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 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 further;

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".


Picture & content source:sssbpt.org/radiosai.o


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