It was on 18 January 1988 at Parthi, during the morning darshan that Bhagwan gave me a moment of unimaginable joy. Each time I remember it, it fills the moment with renewed joy.
The Annual sports meet was over. We, the students doing the B.Ed course had stayed back for a few more days. The first two batches of B.Ed students had studies had studied at the Brindavan Campus. Later, since 1988 June, course is being conducted at Ananthapur. We were requesting Bhagwan to come to Brindavan. As Bhagwan came near us, I kneeled and said, “Swami…” I wanted to request and ask Bhagwan when he would come to Brindavan. He had already walked on. When I began the sentence, saying “Swami….”. He turned, looked at me and tapping His chest lightly, He asked, “Han Sri Vaishnavi Aaa?” Meaning “Yes, (did you say) Sri Vaisnavi?” He was asking me and confirming that He was indeed Sri Vaishnavi Mata. Our Omnicient Lord had validated an experience which I had not told anyone. The incident was as follows.
It was the spring of 1983, A pleasant April morning. My parents and me were walking up the Trikuta Mountains to reach the shrine of Sri Vaishnavi Mata. As my parents walked slowly on the winding roads, I quickly climb the steep steps, enjoying chanting, “Jai Mata Di” with each step. I imagined the Divine Mother, wearing a grand red and gold sari, beautiful ornaments, carrying many weapons in Her hands, riding on a majestic lion. I surmised that, since it was a Divine Lion, it could walk on the low surrounding clouds. Devotees returning from the temple were smiling and I was eager to wade in the chilling waters of the Baan Ganga flowing inside the came which is the abode of Mother Sri Vaishnavi.
I remembered one first trip when I was a five year old girl and the story of the The origin of Mata Rani. The fifteen year old girl smiled at the memory of her five year old self telling mother, "Mama, I want to wear shining rings on all my ten fingers like “Vaishno Mata.’
A spring breeze gently caressed the tender leaves. A particular flight of steep doesn’t reach the road for a long time, hence people would climbing them, I climbed alone, sat a while on a stone bench and then resumed the climb. I stopped to take a breath. On the next step, stood the most beautiful girl in the Universe. She was about 8 years old and her height was approx three and half feet, she wore a simple cotton long skirt and blouse which had two shades of brown and crème. Diagonal one cm squares were printed on it. The charming child wore her hair in a single plait. She looked neat and clean. It was strange that such a little girl was not accompanied by any elder. She asked – ‘Tera pas kuch khanae ko hai”(Do you have any eatable with you !) I said nah (no). She looked with despair into my eyes and said, “Mujhe maloom Hai tere pas hai.” (I know you have). I said “Han Hai Par Jutha Hai” (I have but). I started partaking it, hence it is unclear she said “Kuch Nahi Hota Mujhe De Do Na, Mujhe Bahut bhook lagi Hai” (Never mind, please give it to me, I am very hungry) Then I gave her the bun I had half-eaten. We looked at each other. Just to make conversation I asked the usual question, “Tera Naam Kya Hai. (What is your name?) She looked deep into my eyes. After considering the question, a slight hesitation whether to tell me or not she said, “Vaishnavi”. I immediately thought, “ Han Aaise He Bol Rahi Hai.” (She is fibbing).
The moment the thought came, there was a hurt look in her eyes. I regret not believing Mata and thereby hurting her. It is also a life lesson. We tend to disbelieve truth which appears too strange to be true. Let’s take time to seek the truth in our daily lives- for, where there is love there is truth and there alone is God.
(SowmyaRoopa is a student of Swami who after completing her graduation from the Sri Sathya Sai Universitytaught in the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School for several years. She has had the great fortune of receiving Swami’s direct guidance many times as a primary school teacher and a student of the Anantapur campus.She is also very creative and is responsible for the creative boards with Swami’s sayings on it, placed in many of Swami’s institutions. In this series she shares some of her experiences in interacting with divinity.)