There was this time – about 15 years back when I was writing my entrance exams for SAIL – the Steel Authority of India Limited. Generally, public sector competitive exams are considered challenging – aspirants devote years of practice before cracking them. I was in my final year of engineering then, applying for different positions. I had prepared quite a bit – revisited my notes from multiple years, internalizing key concepts, and working out practice exams. I was majoring in Electrical Engineering and was not from a top-tier college. I did well at college, averaging a 9/10 GPA.  I was studious. I prepared. I worked hard. However, I did not consider myself outstanding. I did what I was expected to do, and was trying out different things – cracking MBA exams, GRE/GMAT, and of course, getting ready for campus placements. 

This was not my first exam – I had appeared for many exams and many of them had not gone well.  Sometimes the questions were too hard, sometimes there wasn’t enough time, and sometimes I was not prepared well. But, I distinctly remember this exam. The venue was a dark classroom in one of the junior colleges in Bhubaneswar – my hometown. A professor handed out the question paper and I shifted through it, getting a feel for what the questions entailed. After filling up the enrolment details, I started working through the paper. 

I remember systematically starting from the beginning and going sequentially. The memory is vague, but I think there were quite a bit of technical questions, with some Maths, English, and reasoning thrown in for good measure. I recall getting into this flow, where I dove right into the questions and was able to crack the majority of them. There were some tough ones, that threw me off, but I later came back to complete them. After about 3 hours (I think), I had gone through all the questions and had answered the majority of them. Believe me when I tell you this – It was effortless! I was in this flow, where I felt that Maa Saraswati had descended in my pencil tips. I didn’t feel I had exerted myself even a tiny bit. It was literally a cakewalk. I had cruised through the exam and was fairly confident that I would clear it. 

The results were in expected lines. I cleared the exam, and later the interview and joined SAIL as a management trainee in 2007. I quit after a couple of years (that’s a story for another day!). In times of crisis, or indecisiveness, my mind often wanders to this specific day. Over years, I have come to this theory that I wasn’t alone that day, in the exam room. I wasn’t the one doing the maths. There was a divine energy present that guided me through the whole process. It was pre-ordained or as people say – it was destined. Some people say I was lucky, or I was well prepared. Probably, they are right. But, I was not better prepared than I was before. I was the same person, with the same information in my head. But my actions that day were not mine. The divine energy held my hands and gently guided through it. 

Sometimes, in times of uncertainty, when I am stressed and indecisive, I consciously channel this memory to draw strength. We often think that we are the ones making decisions, and that the world will end if we take a wrong step. I have heard my mom say – not even a leaf flutters without divine will. So, why carry the burden of the world on our shoulders? In times of crisis, I surrender, letting the divine guide me through whatever issue I am sorting through. And every time, without fail, the divine guides me through it. This is just one instance that I have described. I have many more such ‘brushes’ with the divine, which I will be writing about. 

Stay tuned until next time. May the divine energy be with you!