Posted at 21:05:00 Hrs. IST on 23 Nov 2009
It was the time when my film 'Uncle Bun' was being shot at Kodaikanal, years ago. Sri Sathya Sai Baba was camping there at that time. Every day I would think of going to Baba's place and having 'darshan' of Him at least from a distance. But, in that film, I was acting the role of an abnormally fat man. After a day’s work, it would take long hours to free me from my costume. By then, it would be past midnight.
Baba left the place, before our shooting was over. Thus, though Baba was at arm's length, I couldn't meet him. I was left alone.
To tell the truth, I was greatly grieved. I found solace in the adage that 'Guru appears only when the Sishya (Disciple) is ready'. Perhaps at the moment, I may not have been fit.
Later, on many occasions I was called to go to Puttaparthi and once the trip was almost settled; but it fell through, on account of the unequal mental equation with the sponsors who offered to take me to the holy place.
Recently, a relative and childhood acquaintance of mine, Dr. Vipin Chandran (Kuttan) of Changiath Ayurvedic Hospital, who is my mother's physician, invited me one day, to go to Puttaparthi with him. Impressed by the sincerity of his words I accompanied him to Puttaparthi. It was my good luck that I reached there when Prasanthi Nilayam was gearing itself to celebrate the 84th birthday of Bhagawan Sai Baba. May be, the earlier opportunities slipped through my fingers, just to give me the bliss of this moment.
The first day after my arrival, I went to the Kulwant Hall and took my seat there to have the afternoon 'Darshan' of Baba. It was the annual 'Ladies’ Day' in Prasanthi Nilayam and all the functions and programmes of Prasanthi Nilayam are conducted exclusively by women on that day. Next day I went there again.
Prof. E. Mukundan, President of Kerala Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Dr. Venugopal and others led me to the front part of the Verandah of Prasanti Nilayam and helped me to take my seat there. Looking around, I saw a large number of elderly people, squatting on the floor, and I felt embarrassed to sit in a chair in front of them. I offered to squat too, but those affectionate souls did not permit me to do so.
Baba passed by, in front of me and cut the cake. My companion took me to His presence.
I sat at His Feet and presenting to Him a red rose, I said slowly 'My name is Mohanlal. I come from Kerala. I am a film actor.'
A broad smile appeared on Baba's face. I took His smile as a blessing and placed it on my head.
After meeting Baba, I was asked, by phone, by so many people, what my experience was. I cannot explain that, because, it was my first meeting with Baba; I was experiencing that coolness for the first time.
That flower will grow into a spring in my coming lives. I wait for that patiently.
I went to Puttaparthi not to gain anything, not to ask for anything, but just to see a pure holy soul resting on a lofty pedestal, much higher than all. I saw him. I saw the child like smile and eyes.
That vision continues to haunt me. Let it lead me hereafter. Let it support me when I fall.
(Originally Published in Mathrubhumi, Malayalam Daily, Kerala on 23rd Nov 2009, on the occasion of Bhagawan's 84th Year of Advent)