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Funny side up! Sathya Sai and the Artist whose poetry book was eaten by a cow!

Whenever I get time, I listen to the Samarpan series of talks on YouTube. I find it inspiring to listen to many devotees and former students share their experiences. One of my favourite speakers is Dr. U. Suma Rao, whose talks are funny and personal, in a way that I enjoy. [Do Read: Love's Journey, Swami's Blessings]
[Image: Radio Sai on FB]
A candid devotee that she is, Dr. Suma Rao says she felt that she was the next Picasso! She is an artist and a talented one too, so she felt that an art career at JJ School of Arts was her true calling. Her father arranged a meeting for her with the Vice Chancellor of JJ Arts who said, "You will never be a fine artist because you draw with your mind. Forget pure art. You may opt for something else." When she got a chance to speak with Swami later, she again expressed her desire to study at JJ School of Arts. Swami said to her, "No!"
"If you surrender, God can interfere in your life but not otherwise. God gives opportunities but does not allow identification with them." is a beautiful insight that Dr. Suma Rao shares from her direct experiences.
A funny instance is when she told Swami, "The cow ate my book of poetry." She says lightheartedly that it was a very hungry cow! She was devastated and pulled the poetry book out of its mouth but half of the book remained in the cow's mouth! The other half of the book remained with her. Dr. Suma says, "Swami looked at me, walked ahead and said 'I saw'. I knew He saw into my heart and was definitely not about the cow."You see, the thing about Swami is that you can tell Him anything!
As a child, my sister had been blessed to spend a month at Prashanti Nilayam representing Africa under the tutelage of the famous Genoveva Kanu. After two interviews with Swami, my sister had told us: "He is so funny, not at all the strict person we all seem to think He is. He cracks jokes, plays pranks and becomes like a child....he is never serious, like in his photos."

[Image; Samarpan Talk Series on YouTube]
Dr. Suma Rao says that though Swami said 'No' to her ambition to pursue art in JJ School, her life was completely dedicated to art - the only difference was that it was with Swami, which is the greatest blessing for a devotee! In Dr. Suma's words, "When God becomes the focal point, our commitment increases. For us, when Swami becames our Centre, life becomes an excuse to reach God. Our focal point shifts and a certain degree of commitment begins and God begins His chiseling."
Dr. Suma Rao adds that the same Vice Chancellor of JJ School of Arts visited Prashanti Nilayam years later. When he saw her art works, he praised her saying, "You are a fine artist!" Also, he didn't recognize she was the same student that he had earlier rejected.
"Spirituality is the surrender of one's ego to the Infinite Wisdom and Knowledge that is the Universe. Whether we like it or not, He will take us through this long journey," Dr. Suma Rao sums it up.
Once, Swami's feedback on her Christmas art work was painful to digest when he told her: "So much planning you can do but you can't take care of a little detail. Krishna and Arjuna are on each other's feet, are they getting married? Krishna's stomach was okay but you chiselled it and made it narrower. "All night, she worked on rectifying the errors that Swami pointed out. READ: The Amazing Tale of Peddabottu!
Swami always watches the tiniest details. She says,"Art has to come from the heart, Swami always reminds us." She also says, "He made God relatable to me. He is anything but judgmental. He is joy, he is funny, he used to play pranks and was always full of love. You could tell Him anything."
Do watch Dr. Suma Rao's video talk here. It's funny and really heartwarming!