Sai Is By Your Side. He Is The Charioteer Of The Vehicle Of Your Life

Sai Baba

Sai Baba


Sai Is By Your Side. He Is The Charioteer Of The Vehicle Of Your Life
Written By The Late Prof. Kasturi

Innumerable are the instances when God has converted a ‘stormy tornado’ of someone’s life into a ‘serene sea’ when they allowed Him to take over the reins of their lives. Dr. Y S Thathachari, a dedicated biophysicist who had worked for some years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and after that at Stanford University and the University of California, suffered in 1960 ‘aggressively malignant and metastasising tumours in the skull, the neck, the ribs and the hips, the cancer having the features of both Ewings and Retiaulum Cell Sarcoma.’ It was a death sentence enveloped in medical abracadabra! Prof. Kasturi reports in Sathyam Shivam Sundaram. The surgeon finally told him, ‘Sir, miracles do happen. We hope such a miracle would happen to you.’ This was in 1962.

The couple returned to Madras (now Chennai) and the doctors in Madras pronounced that even the liver is now affected with cancer. “In 1965,” Tathachari says, “I felt like seeking the blessings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, following a chance reference by a friend. Baba blessed me and my wife and directed us to go back to Stanford, continuing the Endoxan, if I wished to do so. In 1970, when I approached Him again, He asked me to discontinue all drugs and dietary supplements. He gave me an assurance of cure and dispelled that ever-present dread of recurrence.” Thathachari later pursued his teaching assignment and research projects in America with undiminished zeal. The ‘miracle’ had indeed happened.

The reason we quote this particular incident, though there are innumerable of such ‘divine graces’ happening anytime all over the world, is to bring to attention a few powerful and profound words that Bhagavan wrote to him many years later.

“Busy yourselves with the duties which are entrusted to you, in good spirit and fine health,”

Swami’s initial lines in the letter to Thathachari read. But what came later is most significant.

“Sai is ever by your side. He is the charioteer of the vehicle of your life. The ship of life, however heavily loaded with the cargo of joys and sorrows, can certainly arrive at the harbour of self-realisation, if it is propelled by holy mental energy. Repetition of the Name is the ‘dug-dug-dug’ of the pistons; the steering wheel is love; the anchor is faith. Continue the journey in confidence. Sai is always guarding you from harm and pain…Swami is constantly showering His compassion on you. He counsels you from within and corrects you. On your part, be immersed in the duties entrusted to you; remember, that is Swami’s work. When you discharge your duties, convinced that the work is Mine, health and happiness will be added unto you.”

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in so many comforting sentences, conveyed how glorious one’s life can be if He is made the Charioteer. It is these sweet and soothing words of the Lord, dripped in divine selfless love, which are His most potent weapon to induce man to pause, reflect, reform and then reestablish himself in peace.

Om Sai Ram

Sri Jodi Adipalli Somappa

He has a million names and a million forms, though He is beyond all names and forms, all adulations and attributions. The One whose stature transgresses all the limits and benchmarks set by the worldly, He often comes in response with the most viable and potent solution to his puzzles and problems. Quite often we have experienced this gentle tap from the Greater Heaven in the most unexpected, unfamiliar form. Read on for yet another story of His ‘visiting card’ born out of the pen of the illustrious Prof. N. Kasturi, as published in the Sanathana Sarathi, May, 1959.

Sri Jodi Adipalli Somappa

“Then, suddenly from among the crowd, an old man emerged. He shouted in a loud commanding voice, ‘Give the child to me;’ there were two women and one man with him, who also pleaded, ‘Give the child to him, lady! He is famous as a curer of children’s diseases. He has saved many children from death.’ And, so, losing all fear, my wife handed over the child to him.”

This is from a letter written by S. R.V. on 28th November 1958. The incident happened on 25th November 1958. The ‘old man’ was no other than Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Himself; the two women and the man who accompanied him were also creations of His Grace and Power, whom He had with Him, while He appeared in disguise in His Mission of Mercy! The child is the lovely little baby that Sathya Sai Baba is seen holding, in the picture that forms the front-piece of this number of Sanathana Sarathi. (NOTE: The same image is reproduced in this article) Let us now look a little closer at this strange story, this Leela of Bhagawan…

Sathya Sai Baba With Sudha

Sathya Sai Baba With Sudha


Sudha Raghunathan As A Child With Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sudha Raghunathan As A Child With Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba


A devotee, S.R.V. from Bangalore had come to Puttaparthi, with his wife and child, for the Birthday Festivities of the Bhagawan, on 23rd November 1958 and he left the Prasanthi Nilayam on the 25th at 12.45 P.M. taking leave of Baba, and receiving from His hands, the Vibhuti which He gets by a mere wave of the Hand, as well as a few oranges.

At 5:30 P.M. that evening, when some devotees gathered round Him at the Prasanthi Nilayam, Baba told them a dramatic tale of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth!’ He said that S. R. V.’s child, Geetha Sudha, called Sudha, for short, had died on the way to Bangalore at 2:45 p.m. but, He had left His body at Puttaparthi and hurried to the place and manifested Himself as an old man and saved the child. His narration was full of details and very clear and devotees who keep diaries of their experiences have recorded every word of it. He said that the child was sleeping on the back seat; that a scratching sound was heard by the mother; that when she turned she was shocked to find the baby stiff and blue and practically lifeless; that the moving car was stopped; that the time was 2:45 P.M.; that the place was between Palasamudram and Bagepalli; that a huge crowd of villagers gathered on account of the wailing; that every one was advising all kinds of remedies and cures; that a bus proceeding to Hindupur came on the scene, was stopped and added to the confusion; that as soon as the bus moved off, He appeared as an old man and demanded that the child be given over to Him, saying that He heard about the tragedy and had come running to the place; that He asked the party for a little Vibhuti, because He was sure they had it; that, keeping the child on His lap, He showed it His real form, upon which the baby, as usual on all occasions when He took the child up in His hands, cried; that He pretended to go through some curative rituals and handed the baby to the overjoyed parents; that S. R. V. thanked Him profusely for His service; that he offered to pay Him a rupee, which He refused to accept; that he pressed upon Him an Orange out of the five or six that He Himself had given him at noon while leaving Him at Puttaparthi, and that after invoking upon that fruit the calamity that had pursued the baby, He threw it away before reaching the Nilayam!

On the 28th November, a long letter written by S. R. V detailing the entire incident was received at Puttaparthi and it was given over by Baba to be read by those who had heard Him describing the miracle, three days earlier, within a few hours of the ‘death’ and ‘re-birth.’ What a surprise it was to read in the letter that the child was sleeping on the back seat (!) there was heard a scratching sound (!) that the body was stiff, that the child was breathless, that the villagers ran in from all directions, that there were suggestions galore, that the Hindupur bus was stopped at the scene (!) and then, the para quoted above! “Then, suddenly from among the crowd, an old man emerged…”

The letter continued, “The old man placed the child on His lap and she began to cry (!) He also heated a copper wire and applied it to the brow. We thanked him much for saving the child to accept at least a rupee as a reward (!) But, in spite of our best efforts he refused to accept it. I then gave him an orange from among the ones which Baba had given us while leaving. He asked us to leave for Bangalore without worry and do Arati to our Ishtadevata, Venkataramanaswami as soon as we reached home. I asked him his name and he gave it as Jodi Adipalli Somappa.”

S. R. V. concluded his letter thus, “I am now certain that the Old Man was no other than Baba Himself. I also suspect that the three villagers who asked us very forcibly to give Sudha into His Hands were also ad hoc creations of His Leela. My inference is that Baba must have gone on a ‘trance’ about 2:30 or 2:45 P.M. on the 25th.”

We, who had heard Baba relate the whole thrilling story on the 25th evening itself, have no doubt in our minds that Jodi Adipalli Somappa is no other than Baba Himself, Baba manifesting Himself 48 miles away to save the child!

Om Jodi Adipalli Somappaya Namah. . . Mysterious are the ways of the Lord. Words are of no avail, if one desires to describe Him. The mind is too feeble and instrument to measure His Glory. . . . . aprapya manasa saha!

(Readers may note that the story is an episode from the life of one of the distinguished voices in the carnatic music in India, Sudha Raghunathan from Chennai. Smt. Sudha Raghunathan has experienced the rare blessing of singing in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on various occassions)

Reference

Encounter In A Train

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Encounter In A Train

In how many ways and in how many forms does Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba come to us? We know not, we recognize Him not, and only after the event we realize that we missed the opportunity of our life…writes Chandrahas Shah narrating an unusual encounter he had, presenting valuable divine prescriptions to the humanity in general, as published in Feb, 1997 issue of Sanathana Sarathi. Read on…

It was Thursday, May 23 1996. After work I was returning home riding the train. I was reading intently the latest issue of Sanathana Sarathi (April, 1996). I was oblivious to the surroundings. Suddenly a gentleman, a passenger, from behind, asked: “Are you reading a Hindu religious book?” I replied: “No. It is a monthly and it does not deal with Hinduism, it deals with humanism.” He observed: “Such journals should be available in U.S.A.” I continued: “You can subscribe from here, you can get an address.” I was thinking glibly that he may get interested. Out of curiosity I asked: “What is your profession?” He answered: “I teach mathematics.” I asked: “Where?” And he politely mentioned: “I teach in Harvard, MIT, Brandeis. I teach when I have something to teach.” I was impressed. I was still dazed and I continued: “Mathematics would have a close relationship with philosophy.” He seemed to agree. At the next suburban station, he turned to me and said: “This is my stop.” I did not pay much attention and said “Thanks.”

Well, he did not get down! He accompanied me to the terminus (Alewife). We got down together and walked several steps together. We continued the conversation. He finally mentioned, “Please open the page you were reading in the train.” I opened it and he pointed to Swami’s declaration: (p.97)

“Sathya and Dharma are the two rails on which the locomotive of the nation runs; when Sathya is given up, chaos prevails; when Dharma (righteousness) is discarded, might becomes right.”

“Unfortunately India today is affected by consequences of seven grievous sins.”

  1. Business without morality
  2. Politics without principle
  3. Education without character
  4. Worship without sacrifice
  5. Acquisition of wealth without hard work
  6. Human existence without regard for ancient Scriptures
  7. Devotion without austerity

Immediately he said rather forcefully: “Let me add”, and he added in Swami’s inimitable style:

  1. Money is less important than honour;
  2. Honour is less important than life;
  3. Life is less important than thought;
  4. Thought is less important than freedom!

“Let me add” I said: “You mean not freedom, you mean liberation.” He said: “No. freedom.” And he turned back, walked a few paces, and disappeared. I could not believe it.

Such a thing has not happened in years. I could not sleep the whole night, yet in the morning I was still fresh. The message in the four lines composed impromptu was important for me. I could read a special meaning into them during the night.

All professionals care more for honour than for monetary rewards but they neglect life, theirs and of those around them. They may tend to be oblivious to the humanness or human element while engaged in their profession. Besides, in their pursuit of perfection they tend to regard others less knowledgeable as less worthy. They then become unmindful of the purpose of life on this planet, viz., to realize the Self that is beyond senses, the mind and the intellect. Their narrow pursuit often results in pride and frustration. Ego rides over them. The word freedom is pertinent. Swami has emphasized it in His discourses to students. Students claim they are free or they deserve freedom. Swami reminds them, “You are not free, you are bonded slaves to your senses. Till that bondage is got rid of, you are not free.” Good thoughts are valuable for the individual and they make a precious contribution to the welfare of society. But such good thoughts can be bondage if viewed and pursued rigidly.

Read together, the two messages of Swami seem to be closely linked. The message quoted in Sanathana Sarathi is aimed at the entire humanity. Swami’s main mission is spiritual regeneration of humanity and the quote provides a prescription. The individual has to follow these injunctions to help His mission. This quote is general and applies to all sections of the community; businessmen, politicians, scholars and common men. The base of the society is the individual. His renewed emphasis on students and young ones whom He repeatedly chastises for yielding to the pressures of the world, instead of being steadfast to the values of life, adds meaning to the aphorism. (In Sanathana Sarathi of May 1996 Swami’s address to students on March 31, 1996, is reproduced. The address reemphasizes the need for students to stand up against the temptations of the world including jobs with high salary and dowry that brings wealth in exchange for what Swami calls ‘sale’ of the groom.)

How Smt. Shyamala Devi’s Nephew Was Saved From Death By Satya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


How Smt. Shyamala Devi’s Nephew Was Saved From Death By Satya Sai Baba

Smt. I. Shyamala Devi is the daughter of late Sri Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, the former Chief Minister of the old Hyderabad State in 1950s and and later Governor of Uttar Pradesh and Kerala, India.

In 1980, Sathya Sai Baba saved the grandson of Mr. Burgula Ramakrishna Rao from imminent death. Smt. Shyamala Devi recounts this incident in the book, “Sathya Sai – The Avatar of Love”:

My brother, Burgula Lakshmi Narayana Rao, was blessed with a son on 29th May, 1980. On the very second day of his coming into the world, he was afflicted with some illness. He started crying incessantly from the second day afternoon onwards till midnight.

Two child specialists examined the baby; the baby had become pale and unconscious. Milk was given through the nostrils with the aid of a tube. Breathing stopped in between and doctors even had to revive the breath by artificial means. Gradually the baby turned blue in color due to frequent failures of breathing and the lengthy process of reviving. Seeing this, doctors came to the conclusion that it would be difficult for the baby to survive. They also pleaded their inability saying “Neither you nor we doctors can do anything”.

Swami’s Vibhuti was kept under the baby’s head and a little of it was applied on its chest. Doctors had come to the conclusion that there was nothing they could do except praying to God. On that very day, we learnt that Swami was going from Bangalore to Delhi via Hyderabad. The plane would stop for a brief period of about 40 minutes before leaving for Delhi. Arrangements were made and pandals erected near airport.

Devotees gathered there to have Darshan of Swami. Bhajans were being sung. Doctors who were attending on the baby themselves advised us to go and have the Darshan of Baba. Hanging between hope and despair, I along with my brother and mother (Smt. Anantha Lakshmi) went to the place where Swami was staying. Baba who was about to enter the room specially arranged for Him looked at us and inquired saying “Ananthalakshmamma, How is your grandson?”

My mother with full of tears in her eyes full of sorrow, pleaded “Swami ma Narayana Babu ku putra biksha pettandi. Na manuvadu mrithyu mukham lo unnadu. Bratike avaskasam ledu. Doctorlu kuda aasa vadulu kunnaru”. (Swami, save the life of my Narayana Babu’s son. My grand son is in the throes of death; there is no hope of his survival. Even the doctors have given up hope.)

Then Swami kept His hand on my mother’s head and blessed her saying “Your grandson has a full life span. He will become healthy.” With that assurance Swami left for the airport.

From the mood of despondency, we came back into this world. With anxious thoughts, we went to hospital fearing what kind of news was awaiting us. The doctors in the hospital reported that ever since we had gone to airport for Swami’s Darshan, the baby’s frequency of the stoppage of respiration had become lesser. Even the doctor’s hope was kindled. From then onwards the baby’s health improved gradually.

Now (1992) the boy is aged twelve years, quite healthy and is studying in the eight standard in Kendriya Vidyalaya. Swami himself had named the boy as “Sai Rama Krishna”. Baba had saved my grand son from the jaws of death. Later we had learnt that Swami told some of the devotees that he had instructed for the diversion of Delhi trip enroute Hyderabad, only to save the ailing grand son of Ramakrishana Rao.

Reference: “Sathya Sai – The Avatar of Love” Page: 69-70. Published by Sai Prasanthi Society, Hyderabad under the auspices of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Andhra Pradesh on His 67th Birthday, 23rd November 1992.

A Dumb And Lame Child Is Miraculously Cured By Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


A Dumb And Lame Child Is Miraculously Cured By Sathya Sai Baba

Mr. Russi Patel, a Parsi from Mumbai, had an experience connected to his little daughter’s health that was nothing short of a miracle. Howard Murphet had the opportunity to met him personally and here is what Murphet records:

At Prasanthi Nilayam in 1967 I met Mr. Russi C. Patel, a Parsi of Bombay, and his wife. From them I learned the story of their little daughter, Ketu.

At the age of 2½ years Ketu could not speak, walk or even stand. She had been given various kinds of medical treatment, including modern drugs and physiotherapy. But nothing seemed to have any effect.

The source of the trouble was a mystery. Some thought it was a matter of mental retardation, others said that it was some unknown deep-seated nerve trouble.

This was the state of affairs in February 1965 when Mr. Patel decided to go to Puttaparti and see Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. His wife, who was a very orthodox Parsi, was not in favour of the idea, thinking it a waste of time and money.

Shivaratri festival was on when Mr. Patel arrived at the ashram and huge crowds were there. Although people urged him to seek an interview, he was diffident about doing so – especially as he felt that Baba knew all about his trouble and why he had come, without being told.

Several times he wrote a note, intending to hand it to Baba as the latter passed through the crowd near him, but each time, when he saw the little figure with the luminous face, full of the light of understanding, he decided that it was not necessary and tore the letter up.

“When Baba wants me, He will call me,” Patel said to his friends.

But the days passed and he was not called. Streams of people were going in to see the great saint, but not Patel. Then one morning, some days after the Lingodbhavam, it was announced that there would be no more personal interviews.

However, Sathya Sai Baba came onto the balcony and gave His blessings to all visiting devotees assembled there before they went home. Mr. Patel felt the great compassion pour onto the crowd and into his own heart. Yet, in the train on the homeward journey his faith and spirits sank to a low level. He thought of the days he had spent there and the chances of speaking to Baba he had missed.

He thought of his poor little daughter still unable to stand or utter a word. He imagined his wife’s reproaches about the time and money he had wasted. He arrived at the door of his home very depressed indeed.

When he opened the door, the first sight that met his gaze was little Ketu, who could not even stand when he left, walking down the hallway to meet him, calling out “Daddy, Daddy!”

He picked her up and embraced her; then he embraced his wife, while both of them wept with joy over the miracle that had somehow taken place. On checking the facts with his wife Mr. Patel found that Ketu had first begun to walk and speak on the day before he arrived home – just after Sai Baba had given his blessings from the balcony to the assembled devotees.

Some time afterwards Mr. Patel took his wife and daughter to see Baba when the latter was on a visit to Bombay (now Mumbai). In the midst of the many thousands that crowd around him in that metropolis, Sai Baba saw them, and in the words of Mr. Patel, “greeted the little girl as if she was an old friend returned after a long absence”.

He took her on His lap; materialised some Vibhuti, and put it in her mouth. Soon after that, her speech improved greatly and she began using longer words.

Reference: “Sai Baba: Man of Miracles” by Mr. Howard Murphet. Page: 121-122 (Paperback edition). Published by Macmillan India Ltd, 1972.

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.

How Sathya Sai Baba Cleared The Cloudy Skies Over Bangalore With One Wave Of His Hand

How Sathya Sai Baba Cleared The Cloudy Skies Over Bangalore With One Wave Of His Hand

Sri Indulal Shah, formerly the Chairman of the International Sathya Sai Organization, recounts his first Darshan of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in his book “Sixteen Spiritual Summers”:

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

In the summer of 1965, which, to me, was the first of my sixteen spiritual summers, I was in Bangalore once to visit a friend. During an informal conversation one morning, my host asked me whether I would like to see Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who was to address a meeting at Malleswaram, in the heart of Bangalore city, the same evening.

I had heard about Sri Sathya Sai Baba and also read about Him in some Bombay newspapers, but had never seen Him before. I had, till then, no particular urge to read either His biography or discourses. My immediate response to the question from my host, therefore, was somewhat casual and uncertain.

However, on second thoughts, I felt that I should attend the meeting and so, later in the day, accompanied by my wife, Sarla, I went to Malleswaram where a mammoth gathering was listening to Baba with rapt attention. We sat in a remote corner of the big maidan (ground). I was swayed by a nameless feeling, a strange inquisitiveness or curiosity, as though I was adventuring into the unknown.

Then suddenly, the sky became rather dark with thick clouds fast gathering overhead. The large crowd became visibly restless, as people feared an impending rain. We ourselves were in a quandary and my host hastened to take us back to his car.

Just then, we saw Sri Sathya Sai Baba raising His hand and saying something aloud to the crowd in the local South Indian language which, however, I could not grasp.

My friend said that He was asking the crowd to sit down and that He was assuring them that it would not rain. As He said this, we saw that the rain clouds started disappearing and the gathering darkness was giving way to bright sunshine. I remained spell-bound!

I could not believe that anyone could disperse moisture-laden heavy clouds by a mere wave of the hand. And yet, our eyes were a witness to this strange phenomenon, the likes of which I had read about only in Puranic (Hindu legends) stories.

Reference: “Sixteen Spiritual Summers” by Sri Indulal Shah. Page: 1-2. Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam in 1980.