Volume 10 - Issue 08
August 2012
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Posted on : Aug 11, 2012



- a conversation with Mrs. Gayatri Gupta

Part 03


part 2 part 3

Swami’s Divine Will - My Admission to His College

GG: Yes. I entered Anantapur campus not to come out with very good high marks or a gold medal. My aim was to make Swami happy. And there are so many incidents, where I succeeded.

RS: So, after you finished your graduation back home in Chittoor, you decided to just saunter around and get a Masters Degree from the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. And you had a wonderful two-year stay here. Tell us how that came to be.

Interacting with Bhagawan during her student days, Prasanthi Nilayam 1984  

GG: Swami never hurts anybody. So Swami called me back after 20 years. Till then, though so many stories were related, I could see with my own eyes so many miracles taking place, so many anecdotes, leelas, yet that devotion to Swami wasn’t there within me. So, all of a sudden, it was my father, a man of principles, came and said, “Purchase a bucket, a mug, a baggage, your clothes, your suitcase, and go to Anantapur College.” We would never say ‘no’ to his command.

I thought, I hadn’t applied for the college, hadn’t written the entrance exam. How then can he expect me to go? But he sternly instructed me, “If you come back without a seat, there’s no place in the house.” This was the ultimatum my father gave me before I left my home. Then I came to Puttaparthi.

RS: With your bucket and mug and suitcase?

GG: Yes. I was there with my mother. We went to the University. Mr. V. K. Gokak was there. He said, “Extremely sorry. It’s not possible at all. You may leave the campus immediately. You have not applied, you have not written an exam. And college has already started. It’s almost one month since the college began. How do you expect a seat?”

But I wanted the seat desperately.

RS: Because you had nowhere else to go!

  She is seen playing the guitar in the Divine Presence, during Swami's
visit to the Anantapur campus, 1984

GG: Yes, all the institutions had closed the doors for me. I was so indisciplined. I had not applied to any college.

RS: You finished your undergrads and you just decided to stay home?

GG: I thought “Let me relax.” I was so fond of my guitar. I imagined myself as Michael Jackson’s sister. I was an orator, I was good in monoact, and I used to go for debates… basically, everything else except studies.

So, my father thought it was high time to discipline me and decided Swami’s Anantapur College was the best for me. So I stayed back in Puttaparthi and one day during darshan Swami called me from the crowd and then He called our Vice-Chancellor and said, “Give this girl a seat.”

In 1984 when Swami visited the Anantapur Campus, He graciously walked into the classroom which Mrs. Gayatri and
her classmates had lovingly decorated for Him.

He replied, “Swami, it’s not possible.”

“I am telling you, you give a seat to this girl.”

RS: Wow! The Chancellor spoke for you. That’s special.

GG: And then, my heart cried out, “Swami, you have given me so much love.”

He called the Principal and said, “You take this girl along with you in the van and admit her in the college.”

And thus began two years of happiness! Every prayer of mine was answered. I had very good batch mates, Department of Philosophy and English and Telugu. We were the first batch of MA in the Anantapur campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute, and after that it became a deemed University.

Only after I became a student, I realized that He is everything and I should never leave Him.

RS: So, although He sent you away when you were in your mother’s womb to Salem, He called you back in 20 years and made up for all those years of absence.

GG: Yes.

RS: Would you like to share some instances from your days in college, where you were able to connect with Swami? I recall, when you were graduating, your group of five, had an opportunity to interact with Bhagawan. He gave you a special interview.

GG: Yes.

RS: And there was a special campaign led by you to make an offering to Bhagawan and then it sort of went bad. So, tell us about that.

Swami Answers Our Prayer and Visits Our College

GG: It was years since Swami had visited Anantapur. So, we all batch mates had this novel idea. We decided each day of the 365 days in the year, each one of us would write a letter to Swami inviting Him, something like “Swami, please visit our campus, please bless us, Swami, please do come.”

And eventually Swami did come to Anantapur; and on that occasion there was a play which was being enacted by us. It was a very touching story about a saint. During that play, when Swami was on the chair, in the last scene, we stretch our hands and called out to Him: “Swami, if You are there for us, then why don’t You come?” Swami immediately walked up the dais and stood there and that was the climax.

  Swami's visit to the Anantapur Campus. Mrs. Gayatri dressed up as a chef is standing at the far right.

One of our madams was holding the camera and she kept on focusing, without clicking. Then as I knelt down Swami looked at me and asked, “Film undhaa?” (Is there a film in the camera?) That photo never came up.

And then when He visited the college campus on another occasion, I got another chance. My friend was a dressed as the Vegetable Queen in a programme. The principal had not permitted me to stand next to her. But I reasoned that if the Vegetable Queen is totally covered and standing, there will be no one to explain about the vegetables! So I told her that I should be allowed to stand there beside her to explain. Even without taking the permission of the principal, I stood dressed as a chef with a huge sword in my hand and Swami came along with our Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Gokak.

When He stood there, He looked at me and said, “What? Vegetables! What vegetables? How did you do this? You are Kuppam family Saralamma’s daughter. I know her very well. Her mother used to do so many things. And the daughter too has taken up in the same footsteps to do so many creative things.” So, He was happy and admiring it and explaining to Mr. V. K. Gokak.

But one of my best memories is that of our interview with Swami when He called all the postgraduates students in May ’85. When we were inside the room we encircled Swami as usual. I said, “Swami, choodandi Swami. See Swami, we are five students – Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema…” and the last word I just forgot.

Then, Swami lovingly hit me on my head and said –“Dunnapotha! It is Ahimsa! Don't you know this much?”

There also, we five students decided to do something for Swami. We had planned to give a robe to Him as a gift, as a very small token of love. But Swami wouldn’t accept it. So before we could leave the interview room, we just placed that robe in one corner of the room and came out. And we were all seated very nicely in a line, Swami then came to us and said, “Dunnapotha! Why did you leave the robe there? Whoever has left, I am going to fail them in the exams.”

So we all started shivering and prayed, “Swami if you fail us, how are we going to be M.A. graduates?” Swami was always with that sweet touch of humour, whatever He says, however He says, He brings happiness to all.

Sai, My Concerned Mother

Then later after my marriage, I was blessed with an interview and Swami created a Maangalya for me and a watch and then He fastened it with His hands. And then He gave me a very good advice.

Mrs. Gayatri and other members of the Kuppam Family in the interview room; in the background is her elder sister Mrs. Radhika, 1988 Prasanthi Nilayam  

He said, “See, as Swami’s student, I would like to tell this to you. There is a difference between a mother and mother-in-law. You have to take care of your mother-in-law because by law, she is your mother.”

I said, “Yes, Swami. I will do. I will definitely take care.” These are the few things that a mother typically tells her daughter when she’s going to her in-laws’s house. Swami had taken up the role of a Divine Mother here!

RS: So, as a five-year-old, you promised Baba you will walk in His footsteps. Now that you are a mother of two young ladies, one of them is a student of the Anantapur college that you attended several years ago, almost three decades ago. How do you see yourself following in His footsteps in your personal life and professional life?

GG: I have two lovely daughters, Poojita and Roshini. And though Swami has christened so many members of my family, my children and I were not blessed with the names by Swami. That’s okay; He has balanced it with so many other blessings.

I feel, being a student, you not only gain knowledge, but we always try to follow up all the principles taught by Swami - like “Do good, be good, see good.” It’s very simple. Well, let me tell you it sounds simple but it is so difficult to follow.

Always, whenever Swami looks at me, He says, “Be happy, be happy”. Yes, to be happy is not an easy thing. I keep cribbing, I don’t have this and I don’t have that. But these aren’t necessary. What’s really important is to have a very peaceful atmosphere. Once, one of the devotees kept asking, “Swami, I want peace, I want peace.”

Picture taken during the interview Swami granted the Kuppam Family, 1988 Prasanthi Nilayam.

Swami just looked at him and said, “Remove that 'I' and 'want' and you will have peace!” So, that ego within us can be totally removed from our hearts and we can lead a very happy, and loving life. Inspired by the example which Swami has set for us through His life, we have a group of ladies, who visit the cancer institute, orphanages, old age homes, etc. Basically we try to do whatever is within our capacity. But the most important thing I learnt from all this is humility.

And the greatest gift which I received from Swami was getting a chance of doing the entire flower decoration for Him on His 85th birthday.

RS: What a privilege! The Mandir looked so beautiful every single day.

GG: For five years, I trained myself. I had done some really big fat wedding decorations but I was never happy and satisfied with all the flower backdrops. But I was very happy and completely satisfied only after I finished my flower décor for His ‘85 - Golden Era’ celebrations. So, this is the greatest gift which I have received from Swami. What more do I ever need?

Swami blessed Mrs. Gayatri and her family with the opportunity of decorating the Sai Kulwant Hall during His 85th Birthday Celebrations.

RS: That’s such a privilege. The beauty of the flowers actually added to the celebratory mood of the Ashram during those days. And every day, there was something we looked forward to, because you were constantly changing and evolving the décor. That’s really beautiful.

Being a fourth generation Kuppam family descendant, why is Baba’s presence so important to your life?

GG: Because we realize that God is amongst us. First, we came to Him, accepting Him as a family member. Then we could see the divinity in Him because there we had experienced so many incidents where Swami had helped us… my aunt was saved from cancer. My father’s life was saved when he met with an accident.

RS: As a family, I understand in recent times, your husband and you and your children had to make some tough choices and decisions and at that time, it was Bhagawan that you had to depend on to guide you to the right decisions. Would you like to share that experience with our readers?

“You Should Never Go Behind Money. Money Will Come Behind You”

GG: Our Divine Mother not only helps us as long as we are students, but even afterwards - throughout our lifetime. It so happened, 15 years after my marriage, I was faced with a very critical situation where I was so perplexed. It was a very delicate situation and I wanted to take a very strong decision.

Mrs. Gayatri Gupta in the Studios of Radio Sai.  

So, I just came to Swami. I said, “Swami, if you take my letter that reveals justice will win.” So there was the family problem… in the family there were crores of rupees, but there was no peace of mind in the house. So my husband and I realized that we had to choose between money and peace.

I came to Swami. And He not only showed me the right way but the best way! When I asked, “Swami, should I stay or come out?” He said, “Come out.”

I don’t regret that we left crore of rupees behind, for we felt closer to Swami and had peace of mind. Swami keeps telling, “Money comes and goes, but morality comes and grows.” So, this is really the truth we experienced.

He always says, “You should never go behind money. Money will come behind you.” So now, we are in the safe hands of Swami and He will definitely show justice to us.

RS: And we say Amen to that! Are there any other thoughts you would like to share with our readers - what is it about Swami that appeals so much to you, about His sense of humour, and His joyful spirit?

Swami’s Unique Art of Punning Words Leading to Symbolic Meaning

GG: Swami is indeed a walking encyclopedia. His plays with words, the pun and the symbolic meaning of the words really attracts even a common man.

Like for example, He says “Television is televisham.” The younger generation, they get glued to the screens. Of course, television is televisham, Visham is poison. It will definitely poisons our minds. You keep on taking rest; it will end up in rust.

These are the simple things which have entered my heart. To many devotees, He points out and says, “You have cancer? I will cancel it.” This happened in the life of my aunt Prema. Swami canceled her cancer.

And then, I will tell you one hilarious incident where He played with the words. In the interview room, when Swami was naming a child of the family. The mother gave Him a pair of scissors to cut a little lock of the child’s hair. This is the general custom which was followed. A foreigner, who was sitting nearby, bent his head and requested, “Swami, why don’t you cut my hair also?”

Swami immediately answered him, “I am Baba, not a barber.”

Such quick wit! He’s so fast in even that expression of humuor also. It’s not possible by all. Only the Divine can make it happen.

RS: Your final reflection on your relationship with Bhagawan Baba?

GG: There was another blessing which I got from Swami. In 2000, I was given a chance to deliver a speech in the divine presence. There also I introduced one or two witty instances.

  Mrs. Gayatri Gupta speaking in the divine presence drung the
Messengers of Sathya Sai Day (25 Dec 1999).

I had explained the life as a student of Swami in the hostel, a gurukul where we learned to roll chapathis, cut vegetables… which later in life we had applied into our kitchens and earned a good name from all the members of the family.

And how darshan was heavenly, and how we get from it the solace and serenity… after explaining all these things, I still remember those concluding lines which I presented in front of Swami. I would like to repeat it:

“Swami, after much concentration, consideration, consolidation, and confrontation, I have come to this conclusion that this holy institution has not only given us education but also transformation, and led us to the path of perfection. Swami, we wait only for your compassion, compassion, compassion. If not, in this materialistic world, we will end up only in tension, tension, tension.”

These were the lines I presented in front of Swami. And after the speech was over, Swami got up and before leaving the Sai Kulwant Hall, walked up towards me and just told me one loving sentence – “Chaala baaga maatlaadaavu.”(You spoke very well). So, this was the thing which I was waiting to receive from Swami, for which I always pray.

RS: And we agree with what Bhagawan said – “Chaala baaga maatlaadaavu”. Gayatri, it’s been such a pleasure having you share your thoughts with us, especially so because you brought to life for us some good old days of Bhagawan’s youth. On behalf of our readers and posterity, I thank you very much. Sairam.

GG: Thank you to the entire Radio Sai Global Harmony group for giving me this loving opportunity to present a few things. Thank you. Sairam.

  part 3

- Team Radio Sai

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