Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan | Group V | Mr. M. K. Rasgotra

Mr. M. K. Rasgotra, I.F.S (Retd),
Formerly Foreign Secretary,
Ministry of External Affairs,
Government of India, New Delhi.

Mr. M. K. Rasgotra is an accomplished career diplomat. He rendered distinguished service in different capacities for the Ministry of External Affairs. He was also a visiting Professor in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and Regents' Professor at the University of California. An ardent devotee of Bhagavan, he has been a regular visitor to Prasanthi Nilayam since 1972. He narrates a few of his experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in his own words.

'I had a brief darshan of Bhagawan Baba for the first time during his visit to North Delhi in March 1972, when he was staying at the Golf Links residence of my friend Sohan Lal. I was a bit of an agnostic then, and it took many friendly entreaties from Sohan Lal for me to visit his residence to see for myself 'this phenomenon of the divine in the man's garb' - that is how Sohan Lal had described his divine guest.

The pull of Bhagavan Baba's magnetic attraction and the elevating effect of even His simple darshan were an unmistakable experience. Not a word passed between me and the 5-foot figure of radiance who would soon become my mentor, guide, benefactor and friend; but my life began to change at that magical moment. Four months later, on 2 July 1972, I turned up, without prior intimation, at the Sathya Sai College for women at Anantapur where Bhagavan Baba blessed me with a spellbinding hour-long one-to-one meeting in the course of which past life and future work, about life and death in general, about religion and philosophy, about the prevailing discord and disunity in the world and about his mission of love and service to guide humanity on to a new course, and a united and harmonious world.

For the first time on that auspicious day July 2, 1972, I observed from a distance, and no more than a foot or so, the miracle of the flow of vibhuti from the down-turned palm of Baba's right hand. Ever since, my life has remained enveloped in His grace.

In Holland, in 1977, my wife suddenly took ill and was under intensive care, hovered between death and the faintest signs of life for four long days and nights. In utter despair on the third night, I filled a bowl with marigolds from my garden and offered these at Baba's photograph in our meditation room with a heartfelt prayer for His help to save her life and restore her to normal health. Having done that, I went back to a night of vigil at the Hospital. She made little visible progress and at dawn I returned home in deep depression to prepare myself for the worse. After bath, I went into the meditation room where a strange sight bewildered and then elated me. Half the bowl had been neatly picked clean of the marigolds and there was not a single petal or leaf lying around near the flower-vase or anywhere else in the room. No one from the household had entered the room and we had never seen a rodent in our extremely well kept premises. Baba had heard my prayer and accepted my humble offering, leaving half of it behind as a mark of his grace and blessing! Mrs. Rasgotra's recovery began that morning and she was up and about in another 3 or 4 days. Months later, when I visited Baba at Prasanthi Nilayam, I had just begun to tell Him what had happened when He silenced me by saying 'you have a nice big house and it has a nice prayer room, too'.

Years later, on July 1986, I had a massive heart attack resulting in 3 or 4 blocked arteries, the result of the rigorous weight-reducing regimen lasting 30 days, during which period living on cucumbers and coconut milk, I lost 14 kgs. For a week I was in the ICU at the Army Hospital in New Delhi. I was in coma for nearly 48 hours and had to be administered several electrical shocks to revive my heart. I clearly remember that when my eyes opened early on the morning of the day of my recovery, I saw the back of a figure in orange robe going out of the room. It was another 2or 3 weeks of attentive nursing at the hospital before I could return home. For several months, I was much too weak to travel out of Delhi; but when I did make it to Baba's interview room a year later, He made light of the whole thing but added reassuringly 'I am looking after you, Bangaroo! No medicine necessary, eat the food you normally eat. You will be alright; it will take a little time.'

In mid 1988, I was posted to London as India's High Commissioner. I had then resumed playing an occasional game of golf even though a brisk walk often caused discomfort in the chest and an occasional shaft of pain in the heart region. For the rest, my work capacity and life in general were pretty close to normal. Nevertheless, angiography done at the Cromwell Hospital showed that while the heart was beating well, some arteries were still badly clogged. The doctors who examined me strongly recommended bypass surgery. The Head of the panel of doctors informed me, my wife and our only son that without surgery I could not expect to live for more than 4 years; that my life could actually be shorted to about 2 years.

This was in October 1988. A month later, armed with the Cromwell Hospital's angiography report, I was in Baba's interview room at Prasanthi Nilayam. He would not even look at the angiograph. He said: 'Why do you worry? Haven't I told you I am taking care of you? If you have doubt, go and get another angiography done, and it will show nothing! Bangaroo, have patience; you will be perfectly all right; Swami is looking after you'.

My faith in Him excluded the slightest inclination on my part to test His challenge about another angiography showing no blocked arteries. I simply stopped going to doctors thereafter even for the routine annual check-up. Meanwhile, even from aboard, I kept visiting Baba twice a year: each time He would touch my heart and say it was improving. I think it was in July 1990 that He gave a big thump on my chest and while a smile declared that my recovery was complete. In October 1988, my doctors had given me two to four years of life: Bhagavan Baba has given me, so far, sixteen years of happy, healthy life of ever-depending faith in and love for Him.

Late in a spring evening three years ago, I was lazily driving to a friend's house for dinner. There was not much traffic on the road and I was humming to tape playing Sai Bhajans on my tape recorder. Somewhere along the road, I had taken a wrong turn and I suddenly realized that I had gone far out of the way from my destination. To reverse the course, I slowed down my car and started making a 90o right turn for a break in the divider of the broad six-lane road. As I did this, I saw a single bright headlight of a vehicle coming upon me at very high speed. In a flash, the motorcycle was upon me and as the thought formed in my mind of approaching death, two words rose to my lips - Sai Ram. Instantaneously, I had the thud of the motorcycle hitting the right front door of my Maruti Zen. The next moment I saw the motorcyclist - a young man in his thirties - crumbled in a heap on the ground a few feet away. Similarly the pillion rider - the motorcyclist's wife - had fallen on the ground and was sobbing. It took some effort for me to open the car door and help the motorcyclist to get up. The two of us then helped his wife to rise; she was relived to see her husband all in one piece and without any apparent damage. She scolded me for my bad-driving saying 'we could have died, you could have also died!' She had a scratch or two here and there but no serious damage. I made them both walk about a bit to find out whether there were any broken bones or torn flesh. Fortunately, there were none; and both husband and wife seemed considerate and deferential to me because of my age.

For my part, I accepted full responsibility for the accident, gave them my address and telephone number and requested them to have themselves medically examined and treated as necessary and get the motorcycle repaired at my expense.

As is usual in Delhi on such occasions, within minutes a crowd had gathered around us. I asked for three volunteers who would act as witnesses for the other party, in the event of the matter going to court, and gave them my address cards saying I accepted full responsibility for having caused the accident. The crowd started thinning and the three of us jointly examined the damage to the motorcycle. Strangely, the motorcycle was also found in perfect running order, and the couple drove off much to the crowd's dismay. Even more strangely, the right front door of my car had but a small hint of a dent where the collision had actually occurred. I knew who had saved us, and thanked Baba for His mercy and grace. Several months later, during a visit to Prasanthi Nilayam, I simply thanked Bhagavan Baba for His succour and grace only to earn a gentle rebuke 'no singing Sai Bhajans when driving!'

-- Mr. M. K. Rasgotra

(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.)