• Love all by keeping mind pure. All things will happen automatically......Sai Baba

I am grateful for being given this chance to survive and learn from this experience.—Audio

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Those who chant my name repetedly, I will protect them always...Sai Baba

  1. I am grateful for being given Alice 11:30

I wish to share an amazing experience of my life.

I am sure you would have read that Canberra – Australia’s National Capital – was engulfed in fire on January 18th, 2003.

I am from Canberra. The last 24 hours have been a nightmare for us.

Australia is known for its bushfires but what we saw in the last 24 hours was unheard of in the history of Australia.

We live in a part of Canberra that has plenty of bush and scenery.

My house is about 3 minutes drive from my work and there are mountains behind my work place.

For the last 4 days the area behind the mountains was burning and as it was a reserve we did not think much of it.

We went to work and came home without knowing that we were soon going to be doomed.

Yesterday afternoon at 2:00 our whole family went to the shop just behind our house.

In the shop we heard a sales girl come up and tell her friends that her place was on fire.

Her place was in the suburb next to ours! We rushed out of the mall only to find a darkened sky with a red globe and ash and embers every where.

We rushed home and were in a state of panic as were all the people on the road.

 My kids started crying helplessly, sensing the danger.

My husband and I wanted to salvage important things like papers, passports, citizenship certificates and other stuff and a few clothes.

We had the radio on full volume and were told that the whole of Canberra had been declared as being under state of emergency until further notice.

We were upset and were deciding to hose down the fence and roof of the house.

Our neighbors told us to evacuate as the fire was sure to reach us as the mountains and the suburb next to ours were ablaze and the wind was traveling at the speed of 100 KM/hour.

We were lost and could not make up our minds.

Then I told my kids to grab their important stuff and fill the bath tub with water and put damp towels at the doors to keep them occupied and I asked my husband to give me half an hour.

I locked myself in a room and read Vishnu Sahasranamam.

Then in my usual fashion when I am in state of confusion I seek answers from Sai Satcharitra.

I begged and implored BABA to guide us and tell us whether to leave the house and go away or stay at home.

I closed my eyes, thought of my BABA and opened the book and BABA the merciful answered me with this – I beg you read carefully the highlighted words.

 “Balasaheb Mirikar, son of Sardar Kakasaheb Mirikar was Mamlatdar of Kopergaon.

He was going on tour to Chitali. On the way he came to Shirdi to see Sai Baba.

When he went to the Masjid and prostrated himself before Baba, usual conversation regarding health and other matters commenced, when Baba sounded a note of warning as follows:

“Do you know our Dwarakamayi?”  As Balasaheb did not understand he kept quiet, Baba continued

 “This is our Dwarakamayi, where you are sitting. She wards off all dangers and anxieties of the children, who sit on her lap.

 This Masjidmayi  (its presiding Deity) is very merciful; she is the mother of the simple devotees, whom she will save in calamities.

Once a person sits on her lap, all his troubles are over. He, who rests in her shade, gets Bliss”.

Then Baba gave him Udhi, and placed HIS protecting hand on his head.

When Balasaheb was about to depart, He again said- “Do you know the “Lamba Baba” (long gentleman), viz. serpent?”

And then closing the left arm like fist He brought it near the right elbow, and moving His left arm like the hood of a serpent,

He said, “He is so terrible, but what can he do to the children of Dwarakamayi, When the Dwarakamayi (its presiding deity) protects, what can the serpant do?” (Chapter 22 , Sai Satcharita).

From this I understood that our house was Dwarakamayi,  as we worship BABA in our house and HE is our MASTER.

I cried holding this book to my heart.

I showed it to my husband my 9 and half year old and my 5 year old son.

We were very emotional. We then decided to leave the bags in the car and we started hosing down the house and decided we shall stay in the house, if we were to evacuate then the emergency department would come and tell us.

We were outside watering and preparing for the worst.

We heard that winds would worsen from afternoon to 6:30 and it would be blowing towards our direction carrying balls of fire and that situation was grave.

We were constantly looking out. 6:30 came and went.

Earlier we could not see anything more than 10 meters away as it was covered with thick smoke.

But instead of getting worse the smoke cleared and by 8:30 there was cool soft breeze.

Our suburb which was on red alert was not even mentioned as being at risk though we were surrounded by suburbs which were on alert.

Houses were gutted and were engulfed in fire when a ball of fire swept over unexpectedly and 400 and more people lost their houses in the western part.

There was no power in most of the places. Canberra was in a blackout.

Except for few of our houses in the suburb where we lived,  the rest of the houses in most affected parts of Canberra were in blackout.

At night we saw the mountains behind my office burn.

My friends, who were presumably in a safe area and had invited us to stay with them as we were at high risk, had to evacuate themselves as the flames spread towards their houses.

They had no power for 12 hours or more. WE WERE SAFE. We had electricity.

The things we always took for granted – we realized the essence of it.

We had water and we were all together. All because I followed what BABA told me through the book, and HE assured that HE would save us.

 Had we left in panic then we would have been engulfed in fire on the road.

By staying at home we were safe. When we saw the pathetic situation of people who had lost their memories and valuable things, which cannot be replaced like pictures, medals and other trinkets,

I counted my blessings. Money is not important but there are some things which are more valuable for us.

Some lost their lives, and many houses were gutted.

We are fortunate as we did not suffer anything other than mild inconvenience from inhalation of smoke.

My husband’s office was burnt down.

His boss called on Sunday morning asking him not to bother going to work till Wednesday.

Businesses shut down.

There was utter chaos, grief and shock. This brought out love, concern, empathy and the best in people as they came to the rescue of others in need.

Believe me we are still in shock, especially the little kids. My 9 year old asked me, “Mum, BABA hit his stick and brought the fire down, can’t he do that now? I said HE would if we pray.

Both my kids sat and prayed. My 9 year old is a voracious reader and loves to read AMAR CHITRA KATHA’s about God’s mythology and stories. He read a book on Shirdi Sai BABA.

 I was amazed at his thoughtfulness. We are richer now, richer with new experiences, richer in our faith getting stronger towards the holy feet of BABA.

Most important my children learnt that BABA never lies once HE promises.

I am grateful for being given this chance to survive and learn from this experience.

I am grateful to God for teaching me the value of the air that we breathe, for the electricity without which the food which I bought in preparation of my little one’s birthday party would have gone bad in the freezer.

We became richer in compassion and empathy, showing concern for our other friends momentarily forgetting our needs.

This is a learning opportunity provided to us by BABA. He did this only:

  1. To show HIS presence in our lives and that HE alone is our caretaker.

  2. To show our gratitude towards what HE provided to us.

  3. To emphasize that we should not take things for granted and to let us count His blessings in the little things that make our life comfortable.

  4. To let us show compassion, love and concern. Tomorrow we might need it and what we pass around comes back to us.

  5. To make us open our window of understanding and love.

  6. To thank God for the small mercies and to tell that there are others who are in graver situation than ours.

  7. To tell us to have contentment with what we have and not to compare ourselves with others and make ourselves miserable.

As Baba is there within all of us, let us reach out to Him and feel Him in our hearts.

He alone is our savior. Please, while doing naama japa can I beg you all to pray for those victims of the fire who lost their homes and loved ones, for all those brave firemen, and persons from military and other emergency services who worked nonstop to control the fire.

We are doing fine now by BABA’s grace, in spite of the threat still looming over our heads, and even though we still have smoke and haze around us.

BABA gives us such experiences only to increase our faith.

Let us collectively bow down to BABA for His constant vigilance and guidance in our lives.

For us there is no other adviser than Him and we seek His blessings. BABA protects us always.

Anitha Kandukuri

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