signs & miracles
Wave of the Hand
Even as a child, Baba had the miraculous power of getting things from
"nowhere". He surprised His playmates by taking peppermints and sweets
from empty bags. In spite of His requests to keep this a secret, the news
spread among the elders, and when they inquired how He got them, Baba
remained silent. Later, when pressed by His friends, He said that a
certain angel obeyed His slightest wish. This was, of course, to ward off
further queries, because the villagers were satisfied by such an answer.
They began to admire Him as a specially blessed boy, to be watched with
care and treated with respect. Even at school Baba helped many classmates
with a piece of rubber or pencil which He materialized by a Wave of the
Hand. When any of them complained of an illness or pain, Baba "got" green
leaves "from the Himalayas", as He told the boys, and made them chew them
and swallow the juice. Some elders called it magic and even characterized
it as black magic, warning the children that they should not have anything
to do with Satyanarayana.
It was only after the Announcement that Baba regularly "took" Vibhuti and
began giving it for a variety of purposes to all who came to Him. Baba has
often spoken of the significance of this Vibhuti. Since it is materialized
out of nothing and since the Ash is specifically associated with Siva, it
is reverentially known by devotees as Kailasa Vibhuti, the sacred Ash of
Siva who resides on Mount Kailasa. It is named Vibhuti since it endows one
with prosperity; Bhasma - "ashes" because it burns away all sins; Bhasitam
- "brightened" because it increases one's spiritual splendor; Ksharam -
"destruction" since it removes danger; and Raksha - "protector" for it is
an armor against the machinations of evil spirits. This is how the Vibhuti
is praised in the Brihad Jabala Upanishad, one of the ancient spiritual
texts. Baba says Vibhuti is also a constant reminder of the evanescence of
the body which, ultimately, is reduced in cremation to a potful of ash!
Thousands of devotees and visitors have witnessed the miracle of the
Vibhuti. It is indeed an inexplicable, ultra-scientific wonder! It is
produced so casually, informally, gracefully, quietly, and so naturally
that one might well miss the significance of the blessing. The right palm
of Baba's Hand is held down on a slight angle - a wave or two, scarcely
noticeable ; the fingers close to arrest the fall of the Vibhuti which has
already materialized. The wonder product is handed to the recipient, as a
token of Baba's blessings, and applied to the forehead. At an average rate
of a minimum of one pound per day, the quantity of Vibhuti thus produced
"out of the elements" by His Will must now have reached the astounding
figure of over five tons !
Every idea has an inherent tendency to manifold itself in physical form.
It all depends on the will, whether it is human or divine. Baba wills; it
The Vibhuti may also be placed on the tongue, mixed with water and drunk
as a specific against illness. It may be carried as a talisman. A devotee
from South America had written that every night she went to bed with a
packet of Vibhuti in her palm. Invariably she dreamed that her palms were
resting at the feet of Lord Krishna. It is difficult to enumerate all the
curative and alleviatory purposes to which recipients put the Vibhuti
which Baba produces by a Wave of the Hand.
The Vibhuti He gives is also of innumerable kinds, suited to the purposes
for which created. Sometimes it is in the shape of a hard cube, or often
powder, fine, grainy or flaky. It may be fragrant or pungent, salty, sweet
or tasteless, white or blackish, or of any of the intermediate shades.
Sometimes, when He waves His Hand, it materializes - container and all!
When a person left for England for higher studies, Baba gave him Vibhuti
in a silver container with the additional blessing, "This will never
become exhausted!" His Will, thousands of miles away, can replenish the
Ash in a container by a pre-dated expression of His desire. When the
Vibhuti is to be taken as a medicine for a long period, as during
pregnancy, Baba asks the person to bring a receptacle, and by a light tap
on the surface, the vessel becomes full of Vibhuti. When he gathers his
devotees on the sands, as at Chitravathi or the river bed of Kaivalya at
Venkatagiri, or on the beach at Kovalam in Kerala, or Kanyakumari in Tamil
Nad, or on the river Godavari, He digs into the sand playfully with His
Fingers. A huge cube of Vibhuti hiding there, He rescues, powders and
distributes to all present. He may take the sand itself in both His Hands
and pour it onto a plate. That which falls on the plate is not sand, but
fine fragrant Vibhuti.
Baba's entire physical frame seems to be suffused with Vibhuti. When He is
taken in a procession on Vijayadasami, the tenth day of the light-half of
the month Asvina, and other festival days, thousands have clearly seen
fine Vibhuti falling from His brow onto His eyelids and cheeks. When He
leaves the body and goes to save His devotees. Vibhuti often emanates from
His face, mouth, thumbs, toes or forehead. He merely raises His thumb and
makes a mark on one's forehead, and the Vibhuti is there for all to see.
There have been instances in which devotees have dreamed that Baba came to
them and applied Vibhuti on their brows, and found on awakening that the
Ash was actually there! Some dreamed that Baba put Vibhuti on their
tongues, and when they awakened, they found Vibhuti in their mouths! Baba
signifies His Presence at the residence of His devotees by scattering the
tell-tale Vibhuti on the floor of the shrine where His picture is kept.
When Baba presents a Vision of Himself to save someone from an impending
calamity, He invariably uses Vibhuti to effect a cure.
Once during a Dasara Festival a certain visitor from Telengana received an
urgent telegram from home, informing him that his father-in-law had had a
stroke and that his condition had created anxiety. Baba asked him not to
worry. A similar wire came the next day, and Baba agreed to his going
alone, leaving his wife to watch the festivities even though she was the
daughter of the stricken man and the most needed at his bedside. When the
son-in-law left, He gave him Vibhuti to apply to the father-in-law's
forehead. He had materialized it by a Wave of the Hand. About eight
o'clock the next evening, Baba was discussing the timings of the trains by
which the son-in-law was proceeding to the sick-bed. Quite suddenly He sat
up and said, "You have all gone wrong. The train won't take him fast
enough. He will not reach the place before 9:00 p.m. Oh! "What a pity!"
Then with a wink of the eye, He "left" the body and was "gone." He was
"away" for about half an hour. When He "returned," He was so happy that He
had applied the Vibhuti Himself to the sick man in Telangana. "Did you use
the same Vibhuti that the son-in-law was carrying with him?" He was asked.
"Yes, you will know that when he returns," He said. "Ask him, and he will
say that the packet was empty when he went to the sick man." And so it
was. On return, he related the story of his discomfiture; how he was
blamed for being careless; how they rubbed their fingers over the folded
paper in order to collect at least the tracings of the holy Vibhuti; and
how they failed in that desperate endeavor!
SSS - N.