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Love and Light

Professor Anil Kumar

Professor Anil Kumar Kamaraju from Prasanthi Nilayam hardly needs any introduction to the large Sai family across the world! Over 25 years or so, our dear Lord Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, bestowed upon him the unique opportunity to render live translations of His Divine Discourses in Telugu into English. And this sacred but difficult duty, Professor Anil Kumar performed with great devotion, humility, enthusiasm, concentration and clarity; and for this great service, many devotees remain indebted to him!

Hailing from the fertile delta region of the State of Andhra Pradesh, Professor Anil Kumar was educated in the famous Andhra University and worked as a Professor of Botany in Andhra Christian College in Guntur. He belongs to a very scholarly family who were staunch followers of Brahmo Samaj, a progressive thinking reformist movement in India and known for its worship of the Brahman as the Formless. However in early 1970s, Bhagawan Baba entered his life through the faith and devotion of his wife, Srimati Vijaya Lakshmi. After some initial hesitation and scepticism, Professor Anil Kumar soon found convergence of his Brahmo Samaj ideas with those of Bhagawan’s teachings: Only, Bhagawan’s explanations were clearer, fresher, interesting, inspiring, gave great joy and solace.

He never looked back after this, and with his trademark enthusiasm and in his inimitable style plunged into the Divine Sai Mission. He studied and digested Bhagawan’s Discourses with great dedication, and toured various parts of the State to interact with fellow devotees and spread the Divine Sai Message. Bhagawan’s Grace flowed unto him incessantly in his selfless efforts to serve the Lord and His devotees, most times at the cost of all personal conveniences and comforts that he sacrificed happily and uncomplainingly. Since late 70s, he was blessed to be regularly invited by Bhagawan to speak in His Divine Presence at Prasanthi Nilayam; he was appointed to many responsible positions in the State Sathya Sai Organisation, including as the State President in 1985. And eventually, Bhagawan appointed him as the Principal of His favourite Brindavan College in Whitefield in 1988, and later as Professor at Prasanthi Nilayam, thus giving him the unique opportunity to live and serve in the direct, immediate, Divine Presence of the Poorna Avathar for 22 most cherished years. During these years, he has endeared himself to students, staff, devotees and others, and above all to our derarest Lord Sai!

Professor Anil Kumar’s relationship with Swami was very unique, and a great treat to those of us who watched it. He was no doubt an ardent devotee who was constantly aware of Bhagawan’s Omnipresence, Omnipotence and Omniscience. Yet he was also aware that the Avathar assumes human form and chooses to ‘feign’ ignorance occasionally ONLY for the sake of devotees, allowing them to gain opportunities to be near Him, enjoy His Sambhashan and engage in conversation with the Divine. If He always ‘appeared’ to be the all-knowing one, there would be no conversations taking place as He already knew what the devotee was going to say!

No one understood this aspect of the Avathar better than Prof. Anil Kumar and he utilised every opportunity to ‘engage’ Swami in many such beautiful conversations. Such conversations also ‘kept’ Swami longer amidst devotees and students, thus allowing longer Darshans and other opportunities for Divine Interactions such as Padanamaskaar, Autographs, Vibhuti, and so on for many others around.

Swami would ask him on a daily basis almost, during the famous ‘Verandah Sessions’ in the Mandir in Prasanthi Nilayam or during the ‘Trayee Sessions’ in Brindavan, “Yemi Samacharam” (what news?). And Prof. Anil Kumar would narrate either some mundane worldly events, or miracles of Swami that he had recently come across, or the grandeur of the programmes in Prasanthi Nilayam, or describe some of the mythological stories that he had read, and so on. In turn, he would receive divine insights and explanations into what should be done, why certain events take place and the real significance of various mythological incidents. Such conversations benefitted not only those in the vicinity of this dialogue, but many others too, for which posterity will always thank him.

Once the staff quarters in Prasanthi Nilayam were being refurbished, and during the evening Verandah session after Darshan, Professor said to Bhagawan, “ Swami, the Staff Quarters are glittering”. Swami acknowledged it briefly, and Professor continued “ Swami, staff quarters are being painted, cleaned and repaired. Very nice, Swami. They are even changing old taps’. Bhagawan then remarked, “ Inside also, it should be clean!”. On another occasion, the students had performed Laksharchana in the hostel that morning, and Swami was enquiring about this with the Warden. Professor Anil Kumar who was present nearby, produced from his pocket the photograph that was given to the students for Laksharchana, and handed it to Bhagawan saying, “ They gave this photo also”. Swami looked at the photograph and turned it over where on its reverse was printed a picture of Mother Easwaramma. After observing it for a while He said, “This is an old photo. In this photo, she is not looking very old”. Yet another time, Swami and he were discussing the various concepts of Dvaitha (Dualistic) philosophy and Professor Anil Kumar asked Swami to clarify the meaning of Moksha. Swami replied, “In my opinion, Moksha is Moha Kshyam (removing of desires)”. Professor Anil Kumar was in rapturous delight with this definition and said, “Ah! Classical definition, Swami”. Swami pointed out, “ Not classical!”. Instantly he corrected himself and said, “Classic definition, Swami”. Swami just smiled in reply. Such was the informal and loving relationship that Prof. Anil Kumar enjoyed with our dear Swami.

Another unique aspect of this relationship was his ability to make the Divine Lord laugh with him! Swami enjoyed his sense of humour and Himself participated in the mirth at times. Times at which the entire Verandah would burst in peals of laughter! Pointing to a student of very lanky build once, Swami said “ When will he become fat?” Professor replied humorously, “ When I become thin, he will become fat Swami”! And everyone including Swami laughed at this funny remark. Another time, when Swami enquired how he liked His discourse, Professor said that the discourse was beautiful and Swami dispelled all his doubts. Bhagawan mischievously said that Prof. Anil Kumar was full of doubts that would never get clarified. In his own inimitable style Prof. Anil Kumar lamented, “Swami, what then is my gathi (fate), what is my destiny, what is my fate? If I'm full of doubts that cannot be clarified, what am I to do?”, and Swami answered, “You surrender to Me. Sharanagathi, that is your gathi. That is your destiny.” On a different occasion, he pleaded with Swami to tell him the secret of living without worry as he humorously described the plight of people thus: “Swami, you say that I should not worry. However, how can I not worry? How? We are all married people. We have children and a wife. She is the source of worry to me; I am the source of worry to her; and the children are the source of worry to both of us.” Swami laughed and said that whatever is bound to happen will happen and what is not destined to happen will not happen and we should not worry!

Such conversations were numerous and Professor Anil Kumar became an instrument in Swami’s hands. He entertained the very creator of the universe with wit and humour, whilst all the time he relaying to us His divine message. We are indeed fortunate to have him amidst all of us in the UK between the 17th- 25th of August, travelling across the country and sharing his unique experiences, deep understanding and love of our dear Bhagawan and His teachings.

Gunaranjan Bose
Dr Pawan Tamvada
Saistudents Alumni

To attend the UK Satsangs with Prof. Anil Kumar please register here.