The Miraculous Appendix

"Dear Sri Kasturi! Your telegram canceling your promised visit to Ceylon has helped to render our faith in Baba firmer than before!" This was not a particularly polite reply to receive from a Secretary of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Samithi. Baba had permitted me to accept an invitation to visit Ceylon, on a Sai pilgrimage, meeting devotees in villages and towns, to share experience and delight. My passage was booked by rail and plane; so with my bag and portmanteau I went to Whitefield to take leave of Baba and to receive His blessings. The mail train of Madras, from where I had to emplane was leaving Bangalore within an hour. When I touched the Lotus Feet, Baba asked me, "Where are you going?" I said that I was on my way to Ceylon. He said, "Why Ceylon? Send them a telegram canceling your visit and come with Me to Goa tomorrow."

That was the telegram which placed the faith of Sai devotees in Ceylon upon an unshakeable basis! Later, Sri Thyagarajiah, the Secretary, set my mind at rest, explaining the cryptic comment. Dr. Nallainathan, the President of the Samithi, had read out my first letter accepting the ten-day schedule, before a large gathering of devotees and when he finished, he did a very un-Nallainathan-like thing. He heard himself say, "Of course, Mr. Kasturi has very kindly agreed to come and be with us for ten days. But listen, he may not come at all! There is many a slip betwixt the cup and the lip. At the very last moment, we may get a telegram, canceling his visit." Six days later the telegram arrived! And Ceylon knew that it was Baba who had persuaded Dr. Nallainathan to utter those words that day, for He shapes the future, recasting His projected plan. When we cannot predict about our own selves, how can we predict about Baba? He says that no one knows what He is going to do in the next five minutes; therefore we must learn to remain content, witnessing the Divine play.

At noon the next day, I accompanied Baba on a circuitous journey to Goa. The three cars moved towards Jog Falls. The party included three lady devotees from the United States, June Schuyler, who describes herself as a simple, middle-aged teacher of young children; Indra Devi, celebrated as the 'First Lady of Yoga in America,' and Mrs. Rajagopalan, an Italian living in the United States with her Indian husband. As usual, while leaving Brindavan, devotees lined up on both sides of the road, anxious to get a glimpse of Baba and to see the Hand that waves out of the window, until a turn makes it impossible to fill the eye with it.

The afternoon was quiet and bright. "As the cars entered the tranquility of the vast countryside," writes June, "my mind was jumbled with a feeling of incredulousness! For many years, peace of any kind seemed an unlikely prospect for me. God was my only hope; and now, wonder of wonders, I was happy, with the Lord lifting my burdens off my mind."

On the way Baba signaled the cars to turn towards a lane off the main road, so that we could drink coffee and consume some snacks. He Himself opened the tins and cans, containers and flasks, and served snacks and coffee to all. The chauffeurs too, joined the party and they were also served snacks and coffee to all. A few tillers of the soil who had taken up positions to stand and stare received extra attention from the Master.

When we resumed the journey, Baba's car seemed to grumble a bit, but it was persuaded by mild and gentle pushing to take to the road. It had to be persuaded again thrice during the next fifteen miles: Jog falls were still a hundred miles away! At 8.00 p.m. the car stopped and refused to budge, despite inducements or threats. It had, indeed, to be led back in Tiptur for attention at a local workshop. Then Baba decided to go back to Brindavan. Baba was quite unconcerned, He did not speak about it with any feeling of disappointment. Among the eight attributes of Divinity [See the eight perfections], Vairagyam, absence of attachment, is one.

June writes, "A star fell; Baba who misses nothing saw it fall. He commented on it. I was grateful that I too had seen that bright thing falling where the Lord had come. While in the car, His glorious voice filled the night, for He was singing, drawing stars down to earth! Dinner was ready at midnight when we reached Brindavan. Baba's affection made Him appear anxious about our hunger. He took particular care to see that all were fed and sent to sleep, before He retired for the night. We felt that we were tiring Him even more, drawing His attention upon ourselves. Is that precious Body sustained purely by the Love It showers? We wondered." June writes, "I lay down with a feeling of anxiety. I feared that Baba might go now ahead of us, by plane to Goa. I was anxious not to miss the happy sojourn. I was sorry we had to return as a result of the breakdown of the car. Many things were battling in my brain that Sunday morning when I awoke, I pondered over them. Why had the Lord, Who produces all manner of things by the exercise of His Will, not repaired His car? He could have anticipated and never allowed it to happen! The question had great importance to me, since I was convinced that spiritual power has the mastery over matter. Perhaps Baba had willed the breakdown and the return, in order to provoke this question in me, so that I might seek answer. Every word, every act of Baba is a lesson. Here was a lesson - I wasn't sure for whom.

We knew even before we started that Baba was not keen on Jog Falls. He had ridiculed the name as 'Joke Falls' and even as 'Joke False'! He said, the route, if Jog Falls is included in the tour, will be lengthened too far. He will have to pass through many villages on the road, after nightfall. The villagers, would, He argued, be very sad when they learn that Baba had passed that way without their getting Darsan. Someone told us that Baba had questioned the driver who had supervised the 'servicing' of the 'historic car' about the quality and extent of the servicing. "He must have known that it will give a poor performance," he said.

Of course, if He had willed it, the car would have gone on to Jog; He willed a Joke instead! A day later we all left in two cars for Goa. On the way Baba spoke long on spiritual matters. Alighting en route for breakfast, He gave us sweet, ripe, wild berries plucked by Him from the trees around saying, "Berries, such as I used to eat and pick with My comrades at Gokul on the banks of the Yamuna!"

The cars cooperated wonderfully, and we reached the grounds of the Karnatak University at Dharwar, and entered the bungalow of the Vice-chancellor, Dr. Adke at 2 p.m. There we found about 500 people singing Bhajans under a shamiana. They had learnt about the arrival of the Lord! After lunch, Baba sat among them, silent, for a few joy-filled minutes!

June writes, "Those University Deans and Dons looking at Baba with devout childlike expressions, twanged the chords of my heart." Suddenly someone asked a question and broke the silence. For an hour thereafter, Baba related to them parables and tales from legends and folklore.

"God is ever to respond, whenever there is a call for help. Yes, you seek the Grace of God, but can you get it, when you do not respond to the call of the distressed?... God waits on the doorstep, like sunlight, eager to slip through the narrowest slit, and spread light where there was darkness, warmth, where there was biting cold. So too, you must wait for the chance to brighten and lighten the lives of others, deprived of cheer and charity... Awaken the people to the Glory of the Creator through Nagar Sankirtan," He said.

June writes, on the occasional bursts of laughter which shook the room. "I felt, this is no dull sober God. When I think of Baba, I picture Jesus, with the same sense of humor. Baba was speaking in an Indian language which I do not understand; yet in some mysterious way I too was receiving illumination."

It was a Fiat 1500 in which Baba, Mr. N.D.M. Appah, Chairman, Mysore State Electricity Board, and myself were traveling. The road was stony and rough, so the drive was full of jerks and bumps - this caused Baba to reprimand the driver for not being circumspect enough. "You do not know how much pain I get in the abdomen when it bumps," He said. We wondered why Baba who withstood worse roads better, was insisting on slow driving that day.

The last rays of sunshine cast long and slanting streaks through the tall heavily crowned trees of the western ghats, which we were climbing. When we were on top, the sun went down into the sea! There is a certain grandeur, albeit pathetic, in this daily drama - the inevitability of a sunset; its noiselessness and the panic it creates when you foolishly fear that it may not come up again. The forces of darkness quickly overwhelming the earth sometimes give one an eerie sensation of despair. But, we soon remember that the wise earth manages to keep one half of her lit and warm; and so, we sleep in hope and happy dreams!

When the cars reached Goa, it was night. The stars came forth; they came with us, every yard of the road, keeping pace. When the border of Goa State was reached, Lt. Governor, Sri Nakul Sen, the host, received Baba and let us into a rest house, where china gleamed in the shelves by the wall and geraniums glistened on the window sills. We had coffee; from then on Baba sat in the state car, with the head of the state.

Hurrying around the rambling roads, towards Panjim Town, the cars finally arrived at Coba Raj Nivas, the Palace of the Governors-general of the "Portuguese Possessions in India and the Far East" for many centuries, but now, the official residence of the Lt. Governor. The time was 9.15 p.m. We had motored 385 miles, since morning, over good and bad roads, but Baba looked lithe and lily-like when He hastened up the red-carpeted flight of steps, 28 in all, to the flower-decked apartments, set aside for His stay. Very soon, Baba presided over the dining table to which we were led by the Lt. Governor. He watched with amusement the contingent of waiters, and the beautiful chinaware, which the Portuguese had brought from Macao.

Though Mrs. Sen made bold to remind Him of His duty to Himself, He did not eat anything. He appeared to be anxious to send every one to bed. "Go, go! You are all very much exhausted," He insisted. I protested that traveling with Him can never exhaust anyone, but He repeated that I was really in immediate need of rest. When we rose Mrs. Sen was informed by Baba that coffee need be ready for Him only at 8 a.m. the next day! She knew that at Prasanthi Nilayam, He had His coffee at 6 or 6.30 p.m. but despite appeals for revising the order, Baba gave instructions that it was to be brought only at 8 o' clock.

Baba was alone in the suite reserved for Him. Nakul Sen pleaded for permission to be within call, but Baba sent Him away to his own room. We from Bangalore were in rooms on the ground floor.

About what occurred that night, Baba wrote later to Dr. S. Bhagavantham, in a letter I carried to him on the 12th, "On the night of the seventh, strange events happened. I could not lie in bed, I could not sit upon it, nor turn, from one side to another. Nor could I speak or call. I did not like to cause anxiety or trouble to anyone. So I kept silent, pretending that all was well with me!

Next morning when the Sens grew aware of the truth it became clear, why He had abstained from dinner, and postponed the coffee hour, wanting only to hurry away to bed! I knew why He had come away from Dharwar, and why He had taken the driver to task. Obviously, He had been 'ill' when He started out from Dharwar!

Mrs. Sen felt that Cabo Raj Nivas was an 'unlucky' place since He had fallen 'ill' there, but Baba immediately corrected her. "No, it is a house of good luck! I brought the 'illness' with Me to Cabo, so that I could get rid of it here."

By daybreak on the 8th, Baba appeared to be in great pain and Nakul Sen called in doctors from the Medical College at Goa, and some leading physicians of the City. Soon an imposing medical team surrounded the sick bed; their report read as follows, "History of pain, right lower quadrant of the abdomen since 3 p.m. on the 7th December. To begin with, the pain was all over the abdomen, progressive in intensity; towards the night, it localized in the umbilical region, and the right lower quadrant. Had difficulty in extending the right lower limb. Pain is exaggerated by movement. 8th December morning, had nausea and fever." No one could be definite about the illness; there were too many experts and Baba was amused at the clash of their conclusions.

The American ladies were sent to visit the ancient Churches of Goa, redolent with history, and vibrant with spiritual power. The Sens were aghast at the turn of events for, among other reasons, the local Sathya Sai Seva Samithi had announced, that He would deliver a discourse at the large Maidan in the heart of the city, at 5 p.m. that evening.

June Schuyler writes, "Back at Cabo, we ate lunch, without Baba. It was a gloomy affair. Each person was wondering why He did not come; I did not know that some among them knew, and were too full of distress to speak. It is very strange for Baba not to come out of His room; at Prasanthi Nilayam, or wherever He is, He gives of Himself, plentifully at all times, from early morning till late evening. I knew that Baba was scheduled to go out into the city to address a public meeting. We had passed the very Maidan on our way to a Church, and noticed people streaming in, hours before the time announced for its commencement. I took heart because we would see Him then. Perhaps we would go with Him to the meeting! At ten minutes to five we gathered on the porch, dressed in our very best; my heart beat loud and rapid, as a clock ticked on, for the time was drawing near when we would see Him for the first time that day... My thoughts went back to the time when I first heard about Baba. A friend urged me to revere Him. I replied, "How can I, belonging to Jesus? I am sure about Jesus. If Baba is one with Jesus, it is to Him I pray. If He is not I won't have anything to do with Him." And, I added, "If Baba is all that you feel He is, I am sure He won't hold this against me!" The electrifying moment when I beheld Him for the first time came to my mind. I remembered the flood of awe and joy that overwhelmed me. His first comment when He saw me, assured me that He knew, and approved of my feelings about Jesus... that He was, certainly One with Him. My mind returned to the present; I watched Baba's door, intently."

Meanwhile, pain, nausea and fever kept Baba in bed all day. Information came that 20.000 people crowded the Maidan, awaiting Baba; and half the number had come from far off villages. Baba endeavored to rise and don fresh clothes to keep the appointment, and not disappoint thousands of people. But Cabo Raj Nivas had no lift; for reaching the Maidan, Baba would have had to get down 28 steps and walk up some distance in order to give Darsan to the people. And then, climb the 28th steps up!

Baba directed me to tell the assembly to disperse quietly, and to assure them that He will be addressing them in a few days at the same place. I was to tell them that He had taken over the illness of a devotee, for I had witnessed such instances of healing and saving, in the past years.

June writes, "Baba's door opened!... Mr. Kasturi came out! Why Mr. Kasturi? Why not Baba? We sat sadly, watching a large blood-red sun sinking into the Indian Ocean."

The gathering heard my announcement with amazement and admiration, for they had heard many stories of Baba and His miracles, but this mystery of taking on an illness and saving a devotee from its consequences was something they had never heard, nor imagined as possible. Could such compassion exist? How does Baba assume the illness, and how does He rid Himself of it? How has He done it in the past? Many came up behind me to find the answers, and I could tell them of the great Guru Pournima Miracle, when Baba took upon Himself the cerebral thrombosis and heart attacks of a devotee [see 'This Sivasakthi'], and after undergoing them for eight long days, rejected them before 4.000 people, becoming in a moment, His fresh, free and full Self. I could tell them that rescuing the good was as much the mission of the Avatar as chastisement of the wicked. He atones for the Karmic debt of the devotees when they plead sincerely for grace, I said. That is the measure of His Divine Compassion.

At 8 o'clock that night, the doctors reported, "Lying supine in bed, with legs drawn up. On examination, the right side of the abdomen not moving with respiration; abdomen tender on the right side, and the lower flank..., point of maximum tenderness in lower flank..., no rebound tenderness... guarding present over right lower quadrant, with rigidity of flank. Temperature 100o F; pulse 100 M; respiration 16m. Total blood count 22.000; neutrophils 88%. A diagnosis of acute paracolic appendicitis was made. Unwillingness for surgical intervention."

Pressmen approached the doctors, anxious to report the reason for the postponement of the announced public meeting, alarmed at the news of the illness of the world-renowned Personality. The doctors told them that Baba was suffering from an acute attack of appendicitis. This news was flashed all over India and spread through the early morning editions and the papers issued from Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Madurai. Telegrams and telephone calls poured in from all over the country, praying and pleading, and denying - disbelieving, hoping, weeping and wailing. There were many offers to accept the 'illness' from Baba; some devotees said they would fast until Baba was free from the illness. Devotees having firm faith in His Divinity were convinced that just as the illness had been taken on miraculously, it will be thrown off miraculously, too.

The doctors told us Baba must be suffering excruciating pain, but He said, "If I have to acknowledge that it is paining Me, how would I have taken it on Myself? I have taken it on with Love and Love knows no pain!" June writes, "Mrs. Sen confided in me that she has been praying all day to Baba asking that she be allowed to share the pain. We all caught this idea and trooped into Baba's room with the same request. He sent us back, saying, "I do not feel any pain, and even if I do, I am never in the habit of distributing pain as Prasadam."

Indra Devi had with her a container with an idol of Ganesha on the lid given to her by Baba. It had Vibhuti in it, and Baba had declared whilst placing it in her hand, "Give this to people who suffer; it will alleviate the misery. The Vibhuti will never be exhausted. "She now offered some of it to Baba; He sent her away, saying, "That would be selfish. I want only your Love. The gift of Love, not the thing I gave you for the sake of others," "O Baba!" June implored silently, "You are so sweet, so completely good. The rest of us deserve this pain, but You, do not, please take this condition away from your precious Body."

June writes, "Finally, hesitantly, I prayed to Jesus, "If Baba will not heal Himself, won't You heal Him?" but I realized that this prayer was one without an answer, for Jesus and Baba were One! I fell back on metaphysics. Recognition of the Truth might cast out the illness. It was easy to behold the Christ in the Christ Himself! "Baba! You are the Light, and in the Light there is no darkness." I said this silently over and over again. I knew this statement was absolutely true, but, I also knew that, on the physical plane, Baba had allowed Maya free play for the sake of someone who had surrendered to Him. He would not let my feeble metaphysical falterings influence a step that He had determined upon. I was afraid my approach was quite wrong."

The doctors filed in and out of Baba's room. Indra Devi sat in the Cabo Shrine applying the curative Vibhuti Baba had given her, on the right flank of the Abdomen of a large sized picture of Baba, praying that He may soon heal Himself! Mrs. Sen alternated between confidence and concern.

June writes, "Mr. Kasturi oozed quiet confidence. He was certain that this was another miracle of miracles; that Baba was suffering for the sake of another; that He would concentrate into a few hours the suffering that the devotee was destined to suffer for weeks; that we would soon behold the end of another Divine Leela. We warmed ourselves often, in the warmth of His optimism. Mr. Sen too was certain that Baba would confront the doctors with another astounding and confounding miracle!

Suddenly it flashed on me that Mr. Kasturi was asked to cancel his engagements in Ceylon and join us on our journey to Goa, precisely for this reason. To spread assurance, whenever doubt raised its fearful hood! His role was to laugh the serpent off, and to restore courage. Tell us about the time when Baba took on the paralytic stroke [see: 'This Sivasakthi'], we begged, and Mr. Kasturi with genuine enthusiasm, plunged into that story of the eight appalling days and nights, the sudden doffing of the fell symptoms, the final triumph! The infinite compassion - the infinite power!"

The devotees came out of Baba's room. They looked solemn and serious, as if weighed by an insoluble problem. June writes, "I had once asked Baba a question, and I remembered His answer. 'Baba, why did Jesus allow Himself to be crucified?' "Because the Great Ones never use spiritual power for themselves." Ah! Baba had not set the car right on Saturday night because it was not imperative for the good of some one other than Baba." "Baba! Baba!," I exclaimed, "I adore you; I utterly love you. Imperfect as I am, I give my heart to you completely!"

Precisely at this very moment I became aware that Mr. Nakul Sen was motioning to Mrs. Rajagopalan, Indra Devi and myself to step inside the doorway of Baba's room. I could not believe it was true. We crossed the threshold half expectant, fixing our eyes on the bedstead where the Master was suffering for His dear devotee. He was not there! He was standing before us, feeble and frail, with eyes full of love and mercy - charming in spite of it all.

He drew back the orange robe, and permitted us to touch those precious feet. The lovely feet were warm because of the fever. The beloved face was pale and etched with pain. The cheeks had been hollowed for want of sleep and refreshment. But He stood there for our sake. "Do not worry," He said tenderly, in a soft, soothing voice, "It is a little upset, that is all," indicating the right side of the body.

"Swami! accept what the doctors prescribe," We prayed. "What do the doctors know? What can they prescribe? I only want your Love," He said, quietly, almost wishfully. He stepped out of the room into the adjacent drawing room where several others anxiously waited. He stood for a few minutes, looking languidly, lovingly, at them all, reassuring the timid and charging them with courage. Then He returned to the bed. None of us knew that the appendix was very near bursting point, and the doctors had said that He must not rise from his bed at any cost."

Later in Bombay, on Christmas Day, Baba referred to the "illness He had taken on at Goa" and the suffering it caused to many. 

"The other day, a serious illness came upon this body in Goa. Many who are devoted to Me were plunged into anxiety and despair when they learnt of it. Illness can never afflict this Body. It cannot even approach it! If it should come sometime - believe this - it belongs to someone; not Myself. And it goes just as it came, of My free Will. I have no contact with it; I am not affected by it." 

The fact is that when a devotee prays for relief, Baba bestows upon him His Grace directly or indirectly. At times, the devotee is unable to apprehend an impending illness. The All-knowing Baba at that stage intercedes between the devotee and the illness, as Lord Shiva did in the case of Markandeya. [See also Bhagavatam (Canto 12, ch. 8, 9 & 10)]

On 9th December, the doctors decided to put tubes down the nose to relieve the hiccough which was complicating matters, for taking the gas out of the stomach. They talked also of the urgent need that had arisen to puncture the lump and syringe off the pus from the abscess. It must indeed have given a terrible gash of pain for Baba, every time the hiccough pulled the muscle tight and affected the lump round the inflamed appendix! But eventually the doctors left Cabo Raj Nivas with their tubes and bottles, as Baba refused to accept their proposals.

On the 10th, a Bhajan meeting had been announced at Government House, and word had gone round indicating that Baba would attend the meeting! Baba too said "Yes! Arrange it." The doctors could not believe their ears. They did not foresee any possibility of a public appearance that day. There was doubt, wonder and amazement in the minds of various people, a few of them believing that whatever He says will come to pass. At tea time Mrs. Sen looked rather serious, as time was running out and already people were streaming towards the meeting place. Goa which had been previously shocked by the news of the agonizing illness was now jolted by the impact of such good news.

Baba's condition may be described in His own words: 

"The doctors were unanimous that an immediate operation was necessary, or they would not be held responsible for what might happen. They said the inflamed appendix had burst, and the pus had entered the blood - a situation that is fatal for all mortals!"

Baba had to move across His own room, across the drawing room, walk along the veranda, ascend a low step, get across to the doorstep of the hall which He had selected for Bhajan, traverse its length, reach the dais, climb two low steps - and finally sit upon the chair placed there. A total distance of 200 feet! A floral carpet stretched all this length.

Sri Nakul Sen spoke later during the Bhajan sessions. "The doctors became panicky, and I could feel that they were absolutely against what Bhagawan had said to me. My sixth sense somehow assured me that Bhagawan was showing one of His Leelas in Goa and that through His Sankalpa He would get rid of this trouble as quickly as He had assumed it."

Dr. Varma, the chief of team of doctors came at about 4 p.m. and finding a floral carpet covering a distance of 200 feet, protested that it was too long a walk. He suggested some short cuts through other doors and passages making the journey a distance of only 40 feet. He said, "The dais itself will have to go; let the chair be on the floor, for He cannot get up the steps however low they may be - and please, have the dais on the near side, not at the farthermost end of the hall."

At 5 p.m. Baba was led into the bathroom, and twenty minutes later He came out of it, clean shaven, wearing a new robe! Fresh as a new blossomed rose.

When the doctors examined Him again, they could not locate any abscess, nor could they find any trace of big lump of flesh near it. The whole area of the appendix was as soft and as normal as it could be.

"Lo and behold," said Nakul Sen, in the speech he delivered as soon as Baba sat on the dais at 6 p.m., "Bhagawan walked from His bedroom to the dais, a distance of about 200 feet without any aid. He sat down erect on an office chair."



June writes about that historic moment of ecstasy: "Bhajan began, and my heart was pounding a joyous tune of expectancy. Love for Baba filled the hall. Ah! There He was, moving majestically down the hall, although He had required the assistance of two men all day. He now moved as if nothing had ever happened. His steps were as sure and graceful as ever. The cheeks which had been hollow when I last saw them were completely filled out. His Love flooded the hall. It was overpowering. He swung into the room, and when He saw someone leaning against the wall, with a sick child the Hand began the familiar circular motion to create the cure.

Baba's eyes which plumb the depths, His eyes which pour out love and compassion, His eyes which flash when he speaks of cruelty, falsehood, hypocrisy and injustice, eyes which can be full of quips, were as eloquent as ever. He took His place on the divan in front of the gathering and began keeping rhythm with the Bhajan being sung, with His head and hand. Mrs. Rajagopal whispered in my ear, "Look! Those eyes are more beautiful than ever. There is an ethereal expression, not of this world in them; a look of radiant joy and adoration."

"Baba's eyes caressed the gathering, which was watching Him without even a wink, apprehensive that the cure He had effected on Himself, might be only partial or temporary."

Mr. Nakul Sen was full of gratitude and wonder! While wellcoming Baba, and introducing the gathering to Him as convention demanded, he said, "Bhagawan lives in the inner recesses of the hearts of His devotees; there is nothing He would not do for them. He has simultaneously appeared in this Form at different places, to help His devotees in distress, or to save them from impending calamities, of which He alone has the precognition! Through His Sankalpa or Will, He has assumed the illness of His devotees and suffered it from them, because they would have succumbed to it, if left alone."

We have witnessed this now, a Leela which has greatly perplexed the medical experts of Goa. It leaves no doubt in our minds that there is nothing on this earth which is beyond Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. His Leela is Adbhut - unprecedented; it is Romancha Kari - exhilarating; it is Madhumaya - sweet in memory; Mangalamayi - promoting the happiness and welfare of mankind; Manoharini - overpowering the mind and turning it to truth, beauty and goodness. It gives Ananda!"

The governor also spoke in some detail about Goa and associations it had with Râma [see Ramkatha Rasavahini] and Krishna [see Bhagavatha Vahini] and their careers on earth. He spoke of the legends that enrich the holiness of the two rivers, Mandavi and Aghanasini that enter the sea right in front of Cabo Raj Nivas.

Nakul Sen concluded his descriptions of the ancient glories of Goa and its sacred contacts with Shiva, Râma [SB 9:10], Krishna, and Parasurâma [SB C9:15], the Divine Avatars, with these words: "No wonder the Lord decided to visit this ancient and sacred land again, in the form which He has assumed now, with the name of Sathya Sai Baba; He has loved Goa in His previous incarnations and Goa continues to be dear to Him even now."

Baba spoke for over forty minutes with His usual emphasis and elan. The gathering listened spellbound, for it was a message of triumph, benevolence, and benediction.

The illness that had vanished an hour ago was still uppermost in the minds of all, and so, Baba spoke of the significance of its 'entrance and exit' and its place in the scheme of the Avatar's Activities. 

"There are many who doubt the existence of God or deny Him, or dismiss the idea of God as a silly outworn superstition. To make them discard their conceit, the Divine, out of Its Innate Grace, reveals Its superhuman glory. The doubters receive the reply without asking, the door is opened without even a knock; for those who deny will not knock at all. The 'superstition' will be illumined into divine status by a concrete experience, an indisputable fact. The human body generates diseases as a result of faulty food or frivolous habits, or foolish rashness or fanatic emotions. The illness that was witnessed by you during the last two days was quite different. That was an illness taken over by Me, voluntarily put on, in order to save a victim who could not have survived it! His continued existence, in good health is desirable for the task dear to Me. Pouring Grace on the devout is one of the functions of the Avatar. The appendix was inflamed, it turned into an abscess which the doctors could cure only by removal... He could not have survived it, I know. I have come with this Body in order to save 'other bodies' from pain. This Body is ever free from pain. Disease can never affect it.

I had to go to the rescue of a person who had surrendered to Me - even his judgment. I took over his illness and went through it. It shall not recur again in him. You refer to this incident as a miracle, but remember, each one is a miracle! Every breath is a proof of the Providence of God. Each event is the consequence of Divine Omnipotence. Wherever you find truth, beauty, goodness, justice, wisdom, compassion - God is present, and active. An atheist denies God, with the very breath that God has given him! He closes the eyes that God has opened in Him, and declares that there he could see no God. Therefore, such amazing events have to be accomplished and made known to man everywhere, so that mankind can be saved from over-fond involvement with the world, and lovingly drawn towards the Master of the World."

For us, who adore Baba, and for all mankind who are deriving the benefit of this Advent (whether they acknowledge it or not) it was a great day, the 10th December. Baba was here with His majesty, magnificence and munificence, not only unimpaired, but enhanced, as a result of the world becoming aware of the deeper aspects of His mission.

Baba sang a few Bhajans and returned to His room. The completeness of the restoration can be gauged from one interesting incident. Baba had asked two young men from Brindavan to join Him at Bombay. We telephoned them on the 9th asking them to come to Goa itself, they rang back a few hours later to tell us that the Indian Airlines strike had spread to Bangalore as well. So they were told to proceed to Goa by car. They reached Goa at 6.30 p.m. on the 10th! Hearing Baba's voice over the loudspeaker, they entered the garden of Cabo Raj Nivas, ran up the steps and entered the hall. They heard Baba saying, "Now I shall tell you about the illness which agitated the whole country and caused great anxiety in the minds of millions, for they feared I was hospitalized and operated upon!" That was the first intimation to them of the illness that had come and gone.

Thereafter Baba was surrounded by us, the Sens and the doctors in His room. The doctors asked Him some spiritual complexities, and He clarified them. While talking of Dattatreya, the God who represents the Trinity, the Trimurti so imposingly sculptured at Elephanta, Baba waved His palm, as He announced that He was Dattatreya, and lo, there was in His hand a picture of the three-headed God, the Trinity in Unity but, wonder of wonders, the picture Baba created showed the same head thrice, on the right, center and left, Baba Himself, as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva! It was a picture which we were privileged to see, for the first time in our lives!

On the 11th, Baba called the doctors to His presence, created gifts of Grace for them and blessed them. Each one received a momento of the event. Every evening thereafter Bhajan sessions were held at the Raj Nivas, attended by devotees who came from long distances. The promised meeting in the heart of the city was arranged on the 18th evening; the gathering was twice the size of the one that was sent away disappointed on the 8th; for there were many thousands who wanted to take the Darsan of a Baba who could take on and throw off illness, in order to save a devotee. Sri Nakul Sen presided; he spoke of the wide range of tasks on which the Formless Divine Principle had come 'with Form' as Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Baba spoke about Yoga, and all activity as Ud-Yoga, that is to say, the higher Yoga of putting Yoga into practice.

The devotees in Bombay were getting restless, awaiting Baba's arrival. The strike of the pilots and the ground staff of the Airlines rendered them desperate; attempts to persuade Baba to sail by steamer failed, as it meant, spending long hours cooped up in the vessel! At last a privately owned plane was chartered to transport Baba and a few of us from Goa to Bombay, on 21st December.

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The socalled eight perfections or siddhi's are: animâ: smallness, mahimâ: greatness, garimâ: weight, laghimâ: lightness, prâpti: free access, prâkâmya: doing at wish, vasitva: control over the elements, and isvara: lordship over all.




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