A pilgramage To Madurai
I need to begin this remarkable story with some personal background.
After completing my matriculation I went to Melbourne University where I did an honours Psychology degree, at the end of which I decided not to be a psychologist. After coming in contact with Swami in 1981 I was guided towards natural therapies through a series of miracles. I began practising as a natural therapist in 1988. In 1989 Swami instructed me to get registration as a psychologist, which happened via a series of synchronistic events. I have been practising as a fully registered psychologist since 1994.
Connection with Shirdi Baba
Ever since my first stay at Prashanti Nilayam some 17 years ago I had a strong sense of connection with Shirdi Sai. This is not the time to go into all the details. Suffice to say that throughout the years there have been repeated whispers. One of these was the manifestation of a 3-diamond ring for me in an interview with Swami on Shirdi’s birthday in 1997.
Early on in the interview, Swami manifested a necklace for an Indian man who was literally dripping with Sai jewellery, after which he placed the palm of his hand directly under my nose saying, “Smell this.” I smelt a beautiful fragrance which I was unable to identify. Eventually Swami said, “It’s sandalwood.” Whilst in the small room, Swami asked me to give him my hand. Naturally this took little prompting. Swami then caressed my hand and looked at it closely turning it palm up also. When our small group returned to the bigger room I thought I’d go to the back in order to give someone else a chance to be close to Swami’s Divine form, but Swami instructed me to sit close to Him.
Towards the end of the interview he asked me, “What do you want?” My reply was, “Swami I want to feel you presence with me at all times no matter where I am. “ He instantly materialised the ring and put it on the ring finger of my right hand commenting, “See a perfect fit.” That evening I became aware that the same sandal wood scent that I had smelt in the palm of his hand was emanating from the inside of the ring. It did this for some days. I never understood the significance of this until January 2002.
On 16th January Swami left Prashanti Nilayam for Whitefield. My driver asked if I would like to stop at the Shirdi temple about two thirds of the way to Bangalore, as we had done on several previous journeys. When I purchased the puja items I noticed a small package of brown powder. I smelt the powder in an attempt to identify it. It was the same perfume that I had smelt in the palm of Swami’s hand during the interview. I asked the lady what it was. Her reply was, “It’s sandalwood powder that is thrown on the eternal fire in the temple as it was done at Shirdi.”
Later, as I threw the sticks in my puja basket on the eternal fire it finally dawned on me that Swami had used the smell of sandalwood to prompt my memory re my life with him in Shirdi. On the 24th January I visited Devi Amma, a saint who resides in Whitefield. I told her that I had a strong sense that I had been with Swami in Shirdi. She went into meditation. After some time she opened her eyes and said, “You were a psychiatric doctor in Shirdi and a close devotee of Shirdi Sai. At the end of each day you used to massage Shirdi with sandal wood paste. You used to rub it onto his chest, the palms of his hands and the souls of his feet in order to cool his body.”
Meeting with Alexander
I had been hearing reports about a baby from whose body, from the time of his birth, appeared vibhutti and rose petals. I was also told that all sorts of manifestations were occurring in the house in which he lived. I had no particular desire to do the three and a half hour drive to Melbourne to witness these miracles, as in the 20 odd years that I had known Swami I had already seen many manifestations. Also I was aware that one needed to book a place to visit this house one year in advance. I felt my place could be better utilised by someone for whom this would be a first experience. I believed that if Swami wanted me to witness the phenomena he would arrange it. Within days of arriving at that conclusion, I received a direct invitation from a friend who had a spare place. I didn’t even have to make a special trip to Melbourne, as my friend was able to reschedule the date of our visit to coincide with a scheduled professional meeting I had in Melbourne.
So on 18th March 2001 I found myself there. Within minutes of being seated in the puja room, Alexander’s mother, Santoshini, tapped me on the shoulder and beckoned me to follow her. She took me, along with four other women, into her bedroom, where Alexander lay asleep on the bed, covered with vibhutti and rose petals which were quite obviously still manifesting. I tasted the vibhutti appearing on his hair and was delighted to taste ash that reminded me of amrita, the Divine nectar I have had the opportunity to sample at various sacred places. She handed me a gold ring with 5 amethysts saying, “This is for you. It appeared in Alexander’s right hand within seconds of your walking through our door.” The ring fitted the ring finger of my left hand perfectly. When I asked Santoshini how she knew it was for me she said, “Swami told me.” It had only been for some weeks that rings, pendants and lingams had started appearing in Alexander’s hands as he lay sleeping.
In the puja room there were manifested lingams, a large Quan Yin statue covered with manifested pink sugar, Large bowls of two varieties of amrit, manifested vibhuti and kum kum on many photos, and manifested rose petals. There was also a jug full of beautifully scented healing oil.
After some time the twenty people present were invited to go downstairs to partake in a sumptuous banquet. It is important to note that no donations of money or food are accepted. Paul and Santoshini feed the numerous visitors every day. They do this on Paul’s income as a car detailer. The feast was magnificent, a wide variety of beautifully prepared and presented vegetarian dishes followed by magnificent deserts. During lunch, Alexander joined us and played with jigsaw puzzles like any ordinary two and a half year old. His mother entertained us with stories of his strong will and some of his pranks. I was reminded of the stories I had read about Bala Krishna.
After some time I returned to the puja room to find that the photos of Swami and my daughter, and the statue of Tara which I had placed in front of the altar on our arrival, were now covered with a generous layer of freshly manifested vibhutti.
I was lucky enough to be invited back to this remarkable place a second time in November 2001. The hospitality was once again most loving and generous. Young Alexander had his third birthday in July. This time I witnessed Alexander actually taking a ring, freshly manifested in his hand to an elderly lady.
I watched this family doing what for most people would be totally impossible, opening their small home to 20 to 30 people daily, and feeding their guests most generously. Not having the heart to ask people to leave, they sometimes have people in their home till after midnight, and then they go to the supermarket to buy ingredients for tomorrow’s banquet. In the early hours, Santoshini cooks the dishes she will offer the visitors. Some nights she does not go to bed at all and it is important to note that she is a full-blown diabetic. She takes no medication having full faith that Swami will keep her body alive as long as it needs to be.
Remarkable people! Remarkable happenings!
As I listened to the stories and witnessed the miraculous occurrences in this home, I had a realisation about the nature of true abundance. This family gave everything, absolutely knowing absolutely that Swami is the provider and the doer; and that as long as they continued to give unconditionally, He will supply unconditionally. What a wonderful example of Swami’s teachings. Love in action. Selflessness. It seemed to me that their reward is to sit in the love and bliss their generosity creates each day.
An invitation to Madurai?
Marilyn Kerr and I have spent time together at the ashram on several occasions over the last years. We travelled together in October 2000. Although our travel plans were separate this time, we remained in contact knowing that we would connect at the ashram. Shortly before my departure early in December, Marilyn rang me to share a fax she had received from a friend of hers, which contained reports of miraculous happenings in Madurai. She pointed out to me that no one in Victoria seemed to know about this. I suggested that perhaps we were being invited to visit this place and we proceeded to discuss the possibility of flying to Madurai from Bangalore around the time of the school sports in Puttaparthi, a time when Swami is relatively unavailable to foreign devotees.
When I finally connected with Marilyn at the ashram she told me there were no longer any direct flights from Bangalore to Madurai. As we would have to purchase two tickets, Bangalore-Madras and Madras-Madurai and our exchange rate against the US dollar is so low, we decided it was far too expensive for a three-day excursion. Also I was by this time heavily involved in organising the purchase of an apartment in Puttaparthi in order to relocate to India later in the year. But that’s another story. So we agreed that the trip was not to be, and Marilyn posted a donation, which her friend in Australia had asked her to deliver to the Madurai Voluntary Service Organisation, the centre where the miracles were occurring.
During the first Whitefield darshan I found myself only a few seats away from a very dear friend, Carol Goodpasture. I met Carol 16 years ago when we shared a room at the ashram. We have enjoyed a close connection each time I have returned to India over the years. She has lived close to Swami for the last 11 years and had just returned from a month’s visit to her son in Hawaii.
The three of us, Marilyn, Carol and myself, shared a taxi to Bangalore some days later and Marilyn shared the information she had about Madurai with Carol. Carol who was fascinated by my experiences with the ‘Vibhutti baby’ as she called Alexander, immediately asked Marilyn, “When are we going?” This put the idea into our heads again.
As is usual around Swami, the rumours as to when He might return to Puttaparthi were running hot from the time he arrived in Whitefield. Marilyn and I decided that if Swami returned before January 26th we would follow, but if he returned 26thor later, we would go to Madurai for our last days in India, as we were both booked to fly to Australia end of January. As the days passed we felt strongly that He would still be at Whitefield on the 26th so we booked a car for Saturday 26th January to drive us to Madurai.
Our visit to the Voluntary Service Organisation in Madurai. Marilyn rang the people in Madurai to let them know of our intention to visit. Kumutha told her that they were waiting for us excitedly.
We left Whitefield at 5am 26th January. The three of us agreed that the 9-hour journey was remarkably pleasant despite the heat, dust and crazily dangerous driving which is typical of India. We located the home of the Voluntary Service Organisation (MVSO) and were given a very warm welcome. We were led to the altar, which was full of dozens of manifested deities and lingams. These and the photos of Shirdi Sai and Sathya Sai were covered with manifested vibhutti. Below was a plate containing a manifested Ganesh statue sitting in a huge pile of manifested kum kum. In this room we were introduced to Doctor Eddie, an Australian acupuncturist, who had been donating his services for a fortnight. He told us that Swami rang the household every day with instructions, and that Swami gave him instructions re his duties personally on a daily basis.
We were then taken upstairs to another room in which there was a large Shiva lingam, which had manifested in 3 pieces. The room was prepared for the abishekam puja, which was to begin in a couple of hours. (We were later informed that this ceremony only occurs every 15 days.) After we were served tea, we left to find a suitable hotel. We were told to return by 4.30 for the puja. After a quick bath and a change of clothes we returned to the house to witness a most remarkable event.
We were taken upstairs where about twenty people had gathered. They were chanting the Gayatri mantra and Doctor Eddie was being instructed by Mr Krishnamurthy to perform the puja. The lingam was washed with yoghurt, ghee, honey, milk, water, and sandalwood paste whilst the Gayatri mantra was repeated continuously. Every so often there would be a brief break in the mantra so that arathi could be performed to the sacred lingam.
We were seated in the very front. I glanced at the urn closest to me and realised that vibhutti was forming on it’s rim. Eventually Eddie was instructed to pick up this urn and to tip it over the lingam. Large quantities of vibhutti fell out of the urn on to the lingam and the stream of vibhutti continued for some 15 minutes. Each time Eddie tapped the urn a stronger flow occurred. Finally he put the urn down and the mountain of vibhutti was transferred onto some plates and put aside as the washing of the lingam began once again. And all the time we continued chanting the Gayatri mantra.
After several urns of water had been poured over the lingam leaving it washed of all traced of vibhutti, Eddie was instructed to pick up the last urn. When he tipped this urn upside down over the lingam, a yellowish liquid poured out. A continuous stream of the liquid flowed over the lingam for a lot longer than was scientifically possible and then came a clunk as 10 Saraswati statues fell out of the urn on to the Siva lingam. It was one of those tear-producing moments for me.
A curtain was drawn in front of the lingam and the bhajan session began. One of the Saraswati statues was passed around. When I held it my right hand, both hands began to vibrate and the heat in them was intense. As I sat in the bliss energy of the bhajan I really felt that at any moment something would emerge out of the palms of my hands- the energy was so intense. The bhajans ended when the curtain was opened to reveal the lingam now beautifully decorated with garlands and loose flowers. After some concluding mantras vibhutti was passed around and we received some materialised vibhutti to take with us.
We were then invited downstairs to receive prasad. We were shown how large quantities of turmeric had manifested on the downstairs altar whilst the ceremony had been going on upstairs. Also an apple that had been placed on the altar prior to the puja had had a large bite taken out of it.
After the other guests had left we were led to the office where three chairs were waiting for us. Whilst our meal was being prepared Omkumar’s older daughter began telling us the history of the many miracles that have occurred in this home, and how the Service Organisation came to be via the daily phone calls from Swami. This amazing story began at the time when, Vishnu (now 7), the youngest child of Omkumar and Kumutha was diagnosed with an incurable disease at the age of 4 months.
This devout Hindu family stood watching as we three, the guests, were served lovingly prepared food. After we had eaten, arrangements were made for the next day, before we returned to our hotel after a most extraordinary day.
During the night I awoke feeling enormous heat and energy in my hands. The inner voice, which I now recognise unmistakeably to be Swami, instructed me to massage young Vishnu with the oil from the miracle house in Melbourne in the way I used to massage Shirdi’s Heart, hands and feet. When we arrived at the house next day I reported my night experience to Kumutha who suggested that I do the massage between our morning excursions and lunch. So off to the Sai temple we went. There we were given a very warm welcome and an invitation to the evening bhajan.
When we entered I was amazed to find that in fact this temple is primarily dedicated to Shirdi Baba. We were able to spend time meditating inside and were invited to step up on to the altar where we could lay our heads on the feet of Krishna, Shirdi and on Swami’s footstool. When we completed that, the priest came in to do arathi. A very moving experience indeed.
I was most impressed by the homeopathic medical camp, which we were taken to next. There was an all-pervasive sense of love in action created by both the volunteers who were giving of their time and energy with an open heart, and by the patients, who were overwhelmingly gratefully to receive this service, which they most probably could not normally access due to monetary restraints.
Back at the house I gave young Vishnu a massage. He was rather reluctant and his father remained close by. As the massage proceeded he began to relax and as I was working on his feet he told his mother, “Tell her to massage my back and tell her I want another massage tonight.” Kumutha was most surprised. She told me that he had never let anyone but his father touch him and that he was very wary of new people.
After lunch and a rest at our hotel, we headed off to the Meenakshi temple. A huge temple covering 15 acres dedicated to the feminine aspect of divinity. People have been praying, meditating and doing pujas here for 3000 years. I reflected that the older cathedrals I had visited in Europe were a mere 1000 years old. No wonder there was such a powerful feeling in the temple precincts!
We made it back to the Sai temple in time for a most beautiful bhajan before returning to the house inorder for me to give Vishnu a second massage. After the massage, Kumutha told me that she felt that Vishnu’s body had cooled down significantly, and that despite the fact that Swami had not rung that day she felt she would like to give us one Saraswati. I suggested that it was not appropriate. I suggested that she wait for direct instruction from Swami whose phone instructions guided their every move. “Besides” I thought, “what were the three of us to do with one statue?” Kumutha asked me if I had any of Alexander’s vibhutti on me. As I had left it at the hotel, she requested that we return with it in the morning.
Next day, January 28th, was the harvest full moon day. The one day of the year when the statue of the Goddess Meenakshi is taken from the inner sanctum of the temple and put onto a beautifully decorated boat where locals can take a ride around the large tank with the goddess. By 10am a large crowd had gathered. After taking some photos we returned to the house to offer Kumutha some of Alexander’s vibhutti before saying our farewells prior to embarking on our 9 hour return journey.
Vishnu was outside the house when we pulled up. On entering the house, Kumutha told us that Swami had rung early that morning to tell them not to send Vishnu to school. He was to stay home so that I could give him one more massage, and that I was to leave some of the oil with them. He also told Kumutha that we were to receive 3 Saraswatis. Once again the bliss drops formed in my eyes, as I was overwhelmed with gratitude beyond words.
So I next to Swami’s chair and began the third massage with an audience made up of Mr Ramamurthy (President MVSO), Mr Krishnamurthy (Vice-president MVSO) Kumutha’s father, Omkumar, and various friends and relatives who came and went, some asking questions about the treatment I was giving. Marilyn and Carol were seated in their thrones, the only chairs in the room, brought in especially to ensure their comfort.
After some time I felt inner prompting to Reiki Vishnu’s head. Simultaneously, Vishnu told his mother in Tamil that his head was tingling. As soon as I put my hands on Vishnu’s head I could sense Swami standing behind me with his hands on my shoulders. I felt like an energy transmitter, channelling Swami’s love into this beautiful little boy. After some time Vishnu became quite limp, I asked him if he was sleepy. He seemed to understand. He indicated that he was sleepy and agreed that he would like to have a sleep. After Kumutha put him to bed I poured all but a few drops of the oil into a container for the centre. I wanted just a few drops for myself. Out shot all the hands wanting some of the miracle oil from Australia. Somehow the few drops managed to go around, leaving my container empty. Then Kumutha asked for the Vibhutti. Everyone lined up for their share of the manifested vibhutti from Melbourne in a room surrounded by manifested objects covered with manifested vibhutti. Quite an experience!
When the distribution was over Mr Ramamurthy said to me, “When you return you must bring us lots of this oil.” I responded by suggesting to him that they need a large jug to collect the oil that will now manifest in this very house. He replied, “Not a jug. A barrel!!” We all laughed heartily.
Whilst all this was going on, kum kum had manifested on the copies of the list of service activities and the miracles diary that had been made for us and placed on Swami’s chair. This kum kum was divided into three containers for us to take with us.
We were given our Saraswatis and more manifested vibhutti and said our goodbyes. These wonderful people all said that they would look me up in Puttaparthi where I will be living as of August this year and I look forward to this great future blessing.
I left Madurai with a strong sense that for me this was a new beginning. I feel that there is work for me in this organisation. Kumutha said that I would get instructions about this work in my heart, which Swami would confirm through his phone calls to them. Time will tell.
First darshan back at Whitefield, I was in Line no 1 and was guided by a sevadal to sit in VIP seating, front line amongst hospital staff. During the hour’s wait for Swami, I received the following inner message, “Give all and know that I will replenish you continually. You are nothing. You are merely my instrument to be used for the good.”
Next day, last darshan, Swami took my letter in which amidst words of gratitude and love I asked that he grant Vishnu full healing. Bliss drops filled my eyes once again.
My strong feeling is that Vishnu is one of the divine children and that by having taken on the illness he has taken on some of the disease of world. But who knows. The ways of the Divine are a mystery.
A few words about Saraswati
On returning to Whitefield I looked up a book I had purchased in Puttaparthi called ‘Hindu Goddesses’ I discovered that in the original Vedas, Saraswati was very much associated with the river, and was revered as the Goddess of purification and healing. It is only in later more modern Hinduism that she became known as the Goddess of learning, communication and culture.
Filed under: Experiences With Sathya Sai Baba, Gurus, Madurai, miracles, Sai Miracles, sathya sai baba news, Spirituality, Unexplained | Tagged: India, Sai Baba, sathya sai baba | Comments Off on Sathya Sai Miracles – A Pilgrimage To Madurai