Rahul Dravid is Sai's Prasad


Sharmila Patwardhan


Rahul Dravid is Sai’s Prasad

When one achieves great fame and success, there is certainly, the Grace of God. This is affirmed when one sees the achievements of former captain of the Indian cricket team Rahul and his mother Dr. Pushpa Dravid.

I was surprised and overwhelmed with divine joy when Pushpatai informed me that Rahul her son, an ace cricketer, honoured with Padmashri, twice with World Championship and several other prizes and awards is Shirdi Sai Baba’s blessing (Prasad). The sky of emotions clouded my eyes. I experienced an overwhelming joy akin to when we see Baba’s image in an unexpected place. Immediately the following verse 6 in Chapter 50 of Shri Sai Satcharita appeared before my eyes like a film, Jagin Hey Sarva Samsamaan l Pari Kripalu Sadguruveen l Khara Janak Naahin Aan l Navalvindaan Parisaaven ll which means all this are equally important in this world. But, there is no true father other than the compassionated Sadguru. Just see His marvellous Leela.

Pushpatai is a renowned artist in Bangaluru, a retired professor in architectural art, and also a doctorate in art, the first female artist in Karnatak state. Her drawings are on display at several art galleries in the country and abroad, in corporate companies and in the private collection of individuals. Beside, the eye catching murals depicting renowned cricketers of Karnatak at the Chennaswami stadium of Bangaluru in Karnatak is done by Pushpatai.

I recall that several years ago I had to interview Pushpatai for a Marathi periodical, for this I invited her to my residence. On the day we decided to meet, I was completing my ‘Shri Sai Satcharita reading week’ and I had the fortune of having Pushpatai and Rahul’s father Dr. Sharad Dravid as guests for the Udyapan (concluding ceremony). What greater happiness could I have had !

When the couple came home and learnt that the Shri Sai Satcharita reading had concluded, they too were glad as their whole family too is ardent devotee of Baba. Hearing this, my joy was supplemented like sugar added to milk. Our bonding has grown over the last 18- 19 years. Hence, I am certain that, that meeting on such an occasion was the divine handiwork of Sainath.

In fact, in their residence named ‘Srushti’, I have seen the pure white marble idol of Sai Baba in their shrine. I have also seen the idol of Sai Baba decked in garland of flowers and leaves on one side of the platform in the kitchen. Pushpatai herself decorates her shrine reverentially and beautifully. The Chourang (platform to place the Deity) has been designed by Pushpatai with three steps. Seeing this reminds us of the steps in Dwarkamai representing Sattva, Rajas and Tamas qualities. The stand-like designed Chourang is decorated with a mirror and delicate carvings of golden Bel leaves.

Idols of several Deities are installed and the idol of Tirupati Balaji and Sai Baba draw attention and hold one spellbound. On one side of the kitchen is an arrangement to listen to music. While Pushpatai is at work here, there is devotional songs, hymns, verses, Bhajans, etc. on.

The experience of Rahul’s birth narrated by Pushpatai is very significant. Pushpatai narrates – the paternal aunt of Rahul and his brother Vijay, Dr. Vishalakshi Dhodapkar was a professor of anatomy in Indore Medical College and an ardent Sai devotee. She was called ‘Vimlatai’. She always remained engrossed in the remembrance of Sai and had firm faith eternally that ‘Baba will do good to all.’ After Sharadrao wed Pushpatai, Vimlatai took them to Shirdi and stated in front of Baba’s Samadhi, “If they get a son first, we will come to Shirdi again.”

On the asking of a faithful devotee from the depth of his heart Sai with Ever Giving Innumerable Hands - a son was born (Rahul). He was born at his grandparent’s village in Indore on a Thursday night. Vimalatai, who was in Sai remembrance, was present, and Rahul was born in the company of Sai’s name. As a grace of Datta Sai, he was named in the cradle as ‘Dattatraya’, and for practical formalities he was named ‘Rahul’. After a few months of his birth, Sharadrao and Pushpatai took Rahul to Shirdi. There with Rahul on their laps in front of Sai’s Samadhi they offered worship and fulfilled their vows.

After that they had a second son, Vijay, who excelled in studies. He also plays excellent cricket. He has completed his management and is well placed in his career. Even Sharadrao, who is brilliant, retired from a very senior post from a reputed company.

For a few years they did not go to Shirdi. But, once in Bangaluru, when Sai Baba’s symbolic Padukas (footwears) were brought to a friend of Vijay, Prasanna’s house, all four went for the Darshan of the Padukas.
At that time Prasanna’s parents gave a photo of Sai Baba placed beside the Padukas to Rahul on their own. With utter faith Pushpatai placed that photo in the centre of the kitchen platform and decked it with a beautiful garland of flowers and leaves.
Even the idol of Sai in Dravid’s shrine came to them in a similar way. Dr. Ray, a resident of Indiranagar in Bangaluru, came to their house one evening unexpectedly. While returning from Shirdi, instead of going to his house first he halted the taxi in front of Dravid’s house and removed a beautiful marble idol of Sai Baba from his bag and gave it to Dravid family. This is the same idol of Sai in Dravid’s shrine as though arrived on its own. It is indeed true that the all compassionate Guru graces benevolence !

Then, one day, someone brought a small idol of Sai and that too is placed in that shrine.

The entire Dravid family whole heartedly believes that Sai’s grace and compassion is always with them. When Rahul was inducted into the Indian Cricket team, the Dravid family had just returned after Sai Darshan from Shirdi.

While talking about Rahul, Sharadrao states - Rahul has imbibed Baba’s teachings of Saburi (patience). Rahul is referred to as ‘the great wall’ of Indian cricket. This is a felicitation of his patience only. Tackling anything with patience is his inbuilt character. Patience is a quality he has inherited from his mother. Just as he remains undisturbed while playing on the field, so also he is at home. Getting over excited by joy or angry because things happen against his wish is not in his character.

His commitment for hard work when it comes to cricket has been commended by all including his coaches. During his childhood he used to remain engrossed in cricket that, even when there was no bat in his hand he used to move his limbs as though he was batting, whenever and wherever he was coming or going - this is just like a true devotee always remembering his favourite Deity in his mind !

Pushpatai informs that till date she has never heard Rahul talking ill of anyone or criticising others. Vijay too never talks ill about others. This behaviour of theirs is in keeping with Sai Baba’s teachings. This verse in Shri Sai Satcharita tells the same thing - others may rebuke one in a hundred ways. But, one should never use bitter words in reply. One can experience unbound happiness if one bears patiently forever (verse 144, Chapter 19).

Rahul born and nurtured by Sai’s teachings has earned appreciation of each one who have come in contact with him. He follows ethical principles, like he was doing commercials for a while; but he made it a point not to model for any smoking of liquor company.

When one visits Dravid’s house, a big showcase in the right corner of the hall draws one’s attention. It is filled with awards received by Rahul. Mementoes of honour from several countries are there. Some ‘Man of the Match’ awards, some awards of ‘Man of the Series’, ‘Best Player in the World’ etc. and in the centre is placed the Indian tri colour replica. It is as if the flag affirming that Rahul always played and is playing for the country.

Many times devotees of Sai Baba have to go through hard tests. Similarly, even the Dravid family had to go through trying situations. Rahul took great efforts for cricket from his early school life. Everyone in the house encouraged him and assisted him in every way.

Before getting the doctorate in the field of Art, Pushpatai too had to go through several tribulations. But, be it for Pushaptai or for Rahul, Sainath bestowed success and fame on them. Sai Baba is always behind them, this is their conviction always. Hearing all this once again the verses of Shri Sai Satcharita reverberates all over us - Sai Baba has Himself espounded the nectar of life in these verses - You start performing. Sacrifice totally the worry of the fruits. For here, I stand behind you with a full bowl. If you think that you are the doer of hard tasks and you empty glass upon glass ill satiated - I know not such a thing. One should always be alert in one’s work. Know that whoever acts, taking this pledge of Baba as truth, will find mine of happiness in earth and heaven (verse 158 to 160, Chapter 19).

Rahul and Pushpatai have remained aware and acted according to Baba’s teachings and Baba in turn has bestowed them with His grace.


– Penned by Sharmila Patwardhan
51, Abhijit Apartments, VII Main, 11th Cross Road, Malleshwaram, Bangaluru, Karnatak.¥¥¥


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