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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group IV | Mrs. I. Padma Gopal

Mrs. I. Padma Gopal,
Sai Raksha Apartments,
3-538, Samadhi Road, II Cross,
Puttaparthi - 515134
Tel: 08555-287830

Mrs. I. Padma Gopal (48), a leading exponent of dance, presently in seva at Prasanthi Nilayam, relates a few of her experiences of the divinity of Bhagavan in her own words.

'In the sixties, I was residing in Madras. I had not seen or heard about Bhagavan in those days. One day in 1968, my brother V. Srihari was passing through a street in Mylapore when there was a heavy downpour. As he was looking for shelter, he saw what appeared like a darga. When he went in, he was surprised to find some bhajan going on. He sat there much impressed by the melodious manner in which the bhajan was being conducted. He learnt that it was Shirdi Sai Baba's mandir. When he came home, he brought a copy of Sai Satcharitra (a biography of Sai Baba of Shirdi) which we all read with interest and obtained inkling into the life and message of the Avatar.

During the same period, my sister, Dr. Mrs. Kamala came to India from the US where she was residing. She has been a devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi. She used to narrate a number of miracles Sri Sathya Sai Baba has been performing and explained to us that Shirdi Baba and Parthi Baba are one and the same. 'He is walking God on earth' she told us. Her words inspired and prompted us to go to Prasanthi Nilayam along with her and have darshan of Bhagavan. That is how we were drawn into the fold of Bhagavan.

During my first visit to Prasanthi Nilayam, we had to sit on a carpet as it was an open sandy place. Swami came to give darshan. I was amazed to find him quite different from what I had imagined Him to be. When darshan was over, I looked for my purse. It was missing. I searched for it thoroughly but in vain. My return journey ticket and also the money were all there in it. 'If you are really God' I prayed to Bhagavan, 'please show my purse'. No sooner did I pray thus, than I felt a lump under the carpet on which I sat. I took it out and it was my purse. Only a few minutes back I searched all those places. It was not there at that time. How did it come there? This incident made me more enthusiastic, and I got interested to know more and more about Bhagavan.

In 1987, I got married to Mr. Haragopal, who is the son of an ardent devotee of Bhagavan. After marriage, I shifted to Mumbai to stay with my husband. My husband and I used to discuss about Bhagavan and His leelas. My husband used to tell me that both Shirdi Sai and Parthi Sai are one and the same. However, I used to have some reservations on it at that time.

In Bombay, we used to reside in Colaba. We used to buy our groceries from a nearby stores. One day I forgot to include jaggery in the list of kirana. So I went to the shop to get it. There I saw a book 'Shirdi Sai Parthi Sai'. I went to the shop keeper and asked him, 'can I have this? I want to buy it. How much does it cost?'

'We don't sell books here' he told me, 'I don't know how it came here. If you want, you may take it'. So I brought it home. I still have it, considering it to be a gift of Bhagavan. It cleared all my doubts about the Avatar.

In 1988, one day the gas cylinder became empty in our home. I telephoned to the gas dealer. 'Sorry, madam' he told me on phone. 'We can't supply till one week'. I was crestfallen. How to manage for a week without gas? I prayed to Bhagavan to come to my rescue. Within a few minutes, the door bell rang. I opened. It was gas man. I was amazed.

'Someone cancelled the booking', he explained, 'so we diverted that to you'. For me, he was Swami coming in that guise.

In 2000, we were residing in Shesha Sai Apartments, Puttaparthi. Those days, I had a dream .In the dream, I saw my land lady's son meeting with an accident. After two months, he met with an accident exactly as I had seen in my ominous dream earlier.

I am a professional dancer being a post graduate from Kalakshetra, the University of Fine Arts, Madras. I later worked there for sometime as Dance Professor also. So after coming to Puttaparthi, I wanted to work in Swami's School teaching dance to children. I internally prayed to Swami for such an opportunity, One day, I had a dream in which I saw myself dancing in front of Bhagavan who was in Ananta Sayanam form. I assumed that Bhagavan fulfilled my wish like this.

One day I had another dream. In the dream, Swami came to our house. He was walking when suddenly He slipped and fell down. His colour turned into yellow. I was perplexed about the meaning of this dream. Unfortunately, the ominous dream came true. Swami fell down in His Brindavan ashram a few years after I had had that dream.

In 2000, I was in the bhajan sitting in the backside of the mandir on the ladies side. I could have a good view of Swami seated on His throne from there. After the bhajan started, an overseas devotee came and sat by my side. Just at that time, Swami showed thrice His abhayahasta and blessed. I was completely immersed in watching Bhagavan when this overseas devotee took my hand and kept something in it. I did not take note of what she put in my hand till harathi was over. Then I opened my palm and saw a silver coin with Swami's picture on one side and sarvadharma emblem on the other. I looked for the lady to thank her, but she was not to be seen anywhere. I enquired with the security for her explaining what had happened. 'Swami might have come in that guise' they said, `to bless you'. I too felt the same. Soon after, I was blessed with an opportunity to do seva in the Prasanthi Nilayam.'

-- Mrs. I. Padma Gopal

(As narrated to Mr. B. Parvatala Rao at Prasanthi Nilayam on 26.08.2005)