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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Avatar

  Lokanatha Sai - Part 1
Part 2 - Part 3

By Smt. M L Leela


One more book is available since 1995, "Lokanatha Sai" by Smt. M L Leela. It is interesting to note that all these books are by women. This is probably proof of the Blessings of Bala Sai to the Gopikas in those days.  I shall try to share some details from this book (available in PN)  by Smt. Leela. Swami ordered her father to proceed with a temple construction in his land at Guindy, Chennai where the first Idol of Shirdi Sai Baba was installed by the Divine hands of Swami on 3 Feb. 1949. On 10 Jul 1946, while laying the foundation stone, Swami said, "This place is  going to become very sacred and famous soon (Prabalyam).  This is My first Mandir and it is My first Spiritual Centre".

First some interesting details about the temple as given in the book:

Kaka Bhujanga Nadi

The author of the book, Smt. M L Leela got some readings from Kaka Bhujanga Nadi to Shri Karunakaran Nair, Guindy,  Chennai. The Nadi describes Bhagawan as the reappearance of Shirdi Baba and eulogises Him: 

"Sathya Sai Swaroopa (1) Brahma Gnana Prakasa (2) Sarva Kala Prasanna (3) Chathur Veda Saramsa (4) Sarva Brahma Swarupa (5) Poorna Prasanna Brahma Shakthi (6) Sarva Vyapaka Pranava Jyothi" (7)  1 - One who is Embodiment of Truth 2 - One who shines in Divine Wisdom 3 - One who is Omnipresent 4 - One who is the very Quintessence of the 4 vedas 5 - The Embodiment of the Immanent Lord 6 - The All Pervading Full Divine Power 7 - The Effulgence of all embracing Mystic Symbol "OM"

The Nadi goes back to the days of Tippu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore who invaded Travancore in 1789. There was a great carnage in the town of Travandrum. Many Namboodris left for Benares. A teenager by name Neelakantan continued his studies at Benares and took to the life of a Monk, under the name Sathyananda. When he was about 100, he came to Nasik and Shirdi and was with Shirdi Baba for sometime. Finally he came to Alandur, near St. Thomas Mount, Chennai. Alandur was part of the ancient city of Vedapuri where there was a great Shiva temple, near the river Vedar, now known as Adyar. It was destroyed by Malik Gaffor and rebuilt by the kings of Vijayanagar. The site was overgrown with bushes and shrubs and probabaly this is the place where the present shrine of Shirdi Baba is in existence. This temple was consecrated by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

On 14 Dec. 1988, Sri Karunakaran Nair received the following readings from Kakabhujanga Nadi read by Sri A Natarajan: - "This Brahma Gnani having eight lettered name as Sri Sathya Narayana is world famous. He has the unique power of manifesting and being at one time in various parts of the world. By His mere Divine Will several diseases disappear, misunderstandings in the families cleared, and spiritual knowledge conferred on Sadhakas. The temple is established and governed by The Loka Rakshaka, Sri Sai Baba. In this place once lived Swami Sachindananda and his disciple Swami Sathyananda of ancient days and had attained Siddhi here. Swami Sathyananda had 3 disciples and their samadhis are at the Shiva temple in St. Thomas  Mount, at the entrance of Guindi Raliway station and the third at the turning in Alandur. This Devalayam (Baba's Temple) is very famous and lots of devotees get their desires fulfilled. But there are also persons who wish to destroy this temple's glory and they will be totally destroyed in due course. In this Temple Truth is established for ever. It vibrates Peace all around."

The reading ended with the following Manthra which can be chanted by all "Om Hreem Kreem - Sachidananda Parabrahma Sadananda Sivaswaroopa - Nagamaha Devatham Sarvasakthi Swaroopa - Sadhakala Gnanodhbhava Sathya Sai Manthra - Gnanamsa Tejaswaroopa Sareeri Krishna Paramesunamsa - Maha Brahmajyothi Swaha". 

The book also mentions that Swami Sathyananda had predicted during his life time and also written on palm leaf that to the right of his samadhi a Saint's temple would come into existence and to its left an industrial estate.  Now the Leelas from the book "Lokanatha Sai" by Smt. M L Leela

Both are same

Our family came to know about Shirdi Baba only when Swami ordered my father to build a Mandir at Guindy (Chennai) to install His "Paatha Sareeram" - Previous Body. From 1946 my father was building a Bungalow for Swami, so that He can stay in His own building in Madras. Shirdi Baba appeared in his dream and asked him to build a temple for Him. He rushed to Parthi and Baba gave him a small clay doll of Shirdi Baba and ordered him to proceed with the construction. In this temple, the first idol of Shirdi Baba was installed by the Divine hands on 3Feb.1949. At Shirdi, during that time, only a picture of Shirdi Sai was kept near the Samadhi and worshipped.

On 22Jun. 69, Baba gave a discourse at the Guindy Mandir, when He said, "The cup can be of any shape or design. ..... This is a temple where I have installed 21 years ago, one such Form which many love to picture as their most favoured cup! This is the Sai Form which sat and taught at Dwarakamayi in Shirdi".  

Baba had composed a Bhajan song where He sings, "... Shirdi yandu Neevu Bhaga, chithonthi theevi Sayi, Puttaparthi Gramamandu Puttonthi theevi Marala,  Punyamula kaka rummu Puttaparthi Puranivasa..." (You have taken your Form ar Shirdi and established there. Again to protect the good, You have reborn Yourself at the village of Puttaparthi).  

Shirdi Sai also incarnated in Apasthamba Sutra and  Bharadwaja Gothra. In Jan. 1949 Babaji visited Chincholi Palace near Hyderabad. Rani of Chincholi had seen both the Babas. Devotees Dixit and Sharadamma (Pedda Bottu) had lived with both the Babas.

Swami has shown His Previous Avatar to many and to me. He asked my father to spread a cloth and stood over it. It was the foot impression of Shirdi Baba, unlike the small one of Sri Sathya Sai. It is now decorating the sanctum at Guindy Mandir.  One day I was garlanding the idol of Shirdi Baba's bust in my Puja room. Suddenly the cloth tied over the head of Baba shook violently and became the curly haired head of Sri Sathya Sai. I dropped the garland and ran out to call my mother.   

Initiation 

My father went to Badrinath and Kedarnath on foot in 1940. In 1943 he was mentally affected by a black magician's wrath (details later). Lord Sai entered our  family, ushering in peace and spiritual solace. He became the presiding deity of the house. He literally became father, mother, brother, sister, Guru and God to each one of us. It was Swami Himself who convinced my father to send me to college after school days. At the examination, I used to smear Vibhuthi on all sheets and then only start answering the questions. When I went to Parthi, Swami asked me, "Why did you smear Vibhuthi on the pen and paper? You thought then I would answer for you or what?" I fell flat at His feet.

We used to witness His Omnipresence almost daily in our residence. While watching carrom board game, Swami would make small circles on top of the player's coin with His finger, and it would not move! Once glancing through a stamp album, Swami just moved His palm on them, and lo! all the royal heads in the stamps vanished and in their place were Bhagawan's heads!

Once Swami asked for a spiced vegetable dish "Kurma". It was not prepared. He covered an empty vessel and gave a pat. There was hot steaming Kurma to be served. Every second, every minute there would be some Divine Declaration, played in a very informal manner. Once while I was reading the novel "White Company" by Sherlock Holmes, Swami asked me to open any page I liked. He recited the contents of that page to my utter astonishment. 

As a botanist, once I had a large leaf of a Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa) in my copy of Gita book. Swami closed the book and gave a hard pat on the cover. He asked me to turn the pages. The leaf was dried to its skeleton. A leaf skeleton was there! I said it would take about a week to ten days, but it had to be soaked in chemicals, brushed, washed and dried. "Now how long did it take?" Swami asked, saying "See My palm. It is Agnihastha". He casually remarked and walked away.

Every new year I used to draw flowers to make greeting cards and send them to Bhagawan. He would manifest a stamp size photo of His, paste it in the center of the flower I had drawn and post it back to me as His Divine Greetings and Blessings for the New year!

The Lord enters

It was a Fiday in Sep.93. It was Dasara. Our house in Triplicane (Chennai) was very gloomy. My father M J Loganatha Mudaliar turned violent suddenly, in his office room. He had just returned after visiting his land at Guindy. Dr. Dhairyam of the mental hospital came and examined. It was of no avail. Suddenly he said, "Chakravarthi Rajagoplachari will be the first Governor Geeral of India. Subhash Chandra Bose is in Singapore" and so on. Past midnight, Saturday, he said that he had a vision. In the vision, a young Swamiji in red colored robe with curly hair entered our Puja room. He gave him sacred water three times and disappeared. My father was totally cured and quietly slept. 

Sunday 12noon - we saw that Swamiji standing right in front. My father tried to prostraste. The Swami said, "I came last night. How are you?" He waved His Divine Palms and tied a talisman around my father's neck. He manifested a lime fruit and kept it under my father's pillow. He said that my father had evicted a black magician from his land who used his witchcraft to turn my father mad for life. Swamiji asked us to dig and remove the remains of killed goat and chicken from the land. 

The young Swami, none other than Sri Sathya Sai Baba Varu, on His way to a devotee's place, told the driver to stop at our residence. The devotee was only our aunt Smt. C P Lalitha Bai (Laaliamma). We were immersed in Sai Consciousness. Evening we rushed to Egmore for His Darshan. He was 17 years, wearing yellow Dhoti and long gown. Swami led the Bhajan at 6PM. He broke coconut hitting one with the other, performed Arathi and distributed Prasad and flowers. Our entire make up totally changed and we felt like Gopas and Gopikas of Brindavan. 

He ordered my father to go to Parthi next day. Those days people had to go by bullock cart from Bukkapatnam or by walk to Parthi. Chitravathi was in floods. Swami was having lunch served by Smt. Konammagaru. He suddenly stopped eating and asked her to reserve some food for 'Loganathan', His devotee from Madras. 

Old Mandir

In 1944 Puttaparthi was a tiny hamlet of 2 lanes at right angles. Only one or two families from Bangalore and Madras used to be there at a time. They resided at cattle sheds for a nominal rent of four rupees per month. They spent all their time drinking the Nectar of Swami's Darshan Sparshan and Sambhashan. The first Mandir was opened on Friday December 14, 1945. Swami would be supervising the building work and inaugural function. We had the privilege of offering Him orange juice whenever He walked through the lanes. 

The young men were involved in climbing ladders, and hanging decorations and photos on the walls. Sometimes Swami would climb Himself. Smt. Savithriamma and group from Bangalore prepared the inaugural feast. Thanks to Swami's touch, the contents grew and there was enough to feed the entire village and devotees in hundreds. Swami came in procession, seated on a floral decoration with the idols of two Sais on either side (photos available in the book).

The invitation is in Telugu, Tamil(!) and English (photo available) and reads :

Om Sri Sai Sri Sathya Sai Baba Baktha Mandali requests the pleasure of your company on the occasion of Gruha Pravesam (Opening Ceremony) of New Bhajana Mandiram at Puttaparthi, Bukkapatnam P O Penukonda Taluk, Anantapur Dist. on Friday 14th December 1945, at 10 AM  - Sri Sri Baba Baktha Mandali (Corrections made by hand in the invitation for Mandali (n-missing) and Puttaparthi (r-missing). The invitation has pictures of Shirdi Sai and BalaSai.)

Swami installed the two idols in the main prayer hall with large canvas paintings of both Babas and pictures of other deities. A screen was used to for covering the shrine, after daily Puja. Swami Himself would perform the Puja. He would dust the pictures and clean and decorate the idols. Swami would lead the Bhajan, followed by His sister Venkamma and other devotees. The first song was "Sree Ganesha Sivuni Kumara" (Sundaram casette V33, A1). He would hit two coconuts against each other and sprinkle the water on all present. He would perform Arathi to Himself and show it to all of us. We would sing "Poojinthu Maa, mana Sayi nee..." and end with the Arathi song "Paavana Purusha Saayeesa". Swami would give us Prasad - coconut scrappings mixed with sugar. He used to sing "Sai Rama mana prasada midigo Randi Bhakthularaaa" (Receive the Divine Prasad of our Sai Rama). He would grant interview to everyone. There was no fixed time. As they arrived, they were ushered in for interview.

Reaching Parthi was a Herculean task. Every time we were forced to take a new unknown route because of floods in Chitravathi. Once it was dark and we spotted a huge cobra of 20 to 25 feet long, comfortably lying across the hilly track. We were forced to return to the hut of the lambadies. Next day we found Swami standing at the gate of the Mandir. He said, "Did the cobra do anything? You had surrendered to Me and started your journey. It was My responsiblity to protect you in the form of cobra, from being waylaid by dacoits". 

The Mandir had only 4 rooms. There were 5 kitchens in a row at the back. On the inauguration day, Swami went to a corner and placed His Palm on the ground. Soon a spring rose. It was fresh water. Swami ordered a well to be dug there. This was the only source of drinking water for the entire village. Even in summer, the water level remained the same. The devotees slept in the open space with Swami's cot in the centre. His belongings were meagre, unlike His vast heart.

The women tied jasmine garlands in the afternoons. Swami tied very fast and many times longer than others. He used to teach different ways of making garlands. He would invariably peep into the kitchen and would prepare whatever item was left on the fire. He used to prepare puris. Swami used to inform my mother daily on how may devotees would arrive and she had to prepare food accordingly. Swami would touch the vessels and the  contents would grow. Sometimes we watched Swami swimming, showing various feats under water! 

Swami would not rest even a few minutes in the afternoon. Newly weds would come for puja. Swami would break coconuts, perform Arathi and give them Prasad. Many times, two brides accompanied a single bridegroom. Other disturbances in the afternoon would be frequent arrival of villagers, holding their fingers or toes, stung by scorpion or cobra. Swami would manifest Vibuthi and apply. An instant relief would be visible. It was a great delight to see Swami take oil bath. Smt. Konamma and others had to draw several pitchers of water. The young ones had to apply oil on His lotus feet, and the elders on His head and body. The bath used to take about 3 hours. It would be a rare sight to see a shy Swami in a Dhoti and towel.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner would be common for all, including Swami. Men and women would sit in separate rows with Swami at the center. Breakfast was invariably Uppuma or Pongal. Swami would mix everything and offer to each one. One day Swami gave each one a handful of Uppuma. Some of us found sweets and chocolates inside. Childless women got dates. One got Maragatha (emerald) Lingam. Some received lockets, talisman and so on. "The Joy of the devotees gives Joy to the Lord, the Joy of the Lord is the reward for the devotee".

Some devotees (mostly women), possessed, would go for relief. Swami would rush towards them and ask some questions. The spirits would narrate the story leading to extreme action like suicide. Suddenly they would compose a song on Swami as God. They would say that they were waiting for a chance to be at His lotus feet and for relief and 'release'. Swami would pluck a tuft of hair, manifest a talisman and insert a single strand in it and tie it round the neck. The person would be unconscious for a few hours or days.

They would then have healthy clear looks. Some spirits were great devotees of Lord Narasimha or Hanuman. Swami would manifest these idols and give to the 'host' of the spirit after its release, for worship. These instances regularly disturbed Swami at all odd hours. 

After shifting to PN in 1950, we never witnessed such scenes. Swami said that His Divine Power is extended to the penumbra of PN and when such persons reached PN, the evil spirits left instantly.

Swami would lead the Bhajans. Sometimes He would sing Thyagaraja Keerthanas only or sing only Meera Bhajans. The Altar had a Ganesha idol, of granite. One day, while doing Bhajans, Swami took some flowers and threw on Ganesha. Instantly the garland on Ganesha, lifted like a Cobra and twisted around the neck of Lord Ganesha. After a few minutes, Swami again threw some flowers and the movement stopped. Here Swami has given Chethana (life) to Achethana object (matter).

When singing on Radha and Krishna , we would see Him transform into Radha Devi. She appeared like a Rajasthani, head covered with saree and wearing nose ring, a pendant like jewel between the nostrils and a large kum-kum mark on forehead. Swami would sing in Madhurabahva (sweet temperament) with tears rolling down. All songs would be on her, longing to see Krishna. Similarly when Swami sang Meera Bhajans, He would become Meera. What had been Swami's intention in making us enjoy this Divine Bliss? Parthi was like Brindavan and Swami was Lord Krishna. We were all like Gopikas. We were immersed in Bhakthi Bhava. Early morning we used to sing, "Meluko Sai Krishna" (wake up Sai Krishna) composed by Smt. Sundaramma. Her song, "Tulasi Maala idigo Swami" (we offer Tulasi garland) used to thrill us. All the time we had satsangh only. Swami's informal discourses touched on Bhakthi Maga only, from Ramayana and Bhagavatha.

The first DASARA was celebrated in October 1946. Swami was seated as Sai Maa. Two young girls, myself and Kuppam Vijaya (of Anyatha saranam Nasthi?) performed Kumkum Archana on His Lotus feet. The women devotees did archana on plates, in two rows. Each of us would carry the plate and offer the kum-kum directly at the Lord's feet. Arathi would then be performed. Swami would distribute Prasad. On Vijayadasami Swami would wear the dress of a King (by Sakkamma) in gold brocade and bedecked in royal jewels, with strings of pearls and necklaces of diamonds and gems. His wrist would be adorned with gold bracelets studded with gems. He came in a palanquin, aimed an arrow at Vanni tree (Prosopis) on the outskirts. He was assuming the role of Puttaparthi Chakravarthi. It was a great feast to see the Spiritual Emperor of the Universe! I am reminded of a poem by Him declaring Himself as Puttaparthi Sath Chakravarthi -  ...... Sri Sathya Sai Nadhundu Sri Lokanadhu Sachidanandamurthi, Sri Sai Puttaparthi Sath Chakravarthi (complete poem and meaning available in the book)

The Dasara was followed by the first public celebration of the Birthday, on 23 Nov. 1946. Holy oil was smeared on Swami's Head by Swami's parents, followed by all couples. It was a rare privilege. Each woman was blessed with a blouse piece and a silver kum-kum box. 

All devotees had Direct access to Swami. The rich and poor, speaking different languages, stayed like a well knit Sai Family. Everyone cared for the welfare of others. (Those who have Him as their family Deity, will enjoy all comforts and become a single family (Sai family). - Sri Kaka Bhujanda Nadi). It looked as though Lord Krishana's days at Brindavan were being relived. Swami would always refer to His place as the native house (Puttina illu) of His devotees. He would never allow any one of us to leave on a Friday. He would normally sing while distributing the parting Prasad, "We are leaving Thee, Swami, which is unbearable, come along with us". 

On certain Poornami (full moon) days, Swami would sit at the center of the open space at the back. We would serve the items in His plate and sit around Him with our plates. He would ask some of the good singers to sing. Once the song happened to be on Lord Shiva. Suddenly, we saw Swami as Lord Shiva with Jata, Ganga and a Crescent on His head, Vibuthi on forehead, Rudraksha garlands, and clad in a cloudy white dress. All of us merged with Him,  lost in meditation. He tempted us with such Darshans which were easily acquired, without any Tapas (Penance) on our part. Overpowered by gratitude, we sang "Bolo Bolo Submil Bolo Om Namashivaya .......". (All mortals are not fit for Tapas. To show them how to get Divine Blessings without Tapas, and to make them rise to that level by the example of His life, God has come as Sai in human form to show His Leelas. To make people Divine without Tapas, is the Avataric Mission of Sai. - Sri Kaka Bhujanda Nadi)

There was no electricity those days and Mandir had its own Dynamo. During the world war, whenever thee was shortage of petrol, Swami would ask us to fill the can with water. He would insert His forefinger and shake the water. Soon we would have petrol to run the Dynamo.

Padapuja used to be a regular feature, quite informal, sometimes several times a day. Any one can bring a bottle of rose water and request Swami. He would sit in His chair. The devotee would place a plate beneath His feet and perform Abhishekam to the Lotus feet with rose water, collect it and take it home. It had the efficacy to cure all diseases. There used to be 'formal' Padapujas during birthdays of devotees. Every Thursday, Swami's lotus feet were smeared with turmeric paste or sandal paste. Kum-kum was also placed. A floral garland would then be placed and Arathi taken.We used to sing, "Pradha charanam Sree Guru Charanam......"

Sometimes we would take foot prints of Lotus feet, smeared with turmeric paste. Swami would allow any number. Once a 'Chakra' was on the center of the right foot and a 'Shanka' on left foot in the print. Another time one footprint was larger than the other. Swami said they were the foot prints of Shiva and Shakthi.

At Guindy Mandir, on 3 Feb. 1949, after the installation, Bhagawan went into a trance at our residence in Triplicane. He got up and asked my father to spread a cloth under His feet. He blessed us with the Foot Prints of Lord Shirdi Sai. It is larger than that of Sri Sathya Sai. He directed us to keep it framed in the Guindy Mandir. It still adornes the shrine. Swami said, "You can see the Foot Prints of God wherever there is Beauty, Virtue, Humility, Justice, Truth, Love and Peace. You can hear the footsteps of God only when Silence reigns in the mind". 

Sometimes Swami would manifest and distribute the Prasad placed at the Shirdi Sai Samadhi. He had also given us bits of the old 'Khafini' worn by Shirdi Sai. Sometimes, Swami would suddenly fall like a log of wood. He would have gone far, to rescue some devotee in peril. It would extend from 10 minutes to a few hours. We would even hear Swami talking to someone in a different language. Later He would tell us how He had gone to save some devotee. Once in Madras, after a trance for half an hour, He said He had gone to give Darshan to Abdul Baba (Desciple of Shirdi Sai) in Shirdi, who was merging at His lotus feet. The next day we read the report in newspapers.  Once while returning from Coonoor, Swami asked why my father had not come to receive Him. We told Him about severe attack of malaria. At Mandir, we were quite surprised to see father quite healthy, prostrating at His Lotus Feet.  He revealed that Swami visited him and disappeared after giving Vibuthi. Swami was present at two places at the same time.

Vishnu Lakshmi Kalyanam

My father used to go to Tiruppathi twice a month for Darshan of Lord Venkateshwara. Swami leveled the sands at Chithravathi and pulled out two idols. He gave the Venkateshwara idol to my father and that of Goddess Lakshmi to Smt. Sundarammal, daughter of Seshagitri Rao. Ever since, my father could not go once to Tiruppathi, in spite of several attempts. Swami announced the marriage of the two idols. The old Mandir became the bridegroom's place and Karnam's place was bride's residence. Swami got a  piece of red silk cloth from my mother. He asked me to hold one end and pulled the other end to a full length saree. This reminded us of Lord Krishna lengthening Draupathi's saree in Mahabaratha. Nadaswaram was played with Swami acting as priest. Swami manifested a Mangal Sutra and tied to the idol of Lakshmi. He gave a coral garland to Lord Venkateshwara. Swami arranged for the procession of the Divine Couple along the streets, in the evening. It was led by Swami and devotees, singing Bhajans. All the rituals of marriage were strictly followed. Sai Narayana of Kali Yuga Himself had arranged and was performing it. It was a very unique function and had some spiritual effect on all of us. 

Following photos are available in the book:
- Bhagawan holding the Divine Couple on His Palm
- The Bride and Bridegroom's party with Bhagawan
- Smt. Dhanammal and Smt. Sundarammal holding the idols (Photo taken by Bhagawan)

Leela Sthal (Divine Playground)

Banks of Chithravathi

The opportunity of witnessing these Leelas was during 1946 to 1949. By 3PM we would get ready and by 4PM Swami would lead us. Our Lord was walking in flowing robes, bright like Sunlight in a serene atmosphere, surrounded by golden brown hillocks topped by a dark streak here and there. Our steps were a great contrast to the gliding feet our Lord. We would walk for half an hour. Swami would sit at the place selected by us and we sat in a circle. Soon He would say "Let us talk something". He would narrate hitherto unknown incidents in the lives of Rama and Krishna. He would ask a lucky few to sing - Meera Bhajans, Thyagaraja Keerthana or Purandaradas Keerthana. Swami would call a devotee and pull out an idol from the sand. it would always be the Ishta devatha (family deity) of the devotee. Swami would produce laddus from the sand and distribute. One single ladu in His Palm would be distributed to everybody there (30 or 40) with more than half of it to each. His palm itself was the "Akshaya Pathra". (Do not go anywhere. There is nothing anywhere. Everything is present in these HANDS. - Swami - from the book Sri Satya Sai, Anandadayi)

One day, at this Leela Sthal, Swami brought out from "SAI Stores", idols and pendants in ivory and sandalwood. Once He leveled the sand and gave a new copy of the Gita in Telugu to a devotee. Film rolls were not available during world war. Swami manifested roll film No.120 and gave me to take photos of devotees with Him, using my Agfa camera. He asked me to send the photo with the negative to the devotees. Once by His command, I read a book by His teacher Kondappa. When I read, "Shirdi Baba is reborn as Sri Sathya Sai Baba" , Swami's form changed to that of Shirdi Baba! My father rushed and hugged Him tight. Swami could not release Himself till the form changed back to that of Sathya Sai.

One day He asked us to run and catch Him. Whenever we were about to touch Him, He appeared elsewhere. Finally we surrendered at His lotus feet. Another time, He asked us to collect quartz stones. We made a bundle on a large towel and He went on beating it on the sand. It all became sugar candy powder. We fetched water and He dropped the candy into a vessel. He kept on transferring the water from one vessel to another and back. The sugar water slowly became dark brown, viscous and denser. Raisins and fruits appeared. It became 'Panchamrutham' (Prasad with five ingredients). Swami distributed it as Sai Prasad.

Every day, an old woman would emerge from a hut with a basket full of Tulasi leaves and offer it to Swami. One day Swami asked her to join the group and asked her to express a wish. She wanted, with humility and devotion, to possess a photograph of her deceased husband, who passed away in 1924. There were no photo sudios in their place in 1924. Swami instantly pulled out from the sands, a passport photo of her husband and gave her. Swami took His Avatar in 1926. The husband had shed his mortal coil in 1924. Photo was materialised in 1946. From the scientic point of view, it is an impossibility. A majority of the devotees themselves may not be able to accept this. What is not possible for the Creator of this multifarious, beautiful and wonderful world of animate and inanimate things! (Jesus on Cross for Hislop)

Photos in the book:
- Swami blessing Dhanammal and Lokanathan on the banks (parents of the author) - At the Leela Shthal (Swami with devotees)

The Kalpavruksha (Wishfulfilling Tree)

When Mother Parvathi asked Eshwara if He is going to take Avatar, He became the Light, telling her to join Him. Immediately Vishnu, Lakshmi, Brahma, Saraswathi joned the Light to descend to the world and the celestial beings, the celestial tree and the celestial cow (boon givers) also entered the Light to come down. - Kaka Bhujanda Nadi) We used to sit with the river bank on one side and the hillock  on the other side. We would often gaze at the lonely tamarind tree at the top. Other than this, the hillock looked almost barren. One day, all of us started climbing, led by Swami. 

We could not climb up a boulder. Swami stood on top of the boulder and bent down to lift each one of us - heavy and light, alike. We sang Bhajans led by Swami. He said, "Look at this tree. You can pluck and take whatever you want". We found different items hanging from the branch tips: apples, oranges, various fruits, lockets, idols including a small pendant of Matsyavathar! With the Lord's permission, I took a branch with two apples to show to my classmates and professors at Presidency college Madras, where I was doing post -graduation in Botany in 1949. The classmates got stuck with wonder but the teachers expressed doubt that a magician might have tied the fruits. "By merely getting education, you will not achieve much. It is no use of having culture without education and education without culture," says Bhagawan. Soon it became dark. 

Swami showed bright balls of fire on the ground and said, "They are ghosts waiting to catch you all. This place is haunted by ghosts of vanity". Some were terribly frightened, forgetting the Presence of Aabhathbaandava! Swami walked ahead teasing us at our fright. We reached the Mandir panting.  Vana Bhojan (Lunch in forset) On a Pournami day (full moon) about 50 accompanied Bhagawan to the forest in bullock carts, singing Bhajans, led by the Lord. Each family chose the base of a tree and started cooking. Swami would go to each family and taste the food. Before taking food, we performed Padapuja. In the evening we tied a plank between the branches like a swing. Swami sat on the swing and we had fun pushing the swing by turns. Swami made various poses on the swing. Thus He swings every second and extends our life second by second as Jeevathma Sai.

Govardhana Giri

Once during Vana Bhojan at about 2 pm, there was a downpour. Swami took us to a spot where the hillock had  some scooped space like a wall. It was just enough for all of us. Soon the wind changed and the downpour was directly on us. Swami raised His right arm with the palm  turned upwards, touching the edge of the rock above. Obeying the Divine command, the roof literally extended laterally and gave protection to all of us. Overwhelmed we sang, "Giridhari, Giridhari, Govardhana Giridhari..".

Once during Dasara, we were engaged in Kumkum Archana. It was raining heavily. Swami's sister Venkamma called, we went to see flood water dashing at the entrance of the Mandir. Swami threw Marigold flowers on the water and we could see the flood receding instantly like an obedient pet dog. Several times Swami has stopped rain from disturbing his lectures or functions. The elements obey his command.  

Photos in the book:
- Chinni Krishna (Sai) on the swing (Vana Bhojan)

The Darshan

Sai Krishna selected a few of us and told us to look at the spot where the tamarind tree stood. He disppeared and we saw a streak of yellow light moving fast. We heard His voice as if from a mike, "Kanapadu thunnana?" (Am I visible) We saw a Light so powerful, not comparable with anything visible on earth. We named it "Jyothi Darshanam". It was seen even by devotees travelling on a bullock cart, from Bukkapatnam. Sometimes Swami used to refer to this as His Third Eye (Nethra Darshan or Hrudaya Darshan).

Swami joined us and we returned to the Mandir, as though nothing had happened! We were continuously blessed with similar Darshans during the days that followed. One day Swami asked us to concentrate our mind on it. We saw Swami bending and walking inside the full moon! We were fortunate to have Darshans of Rama, Venugopal, Shirdi Baba, Vamanavathar, Narasimhavathar and so on. Swami would ask us to concentrate on the sppt where He showed us the Jyothi and we were blessed with these Darshans for a few seconds. The Darshan of Devi Lakshmi was fascinating. It was rather big and very beautiful. She was seated on a lotus, wearing a pink saree with zari designs and a wide dark blue zari border. Even bangles of various patterns were visible on the arms. We beheld this for a long time and our descriptions tallied.

One day Swami declared to bless with His Vishwaroopa Darshan. He gave a strict warning not to touch Him and take Padanamaskar. When we gazed at the hills, we heard His voice and we were spellbound to see our Lord as huge as the hillock. It was like a movie. I could see only upto the chest. Those more devoted had the vision up to His Lotus Feet. My aunt ran and fell at His feet. Immediately she  was almost dead. Swami shouted "Laliamma! Lali! lali!" He sprinkled water on her face and made her drink it. He smeared Vibuthi on her forehead and put in her mouth. She had to be helped by two persons and was semiconscious. She was in that condition for a couple of days. As soon as she became normal, she explained that it was like touching a live wire. It was really a rebirth. Swami had correctly cautioned us not to touch Him.

How lucky we were! We were not devotees like Arjuna, Meera or Thyagaraja. We had not even taken the first step of Sadhana, yet we were chosen. We were rewarded long before we deserved it. Such is the immense "Prema" of our Lord! Our hearts sang in unison: 

"Antar Jyothi jalao Sai".

(from the book "Lokanatha Sai" by Smt. M L Leela)


Love all serve all
Bala (Subramanian)

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