Moments Memories And Miracles
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Ramani Sambhara
Atlanta, Georgia USA

Arriving in Puttaparthi was one of the happiest moments of my life. Even though I had previously been to Parthi several times, this trip meant so much more. It's hard to explain my unbelievable experiences in Parthi. How do I explain the feelings of knowing that we had an appointment with God, yet unsure if the appointment was still on? How do I express the feelings of sitting in front of the Lord of the Universe, and hear Him talk to us like a  Apt Firenormal human being? It was inexplicable happiness, as though the world suddenly came into focus. Swamy had blessed our family by performing the 'Upanayanam' for our two sons, Vivek and Deepak. Tears kept running down my cheeks and the bliss I experienced was so intense and complete that I cannot find words to express my feelings. It was like I just got out of a whirlwind that has been spinning me around for years and, I found myself pinching myself… wondering if it was all just a dream. An impossible dream… that came true in a larger way than I allowed myself to believe possible and yet, I knew would happen. Now there is a tendency for most people to explain feelings of happiness or unhappiness in terms of the external events of their lives. They explain happiness by pointing to the positives and unhappiness by pointing to the negatives. The implication is that events determine whether or not they are happy. I was no different and of course was on the ninth cloud during this trip as I was given so much attention from our beloved Bhagwan.

 Apt Fire2

On our return to Atlanta, we continued to float in this blissful state when Swamy decided to give us a major test of faith. Swamy says, "Difficulties alone can toughen your character and make your faith firm. When you hang a picture on the wall, you test the firmness of the nail to determine whether it is firm enough to bear the weight of the picture. In the same manner, in order to prevent the picture of God (His image in your mind and heart) from falling and being shattered to bits, the NAIL (i.e. God's Name) driven in to the wall of the heart has to be tested by shaking it, to ascertain whether it is firm and steady". Swamy wanted to find out whether our faith in HIM was unshakeable.

On March 10, 2002, a major fire broke out in the apartment building where we lived. The fire started out around 12.45 p.m. and spread quickly, destroying many apartments and leaving several families homeless. The fire began on the ground floor and eventually overtook the third floor where we lived. However the good thing about it was no one was injured, but the fire destroyed most of our material possessions. We became homeless in matter of seconds. Even though I am a trained social worker by profession, I was always under the impression that to become homeless one must be poor or have alcohol or drug problems. It never occurred to me that becoming involved in a fire or flood or tornado or other natural disasters could also be the reason for becoming homeless, and these natural disasters do not distinguish between the rich or the poor. So here we were out on the street watching in utter disbelief as our apartment came crumbling down. While viewing this horrible scene the only thing that was going through my mind was "What will happen to the saree and clothes that Swamy recently gave us?" My husband on the other hand was worried about the passports and all our I.D's. Very soon the building management came and asked all the residents to gather in the main office building, about living arrangements for the next few days. Families whose apartments were not heavily damaged were escorted into the apartments to retrieve valuables. However, we were not one of them. Our apartment was totally gutted, and therefore we were advised that it was dangerous to even attempt to enter the premises. I was devastated and felt my whole world shatter right in front of my eyes. This feeling was in total contrast to what I had felt when I  Apt Fire3was basking in the attention given to me by of our beloved Bhagawan.

A group of 6 members from the Sathya Sai Atlanta center stayed with us through out this difficult day. The building management was now pressurizing us to make a decision on whether we wanted to move into a hotel or find family members. Our Sai family immediately came to the rescue and made the decision. We were whisked away to Ram and Mala's home. My family continued to be in a state of shock and just could not believe that such a traumatic event should happen to us. It is common that emotions can run amok during stressful moments, I could not stop crying at the loss. My husband however was a pillar of strength. He had so much faith in our Bhagawan that he kept reminding me that Swamy was beside us every minute and HE would take care of everything. He even had a dream the same night where Swamy came and told him that HE would not put us through the hassle of getting new I.D's.


After that Swamy not only took care of our I.D's, but also the things that had a great deal of sentimental value. We were able to salvage some of the most important things, like the clothes that Swamy gave us (they were in the same condition as on the day they were given) many pictures of Swamy (A huge picture that Swamy had signed was still in the tube, untouched by the fire or water) all my Sai books, cassettes, videos of Sai discourses and many other things. Most importantly, our Canadian Passports and documents kept in plastic folder sitting on the bed were untouched by the fire, although the bed burned down to ashes. If this is not HIS grace what else could explain this miracle? I was really happy, and could not stop thanking Swamy for his kindness and love. After that everything happened like a sweet dream. Swamy showed us a brand new town home in close proximity to my husband's workplace and son's school. Here we regained our material belongings and our physical strength. The difference now is that we have everything brand new- but no attachment to these material possessions. Seven months later Swamy decided to move us into our own home, (on November 23rd 2002) where we reside today. This was Swamy's birthday gift to us. We moved into this home on Bhagawan's 78th birthday. Throughout this experience we were encouraged by Bhagawan to reflect constantly upon the insignificance of material assets and their impermanence.

On February 23rd 2003 my husband was granted an interview with Swamy. In the interview Swamy reminded my husband of the power of "Gayathri Manthra", and how it actually protected us. Swamy clearly indicated that HE saved us not only from this fire but also from a car accident that took place about 12 years ago at which time we were not yet in Swamy's fold. It is important to know that Swamy takes care of everyone whether one is Swamy's devotee or not. HE confirmed that HE has always been with us every moment of our lives, in all three interviews during August 2003. Swamy emphasized the immense powers of the Gayathri manthra, which is truly amazing. Gayathri means, "That which saves, when repeated". Swamy had once said "The Samskara of Upanayanam is beneficial not only to the boys who were initiated, but, for every one of you, who witnessed it and drew inspiration from it." Repeating the Gayathri and constantly remembering to surrender to our beloved Bhagawan has definitely helped us to recognize that we are looking at a spiritual achievement - and one worth aspiring for. In conclusion I want to remind each one of us who reads this of what Swamy has always asked us to ponder about:

Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God.

(Mrs. Ramani Sambhara is the wife of Dr. Prakash Sambhara , DVM PhD, an Associate Professor, Emory University and a visiting faculty at the BioSciences department of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam)


Volume - 2 Issue - 1 Radiosai Journal - PSN 2004