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I am Sai Baba

On 23 May 1940, Sathya rose from bed as usual, but, after some time, he called the members of the household round him, gave them sugarcandy, and flowers taken from 'nowhere.' At this, the neighbours too rushed in. He gave them a ball each of rice cooked in milk and the flowers and sugar candy, concretised by a mere wave of the hand. Sathya seemed to be in a very jovial mood and so, Venkama Raju was sent for, to come and see Sathya in the welcome role. He came rushing in, squeezing through the crowd; the people asked him to go and wash the feet and hands and face, before approaching the Giver of Boons. This incensed him still more; he was not impressed at all; he thought it was a trick, hiding things somewhere and producing them by sleight of hand; at least, that was what he confessed to Sri Kasturi, later. He wanted that this chapter must be closed, before it lengthens into a tragedy. So, he laughed a bitter laugh and accosted the boy within everyone's hearing "This is getting too much; it must be stopped." Arming himself with a stick, he moved a step nearer and threatened to beat it out of him. "Are you a God, or a ghost of a madcap? Tell me!" He shouted. Prompt came the answer, the Announcement, that had been held back so long, " I am Sai Baba."

Further argument became impossible. Venkama Raju was stunned into silence; the stick slid from his hands. He stood staring at Sathya trying to grasp the implications of that announcement, " I am Sai Baba." But, Sathya continued, " I belong to Apasthamba Sutra; I am of the Bharadwaja Gothra; I am Sai Baba; I have come to ward off all-your troubles; keep your houses clean and pure." He repeated the names of the Sutra and the Gothra repeatedly that afternoon. The elder brother, Seshama Raju went near him, and asked, "What do you mean by 'Sai Baba'?" He did not reply, but only said this much: "Your Venkavadhootha prayed that I be born in your family; so, I came."(there was a tradition in the family, of a great ancestral sage called Venkavadhootha, who was looked upon as a Guru by hundreds of villages around.)

The father felt that Sai Baba was a Muslim, speaking through the boy and so, he asked, "What are we to do with you?" . Prompt came the answer; "Worship Me!" "When?" "Every Thursday! Keep your minds and houses pure."

One Thursday, some one challenged Sathyanarayana and asked Him, " If you are Sai Baba show us some proof, now!" In the same spirit that the rustics ask the priest of the village temple, when he dances in ecstasy while apparently possessed. Baba replied, " Yes, I shall" and every one came nearer. " Place in my hands those jasmine flowers," He commanded. It was done. With a quick gesture, He threw them on the floor and said "Look." They saw that the flowers had formed, while falling, the Telugu letters, Sai Baba!

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