By Manchiraju Thammiraju
It happened at Uravakonda, 24 years ago, when I was a teacher at
the High School there.
The most distinguished student of the school, Sathyanarayana,
already known as Sai Baba was absent; He had gone to Puttaparthy, the
village where He was born. My fourth son, Ramarao was the five years
of age. Uravakonda has few wells with drinkable water; my wife used to
go for it, to the "Bungalow Well". It used to take some bit of time
for her to walk up to the well, draw water and fill the pots and
return, especially, if the crowd was big. So, that day, she collected
the children from neighbouring houses for Ramarao to play with and
giving them a quantity of sugar in a cup, she asked them to play "Puja
of Sai Baba" and eat the sugar, after offering it to Baba. She then
left for the well, all the while lamenting in her heart at the absence,
in physical form, of Sathyanarayana, the present Avathar of Sai.
The children started Bhajana and Puja. And wonder of wonders, they
saw Sai Baba sitting on the wooden plank which Sathyanarayana had
given their parents to be placed near the shrine. They repeated some
Namavalis and did Puja to the Divine Visitor. They offered the cup of
sugar and, would you believe it, Baba ate some of it. The boys ate the
remainder. Then Ramarao ran out of the house to bring his mother in,
for he had heard her sigh for a Darshan of Shirdi Sai Baba.
The women from the well were about 20 yards away; the children ran
forward, shouting the good news and asking them to hurry up. But, they
found the plank empty. "Where has He gone?" they asked the children in
the room. They answered, "He went into that picture; we saw Him do it."
Of course, Baba had denied Darshan to us, who are immersed in
objective pleasure-seeking; but, He gave Darshan to those innocent
little kids and ate what they offered!
We went to Puttaparthy and asked Baba about this incident. Baba's
answer was: "Your wife felt forlorn that I was away here, far from her
and you. So, I presented Myself before Ramarao and the children, in
that Form, just to convince her (through the description of the
experience from these innocent children) that I am there always.
But, why did He choose 'that' Form, the form of Shirdi Sai Baba ?
The answer is, there is no 'that' Form or 'this' Form; both are the