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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group VI | Mrs. Arunima Pant

Mrs. Arunima Pant,
Lecturer in Philosophy,
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning,
Anantapur Campus.

Mrs. Arunima Pant, Lecturer in Philosophy in the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus narrates her experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in her own words.

'Way back in 1981, I had come to Prasanthi Nilayam with my mother for admission in the Bhagavan's College at Anantapur. My mother had a strong desire to see me as a Sai student. Since I came from Nepal, I had very little idea about the College. I didn't know how to secure an admission there. At that time, I did not even know much about Bhagavan. For me, He was a great personality who often performed miracles in order to please His devotees, and that was all. The true love and care of my Divine Mother was yet to unfold before me.

It happened at the time of my admission at the Anantapur College. I got admission in the erstwhile Sri Sathya Sai Arts and Science College for Women, in the Junior Intermediate Course. Only the last formality had to be completed, and that was of opening an account in the Extension Counter of the Andhra Bank located in the College premises. For this, I had to produce the original marks' list of my tenth standard. I did not have it with me as I had already obtained admission elsewhere for the fear that I might not get the same here. When I mentioned this to the then Principal, she said that without the marks list I would have to forgo the admission. All my pleading proved futile. She refused to listen to me. With a heavy heart, I returned with my brother to the hotel room where my mother was waiting eagerly to hear the good news. When I told her about what had happened, she was simply stunned. Disappointed, she told me that till then it had been her 'prayer'. Now, I, from my side, should also pray. After listening to what she said, I burst into tears, feeling miserable that somehow I had not been able to fulfil this desire of my mother's. That night, I could not sleep. I cried bitterly, and prayed to Bhagavan for assistance.

The next day, my mother woke me up and asked me to go with my brother to request the Principal once again. When we went to the College, we found the Principal still busy with the interviews. She was irritated on seeing me, and told me that she had no further time to waste in listening to me, as her decision was final. One of the teachers, who was seated next to her, gently asked her if I could be given some time to get the marks' list from the previous college where I had applied. The Principal thought for a while and said that I would be allowed twenty days' time. My brother had to go and send it immediately by registered post. I could not believe my ears. My joy knew no bounds. This is how I was taken from the lap of my physical mother to the lap of my Divine Mother Sai.

Since then, it has been a long time. I have been, for 24 years, a recipient of the Divine Love and Grace of Bhagavan - Love whose immensity is such that, if I were to narrate it in full, the pages will fall short. The fact is that I have spent the best period of my life at His Divine Lotus Feet.

Life is an interplay of light and shadow, and so too is my life. Even the unpleasant experiences I had taught me great lessons, and brought me closer to Bhagavan. I would like to cite an experience that is very close to my heart. It concerns my mother who left us all forever and merged with the Divine Mother. It was in 1984. One day, I found my father and brother outside the Hostel. They had come to see me. They said that they had come to Puttaparthi with my mother and one of my sisters, as my mother had suddenly fallen ill. The problem with her was that she was unable to swallow any solid food. She would vomit whatever she ate. My mother expressed a desire to see Swami and take His guidance. She refused to go to any hospital. But, after coming to Puttaparthi, they realized that Swami had gone to Bombay.

Left with no other alternative, my father had to take her to the hospital at Vellore. On their way to Vellore, they came to see me. On hearing this, I was quite disheartened. But, somewhere in the corner of my mind, I had a feeling that Swami would take care of my mother. In any case, she was admitted to the hospital at Vellore. After seeing the first x-ray report, the doctor told my father that my mother had a block of 2½ inches in her food-pipe. It could be a tumour of cancer. He also suggested biopsy in order to find out what exactly it was. Unfortunately (or very fortunately), my mother could not be given anaesthesia as she had become very weak, and might not regain consciousness. My father decided to take her back to Puttaparthi and wait for Swami.

That afternoon, my mother, who was fast asleep, suddenly woke up, and asked my father to bring two dosas for her as she was feeling very hungry. My father was surprised to hear this, as my mother had not eaten any solid food for the past several days. He was caught in the fear that it might be the last time that she was asking for food. Dosas were brought, and she ate both of them, and also drank two glasses of water, but she did not vomit. All who were present there were surprised at this. Then my mother slowly revealed that she had a beautiful dream in which she, along with my sister, was flying upward in the sky. After a while, she told my sister to go down and not follow her. My mother continued to fly up.

Suddenly, she found herself standing in front of a statue of Virgin Mary in a burial ground. The statue called out to her to come closer, and whispered that my mother should go behind the statue, and walk straight. On doing so, my mother found a tent in which there was an altar of Bhagavan in the centre. A group of devotees was sitting alongside it. As soon as she reached the tent, she saw Swami coming out from behind the tent. Swami came straight to her and asked her to follow Him. He took her to an adjacent tent, where there was only a table and chair kept. He instructed my mother to sit on the table. When she did so, He went close to her, put His left hand under her neck and held her. Slowly, He put His right hand into her mouth. She could feel Swami's hand going down the throat without any trace of pain. When He brought His hand out, He held up a dark-coloured, slimy lump with blood dripping from it. This process went on 3-4 times. Finally, Swami, after wiping His hands on the towel, created vibhuti and put it in my mother's mouth and asked her to go back.

After listening to this dream, my father was amazed beyond words. He requested the doctor for a second x-ray. Lo! And behold, the second x-ray showed that my mother's food-pipe was crystal clear, without any trace of blockage. The doctor himself was puzzled. He went on comparing the previous x-ray report with the later one. Finally, he told my father that it was a great miracle, and that my mother was a lucky soul to be saved by God. They all went back home happily, but without Swami's darshan as He was still in Bombay.

For one full year, my mother did not have any problem. One day, a year later, the same problem recurred. This time, she went to Puttaparthi with my sister. To her good fortune, Swami was there at Prasanthi Nilayam. As soon as she reached there, her problem disappeared altogether. But she continued to stay on for three months. In those days, I was given permission to go and see my mother at Puttaparthi every weekend. In this period of three months, she received three interviews from Bhagavan, and three pendants.

One day, in the last week of September, she became seriously ill once again, and started vomiting whatever she ate. In spite of taking medicines, her condition worsened. I called up my father, and asked him to come immediately, along with my brother and other sisters. On the 3rd October, at 6:30 a.m., Sri Kutumba Rao and Sri Chiranjeevi Rao came to our house asking for my father. They brought a message from Swami: My father had to go to the hospital, get a stretcher, and take my mother for darshan that morning. My sisters took her to the darshan grounds. Swami came straight to her. She was crying with her hands folded, unable to speak. He very lovingly caught her hands with His own, and said 'I was waiting for you. At last, you have come.' He put some vibhuti in her mouth, and applied some on her cheeks. He told my sister that she should be immediately hospitalized. He repeated the same to my father on the gents' side. He also said that He would call everyone for an interview that evening. In the interview, He said 'don't worry about her. I am there to take care of her. I will give her new blood. She will be fine tomorrow.'

That night, my mother's condition became very serious. Except me, all our family members were with her. This was because Swami had told them not to inform me about my mother's health. Late that night, my mother tried to rise herself a little, and said aloud 'Swami, You have come. Please forgive me if I have made any mistakes in my life.' Saying so, she slowly fell back on the bed, and started chanting 'Aum Sri Sai Ram.' In this way, she breathed her last at 3 a.m. on the 4th October, 1985. Her body was brought home. My father began to worry now about how to go about the funeral arrangements. After sometime, Sri Kutumba Rao and Sri Chiranjeevi Rao came to the house and handed over to my father a beautiful sari and lots of vibhuti packets, saying that Swami had instructed us to wrap the sari around my mother's body and arrange for the funeral, and that my father need not worry about it. After a while, some 30 people came. Along with my father and brother, they took my mother's body singing bhajans. After the funeral was over, according to the custom, my brother had to pour water on the pyre. But, alas, there was not a single drop of water round. So, they had to return without completing this ritual. That evening, Puttaparthi was flooded with a downpour of rain! Rain-god discharged the role of my brother in drenching the pyre after cremation - Bhagavan's leela. On Swami's instruction, we were given free food in the canteen for 3 full days.

On the 4th day, Bhagavan called us for an interview. It was one of the most remarkable ones that we ever had. It lasted 1½ hours. He made us sit very close to Him, and started speaking thus: 'Nothing is permanent in the world. That which is born will die. In different births, we have different fathers, mothers, and wives. You all should feel happy that she had very good death. She was my loving daughter, and a great devotee from her childhood. Even Dasaratha, being the father of the Avatar, could not receive gangajal in his last moments, but Jatayu did. I went to the hospital and gave gangajal to her last night.'

Putting His hand on my father's shoulder, He said that he need not worry about his children, as Swami would take care of us. He created a pendant for my father and said, 'touch this when you feel lonely.' He also mentioned that He had saved my mother when she was in the hospital at Vellore. Finally, He said that we should not lament over our mother's death as she had already reached Him, never to be born again. He blessed us with vibhuti and paadanamaskar. We came out of the interview room happy, and without any trace of sadness.'

-- Mrs. Arunima Pant

(As extracted from the souvenir Ananta Prematarangini published by the Anantapur Campus of the SSSIHL on the occasion of the 80th Birthday of Bhagavan)