The Manifest visits the
How Baba ‘re-charged’
the Badrinath Shrine
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
In June-July 1961, Baba toured
North India and visited many holy shrines in Haridwar, Srinagar,
Rishikesh, Badrinath and Nainital. The purpose of the visit, in
Baba’s own words, was to “charge the exhausted spiritual
batteries of the temples”. Prof. N. Kasturi who was among the
fortunate few who accompanied Baba on this trip recounts the
astounding events that took place when they visited the shrine
‘The visit to Badrinath was first mooted by Baba in 1958, at a
Bhajan session held on the sands of the Chithravathi. He said
then that He would take the Bhakthas (devotees) to the place
where He was doing Tapas (penance) and everyone present there
was wonder struck, for that was the first time they had ever
heard of Tapas, associated with His earthly career.
Every one until then was convinced that Baba indulged in no
Tapas, here or anywhere, corporeally or extra-corporeally! But
by the time the tour ended they had understood the actual import
of Swami’s statement and the great significance veiled in it.
Once the visit became a certainty, plans were ready and the
party fixed, before the end of May. Since the pilgrimage to
Badrinath involved a week long journey by train and bus and an
exhausting climb of about 20 miles, Baba chose only a minute
fraction of the hundreds of devotees who prayed to be given the
chance to join Him.
Baba greeted the fortunate few with His Darshan at the Ethiraja
Kalyana Mantapam, Alwarpet, Madras (now Chennai) on the 7th day
of June, 1957 and sent them by train to Delhi, where He promised
to bless them personally, since He proposed to fly to the
Capital, the very next day.
The train reached Delhi about six hours late and when the
hungry, tired and distracted devotees arrived at last, they
found Baba shedding cool comfort and consolation and strength by
His Smile and His Motherly attention.
The next day, at Hardwar, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Dr. B.
Ramakrishna Rao, joined Baba, for he too had planned a visit to
Badrinath. On 11th June, Baba and His Excellency attended the
evening Arati to Gangamatha at the Brahmakund; the vast
assemblage of pilgrims got the Darshan of Baba at that holy
spot; Baba blessed the priests and Archaks with the Vibhuti that
He materialised and He sprinkled the sacred waters of the Ganges
on those around Him.
That night, Baba called together the devotees who were to
accompany Him to Badri and reminded them of the rare privilege
that they had won. "You have the good fortune of proceeding
with the Manifested Form to the Unmanifested Form whereas
usually, people pray to the Unmanifested Form, immanent in the
idol, to manifest itself before their eye, so that they might
win the fruit of their Sadhana." He declared.
The chosen few were thrilled with joy at the revelation. He then
described in great detail the sacred shrine to which He was
leading them, as if He knew every nook and corner of the holy
area. When He disclosed that Narayana was there depicted as in
Tapomudra, as doing penance, and explained that it was called
Badarikasram on account of this, the devotees began to see
light, and the doubt that assailed them on the Chitravati sands
three years ago about Sathya Sai Baba and Tapas melted away in a
blaze of joy.
Baba spoke also of the subsidiary shrines in and around
Badrinath and also of certain unknown aspects of its sacredness.
For example, no guidebook has published the information that
Sankaracharya brought from Kailash five Lingams and that he
installed one each at Badri, Puri, Sringeri, Dwaraka and
Chidambaram, but Baba revealed this fact that night. Baba
planted in every heart the pilgrim mood of prayer of brotherhood
and loving service.’
Prof. Kasturi in “Sathyam Shivam Sundaram” explains day-wise
details of their journey from the 7th of June. But now, let’s go
to the heart of the story, the 17th of June:
‘The 17th was in fact the day of days, the day selected by Baba
for re-infusing spiritual efficacy, for charging the run-down
During the morning Abhishekam at the shrine, Baba who was
sitting facing the idol materialised a beautiful four-armed
Narayana Idol, with Sankha Chakra Gada and Padma (conch, wheel,
mace and lotus), and idol of supreme craftsmanship.
Then, in a trice, He created a Golden Lotus, a thousand petalled
one, beautiful beyond all imagination. We all wondered why the
Lotus appeared; but, before our wonder could find expression in
a gasp, Baba waved His hand again.
This time there was a Lingam in His palm, evidently the same
that Sankaracharya had planted in the stone cavity over which
the Narayana idol was placed inside the Badri Shrine. This last
He placed in the centre of the Lotus and both the Lotus and Idol
placed on a silver plate appeared to have been made for each
There were large groups of pilgrims pressing to enter the tiny
hall before the shrine. In order that they might have access,
Baba proposed to ‘charge the battery’ (revitalise the Lingam
with spiritual energy) at the Gujarat Dharmasala where the party
There Baba directed bhajans to be done and while the praise of
Narayana was being sung, He rose from the floor, saying, "Now
we shall consecrate this Lingam again".
‘The process of recharging’, Sri Kasturiji writes in Loving God,
‘which over two hundred witnessed, was most exhilarating. He
showed the Lingam to every one, bringing It Himself near each
person, and pointing out to all the translucence of the material
and the form of an Eye, that was mysteriously incorporated
inside it! He called it the Nethralingam from Kailash.
He drew the devotees’ attention to the Eye that could be clearly
seen inside it, the black shining retina on the white background
and the tapering end with the lids both upper and lower. When
Baba turned the Lingam to right or left, the eye seemed to roll
in the same direction. “Has everyone seen it?” He asked.
“If you haven’t, come here”, He invited. “For, it has
to go back to where Sankaracharya placed it,” He announced.
Then, while Badrinath echoed with Bhajans sung by devotees, Baba
rose with a silver pot in His Hand a pot that had come into His
palm when He willed. He came near the table where the Silver
plate with the Lingam on the Lotus was visible to all. He said,
The pot contained holy water from the Gangotri, the spring in
which the Ganga is born. He released His finger from under the
pot and, lo! a hole was formed there to allow a stream to fall
on the Lingam as ‘Abhishekha’ (ceremonial bath of the idol). The
pundits and priests recited Vedic hymns prescribed for the
After Abhishekha, next was Puja (ritual worship). Baba
materialised for the Puja 108 Bilva Leaves (considered sacred
for worship of Lord Shiva) made of gold; they fell in a
scintillating shower from His Divine Hand on to the silver plate
beneath! Again, the Hand was waved!
This time, the shower consisted of a heap of "Thumme" (Leucas
Linifolia) flowers, with the dew still fresh upon them, tiny
bits of fragrant fluff, plucked with care from a hundred little
These dew-dipped thumme flowers with which devotees at
Puttaparthi worship Baba are generally found only on the balding
hills and dry plains of South India. The Puja was performed, on
behalf of all present, by Dr. B. Ramakrishna Rao, while
appropriate Manthrams like Rudram, Narayana Suktham and Purusha
Suktham were being recited all the while by the devotees.
Baba then declared, “Now, the Lingam will return,” and
the Netralingam was sent back into the secret niche where it was
installed by Sankaracharya 1200 years ago. When it suddenly
disappeared, Baba explained to the devotees that the purpose for
which it was drawn out had been fulfilled with the completion of
the ritual aforesaid.
It had been charged with immense potency and the Temple
consecrated anew by the Manifested form Himself.”
1) “Sathyam Shivam Sundaram”, Vol-I by Prof. N Kasturi. Page:
221-226. Published By Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications
Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam.
2) “Living God” by Prof. N Kasturi. Published By Sri Sathya Sai
Books and Publications Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam.