From Doubting Thomas to Sai Devotee - By M.K. Kaw, IAS (Retd.)

Sri Sathya Sai in Shimla - 1973

I first heard of Bhagavan in 1971, through an uncle. He was childless and it was the desire for progeny which had taken him to Puttaparthi. When Bhagavan called him for an interview and gave him Vibhuti, he thought he had got a son. Years passed and the state of childlessness continued. Much later, he adopted a child. Even today he speaks of Bhagavan’s interference with the Karmic law only now and then, when a devotee's love moves Him to confer His grace.  

I saw Bhagavan for the first time in 1973, when I was posted as Collector of Solan district in Himachal Pradesh. He was travelling to Shimla and He was to pass Solan en route. My wife joined the crowd of bhajan singers at the open area near the bus stand, while the Superintendent of Police and I stood on the road to look after law and order. 

Suddenly, a cavalcade was sighted. There was a pilot jeep, then a car, then other vehicles. I could see a saffron robe in the back of the car. Bhagavan was seated in the middle with one person on either side. The crowds milled around the car. Bhagavan opened the door and showed Himself for about fifteen seconds. People rushed to take Padnamaskar. Before we knew what was happening, He had gone back to his seat, the crowds had parted and the caravan had proceeded on its way.
When my wife and I met, I chaffed her, "See, you were singing Bhajans and could not have Darshan. We sinners stood on the road and saw Him." She just smiled back. When we reached home, our orderly said that he had taken my son, then two years old, to see Bhagavan pass by. As they stood on the roadside, Bhagavan stopped His car and placed His hand on my son's forehead. We felt somehow singled out for a blessing.

I continued to hear stories about Baba's miracles. Then I was posted to Delhi. My boss was a Bhagavan devotee. He told me of Bhagavan and His activities. I think that more than anyone else, it was he who prepared the ground. One day, he invited me to a Bhajan session at his house. There he introduced me to an IPS Officer, whose cancer had been diagnosed by doctors of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Having heard of Bhagavan, he got in touch with him and then used the Vibhuti materialised by Bhagavan. The cancer just vanished. 

Try as hard as I might, this story shook me. How could cancer disappear without any treatment? It seemed impossible. It could not be magic. It was not something read in a book. Here was the beneficiary himself, to attest to the veracity of the story. 

Then my boss went on a tour to Bangalore. When he returned, he brought back a small vial full of Amrit. And the story he narrated was just unbelievable. It seemed that there was a man at Srirangapatnam, who had a ring given by Bhagavan. Day and night, Amrit oozed from the ring. Pot after pot, vessel after vessel was filled up and yet the limitless oozing continued. My boss had held that ring on his palm and soon his palm was full of Amrit. My defences started crumbling. Then I read Murphet's book. 

Sai Baba: Man of Miracles - Book by Howard Murphet

Now, for the first time, I had an inkling of the range and variety of Bhagavan's miracles and His influence over people spread over the globe. My attitude to Bhagavan started changing. I was prepared to explore for myself. 

While in Shimla, as Education Secretary, in February, 1985, I had the opportunity of getting in touch with Bhagavan's programme of Education in Human Values (EHV). This was an excellent opportunity to promote this innovative programme. 

Shortly before this I had published a book “The Science of Spirituality” in which my thesis was that there was a core to all religions which was more or less the same. I had pleaded that this was a science, a body of knowledge that could be tested on the anvil of logic and reason, that there were laws of the spiritual realm which were as real and immutable as the laws of physics and chemistry, and that spirituality should be a subject taught in schools. 

Here seemed an answer to my plea. The Sathya Sai Organisation had not only a similar approach, it had also created the pedagogy. Here was spirituality, cast in a secular mould, that could be immediately transmitted to children. There were precious nuggets to be found in the secularization of spirituality. "Meditation" was called "silent sitting". Mathematical problems, instead of asking how much a shopkeeper would gain by cheating, would now ask how much he should give away in charity. 

I was fascinated by the EHV programme. A five-day workshop organised in Shimla by the Government in full collaboration with the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation, EHV was formally introduced in the schools and a teachers' training programme launched. A batch of 100 teachers was deputed to a national conference being held at Puttaparthi. 

Professor Shyam Sunder, who was head of the Sai Organisation in Himachal Pradesh, wanted me to visit Puttaparthi too. I was reluctant, not sure whether an "official" trip would be in order. Then I learnt that the conference was to be inaugurated by Shri K. C. Pant, the then Union Minister of Education. I stayed at Puttaparthi for just three days - 1st to 3rd June, 1985. But these were days of transformation.

Bhagavan Himself was a surprise. He was so slight, so dainty and delicate. His smile was boyish; His eyes devoted to your welfare. When He came close, He was small and sweet and motherly. When He went after, His shoulders seemed broad and His face stern, and one could sense the aloofness and majesty of Shiva.
But the biggest surprise was myself. When Bhagavan came near me and said His first words "When did you arrive?" I found myself dumb. Professor Shyam Sunder mumbled something and Bhagavan moved away. But during those three days, my throat felt choked all the time, tears rose unbidden to the eyes and my heart was full. Bhagavan called me for an interview, told me about the monkey mind, materialised a ring and made me recite the Gayatri Mantra. I was in a group which was called for lunch and saw Bhagavan in the unusual role of a host, hovering around us, asking us to take more of a dish and generally behaving like an anxious housewife.

Sri Sathya Sai with Educationists during a lunch session at Prasanthi Nilayam

 I was asked to speak in one of the sessions. Something prompted me to speak each sentence in Hindi and English. This was appreciated by the audience. Then I had to chair a session. While this was going on, I found that the attention of the audience was wandering. They no longer stared at the speaker. They were looking towards me, but not me. This mysterious behaviour was explained, when I looked back and saw Bhagavan standing just behind my chair! 

When I returned from Puttaparthi, my attitude towards Bhagavan had changed. I could sense His Divinity, love and concern. Although I pushed the EHV programme in the State, I mentioned that we were collaborating with the Sathya Sai Trust as they had approached us with the complete pedagogy. 

Then in July 1987, I had a retinal hemorrhage in the left eye and my sight went down to 6/60. Doctors probing into my systems found no indication of hypertension, diabetes and so on. The problem was diagnosed as "idiopathic" which to my mind was "idiotic". But Bhagavan's blessing was obviously at work, and although I had to undergo laser surgery, the eyesight returned to 6/6, an almost unheard kind of cure. 

In January 1988 I visited Puttaparthi with the entire family, my parents, wife, daughter and son. Bhagavan showed complete knowledge about each one of us, our nature and temperament, dreams and desires, strengths and weaknesses. This time I was relatively calm but my wife wept continuously. 

Since then, we have visited Puttaparthi twice, in January 1989 and August 1989. The entire family has taken to Bhagavan. Each of us worships Bhagavan in his own way. Bhagavan's photographs adorn every room. My daughter, a hosteller at Kurukshetra, keeps a fast on Thursdays. My son, now in Moscow, writes letters to Bhagavan. So many miracles have taken place that it would be difficult to recount all of the them. Let me mention just one, to illustrate. 

On New Year's Eve, 1989, I was at Delhi Airport, waiting for the Hyderabad flight to be announced. The flight was late. I found a European youth pushing a wheelchair in which an old lady was seated. He was obviously worried about something, as he went from person to person, but without any success. I accosted him and learnt that the footrest of the wheelchair had broken loose. He wanted a mechanic, who could set it right, or perhaps if a wrench was produced, he could try to repair it himself. 

I approached the policeman near the X-ray machine, and meanwhile sent a prayer to Bhagavan. The cop looked sheepish when I told him about the trouble, but suddenly his colleague who was looking at the machine, asked us to wait. He said that a bag, which had passed through the machine immediately after I made my request, had wrench in it. The passenger who came to claim the bag turned out to be proficient in the use of the wrench. Very obligingly, he took out the wrench and repaired the wheel chair within a few minutes. 

But more than the miracles, it is the transformation of our personalities that is astonishing. In August 1987, I gave up smoking after 27 years. In August, 1989, the entire family gave up the non-vegetarian eating habit of a lifetime. We have become quieter, more introspective, less argumentative. We tend to pass on all our problems and worries to Bhagavan and He always helps. 

These days I am working on a book about Bhagavan. I am trying to read all that he has said and placing it in some kind of logical order. The writing of the book is itself a kind of Sadhana, for I find doubts dissolving and sudden flashes of illumination.
Now, at last. I have come to a stage where I am firmly convinced that Bhagavan is what He has proclaimed Himself to be — an Avatar. This has imparted a kind of serenity to me. Earlier, I used to fret and fume about what would happen to Punjab and Assam. I would wonder why tidal wave had killed a hundred thousand people of Bangladesh. Now, I know that Bhagavan is here, and whatever is happening is happening. That means it has to happen, due to the working of the karmic law, the entire ramifications which we are unable to see. So, I do not break my head against the seemingly insoluble problems of the universe. I leave them to Bhagavan Baba, who is infinitely more capable of sorting out the mess that we mortals create.

Suffice it for me that I am privileged to live in the same country as Bhagavan, that I can see Him in human form with these eyes and visualize Him with my inner eye, and that His benedictory presence is always there to protect and guide me. 

M.K. Kaw (right) with Sri Sathya Sai at Delhi in April 2010

About The Author:

Maharaj Kishen Kaw joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1964; held several high positions in Himachal Pradesh. Collector and District Magistrate of Solon and Kangra Districts; Secretary of Finance, Planning, Personnel, Public Relations, Education and Culture and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister. He spent fifteen years with the Central Government and held the posts of Member Secretary, Fifth Central Pay Commission, Secretary Civil Aviation and Secretary Human Resource Development. After his retirement in 2001, Kaw has been the Dean for Sri Sathya Sai International Centre for Human Values, New Delhi. He has to his credit several books — Science and Spirituality; An Oasis of Solitude; Bureaucracy Gets Crazier: IAS Unmasked; An Outsider Everywhere, and others.

Source: Sai Vandana (65th Birthday Offering - 1990)

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