Volume 8 - Issue 10
October 2010
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LOVING LEGEND -- LIVING LEGACIES

October 20, 1940. It was on this day, seventy years ago, that Bhagavan Baba unveiled the mystery surrounding His birth, life and mission.  He declared to the people around, and through them to the entire mankind, that He indeed is the Supreme Consciousness embodied in a diminutive and delightful form. “I am no longer your Sathya, I am Sai…I have My work; My devotees are calling Me…” He announced candidly on that day.

Ever since, this eternal reservoir of energy and empathy, hope and happiness, solace and succor, light and love, has nursed and nurtured, and ensured that the tiny seed of goodness latent within every individual grows into a gigantic tree of love and serenity.  And like a perfect teacher, He has demonstrated this more by living that principle in every moment of His own life. The result is a luminescent legacy that will continue to illumine the dark alleys of humanity’s collective consciousness, elevating it to a state of absolute sublimity for generations to come.

“Loving Legend – Living Legacies” seeks to capture a few salient highlights of this glorious saga of Pure Love. This 30-episode radio documentary starts on October 20, 2010 on Radio Sai to continue daily till November 19, 2010.

Below is the textual adaptation of this audio series embellished with pictures, audio and video clips!

Let us immerse ourselves in the story of His glory and more important strive to make our little lives shine with the sacred glow of purity, nobility and genuine compassion.

 

Episode 3: Miracle at Hampi

 
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During His stay at Kamalapuram, poetry flowed from Sathya’s pen to such an extent that a local shopkeeper enquired if the boy would consider writing out an advertisement for his store. Eventually Sathya agreed. The result was a huge success. In payment, the retailer wished to offer the lad some new clothing which the child poet refused to accept. Noticing the shop owner’s reluctance to take the clothes back, Sathya declared He would distribute them among the beggars — a vivid demonstration of His containment on desires and not seeking the fruits of one’s action.

Young Sathya Imparts Important Social Lessons

Subsequently, more shopkeepers came forth requesting the sweet poetry of Bhagavan. In time, Seshama Raju got tired of these activities, and since school was out of session, he sent his younger brother back to Puttaparthi.

 


Sathya’s pen, however, continued to churn out lilting out poems and songs - this time to provide social commentaries. With a group of boys, His verse gently mocked the latest fashions, from face powder to wrist watches.


Here is what Baba Himself said on one occasion:

“Then, the wrist watches made their entry for the first time. The Karanam (Headman) of the village used to tie one wrist watch on his left hand and wear costly dhotis and go about displaying vanity. If anyone wore such a watch in those days, he was considered a great man. Deriding such vain practices, I wrote the following song:

People wear some glittering white badge on the left hand

With leather belt tied to it.

What fashion is this, Oh Dear!;

What fashion is this?

Long moustache is trimmed and shaved;

Few hairs are kept under the nose, instead;

What fashion is this, Oh Dear!

What fashion is this?”


Baba has said that He engaged in such activity to reform the elders in the village. He would observe their weaknesses, compose appropriate songs deriding their behaviour and make the young boys sing those satirical compositions in front of their houses. Bhagavan has explained it was an attempt to bring about transformation among those who had strayed.

There were more poems undertaken for various reasons and the demand for them continued to grow by leaps and bounds. Meanwhile, Seshama Raju returned for vacation. A poet himself, the elder brother became jealous of Sathya’s popularity and whisked Him away to Uravakonda where Seshama Raju had been hired as the school’s Telugu teacher.

Sathya Sows the Seeds of Educare

Sathya became the leader of the Uravakonda School Prayer Group.

Baba’s biographer, N. Kasturi, writes: “He ascended the dais every day, when the entire school gathered for prayer before commencing work and it was His voice that sanctified the air and inspired both teachers and the taught to dedicate themselves to their allotted tasks. He excelled in athletics, from track to sack race, and was best among scouts; He was the life and soul of school theatrics.”

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When the playwright, William Shakespeare, wrote “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” he wittingly or unwittingly gave a description of the Divine drama.

In Uravakonda, the Divine Dramatist staged a morality play with the Telugu title “Cheppinattu Chesthara (Do Deeds Follow Words)?” The play points out the hypocrisy in adults and revolves around a housewife, a father, and a schoolteacher who each succumb in their own way to inappropriate behaviour instead of doing the right thing. When a boy, played by 12-year old Sathya, confronts them, they make angry excuses. Nonplussed, He throws away His schoolbooks and refuses to go to school. Addressing the three adults, he delivers a zinger: “If all that you teach, as mother and father and Guru, is only to be spoken and discarded when it comes to action, I do not understand why I should learn anything at all.”

This opened the eyes of the elders, who decided to mend their ways in regard to speaking the Truth and living up to it. “Cheppinattu Chesthara?” clearly showed Baba’s early concern that education includes moral instruction. The seeds of Educare had been planted. And, the play foreshadowed an important event still to come.

The Wonder Boy Earns the Respect of the Muslim Community

When things went missing in Uravakonda, the people would turn to Sathya for help. The child also gained the respect of the Muslim community when the owner of a horse drawn cart lost his horse. Frantic searches had yielded nothing and the man stood the chance of losing his sole livelihood. Friends directed the hapless gentleman to a certain wonder-working student.

Sathyanarayana Raju described a grove a mile and a half from town, and sure enough, the stallion was quietly grazing by itself. Following this incident, the Muslim owners of other horse-drawn carts insisted on giving Sathya a lift to school, in the hope of retaining the luck the boy instilled. In this way, unity in diversity was demonstrated.

Sathya’s Behaviour Puzzles Everyone


The date March 8, 1940 marks a cosmic turning-point. Sathya was allegedly stung by a scorpion. His health became impaired and his behaviour appeared to undergo a change. The village medics were consulted to little avail. Some were convinced that Sathya had fallen under the spell of evil spirits. All sorts of quack remedies were tried but to little effect. A frantic message was then sent to Sathya’s parents in Puttaparthi and both rushed to Uravakonda, consumed with anxiety.

 

Everyone was puzzled as Sathya was no longer the one they knew. He appeared remote, withdrawn and indifferent to worldly matters. If He spoke, which was rarely, it was always about spiritual topics. At times, He would burst into Vedic hymns He had never learnt. On matters philosophical and metaphysical, He dared even to correct elders, acknowledged experts and scholars.

Sathya was taken to locations such as Bellary and Dharmavaram for treatment but there was no improvement. Eventually, He was taken to an exorcist in Kadiri who was mean and cruel. Here, young Sathya was put through painful rounds of physical torture. Of this treatment, Baba, speaking in the third person, told devotee Jack Hislop, “During all the torture, He smiled and felt no pain. He, at no time, had even the slightest body identification.” Finally, the demonic witch-doctor’s treatment became too much for the family and Sathya was whisked away back to His home in Puttaparthi.

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Thus, the glory of the Lord was not to be stayed and suggested itself in curious events and confrontations, now cherished and pondered over by devotees.

I am Sai Baba,says Sathya

On May 23, 1940, Sathya rose from bed in a good mood and called the members of the household round Him. He materialized sugar candy and flowers. Neighbours soon rushed in, receiving these goodies and rice balls cooked in milk, all appearing from nowhere at the wave of the Divine hand.

When Father Venkapa Raju arrived to assess this cheerful turn in his Son, the crowd asked him to go wash his hands and face before approaching the Giver of Gifts. The Father was angered by the impertinence and annoyed by what he considered were parlour tricks and the sleight of hand. He wished to put a stop to what he was certain would end in tragedy. Arming himself with a large stick, he approached the Boy with a demand: “Are you a God, or a ghost, or a madcap? Tell me!”

Young Sathya replied: “I am Sai Baba!”

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The stick from Venkappa Raju’s hand slid to the ground. He was stunned into silence, but Sathya, or Sai Baba, continued: “I have come to ward off all your troubles. Keep your houses clean and pure.

In utter frustration, Venkapa Raju pleaded: “What are we to do with you?”

 

Worship Me!”

“When?”

Every Thursday!”

Sai Baba of Shirdi was not widely known in those parts then, but word soon got around about a certain ‘Muslim miracle worker’ by the same name.

One such Thursday, a villager challenged the bizarre claim and said: “If you are Sai Baba, show us some proof. Now!”

In absolute calm, young Sathya said: “Yes, I shall! Place in My hands those jasmine flowers.”

When the person did so, Sathya threw them on the floor with a quick gesture and said: “Look!

All those present there saw that the flowers had formed the Telugu letters “Sai Baba.”

Mind-boggling Miracle at Virupaksha Temple

We can only imagine the confusion of the Raju family. Just as Mother Easwaramma had her share of trials with her spirited child, Father Venkapa Raju was stymied in his desire to protect the boy from Himself.

As for the older brother, Seshama Raju still held fast to his plan of pushing Sathyanarayana through high school to make him eligible for “public service” and secure a dependable government job. Unmoved by Sathya’s words, he took Him to Uravakonda and enrolled Him once again in the school. The Thursday worship continued there and the many pilgrims who assembled weekly included the Headmaster and Assistant Masters of the school.

 

The Chairman of the Municipal Council of Bellary and his wife, acting on a dream that each of them had had simultaneously, searched for and found the boy “Sathyam” at the house in Uravakonda. Bowing before Him for all to see, they sought and procured a sight-seeing vacation for the Divine Boy and His older brother. Seshama Raju was happy for the diversion, thinking it would do his brother some good. Several historic sites were surveyed in Hampi. When the group was about to enter the Virupaksha Temple, Sathya made an excuse of an aching stomach, and accepted the task of watching the luggage outside the temple.

The sequence of events that unfolded is narrated by Bhagavan Himself as follows:

 

They went inside the temple. At that time, arathi (the ritual of burning camphor in front of the deity) to Lord Virupaksha was going on. Surprisingly, they could not find Lord Virupaksha’s idol there. Instead, they saw Me there! Seshama Raju was furious. He thought ‘Sathyam told me that he would not come into the Temple and stand outside. Thereafter, He must have stealthily sneaked into the sanctum-sanctorum and stood behind the idol. What a great sacrilege!’ However, the Municipal Chairman Ramaraju did not think so. He said to himself, ‘Virupaksha is Raju and Raju is Virupaksha.’ Seshama Raju came out immediately and searched for Me.

I was sitting under the same tree where he had kept the luggage. He was a doubting Thomas; he went inside the temple and sent his wife to see whether I was sitting under the tree as usual. She could find Me there. At the same time, Seshama Raju could see Me in the inner shrine in place of the idol of Lord Virupaksha. Now, he could confirm to himself that Sathya was there in the open as well as in the temple, simultaneously. He felt very happy. But he could not express his happiness in front of Me, lest it may cause embarrassment to him. He tried to explain away the incident by saying to himself, ‘It must have appeared like that due to the anxiety we are undergoing in our minds about Sathyam.’

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The Municipal Chairman who brought us to the Virupaksha Temple had himself experienced this phenomenon of Raju appearing in two places at the same time. When the group came oute held the hands of Seshama Raju and said, ‘You are greatly mistaken thinking that Sathyam is your brother. In fact, He is not your brother or an ordinary individual. There is a great ‘Divine Power’ in Him.”


Sathya was given a gold pin to wear as a parting gift from the Municipal Chairman. It was reluctantly accepted by the boy. But, upon His return to Uravakonda, this present fell from His shirt collar and vanished. With the loss of the collar pin, Baba demonstrated that maya or any illusory attachment could not bind Him any longer. He was poised to make a declaration that would – in time – resonate throughout the world.

(To be continued)

- Heart2Heart Team

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