The Rainbow Man.
A sceptic is
convinced of Bhagawan's divinity
Joel Riordan, Hollywood film producer, writer and
director, has an interesting story about how Baba changed his
sceptic mind and sowed the seeds of faith in his heart. When Joel
visited Prasanthi Nilayam along with his wife, Diana, who was a
sincere devotee of Baba, he came with the intention to ‘expose’ Baba
whom he sarcastically called ‘character’.
Joel has narrated his thrilling first encounter
to Mr. Howard Murphet, which he recorded it in his book, “Sai Baba
‘Diana had been over to India a couple of times
with her mother, Analise, and both of them used to talk about Sai
Baba's miracles. I thought they must both be mad, or at least going
mad. I seriously considered divorcing Diana. But there was my
daughter Chrissie to think of. Anyway, I finally decided that,
before doing anything drastic, I would go over and see this
“character”, Sai Baba, for myself.
My parents had been show people and I was just
about brought up in a circus. I was keenly interested in conjuring,
and had seen what went on behind all the stage tricks. I figured
that even if this character in India was a second Houdini, I would
be able to expose him as a conjuror, and not a holy man miracle
worker, as people claimed.
Just before I left Hollywood, I was having lunch
with an important guy and - to give him a laugh - told him what I
was planning to do. He seemed to have heard of Sai Baba, or read
about him - may be in Schulman's book, or yours - any way, he said:
"What are you going to ask him for, Joel?" The idea came to me then.
I answered: "They say this character is God-so
I'll ask him for something only God can make - a rainbow". He
laughed, and we talked about other matters. But I decided that was
what I would ask for.’
When asked by Howard Murphet, whether his friend
had known any Sai devotees in California, Joel replied: 'I checked
on that later - for the same reason as you ask. No, he did not. He
lived in a different world from them. No chance that anyone carried
the story to Swami.
Anyway, a few days after that I flew to India,
bringing Diana and Chrissie with me. It was early afternoon when we
arrived in Puttaparthi, and an hour or so later we went for a walk
up that hill behind the hospital. It was a hot, dry day, and we went
up for a breath of air. We sat on some rocks and looked out over the
country. It looked grim and parched-made me feel dehydrated just to
Then in the western sky a bright rainbow
appeared, Odd, I thought, how can you have a rainbow without a drop
of moisture in the air? Something else struck me as peculiar.
Instead of being curved in the usual way, the rainbow stood straight
up in the sky like a column. I felt a bit spooky about it. Had this
“character” heard my words right across in America, and caused this
Then the colours started to fade out from the
bottom up. I felt I needed a drink. But of course there's no alcohol
at Puttaparthi, and even the water was warm in that season.'
In answer to Howard Murphet’s query whether his
wife Diana had known about his unusual wish, he replied:
'Yeah, I mentioned it to her on the way over on
the plane. She saw the rainbow all right - ask her, yourself.
Afterwards, we came down from the hill, and there
was a message that Swami wanted to see us. Diana got more excited
about that than about the rainbow, but as we had come a long way, it
seemed natural enough to me that He would see us on the first day.
When we walked into the interview room, Swami's
first words knocked me out: "Well, character, how did you
like your rainbow?"
'I was too dumbfounded to answer. He knew my name
for Him, and what I was going to ask for, and had put that odd
rainbow in the sky! It all blew my mind.
Well, I sat with the others on the floor, hardly
hearing, and not understanding, what He was talking about. In fact,
my mind was racing about like a rat in a trap, trying to find a way
back to the common-sense world I knew. Granted he was a mind reader;
telepathy does exist between people. It's been proved
scientifically. But the rainbow must have been a hallucination or I
had been hypnotized.
“I'll give him another test”, I thought to
myself, “I will ask Him to produce some fresh fruit-out-of-season
fruit - right here in this room, without warning.”
A few minutes after I'd had this thought, Swami
stopped talking and waved his hand in his usual way. When he turned
it up I saw a fresh fig sitting on his palm. He handed it to me
without a word.
I ate it later. It was as fresh, as if had just
been picked. Yet, figs were out of season and, as I learned later,
none grew in that area anyway.’
This was how Bhagawan transformed Joel Riordan
and sowed the seeds of faith in his heart. Later He gave him the job
of supervising some painting work in the Brindavan Ashram in
preparation for the Summer Course that year.
Joel was later fortunate to spend a lot of time
staying with Baba and basking in His love and grace.
Reference: “Sai Baba Avatar” by
Howard Murphet. Page: 39-42. Publisher:
Macmillan India Limited, 1978. Ms. Diana Baskin too records this
amazing story in “Divine Memories of Sathya Sai Baba”.