Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan | Group V | Mr. N. P. Bhat

Mr. N. P. Bhat I.R.S. (Retd),
Dharwad, Karnataka State.

Mr. N. P. Bhat retired as the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax in the Indian Revenue Service in 1990. He is a prolific writer in Kannada and won the Karnataka State Sahitya Academy Award for one of his books. An ardent devotee of Bhagavan, he narrates a few of his experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in his own words.

'Bhagavan Baba came to me most unexpectedly nearly forty years ago. I was then serving as an officer in the Income Tax Department in Chennai. One fine morning, one Shri P. Gopalakrishna Rao , a practising Charted Accountant came to the office and left on my table late N. Kasturi's celebrated biography of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba entitled Sathyam Sivam Sundaram. I had not asked Shri Rao for the book, nor did I ask him to leave it on my table. I was not aware of the existence of Baba's biography. Frankly, I was ignorant about Baba. It was a voluntary act on his part. Being a lover of books, I picked up that book and casually glanced through it. I found it to be absorbing and so I took it home for a leisurely, careful reading. Baba's life gripped me, moved me, prompting me to read the book almost at a stretch. The account of Baba's miracles held me spellbound. I had known late Shri N. Kasturi as a leading writer in Kannada (my mother tongue) and hence, I had respect and regard for him. As such, I accepted as authentic all that Shri Kasturi had narrated in the book. I pined for Baba's darshan. I remember, during those days, I was all the while talking about Baba to one and all who came to meet me. I made haste to write to my father-in-law late Prof. V. K. Gokak asking him to approach Baba for all his personal problems. (I was, in fact, the first to tell him about Baba and His divinity).

It was the 14th April, 1965. Being Tamil New Year day, it was a holiday for me. I had gone that morning to my friend and colleague Shri P.K. Appachoo just for a chat. Appachoo's mother, I found, was a worried lady. She desired that her youngest son, who was then in England, should return home. She was also eager that her second son Shri Belliappa should go to England as a member of the Young Indian Cricket Team which would be leaving for England very shortly. As I was full of Baba in those days, I suggested to her that she should pray to Baba for help and seek His blessings. 'How will I have Baba's darshan' she wondered. I thought of ascertaining whether, by chance, Baba was on a visit to Chennai.

Suddenly, I remembered having read in Baba's biography about one Shri Venkatamuni of Chennai, who was an ardent devotee of Baba. Why should I not check with him about Baba, I thought to myself and immediately got his telephone member from the telephone directory. I dialled that number and asked whether Baba was staying there. The person at the other end said that Baba had just arrived that morning in Chennai and that He was camping in the house nearby! I was excited. She asked Appachoo to drive us to that house where Baba was staying. It was known when we three arrived there. It was burning hot. Baba was staying in a huge mansion and those who had come to see Him were all waiting for Him in the lawn in front of that house. We too stood in the lawn eagerly waiting for Baba to come out. After a while, I asked the tall man standing by my side 'when will Baba come and meet us?' He replied 'Baba will call you inside the house, if He so desires'. As it was very hot outside, both Appachoo and I thought of going round the building with a view to explore the possibility of our entering the house through the side door as the front door was closed. As we went round the building, we saw, to our surprise, a side door which was slightly open. On opening the door we found that the door led us to the first floor of the house. When we climbed the stairs, we found ourselves in a hall where a few people were sitting waiting for Baba. We were overjoyed.

Appachoo went out to escort his mother to the waiting hall upstairs. Till they arrived, I stood guard at the side door so that the door would not be shut. As I stood there, the tall man who was standing next to me in the lawn appeared there seeking my permission to enter. I gladly obliged him. While entering the house, he asked me 'when did Baba call you?' I replied unhesitatingly 'Baba had called me in the morning'. He went up. Then came a young man who claimed that he was the son of Baba's brother. He too wanted to go in. I readily allowed him to go up. Then came Appachoo and his mother. We all went up and sat down eagerly waiting for Baba's darshan.

There was perfect silence. Baba was inside an adjacent room granting audience to His devotees. After a while, he came out smiling and gave us all vibhuti packets. We bowed down at his feet. Baba recognized the tall man and called him 'Mohan' very affectionately and blessed him. In October 2004, while I was in Puttaparthi, I met most unexpectedly, Mohan's daughter who is now staying in Puttaparthi with her husband, who is serving in the University.

Appachoo's mother handed over to Baba her letter seeking for His blessing! Could it be by accident that I had Baba's darshan that day? I do not think so. It is Baba's way of summoning people to Him. I was fortunate to be so picked up by Baba!

Another unforgettable incident occurred in my life in 1969. I had just then moved to Indore in Madhya Pradesh, on transfer as Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax from Surat in Gujarat. I had been allotted a huge Government bungalow which had an extensive compound around it, and which had a block of servants' quarters at the back. The bungalow was almost in wilderness. The nearby houses were really so far away. We were just three in the house, all by ourselves. We were still out on the look-out for domestic help.

Just then we received an invitation to attend the celebration of the sixtieth birthday of my father-in-law late Prof V. K. Gokak in Bangalore. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was to grace the function and was to bless my in-laws. Yes, both my wife and I were eager to go to Bangalore to attend the function. But how could we go leaving the bungalow without any caretaker? By the time we returned, our luggage inside the house would have been looted by miscreants. Both of us argued and argued at length. The only practical way out appeared to be that I should stay behind, despatching my wife Yashoda and son to Bangalore. Our flight to Bangalore would be taking off on the morning of the 8th August, 1969. On the morning of the 7th August, just as I was setting out for my morning's constitutional, I told my wife aloud, almost in desperation, 'if your Baba is God, let him find a practical way out so that we all may fly tomorrow morning'. So saying, I went out of the house for my morning walk. While returning home from my walk, I went to the Agricultural college hostel located near our house and met the cook there, (he was a stranger to me) and requested him to find some domestic help reliable, honest and responsible. I told him that the servants' quarters attached to the bungalow, could be occupied by the family willing to serve us as domestic help. He was speaking Marathi and so, I spoke to him in Marathi. He assured me that he would sincerely try.

On returning home, I got ready to leave for my office. My colleague and friend Shri J. S. Anand (who was living in the nearby bungalow) used to provide me with a lift to the office. He would also bring me back. That day, while returning home for lunch, Shri Anand hesitatingly asked me whether it would be in order if Shri T. S. Kasturi (another colleague of mine who had just then come to Indore and who was then staying in a hotel) were to move into my house as a caretaker during out stay in Bangalore. Anand informed me that Mrs. Kasturi had made the request to allow them to stay in the house as caretakers during our sojourn in Bangalore! I was delighted; what better arrangement could I make or think of! I came home for lunch and told my wife excitedly about Mrs. Kasturi's proposal!

My wife had another interesting incident to narrate. She told me that a mother and a daughter (who spoke Marathi) had come to her asking for the servants' quarters. They were willing to help my wife in the domestic chores. It was a family consisting of mother, daughter, son and daughter-in-law. They had brought references from respected families. As I was not in the house, my wife asked them to come around 1:30 p.m. I checked with them whether they were sent by the cook in the hostel to whom I had requested. I was surprised when they said no; they had come to their own. I was satisfied, on going through the reference letters that it was a trustworthy family which could be entrusted with the care of the house, in our absence. We agreed to let them in any they agreed to move in the same evening. It remained a mystery till the end how the family came to know that we were badly in need of a family which would move into the servants' quarters that very evening and thus thereby enable us to fly the next morning. As luck would have it, the family turned out to be a good family, highly reliable and trustworthy! We thanked Kasturis for their offer of timely help in our hour of need. Kasturis, too, moved in the same evening and we took our flight the next morning as scheduled!

Let me now move on to another unforgettable incident in my life. The year was 1982. I was then residing in Delhi. I had just then relinquished my deputation post in the Central Government and I was waiting for my next posting. Krishna Janmashtami (Lord Krishna's birth anniversary) was fast approaching. It was then that I started suffering from high fever which had persisted for a number of days. The doctor whom I consulted had prescribed heavy doses of antibiotic. The fever would come down and then I would suffer from dysentery. If the antibiotic was stopped, the dysentery would vanish but the high fever would surface. It was a vicious circle. I had grown weak and my spirits were low. I thought to myself that my end was nearing. In fact, I did tell the specialist whom I consulted about my apprehension. It looked as though the tunnel through which I was then passing was terribly dark without any ray of light and hope. What could not be helped had to be endured. And I resigned myself to my fate.

The Janmashtami day arrived. For no reason or rhyme, I got up early that morning and started dusting and cleansing the room. I could not explain why. It was an involuntary act on my part. I spent the day in my sickbed. I went to bed early that night. Around 11 p.m. or so, I got up suddenly in my bed and sat leaning against the wall. My wife was snoring in the other bed. I said to myself that I should ask for forgiveness from all those whom I may have offended unwittingly or otherwise. I had also forgiven all those who had offended me. I prayed to Baba and surrendered myself totally to Him. Just then, I was amazed to hear Baba's voice (only I was hearing - my wife was not distributed).

He was speaking in Kannada fluently and forcefully. Yes, it was Baba's voice. It was not hallucination or fantasy. I was quite wide awake. I was listening to Him with my eyes closed. It was truly a fantastic experience. It was a silent night. Baba took me through my past recounting all the important events. He assured me that I had by then settled all my accounts in my worldly life. He also assured me that He would take care of me and my family. He asked me to follow Him and said that He would provide me with accommodation. He then showed me His Virat Swarup (Cosmic Form).

His body was spread across the roof. He then led me through the vast universe showing me, perhaps, the planets and stars in the form of multicoloured domes, etc. It was truly a breathtaking experience beyond words. The last scene that I saw was a world of spirits-weird-looking figures almost floating in the air! Just then, the temple bells chimed marking the advent of Lord Krishna.

It was midnight. The devotees who had thronged were celebrating Lord Krishna's arrival. Just then I stopped hearing Baba's voice. When Baba was recounting my past, it sounded as though He was all along with me witnessing all that had happened to me. No one else could say all that with the precision and authenticity. I was really dazed at the end of that experience. Next morning, as I got up, I remember vividly, I threw away all the bottles of medicine and tablets which had piled up near my sickbed!

I felt sure that there was no need for me to continue taking the medicine any longer. The high fever never returned again. I was perfectly in good health. I regained my normal health. I had earlier planned to acquire a flat allotted by the Delhi Development Authority. Since Baba had assured me that He would provide me with a suitable accommodation, I dropped the idea of buying the DDA flat. In 1984, I booked a flat in the Cooperative Housing Society (I had acted on impulse!). That deal, in retrospect, turned out to be the best possible deal, satisfactory, in all respects. I never had such an experience again.'

-- Mr. N. P. 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.)