Sai Baba Devotees saved from
By Charles Penn
San Francisco, CA
We should never doubt that
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is watching over us from moment to
moment. Surely the following events will help verify this.
The first incident is about a
remarkable happening in Canada, and the second in Northern
California. Both are concerned with automobile accidents, and both
are related to Sathya Sai Baba spiritual gatherings.
After the very successful Sri
Sathya Sai Centers of Western Canada First Spiritual Get-together
has concluded, the groups from such far-away cities as Vancouver
arranged their return trips. The large contingent from Vancouver
decided to return caravan style in two vehicles, travelling some
of the way by night. Shishu Sharma, President of the Vancouver
Center, was driving his large van, and he was to be followed, all
the way, by the other car. Shishu explained later to us, as we
were driving from his home to the Center, that he had planned he
would lead and would watch for the lights of the car following, at
each bend in the road. By doing this he would always be aware of
the progress of the other carload of devotees. The journey, he
said, was long, and they had planned to drive at a moderate speed.
For quite sometime, the trip
proceeded smoothly. Then, after making one of the turns on the
mountainous highway, he waited to see the oncoming lights, but
they did not appear. He quickly turned his van around and swiftly
drove back to see what was the matter.
The scene he came upon was
unbelievable. The car had struck a huge boulder and was completely
overturned, and the four wheels were still spinning. The only
sound he and the others from his van could hear was the screaming
voice of a frightened child. A little girl was standing, tightly
holding on to a side of the car. She was crying out, as loud as a
four-year old could, "Baba, Baba, Baba." Except for the child,
there was no other sign of life. Feverishly the devotees from the
van wrenched away at the door areas of the car, trying to see
inside. They found the entrapped passengers, and one by one they
extricated them. Miraculously no one was hurt. They were bruised
and dazed and bewildered, but there were no broken bones.
When the police arrived at the
scene, they instantly ran to the overturned vehicle to "remove the
dead." They were greatly surprised when they discovered that no
one was dead and there were no injuries. The police commented that
they could not see how any of the passengers could have survived.
While we were in Vancouver, we
talked to Amita, the woman who had driven the car. She said she
did not know what had happened. The car just suddenly hit the huge
boulder on the side of the road.
The little girl, called "Shubby,"
who had Baba's Name on her lips, had been in the back seat. To
allow some fresh air into the car, a window had been slightly
opened. When the crash happened, she had been tossed directly
through that small opening to safety.
On the evening of July 25, at the
Vancouver Center, Shishu, Amita, "Shubby," all the other devotees
who were in the two vehicles and all the members and guests, with
hearts filled with thanks and joy, sang praises to the Lord for
A five car collision
We had flown from San Diego to
San Francisco, approximately 700 miles, early in the morning of
September 7, 1984, to participate as two of the speakers attending
the Sri Sathya Sai Regional Retreat. At the San Francisco Airport,
we were met by three devotees and, to our delight, they were dear
friends, Shirley Dahm, Riva Elderkamp, and Muriel Engle. We were
to travel to the Retreat, 60 miles away, in Shirley's car.
Although Shirley was not able to attend the function, she had
graciously wanted to be of service to take us to the Y.M.C.A. Camp
and Conference Grounds in the Santa Cruz Mountains, south of San
Francisco. We were happy to be with these devotees whom we had
known for many years.
We were early, and our drive to
the redwood-covered mountain Retreat grounds turned out to be an
eventful one. This was a time of day when the traffic was fairly
heavy and we were on a two-way highway. Shirley drove cautiously;
however, all cars are required to maintain speeds according to the
flow of the traffic.
We had just passed through the
small town of Redwood City when the car immediately ahead of us
approached a large truck that had stopped. The driver of the car
preceding us, instead of slowing down and stopping, drove around
the vehicle and right into the path of the oncoming traffic.
Within seconds the collision happened and five cars were being
torn apart. We were just feet away from the scene.
Skillfully Shirley slowed and
turned to the right shoulder of the road, to avoid being hit by
the mass of crashing vehicles. It looked like a battlefield. With
parts of the cars seen sliding across the surface of the highway.
Instantly we went to tend the injured and soothe the shocked
passengers. We held a small boy, about eight years old; he was
sobbing and saying. "Don't let me look at my brother; it hurts me
too much." Then with folded hands he prayed aloud, "Oh, dear God,
help us, help us."
In a few moments Shirley drove to
a nearby house and brought to the scene some of the parents of the
children in the wreck. News of the accident reached the Retreat.
Robert Bozzani, Director of the Western Region of the Sathya Sai
Council of America, in the course of his talk, cited the accident
and mentioned that Baba's devotees were at the scene rendering
Sathya Sai News Letter, Vol. 1 No. 1,