"I am here"

On the evening of the eight of September, 1958, Baba addressed a vast gathering of the people of Nuzid and the surrounding villages in the spacious grounds of the Elamarru Palace. He began by saying that men have lost the path and are traversing the devious by-ways that take them away from the goal. Man alone, He said, has the capacity to recognize the right road and retrace his steps, constantly correcting himself. He must use this capacity of self-contemplation on the Godhead, and know that there is peace and happiness in the Higher Life. He mentioned that sorrow and unrest can all be traced to want of intellectual courage. Suddenly His words were cut short. He fell back in His chair and became stiff and motionless. He had "gone" out of His Body to convey the consoling message, "I am here," to one in dire distress! It was 7:25. There was an eerie stillness in the air. The audience was breathless. The ticking of the clock in front of Him could be heard in the deep silence. Five minutes later He "came back," and resuming the address, said, "This is My Duty! Wherever I am, whatever I may be doing when the distressed devotee calls, I have to go and give him succor." Then He continued for over an hour on the master-disciple relationship, on the body as the temple of the Lord, and the disciplines necessary to sublimate the passions of man.

Another similar incident occurred on the twenty-fourth of November, 1958. It was the Swing Festival at Puttaparthi, part of the birthday celebrations of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The swing at the eastern end of the Hall was beautifully decorated with flowers. At the earnest pleading of devotees, Baba seated Himself on it. Prayer songs were sung. There were also music and addresses on religious subjects given by several devotees. All at once Baba "heard a call" fell back on the pillows and became "unconscious" of the happenings at Puttaparthi. He had become aware of a dropsy patient at Hyderabad City, as He said later, a devotee's father who had suddenly suffered a heart attack and was being lifted into an ambulance. Baba gave him a Vision of Himself and the curative Ash, and "came back" to the Swing Hall. He was "away" only two and a half minutes. As He said at Nuzid, He had to go; His Duty, as He called it, beckoned Him. How can one describe the Infinite Mercy of the Lord! His Infinite Powers!

During these years this mercy has been evinced in many forms, but the most dramatic is the "extra corporeal journey" which He undertakes. As early as 1940, when He was almost fourteen years old, He aroused the consternation of everyone by "going out" without warning. On the first historic occasion it was mistaken to be the sting of a scorpion and the consequent "unconsciousness."

It is seldom that He discloses the place to which He has gone or mentions the people who receive His Grace, but the incidents which He or others have revealed are so numerous that one can attest these "journeys" have taken Him to such far flung places as the Assam Frontier, the Kashmir Front, the Swiss Valley, the Nallamalai Forest, the seashore of Bombay, and many other places in India and beyond. The body of Baba can sometimes be seen making gestures and movements such as dragging, pulling, lifting, bandaging, and extracting. Later He explains them as gestures of His actual saving of someone from being drowned, burned, run over, crushed, or jammed. Once He said He had been to the town of Bolarum at the same time that He was talking to a group of devotees at Muthukur on the terrace of a house. He had "gone" there because a jeep had overturned, and a devotee was pinned underneath. Baba ran to him with the message, "Why fear, when I am here?" He extricated the devotee, and said after He "returned" that He had remained by the devotee's side until "a passenger bus arrived and transported him to a hospital."

During the Razakar troubles and thieving in Hyderabad, when the life of a devotee was in imminent peril, Baba "went" to his rescue. He went through the motions only of beating some people near Him on the Nilayam terrace, which He explained later was indicative of the actual treatment He administered to thieves with hundredfold effect at Hyderabad where they had run in sudden panic!

On another occasion, a villager named Bhimaiah, who had quarreled with his brother about the sharing of produce, came to Puttaparthi, hoping to remain there on the charity of the pilgrims. Baba chastised him for being a burden on others, for with a little more patience and love, he could be happy with his brother in his own village. He assured him that His Grace would be with him wherever he was, and told him to return. Bhimaiah took this sadly to heart, as though Baba had driven him out. In despair he threw himself across a railroad track on a dark night, hoping that the wheels of an advancing train would end his misery. But Baba's Grace was and is all-pervading. He "hurried" to Bhimaiah on the railway line and pushed him aside just in time. Those with Baba at Puttaparthi could see from His gestures that He was Pushing something heavy. Baba "came to" with an exclamation about Bhimaiah who had so foolishly misinterpreted His advice! Bhimaiah felt, as he later explained, that Baba clasped his hand and dragged him down the slope of the mound on which he lay. Tearful with repentance, he returned immediately to Baba at Puttaparthi before rejoining his brother. Even now when devotees ask Bhimaiah why he put Baba to the bother of a "trans-corporeal journey" by his foolhardiness, he hangs his head in shame and pleads that they not pursue a matter so painful to him.

Baba often "leaves" the body, goes to a devotee's side during the last moments of his earthly career, and gives Darshan, the joy of seeing Him in person. One evening He "left" to give this joy to a person whose name He announced immediately after He "came back" to His Body. When He was asked, "So this event happened at Maddanur?" He contradicted and said. "No, no, the death was on the road. The person was being taken to another place. Death was caused by heart failure." Later the bereaved husband revealed in a letter that because of lack of oxygen apparatus at the local hospital, his sick wife had to be taken in a taxi to a town twenty miles away. She passed away in the taxi, with the words, "Sai, Sai" on her lips.

At Horsley Hills, while proceeding to the dining hall one night, Baba seemed on the verge of a "journey" but murmured to Himself, "There is still a little time" and walked to His table. During the dinner, He "left" to give Darshan to a dying man!

Sometime ago, while on one of these journeys of mercy, He repeated, "Water, water" a number of times, and was brought a glass of water which was held to His Lips. He did not notice it at all. When told that He had asked for it, He smiled and said, "If I ask for water to be given a dying man somewhere, you bring water here! Is it not so?" Strange are the ways of God! That is why perhaps Baba says often, "Do not waste your time and energy trying to find explanations for My deeds. Understand yourself and your own nature first. That will give the clue even to Me". 

Baba need not "transcend" His physical Body in order to appear elsewhere or apply relief. Sometimes He just pauses while sitting, then "comes to" in a few seconds. Meanwhile, the journey and the communication of Grace are accomplished! 

One day, while in the midst of a story about one of the Ministers of Manu Chakravarti, Baba "left" His Body for about ten seconds, and upon "coming back" resumed the story! Only a few of the more attentive listeners noticed anything out of the ordinary. Moments later a man entered Baba's room, and He asked him, "Did you get the telegram?" It seems he did. "What does it say? Prasad has high fever, does he not?" asked Baba. The man had not opened it yet. The envelope containing the message was passed to Baba. He tore it open. It stated that Prasad had fever and that his temperature was 104 degrees. Baba said, "Don't worry at all; I have been there just now; the boy is out of danger". Prasad, they were told, was at the house of the man who had come into Baba's room; Prasad was 250 miles away!

Baba saves, guards, directs, dictates, even while talking, singing, or moving about. Once in His room at Prasanthi Nilayam, while a group of devotees was engaged in cutting cloth into three-yard lengths for distribution to the poor, Baba suddenly asked, "Parthasarathi! You think I am here now with you, with a pair of scissors, cutting this cloth, do you not? Do you know, I have been to Madras just now, to see your Kusa? The little fellow developed diphtheria and your brother has taken him to the hospital. Don't worry, my dear fellow, I have given him my Vision and curative Ash; he will be all right soon". All were astonished at the announcement. Parthasarathi fell at Baba's Feet. He was overwhelmed by this evidence of Baba's Power and Grace. 

With His characteristic sense of humor, Baba speaks of these incidents as "My visiting card!" He is announcing that He is the Lord Himself, the same Lord who comes instantaneously to the rescue of many devotees, the same Lord who presents Himself before those who call out for Him. In His Grace He presents His "visiting card" even to fleeting visitors who come to Puttaparthi because of curiosity.


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Written by N. Kasturi M.A., B.L.