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| Sai Saga 1 - 9 covers 1926-1940 |
Raju is Virupaksha
It was then that an invitation from some townsmen from Hospet gave an Idea
to Seshama Raju; the Deputy Inspector of Schools, the Health officer, the
Engineer, some Municipal Councilors and merchants, wanted that
Sathyanarayana be brought to their place. Hospet is a few miles away from
the ruins of Hampi, the capital of the ancient Vijayanagara Empire.
Therefore, the brother caught at the chance of a picnic, which might
improve the mental health of the boy. The Dasara Holidays came in handy.
They alighted among the ruins. They trudged along the roads, once lined by
jewellery shops and flower-stalls, trodden by men and women of all the
nations of the East as well as travellers and traders from the Middle East
and the Mediterranean-shore. They saw the elephant stables, the Palace of
the queens, the Vijayadasami Mound, and then went to the
Vittalalnathaswami Temple. They proceed to the stone chariot, the
monolithic Narasimha, and the gigantic Ganapathi. Finally, they came to
the temple of Lord Virupaksha, the patron deity of the Vijayanagara
Emperors, who protected and cherished Hindu Culture for well nigh three
centuries from 1336 A.D. to 1635 A.D.
It was noticed that throughout the morning, Sathya was moving among the
ruins, unaware, as in a dream; a reverend sage, sitting in front of one of
the temples, said of him. "This boy, believe me, is Divine." When the
party went into the temple of Virupaksha, Sathya too went with them but he
was more interested in the height and majesty of the Gopuram, than in the
worship at the sanctum sanctorum. He stood outside and no one pressed him
to enter with the others. After a while, the priest waved the flame of
camphor before the Lingam and asked the pilgrims to see the illuminated
shrine,because the flame lit up the interior. There, inside the shrine,
they saw to their utter amazement, Sathya! He was standing in place of the
Lingam, smiling and erect, accepting their pranams. Everything about the
'boy' was so thrilling and unexpected that Seshama Raju wanted to verify
whether he had not actually strayed into the shrine, evading everybody's
notice. So, he hurried outside to find Sathya leaning on a wall, staring
at the horizon!
The amazement of the members of the party can better be imagined than
described. They did special Puja for Him that day, though it was not a
Thursday, for their faith in Him as a Manifestation was confirmed. Hospet
was on the toes of expectation and excitement. The story that He was seen
as Virupaksha had spread to that town also, long before they reached it.
The next day, Thursday, Sathya, as Sai Baba, cured a chronic tuberculosis
patient by His touch and made him get up and walk a mile; He 'took' a
variety of articles for the devotees and the enthusiasm of the people knew
no bounds. Bhajan and Namasankirtan continued far into the night, for no
one was in a mood to stop.
The Mission Begins
On the 20th day of October, 1940, the day after they all returned from
Hampi by special bus, Sathyanarayana started for school as usual. The
excise Inspector of the place, Sri Anjaneyulu who was very much attached
to the little Baba, accompanied Him, as far as the school gate and went
home, rather reluctantly. He seemed to see a superb halo, round the face
of Baba that day and he could not take his eyes away from the enchantment.
Within a few minutes, Baba too turned back to the house. Standing on the
outer doorstep, he cast aside the books He was carrying and called out, "
I am no longer your Sathya." "I am Sai". The sister-in-law came from the
kitchen and peeped out; she was almost blinded by the splendour of the
halo, which she saw around Baba's head! She closed her eyes and shrieked.
Baba addressed her, " I am going; I don't belong to you; Maya has gone; My
Bhaktas are calling Me; I have My Work; I can't stay any longer." And, so
saying, He turned back and left in spite of her pleadings. The brother
hurried home on hearing all this; but, Baba only told him, "Give up all
your efforts to 'cure' Me; I am Sai; I do not consider Myself related to
you". Neighbour Sri Narayana Sastri heard the noise; he listened and
realised that it was something serious; he ran in; he saw the splendour of
the 'halo' and fell at Baba's feet. He too heard the Historic Declaration,
"Maya has left; I am going; My work is waiting."
Seshama Raju was nonplussed; he could scarcely collect his wits to meet
his new situation. A boy, just fourteen, talking of Bhaktas, Work, Maya
and the Philosophy of Belonging! He could think of only one plan: the
parents entrusted Sathya to him and it was therefore his task to inform
them; Sathya could leave the house, only after they came to Uravakonda.
But, Sathya would not step into that building again; He moved in into the
garden of the Excise Inspector's bungalow, and sat on a rock, in the midst
of the trees. People came into the garden from all direction bringing
flowers and fruits; the tope resounded to the voices of hundreds, singing
in chorus the lines that Sathya Sai taught them. The first prayer that He
taught them that day was, as many still remember,
" Manasa Bhajare Gurucharanam
Dusthara Bhava Sagara Tharanam "
"Meditate in thy mind on the Feet of the Guru; that can take you across
the difficult sea of Samsara."
His classmates wept when they heard that Sathya will no longer attend
school, that He was much beyond their reach, that His company was
hereafter only for those upon whom He showers His Grace. Many came to the
garden with incense and camphor, to worship Him. Some came to sympathise
with the family, some to congratulate them. Some came to learn and some,
alas, even to laugh!
Three days passed thus in the garden. Three days of bhajan and
namasankirtan. A photographer came with a camera. He wanted to remove a
crude stone that was right in front of him but Baba did not heed to the
prayer. He clicked nevertheless and lo! as can be seen from the picture of
the photograph the stone had become an image of Shirdi Sai Baba. But only
in the photograph, not for all assembled there.
A few days later Baba left Uravakonda to Puttaparthi. Soon He shifted to
the house of Karnam Subbamma who tended Him with love and affection and
welcomed all the Bhaktas into her spacious house; she spared no effort to
make their stay happy and comfortable.
Excerpts from Divine Discourse:
On 20th October 1990, Bhagawan Baba recounted the events that transpired
on the day of the Declaration of Avatarhood
"While I was in Uravakonda, the Chairman of Bellary, Ramaraju, came to see
Swami, who was then familiarly called "Raju". Seeing Swami, he told
Seshamaraju: "We shall take this boy to Bellary and keep him with us
during the holidays. "He added: "Seshamaraju: you are regarding this lad
as an ordinary boy It is not so. The effulgence on his face and his purity
has moved my heart. There is Divine Effulgence within him. Do not be
deluded. You may also come with him and stay with us. From there, the
Municipal Chairman took us to Hampi. Do not consider what I am going to
say now as something boastful or fanciful or exaggerated. The entire party
went into the Virupaksha Temple. If I had said I would not come with them
into the temple, others might feel angry or offended. I said I was having
stomachache and did not wish to go into the temple. All the members of the
party including Thammiraju went in. They were 50 or 60 persons. Ramaraju
was thinking only of God and nothing else. He entreated me repeatedly to
come with him. I was a very small boy then. He held my hands and pleaded,
"Please, please, come." But seeing my resolve, he did not press me
Inside the temple, Arati was being offered to the deity, but Virupaksha
was not there; only I was in the sanctum: Seshamaraju got angry. He felt
that having refused to enter the temple, Raju had somehow got in and stood
in the sanctum. This, he felt was sacrilege. He could not contain his
anger. But Ramaraju did not think in that manner. He felt that "Raju is
Virupaksha and Virupaksha is Raju".
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