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By Dr. Gayatri Raghavan

An alumnus of the Anantapur campus of Sri Sathya Sai College, Dr. Gayatri received her intermediate education there during the years 1982-84. Currently, she is a practising dentist in USA.  She hails from a family which came to Bhagavan's Baba's in the 1960's. Gayatri is an active member of the Bethesda Sai Center, Maryland, USA, and also volunteers as a dentist in the Puttaparthi General Hospital every year, while her parents and grand mother (Suprapatham Kamalamma) are residents of Prashanthi Nilayam.  She is also a trained Balavikas teacher and has taken classes at several centers in the Washington D.C. area.

I have had the greatest fortune to experience Swami as the God, Antharyami (the omniscient indweller) numerous times. We are all very fortunate to be interacting with God in this living form. But, sometimes, being human, we take Him for granted. We forget that He is the one who brought us into this world and He writes our destiny. We are often foolish to question His presence and His influence on our lives.

The Loving and Eternal Charioteer

My first interaction with Him, as my parents tell me, happened when I was two months old. We went to Bombay on a trip and my father bought a brand new car there. While we were returning to Chennai with the new car, my mother, an ardent devotee of Swami, developed the longing to see Swami on the way back. My father was reluctant to drive the new car to Parthi. He declined my mother’s suggestion, saying that the new car would break down on the unpaved roads to Parthi.

Sai Murphet
Dr. Gayatri Raghavan, as a two year old,
with her parents

Eventually, after a great deal of persuasion by my mother, he agreed to take the trip. Ironically, as we were driving on the national highways, where the roads were paved quite well, the car rattled quite a bit and stopped near Kadri, a small town in Andhra Pradesh. Even after persistent attempts to start the car, the engine would not start. My mother was getting anxious as dusk was approaching fast. She continually prayed to Swami to help, especially since I was a newborn baby then.

A truck stopped by the car and the driver enquired if my father needed any assistance to start the car. My father was initially reluctant to give the keys to a complete stranger, but given the dire situation, he could not but hand him over the keys. The driver fixed the problem promptly and asked us where we were heading. My parents replied that we were going to Puttaparthi. To our joy the driver then willingly offered to drive us all the way to Puttaparthi as we were new to the area. It was a pleasant surprise and my father gladly asked him to take the driver’s seat.

The truck driver seemed to be more than happy to help us: he abandoned his own truck on the roadway and drove all of us to Parthi! Interestingly enough, the car drove so smoothly even on the unpaved roads to Parthi, although the car had had difficulties driving on much better National Highways earlier. My father was puzzled and was proved wrong about his fears of these bad roads.

Sai Murphet

The truck driver remained with us assisting us at Parthi during our stay for a day there. My mother kept asking him what would happen to his truck. His response was not to worry about the truck and he insisted that instead we enjoy Swami’s darshan. After we saw Swami, we completely forgot about the truck driver. After the darshan, as we were preparing to continue our journey to Chennai, the truck driver insisted that he would accompany us to Chitoor, a town close to Chennai.

My parents agreed and he drove to that town. My father thanked him and bid him goodbye, completely forgetful of his expenses to go back to Kadri. My mother then chided my father, and asked him to find the driver and give him a small token of our gratitude. My father searched for him, but he was no where to be found.

During our next trip to Parthi, we were very fortunate to have an interview with Swami and as the interview was going on He revealed, “I am your Antharyami, the indweller. I Myself drove you here due to your love and prayers”. Not only did Swami take care of us during the entire trip, He gently proved my father’s statement wrong that the new car would not run well on the Parthi roads. Sai is the Sanathana Sarathi, the Eternal Charioteer, in our lives.

The infinitely compassionate Lord can come to the rescue of His devotees anywhere and at anytime, as He is beyond the limitations of time and space. When Swami wills it, anything can happen. Can anyone ever prove Him wrong?

I know you so well!” - Baba

Another indelible incident comes to my mind which beautifully demonstrates to us His omnipresence. When I was at Anantapur during my intermediate years, equivalent to Grade 11 and 12, I was on my study holidays at Puttaparthi, visiting my mother and grandmother there. With the exams round the corner, my mother wanted me to get Swami’s blessings. I impatiently told her,

“O mother, He knows me as a child. But now that I have grown taller and look different than when I was a kid, He may not know who I am. How can He recognize and bless me?” My mother instantly responded, “Just trust me; He is going to bless you. For my sake, why don’t you just go and seek His blessings, you will then do well in your exams.”

Sai Murphet

I grudgingly went to sit there at the 6th or 7th line, fairly far away from where Swami would walk by. And then, what a surprise! Swami stopped, glanced at me and talked to me in His sweet voice! “You are Gayatri, right? You are Suprabatham Kamalama’s grand daughter. I know you so well!” I was taken back, but soon composed myself and said, “Yes, Swami! May I seek your blessings for my exams?” “You will do well in the exam, don’t worry,” He said and blessed me lovingly as He walked away.

I was so humbled by this experience. Just a few hours before this incident, I told my parents that He would not recognize me, let alone bless me. He proved me wrong and blessed me in such an unexpected way. Swami is Antharyami. He is aware of our thoughts, our deeds, and our words at all times.

One other occasion comes to my mind that reinforces the thought that our compassionate Lord is our constant companion. I was in the Anantapur campus of Bhagavan’s college. We heard that Swami would be visiting our college and were preparing for a cultural event to present in front of Him. It was Shankranthi time, and in Andhra Pradesh, it is customary to build Bomma Kolu, a creative exhibit of toys and dolls during this festival.

Some of my friends and I thought that we could dress up as those live dolls to present an interesting set of themes to our beloved Lord. I was one of the participants in this fancy dress display, and I dressed up with a set of vegetables, as a “vegetable queen.” When I went to the performance room and found that everyone was in such wonderful costumes, I began to wonder if my choice was right. I thought Swami may not appreciate my ordinary looking costume. I resigned myself to fate and propped my spirits up telling myself that at least I was lucky to see Swami.

Sai Murphet
spacer Sai Murphet
With the lord with fancy dress on (the author is in the center).
Fascinating moments...

Exactly contrary to my thinking, Swami came to the room and walked directly towards me, while here I was thinking that if I get a glimpse of the Lord, I should be lucky. Instead, our loving God was so happy with the simple presentation we did, and spent so much time talking to me. He was quite excited at the costume and began describing all the vegetables I had around me. He then signaled to the photographer to take a picture of me with Him! How kind and loving our Sai is! He is truly Antharyami, the all-knowing indweller; He must have felt every thought of mine; how else can I explain my good fortune?

The Closest Companion

Finally, not too long ago, in 2002, my husband was working on an assignment in Saudi Arabia. With the Iraq war looming, I was very uncomfortable and worried about him as an American citizen living in Saudi Arabia. I even suggested that he quit his job and find something else to do in the U.S. or move to India. With this separation and the stress of worrying about his safety, I continued to call on Swami for protection every day. On occasions, I even felt quite frustrated and told my husband that Swami does not care about my cries; He has come for loka-kalyanam, i.e. welfare of the world, and not just my travails.

On the day we had this conversation, my father had a wonderful opportunity to get an interview with Swami. And in a pleasantly surprising way, the first thing that Swami asked him was, “How is your first daughter? What is your son-in-law doing?” He continued to enquire about our welfare and then finally said, “Tell her that I am always with her.” Tears rolled down my eyes uncontrollably as I heard my father narrating this experience.

Such motherly love and fatherly concern can only come from our beloved Lord, as He is Antharyami. I have always found Swami as my mother, father, a close relative and a friend every time I sought His help. Bhagavan is always our close companion, a Prana Sakha (soul mate), and He is all we have in this arduous travel of life. One of Swami’s inspiring quotes come to my mind, as I conclude this short compilation of my memorable experiences of Swami.

Sai Murphet
“No matter where you go, always do your duty as you see it.

And know that I will be there inside you, guiding you every step of the way.

You are My very own, dearer than dear to Me.

I will never leave you and you can never leave Me.

From this point on, do not hanker after anything.

Do your duty with unwavering love, seeing all as God.

Have the Lord’s name on your lips always.”


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Vol 6 Issue 02 - FEBRUARY 2008
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