter and took it and then patted me on my shoulders before moving on.

By patting me on my shoulders, He indicated that He would be with me always and proved it by arranging the money for me to construct the house when no one, even my close relatives, was ready to help me.

After our return to our place, I came to know that a plot was available for sale. Its survey No. is 117 (total = 9). I bought it. I engaged a contractor. He started construction. I was pleading with him to go slow as I did not have money to pay him.

'Where would your money go?' he used to say and laugh. The building was ready. How to pay for it? I had some land, which was in tenancy litigation. I went to the Mamalatdar (Revenue Official) and explained my problems.

'I will come to your house', he said, 'I must satisfy myself that what you say is correct'.

He came to my house. At that time many persons were there at my house. They were the carpenter, mason, etc, who were coming for payments. He saw that, and was satisfied that my problems were real. By Swami's grace, the tenancy litigation also was decided in my favour. My name was entered in the Revenue records as pattadar of the land. The most surprising thing was that the Mamalatdar, who was generally reputed to take loans with no intention to return, advanced Rs. 10,000 to me to clear my immediate commitments! I could clear all debts related to my house. Such was Swami's grace! The name of our house is Sathya Sai Krupa.

In 1982, we celebrated the wedding of our daughter Ms. Ranna Behn. I sent by post one invitation to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai. When the marriage dinner was going on, one Sadhu (saint) came and sat for meals. Some persons-in-charge of the arrangements there tried to send him out.

'Let him take food', I told them, 'we should not send anyone away once he sits for dinner'. That Sadhu took his meals. When I went to him to enquire whether he had eaten to his satisfaction, he told me, 'why are you here? Go away. There is no need for you to be here. I will look after things here!' I did not know what happened to me. I was just mesmerized, I think. I left the place of dinner and went to my house.

Preparations were made to provide meals to 1200 persons. But the attendance was more than expected. Even though 1500 persons ate that day, owing to Swami's grace, the food was enough. At the end, food enough for 100 persons was sent to my house as it was found surplus. The Sadhu who had asked me to leave was not seen afterwards though he was there till all partook the meals. I believe that Sadhu was none other than Bhagavan who not only partook meal but also made the food items enough and to spare.

On October 1, 1993, my wife and I joined a Yatra Special Bus to go on pilgrimage to various places in North India and Nepal. When we reached Mathura on 6th, I felt pain in my chest. I had no medical problem earlier and I had not visited any hospital. On that day, however, I requested the tour manager to take me to a hospital. But somehow it could not be done.

We reached Agra on 7th morning. My chest pain continued but I was not taken to a hospital there also. We reached Delhi on the 7th night but the tour manager did not arrange to take me to a hospital. On the 8th we were proceeding to Gaziabad when my pain became severe. My body was jerking violently upwards and downwards as if I had convulsions. Nearly ten co-passengers tried to hold me but they were not able to hold me down. Suddenly, my movements slowed down and ceased. There was no sign of life. In another 20 minutes we reached Gaziabad. There the Manager enquired for a hospital and took me to Sankar Rao Cardiac Hospital. The Doctor on duty examined me and said to our people, 'you are late by 20 minutes. He is dead'. This was on October 8, 1993.

'Is there any other Doctor?' our people asked, as they wanted to take a second opinion.

'What is the use of another Doctor?' he replied curtly, 'he is dead'.

They were all at the door discussing what to do. My body was there in the room within their sight. Then they saw a tall, young and very fair person with a stethoscope examining me.

'How did this Doctor get in? We are all here at the entrance', our people wondered. They went in.

'Is there a hope?' they asked.

The new Doctor put his hand on my chest. Then he put his hands near my head and brought them down along my body. Then I just shivered violently. Life returned to my body.

'Open your eyes' the new Doctor bid me. I opened my eyes slowly and found Him looking into my eyes. I felt as if a huge quantity of energy had entered my body. In about five to ten minutes, I was normal. When our people tried to offer some fee to this new Doctor, he was not there. How he had come in and how he had gone out - are both a mystery to this day. Nor do we know his identity. I was unconscious throughout these developments till I opened my eyes at the instance of the strange Doctor. My co-passengers informed me all these things afterwards.

From Gaziabad we reached Hardwar and halted there for the night. There also I was taken to a hospital. They made all tests and said that I was ok. They gave me an injection also. But they charged only Rs. 6 - unusually low. That, too, was the grace of Swami. I was given accommodation in the Mandir of Sitala Devi at Hardwar. The priest was a kind person. He gave me a rudraksha mala also. All the people in the bus left to see Badarinath and Kedarnath leaving my wife and me at Hardwar.

On October 13, the priest said, 'why don't you take a rickshaw and see some places?' He called a rickshaw and told us what to see, and sent us. Before we could return, our bus returned from Badarinath. My room was found locked. The priest also was not there. So our people thought that I might have passed away. Some of them were crying. Then the priest returned and assured them that I was all right. In an hour or so, we returned when many of them hugged me in visible relief.

We continued our tour. I was allowed to lie down in the seat behind the driver's seat. We covered Chappayya on October 14 where we visited Swami Narayan's Mandir. We went up to Khatmandu (Nepal) and all other places as per schedule and returned to Anand on October 30.

The moment we reached our home, I felt as if all energy was drained out of me. I just fell down on my bed unable to move about even in the house. I was admitted in Palak Hospital. It was diagnosed that I had three blocks in my heart needing surgery. I took treatment and was discharged after 15 days, as I could not afford surgery locally on my own. I returned to my home by Diwali.

In 1994, we came to Puttaparthi for Bhagavan's Birthday. I was sitting in the crowd. We were far from Mandir. Someone said, 'Baba won't come this side'. On hearing those words, I wept in agony praying to Baba silently to come to me. Most unexpectedly Swami came to me, took chocolates and letter from me.

We went to the Super Specialities Hospital at Puttaparthi. They put me on the wait list and said that they would call me in due course for surgery. Later, I got the call from Puttaparthi and went to the Super Specialities Hospital on December 22, 1995. They fixed January 7, 1996 as the date for performing surgery on me.

On January 6, I sat in the Darshan line. Bhagavan came to me. I caught hold of His lotus feet and sobbed: 'Baba I don't want operation'. Baba then waved His hand in circles two or three times and left. Then I found sutures appearing on my chest as if surgery had been performed on me. Bhagavan cleared the blocks in my heart by conducting surgery by wave of His hand in trice. Since that day, I have been all right. The sutures can be seen on my chest even now.

In 1997, I came for a checkup to the Super Specialities Hospital, Puttaparthi. They conducted all tests on me and said that everything was normal. There were no blocks in my heart.

Sometime in 1998, I suffered from serious respiratory trouble. As it became severe, I came to Puttaparthi. On June 17, 1998, Swami came to me in the Darshan line. I told Him about my problem and prayed for redress. Swami materialized vibhuti and gave me. After taking it, my respiratory problem disappeared.

Since 1991, I have been coming for seva once a year. I retired on January 31, 2003. Owing to the grace of Bhagavan, I could construct another house at Khankua village after retirement. Before taking up construction of that house, I came to Puttaparthi and sat in Darshan line on January 31, 2002 with a letter in my hand requesting Swami to enable me to construct the second house. Swami took the letter and my efforts to build the house subsequently moved fast without any hitch. I named the second house as Sai Mata Pita.'

-- Mr. S.V.Patel.

(As narrated to Mr. B.Parvatala Rao at Prasanthi Nilayam on 18.06.2004.)