the previous article on
the Avatar we mentioned that from time to time, Swami gives us
something called a visiting card. In simple worlds, he manifests a
miracle. Swami often says that miracles are for 'nidarshana' i.e
establishing divinity and not for 'pradarshana' i.e exhibition. He
points out the role of a miracle in the overall scheme of his
plan: first chamatkar, a miracle. Then sanskar, or refinement.
Next comes, paropakar, or selfless service and finally
saakshaatkaar or the ultimate vision of the Divine. That is, He
attracts us through the miracles, refines our hearts and minds
with His teachings, and prods us along the path of selfless
service which leads us to self realisation.
So you see, He is like the doctor who gives us the
visiting card. There is no use glancing at the card and praising
its beauty and expressing awe at the credentials of the doctor.
One has to approach him, get diagnosed, take the prescription,
follow it and get cured of the disease!
The visiting cards of our Divine Doctor come in
many varieties and colours. The list is endless…but we present to
you a few of hem…
the sixties and the seventies, this Shivarathri would draw
unbelievably huge crowds because of the incredible vibhuti
abhishekam [ceremonial vibhuti bath] that Baba performed, and the
Lingodbhavam [bringing out the Lingam] that followed. Here are two
accounts of the abhishekam, one by Kasturi who was privileged to
participate in it, and another by Howard Murphet the Australian
devotee who was simply stunned by the whole event.
Baba sometimes performs
Abhishekam or ceremonial bath for the silver figure of His
'previous body' [i.e., the idol of Shirdi Baba], that is kept in
the Mandir. A small wooden pot, artistically carved and painted,
is filled with vibhuti for this purpose. Baba holds this pot
upside down over the idol, puts His hand inside the pot and twirls
it, so as to make the vibhuti flow evenly. Miraculously, the pot
does not get emptied! The flow continues as long as His hand is
inside, long after the original quantity has been exhausted. The
twirling process brings down fresh showers of vibhuti, from the
pot. When Baba withdraws His hand to switch over to the other one,
the flow momentarily stops; but once the other hand is inserted,
the flow resumes! This goes on till huge quantities of vibhuti
have been poured on the idol, and the pile of vibhuti has mounted
to unexpected heights.
N.Kasturi, in Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram, vol. I.
The following is an extract from the diary of
Howard Murphet, quoted by him in his book Sai Baba - The Man of
Miracles. The entry is dated 18th February, 1966.
On the stage is a large
silver statue of Shirdi Baba in His characteristic sitting
posture. Mr Kasturi takes up a small wooden urn about a foot in
height, and filled with vibhuti. This he holds above the head of
the silver statue, and lets ash pour over the figure until the urn
is empty. He shakes it well to make sure that the last grains have
fallen out, then continues to hold it above the statue with its
open top downwards.
Sai Baba thrusts His arm as far as the elbow into the vessel and
makes a churning motion with His arm as women did when making
butter in the old days. Immediately, the ash begins to flow again
from the vessel and continues to do so in a copious stream until
He takes His arm out. Then the ash flow stops. Next He puts His
other arm in and twirls that round. The ash streams out over the
statue again. This process goes on, Baba using alternate arms, ash
pouring from the empty vessel while His hand is in it, and
stopping immediately He takes it out. Finally, Shirdi Sai is
buried in a great mound of ash - much more than the vessel could
possibly have held. Now the urn is placed on the ground; the
miraculous, ceremonial ash-bath is over."
And finally find out what baba himself has to say
about this event:
vibhuti abhishekam has a potent inner meaning that
Swami wants you to grasp. The vibhuti is the most
precious thing in the truly spiritual sense. You know
that Siva burnt and reduced to ashes Manmatha, the
Lord of Desires or Kama. Manmatha is the one who
disturbs and agitates the mind, compounding the
confusion that already exists. After destroying
Manmatha, Siva adorned Himself with the ash, standing
gloriously as the Destroyer of Desires. When desire is
annihilated, Love reigns supreme. When there is no
desire to warp the mind, Love is seen in its pure form
and in full bloom.
- Bhagavan Baba
If the vibhuti abhishekam was a stunning
experience, the opportunity to witness the Lingodbhavam or
bringing out the Lingam was an even greater sublime blessing. Let
us first turn to Kasturi:
Since 1950, Sivarathri has
been celebrated in Puttaparthi, and each year since the
declaration of the manifestation, Lingams have materialised within
His body. Baba has said that He often finds it difficult to
postpone or prevent the formation of Lingams within Him.
Bringing out the Lingam is quite a painful affair,
as Kasturi describes:
Baba gives Darshan during
the evening, and then begins His Discourse. In between, there are
spasmodic struggles in the stomach. He continues with the
Discourse until the region of the struggle changes to the upper
part of the chest and the neck. He seems to be undergoing some
kind of a physical tension, and suddenly, to the joyous wonder of
all, Lingams fall from His mouth. …. The Lingams that emanate on
successive Sivarathris differ in number, size and composition…..
And now, over to Murphet for his description of
what he saw. Once again, it is from his diary entry.
But the big climax of the
day was yet to come, and many people talked to me about it. They
told me that every year, one or more Siva Lingams have
materialised in Baba's body at this sacred period. He ejects the
Lingams through His mouth for all to observe. They are always
hard, being made of crystal clear or coloured stone and sometimes
of metals like silver or gold.
"Are you sure He does not
pop them in His mouth just before He goes on stage, and then eject
them again at the right moment?" I asked.
My hearers looked at me with
amusement and pity. One of them said, "He talks and sings for a
long time before the Lingam comes out, and it is always much too
big to hold in the mouth while speaking. Last year, it was so
large that He had to use His fingers to pull it out through His
lips, and it stretched them so much that the sides of the mouth
bled." Another one added, "There were nine one year. Each was
about an inch and a half in height. Imagine holding all those in
your mouth while you talked for an hour!"
The Lingam is the transitional link between the
form-less and the form aspects of Godhead. The
emergence of the Lingam represents the Emergence of
the Cosmos from the Formless. ….. Do not exaggerate
the creation and the manifestation of the Lingam from
Me. In Me who can create the worlds and fill the
Universe, there are things more worthy of adoration,
that is Universal Love.
- Bhagavan Baba
Year by year, the size of the Sivarathri crowd
began to increase until it became almost impossible to manage. And
then in 1977, Baba suspended the Lingodbhavam. Twenty two years
later, out of compassion for the devotees, He revived the
Lingodbhavam; on 15th February, 1999, He brought out the golden
Lingam, Hiranyagarbha. He did likewise in the years 2000 and 2001
The vibhuthhi abhishekam and the lingodbhavam were
two miracles which were witnessed by a large number of fortunate
people. There others which baba perfomed in privte gatherings…one
such unique visiting card was given in Dwaraka, the holy city
built by lord Krishna….
In May 1968, Baba went to the princely state of
Jamnagar, in response to the prayers of the Prince, the Jamsaheb
and his consort, popularly known as the Rajmata. Jamnagar forms a
part of the present Gujarat State, and is famed for its many holy
places such as Dwaraka, the city built by Krishna, and Somnath
where the famous Siva Temple was repeatedly raided for its wealth
by invading hoards and tribals from Afghanistan.
Swami arrived in Jamnagar from Bombay on 14th May
by a chartered plane, and on the following day left for Dwaraka
[the city built by Krishna], accompanied by the members of His
party, other devotees and the Rajmata [Queen Mother] of the
erstwhile Princely State of Nawanagar. ….. The residents of
Dwaraka and Sai devotees from other towns packed every inch of
available space in the Krishna Temple, long before Baba arrived.
While Baba could easily enter the Temple, the others were pushed,
crushed, jostled, and squeezed. Seeing the plight of those who
came with Him, Baba came out and drove away.
While returning to Jamnagar in the evening, Baba
suddenly said, "Look! The sea is here!" The cars stopped. The
party went to the beach where after strolling for some time,
everyone sat down on the sand. Baba then heaped the soft sand to a
height of about half a metre in front of Him, putting all into a
state of extreme expectancy. He then flattened the heap, and drew
a pattern on it. "It is ready', He said, wiping the sand from His
hands. He then dug His hands deep into the pile and drew forth a
bright golden image of Krishna approximately 25 cm high. It was
the image of Krishna playing the flute, the very acme of
goldsmith's art and craftsmanship. "You did not get the Darshan of
Krishna in the Temple; have it now!" He said. For devotees, it was
a moment of supreme ecstasy.
Did you like these visiting cards of His? Preserve these visiting
cards in your heart and call on Him whenever necessary. He is
always ready, waiting to attend on you!
Source: Radio Sai E-Magazine