Wednesday, 27 May 2015

What is the greatest gift in life? Life experiences of Kishore Madhamshettiwar_Part 1

An ‘accident’al realization


Kishore Madhamshettiwar rose from his bed early in the morning and began to get ready for the 350 km drive from Moga to Delhi. It was early in March 1986 and this would be a defining trip in the 27-year old’s life. He had received a marriage proposal and this would probably be one of his first visits to his to-be bride’s home. Two of his juniors from work (Kishore was heading the Condensed Milk Division of Nestle in Moga) also wanted to go to Delhi and they would be joining him for the journey which would be made in Kishore’s faithful Fiat car.


(Those were the days when car-choice in India was restricted to either the Fiat or the Ambassador. The former was the “small car” and the latter was the “big car”!)


The Fiat or Premier Padmini on the left was the small car while the Ambassador on the right was the big car in those times. 
Before setting out on the journey, Kishore entered the building adjacent to his house. This building had the honour of acting as the residence to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba when He visited Moga in 1973 and had been converted into a shrine since then. (Sai Blossom has created a memorable DVD of this 1973 trip under the title - Love Flows North. ) Kishore wanted to pay his respects before the journey.  It was not as if Kishore was a devotee or follower of Baba. However, his family Guru, Sri Malhari Baba of Chandrapur (Maharashtra) had told him,
“Sathya Sai is the Paripoorna Avatar (the Absolute Descent). It is wrong to compare Him to Rama or Krishna because such a Descent has never happened nor will it happen... When the time comes, you will meet Him...”


It was out of implicit obedience to his Guru that Kishore paid his respects to Baba before embarking on the journey.

The only picture of Malhari Baba which I could procure. This is from the letterhead of a letter written to Kishore
by Malhari Baba. More about the contents of that letter will come later...
(Malhari Baba left his body on the 21st of March, 2011)
The drive was smooth and comfortable. Within a couple of hours, the Fiat car crossed Ludhiana, the first milestone on the road towards the national capital. That was when the speeding car swerved and toppled into an accident. Like some fighter jet, the car did a complete canopy roll but miraculously ended up upright on the road. Kishore turned to look at his juniors. They seemed fine except for the look of horror on their faces. They were staring straight at him, at his profusely bleeding head!


In the melee that had ensued during the canopy roll, Kishore’s head had apparently been struck by something hard which had caused it to open up and gush forth blood. He was rushed to the nearest hospital. The doctor glanced at him and exclaimed,
“Is this a human being or a living ghost? He is in terrible shape...”
Kishore did not understand what the doctor was talking about. He was feeling no pain. However, it was evident that he had suffered severe loss of blood. The hospital did not have the necessary facilities for complex surgeries. Without anesthesia, the doctor patched in fifteen stitches to stop the bleeding.(If a stitch in time saves nine, the doctor surely saved Kishore at least 15x9 = 135 stitches!) The doctor also pumped his body with 2-3 bottles of blood.


“You should rush to AIIMS (Delhi) or CMC (Ludhiana) for further treatment. What I have done is only a stop-gap one”, he told Kishore when he sat up on the hospital bed.


Kishore decided to disobey the doctor because he was not feeling “even a pin prick of pain”! What could be so serious but so painless? He decided to head to Delhi - not for the hospital but for the work he had set out upon. It was the pleas of his juniors that convinced him to turn back home. By that afternoon the Fiat found itself parked in Moga and Kishore entered his house. His sister’s siesta was broken and she came out of the room, rubbing her eyes.
“Brother, I had a very strange and vivid dream... Oh my God! What happened?”
“It is nothing much. There was a little accident and I got a small head injury”, Kishore replied, not wanting to create tension at home over something that was not even hurting him. “But tell me, what was the dream you were speaking about?”


Now the sister smiled. She said,
“You say it is a small injury. Listen to my dream... It’s amazingly connected.”
Then she began narrating the dream


A huge mountain had collapsed on Kishore and he had got buried under the huge debris. Out of nowhere, Sathya Sai Baba had arrived. Instantly, He dug through the debris and excavated Kishore who seemed absolutely unhurt. Baba now raised him up by the hand and poured life into the lifeless body. Baba then told Kishore,
“You were dead but I have given you a second life in the same body... The time is soon arriving when you will come to me.”


With goosebumps, Kishore now understood the reason he didn't feel even a pinprick throughout the whole episode! He realized that he had received the greatest gift possible - the gift of life!


Love at first sight


It was with the intervention and blessings of Malhari Baba that Kishore’s wedding went ahead as planned. Everyone had thought that the accident would at least delay the wedding if not destroy it. But the Guru’s wisdom pointed otherwise. He called Kishore and told him,
“Let the wedding go on as planned. After the marriage, a big change will come in your life. It will be bitter in the beginning but later, it will become sweet.”


On the 16th of June 1986, Kishore was wedded to Gargi. Gargi’s family was completely devoted to Swami. Kishore knew that Swami would have an important role in his life. His Guru had also indicated to him that soon he would be under “Colonel Saab”. (The way Malhari Baba addressed Swami was the way a soldier in an army would address the commander-in-chief!)


A picture of the wedlock of Kishore with Gargi.
As predicted, the ‘bitter’ beginnings of the post-married life took their toll on Kishore. It was around this time that the Sarbat Khalsa established a panthic committee and declared a need for a separate Sikh homeland! Not only Kishore and his household, but the entire state of Punjab grappled in the grips of insurgency and extremism. Several problems cropped up at work and Kishore feared that he might be forced to quit his job because of the tense social situation.
He was at his wits’ end and did not know what to do. It was at this time that he decided to make a trip to Puttaparthi. Everything had fallen in place for this trip - the rebirth after the accident, his Guru’s words, the wedding into a Sai-family and finally the tough situations after the marriage. Kishore arrived to Puttaparthi with the intention of spending a week in the holy hamlet. It was the January of 1987.


During one of the darshan sessions, he managed to sit in the front lines. His head was filled with worries and he decided to offer all of them at Swami’s lotus feet. He recollected all that his Guru had told him about Baba - that He transcends all sages and saints because He is a Poorna Avatar. Soon, the beautiful form of Swami glided out of the interview room for the darshan round. Kishore was mesmerised. He seemed to instantly feel a love for this form in his heart.


Swami came close to where Kishore was seated. Ever so gently. Kishore touched His toe reverentially. Swami took the letter that contained all his worries. He also blessed a packet of vibhuti that he held up. Then, Swami gently blessed him with a tap on the head. Looking into his eyes, Swami said in a sweet yet very firm voice,
Chinta Mat Karo; Chintan Karo.
(Ah! The beauty of each language is its own and it becomes difficult to translate that poetry into another language. The gist of that Hindi statement is this - Don’t worry; Spend time in remembrance of God. However, it comes nowhere close to the beauty, magnificence and perfection of Swami’s play on words.)


In an instant, the divine doctor had diagnosed him, given a prescription and blessed him with an urge to acquire spiritual fitness. The eight days in Prasanthi were literally that - 8 days of supreme peace! They flew by even before Kishore could realize and it was time for him to return to Moga.


Transformation of the heart - the surest sign of being touched by God


For Kishore, Sathya Sai Baba became God because of what He conferred with a single touch. He noticed that he no longer had the slightest inclination towards partying or going out with friends. In his own words, Swami had turned his attention from ‘XXX Rum to SSS Ram’! (In the later years, when he made this same ‘Rum to Ram’ statement to the students, Swami had asked him during darshan, “Kishore, what are you saying in class!? Why?” He had replied, “Swami, what can I do? That is the experience you have granted...” Swami had shrugged His shoulder saying, “Well, maybe modern day students will appreciate your modern way of stating it.” )


Kishore always had the fire of idealism burning in his heart and he was convinced that it had found its greatest fuel in Swami. He knew that his ultimate dream would find fruition in Swami.


Swami says that the greatest force in the Universe is Love because only Love has the power to transform. Therefore, while people are wonder-struck at the materialization and manifestation miracles of Baba, He always claims that those are just His calling cards. His greatest miracle is that of transforming human hearts, just as He had done to Kishore.


The situation in Punjab had not improved much and Kishore’s father-in-law egged him on to apply for admission in Swami’s University. Kishore was intent on going abroad for an MBA and so, as per the requirements, he cleared the GMAT examination. But his father-in-law persisted that he should join Swami’s college. It was here that Kishore remembered what his mother-in-law used to tell him (and his wife) based on a vision she had,
“Both of you will study under Swami as His students...You will also settle in the physical presence of Sri Sathya Sai...”


But how could that be possible? He was married already and there was no way that a married man could get admission into MBA that had just been started at the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.


Kishore’s tryst with ‘His’tory


As was his practice, Kishore went to Swami’s residence building in Moga to offer his prayers. He had become more regular here ever since his mesmerising trip to Puttaparthi. The caretaker there was aware of what was happening in his home. One day, he called Kishore aside and showing him the advertisement in the Sanathana Sarathi (the monthly magazine from Prasanthi Nilayam) said,
“See, you wife’s family is completely devoted to Baba. There are admissions open for MBA and BEd. Why don’t both of you, you and your wife, apply and get admitted there? Let go of your foolish plans to go abroad. Simply apply here...”
“See, my love is for Baba; not His institutions. So, I don’t want to apply...”
Instantly, the man uttered loudly,
“Child! He is going to catch you. You are bound to go there. Listen to me and apply...”
The voice was stentorian, yet full of care and concern. Kishore applied for MBA while his wife, Gargi, applied for BEd.


Kishore put in the best efforts in preparing for the entrance exams. Soon, he landed in Prasanthi Nilayam with his wife. Both wrote their respective exams and cleared them with flying colours. That was when it was discovered that here was a married couple that had cleared the entrance examinations. Since it was a ‘first’ for the University, the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Somnath Saraf took up the matter with Swami.
“Swami, these two candidates have cleared the exams. But there is a problem. They are married. How can I accept them? How can I reject them?”
“Show, who are these people?”
Seeing the application forms, Swami said,
“Why did you give them application forms if they are married?”
Dr. Saraf had no answer.
“It is okay. They are my people. They will adjust. Give them admission.”
Thus, Gargi left for Bangalore for the BEd course while Kishore created history by becoming the first-ever married person to join MBA. (To this day, he remains the only candidate to have completed MBA in Puttaparthi post-wedding!) When God wills, history gets rewritten and created! Kishore enrolled into the second MBA batch of the SSSIHL in June 1987, five months after he had his first darshan of Swami.

With Swami in Kodaikanal. At that point in time, Kishore had no idea about the great blessings that were about to follow...
The gift of a human life - Manushyatwam - is only the beginning of the blessings...
Confirmation of the greatest gift


Kishore’s stint as a student in Swami’s college was filled with experiences galore - so many and so varied that it would be gross injustice to attempt to pen them down here.  But one incident has to be mentioned here to give closure to this narrative. Kishore was blessed to accompany Swami to Kodaikanal during the summer of 1988. It was during that trip that Kishore witnessed Swami’s omniscience. One of the days, Swami came straight up to him and smiled. In a sweet and charming voice, Swami began to speak in Hindi,
“You drive the Fiat car so fast that it took off from the road... You got injured so badly that the doctor wondered whether you were a human or a living ghost. But then, your sister got a dream where Swami rescued you from under a mountain and saved you from death. But I didn’t save you from death. You died! I gave you a second life in the same body...”


Kishore’s mouth had dropped down as he listened in awe to Swami reveal both - the graphic and little details - of his accident. Swami continued to speak,
“Never again in your life should you touch either a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler okay?”


What else could Kishore do but agree? He had just been overwhelmed with the revelation of the greatest gift that he had received in life. But then, what he did not know was the Truth that the greatest gift in life was not that of life. There was a gift far greater than life itself and Swami would be offering it to him. But would he be ready to accept it?

Read on in the second part which is at the link below:


What is the greatest gift in life? Life experiences of Kishore Madhamshettiwar_Part 2


For all readers:

(If you enjoyed this and wish to subscribe to this blog, please go to the right hand side and choose the last 'box' which says subscribe. Also explore the many 'previous articles' listed month-wise on the top right here, in the web version of the blog. Another blog which I maintain with more than 230 articles on it is at http://aravindb1982.hubpages.com. If you wish to be added to my mailing list, please email me via this page with the subject "ADD ME TO MAILING LIST".)











24 comments:

  1. W.O.W! This is so gripping!

    The dream of Kishore sir's sister was mind-boggling! Also loved Malhari Baba's way of addressing Swami “Colonel Saab”. :)

    And once again, I tell it is a timely post. Got my dose for the day, "“Chinta Mat Karo; Chintan Karo.” Couldn't agree better that transformation of heart is the surest sign of being touched by God.

    Waiting eagerly to know what is the gift greater than life itself......
    Thanks to the Swami in you, Anna! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Swami's words are magical right? He puts the biggest of insights in the crispest of words...

      Glad you enjoyed sis...

      Delete
    2. thank you Aravind for this. Waiting for the rest.
      Chinta mat karo, chintan karo definitely did it for me too.

      Sunita Aunty

      Delete
  2. Esha Narayanan27 May 2015 at 11:14

    two things i find striking...one the accident..the other transformation.... we guys were saved by Swami during one of our trips in the north east... we met with an accident...the way swami saved us was very surreal... the sudden loss of interest in the mundane social life is also something i can deeply relate too... it was Swami's one second look into my eyes that did the trick. i wonder what would have happened had He looked for another 1 second!! waiting for the next part :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That second 'second - look' will come at the right time I am sure just as the first one came at the right time... :)

      Would be wonderful if you can share your surreal accident-experience here...


      As for the 'loss of interest' in social life, that is a blessing that Swami gives to prod one on to the spiritual path...

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a wonderful share.... Shows that there are so many instances where God comes in different forms to help out His devotee...

      Thank you for sharing.

      Sairam

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Oh wow!I am also a Shirdi Sai disciple.And your father's experience is truly amazing!So wonderful it is.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  4. Madhusudanvithal Nori27 May 2015 at 15:42

    Sairam Aravind. Cannot wait to read the next part of the narrative. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes and Love.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Woow ! really superb narrative. There is a saying that when Man proposes GOD disposes but here it is other ways round- When MAN disposes GOD proposed HIS WILL and created history.
    I have become a fan of your writing where we can have a virtual tour of the story line that is scripted.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow ! the incident was really striking. There is a saying that When Man proposes GOD disposes but here it is the other way round, When Man disposes GOD Proposed HIS WILL and created History.

    Your articles and way of writing initiates us to go on narrative virtual tour by visualizing SWAMI that is scripted line by line.


    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow ! the incident was really striking. There is a saying that

    When Man proposes GOD disposes but here it is the other way round, When Man disposes GOD Proposed HIS WILL and created History.

    Your articles and way of writing initiates us to go on narrative virtual tour by visualizing SWAMI that is scripted line by line.


    ReplyDelete
  8. Wonderfully written Brother Aravind . Eagerly waiting for second part.Kishore sir use to teach meditation at Ganesh Mandir in the institute quadrangle In our college days.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Excellent Story of Kishore Sir...always his experiences are mesmerizing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. In my 1st UG, swami was walking among boys and talking to them when Kishore sir stopped swami and told "Swami wait, a pigeon has dirtied I will clean" .. Swami laughed at him and said, "eat it" and Kishore sir immediately picked the dropping and put into his mouth!!! Such was his surrender to Swami...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sairam brother Arvind.. There are many senior devotees residing in Prashanthi Nilayam and am sure they have had experiences with Bhagavan which would fill a book. Many of them are very old and when they are gone, sadly their experiences also go away. These could be life changing for some of readers when shared. Just wondering if radio sai or individuals like you can take up this Seva.. Thanks for all your posts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you say is true... But it is also true that the Lord's glory is so immense that we can never succeed in capturing it comprehensively....

      Radiosai is doing its best to catch hold of these devotees that you speak about....
      Thank you for the request... Sairam

      Delete
  12. Dear Aravind! While browsing "Sai thy kingdom come", I saw this link in facebook section. Instantly, I went thro'. No words can express the exhilarating experience of your friend. Again your narration captured my heart. I fully believe that Swami will once again appear and finish all the promises he had made earlier. May Swami bless you all, the student community who enjoyed blissful years with Him. saisaran (saisarannaga)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  13. Sairam Aravind. When I read this article today I was wondering how I missed it when it was posted in 2015, and as I scrolled down saw my owm comment posted then after reading it. It is worth reading any number of times. May be I am stuck in Chinta and take up seriously SWAMI's advice Chintan karo!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work..
    GMAT Classes Chennai
    GMAT Coaching institutes in Chennai

    ReplyDelete

Please do take some time to leave your valuable thoughts and feedback here. It will be an enriching read for me. :)