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Swami often sets up very difficult tests as we become very close to him

   As I had earlier explained, Swami often sets up very difficult tests as we become very close to him to find out how strong our faith and devotion is. Let me narrate to you one such incident involving my son.

   It was in the year 1998 when my son Rajesh had just finished writing his final engineering exams. Earlier, with Swami's blessings, during the final semester itself he got assistantship from Iowa State University in US for doing his master's degree. Meanwhile, he came to know about the US consulate giving travel grants from India to New York to those whom they select after administering written exams and interviews. Rajesh passed their written exams and went for two interviews. They told him that they would communicate very soon to him about his getting the aid. This occurred in the month of June. Meanwhile, my husband had already left earlier for the peetam for the preparation of the prathishta function to be held from 7th to 11th July. Since the college had reopened after the vacation, I could not take much leave. Rajesh and my grandson, Nikhil, who was just two years old and I were to leave on 9th July from Bombay and reach the peetam on 11th early morning which was the Prathishta day. That day also happened to be Swami's birthday. In between, Nikhil became very sick and was down with fever. My daughter Latha was posted in Wadia hospital in Bombay and she had some emergency cases she had to attend to at the hospital. Rajesh's friend Anil also was to join us for going to Tambaram. Latha could not accompany us because of her hectic work in the hospital and so also my son-in-law. On Monday, 6th July, Rajesh received an intimation from the US consulate asking him to appear for the final interview on Saturday, 11th July. They had indicated that it was just to meet the consulate General in person and collect a cheque of Rs. 25000. On one hand we were very happy but on the other hand, Swami had earlier specifically instructed Rajesh that he should attend the temple function at least for a day before he departed for the US. We were in a desperate fix. Moreover, my grandson was also very sick. We did not know what to do. So my son called Swami and told him about his interview and also about the child's ill health. Swami told him not to worry about the scholarship amount and Nikhil's ill health and asked all of us to come to the peetam as per schedule. We were totally taken aback with his reply. We did not know what to do. Even my son's friend asked me as to how come our Swami was asking us to proceed with the trip when Rajesh was about to receive the travel grant within a couple of days. After moving with Swami for over a decade, we were certain that there must be some valid reason for his insisting on us to come to the peetam, in spite of knowing all the details.

   We went to Tambaram and attended the prathishta and Swarni's birthday function. By Swami's grace, Nikhil's fever was gone and we had a good darshan. Swami told us not to bother about the travel aid. We then returned to Bombay. Later after one month, a stranger came to my husband's office in search of one of his close friends, (who was also my husband's very close friend), for getting some details about his products. He had come to place an order for with his friend. But after talking to my husband and seeing all his products, he was very much pleased with my husband's product and straight away he gave a verbal order worth about Rs. 1,00,000 to my husband for making the temperature controllers. Though my husband told him that it would not be proper for him to accept that, the stranger was firm with his decision. My husband could not believe the sudden serendipitous development. The person sent a written purchase order on the very next day to him. The whole thing was totally unexpected and unbelievable. My husband said that it was Swami's grace that was instrumental in getting that valuable order, which was much more than what my son would have received as grant.

   Rajesh went to United States after a fortnight. After reaching Iowa, within a week, he fell very sick with high fever. It was diagnosed as malaria. He underwent lots of hardships since he was very new to the place. Luckily, my daughter, Latha, being a doctor could talk to him daily and advise him through e-mail about the proper medicines and treatment. He suffered for fifteen days with fever and often he had to go to the hospital for treatment. By God's grace and with the help and co-operation of his friends, he slowly recovered. When we informed Swami about his ill health in the US, he immediately told us that nothing serious would happen to him since he had visited the peetam before leaving and Devi would take care of him. He further said that he sensed and knew well in advance about his falling sick over there and that was the real reason for Swami insisting on his coming over to the peetam to worship Devi and take Her blessings, so that nothing untoward would happen to him. We became highly emotional and were full of gratitude. We could not stop admiring how Swami's miraculous powers protect us, though the whole sequence of events might sound like a mere coincidence at first. He said that when God is with us, what can be against us? Yes! this is the truth that we really experienced in our lives. As long as we are under Swami's umbrella of protection, nothing can go against us and his grace will certainly save us from any serious danger and calamity. It was a most unforgettable time in our lives.

   Rajesh had experienced Swami's grace even earlier. After completing his schooling, he had appeared for the national talent scholarship exams in the month of May 1992. In the month of August, a couple of his friends got the government's notification about their success in the written exams and asking them to appear for an interview of four hours duration (1 hour each for physics, chemistry, maths and general knowledge) at the Bombay University campus. Rajesh did not receive any intimation. When we had gone for Thursday pooja, Swami told us to ask Rajesh to go to the post office and said that he had passed the exams and the intimation letter, sent by registered post was lying in the post office. As per his advice, we told Rajesh not to go to his college on that day and go at once to the post office with necessary identification. When he went there, he was totally amazed to receive the registered letter from the government informing him of his success. It seemed that since none of us were at home during day time, the post man had come and gone and dropped a small intimation letter, which was swept away by our housekeeper in our absence. He was overwhelmed and thanked Swami for his valuable advice at the correct time, since he was asked to appear for the interview on Monday itself. He was a little nervous since he could not get valuable tips for the interview because he had missed the coaching sessions. He was the last candidate to be interviewed on that day. After two months, there was a notification in the news media that the Government of India had granted national scholarship to 600 successful candidates throughout the country for that particular year. Swami at once called us, asking us to give Rajesh's seat number and his full name. He called one of his devotees Mr. Iyer in Delhi and asked him to go in person to the NCERT office and find out the result of Rajesh. On the very next day, Iyer gave us the good news that my son had been awarded the NTS scholarship. All of us were thrilled and tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. Immediately Rajesh called Swami and thanked him for his profound grace and concern towards him. Within a week, we received the official confirmation letter from the government. We were all overwhelmed and even now, as I relate this episode, I am deeply touched at Swami's profound sympathy and concern towards every member of our family. There is absolutely no doubt that Swami is our saviour and a living legend — the Mother Goddess, who is constantly protecting and guiding us.

   Mr. Lakshmikanthan is a devotee of Swami and has known Swami for over a decade. Here, he narrates his experience with Swami. "After I shifted to the new house, the house owner handed over the key saying that he did not have any duplicate key and so the key should be kept very safe. On the very next day, I went out on my business visit after locking the house with the key. When I returned home for lunch in the afternoon, I realized that the key was missing. I was in a fix and was very much worried. I started praying to Swami, not knowing what to do. To my surprise, I heard an asareeri (voice from within) sounding like Swami, telling me that I should go to the last place from where I came home, within half an hour and search for the key, otherwise there was a chance of losing the key. I followed his instructions and immediately rushed to the place. To my astonishment, I saw my key lying on the ground in that crowded market place where I had parked my scooter. I really felt the presence of Swami very much within me.

   "On another occasion, I had been to Tirupathi along with my family. As usual, I prayed to Swami to bless us to have a quick and good darshan of Lord Venkatachalapathi. Actually, we had planned earlier that we would go by train from Chennai to Tirupathi. Since we could not get the tickets, we decided to go by bus. When we went to the bus stand, the bus was awfully crowded and we could not get into the bus. All of us were terribly disappointed and contemplating whether to go back home. I told my wife that Swami would not fail us. Within ten minutes, an announcement was made that there would be a special bus within half an hour to cope with the heavy rush. We got accommodation in the special bus and went to Tirupathi and had very good darshan of the Lord and returned home safely. No doubt, it was all because of Swami's blessings."