Delta of Delight

Lucky are the seekers of love and light, who get the privilege of seeing Baba, the perfect embodiment of being, awareness, bliss, Atma; witnessing His divinity, hearing His teachings of universal love and on pursuit of absolute truth. Luckier still amongst them are those who implement His advice and ever remain in the consciousness of the divinity pervading the entire manifestation. They consider His advent as a chance for their own adventure into heaven. They celebrate His Birthday as their own. Charles Penn exclaimed, "Our Lord's Birthday! 1965 was the year of my birth, for I came to know Baba that year. Now I am only three years of age," he wrote in 1968.

The 43rd Birthday (1969) was celebrated all over by groups of devotees in rejoicing and in thankfulness, with a variety of programmes dear to Baba. In Kakinada they had Bhajans for 42 days prior to the auspicious day. In other places, the celebrations included Bhajans in hospitals, jails, homes for disabled and defectives, mass feeding and giving of clothes, plays and entertainment items for children, discourses, musical recitals, special worship, processions, Gîtâ recitation contests and a number of other spiritual items. Vedic schools, Sanskrit classes, Telugu lessons, libraries, service homes, eye treatment camps, Seva Dals, and study circles were inaugurated that day. Baba blessed them in their own places, by various signs of His Presence and sometimes, by appearing in His Own Form for all to see!

'Concierto' - MP3 - 'Concierto'
Cosmic Notes'

At Prasanthi Nilayam, the Conference of the Office Bearers of the Sathya Sai Organization of Andhra Pradesh met on 21st and 22nd November, and so, the atmosphere was full of consecrated faith. 

"Every one," He told the delegates, "has three sources of power: as an individual, as a shrine where God is installed, and as the Atma which is God Himself. Hanuman once told his Master, Rama, 'When I feel I am this body you are my Lord; when I feel I am a Jiva among many, impelled by the Grace of God, I am the reflection and You are the Original; when I know I am the Atma, I am You and You are I.' God walks along the road of truth; Man, His shadow, if he holds on to His Feet, can safely traverse fire and water, dirt, hollow and hill, and reach Truth." 

He told them that the Organization was intended as an arena where they learn the value of cleansing the mind.

"Whether it is meditation that you are encouraging, Bhajan you are organizing, a discourse you are announcing or clothes you are offering, or worship that you are conducting, the object to the achieved is cleansing the mind of the tarnish of egoism, greed, hatred, malice, lust and envy. In place of all these, fill the mind with Love. That is the sign of the Sai Devotee."

During the discourse that Baba gave, prior to hoisting the flag on His birthday, Baba spoke about devotees who develop and demonstrate fanaticism when speaking about Him or adoring Him. 

"I have no wish to draw people towards Me, away from the worship of My other Names and Forms. Perhaps you guess from what you call the 'Miracles,' that I am attracting and trying to attach you to Me and Me alone. They are not designed to demonstrate or publicize; they are spontaneous and confirmatory proofs of the Divine, which can change the sky to earth and earth to sky. I am yours whether you like Me or not; you are Mine, even if you hate Me and keep away from Me. Therefore, what need is there for impressing and attracting, exhibiting My Love or compassion to win your adoration? I am in You, You are in Me. There is no distance or distinction." He declared, "you have come to your own home. This is your home, not Mine! My home is your heart!"

The Birthday Celebrations, which began virtually with the Conference on the 21st, continued until the 27th. 

Dr. Vinayak Krishna Gokak said, "If we want to see truth with a capital T, where can we see it and realize it, except in Him? If we want to experience and realize beauty with a capital B, where else can we have it except in Him and through Him? He is goodness incarnate, showering succor on humanity and healing it in distress. He is Love incarnate, Love that fosters and protects even those who have not visualized His Divinity and Power! He has come to transform the rampant disorder of the Present into a New World Order. For our guidance and benefaction, He has put on the robes of mortality. He bears on His Atlantean shoulders the burden of Humanity."

A dramatic instance of the succor and healing that Baba showers was noticed by over 20.000 people on the 23rd, at the huge Auditorium, during the morning session.

Baba was taken in procession from the Nilayam to the Auditorium by devotees; there were students of the Vedic School reciting the invocatory hymns; there were Bhajan parties; there was the beautifully caparisoned elephant, Sai Gita, intelligent, sensitive and even, one can venture to say, 'devoted'. Above all, there was the Mother of Baba, revered Easwaramma, by His side, for this was a Day to commemorate the Day of His Incarnation.

At the Auditorium, on the dais, Baba seated Himself on the silver chair, amidst the acclamation of the immense gathering. Then, Baba graciously allowed some devotees to place a few drops of consecrated oil on His Head: they touched His Feet and placed flowers on them. The mother who has won the gratitude of the world for ages, placed the oil, first. Then, a few others followed: Begum Tahira Sayeed, a Persian and Urdu poetess; M.S. Dixit, a revered old devotee who had served Baba even in His previous body, while He was at Shirdi; the Rajmata of Jamnagar; the Rajmata of Sirohi, Dr. Gokak and Indra Devi.

While Indra Devi was placing a few drops of oil on His Hair with a flower dipped in the cup I was holding, Baba saw a certain Mrs. Anderson who had come from the United States. She was a chronic invalid, unable to walk or use her lower limbs, being helped around by her husband in a wheeled chair. As soon as she came to Prasanthi Nilayam, she was admitted to the Hospital so that she could be nursed there by professional hands. Baba presented her, and all other ladies from beyond the seas, saris on the 22nd, so that they could wear them on His Birthday; He deputed some ladies to help this one to wrap it around her. On the 23rd, she was brought down from the Hospital hill and allowed to watch the function from the far end of the dais, where she sat on her inevitable wheel chair, which had become more or less a part of her anatomy!

Baba turned to me and said, "That lady in the wheelchair will be happy if you take the cup to her, and get a flower dipped by her in the oil, which can later be placed on My Head." I was thrilled by His compassion but, there was more to follow.

Before I could turn to the left and proceed towards her (the distance from the silver chair of Baba to her wheelchair was over 40 feet), Baba stopped me and said, "Wait! I shall Myself go to her!" People were astonished when they saw Baba descend from the chair and proceed towards the invalid lady, with me holding the oil cup. Baba bent His Head before her, so that she could place a few drops of oil on His halo of glorious hair! The gathering was overwhelmed with grateful joy, when they saw this spontaneous flood of Divine Mercy, and the happy glow of ecstasy on the pale face of a foreign invalid! She applied the flower three times. The third time Baba held her hand, saying, "Stand Up" ... and she stood!

The gathering was amazed with delight! "Come with me!" Baba said. And she walked the forty feet, towards the silver chair, keeping pace with Baba! I was so overcome with joy that I ran towards the mike and announced to the entranced gathering that Mrs. Anderson, who had not walked for years, was cured of her illness, and that she has risen from her wheeled chair at the bidding of Baba and got her limbs back in perfect condition. Every one was thrilled by this miracle of healing. "Normal feet" was the Birthday Gift she received from Baba.

Speaking on His Birthday, Baba said that children are born for five ordinary unnoticed reasons. There are Nyasaputhras, born in order to realize the value of some deposit that they had made with you in the previous life which you had misappropriated and misused. There are Runaputhras, those born in order to recover undischarged loans given by them to the man who has now come as the father. There are Suputhras, those born as a consequence of the blessings of God, and there are Upekhaputhras; these are the Avatars, with no sense of attachment towards the parents, kith or kin, with no sense of obligation of them, with love and compassion for all. This was a revelation of Baba's attitude towards the parents, which has puzzled many, as different from the attitude of even Rama and Krishna.

On December 4th, Baba left Prasanthi Nilayam for Bangalore where He spent about a month, with devotees from America and other places, helping them in their spiritual exercises. He was in contact personally with the arrangements to open a Boys' College in the premises of Brindavan, where He stayed.

On Christmas Day, He blessed the Christian devotees with gifts and on Vaikunta Ekadasi which came five days later; He created Amrita (Ambrosia) which He Himself distributed to about 4.000 people who had gathered for Bhajan. On New Year Day, he gave a discourse on "The Spiritual Resolutions" one must make for the New Year, and the practices and attitudes one has to ring out with the old! January 13 saw Him back at Prasanthi Nilayam, for Makara Sankranthi, the day of the tropic of Capricorn, when the divine half of the year begins, with the northward movement of the sun in the northern hemisphere. Baba said 

"The Sun journeys north from today. But, be concerned more with your own journey from birth to death and then again to birth from death, until you set yourselves free working out your sentence, through good behaviour."

On the 16th January, '69, Baba was at Rajahmundry, on the Godavari River, a river dear to Him since Shirdi days, on the first lap of a whirlwind tour of the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh. The Godavari flows near Shirdi; and it has saturated itself with the glory of the Previous Body of Baba and learnt to love the Name. Every one who went to be blessed by Baba while in His previous abode at Dwarakamayi in Shirdi used to take a bath in the Godavari. Now, too, by some trick of divine dispensation, the east and west Godavari districts are studded thick with Bhajan Mandalis and Seva Samithis heralding the new Sai era of devotion and dedication. Some one from the east Godavari district wrote to Baba that, "there is no house here without Your picture in the altar; there is no house that does not resound to the chanting of songs on Your glory!" and Baba replied to him: 

"Reserve your joy for something grander! My Name and Form will soon be found getting established everywhere. They will occupy every inch of the world."

On the 17th and the 18th, mammoth gatherings assembled at Rajahmundry to hear the discourses of Baba, Sri V.K. Rao, I.C.S. and Swami Karunyananda of the Gouthami Jeevakarunya Sangham, spoke on the great good fortune of the present generation in being contemporaries of Baba. Baba spoke on the conquest of the Mind as necessary for liberation from the world of change. 

"Know the One; attention must be concentrated on the One. Alternations of acceptance and rejection, affirmation and negation, are but appearances on the One. Let nothing move you; be still, be detached, be but a witness. The world is but a play enacted and directed by Him. Let your love and longing, desire and search be directed towards God." 

He asked them to give up inflammatory assertions, malicious talk and angry negations. 

"With the twenty six letters of the English alphabet, all English books in existence are written, composed and printed. The letters themselves are without attributes, they are neither good nor evil, but out of their combinations in various ways, are made either dull, insipid, trashy books or books with cosmic revelations of the highest order. So too the operations of the same mind can make or mar the career of man here or hereafter."

On the 18th, Baba visited the Andhra Paper Mills and gave a discourse to the staff and labour, in which He emphasized the sacred partnership and the mutual love and respect that must govern all dealings between them. That evening, Baba inaugurated a school named after Him and run as per His message and teachings. Baba felt great pity, such as God feels at rare intervals, when He sat facing the children. He said, 

"The spacious mansion called Sanathana Dharma erected with great toil and travail by the sages of the past of enable succeeding generations to live in peace and prosperity is, alas, being condemned today as uninhabitable and fit only to be given up as dilapidated! The peace which those sages had envisaged is noticeable in the faces of these children, having no envy, no greed, and no hatred in their hearts. When they grow up, the joy is turned into grief and the peace peters out into anxiety and fear. The elders have lost the art of regaining, retaining or transmitting peace and joy."

"Children must grow up in the atmosphere or reverence, devotion, mutual service and cooperation. Now they learn only copybook maxims, devoid of any sincere urge to put them into practice. Parents drink, gamble, scandalize others and utter blatant lies in full hearing of these tender flowers! Do not sow hatred or contempt of any caste or class, faith or cult in the virgin minds of these fresh blossoms. Parents first, teachers next, playmates and companions later and the leaders who command the allegiance of community or region last, have to be on the alert, constantly examining themselves whether they are fit examples for the children of the land. This school bears My name; so, it has a high responsibility; it should inspire all schools in this region, to treat little children with love and care and fill the atmosphere with the fragrance of Divinity." 

'Children' - MP3 - 'Children'
The Betrayal of the Dream'

Words that announced the advent of the new era of Truth, Virtue, Peace and Love!

For five days from the 20th, Baba moved on a merciful mission of Love along the road of the delta and a few beyond, showering grace on nearly a million souls gasping anxiously to secure it; the visit to more than a hundred villages and a score of towns has transformed the viewpoints of everyone whom He rewarded with a smile or a glance, a pat or a word, a gift of holy ash or a precious memento. Like the many canals that emanate from the Dhowaliswaram Anicut and take the waters of the Godavari into a million fields to confer life and vigour to the crops, Baba went along the roads on the banks of these same canals, taking with Him the infinitely more sustaining waters from Heaven itself to grant immortality and infinite Bliss. [See also: Srîmad Bhâgavatam: Canto 1, Chapter 11]

The Godavari of Grace consisting of a caravan of over twenty cars moved out of Rajahmundry very early in the day; tidings carried delight and exaltation throughout the Delta; for, the Darsan of Baba, listening to His enthralling discourse and perhaps getting the rare chance of touching His Feet are benedictions for which even the remotest villagers were pining. Every yard of road was lined on both sides with men, women and children in their best clothes; the roads were swept clean; miles ahead of every village designs were drawn with rice flour by devoted women; inside the village, decorated sheds were put up, so that Baba may ascend the dais underneath them and give Darsan to the vast concourses that sat there, doing Bhajan for hours, in expectation of the golden moment. Festoons, flags, lines of green leaves were hung across the main roads; hearts were beating faster this day in the hope of Divine Darsan. Sometimes, elaborate and even costly arches of welcome were erected on the roads that lay through the towns or that led into them, the townsmen spending hours on end to make the arch a picture of exquisite charm.

Baba's car led the way. At Kesavaram, Baba directed the other cars to stay on the main road itself, while He drove into the hamlet, for, as He said, there was not enough parking space there. The deltaic region utilizes every square foot of land for cultivation and so, open spaces are hard to find. Baba was received by most of the villages with the piping of primitive instruments, the blowing of long brass horns and the vigorous beat of drums, expressing folk delight! 

Baba moved slowly up the passage between the men and women, and ascending the dais, spoke a few words on Namasmarana, the efficacy of Bhajan and the necessity of continuing it sincerely, with deeper faith. Then, the cars moved on to Palathodu, a bigger place where all the cars could find space to drive in and halt. Here too Baba emphasized in a short speech the need for Bhakthi and Sraddha, the two wings of the bird Jnana, which flies towards Realization of the Reality.

On the 21st the caravan took another road and every human habitation accessible by that road and its tributaries throbbed with delight, for He had chosen to bless them that day! The entire population of the countryside seemed to be ranged as a never-ending guard of honour for Baba; they shouted 'Jai' when they espied the cars; Baba slowed down His car, so that they may have Darsan. His Hand could be seen waving to them, long after He had passed the place where they were standing. Halts were made often and Baba condescended to open the door and stand on the footboard, so that the surging masses could have better Darsan, for, only then they could imprint that portrait on their hearts for worship in the silence of their altars.

The Delta is acclaimed as the granary of Andhra Pradesh. And it is full to the brim with populous villages, barely a mile or two apart. Baba alighted at most of these on the way, and even a little afar - Gummileru, Pinapalle, Gangavaram, Pamarru, Narasapur, Rapurpeta, Rajupalem, Anaparthi, Kuthukulur, Someswaram and finally Sampara tobacco barns, rice mills, locks and pump houses were the landmarks that raised their heads over the level green. At Sampara, the entire village was in the mood of Gokula welcoming Gopala back home! As a matter of fact, this village has lived on the Bhagavatha [ see also: Bhagavatha Vahini] for many years, since a great exponent of that ancient text on Bhakthi, Sri Kadiyala Seetharama Sastry kept the village conscious of its teachings and message for years, through his heart-touching expositions. Baba stayed there for some hours and discoursed on the practice of the constant presence of God. He also sang a few Bhajans, to arouse in them the ardour to glorify God. Then the party returned to Rajahmundry itself.

On the 22nd, the road led towards Thamrada, and Peddapuram. At Peddapuram, Baba went to Challa Appa Rao, a devotee since many years, and there happened a miracle restoring him to health. He was bedridden since three years; his condition had worsened eight months back, "but," says, Dr. G. Kesava Rao, "he relied solely on Baba and refused to take any medicine. He had acute anaemia, due to bleeding piles. His body was swollen. The haemoglobin percentage had gone down to as low as 30; urination was affected. Many doctors and I advised blood transfusion, and warned that his chances of survival without it were one hundred percent nil! When some anxious friends approached Bhagavan to persuade him to resort to medicine, Bhagavan retorted, "Why? Do they not die, the people who take medicine?"

When He visited Peddapuram, Baba went to his house and sat by his bedside. Baba created a Linga while seated there. He directed that it be bathed in water ceremonially, with appropriate rites. The Thirtha or consecrated water was to be given internally to the patient daily. "Wonder of Wonders!" writes Dr. G. Kesava Rao, "the patient was transformed the very next moment into health. The swelling oedema completely disappeared. Evacuation and urination became normal. Bleeding stopped dramatically. Exhaustion was overcome. Within a month, he was quite refreshed, shining with new youthfulness." Appa Rao described the blessing thus: "Before the visit of Baba, I was a corpse; after the visit, I was the victor over death."

After addressing a public gathering, Baba laid the foundation for a Center for the Sathya Sai Seva Samithi at the village. He then moved on to Kotapadu, and Medapadu, where He inaugurated a Sathya Sai Mandir. Reaching Vadlamuru He laid the foundation for a Sathya Sai Mandir, and proceeded to Kothpeta where a mammoth gathering engaged in Bhajan was waiting since hours for Darsan. The college campus was full of people who had trekked miles on foot or by cart or cycle or omnibus or country boat. Baba turned aside a mile and a half from the highway to bless devotees at Palivela. He reached Ambajipeta, where too, a big gathering brightened when He gave Darsan and spoke a few words of advice and exhortation.

Emerging into the main road, the flood of Divine Compassion moved on towards Bandaralanka, a famous center of weaving as a cottage industry. Here, the community of weavers, with great enthusiasm, heralded the arrival of Baba. They had put an imposing reception structure with arches and greeneries and flowers, adjacent to the road itself. Baba alighted from the car to bless them and spoke a few words of encouragement so that they may earn peace, and understand the purpose of life.

Then, Baba motored to Amalapuram, where nearly fifty thousand people had gathered to hear Him and fill their eyes with His Charm. Baba chided the person who made the welcome speech! Really, this conventional item on the programme of public meetings has no bearing, for, how can Baba who is present everywhere at all times be either welcomed or taken leave of? And, the welcome speech was in the English language! Baba said that the region with Amalapuram as the focal point was known geographically as Konasima (Delta), but, lovers of Bharathiya Culture knew it as Vedasima, the region which was the nursery of Vedic scholars and the Academy where Vedic Science and Vedic Research were pursued with avidity by generations of scholars. "Why thrust down the ears of these simple people and the pundits learned in ancient lore, a language they do not know?" He queried.

On the 24th, Baba left Amalapuram very early for Manepalli. After visiting an aged devotee on his sickbed at Tatipaka, He moved on to Razole, where elaborate arrangements were made for a public address, and a sizeable gathering had assembled. After satisfying their thirst, Baba proceeded along the main road towards the next destination. While driving fast, Baba noticed an insignificant token of adoration hung across the road, near a village which is barely mentioned in maps, Poathumatla. It was a thin festoon of a dozen mango leaves, strung from one coconut tree to another with a piece of paper pinned in the centre waving in the wind, with the word 'Welcome' inscribed on it by a hesitant hand. The car had gone on about fifty yards when He wanted it to stop, and turn back to where that paper 'Welcome' called Him. There were two old women standing there with garlands in their wrinkled hands. Baba opened the door, so that they could touch His Feet, leaned forward so that they could put the garlands round His neck. He invited them to do so without fear. "Here is your Swami! Quite near you! Come on, garland Me!" That was the happiest moment of their lives, and Baba too appeared equally happy! One lady extended her hand and asked, "Prasadam, Swami?" She wanted something to treasure from the Divine Hands. Baba plucked some petals from the flowers of the garlands they had offered and placed them in the hands of both and moved on.

While driving on, Baba noticed two very old women tottering forward with the help of sticks held in their shaky hands. His Divine Pity flowed towards them. He asked the car to stop near them. When the car pulled up, He inquired, where they were going to. They said in quaking voices, "to see Sai Baba". Baba laughed and said, "I am Sai Baba, don't you know!" They thought some one was ridiculing them and they walked forward. The others in the car got down and persuaded them to retrace the few steps they had taken, and have a good look. Baba created Vibhuti for them, filled their hands with fruits, and told them to return home.

Lakkavaram was reached soon, and after a mile or two, Baba turned into a sandy fair-weather road, a road that was rambling wildly across the fallow wastes into what appeared to be no man's land; the party wondered where Baba was leading them, but Baba told the nervous interrogators that there was a devotee in the village Kaththi Manda that lay a mile ahead. His wife had died and he had married again. She lost a number of children when they were quite little babies, a tragedy which superstitious villagers ascribed to the machinations of the deceased wife's ghost! Baba allowed the next child to be born in the seventh month of pregnancy at the Sathya Sai Hospital, Puttaparthi, so that she may be rid of the fear that was haunting her... and the son had grown now into a chubby boy of three! Baba was going to that place in order to bless that boy and his parents!

Returning to the main road, Baba proceeded to Kadali, a small village set in the midst of coconut trees. They had erected a dais and decorated it with sincere artistry. Baba addressed the peasants who had come in large numbers. He visited the house of the Principal of the Veda Sastra Patasala, Prasanthi Nilayam, an unrivalled reciter of the Vedic hymns, a master of the complicated styles of rendering the Vedic syllables in the orthodox complex of permutations and combinations, who recognized the Divinity of Baba, the day he first officiated at a Yajna he was asked to supervise at Prasanthi Nilayam.

Baba sent all the cars that were trailing behind Him to move on and wait at the canal bank, a few miles off and He went to Sakhinetipalli, to the home of Sri Ramalingaraju, Minister for Religious Endowments, in the Government of Andhra Pradesh. The cars waited for full four hours, exiled from His presence, with ears attuned to the horn of Baba's car so that they may catch the signs of His arrival to restore joy in their hearts! At midnight, Baba's car was spotted proceeding towards them. The caravan then returned to Rajahmundry on the Godavari.

The 25th day of January, was a Day of Delight for the devotees of Rajahmundry. Towards evening, about three hundred of them boarded three motor launches, and went over the Godavari with Baba to the sand dunes on one of the islands formed by the Godavari when its waters subsided after the monsoon floods, which make the river one vast roar of raging waters. Baba sat on the sands surrounded by Bhaktas. Bhajan was sung; stars listened intently from above. Then, Baba answered a few questions on Sadhana put by some Sadhakas, and while elaborating the directions He gave while quoting from the Bhagavatha, He drew forth from the heap of sand before Him a golden idol of Krishna, crawling as a child, with a ball of butter in his Hand.

Baba was at that time speaking of the inner meaning of butter; the purity of intention attained after the churning of Sadhana and of the theft of such butter committed by Krishna.

The questions then turned towards Siva and the Linga symbol, with ramifications of conversation into the various types of Lingas, the Earth Principle Linga, the Water Principle Linga, the Fire Principle Linga, the Wind Principle Linga and the Sky Principle Linga.

Then He spoke of the places sanctified by the installation of these Lingas and referring to the Akasa Linga in a temple, He explained that the Linga there hangs in mid-air with no support! Devotees stared in awe for they could not understand how this could happen, and continue to happen. Baba explained that the Linga is of some ferrous material and that two magnets, one on top, on the underside of the roof and another fixed on the floor, exercise equal and opposite pulls on the Linga, so that it remains in the center, in mid-air, without support. Then, He asked, "O! Do you desire to see it? I can dislodge it from the pulls and bring it here!" Saying so, He waved His Hand and Lo! The egg-shaped ferrous ball was in the Hand. It was passed from one person to another until all had the feel of it and the thrill. Then Baba wrapped it in a kerchief and gave it to a young man to be kept with him. The entire group of three hundred sat for dinner on the sands, with Baba in their midst, joking and keeping every one in the best of spirits. It was about eleven at night when the launches returned to Rajahmundry. The young man was shocked to find the ferrous Lingam gone!

On the 26th, Baba addressed the Lions Club. 

"You are members of a Club that bears a great name, the Lion. The Lion and the Elephant are natural enemies according to poetic convention. There is a great lesson latent in this fact. The elephant wanders free and furious in the thick entanglements of the jungle; it is the symbol of the mind which rambles, goaded by whim and appetite. But, it surrenders before the superior skill and sinew of the lion. The lion is the intellect; the elephant is the mind; the intellect distinguishes between the real and the unreal, the transient and the eternal. When this winnowing is neglected, man moves from one illusion to another. If the intellect is sharpened and sublimated, peace and harmony will reveal the one basic reality, behind all the apparent contradictions and confusions. So mere compassion and the passion to do service are not enough; they may even be dangerous, if no enquiry is made into the causes of suffering, and into the safest and surest means of alleviating the suffering," Baba advised. "It must be understood that the root cause of suffering is due to the lack of wisdom which enables you to realize the indwelling unity amongst apparent diversity, and the safest and surest means of uprooting this sufferance is by removing ignorance, resulting in the Realization of the Real."

Baba then left the Godavari, and began His return journey, with a halt at Eluru, where the office bearers of the various units of the Sathya Sai Seva Organizations met Him and received His guidance and blessings. Leaving Eluru, He reached Gudivada and addressed a gathering there. Resuming, He went to Vijayawada, into which city trains and buses, cars, scooters and cycles had brought thousands of people. On the 27th, He went on a short visit to Aukiripalle, near Vijayawada, and from there, He left for Madras, after a hectic week of beneficence and benediction.

Howard Murphet, an Australian Sadhak and writer exults in this strain: "How inexplicable fortunate are we - the few - who have found here in physical form one who can say as Christ said long ago, 'I am the Way.' This statement soon becomes a self-evident truth for those who can accept it. We see in Him qualities we have always associated with the idea of Divinity. Love and compassion flow from the heart which hitherto had been no more than a dream. When in His company, we are elevated to a golden world where the atmosphere vibrates with inner joy and all mundane things are forgotten, or, at least take their correct place well down the scale of values."

"Only India through ages past has been able to provide a suitable land for the birth of Avataras, such as Rama, Krishna and Sathya Sai Baba. It is only in India that Buddha can be born, to attain Nirvana. The spiritual heart of India is the heart of the world. It is my spiritual heart, as an American, for were it not there, surely life would be a living death, of ashes and despair," writes John Hislop.

One fact is interesting and may be mentioned here, since it has provoked many into a very profitable line of thought. I shall quote the letter written by one such inquirer, R. Ganapathi of the 'Kalki'. "Sri Aurobindo, who by the power of his integral Yoga delved into the Cosmic Mind was suddenly absorbed in an intense awareness of the Supramental Light's descent into the earth-consciousness. On page 208, of the book, 'Sri Aurobindo on Himself and the Mother' (1953 Edition), it is said, '24th November, 1926, was the descent of Krishna into the physical.' 'A power infallible shall lead the thought, in earthly hearts kindle the Immortal's Fire, even the Multitude shall hear the Voice!' It is almost certain that the Descent noted by Sri Aurobindo was the Incarnation the previous day, November 23, 1926, of Sri Sathya Sai Baba."

John Hislop, on Sivarathri Day prior to the hoisting of the Prasanthi Flag by Baba, said, "What an amazing thing has come to happen! This slender body walking so gracefully amongst us, the charming personality exhibiting all the qualities of God, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, with boundless power to create, maintain and destroy." Hislop's words meant more than he anticipated! For, that evening, the unique Lingodbhava acquired a still more unique importance; it was beyond the power of words to describe!

Sivarathri, as Baba expounded that morning, means that man must transform by Sadhana the 'Rathri' into 'Sivam', the night of darkness and fear, doubt and delusion, into the day of wisdom, courage, the certainty of faith and realization. Rathri means night; Sivam means auspiciousness, victory, triumph. The vigil that is prescribed for the festival and the fast, relate not to the eye or the stomach, but to the senses which have to be starved and the intelligence that has to be alerted against complaisance and the tactics of casuists (experts)

The atmosphere of Prasanthi Nilayam becomes vibrant with the flag carrying the symbol of the ascendant Sadhak who has overcome lust, anger and hatred, who has broadened his love and universalized it, who has established himself in Yoga and ascended through the various stages of Sadhana, resulting in the blossoming of the Lotus in his heart, and thereby attained Pra-kanthi, higher illumination, Prasanthi, highest tranquillity and Param-jyothi, the higher splendor of realization, merging his 'imagined self' into the Universal Self; conquering sleep, sloth, Thamas, and the clamorous demands of the senses, Rajas, winning the unshakeable equipoise of the wise, Sathva.

The Vedic recital, the procession from the Mandir to the Auditorium, the astonishing emanation of Vibhuti from an empty pot to consecrate the silver idol of Shirdi Baba and fill the area with fragrance and ecstasy and the evening gathering of 25.000 people facing the Santhi Vedika where Baba sat on the Dais, while Bhajan was sung by devoted souls - these incredible experiences injected the atmosphere with vibrations of supreme purity. [See: 'the Wave of the Hand']

The Lingam that had been growing in Baba's stomach since some days was to emerge in a few minutes. 'Lingam' means that in which all things merge and out of which all things emerge. The Absolute, the Ultimate Reality, Brahman or God has no opposites, no polarities, no contradictions, so, it is represented by the most perfect mathematical symbol, the sphere. When the basic desire, Ekoham Bahusyam, 'I am One, let me become many,' disturbs the perfect balance of the One, the sphere divides itself into two, we get the ellipsoid. The Lingam is ellipsoid. The One Brahman has become Siva-Sakthi, the primary polarity principle of the positive and negative.

Cars and buses were speeding up from Bangalore, Madras, Bombay, Hyderabad and other places to reach Prasanthi Nilayam in time for witnessing the emergence of the Lingam from the Brahman. And, Baba was with each of them, for, it was due to His Grace that they were present in that sanctified atmosphere. "We yearned long to witness the Sivarathri Festival," says Dr. A. Ranga Rao, the renowned ophthalmic physician and surgeon of Madras, he came in a car that gave continuous trouble! The engine got too hot every ten miles! When the flag hoisting took place, they were at Ranipet, 250 miles off; when Vibhuti Abhishekam took place he was at the border of Mysore, 180 miles off! 60 miles away from Puttaparthi, the car came to a dead halt! While the chauffeur was tinkering with its entrails, says Dr. Ranga Rao, "To our utter consternation, petrol got ignited! Big tongues of flames shot up. The poor fellow jumped off in the nick of time and saved himself. His clothes were on fire; he managed to scotch the flames. I threw some handfuls of sand from the road on the fire, calling out Sai Ram, Sai Ram! And the miracle happened! The fire became extinct, the car was saved, though the tank was three quarters full and it was petrol! I went back to Chikballapur, by bus, (12 miles) and got a mechanic from that town. At 3.30 p.m. we were still at the place of the mysterious fire. Cars coming from Bangalore stopped and sympathized and some even offered lifts. But, I said, "No, we will be there to witness the Lingodbhava, you can move on; Baba will bring us to Him." At 5.30 p.m. we were 50 miles off, with that rickety car! I sat at the wheel, the mechanic sat in the 'dickie', shaking the pump whenever it struck work! We raced and rushed. When we stood gasping at the Lotus Circle in front of the Prasanthi Nilayam, Baba was slowly proceeding from the Nilayam to the Santhi Vedika!

While passing, Baba, smiled at us and said, "O, you have come! Santhosham! Santhosham (happy, very happy)." With tears of gratitude welling from my eyes, I said within myself, "Lord! While thousands of devotees were adoring you here, you heard our anguish! You quenched the fire and drove the car safe, to bring us in time to witness your Glory. Here is my heart; my life, my hopes, my everything, at your Feet!"

Dr. S. Bhagavantham and Dr. K. Bhaskaran Nair, both Doctors of Science, one in Physics and the other in Zoology, one the Vice-chancellor of two Universities and the other the Director of Collegiate Education of a State studded with colleges (Kerala) spoke of the gathering on the Avatar of the Age. Dr. Bhagavantham spoke on the implications of Baba's statement "My Life is My Message". "It has astounded me to see that, though He has no wants, nor is He ever in need, He is so busy at Prasanthi Nilayam or elsewhere, at all times with a multitude of problems concerning the devotees! Not only does He expound Nishkama Karma, but He also practices it Himself, setting the best example," Dr. Bhaskaran Nair confessed, "My life has acquired a richness and a validity as a result of my surrendering to Baba's Lotus Feet. I still continue to be a student of science. I know where science has to walk warily and where it can walk in confidence. I cherish the culture of this land which bowed to the spirit and honored sages and saints, more than men of might. Sivaji placed his Empire at the feet of his guru Ramadas; the Kerala Monarch, Marthanda Varma dedicated the entire kingdom at the altar of the God installed at Trivandrum, (Thiru-ananthapuram). Asoka renounced war when his conscience was torn into shreds as he witnessed the blood, the fury, the falsehood and the agony that war caused! And, he ruled more than twenty years over a peaceful prosperous empire, even after publishing the fact of his having renounced the use of the army, publishing it on pillar and rock, all over the land, from the Himalayas to the Kaveri, from Kandahar to Kamarup! Today when values are being lowered, and the infection of wild excitement and depressing drugs is attacking youth in all countries, the traditional values of Sanathana Dharma have to be asserted, for they have perennial value. The advent of Bhagavan is positively significant in the history of the world."

Baba spoke for about forty minutes on the mind and its manifold tactics to confuse and confound, and how man has to discover the strategy by which it can be controlled and made subservient to the intellect, thereby leading to the realization of the Atmic reality. Suddenly the gushing stream of superb eloquence and supreme guidance was interrupted by gasps and gutterings - premonitions of the emergence of the Lingam - which Baba endeavored to put down, a little while; then, He signaled for Bhajan to start and Himself sat on the chair, behind the table. No one heard the Bhajan, though they were mechanically uttering the words in the tune allotted to them. For, the crucial moment was fast approaching and no one in the gathering wanted to miss it. All senses were now concentrating their efficiency on the eye, so as not to miss the Divine Event!

Baba was under the flood lights, squirming, turning, twisting, sitting forward and leaning backward, sipping water and showing signs of exhaustion, all parts of the amazing Drama that He was now allowing these thousands to witness, so that they may stand witness in their own lives to the glory of being contemporaneous with the Avatar! Fifty thousand eyes were focused on that serene Mouth - for over fifteen long laborious minutes! "Ah! It has emerged, in one leap; a blue shaft of light, was it? No it was the blue Lingam oval shaped, oval sized gem, celebrated in the Sastras as specially sacred, on account of the color and the size." It has fallen from His mouth into the cupped palm of Baba. He held the Wonder in his Hand, high in the light, to be seen better by the vast gathering, now in the height of Bliss.

Baba continued sitting in the chair. He would, usually, descend from the Dais on the Santhi Vedika and move into the Nilayam; but, He sat in the chair and remained motionless. We thought that another Lingam may emerge after a little while. But, no! He was getting stiffer, and motionless. The right hand was lying flat on the table. The left was erect, the elbow fixed on the table, fingers near the eye, the head was slightly inclined to the left, the thumb held apart, the ring finger and the little finger folded, and the other two straight up - the breathing was slow; it became slower.

Who dare touch Him? Who had the courage to draw His attention away from the place or mission on which He had gone? I was sitting on the left of the chair and Dr. Bhagavantham and Dr. Bhaskaran Nair on the right. Five minutes sped by - I expected Him to return from wherever He had gone. For, this is special occasion, where anxious souls were getting alarmed. At no time previous had He left His Body on a transcorporeal journey when so many were looking on!

But, his Compassion knows no limitations of festival or gatherings. When the devotee calls out in agony He rushes to his side, whoever may be with Him or whatever the work he is engaged in, at that time. On other occasions, He has fallen on to the floor, but this unusual posture amazed everyone; anxiety was imprinted upon each face.

After twenty minutes, I could restrain myself no more. I leaned towards Him on my knees and, in a subdued voice called 'Swami! Swami!', as if He would come back when we call, from where He had gone in response to the sincere yearning of some one in pain. His mission of Bhaktharakshana knows no bounds of class, creed or nationality. He blesses, whatever be the name by which He is called.

Thirty minutes ... all eyes were now watching the face for the slightest sign of any movement; they prayed as never before ... The fortitude of the devotees was being transformed into nervousness ... the hand was stiff, upright, the finger did not jerk or come together... the angle of the head was the same since the past fifty minutes.

One or two from the Bhajan party came on to the dais ... a few began to weep, here and there ... courage faltered before the onslaught of concern!

Fifty five ... Ah ... a slight movement of the fingers ... of the left hand! The hand came down ... I broke into tears ... His eyes opened ... He saw! He smiled!

Fear and doubt vanished shamefacedly from the gathering. Baba rose ... the fateful minutes were over!

Baba went into the Nilayam, and when some of us, including Dr. Bhagavantham followed Him, He said that He had gone on a Manasa-sanchara, round the World!

He went in order to give signs in every home or hall where Sivarathri was celebrated that hour, that the Lord is here, that His Grace is available in plenty for all who need it, and pray for it, with pure and sincere faith. He showers mercy; and they become humble, wise, victorious.

What we were privileged to see that night was the sight of Baba journeying far and wide to confer peace, to foster the erring brood of willful, peevish, half-blind children, into ways of justice, peace, love and righteousness. He was converting the Rathri of Rajas and Thamas that was darkening the horizon of man into the Sivam, the splendor of love and joy. We saw two Udbhavas (oncomings) that day - the Lingodbhava and the Premodbhava (bhava: being, becoming). 


'Brightness in the face, splendor in the eye, a determined look,
a noble gaze, pleasant voice, open-hearted charity,
unwavering goodness: these are the signs of a progressing will 
to attain the vision of God.'

Can this be true, the sceptic may ask! I can only give the answer which Baba gave to another such question put to Him by a celebrated sceptic, hailed by many as a redoubtable doubter. Baba told him, "How can you understand Me? Can a fish know the sky? It may see the reflection in the water of the lightning flash; it may hear the echo of the rumbling thunder - but what can it know of the mysteries of the ethereal region, being sunk in an element from which it cannot escape and survive". We are bound by Maya; how can we gauge the glory of One, who controls Maya?

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