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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group VII | Ms. Gloria Blake

Ms. Gloria Blake,
Staff Nurse,
Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital,
Prasanthi Nilayam.

      Ms. Gloria Blake was working as a Nurse in the US. She became a devotee of Bhagavan, and has come to stay at Prasanthi Nilayam to work in Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital. She records a few of her experiences in an article published in Arogyapradayini, the Golden Jubilee publication of Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Prasanthi Nilayam released in August 2006.

'This is my story about how I came to Swami and to work in the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital.

Lake worth, Florida. August 1992: I received a telephone call from my family members in Birmingham, UK. They sounded panic-stricken and said that my brother Eddie had gone mad. He had called and told them that he had been to India and seen God, and spoken to Him! I was silent and did not answer, as I could not and did not believe my niece and nephews' news. My brother Eddie lives in Germany, and about 15 minutes later, I telephoned him. We talked for a few minutes, but he did not say anything to me about India or seeing God anywhere. That was that. But about four days later, my brother called me and, during our conversation, he mentioned his visit to India. I commented about the difference between India and America. For many years, I had repeatedly begged my brother to visit the USA and his answer always was 'America is dirty'. And now, he had been to India, to say the least. Our memorable conversation that day went some thing like this:

Brother: 'I went to India and saw God there. He talked to me.'

Gloria: (Silence. Very quiet.)

Brother: 'Don't you believe me? I saw God. He lives in India and He spoke to me.'

Gloria: 'I will not say you saw God, but may be you saw a holy man.' Maintaining a calm voice, I added 'we hear of many holy men living in India. I am sure you spoke with one of them.'

Brother (with conviction): 'No, its God I spoke to'.

He then offered to send me a book about 'God' along with holy ash that had healing power. I accepted, but this time I had to keep myself from laughing out loud on the telephone, in order not to embarrass my brother. Thus ended our weird conversation. Little did I know then that my life was about to change forever. Two weeks later, a package arrived from Germany. Its contents were a book and some small plastic envelopes containing so called holy ash. I opened the book and a photograph fell to the floor. I picked it up and glanced at the man in the photograph. Suddenly, a shock went through my body. I cried out loudly 'I know you. I have seen you somewhere, can't think where just now, but I know you'. I placed the photo on my bedside table. Days turned into weeks and I would look at Baba's photo, trying to remember where we had met, but I came up with a blank each time.

Since our first conversation, my brother made frequent calls to me, telling me about Baba and his experiences with Him. He also urged me to stay in touch and locate a place in my area where bhajans were held and people talked about Swami and their experiences. About mid-October 1992, after contacting the Sai bookstore in Tustin, California, I obtained a list of bhajan centres in our area.

It was April 1993. My marriage was slowly heading downhill for the last few years and things seemed to be going from bad to worse. It has been a habit of mine since young age to sit in a quiet place and talk to the setting sun. For some unknown reason, I thought of talking to the rising sun for a change, so I stood by the window, addressing my problems to Baba, by way of talking to the sun. About four mornings later, at 6:45 am, while looking at the sun through the window, I suddenly saw Swami's face appear in front of me. There was a smile on His face, and His crown of hair and one of His hands were visible. I prayed to Him to grant me one of two requests: Either, there should be peace at home or if I should leave this house, I should go peacefully. The vision slowly disappeared. One month later, in May 1993, I moved out of my house calmly and peacefully, and never looked back. To this day, I have not asked my ex-husband for anything, neither from the house nor from the business we owned jointly.

By September 1993, I was on a flight en-route to India to see Swami. I arrived in Bangalore on the 15th September and I was watching television in the hotel room. It was around 7 p.m.; I suddenly heard a sound and I saw a shadow coming towards me. As it came closer, I saw the orange colour of His robe. I looked up to see His face. Swami came and stood at the foot of the bed. Then a voice said 'welcome to India'. I shook my head and tried to gather my wits to say something to Him, by which time He had disappeared. I just sat there, absolutely flabbergasted, staring at the empty space, where He had stood seconds before. First, the early morning sun, then the vision, and now this voice in a hotel room! Fear started to come over me. I thought of returning to the UK and staying there till the day of my return to the USA. I stayed at the hotel for three days, trying to pick up the courage to go to see Swami in Whitefield, Bangalore. Finally I did go to Whitefield and had two experiences there that left me in no doubt of Baba's Omniscience and Divinity. Soon after I went to Whitefield, I was conversing with two ladies in my room and while we were joking, I laughingly called out 'Baba, will you please come and tell these two ladies to be quiet.' Immediately, I felt a tap on my left shoulder; knowing that my back was against the wall and no one could touch me from behind. I assumed it was my imagination and thought nothing of it.

A few days later, during morning darshan, I got the first line. Swami passed by, turned and looked directly into my eyes, and then came and stood in front of me. The ladies from either side of me were touching His Feet, so I too touched His left foot for about half minute, when He suddenly turned towards the right and I noticed that His feet were not touching the ground. He was floating about 3 or 4 inches above the ground! After darshan was over, people dispersed, but I kept sitting there. My body was shivering, my heart was pumping away like I was on a racetrack, and my hands were shaking. I was stuttering when I told the sevadal lady that I was sick. She said that I was not sick but feeling Baba's energy after the long padanamaskar that I had had. I then left for the room, not convinced about what she had told me. It was only after I returned to the USA and talked about my trip, did the impact of all my experiences hit me to prove beyond doubt that this was not a mere holy man but God Himself.

On January 15th 1994, I woke up alarmed to see a whitish powder emanating from a medallion I wore on a chain around my neck. The medallion had Swami on one side and Shirdi Baba with the Sarvadharma symbol on the other. I went to see the lady, in whose house we met for weekly bhajans, she saw this powder, took a pinch of it, tasted it and said that it tasted of jasmine - it was vibhuti. She told me that she felt Swami was preparing me for a different kind of life and asked me to follow the code of control He prescribed for all devotees, that is, celibacy, no meat eating, no alcohol, no smoking. All in all, the vibhuti stayed on the medallion for three days and was an important landmark in my transformation.

Another experience that comes to mind occurred in 1996. It was Christmas Eve and at the end of the bhajans, Swami asked me if I had got the prasadam, a sweet. After arati, a lady reminded me to eat the sweet. I ate it and that night I started getting stomach cramps and nausea. On Christmas morning too, I was feeling very ill. When I was alone in the room, I knelt down and prayed to Swami 'I know I am getting sick, but I will be leaving India on the 27th for the USA. Please, Baba, let me touch American soil and then You can do what ever You wish'. After my prayer I fell asleep and woke up feeling like a different person. I was back to my jolly old self. On December 27th, I left India and arrived in New York on the 28th December 7p.m. I missed my connecting flight to Florida, so I stayed overnight in a Hotel near the airport. On the 29th morning, while getting dressed, I felt a sharp pain in the lower abdomen. By the time I got to the airport, I was practically helpless. My three-hour flight felt like three days. Swami had answered my prayer; literally - I was ill only after setting foot on American soil! The illness lasted a week.

On June 4, 1996, at about 4.10 p.m., on my way back from work, I was involved in a car accident. I walked away from a totally crashed car with a small cut on my lower lip. At the crash sight, I could see Swami outside by the car with the police and ambulance attendants. Later on, it was proved that I had injured my neck, lower back and right knee. Surgery was done on the right knee and physiotherapy for the neck. Surgery was recommended for the lower back and I refused. I came for Swami's Birthday in November 1996 with the Overseas Medical Camp to do seva. After the medical camp, when we sat in a group, Swami looked at me and said 'Doctor or patient?' Only Swami knew that I was keeping a secret from the group. I was wearing a brace support for the lower lumbar region and a special sock to keep the swelling down in the right leg.

When I came in 1998 for the Gurupoornima Medical Camp, I decided to stay on till Birthday. So, I took my Nursing certificate and a request letter, and went to see the doctor in-charge for permission to continue seva after the Camp left. Looking over the papers, he casually asked 'why don't you join full time? You said your children are grown up and you are self-supportive.' I was taken completely by surprise; I had no such plans then. I thought about it and said yes. Later, I was told that Swami had accepted my request. In December 1998, Swami blessed me, said 'very happy' and materialised vibhuti for me as I formally joined the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital. After the car accident, my neurologist told me that I would never function as a nurse and would probably end up in a wheel chair later. So my plans were to travel to India to see Swami, spend time with my family and retire. Now I see that God has different plans for me. Here I am at His Lotus Feet able to function by His grace alone.'

-- Ms. Gloria Blake

(Extracted from Arogyapradayini, the Golden Jubilee Commemorative volume of the General Hospital, Prasanthi Nilayam released in August 2006)