Suddenly, the two sisters discovered that little Sathya was not at home; a search was ordered; men ran about frantically, for it was already past midnight. But, attention was distracted just then, by the arrival, outside the door, of the bullock cart, with Sri Rama! When the inmates of Pedda Venkama Raju's house went to the doorstep, they were surprised to see the five-year-old Sathya sitting on the bullock cart, nicely dressed and with evident authority underneath the Picture! They asked the companions why he was seated there, on top, and not walking with them on the road. Prompt came the answer, "He is our Guru"! Yes & He is the Guru of the children of all climes, and of all ages!
Sathyanarayana was a precious child, learning more things than any one could teach him and much quicker than most; he could sing all the songs and Sthotras that were rehearsed at them for the village operas, and he even composed at the tender age of seven or eight, some touching songs for the cast, which were gladly accepted by them for public presentation!
At the age of about eight, Sathya was declared fit to proceed to the Higher Elementary School, at Bukkapatnam, about two and a half miles from Puttaparthi. He had to trudge the distance in sun or rain, over stony bunds or slushy fields, or wading through neck-deep water, with the bag of books, secured on the head as the season dictated. He had to start early after a meal of cold rice and curds or cooked ragi-rice and chutney, carrying in a bag the afternoon meal: and, with his companions trekked regularly to Bukkapatnam.
The Pandhari Bhajan Group
When he was about ten years of age, Sathya formed in the village of Puttaparthi a 'Pandhari Bhajan' group. The group consisted of about sixteen to eighteen boys dressed uniformly in gerua clothes, holding each a flag in the hand and wearing jingle-bell-anklets. They all danced to the tune of picturesque folk-songs and ballads, describing the yearning of pilgrims for Panduranga's Darshan, the ordeals of the long-pilgrimage, their anxiety to reach the shrine quick, their joy at the sight of the pinnacle of the temple, etc, in simple touching poetry. Sathya taught the children these and other songs. He added some Bhagavatha songs of his own in which the Gopis complain to Yasoda of the unceasing pranks of Krishna. Yasoda chides the Boy for his thievery and mischief, and Krishna pleads innocence. With Yasoda and Krishna in the centre of the circle and with the Gopis dancing on the circumference, this was a great attraction in the village. Baba himself played the role of either the mother or the child and his dance, dialogue and music added to the charm of the Bhajan.
It was also noticed that he mixed up with these traditional themes, songs on a pilgrimage to a new shrine of which no one had heard, and the majesty of a new Deity of whom they had not even the faintest idea, Shirdi and Sai!
Once, while a song describing the prowess and achievements of Lord Narasimha of Kadiri, as related in the folk-lore of the area, was being sung, and the line, "From out the pillar of steel, the God as Lion jumped" was recited by the group of the boys, Sathya suddenly leaped like the Lion-man Manifestation of the Lord, and His face was transformed into such ferocity and indignation and benediction that the entire village frightened and, no one, not even experts in wrestling holds, could control the boy. At last, after a number of people had offered Puja, waved camphor, and broken coconuts before the manifested Lord, Sathya became normal and resumed the song of Kadiri. Another intimation!
This incident spread the fame of the Bhajan group, for when this group sings and dances, God actually manifests Himself, as the villagers of Puttaparthi witnessed! Moreover, it was noticed that when an infection of cholera swept like a poisonous simoom over the area and killed off entire families in the surrounding villages, Puttaparthi did not feel the blast of death; and wise men told one another that the Divine Atmosphere generated by the Bhajan group was responsible.
Online source: www.srisathyasai.org.in