The first one took place on the last day of my first visit to Prasanthi Nilayam back in October 2009. It had been quite an eventful first visit, experiencing life on the ashram and Baba’s leelas, and I’d decided that on the last night I was going to treat myself to a comfortable hotel room. Even the most expensive hotels in Puttaparthi are very cheap by UK standards so I booked myself into the Sai Towers Hotel, just opposite one of the main gates to the ashram. The good thing was that it was a 24 hour reservation, meaning that because I arrived at around 7.00 p.m. I had the room until 7:00 p.m. the next day. Also, for the previous two or three days there had been rumours circulating that Swami would be leaving the ashram to inaugurate a new ashram in Pune. Where Swami is concerned you can never pay much attention to any rumours that may be flying around, however, this is one rumour that turned out to be true. On the final day of my visit Baba was indeed off to Pune.
Even though my room was very comfortable I did not sleep that well and I arose quite early. At some stage I heard chanting coming from the ashram. I didn’t think anything of it at first but then I realised that it was only about 07:00 a.m. and the Vedic chanting on the ashram does not usually start until 08:00 a.m. In my naive innocence I presumed that there was an earlier than normal darshan because Baba was going away for a few days. This was not the case however and I can only presume that the chanting was to honour “God in human form” and to see him on his way. For some reason I decided to head downstairs. I say “for some reason” because there was no logical reason for me doing so. It was still early and I didn’t feel like breakfast at that precise moment, but nonetheless I found myself heading down the stairs.
When I reached the ground floor I noticed that there was people lining the street. For a moment I wondered what was going on; and then the realisation hit me. I ventured outside to a hive of activity, and within a few moments of me being out there, Baba’s car swung out of the gate and turned to head right past me. I couldn’t believe it, my loving Lord engineered my own personal “car darshan” for me on my last morning in Puttaparthi. As the car went past with Swami’s tiny figure in the back seat I was screaming and pleading in my head for him to make eye contact with me. But did he do it? No, of course not; he teased and tantalized me with a view of his Divine human form, he engineered my own personal darshan with precision timing, but he wasn’t going to make eye contact with me. Ever the Divine teaser, it was as though Baba handed me a bag of sweets, let me eat some and then took them back before I could get to my favourites. But what he did do was suffuse my heart with his love, and what a feeling it was; my heart just melted. I felt so blessed that Swami did that for me, and to this day, when I look back on that event I always have a little chuckle to myself at how he manages to tease us until we are on the verge of bursting. I’m sure there are millions of devotees all over the world who have similar stories to tell.
Watch this space for part two.