SRI SATHYA SAI HRUDAYA
(Indweller of Hearts)
By Bombai Srinivasan
Srinivasa, Sai Venkatesa
Thirumala Hills in Tirupathi is a very well known,
renowned pilgrim center, perhaps the biggest in our country
attracting millions of devotees all through the year, from all
parts of India and even from overseas countries. Our Lord,
Sai had revealed that He is the embodiment of all forms and
names. As such, the divinity of Lord Venkateswara in Tirupathi
temple is our Swami Himself. I was made to realize this aspect
following an experience forced on me. Until this experience, I
had never been to Tirupathi, till I was about 55 years old.
When I moved over from Bombay to Madras to set
up a business, I had taken an youngster, with me who had
contributed his mite towards a part of capital investment and
became a partner in the company. He was very energetic and
intelligent and had the capacity to run the factory with utmost
Our main clients were M/s. Brakes India Limited, one of the
TVS group of companies. They had their foundry at a place called
Sholingar about 120 kilometers away from Madras. This place is a
famous pilgrim center particularly for the vaishnavaites.
Atop the big hill, there is a small beautiful temple. The
presiding Deity is Lord Narasimha one of the ten Avatars
of Vishnu According to the scriptures. Narasimha is
dreadful in lion headed form, having killed the invincible Asura
Hiranya Kasibu. Even the Gods from the heavens did not dare to go
near the Lord; only the child devotee, Prahlad could go to Him.
But the Deity in the Sholingar, called the Sholmgeswar, is seen
sitting calmly in Yoga posture and hence called as Yoga
We had to make daily supplies of shell cores to
Brakes India Ltd., and we found the transportation of the
materials everyday from Madras to be too expensive and resulting
in damages also. Our clients had problems of quality control on
our products, and hence insisted that we should establish a small
unit at Sholinghur. Ultimately we took a small place on rental
there and commenced production.
Everything went on well during the early
periods. The trouble started when we had built up assets like
factory shed and had developed an excellent goodwill in the
industrial circles. One day my partner informed me that he wanted
to go back to Bombay and wanted immediate settlement of his
accounts. We were drawing minimum amounts for our
maintenance and the entire earnings from four years of running the
industry, had been ploughed back into the business. I did not have
any reserve funds. I told him that I would need some time to think
over the matter. He agreed, but made it clear that till the
settlement was over we would not be eligible for any monthly
withdrawals for personal expenses. He took away the chequebook
with him Without my knowledge, he had already started some other
minor business and he had no financial problems. The stalemate
continued for more than 3 months. I found it very difficult to
maintain my family; We had no relatives in Madras to help us out.
My partner claimed a huge cash compensation in
settlement, and I could go nowhere to raise such a sum
During those difficult days I had stopped visiting the factory and
stayed in the house. The only activity of mine was,
attending the programmes of the Samithi and reading
Sai literature. The developments that
followed, proved that Swami was doing what was best
for me and at the Same time imparting certain spiritual knowledge
to me in His own subtle way.
We used to conduct Bhajans in our house every
Friday. On a particular Friday during the period of the crisis, when the Bhajan was going on
as usual, I had to go to bathroom several times. I had developed
diarrhea and by the time the Arati was over, the problem had
become very acute. I did not have any money left with me. I had in
fact only a small amount with me, which I gave to the harmonist
who used to assist us in the Bhajan. It was about 8 PM and a
doctor was available just below our flat, but I did not have any
money to pay either for consultation or for purchasing any
tablets. By around 9 P.M. the condition became too severe and I
collapsed on the bed. I became unconscious. Even at this stage
Swami appeared as if in dream. He was consoling me not to worry.
He was advising "When you are reduced to a helpless situation, the
Lord takes over your care under His control. Now you have no penny
left with you and are a ZERO. Don 't be ashamed of being a zero.
When you become zero, I come and give you my hand and Lift you up.
Yes. I am lifting you up, and up".
As Swami was sounding into me the above words, I
was slowly regaining consciousness. I felt somebody was calling
and actually lifting me up holding my hands. A lady, who had adopted me as her dear elder brother,
was calling me and lifting me. Mrs. Parvathi Ram was then working
as a senior nurse in the Apollo Hospitals, Madras. In fact she
was with us during the Bhajan that evening. Looking at my
condition, my son had rushed to her house, and had brought her.
As Swami was telling that "I am lifting you up". Mrs. Parvathi was
trying to lift me from the bed. In no time she arranged to take me
to the Apollo Hospital and admitted me in an emergency ward. The
doctor on duty diagnosed that it was a case of dehydration and that my pulse was very
week. They put me under glucose drip treatment, and this process
continued till morning. Parvathi was sitting in a chair by the
side of the bed and was reading some book on Swami. She was
keeping vigil on me and did not have any wink during the entire
night though she was to resume duty the next morning. I was
helpless and allowed her to look after me. The next morning I felt
better and I was discharged and brought back home. It took another
couple of days for complete recovery.
This sudden set back in health was only a temporary
phenomenon. But Swami turned it into a tremendous opportunity
to infuse in me the wonderful concept and practice of
saranagarhi (surrender). Mentally I gained strength and my
faith in Sai. Even in the partnership crisis, I left everything
unto Him since I was myself a zero without any capacity to tackle
the issue by myself I resorted to reading of Sai literature very
vigorously. I had nothing else to do, and waited for Swami to take
control of the situation. There had been several such instances
of His mercy in my life Because of my intense faith, I had ceased
And Swami made the next move!
My aged mother was still living at that time,
with one of my brothers in Bombay. She had recalled to me
several times that she had gone to Tirupathi walking
all the way and climbing the hills when she was carrying me
in her pregnancy. She had been told by somebody, that
at that point of time, if a girl were to be born, it would not be
good for the family. So she was praying for a boy child this time.
And her prayers were answered and I was born, a boy. She wanted
to call me by the name of Lord of Tirupathi, but my father was
already bearing that name,
Venkateswara. Hence she named me Srinivasan, which is one of
the many names of Lord Venkateswra. She had further
taken a vow in the name of the same Lord that she would bring me
to the temple and offer my hair. Though I was aged 55, I had never
visited Tirupathi and could not fulfill the prayer of my mother.
After becoming a devotee of Sai, I had no interest left in me to
visit other temples and go on pilgrimages to sacred places. Only
Sai was my God, and Prashanthi Nilayam was the only place of
pilgrimage. I was fanatically so strong in my devotion to Sai,
that I did not recognize any other form of God as worthy of
worshipping, since I believed that Swami is the embodiment of all
names and forms. It was at that time, I started having visions of
my old mother in my dream very regularly. She used to plead with
me to go to Tirupathi and offer my hair to the Lord and fulfill
her prayers before she left the body.
But I was trying to be ?rationalistic?!
Is Lord Balaji (Venkateswara) going to be benefited in
any way by the offer of my Hair? Then why is
this sentiment about all the foolish sentimental prayers? God is
not going to punish if the hair is not offered. He always forgives
and protects His devotees. This is what we learn from Sai.
Nevertheless the frequent dreams of my mother continued.
I happened to be reading a book of Swami as
usual It was 'Sri Sathya Sai Speaks' but I do not remember which
volume it was. There it was! In one His Divine discourses, l
accidentally stumbled upon a paragraph. It begins with a question
from Swami. "Does Lord Balaji need your hair?" Swarm answers that
the Lord does not want you hair. But then why such prayers are
made? Swami further explains that whether the Lord require your
hair or not, it is the duty of the devotee to keep his words. " If
you do not keep up the word to Lord how can any one expect that
you will keep your promise to human beings? As such, without
debating whether Lord Balaji is interested in your hair or not, it
is your duty to fulfill the vow taken in the name of God."
Instantly I knew that Swami was teaching me another lesson on the
importance of adhering to Sathya (the truth).
I started pondering over the importance of that teaching. But
egoistic human beings, as we are, the so-called intelligence tried
to interpret that I had never made such a prayer. I tried to
wriggle out of my conscious obligation towards keeping up the
promise made to the divinity. I was wrong again Swami did not
allow me to escape. The very next day, I took another book at
random for my daily reading. It happened to be "Rama Katha Rasa
Vahini? Again on casually opening a page these were the words
staring at me. "Did Lord Sri Rama make any promise any time to go
to forest? And yet He made up his mind to relinquish the throne
and joyfully proceeded to forest. Though he had not given any
word. Lord Sri Rama was very eager to fulfill the promises made by
His Father King Dasaralha ".
I felt as if somebody had slapped me. I understood the
implications of those lines. It is better to obey the command of
the Lord implicitly than using our own half-baked intelligence to
analyze the pros and cons. At once, I got up from the chair, and
proceeded to the place where Bhagavan?s photos were kept for
daily pooja and prayers. I knelt before the Bhagavan?s picture and
prayed that I should be for given. I promised that I would proceed to
Tirupathi very soon and fulfill the vow of my mother to shave
off my head.
When once, I prayed for forgiveness, and
affirmed my words of promise, things started moving very fast.
Early next morning after my pooja was over, I decided that I would go to the factory. Why should I not? I was still
one of the partners of the company and I had equal rights in the
company. I became emboldened knowing fully well that Swami was
with me. I decided that I would assert my authority in the company
affairs, I could by then think very clearly and come to certain
conclusions. In the evening when the establishment was closed for
the day, I asked my partner to give me a lift in his scooter up to
the nearest bus stand from where I could take a bus to my house.
Half way through, an idea developed in my mind. I asked him as to
why we should not part as friends in the policy of live and let
live. I told him that I was willing to offer the workshop at
Sholingar with the available assets there, including the raw
materials and the machinery as compensation, and all the
liabilities would be absorbed by me. I further promised him that
the business with M/s. Brakes India Ltd., would also be diverted
to him. I did not know what transpired in his mind and how he
took it. He stopped the vehicle and looking back at me asked
whether I was serious about that offer. On my assurance, he fixed
up the next day to draw up the deed of retirement and settlement.
The very next day he signed the documents, shook hands with me and
walked out of the factory, leaving me behind as the sole
proprietor of firm There was still a small balance amount of cash
compensation to be paid to another minor partner. I did not have
liquid cash. And my adopted sister Parvathi came to my rescue She
offered a sizable amount as a temporary loan so that I could meet
the commitment and come out of the crisis.
Left alone in the factory, I was in dazed condition. The
things had moved very fast, and an impossible solution had been
found instantly and I could be of my own in the business. I
tried to recall all the events that went past during the last ten
days or so. Only a day before I had promised to Swami that I
would gladly fulfill the vow of my mother and within 24 hours I
had been rescued miraculously from a knotty situation for which I
could not think of any solution. He had found the solution in His
own way. In the end, the net result of the long period of agony
proved to be beneficial. I knew that it was all the Grace of
Bhagavan Baba. While He had willed to do something for my own
good, He had also taught me a few lessons on saranagathi
principle. When once I had surrendered, identifying myself as a
big ZERO, he took control of the situation and did what was best
I did not forget the promise I made to Bhagavan the day
earlier. From the factory I telephoned to a travel agency and
organized a tourist taxi so that we could proceed to Tirupathi the
same day. I also informed my wife about the developments and
asked her to be ready so that we could leave for Tirupathi as soon
I reached home. My partner had signed the deed and left the
premises by 4.00 PM and within an hour, say by 5.OOPM, we were on
our way to Tirupathi.
Somehow I could feel an overwhelming enthusiasm
within me in going on this special pilgrimage to Tirupathi, equal
to that of my visit to Prashanthi Nilayam.
As mentioned earlier, I had never gone to this hill temple.
But I had heard from several friends that we would have to wait
several hours in the large queue boxes, even if we opt for special
Darshan for which a charge is levied. When we arrived atop the
hill, it was almost night and we decided to have our night food in
one of the nearby hotels. The taxi driver later took us to
the place where we had to purchase the entrance tickets for the
special Darshan. We got our tickets and were shown the entrance
point of the queue.
We did not find anybody in the queue. As we passed through the
barricaded line, there were none to be seen. At last we reached
the main Gopuram and then the Dwajasthamba,
the metallic gold covered flag post. Still nobody was seen. As we
were entering the sacred sanctum we could clearly have the darshan
of the beautiful Deity, Lord Venkateswara standing there
majestically. I felt that I heard him calling me "Come my
son, come, I am waiting for you". I felt as if our Swami
was actually calling me. I was full of tears as I heard this, and
dashed into the sanctum. There were a few priests in the passage.
I ran in and fell down prostrating. I was weeping. My wife
The priests became alert and directed us to get up. There is a
rule that nobody could offer Namaskar inside the sanctum. We did
not know the rule, nor did we care for any such rules at that
time. I was in a state of bliss, enjoying every moment of it. We
were persuaded to leave the sanctum, after receiving sacred
theertham. While we were coming out of the sanctum, scores of
devotees were streaming in chanting 'Govinda, Govinda'. Later on I
was told that, the Darshan had been temporarily suspended for a
few hours, since there were some celebrations in the Pushkarini
(temple tank). It was just a coincidence that we were first to go
in, after resumption of Darshan. Or was it a coincidence at all?
Lord Himself had developed the situation with perfect timing! We
felt grateful to Swami for making our first visit to Tirupathi so
We left the temple and checked into a lodge.
Early next morning, I called for a barber and got my head shaved
neatly. After taking bath, we went to the temple and had one more
This Leela of our Swami taught me taught a
lesson that we should not be fanatic in our devotion, and we
should accept all forms of various gods, as the form and name are
Author's statement in:
Many of you may
be aware that I had authored a book with the title "Sri Sathya Sai
Hrudaya Nivasi (Indweller of Hearts). This book had seen the third
reprint, and is being sold in Bhagavan's Bookstall at Prashanthi
Nilayam. Many of you would have purchased and many would not have
got chance to go to Parthi and get the book. After the third
edition, this may not go to print again. As such I wish to bring
the contents of this book to each and every one of you.
Starting from today I shall post one chapter every week or if
possible twice a week, depending upon the response I get from you
all. I would request you to kindly read it and then re-circulate
it to your other friends in the Sai Family.
The text could be transferred to your hard disk, and if possible
print outs taken out.
Utilize the contents, as much as you like.
With Lots of Love and regards