Unearthing the Light

Early in the afternoon on 9th May, 1970, Baba left Brindavan for Bombay. Three cars formed the 'Caravan' the last one being a carefully reconditioned one, brought by two members of the Seva Samithi, who had come to escort Baba and his party. I was in that car and I was a victim of the poor quality of that reconditioning process! Baba had questioned the Samithi members, at more then usual length, on the details of the repairs done, and the two had assured Him that all was well.

When about 30 miles had been traversed, something from the car fell on the road with a thud: the vigilant chauffeur stopped the car, retrieved the part and quietly put it under his feet, as if it was a superfluous gadget! Fifty miles off, he heard a squeak; he stopped and lifted the bonnet to peep inside and assured himself that all was well. A few miles off, he stopped again and sniffed a little. He got out of the car and went around it, and with an expression of audacious courage, hopped in again and started off! The friends from Bombay who were with me were unconcerned. But, my nervousness increased with every interruption.

Very near the seventy-fourth mile, he stopped again! The bonnet was lifted for another casual examination and I could see the man recovering a 'something' that had got loose and quietly putting it under his foot inside the car! My fears mounted. A little distance away luckily for me, we found Baba parked at a lonely spot by the side of the road, awaiting us. I ran forward and pleaded with Him that I may be shifted to another car, for, the car carrying me seemed to be fast disintegrating. Baba replied with a chuckle of amusement. He described an item given by the clowns in circuses where as they go round and round the ring in a car, the parts fall off one by one until they find themselves squatting happily on the ground!

I looked pathetically at Him so that He might take pity on me; but, the only remedy He proposed was: "Don't worry! If you fall out, we shall ensure that some one picks you up and puts you in!" We reached Dharwar, 250 miles further off, at 1 a.m. The car behaved well. We drove merrily through the evening hours into the hours of dusk and darkness, between avenues of trees until midnight came, when we found the trees relaxed and rested, in profound silence.

At the bungalow of vice-chancellor Adke, Baba asked me, "After you reported to Me, was there any trouble?" I answered, "How could there be, Swami!" Thereafter we proceeded in the same car to Poona and thence to Bombay, without a squeak or a spasm! At Bombay, when it was sent to the workshop for servicing, the mechanic asked the chauffeur, "How did those who came in this car reach Bombay alive? The spring plates of the front wheels are cracked!" While relating this miracle to Baba, the owner Java said, "The driver is a devotee," and I added, "The occupants are also devotees, Swami!" But Baba said, "Not you; the car is the devotee, a great devotee!"

That car had a personality and it prayed for Grace and got it! In fact, every artifact has human feelings Baba announced so. He affirms, what Jagadish Chandra Bose discovered, that machines get tired. He goes further and asserts that mountains weep. And that 'Saris' weep! At Bombay, later, he asked some one to bring for His selection and purchase, some saris to be given as gifts to the women laborers, who helped build the Sathya Sai College at Anantapur. He selected 96 and rejected four! He kept the rejected ones apart, so that they could be returned!

When Baba returned an hour later, to the table on which they were kept, he found signs of tears. Calling our attention to this He said, "Poor things! They are sorry I kept them aside! All right. I shall take them also to Anantapur with Me." Months later, He repeated this incident at a meeting at Prasanthi Nilayam, when He was describing the Puranic story of Govardhana Hill. When Rama decided to build a bridge over the sea towards Lanka, [see: Ramkatha Rasavahini, Chapter 7] the Divine monkeys in His army pulled huge mountain peaks up by their roots and passed them along the conveyor belt from shoulder to shoulder, until they were finally dropped into the sea. After the construction of the bridge, the mountains were not required any more. At this, each monkey kept aside whatever peak it had with it, and hurried to the bridge head, with the result that one mountain that had been plucked from its native spot and brought pretty far, started weeping!

Rama heard its wail and consoled it, saying, "Stay! I shall use you when I incarnate next, and hold you as an umbrella to save the Yadavas from the anger of God Indra." "The hill that wept was Govardhan," Baba announced.

At Dharwar, Baba expressed concern that a large number of persons were waiting until the small hours of the next day to have His Darsan. He moved among them, and quenched their thirst with a gentle glance, an affectionate pat, a word scarcely heard or a look of recognition, a questioning brow, and sometimes, a pinch of ash created on the spot for a person found ill; or the acceptance of a bow, or letter, a flower or prayer.

That night people slept on ground that had been consecrated by His Feet. Dawn found them at Bhajan or with rosaries. Baba spoke to the office bearers of the Seva Samithi Units about the immense significance of Nagara Sankirtan. I felt that this choir movement was really more profound than the Dandi march to the sea, for, the imperialism of the six passions (*) that rule over men is much more insidious than the imperialism that the Salt Satyagraha was designed to destroy. This movement where good men march into the nooks of hate and greed in every village with the name of God on their lips, along every lane polluted by anger and avarice, was the thin end of the wedge, destined to put a stop to the decline of Dharma among mankind.

Baba was present at the dais in the Shamiana for some time during the noon Bhajan, and, started off towards Poona, soon after lunch. Passing through Belgaum and Satara, where devotees had Darsan, the cars sped on, Baba keeping every one fresh and happy! Baba stayed at Jamnagar House, on the outskirts of the city of Poona, but that did not discourage those who had tasted the sweetness of the Sai Name. The lawn of the house was dotted with devoted groups sitting in meditation during the early hours of the next day, and by about 7, it was no longer lawn! It was a multicolored flower-bed of bright eyes, looking up in ardent plaint, towards a room on the first floor, where they knew Baba was. Baba went down among them and rewarded them for their earnestness.

Dr. Adke and his son Manohar, an engineer at Bhadravati, accompanied Him to Poona. Baba was conferring on the son, signs of His Grace at Bhadravati itself for, Vibhuti was showering from the portrait of Baba which he worshipped at home! While father and son were taking leave of Baba, Manohar held before Him the ring He had materialized for him, months back, at the end of the unforgettable Karnataka tour. Its yellow gem was a little chipped in one corner. "Do you require me to repair it? O, you want My Form on it, is that it?" He said, taking it in His hands. "No! You are an engineer. Your hands are ever busy handling machinery, or ought to be. If I give you My Form on it , it will get scarred, and grated. Poor fellow, you will have no peace then. I shall give you My Form on the ring when you go for higher studies overseas." With that, He held the ring between the thumb and forefinger, high for all to see and blew on it once, a little hard. "You are lucky." Baba said.

Yes, indeed! His ring had disappeared. In its place shining in Baba's hand was a brilliant ring of burnished gold, with no gem, but with the letter M embossed most charmingly, by some skilled artist. "You get more gold now." Baba said, putting it on his finger, "And it is not Morarji gold." That is to say, it is not 14 carat, as Morarji Desai wanted all ornaments of gold to be, when he was Finance Minister of the Government of India! It was 22 carat gold! Baba left Poona at about 10.30 a.m.

Dharmakshetra was called over the phone, and informed that Baba would be arriving only at about 1 p.m. and the huge gathering there was advised to go home, since they had been waiting for Baba from 10 in the morning. He had stayed on at Poona, and did not want them to stay hungry. But no one stirred! No car out of the hundreds parked in the broiling sun budged! A Parsi gentleman, who had been waiting since 8, seated in the front row near the dais, was asked by his wife whether he intended to leave, for she had persuaded him to come after Herculean efforts, to take the Darsan of Baba. He did not want to miss a chance of witnessing this strange phenomenon that fascinated millions in the world. So, he decided to stay, though the sun was burning the top of his head and the ground underneath him was hot. He was thankful that he had worn two pairs of socks for, he was warned early that shoes had to be removed at the gate itself!

At ten minutes past one, Baba came. His car stopped at the gate, and Baba walked slowly up the grueling hot pathway rising sharply when it neared the dais! The Parsi gentleman cast a look at Him, his first, and tears gushed and hid the next look. Baba was barefooted! Yes! Baba's feet, soft and tender, sweet, silken and small, were moving over the hot sandstrewn pathways between the squatting thousands! He could have driven on straight to the apartment on the first floor of Sathyadeep at Dharmakshetra! But He demonstrated the truth that he who seeks to lead, must share the travail with those whom he calls to follow! He blazes the trail, goading others to aspire. The gentleman went home and came back soon, to attend the evening Bhajan after which he hoped Baba would give His Discourse!

The teachers of the Sathya Sai Bala Vihars of Bombay City had arranged an exhibition of children's art, and Baba went into the hall where it was held. The exhibits revealed the lispings of the new age in education, which is being inspired all over the country, the child being oriented towards God to discover the mystery of existence. The answers discovered so far by sages are not being understood today because those questions are not being asked. Now Baba is offering a synthesis of those answers of the ancient seers.

The children knew that trees blossomed because Krishna leaned against the trunk! Cows were happy, since Krishna patted them. A boat was worth drawing, because Rama and Sita and Lakshmana used it to cross the Ganga [see: Ramkatha Rasavahini, Chapter 14]. A horse is a good subject for painting since it carried Siddhartha from palace to forest, on his historic journey to discover the remedy for human grief. Many tried to make models of Prasanthi Nilayam, which they had enshrined in their hearts as the abode of God. Others took delight in drawing Baba, as He was at Shirdi or as He is now. Reverence and care were evident in every line; they are enough credentials for receiving Grace. There were models and drawings of Dwarakamayi, Dakshineswar, Govardhan, St. Peters, Juma Masjid, and other places associated with man's undying yearning for God. That night the children enacted a play in the Divine Presence. Toddlers of six and seven expressed emotions of poignancy, surprise, resentment, triumph, pity and pride so clearly and genuinely that the play gripped attention and won appreciation. There was not a dry eye in the hall when two children enacted the scene where Lakshmana, under orders from his elder brother Rama, took Sita, unsuspectingly, into the thick forest and deserted her there, leaving her to the care of the sylvan deities. [See: Ramkatha Rasavahini, Chapter 3]. The scene where Lakshmana retraces his steps to the capital and Sita discovers that she is left alone to the tender mercies of the forest and his denizens pulled the heartstrings of every one in the audience until they nearly broke. Baba, whose presence inspired the children beyond measure, caressed them and blessed them, and appreciated the teachers who had trained them and directed the play. He wanted that the play be enacted during Dasara at Prasanthi Nilayam, a great occasion, when thousands from all over the world could be thrilled by their innocence and charm.

12th May was the day when Baba inaugurated Dharmakshetra in 1968; it is a red letter day in the calendar of Bombay and in the chronology of the Sai Era. No wonder therefore that the city celebrates the day with "Thanks giving." The multi-lingual, multi-credal, multi-state population of Bombay gathered in massive numbers and chanted Bhajans continuously for ten hours, as their offering of adoration. When newspapers were carrying banner headlines on the Bhiwandi riots fanned by fanaticism and fed by fear and falsehood, this celebration was an assurance, a promise, an oasis of faith and strength.

Baba referred to the surgent of communal riots and the sudden emergence of faith in violence as a solution for the problems of life. 

"Look at a tree! The roots, the trunk, the branches, the twigs, the bark, the timber, the pith, the sap, the leaf, the bud, blossom and fruit, the seed - each has a distinct taste, color, feel, smell and shine; but, you do not deny that they are all from the same seed. Each has its separate use and function. All have been fostered by earth and sun. 'Bîjam mâm sarva-bhûtânâm', [BG - Ch.7:10] says the Lord in the Gîtâ: I am the seed of all Creation! It is a pity that man is indulging in the arts of slander and faction, mudslinging and character-assassination, hatred and war so that his ego might be satisfied. Love is the best balm to quieten anger." 

 


[BG 7:15-16] The ones who do evil and the foolish do not surrender to Me; the lowest of mankind whose knowledge is stolen by this mâyâ have adopted the atheÔstic [demoniac] nature. (16) Of the pious of men there are four kinds that are devoted to Me, o Arjuna: the distressed, the inquisitive, the ones desiring material gain and the ones who know things as they are as well, o great one of the Bhârata's.

It gave the listeners good cheer and an armour against fear.

Sri M.M. Pinge, State President of Maharashtra for Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations is the founder and administrator of a very efficient chain of institutes known as Pinge's Classes which prepare thousands of students from offices, factories, fields and homes for various technical and other examinations, helping them to improve their skills and abilities. The silver jubilee of this vast network of schools was celebrated at the Rang Bhavan Auditorium, on the 13th May in the Divine Presence of Bhagavan. The cream of Bombay's intellectual and artistic elite were there, as well as a large number of students and teachers from many colleges.

When He was led to the dais where a special chair had been placed for Him, Baba quietly turned towards the audience. He moved among the people, with his heart-warming smile, and the loving look of one's dearest kinsman and friend. While the Invocatory Verses adoring Him were being sung, He was busy with His mission of showering Ananda (bliss) on parched eyes.

Later, He ascended the dais and stood for a few minutes leaning forward on the back of a chair. Then He sat on the carpet, a picture of Divine Charm, to the delight and amazement of the spellbound gathering. When Dr. Gokak, Sri Bharde and Sri Sawant and other distinguished guests came upon the dais, Baba rose and occupied the special chair, and bade the proceedings to begin. Dr. V. K. Gokak, a clear and forthright thinker on educational and allied problems, who had been principal for many years and who was the vice-chancellor of the Bangalore University, addressing the gathering said, "I shall only draw upon the educational ideals put before us by Bhagavan, for, they alone can save us from the sad state into which the system has landed itself. Baba has laid down the cardinal principles that should be the very basis of education - unquestioning loyalty to truth, faith in righteous activity, cultivation of serenity and the spontaneous upsurge of Love. Baba has put Atma Vidya (learning of the inner reality) in the very core of the system, for where the centre does not hold, where there is no soul-sight, things are bound to fall apart. Baba has emphasized that education must impart knowledge, develop skill, confer balance and implant insight. The student must become a useful member of society, earning not only his bread, but bread for others in the community. Destructive attitudes are prolific in the soil of imbalance; the vibrant energy of youth must be given constructive outlets, so that the balance is set right. Their emotions have to be chastened, not by reading moral texts, but by means of contact with men of mature minds, integrated personalities, impartial but beneficent servants of mankind."

Baba in His Discourse referred to the four cardinal principles, knowledge, skill, balance, and insight about which Gokak had spoken, and said that knowledge is gained through the senses, inference, and observation. At some unfortunate periods of history this knowledge is used not for integration but for the disintegration, not for the well-being of man but for the skilful destruction of man. So the skill gained through knowledge turns out to 'Kill,' consequently disturbing the balance; hence 'insight' turns into 'outsight,' the pursuit of sensual pleasure in the outer world.

Continuing, Baba observed, 

"Sri Rama paying heed to flippant scandals, respecting public opinion, sent His Queen to exile (see: Ramkatha Rasavahini, Chapter 13). Socialism was observed in practice considering that the peasants and workers were honored during the age of Rama and Krishna." "Krishna tended cattle; his elder brother, Balarama (an Incarnation in his own right) had as his constant companion, a plough. They both declared that agriculture and cattle-rearing were consecrated occupations."

 


"Although with modern speed, the continents of the world have been knitted closer to each other, yet mankind has not learnt the art of living as one human family in the Universe. With the advance of science, man has obtained higher techniques for controlling outer nature to a large extent, but has yet to learn to control his inner nature. This he can acquire through study and practice of the ancient way of life."

Therefore Baba exhorted all to plan and establish a new educational system "which will instill discipline, canalize passions, control emotions and equip youth for mutual co-operation, compassion and comradeship, calm deliberation and constructive service. At present, education equips youth only with a begging bowl, entitling them to clamor for jobs!" Baba said that He would establish a college in Bombay City if "you first prepare students worthy of entering its portals." "Teach them spiritual truths and the discipline that promotes their translation into daily life. Intellect without integrity is infructuous and injurious. Politics without principles, education without character, science without morality are positively poisonous."

On the 14th, Baba blessed hundreds of children, who are being prepared with devout care to enter the portals of His Grace, through Bala Vihar classes all over Bombay. Later during the day Baba proceeded to Jamnagar in Gujarat, by a specially chartered plane. The scorching heat was unbearable; the tarmac was a trail of fire. And yet, thousands greeted the plane and rushed to have the coveted Darsan. At this, Baba willed shade and breeze, and as He stepped out of the plane, the change in weather was miraculously sudden and satisfying. Every one felt a thrill of joy from head to foot at this sign of Grace. The Rajamata of Nawanagar was the happiest of all.

At 'Amar Vilas' Palace, Baba was received, by a guard of honor provided by the home guards (men and women) with the Police band in attendance. In the evening more than ten thousand people had the long-awaited chance to listen to Baba's discourse and the enchanting Bhajans which He sings, in order to initiate man into the path of faith. Baba said that congregational singing of the Glory of the Lord will fill the atmosphere, internal and external, with Love.

On the 15th Baba left for Dwaraka, 150 miles away, with the Rajamata and members of His party. All along the route, in the busy squares of cities on quiet suburban roads or in the midst of flat treeless wastes, clusters of families had gathered to catch a glimpse; they had inscribed Baba in their hearts and taken His pictures into their shrines. As we drove along, the pages of the Bhagavatha unfolded before our eyes: Lord Krishna was re-entering His ancient homeland, we felt. [See also: Srîmad Bhâgavatam]

The people of Dwaraka, and Sai devotees from other towns had filled the wide corridors of the Krishna Temple, long before Baba arrived, while He could go smoothly in, through the thick mass, we were pushed, jostled and pressed; so seeing our plight, Baba came out of the temple to draw those Gopas and Gopies into a wider space. When we were inching our way to have a Darsan of 'Krishna,' the inhabitants of Krishna's City were swarming around the Sai Krishna. They feasted their eyes on Baba, and congratulated each other.

 


Krishna, Balarâma and little friends with their calves! 

Baba left for Mithapur, where the employees of the chemical and allied factories established by Tatas were having a Bhajan Mandali for years. On the way to Mithapur, Baba inquired from a devotee accompanying Him, if he would like to go back and see the Shrine of Dwaraka and have a Darsan of the idol of Krishna installed there; the devotee affectionately prayed that he may not be sent back to Dwaraka, as he was very happy to be in the presence of Sai Krishna. A continuous stream of men, women and children flowed on to the lawns around the Guest House. Baba moved among them showering compassion and charm.

While returning to Jamnagar in the evening, Baba was full of sympathy with us for the confusion and congestion inside the temple which deprived us of Darsan of the Lord of Dwaraka, Krishna, as installed in the temple. Suddenly He said, "O! the sea is here!" and the cars stopped. We came upon a wide patch of sandy shore, with a temple on a heap of rocks at one end. The place was called, we learnt later, Kuranga, meaning 'the deer'. The sea and the wave always elicit the playfulness inherent in Baba. For His play was first evinced when a tiny titillating wave appeared on the deep calmness of Fullness. He walked along the watery edge, gleefully daring the mischievous cohorts of waves. He laughed when others were drenched with saline stuff. He picked shells and searched for more, and sat on the sands at last, as Krishna must have sat, some fifty centuries ago.

He heaped the soft sand to the height of a cubit in front of Him, putting us all into a state of extreme expectancy. He flattened the heap and drew on it with His finger a three-slanted line. He drew a rough circle on top; he added a small triangle over it. He drew a short line across a circle. "It is ready," He said, wiping the sand from His palms.

We were unable to guess what exactly was ready, though the line must have been for the "Thri-bhangi body," the circle the head; the small triangle, the peacock feather and the line across, the Flute! 'It is ready,' He said and digging His hands deep into the pile, He drew forth a bright golden image about 15 inches high of Lord Krishna playing the flute, the very acme of the goldsmith's art and craftsmanship. "You did not get Darsan of Krishna in the temple; have it, now," He invited us. It was a moment of 'supreme' ecstasy.

The image was iconographically perfect; we could see a captivating smile playing around the golden lips. We do not know how long we sat contemplating the majestic beauty of the Krishna before us. It was Baba who awakened us. "Come, let us go." The chauffeur of the Jamnagar Palace was the first to rise: Baba noticed his wonder-filled eyes. He asked him, "Which is your favorite God-form?" He replied, "Amba-Bhavani" (Lord Shiva's consort)  The divine Hand went through the circular wave twice and a float round gold plate with the figure of Amba-Bhavani embossed on it was ready for him.

Reaching Jamnagar at 9 a.m., Baba saw thousands still engaged in Bhajan, hoping that He would approach them and move along the lanes they had set apart. They were not disappointed. A few were even lucky to receive Vibhuti created to alleviate their particular ailments.

On the 16th, Baba drove to the Ayurvedic University, established and endowed by the Nawanagar Royal Family, the only one in India devoted to the teaching of that ancient science of healing. It lays great emphasis on the hidden springs of strength in man and the vast reservoirs of well-being which can be tapped through Yoga and mantra, meditation and detachment.

"Ayur Veda or the Scripture of Living." To promote research, to unravel the intricacies of Ayurvedic texts and discover the ancient remedies for modern illnesses, the University has a band of devoted experts. Baba blessed each of them in his own laboratory and worktable. He passed through the entire complex of the University, bringing cheer with every word and look of His.

Thence, He drove to a bungalow called Indraprastha where members of the Sathya Sai Seva Dal were receiving advanced training in "Service as Spiritual Sadhana." He spoke to them of faith and fidelity, obedience and surrender, love, renunciation and service. "Remain always ready to receive the rays of the sun, imparting illumination, health and joy." "Religion springs not from the intellect but from the will to love."

In the evening, Baba addressed the rotarians of Jamnagar at the town hall. He warned them against the futility of speeches and dinners. He told them about the fatal consequences of resorting to artificial methods of birth control. Contraceptives will lead to mental disorders, to increased irreverence and irresponsibility, and deterioration of the moral standards upheld by Indian culture. "Spiritual discipline, intensification of Japa, Dhyana, Seva and Sankirtan - these can achieve the same end, without landing the human community in the morass of animality," Baba said.

Well! The Sea prayed for Baba's Presence again! About 9 at night, Baba drove to Balachchdi seashore, near the Sainik school. The staff of the Sainik school joined the party at Bhajan. Baba sat on the soft sands by the side of murmuring waves. In the midst of the Bhajans, Baba inquired from Dr. V. K. Gokak the implication of the letters V and K; and when he started telling "V for Vinayaka," Baba created out of the sand, a "silver" idol of Vinayaka and handed it over to him.

He related the story of the birth of Vinayaka and explained the meaning of Vinayaka, as the great leader or as the One without a bigger leader whom he has to follow. Then, he asked those around Him: "Ask for anything you want from Me now." Most of us asked for Grace only, but He insisted we should ask for some concrete article He would create. While brains were busy formulating the needs, He created a picture of Vinayaka, an exquisite calligraphic marvel, each line, big or small, being an Om - the ear, the mouth, the eye, in fact, the entire picture was a composition of a 100 OM's, drawn with skill and care, to represent Vinayaka, the elephant-headed God. One person wanted a ring and he got it - made of gold with Baba's portrait in enamel. Another asked for a rosary and she got it, 108 Rudrakshi beads, encased in gold. The principal of the Sainik school - blessed be his name - prayed for some auspicious gift for his school! Unhesitatingly, Baba played with the sand, pouring it through His fingers and, there was in His hand for all to see, a beautiful five-inch 'silver' idol of Annapoorna, the Goddess of Plenty, who confers food on all Her children. "Keep this in the dining hall. The boys will eat with relish, and flourish amazingly," Baba announced. "Anna, the food, which she gives. Poorna, to the full, is not only for the Body; Anna means 'in take,' through the mouth, the senses, the brain, the nerves. So, this Goddess will grant sustenance for the body, the mind and the spirit, of the teachers and the taught in your school," He blessed. Two hours of mystery, suspense and divine delight were spent there.

The 17th was an epoch-making day. Baba 'charged the Somanath Shrine' that day with Divine potency. He also fulfilled the prayers of the late Jamsahed of Nawanagar, the person primarily responsible for the renovation of that historic temple, by visiting the place and allowing His Name to be associated with a structure that is a limb of that complex. The Rajamata succeeded in persuading Baba to inaugurate the imposing architectural gem called Dig Vijaya Dwar (after Sri Digvijaya Singh, the late Jamsaheb), the Gateway of Victory.

This temple is situated on a spot celebrated in the Vedas and Epics. The shrine is of Shiva, as Sauma, with Uma, as Shiva-Sakthi. Baba has come as Shiva-Sakthi in human form to charge the ancient shrine with Divine potency. The Shivayogis who specialized in Soma Vidya and the followers of the Pasupatha cult founded by sage Lakulisa about 200 AD, spread the fame of this temple from sea to sea. They established Somanaths with Somesvara Shrines all over the land, in Ratnagiri, E. Godavari, Purnea, Jodhpur, Mysore, and South Kanara Districts.

Somanath was one of the richest temples of India. When the Muslims conquered and ruled over the Punjab and Sindh, it attracted the plunderers. Depredation, desecration, destruction, reconstruction and rededication became recurring chapters of its long history. The infamous raid by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026 AD was the third in the long list of catastrophes. The fifth temple too met with a similar fate, at the hands of the rulers of Delhi.

On Diwali Day, 1947, when the Indian Army entered Nawabdom of Junagadh and liberated the pathetically dilapidated pile of stone recognized by many as Somanath, it was rescued from those who could not appreciate the value and validity of idols, images and symbols of the Unknown and the Unknowable. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel announced that day, amidst the joyous roar of the waves of human and saline seas, "We have decided that Somanath should be reconstructed. This is a holy task in which all should participate."

The new temple (named Mahameru Prasad, like the previous ones) was planned closely on the basis of the earlier temples and now, the Gopuram, the main gateway through which seekers would enter into the portals of Jyothirlinga, was to be inaugurated by Someswara, come in human form: Shiva-Sakthi, come as Sathya Sai!

Baba declared that He would reveal, that day the genuine Somanath! This declaration filled us with wonder and enthusiastic exuberance. So all roads converging from Jamnagar to Somanath were shouting Jais in exhilaration. Baba was received at the decorated Shamiana in front of the Digvijayadwar by the trustees of the Somanath temple, as well as by the high officers of the District and States. Amidst strains of temple music, He walked on the red carpet laid on the steps, and opened the lock on the artistically carved and silver-embossed door with a silver key. Then, He proceeded along the festooned pathway, between rows of fresh banana trees, to the main shrine of Someshwar, the focal point of the faith of millions for millennia!

He entered the holy of holies; Brahmin Pandits were reciting Vedic Hymns which reverberated from the arched and conical roof, from the finial 150 feet above the ground! He directed that a plate be brought. He spread the fingers of His right hand and shook it over the plate, 108 silver Bilva leaves and 108 golden flowers fell from His hand in a clinking shower. They were reverentially touched by devotees 'for it is on their behalf and for their sake that the process of 'charging the 3 feet high Lingam' was being undertaken by Him. This Lingam had been recently installed, when Babu Rajendra Prasad, President of India, inaugurated the Temple. He poured the leaves of silver and flowers of gold on the Linga, as He had done at Srisailam when He was set on revitalizing the Linga there. It was like Ganga water poured into the stream of the Ganga.

Within seconds, He waved that Divine hand! Lo and behold, a ball of brilliant light manifested in His palm. I was at that time reciting within myself the Dwadasa-Jyothirlinga-Stotram, the verses in praise of the twelve "Lingas of Light" which every Hindu is exhorted to remember reverentially. The twelve include Viswesa or Varanasi, Kedarnath in the Himalayas, Rameswaram in the extreme south, Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakala at Ujjaini and Tryambaka in Nasik. But the very first in the list is "Sowrashtra Somanatha," Somanath of Sowrashtra. The Somanatha Linga is the only one of the twelve which is adored as Jyothirmayam, "Imbued with the splendor of light." And, Baba had the "Linga of Light" right now in His grasp! What a great moment was this, I wondered.

Then I remembered Baba's announcement: "I shall show you the genuine Somesvara Linga today!" so, this was It, the Genuine One, installed, as legend says, by Brahma Himself, and worshiped by the Moon-God, the God who presides over the mind of man.

In a pamphlet issued by the tourist department, it is said that Skanda Purana mentioned thousands of years ago that "the Sparsa Linga of Somanath is a 'Swayam-Bhu' (self-originated) Linga, of great prowess, as bright as the sun, of the size of an egg of a hen, which is situated underground." It is a characteristic of Vayu, air. These are the other Lingas representing the other four elements: Akash, Tejas, water and earth.

So the oval ball of light in His hand was the authentic Somesvara He had resolved to bring up from its underground niche, kept away since many centuries from depredation and desecration. The Sparsa (touch) Lingam was nestling for centuries under the Linga in the Shrine. This information was given to us by Baba, as well as by the priests and trustees. Baba waved His hand again and created a silver stand on which it could be placed. He gave it to the chief priest, "Let it be in the full light of day hereafter! Let pious eyes admire its brilliance and imprint its glory on their hearts. There is no need any more to keep it away. The avatar has come to remove all fear," Baba declared.

To make the triumphant emergence of Somesvara, Baba unfurled the flag on the towering finial over the central shrine. Thousands acclaimed 'Jai Bhagwan' as He gave Darsan on the temple steps. Baba left for Rajendra Bhavan at Veeraval and at 2 p.m. He motored to Keshod aerodrome from where He enplaned for Bombay. Over 30.000 devotees were awaiting the arrival of Baba at Dharmakshetra, Bombay.

Dr. Gokak gave them an intimate account of His Leelas and Mahimas, (signs of Divinity) at Jamnagar, Dwaraka and Somanath. Baba also spoke to them of the immanence of God in every being and the need to practice Sadhana and Seva

"You try to discover God, probing and peeping into every particle of the universe. Of course, if you have eyes to see, you can see Him there, too; for the universe is the Body of God. You are a spark of the Divine, so are all; so is everything!" He announced. "Before you experience the Divine in every being, in every cell and atom, you have to experience it as a totality of your being, that is, in your words, thoughts and deeds," He advised. [See for example: Srimad Bhagavatam, C2 : 1]

Baba left Bombay for Brindavan on the 20th. While conferring His blessings on the 25th at the Inauguration of the Bharath Engineering Workshop, He spoke of the employer-employee bond as a loving partnership for mutual strength and joy. On the first day of June, He visited the village of Kalkunte, hidden away behind a belt of trees, accessible only by a tortuous country road twelve miles long. Each hamlet on the hallowed road had erected a Pandal, where young and old were waiting with flowers to welcome Baba as he drove along. The villagers gathered at Kalkunte noticed a radiance on the distant hill; as Baba's car came nearer, the radiance around it was fringed with amber and gold. 

Baba alighted from the car and was preceded by priests chanting hymns from the ancient scriptures, followed by a band of temple musicians with pipe, drum and cymbal, and groups of peasants singing in chorus the glory of God. He walked about two furlongs towards the Sri Ranganatha Temple, where the form of God installed shows the Deity reclining in ease and directing unconcerned the Cosmic Play of Emergence, Sustenance and Mergence!

There Baba laid the foundation stone for a building to house the village school. During His discourse, He said, "Make yourselves moving temples. Become aware of the God that resides in you. It is He who protects you, provides for you, prevents you from falling prey to pernicious propensities." And referring to the school which was to move into the new building, He said, "I have entered the field of education and established colleges for the new era for both boys and girls in different states, for, these are temples of Saraswathi, the Goddess of Learning. Liberation can be achieved through the Awareness of Truth, by learning the Unity that underlies Diversity. Now, teachers and parents, comrades and elders tarnish the immaculate tendencies of children by setting wrong precepts. If they grow in an atmosphere of sacrifice and service, truth and justice, love and light, they will grow into pure, good, brave and active citizens. Now they are a perpetual problem to themselves and to the nation. If they are allowed to soak themselves in godliness, they are sure to be invaluable assets to themselves and to others."

That evening, the Bangalore Centre of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan had invited Baba at its premises and offered grateful homage, Sri R.R. Diwakar, a keen student and interpreter of Upanishadic and Post-Upanishadic mysticism and a Gandhian Sadhak honored by the country for his high-souled patriotism, welcomed Baba on behalf of all those assembled there. He spoke of Baba as the greatest and the most effective moral force in the world today. Baba pointed out that 

"It is the responsibility of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and kindred institutions to uphold the validity Bharatiya Vidaya or Atma Vidya and to demonstrate by precept and example, the lasting benefits it can bestow upon the individual and society. Churn the sacred scriptures and the text books on Yoga and other paths for self-realization and collect the nutritious butter and share it as the sustenance of mankind which is starving in the midst of pseudo-prosperity. Every worker at the Bhavan must shape himself into a perfect picture of the munificence of Bharatiya Vidya - that is to say, he must be tolerant of all faiths, patient in the face of odds, reverent towards the old, the sacred and the historic, and humble in spite of the insidious urge to demonstrate and display."

On 5th June, Baba reached Prasanthi Nilayam

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Bhajans

(*) The six passions are those pertaining to words, the mind, anger, the tongue, the stomach and the genitals.
The six faults are overeating, attachment to material things, inability to follow regulative principles, sense gratification, useless idle talk, and impure habits.
The six positive qualities are enthusiasm in practicing devotional service, firm faith in devotional processes, a strong desire to attain prema-bhakti, a favorable service attitude, avoidance of non-devotees, and appreciation of the company of devotees. 
The six methods of association are to go to an assembly of devotees, to invite devotees into one's home, to discuss and hear devotional topics, to take the mahâ-prasada of devotees and to offer mahâ-prasada to devotees.


  


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