Transformation by The Divine Alchmeist

I know the title evokes a different response. Alchemy is supposed to be some kind of art or science which can transmute base metals to gold - isnt it? Or better still, maybe a process by which a potion is developed which when consumed confers longevity and perennial youthfulness. This is more a part of mythology which doesnt seem to have any factual corroboration.
For years, I believed so too till one day I bumped into someone called Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Now, to say that He was an alchemist is an understatement since He would transmute not just base metals but even thin air into not just gold but ornaments and diamonds. But, without a doubt in my mind what made Him special wasnt even this ability. It was His ablility to transform people with 'base' instincts and a 'debased' nature to someone who would have 'golden' thoughts and 'divine' nature. Ponder upon this for a moment.
Just recently I met a former classmate of mine. He studied with me during my 11th and 12th grade - 18 years ago(whoa! I am old). What he said really shocked me. He recounted those days when we studied together and was amazed at the change that he had seen in me after all these years. I was just ruminating over those years when I was a 15-16 year old lad - directionless, lost in imaginations, low on confidence and self esteem. When I look back to see where my life took a turn, I have to say that it was when Swami decided that He will make a grand entry into it. Or rather, when the Divine Alchemist decided to work on a worthless piece of scrap. But is this not the story of every young man who was touched by Him?
It was He who taught and showed the way. Our parents gave us a family in this world. But Swami it was who showed us that the world was our family. Our teachers taught us how to count, Swami taught us what counts.
There are an incredible number of stories about how Swami has transformed lives and how people have led a higher, nobler and better life - more spiritual and in tune with righteousness after coming to Him. The fact that He came and spent time with all of us - so patiently and so lovingly is in itself a great blessing. I will share two stories of transformation that I had noticed being part of the youth group and having spent years in His care as a Sai student.
The first one is about a classmate. He was an engineering student and we studied together. He had violent thoughts and would invariably be involved in some brawl or another. However, he was pretty good at studies and would often manage a decent percentage. He was not a believer in the Sathya Sai form and name and would - by his own confession - often throw down Swami's pocket sized photo and stamp it with his foot. During our engineering days, we would board the same bus since our homes were close by and invariably I would read some book on Swami during the long ride home. I was reading the Summer Showers 1990 - a collection of Swami's discourses given during the Summer Course conducted in 1990 - a wonderful book indeed. My classmate would sit next to me and often peep into what I was reading. He was surprised that I believed in Sri Sathya Sai but he dared not mock me since he had seen me speaking highly of Swami often. One day he came to me of his own accord and asked me if I had finished reading the book I used to read each day in the bus. When I replied in the affirmative, he asked me if he could borrow the book. I was only glad to hand it over to him. Over the next week, I noticed a sea change in his behaviour. He had become a lot more tolerant, polite and gentle. When I asked him what happened to him, he said that from the first day that he started reading the book, he had dreams each night where Swami would guide him about various things. Wow - the alchemy had started.
Swami called us for an interview when we went as a group
of engineering students from Hyderabad
Slowly, he gave up eating non vegetarian food which was a regular in his family. Being from a pure vegetarian family, I never realized that it was quite a huge challenge to give up non vegetarian, especially when the rest of your family continues to eat and there is constant pressure from your parents to eat it. 'If you dont eat non veg, you will become weak' they would say. In spite of all that pressure, he would only smile and respond saying, 'Eating non vegetarian food will make me weak, desisting from doing so has made me much stronger from inside.'
Subsequently, he asked me if he could visit Puttaparthi to see Swami the next time I went there. It so happened that by Swami's grace, we were able to organize a trip by Engineering students to Puttaparthi . Many of them were coming there for the first time. Imagine our surprise when Swami spoke to us in Darshan and called us in for an interview. It was undoubtedly a profound experience for the young lad and Swami guided him to appear for the Civil Services exam. Today, he is a successful officer in the Indian Railways having become an IRTS officer. He serves as an example for integrity and without doubt is an instrument in Swami's hands. Swami works in wonderful ways and one can never ascertain how He enters into whose heart and when.

The second story is about a youngster - for identity protection, I will call him Krishna - that I met when I was newly part of the Hyderabad youth team. This young lad was about my age and was leading a youth team comprising of devoted youngsters from Eluru, the capital town of West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh. He related to me how he was down in the dumps due to his lavish lifestyle and wayward living. He belonged to a well to do family and was also pursuing Engineering in a college in Karnataka. However, he would hardly ever visit the college, leave alone studying there. Being from an aristocratic family, he would roam around in a car and his daily routine comprised of watching movies and boozing with friends. He would only sleep when he was tired of these. His room had posters of the leading heroines of the film industry adorning the walls. Well - this Krishna was a shining example of all that a young man should stay away from. Nevertheless, he failed a year and stopped studying. His father then ran into losses and he couldnt afford to go around in a car any more. This is when the Alchemist started to work His magic. He had a friend who was part of the partying and boozing gang who told him to come along with him to Brindavan, Bangalore to see Sai Baba. Now, Krishna did not want to go to see Swami since he had absolutely no interest in anything spiritual. But his friend managed to convince him somehow and took him along. What happened after that was an amazing sequence of events. During the very first darshan he had, Swami walked up to him and said, "You must go back and finish your engineering. You have already lost a couple of years. Go back and complete your studies." At first, this boy thought that his friend might have told Swami about it. But how was it possible? There were so many thousands sitting in darshan. When would his friend have told anything to Swami?

This little conversation had quite an effect on this young lad and he returned to his engineering college. Surprisingly, people seemed very welcoming. He started to attend the local samithi bhajans and got to know more about Swami. In just one year, he managed to bring the fellow students from his college - many of who maintained gangs and were rowdy sheeters who had political affiliations - to Swami.
Swami granting padnamaskar
When Swami saw them in darshan, He said that He would bless them all with padanamaskar. And what followed was a wave of transformation where many of these students who were non believers and very skeptical were found weeping after Swami passed by them. This is what can perhaps be called a tsunami of love which also destroys - but only the evil qualities in the person. To quote an example, one of these students was himself a popular (or should I call him unpopular) rowdy. He was known to extort money and threaten people in the college. When the protagonist of this story approached him, this man threatened him saying that he had heard that Sai Baba gives rings and chains. If he came, Sai Baba must give him a ring otherwise Krishna's hands and legs would be broken. So adamant was Krishna that he just said "you come along. Swami will give." Of course, his heart was palpitating heavily when Swami was giving padanamaskar, thinking of what would follow. But, as soon as Swami came to this rogue student,  He pulled up His sleeve, materialized a ring, put it on his finger and asked, "Isn't this what you wanted? Is the size perfect?" That was it. The rogue in him disappeared and he fell at Swami's feet and begged for forgiveness. He was continuously weeping.
The base metal had changed into pure gold. The posters adorning the walls of Krishna's room were only those of Swami now.
Once they returned, they started bhajans in the college and to this day there are bhajans in that college every Thursday. The students distribute buttermilk during summer and participate in social service activities. Krishna completed his engineering in 6 years and is now in a responsible position in a big company. But the light Swami lit in him didnt get extinguished there itself. He went to the UK and facilitated the development of his village.
In his native village today, there is a free general hospital, a free vocational training center, a free kitchen where food is cooked for hundreds and distributed each day and a temple of Swami - all of them having come about because of Krishna's tenacious pursuit and love for Swami.
The alchemist as the world understands the term may be a myth, but the Divine Alchemist is a reality which did walk the earth. Little do we realize that the elixir to immortality has already been dished out - the recipe is to follow His footsteps and reach Him.

To read a blog on why there are conflicts in this world and why terrorists and extremists exist - as per Swami - read!/2013/04/when-conscience-is-sold.html

To read on whether God has a dilemma and how prayers getting answered may not be the best thing, read!/2011/12/gods-dilemma.html

To read a blog on what prevents us from following God's commands, read!/2013/02/3-things-that-prevent-us-from-following.html


Sai Nandagiri said…
Truly amazing.. I could see the story in front of my eyes all through the reading. More than that. I could see SWAMI all through the story. The 2nd part of the 2nd story is touching and shows how the love of SWAMI is flowing into the arteries and veins thru the protagonist JAI SAI RAM.
CS.Bala said…
Dear Venu... the technology being leveraged in your hands... very happy to see such posts which are making me as reader to go back to those years how Swamy spent his value time with the youth force of the world... Every single sould who has been blessed by HIM... for that case even touched by HIM... is no doubt has tranformed a SAI Light House in the society. Keep writing... keep making us to think of HIM. Love
@Prashant - thanks for that feedback brother. Felt really good reading it. Keeps me going. Will share more of this online satsang
@Bala - absolutely anna. We have a responsibility. Of late, I was feeling that in those days, we would all sit and talk about Swami and share so many good things. These days, due to various pressures, many youth are missing out on valuable satsang with our senior brothers busy and junior brothers trying to make a career for themselves. However, I felt this way was the best to keep an online satsang going. With your permission, I'd love to write your story too. I am sure it must have been an amazing journey.

Popular posts from this blog

GURUDEVA - a tribute on Guru Poornima

Spiritual Stirrings for the Soul

Why God Created the Universe?