"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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.