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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group I | Mrs. Radha Sreedharan

Mrs. Radha Sreedharan
224, Chandranagar
Palakkad - 678 007
Tel: 2571340

Mrs. Radha Sreedharan (69), a longstanding devotee of Bhagavan, narrates her experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in her own words.

'In 1967, we were in Delhi. My husband, Mr. N.Sreedharan was working in the Union Finance Ministry there. I heard about Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba first from my elder sister, Mrs.Kamalam. She was not happy with the ways of her husband and went to Puttaparthi in 1968 to seek Bhagavan's grace in the matter. Bhagavan gave her interview and heard her relate her problem. 'You put sugar on ant hills', was the solution given by Bhagavan at that time. She followed Bhagavan's advice. Her relations with her husband improved miraculously and they lived happily as a loving couple thereafter. It was she who directed all of us to Bhagavan.

All members of my family became devotees of Bhagavan. My elder sister, Mrs. Kalyanakutty and her family went to Puttaparthi in 1969. My Mother also accompanied them with the permission of my Father. As my Mother could not squat on the floor, she was sitting on a small platform under a tree near the Mandir from where she could see Swami moving among the devotees. At that time, Sai Kulwant Hall was not there. Crowd also was not so big. Swami used to walk among devotees. After giving Darshan to devotees in the verandah, Swami came to the place where my Mother was sitting.

'How did you come from Mankurissi?' asked Swami. Mankurissi is the village where she was living.

'By a car, Swami!' she replied overwhelmed with joy.

Swami put His hand on the head of my Mother and said, 'your blood pressure is high; I will give you a locket. Put it in a chain and wear it'.

Swami materialized a big silver locket with Shirdi Sai on one side and Sri Sathya Sai on the other and gave it to her. My Mother wore it till her death. She never suffered from blood pressure after that; the locket is still with my sister's daughter, Rani in Chennai.

My brother-in-law received an offer to be the Chairman of the Kerala State Finance Enterprises. Before accepting it, he wanted to take Swami's advice. On seeing him in Darshan line, Swami asked, 'are you well, Chairman!' That clinched the issue. He accepted the offer happily.

In 1969, I saw the Photograph of Sri Sathya Sai Baba one day in the Illustrated Weekly of India. I cut it and put it in our Pooja room. One day I saw vibhuti on the frame of the Photograph. As it appeared on the hair, it looked like a crown. I had seen vibhuti coming in the houses of some devotes. I had heard that the shower of vibhuti indicated the presence of Bhagavan. I was thrilled, though my husband was skeptical. He had the Photograph and vibhuti examined by a scientist who conceded in the end that he did not know anything about it. In a reply to my letter, Prof. Kasturi, a close associate of Swami, confirmed that the shower of vibhuti indicated the presence of Bhagavan.

The shower of vibhuti increased as days passed by. After three months, vibhuti stopped and holy nectar began to ooze out from the Photograph. The flow increased on the day of Sivaratri. We gave it as prasadam to all our friends and neighbours. It continued for three months. We then shifted to another house. There both the shower of vibhuti and the flow of holy nectar ceased.

My husband was appointed as the Finance Director of the Cochin Shipyard in 1970. At that time, our son Jai Shankar was a student of X standard. We had to leave him with my brother Mr. Shankara Narayanan Nair in New Delhi, and shift to Cochin. I could not bear the separation of our son from us, and used to cry secretly. I used to pray to Bhagavan in agony of this separation. One day Bhagavan appeared in my dream wearing white dress and assured me, 'don't worry. I will take care of him'. True to His word, Swami gave him education, good wife, children and high position of international reputation and blessed him with awards.

In 1972, my husband became a heart patient. We were all very upset. Doctors were apprehensive of anything happening anytime. I wanted to take him to Bhagavan. With the help of our friend, Mr. Tarapur, we came to Bangalore by air and reached Puttaparthi in a car. Mr Tarapur told Swami about our arrival.

Bhagavan called us for an interview. Swami asked me, 'what do you want?' I replied, 'you know everything, Swami!' Swami blessed my husband and said to me, 'yes I know everything. Doctors say that your husband has heart disease. Swami is residing in his heart. There is no space there for the disease. You can forget about the disease'. Then Swami added, 'your husband is not a believer in God. Would he wear a locket if I give him one?'

'He would surely wear, Swami', I replied.

Swami materialized a locket and gave it to my husband. Swami materialized another locket and gave it to me. My husband wore it till his death. He husband left the world 27 years after that. When he passed away, the locket too disappeared.

Even after his recovery from the heart disease, my husband was still doubtful of the Divinity of Bhagavan. Being a man with scientific temper, he could not believe that a human being in flesh and blood could be God.

In 1972, Swami came to Calicut. He was to take food in Justice Erady's house. We were also invited. Swami came and said, 'I will take food only if there is enough for the boys who are accompanying me'. He went into the kitchen and inspected. After satisfying that there is adequate supply, He partook the meal, though in very small quantity. At that time I used to write letters to Swami every Monday. I heard Swami telling Justice Erady that He was receiving my letters regularly. I was immensely happy.

We were all lucky to partake the feast with the Lord. When Swami came to wash His hands, I had the good fortune to hand Him over a towel, which He gave it back to me. Though I could have kept it as a sacred memento, I returned it to Mrs. Erady as it belonged to them.

Though all my family members became ardent devotees of Swami, our daughter, Padmini was not convinced of the Divinity of Bhagavan. I used to pray silently to Bhagavan to give her perspective as all my attempts to convince her had failed. I shared my feelings about Padmini with Mrs. Menon, wife of Dr. A.K.Menon. Persuaded by Mrs. Menon, Padmini agreed reluctantly to go to Puttaparthi. She remained sad, and even threatened to get down from the train somewhere, and get back.

We all started on our journey to Puttaparthi in 1974. By Swami's grace, Padmini did not get down in the middle. At Puttaparthi she was not willing to come for Darshan. We all stayed in Mrs. Menon's flat in the West Block at Prasanthi Nilayam.

I took my bath at 2 a.m. Padmini was sleeping comfortably. I hesitated to wake her up as I was afraid how she would react. Praying to Swami, I gently patted her. She opened her eyes exclaiming, 'oh! Swami came to this room!'

'No, no!' I replied, 'He has not come here'.

'No, no', Padmini said assertively, 'He came here. I saw Him. He asked me, 'why are you afraid to come to me?'

Mrs. Menon was happy that Swami had come to her flat in His invisible (astral) form. I was happy for the transformation Swami had brought in our daughter, and thanked Him.

Padmini went for Darshan enthusiastically. Bhagavan came along, looked at her and passed on.

'His look was piercing', Padmini told us afterwards. 'I felt that His look passed through my very existence'.

Later, on another occasion, I asked Swami, 'are the dreams relating to Bhagavan real?'

'Yes!' said Swami emphatically.

Padmini, our new convert, is a good Kathakali dancer. She wanted to perform in the Divine Presence of Swami. She was selected to play the role of Lord Krishna in 'Rukmini Swayamvaram' to be enacted in the Divine Presence of Swami at Prasanthi Nilayam. The rehearsal and dressing took much time. She became very tired. As her turn was in the beginning of the programme, she was looking forward with relief to take rest soon after her programme was over.

But the persons-in-charge there changed the programme keeping some others' items first, relegating Padmini's play to the middle. Our daughter was upset and even annoyed. 'I want my scene to be performed first', she told vehemently. What could I do? Prasanthi Nilayam is a place where one can only comply.

'Ma!' Padmini told me in annoyance, 'if you want me to believe that your Swami is God, He must see that my part is staged first.' I was stunned. All I could do then was only to pray to Sai Ma.

Quite unexpectedly, Swami came into the green room. He put the crown on Padmini's head and asked the persons-in-charge to present 'Rukmini Swayamvaram' first. Bhagavan told Mr. Kasturi to make announcement to that effect. My daughter stood still. All her doubts were shattered. It took sometime for her to return to normalcy. She broke her silence at last and said, 'Ma! I am standing in front of God!'

Her programme went off well. That single incident turned her into an ardent devotee of Swami. I wanted to give my children the everlasting wealth of firm belief in Swami. Swami in His boundless love and compassion made it possible. Swami sent a few saris after the programme with Mr. Kasturi to our flat. When asked to select one, Padmini took the green sari. She wore it on her wedding day when she went to the temple before wedlock. She keeps it as a precious treasure.

In July 1974, my husband had to assign a contract. He worked out the various details of the contract meticulously. He was very confident of his figures and left for Delhi to finalize the contract. Just before entering the final contract, he was shocked to see that somebody had corrected the figures, which he had written. He did not give the file to anyone. Nor any one did enter his room. So, he concluded that Swami alone could have done that. He carefully analyzed both the sets of figures, and found that the Shipyard would have incurred heavy loss had the contract been finalized according to his own figures. Swami corrected them in time so that heavy loss was averted. Had the company been put to loss, he would have got bad name. That was a turning point in his life. He became a devotee of Bhagavan, and remained so till his last moment.

Our eldest daughter, Ragini was very studious. She was trying to get a seat in MBBS. Swami blessed her with the first rank. She was selected for MBBS in 1977. We wanted to seek Swami's blessings before she joined the MBBS course. Swami called us for interview. In the interview we told Swami about her getting a seat in MBBS.

'If she goes to study MBBS, you both will be worried. If you are worried, I too will worry. Get her married', Swami told us. This came like a bolt from the blue. Ragini, in particular, was very much disappointed.

'There are no proposals at present for her marriage, Swami', we submitted; we were at a loss to know how to digest this shock.

'I will give her a husband', Swami said. 'When you return to your place, a proposal will soon come to your place. Don't reject it.'

Swami knows our past, present and future. He knows best what is good for us. So we decided to follow his word however unpleasant it appeared to us at that moment. Ragini, too, submitted meekly though reluctantly and sadly. Ragini, as hinted by Swami, got a good match. Mr.Ramkumar, an Engineer employed in Merchant Navy, married her. Ragini, however enthusiastic she was to do MBBS and however elated she was on securing a seat in MBBS on merit, did not care for her career. She cared more for the Divine command.

In 1978, I came for seva at Prasanthi Nilayam. It was announced that Swami would conduct training for Balavikas teachers at Rajahmundry. I enlisted at once. The only trainer for us was Bhagavan. Like any other teacher, He used chalk and blackboard. I always sat in the front row. Being in the Divine Presence was so thrilling that tears used to roll down my cheeks.

'Why are you crying?' Bhagavan asked me one day, 'whenever I look at you, I find you crying.'

Does not He know that they are tears of joy? So I did not reply.

One day during the seven-day training, I did not eat lunch, as it was Ekadasi.

'Why are you not eating?' Swami came to me and asked. I told Him that I was observing fast for Ekadasi.

'Why should you starve, when you are with Me?' Bhagavan remarked and served lunch to me personally with His Divine hands. 'Eat, eat belly-full', He said, 'I do not want you to be hungry'.

It was the only training for Balavikas teachers personally granted by Bhagavan, I was told. The training made me understand that Balavikas is the programme very dear to Swami. By His grace, I have been working as Balvikas teacher for the last 20 years.

In 1979, our daughter, Ragini gave birth to a female child. She is our first grandchild. We thought of christening her Renuka. We took the child to Prasanthi Nilayam to get 'Annaprasana' done by Swami. Before leaving for Prasanthi Nilayam, I prayed to Swami intensely to perform Annaprasana to the child. But when we came to Prasanthi Nilayam, we were told that Swami was busy with summer classes and would not come for Darshan. Nor would He do Annaprasana, etc. My agony knew no bounds. I prayed and prayed, 'O Sai Maata! Won't you come to me?' At each Darshan time we were ready with the rice bowl, and waited patiently. Swami did not turn at us. Reluctantly we planned to wait for two more days, and then go to Guruvayur to perform the ceremony at the famous temple of Sri Krishna there. On Thursday, Swami came along the Darshan line straight to us.

'Seat the child on your lap', Swami told me, 'give me rice'. I obeyed. Swami put the cooked rice in the mouth of the child. I was crying with joy.

'Swami', I ventured to ask Bhagavan, 'please give her a name'.

'You prayed that I should do Annaprasana. I did it. You have already given her a name - the name of Parasurama's Mother!'

To be frank, I did not know till then that Renuka is the name of Parasurama's Mother.

Renuka married Satish, a Computer Engineer. They are now settled in Arizona.

My husband completed a decade of service in the Cochin Shipyard. There were some persons in the Management who did not like his straight- forwardness and upright attitude.

His relations with the Management began to get strained. As the strain was getting unbearable, he toyed with the idea of resigning. So we went to Prasanthi Nilayam to seek Bhagavan's guidance. Swami told him all the details discussed by the Management, revealing the names of persons who were dead against him. 'Resign', advised Swami. 'If you fail to resign now, you will get a bad name.' My husband resigned immediately though the job he held was a lucrative one. By that time, all our children were well settled. So we had a peaceful and happy life after his resignation.

Once, Swami called us for interview in 1982. Our daughter Ragini brought her daughter. Swami took the child into His lap.

'The baby will urinate, Swami!' I warned.

'It is all right', Swami said, 'it is worldly'.

The child urinated on Swami. He continued to talk to us unmindful of what the baby did.

When the baby began to cry feeling hungry, we were afraid that Ragini would be sent out with the baby.

'Give her feeding', Swami permitted; and Ragini fed the baby in the interview room. Then the baby stopped crying. The interview continued, and we could all stay in the Divine Presence a little longer.

Renuka, when she was in III standard, had to undergo tonsillitis operation in 1984. I was in the Darshan line. When Swami came along, I told him. We were called for the interview. 'It is a small operation', Swami said and materialized vibhuti and gave it.

After the operation, the bleeding did not stop. So we took Renuka back to the Doctor. Then he noticed that there was a little portion left. He removed it and the bleeding ceased. Renuka was discharged from the Hospital after three days.

We wished, like any other earthly parents, Swami to perform the marriage of our son.

'I will perform his marriage', Swami told us. Our son was working with the IBM as a Research Scientist in the USA at that time. Later Swami pointed out a bride for him - the daughter of Justice Erady. We had known the family for several years. Swami fixed the date also. It was to be on August 22, 1985.

'Prasanthi Nilayam is your house', Swami told us, 'your purse is not needed. I will bear all expenses'.

Before the marriage, Swami gave us an interview. He gave new clothes to both of our families to wear on the occasion of the marriage. He materialized a pair of diamond studs for the bride.

'These two studs symbolize your mother and mother-in-law' Swami told my would-be-daughter-in-law. 'There should not be any difference between your mother and mother-in-law. Respect them, obey them and care for them alike'.

At the time of the wedding, Swami materialized 'Mangala Sutra' and gave my son, Jai Shankar and asked him to tie it around the bride's neck. Swami helped the bride to put a ring on my son's finger when it appeared that it might not fit properly.

Swami gave me Padanamaskar after the wedding.

'How was the wedding?' He asked me.

'It was very fine', I replied.

Swami presented books to my son and daughter-in-law. After the wedding, we were taken by Swami for lunch to the canteen. Lunch was arranged in Kerala style!

In 1994, my husband had to be operated for stone inside prostate gland. I was nervous in the Darshan line. Swami came in the stagecoach to give Darshan. He came to me. 'Swami! Operation is scheduled for tomorrow', I said plaintively.

'Oh! It is not an operation', Swami told me in Tamil, 'don't worry, mad girl!'

The operation was a success. My husband was discharged on June 21, 1994 at 8 a.m. Darshan would have been over by that time. I was worried that we were missing the opportunity to have His Darshan. All of a sudden, Swami came to the Super Specialities Hospital and to our room there.

'Oh! You are going today?' Swami asked affectionately. 'How is your husband?'

I can't describe our ecstasy. I still savour those happiest moments, and try to live those remarkable instances of the shower of Divine Grace again and again.

In 1997, we were preparing to celebrate Swami's Birthday. But before that my husband fainted and was taken to a Hospital

'He had a heart attack', the Doctor told me, 'he is to be kept on a ventilator. I am afraid he is critically ill, and may not cross 2:30 p.m. of November 23'. My heart broke and I could not endure the pain.

'Oh! Sai Ma!' I cried in agony. 'When the whole world celebrates Swami's Birthday, I alone am destined to wait for the death of my dearest whose life you have extended several times!' At that time, it was 1 O' clock in the night. I was in some semi-trance state. Some one called me. I shuddered, fearing to hear bad news.

'Here is a telegram for you'. Someone handed over a telegram.

'Don't worry!' It was from Bhagavan! I felt relieved. The Divine Mother was with my husband and me. Around 2:45 p.m. that day, the Doctor came and told me, 'he has crossed the critical stage!' I thanked the Lord for His compassion. A packet of vibhuti came by post the next day. My husband lived 3 more years after that, and left us at the age of 79.

In 2002, I went abroad on September 27. I toured the USA, Canada and other countries and visited my children and grand children. In the return journey, I landed at 1:30 a.m. on February 10, 2003 at Mumbai Airport. One of my relatives promised to receive me at the airport, but did not turn up. Checkout was over. All passengers left. I was the only one left behind. So I engaged a prepaid taxi and started for the residence of my relative. The taxi driver was a good fellow but could not find the address. I was praying to Bhagavan continuously.

Then a person going on a motorcycle came and stopped. 'What is the matter?' he asked. The taxi driver told him, 'we want to go to Rajanigandha building of Takur'.

'Follow me', he said. He took us to the place. Before I could thank him, he left.'

--Mrs. Radha Sridharan.

(As narrated to Mr. B.Parvatala Rao at Prasanthi Nilayam on 14.07.2004.)