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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group III | Mrs. Vadali Suryalakshmi

Mrs. Vadali Suryalakshmi
G8, Akashganga Apartments
West 4th Cross, Gopuram Road
Puttaparthi - 515134
Tel: 08555-289743

Mrs. Vadali Suryalakshmi (70), a housewife, relates her experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in her own words.

'I have been a devotee of Goddess Lalita since my early childhood, reciting Lalita Sahasranama regularly. I had occasion to have Darshan of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Yelamanchili in March 1965 during Bhagavan's visit there. At that time, my husband, Mr. Papa Rao was working at Vizag. In 1967, I had been to Prasanthi Nilayam. It was my first visit to Prasanthi Nilayam.

We went for the Darshan of Bhagavan next day in the morning. In those days Swami used to hoist prasanthi-flag in what was called pataakotsavam. When I looked at Him, I saw Goddess Lalita in jwala-rupam riding a lion. After a few moments, She turned into Baba. Even then His body was quite yellow. I thought that He had smeared pasupu (turmeric) all over His body.

A few days earlier I had a dream in which a lady had given me Devi mantras (panchadasi samputi) and advised me to recite them. She was new to me. A few days after that, I happened to go to a devotee's house to do Lalita Sahasranama pooja. To my surprise, the lady who was performing the pooja was the same lady who had given me mantras in the dream. Her name is Rajeswaramma. She gave the same panchadasi samputi mantras to all of us, and made us perform pooja.

After this, I had a dream in which Lalita appeared in jwala-rupam riding on a lion. Bhagavan gave me Darshan during pataakotsavam in Prasanthi Nilayam exactly in the same jwala-rupam of Devi. This was, perhaps, to indicate to me that there is no difference between Devi and Sai. We were at Prasanthi Nilayam for a week having Darshan everyday.

After I saw Swami on His first Darshan as Devi on the lion, I sat for Darshan in the sand outside the mandir. I drew a lotus on the sand with beejaksharas and thought, 'if Bhagavan and Devi are one, He will leave His foot print on this lotus'. Swami came along Darshan lines and put His foot inside the lotus leaving His footprint there. Thus He confirmed to me that He and Devi are one. Later, we returned to Vizag.

In 1969, I had a dream. I went on a small hill where there was a mango tree full of fruits. Rama and Lakshmana were there. Rama asked me to hold my palms together and placed two mango fruit - one quite large and the other small. The dream ended. After that I became pregnant. Exactly after a year, that is, in 1970, I was about to deliver. Then I had a dream in which Sri Sathya Sai and Shirdi Sai appeared seated on two simhasanas side by side. Fifteen days prior to that, Devi appeared in my dream, hugged me and put tilakam on my forehead. She asked me to take padanamaskar. As I was doing padanamaskar she turned into Sri Sathya Sai. I took padanamaskar and the dream ended.

In April 1970, I delivered twins - a boy and a girl - Sai Ram and Lalita.

My husband told me one day 'we will do Narayanaseva today'. I cooked rice twice. I placed the cooker with water and rice for the third time. When it was ready to be taken off the oven, I had my menstrual period. How could I touch the food to be served in Narayanaseva? If it were delayed further, the rice that was well cooked and ready would become spoiled and charred. I prayed to Bhagavan not knowing what to do. Most unexpectedly the daughter-in-law of my uncle came in. 'Go and take the rice off the oven', I requested her even without caring to exchange pleasantries. Swami thus came to my rescue. Food was ready for Narayanaseva, which was held successfully.

When the twins were born to me in 1970, an astrologer came to our house and saw their horoscopes. 'Unfortunately these kids have no longevity of life, and may die in the next three months', he said. We were shocked but braced ourselves for the worst. We began doing namam incessantly. After one year; the astrologer came to us again; 'how are the kids?' he asked. I said, 'quite all right, owing to Swami's grace'. He was surprised. 'Swami's grace can ward off any thing, including the evil influences of planets', I thought, 'if only we pray and serve'. I prayed to Swami gratefully.

When Sairam was three-years old, I was telling him that God is omnipresent. 'How can it be?' the child wondered, 'how can Swami be in many places at the same time?' That day he was trying to take a cloth that was on an almirah. In the process, the almirah tilted and fell on the boy. The almirah was heavy and had two partitions. The impact of its fall was such that one of its doors was broken and came away. We ran to the place on hearing the bang. It took three of us to lift up the fallen almirah. We were afraid that the child would have been crushed by the almirah. But to our pleasant surprise and relief, he was unhurt because he went into the shelf. How could a boy standing vertically to the ground before the almirah, turn horizontal and get inside the shelf?

'See! How Swami protected you by turning you horizontal in a miraculous way? He just now demonstrated His omnipresence answering your doubt', I said. I do not know how much of what I said the kid followed.

In 1977, we came to know that Swami was performing upanayanams in Brindavan, Bangalore. We took our two sons there even though we were given to understand that there was little chance for their inclusion as the list was already finalised. By Swami's grace, my sons were also included, but at the venue we were shown a place in the last. Suddenly some one came and said, 'you cannot sit here. Go there'. We moved to another place. Like that we moved and moved, and found at the end ourselves near Swami's seat! We wondered at his grace. First we were told at Vizag itself that there was no chance to include our sons, as the list was finalised already. On the day of our departure at Vizag, both my sons were having fever. The fever abated on arrival at Brindavan. Our sons were also included. Finally we were shifted from the last place to the side of Swami's chair. Added to all this fortune, Swami was walking this way and that way in front of us several times on some pretext or the other.

In 1978, a dog bit my son Sairam. He came and told me about it. 'Swami wanted to kiss you at the time of your upanayanam', I told him, 'now He came in the form of a dog and did it. Don't worry'. I gave him vibhuti of Swami. After a week he had fever. We took him to a doctor. 'If the dog is all right, no worry', he said. The dog, in fact, died. We came to know later that it was a mad dog that had killed its own puppies. 'In that case', the doctor said, 'there is not much we can do. I will give some injections around the navel. Let us hope for the best'. But no harm came to my son owing to Swami's grace. How he did not develop hydrophobia even after bitten by a mad dog is a miracle.

We thought of constructing our own house. We took a plot and began to construct it. One day my husband said, 'there is a vacant house by the side of our plot. We will rent it. It will be convenient to oversee the construction'. So we shifted. Then we received a letter from my mother 'I had a dream in which the peepal tree planted by you was cut down, and diamonds flowed out of its trunk. This is not a good omen. Please shift your house immediately'. My husband told me about renting the house on the very day on which my mother wrote that letter! We shifted to a new house as advised by her though, at that time, we were not aware of her dream.

We went to Prasanthi Nilayam in 1988 to thank Bhagavan for saving our son from the bite of a mad dog. Swami sent in the morning new clothes, and a photograph of His with a small timepiece fixed inside, to us and called us for an interview in the evening. It was a group interview for all those actively working for Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar at Vizag. Swami told my husband, 'you were doubtful if you could ever construct a house. Now you did it, you see!'

'What is that I did, Swami!' my husband replied, 'it is you who did it".

Swami said, 'Grace follows restraint; environment is not good; encourage your son'.

He told my husband, 'you run hither and thither saying help, help (helping others), but first you help yourself'.

'What do you want?' Swami asked my husband.

'Let all members of my family be your instruments', my husband told Swami.

'All?' Swami asked twice.

My husband said twice, 'yes! Swami! All!'

'You wear new clothes and inaugurate your new house', Swami told us. We returned to Vizag. We wore new clothes and inaugurated our new house.

Within a week after inaugurating our new house as instructed by Bhagavan, certain undesirable developments took place with regard to our elder son Ramesh. Though he was brought up in a spiritual atmosphere of Sai devotion in his childhood, he later gradually came under the influence of radical elements. We had no idea of it. Gradually he grew dejected and developed suicidal tendencies.

One day he came home after he had swallowed 11 sleeping pills. We did not know it. Everyday he used to ask me for water as soon as he returned home. I used to give him water to drink mixing a little vibhuti in it without his knowledge. On that day also I gave water with vibhuti. On taking the water, he vomited. His life was saved thus.

Next day, he made a second attempt by swallowing 77 sleeping pills. He went out and lay on a cot in the portico. When I went out to wake him up in the morning, his way of sleeping made me suspect that something was wrong. I thought, 'this fellow is not eating meals properly as before. May be he is weak'. So I brought curd-rice mixed with a pinch of vibhuti. How he ate one morsel even though he was unconscious was a mystery. He did not take the second. A doctor was brought then. He examined him and said, 'there is nothing we need do about it. He will be ok'. He survived. Even then, we had no inkling of his suicidal designs.

Even though he survived two attempts, he did not give up. Within a few days, he hanged himself in a shed rented by us by the side of our new house. By the time we found him in that state, about 25 minutes lapsed. We took him to the Railway Hospital. 'His condition is critical' the doctors said, 'there is no hope, in fact, there is nothing we can do except maintaining him thus for sometime. He may or may not regain consciousness. Even if he regains consciousness, any one of his faculties may be lost'. I was reciting Lalita and all our people were doing namam without break. Only owing to the grace of Bhagavan, he was brought back to life. It is said that a person who remains hanging for a couple of minutes may have no hope of survival. How he lived hanging that long is a Divine miracle. Later, he told us, 'Bhagavan appeared in my dream. He gave me vibhuti'. With that he returned to normal life and also to Swami's fold again. He is now very active in Sai seva activities.

During his stay in the hospital, I used to recite Lalita inaudibly sitting outside his room lest I should disturb the other patients. But my daughters sitting near the bed of my son used to tell me later that they heard my voice loud and clear reciting Lalita. When my son was being taken down after he was found hanging, I began reciting Lalita. Then there was fragrance all around as if some one brought a basketful of flowers. Immediately, I realised that mother Goddess was there with me, and felt reassured that no harm would come to my son.

When he survived his third attempt, we came to know about his suicidal tendencies through his letter. He expressed in his letter dissatisfaction that we, his parents, were under the influence of Bhagavan and neglecting the prospects of our offspring. He derided Bhagavan as bogus Baba. He added that no one except himself was responsible for his death. He also mentioned about his earlier attempts to commit suicide by swallowing 11 sleeping pills once and 77 sleeping pills on the second occasion.

On innumerable occasions, without count, Swami has been showering His grace on us. These are only a few instances that came to my mind given here only by way of illustration.'

-- Mrs. V. Suryalakshmi.

(As narrated to Mr. B. Parvatala Rao at Prasanthi Nialayam on 04.03.2005.)