Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan | Group V | Dr. Mrs. Yashoda Bhat

Dr. Mrs. Yashoda Bhat,

Dr. Mrs. Yashoda Narayan Bhat Ph.D. is a retired reader in English, writer, poet and critic. She is the daughter of Late V. K. Gokak, an eminent educationist from Bangalore. She has been a devotee of Bhagavan for about three decades. She narrates a few of her experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in her own words.

'I had darshan of Bhagavan sometime in 1967 or so and also interview along with my father Dr.V.K.Gokak, who was then the Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University and also the president of all Karnataka Sai Samithis. I was then teaching English literature in the M.T.B. Arts College, Surat and my husband was an Income Tax Officer there. In August or September of that year, I had severe back pain and was on leave from my college. In a letter to my parents in Bangalore, I casually mentioned about it.

After I wrote that letter, there was an unprecedented, sudden and ferocious flood in the River Tapi on the bank of which Surat is located. The floods caused havoc in the town, and all the contacts with the outside world were cut off. In that horrible deluge, men, women, children, cattle, huts, and corn stored in shops were all washed away. Our house was not spared too! We were forced to carry our things to the first floor and were stay put there for 3-4 days, with no contact with the outside world.

During the period of deluge, Bhagavan paid a casual visit to my father Prof. Gokak's house in Bangalore. He talked to everyone in the house and casually asked my mother 'how are your children?' My mother said 'everybody is fine, Swami, except my eldest daughter Yashoda staying in Surat. She had written to us about her ill-health. After that we learnt from newspapers that there were floods in Surat. We have not heard from her since. I am anxious about all of them staying in Surat'.

Bhagavan, standing before my parents, visualized the exact scene in Surat and suddenly said 'don't worry. They are safe'. Out of His compassion for us in distress, He instantly manifested a locket and, giving it to my mother, said 'please send this to your daughter.' Then my sister Sarala, who was present there, packed up the locket in a small box and sent it to our address in Surat. He had manifested the locket for me and sent His divine grace to us, caught as we were in a grim predicament.

In Surat, where we lived, we did not know what had happened in Bangalore. The floods receded after 3-4 days and life was slowly returning to normalcy. Schools and Colleges which were closed for nearly two weeks slowly started functioning; my son's school reopened and he started going to school. But my college did not reopen because it was converted into dormitory for those hit by the floods. So I automatically got a longer holiday and more time to recoup from my illness.

During this period, on a morning between 11 a.m. and 12 noon or so, I was lying down for a short while giving rest to my back. I was half asleep and half awake, when, before my closed eyes, I suddenly saw a huge radiant 'Abhayahasta' in the sky. Shall I call it a cosmic Abhayahasta spanning the entire visible sky? It was bright like the light of hundreds of tube lights. I was overawed and stunned. I suddenly woke up, rather dazed, but later lost track of this experience during waking hours.

Two or three days later, a postman, who had come home after a long time, brought a small parcel for me. It was wrapped up in white cloth. I opened it. There was some cotton and beneath it was a locket on which there is a picture of an 'Abhayahasta' set in the midst of the letter 'Aum' written in Devanagari script. My sister's letter was along with the locket. This is the locket manifested by Bhagavan in my father's house. It has a picture of Shirdi Sai Baba on the reverse. The word 'Abhay' is written along the edge in Devanagari, Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam. I was ecstatic but was also puzzled, not knowing the full significance of what had come to me, new as I was to the leelas of Bhagavan. That locket is still with me.

My mind now goes back to the year 1985. My father Dr.V.K.Gokak was then the Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and was staying in a set of rooms in W1-A wing of Prasanthi Nilayam facing Poorna Chandra Auditorium. As my younger brother Anil's son's thread ceremony was performed by Bhagavan in Prasanthi Nilayam at that time, almost all the members of our family were present there in the adjoining rooms.

One day, around 11:00 a.m., when I was in my room talking with my sister, my nephew Sunil suddenly came running to our room and blurted out. 'What are you doing here? Bhagavan has come to Dada's house. He wants to see all of you. Come there immediately'. All of us rushed to the spot. When I was entering the room in my father's block, I saw Bhagavan sitting in a chair and I was facing Him. He looked at me and suddenly started speaking loudly. 'Oh! This house, it has no windows. There is no air and there is no ventilation. It does not have sufficient light. What a house! Is this a house?' Baba spoke in fluent Kannada and it had peculiar intonation and thrust! Only I, among all those present there, could catch the significance of it.

Yes, only I could know its relevance and meaning. The reason is that Bhagavan was reproducing verbatim what I had said in that very room the previous day! Each and each word! And that, too, in that same tone! It is difficult to reproduce that on paper and in English.

Naturally, I was stunned and flabbergasted. Looking at me sharply, Bhagavan commented 'oh! The eldest daughter has come from Delhi. That isn't a house. Is it?' There was a sarcastic thrust in the tone. Although I had spoken those words casually the previous evening, and had forgotten about it, Baba had heard all that sitting in His abode. Now He was reproducing each and every word of mine! But, why all this? Why? A hundred 'Whys' danced in my mind!

No one else besides me at that time could imagine what was happening there. I wondered whether even my mother remembered what I had casually but emphatically stated. There was total silence. Thereafter Bhagavan looked at my Father and said 'Gokak, I'd given you a big house'.

Father softly replied 'Yes, Swami. But we prefer to stay here. That house is far away. Here we are close to you and we can have your 'darshan' frequently.

Looking at my mother, He said 'you can't look after a big house. Isn't it?

'No, Swami' my mother promptly replied. 'I don't keep well. I can't shoulder that responsibility. Moreover, Swami, I think these four rooms alone aren't our house. The whole of Prasanthi Nilayam is our house'.

Bhagavan was mightily satisfied with the reply given by my parents and that issue was dropped there itself.

After that Bhagavan talked about many other things. All of us had 'padanamaskar' and then Bhagavan left the place.

After Bhagavan's departure, I asked my mother 'was I wrong in making such comments?' She replied 'no, your reaction was a natural response of an affectionate daughter. You expressed your anxiety about the fact that we had voluntarily come away from a big house with all comforts, and we are facing some inconvenience here. You played your role well. Swami explained to you certain things which you did not know. It is Swami's leela'.

In 1979, my husband Sri. N. P. Bhat, who was then working in the Ministry of Finance in Delhi (and I was teaching in the K. M. College, University of Delhi, Delhi) was selected to go to the Harvard University for an International Taxation Programme, and our son was to proceed to the Michigan University, Ann Arbor, U.S.A., for further studies. I was to join them and do some research work there. Before we went to the U.S.A., we went to Prasanthi Nilayam to seek Bhagavan's blessings. Bhagavan was gracious enough to grant us an interview. He casually asked me 'you have a desire to work for Me in the U.S.A. Isn't it?' At once, I said 'yes, Swami'. But I wondered how I could do everything there, in such a strange country and within a very short time.

When I joined my son and my husband in the U.S.A in February 1979, I experienced what a 'Sai family' really means in a strange country. In India, settled in our own environment, living in the midst of our own culture, one may not experience the loneliness that one goes through in a foreign country. Indians staying aboard often come together through their devotion to Bhagavan. Devotion to Sai becomes a cementing factor and 'Sai Families' exist meaningfully. We visited Boston, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Toronto, Ottawa, Washington D.C and London in U.K. and had opportunities to interact with local Sai devotees. Several Americans and people from other countries had also joined 'Sai groups'. We interacted with them, too, sang bhajans, narrated our experiences and enjoyed the ecstasy of devotion to Sai. Sai families, as I saw them, consisted of individuals from several countries. They are 'Global Families'. I was impressed by their devotion and dedication. In the midst of such groups, we tried to spread Bhagavan's message in our own, small, humble way.'

-- Dr. Mrs. Yashoda Bhat

(Source: The devotee's article in the special souvenir Tribute published by the Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust on the occasion of the 80th Birthday of Bhagavan.)