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"he is my swami"
Conversation with Mrs. Padma Kasturi part - 3

This is the third and final part of the conversation between Mrs. Padma Kasturi (PK), daughter of Sri N Kasturi, Swami’s biographer and Ms. Rajeshwari Patel (RP), a former student and faculty member in the Anantapur campus of Sathya Sai University, aired on Radio Sai a few weeks ago. Click below to read the previous parts of this article.

Previous Articles In This Series

RP: Ma’am, Why don’t you share with us some of your own experiences with Bhagavan?

PK: Yes, sharing is very wonderful. My marriage was celebrated here during Dasara festival in 1950 in the old mandir. At that time the new mandir – Prashanti Nilayam - was not open until later that year. So both the Dasara and the Birthday celebrations were clubbed and celebrated in November. After my marriage, when He gave interview to both me and my husband, He blessed me by creating a fruit and told me : “The next time you come, you will bring with you a son.”

Sai Protects the Pregnancy

After six months I conceived. But after the sixth month of pregnancy, there was some complication – I had high blood pressure. The Doctors were very worried and they asked me to not take any salt in my food, etc. At that time medical science was not as advanced and they thought that since I have high blood pressure, I might get fits during labour. So they put me on medication. My parents were very worried. They came to Puttaparthi and told Swami everything.


Then Swami created a piece of sugar candy and gave it to my father saying: “When she is taken into the labour ward, you can put this in her mouth and the delivery will be painless.”

In the eighth month, they found that due to a lot of albumen in my urine, there was a lot of swelling in my body. They took me into a nursing home and kept me under observation and medication. I was in the nursing home that whole month and the albumen was under control. The Doctor said: “You have been here since the last whole month and since the child has not grown fully yet, it would take at least another 15 days for the delivery. Why don’t you go home and continue being under the same diet and medication?”

So I went home; I was discharged from the nursing home on February 28th. But Swami had said that the delivery would take place in the first week of March. One day, at home, suddenly I experienced some pain and got myself admitted in the nursing home again. The Doctors said: “This is the first delivery that we don’t know what the cause of the pain is! But since you are here, why don’t you spend the night here and go home tomorrow morning?”

That night, I still had pain but it was bearable. When my mother had come to Puttaparthi, Swami had told her not to worry and that He would be there at that time. My mother thought that maybe Swami would come to Bangalore in February or March. But Swami corrected her: “No! Not physically but spiritually!”

RP: Oh!


PK: Then I felt some pain - I think it was around 3:30 or 4 in the morning. Then I felt I saw a hand near me! In those days Swami used to wear different colour robes; pink, yellow, not just orange. And I saw one hand in pink sleeves come and start to rub on my stomach! I could feel the touch!

RP: And you saw it too? A pink color robe!

PK: I wanted to catch the hand but I couldn’t and I was scared too because it was only 1952 and I didn’t know much about Swami and all these miracles then! I immediately called my mother: “Amma! Some hand came and it started rubbing on my stomach! I don’t know what it was!” She said: “Don’t worry! I saw Swami standing by your bed.”

RP: She saw Him? She was in the room too?

PK: Yes. She was sleeping next to me in the room.

RP: So she saw Him!


PK: Yes. She said: “It must be Swami!” Then, on the next day, the Doctor said: “The baby’s head has turned; maybe the delivery may take place today!” After that the labour pains increased and they took me to the labour ward and immediately my mother put that sugar candy in my mouth. As I was lying on the labour table, sucking on the candy, and as the juice was going in, I went into deep sleep! It was a sort of chloroform!

My whole family – my parents and my in-laws were there. The Doctor said: “The delivery cannot take place while she is sleeping! So all of you can go home.”

RP: The Doctor didn’t know about Swami!

PK: Yes! My mother had asked one of the nurses to be with me. And when I felt some pain the nurse immediately called my mom: “Amma! Please come! The baby is coming out!” Then she ran and came and of course the delivery took place!

RP: So it was a painless delivery!

PK: Yes, painless. But the baby was very small – only 3 and 1/4 pounds but he didn’t cry! He was bleeding through the nose and the mouth so they had to give him an injection and he was very weak too. They then gave him a bath and put him in the incubator.

The nurse said: “I am very worried about the mother having blood pressure problems and also about what would happen to the child since he was so weak.” Three days passed and she didn’t have any hope for the child. Then she said: “You talk about this Sai Baba. Why don’t you go and ask Him or get some prasaadam?”

So my father came to Puttaparthi. And as soon as he entered the gate – the Dashavatara gate; which was a big bungalow then, with a big portico and a veranda – Swami was standing on the veranda. As soon as He saw my father entering, He asked him: “How are you? Are you worried about the child because he is so weak? You see, because he was so small, the delivery was very easy! I came there to turn the child’s head and that Padma wanted to catch My hand! How can she get it?”

RP: He even mentioned that?

Overwhelming Divine Concern

 PK: Yes! And then He sent some vibhuti for me and the child to smear all over the body after the bath on the tenth day and also to give it to him everyday and He instructed him to not bring the child for namakarana (naming ceremony) until he was 5-6 months old. And He gave another instruction – the reason I want to mention it is to show how Swami takes care of even the minutest details! He said: “Because she had the high blood pressure problem, ask your wife to take care of the child during the night so she can have some good sleep.” He also said: “Your house is in a place where there are a lot of mosquitoes! So you must stitch a big mosquito curtain so that your wife, Padma and the child can sleep.” See how He is?

RP: So much concern! And to even make observations like these!

PK: Yes. So we brought him here on the 5th month and then He named him. In those days, we were allowed to do paadapooja (worshipping His feet) for every occasion. Do you know about paadapooja?

RP: I have heard about it but we would like to hear it from you; so please tell us.


PK: Opposite the interview room there is a room which we used to call the paadapooja room.

RP: Right across the interview room which is now closed?

PK: Yes. We used to keep a plate under Swami’s Feet and worship His Feet with plain water first, and then collect that water and wipe His Feet with a towel and then wash His feet with rose water too. That water used to be collected too. Then we would worship His Feet with haldi, kumkuma (turmeric and vermillion) and flowers and we used to garland Swami!

RP: Was everybody given the opportunity to do this pooja?

PK: Yes. Each time we came and while returning, and on any small occasion, He would accept it.

RP: Now He doesn’t allow us to touch His Feet!

PK: We used to garland Him and He used to give us some prasaadam and we used to eat it and do aarti and then he kept my son on His lap and named him Sai Ramesh. He said: “You can call him Ramesh but his name will be Sai Ramesh.”

Abundant Blessings For Her Son

After one year, we came for his annaprashna – that is giving his first solid food; porridge with rice and milk and sugar – which He fed him by holding him on His lap.

On his third year He did the aksharabhyasam – the ceremony of the writing of the first letter before putting the child in school. That was a very auspicious and a different experience too which I would like to narrate.

RP: Yes, of course!

PK: By that time I had my second child too. Swami said: “How can you manage both the kids together? Why don’t you put the older child in school?” I said: “Swami, the aksharabhyasam has not been done yet.” He said: “I will do it before you go.” I was here in Puttaparthi at that time. He said: “You arrange everything, and I will come to your home tomorrow and do it.” So we arranged that. Since there were no shops here at that time, we had to ask somebody to go to Bukkapatanam and get the slate and the slate pencil and in those days we didn’t have any big chair or anything for Swami to sit on. We had a big wooden box and we placed some cushion and a cloth and He sat on it. This was during bhajans.

RP: So while bhajans were going on in the mandir, Swami would go around visiting people?

PK: Yes. Bhajans were between 11 and 12.

RP: Everyday?

PK: Yes, everyday!

RP: Not like now – just half an hour! And Swami would walk around?

PK: Yes. And Swami would do so many other things too – this paadapooja, interviews – all during bhajan time! And He would go to people’s houses too! So, He said: “How can I sit on this high wooden box and do the aksharabhyasam? Please put it down!”

There was a wooden plank, so we put that down and we spread the cushion and He sat on the floor! And He asked my son to sit on His lap!

RP: That was his fortune!


PK: Yes. Then He asked me to bring some rice in a plate and He wrote Aum Namoh Narayana Namaha on it.

RP: On that?

PK: On the rice! Then He wrote Aum on the slate and then He asked him to put haldi, kumkuma on what He had written – like a pooja – and He held his hand and made him write that too!

RP: What did He make him write?

PK: Aum Namoh Narayana Namaha – that full beeja mantra. He had given a navaratna (nine-gemmed) ring to my father whom He now asked him to give and He wrote on my son’s tongue “Aum Namoh Narayana Namaha.”

RP: With that ring? Using it as a pen?

PK: Yes, with the ring.

RP: Great! But what about the slate? He didn’t use the slate?

PK: He did! He made him write on the slate and the rice too! And He wrote it on his tongue too! Then after that, He asked him to do namaskaaram (pay obeisance) to all of us – his parents and his grandparents, and He asked my father to bring him upstairs to the bhajans and there He gave him some sweet box.


RP: So it was a real big day for him!

PK: Yes! When he was 2 yrs old, we would come here a lot and as soon as we would come here, we would get an interview.

RP: Did you record all of those interviews?

PK: No. in those days there were no tape-recorders.

RP: Recorded them in words?

PK: No. From whatever I can remember…

RP: You were already saying that about Swami, you remember everything – you might have forgotten other things, but this you can’t!

PK: Yes. Then He said: “You must have another child. When he will go to school, what will you do? You will get bored!”

RP: He said that?

PK: Yes. So when he was 1 ½ years old, I conceived again and when I went to the Doctor, she scolded me: “You had high blood pressure during your first pregnancy! It’s too early! I am afraid it will repeat again!”

My father was here; he had come here after retirement. I wrote a letter to my father and a letter to Swami. Then Swami said: “No. Do not worry!” and he sent a letter with my father with about 40 packets of vibhuti! He said: “Let her take this in water every night before going to bed and there will be no blood pressure problem.”

Second Son is Sai’s Prasad

And nothing happened! Though I did have to go to the Doctor every month and she used to write out some medicines and I used to bluff her with: “Oh! It’s working wonderfully!” I never took them – just vibhuti! Maybe that’s why He named the second son as Sai Prasaad!

Then when he was 2-3 years old, He said once again: “This boy will go to school” I said: “Swami! This will go on again and again! Everybody who is born will have to go to school! But I can’t be delivering every time!”

He said: “No. You must have one more child!”

RP: He insisted?

PK: Yes! So when he was 2 years old, I conceived again! At that time my father was working as an Assistant Producer in Bangalore in the All India Radio. After retirement, he was working there for three years.

RP: He shifted here?

PK: He and my mother. My grandmother was here. Swami said: “I will take care, you both go.” It is the Indian custom where they take the daughter to their parent’s house in the sixth month and she will stay there for a month and to make her happy, they give her to eat whatever she desires.

RP: Yes, usually that’s a tradition.

Delivery Deliberations

PK: My parent’s house and my in-laws house were very close by. When my mother would call me and insist me to come to her house, I would say: “No. It’s too nearby!” Whenever they would call me, I had to go – so it felt as though I was staying in my in-laws house. So I thought I better go to Puttaparthi and stay with my grand-mother for one month.

At that time, Swami was in Bangalore and had come for dinner to my father’s house. My mother said: “You ask Swami. We can’t ask Him like that!” So when Swami came for dinner, I asked Him: “Swami, I would like to stay in Puttaparthi for a month with my grandmother so I could be of some help to my grand-mother.” Swami joked: “Oh! You want to come to Puttaparthi? It’s just an excuse! Alright, why don’t you come?”

So I came to Puttaparthi and stayed here. At that time we had a problem of not knowing where to have the delivery because if we would have had it in Bangalore, there would be nobody to help my mother around in the house because she had to help me and be with me in the hospital. So she was a little worried. By that time, the General Hospital had opened in Puttaparthi. But we didn’t know if Swami would agree or not.

When I was here one day with my grandmother, Swami came and asked me: “What are your plans?” I said: “Swami, I don’t have any plans. Whatever you say, I will do that.” He said: “Why don’t you have the delivery here itself? There’s a hospital here! You always want Swami and a hospital – now both are here!”

I said: “But Swami, it’s only the sixth month! I cannot stay here for so long!” because there was no convenience in coming here at that time.

RP: Yes, there was a lot of difficulty making your way to come here to Puttaparthi. Did you come here by bullock cart then?

PK: Oh yes! Even in those days, we had to take the first the train, then bus, then bullock-cart and all that.

RP: I remember when we came in 1972; we came to Bukkapatnam by a bullock-cart!

PK: Yes! So I told Him: “Why don’t I go to Bangalore for a month and I can come back here for the delivery because after the delivery, for three months then I wouldn’t be able to go back and make that journey.”

He said: “No! You stay here because the budhi and jnana – the intelligence – is formed in the womb after 6 months! So you be here and do the naamasmarana (chanting god's name) and bhajans.”

RP: Well, Swami! He is the Creator and He knows what is happening in the sixth month of pregnancy! So that’s when the child gets the intelligence?

PK: Yes. That’s what He said and that’s why they say about why one must keep a pregnant woman happy.

RP: Yes, they say that in the scriptures too!


PK: Yes. So I stayed on. And in those days, we could not get much fruits and all that. So whenever some devotee came and brought some fruits for Swami, He would send some fruits or apples or bananas to our home! Now and then He would come to our house to check on me. When the ninth month came, my mother came here too.

Swami had gone to Tirupathi to attend that First Divine Life Society Conference in Venkatagiri and He came back with so many sanyasis (renunciants)!

RP: This was in 1961?

PK: No, in 1957. Many sanyasis followed Him and they were all in Puttaparthi. On the day before Ramnavami, I started to feel some pain in the afternoon and my second son - who was just three years old then was there too. I was lying down and he asked me: “Why are you lying down mother?” I said: “I have some fever, I want some vibhuti from Swami and then I will be okay.”

Sai Arranges for Her Total Care

He did not know what to do! In those days, Swami used to climb up the hill – where the University is now – there were some big, huge rocks there and Swami used to take some people there in the evening and give them interviews or to have some conversations.

RP: You mean, while the bhajans were going on?


PK: No, before that too – around four or five o ‘clock. So my son started to climb up the hill to get some vibhuti for his mother. Swami saw him and asked him: “What is the matter?” He said: “Swami, mother is having some fever and she wants some vibhuti.” Since He knew that the time was close to delivery, He came down and came and asked me: “Do you want to go to the hospital?” I said: “Swami, I don’t know, whatever You say!”

He said: “Let me arrange some bed for you.” Because there were some old village people in the ladies ward; there were four beds there. He said: “I will go and talk to the Doctors and arrange a room for you.” He went to Dr. Sitaramaiya’s house, who was in charge then, to arrange a room. My father’s house was on the East block. He said: “The Doctor will put the bed in the labour room itself.” There were only four rooms in the Hospital then – one four-bed room for the men, one four-bed room for the women, one labour room and one central hall – that’s all. It was a very small hospital.

But then He said: “But no! If you lie there, it will be too far from the bathroom!” that’s how considerate He was! Then He said: “Since there is only one man lying in the men’s ward, I will ask them to put him in the veranda and I will make a special four-bed ward for you!”

Then He told my mother: “Since the cars cannot climb up on the hill, I will find some jeep so that she can be taken by the jeep to the hospital and I will come after bhajans.”

RP: So He took care of everything!

PK: Yes! Then the bhajans were going on but after the bhajans there was no jeep and I was finding it very difficult to stay home because the pain was increasing. Then He came for dinner – in those days He used to come to the other side for dinner; and His sister was serving Him; the ladies could approach Him.

My mother went up there and told Swami: “She is finding it very difficult to stay at home; it might be better if we took her now.” He said: “There is no jeep available right now, what can I do?” then He asked for water and He created something and put it in the water and He said: “You give this to her to drink and the pain will subside and then you can take her.”

She brought it - it was some fruit juice and it smelt very good! I drank it and the pain subsided and I could even walk up to the hill!

RP: You walked up?

PK: Yes, I walked up! We went to the hospital and I lay down and the pain subsided. There were two male doctors and there was no mid-wife or nurse or anything. There was only one lady who knew little of nursing, so Swami sent her in too along with my mother. My mother and she then started to discuss what to do because they were not familiar with the whole process of delivery.

The Doctors were sitting in the veranda and they gave us everything that was needed – scissors, thread, etc. - and said: “If there is any problem, we will be here, waiting.” The pain subsided and I had a good sleep. Suddenly that lady remembered that on that same day, there was another lady who was a cook there – from some village who had delivery experience. So she went and brought that lady there. But the night passed.

The next day was Ramanavami and the bhajans were going on between 9 and 10 in the morning – on other days it was usually between 11 and 12. It was summer and in those days, there was no current or water facility in Puttaparthi.

RP: How did they manage?

PK: With fans!

RP: And with water?

PK: There was a well then!

RP: Oh! So you had to go and draw the water!

He Takes Over Completely

PK: Yes! Then Swami came to the hospital around 9 and said: “What happened?” I said: “Everything subsided - nothing happened!” He said: “Since you have already been having too many problems and since it was ashtami (8 th lunar day in the month – not considered auspicious), I stopped it! Today is Ramanavami and the child will be born today!” Then He gave two packets of vibhuti to my mother and said: “After the delivery, rub this on her stomach. Once the pain increases, she will not be able to eat any food! So bring some food now and give it to her.” So my mother went and brought some food for me.


RP: It’s amazing! The amount of care He has taken!

PK: Yes! Then in the evening around 6 or so Swami took everybody to the Chitravathi River. It was April and because of the heat I was exhausted. I just had some pain but there was no delivery. Someone said to Swami: “Swami! She is there in the hospital! What if something happens there?” He said: “No! Nothing will happen until I return! You can all come!”

So He took everybody to Chitravathi and there it seems He created from the sand Lord Rama, Laxmana and Sita idols and they did some bhajans and Swami delivered a Discourse and He created some amrita too!

RP: On Ramanavami day!

PK: Yes, on Ramanavami day! At that same moment, here, I felt some severe pain and I was sweating a lot. There was nobody there to help except my mother; she was crying and didn’t know what to do – she was so upset!

It seems that when Swami was distributing amrita to the ladies there, He suddenly said: “Oh! My back is paining!” He was sweating a lot and then He sat down for 2-3 minutes, stretching His legs.

RP: Oh! So that means He had taken the pain on Himself?

PK: Yes. He was rubbing Himself with His handkerchief that He has. Of course, they all came and helped Him. It was 8-8:30 by then!

RP: So the devotees were with Him on the sands of the Chitravathi River so late? They used to take lanterns with them?

PK: Yes – torches, lanterns, etc. Also, whatever idols He used to create from the sands there, they used to bring it to the mandir and keep it in the shrine and do aarti there – it was the usual custom then.

Then they brought the idols and did aarti. I was of course becoming very weak and exhausted by then. There was no sign of delivery! Then Swami came back and a lot of ladies were there too – some of them gossiping: “Why did you come here? You should have gone to Bangalore!”

Because of my weakness and exhaustion, my mother was getting very worried; she went to Swami and started crying. He was having His dinner. She said: “Swami! She is suffering a lot!” He said: “No, there’s nothing to worry!” He then created some vibhuti and told her: “You mix it with water and give it to her. I will come too.”

Then she came and mixed the vibhuti in water and as she was giving it to me, Swami came into the hospital!

RP: Imagine! What time was it then?

PK: It was 9:30 p.m. or so! I wanted to get up but He said: “No! Lie down. What has happened?” I said: “Swami it is very awful, I can’t bear it!” He said: “That is samsara (worldly life)!”

RP: Ok! He summarized it in just one word!

‘Call Out Sai Ram!’ - Baba

PK: I said: “Swami! It was not like this during the first two deliveries! It was easy then; but this time I don’t know what has happened! I am suffering so much!” Then He said: “When you have pain, why do you call out ‘Amma! Amma!’? Why don’t you call out: ‘Sai Ram! Sai Ram!’?

RP: Oh! So that was another indirect lesson!

PK: Yes. But I was bold enough and I said: “Swami, even though I did not say: “Sai Ram!’ you know that I was not calling out for my mother - it was for You only!” Then He said: “No Padmamma, it’s not like that! When the pain comes, you must say: “Sai Ram!”

Then Swami stood by the door - which was towards the side of my head on the bed - and He took the lady outside and told her to instruct me that when the pain comes, let us say: “Sai Ram!” then as He was standing near the door, He waved His hand. And though He was standing far, He was making some gestures with His hand and immediately I felt a thud in my stomach and then immediately the pain came and I said 'Sai Ram' and the child was born!

RP: And Swami was standing by the door?

PK: Yes! And immediately the child was born!

RP: My God!


So Intimate…Just Like Family

PK: And when He heard the child’s cry, He went down. The next day, in the evening, He came to the hospital again and in those days there was no electricity so there was no light; He had brought a torch along – He used to have a big torch with six cells. Then when He saw the child He said: “Oh! Such a small baby! And for the delivery of this, you had to go through so much!”

Then He joked with me: “Oh! You wanted a daughter and you got another son! Are you not happy?” Then on the eighth day, my father came to Puttaparthi. He went straight to see Swami, he did not come to me first – that’s how he was.

Then Swami narrated to him all that happened on Chitravathi and that’s when we found out that Swami had taken my pain! He told my father: “There was no body there except her mother, and she was in so much agony, so I had to take the pain; and then everything was alright.”

Then He brought my father along with Him and told him: “See! Padma is very angry with Me and is not talking to Me because she did not get a daughter!” He was behaving just like family!

RP: Yes! So finally, since He allowed so much intimacy with you and your family, what would you say Bhagavan meant to you then?

PK: He was like a close relative – He was more than a Mother to me, because of His Compassion and Care.

RP: So you were never awed by His Divinity?

 PK: I couldn’t see Him as someone Divine or His Divinity because He was so close and took so much care and with so much compassion that I was just attracted to that! I thought that He was a very, very close relative to me – even today! But sometimes - because He has now kept me at a little distance - I can feel His Divinity.


RP: I think we had a very long session. And on a later day, we can share more for our listeners at Radio Sai. Thank you very much for accepting our invitation. Talking to you has been like entering a secret garden of hidden treasures. You are virtually a diamond mine and a treasure trove of Divine showers and blessings! You are indeed fortunate ma’am and we are fortunate too to have been today the recipients – vicarious recipients – of those blessings through you! Thank you very much!

PK: Thank you Rajeshwari for giving me this opportunity of sharing my experiences with you.

- Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 5 Issue 07 - JULY 2007
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