Sai saga 2
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Raju - "The Brahmin Child"


 The Divine child became the pet of the entire village of Puttaparthi and the ryots and cowherds vied with each other in fondling it and feeding it and playing with its lovely silken curls. Its charming smile attracted every one. The fragrance of the jasmine bud filled the air. Like a lighted lamp, Sathya moved about the house and laughter tinkled in the street when he lisped his sweet vocabulary of sounds.

He kept away from places where pigs or sheep or cattle or fowl were killed or tortured, or where fish was trapped or caught; he avoided kitchens and vessels used for cooking flesh or fowl. When a bird was selected and talked about by someone in connection with dinner, Sathyanarayana the little boy, would run towards it and clasp it to His bosom and fondle it as if the extra love He poured on it would induce the elders to relent and spare the fowl. He was called by the neighbours, "Brahmajnani" on account of this type of aversion and this measure of Love towards creation. At such times, the boy used to run to the Karnam's house for they were Brahmins and vegetarians, and take the food offered by Subbamma, the aged lady residing there. So distinct was his behaviour that a wag once nicknamed him "the Brahmin child"! Yes, it was a fitting description. Little did that wag know that, while in the previous body, this child, so laughed at now, had declared at Shirdi "This Brahmin can bring lakhs of men on the White path and take them to their destination!"

Charity begins at Home

At the tender age of three and four, "this Brahmin" behaved as if it had a heart that melted at human suffering. Whenever a beggar appeared at the door and raised his cry, Sathya left off play and rushed in, to force his sisters to dole out grain or food. The adults were naturally irritated by the endless procession of outstretched hands; they easily lost temper; they sometimes shouted the beggar off, before Sathya could bring relief; this made the child weep so long and loud that only by bringing the dismissed beggar back could the elders stop the wailing. Sometimes, in order to put a stop to what the elders thought 'this expensive and misplaced charity,' the mother caught, hold of the child and with a finger raised in warning, she said, "Look here! You may give him food; but, mind you, you will have to starve." That did not daunt the child; he used to run inside and bring out food to the hungry man at the door; and stay away from dinner or lunch, himself. Nothing and nobody could persuade him to come to his plate, which was left untouched! When Sathya began running about in the street, he sought out the maimed, the blind, the decrepit and the diseased, and led them by the hand to the doorstep of the parents; the sisters had to discover from the store or the kitchen some grain or food and put it into the beggar's bowl while 'the little master' looked on, gladly.
There is a small primary school in the village of Puttaparthi, and Sathya used to go there with his contemporaries, for something nobler than learning to spell and scribe. The school had at that time an interesting scheme of punishment to ensure punctuality. The lucky child which first comes in and salutes the teacher, as well as the fellow who gets in second, are exempt from the punishment; but every chap, who for whatever reason, legitimate or other, arrives late, is given a taste of the cane, the number of cuts depending on his place in the list of late-comers, the later the larger. In order to escape from this torture, the children gathered under the eaves of the schoolhouse, much before sunrise, in rain or in fog. Sathya saw their plight and sympathised with his shivering playmates. He visited them under the eaves and, bringing shirts, and towels and dhotis from his house; he covered the boys and made them comfortable.

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