Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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  The amazing story of Sri Narayana Bhat

[Sri Narayana Swamiji, who has been Principal of the Aliké School (mentioned above) for 12 years, narrated this story during his recent visit to London. This devout Swamiji is currently heading an Anaatha Ashram in Karnataka. He had the honour of working closely with Sri Narayana Bhat during those years.]

Sri Narayana Bhat was the founder, or more appropriately the Instrument, in the Divine Mission of starting the Sathya Sai School at Aliké, Post Sathya Sai Vihar, and Dakshina Kannada District in Karnataka. Aliké is a small village about 48 km from Mangalore.

In 1961, some one gave Sri Narayana Bhat a book about Sai Baba and said to him, this is the story of God incarnate on earth. Sri Bhat did not pay much attention to that. But slowly, his curiosity increased and he decided to make a trip to Puttaparthy

In the same year, he went with some of his friends to Puttaparthy and prayed to Swami (mentally) that he heard both good and bad things about Him, and to show him the truth. After sometime, Swami came out for Darshan on the first floor terrace, and Sri Bhat had Darshan of the Lord from the distance. As soon as he saw Swami, his heart jumped and said to him, "He is the same Lord Rama, Lord Krishna come again." So ripe was his heart, and such a pure and noble person he was - that with one Darshan, He realised who Swami really was! We should ask ourselves how many Darshans and close opportunities we have had with Swami, and where are we in realizing that truth.

Bhat came back to Aliké and he started filling every place with Swami's photos. Everything he did was named after Swami. Whether it was a cow shed, or the agricultural farm or whatever he did was named Sri Sathya Sai….

In 1962, he decided to start a residential school with the primary objective of imparting value-based education with a background of Indian culture and spirituality. While the school had its own share of financial problems, Sri Bhat was a strong believer in God, and he would say "do not wait for money to do good things; if you are convinced something is good, is good for the society, then do it and money will follow." In fact, he was a man of strong conviction ("Self-confidence") and he would undertake any venture not by looking at his own ability to do it, but whether it did any good to the society; and without worrying about the success or failure, profit or loss. This is a practical demonstration of Swami's teaching, "use fundamental discrimination but not individual discrimination".

Years passed this way, and in the process, as it happens in the case of a real sadhaka (seeker of truth), he was ripe enough, and felt that the time has come to offer everything to Swami, to cast off the ego-feeling in him. On December 31, 1976, he called a General Body meeting of the school governing committee, which unanimously passed a resolution, requesting Swami to take over the school.

A delegation of the entire district under the leadership of Sri Bhat went to Puttaparthy to place this request before Swami and to pray that He should come to Aliké. Swami called the group for an interview where the Memorandum was submitted to Swami. After reading through the note, the all-knowing Lord said to Sri Bhat, "Ok. Your work is over. Now you can go." So the people got up from the interview room, and came out satisfied that Swami accepted their proposal. Sri Bhat also wanted Swami to come physically to Aliké, to see the school and to be present for the formal handing over of the school (the registration process). Swami said He would come on January16th - it was around New Year when the group met with Swami.

In Aliké, preparations were now in full swing to welcome Swami to their village for the first time. Although he was a frugal spender, Sri Bhat spent lavishly in preparations for Swami's Divine visit. One of the centers also decided to conduct a weeklong Akhanda bhajan with the end (Aarti) to coincide with Swami's visit to the bhajan centre. It was also decided that Sri Bhat should inaugurate the Akhanda bhajan.

Bhat was on his way to inaugurate the bhajan when his car had an accident and he died within one hour on his way to the hospital at Mangalore. His mother was inconsolable on her hearing of her son's death - he was also the only son. She wept hard and refused to allow the body to be taken for post-mortem. She strongly demanded the body be taken to Puttaparthi, saying Baba would make him alive. Doctors and many others tried to convince her but in vain. To their surprise, they found Sri N. Kasturi (editor of Sanathana Sarathi and author of Satyam Sivam Sundaram series) in the hospital at that time. He came to the mother and said to her, Narayana Bhat was a very devoted person who had given his everything to Swami - his man (mind), dhan (wealth), and now he had given his tan (body) as well to Swami. "Complete surrender" to Swami was his earnest desire, to see the fulfillment of the life's journey. She should therefore not weep over it but allow destiny to take its course, in a manner befitting the proud mother of a noble son. Coming from Sri Kasturi, she accepted, though reluctantly. The body was then carried to the school premises, after the postmortem.

Within a short while, after the body was cremated on the same day, they received a telegram from Swami - although no one physically told Swami about Sri Bhat's death, and in those days, there was no fast communication like we have today. The telegram said, "Narayana Bhat has eternally merged in Me. Do not bring body, Be bold - Baba". Naturally, they were all amazed to see such a telegram. The next day, another telegram arrived from Swami asking Narayana Bhat's Mother and sister to come to Parthy. A number of people from the village went along with the mother and sister to Parthy in a bus. Swami called the group for an interview. The ensuing dialogue between the physical mother and the Divine Mother is indeed an eye opener for all of us:

Mother to Swami: Swami, all these days Narayana used to look after the school. Now what will happen? Who will look after the school?

Swami: Amma, all these days Narayana alone was looking after the school; now Sai Narayana will look after the school. Remember, this is about 10 days after Swami said to Narayana "Your work is over; now you can go!" Such is the deep and inner meaning of Swami's word!

Mother: Swami, everyone in the village knew that Narayana regarded you as God. Now if they know that Narayana has died, what will they say? They will talk bad about you.

Swami: Tell them Narayana has gone to Puttaparthy. Tell them he is with Swami now.

Mother: Swami, but surely you could have saved him. You could have prevented his death.

Swami: Amma, for one moment I considered that also. Swami said this in Kannada putting His index finger and thumb together to indicate what happened that instant when the accident took place. At that moment, I heard two voices - one was your voice saying "Swami, please save my son", and the other voice was your son's pleading to Him, "Swami, I have had enough of this world; please take me into you." And in the end, I decided to listen to him. Remember that telegram Swami sent shortly after the death "Narayana Bhat has eternally merged in Me!"

Mother: But Swami, why did he have to die such a death - an untimely death at the young age of 49, a very healthy and dynamic person, dying such a violent death - in an accident. Why did he have to die like that?

Swami: Amma, tell me, where was Lord Krishna born? In a Jail. Where did he die? In the middle of a forest to the arrow of a hunter. Was that not a violent death? Where was Jesus Christ born? In a horse stable. How did he die? Crucified by nails driven in his body. Was that not a violent death? How did Mahatma Gandhi die? To the bullets from Gun. Was that not a violent death? God does not look at the birth or the death. He is only concerned with what you do in between the period from birth to death. If I want to call somebody from the crowd, I needn't go myself, it is enough I send a messenger. Similarly, if God is in need of somebody, he will get him through any of his 'Agents'.

Mother: Swami, with his passing away, hundreds of his disciples who have dedicated their lives become orphans. Who is to guide them?

Swami: No need to worry, nobody should leave the institution for this reason. Hundreds of people will join the Mission in the days to come.

Source: http://www.geocities.com/saicenter_us/snl/snl_012802.htm

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