It is quite sufficient to say that I have been fortunate to have Divine parents. My mother’s name is Urmil Anand whose book, Tere Tujhko Arpan (What is Yours, I Offer back to You) was translated into English by me, has been generously blessed by Bhagawan and in many different languages, recounts her profound Kundalini experiences, which Bhagawan relished hearing on occasions. I can only say with conviction that she is a Yogini who having received the immense grace of Guruji and Bhagawan, goes on chanting the names of Rama, Krishna and Sai incessantly and is certainly destined for the final liberation in this lifetime. Evidence of her spiritual advancement is that she is extremely loving yet passionately detached and none can remain without being influenced in her presence, such is the force of her conviction. In many visions, I have seen myself as her disciple in a previous lifetime, and am proud if am considered one now.
My childhood memories are of her intimate conversations with Bhagawan in His photographs and thereafter getting lost in deep meditation for hours with tears incessantly flowing down her cheeks, much to our concern and distress, till we grew to understand her love for her Sai. A woman with dauntless courage in face of difficulties and boundless love for absolute strangers, she is a true devotee of Bhagawan. We are true friends, as we understand each other without a word exchanged, a heart to heart connect spanning lifetimes. We took initiation from the same master on the same day and hence she is also a Guru-sister to me. We would frequent Samiti Bhajans and Guruji’s ashram together and travelled together to Puttaparthi for Bhagawan’s first physical Darshan as volunteers, and were permanently transformed on the same day! After I became a student, my greatest concern was that Bhagawan should call her to Puttaparthi, as He had called my father, and my pleadings met His grace in 1999. Now we live happily together at the abode of highest peace, inseparable in love with Bhagawan Baba- the embodiment of greatest love Earth has ever seen. Her friend-like relationship with Bhagawan and profound experiences are a subject matter of a future discussion, but I have always heard her speak in love to Bhagawan, “Sai Krishna, I was not your Radha, but I was certainly her friend, equally in love.”
She minces no words in saying that I was a gift of Krishna to her, that when I was in her womb after two elder sisters, she would constantly pray to her Lord Krishna to bestow her with a son, even if it were to be dark in complexion like Him. Needless to say, I was dark skinned on birth to prove the point! She also had some miraculous escapes from accidents during this period ascribed to me, what else can you expect from a doting mother who is a queen of hearts?
My father, Mr. G.L. Anand, is currently the Editor of the English edition of Sanathana Sarathi. A master of Yogasanas and meditation, his cassettes on Yog Nidra were much in demand. Retired as an editor in National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), he authored and edited many books and journals, including Guruji’s book, “Third Eye and Kundalini.” A family man of great caring, his deep understanding of child psychology, made us grow into healthy and happy children. We were all his Yoga students when he taught as a service in Sri Aurobindo Centre. It was a great coincidence that he and Guruji were in the same office as colleagues and I studied for 2 years in a school in the NCERT campus. So I would leave and return home with him and after school from around 2pm till about 5pm, I would often see dad and Guruji play Table Tennis as doubles partners, nay champions! They were close friends, more like brothers, and at that time, Guruji was simply my loving Goel uncle. My childhood images of father is that of a smiling embodiment of love, always carrying a number of bags – like the bird father ever engaged in feeding his family with love.
When we were toddlers, father had taken initiation from Swami Chidananda, the first disciple of Swami Sivananda, founder the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh. Being a life member of the society, it was a routine for us to travel to Rishikesh and Haridwar nearly every year in summer vacations, where we would participate in the Ashram activities of prayers, chanting and meditation and listen to the talks by Swami Chidananda and other great sages in the evening congregation. The day would be spent wandering around Rishikesh and taking dips in the holy Ganges, not to forget the lip smacking goodies and mangoes of which this holy township has no dearth.
In 1997, at the age of 27, after topping in my post graduation in New Delhi and having worked in a finance company for three years when I finally joined the MBA course, one day during Darshans, Bhagawan hinted to me that He was looking for a new editor for the Sanathan Saarthi magazine, a post previously occupied by great stalwarts like Mr. Kasturi and Dr. Narsimhan. Father was in Puttaparthi as a Seva Dal volunteer and on my insistence, he applied for the post and then left for Delhi. After nearly four months of silent prayers, I finally asked Bhagawan one day in Darshan, “Swami, father had applied for the editor’s post; does he need to come?” I was taken aback by the sense of urgency in Bhagawan’s response when he said, ‘Yes, ask him to come immediately.” Till father finally came after nearly 10 days, I had hell of a time explaining Swami every morning and evening his whereabouts and reasons for delay! On arrival, father was showered with immediate appointment and Puttaparthi became home. To this day, at the age of 81 years, he continues to serve Swami with immense zeal and dedication, never missing his Yogasanas sessions and evening walks, where I join him in most occasions.