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Posted on: Nov 17, 2016
The Story of Sai - 2
The antiquity of The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, and The Bhagavatha is unquestionable and indecipherable. Yet in India they are as fresh and alive in people's consciousness as the stories of their own families. Rama, Krishna, Radha, etc. are almost a part of their daily life and living. What makes these legendary tales contemporary in every age? Rama's paintings and sculptures or Krishna's images and carvings, poems on Rama's glory or discussions on Krishna's message, are as passionately done now as they happened in 3 AD or 13 AD or 1300 AD. What makes them defy time and be relevant to every society over ages? Is it the incredible heroics of Rama? Or the delightful and miraculous sport of Krishna? Or the awesome plot of these captivating poetic narrations? While all this is true, what makes these epics eternal is something more fundamental.
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“The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are like the heart and the head of India, and are as vital to India as the heart and the head are to a human body,” Bhagawan says and goes on to state what makes these epics so vital: “Sathya and dharma are not related to merely one person, one period of time, or one country; they are related to all people, all periods of time, and all countries...” It is because these tales are nothing but beautiful elaborations of Truth and Righteousness, that they have stood the test of time and circumstance. But this essence can be grasped only if these epics are read not as scintillating stories but as reinvigorating treatises on how to lead a life anchored to Truth and Righteousness.
As much as this is true for these ancient epics, it is the same with the current Sai Bhagavatha too. Every scene and character, sequence and incident, twist and turn in the Sai Saga is for the purpose of divinising man through the practice of Truth, Righteousness, Peace and Love. But to assimilate this deeply and internalise it intensely so that it can be translated into real action, the Story of Sai needs to be not just read but meditated upon assiduously. This series, started in November 2016, commemorating Bhagawan's 91st Birthday is an attempt in this direction. We hope this will help us to reflect more profoundly on the Sai Bhagavatha and implement the lessons learnt more powerfully in our day-to-day existence.
Easwaramma told no one about her alien experience of a blue light from the sky merging into her as she was drawing water from the well. She confided this only with her mother-in-law. Both agreed to keep this as a secret because no one would believe such an occurrence. Besides, they may spread unnecessary tales.
Soon, Easwaramma became pregnant. As she neared the time for her delivery, another mysterious happening started. In the early hours of the morning, the different musical instruments present in the house (tambura, drums, etc.) were magically self-creating beautiful and synchronous sounds! Pedda Venkama Raju was flabbergasted. He and his cousins have played on these instruments any number of times for village dramas. But how on earth are they playing on their own? Who are these invisible beings strumming his tamburas and beating his drums in his house? He was terrified. This was his first unusual experience.
He was desperate for an explanation, and an immediate solution. He discussed with many wise men around. But their unsure theories only added to his misery. Finally he met a venerated sastri (scholar) in the adjacent village of Bukkapatnam. After hearing him out completely, the learned one became jubilant and exclaimed, “Why are you so disturbed? You should actually celebrate! These are auspicious signs! It signifies the presence of shakti, a benevolent power that will confer joy and harmony on your family, and on everyone around.”
This is so interesting when I think about it – Light! Sound! And the Avatar arrives! First, magnificent blue light, then mysterious motley of beautiful music. It was as if after seeing the descent of the light, the heavens were now singing and earth was rejoicing, and at the same time announcing to the world the advent of the Source of All Happiness.
Isn't music the best way to welcome the Lord? In fact creation began with the sonorous sound of Om. Music is indeed the medium to herald the Divine. Even on Baba's birthday celebrations - the day when we hail His coming every year - Swami would be welcomed amidst us through a variety of instruments. The Birthday procession would have sounds from traditional Indian pipes and drums to western band music. It would actually be so much of music of so many kinds at the same time that you cannot easily discern one sound from the other. But overall the vibrations it would create would be heavenly. It would overwhelm and overpower our minds to silence, and open our souls in preparation of the darshan of the Almighty.
Perhaps this is also was what happening in the Pedda Venkama house in the third week of November 1926. He being an artiste himself who used to play these instruments in various dramas, it confounded him even more. He had never heard such sounds before; it was other-worldly. As if a Master Musician was in action. He was stunned to silence, and then sought an explanation for his experience. The words of the respected scholar must have in some way opened his soul and prepared him for the exciting times ahead.
November 23, 1926 was a karthika somavara – an auspicious Monday in the holy lunar month of Karthika. Mondays in Hindu homes are earmarked for the worship of Lord Shiva, but the one in the month of Karthika is of special significance. This period is considered highly propitious for spiritual advancement. Besides, the name of the year according to the Telugu calendar was Akshaya – Never Declining, the Ever Full! Right from early hours in the morning the entire village was consumed in chanting and worshipping the Master of Time.
Easwaramma of course was busy too with her devotional offering to the Lord. She was immersed in the performance of a Sathyanarayana puja. Even as she was so engaged, at some point her labour pains started. But she was undeterred. She continued her ritual.
Her mother-in-law too was no different. She had gone to the priest's house at four in the morning for a religious duty. When Easwaramma's delivery was imminent in a few moments, someone went over to Lakshmamma and informed her about the emergency. But she too was unshaken.
She was determined to complete the worship and only then return home. She somehow was undoubtedly convinced that nothing would happen until she completed the ceremony and gave the prasadam to her daughter-in-law to partake. Such was her indomitable faith. She was absolutely certain Easwaramma would deliver only after she placed the sanctified flower and water in her mouth. No wonder, that is exactly how it happened. Easwaramma partook the prasadam, and the Divine Himself manifested as a prasadam for all mankind.
With little faith, one can go to heaven. But with great faith Heaven itself comes to us! Faith is to see the invisible, believe in the incredible and experience the impossible. Everything impossible becomes ‘Himpossible’, when we pray and persist with faith.
In 1978, Mr. Victor Kanu, originally from Sierra Leone, Africa, was the President of the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain. (This organisation was about communicating with the dead and transferring messages from them to the living to find solutions to people's problems and help them heal.) It was the month of December and he was invited to a Christmas Eve service. That evening, the woman priest there, Ms. Rosa La Robles gave an account of the birth of Jesus, His wonderful works, and so on. And during her talk, she said: “Do you know there is a young man living in India today who is doing exactly what Jesus did 2,000 years ago. His name is Sai Baba.” This is the first time Victor heard His name. He was simply excited.
“My heart jumped. A man on earth doing the sort of things that Jesus did? I decided I needed to find out more about this man. But this was during the Christmas season; it was difficult to get more information because all the bookshops were closed. Finally, I came across Sai Baba - Man of Miracles by Howard Murphet. When I turned its pages, I could not believe what I was reading. I would read this book during the weekends too; actually all of 1978, every Sunday, I read this book, again and again.
“And then, I got more books on Baba and learnt that if you prayed to Him, He would hear you and respond. So one night in February 1980, I prayed to Him directly; this was at about 11 pm. With unquestionable sincerity I said: 'O Sai Baba! I don’t know You but from what I have read and been told, I have no doubt whatsoever that You are indeed God Incarnate! My wife and I have complete faith in You and would like to be Your devotees please. If You accept us, please give me a sign.' These were the exact words; I will never forget them.
“I prayed and went to bed. At 2:30 am, I woke up with a start! I was perspiring profusely. I was shivering. Something astounding had happened. In my dream I had seen Sai Baba come into my healing room! He in fact sat on my healing table. When I turned around to see Him clearly, I was just dazed. I did not know how to react. I instantly cried out: 'O God! Help me. O Jesus! Help me. Sai Baba! Help me!' It was too unexpected and too incredulous. I just opened my eyes instantly.
“In other words, from 11:00 pm to 2:30 am, in those few hours, Sai Baba, whom I had asked to accept us as His devotees, responded immediately. This was my first call and He came straightaway.”
Victor had had many mysterious experiences prior to this but this was the first time He had reached out to Him with formidable faith. When faith in us fortifies, Divinity certainly arrives!
− Bishu Prusty
Radio Sai Team
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