Personal Transformation Experience
Hello, I am Arun Pathi, born in 1965 in Madras at my grandmother’s place and have been living in Bangalore ever since.
My Mother’s parents who are from Madras have been Swami’s Devotees since Swami was 16 years of age. Swami had been coming to Madras since the late 1970’s and he used to stay at my grandmother’s Smt. Susheelamma’s house at Alwarpet in Madras. I have had a wonderful opportunity in my childhood days to have played with Swami during his stay at my grandmother’s house.
One of the nostalgic moments were that he named me as Prem Kumar and he has also personally blessed me with Annabhyasam (rice sweet) on his lap when I was only a few months. Later in the same year my grandfather (my mom’s father), Sri Venkatamuni who was also travelling with Swami during the summer camp in 1966 to Kodaikanal and Madurai had the chance to breathe his last on Swami’s lap…and Swami said he had a wonderful death and he had attained Moksha.
All the times I had access to Swami through my grandmother, I never made any effort in participating in any of the Seva or social activities. But used to visit Brindavan in Whitefield where my grandmother used to stay in the same mandir, in a hall on the ground floor, while Swami stayed on the first floor. Swami gave a house in Puttaparthi in the East wing and we used to visit quite often.
After several years, in 2008 or 2009 I had always wanted to participate in the Grama Seva as I was hearing a lot of Seva happening at Puttaparthi during Vijayadashmi, so I had approached my Uncle Sri.Muralidhar, who is in charge of south Bangalore as a convener for service activities. He said that he would let me know when there were any opportunities for Grama Seva.
In February 2012, my mother informed me that from the Banashankari Samithi they were wanting to start Narayana Seva (distribution of food packets) to the Narayanas (destitutes) near the temples and in the streets who are in real need of food. So I agreed to take part in the Seva and started to attend Narayana Seva at Banashankari Samithi which was held on the second Sunday each month. The Seva touched my heart so much that I felt so light and my heart was rejoicing.
In May 2012, during Narayan Seva on the second Sunday at the Banashankari Samithi, I met Sri Anand Kadali for the first time, who had come to participate in the Seva with his little daughter Ashritha, so we continued packing the food and left for distribution. In June that year, on the second Sunday during Narayana Seva as usual, we were all packing the food and had Bhajan. This is the time Sri Anand Kadali, who was there with his little angel Ashritha made an announcement about the breakfast Seva at a village on Mysore Road known as Dodbelle, and invited all of us to participate.
Something inside told me to take part as this is what I had asked my uncle for some time back. Later he gave us the date and said he would be taking us in his car to this village Dodbelle. This was the second day of the memorable breakfast Seva. It had started outside a small home amidst the village huts. We had taken Thatte Idli and Sambar (south Indian traditional breakfast) in Anand’s car, did Bhajans and Arathi to Swami and distributed the breakfast to school going children. This was the beginning of my service opportunity, given by Swami. I thank Swami for all the support and guidance he has been giving me. He really knows when and where to give you the opportunity to do Seva. All we need is to surrender to Him and He will take care of the rest.
As Seva continued very vigorously and groups started to form, our group containing myself and Jayaprakash were given breakfast service on Wednesdays. The Seva began on all the six days of the week. After a year and a half, in late 2013 we started to do Seva in a nearby village known as Vinayak Nagar, at a place called Samudhaya Bhavan. We did Seva from Monday to Friday on all school days for the school children only. We began conducting several activities like cultural programmes, medical checkups, medical clinics and distributing free medicines.
During 2014 August, brother Anand came up with an idea of constructing a mandir at one of the plots in Dodbelle. Sri Ramanna, brother of the then Panchayat President (a Panchayat is a local government group) had agreed to give his open land for the sake of Swami and for the Transformation of the village and children. Myself and Jayaprakash were given an opportunity by Swami to design and build the Sevamrutham Mandir. Anand brother had told us in advance that there would be miracles happening for the construction of Mandir and we will be witnessing them with our own eyes.
Well miracles did start to happen as we started the construction. We were able to procure all the materials and the labour right from Dodbelle village and it was completed in a span of 42 days and was inaugurated on Swami’s 89th Birthday November 23, 2014. All the time, Anand brother was informing both of us that Swami was speaking to him in his dreams. Finally, one fine day Anand brother came home and showed all the videos and photos and explained everything about Swami in his subtle form. I had no doubt that he was in touch with Swami, since whatever Anand thinks and does comes out so very positive. He brings a lot of good vibrations to all his surrounding sevaks. I now know why Swami has chosen Anand Kadali for Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust as the front runner. The more I spend time with him, the more I get the satisfaction of being with Swami. I only pray to Swami that he would keep me and my family under his umbrella as we wish to serve him till the end.
Next, it was during August 2015 that Anand brother visited my office and mentioned about Swamis plan to start breakfast Seva in 90 schools at Chikkaballapur on his 90th Birthday, which fell on November 23, 2015. As usual I was taken back, saying it was a very big challenge and it would be real tough, but as the date approached, it really happened and the Seva started on November 24, 2015. I was named as the Head of Cluster D and was given responsibility of eight schools and started the Seva of serving milk and bananas for all those school going children.
Doing this Seva has brought a real transformation by seeing the love and affection of these little village angels and the elders in the village. They have so much humility when compared to people in urban areas. I regularly visit them, along with my most supportive companion, my wife Kavitha, who has been supporting my initiative for Seva from day one and has lot of love in doing it. I thank Swami for having given me my son Rahul who also supports as and when he can for the Seva.
During 2017 when Swami told us to reach a target of 100,000 children by his birthday, November 23, 2017, I was very sure it would happen, and it did happen much before the destined date. All this now, has made me very confident to handle as many numbers of schools as possible, since Swami has changed the module for all of us to take care of these many schools in a very nice way.
Yes He is the One doing everything, not me! All this has really made me thank Swami -- what a way to serve my Lord. I will be praying for all the strength and mind for serving Swami in whatever possible way he wants of me. Swami has helped me transform and refine all my bad thoughts and habits. I pray to him to keep myself humble at his feet.
Region Two, India