Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group V | Ms. Archana Santhanam

Ms. Archana Santhanam, III B.A.,
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning,
Anantapur Campus.

Ms. Archana Santhanam, a student of the third year B.A. of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus narrates her experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan in her own words.

'I had everything in life. At least, I thought so. My parents were abroad and my sister had joined them after a very long time of staying away. Our family had been Sai devotees for over fifteen years and I was also engaged in Balvikas activities in India and abroad from a tender age. Yet, there was something missing. Though Swami was a familiar part of my life, He was not very real to me.

My sister completed her graduation from the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus. My family wanted me, also, to be enrolled there. I was then in the 12 Standard in Chennai with my grandparents. As I was the youngest in the family, I was pampered at home. All my wishes were always fulfilled. I had planned to take up a course in Visual Communications, after my schooling in Chennai. However, 'man proposes and God disposes'. Swami had another plan for my life.

On the 4th December 2002, I had to stay late at school for the Library Club meeting. By the time the meeting was over, it was 3:30 p.m. So, I decided to take an auto-rickshaw back home. On the way, the driver suddenly lost control, and jumped out. I was aghast, and became panicky. I soon realized that one of the wheels had got detached, and was spinning off the road! The vehicle was moving on just two wheels, and I knew it would topple any minute. To avoid that, I tried jumping out of the auto-rickshaw. But my dress was hooked to a nail and, very soon, I was being dragged on the road. By the time the wheels slowed down, and the auto-rickshaw came to a halt, I was unconscious and badly hurt. People came forward to rescue me. Blood flowed out from the deep cuts. I also had bruises on my face, near the eye. By God's grace, the eye was unhurt. I couldn't move my left hand and right leg. I had a 3-inch-deep cut on my right hand.

A gentleman came forward to help me. I couldn't even talk. Someone gave me water to drink. This gentleman took the mobile phone from my bag and called the number last dialled on the phone. It was the number of my friend, Rebecca, who was just a few metres away from the spot of the accident. Could this be a coincidence? When this man told her that I had had an accident, she arrived at the spot in five minutes. I was rushed to a nearby hospital for first-aid. But, unfortunately, there were no qualified doctors there. There were only a few interns who gave me a tetanus injection and cleaned my wounds. Then, I had to be taken home. My friend contacted my grandfather and told him that I had met with an accident, but asked him not to worry. When I reached home, my relatives were shocked to see my condition. I was taken to a better hospital where they diagnosed a broken wrist and a damaged ankle. My parents and well-wishers were deeply worried as I was in the 12th Standard, and my examinations were fast approaching.

My sister, then, was doing security duty at Prasanthi Nilayam. One of my cousins got an interview with Swami. Swami created vibhuti and gave it to him with a cryptic message - 'go and give', without telling him whom to give it to. My cousin came out of the interview room and got to know from my sister about my accident. He concluded that the vibhuti must have been meant for me, and gave a large portion of it to my sister. The next morning, she reached home with Swami's vibhuti. At that time, my plight was miserable. The doctors had said that it would take nearly 3 to 4 months for me to recover. Everyone was worried. My sister told me to pray to Swami and take the vibhuti.

My spirits were down, but I took the vibhuti for my sister's sake, for I didn't want to disappoint her. To my surprise, the vibhuti was bitter! I just couldn't swallow it. I had to drink nearly two glasses of water to get rid of the bitter taste in my mouth. Days passed. The doctors were astonished as to the pace of my recovery. The fracture, that they claimed would take three months to heal, healed within a miraculous time of two and a half weeks. I was perfectly all right in three weeks and could write my examinations well. Words fail to express my deep gratitude to Swami.

Even after this, I was keen on pursuing a course on Visual Communication in Chennai. Swami however told my sister that I must study at Anantapur. The Lord's command prevailed. I got through the entrance test, the interview, and was selected. There are many incidents and dreams through which Swami has been transforming me. My attitude towards life has changed completely. My parents are surprised to see this side of me. Now, I cannot envisage a life without Swami. He has become a part of me. I am so grateful to this loving, living God for showing me the path.'

-- Ms. Archana Santhanam

(As extracted from the souvenir Ananta Prematarangini published by the Anantapur Campus of the SSSIHL on the occasion of the 80th Birthday of Bhagavan)