Last updated on 22nd Nov. 2015
This incident was related to me recently by the grandson of Shri N. Kasturi (first editor of Sanathana Sarathi and writer of initial volumes of Sathyam Shivam Sundaram, the authorized biography of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba). The grandson is Shri Rameesh Kasturi, who also gave his approval for the account to be shared publicly. The incident was shared with Shri Rameesh Kasturi by his mother, who, if I got that correctly, is the daughter of Shri N. Kasturi.
There was a Maharaja's son staying in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram who had become well acquainted and friendly with Shri N. Kasturi. After some months of this person's stay in the ashram, Shri N. Kasturi felt that he should help him get a job (in the government perhaps but outside Puttaparthi) and so, in his personal capacity, recommended him for a job to people known to him.
When Swami came to know of this matter, Swami was very upset with Kasturi. Swami told Kasturi that the Maharaja's son was in the ashram for some months as he was working out his karma. By Kasturi interfering in this karmic matter without taking Swami's permission he had created a problem. Further, Swami told Kasturi that either Swami should continue to stay in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram or Kasturi should continue to stay!!! Of course, that would have terrified Kasturi, and one presumes that Kasturi would have apologized profusely for his mistake and begged forgiveness, due to which our merciful Lord Sathya Sai would have forgiven him and allowed him to stay on in Prasanthi Nilayam.
Ravi: In this context, when I was serving in the Sai university, Prasanthi Nilayam campus, in early 2010 I got caught up in some big problem (of my own making), which got escalated to Swami. When I discussed this matter with colleagues in the Sai university, they backed off once they realized the sensitivities involved, and refused to get involved. One person who I respected a lot because of his spiritual insight and understanding of life in Prasanthi Nilayam under Swami's gaze, clearly indicated that he did not want to get involved but wished me all the best!!! At that time, I felt let down by them as I was left to myself to deal with the problem. Later I realized that it perhaps was my karma/destiny, along with some foolish actions of mine then (related to inappropriate spiritual practice), that led to the problem in the first place. The foolish actions of mine that led to the problem seem to have been just a surface level trigger with perhaps a much deeper karmic/destiny matter being below the surface.
It was then my karma to go through the churn. I had to beg forgiveness from Swami for my mistakes during Darshan via prayer/thoughts (I did not attempt to speak to him; I felt prayer/thoughts and his facial gesture response was the appropriate method for me to communicate/interact with him at that time (2010)). First few days after the matter got escalated to Swami he did not even come to the gents' side during Darshan (I used to sit in the old students block as I was comfortable with that given some health issues that I had/have). I had to pray real hard and, if I recall correctly, after three days or so he gave a full round of Darshan including gents side. Oh what a relief that was for me! I was feeling very guilty wondering whether it was because of me that Swami was avoiding coming to gents' side and so depriving others in the gents' side of close darshan! That was excruciating emotional churn! So it was great emotional relief for me when he did do that full round of Darshan.
Over the days & weeks that followed, eventually he allowed his glance to fall on me and sometimes stay on me for those precious split-seconds or sometimes even seconds, which was a signal to me that Swami has, in his boundless mercy, forgiven me. But had I learnt my lesson or what!!! Perhaps I needed to go through that churn and then be forced to beg for forgiveness from Swami, to learn how to be very, very careful with deep spiritual practices one does or even spiritual insights one has, and go the extra mile to avoid hurting others due to foolish/inappropriate spiritual practices.
The bottom line seems to be that in spiritual ashram/town environments many people are working out their karma, knowingly or unknowingly, under the eye/grace of a spiritual master. While one should be willing to help those in trouble, we should not be over-enthusiastic with material level help (e.g. finding somebody a job) without a go-ahead from the spiritual master (or spiritually wise elders of the ashram in the physical absence of the spiritual master).