- Next >>
BABA'S MIRACLE - 1
"Ask and it shall be given"
It was my habit to worship Baba with Sahasranamarchana every
Thursday, for which as well as for the preliminary Anga Puja and
Ashtothara Puja, at least some twelve hundred flowers are required
at the rate of one for each name. One Thursday in the winter of '42,
I forgot to gather the flowers in the morning and remembered it only
late in the evening a little before sunset. No flower could be had
at that late hour. However, in lieu of flower tulsi dhalams (twig
endings with two leaves and a bud), could be used. Fortunately, we
had a bed of tulsi bushes in the neighbourhood. So, along with some
of my student friends, I set about gathering tulsi till sunset after
which tradition forbids it. Each of us kept count of the number
plucked and the total came to about seven hundred only. A recount of
all put together confirmed it. I decided to make up the deficiency
However, when once I began the Puja, I forgot all about the shortage
and went on with one tulsi dhalam for each name, reassured and
beckond by the generous heap in the tray before me. Not till the
puja was over and I relaxed after partaking of prasadam was my
attention attracted to the substantial quantity of tulsi still left
in the tray. I checked with those present to make sure that I had
continuously used only the tulsi for each 'name' of the archana. On
counting the quantity left over I found nearly three hundred dhalams.
How else could I explain it except as Baba's leela. "Ask and it
shall be given."
Glory be to Shri Sirdi Sai - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 2
What can the snake do to Dwarakamayi's children? When Dwarakamayi
protects, can it strike? We have no need to fear. Strike, let me see
how you can strike and kill!"
- Promises of Baba as Dwarakamayi
In fulfilment of the above charter granted for all time to His
devotees, Baba twice saved us from imminent danger of fatal
The first time was in the winter of '42 in an interior village of
Visakhapatnam Dt. where we had sought refuge from the Japanese
bombing of the city and the threatened overnight invasion by sea in
March of that year. It came about like this.
One evening my wife drew my attention to a small snake about 10"
long slowly creeping along the foot of the wall of the front
vereanda where I was sitting. In the impulse of the moment, I did
the stupidest thing. Taking its small size for granted, I hit it
with one of my chappals and sutomatically stood up. Instantaneously,
it jumped up reaching for my face as if it had instinctively
anticipated my erect posture. It was so sudden and so totally
unexpected that I was startled out of my wits, so to say. Only Baba
I am sure must have made me slant my head backwards in the nick of
the movement, so that missing its mark narrowly it fell down. In
frantic fear and despair, I picked up the other chappal near me and
hit it in a frezy and killed it.
As that time and till long afterwards, I had not known that I was
confronted with a reptile called krait more molicious than the other
poisonous kinds. For while even the Cobra attacks only on
provocation, this one does so on mere sight and its bite is as
fatal. It is unusual for it to leave its haunts, away from the
inhabited areas. Evidently it was caught and thrown in.
It later dawned upon my mind that some clique in the fairly big
village wanted to teach a lesson in such a vengeful manner for my
heterodox ways of defying untouchability and employing a low-caste
woman for fetching water and cleaning utensils. Such acts pass
unnoticed in a city but are not tolerated in the villages dominated
by the upper castes who though not brahmins were feeling scandalised
that I calling myself a brahmin, should stoop so low. The fact is
that having come under the influence of Gandhiji first and accepted
whole-heartedly Baba's teachings later, my wife and I had almost
completely eschewed observing differences based upon caste of creed.
Further, when they saw her serving meal on a Thursday to a
mendicant-harijan afflicted with leprosy seated in front veranda of
the house, the sight must have been galling to them. I can now see
that I had also grossly though unwittingly tresspassed the social
bounds and decorum of the local standards of rural society in some
other ways. Thus I had incurred the enmity of a group of families by
blocking up the channel letting their drainage pass through our yard
till then and improvising a lavatory in the adjoining open space.
Though all this was done with the pradhan's approval, it must have
scandalised them. Add to these my tendency to put my foot in my
mouth while talking, liable to be mistaken for imparity and it must
have proved the last straw. This is the price one has to pay for not
doing in Rome as the Romans do.
The second occasion was in November '49 or '50. It has been said
that it is a misfortune in life to fail and the other misfortune
equally bad is to succeed. I was employed then as a Leading Examiner
of Ammunition in the Navy at Visakhapatnam and by the sheer grace of
Baba success came knocking at my door. The immediate result was I
succeeded in making enemies too who would not be averse to see the
end of me or some one dear to me. This I came to know
in retrospect. What actually happened was this. One morning as I
entered the lavatory of the old open-air type, contrary to my habit
of mechanically squatting on the stones to answer the calls of
nature, I instinctively felt impelled, rather Baba provided the
impulse to look round. Imagine my shock and horror to find between
the stones where I was to have squatted a small Cobra with its hood
raised obviously ready to strike. I backed out in fear and summoned
my neighbor who found it half crushed in the middle so that it could
not move. He killed and disposed it of. The inference was clear.
Beyond all doubt, it was placed in that position with the injury
inflicted on it to rouse its fury and left to do its fell work.
Only, whoever had done it had not taken into account the
omnipresence of Baba, that He is even there as He assured where His
devotee goes to ease himself even in the dark.
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 3
Why fear when I am here? Throw your burdens upon me and I will bear
My wife was an expectant mother in '43. We were then at Vizianagaram,
Visakhapatnam Dt., and though I had medical friends, we did not
think it necessary to seek advice except for just one visit of the
health visitor who said it was all O.K. We felt assured that Baba
who is ever watchful and solicitous about the welfare of his
devotees would provide the necessary help as and when required.
Towards the end of August, my wife developed labour pains. These
continued in an increasing measure from day to day for 4 to 5 days.
Yet, it did not strike either of us to seek medical advice. Only
when delivery seemed imminent did I call a midwife. It took more
than three hours of excruciating labour for a male child to be
While feeling thankful for the redress at long last, the midwife
threw a bomb-shell that there was another child in the womb. This
was my wife's fourth confinement, we had not dreamt of the
possibility of twins, there being no precedence on either side. We
were flabber-gasted. The health visitor had not said anything about
twins. My wife who was still crying and feeling exhausted with pain
became desperate and said she would not survive another delivery.
The midwife after attending to the new-born child was preparing to
go saying it would not be for another six or seven hours that
thesecond child would be born. I was completely non-Plussed. There
was no other help in the house except for the neighbours.
Then my wife called me and asked for Baba's Udhi What a fool I was,
I had not thought of it, though it was I who had narrated to her
about Baba's leela, in case of Nana Saheb Chandarkar's daughter, how
He had sent Bapu Gir with Udhi to the young woman in the throes of
labour quite far away from Shirdi, which enabled her to deliver her
child promptly and with ease.
With resurgent hope and courage, I forth with gave a little Udhi to
the midwife to be put in my wife's mouth as well as to be applied
over the region of her womb. It was accordingly done, when lo! and
behold! almost in a trice, as though gently propelled by unseen
hands the second of the twins was born.
What more proof could one need to demonstrate the ever loving care
and immanence of Baba?
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 4
" When truth is stranger than fiction"
- The Upanishads
Yes, I saw Him, The re-incarnation of Baba (Twenty-six years after
His Mahaa samadhi)-This occurred in March, 1944 at Vizianagaram, A.P,
26 years after Baba attained Mahaa Samadhi in October, 1918.
Mukam karothi uachalam Mrutha mujj'wa yatyapi
- The Upanishads
Behold, it came to pass that the dumb spoke and the dead came back
Yes, there He stood at the gate, with His serene indulgent face and
benevolent eyes, clothed in 'Kupni' with the cloth over the head
falling loosely over the shoulders, the 'Biksha Patra' held in the
right hand with the left folded and resting over the right shoulder
exactly as in the portrait facing P112 of the Satcharita (Eng.edn.
by Sri N.V. Gunaji). I was stunned with amazement. It was
Only a moment before, in my frenzied despair at the passing away of
my first-born son aged 10 years, I had denied Him His Divinty and
His omnipresence testified again and again by His devotees'
experiences both before and after His 'Mahasamaadhi' I had declared
Him to be a false deity and beseeched my wife to throw His portrait
on the dung hill. But, here He stood to prove the TRUTH OF HIS
You see, the medicine I poured into the mouth of my semiconcious son
remained there. I shouted to him to swallow it, but the mouth
remained open. I became frantic and tried to close it. No, the jaws
had become rigid. I checked pulse. It too had stopped. It was then
that called out my wife from the kitchen and spoke those blasphemons
words. She just sat by the bed, head bent and tears trickling down,
as much hurt by my profanity, no doubt, as by the bereavement.
I had come to the end of my tether spiritually, I was not myself for
the nonce. Thus i had the brutal impudence to ask my grieving wife
whether she had cooked, adding, 'He has anyway gone. I don't want to
die, too. I shall go and eat."
Imagine the father, however forlorn, to be so devoid of all feelings
as to put such an inhuman question to the mother just bereaved.
There is no limit to which human nature can sink through, thank God,
it can also soar to Elysian heights. Here I must say that my wife’s
faith, unlike mine, has throughout been unflickering, standing
'four-square to all the winds that blow'. Whenever my mind harks
back to that scene, I can not help wondering how I escaped her
righteous indignation for my frenzied out-burst. Where else, except,
except in this land hallowed by Sita and Savithri, Damayanthi and
Mandodhari, Nalaayini and Renuka Devi, can one meet with such
phenomenal forbearance and fortitude?
It is not far-fetched to say that it is for such paragons of virtue
that the Sun shines, it rains, and Mother Earth continues to yield
her bounty. It has been said that 'the greatness of a man does not
consist in never falling but rising everytime he falls'. Indeed, it
is by the magnetic charm of their devotion that 'homo sapiens' is
not completely debased. In her own gentle manner, she said. ' i just
finished cooking for the children. Pray, serve yourself for this
once", and lapsed into, what I know now in retrospect to have been,
prayer to Baba.
You see, there were four younger children, two of them twins hardly
six months old. But my mind and heart had become dry, no thought or
feeling for any one, not even Baba!
So I betook myself to the kitchen to eat! I sat with a Thali' before
me and mechanically served myself some rice. Before I could bring
myself to eat, while sitting and staring at the rice vacantly, I
became schizophrenic, as it were, one part of me questioning the
other, "Look, what are you trying to do? there lies your first-born
son dead and you are going to gorge yourself". This shocked me into
realising how perfectly horrid of me it was. I turned to look in the
direction of the bed in the front room which was in line with the
kitchen. It was then that my eyes beheld the wonderful form of Baba.
Was it a mere vision, a figment of my imagination? I shouted to my
wife with head still bent, "Kamu, look out and see who has come".
Reacting to the frantic urgency in my voice, she looked up and
glanced at the gate. At once, as if touched by a live wire, she
sprang up; and, as if that was the consummation, she was devoutly
praying for she exclaimed "Amma Nayana/ Baba Vachcheru!" (Oh! at
long last Baba has come!).
Actually, neither of us had seen the Satcharita portrait of Baba by
then. Our puja portrait showed Him sitting crossed. However, in His
inscrutable Wisdom, He had
led us intoo buying at a 'me/a' a few months earlier, a wood-cut
portraying Him in five different poses, including this one, we were
able to recognise Him at once.
Now I felt sure it was He. I was back in my senses. My heart was
full of gratitude to Him for coming in the nick of time, and saving
the situation. Else, in my forsaken condition, with no thought of
Him or for Him, I might have polluted the food before me. In this
new found happiness, I reverentially took the thali up to Him and
put the rice in the lifted 'biksha-paatra', He received it with His
beatific face and went away. No word was spoken. Indeed, there was
no need for any. My heart was too full for it, too. There was 'peace
that passeth understanding'.
As I stepped into the house, my son opened his eyes and said
"Father, I am thirsty. Give me some water."
The humanly impossible had come to pass!
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai – Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 5
" When truth is stranger than fiction"
- The Upanishads
Yes, Baba came, dined and conversed with me (Twenty six years after
His Maha Samadhi)
It was about noon and Thursday too By force of habit, I looked
towards the gate for some Fakir or Sadhu who might turn up for
biksha. Ever since the advent of Baba into my life two years
previously in '42 through the sacred contact of His Holiness Swami
Kesavaiah, I had come to observe Thursday as Baba's day. You see, it
was through swamiji's initiation into devotion to Baba and doing His
'Nnamasmaranam' that I was reclaimed from imminent death. On further
being advised to fast every Thursday night for nine months and gave
my meal to the first Fakir that might turn up, (which I accordingly
did) I was gradually restored to health. Since then, I had made it a
rule to feed a Fakir before taking the noon meal on Thursdays.
But this Thursday was unique, a red-letter day in a long life of
sojourns on earth (punarapi jananam punarapi maranam) a culmination
of persistent 'tapasya' through recurrent janma of some one in the
family, in all probability my wife, or one of the children or may be
my own imperfect self for his'Saakshaatkaara. For, to my utter
surprise and astonishment, Baba Himself with His beatific smile was
entering front enclosure! He was in same Bikshapathi pose as He
manifested Himself the previous day as 'Mrutyanjaya to revive my
dead son, almost within a split second of my denying His divinity
and declaring Him to be a false deity! I eagerly hastened up to Him.
After welcoming Him with all my heart, I begged Him to condescend to
stay for food. He asked me with a twinkle in His eyes whether there
was anything special that day, I said that it being a Thursday, it
was our custom to offer food to a Fakir before our noon-meal. With
the faintest flicker of a smile at the corners of His lips He
wondered whether I would do so on Thursdays only.
Being rather academic and literal in my ways, I replied, rather
obtusely, that it was so. I am not ashamed to confess that it look
years for me, chewing the cud of it off and on, to sense the gentle
admonition enshrined in His benevolent query, as if half in jest and
half in earnest, 'Why not daily', and begin doing so.
Be that as it may, I offered him a seat and ran inside with the glad
tidings of Baba's visit and His gracious condescension to have food
at our humble adobe. I beseeched my wife to round off the cooking
forthwith and start serving the food, since 'Athithi's, especially
holy ones, should not be made to wait unduly (Athidhi Devo Bhava)
and, all the more so, because it was BABA HIMSELF How can one
describe the signal good fortune so divinely bestowed upon my wife,
Kamala, of personally serving food cooked by her to the Master of
all CREATION (as described my Meherbaba) except to say that it is
the cumulative fulfilment of all the good deeds of all her previous
'janmas at ONE STROKE! The whole beauty of it lay in the fact that
she did not as a matter of course, characteristic of a 'gruha
dharmini' fulfilling her obligation and to at this day not at all
conscious of that greatest good furtune that can ever accrue to her.
That is, indeed, as it be for "there is no vanity so damaging to
one's character as pride over one's good deeds". 'SUCH are the
chosen of God, the humble and the good at heart who it is that
"inherit the kingdom of Heaven".
As Baba was graciously taking the meal, I put Him the stupidest of
questions! I had the foolish temerity to ask Him where exactly at
Vizianagaram (he was staying) This episode took place at
Vizianagaram in Visakhapatnam dist. In March, 1944) imagine asking
Him who had repeatedly given proof of His EXISTENCE at different
places to different persons at one and the same time both during His
incarnate stay at Shirdi as well as after His Mahaa Samdhi, either
in a clearly recognisable manner of incognito, to be recognised,
later on, both subjectively as well as by cumulative evidence, as
none other than Baba Himself.
How puerile and vain can man be that, not withstanding the show and
pomp, penance and ostensible devotion with which he invokes the
Lord, when He does appear, he fails to recognise Him! Even tapasvins
were occasionally not exempt from such an woeful lapse.
The all-knowing Baba, speaking at my level, gave me an apt and
satisfying reply. He said that he was staying at the Sri Subrahmanya
Temple near the railway station, which, as will be seen presently,
was true in a literal sense as also applicable universally according
to His own proven assertion to many a devotee in respect of His
identity with any idol or image or worship. I, of course, took His
words literally and said, "All right Baba, if so I will surely go
and see you". "Do come!", He confirmed and went back letting me
accompany Him up to the gate. Indeed it is a misnomer to say he went
back, for, how and where can He, the 'Sarvantaryamee', ever go to
come back again for that matter? However, such wisdom was yet a long
way from me.
Here it should be noted that Baba and I were conversing in Telugu,
my mother-tongue, which He spoke with ease and in our dialect. I
wonder why and how I had started talking thus. It seemed the natural
thing to do. I now realise the question does not arise at all. I am
sure any one in my place would have naturally spoken in his own
language and Baba would have answered in it or vice versa.
Mahalsapati (the earliest devotee of Baba at Shirdi) has vouched
that many a time in the night while all were asleep, Baba used to
converse with some unseen agent(s) in some foreign tongue(s)
Soon, I must unblushingly admit, I lapsed into the humdrum routine
of existence, and all thought of the incarnate Baba receded to the
back of my mind, though my daily worship went on as usual. About a
month later, as I was about to take my noon-meal, the thought of my
defferred visit to Baba in the temple flashed across my mind. At
once, grabbing the hand of my convalescing son, I rushed out like
one possessed and trotted along to reach the temple, about a mile
away. I had often passed by it and noted it to be a transit camp for
the Sadhus to and fro on their pilgrimage. Reaching the portal
sweating and panting, I accosted the first person I saw and enquired
about Baba's stay there, describing His person and dress in exact
detail. To my great disappointment, he curtly replied there was none
answering to that description, implying a muslim ascetic. I begged
him to recollect and tell me or refer me to others whose sojourn
might be longer than a month, insisting that the SADHU I was after
had come and received biksha at our house and had averred that this
was His abode at Vizianagaram. This rather annoyed him but, seeing
my crest-fallen countenance, he softened a bit and assured me that
none like the ONE I described had ever stayed at the temple since
over a month during which period he himself had been staying there.
That was it. It was enough to deflate me completely. I was on the
verge of tears.
In this repentant and chastened mood, I decided that we might as
well go in and worship Lord Subrahmanya and seek His blessings, for,
I had learnt to see Baba in all deities (and vice-versa). As we went
round and turned the corner to reach the front again, I came across
an improvised minor sanctum common in temple premises. I casually
looked inside. I was overwhelmed to behold a life-size portrait of
Baba in exactly the same pose as He designed to visit our abode on
two consecutive days first as 'Mrutyunjaya' and the next day as
Divine 'Athithi1! In a flash, I understood what the 'Dayaa Sindu'
had meant, both literally and in a metaphorical sense, when He told
me that I could find Him here, as, indeed, anywhere one wants and
needs, if only with all one's heart and will. Now, the flood gate
burst open and I poured out my heart to him. Tears of joy welled up
in my eyes flowing as if in an unending stream, and my heart melted
away into secret raptures. I then remembered having heard some year
ago while at Waltair that one Sri C. Rangaiah Naidu, under the
inspiration of Sri D. Durgaiah Naidu, a pioneer devotee of Baba and
well known to the Shirdi Sansthan, had installed a portrait of Baba
for worship at Vizianagaram, This was it.
My heart leapt as I felt reassured that Baba was, as He continues to
be with me and I was not bereft of His Grace, that He is enshrined
in every image and portrait of His, ready to manifest Him self at a
split second's notice, or none at all, even as "the gentle rain from
heaven upon the place beneath". It can be as His re-incarnation, or
incognito as a person or an animal, or in a vision, or as subjective
(or call if sub-conscious, superconscious or subliminal) realisation
of His being 'BHAKTHA PARAADINA" ever alert to fulfil Himself
according to His charter to give His children whatever they want so
that they will being to want what He wants to give them, blessed is
he who thus qualifies.
"Such man is free from servile bands of hope to rise or fear to
fall, Lord of Himself though not of lands And having nothing, yet
- Sir Henry Wotton (A Happy Life)
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai Baba - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 6
" When truth is stranger than fiction'
"Behold, it came to pass that the dumb spoke and the dead come back
- The Bible
BABA APPEARING AS BLACK DOG TO BESTOW POWER OF SPEECH TO BOY BORN
As if to prove paradoxically that the law of compensation works
itself out to perfection in nature, the handsomest of my children, a
boy, and the most cheerful withal, was born dumb. This was confirmed
when he failed to gain the power of speech as he grew up to complete
his fifth year. His heroic efforts to make himself understood
through gestures and unintelligible blabber only lent poignancy to
the situation, Yet, he was the least perturbed. It was an object
lesson in philosophic reconciliation. Being feminine in my attitude
to life and, thus though endowed with the characteristics resilience
to bear "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune", I could not
help giving way to tears every time I saw him. It was the optimism
of my wife, Kamala, derived from her unflickering faith in Baba's
never failing Grace, that helped me sustain myself. She was never
tired of iterating and reiterating the incredible miracles worked by
Baba in our life: how He had helped me in a hopeless condition to
regain health: how His Vdhi' (Vipudhi), the sacred ash, from the
perennial fire (dhuni) at Shirdi first kindled by His Yogic power,
and used as a panacea for all bodily and mental ills, had enabled
her without any medical help to deliver her twin child in a matter
of seconds, though the seasoned midwife had averred it would not be
for another six hours; how He had re-incarnated Himself and came as
Bikshapati to revive our dead first-born son, aged ten years; how He
had enabled me to obtain employment in the Central Government though
I was past 42 years, and retain it in the face of difficulties
inherent as well as created by jealous elements; how He was
continuing to fulfil Himself according to His Charters granted for
all time to His children, by saving us from want and imminent
dangers time and again, and so on, and so forth.
All this was, no doubt, true. But I was a doubting Thomas, besides
being a vertiable woman at heart, wanting and in need of constant
and renewed proof of the Solicitude of my Lord and Master at every
Thus, I felt that in this boy's case something had gone wrong
somewhere. Else, why this tantalization in His fulfilling the first
half of the Upanishadic Axiom when He had so readily rushed in
answer to my challenge to fulfil, the other half? If the dead could
be made to come back to life, then what could stand in the way of
the dumb being made to talk? Of course, I was aware of the Biblical
Dictum that the sins of the fathers are visited on their children.
Thus, it may be that some past bad 'karma' of mine had descended as
the curse of dumbness on this innocent boy. Even so, how many a time
has He not rescued His devotees by transmuting their accrued
sufferings resulting from 'runanubandha' into lightly borne ones,
or, not un often, taken them upon Himself and sublimated them? I
could not forget the fact that spiritually I am wedded to Him, my
Lord and Master, and have taken refuge in Him. In the words of
"In Him I take delight in weal,
And seek relief in woe;
And whenever I understand and feel
How much to Him I owe,
My cheeks are often bedewed
With tears of thoughtful gratitude!"
(with apologies to Robert Southey for changing 'them' into Him)
In the spiritual sense, there is no alternative to being prepared,
to be passive, naked and unashamed! The beauty is the LOVED ONE does
not let it come to pass. Is this not the lesson to be learnt from
the wonderful manner in which He saved Draupadi's threatened
nakedness? "Even as obedience to an earthly ruler makes life under
it easier, mute and humble submission to the Divine will makes life
on earth easier".
However, all this wisdom was yet a long way off. For the time being,
I could not free myself from a nagging doubt that the boy might for
ever be condemned to a silent existence. But my wife had no qualms
at all about his being able to speak in God's own good time. With a
woman's instinct, she knew this in her heart. I now realise that I
was like a forward child crying 'mother, mother' while being in her
lap all the time! I was yet to be familiarised to Baba's wonderful'
'Sutradhaari' ways; yet to learn to be content to remain wherever
and in whatever capacity or circumstances He chooses to place me;
yet to appreciate that what is, is the best; that, in His infinite
Wisdom as the Great mathematician, He sees to it that the sum total
of a person's happiness and misery is always 'K' (a constant)
whether a saint of a sinner; a nawab or a fakir; man, woman or
child; yea, any living creature for that matter!
Now, to hark back to the scene to see how Baba in inscrutable Wisdom
designed to convert the gloom of despair into the bloom of
hope-fulfilled. As my son was entering his sixth year, we were
shifting to a different house, now he had become like the favourite
lamb of the shepherd perched on his shoulder. Holding him by my left
and with Baba's portrait in my right, as I was setting my
foot on the first step, Baba alone knows from where, a black. dog
appeared, and, coming close, licked him. It occurred to my mind
later that a black dog has been instrumental in one of Baba's Leelas.
In my eagerness and anxiety to pacify hjm lost sight of the fact
that he had spoken! The others were somewhat behind me. Presently,
when all of us were in, as is our custom on entering a house for
residence for the first time, we offered freshly boiled milk with
sugar to Baba and worshipped Him. As soon as we had partaken the 'Prasaadam',
wonder of wonders! The boy began to speak, the words tumbling out of
his mouth, vying with one another WORDS! Oh, how they came; brothers
and sisters, nephew and nieces, uncles and aunts, even distant
cousins, in truth the whole tribe of them came, thus constituting in
the course of an hour the full vocabulary of a normal five year old
boy, flabbergasting all of us, making us astonished and delighted by
turns! Then, all at once, I felt the full impact of Baba's
incredible 'Leela'. It was too great for words. I could only "Let my
blood speak in my veins".
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai Baba - Grace be to all
MIRACLE - 7
" When truth is stranger than fiction"
"Ask, it shall be given."
- The Bible
During the Second World War, I was employed as a Civilian Office
Supervisor in the" Embarkation Headquarters Vishakapatnam through
which all the requirements of war against Japan were being routed.
This was the first time I had ever worked for the army or the
Government for that matter having been in private employment till
then. Hence, I had often to bungle through to success, 'heart within
and God overhead/ We worked under the strictest discipline I had
even known. Even minor mistakes attracted immediate and summary
punishment. It was in this context that I once found myself in a
highly embarrassing position. It came about as under:
A British Military Officer and I were in charge of disbursement of
pay to the soldiers and sepoys (as Jawans were then called)
According to the rules, soon after the payments are made, the O.C.'s
counter signature should be obtained and the ledger posted up.
However, on the first of a certain- month, it was so late in the
evening by the time payments were made that I postponed the work of
getting the pay rolls countersigned and posted to the next day and
went.home. I had no qualms about the safety of the document, since
it was a war-time military establishment, everything under lock and
seal with sentries pacing up and down round the clock. However,
imagine my shock and surprise the next morning when I opened the
almirah, to find the pay-rolls missing.
Hardly a month earlier, I was handpicked as the best available man
and given the charge of the office by the new boss, one Maj G.
William, a distinguished war-veteran. This was my first major task
and I would be found wanting. He was indeed a fire-eater with a
penchant for dismissing a person found negligent in any way on the
spot. Many including my predecessor in the seat had thus been axed
in quick succession. This had created a lit of heart-burning. It was
clear that someone bent upon putting me in trouble was behind this
mischief. I was completely non-plussed. My heart rose in prayer to
Baba, my Sole Refuge, for His unfailing help to a devotee in
trouble. Sustained by such faith, I pulled out all the files
methodically one by one, in the hope of locating the payrolls among
them. It was of no avail. I became frantic and went on repeating the
process with each of the twenty odd almirahs in the office hoping
against hope to find by chance the missing documents hidden in one
of them but with the same negative result. I went and sat in my seat
To go and tell the boss would be worse than useless, since the whole
thing smacked of negligence and he was bound to pounce upon me. It
would mean only one thing, namely, dismissal. That would be my
undoing. Caught in this dilemma, I once again beseeched Baba to my
rescue. Now, some impulse led me back again to the same almirah in
which I had kept the pay-rolls and which I had throughly searched
already, and involuntarilly opened it, when lo! and behold! There
before me exactly where I had kept, were the pay-rolls starting me
in the face! I know for certain that all the while none had stirred
from his seat. There was no way to explain it. It was another clear
example of Baba's 'chamatkar'.
"Ask, it shall be given."
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 8
Why fear when I am here? Cast your burdens upon me and I will bear
My ancestral back ground and the evironment in which I was born and
bred up had cast me into a philosophic mould and conditioned me to
believe that "There is a destiny that shapes our ends / Rough - hew
them how we may." After the advent of Baba into my life, my
experiences with him amply confirmed and ratified this belief.
Rather it became an axiom in due course proving itself again and
again in a remarkably incredible manner. I gave no thought for the
morrow. The unsettled war- years found a large number of us employed
willy nilly in some establishment connected with the war-effort.
With the ending of the war, however, most of these units were closed
down one by one. I was functioning as an Administrative Officer in
the Embarkation HQ, Vishakapatnam at that time. Of course, I knew I
had to seek a job elsewhere. But then what is Baba for? Does he not
provide the impetus to act, leading us into "fresh fields and
pastures new?" Has He not assured His devotees that there would be
no want in their houses? Is He not ever ready and willing to take
over our burdens if only we cast them on Him with full faith? So why
worry? Such were my thoughts and I was as unconcerned as I could be.
Accordingly, one fine morning my boss, Capt. Boohariwallah, a man of
sterling character and independence who had recently taken over
asked me whether I had been recommended for a Permanent position as
an administrative Officer in the army. Un my replying in the
negative, he forthwith put up a letter to the GHQ strongly
recommending me for the job. He followed up by phoning the Staff
Officer concerned at intervals to make sure the proposal received
due consideration. This spontaneous acion of the Officer only
underlined my belief in Baba's solicitude for the welfare of those
who put their faith in Him On this note of hope I found myself
discharged on the closing down of our establishment in July '48.
Months dragged on but nothing was heard from Delhi. I had saved
nothing and had to begin selling things to fend for the family.
First it was the furniture. Then it was my wife's jewellery one by
one till by Dec '48 we came to the end of our resources except for
just one gold chain around her neck. I kept in touch with the CHQ
through one of the officers still available. I had every reason to
be hopeful. However, in. retrospect I wonder at my seeming stupidity
in my failure to seek an alternative job. But, then it never occured
to me I should try. As luck would have it, reducing my hopes to
ashes, came the government's declaration of the 'Hyderabad Action'
against the Nizam. The whole army was geared up overnight to achieve
success in their effort and chances of my appointment vanished into
It was a terrible shock. I sat before Baba and cried. My wife who
was convalescing after confinement and whose matchless devotion to
Baba has always been exemplary told me it was needless for me to cry
or lose heart. Baba was actually testing her faith not mine, she
exclaimed. "Let this lost piece too go. Let us see what He does
afterwards," so saying, she practically tore the chain off her neck
and threw it. "Please take and sell this away .and let Him take
over," she concluded. For a long while I could not bring myself to
pick it up. I felt like a heartless robber, having no alternative, I
steeled myself to take it and sell it. Within a week after this, I
got my first permanent appointment as a higher grade Office
Assistant in the Royal Indian Navy through the good offices of Capt.
Krishnaswamy who happened to be a former student of mine. I was past
40. I think it was the first as well as the last exemption from such
over-age ever granted. It could happen that way because the Navy was
still under British Admiralty manned by Britishers at the top and an
Englishman had strongly recommended it in my favour. In the ultimate
analysis, it was Baba fulfilling Himself in His own wonderful way.
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai Baba - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 9
HOW THE WHEELS OF BABA GRIND SLOWLY BUT SURELY?
It has been narrated in the earlier article, how though past 40 and
without a regular job, I was granted exemption and appointed as A
Grade office Assistant in the Royal Indian Navy in Dec 1948. It was,
no doubt; the first as well as the last such exemption granted by
the Government of India as a striking example of Baba's grace.
Hardly had I settled down in my job when, out of sheer jealousy,
some of the office-staff petitioned the NHQ against my appointment
and the exemption granted. I knew about it only when a letter came
retracting the earlier order and allowing me the option to work in a
lower category as a clerk. Mr. Brooker, who had originally
recommended me, showed me the letter and wished to know my reaction.
I was stunned. Apart from the discomfiture of being downgraded, my
emoluments would go down too, making it impossible for me to make
both ends meet. Above all, I was hit below the belt. I said I was
not prepared to be demoted. I requested him to forward my appeal
against the patently unjust order. He readily agreed.
All the while what was puzzling me was why Baba was tantalizing me
like this. Of course, learn I did, though it took me long years to
do so, that MUTE AND HUMBLE SUBMISSION TO HIS WILL IS THE ONLY RULE
FOR A PEACEFUL LIFE. But then, still being raw, I became desperate.
As muuch so on reaching home, to the astonishment of my wife kamala,
and to my own shame later on, I hit Him with my fist, the glass of
the frame fracturing and cutting my fist into the bargain. I gave
Him an ultimatum, so to say, to see through my appeal, or else! I
sat down before Him and wrote it out in the strongest language
possible telling the people at the NHQ about their ineptitude,
cussedness, inability to take a decision in the first instance, and
causing untold misery to an appointee to cover up their
Mr. Brooker's face went red on reading the appeal. He glowered at me
and demandd to know whether I called it an appeal and, whether I
expected him to forward it to the NHQ. I told him that Britishers
were still at the helm and, since they were not playing the game but
hitting me below the belt, I expected him, as an Englishman, to come
to my rescue. He immediately cooled down and volunteered to send it
adding, "The worst that can happen to me is that, they can terminate
my contract, according to which I have still a year to go. Well, I
can always go back to my job home. So, here goes! "It was a stinker
all right. I bided my time keeping my fingers crossed. Before a week
had passed came a reply cancelling the adverse letter and regretting
the inconvenience caused to me.
No long after, a new technical department called the Directorate of
Naval Armament Inspection was formed. As there was no age bar for
this, Mr. Brooker, sensing a possible recurrence of trouble for me
on this score, put me up as a candidate, and I was selected again as
an act of Baba's grace. The emoluments were higher. Baba had steered
my course clear of the sharks and shoals of jealous intrigues and
administrative objections. Baba, in His Infinite Mercy, wished to
spare me further suffering. Hence it was He had created so many
obstacles and diverted my course in a totally unexpected manner to
perfect safety. IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT MAN IS HIS OWN ENEMY AND OFTEN
COMES IN THE WAY OF GOD TO DO GOOD TO HIM. It took me a long time,
indeed decades, to sense this fully and cease to be like a wayward
and naughty child of an indulgent father, and learn 'to be content
to remain where and what you are according to His will. The truth is
one can be happy only when one,
"To God doth late and early pray
More of his grace than gifts to lend,
And entertains the harmless day
With a religious book or friend.
Such man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise or fear to fall,
Lord of himself though not of lands,
And having nothing, yet hath all".
("A Happy Warrier" by Sir Henry Wotton)
Glory be to Shi Shirdi Sai - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 10
AN INCREDIBLE MIRACLE OF BABA IMPELLING THE
GOVT. OF INDIA
TO MODIFY THEIR DECISION FOR THE SAKE OF HIS
This pertains to my totally unexpected selection as an Ammunition
Supervisior in the newly-formed Directorate o Naval Armament
Inspection of the Royal Indian Navy in 1949 in the face of normally
insurmountable obstacles. To begin with, I was already 43, an age,
as a rule, a disqualification for fresh entrants to a brand - new
Government department. Further, I had not touched ammunition even
with a bargepole till then. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find
my name topping the list of successful candidates. No doubt, it was
in accordance with Baba's "aagna".
Presently, I came to know that we would be required to go to U.K.
for training. My immediate reaction was against it for reasons of
health. It was quite baffling to me why, in His Inscrutable wisdom,
Baba had led me on to this job not withstanding my inability to go
abroad of which, as 'Sarvantaryaami', He must be fully aware.
I was, however, sustained by a blind faith. IS NOT "FAITH TO BELIEVE
WHAT YOU DO NOT SEE AND THE REWARD OF THAT FAITH IS TO SEE WHAT YOU
BELIEVE", IN THE GOLDEN WORDS OF ST.AUGUSTINE. About two years
passed thus. It chanced that the British Technical Assistant, one
Mr. Mordy, was invalided and flown to the U.K. Usually, they call
for a replacement from the Admiralty. To my surprise, I found myself
as the defacto. Tech. Asst. and being tacitly accepted as such by my
immediate boss, a dyed-in-the-wool Britisher named Smith.
Yet, I was not out of the Woods At long last, Maj. Priestly; of the
Royal Marines, the Director, had managed to obtain the sanction of
the Govt. of India to send the first batch of four candidates to the
U.K. and one fine day, erelong my passport arrived. As Mr. Smith
took and reached it across the table with congratulations, I
involuntarily recoiled from it. I somehow managed to blurt out, "I
am not touching it, Mr. Smith!" He was stunned. I added, "You see,
the fact is I never wanted to go to the U.K. and am not going. I
have been guilty of an act of dishonesty in not having confessed it
at the beginning. It is high time you wrote and told the Director
everything, come what may!" He looked bewildered. He seemed to think
I was talking through may hat. So, in a gentle manner he told me,
"Listen, don't say anything to me now. Take the car and go home. We
shall talk over it tomorrow." "Look here Mr. Smith", I replied "This
is not a sudden decision. Only, I am two years late in announcing
it." I felt greatly relieved, as if a heavy burden weighing me down
had been taken off; but I felt more insecure about my position. Only
the undercurrent of my faith in Baba sustained me.
The next day when Mr.Smith saw me reiterating my refusal, he set
about much against his will to write and explain the predicament to
Maj. Priestly, rather going out of the way to safeguard my position.
He wrote that I already knew the ropes and my not going to the U.K.
should not be allowed to come in the way of may future prospects. I,
no doubt, knew in my heart of hearts that Baba was behind all this,
though nothing could yet be said how things would finally turn-out.
Maj. Priestly was wild with rage. He wrote a stinker addressed to me
saying that "In spite of the uniformly glowing tribute to the
brilliant record of your work in the department, I shall most
regretfully, be obliged to downgrade you in view of your
unwillingness to go to the U.K. for training. If you are not
prepared for this, you may seek your future elsewhere." I felt
After reaching home, as I went in still in a daze and my eyes fell
upon Baba, I broke down and began sobbing out my heart to Him. My
wife; Kamala, whose single-minded devotion to Him is like a steady
flame in the face of all the winds that blow" came near and said,
"what has happened that you are crying like this? My woman's
instinct tells me that nothing untoward will be fall us. Why fear
when Baba is with us?" I read out and explained the letter of Maj.
Priestly to her. To my astonishment she stood her ground without
being perturbed in the least by the letter nor by my gloomy
forebodings of impending doom. Rather, she turned round and
poohpoohed the very idea. "Afterall, who is Priestly to make or mar
us?" she demanded to know. "It is the prerogative of Baba only and
Baba alone. Priestly has only held out a threat. How long will it
take for Baba to make him change his mind? We know how the District
Magistrate of Ahmednagar, an Englishman, not knowing he was acting
under the inspiration of Baba whom he had never seen, scrapped his
earlier judgement even without looking at the appeal memo and orally
pronounced a fresh order acquitting the appellants falsely
implicated at first. What Baba Himself has given, no power on earth
can take away." These, indeed, were inspired words now being uttered
by one by nature given to just a few mild words of assent and quite
foreign to dialectics or harangue. They stirred my blood and revived
my dying hope. Here I may add that I have had ample proof, since, as
on so many previous occasions (as, for example, when he granted 'Saakshaatkaaraa'
and revived my dead son, coming again the next day, being Thursday,
conferring unique good fortune on my wife Kamala of serving a full
to Him; similarly, upholding her firm faith when He made my dumb son
speak in a split second) that He has always been specially gracious
to her and, incidentally, to me, a doubting Thomas.
The next morning, I went to the office with a new-found courageous
and poise. The moment I stepped in, the attendant told me that there
was a telegram received a little while ago on the table. I casually
opened it, and was taken aback to find it was from Maj. Priestly. It
read, "Withdraw my letter to Mr. Ramaswami-personally coming by the
first flight". I was both thrilled and stunned at the way things
were happening. How correctly my wife had forecast it; When Mr.
Smith arrived, I just handed him the telegram without a word. On
reading it he was absolutely floored. However, in an impassioned
manner, he told me" I know he is coming in person to persuade you.
Do be a good lad and agree to go. Else, I shall be badly let down."
Soon Maj. Priestly came. Even as he was stepping in, he was asking
with obvious impatience, "where is Mr. Ramaswami?" He was a tall,
hefty, blue-eyed Scot with a noble mien, a truly imposing
personality. I could see he was greatly upset. "I am here, sir," I
managed to say, though highly tensed
Maj. P. "Do you know why I have come Mr. Ramaswamy?"
I "I don't actually know why you have come. Sir, but, I have my own
guess why you must have come, You see, Sir..."
Maj P. No, Mr. Ramaswami! he flared up. "YOU CAN'T. HOW CAN you
guess when I myself did not know that I was to come. Something
MYSTERIOUS has happened! that is why I have come".
The word "mysterious" made my bloodd tingle confirming beyond all
doubt that BABA HAD TAKEN OVER COMMAND! "You know", he continued, it
has taken me two long years to get the 'all clear' to send you chaps
to the U.K. for training. But, you upset all my plans. HOWEVER,
ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER POSTING MY LETTER, SOME HIGHER-UPS IN THE
FINANCE MINISTRY PHONED ME TO SAY THAT THE BUDGET FOR SENDING
TRAINEES TO THE U.K. IS CUT DOWN BY 25% SO THAT I CAN SEND ONLY
THREE NOW ALTHOUGH THE SANCTION FOR THE FOUR POSTS IS LEFT AS IT IS.
THAT MEANS YOU ARE NOT TOUCHED. I CAN'T UNDERSTAND THIS AT ALL.
I could no longer contain myself. I cut in to say, "Sir, I beg you
to let me speak. You say something MYSTERIOUS has happened. You
know, Sir, it is exactly for some such thing to happen that my heart
has been crying out to my God. And if it had not happened, it would
be mysterious to me. Sir, may I say without any breach of decorum
that you are not the arbiter of my destiny. There is SOMEONE to
arbiter yours as well as mine." The words spontaneously gushed out.
I now know that it was Baba prompting me. Striding up to my side of
the big table around which we were all standing, Maj. Priestly
grabed my shoulder and, looking me straight in the face, exclaimed
with some asperity, "You have the audacity and the courage to say
that to my face, Mr. Ramaswami!"
"It is neither, Sir", I replied calmly, returning his look. "For,
devotion to Baba enables one to acquire the freedom from fear to
stare the world in the face even if it should have blood-shot eyes/
It is a conviction born of faith transmitted to me in the blood from
generation to generation and crying for expression."
Still holding my shoulder he said, " You seem to challenge my faith
in God, too!"
"As a Britisher, you can't understand my faith, sir,” I said "You
trust God and keep your powder dry!" mine enables me to be unarmed
without any rear. It is not a half, way house but complete surrender
with complete protection in return."
He suddenly softened. Relaxing his hold and pattinq me gently on my
back he remarked, "AH right, all right. I can see you are sincere.
Though for the time being your position appears to be safe, let me
warm you it may not be so for long. I am going back by the return
flight to see the Defence Minister and tell him that I must have
four U.K. trained men to being with and the cut must be restored. If
I succeed as I hope to, you will have to go down."
"I have no qualms about it now, sir," I said. "If you succeeded. I
shall bear no ill-will against you. God bless you".
"For a man in your predicament, it is, indeed, a grand thing to say.
Good-bye", the great man concluded, kindling in me warm admiration
and regards for his openness and magnanimity.
How wonderfully Baba solved the bristling problem without
embarrassment to any one concerned will now be seen. As soon as Maj.
Priestly reached Delhi, some mysterious, though not serious, illness
overtook him, and he was air-lifted to the U.K. We were happy to
know later that it did not take long for him to become all right,
though he chose to terminate his contract to settle down in England.
A committee Naval Armament Officers, satisfied with the standard of
my performance, recommended to the Naval Headquarters about my
competence to continue in the department without any need for
Thus, what threatened as a Himalayan avalanche, vanished in to time
through Baba's grace like the morning mist before the rising Sun.
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 11
BABA AS BHAKTHA PARAADINA
The facts herein set down clearly demonstrate how one's absolute
surrender to Baba blesses one with his infinite and never failing
grace which in turn generates all the noble qualities like honesty
and courage-honesty to confess one's errors, come what may, and
courage to constitute oneself into a majority of one and stare the
world in the face, even if it should have, blood-shot eyes! And by
no means the least gratifying aspect of the situation is that in the
final analysis such a one is seen invariably to come out unscathed,
the so-called copy-book maxims incarnating themselves into little
giants so to say, and forming an effective bodyguard.
My appointment in the Naval Armament Inspectorate, Khamaria as
Examiner-in-charge of the manufacture of various components for a
particular defence item involved meticulous planning and
provisioning of high-precision gauges to be used at various stages.
Since we were embarking upon the job for the first time in India, we
had to obtain the blue-prints for the purpose from the British
Admiralty. They were in the from of one single schedule catering for
the different marks in use including the one being made by us. My
boss Lt. Cdr. Rodney Todd by name, trained in England, was quite
conversant with the practical aspects of the work. Nevertheless, he
left the whole thing to me, both because he felt I could do it and
it was the best way for me to learn. The result was I Bungled.
Instead of confining my-self to the Particular mark in view, I
prepared a demand for gauges for all the marks as given in the
schedule. Quite a few of them had to be made in England, Since such
sophisticated technology for making the special steel and achieving
-the Precision was not then available with us. And so, the list as
Prepared by me was forwarded and went through different
channels at higher levels without anyone detecting the grievous
None of us was wise to the ignominious blunder, least of all myself.
It is difficult to imagine what sleepless nights of anxiety and fear
of impending doom would otherwise have held me in thrall. For, as
will be seen presently, my huge
mistake was to cost to the government quite an unnecessary loss of a
few lakhs of rupees. This came to light only during the visit of a
high-ranking Naval Officer sent to review and report on the progress
we were making. While going through
the records, he was taken aback to find that we had ordered for so
many guages not required for our purpose and he was in a towering
rage. He was closeted with my boss whom he squarely took to task for
such sheer incompetence amounting
to criminal negligence putting the government to the loss of a
sizeable amount. What explanation had he to offer for such a
disgraceful lapse? And so on.
Sitting in the adjacent room where I could heat everyghing, I felt
as if I were the target of the 'slinge and arrows of the outrageous'
insults sought to be heaped on thehead of my boss since the actual
blame lay at my door. The impact on me of the realisation of the
grave magnitude of my stupid error was stunning. I felt the need for
courage to speak out the truth. After all, courage and honesty are
things to be put on the shelf, to be used when convenient.
They should be the rules of life. Baba sees to it that it is so if
one avoids trying to deceive oneself and Him into the bargain.
Further, this would not be the first time when an unreserved
confession of truth had steered me clear through "the sharks and
shoals" of life's ocean. So, nerving myself up and invoking Baba's
grace for my aid, I went and knocked for
permission to enter. I went in begging to, be excused for the breach
of decorum in thus intruding but nevertheless requesting to be
heard. Surprise and annoyance writ large his face, the officer from
the NHQ demanded to know what the dickens I meant. I said the
statement I wished to make would explain everything. I could see he
was arresting his inclination to tell me to get out and asked with
obvious jmpatience, "Yes, what, do you wish to say?" "Just one thing
sir. I said, "and that is, the responsibility for this unfortunate
state of affairs is primarily if not solely mine. Hence, it is I
that should take the choking".
This momentarily nonplussed him. Presenlty he asked me
authoritatively, "Who is running the show here, Rodney or you?'.
"No doubt, he runs the show, sir, "I replied," but may I point out
that situation de facto is that he has to take my word for granted
for the purpose. This is the first occasion when he has had to
The officer's mood suddenly changed, he seemed a bit overwhelmed by
the unexpected turn things were taking. He calmed down, rang for a
chair and asked me to sit down.
"Now that you own up responsibility for the sorry mess", he
continued, "will you please say how it, happened and why?"
"Pure ignorance, sir," I said. "That I can see what a blithering
idiot I was, though I acted in good faith. However, I arn not asking
for any leniency. I plead guilty to the charge if what is tantamount
to criminal negligence1'.
Silence reigned in the room for a minute or so. Collecting himself,
the officer exclaimed, "Well, I don't know what to do with you, Mr,
Ramaswami! You have so frankly owned up the error for which you
alone are not responsible. That calls for the frankness on my part
too. I myself was guilty of having committed such blunders when
young. "Then, turning to my boss, he continued, "The only thing to
do now is to forget the whole affair. A few lakhs are nothing to he
government. We need honesty. I shall recommend for the loss to be
"You can go, Mr, Ramaswami, thank you." He concluded.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I realised the full significance of
the dramatic manner in which acting in a split second as He always
does, Baba had turned the tables to retrieve my position.
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 12
" A breath can make them, as a breath has made"
How my tense confession and readiness to take the whole blame upon
me for the technical blunder jointly committed by my boss
Lt.Cdr.Todd and myself won for me the spontaneous approbation of Cdr
Rao has been narrated in a previous article. More pleasant surprises
yet were to follow. After the visitor had left, my boss called me
and said with feeling that I need not have taken the full brunt upon
me. I replied that it would be less than honest if I had not.
However, the reason for calling me was different. It was to tell me
that Cdr. MRA Rao, (who had visited us) was greatly impressed with
me and would like to take me on this staff on promotion., if I could
be spared. He was however, informed that this matter should be put
up to me since nothing could be anticipated about my action. The
fact was I had willy-nilly establisghed a reputation for having my
own way by first refusing to be deputed to the U.K. and later
turning down an offer of promotion elsewhere.
Before long, the Cdr. paid an unscheduled visit to our unit and was
to leave the next day. no reference was made to my intended
promotion. At about seven next morning as I was scurrying to get
ready, there was a knock, Imagine my surprise and embarrassment for
being dishevelled when contrary to all expectations, I found the Cdr.
In full Navy-blue uniform with golden strips denoting his rank on
the shoulders and around the sleeves standing full six feet
murmuring an apology. Welcoming him in, I hurriedly dressed myself
and came with coffee for both. It was December,1956. We were
standing in the front room before Baba's portrait in standing
posture with the 'biksha-patra' (in which pose
he appeared to revive my dead son and accept 'biksha') Broaching the
subject in a gingerly manner, he said he had not actually planned
the visit but came on an impulse to talk in private on a personal
matter concerning me in which he too was interested. Incidentally,
he wondered how I managed to carry on without a scooter. If I liked,
he would see I got one alloted from the defence quota on priority
basis and sanction the necessary loan for it too, a coveted
possessionin the '50s. I realised how when Baba wants to give, He
does so with many hands from many unknown channels. At the same time
there rang a bell in my mind reminding me this could be Baba's
subtle method of testing me. Also, I am by nature averse to sudden
luck out of tune with my standards. I just thanked him and said I
was born to be a plebeian and pedestrian. Reverting to the purpose
of his visit, he said it was to know my reaction to his proposal to
take me on his staff on promotion in the Senior inspectorate of
Naval Armaments, Cossipore, Calcutta. I was overwhelmed by the
gesture and the realisation that Baba was behind it all. It was
extraordinary that a high ranking officer elects to go and see quite
a junior member of the service to ascertain his action about
something of positive benefit to the latter. It would be too good to
be true, were it not for Baba again and again making the incredible
come to pass. It is these thoughts that overwhelmed me and tears
began running down my cheeks. Of course, I must confess that my
attitude to life is feminine besides.
The officer was taken aback. "I am sorry if I have hurt your
feelings, Mr. Ramaswami", he said with obvious concern, adding "don't
you want promotion?"
"No sir, you have not hurt me. I am overwhelmed by your gesture and
the infinite mercy of Baba," I replied "As regards my wanting
promotion or anything else for that matter, I really don't know what
I want. It is upto Baba to give me what he deems fit. Hence, I would
rather don't like you to go out of the way to-do me a good turn. I
don't wish to be the cause of some one else thus losing his change
either." Baba generally enables me to decide on intuition in such
circumstances. I also felt that Calcutta was not for me, promotion
or no promotion.
"It would not be like that," he rejoined. "The reason why I wish to
have your consent in advance is to enable me to fix up a bungalow
for you. You know how difficult it's to get a good accommodation."
"I beg of you to leave things as they are," I said. The reason is my
conviction born of firm faith in Baba and sustained by continuous
experience that he is ever watchful of my needs and know WHEN as
well as WHAT to give. What is due to me, no power on earth can hold
back. All I need to have is patience. I am quite content to remain
where and what I am according to His will".
It was the officer's turn now to be overwhelmed. Taking my hands in
his and speaking with feeling and a new born conviction, as it were,
he said, "I think you are right. Let us leave it to your Baba to
decide. I thought I had known you for what you are. But I now see I
was wrong. I am just beginning to know you. I only wish I had your
attitude to life. You don't know how miserable I am, Mr. Ramaswami",
and stopped, overcome with emotion.
Forgetting the wide gulf separating our ranks not only officially
but socially too, (for I had come to know he was a scion of Serboji
Maharajah of Thanjavur) I hugged him, throwing discretion to the
winds and drawn to him by sheer brotherly love and sympathy. He had
wealth, rank and position and yet happiness eluded him. I had heard
he was involved in legal proceedings for separation from his English
wife whom hehad married in England nor was he left at peace in the
service by jealous superiors determined to score him off. Such is
life that we have to learn to be happy by counting our own blessings
vouchsafed to us by Baba. My heart went out to him and I made bold
to say, "Sir, I feel that from today Baba has come into your life.
Please, do learn to have faith in Him and let Him take over your
burdens. All will be well". Being much older, I blessed him heartily.
He thanked me with feeling and rather startled me by saying he would
soon be leaving the Navy and that was the reason why he wanted to
ensure my promotion in good time. However, he had no qualms about it
now, with Baba to look after me. As for me I was least concerned
about it. My heart sang Baba's praise for bringing me close to a
person worth his weight in gold. Before taking leave, he very
considerately added, "I shall be in touch with you. My help will
always be available for finding a good berth for you if your service
is not extended. Don's hesitate to write to me".
As is to be expected with Baba, He saw to it that Cdr Rao became a
happy man. He found cannubial bliss afresh, with a Maharashtrian
lady and was picked by the oerlikons, a Swedish firm, as their
Technical advisor on a five figure salary at Delhi. Promotion came
seeking me unasked and in the same manner my service was
spontaneously extended for five years. All I did was "to work and to
wait", not caring for the morrow, " heart within and God over head."
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai - Grace be to al!
BABA'S MIRACLE - 13
HOW BABA GRANTS ANTICIPATORY BAIL TO HIS DEVOTEES IN DIRE NEED?
The following occurrence took place in the Winter of '57 or '58, It
concerns a friend of mine, Shri A.K. Kumthekar by name, aged about
40 at that time and employed as an Asst. Foreman in the Inspectorate
of Armaments in the ordinance Factory at Khamaria, Jabalpur. He was
a highly principled brahmin hailing from Pune greatly devoted to his
parents. His first concern in life was about his aged and bedridden
father and he could not think in terms of living away from the old
gentleman leaving him to be looked after by others. It was in these
circumstances that one fine morning his boss, a hard-boiled Lt. Col.
notified him to be ready to go and attend an 18 week Senior Armament
Examiner's Course at Kirkee, Pune.
The above order acted as a bomb-shell on Shri Kumthekar and he found
himself in a quandary. For one thing, the passing of the Course was
in the nature of a qualification for promotion and no option was
allowed. For another, it would mean being away from his father for
the stipulated period or shifting him to and from which would
jeopardies his health. So, he put up his request to be exempted from
the Course, or alternatively to be transferred to Kirkee on
compassionate grounds. He then rushed to me for solace and advice.
He was on the verge of tears. He had heard from me many an account
of the incredible miracles Worked by Sri Sai Baba in my life and how
he came to be the sheet anchor of my existence. I instinctively felt
that "Baba's sanction was there in his coming to me and His
intercession and protection to enable him to fulfil his filial
obligation could be taken for granted. I told him accordingly
beseeching him to rest assured that no power on earth could come in
the way of Baba's children discharging their duty conscientiously.
Only from that moment, he should without question put his faith in
Baba knowing Him to be but the incarnation of Datta worshipped by
them in their family. These words had the desired effect on him and
cleared the gloom of despair away.
Personally I had no qualms about Shri. Kumthekar being enabled to
surmount the seemingly insurmountable obstacle in his way for, this
was not the first time that I had been impelled, sub-consciously or
super-consciously as the case might be, by Baba to hold out similiar
guarantees in cases of illness considered to be hopeless but by His
infinite Mercy happily ending in complete recovery in due course.
Hardly a week had passed when my friend came to me, with crest,
fallen countenance with the Lt. Col.'s reply summarily rejecting his
request and peremptorily telling him to obey the order. He was given
a week's time to collect the TA and leave the station. He
understandably felt that Baba was not acting in his behalf as
expected. I, however, was not at all perturbed knowing Baba's
inscrutable Wisdom and Methods. I therefore encouraged him to be
hopeful. I assured him that not unoften Baba acts in the last split
second when all hope disappears. This had some effect and he left.
In the next two weeks I was so completely occupied with the work on
hand that I cleanly forgot about the affair. Then one afternoon I
rang up my friend's office to know the situation. To my pleasant
surprise Shri Kumthekar answered the call. Murmuring some apology,
he said he was coming straight to meet me. And so he did. He was
sorry he could not see me earlier due to an urgent time-bound
assignment, he said.
It seems that submitting to the inevitable, he collected his TA and
was planning to travel with the whole family to Kirkee by the end of
the stipulated week when to his astonishment, on the evening prior
to the day intended for the journey, a letter from his boss was
delivered to him cancelling the original order. It left him
speechless and overwhelmed at the incredibly wonderful manner in
which Baba had acted. The really thrilling part of the whole affair
followed the next morning, about 11 AM. As Shri Kumthakar was about
to start his meal, a fakir dressed like Baba came and stood at the
door. When some coins were offered to him in the usual way, he
declined saying he wanted food which was readily given. Accepting
it, he gave a small packet of Udhi to Shri Kumthekar asking him to
keep it before Datta's portrait, offer 'aarti' and then open it.
Accordingly, it was done. When the packet was opened, instead of the
Udhi there were five miniature conch shells. Shri Kumthekar hastend
back to the door only to find the fakir gone. Only then did it dawn
upon his mind that the fakir was none other than Baba himself. The
conches were kept as objects of worship.
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 14
BABA'S CONTROL OVER THE FORCES OF NATURE
" / will not try thee beyond thy limit"
- The Bible
One of the drawbacks in my life has been the lack of robust health,
though I have taken it as a blessing in disguise because it
prevented me from following 'the primrose path of dalliance' and
induced me to keep my head well above water. However, I have
remained 'a human barometer' very sensitive to heat and cold, and
averse to going even on promotion to regions noted for their
extremes of temperature. Thus it was that I declined to go on
deputation to the U.K., and again when I was asked to go on
promotion to Jabalpur in Feb '55, 1 had no hesitation in turning it
down much to the embarrassment of the authorities and secret
ridicule of my colleagues. In doing so I had not recknoed with the
All-knowing and Inscrutable Baba who, as I realised much later, was
behind the official move and in the best of my interests too. For
one thing, the NHQ did not leave me alone. Letters and telegrams
followed in quick succession, both, to persuade me and as thinly
veiled ultimatum to oblige me to agree Nevertheless, I was unmoved.
In our office, there was a self-effacing Bengali clerk named Das
Babu, a man of few words and quiet efficiency. We had never spoken
to each other till then. One day, towards the end of April when I
was about to leave, he stood up to draw my attention, and in the
gentlest of tones asked somewhat apologetically, "Why not trust God,
accept the Promotion and go?'. The words went home to my heart, till
then adamant to pleadings and threats. It was as if "the hard rocky
surface withstanding the repeated blows of the hammer and crow-bar
readily cracked at last at the gentle touch of the tenderest of the
roots of a tree to make way for its entry" (Thiruvalluvar) I now
realise that Das Babu was the; chosen agent of Baba for the moment.
The every next day a very high-ranking officer, friendly disposed
towards me, beseached me in the sincerest tones to accept the
promotion and go. Baba's method of choosing His messengers is
impeccable. I sensed His will and, to the surprise of all, including
those secretly indulging in malicious glee till now at my seeming
stupidity in refusing fortune's proffered hand, I started for
Jabalpur on the evening of May 2nd, much to the delight of the
authorities who had been keeping the vacancy unfilled for my sake
for three months, quite unusual especially, in the defence
department. He who runs can infer from this that what God or Allah
or Baba wants to give, no power on earth can take away. The converse
is also true.
The next day as my train was leaving Raipur about noon, the Summer
began to bare its fangs. It was only a fore-taste of its fierceness
further on. I began regretting the decision I had impulsively taken,
not withstanding an inward recognition of Baba's Omnipresence and
Grace as 'Bhaktha-Paraadina'. The thought of abondoning the whole
venture sneaked in. In this perplexed frame of mind, I reached
Gondia at 4 pm, only to be greeted by scorching hot winds hitting
the face. By 6 pm I was sitting rather bewildered in the compartment
of the narrow-guage train for jabalpur completely at a loss. Baba
alone could and must retrieve the situation, I felt and closed my
eyes, half in prayer and half in despair.
Imagine my very pleasunt surprise when almost in a split second, as
if some built-in-air-conditioner had been swithched on, the
suffocatingly hot compartment was permeated with soothing coolness.
My astonishment when I opened my eyes to see the sky overcast with
clouds and a gentle life-giving drizzle being wafted down. There was
ozone in the air. I craned my neck outside the window to gulp it and
let Nautre's (Dwaraka Mayi's) own cool spray soothe my nerves.
I turned to the only fellow-passenger in the first class compartment
and queried whether he hailed from Gondia, to which he replied in
the affirmative, adding he had been residing at the place since over
twenty years, engaged in business. I then enquired with some
trepidation of a doubting Thomas, whether he could recollect such a
phenomenon about this time in May. He asserted with conviction. "Never
has such a thing occurred during the two decades of my stay here.
This is quite strange". Then I felt certain of Baba's reassurance of
which, being feminine in my attitude to life, I was (as I am still)
in constant need, in spite of past demonstrations therof.
The climate of Jabalpur is, certainly, one of extremes, the brunt of
which was keenly felt by a valetudinarion like me from the sea-coast.
The ordeal of confronting the fierce heat of the Summer of 1960 was
all the more exhausting since if followed a major surgery I had
undergone not long before. Though not fully recovered, I had,
perforce to be in my seat and hold the fort due to official
exigencies, contrary to my habit of going on leave for the peak of
the season every year. At this time we were temporarily accommodated
in a building where the toilet room was isolated and a bit far. On
the particular day in question the temperature had suddenly shot up.
It was so scorching-hot outside the air-conditioned office, that I
peeped out many times and retracted.
However, as I am accustomed to do when desperate, I mentally handed
myself over to Baba to do with me as He and ventured out. Imagine my
surprise, astonishment and wonder, all rolled into one, to find all
the glare and searing heat gone, the sun hidden by soft, grey clouds
so pleasing the eye, and cool balmy breeze so refreshing to the
nerves went and stood in the open letting the honey-heavy drops from
heaven fall gently over my head and face making my heart leap and
sing the glory of the Ail Merciful Baba, alert at all times to the
rescue of His devotees in distress.
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai - Grace be to all
BABA'S MIRACLE - 15
If you know about Sai Baba what I know about Him. You will call Him
the Master of all creation"
- Meher Baba
The incident herein described bears ample testimony to the
above-quoted assertion of Shri Meher Baba regarding Baba's absolute
mastery over all creation, animate and inanimate. Indeed, we can
realise that in reality the Creator and Creation are one, the latter
being but the ocular demonstration of the former. This is in
consonance with the latest discovery in the light of the post
nuclear research in the frontiers of science according to which all
manifested nature is only a phenomenon of throught behind which is
The Thinker. This in turn reflects and reiterates the Biblical
enunciation regarding the origin of creation viz., "Let there be
light" said God and there was light and the Upanishadic axiom viz.,
"Swayam Samkalpa Sam Siddhi" i.e., God's manifestation in concrete
form according to His will. It is as God's incarnation that Baba has
repeatedly, both during His Incarnate stay at Shirdi and after His
Mahasamadhi, given recurring proof of this divine aspect. As a
direct corollary of this, forces of Nature like rain, storm,
lightening, fire etc., bowed to his will. The present instance is an
example of this.
We celebrated the marriage of our youngest son Dr. V Satyanarayana
Sai, now a lecturer in the A.PS. University, Rewa, MP, on April 5,
1981 at Rayagada in Orissa. The other members of the family having
dispersed to their respective Places, we were returning to Rewa via
Raipur by the morning Passenger train from Waltair on the 7th of the
month. We had not known that apart from the inconveniecnes
incidental to travelling long distance by passenger train, we were
wittingly in for an ordeal. We learnt later that people of the
region avoid this train as a rule. The route traverses a tribal area
more or less entirely dependent for sustenance on the sale and
export of the forest produce without arm middleman by the tribals
themselves. The Summer is the season of mangoes and the jack fruit
in unbelievable abundance of Nature's bounty which has to be seen to
be believed. At every stop came an unending stream of the girijans
carrying the maximum possible load of the above items and literally
hurling themselves and their burdens helter - skelter through the
doors and windows into the compartments nearest to them. No railway
control (even if tried) could stem that onslaught, as it were, at
any cost. The result was the compartments were literally jam-packed
and choking. It was a frightful situation in which one did not have
any space to move at all. Even the lavatories were full so that we
were obliged with unshed tears to possess our souls in patience till
we reached Raipur, a matter of twelve hours of torture since to
detrain too was physically impossible.
However, that is not only anticipating things too soon in vain, but
also overlooking the terrible ordeal of near annihilation of the
compartment in a burst of flames before that. For, this is what
happened all of a sudden without any one knowing it.
One of our party consisting of my eldest son, the newly married
couple and my wife besides myself, (I think it was the first,) said
that smoke was emanating from the fan above, from a few wisps at
first, later it suddenly swelled to clouds, slowly filling the
entire compartment. It took a little time to realise the potential
danger it portended. It was obvious, that there was spontaneous
ignition in the wiring possibly due to a short circuit, which if not
checked at once would prove dangerous. My son Satyanarayana
immediately tugged & the chain to stop to the train. Unfortunately
it gave way. We became frantic.
It is imperative to mention here that even in such a situation
pregnant with danger, the girijans filling the compartment just
continued sitting with their sphinx-like faces, and far away looks,
unmoved, unflappable, as if lost in contemplation like 'tapasvins'
entrenched in their firm faith that "God is in His Heaven and all is
right with the world!" It was an object-lesson for us to understand
what it is to trust God in toto, this was what Baba meant when He
beseeched His devotees to cast their burdens on Him and keep QUIET
letting Him to take care and provide every protection we need.
Indeed, it shamed me into knowing how much too far below their
standard-in truth how hypocritical-my fickle faith was. Their's was
RESIGNATION flowing from complete SURRENDER.
Presently, the train stopped at a station and the guard happend to
pass by. When he was told of our predicament and requested for
urgent redress, he just remarked with the utmost callousness, "Marjao!
(go, die) and passed on as if he were Fate's minion. He clearly
smelt of liquor. We had no alternative except to fall back upon our
Unfailing Eternal Source of Succour and to pray. Rightly has
Dr.Alexis Carrel, the great medical scientist and savant averred,
that it is not the Atom that will provide the infinite source of
power for the future of the humanity but PRAYER, for, when you pray
with all your heart, you are linked to that DYNAMO THAT SPINS the
The All-Merciful and solicitous Baba ever on the alert as Bhaktha
Paraadina did come to the rescue in a most unexpected and dramatic
manner before despair complete by overwhelmed us. In a spilt second,
the skies darkened with gathering clouds and there began a downpour
which continued for over an hour, lashing on all sides, partly
floooding the compartment and completely smoothering out the smoke
and the threatened configuration!
Glory be to Shri Shirdi Sai - Grace be to all