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 6: Mahimas and the Old Mandir

 
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Baba has Himself stated that His first 16 years will be marked mainly by leelas or “the playful jests of the Lord”, the next 16 by mahimas or the extraordinary happenings often described as miracles, and the subsequent years by upadesh or teaching.  None of the three, He said, would be absent in any of the phases.

 

In this series, as we recount some of the highlights from His life, we have now arrived at the mahima or miracle stage with Sai Baba as a 17 year-old.

Baba Shines as the Sun and the Moon

Mrs. Vijayakumari, in her book “Other Than You, Refuge There Is None” writes of one such amazing occurrence:

“One day, when we were all walking towards the Chitravathi, Swami suddenly disappeared. Even as we were searching for Him, we heard the sound of a clap; looking up, we saw Swami alerting us, ‘I am on top of the hill!’ It was six in the evening.

The sun had softened its beams and was sinking towards the west. The sky was filled with black clouds, as if it was wrapped in a dark blanket. Swami said, ‘Look at Me. I shall show you the Sun!’ Even as we were wondering how the sun that had already set would come back again, we saw new rays rising behind Swami’s head. The whole sky was now filled with blue clouds and the rays turned red until they looked fiery; they exuded so much heat that it made us all sweat profusely.

These rays were as hot as those from the scorching midday sun. Unable to bear the heat, we loudly appealed, ‘Swami, it is too hot!’ The heat then subsided. ‘Oh my God!’ We exclaimed, and were settling down, when Swami’s voice again came down to us from the top of the mountain, ‘I shall now show you the Moon.’ We saw behind Swami’s head, the half-unfolded honey-coloured rays of the moon.

Soon they turned white, and became even whiter. We now began to shiver in the cold; our bodies became stiff and our teeth began to chatter. ‘Swami! It is very cold!’ And as we implored, the coolness began to slowly subside.

Darshan of the Third Eye

“We now began to wonder what miracle He would perform next, when He announced: I shall show you the Third Eye. Watch attentively. Third Eye?! How does it look? We wondered. Swami’s body was not visible but His head appeared gigantic, as if stretched across the entire sky. Bewildered and stupefied, we stared at the sky. An orifice appeared on Swami’s forehead between His two eyebrows and fiery sparks issued from that opening. We were dazzled by the brilliance of those sparks. We were scared too. More than being afraid about ourselves, we were worried about what might happento Swami. The sparks continued to gush out.

Meanwhile, many had fallen down unconscious, and we did not know why these people had fainted. That made us even more scared. Feeling lost and not knowing what to do, we began to cry. Suddenly, Swami was in our midst. ‘What happened?’ He asked, patting us gently on the shoulder. ‘Why are you crying?  Why have all these people fainted?’ Not knowing what answers to give, we just hugged Him and continued to weep! As a few of those who had fainted recovered and got up, we mustered a little strength and asked Him, ‘Swami, are You alright? How come we did not see You there?’ Even as we asked all these questions, we patted His face to assure ourselves that He was really with us.

Swami laughed heartily and assured us He was indeed alright. With a wave of His hand He materialised vibhuti and applied it on our foreheads. One by one, those who had swooned began to regain consciousness. It was a strange experience. We felt as if we were floating on air. It was a peculiar state of mind. We went back to the Mandir and sat down for bhajans. But could not sing properly as we all felt dizzy. We were in that state the whole evening.

Next day, when we still continued to be in the same condition, we asked Swami about it. With a smile He said, ‘You have been praying for a glimpse of this Third Eye during many past lives. In response to your prayers, I gave you a darshan of it. However, I did not show you even a thousandth part of its brilliance. You could not have withstood that. You could not even bear what you saw! Your present state is the result of that spectacle!’ He again created vibhuti and smeared it on each of our foreheads. We gained a semblance of normalcy thereafter.”

Mother Ganga Pays Her Obeisance to Baba


In the year 1945, it was decided a Mandir needed to be constructed. Mr. Thirumala Rao of Bangalore planned it and many hands helped in its completion. Now known as The Old Mandir, it was the scene of a curious event, the likes of which has never happened before or since.

Mrs. Vijayakumari’s written account delineates the incident:

 

“One day after bhajan, we were all sitting around Him stringing flowers into garlands. In this work, no lady could match His skill and speed! Is there any art that He is not proficient in? The garlands that He made were thick and beautiful. Suddenly He got up and said, ‘Come on, come on! Mother Ganga is coming to visit us.’ He then went and stood near the huge main gate. He was in the centre with open arms and told us, ‘All of you stand back. None of you should go even one inch beyond these outstretched hands of Mine. Look there! Ganga is rushing forth!’ We saw the river approaching us with great ferocity, its waves fuming and frothing and rising high in the sky, and with a roaring noise.

The waters came quite near us, and we children felt greatly scared; we thought, “My God! The river may swallow us!” Actually it almost touched the hem of His robe. Except the roaring water, we could not see any of the trees and shrubs that were visible until then. And now Sai extended His hands forward and touched the river. The stretch of water beneath His hand immediately became quiet and serene but the waters beyond were still frighteningly turbulent. Swami glanced at us and said, ‘Go inside and bring flowers, coconut, turmeric powder, and kumkum.’ We did as instructed and then offered all those sacred items to the River Goddess. We were quite nervous as we did so.

 

Thereafter, Swami broke the coconuts, offered them to Mother Ganga, and placing His palm on the surface of the river said, ‘We are very happy that you came to visit us. Ganga, now go back please!’ Uttering the words, He affectionately patted the waves with both His hands. As if thrilled by His gentle touch, the fury of the waters subsided and the river receded completely.

We rubbed our eyes and gazed in disbelief in all four directions. Not a drop of water was to be seen anywhere! There was absolutely no trace of wetness anywhere on the ground. Swami’s robe was also dry. It was all a glorious surprise - the river going back as suddenly as it had come! We were totally baffled.

Swami continued to stand still, and we were worried that the river might return! The Director of these marvellous miracles laughed aloud and pointed in the direction of His feet. We saw there a garland of jasmine flowers wrapped around His cute little feet! He picked up the garland, smelt it, and then distributed the flowers to everyone. Each jasmine bud was almost the size of a rose, and was softer to the touch than cotton. Its sweet fragrance spread in all directions. Most reverentially, we placed the flowers on our closed eyes and then wore them in our hair.”

 

Baba as Sesha Sai

On another instance, at the seaside city of Masulipatnam or Machilipatnam, Baba walked straight into the sea. Before they knew it, devotees saw Sai Baba reclining on Vishnu’s Serpent, Sesha, atop the waves! Yet, the next moment, He was by their side.

They were struck by the fact that His clothes were not even wet. Yet another day, He threw a silver cup far into the waves. The cup came back to Him filled with — not salt water — but amritha, or nectar, sweet and fragrant beyond compare! He poured a few drops into everybody’s hand.

Baba Fulfills Subbamma’s Last Wish

That Sai Baba had command over the five elements is evident. He, however, proved that an Avatar or a divine incarnation has power over death itself.

Subbamma, who had taken utmost care of the devotees, was in failing health. She had prayed that in the last moments of life, she would be able to see Baba’s face. He was away when she took a turn for the worse.

 

Bhagavan Himself recounts the uncanny way her last days on the earth unfolded:

Once, the devotees from Madras (Chennai) pressurised Me to visit their place, urgently. Those were the days of the Second World War. Once in every hour, there used to be an air raid precautionary siren blowing and the streets would become empty in no time. I could not return to Puttaparthi early, in those circumstances. Meanwhile, the condition of Subbamma turned serious. She was taken to her parents’ house in Bukkapatnam where she breathed her last.

Her body was kept in the front verandah, covered with a cloth. All the members of her family were immersed in sorrow. Her mother and relatives were in deep grief. The relatives started talking in several ways “Sai Baba gave word that He would pour a few drops of water in her mouth before she breathed her last. Now, she has really left her body. But, where is Sai Baba? He did not even come to have a last look at her. No one knows where He has gone!”

In those days, there was no motorable road to Puttaparthi. I had to travel to Bukkapatnam by car from Madras and then reach this place  in a bullock cart. By the time I reached Bukkapatnam, I noticed several people gathered on the road. They appeared to be in a sorrowful mood. I asked one gentleman, “What happened?” He replied, “Swami! Last night, Karanam Subbamma died. Until her last breath, she was chanting ‘Sairam! Sairam!’ They are now making arrangements for taking her body to the burial ground.”
In those days, firewood and other such articles to cremate a dead body were not available in the village as ‘ready-made’ items.

Hence, some wood was collected from here and there and all arrangements were made to take her body to the burial ground. I asked another person, “Where is Subbamma now?” He replied, “Swami! Her dead body is kept in the veranda of her mother’s house.” I had a hearty laugh. I did not forget My promise to Subbamma, nor did she. Soon I reached there. Everything was ready to take her body to the burial ground. The people gathered in the veranda were weeping profusely. They saw me and said, “Swami! Subbamma was remembering you and chanting only your name until her last breath.” I enquired, “Where has she gone?” as if I did not know anything. They informed, “Swami! The doctors came here and examined her. They confirmed there was no life in her.”

 

As they were Brahmins, they did not allow anybody to come near Subbamma’s dead body. Her mother and sisters wept loudly the moment they saw Me and started showering ironical praise on Me, saying, “Baba! Subbamma had great hopes till her last moment that you would come and pour a few drops of water in her mouth. She anxiously waited for your darshan. Finally, she breathed her last, greatly disappointed. Having served you for so long, could you not have fulfilled her desire at least? Is this the reward for her loyal service?” I told them tersely, “She is not dead. Please remain quiet.” None could believe my words.

They queried, “How do you presume she is not dead? The ants are crawling all over her body. There is no life in her body. Is it not true?” But, I silenced them saying, “I gave word to her that I would pour a few drops of water in her mouth at the time of her departure. I will never go back on my word.”

Subbamma’s mother was a centenarian. I told her to bring some water dipping a few leaves of tulsi (basil plant) in it. I went near the body of Subbamma and removed the cloth covering her. And then I called her, “Subbamma! Subbamma!” She opened her eyes slowly and held My hands tightly. She shed tears of joy and gratitude. Everyone witnessing the scene was wonder-struck.
According to eyewitnesses, Baba exchanged some personal words with the risen Subbamma. Finally, pouring the water prepared with basil leaves in her mouth, Baba bade her to close her eyes after which she breathed her last.

(To be continued)

- Heart2Heart Team

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