When Dr. Shashank Shah asked me to write the Foreword to the e-books of the Sai Nandana series (60th, 65th, 70th, 75th, 80th and 85th Birthday issues) I started re-reading these issues. This itself became an experience for me as I started listening to the heartbeats of hundreds of students who passed out of the portals of the Sri Sathya Sai Junior and Senior Boys’ Hostels, leaving their footprints in the form of these articles which bear testimony to the love these boys bear in their hearts for their Beloved Sai.

I sat in mute enchantment, feeling the love pulsating in the printed words in which they unfolded the sweet, sublime and tender love that welled from their hearts. I sat marvelling at the range and immensity of the experiences granted to these boys who nourished intense love in the inner recesses of their hearts to the very embodiment of Supreme and Divine Love. A few tears trickled down my eyes when I remembered the love of thousands of students whose hearts Bhagavan touched in myriad ways. The song, I keep feeling your love in me, over and over again. And it’s sweeter and sweeter as the days go by. Oh! What a love between my Sai and I reverberated in my heart as I imagined the sublime connection between Sai and His students.

I remember how I joined the Sri Sathya Sai Junior Boys’ Hostel in 1984 as a young teacher at the command of Bhagavan. From the day I started living in the hostel, living became sharing, caring and learning. The great Vedic prayer, ‘Sahana Vavatu Sahanau Bhunaktu Sahaveeryam Karava Vahai; Tejasvina Vadhitamastu Ma Vidvishavahai’ (Let us live together, grow together, become stronger together shining in resplendent effulgence) became a living reality, not a mere mechanical utterance.

I remember how the first issue of the Chandana magazine was born on the 23rd of November 1984, 30 years ago! The dedicatory page which contained the following words was a sheer expression of gratitude. The Dedication ran thus:

Sweetest Lord!

We have obtained You in this life as the Master of our life and destiny. Having obtained You in this life, we would endeavour hard to cling to You in storm and stress, for we know that You are the highest, for whose vision the truest of Rishis strove for aeons. We feel immensely fortunate that we are born at a time when You have chosen to walk on this earth, sanctifying it by Your every step and purifying it by Your every word and deed. We know that You are beyond birth and death, but for our sake, You have taken birth; You have assumed this human guise and are playing the human role. The earth is richer and holier due to Your birth. It has occurred to us to celebrate the grand event of Your advent by placing at Your lotus feet this little magazine and the series of magazines that which follow, to You, with all our love and reverence. You are the theme of this magazine, its source and inspiration. We look to You, Oh Lord, for its sustenance, for what is sustained by You is well-sustained and forever!”

Bhagavan has sustained the Sai Chandana magazine for 30 years, as a series of magazines flowed endlessly without break from that day till date, bearing testimony to the truth, ‘What is sustained by Bhagavan is well-sustained.’ We lift our hands and hearts in love, reverence and gratitude to Bhagavan for this gesture of immense compassion.

It is a moving and soul-stirring experience, going through these magazines. We feel enthralled and enchanted reading the feelings and experiences of students whose hearts Bhagavan touched with the magic wand of Love. The magazines were brought out on festive occasions five times a year. The best of these articles written for a period of five years were brought out in the form of a printed book on the 60th, 65th, 70th, 75th, 80th, and 85th birthdays and made available through the book stall of the Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust and in other places as well.

The contributors of the articles to Sai Chandana range from eighth class students to senior teachers who guide these young students, living in the same hostel and sharing the same kind of food served to them. I stand thrilled at the immensity and variety of experiences granted to the students by the compassionate Sai. Status and stature never matters to Sai. What matters to Him is pure, selfless and sincere Love.

I am thrilled when I think of the magnificence of the experiences and wisdom imparted to the students in the most casual manner by Bhagavan. For example, the author of the article, ‘Revelation’ recounts a conversation which ensued between him and Bhagavan. Swami asked him the question, “Who are your friends?” The author replied, “All are my friends”. Then Bhagavan exclaimed, “What! Are all your friends?  What do your so-called friends do when you are in trouble? They will be with you until they see money in your pocket. The moment they come to know that you are penniless; they quietly vanish like the frogs going away from the dried-up pond. But Sai is not like that. Whatever may be the trouble, Sai will not forsake you. He is always for you, with you and in you. Your one and only one friend must be Sai.” Let us read the experience of D. S. Sarma in the article, ‘Some Experiences of His Divinity’. Bhagavan called him for an interview, in which he recalled how Sai had saved him from trouble 3,000 miles away from Prasanthi Nilayam in far-off Manipur. Bhagavan said to him, “I am you and you are Me, the essence of all wisdom, the only truth of the universe, the relation between the creator and the creation which all the scriptures of the world speak of.”

How amazing is the experience of Bharat Dutt as narrated in the article, ‘Believe it or not’! When Bhagavan revealed to him all that had transpired between him and his friend, Sarabjit Singh and the amount of Rs. 10 he spent on buying samosas and eating in the cinema hall! After reading the experiences of students, we realise that there is nothing that Swami does not know; there is no place where He is not present; and there is no wisdom higher than the wisdom He possesses. He is indeed the Incredible Sai!

Equally stunning are the experiences unfolded by the students in the 70th Birthday issue of Sai Nandana. Arun Selvanathan in his article ‘It is never too late’ shares how Bhagavan had come to the rescue of his family at Sri Lanka when some hooligans ganged up to burn their house. When the family was trapped in the house, his father entered the prayer hall and surrendered himself at Swami’s lotus feet. All of a sudden, something happened which nobody thought in the wildest of their dreams. It started raining, though it had not rained for five months! When about 40 Sinhalese who sympathized with the family mustered in front of their house, the hooligans disappeared into the night. The author writes “A minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month and even a year can be late enough to make a fatal difference for humans, but for God, it is never too late”. Time and space do not impose any limit on Him.

Let us listen to Sudhakar Panth’s article ‘Glory across the Mountains’. The incident occurred in Nepal. When the author and his family went to meet their relatives in Mizoram, a poor tribal lady from a remote village in mountains came to sell some milk products. On seeing Baba’s photo hung on the wall, she exclaimed that she had seen that person in the photo staring at her in her cow shed in her village located in faraway mountains! His Glory pervades the hills and dales!

A quick perusal of the 75th Birthday issue of Sai Nandana which flood lights different Divine dimensions of Bhagavan is an enlightening experience. One cannot but be filled with awe and wonder at the revelations experienced by students. We are filled with Divine delight while reading the experience of Rameswar Prusty in his article ‘I walked with Him’. The little idol of Ganesha in front of Sri Sathya Sai Hostel for Senior Students would come to life, and Ganesha and Prusty would walk to the Institute side-by-side and would return together after the classes were over in the afternoon, as well as in the evening. When Prusty requested Ganesha to take lunch, Ganesha said to him, “I do not need any food, nor do I eat any food. Your Vidya and Jnana are My food. If you study well, My hunger is satisfied.”   

I am reminded of the experience of Narayan Rao of Class XI of the Higher Secondary School Hostel. The boy joined the band of Pujaris, who worship Ganesha. He once wondered whether Ganesha was interested in the celebrations of the Ganesha festival. Lo and behold! Ganesha appeared in the dream of the doubting student. Ganesha was in full command of decoration arrangements of the prayer hall of the Higher Secondary School Hostel where the student was an inmate. The student was astounded to see Ganesha giving instructions and moving briskly in the prayer hall overseeing the decoration arrangements for the Ganesha festival!

Ashwin Kumar records an illuminating experience with Bhagavan, showing the students His message on the occasion of the New Year. He asked them on the previous day, “Do you know My message for the new year?” When the boys replied in the negative, Bhagavan waved His hand and materialized a tiny card which contained the following message: “The only wealth you can carry with you after your death is the Love of the Lord. You should strive to earn that Love during your life.” Dr. Anil Kumar, the author of the article ‘Sai: The Embodiment of Sweetness’ shares an awesome revelation made by Bhagavan. Once when he was sincerely singing Bhajans in the Mandir Bhajan Hall, he visualized Bhagavan in his mind’s eye. Bhagavan came and stood before him in the very pose he visualised and said to him, “The inside Bhagavan and the outside Bhagavan are one and the same.”

T. S. Ramakrishnan in his article recounts a thrilling experience of Bhagavan. Once the elderly gentleman who walked behind Swami noticed Him materializing Vibhuti for a student suffering from chicken pox.  As the gentleman was a medical practitioner, he told Bhagavan that the boy was suffering from chicken pox and it was contagious. But quick came the reply from Swami, “Contagious for you but not for My Love.”

Going through the 80th Birthday issue of Sai Nandana is an amazing experience. G. S. Srirangarajan in his article reveals to us the greatest miracle after sharing with us the wonderful cure his father experienced when he suffered from brain haemorrhage. Prof. N. Kasturi said to Bhagavan that transformation of the hearts is the greatest miracle. To this Bhagavan made a scintillating statement, “You are My greatest miracle, for transformation can only take place after the creation of the heart.”

It is very heartening to learn from the articles of our own students how they are keen on learning the lessons imparted by Bhagavan. Amrit Thapa in his article reveals that sacrifice is the greatest lesson he has learnt from Bhagavan. Divij Desai in his article unfolds what to ask when Bhagavan accosts you with the question, “What do you want?” He replied, “Swami I want your love”. Bhagavan affirmed, “Yes, that is what you should ask for”. Deepak Venkateswaran’s ‘The Story of the Leaf and the Tree trunk’ drives an important message that we should anchor ourselves to Bhagavan as the leaf anchors itself to the trunk. When a devotee mustered enough courage to ask Bhagavan the question, “Bhagavan, you seem to be eating little, then how do you sustain yourself? Do you draw the sustenance from the five elements?” What Bhagavan replied is an eternal truth, “No, I don’t draw My sustenance from them. Rather they draw their sustenance from Me.”

Equally important is the lesson driven home by Sivaramakrishnan in his article ‘Response to His letter’. Man’s wisdom lies in his capacity to see the invisible hand of God at work! In life, we sweat and fret to see God’s invisible hand at work. How often have we been at the brink of drowning, and how often Sai has rescued us? It is said that man can never make as many mistakes as God cannot forgive. One cannot but appreciate the experience of Ranganatha Raju when Bhagavan complimented him, “You sweep very nicely” placing Vibhuti in his hands when his wing teacher of Class XI had scolded him for his bad sweeping.

The 85th Birthday issue of Sai Chandana is redolent with resplendent messages and experiences. B. Aravind’s article highlights a very important lesson that he learnt – the unconditional love of God. He observes in his article, “I realized that the single set of footprints in times of crisis is indeed His. Those are the times when He taught me how to walk by carrying Him in my heart always.” Beautiful indeed! Sai Giridhar leaves a seminal message when he concludes his article with what Bhagavan said to him. He asked, “Swami, can I love You selflessly?” Swami replied to him, “You don’t have to do anything; every moment is Love, every breath is Love and every act is Love. All are nothing but Love, Love, Love! Just stop trying, and be and experience Love that you are.”

Sai Charan from Class XI narrates in his article, how Naxalites have started respecting Bhagavan and His Mission, and Prafulla Chandra from the M.Sc. class records the thrilling story of unbelievable transformation effected in him by one single look of Bhagavan. Rohit Chawla of Class expresses his deep debt of gratitude to Bhagavan for extending his mother’s life.

The articles by the senior teachers of the Hostel and equally inspiring. Sri Janardhanan unfolded the secret of earning of Sai’s grace with hard work and exertion. Dr. Siva Sankara Sai highlights the supreme value of how Bhagavan fosters our love with His Love. Sri Venkateswaralu shares with us the wonderful miracles of Sai Glory enacted in distant countries. The magnificence of these experiences make us gasp in wonder and our  whole being tingles with thrill when we hear about the “Medicine Man” in Chile who gets the confirmation that it was  Sri Sathya Sai Baba who was curing the incurable diseases through Him. Equally amazing is the experience of a lady from Dominican Republic who was mysteriously cured by Sai Baba. Very thrilling indeed is the experience of Rajan Salviterra from Bolivia, whom Bhagavan visited every night and assured him that everything would be alright, when he lost the hope of recovery as he was suffering from Cisteriocozis, a disease that defied any cure. To his utter amazement, it dawned on him that it was Sai Baba who had come in the form of a doctor, when he saw the doctor’s photo on the cover of a book about Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The last concluding article in 85th Birthday issue of Sai Chandana ends with a message to the students and devotees of Baba:

“Your mission has begun. Each of you has a unique part to play in this life time. My mission has reached that point in time when each one of you has work to do. This planet has a purpose in the great galaxy in which it is held. The purpose is unfolding before your eyes. To successfully perform your part, be always centered upon Me. You are My instruments from whom My love will pour. Be always aware the moment you let your ego descends upon you, My work ceases. When you have overcome your negative mindfulness; you will again become My source. The multiplication of My love will be felt throughout the world. I have prepared for this work for over many incarnations and I have drawn you to Me. As each one of you perform your silent work, I will embrace you to My Heart and henceforth your souls shall be lifted up and your eyes will reveal My Presence within. Your example will be that of angels. Your Joy is My Joy.”

Let us remember this message and make our lives His Message.

The greatest thing that happened to us is our coming in to the Sai fold. Blessed indeed are those who contacted the Divine magnet when they were young. One cannot but remember the memorable words of William Wordsworth who said:

“Bliss was in that Dawn to be alive, To be young was very heaven!”

Bhagavan drew all of us to His lotus feet quite early in life, and gave Himself to us and voiced His true feelings when He uttered, “You are Me, I am you”. Having been so uniquely and so bounteously blessed, let us all reflect on the responsibility fastened on all of us: If not we, who? If not now, then when!



M. Rama Mohan Rao
Founding Chief Editor, Sai Chandana
Faculty Member, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School
Prasanthi Nilayam
April 24, 2014