Canadian Hindu Leader Pundit Jankie Persad Sharma Passes Away

Canadian Hindu Leader Pundit Jankie Persad Sharma Passes Away
By Karishma Patel

Mississauga, Canada (CHAKRA) – An important leader and pioneer of the Hindu religion, Pundit Jankie Persad Sharma has died. He was a prominent leader for Hindus in both Trinidad an Tabago and Canada. He was the one to start celebrating Diwali in Trinidad in addition to building temples, performing wedding ceremonies as well as taking trips to India.

He was 80 years old and settled in Canada in 1989 after many Trinidadians requested for him to live there. He lived in Mississauga and passed away on Thursday, March 1. A funeral with many attendees was held for him a few days later.

Sharma’s father, originally from the state of Madhya Pradesh, came to Trinidad in 1910 with his 12 year old son. Once in Trinidad, Sharma’s father became a certified priest and conducted many religious ceremonies. He had eight children of whom Sharma was the eldest. Sharma along with two of his younger brothers followed his dad’s footsteps and also pursued becoming priests.

Sharma was conducting his own public prayers and rituals by 1944. He married a woman named Badewattee Persad in 1962 and they had six children altogether.

He had begun to create temples by 1971 in Matilda, Princes Town, Barrackpore and Rio Claro of which one is the well known Moruga temple in Matilda.

Boodram Ramoutar, a close friend of Sharma said, “His family fully understood and supported his role as a pundit and community leader with little time for all else. One special aspect was that he was not driven by material rewards, and treated rich, poor, man, woman, child, young and old with empathy and respect. In Trinidad alone, he had officiated at 4,000 weddings and become the guru of over 5,000 godchildren after baptising them as Hindus. It is fair to say that Trinidad has become richer in Hindu traditions, culture, and spirituality by the presence and teachings of Pundit Jankie Persad Sharma.”

For the diaspora, Sharma organized the first tour to India in 1983 because many Trinidadians were more interested in their roots and where they came from due to listening to radio programmes as well as from watching movies associated with their cultural past.

His initiatives such as his visits to India increased the demand of people wanting to learn more about their ancestors, their religious leaders and temples. The Sathya Sai Baba following was one such example. He became so respected by crowds as well as a charismatic leader that Sathya Sai Baba himself requested to meet him and talk privately as well as give blessings to all Trinidadians that he represented.

Sharma was asked to address the opening at the first Diwali Nagar celebration in 1986 in Chaguanas. Hindu awareness was growing and thus this event since then became an annual function which not only drew Hindus but also people of other faiths who just wished to experience the auspicious occasion of Diwali.

Thereafter, on the island, every Hindu celebration began to be celebrated with high respect and grandeur.

Most Trinidadians who moved to Canada, Britain and the United States starting in the 1970’s and onwards all called Sharma to perform their religious ceremonies such as weddings, house warming’s and other related religious events that required blessings from a respected elder. Due to this increase and demand for him, Sharma and his family moved to Canada thereafter to settle in the province of Ontario.

In Canada, he started the Satya Jyoti Cultural Sabha while becoming more prevalent to Canadian Hindus at the same time, marking a presence of Hinduism in the Canadian society.

All levels of government in Canada praised and honoured him with certificates and recommendations for his service to the Mississauga and Canadian community as a whole. Pundit Jankie Persad Sharma had become Canada’s first swami and was also known as Swami Atmananda Maharaj Ji.

Chakra News Reference

You Cannot Always Oblige, But You Can Speak Obligingly

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


You Cannot Always Oblige, But You Can Speak Obligingly

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.

Gandhi often said that he wanted to live till 120 but he died much before that, not due to natural causes but due to assassination. Gandhi preached and practiced non-violence, peace and love; but ironically, he died on account of the anger and hate in the mind of the assassin. Gandhi is remembered for many things but today, we would like to dwell briefly upon a few aspects most important for our times.

If there is anything that stands above everything else in the personality of Gandhi, it is his firm commitment to Sathya and Dharma. Where these two were concerned, Gandhi took no orders from anyone except his Conscience. As Sathya Sai Baba often reminds us, Conscience is our true Master. Even recently, Satya SaiBaba was telling a couple of people from overseas, ‘People worship my Form but that is not enough; God is Inside and they should listen to His voice which is always speaking and giving good advice.’

Getting back to Gandhi, one might ask: ‘We all have Conscience; God is in all of us; then how come we are not able to do what Gandhi did?’ This is a question we really ought to be asking ourselves all the time, especially when Sri Sathya Sai Baba often tells that we are very deficient when it comes to following His teachings. The answer to the question we have posed is simple: Gandhi practiced many of the things that Swami teaches even though he never met Swami and had never even seen Him – remember Gandhi died on 30th January 1948, when very few people in this country knew about Swamiji. We, on the other hand, pride ourselves in listening and reading Swami’s Discourses, but avoid practice.

Gandhi took God seriously, indeed far more seriously than most of us do, and that is what made him so very different. Now what are those things that Gandhi did that gave him such towering Inner strength? Firstly, he was always chanting the Name of the Lord so much so he literally died with God’s Name on his lips. Next, he tried his best to remain true to his Conscience, indeed even in politics. Chanting the Name and being true to one’s Conscience are precisely the things that Swami wants from all of us; yet we consistently deny exactly those two to Swami whereas Gandhi gave just Him that; and that is because he really loved God.

Gandhi was called Mahatma; what does that mean? All of us are embodiments of the Divine Atma, as Sathya Sai Baba often reminds us; but Gandhi made that embodiment come ALIVE, and that is why he was called Mahatma, which means a great Atma. Gandhi was not born a Mahatma but by strictly adhering to the command of God, he became one.

Sathya Sai Baba often talks of bookish knowledge and practical knowledge. Gandhi is a good example of a man who translated bookish knowledge into brilliant practical knowledge. And this is something we should pay careful attention to. Today, if anyone were to say that Sathya and Dharma are very essential in national and international politics, people would dismiss that person as a bloody fool. Gandhi showed, however, that indeed even politics must be pursued keeping in mind all the time, what we call human values.

When Gandhi launched the famous Sathyagraha [non-violent, civil disobedience] movement as a part of the freedom struggle in India, he made it very clear that the struggle would be non-violent. However, some misguided people let their passions run away and burnt a Police Station, which resulted in the death of many Policemen. Gandhi was stunned; he did not expect this. Promptly he suspended the Sathyagraha, publicly declared that he had made a huge mistake – a Himalayan blunder as he called it – and then went on a fast to purify himself.

In August 1947, the British partitioned the subcontinent into two countries, India and Pakistan. All the assets of British India were divided between these two new countries – the railways, the Central Bank [called the Reserve Bank], and so on. It so happened that as a part of this division, India had to pay Pakistan 550 million rupees [or 55 crores as we would say in India]. Immediately after partition, there was an armed conflict between the two countries and on that basis, India withheld the 55 crores. Gandhi criticised that action as being morally incorrect; the word having been given, must be kept, politics or no politics. Such was the respect that Gandhi commanded, that the Government of India yielded and did precisely what Gandhi advised.

Gandhi started off as like most of us, as an ordinary person. He was not a scholar of the scriptures, the Vedas and the Upanishads. But one thing he knew – in life, Truth and Righteousness are always of paramount importance. And he resolved that never would he compromise on these, even if it meant death. That is what firm faith is all about. In other words, Gandhi demonstrated beyond doubt that with firm faith and deep love for God, one can develop so much self-confidence that one can face any adverse situation.

It is no surprise that Gandhi attracted and continues to attract admirers and even followers. Speaking on the occasion of Nelson Mandela’s 85th Birthday, President Clinton said that in politics he admired no one more than Gandhi. Martin Luther King never saw Gandhi but he showed that Gandhi’s principle of non-violence works even in modern times. And, in his own way, Nelson Mandela too demonstrated that non-violence is superior to violence.

These are days when people tend to dismiss Sathya and Dharma rather quickly, claiming that they won’t work in the age of globalisation. This is a myth and it is tragic that such falsehood is being actively peddled amongst the gullible.

If we concede that it is God who has created the Universe of which we are a part, and that God is Sathya, Dharma and Prema, then we too must have those genes of basic values. If we have come from the Creator, how can we not have at least some of the ‘Divine genes’. Under the circumstances, to deny Sathya and Dharma is to deny ourselves as well as God. Nothing could be more foolish. Today’s generation might tend to dismiss Gandhi but, as Einstein said of him, centuries hence people would wonder whether such a man did really walk on earth.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi


When Sathya Sai Baba talks of values like Prema, Ahimsa etc., we nod our heads and clap but later dismiss them as irrelevant for this age. That is not true; as long as there are humans on earth, values are a MUST, and instead of dismissing them because we are too weak to follow them, we must take courage from the shining example of Gandhi and try to emulate him, in at least a small measure, by listening to our Conscience, for example.

Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart”
RadioSai’s e-Journal Team,
In Sai Service

Thank You…God!

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sri Sathya Sai Baba


Thank You…God!

A few days ago one of our readers from the US wrote to us sharing a sad story about his daughter’s response to his loving concern. He had been saving considerable amounts of money for his daughter right from her childhood and now when he sent the accumulated sum to his daughter, he received not even a ‘thank you’ from her. Understandably, this tore his heart and we felt prompted to write this Sunday’s article on the theme of gratitude. Gratitude is a quality which Sathya Sai Baba has emphasized in almost every discourse he gave to the students. Here are some reflections on this very important virtue by a former student of Swami’s Institute, Sri Y Arvind.

I was a guest in the tea estates of one of my friends in the Coorg District. They had a huge bungalow with a beautiful garden. Manicured lawns private enclaves, arbors…their garden had it all. The bungalow was colonial style and was designed so that each bedroom had its own balcony and being on top a hillock every room was a room with a view. The vista of the dark green spread out like a patchwork quilt and down the hill. My room faced the east and I had the pleasure of watching the sun rise through the mist and rain…when the clouds permitted.

One morning I woke with a feeling that today would be different. For some strange inexplicable reason I was feeling at peace with myself…I wanted to be alone…left alone…I wanted to savor every moment in its entirety. It had rained the whole of the previous night and the gentle whisper of the drizzle had ebbed into the sounds of dawn. It was still dark and the aroma of wet earth wafted in through the French windows. Sitting up in bed I felt different…a strange sense of humility enveloped me. The servants of the house had already woken – I just had to ring a bell and tea was delivered to my room.

With a mug of freshly brewed aromatic hot tea in my hand, I sat under the awning that stretched all over the balcony letting the warmth of the rich brown liquid seep into my palms. The haze that hung over the misty hills from behind which would emerge the sun, were tinted pink, yellow and orange. Even as I watched I saw them melt and reveal the lord of the day…suddenly there was a lump on my throat. My eyes blurred with tears and I was floating like a twig on waves of emotions. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude to God; that I could see, hear, touch, feel and experience all that He had created…in its totality. My head bowed with tears trickling down my cheeks I thanked God…from the bottom of my heart. Thank you God! For the gift of Life! Thank you for allowing me to be part of this moment and above all thank you for awakening in me this sense of Gratitude.

The words of Earl Musselman ring true when he says:

“The sun was shining in my eyes, and I could barely see
To do the necessary task that was allotted me.
Resentment of the vivid glow, I started to complain —
When all at once upon the air I heard the blind man’s cane.”

Every time we are faced with a situation in life where we have to adjust or accommodate someone or somebody or something….we crib and quail that things are not going the way we planned them. We blame destiny when we have a flat tyre and curse fate if the gate is closed when we reach a railroad crossing. We fight with the cabdriver who crosses lanes and roar at the truck driver who overtakes us…life is so full of deadlines and commitments that we never find a single moment to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Above all how much time do we spare for God who has given us this beautiful world? Time and again we are reminded that we are all children of immortality dressed differently. All the differences are physical and ephemeral but deep down we are all the same. Having said that…were we to really feel it, what prevents us from expressing gratitude to the God in our fellow man?

Cicero, a consul of Rome during the reign of Julius Caesar concurred when he said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” And mentioning parents…. how much are we indebted to our mother and father? Having given us this body with which we enjoy the world and perform our duties, they should be the primary recipients of our gratitude. Swami says ‘Mother is God’ and ‘Father is God’; He in fact deifies them as Living Gods. Punning on the word ‘parent’ as ‘pay-rent’, Sathya Sai Baba says, having received so much from our parents, the least we can do is to offer them Gratitude. The advantage of developing this wonderful virtue of Gratitude is that Gratitude does not come alone. Sacrifice, honesty, love, forbearance, understanding, tolerance, forgiveness…all of them arise as one develops the wonderful virtue of gratitude.

The power of Gratitude is eloquently expressed by Melodie Beattie, author of many inspirational books.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Gratitude makes us content with what we have and not crave for more. We learn to accept the Will of God in our lives and not fight every circumstance. We learn to discern with clarity and find order within ourselves – it helps foster discipline. Problems we face in our lives are actually lessons we learn in the school of life. They are custom-made to our level of understanding and evolution by the Teacher. They become ‘gifts’ only if you learn from them so that you won’t have to pay the next time you face one… Learn again from failures making them stepping stones to success.

Coincidences will cease to be so once we recognise the Divine Design. Every moment of life becomes a miracle were we to perceive His Grand Play. The past is a history of what we have done – and it will continue to repeat itself as long as we don’t learn from it. As one wise man said, “You can either learn from the past or run from it…” More often than not, in retrospect, we find some past experiences which were bitter then to have made now sweeter. Mistakes happen – don’t dwell on them . Take the essence, absorb it and then look ahead. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power. Swami says “Past is dead, future is a dream, present is all you have. Present is omnipresent”.

Thankfulness is limited to words but Gratitude reflects itself in action and is therefore far superior. What better example of this do we find than Sathya Sai Babaji? Late Professor Kasturi once found Swami patting and blessing a buffalo(!) thanking it for the effort it had taken to carry water up the hill everyday – while none else had bothered. Yet again on another visit, the watchman of a guesthouse where Sathya SaiBaba had rested had the privilege of a personal photograph taken with the Lord. Just the watchman and God… but the poor man did not receive a copy and was miserable. On His next visit a year later Swami, sent for him and personally gave the photo.

Whether we are aware of it or not, He remembers every single act done for Him and returns it a million-fold. Draupadi, the consort of the Pandavas, bound the bleeding finger of Krishna with a strip of cloth torn from her own sari. The Lord returned this small action, multiplied a thousand-fold when she was being dishonoured in the court of the Kauravas. One can go on and on in this vein… When God does not mind saying “Thank you” in His myriad own mysterious ways…shouldn’t we do the same to our fellowmen?

Times change, people change, but let the change be for the better. Let our days begin and end with gratitude to the Lord for this wonderful opportunity of being alive. To be alive is a miracle and to be able to be of use to others is a greater gift. And finally, life finds fulfilment only when it is of use to others…Gratitude teaches us that!.

Jai Sai Ram.

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart” Team

Endure The Consequences

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Endure The Consequences

Being exemplary in the society following the ideals to perfection is the best thing a devotee can offer to God returning with gratitude. Bhagawan says, “My Life is My Message” and He does it to perfection by practising what He preaches. Dr. Adivi Reddy chronicled some of such incidents from the life of Bhagawan depicting how He would guide devotees who strayed from the path of morality and righteousness. Extracted from the June, 1989 issue of Sanathana Sarathi.

A group of Sai devotees once requested Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to inaugurate a new temple in their town. But Bhagawan refused to comply with their request on the ground that black market cement was used for constructing the temple. When the devotees pleaded not guilty, Bhagawan revealed to them that the so called Sai devotee who had donated some cement bags for the construction of the temple had illegally saved them from out of the cement allotted to him as a contractor for constructing a dam. Hence Bhagawan’s refusal.

A Vedic scholar was asked by Bhagawan to get out of His presence when he was seated in the midst of some students and other devotees at Whitefield. When the pundit showed signs of bewilderment as to why Bhagawan was so harsh to him, he admonished the latter, saying that it was a crime for a Vedic pundit to profess to be a Sai devotee and at the same time to indulge in illegal malpractices by way of lending money to poor and illiterate villagers without proper licence from the Government, and that too, at exhorbitant rates of interest.

The third incident relates to a Commercial Tax Officer in Orissa, who once made use of his official jeep to take his family and a few neighbours to visit a cave temple of Shiva in the interior of a dense forest on a 3000 feet high mountain. On their way back the jeep got stuck in a hill stream and refused to budge an inch. The dark night was gathering fast. An hour’s struggle to extricate the jeep was in vain. The officer was terribly scared, because the jungle was known to be infested with wild animals as well as dacoits, and his party consisted mostly of women and children. Being a Sai devotee, he fervently prayed to Bhagavan in utter desperation. Lo and behold! There appeared on the spot four Sathya Sai Seva Dal volunteers who rescued the party by pulling out the jeep, and then vanished in a second. Thus by Bhagawan’s grace, the officer and the party reached home safely. However, Bhagawan taught him a lesson not to misuse the Government vehicle for private purposes, by immobilising his jeep and thereby creating panic in him and his party.

About a decade ago, a recluse of forty-five summers by name Kalpagiri came to Prasanthi Nilayam. No one could guess that this so called “monk” was a wolf in the garb of a sheep. Four years earlier, he committed a ghastly murder and to escape from punishment by the due process of law, he made good his escape by donning the saffron robe and wandering in the Himalayas and other places of pilgrimage. As soon as the Omniscient Sathya Sai Baba saw Kalpagiri in the Darshan line, He called him inside and told him during the interview: “My dear Kalpagiri! How can the saffron robe or visits to Rhishikesh and other holy places rid you of the sin of murder? Enough of your roaming in the guise of a Sanyasi for the last four years. Go now to the Police station and surrender yourself there. Experience your Karma by receiving the punishment due to you according to the laws of the land. When the death sentence is declared, file your clemency petition to the President. I will save you. You will not be hanged. You have my protection to atone for your heinous sin, through devotion, in this very birth. Come on, this sacred saffron robe does not befit you. Take this white cloth.” Saying so in a tone that combined love and sternness, Bhagawan gave Kalpagiri a white dhoti.

Accordingly, Kalpagiri surrendered himself to the Police. The case was taken up. Though he confessed his guilt, the judge awarded him the capital punishment, as the crime was of a heinous nature. In line with Bhagavan’s direction, a clemency petition was submitted to the President of the Indian Union. Eventually, Kalpagiri received the President’s pardon. Death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and Kalpagiri became an ardent devotee of Bhagawan, spreading his beneficial influence on the other convicts too.

In conclusion, it may be seen from what is stated above that where there is a will, there is a way either to scrupulously abide by the Governmental rules and regulations or to violate them for selfish reasons. Bhagawan’s stand on this is extremely clear.

Reference

Pujya Shri Pramukh Swami Maharaj Visits The Shri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital – Rajkot

Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Pramukh Swami Maharaj


Pujya Shri Pramukh Swami Maharaj Visits The Shri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital – Rajkot

The head of the Swaminarayan mission, Shri Pramukh Swami Maharaj visited the Shri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital at Rajkot.

Pujya Pramukh Swami met the Tustees Bros. Kanubhai Patel and Manojbhai Bhimani who took him around the whole hospital including the Operation theatres, ICUs etc. He was very pleased with the latest medical equipment in the hospital for diagnosing and treating even the most difficult cases. He then visited the wards and personally blessed all the patients there.

He told all those present there that He was very impressed with the care and love showered to the patients there by the devoted team of the Doctors and the staff.

Article in Gujarti (Translation in English below)

Pujya Shri Pramukh Visits Sathya Sai Hospital

Pujya Shri Pramukh Visits Sathya Sai Hospital


His Holiness Shri Pramukh Swami visits Sri Sathya Sai Hospital, Rajkot
Gujarat, India – Wednesday 29th June 2005

The most revered spiritual leader and head of Shri Swaminarayan Hindu Mission (BAPS), Pujya Shri Pramukh Swami Maharaj, graced Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, Kalawad Road, Rajkot with a visit last Sunday. The holy man saw for himself how this renowned establishment offers free facilities and services and was impressed by how it lives up to its ‘Service to Man is Service to God’ motto. He proceeded to give his personal attention to every section of the hospital and showered his blessings upon the medical staff, patients and members of the hospital trustee group.

Very expensive heart surgery and modern treatment is available at Sri Sathya Sai Hospital no cost – regardless of any ability to pay. Every patient is seen as ‘Narayana’ – God in human form.

His Holiness showed great interest in every aspect of the work being carried out and went through the administrative offices, operation theatre, Intensive Care Unit, and met those awaiting and undergoing treatment as well as those who had already been operated upon. This gave him an over all picture of the institution and its workings. He also met dignitaries and senior surgeons and showed how pleased and impressed he was with what he had seen and heard.

He then visited the Prayer Hall and offered flowers to the image of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, whose divine message has inspired the foundation of the hospital and other major social projects throughout India and, indeed, the world.

‘This auspicious visit by such a unique spiritual personality as Pramukh Swami Maharaj is truly momentous and an inspiration to do even more’ were the sentiments expressed by the Hospital Managing Trustee, Kanubhai Patel and Joint Managing Trustee, Manojbhai Bhimani.

Shri Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the inspiration behind the creation of over 650 temples worldwide and heads an organisation which promotes social awakening, education and service to the community. Bochasanvasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha is a progressive and very active movement with several million followers throughout the world.

Sathya Sai Baba To Hand Over Houses To Flood-Hit On Ram Navami

Sathya Sai Baba To Hand Over Houses To Flood-Hit On Ram Navami
PNS | Cuttack

Bhagwan Sri Satya Sai Baba will offer keys of the newly-constructed houses under the Sai Kutir Yojana to the families which were severely affected by the devastating floods in the State last year.

He will hand over the keys of these housed on the occasion of the Ram Navami on April 3 at Puttaparti in Andhra Pradesh.

Six hundred two families of 14 villages in Cuttack, Puri and Kendrapara districts are included under the Yojna. Out of these, 200 families will be rehabilitated in the first phase. About Rs 6 crore is estimated to be spent in the construction of these 602 houses. Construction company L&T under the super vision of Chalpati Prusti and Ramkrushna Prusty, the engineers of the Prasanti Nilayam, is constructing these houses.

Heads of these 200 families along with their wives are invited to Puttaparti. Expenditure of transporting and lodging will be bore by the Satya Sai Sangathan.

They will get the blessings of Baba, besides new clothes and home appliances. The family members led by Sangathan’s State wing president Prof Harikrushna Das will start their journey on March 30.

The members in support of the Sangathan will present a cultural programme on their miserable conditions after the devastation by the flood and the grace of Baba.

In another programme, these beneficiaries through a song-drama based on the life of the Mythological character Sabari will request Baba to come to Orissa.

The Pioneer Reference

Three Handfuls Of Dust

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Three Handfuls Of Dust

Lord Shiva is Bhola Nath, one who is easily pleased. Intense yearning suffused with devotion and faith wins His heart. Every devotee who flocks to Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate the The Sacred Vigil on Shivarathri Night in the Divine Presence will have his or her version of this immense mercy and bounteous Love of Lord Shiva. Read on for an account by Dr. A. Ranga Rao whose family was tested thoroughly of their yearning and devotion before being given the taste of the nectarous Divine Presence of Lord Shiva in Prasanthi Nilayam, as published in Sanathana Sarathi. Feb 1969.

We yearned long to witness the Sivaratri Festival and last year, we started from Madras, in the early hours of the previous day itself, in our car. We thought we could reach the Presence of Sathya Sai Baba, Prasanthi Nilayam by 5. P. M., and have His Darshan in the evening.

To our bad luck, the car started giving trouble. The engine was getting too hot and every ten miles, the car came to a stop! We had to wait in the hot sun for hours, every time, for the engine to cool down. Imagine our plight when we realised at 10 P. M., that we had covered only 70 miles, through that hapless vehicle! Fortunately, we were able to secure the services of a good mechanic, who set to work, pretty quick; but, he too could not set the car on her wheels again, before 5 A. M., on Sivaratri day! We were at Ranipet, then; all hopes of being present at the magnificent and inspiring flag Hoisting Function at the Nilayam were blown away. Nevertheless, from the smooth running of our car, we were confident we could be at the Holy Kshetra by 11 A. M., in time for the Vibhuti Abhishekam, if all goes well. The milestones were flying past quite fast. We were in quite a happy mood, singing Bhajan.

Then, the petrol pump gave us the slip; it failed. Twelve miles after Chikballapur the car came to a halt! The poor thing had taken us merrily on many occasions to the Nilayam from Madras; but, this day, it was haunted by a series of mishaps. Other cars were racing along the road, with devotees anxious to reach the Lord’s Presence. Some noticed us; many did not. One car stopped; the chauffeur walked towards our car and attempted to set it right in all earnestness.

Suddenly, to our utter consternation, the petrol caught fire. Big tongues of flame were rising to the skies. The friendly driver was caught in the flames, but, he jumped out in the nick of time, and saved himself. His dhoti was on fire; he managed to scotch the flames and get back to his car. I lost all hope of the vehicle, I was all in a shiver. It was impossible to put out the fire. But, my friend, Kameswara Rao, called out Sai Ram, Sai Ram, most piteously. He threw three handfuls of road dust on the ghastly flames. And, the miracle happened. The fire became extinct and the car was free from any sign of fire! Master of all the Elements, Baba heard the agony and ordered the Fire to leave the car alone! It obeyed.

We gave the driver some money and a Dhoti to wear; he was too dazed at the miraculous extinction of petrol flames, for, he knew that the tank was full of the combustible stuff. I boarded a bus that took me back, twelve miles and I got a mechanic from there, to repair the petrol pump. He brought all the implements necessary for the operation, and started his work, promising to restore the car to perfection, in half an hour.

But, his treatment went on, endlessly. It was 3 o’ clock already and he was still twiddling. By 3-30 P. M., we got desperate again. Cars sped past us, towards the Nilayam. One party took pity on us and gave us some coffee from their flasks, saying, “Take this; it is sent by Baba!” It was such a welcome refresher. For, we were really very thirsty and very hungry. They offered to take us along with them and pressed us to get into their car; but, there was no one except a milestone to whom we could entrust that car of ours!

I told those kind friends, just to persuade them to proceed, “Don’t worry; Baba will not start the evening meeting, until we arrive. He would certainly take us there to witness His Glory, the Lingodbhava.” They left us, with a heavy heart.

Meanwhile, time was flying. It was 5 P. M. It was 5-30 P. M. And, there were still a little over 50 miles to go, driving that recalcitrant car. All hopes of seeing the Lingodbhava Vanished.

Suddenly, the pump began working. The mechanic smiled, though it was working only intermittently. I requested him to sit in the dicky, and shake the pump, whenever it stopped working. I sat at the wheel, and the car moved.

It was a fine show, for all we met on road! Nevertheless, in spells of spurts tossed between hope and despair, the car brought us to Prasanthi Nilayam, racing over the 50 miles in -would you believe it? – sixty minutes! Another miracle of Baba!

With tears of joy, we ran towards the Shanti Vedika…. Yes. Baba was waiting for us to arrive, in order to come Himself to the meeting! When we reached the Lotus Circle in front of the Porch, Sai Ram was proceeding to the Shanti Vedika! What Compassion! We could press forward, with folded hands. He smiled at us, showered Grace with His blissful Eyes, and said, “Santosham! You have come, at last.”

As we sat in the front rows facing Baba, tears of gratitude welled from my heart. “Lord,” I said within myself, “while thousands and, thousands of devotees were singing and adoring You here, You heard our anguish, and stopped the fire to save the car, and brought us in time to see Your Glory. We were feeling Your Presence and Grace, every inch of the road”.

The friends who brought the Coffee for us and who had tried to bring us to the Nilayam were sitting just behind us; they congratulated us with their meaningful gestures. We saw the Lingodbhava, from our Lord; we sang enthusiastically and with a contented heart, for within minutes, the mechanic came to us and said that, the car was perfectly O. K.