Please read Samarpan on the site and contribute your mite to Sri Sathya Sai Veda Pratishtan. | Please Subscribe to Vedamu YouTube channel

Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group III | Mr. T. V. Subba Reddy

Mr. T. Venkata Subba Reddy
I Cross West, Gopuram Road
Puttaparthi - 515134

Mr. T. Venkata Subba Reddy (61), an agriculturist, now regularly in seva at Prasanthi Nilayam, relates a few of his experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in his own words.

‘When I was a boy of 10 or 11 years, I had a pet ram. When a Muslim asked me to sell it to him I thought he would rear it as his pet. So I sold it. But he killed it the same day and hung its body before his house with a view to sell its meat. When I was coming that side to see how the ram was being looked after by him, I saw its body hanging in the bazaar. I was shocked and ran home crying. I thought I had committed a sin. ‘Let me visit some temple or centre of pilgrimage to cleanse myself from the sin’. I was crying in the house. The same day my aunt Mrs. Yasodamma, a devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, came to our house. ‘Don’t cry’, she told me, ‘I will take you with me to God who will wipe out your sin’. She brought me to Puttaparthi. We reached the place around noon. ‘Now Swami will be resting. He won’t give Darshan now’, she told me, ‘you, too, take some rest. I will cook food meanwhile’.

‘I will not take food till I have Darshan of Swami’, I told her and came out. I walked towards the mandir and stood under a coconut tree. As I was looking at the mandir, I saw Swami come out of His room. He stood in the balcony of the first floor and blessed me raising both His hands. He then made some signs with His hands to convey, ‘your stomach is empty. Go and have a grub and come’ I went back happily. ‘You said Swami will be resting but I got His Darshan and blessing also’, I told my aunt. This was around 1957.

Next year my mother and I went to Puttaparthi. My father was a strong critic of Swami. He did not come. What my father earned was not enough to run the house even for eight months. My mother had to run it for the next four months. In those days, bus charge from Nellore to Puttaparthi was Rs. 11. As she could not manage that much, she decided to go once in a year. In spite of the financial cringe, she wanted to take me with her because she knew of my devotion to Swami. ‘I can’t buy you this and that there’, she told me, ‘only if you promise that you won’t pester me for eatables, I will take you’.

‘Even if you don’t give me food and keep me on gruel, it is all right with me. But pray take me to Puttaparthi’, I cried. So we went there. My mother wanted to tell Swami about our poverty and pray to Him to make our both ends meet. At Puttaparthi, someone, told her to give a letter.

‘I don’t know how to write’, my mother said, ‘you write it for me’ she was dictating such a long letter about all our problems that the gentleman who volunteered to take down put it off to the next day. My mother kept it safely under her jacket, and covering with sari went to Darshan. Swami came straight to her and stretched His hand for the letter. My mother had to give the letter even though it was incomplete. After that we returned home.

Within a few days, a stranger came to us. He told us, ‘the lands in such and such places are very cheap. If you sell your land here and go there you will get lands four times more. You have boys who can work. Why not go there?’ We considered his advice and sold our property. With the sale proceeds, we could buy a house and twelve acres of land there. After Swami took the letter from my mother, our financial position improved vastly.

My mother made it a point to visit Puttaparthi once in a year in spite of the opposition of my father. My brother’s marriage was held that year. So we had to incur some debt. As he went to his mother-in-law’s house, I had to stay in the house. So my mother decided to go to Puttaparthi alone. As she explained the position to me, I had to agree reluctantly.

When she was in Darshan line, Swami came to her. ‘You have not brought the boy’, Swami told her, ‘I know you had performed your elder son’s marriage incurring debt. But you have to perform the marriage of Subba Reddy (myself) also. There is a bride in your neighbour’s house. In Magha month, I will perform the marriage here. You need not incur any expense’. Eyes of my mother were full of tears of joy. She returned and confided in me. ‘Don’t tell this to anyone’, I warned her, ‘our people have no belief in Swami. Our neighbours have more property than we have. So they may laugh at us if we tell them about it. If Swami says anything, He will see to it that His word becomes true. Let us keep quiet and wait’. Just 20 days before the advent of Magha month, our neighbours approached us on their own. ‘Swami told me at the time of Dasara’, my mother told them, ‘but as you are a rich lot, we did not dare broach the matter’.

When we invited our relations, they had no faith in Swami. ‘We don’t know if Swami would really perform the marriage’, they told us, ‘you go first. Only when He assures that He will perform it, we will come’. So a few of us on our side and a few on the bride’s side went there. When we went there, the marriage of some devotee from Madras was being performed there. I went there and saw. Swami came there just at the time of mangalasutra-dharana, materialized mangalasutra gave it and left after the bridegroom tied it on the bride.

Swami afterwards called us for interview. ‘Who have come?’ He asked. We told. ‘Why? What about others?’ He asked. ‘They have no belief, Swami’, I replied. ‘They say they will come only if Swami confirms arrangements’.

‘Today is the 6th’, Swami said, ‘I will perform your marriage on the 9th. You send letter’. ‘There is only three days time, will the letter go?’ I was wondering.

‘No, letter won’t reach’, Swami said, as if replying to my thought; he opened the door and called Mr. Surayya.

‘Surayya!’ He said, ‘go to the post office and send a telegram about Subba Reddy’s marriage on the 9th’. Swami Himself told him our address including the door number of our house in our village. I was amazed. Then he turned to me, ‘you have seen Madras people’s wedding’, Swami began, ‘where do you want the marriage to be held?’

‘Swami knows better’, I replied.

‘If we hold it in the hall, I come only at the time of sutra-dharana’, Swami told me, ‘if we hold it here in this room, I will be with you throughout’.

I kept quiet for a while and said, ‘as you please, Swami’.

‘We will have it here’, Swami said, ‘I can be with you all the time’.

When our people received the telegram they started. Swami told Mr. Surayya to give them rooms.

Swami gave us new clothes. We were allowed to take a large plate, place Swami’s lotus feet in it and wash. Then we put sandal paste, kumkum and flowers, and worshipped. Swami materialized mangalasutram and gave me to tie it around the neck of the bride. We placed some fruit before Swami. Swami took three or four grapes and ate. We felt we were very, very lucky. Then Swami asked each one of our marriage party about their desires and answered each in a satisfactory manner.

‘You have become weak by scolding these people and me all the time’, Swami told my father showing my mother and me, ‘take this tonic, one spoon in the morning and one in the evening’. He gave my father a bottle. After my father swallowed the first spoon of that potion, he stopped completely to scold us, and to call names or criticize Swami. The person, who used to scold Swami and us all the time calling names, suddenly stopped it as if some one had switched it off. This was around Sivarathri in 1966. At that time I was 21 years old.

‘Are you happy?’ Swami asked my mother.

‘Yes, Swami!’ my mother said, ‘except that the bride is too short to be wife to my son’.

Swami laughed, ‘she looks all right when she stands on his left. Where will the wife stand?’ The wife stands always on the left side of her husband in Telugunadu.

My mother in her innocence said, ‘is that so, Swami! I did not know. Then, all right!’ We all laughed with Swami.

I was a kid when I first came to Swami. Little did I realize that one day God in person would perform my marriage in His abode without allowing us to spend a pie.

‘Surayya!’ Swami called Mr. Surayya, His aide, ‘arrange marriage feast for all of them in the canteen with sweet and savoury.’

I used to get dreams after I came to Swami in 1957. ‘Swami used to appear in my dreams’ I told my mother. My mother used to laugh it off as my imagination. Once when we went to Puttaparthi, Swami called us for interview.

‘I come in your dreams’, He told me, as my mother was looking stunned, ‘good for you’. My mother was in tears.

Once when we were in Puttaparthi, my mother gave me 11 annas. ‘Go and have bath in Chitravathi’, she told me, ‘and have dosa in the hotel while returning’.

I took my bath in Chitravathi and went to a hotel. I ate dosa. The server gave me a bill for 11 annas. When I went to the counter, there was no one to accept payment. It was time for Darshan. So I left my bill there and came out without paying. After coming some distance, I thought, ‘this amount will come handy to buy guava fruit or some snacks’

Soon after Darshan, Swami took me into the interview room which we call ‘room of desires’.

‘You have done wrong’, Swami told me putting both His hands on my shoulders and looking into my eyes, ‘why didn’t you pay 11 annas for dosa?’

I shuddered with fear. ‘It was time for Darshan, Swami’, I replied, ‘I had to rush.

‘Is that so?’ Swami asked, ‘but why did you think of buying guava fruit or snacks if you wanted to pay him later? Don’t do such things. Swami does not like such things. Be good always’ I realized that we would not be able to do anything behind His back. I believed that ‘He is God’.

Back in my village, I used to take cattle for grazing. ‘Do Sai namam as you watch cattle in the meadow’, my mother told me. I set a target of 3000 namas for me per day. As I sat under a tree and did namam, cattle did not go astray. But if I stopped namam for any reason, they were going hither and thither, and I had to run after them. I told my mother about this. My mother did not take it seriously but my mother’s elder sister, Mrs. Rukminamma, who was a spiritually evolved soul said, ‘when you are doing namam, Swami is tending the cattle’. I reflected on it. Being an immature and illiterate boy, I thought it was a sacrilege on my part to allow Swami to tend cattle. If I stopped doing namam, He would be free from that botheration. So I told my mother about my decision. ‘Don’t worry’, I told her, ‘I will do 3000 namam daily in the night from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.’

One day I had a doubt. I asked my mother when Swami would go to rest, ‘He will be busy throughout the day’, she told me, ‘so Swami will rest after retiring at 6 p.m.’ ‘What will happen when we do namam? Does Swami listen to it?’ I asked. ‘Surely’, my mother replied. ‘Then I will not do namam in the night’, I said, ‘I don’t want to disturb Swami’.

My aunt, Mrs. Rukminamma said, ‘Swami is above all this. Why should you fix some time for namam? Or, have a target? Do namam whenever you feel like’. So I began doing namam whenever I felt like. One day I saw some one leaving his chappals at a temple and praying to God. Then he wore his chappals, and left. I asked my aunt about it. ‘We are not supposed to wear our foot-ware when we pray to the Lord’, she told me.

‘I am doing namam when I go to the field’, I reflected, ‘then I wear my chappals. Is it not sacrilege?’ Therefore, I gave up wearing chappals. In the earlier days, I had no chappals because we could not afford them being poor. Now we can afford but this doubt made me give up wearing chappals altogether.

When my father saw me going to tend the cattle barefooted, he asked my mother about it. She mentioned about my predicament. He was furious. ‘You will one day send him out as a sanyasi’, he shouted at her.

I have not worn chappals since 1958. I used to go into the field night and day. By Swami’s grace, I suffered not even once any bite of a scorpion or snake, or pinched by a thorn or any sharp piece of stone so far.

In 1960, my mother and I went to Puttaparthi. I had some pain in the chest. I could not do deep breathing because of pain. So I could not go to do Aumkar in the mandir. One day Swami asked me, ‘why are you not coming for Aumkar?’ I was surprised. Swami won’t be present at Aumkar. Even if one is present one cannot recognize any other because the light will be dim during Aumkar. ‘I could not go due to chest pain, Swami!’ I said.

‘Remove your shirt and banian’, Swami told me. He materialized vibhuti and smeared it on my chest Himself. My chest pain then disappeared.

Mr. Subbarami Reddy, my uncle (father’s brother), came to Puttaparthi in 1961. He had an attack of dysentery and blood motions. I was attending on him. Due to exhaustion, I got fever. I prayed to Swami, ‘what is this, Swami? He came for your Darshan and fell ill. While serving him I had fever. How can we return happily? If we go back unhappily, will it be good for you also?’

That night I had a dream. Swami came in my dream and materialized vibhuti, which was like small bits. ‘Give this to your uncle’, Swami said. Then He materialized vibhuti, which was like powder. ‘This is for you’. In the morning, my uncle woke up and woke me up. ‘Let us go to Chitravathi for bath’, he told me. He was quite normal. No trace of dysentery. I, too, felt normal. No trace of my fever. When we went for Darshan, Swami called us for interview. ‘How is your health? How do you feel now?’ – We did not tell Swami about our health problems earlier. Then he turned to me and said, ‘you get dreams and see me in dreams even in your house. Isn’t it?’ When I told my mother about this, she repented for doubting my dreams.

One night, I was keeping a watch at the kallam (thrashing floor) in our paddy field, as it was the time of harvest. My father was at another field assisted by a servant. My elder brother was at another field. He, too, had the assistance of a servant. I was alone. My brother was going home. He need not touch my field while going home. But he took an unusually round about route to go home. He was passing by my field. His route would not go near the Kallam at which I was keeping watch.

But suddenly he felt like coming to me. I was fast asleep. He had a torch. He saw in its light a snake just behind my head. It was coiled and resting. If my brother had woken me up, I might have dropped my hand on the snake inadvertently while getting up. So he did not wake me up. He took his long stick and beat the snake, which died on the spot. Then he woke me up. I woke up saying ‘Sai Ram!’ When he told me about it, I said, ‘why should I fear? My Swami protects me always’. ‘True’, my brother agreed. My brother who never believed in Swami said, ‘your Swami saved you tonight. Otherwise, why should I take a roundabout route in the night? Why should I come here deviating from my path? Luckily, the snake also was asleep and coiled. So it is the Divine will that saved you’.

Once our motor pump-set failed. We took a mechanic to the field for repairing it. He was a bitter critic of Swami. We removed the fuse of the transformer. I went up the ladder and touched the main line confident that there was no supply as the fuse of the transformer was removed. What we were blissfully ignorant of was that the helper de-linked our line from that transformer and connected it to another transformer the other day owing to some problem. We did not know that. So the supply was on.

When I touched the line, there was a shock. I shouted that there was supply; the mechanic shouted back, ‘we removed the fuse. There will no supply. No fear. Go ahead’. So I touched the main line again. Again there was a shock. I shouted again. Then my brother went into the pump-set room and saw that all three lights on the meter were glowing indicating supply. ‘You caught hold of the live wire twice’, the mechanic wondered, ‘how did you survive?’ ‘My Swami protected me’, I replied. The mechanic said, ‘I must see Him’. He came to Puttaparthi. ‘I am simply stunned by the silence pervading in the place’, he told me on return, ‘He is God, indeed’.

My chest pain that had disappeared when Swami smeared vibhuti on my chest returned in 2001. Doctors said, ‘you need to undergo surgery. But it cannot be done in your case because of age. So take medicines’. There was no improvement with medicines. I wrote a letter to Swami and sat in Darshan line. Swami took the letter and said, ‘I will see’. He went forward a few paces and returned. He put His Divine hand on me. My chest pain was cured instantaneously. I went to the SSSIHMS for a checkup later. They did Tread Mill Test and told me, ‘there is no need for medicines also’. I was completely healed when Swami touched me on my head.

Sometime back I had pain in ankle. I could not walk even. So I sat in the queue. I got token No.1. I was in the front line. But Swami was coming in a car. He told some student coming with Him to take my letter. He took it and gave to Swami. My pain subsided on the spot. It has not recurred. My colleagues in the canteen did not believe that Swami had taken my letter. Just then the driver of Swami came that side. ‘Swami took your letter’, he told me before my colleagues who were doubting my words, ‘what did you write? Because He took the letter, you can rest assured that the work is over’. Thus Swami sent him to clear the doubts of my colleagues.

In June 2004, my son Suresh came with some luggage to Puttaparthi. He got down at 3 a.m. at the bus stand, and unloaded the luggage. Then he came home on an auto-rickshaw with the luggage. When we checked, we noticed that a basket was missing. In that basket, my son-in-law put cash of Rs. 17,000 and new saris for my wife. It was forgotten at the bus stand. As the bus stopped in the open yard away from the bus stand building, there was no hope that the basket would be there still. My son went back praying to Swami to the bus stand to search for it. It was there where he left it.

Another time my son returned home only to find that he lost his gold chain. He prayed to Swami. Then he went to all the places where he roamed earlier. In Chitravati River, he found it under a footprint half buried in sand. He could get it back only owing to the grace of Swami.

My son-in-law wanted to admit his son in Swami’s school. I said, ‘Swami will give him a seat. It is guaranteed’. I sat with a letter to Swami in Darshan line. Swami took the letter. After a few weeks, I wrote another letter by way of reminder and sat in the line. Swami came to me and looked at me severely. I understood my mistake. How dare I remind Him? When He had taken my letter in the first instance, I should have been rest assured.

Eventually, my grandson got admission to Swami’s school.’

-- Mrs. B. Jayalakshmi.

(As narrated to Mr. B. Parvatala Rao at Prasanthi Nilayam on 23.04.2005)