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My meeting with sri satya sai baba

It must be recorded here that Sri Satya Baba was no ordinary Sadhu. He was an erudite scholar though without any formal education. From early childhood he had shown signs of certain miraculous powers in him when he produced various things out of nothing to the amazement of his playmates. As he grew up he took sanyas and started to concentrate in spiritual matters. He acquired a wide spiritual knowledge and gave discourses on them. His powers to materialize many things like vibhuthi and lingams attracted many followers. He had also the power to cure various ailments including many incurable ones. It was said that he could perform surgeries too. Many so called rationalists tried to debunk him and his powers and paint him as an ordinary magician. He established his ashram in Puttaparthi, a sleepy little town in Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh. The place started attracting men and women not only from India but from foreign countries as well where his fame spread widely. In course of time Puttaparthi became a vast pilgrim centre with all modern facilities. The beautiful Prasanthi Nilayam stood in the middle of the town with its eye catching architectural beauty. Many who came to have his darshan never returned home and made Puttaparthi their home to serve the Baba in many ways. The town expanded rapidly and thronged with devout followers who took up service to the Baba and spread his message. In February 1964 my father and self took off to that place in search of a cure of my sickness by Sri Satya Sai Baba. It was Shivaratri time and there were over ten thousand people assembled in that small town for the three day function with Sri Satya Baba presiding over the deliberations. We reached that place by bus late one night and found no place to stay or sleep. We slept in the open and had snacks and tea at a way side stall. We slept on the sands in the open in the company of hundreds of other devotees. We got into conversation with many others and found out that many had come there for cure for some or other problems. Like the guy who had come to find a solution for his continued failure in his business! The next morning we went to a small river called Chitravathi flowing on the outskirts of the town to perform our morning ablutions. We had our food at the small hotel and rested. We assembled in the evening for the darshan and to hear the discourse of Baba which went on till late into the night. It was more or less the same routine the next day too. But a strange thing happened when father and self went for our bath to the river around 11 in the morning. The river was only three feet deep in the middle and could be crossed walking. Father went to the other side of the river wading through the river. I went along till half way and wanted to return after the bath. There were not too many people in the river at this part of the day and I was alone. Suddenly my old sickness returned and I was slipping into a black out and within a moment I realised I was slipping into unconsciousness. I called out to my father for help but he was too far away.

Realization dawned on me that I was going to drown and die. When I came back to consciousness I saw myself stretched on the bank of the river and several pairs of eyes peering on at me. It was indeed a miraculous escape for me. I was convinced that Baba has performed a miracle again. On the third and last day of the celebrations our hopes were dwindling as there appeared no earthly chance of our meeting Baba at close quarters and seek his help for a cure of my sickness –the very purpose of our coming down to this town. We had the darshan of Baba from a distance as no one was allowed very close to him.

On the fourth day before the mammoth crowd was to disburse it was announced that Baba would give a special darshan. We were all asked to sit in two rows facing each other with a large space in between for Baba and his entourage to walk past. The entire congregation snaking for a mile or so did so in a disciplined way. Around 8 o’clock in the morning Baba emerged from Prasanthi Nilayam, accompanied by a few of his assistants. There was total silence and discipline among the ranks when he walked past us slowly and smiling and blessing all the time and every one had a close darshan of Baba at practically hand shaking distance. Baba walked past in measured movements and blessed everyone smiling but not uttering a word although many tried to tell him about their problems. A fortunate few received vibhuthi materialized by a wave of his hand. I was seated probably the hundredth or so from the beginning with my father close to me. When Baba came near me I rose up on my knees in an effort to tell him my problems. Baba smiled and asked one of his entourage to take me (from among tens of hundreds people assembled) to Prasanthi Nilayam to wait for him to return from the darshan yatra. I was promptly whisked away to the inner sanctum sanctorum by one of the assistants. It was a place of heavenly ambience with the air smelling of nectar and roses, with cushioned floors and seating. There was an air of divinity in the atmosphere. I can never forget those few moments of heavenly experience. Three more from the large congregation joined me in the room. Eventually Baba returned and almost immediately asked me about my problems. I told him as briefly as possible in a few words my strange illness. In a gesture which indicated that he had understood my predicament, he picked a handful of packets containing the sacred vibhuthi from a bag carried by one of his assistants and handing over the same to me asked me to take in one packet a day for ten days with prayers to the Lord Almighty. He said I would be well thereafter. After receiving the Vibhuthi packets reverently and gratefully I was escorted out. I joined my father and in the evening we left for home. We reached home in pouring rain. I handed over the sacred packets to Raji and asked her to safely keep them in our prayer room. I started taking the vibhuthi from the next day every night with prayers on my lips. Exactly after ten days there were no packets left to consume. I had not counted the number of packets Baba had handed over to me either when he gave them to me or when I reached home. I knew that it was also a small miracle of Baba. The malady that had me in its vicious hold for the past several months never raised its head again. This is not fiction but real fact.

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