The Divine Guardian
Mrs. Bhat prays to Lord
Subramanya, and Baba responds
Sathya Sai Ganesha
Every Hindu family usually worships
a particular deity as the family deity. In the family of K.R. K.
Bhat, they traditionally worshipped Lord Subramanya. But Mr.
Bhat himself was inclined more towards the worship of Lord
Krishna. Perhaps for this reason, or perhaps because he was very
busy as a top executive in the world of insurance, it was his
young wife who carried out the daily ceremonial worship of Lord
In 1943, Mrs. Bhat developed cancer of the uterus. Medical men
advised an operation though there was no certainty that this
would be successful. Mr. Bhat's widowed mother was staying with
the young couple at the time, and she said to her son, "Lord
Subramanya cured your father of cancer without any operation; in
the same way he will cure your wife." The old lady's faith was
so tremendously strong that the young couple agreed to forego
surgery and place themselves entirely in the hands of the family
Pujas (worship) to Lord Subramanya were intensified, the
religious practices became even more strict and devout than
before, the prayers more fervent and prolonged. These pujas were
now carried out mainly by Mr. Bhat's mother, while the young
wife remained in bed growing gradually thinner and weaker. This
went on for about six months.
Then one night, while in a state of semi-sleep, the patient saw
in the dim light from the moon a large cobra circling her bed.
Alarmed, she switched on her bedside lamp and woke her
mother-in-law who was sleeping in the same room, her husband
being absent on a business trip. No snake was found in the room.
Yet as soon as Mrs. Bhat switched off the light, she saw the
cobra again, going around the bed. Almost immediately the snake
took the form of Subramanya, in the same form as in the portrait
hanging in their shrine. He seemed to be floating above her.
Then piercing her bosom with His velayudha (The spear – the
weapon of Lord Subramanya), He seemed to draw her away with Him.
Soon she found herself standing before Him on the peak of a high
rocky hill. She knelt and touched His feet with her hands and
forehead, and He began to talk to her. He asked her if she
wanted to stay with Him or go back to the world. She understood
this to mean a choice between life and death. Thinking of her
husband and young children and their need of her, she told
Subramanya that she wished to go back.
There was further conversation, and finally Subramanya said: You
are cured of your illness, and will soon grow strong. Throughout
your life I will protect you; whenever you think of Me, I'll be
there. Now go back."
"How?" she asked.
He pointed to a long winding, narrow staircase that had opened
near their feet, and led downward. She began to descend - then
there seemed to be a break in her consciousness and she found
herself back in bed in her own room, awake. Immediately she woke
her mother-in-law and told her about the vision. When her
husband returned home she told him as well.
But, she regarded the experience as sacred, and did not make it
known beyond the closest members of her family. From that night
onward she gained rapidly in strength and there were no more
signs of the cancer. Soon, she was up and carrying on her normal
life. Only now, there was a difference. Now in addition to her
household duties and religious observances, she devoted herself
to social welfare work among the poor and needy. God had given
her back her life, and she was determined to use it fully in His
service as best she could.
It was twenty years later that Mr. and Mrs. Bhat first heard of
Sathya Sai Baba and went to Prasanthi Nilayam. To Mrs. Bhat, He
said, "I spoke to you long ago - twenty years ago."
Greatly puzzled, she replied: "No, Swamiji, this is my first
"Yes, yes, but I came to you when you were living in Mysore."
And He mentioned the name of the street and the city where she
was living at the time of her cancer illness, when she had the
vision of Subramanya. Then He took her a little way up the
narrow winding stairs, which lead to His quarters above and told
her to look down. Immediately she was reminded of the staircase
leading down from the heights on which she had been with
Subramanya: in fact the two stairways seemed identical. She was
more bewildered than ever.
To help her understanding, Swami now waved His hand and from the
air produced a photograph of Himself in the somasutra (chariot)
of Subramaniam with a cobra circling around Him. Now a light
began to dawn on her. God can take any form, she understood.
He had come to her twenty years before in the form she
worshipped, as Lord Subramanya. Now He was here before her in
the form of Sathya Sai Baba. She fell at his feet, weeping tears
Reference: "Sai Baba: Man of miracles" by Mr. Howard Murphet.
Page: 107-109 (Paperback Edition). Published by Macmillan India