Aravind Balasubramanya has spent more than 2 decades with Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He has studied under Baba and been His photographer.
A special blessing on the 30th October 1998
Being the beginning of winter, the day broke over the holy hamlet of Puttaparthi at about 6:30 am with an orange sun rising over the hills in the east. The warm and glowing rays of the sun reminded me so strongly of my Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba). I was feeling a joy in my heart as if I had seen Him and had His Darshan. It was while returning to the hostel after the morning jogging regimen that I suddenly realized the reason why I was feeling the waves of joy in my heart. I had seen Swami in my dream last night.
When your God and Master comes in your dream, it is indeed a significant event worthy of great celebration. This is because, unlike other dreams, you cannot 'will' God to come into your dream by thinking about God the whole day or reading spiritual books before going to bed! In fact, many times, in multiple ways, I have tried to create a 'divine dream' for myself but have failed. On the other hand, I have dreamed of my God on days that I least expect! That morning, as I prepared to go to school, I joyfully noted the dream I had received in my diary.
I walked down to the hostel lobby and saw Swami there. He was surrounded by baggages and luggages and it was quite evident that He was leaving on some tour. I had my camera with me and as I tried to photograph Him, He struck up a beautiful pose for me. He was smiling broadly. I felt happy and then asked Him a very strange question,
“Swami, will you visit the National Park with us?”
Swami smiled and nodded. Excitedly, I rushed to my room to pack my camera and baggage. By the time I finished and came back to the lobby, Swami had already left.
As I recollected this dream, I wondered what it meant. I was sure that the ‘National Park’ which I referred to in my dream was the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivili, Mumbai, with which the housing society I lived in (Raheja Estate, Ekta Woods) shared a common boundary wall. Beyond that I could not make out anything and I left it at that. Having jotted down the dream in my diary, I went to take a bath.
After the few chilly months which included the beautiful Christmas celebrations at the ashram and the Sports Meet in the stadium, the days began to get warmer in Puttaparthi. The summer arrived and along with it, brought some surprise travel-plans as far as Swami was concerned. He had agreed to visit two major metro cities in India - Delhi and Mumbai (then called Bombay).
Without going into the details of that trip, I would like to quickly zero in on to one particular episode which happened during Bhagawan’s visit to Mumbai. The Divine visit spanned three days - March 14th to 16th, 1999. On the final day of that visit, a devotional music programme had been arranged in the Parade Grounds in Goregaon (east). After that programme got over, Swami suddenly said that He would visit the home of a devotee. This was a promise he had made to that devotee a long time ago and He decided that the time had come to fulfill it.
Now a small problem cropped up. This was the humble abode of a simple devotee. Though many people knew this devotee, they were not aware of the exact place where he stayed or the route to that place. Call it ‘coincidence’ if you wish, but this devotee happened to be a person from the same Sai Samithi (smallest administrative unit of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations in India) that my parents attended in Borivili. My parents had visited this devotee’s house on many occasions. So, my father who was at the venue taking photographs, was asked to get into the pilot car and guide Swami’s convoy to this devotee’s home! He could not believe his good fortune and minutes later, he was in the lead car of a zooming convoy, heading towards this fortunate devotee’s home where dinner had been prepared for the Lord.
Let me give you all a heads up now. I said already that the Sanjay Gandhi National Park shared a common boundary wall with our housing society. This devotee’s house was about 1 kilometer from ours and less than 500 meters from the sprawling main gate of the same National Park! (getting exciting right?)
In the meanwhile, a ‘surprise’ had been planned for Swami.(Can anything be a surprise to the one who knows everything?) The Borivili Samithi in Mumbai had adopted a slum, Kajupada, as part of its service activities. My mother was also actively involved in the same. It was decided that all the slum children would assemble in a place along the route which Swami was taking. In this way, they could have darshan.
This was done because when Swami visits places other than Brindavan (Bangalore) or Kodaikanal, there is always a space crunch in these ashrams. This is because these ashrams were built at time when nobody ever thought that Swami’s following would grow so big! So, though Swami visited Mumbai, not everyone there could get a chance to fit into Dharmakshetra, the ashram in the city. That is why darshan had been arranged at various venues, to facilitate everyone to see Him in Mumbai at least once.
The children from Kajupada could never have dreamed of seeing Him because when it come to having His darshan, everyone first takes care of their own arrangements! But here was a window of opportunity. Thus, they were all told to gather along the route. What was the venue chosen?
The entrance area of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park!
Since the arrangements were made in a hurry, a wedding organizer was asked for a throne and large carpets. The carpets were spread, the throne was placed, everyone gathered and began to sing bhajans waiting for Him to come. In the meanwhile, my mother noticed that a footrest had not been placed for the throne. The wedding organizers had brought only a throne and no footrest! She sent somebody to our home which was nearby and brought the foot-pillow we kept for Swami at home. The scene was all set for the Divine drama that was about to unfold.
The amazing turn of events
Swami reached the devotee’s home which was located on the 3rd floor in the building. Swami lovingly climbed all the way up to the home. The devotee later said that as Swami had His dinner, He said that He was hearing so many people singing bhajans. The devotee felt strange at that time but since he was aware of the ‘slum children’ plan, he thought that maybe Swami was referring to them. The time was past 7:15 pm. Swami had another programme to attend before He could retire for the night! So, the convoy got ready to leave. As Swami’s car was passing by the children assembled in front of the National Park, Swami asked for the car to be stopped. My mother, who was in that assembly was thrilled.
“I thought that Swami was going to lower His glass and wave at us. It would be such an unexpected bounty!”
Swami asked what was happening there. The reply He got was terse and straight,
“Swami, children from a nearby slum have assembled here for darshan and you have granted them that. This is not a scheduled stop according to our programme.”
“But I want to get down here...” was His calm reply.
And that is what He exactly did. Amidst the devotional shrieks and joyous cries, Swami got down barefoot from the car onto the tar road. He walked up to the assembled group and stood there swaying to the tunes of the music. He walked up to the chair but was not interested in sitting on it. However, He stood on the foot-pillow that was kept there! The children went mad in joy, love and devotion and so did all the adults assembled there. Swami spent full 5 minutes at the venue and then asked for Aarthi (traditional waving of the camphor flame).
Aarthi? Nobody had planned for this! In a hurry, things were organized as the Lord lovingly and smilingly waited. He received Aarthi before speeding away. In just five minutes, Swami had created memories of a lifetime for the hundreds that had assembled there. In the process, He also created a lifetime memory for a grade XI student who was preparing for his final exams in Puttaparthi! Even as my dad narrated to me about the unexpected turn of events at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, I flipped through the pages of my diary and recollected the dream!
The Sanatana Sarathi reports
Here is an excerpt from an article composed by Prof.G.Venkataraman in the April 1999 issue of Sanathana Sarathi. It describes the happenings in the evening of that 16th of March...
...The schedule on 16th was really very hectic. In the evening, after the Goregaon Darshan, Swami went to far off Borivili to the house of a devotee, where He climbed three storeys—no lift! On His way back, He stopped near the Borivili National Park where two thousand devotees had gathered to do Bhajan. It was past 9 p.m., and these people did not know whether Swami would stop there. All they knew was that Bhagavan's car would pass that way. The ever compassionate Lord stopped, got down, went round, collected letters and finally took Arati. Back to Dharmakshetra, where a cultural programme awaited Him. When it ended, it was 11.15 p.m....
So, what to do when God/Master comes in dreams?
It is entirely by His will and wish that Swami chooses to appear in our dreams. It is entirely His wish and will as to when we should understand the meaning and significance of the dream. Why then do we get desperate to seek the meaning of the dreams in which He appears? We never asked for the dream. Why then do we ask for the interpretation? I think we should enjoy the dream and enjoy the wait for the interpretation too. When the time is right, the interpretation and meaning will occur to you as easily as breathing! All it needs is faith and patience - the same formula that is necessary with all matters concerning spirituality.
In the meanwhile, the least one can do is record faithfully all the details of the dream immediately after waking up. Otherwise, the happenings of the day color the dream in different ways. As time passes, the details of the dream also fade away and we lose the opportunity of receiving the special message. In fact, I didn't realize the connect between my dream and the actual happenings. Months later, while perusing my diary (which I gave them to see), my parents noticed the dream and alerted me. They asked,
"If you had shared the dream with us, we could have been ready!"
That is why I always note down the divine dreams sincerely because the Lord gave the dream to me. And then, I JUST FEEL HAPPY AND WAIT FOR IT TO UNFOLD!
© 2012 Aravind Balasubramanya