SKETCHES ON THE SAND
By Mr. Howard Murphet
“There are many a miracles of course; I am not going to attempt to tell you all of them! I want to tell you about one that I witnessed, which I found very impressive and interesting. This one had to do with the production of Amrita (nectar) from the sand.
How long has it been since Swami produced Amrita? Previously, I had talked about it to Mr. Raja Reddy (a long time devotee who enjoyed many years of proximity with Baba). He said it must have been at least two or three years since He had done this. He told me he wished I had seen it. Of course, Swami always knows what you are thinking and feeling, and Swami did perform that mahima, that special miracle. Let me tell you the story!
I’d like to start by saying a word or two about the meaning of amrita, something I found most interesting, and I think you will too. The derivation of it is ‘A’ ‘mrithi’. ‘A’ means “not” and Mrithi means “death” or mortality, or mortification. So Amriti means “not mortal.”
And it is generally used as a name of a drink - the drink of the immortals. You find it in other customs called ambrosia or nectar. It is a symbol of Divine love, which is very much like amrita. So, that is a little bit about this Divine Elixir.
On one occasion, I saw Swami perform a miracle which He hasn’t performed many times and it is precious.
When I returned to Horsley Hills, Swami said that we would go down the hills, where we’d find some sand. He has performed some of His phenomenal miracles from sand and some from air; sometimes sand is the medium He wants. For the sceptics, I will narrate one or two points that will remove any doubts.
The first point is that I travelled in the car with Swami in the front. It was a big car with Mr. Raja Reddy driving with Swami and myself and He was wearing His small usual robe in which there are no pockets of any kind - He was even carrying His handkerchief in His hand. He has no pockets to put it in. If anybody tells you that He takes things from pockets, from His robes, I could show you they couldn’t be more wrong.
Anyway, nothing was carried in the car. Nobody carried anything. We all went down empty handed. There was another carload of other people, ladies and many visitors who came, behind us. We came out of the car and first, Swami asked the young men to create a small stage for Him. About half a dozen young men immediately took the sand, pushed it up and made it into a flat platform, probably 3-4 feet across, each way. This stage was about 18 inches high.
I made note of all these things. I had to, because I was writing a book about Swami, His Miracles and Teachings. And I am one of the most skeptical persons in the world, people say. Therefore, when people tell you about this miracle from sand, they may say perhaps He did not really do it! If anyone thought something was hidden in the sand before we got there, the above point shows that that was impossible. You will also see this as we go on.
So, He sat on this platform alone, and in a kind of sacred circle, all of us sat around Him. He did not have anyone else sitting on the platform - He was there in the middle of it. So He sat down cross-legged and began to teach us, talking to us on spiritual matters. Usually, He talks about many spiritual matters, before He performs a miracle. Eventually, He paused in His discourse and He flattened up the sand, just in front of Him and made it nice and smooth. He did some nice drawings with His finger. And I was sitting close to him in the platform trying to see what image it was.
Sketches on the Sand
So He turned to me and asked, “What is that?” I said, “It looks like a human figure.” Then He piled up some more sand and on top of that drawing, He made a little hill of sand, like a child might make a sand castle. We were watching Him do this with His Hands very intently. He started to talk some more and presently He put His hand just on top of the hill. Remember, if anything was buried in there, it was deep in there, not on the top!
He put his hand on the top of this little mound of the sand, the sand castle, with the original sand, right on the top of the pile on the platform, less than a half an inch inside. Then He pulled out a statue, of silvery colour Panchaloka metal; this is an alloy of 5 metals, used for making the idols of God. I won’t go into those details - I want to get to the Amrita. After showing this to us and flattening the sand He made another drawing, and asked, “What is that?” I replied, “It looks like a bowl, Swami.” A spherical bowl. He said, “It is Nectar.”
He piled sand on top of the drawing and spoke again and I could see Him reach a state of great happiness. He was always happy but now He was particularly ecstatic and laughing, almost as happy as a child, playing in the sand. He paused for a moment and put His hand on the mound again and there, He pulled this beautiful silvery coloured bowl, again of the same metal I think, of the same type, looking like silver, which has not tarnished.
This was from the top of the sand, not from the air, not from deep down. He pulled this out, and there arose a beautiful perfume. It was a wonderful fragrance. He smoothed over the sand again, this time He made a drawing, and He took out a gold teaspoon. He put the spoon in the bowl, stirred up whatever was inside the bowl and there was more fragrant perfume all around the place. He was full of joy.
The Taste of God
He stood up and came and gave a spoonful to every person there. There were many people there, not just a small group of people. He went around all the men and all the visitors giving them a spoonful each. Of course, that is the first time I tasted the nectar of God. It is indescribable - the essence of all Heavenly fruits rolled into one.
You just cannot imagine the beauty and wonder of that taste. I truly believe, the most powerful and most loving Hand of God stretched down to earth today is the One who can produce the inward amrita of devotional love and the outward visible signs, and that is His Holiness Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.”