Volume 18 - Issue 02
February 2020
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Posted on: Feb 21, 2020

 

When Lord Sai Shiva Reminisces About a Devotee

As we approach the Maha Shivaratri, here is a sublime account of a devotee of Lord Shiva whose earnest quest had led her to the Lord’s feet. And what makes this even more beautiful is that this is a recollection of Bhagawan Himself. This article is an English translation of an article that was published in the Tamil Sanathana Sarathi, Feb 2020 issue. As we read through this account, our hearts were filled with deep gratitude to our beloved Bhagawan, and we hope you find it helpful in connecting with our Lord even as we observe this important festival of Maha Shivaratri.

In the afternoon of April 14, 1976, Bhagawan was upstairs in Sundaram, (Swami’s abode in Chennai), in His room. He called, Mr Rayaningar (former State President of the Sathya Sai Organisation in Tamil Nadu), Judge Mr Damodara Rao (the State President at that time), Mr Achuthanantham, Mr Manikkavasagam (Trustee) and Mr TG Krishnamurthy, who came and were seated at His lotus feet. Bhagawan gave all of them padanamaskar and then silence reigned for some time.

Bhagawan next showed a rose-coloured japamala (rosary) which He held in His hand, and asked, “Emi idi? (What is this?)” Someone said “Rudraksha mala” but He said no. Someone else said it was a Tulasi manimala but He said no again. If observed very closely, it was a set of crystal (spatika) beads strung on a rose-coloured string. Till then Mr Krishnamurthy had been silent as he was the youngest in the group. Hesitatingly he said, “It is a rosary that Christians use.” Bhagawan said that was perfectly right.

Why had Bhagawan created such a japamala? Whom would He give it to? Everyone had such questions in their minds, but they all remained silent. Then Mr Krishnamurthy submitted, “Bhagawan, why did You create this?” Bhagawan replied, “It came back to Me from the place where it was earlier.” He then began narrating the interesting story behind it.

In Lyon, France, there lived a lady named Michelle. Out of great interest, she studied Indian philosophy in the University of Paris as a special subject and earned herself a degree. As a result, she developed a fascination to learn about the Adwaita philosophy.

Since Michelle's parents forced her, she got married. However, her husband and she had totally different beliefs with regards to God and therefore she got divorced. She refused to accept alimony. She sold all her assets and came away to Pondicherry, which was a French colony then. There she became a student of Adwaita.

 

Then she went to Nagapattinam where in a temple, she met a greatly devoted priest who was giving lectures on the work, Shivapuranam. Though what she understood was little, she fell totally in love with just that little. She realised that learning Tamil would help her understand better and so she learnt the language.

Michelle donated as much as she could to the temple. Her life underwent many changes. She became a vegetarian and started wearing sarees. She also learnt the traditional ways of cooking and prepared food in this traditional manner, which she offered as naivedyam to Lord Shiva. She would then distribute it as prasadam to poor people.

The priest once told Michelle, “At the right time, you will meet Lord Shiva who has come to earth in a human form.” He passed away in 1935. She bore all the expenses for his final rites. This priest had also told her that Lord Shiva's divine abode is Kashi and had instructed her to go there after two years. But she was so eager to meet Lord Shiva in human form that she rushed there very soon.

She met many sadhus there but her wish of seeing Lord Shiva in human form was not fulfilled. One sadhu told her, “You return to Pondicherry. There you will get the call from the Avatar.” She went back to Pondicherry and fervently began the recitation of Lord Shiva's name. She had no contact with the outside world, other than those who were on the spiritual path. Those who observed her could not fathom her determination and devotion and so called her mad. When Bhagawan came to this part of the story, He Himself said “Shiva pichchi (mad about Shiva)!”

In 1969, a person came to Michelle and said that Lord Shiva had incarnated in human form in Andhra Pradesh, in the village of Puttaparthi. She immediately came to Puttaparthi. Being a European, she was hoping for some basic facilities but did not find them. Still she stayed in Puttaparthi for three years waiting for Lord Shiva's darshan.

As the years went by, bit by bit she began losing hope. She was tormented by questions like, “Is there really a human incarnation of Lord Shiva? Will I be blessed with His darshan?” She was terrified that her search for God would be in vain. She sank into depression and at one point she felt she had reached the nadir of depression. Her situation was indeed like the darkest hour before dawn.

The Lord alone can know the pain experienced by the jiva, isn’t?

 

Till then Bhagawan had not called her for an interview but one day He did. In the interview room, pointing to Himself He said, “Look here. This is Lord Shiva.” When she looked up, she saw not Bhagawan Baba but Lord Shiva Himself!

Previously, she had heard lectures, chanted the Lord's name, and had imagined Lord Shiva's form to be in a particular way. And now she had the exact same vision of Him! She shed tears of bliss and went into raptures of ecstasy.

Bhagawan had then created the crystal rosary and given it to her. He said, “Continue doing japa of the Shiva Panchakshari Mantra that the priest taught you.” He asked her to go back to Pondicherry. He also assured her that He would give her a permanent place in His heart at the end of her life.

Michelle went back to Pondicherry and continued her sadhana as per Bhagawan's instructions. On April 12, 1976 she reached her beloved Lord Shiva's feet. As per her wish, her body was cremated.

Bhagawan narrated this entire story on that day, April 14, 1976, which was the third day after Michelle reached His feet! He declared, “Just as I promised her, she has reached My Feet.” The rosary He gave her also returned to Him. All five devotees who listened to this story felt as if they were in another world!

Michelle paid heed to the voice of God and came to India in 1928. At that time, our beloved Bhagawan was merely two years old! After all, He is an Avatar beyond the constructs of time and space, isn't He? How then could age be a barrier for Him to draw a devotee to Himself?

Bhagawan would compare those who come to Him from far-off lands, with such reverence and deep devotion, to honeybees (that are drawn to flowers from afar). Michelle was one such honeybee that led a life of undivided focus and resolve!

Thank you and loving Sai Ram,
Team Radio Sai

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