I came into this world, homeless and loveless. My birth parents were very poor and they already had too many daughters to feed, so they left me in the hospital where I was born. One of the nurses who had worked there took pity on me and she brought me home to her ailing mother. It was this kind simple old lady, whom I later called grandma, who raised me with so much love and values that I became who I am today.
As I went through childhood, I had always felt the presence of a Higher Being. I did not know who He was, how He looked like, what name He was called, or where to find Him, but I knew that HE was guiding me and guarding me all the time. He did not fit into any of the religions preached by men, so I could only call Him ‘God’ whenever I talked to Him.
My God was my constant companion, my best friend, my strength in everything I went through. His presence was most felt whilst I was in college. There were several occasions when I did not have enough money for food, yet, money would come in some way… sometimes slid in between one of my books or in my bag. It would not be much but just enough for me to get through to the next allowance. Whenever I was out with my friends, if any one of them suggested any ‘wrong’ activity, I could not bring myself to join them. My heart would always guide me on what I should or should not do. Thus, I was known as the ‘righteous’ girl amongst my friends. No one would even speak any indecent word or relate any of their misdeeds in my presence.
As a young adult, I became more curious who this God of mine was.
My search first led me to Buddha as I was brought up in a Buddhist family. But, with the lack of knowledge , I could not pursue this path. Next, I turned towards Jesus because I had gone to a convent school in my younger days. I began to read the bible and I loved the Christian hymns, but still, I could not find my God.
At some point when I reached my mid-thirties, I began to feel my life to be very meaningless. In the eyes of the world, I was a happily married woman with three young children. But the truth was… deep down inside, my heart felt empty and discontented. My life was completely focused on my family alone but I was yearning for something beyond this material existence.
Then, I was introduced to a Sai centre in 2003 and became active in service activities and bhajans. However, I did not feel any connection to Baba. (HE was still 'Baba' to me then; I began to call Him 'Swami' only a couple of years later). Every time I went to the center, I would pray to Baba, "If you are God, please help me to strengthen my faith in you. Help me to find my God in you."
That was my constant prayer for a whole year, and Swami DID begin to show me His presence in many incidents throughout that year. I had two encounters of car accidents on the road; another time, a flat tyre; and even my eldest son was saved in an unfortunate mishap at the mall. All the people who had come to help us seemed to have appeared on the scene almost immediately... as if God had sent them.
There was also an episode of manifestation... I had quietly wished for one particular picture of Swami's to grace my new home. After one month of futile search, I gave up the hope of having that picture. Then, one evening, it suddenly appeared in our Sai centre. I was walking past the table when a flash caught my eye. As I moved closer to see what it was, my heart skipped a beat. It was THE picture... crisp brand new, accurate right down to the measurement that I had asked for! Who else but Baba Himself knew of the whispers in my heart then. However, being the doubting Jane, I was not yet convinced of His Divinity.
A year later, 2004, I was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition and went to Puttaparthi to seek the blessings of Bhagawan Baba. It was the week before Christmas and the ashram air was filled with festive joy. When I saw Baba for the very first time, I was sitting all the way at the back of the Sai Kulwant hall. He had looked just like any other ordinary man to me, but the fact that there were thousands of people waiting for hours, just to catch a glimpse of Him, was something to be reckoned with. My first question to Him was, "Baba, I have come a long way to see You. Do You even know that I am here at all?" My heart was heavy because I thought He would not know me in the midst of the thousands who were there.
Many questions went through my confused mind during the week I had stayed there, and as He revealed the answers to me one by one, my faith in Him multiplied in just a matter of days. One afternoon, while waiting for His darshan, I asked quietly, “Baba, what can I do for You? I have no time, no skill, no knowledge… NO TIME AT ALL! But, if there is anything that I can do, without changing much of my lifestyle, that is… Please do let me know.”
On Christmas eve, being one of the choir singers, I found myself seated directly in front of Baba, and I could see every little feature on His face. It dawned on me then that I was looking into the face of my Lord, the God I had been searching for all these years. He had the most beautiful pair of loving eyes that I had ever seen, so filled with compassion, and He was looking straight into my heart. As I sang Christmas hymns to Him, I could not hold back the tears of relief that poured down, washing away years of pain and frustration. I had found my God at last!
Upon my return home, I started to educate myself about Bhagawan Baba. I read many books on His teachings and messages, then started sharing His beautiful quotations by making handmade bookmarks. It did not matter to me if anybody wanted those bookmarks or not… my heart only knew that I have to make them. Every single day, I was spending quality time with Swami through His beautiful words of wisdom. Occasionally, the smell of incense would fill the air and I wondered if maybe Swami had come to pay a visit. By the end of one year, I had made a total of 4,500 pieces of bookmarks… and all the bookmarks had found a home across the country. And then, just as suddenly, the urge to make bookmarks stopped.
For three months after that, I did not have any thing to do with spirituality. The feeling of loneliness came back… and this time, it hit me much harder than before. I was under a lot of stress and became very depressed. It felt as if God had deserted me and every night became longer and colder as I cried myself to sleep. On the fifth night, Baba came to me in a dream... In the dream, I was sitting on the cold marble floor in Puttaparthi, feeling very confused and sad. Then, a sevadal walked up to me and said, “Swami calls. Come at 5.00pm.” I was there at 5.00pm sharp, feeling very excited and nervous. The same sevadal was present to usher me into Swami’s room. As I walked along the passageway, I remember the walls being white in colour and they were empty. The room too was completely devoid of furniture except for His throne in the middle of the room and Swami was seated on it. Quickly, I went down on my knees at His Lotus Feet. Swami was smiling with His eyes full of love and compassion. Then, I felt something moving inside the flesh of my hands. A thought came to me, ‘Why is Baba stuffing newspapers into my hand?’ Next, He gently held my right hand and tapped on it twice. A clean cut appeared diagonally across my palm but there was no blood. I could see the cross-section of the flesh inside and there were many ugly layers of dark brown crumpled skin. Another thought came to me, ‘If I trust in Him totally, He will heal me.’ There was no fear in me at all. When I looked up again, Baba’s head had disappeared. In its place was a very bright illuminating light…. and the light came down and enveloped my whole body. Words are inadequate to describe my feelings at that moment - Total Peace, Total Happiness, Total Love…. a feeling so complete that I had never experienced before in my entire life. The next morning after the dream, I was well on the way out of depression and my life began to heal.
One week after that dream, in early September 2006, an inner voice started prompting me again on what to do next. It was the same driving force that initiated my bookmark project a year earlier. At first, I was very hesitant because my mind said 'I have NO TIME', yet my heart had felt a stir. After seven days of receiving the same constant message, I finally gave in to the inner calling. This time, I was told to type Swami’s messages and teachings for sharing through the internet. It was a new experience for me as I did not have prior education on how to make online postings. A year later, three blogs had been set up for my daily work under the name of ‘Sai Divine Inspirations’. Once again, the divine energy pushed me further… next, into making Sai videos, yet another area which I did not have any training whatsoever. In early 2010, I began to make graphic art with Swami’s pictures and messages, motivated solely from within.
Through all these years of following His guidance, I have gained a lot of spiritual knowledge and was able to serve in the Sai movement. During Chinese New Year celebrations in Puttaparthi on 20th February, 2010, I was given the golden opportunity to make a presentation of my Sai videos to Swami. It was the most fulfilling moment of my life when Bhagawan Baba blessed my work and allowed me to have His padanamaskar.
Thus, my life has been transformed since Swami accepted me into His fold. From a mundane life of simple existence, He has taken me to heights which I never knew would be possible. His Grace has placed me on an express train into the path of spirituality. His Love has filled my life with new meaning as I wake up every morning having more work to do.
During my latest visit to Puttaparthi on January 2012, Swami spoke to me through the voice in my head, “Be Happy Always.” And I answered Him, “Yes, Swami, I will.” Immediately, I knew what Swami wanted me to do. With each new day, I am learning to surrender everything to His Divine Will. I am awakening to the consciousness that I am HIM… that I, too, am God.
Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu… Om Shanti Shanti Shanti…