How Sathya Sai Baba Suffered For A Devotee’s Sake

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


How Sathya Sai Baba Suffered For A Devotee’s Sake

In the December of 1970, Bhagawan travelled to Panaji, the capital city of Goa stopping enroute in the town of Dharwar in Karnataka. In Panaji, a strange and mysterious turn of events took place, which afforded His devotees another glimpse into His Divine nature. In fact, just prior to this incident, Prof. N. Kasturi, Bhagawan’s biographer, was to start for Sri Lanka, as Swami had blessed him earlier to address the Sai Centres there. But, all of a sudden, Bhagawan commanded him to cancel his visit and accompany Him to Goa instead. For what happened next is told in the most wonderful manner by Prof. Kasturi:

At noon the next day, I accompanied Baba on a circuitous journey to Goa. The three cars moved towards Jog Falls. As usual, while leaving Brindavan, devotees lined up on both sides of the road, anxious to get a glimpse of Baba and to see the Hand waving to them.

It was a Fiat 1500 in which Baba, Mr. N.D.M. Appah, Chairman, Mysore State Electricity Board, and myself were traveling. The road was stony and rough, so the drive was full of jerks and bumps – this caused Baba to reprimand the driver for not being circumspect enough. “You do not know how much pain I get in the abdomen when it bumps,” He said. We wondered why Baba who withstood worse roads better, was insisting on slow driving that day….

When the cars reached Goa, it was night. The stars came forth; they came with us, every yard of the road, keeping pace. When the border of Goa was reached, the Lt. Governor of Goa, Sri Nakul Sen, received Baba and let us into a rest house, where china gleamed in the shelves by the wall and geraniums glistened on the window sills. We had coffee; from then on Baba sat in the state car, with the head of the state.

Hurrying around the rambling roads, towards Panaji (the capital of Goa), the cars finally arrived at Raj Nivas, the Palace of the Governors-General of the “Portuguese Possessions in India and the Far East” for many centuries, but now, the official residence of the Lt. Governor. The time was 9.15 p.m. We had motored 385 miles, since morning, over good and bad roads, but Baba as fresh as a lily when He hastened up the red-carpeted flight of steps to the flower-decked apartments, set aside for His stay. Very soon, Baba presided over the dining table to which we were led by the Lt. Governor. He watched with amusement the contingent of waiters, and the beautiful chinaware, which the Portuguese had brought from Macao.

Though Mrs. Sen made bold to remind Him of His duty to Himself, He did not eat anything. He appeared to be anxious to send every one to bed. “Go, go! You are all very much exhausted,” He insisted. I protested that traveling with Him can never exhaust anyone, but He repeated that I was really in immediate need of rest. When we rose Mrs. Sen was informed by Baba that coffee be made ready for Him only at 8 a.m the next day! She knew that at Prasanthi Nilayam, He had His coffee at around 6 a.m., but despite appeals for revising the order, Baba gave instructions that it was to be brought only at 8 o’ clock.
Baba was alone in the suite reserved for Him. Nakul Sen pleaded for permission to be within call, but Baba sent Him away to his own room. We from Bangalore were in rooms on the ground floor.

About what occurred that night, Baba wrote later to Dr. S. Bhagavantham, in a letter I carried to him on the 12th December, “On the night of the 7th, strange events happened. I could not lie in bed, I could not sit upon it, nor turn, from one side to another. Nor could I speak or call. I did not like to cause anxiety or trouble to anyone. So I kept silent, pretending that all was well with Me!”

Next morning when the Sens grew aware of the truth it became clear, why He had abstained from dinner, and postponed the coffee hour, wanting only to hurry away to bed! I too began to understand why He had come away from Dharwar, and why He had taken the driver to task. Obviously, He had been ‘ill’ when He started out from Dharwar!

Mrs. Sen felt that Raj Nivas was an ‘unlucky’ place since He had fallen ‘ill’ there, but Baba immediately corrected her. “No, it is a house of good luck! I brought the ‘illness’ with Me to Cabo, so that I could get rid of it here.”

By daybreak on the 8th, Baba appeared to be in great pain and Nakul Sen called in doctors from the Medical College at Goa, and some leading physicians of the City. Soon an imposing medical team surrounded the sick bed; their report read as follows, “history of pain in right lower quadrant of the abdomen since 3 p.m. on the 7th December. To begin with, the pain was all over the abdomen, progressive in intensity; towards the night, it localized in the umbilical region, and the right lower quadrant. Had difficulty in extending the right lower limb. Pain is exaggerated by movement. 8th December morning, had nausea and fever.” No one could be definite about the illness; there were too many experts and Baba was amused at the clash of their conclusions. The Sens were aghast at the turn of events for, among other reasons, the local Sathya Sai Seva Samithi had announced, that He would deliver a discourse at the large Maidan in the heart of the city, at 5 p.m. that evening.

Meanwhile, pain, nausea and fever kept Baba in bed all day. Information came that 20,000 people crowded the Maidan, awaiting Baba; and half the number had come from far off villages. Baba endeavoured to rise and don fresh clothes to keep the appointment, and not disappoint thousands of people. But Cabo Raj Nivas had no lift; for reaching the Maidan, Baba would have had to get down 28 steps and walk up some distance in order to give Darshan to the people. And then, climb the 28th steps back to His room!

Baba directed me to tell the assembly to disperse quietly, and to assure them that He will be addressing them in a few days at the same place. I was to tell them that He had taken over the illness of a devotee, for I had witnessed such instances of healing and saving in the past years.

At 8 o’clock that night, the doctors reported, “Lying supine in bed, with legs drawn up. On examination, the right side of the abdomen not moving with respiration; abdomen tender on the right side, and the lower flank…, point of maximum tenderness in lower flank…, no rebound tenderness.. . guarding present over right lower quadrant, with rigidity of flank. Temperature 100 F; pulse 100 /m; respiration 16/m. Total blood count 22,000; neutrophils 88%. A diagnosis of acute paracolic appendicitis was made. Unwillingness for surgical intervention.”

Pressmen approached the doctors, anxious to report the reason for the postponement of the announced public meeting, alarmed at the news of the illness of the world-renowned personality. The doctors told them that Baba was suffering from an acute attack of appendicitis. This news was flashed all over India and spread through the early morning editions and the papers issued from Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Madurai.

Telegrams and telephone calls poured in from all over the country, praying and pleading, and denying – disbelieving, hoping, weeping and wailing. There were many offers to accept the ‘illness’ from Baba; some devotees said they would fast until Baba was free from the illness. Devotees having firm faith in His Divinity were convinced that just as the illness had been taken on miraculously, it would be thrown off miraculously, too.

The doctors told us Baba must be suffering excruciating pain, but He said, “I have taken it on upon Myself with Love and Love knows no pain!”

Ms. June Schuyler, a school teacher who was accompanying the party writes: “I had once asked Baba a question, and I now remembered His answer. ‘Baba, why did Jesus allow Himself to be crucified?’ ‘Because the Great Ones never use spiritual power for themselves.” Ah! Baba had not set the car right on Saturday night because it was not imperative for the good of someone other than Baba. “Baba! Baba!,” I exclaimed, “I adore you; I utterly love you. Imperfect as I am, I give my heart to you completely!”

Precisely at this very moment I became aware that Mr. Nakul Sen was motioning to Mrs. Rajagopalan, Indra Devi and myself to step inside the doorway of Baba’s room. I could not believe it was true. We crossed the threshold half expectant, fixing our eyes on the bedstead where the Master was suffering for His dear devotee. He was not there! He was standing before us, feeble and frail, with eyes full of love and mercy – charming in spite of it all.

He drew back the orange robe, and permitted us to touch those precious feet. The lovely feet were warm because of the fever. The beloved face was pale and etched with pain. The cheeks had been hollowed for want of sleep and refreshment. But He stood there for our sake. ‘Do not worry’, He said tenderly, in a soft, soothing voice, ‘It is a little upset, that is all,’ indicating the right side of the body.

‘Swami! accept what the doctors prescribe,’ we prayed. ‘What do the doctors know? What can they prescribe? I only want your Love’, He said, quietly, almost wistfully. He stepped out of the room into the adjacent drawing room where several others anxiously waited. He stood for a few minutes, looking languidly, lovingly, at them all, reassuring the timid and charging them with courage. Then He returned to the bed. None of us knew that the appendix was very near bursting point, and the doctors had said that He must not rise from his bed at any cost.

Later in Bombay, on Christmas Day, Baba referred to the “illness He had taken on at Goa” and the suffering it caused to many…

“The other day, a serious illness came upon this body in Goa. Many who are devoted to Me were plunged into anxiety and despair when they learnt of it. Illness can never afflict this Body. It cannot even approach it! If it should come sometime – believe this – it belongs to someone; not Myself. And it goes just as it came, of My free Will. I have no contact with it; I am not affected by it.”

On 9th December, the doctors decided to put tubes down the nose to relieve the hiccough, which was complicating matters, for taking the gas out of the stomach. They talked also of the urgent need that had arisen to puncture the lump and syringe off the pus from the abscess. It must indeed have given a terrible gash of pain for Baba, every time the hiccough pulled the muscle tight and affected the lump round the inflamed appendix! But eventually the doctors left the Raj Nivas with their tubes and bottles, as Baba refused to accept their proposals.

On the 10th, a Bhajan meeting had been announced at Government House, and word had gone round indicating that Baba would attend the meeting! Baba too said “Yes! Arrange it.” The doctors could not believe their ears. They did not foresee any possibility of a public appearance that day. There was doubt, wonder and amazement in the minds of various people, but a few of them were convinced that whatever He says will come to pass.

At tea time Mrs. Sen looked rather serious, as time was running out and already people were streaming towards the meeting place. Goa, which had been previously shocked by the news of the agonizing illness, was now jolted by the impact of such good news.

Baba’s condition may be described in His own words: “The doctors were unanimous that an immediate operation was necessary, or they would not be held responsible for what might happen. They said the inflamed appendix had burst, and the pus had entered the blood – a situation that is fatal for all mortals!”

Baba had to move across His own room, across the drawing room, walk along the veranda, ascend a low step, get across to the doorstep of the hall which He had selected for Bhajan, traverse its length, reach the dais, climb two low steps – and finally sit upon the chair placed there. A total distance of 200 feet! A floral carpet stretched all this length.

Sri Nakul Sen spoke later during the Bhajan sessions. “The doctors became panicky, and I could feel that they were absolutely against what Bhagawan had said to me. My sixth sense somehow assured me that Bhagawan was showing one of His Leelas in Goa and that through His Sankalpa (will) He would get rid of this trouble as quickly as He had assumed it.”

Dr. Varma, the chief of team of doctors came at about 4 p.m and finding a floral carpet covering a distance of 200 feet, protested that it was too long a walk. He suggested some short cuts through other doors and passages making the journey a distance of only 40 feet. He said, “The dais itself will have to go; let the chair be on the floor, for He cannot get up the steps however low they may be – and please, have the dais on the near side, not at the farthermost end of the hall.”

At 5 p.m. Baba was led into the bathroom, and twenty minutes later He came out of it, clean shaven, wearing a new robe! Fresh as a new blossomed rose.

When the doctors examined Him again, they could not locate any abscess, nor could they find any trace of big lump of flesh near it. The whole area of the appendix was as soft and as normal as it could be.

“Lo and behold!,” said Nakul Sen, in the speech he delivered as soon as Baba sat on the dais at 6 p.m., “Bhagawan walked from His bedroom to the dais, a distance of about 200 feet without any aid. He sat down erect on an office chair.”

Ms. June writes about that historic moment of ecstasy: “Bhajan began, and my heart was pounding a joyous tune of expectancy. Love for Baba filled the hall. Ah! There He was, moving majestically down the hall, although He had required the assistance of two men all day. He now moved as if nothing had ever happened. His steps were as sure and graceful as ever. The cheeks which had been hollow when I last saw them were completely filled out. His Love flooded the hall. It was overpowering. He swung into the room, and when He saw someone leaning against the wall with a sick child beside him, the Hand began the familiar circular motion to create the cure.

Baba’s eyes which plumb the depths, His eyes which pour out love and compassion, His eyes which flash when he speaks of cruelty, falsehood, hypocrisy and injustice, eyes which can be full of quips, were as eloquent as ever. He took His place on the divan in front of the gathering and began keeping rhythm with the Bhajan being sung, with His head and hand. Mrs. Rajagopal whispered in my ear, “Look! Those eyes are more beautiful than ever. There is an ethereal expression, not of this world in them; a look of radiant joy and adoration.”

Baba’s eyes caressed the gathering, which was watching Him without even a wink, apprehensive that the cure He had effected on Himself, might be only partial or temporary.

Sri Nakul Sen was full of gratitude and wonder! While welcoming Baba, and introducing the gathering to Him as convention demanded, he said, “Bhagawan lives in the inner recesses of the hearts of His devotees; there is nothing He would not do for them. He has simultaneously appeared in this Form at different places, to help His devotees in distress, or to save them from impending calamities, of which He alone has the precognition! Through His Sankalpa or Will, He has assumed the illness of His devotees and suffered it from them, because they would have succumbed to it, if left alone.

We have witnessed this now, a Leela which has greatly perplexed the medical experts of Goa. It leaves no doubt in our minds that there is nothing on this earth which is beyond Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. His Leela is Adbhut – unprecedented; it is Romancha Kari – exhilarating; it is Madhumaya – sweet in memory; Mangalamayi – promoting the happiness and welfare of mankind; Manoharini – overpowering the mind and turning it to truth, beauty and goodness. It gives Ananda – bliss!…”

Nakul Sen concluded his descriptions of the ancient glories of Goa and its sacred contacts with Shiva, Rama, Krishna, and Parasurama, the Divine Avatars, with these words: “No wonder the Lord decided to visit this ancient and sacred land again, in the form which He has assumed now, with the name of Sathya Sai Baba; He has loved Goa in His previous incarnations and Goa continues to be dear to Him even now.”

Baba spoke for over forty minutes with His usual emphasis and élan. The gathering listened spellbound, for it was a message of triumph, benevolence, and benediction.

The illness that had vanished an hour ago was still uppermost in the minds of all, and so, Baba spoke of the significance of its ‘entrance and exit’ and its place in the scheme of the Avatar’s activities.

“There are many who doubt the existence of God or deny Him, or dismiss the idea of God as a silly outworn superstition. To make them discard their conceit, the Divine, out of Its Innate Grace, reveals its superhuman glory. The doubters receive the reply without asking, the door is opened without even a knock; for those who deny will not knock at all. The ‘superstition’ will be illumined into divine status by a concrete experience, an indisputable fact.

The human body generates diseases as a result of faulty food or frivolous habits, or foolish rashness or fanatic emotions. The illness that was witnessed by you during the last two days was quite different. That was an illness taken over by Me, voluntarily put on, in order to save a victim who could not have survived it! His continued existence, in good health is desirable for the task dear to Me. Pouring Grace on the devout is one of the functions of the Avatar. The appendix was inflamed, it turned into an abscess which the doctors could cure only by removal… He could not have survived it, I know. I have come with this Body in order to save ‘other bodies’ from pain. This Body is ever free from pain. Disease can never affect it.

I had to go to the rescue of a person who had surrendered to Me – even his judgment. I took over his illness and went through it. It shall not recur again in him. You refer to this incident as a miracle, but remember – every breath is a proof of the Providence of God. Every event is the consequence of Divine Omnipotence.

Wherever you find truth, beauty, goodness, justice, wisdom, compassion – God is present, and active. An atheist denies God, with the very breath that God has given him! He closes the eyes that God has opened in Him, and declares that there he could see no God. Therefore, such amazing events have to be accomplished and made known to man everywhere, so that mankind can be saved from over-fond involvement with the world, and lovingly drawn towards the Master of the World.”

Reference: “Sathyam Shivam Sundaram” Vol – III by Prof. N Kasturi. Page: 227-246. Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam.

Celebrating The Birthday Of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba

Celebrating The Birthday Of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba

In a Most Wonderful Divine Discourse on September 28th, 1991, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says about Shirdi Sai Baba:

Sathya Sai Baba: In the former Nizam’s dominions, there was a remote village called Pathri. In that village there were a couple named Gangabhavadya and Devagiriamma. They were grieving over the lack of children. In answer to their prayers a son was born on September 28, 1835.

Today is the anniversary of that day. The child was Sai Baba.

His Samadhi (death) occurred on Vijayadasami day in 1918. September 28, 1835 was his date of birth. On Vijayadasami day, he gave up his body. Although this year Vijayadasami falls on September 29th, in the year of Baba’s Samadhi the date was different.

“The first advent of Sai was in Maharashtra. The second advent will be in Madras,” Shirdi Baba said. It should be noted that when this form (Sathya Sai) made its advent, Andhra Pradesh was part of Madras Presidency. When he was asked, in what form the next advent would take place, Shirdi Baba told Abdul Baba alone: “I will give darsan in the name of Sathya for upholding Truth.” That is the present advent.

The two bodies are different, but the Divinity is one. The first advent was revealing Divinity. The second advent is to awaken the Divinity (in human beings). The next advent is for propagating Divinity. The three Sai’s are: Shirdi Sai, Sathya Sai and Prema Sai.

So let us celebrate Sri Shirdi Sai’s 174th Birthday on September 28th.

Om Sai Ram

Kumar Mahadevan

Love & Liberation

Sathya Sai Baba - Love And Liberation

Sathya Sai Baba - Love And Liberation


Love & Liberation

“True and effective forgiveness includes forgetting, but the memory of some wrong done may exist somewhere in the mind. It is not as easy as cleaning a word from a slate, or erasing it from a piece of paper,” says Mr. Howard Murphet in the final chapter of his book “Sai Inner Views.” He goes on to beautifully explain the intimate connection between forgiveness, healing, love and finally, liberation.

Even though love is perhaps the most common four lettered word and an emotion that is alien to none on this planet, at the same time, only a handful have understood its truest form and experienced the true bliss arising there from. It is to help us in understanding this seemingly simple but extremely profound idea that can change our life dramatically from dust to diamond, that we have this article for you.

The author, Mr. Howard Murphet, was an Australian journalist who came to Bhagavan Baba in 1964, and later authored many books on Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the most popular of them being “Sai Baba: Man of Miracles”. He wrote many volumes after that like “Sai Baba: Avatar”, “Sai Baba : Invitation to Glory”, “When the Road Ends”, and so on. The book “Sai Inner Views” from which the present article is an extract was composed by him when he was in his nineties and had lost his eye-sight, but the insight he has left behind for humanity is immense and precious, which you will perceive as you read on.

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” These well-known words from the Lord’s Prayer have a deeper implication than it may at first appear. In His mission on earth, Jesus showed that there was a very close connection between the forgiveness of trespass, or sin, and the healing of diseases. After healing somebody, He would say, “Your sins are forgiven. Now go your way and sin no more.”

The Need to Forgive
At the healing centre of a church I know in Australia, the sick person is told by the Christian priest in charge that before any healing can be accomplished, the patient must ask God for forgiveness and prior to that he must forgive anybody who he thinks has sinned against him.

This forgiving of those who have trespassed against him will, no doubt, involve a search back through many years to unearth anyone against whom he may still feel some resentment, hidden anger or any other signs of non-forgiveness. Having located the person against whom he holds any of these negative emotions, he must declare sincerely in his heart and mind that he truly forgives him. But such a declaration of forgiveness, if he also says in his mind, “But I cannot forget”, is not true forgiveness.

True and effective forgiveness, includes forgetting, but the memory of some wrong done may exist somewhere in the mind. It is not as easy as cleaning a word from a slate, or erasing it from a piece of paper. In forgiving those who have trespassed against us, we must effectively forget it, by never again dwelling on the wrongs we think have been done against us. Until this is accomplished sincerely, we cannot expect the Divine One to forgive our trespasses or sins.

Some patients ask, “Does this mean that God is unable to forgive us until we have truly forgiven all those who have trespassed against us, or is it that He will not?” We must remember that God is omnipotent and can therefore do anything He wills to do. Because as well as being omnipotent, He is also omniscient and compassionate, He will answer any prayer that does not go against the ultimate spiritual welfare of the one who prays. Why then this requirement that we must forgive before we are forgiven? And why is the whole process of forgiving and being forgiven essential before the truly effective healing of a person’s disease?

Understanding True Love
To understand this, we must take a penetrating look into that which we know as divine, unconditional love. We must be careful not to confuse such a love with the so-called romantic love that comes as a result of Cupid’s irresponsible arrow-shooting. This love is an emotional state that keeps a man and a woman in a state of constant agitation, a state of great joy and ecstasy followed by misery and sorrow. Even so, romantic love between man and woman may be an echo of the real thing because it does bring some moments, a few flashes of the great bliss that lies above the passing joys and pains. Thus, in a sense, it is a promise of the true love that will someday come.

Perhaps, the best echo in man and in other animals of the divine love, for which we are forever searching, is what we call mother-love. This, at its best, is completely unselfish, giving-and-forgiving. It demands no return in its purest state, yet like God Himself, the mother does enjoy a response of love for love. Mother-love is certainly brave, even warrior-like in its protectiveness of its offspring. I have seen mother geese attack big farm horses that have strayed too close to the young goslings. The mother goose will face almost any danger to shield her young from harm.

When I was a boy I thought that mother magpies went a bit too far in this. If I inadvertently came too close to a tree where the baby magpies were being hatched out of their shells in some high-up nest, I was attacked by mother magpie from the air. Other birds, including plovers, took the same protective, aggressive action against boys whom they thought were likely to steal their eggs. Such love in human beings is equally strong and lasts longer. It can, however, in time become tainted. It may become more attachment than love, sprouting selfish tentacles to contaminate the original selfless love of the mother.

Is it possible, we wonder, to find somewhere that pure selfless never-changing love that forgives and gives, and asks nothing in return? Yes, it is possible to find and experience that love. First, let us try to understand something of what it is. As the great seer-poet Dante said, “Love is the energy that moves the Sun and the other stars.” In fact, it is the primal power that created the universe and holds it together as one unit or system. It could be called the great cosmic magnet that keeps the wheels of the cosmos turning. As Swami says, God is Love and the energy He emanated in creating the universe, the premier energy, the primal energy to begin creation and hold it together, is love.

In Sanskrit, this pure love of God is called prema, and in the fullness of time, this divine magnet which we call love draws all things back into conscious oneness with the great Creator. Those, who have eyes to see, witness its reality around them as the inner-truth of the one within the many. Their eyes may fill with tears as their inner-vision apprehends this essence of divine oneness in the beauty of a flower, or a cloud, or the words of a poem. But, above and beyond these occasional flashes of the great truth, there is a way to experience the flow within one’s being of this primal prema, or divine love. That is, to come within the aura, or the influence, of one who may be called living divinity, for such a one is a veritable fountain of love.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Living Avatar of Love
The greatest of these in my own experience is the living Avatar, Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Undoubtedly, there are others on earth today who can, to some degree, as Baba does in full measure, open the human heart to release the flow of love that is waiting there. It is the wonderful influence of such Godmen that finds and opens the buried spring of love, pure unconditional love, that is hidden in every person’s heart.

But, of course, not everybody who has set his feet on the spiritual path will have the good fortune of meeting one of these divine surgeons of the spiritual heart who will bring forth the flow of love. Perhaps, it is safe to say that the majority will not. Therefore, there must, surely be some other way. Yes, there are several. For one, a deep study of the philosophy concerning the reality and truth of divine love is of great help. We must understand that this prema is the primary force within the universe and is the great magnet that holds all in oneness, finally bringing all into our realisation of this unity with its attendant felicity and never-ending yet ever-changing bliss.

With this understanding of the mind and even with slight glimpses, passing experiences of the divine love in our hearts, we will do all we can to practise and promote this important power of love in our lives. How do we do that? As the old French bishop said to the young priest, about this puzzling question, “You learn to walk by walking, you learn to ride a bicycle by riding one. You learn to swim by getting in the water and trying until you learn. There are many things you must learn just by doing them, and loving is one. You learn to love by loving. The more you practise loving, the more love you will develop, until in the end you will be a master in the art of loving.”

Practising the Presence of Love
That is the key. Realise that it is the most important thing in your life and begin to practise it on your fellow-men. Start with those who are easy to love. In the end you will be loving those to whom you are indifferent, and eventually even hate will be replaced by love. Furthermore, this trickle of love for our fellow-men can grow into a full stream through heart-felt worship and devotion to one of the princes of love no longer in the body. Two such are Christ and Krishna. Calling on their hallowed names and picturing their forms will help release the pent-up divine love in the human heart.

Finally, we should be aware that, in our own individual divine plan to love not only all of humanity but all of life, forgiveness is the greatest builder of love. Forgiving others and being forgiven by God repairs the broken channels through which the unifying and healing streams of love are meant to flow. In this divine business of forgiving there is one aspect that we should try to understand and remember. You may have heard people say that it is important to forgive ourselves. That is true but who forgives whom in ourselves? The social science of psychology divides us into many different parts, the number and names of these depending on the particular system of psychology we study.

Divine science divides the human being into two main parts. These are, the lower self, usually called the ego, and the high Self, being synonymous with the God within. These two inhabit the one human body. An interesting analogy is shown in the Indian story about two birds which live in the same tree. One has his nest and his existence on the lower branches. He is a very busy little bird, following his instinctive life of food-gathering, mating and fighting the enemies who want to usurp his territory.

Sometimes he is happy, at times he is angry and sometimes tragically sad. He catches in his active lifestyle occasional glimpses of another bird living in the thick branches of the tree above him. This bird of the shining plumage seems to live a very calm and contented life, never fighting with other birds over territory or morsels of food. Though in the same tree, this ‘top bird’ seems to live in a different world. His songs are full of joy, flowing from him, naturally. In time, the ‘lower bird’, by comparison, sees his own little life as a continual struggle on the treadmill of desires. He longs to be like the shining bird, the calm, beautiful, wise bird on the lofty branches.

The wise bird sees all that his little brother on the lower branches is doing. He knows that his brother on the lower branches will, in the course of time, learn the vital lessons that will make him discard his many agitating desires and start to climb the branches where he can live the life of the higher bird, the life of calmness and peace, the life of light and joy. The high bird will then do all he can to help his lower brother upward, until in love they finally merge as one. The busy bird on the lower branch represents the human lower self or ego, while the bird in the upper branch symbolises our higher Self, our true divine Self.

Being Forgiven by God
In the question of forgiving, what is known as forgiving ourselves must mean the divine Self, who has no sin, but witnesses the misdemeanours, the trespasses, the foolish errors of the little thoughtless desire-filled ego, must be the forgiver of the sins of the ego. So it is that the sinful ego must be forgiven by the divine Self so that forgiving ourselves is the same as being forgiven by God. Our inner God is no different from the one great eternal God who is omnipresent in the universe. In brief, to be forgiven by God is the same as forgiving ourselves.

The inner God forgives the erring ego. It is clear, then, that this process of forgiving and being forgiven, mending as it does the shattered truth of oneness, is one of the most important roads to the state of living in universal love. This is not far from, and may itself be, the liberation we seek. It is said that when an individual reaches this state of enlightenment, or liberation from the bondage of all earthly desires, two paths lie open to him. One is that he may rest in Nirvana, which means being merged with the Divine Absolute for eternity. Otherwise, through the power of the divine love that is now his very being, he may help to do the work of God while merged in Him. That is, he may help his brothers and sisters on earth to mend the broken bridges that hold them in the sorrows of mortal existence, thus bringing them to the truth and joy that he has found.

The first way could be called the Nirvana of rest, and the second the Nirvana of divine action. To attempt to describe what this state of Nirvana or liberation is would be an attempt to describe the indescribable. But Paramahansa Yogananda has given a concept of this that is worthy of our contemplation. What he says, in paraphrase, is that in time we become tired of everything, even pleasure and happiness.

Even from the high heavens of joy, men and gods come back to earth to seek the spring-board that will take them beyond the high heavens, in other words, to unity with God or Nirvana. This, he says, is “ever-changing, ever-new, ever-lasting bliss”. It is a joy, though eternal, is ever new. This, I feel, is a worthwhile attempt to explain the inexplicable.

“When I wake in the morning thy love is there,
Like the golden sunrise in clear mountain air,
And, sheltered all day in thy aura of blue,
I rest in the beauty and love of you.
There’s a silent presence, whatever I do,
Lighting the hours as the day wears through.
Come nearer and nearer, great Lord divine,
Till thy being is mine and mine is thine,
Till this ego can really cease to be,
And I am forever one with thee.
Then, though atoms burst and mountains fall,
No earthly disasters can matter at all,
And even the dark of the cosmic night
Shall shine with thy love in eternal light.”

Reference

How Sathya Sai Baba Cured Himself And Revealed The Secret Of His Advent

How Sathya Sai Baba Cured Himself And Revealed The Secret Of His Advent

On the sixth day of July 1963, at about 6 p.m., an astounding miracle took place in the prayer Hall of Prasanthi Nilayam. This was a seismic event that enlarged the bounds of faith and instensified the ardour of devotion. This was also the occasion when Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba revealed the secret of the triune Sai Avatar revealing Himself to be the incarnation of the Shiva-Shakti principle. Prof N.Kasturi who witnessed this phenonmenal event writes

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


It all began on the evening of 28th June, when Baba asked me to announce that He would not grant interviews for a week. No one could guess why, for there was nothing out of the ordinary in the events of the day. On Saturday, 29th June at 6.30 am, while moving into His room on the first floor from the southern verandah, Baba spoke of a “reeling sensation” and suddenly fell on the floor. I was with Him then; but though I held Him with my hand, I could do little to soften the impact of the fall.

Even as He fell, the left hand clenched; the left leg stiffened; the toes became taut. Evidently, He had taken upon Himself in His Infinite Mercy, the stroke of paralysis destined to incapacitate or perhaps kill, some saintly person!

Having seen Him while taking on the typhoid fever, the gastric pain, the bleeding ear, the mumps, and even the stroke, I awaited with Raja Reddy (another ardent devotee) the moment of His coming to, when we could get from Him the name of the person and of the place to confirm our surmise.

The face twitched and muscles drew the mouth to the left … the tongue lolled. The left eye appeared to have lost its sight. We whispered to each other about His postponement of interviews for one week! Baba seemed to have known that some one had to be rescued that morning.

As the clock ticked the minutes away and the hour hand moved relentlessly on, our anxiety thickened into fear. Gloom filled the room and spread gradually all round the Nilayam. Dr. B.G. Krishnamurthi said that Baba was ‘in coma’, that Baba showed symptoms of ‘apoplexy’.

The jaws were locked tight; the pulse rate was ranging from 84 to 100. That doctor, while treating patients in the Sathya Sai Hospital, placed more reliance on the curative value of the Vibhuti blessed by Baba than on the efficacy of the drugs the shelves contained. Now that He found Baba stricken, he could only pray to Him to cure Himself.

Meanwhile, some one who feared that the illness was genuine hastened by car to Bangalore (106 miles off) and brought with him, late at night, Dr. Prasannasimha Rao, the Assistant Director of Medical Services, Mysore. Let the doctor relate what he saw. I shall quote from his letter:

“It was on the afternoon of the 29th of June that I was summoned urgently to the feet of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi. I sped on, in the company of my brother-in-law Sri Kesav Vittal, to witness a spectacle of extreme pain and suffering at Puttaparthi.

We reached the precincts of the holy place after midnight. Anxious as I was to learn the full details of the incident that caused the summons, it was His Will that I should contain myself till the next morning. Next morning, when I was taken into the room on the first floor of the Nilayam, I saw there lying prostrate the physical form and body of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in a posture assumed by a patient, in coma.

Respiration was hissing, at times; the left side of the body, the upper and lower limbs were rigidly held in a position of extensor tone. There were gross twitchings of the face, occasionally on the right side. The head would be suddenly tossed to one side or the other, with a groan of anguish and the utterance of incomprehensible syllables, which was the result of an impairment of the faculty of speech.

After an analysis of the signs and symptoms and the history of the case, I had to infer that the semi-comatose conditions and the posture assumed could only be due to a space-occupying condition in the cranium with localizing signs of predominance over the right half of the brain in the frontal area. The differential diagnosis of such conditions in a person of about thirty years, after excluding remote possibilities, pointed to ‘tubercular meningitis’, with perhaps a tuberculoma.

The treatment was one of energetic antitubercular measures, with symptomatic supportive treatment by intravenous, substitution and replacement to maintain ionic balance and nutrition. A diagnostic lumbar puncture was an immediate necessity, for professional assessment of the case. My attempts to administer glucose solution intravenously was, by a gesture and movement of the body, foiled completely by Baba, leaving me utterly bewildered and helpless, in the face of His Will.

Having completely resigned to His Will, I returned to Bangalore on Sunday evening bereft of all hopes of having His Darshan again, in the physical form assumed by Him for this Incarnation.”

Baba was ‘unconscious’ all the time; He evinced only faint gleams of awareness as when He pushed away the doctor’s hand when the injection was attempted. The body perspired a great deal but He could be given only a few spoonfuls of water, the spoon being inserted, after pressing the jaw apart. He was apparently severely exhausted.

Moreover He suffered from what Dr. Krishnamurthi named ‘angina pectoris’, paroxysms of intense pain, originating at the breast bone and radiating thence mainly to the left shoulder and arm. The physical frame groaned. Inmates of the Nilayam standing tip-toe under the window heard and wept. To relieve the exhaustion, we could give only occasional drops of glucose water of lemon juice, forcing apart the tightly clenched teeth.

On Monday, Baba intensified the atmosphere of tragedy. Summoning near His bed some residents of the ashram, He gestured and lisped to make them understand that the tasks allotted to them should be carried out with undiminished ardour. It was a heart-rending experience – to catch those indistinct sounds and interpret them. He warned us not to frighten the other devotees. “Deal gently with them. Talk sweetly to them”, He seemed to say. “Give them Vibhuti, ask them to leave for home and come some other time”.

He declined medicine and nursing, brushing aside angrily the spoon, which had a few drops of coramine. He insisted on going to the bathroom Himself, though He had to be lifted or drawn over two doorsills. The pulse registered danger after each such hazardous journey, the Doctor and we could only wring our hands and pray.

The fact that it was a stroke of paralysis could not be announced and so, a variety of rumours circulated in and around the Nilayam to explain the ominous gloom. The wildest of these was that Baba was under the maleficent influence of black magic! Others surmised that He had gone into Samadhi; still others guessed that He had taken a vow of silence and inaction. Perhaps the villagers of Puttaparthi were more competent interpreters, for they had known of His ‘unconscious’ days at Uravakonda when He had ‘gone out’ of His Body to save a devotee from calamity. They said, Baba was about to enter a new chapter in His history, as He had done after that incident at Uravakonda while in His teens.

Tuesday arrived. Baba showed signs of consciousness, more often and for longer periods. Referring to the visit of the Doctor, He said, “He can only take Darshan and leave. Injections are inadvisable in such cases. This will last five days in all. Tomorrow, the pain will be less. I had two heart attacks, these three days. You must have heard the groans. No one else could have survived”. He gestured and smiled.

Dr. B. Sitharamayya, who was the Medical Officer in charge of the Nilayam Hospital, had been summoned by a telegram. He came on Tuesday evening to the bedside. Tuesday night was filled with fear, for Baba groaned causing us excruciating agony.

Wednesday dawned, dark and dismal. About 9 am, Baba, who was extremely exhausted, showed signs of sinking. He struggled for breath; hiccups tormented Him. The ‘parents’ could not contain their sorrow; the ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ were wallowing in grief. We tottered and wept aloud like panic-stricken babies. They could not decide whether, at this awful hour, they could stoop to the sacrilege of bringing to Prasanthi Nilayam a Doctor from Anantapur or Bangalore. Was it right? Was it pardonable? Was it not urgently needed? Could any doctor be of use? What a tremendous responsibility this … on our aged shoulders! We gathered under the mango trees and, with tears streaming down our cheeks, weighed the pros and cons.

Just then, glad tidings arrived! Baba had regained consciousness; the hiccups had lost their vigour – two hours later, we had a tragic jolt. His breathing worsened; He gasped and rolled. His feet and palms became cold. We prayed to Him amidst sobs; we got no sign to encourage us. The Doctors sat on the floor and leaned against the wall, resting on their hands their heavy heads. For four full hours, Baba broiled us thus, in mortal anguish. Then He opened His eyes looked around, and smiled at us!

About an hour later He beckoned us and told us in His pathetically ineffective vocabulary, supplemented by gestures with the palsied right hand, the events of those four hours. We understood Him to say:

“The mind is a thousand petalled lotus, each petal directing it outward into some facet of the objective world. In the very center of the lotus is the Flame of the ‘I’ principle. The flame is ever unsteady, veering now towards one petal, now to another, but if through the exercise of Will you keep it steady and straight, the ‘I’ is unaffected by the events that happen to the body.”

Some one quoted the words from the Narayana Suktam, “Neela thoyada madhya-sthaad, vidyullekheva bhaaswaraa, thasyamadhye vahni sikhaa” (In the center of the blue cloud, shining like a streak of lightning, with the tongue of fire in its center) Baba nodded approval. “During those four hours, I held the flame straight. I was away, apart. I was watching the body from above, Myself unconcerned, unaffected.”

About 7 pm, Baba gestured: “All of you should sleep round here, this night”! It betokened a crisis. “Will there be a heart attack, this night?” Some one dared to enquire. Baba replied ‘yes’. That night was the longest, the darkest and the most dreadful in the lives of us, fifteen mortals. The heart attack happened; we listened to the groans. We prayed to Baba to assuage the pain and assure us of victory in the struggle.

At last, the Day of Relief. Thursday, the sixth day, when as He had told us, the pain ‘will lose its severity’ and the attacks on the heart ‘will cease’! The Sun rose over the hills across the Chithravathi. Baba announced that the pain as well as the ‘burning sensation in the chest had gone’. The very first order He gave after this declaration was: “Arrange now for all the devotees to get Darshan; they are broken by despair”. We pleaded that the Darshan be granted two days later, on Saturday (Guru Pournima Day) when thousands gather at the Nilayam to pay homage to their Guru, Master and Teacher. We hoped that He could recoup Himself more to bear the strain that Darshan involves.

Baba asked me to announce at the Prayer Hall that Darshan will be granted to all on Guru Pournima. I had to do it after the morning bhajan sessions at 9 a.m., Thursday. Baba reprimanded me, for I came away making a short statement, without any detail about the illness. He insisted on my giving the assembled devotees an accurate description of His physical condition, so that they could prepare themselves.

I announced the condition of His leg, hand, eye, tongue, and face in Telugu but I broke down when I saw the agony on the faces that learnt for the first time the awful truth. I had to repeat the announcement in English, Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam, but I could not.

That night, Baba conveyed another bit of good news; “The clot in the brain is dissolved.” We prayed to Him to ‘will’ to be His normal self: He was our refuge in distress; so when the distress was caused by His own play that was the only prayer we knew.

Throughout Friday and even during the morning hours of Saturday, we attempted to persuade Him to give up the plan to give Darshan in the Prayer Hall on the ground floor. Some one appealed to Him to allow us to announce to the gathering that He will render Himself hale and hearty before Dasara, a hundred days ahead; another ventured to pray that He should cure Himself fully by Krishna Janmashtami (celebration of Krishna’s birthday), which was forty days later. Baba seemed to resent the proposals; He only shook His head.

The Prayer Hall was packed, as never before. People from many villages around Puttaparthi, who had come to know that Baba would be granting Darshan, came in large numbers. The broad spaces around the Nilayam were filled. Baba was carefully brought down the circular steps (18 in all) to the ground floor.

Major Dr. M. Bhanu of the Government Hospital, Palladam, writes, “I saw Baba moving out with the help of three devotees, His left leg lifted gently over the doorstep by one of them. He had a kerchief around His head to bind the halo of hair that had gone awry and to hide the twitching of the facial muscles, from the eyes of devotees. His gait was the characteristic hemiplegic one, the paralytic left leg being dragged in a semi-circle, the toes scraping the floor. Seeing Baba in that condition, even the bravest wept aloud”. The wail was so sudden and so loud that we were angrily blamed by many who inferred that it was the end; they cursed our bravado in putting the most precious Life on earth to this risk.

“Why did you bring Him down?” they asked.

Baba was placed in the Silver Chair, propped up by pillows. As soon as He was placed in position, a pillow was placed over His chest and the limp left hand was lifted by Raja Reddy and placed on it. Seeing this, there arose a gasp from every breast. Baba signaled to me and I knelt at His side to catch what He was trying to tell me. After repeating to Him what I had guessed to be His Message and ascertaining that I had understood Him aright, I announced to the grief-stricken gathering of about 5000 people: “Do not grieve! This is not My ailment. This is an ailment I have taken over. I can never fall ill; No, Never. Do not feel dispirited. If you lose heart, it will pain me.”

Then, He signed to me to speak to them for some length, and signed that He will speak again, after me. Many felt that He had exerted too much already: they feared the consequence of a further adventure in speaking with impaired resources.

I called upon every one to pray to Baba, (propped on pillows on the Silver Throne) the only refuge we knew, to cure Himself at least by the next New Moon … for “the Full Moon today is blocked out for us by this unbearable sorrow. Let the next New moon become a Full Moon for us all and for the world.”

Baba signed that the mike be held near His lips. Slowly, He whispered into it, in thick-tongued syllables, “Vinupisthundaa?” But even we who had learnt to decipher the mushy paralytic alphabet could not make out what He was trying to say. He repeated it twice. Then, some one caught it and repeated it on the mike. Baba was asking them, “Can you hear Me?”

This raised another groan: He was heard but, alas! it tore their hearts. It was too indistinct. Evidently Baba was too tired by that attempt to speak, for He gestured for water to drink. It was brought soon by Kishtappa, in a silver tumbler, and held to his lips by Raja Reddy.

His palsied right hand came towards it … He tried to hold it … His fingers slipped into it … the fingers dipped … He sipped a few drops … He sprinkled, with the fingers of the right hand, a little water on the limp left hand on the pillow above His chest … He sprinkled the water, faintly shaking the fingers, on the left leg too. He stroked the left hand with the right. And WITH BOTH HANDS, stroked the left leg. He rose; the pillow fell off; we could hear His divine voice calling us, as was ever His wont, “Premaswaroopulaaraa!” He had begun His Guru Pournima Discourse!! O, we had our Baba back again, hale, hearty, holy, healthy, heavenly …. .

People did not believe their eyes and ears. But when they realized that Baba was standing before them, speaking, they jumped about in joy, they danced, they shouted ‘Jais’, they wept; some were so overcome with ecstatic gratitude that they laughed hysterically and ran wild amongst the crowds rushing in.

Oh! it was the miracle of miracles. It shot us in an instant from the deepest pit of gloom into the Seventh Heaven of Delight. Major Bhanu writes, “The Doctor of Doctors cured Himself in a trice, leaving me aghast with wonder”.

“Premaswaroopulaaraa” (Embodiments of Love!) “Dikku lenivanikki Devude Gathi”, Baba’s silver voice awakened all to attention. (“For him who has no refuge, God is the refuge”). That is the reason I had to take on this disease that one forlorn Bhaktha (devotee) was to suffer from. He would not have survived it, nor could he come through the four heart attacks I took on. My Dharma is Bhaktharakshana (to protect the devotees). I had to rescue him. Of course, this is not the first time I have taken on the illness of those I want to save. Even in the previous Sariram (body) at Shirdi, I had this responsibility. This is My leela; My nature. It is part of the task for which I have come, Sishtarakshana (“protection of the good”). (Had He not declared at Shirdi as Sai Baba, “The sea may turn the rivers back! But I will not neglect My devotees”).

He spoke for over an hour with the same eloquence, the same compassion, the same humour, and the same love that He evinces always. Then, raising the voice a little, He said:

“I have been keeping back from you all these years one secret about Me; the time has come when I can reveal it to you. This is a sacred day. I am Shiva-Shakti born in the gothra (lineage) of Bharadwaja (a great sage), according to a boon won by that sage from Shiva and Shakti. Shiva Himself was born in the gothra of that sage as Sai Baba of Shirdi; Shiva and Shakti have incarnated as Myself in his gothra now; Shakthi alone will incarnate as the third Sai (Prema Sai Baba) in the same gothra in Mysore State.”

This illness has to be borne by Shakti (the consort of Shiva), for She incurred the ire of Her Lord by neglecting to notice Bharadwaja who had waited for eight days at Kailash, their Home for an audience. As a consequence of the neglect, Bharadwaja had suffered a stroke; Shiva sprinkled the restorative water and cured him. Today, you saw the illness of Sakthi (the left half) cured by Shiva (the right half) by the same means. These matters are beyond human ken; so, I had kept it away from you so long, but now that within the knowledge of so many, Sakthi suffered and Shiva saved, it is time you knew this. The Bhaktha who was saved by My ‘taking over’ is only the ‘immediate’ cause; the ‘remote’ cause is the boon and the retribution, Baba declared.

After this disclosure, Baba sang a few songs, which He wanted the congregation to repeat in chorus. When He started off in double quick tempo the lines, “Hara Hara Shiva Shiva Subrahmanyam, Shiva Shiva Hara Hara Subrahmanyam, Shiva Saravanabhava Subrahmanyam, Guru Saravanabhava Subrahmanyam” Dr. Bhanu rushed in but let him explain why he did so:

“I forgot I was a volunteer posted outside to keep the crowd in check; I rushed inside to fall at His feet and pray to Him, not to continue that song, I was afraid if His tongue performs the acrobatics, so soon after it regained its normalcy, it might fail and suffer a relapse. But at the very door, I held myself. I remembered the miracle I had seen with my own eyes. I remembered the sweet voice that was won back in a trice, I kept mum. Who was I to check God? I controlled myself and stayed outside.”

Baba ascended the steps to the first floor with His usual agility. He announced from the verandah above to the gathering that He would grant every one of them the chance to touch His feet at Namaskaram the next day at 6.30 am. He partook of normal food that night. No one slept: the miracle they witnessed kept them awake in ecstasy. Oh! within a split second, Baba had given Himself back to the world.

Next evening too He gave a discourse. He pitied those who revel in bad news and are eager to circulate it. He declared, “From this day, nothing and no one can stop or obstruct or delay the work for which this Avatar has come. During a previous Advent (Krishna), only one mountain, the Govardhan, was lifted; this Avatar will lift many ranges. This Ganga (river of his mission) will roll majestically on, feeding the roots of all mankind.”

Referring to this mighty miracle, Sathya Sai Baba said, a few weeks later, “Rescuing a true Bhakta is My Dharma. My Very Nature. Some one asked me whether it was right on My part to plunge thousands into grief, in order to rescue one. Such numerical calculations cannot apply to acts of Grace. I act My Dharma, regardless of how it affects anyone.”

Reference: “Sathyam Shivam Sundaram”, Volume – II by Prof. N Kasturi. Page 78-91. Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam.