Kondappa V.C., The Teacher
Biographer of Sathya Sai Baba
Fortunate to be His teacher,
grateful to be His devotee
V. C. Kondappa was Baba’s teacher at the school at Bukkapatnam and
Uravakonda. He was also one of his first devotees. Along with teachers
like Manchiraju Thammiraju and Sesha Iyengar, he would go to the
Thursday sessions to listen and benefit from the young Raju’s
spiritual wisdom. They would ask him questions. They treated him with
awe and respect – as a divine being. They would perform rituals, pujas
and attend bhajans.
When Raju went to Hospet during the
Dassera holidays, V. C. Kondappa also accompanied him. At his
insistence a photograph of Raju was taken in Hospet. It shows Raju as
a simple lad, wearing a four-cubit dhoti and half-sleeve shirt, with
cropped hair, sitting on a chair.
The greatest moment in Kondappa’s life
took place when he decided to write a book on the life of the young
Baba. This book, in Telugu, was called Sri Sayeeshuni Charitra
(The Life Story Of Lord Sai). Kondappa had obtained the poetical
contents from young Baba Himself.
One day V. C. Kondappa and Subbannachar,
another teacher (who wrote the foreword for the book) came to
Puttaparthi to satisfy their long-standing desire to know about the
early life of Shirdi Sai Baba, because the books available threw no
light on this unknown period.
They were wonder-struck when Sai Baba
revealed that He was Shirdi Sai Baba Himself. He also asked them to
stay there for the night, when He would narrate His life history,
granting them their heart’s wish, even before asking. That momentous
night, Baba narrated the life story of the first 16 years of Shirdi
Sai, as well as details of His own life.
V. C. Kondappa asked Baba, “You tell
everyone you are Shirdi Baba, reborn. What is the proof? Before I
write a book on you, I should know this.” It was then that Baba agreed
to reveal His identity to them. He gave them the Darshan of His
previous incarnation in flesh and blood. After this, though many
devotees prayed for this vision, Baba replied, “It cannot be granted
to everyone. There is a specific reason for this.”
Subsequently Baba took keen interest in
the preparation of the book. After the book had been released, one day
Baba asked Professor M. L. Leela to read the book in His presence on
the Chitravathi riverbed. When the sentence ‘Shirdi Sai Baba is now
reborn as Sri Sathya Sai Baba’ was read, Baba’s form changed to that
of Shirdi Sai Baba. From among the assembled crowd, her father,
Lokanatha Mudaliar rose shouting “Hey Sai! Hey Sai!” and rushed
towards Baba and hugged him tightly. Baba found it very difficult to
release Himself from Mudaliar’s embrace until His form again changed,
back to that of Sathya Sai.
For many years, Sri Sayeeshuni
Charitra was the most authoritative version of Baba’s biography.
N. Kasturi mentions that he, too, had learnt heavily on material in
this book for his biography Sathyam Sivam Sundaram.
Baba would often stay in Kondappa’s
house at Bukkapatnam. During one such visit, Baba told both Kondappa
and Subbannachar that an envious person was trying to poison Him with
poisoned vadas and warned them not to eat them. Baba’s warning turned
out to be true. Kondappa accompanied Baba on trips to various places
in those early days. He accompanied Baba on His first trip to
Anantapur to the house of Dr Vishwanadha Rao.
Today his sons survive Kondappa.
Baba still recalls this humble devotee and one time teacher with
fondness and respect. Here was a case where a Sandipani (guru of Lord
Krishna) had also become a Valmiki (biographer of Lord Rama).
V. C. Kondappa
Sai's Story - As reviewed by Swami to his Teacher
Sai Towers Publishing