Experiences With Sathya Sai Baba
Mrs. P. Bhanumati
W/o. Sri P.V. Padmanabha Rao
C – 1 – 3, Postal Staff Colony
Monday Market Area, Meghadut Nagar
Uppal, Secunderabad, A.P., India
Mrs. P. Bhanumati (64), a housewife residing at Uppal, Secunderabad and a longtime Sai devotee, has several mystic experiences of which she narrates a few in her own words.
Many people used to suggest to me, ‘you have to write your own experiences. If not, they will be forgotten.’ But I was hesitant. I was in two minds. ‘Is it appropriate for me to write my experiences with Baba? Will it not spark off ego in me?’ I could not decide either way. So I did not pay any heed to their suggestions. But some devotees, whom I respect much, were also insistent that I should record my experiences with Baba. I took it as the instruction from Baba. I think that Baba’s consent has come now. It is He who makes me narrate these experiences. It is He who conducts me along the path of my life. I deem it a great bliss to be able to sing His glory as the tiniest among his innumerable devotees.
‘In my childhood, I was brought up in an environment of devotion to God, and spirituality. Whenever I closed my eyes, I used to find two eyes looking at me. When I opened my eyes, I used to find a glowing dhuni. I used to get scared at times, but my mother used to dismiss all that as nothing. My father used to tell me, ‘Recite Narayana Kavacham, everything will be o.k.’ I got Narayana Kavacham by heart and used to recite it often.
It is difficult to say how Shirdi Baba entered my life. Originally we belonged to Addanki. There, and in its surrounding places, no one knew about Baba 50 years ago. Neither His Photograph nor His Temple could be found anywhere there. No one knew His story also.
In those days, when I was nine years old, a troupe of street magicians came from Maharashtra and gave magic shows in the streets of Addanki. They brought a Photograph of Shirdi Sai Baba with them. I saw Baba’s Photograph then for the first time. The Photograph showed Sai Baba sitting on a stone. On return to my house, I used to feel that Baba’s face was somehow familiar to me. Particularly I could not forget his eyes. I used to have a feeling that those eyes were looking at me. I used to feel also that Baba was beckoning me sitting far, far away in space somewhere.
Time moved on and with it, I, too, grew old. Even in my childhood, I used to think that I should not lead a routine life of getting married and begetting children. I wanted a life that knows neither birth nor death. That was how I used to contemplate. As time passed by, I grew up, got married and had children.
One day, a lady came to me and handed over a photograph saying, ‘Baba wanted me to give this to you.’ She left as swiftly as she had come. When I looked at the Photograph, it was the Photograph of Sri Sathya Sai Baba performing Vibhuti Abhishekam (giving a bath with ash) to Sri Shirdi Sai Baba.
When I saw the eyes of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in the Photograph, I could instantly recognize them as the eyes that had kept staring at me since my childhood whenever I closed my eyes. That is how Baba came to our house.
In 1972, I had another experience. At that time I was carrying and expecting my younger daughter. I was taking a nap when some one struck on my back with his palm, shouting, ‘get up! You dunce!’ I awoke only to find Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai in white dress standing before me. In a few seconds His form disappeared, but the aura was lingering there for over a couple of minutes. On my back was the mark of His palm with the skin inflamed due to the impact of the stroke. The baby whom I delivered after a few days was named Satya Vani.
In those days, I used to yearn to have Darshan of Shirdi Sai. But, somehow, we could not go to Shirdi. I used to read Guru Charitra. I also wrote a song meaning: ‘O Sai! I cannot come to you! If you happen to be there really, you yourself come to me!’ He has come in His own way, showing blissful miracles ever since in our house. This was how Baba walked into my life.
In 1996, we went to Bangalore to be with our younger son Sai who had, at that time, scant belief in god-men, temples or even in the Divine Providence. He asked me on my birthday, ‘Mom! What shall I bring you? (a gift)’ I wanted to reply: ‘Baba’s Photograph!’ But knowing his temperament, I withheld my wish and said, ‘for my sake, accompany me to the temple’. Unusually, he consented. We both went to Shirdi Sai temple. As I was praying, I heard ‘AUM’ emanating from my son’s mouth. I was surprised and asked him, ‘you are uttering Omkar?’ He replied in the negative. I still felt the vibration of that ‘Omkar’ around me and took it as Baba’s grace.
When we were back home, one of the friends of my son brought me a birthday present – the Photograph of Shirdi Sai. It was the one I had in my mind, and refrained from asking my son. I was immensely happy.
When I was at Bangalore with my younger son in 1996, I had a dream on January 16. Baba appeared in the dream and told me, ‘I am coming to you. I will be with you from tomorrow’.
On the next day I gave Harati at noon, took my meals and reclined for a nap. I was thinking ‘Baba, you told me that you are coming to me and that you will be with me. But I cannot see you. How can I have your Darshan? I have not that much merit, perhaps, so as to have your Darshan.’
When I was thinking like this, I heard a knock on the door when a voice called, ‘I have come, I have come’. Immediately I ran to the door crying Baba! Baba! But I dared not open the door, as I was alone in the house. Then I went to the window and looked out to find who had come. I saw two persons leaving the front door towards the yard. One was Shirdi Sai Baba and the other was Sri Sathya Sai Baba. One was in saffron clothes while the other was in white dress. It was not a dream. I was wide-awake and was looking at them. That was stark reality. I folded my hands at once and did namaskar. They paused for a few seconds, raised their hands in abhaya hasta posture and said smilingly, ‘we came to you’. Then they disappeared. I ran back to pooja room and began to weep before Baba’s Photograph in ecstasy, and in a mood of total surrender before His lotus feet.
Next day, that is, on 17.01.1996, I wanted to give Harati to the newly arrived Baba when I found honey oozing out of Baba’s hand, head and mouth drop by drop! From that day onwards, honey has continued to ooze out in drops from the Photographs of the various gods and goddesses in our house. Even from stickers! Fine fragrance of vibhuti emanates from the Photographs, by the time of evening Harati.
Baba’s Photograph used to be full with honey. My son became a devotee. One person brought from his house a picture of Sri Krishna and kept it in our house. It, too, began to emit honey in drops! Many people used to bring pictures of Gods and keep them in our house. All those used to emit honey.
‘How does honey come out of the Photographs? Is it due to your power?’ visitors to my house used to ask me. ‘No’, I used to reply; ‘it is Baba’s power’. My house used to be full of visitors who used to come to witness the divine miracles. Some of them, of course, used to comment as they pleased.
In the beginning, I did not know how to perform pooja. Nor did I know what type of pooja I should do. Many people used to come to my house from far-off places. Some advised me to recite Hanuman Chalisa. Some others used to say ‘sing a Harati song’. I used to recite Sai Ashtottaram and then give Harati. That was how Sai Seva commenced in my life.
Once I recited Narasimha Saraswati Stotram from ‘Guru Leelamritam’. Then some voice told me, ‘not like that. You sing it in ‘such and such’ raga’. I looked around but could not find anybody. Then I sang the Stotram, with my eyes closed, in the raga indicated by the voice. When I opened my eyes after the Stotram was over, Baba’s Photograph was fully wet with honey!
Our neighbour in Bangalore was of the opinion that all this was the handiwork of a ghost. She even went and brought a person who was reputed in warding off ghosts. He came and recited some mantras in our house. I was at a loss to know what to do in those circumstances. Then suddenly the person, who came to ward off ghosts, fell flat on the floor. There was vibhuti fragrance in the entire house.
‘Mother’, the person told me, ‘thanks to you, I have the Darshan of Baba here. It was foolish of me to come here to ward off ghosts when Baba Himself is present here. You are very lucky’. So saying, he withdrew. All is Baba’s grace.
While I was still at Bangalore, some people who were going to Brindavan, Whitefields for Darshan of Bhagavan came to me. ‘We are going for Baba’s Darshan’, they told me, ‘why not you come with us?’ I agreed and accompanied them with the consent of my son who told me, ‘you may ask Baba why vibhuti and honey are coming in our house alone’.
At Brindavan, Whitefields, Bangalore, I saw Sri Sathya Sai Baba for the first time. I was thinking whether He, when so many foreigners and important people were waiting for Him, would look at me. During the Darshan, Baba came straight to me, when I posed, in my mind, the question my son had wanted me to ask Him. Swami then lifted His hand up as if He was indicating that everything happens due to His compassion and will. Then He showed abhaya hastham and moved on. I was overwhelmed with joy.
One day after my return from Puttaparthi to Bangalore, a leader of the HMT Staff Association came to meet my son. When he was having tea, a drop of honey fell into his cup from the ceiling. He was skeptical that something had fallen in his tea. On scrutiny, he deduced that it was a drop of honey only.
Some people who came to our house those days experienced the miracles, when they found that Baba’s Photograph on their key chain, or the sticker on their watch, emitted honey. One of my son’s friends, Ganesh – a Keralite – sent a few drops of honey collected from the Photograph, to his ailing Father-in-law in Kerala who, after taking it, rang him back to say that he was better.
Later we returned to Hyderabad in the same year. We used to receive from Baba’s Photograph 21 different types of things including pasupu (turmeric powder) and kumkum on Friday and Tuesday, camphor, gangajal, tulasi teertham, etc. On Sri Ram Navami day that year, we had vadapappu and jaggery as well as Talambrala Akshatalu of Sitarama Kalyanam.
I was a patient of hypertension (B.P.) for several years. I was cured completely after the arrival of Baba in my life. When I sat for meditation, Baba used to teach me on the astral plane how to perform Pooja, how to recite mantras and how to do yoga.
In July 1997, I went to Delhi to spend sometime in the house of Prasad, my second son. There also honey and vibhuti used to come out of Baba’s Photographs. Sometimes, Baba (in subtle form) used to sprinkle akshatalu on the assembled devotees. When fruits or sweets were offered, Baba used to show some signs indicating His acceptance. One day the names of all members of our family came on a banana fruit in Telugu language.
One day some unknown person telephoned and said, ‘Baba wishes to show Gita slokas on banana fruit, take down’. He spoke in Telugu. ‘Who is speaking?’ I asked. ‘You will know who I am’, was the reply.
Next day there was a call again for me. ‘Who is speaking?’ I asked. ‘All that only afterwards’, the voice replied. ‘Gita will come in your house. Earlier it came in the house of Krishna Priya. Now it’s your turn. Take down! Give food for three persons’.
I cooked food for three persons but forgot to serve it. I did not even take out the lid on the cooker. When I removed the lid of the cooker later, there was not even a grain of cooked rice in it! Just then the telephone rang. ‘You forgot to serve it to me. But I ate it!’ The voice said, adding, ‘you have not recognized me yet! I gave energy not only to you, but to your son Prasad also. You will know who I am!’
Gita, finally titled Sai Sudarshan-Gita by Bhagavan, started coming from 30.08.1997. On the same day Mrs. Vijayalakshmi from Delhi, presently staying at Puttaparthi, brought Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Photographs. As soon as she entered our house, vibhuti and honey started coming from Bhagavan’s Photographs.
That night, I saw rays of light going from me into my son, Prasad. Baba made him strain every nerve for writing Gita. First small words used to come on banana fruit. Then slokas and chapters followed. It was like reading lines on a TV screen. As a line was written down, another line used to appear. I used to read those lines aloud and my son, Prasad used to put them in writing. We both used to sit after Pooja and Harati in the night.
First there used to be fragrance of vibhuti. Baba’s eyes in the Photograph used to move as those of a living being. We used to get ‘replies’ as if Baba was there in front of us, the whole night, dictating. Swami instructed that we should take down like that for 108 days, offering one fruit a day as Naivedyam. He wanted us to read one chapter in the Bhagavad-Gita a day and offer a fruit, when He would ‘dictate’ (cause letters to appear on the fruit) in Telugu. After slokas ceased to appear on the fruit, we used to eat it as ‘prasadam’ in the end, and then go to sleep.
One day as slokas were coming on the fruit, I said to my son in a lighter vein, ‘Baba is telling modern poetry’. Pat came the reply on the fruit: ‘Have I become cheap in your eyes because I am telling in lucid Telugu? You can’t follow when I say pilli (Telugu word for cat), how can you follow if I say marjal (Sanskrit word for cat)?’
Another night, Prasad said, ‘Mom I am getting sleep. Shall we eat the fruit and call it a day?’ So saying he was removing the cover on the banana, when he saw on the fruit the words. ‘What, my son! Your sleep does not come in the way of your eating the banana, but does it bother you while writing?’
At the end of 108 days, he gave us a touching send-off like a mother. ‘I have been telling, you have been writing. Time is slipping. Don’t shed tears,’ He said. We both wept. Yes, Baba’s Photograph also shed tears.
‘How can we forget Baba, these 108 days of ‘dictation’?', we cried.
‘I will be coming’, Baba consoled us, ‘perform Gita Yajna, now that you completed Gita’.
By the grace of Baba, all material needed for Yajna could be secured. Yajna was performed. Gita was completed on 14.12.1997. When Yajna was being performed, Sri Seturama Rao, one of our preceptors, put a banana fruit in front of Baba’s Photograph and asked: ‘Baba! What is the proof that you have dictated Gita?’
On the banana came the words: ‘Three crores of devatas (gods) are witness unto it! The voice of Ganapati is witness unto it. – Baba’. Besides, slokas appeared on each of the bricks used for the Yajna kunda.
In the Yajna kunda, Baba’s footprints appeared. Many people witnessed these things.
Later Baba dictated ‘Ksheeramrita Panam’ on milk. Now ‘Sai Sugandhamala’ is coming on a leaf. Another book is coming on the flame of Harati at Prasad’s place.
Sri Sai Sudarsana Gita dictated by Baba making my son, Prasad and me as His instruments was published, due to Baba’s grace, in three parts – namely, Srishti patalam, Sthithi patalam and Laya patalam – relating to the three aspects of the Hindu Trinity. (Brahma = Srishti = Creation; Vishnu = Sthithi = Being; Siva = Laya = Annihilation. Dattatreya is the combined form of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara or Siva.)
As we were contented that the work entrusted to us by Baba had been completed successfully, the following appeared on the flame of Harati one day.
‘Perform Yajna. 19th chapter would come’
‘What! Yajna again? Do we have such resources? Besides, where is the 19th chapter to Gita?’ As we were thinking like this, the following lines appeared on a banana.
‘What egocentric fellows you are! Do you think you have written the Gita? Do you think that you are performing the Yajna? You are only my instruments!’
So we arranged for Gita Yajna in Delhi on the Day of Sri Ram Navami on March 25, 1999 at one place, and for the recital of Sai Sudarsana Gita at another place on the same day. One of the devotees came forward to bear all the expenses for the Yajna.
As the Yajna was proceeding, honey, vibhuti and offerings for the Yajna started coming in our house, which is 25 kms away from the place of the Yajna. The names of persons to whom new clothes were to be presented in the Yajna also came.
Though arrangements for food were made only for 15 persons, all 70 who attended, partook the meal sumptuously, while much more was still left.
How would the 19th chapter come? Would it come on fruit, or, on the flame of Harati, or on milk? No knowing.
On the advice of my preceptor, I placed some white papers and pen before the Photograph of Baba. Prasad was also by my side. We closed the doors of the room and sat for meditation. I had a vision. ‘Blue sky! A big flag was fluttering in the gale! Sri Anjaneya was on the flag! He was coming towards me floating in the air.’
I had another vision. ‘An eye as big as the sky! It was staring at me! A tear from it fell on me!’
I had a third vision. ‘Sri Krishna alighted from the chariot, sat on His knees with hands on His chest. He was looking at me, singing melodiously, ‘I, too recited Veda….’. I could hear His voice. I did not know whither I was going. I was aware that my hand was shivering. I did not even know if I had taken the pen in my hand or not. Sri Krishna was still singing in ecstasy. I was repeating what Sri Krishna was singing and Prasad was putting it in writing. Even after the writing of the 19th chapter by Prasad was over, I could not come out of the ecstatic state and the vision of Sri Krishna singing.
While the process of our taking down the 19th chapter was in progress, my preceptor rang up to say, ‘See, if the cradle moves. Baba sat in it. Even if you pull or push, it will not move!’
We tried to move the cradle by pulling and pushing; but it did not move!
I wanted to confirm this to my preceptor on telephone. But before I could do this, Baba gave a slap on my back and said, ‘there is more to write. Write, ‘Immobile cradle moves not, even when moved! It is moving now on its own accord!’
The cradle, which had not moved when I had pulled it, was now really swinging well on its own.
Baba was singing: ‘I stopped the cradle for a moment to see your devotion!’
That sweet voice took me to unknown worlds, and made me complete the writing. Swami ‘dictated’ mellowing down with anguish: ‘I did not tell this even to Arjuna then. I have deliberately revealed it now to my beloved children’
Next day, we recited the 19th chapter and performed Abhishekam. We took the sacred water of Abhishekam to Kurukshetra and sprinkled it there as we received Baba’s instructions to do so.
Bhagavan was in Delhi during March 11 – 14, 1999. A copy of Sri Sai Sudarsana Gita (Srishtipatalam) was kept in the Divine hands of Baba who kindly accepted it, blessed it and, keeping it close to His heart, remarked, ‘this is my book. Wherever this book is, there I am.’
While leaving Delhi, Bhagavan took the book again in His Divine hands and gave it back saying, ‘Keep this as prasad!’ This book is in our Pooja Mandir now.
In March 2004, we went on a pilgrimage to Rishikesh. When I descended into the Ganges, I saw two feet (flat stones in the shape of human feet) come to me floating. I took them. I offered one of them as the share of ‘Ganga’ and left it into the water. I brought home the second. When we observe closely, we can find some beejaksharas on it.
Sometime back, Mrs. Lakshmi of Delhi went to Manasasarovar and brought a stone from there for me. Before that Baba had told me (when He came on the astral plane to me) that 3 stones in all would come – one for me, one for Mrs. Lakshmi and another for Srinivas (Delhi). The stone given to me was like a pebble. Soon it became smooth, grew into a large-sized Siva-linga with panavattam and base. I was really scared as it began to grow, and prayed to Baba. It has, since, come down in size. The pebble-like stone given to Srinivas (Delhi) also has grown to nearly 3 or 4 feet height. Several times, we found honey and vibhuti coming on the linga that is with me.
Many people come to me to tell me about their problems. I just represent them to Bhagavan. When they bring honey, it will be potentialized, and given back to them. They have to take a drop everyday either before sunrise or after sunset, but not during daytime. Many have reported that they were cured of their ailments by it.
Though I was mainly a Shirdi Sai devotee in the beginning, I have always held that there is no difference between Sri Sathya Sai and Shirdi Sai. In fact, the Photograph I had received from an unknown person showed both of them. Somehow, I had had a feeling for a long time that honey or vibhuti comes only from the Photographs of Sri Sathya Sai and not from those of Shirdi Sai. But, dispelling this notion, honey, vibhuti, kumkum, pasupu and a number of other things including pearls came from the idol of Shirdi Sai, apart from the Photographs of Bhagavan in our house.
As Bhagavan does not like publicity, we are keeping knowledge of most of these miracles among some of our close acquaintances only. But the word spreads, and many come to our house to witness the miracles. Some come to find solutions to their problems or ailments. We can be of service only if Baba chooses to help them through us. Even this, we consider as an opportunity of service. We are no more than an instrument in the Divine hands. Whatever happens, happens only as a display of His Lila.’
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