Thursday, April 7, 2011 @ 0100 hrs.
December of 1970, Bhagawan travelled to Panaji, the
capital city of Goa stopping en route in the town of
Dharwar in Karnataka. In Panaji, a strange and
mysterious turn of events took place, which afforded His
devotees another glimpse into His Divine nature. In
fact, just prior to this incident, Prof. N. Kasturi,
Bhagawan’s biographer, was to start for Sri Lanka, as
Swami had blessed him earlier to address the Sai Centres
there. But, all of a sudden, Bhagawan commanded him to
cancel his visit and accompany Him to Goa instead. For
what happened next is narrated in the most wonderful
manner by Prof. Kasturi in the third volume of Sathyam
At noon the next
day, I accompanied Baba on a circuitous journey to Goa.
The three cars moved towards Jog Falls. As usual, while
leaving Brindavan, devotees lined up on both sides of
the road, anxious to get a glimpse of Baba and to see
the Hand waving to them.
It was a Fiat
1500 in which Baba, Mr. N.D.M. Appah, Chairman, Mysore
State Electricity Board, and myself were travelling. The
road was stony and rough, so the drive was full of jerks
and bumps – this caused Baba to reprimand the driver for
not being circumspect enough. “You do not know how
much pain I get in the abdomen when it bumps,” He
said. We wondered why Baba who withstood worse roads
better, was insisting on slow driving that day…
When the cars
reached Goa, it was night. The stars came forth; they
came with us, every yard of the road, keeping pace. When
the border of Goa was reached, the Lt. Governor of Goa,
Sri Nakul Sen, received Baba and let us into a rest
house, where china gleamed in the shelves by the wall
and geraniums glistened on the window sills. We had
coffee; from then on Baba sat in the State car, with the
head of the state.
the rambling roads, towards Panaji (the capital of Goa),
the cars finally arrived at Raj Nivas, the Palace of the
Governors-General of the “Portuguese Possessions in
India and the Far East” for many centuries, but now, the
official residence of the Lt. Governor. The time was
9.15 p.m. We had motored 385 miles, since morning, over
good and bad roads, but Baba as fresh as a lily when He
hastened up the red-carpeted flight of steps to the
flower-decked apartments, set aside for His stay. Very
soon, Baba presided over the dining table to which we
were led by the Lt. Governor. He watched with amusement
the contingent of waiters, and the beautiful chinaware,
which the Portuguese had brought from Macao.
Though Mrs. Sen
made bold to remind Him of His duty to Himself, He did
not eat anything. He appeared to be anxious to send
everyone to bed. “Go, go! You are all very much
exhausted,” He insisted. I protested that
travelling with Him can never exhaust anyone, but He
repeated that I was really in immediate need of rest.
When we rose Mrs. Sen was informed by Baba that coffee
be made ready for Him only at 8 a.m. the next day! She
knew that at Prasanthi Nilayam, He had His coffee at
around 6 a.m., but despite appeals for revising the
order, Baba gave instructions that it was to be brought
only at 8 o’ clock.
Baba was alone
in the suite reserved for Him. Nakul Sen pleaded for
permission to be within call, but Baba sent Him away to
his own room. We from Bangalore were in rooms on the
occurred that night, Baba wrote later to Dr. S.
Bhagavantam, in a letter I carried to him on the 12th
December, “On the night of the 7th, strange events
happened. I could not lie in bed, I could not sit upon
it, nor turn, from one side to another. Nor could I
speak or call. I did not like to cause anxiety or
trouble to anyone. So I kept silent, pretending that all
was well with Me”!
when the Sens grew aware of the truth it became clear,
why He had abstained from dinner, and postponed the
coffee hour, wanting only to hurry away to bed! I too
began to understand why He had come away from Dharwar,
and why He had taken the driver to task. Obviously, He
had been ‘ill’ when He started out from
Mrs. Sen felt
that Raj Nivas was an ‘unlucky’ place since He
had fallen ‘ill’ there, but Baba immediately
corrected her. “No, it is a house of good luck! I
brought the ‘illness’ with Me to Cabo, so that I could
get rid of it here”.
By daybreak on
the 8th, Baba appeared to be in great pain and Nakul Sen
called in doctors from the Medical College at Goa, and
some leading physicians of the City. Soon an imposing
medical team surrounded the sick bed; their report read
as follows, “history of pain in right lower quadrant
of the abdomen since 3 p.m. on the 7th December. To
begin with, the pain was all over the abdomen,
progressive in intensity; towards the night, it
localised in the umbilical region, and the right lower
quadrant. Had difficulty in extending the right lower
limb. Pain is exaggerated by movement. 8th December
morning, had nausea and fever”. No one could be
definite about the illness; there were too many experts
and Baba was amused at the clash of their conclusions.
The Sens were aghast at the turn of events for, among
other reasons, the local Sathya Sai Seva Samithi had
announced, that He would deliver a discourse at the
large Maidan in the heart of the city, at 5 p.m. that
nausea and fever kept Baba in bed all day. Information
came that 20,000 people crowded the Maidan, awaiting
Baba; and half the number had come from far off
villages. Baba endeavoured to rise and don fresh clothes
to keep the appointment, and not disappoint thousands of
people. But Cabo Raj Nivas had no lift; for reaching the
Maidan, Baba would have had to get down 28 steps and
walk up some distance in order to give Darshan to the
people. And then, climb the 28th steps back to His room!
Baba directed me
to tell the assembly to disperse quietly, and to assure
them that He will be addressing them in a few days at
the same place. I was to tell them that He had taken
over the illness of a devotee, for I had witnessed such
instances of healing and saving in the past years.
At 8 o’clock
that night, the doctors reported, “Lying supine in
bed, with legs drawn up. On examination, the right side
of the abdomen not moving with respiration; abdomen
tender on the right side, and the lower flank…, point of
maximum tenderness in lower flank…, no rebound
tenderness.. . guarding present over right lower
quadrant, with rigidity of flank. Temperature 100 F;
pulse 100 /m; respiration 16/m. Total blood count
22,000; neutrophils 88%. A diagnosis of acute paracolic
appendicitis was made. Unwillingness for surgical
approached the doctors, anxious to report the reason for
the postponement of the announced public meeting,
alarmed at the news of the illness of the world-renowned
personality. The doctors told them that Baba was
suffering from an acute attack of appendicitis. This
news was flashed all over India and spread through the
early morning editions and the papers issued from
Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Madurai.
telephone calls poured in from all over the country,
praying and pleading and denying – disbelieving, hoping,
weeping and wailing. There were many offers to accept
the ‘illness’ from Baba; some devotees said they would
fast until Baba was free from the illness. Devotees
having firm faith in His Divinity were convinced that
just as the illness had been taken on miraculously, it
would be thrown off miraculously, too.
The doctors told
us Baba must be suffering excruciating pain, but He
said, “I have taken it on upon Myself with Love and
Love knows no pain”!
Schuyler, a school teacher who was accompanying the
party writes: “I had once asked Baba a question, and
I now remembered His answer. ‘Baba, why did Jesus allow
Himself to be crucified?’ ‘Because the Great Ones never
use spiritual power for themselves”. Ah! Baba had
not set the car right on Saturday night because it was
not imperative for the good of someone other than Baba.
“Baba! Baba!,” I exclaimed, “I adore you; I
utterly love you. Imperfect as I am, I give my heart to
this very moment I became aware that Mr. Nakul Sen was
motioning to Mrs. Rajagopalan, Indra Devi and myself to
step inside the doorway of Baba’s room. I could not
believe it was true. We crossed the threshold half
expectant, fixing our eyes on the bedstead where the
Master was suffering for His dear devotee. He was not
there! He was standing before us, feeble and frail, with
eyes full of love and mercy – charming in spite of it
He drew back the
orange robe, and permitted us to touch those precious
feet. The lovely feet were warm because of the fever.
The beloved face was pale and etched with pain. The
cheeks had been hollowed for want of sleep and
refreshment. But He stood there for our sake. ‘Do
not worry’, He said tenderly, in a soft, soothing
voice, ‘It is a little upset, that is all’,
indicating the right side of the body.
accept what the doctors prescribe’, we prayed.
‘What do the doctors know? What can they prescribe? I
only want your Love’, He said, quietly, almost
wistfully. He stepped out of the room into the adjacent
drawing room where several others anxiously waited. He
stood for a few minutes, looking languidly, lovingly, at
them all, reassuring the timid and charging them with
courage. Then He returned to the bed. None of us knew
that the appendix was very near bursting point, and the
doctors had said that He must not rise from his bed at
Later in Bombay,
on Christmas Day, Baba referred to the “illness He
had taken on at Goa” and the suffering it caused to
day, a serious illness came upon this body in Goa. Many
who are devoted to Me were plunged into anxiety and
despair when they learnt of it. Illness can never
afflict this Body. It cannot even approach it! If it
should come sometime – believe this – it belongs to
someone; not Myself. And it goes just as it came, of My
free Will. I have no contact with it; I am not affected
On 9th December, the doctors decided to put tubes down
the nose to relieve the hiccough, which was complicating
matters, for taking the gas out of the stomach. They
talked also of the urgent need that had arisen to
puncture the lump and syringe off the pus from the
abscess. It must indeed have given a terrible gash of
pain for Baba, every time the hiccough pulled the muscle
tight and affected the lump round the inflamed appendix!
But eventually the doctors left the Raj Nivas with their
tubes and bottles, as Baba refused to accept their
On the 10th, a
Bhajan meeting had been announced at Government House,
and word had gone round indicating that Baba would
attend the meeting! Baba too said “Yes! Arrange it”.
The doctors could not believe their ears. They did not
foresee any possibility of a public appearance that day.
There was doubt, wonder and amazement in the minds of
various people, but a few of them were convinced that
whatever He says will come to pass.
At tea time Mrs.
Sen looked rather serious, as time was running out and
already people were streaming towards the meeting place.
Goa, which had been previously shocked by the news of
the agonising illness, was now jolted by the impact of
such good news.
may be described in His own words: “The doctors were
unanimous that an immediate operation was necessary, or
they would not be held responsible for what might
happen. They said the inflamed appendix had burst, and
the pus had entered the blood – a situation that is
fatal for all mortals”!
Baba had to move
across His own room, across the drawing room, walk along
the veranda, ascend a low step, get across to the
doorstep of the hall which He had selected for Bhajan,
traverse its length, reach the dais, climb two low steps
– and finally sit upon the chair placed there. A total
distance of 200 feet! A floral carpet stretched all this
Sri Nakul Sen spoke later during the Bhajan sessions.
“The doctors became panicky, and I could feel that
they were absolutely against what Bhagawan had said to
me. My sixth sense somehow assured me that Bhagawan was
showing one of His Leelas in Goa and that through His
Sankalpa (Will) He would get rid of this trouble as
quickly as He had assumed it.”
Dr. Varma, the
chief of team of doctors came at about 4 p.m. and
finding a floral carpet covering a distance of 200 feet,
protested that it was too long a walk. He suggested some
short cuts through other doors and passages making the
journey a distance of only 40 feet. He said, “The
dais itself will have to go; let the chair be on the
floor, for He cannot get up the steps however low they
may be – and please, have the dais on the near side, not
at the farthermost end of the hall”.
At 5 p.m. Baba
was led into the bathroom, and twenty minutes later He
came out of it, clean shaven, wearing a new robe! Fresh
as a new blossomed rose.
When the doctors
examined Him again, they could not locate any abscess,
nor could they find any trace of big lump of flesh near
it. The whole area of the appendix was as soft and as
normal as it could be.
behold!,” said Nakul Sen, in the speech he
delivered as soon as Baba sat on the dais at 6 p.m.,
“Bhagawan walked from His bedroom to the dais, a
distance of about 200 feet without any aid. He sat down
erect on an office chair”.
Ms. June writes
about that historic moment of ecstasy: “Bhajan
began, and my heart was pounding a joyous tune of
expectancy. Love for Baba filled the hall. Ah! There He
was, moving majestically down the hall, although He had
required the assistance of two men all day. He now moved
as if nothing had ever happened. His steps were as sure
and graceful as ever. The cheeks which had been hollow
when I last saw them were completely filled out. His
Love flooded the hall. It was overpowering. He swung
into the room, and when He saw someone leaning against
the wall with a sick child beside him, the Hand began
the familiar circular motion to create the cure.
which plumb the depths, His eyes which pour out love and
compassion, His eyes which flash when he speaks of
cruelty, falsehood, hypocrisy and injustice, eyes which
can be full of quips, were as eloquent as ever. He took
His place on the divan in front of the gathering and
began keeping rhythm with the Bhajan being sung, with
His head and hand. Mrs. Rajagopal whispered in my ear,
“Look! Those eyes are more beautiful than ever. There is
an ethereal expression, not of this world in them; a
look of radiant joy and adoration”.
caressed the gathering, which was watching Him without
even a wink, apprehensive that the cure He had effected
on Himself, might be only partial or temporary.
Sri Nakul Sen
was full of gratitude and wonder! While welcoming Baba,
and introducing the gathering to Him as convention
demanded, he said, “Bhagawan lives in the inner
recesses of the hearts of His devotees; there is nothing
He would not do for them. He has simultaneously appeared
in this Form at different places, to help His devotees
in distress, or to save them from impending calamities,
of which He alone has the precognition! Through His
Sankalpa or Will, He has assumed the illness of His
devotees and suffered it from them, because they would
have succumbed to it, if left alone.
witnessed this now, a Leela which has greatly perplexed
the medical experts of Goa. It leaves no doubt in our
minds that there is nothing on this earth which is
beyond Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. His Leela is Adbhut
– unprecedented; it is Romancha Kari – exhilarating; it
is Madhumaya – sweet in memory; Mangalamayi – promoting
the happiness and welfare of mankind; Manoharini –
overpowering the mind and turning it to truth, beauty
and goodness. It gives Ananda – bliss!…”
concluded his descriptions of the ancient glories of Goa
and its sacred contacts with Siva, Rama, Krishna, and
Parasurama, the Divine Avatars, with these words:
“No wonder the Lord decided to visit this ancient and
sacred land again, in the form which He has assumed now,
with the name of Sathya Sai Baba; He has loved Goa in
His previous incarnations and Goa continues to be dear
to Him even now”.
Baba spoke for
over forty minutes with His usual emphasis and élan. The
gathering listened spellbound, for it was a message of
triumph, benevolence, and benediction.
The illness that
had vanished an hour ago was still uppermost in the
minds of all, and so, Baba spoke of the significance of
its ‘entrance and exit’ and its place in the
scheme of the Avatar’s activities.
many who doubt the existence of God or deny Him, or
dismiss the idea of God as a silly outworn superstition.
To make them discard their conceit, the Divine, out of
Its Innate Grace, reveals its superhuman glory. The
doubters receive the reply without asking, the door is
opened without even a knock; for those who deny will not
knock at all. The ‘superstition’ will be illumined into
divine status by a concrete experience, an indisputable
body generates diseases as a result of faulty food or
frivolous habits, or foolish rashness or fanatic
emotions. The illness that was witnessed by you during
the last two days was quite different. That was an
illness taken over by Me, voluntarily put on, in order
to save a victim who could not have survived it! His
continued existence, in good health is desirable for the
task dear to Me. Pouring Grace on the devout is one of
the functions of the Avatar. The appendix was inflamed,
it turned into an abscess which the doctors could cure
only by removal… He could not have survived it, I know.
I have come with this Body in order to save ‘other
bodies’ from pain. This Body is ever free from pain.
Disease can never affect it.
I had to go
to the rescue of a person who had surrendered to Me –
even his judgment. I took over his illness and went
through it. It shall not recur again in him. You refer
to this incident as a miracle, but remember – every
breath is a proof of the Providence of God. Every event
is the consequence of Divine Omnipotence.
find truth, beauty, goodness, justice, wisdom,
compassion – God is present, and active. An atheist
denies God, with the very breath that God has given him!
He closes the eyes that God has opened in Him, and
declares that there he could see no God. Therefore, such
amazing events have to be accomplished and made known to
man everywhere, so that mankind can be saved from
over-fond involvement with the world, and lovingly drawn
towards the Master of the World.”
“Sathyam Sivam Sundaram” Vol – III by Prof. N Kasturi.
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust, Publications
Division, Prasanthi Nilayam.