Monthly Archives: February 2013

Guess Who Is More Powerful Than God

baba_jhulaHis name and His true devotees. Indeed the power is granted by God Himself but when it comes to His real devotees, God becomes like a helpless child only too eager to satisfy His beloved children.

Once, God asked Sage Narada: “Who do you think is the most powerful being in this universe?” Narada innocently said, “Swami, who else but you! There is no power greater than you.” At this, Lord Vishnu said, “No my child. That is not true.” At this, Narada started giving one example after another to explain who could theoretically be more powerful than God Himself. Despite giving these examples, Narada knew in his heart that he was not truly convinced that there could be any power greater than God.

Finally, seeing the predicament of His devotee, Lord Vishnu declared: “Child, who is that captures God in his sweet and love-saturated heart? It is a true devotee who captivates the Lord Himself and holds Him like a prisoner bound by the chains of love. The bond between a true devotee and God is so powerful, The Supreme Lord remains helplessly captured in the heart of such a devotee. Indeed a true devotee is far more powerful than the Lord because the Lord becomes like a child in front of such a devotee.” In fact, a true devotee will be able to accomplish even what the Lord does not wish to.

Once, a king wanted to have a child. The king was of a saintly kind and could visualize Lord Rama in meditation. Lord Rama would speak with him just as two friends converse. During one of his visions, the king requested Lord Rama to grant him a child, a heir to his throne. At this Lord Rama said, “Son, you are indeed very, very dear to me but according to your destiny you have no child in your life.” The king was taken aback and said, “You are God. Please grant my wish.”

Lord Rama’s heart melted but he wanted to demonstrate to the king that true devotion is indeed very powerful so He addressed the king as follows: “Son, go to a saint who is seated under the tree. The saint is constantly chanting My name. If he asks me to grant you a son, I will have no choice but to do so.” The king was perplexed but visited the saint who was engrossed in the ceaseless recitation of Lord Rama’s powerful name. As soon as he visited the saint, the omniscient saint immediately told him: “O King, I have offered prayers on your behalf and the Lord has acceded to my request. You will have a great son very soon.”

It is no secret that countless seers, sages, devotees, and even ordinary individuals have tapped into the power of God’s name to accomplish the most impossible tasks. What could be a greater endorsement of this truth than Sai Baba’s own words: “The Lord’s name is so powerful, even mountains of sins can be burnt to ashes through its constant repetition.”

Hanuman’s life is another glowing testament of the glory of God’s name. Throughout his illustrious life, Hanuman demonstrated how a devotee could perform superhuman feats by unconditionally relying on God. One example illustrates this point. Once, there was a disagreement between Sage Vishwamitra and Sage Vashishta. The two were debating about the greatest power in the universe. The former contested that Lord Rama’s arrows were supremely powerful, while the latter argued that God’s name was most powerful, even more powerful than God Himself. To test the validity of their theories, they proposed a test that was to be executed by Vishwamitra himself.

In those days it was customary for householder devotees to receive guests, especially holy ones, with great reverence. One failing this duty would often be the recipient of a curse or fall prey to unpleasant circumstances. Vishwamitra was aware of this and intentionally visited a devotee-king, Chandrabhanu, while he was in deep meditation. Since the king was in a trance, he failed to receive the saint reverentially. This infuriated the sage and he rushed to Lord Rama, who held holy ones in high esteem and went to great extents to appease them. Vishwamitra was aware of this fact and he tactfully made Rama take an oath that the one who insulted Vishwamitra would be killed by His infallible bow. True to His promise, Rama set out on a quest to kill the one who had offended the great Vishwamitra.

In the meanwhile, Sage Narada informed Chandrabhanu about the imminent danger. Frightened by the sure prospect of death, he sought Narada’s counsel and requested him if there was any way to avert the tragedy. Narada advised Chandrabhanu to seek protection from Hanuman. He further suggested that Chandrabhanu should reveal the source of danger only after he had extracted a promise from Hanuman.

As advised by the sage, Chandrabhanu held Hanuman’s feet and sought his protection. Hanuman took an oath in Rama’s name and promised to protect the king even at the cost of his own life. The stage was well set. On one hand the Lord was bound by His oath, while on the other His most loyal and beloved devotee Hanuman was bound by an opposing oath.

To fulfill his promise, Rama sent His powerful army to kill Chandrabhanu but it was vanquished by the valiant Hanuman in a trice. Rama then sent his brothers and ministers. They, too, were defeated by Hanuman. Finally, Rama Himself came to the scene to see the one who had given succor to Chandrabhanu. He was surprised to find Hanuman, his most beloved devotee, protecting the one who stood against Rama. The Lord immediately ordered Hanuman to give up, but the latter, with great humility submitted that he had taken an oath in Rama’s name and would never do anything to tarnish its glory. On explaining this Hanuman stood still, but every pore of his body was reverberating with Rama’s name.

Rama then lifted his divine bow and let loose a foray of arrows, all of which miraculously turned into flower garlands decorating the neck of the valiant Hanuman. Vashishta explained the astonished onlookers that even through Rama’s arrows were invincible, they were no match for His own name. It was then that everyone, including Vishwamitra, realized the power of God’s name. Rama was extremely pleased with the devotion of Hanuman and blessed him profusely. To keep his beloved devotee’s oath, the merciful Lord forsook His own and granted forgiveness to Chandrabhanu.

Such is the power of the name. It can protect one from almighty God Himself, what power is there to fear then.

Devotees’ Collective Prayers Moved Baba To Save Patient From Irrecoverable State


When we had just started the mandir, a devotee’s brother-in-law suddenly became infected with  Jaundice. At first, the disease was not of major concern but due to some erratic reasons it progressed to a point where it became life threatening due to severe liver damage.

The patient collapsed and became nearly comatose. The diagnosis was grim and doctors in Delhi, India, did not give much time or hope to the family. Apparently, the patient’s liver was damaged beyond a point of medical recovery.

At that time, his family members were living in New York, just a few blocks away from Om Sai Mandir. They visited the mandir and started praying to Baba very fervently. At first, there was no sign of recovery and the condition appeared to worsen even further. Just as the situation was getting out of hand, the family members came together and prayed to Baba from the bottom of their heart every single day without a gap.

They collectively chanted Baba’s name, sang 108 Hanuman Chalisas, conducted bhajans, performed seva at the mandir, and did various other prayers. Then, one day, the family members came in a very dejected state. Apparently, the doctors had lost all hope as that day the patient was not responding at all.

Some senior devotees participated in the prayers along with family members to give them moral support. As bhajans were being sung with deep devotion, suddenly we heard Baba’s voice: “Bach gaya” (He was saved from impending death!). The voice was very loud, but the few devotees who heard it kept quiet out of respect for the family members.

That day, they received a call from Delhi. The patient had indeed revived from what appeared to be an otherwise irrecoverable state. From thereon, he made a full recovery and with Baba’s grace is doing very well now, after nearly ten years. It was indeed Baba who had saved him.

When we pray from the depth of our hearts and refuse to give up until He hears our call, Baba has no choice but to help us out. When appropriate and beneficial, He even changes the writ of destiny itself. Nothing is impossible for Baba.

In the Sai Satcharita, Baba has promised us that He will pull us out from the jaws of death:


Share Article

Baba Never Forgets His Children

parthi_baba_mandirAs always, a large congregation of tens of thousands devotees had assembled at Prashanti Nilayam, Baba’s ashram in Andhra Pradesh, India. Swami is always full of love-filled surprises and on one particular day, He suddenly announced that He would distribute prasadam to each and every devotee who had assembled there that day.

Immediately, a band of hundreds of volunteers swarmed all over the ashram to distribute Baba’s prasadam. Like honey bees eager to feast on nectar, these dedicated volunteers, anxious to perform their seva, covered the entire place in a spirit of selfless service. These well-trained men and women are a great example of how complex and large-scale logistics are executed quickly. Within a few minutes every one in the hall had received a packet of sweets. The ashram was all smiles but Swami did not appear to be satisfied.

As the volunteers approached Baba to tell him that the distribution was completed, Baba said “No!” The volunteers were surprised because they had personally handed out the offerings to every single person. They inspected the logistics of their distribution but could not find any error.

Finally, Swami revealed His omniscience and said, “There are some people near the gates. Go and give them prasadam.” The volunteers rushed to the gates but could not see the devotees. Then suddenly they saw a bunch of devotees running toward the ashram. Apparently, they were late that day and had just arrived. Due to the large crowd they could not get a seat within the ashram and were feasting their eyes from outside.

It was then that the volunteers realized that Swami had already seen these devotees even when no one else could.After these devotees received their packets, Swami was all smiles.

Baba bears the love of a thousand mothers — He never forgets His children.

Share Article

Baba Manifests In Kumkum


Rudra Abhishekam was started at Om Sai Mandir on June 11, 2007. Since then Athi Maha Rudram (14,641 chants of Rudram, a vedic hymn) has been performed nearly twice. During the prayers we were blessed with several miraculous manifestations, ranging from the appearance of divine Ganga Jal to images of various deities.

Generally, as soon as we finish the prayers we decorate the deities with ornaments and apply a kumkum (vermillion) mark on the forehead of all deities. On September 19, 2011, we were performing the Rudram as usual in the morning.

As soon as the prayers were finished, we applied the dot of vermillion on the white shiv ling at Om Sai Mandir. To the wonder of all devotees present, the vermillion dot immediately turned into a portrait of Shirdi Sai Baba. The attached image was taken during the prayers and devotees can see how the dot of kumkum has transformed into Baba’s face. His eyes, nose, beard, lips, face, head-dress — everything can be seen very clearly.

How Baba Demonstrated His Omnipresence

Baba has repeatedly assured us that He is not only present everywhere, but that He is the wirepuller of this entire universe. As humans, we cannot grasp the concept of Baba’s omnipresence so easily. To teach a child alphabets, the parent, too, has to recite the basics along with the child. In the same manner, Baba tries to explain His reality in the simplest form we can understand. At the very basic level, Baba wants us to know that we are all ONE, even though our forms are different.

Baba in ants

Once, Nanasaheb Chandorkar, a devotee of the Shirdi Sai Avatar offered some sugar to Baba. He requested Baba to eat the sugar. Baba smiled and within just a few seconds, hundreds of ants appeared out of nowhere. They started feasting on the sugar with great relish. Nanasaheb again asked Baba: “Deva, please eat my offering.”

At this Baba smiled and said, “Nana, I just ate through so many forms.” It was then that Nana understood that Baba is present everywhere and He is immanent in every living being.

Mrs. Tarkhad’s bread reached Baba

Mrs. Tarkhad, a devotee of Baba, wanted to feed Him roti (Indian bread). She rushed to her home to cook for Baba and when she was returning, a hungry dog appeared in front of her. Seeing the dog’s frail condition, she felt a deep sense of compassion and immediately fed the roti to the dog instead of Baba. When she returned to Baba, He appeared to be too pleased. On seeing her, Baba said:

“Mother, you have fed Me sumptuously up to my throat, My afflicted pranas (life forces) have been satisfied. Ever act like this and it will stand you in good stead. Sitting in this Masjid I shall never, never speak untruth. Take pity on Me like this. First give bread to the hungry and then eat yourself. Note this well. Eating that lovely bread I am heartily contented and I am still belching. The dog which you saw before meals and to which you gave the piece of bread is one with Me, and so also other creatures (cats, pigs, flies, cows, …) are one with Me. I am roaming in their forms. He, who sees Me in all creatures, is My beloved. So abandon the sense of duality and distinction and serve Me as you did today.”

Baba restores a blind man’s eyesight and reveals His formless reality

During the last few years of Baba’s avatar in Shirdi, hundreds of thousands of devotees would flock to get a vision of Sai. On one occasion, an elderly blind man went to Baba with an unusual request: “Baba, please restore my eyes for just one second. I just want to see you. After that, you can take my eyes away.” Baba is ever merciful in granting His devotees’ wishes and He immediately restored the man’s vision. Much to his surprise, however, He saw Baba everywhere in the universe. From earth to sky, enveloping the entire creation, he could see only SAI and nothing else.

In the Sai Satcharita, Baba has said the following words:


Saved From Sure Death: How Baba Averted A Fatal Accident

sai_baba_umbrellaDuring my first Master’s, I would often get absorbed in Sai’s thoughts and become oblivious to my surroundings. Often, objects in front of me would just appear as pure white light. Baba was aware of my state and inevitably, He would always protect me from oncoming dangers even when I was ignorant about their existence.

Just before a danger would appear, He would make me chant His name or sing a bhajan.

One morning, I had a premonition that I would be facing some danger and Baba internally asked me to start chanting His name to ensure divine protection. Before leaving the house, I started ceaseless recitation of Baba’s name. As I was walking toward school, I slipped and fell flat in the middle of the street. Unfortunately, just as I fell, the lights on the opposite street turned green and a sports car came zooming in my direction.

I had fallen flat on my back and had no time to get up and move away from the car. Within a fraction of a second, the car was at an arm’s length. Unfortunately, since I had fallen in the middle of the street, there was no room for the car to move on either side and the driver had no option except to run me down — unless of course, if he could apply the brakes on time. Since everything happened so fast, there was no question of that possibility either.

My subconscious mind quickly gathered the gravity of the situation and thinking that I had just a few more moments on earth, I closed my eyes and awaited the inevitable. All along, I was fervently praying to Sai.

Just then a miracle happened. When I opened my eyes, the car was on the other side and I was Car crashunharmed — not even a scratch on me. When I got up, several witnesses, bus drivers, and other cars signaled to me that God had indeed saved me. They were all still during that moment but none understood how the car had passed on the other side.

Even to this day, I don’t know how the car passed on the other side. After several years, though, I read a story about how Swami was once driving with a band of devotees when a truck appeared in front of them. The truck was moving very fast in their direction and neither party had a chance to escape. They knew Swami was with them so they held on to Him with faith. Miraculously, the car passed through the truck (just like a sci-fi movie) and was behind them in no time. No one was hurt.

It was then that I understood what had happened during my accident.

It is for this reason that we should always chant Baba’s name. His name protects us from all dangers — known and unknown.

A Sai Youth Questions, Reflects, And Finds Answers From Within

By A Sai Youth


I want to surrender. I really do. I want to retire to my bed, look at Baba and simply exhale all my expectations unto Him. But I do have expectations. You see, I am young, my life is just starting, and I have this fiery force within me that wants to move onwards and up in my career, and in my life.

And yet one month passes. And another. And before I know it, a half year transpires, and I am still left standing, wondering, scratching my head, not knowing what else to do.

To compensate for this stale state, I push harder, study more intensely, and insist on perfection. I “visualize” my goals, my dreams, I “put out” positive thoughts, I pour my heart and soul into what I work so hard for.

I conceptually understand the spiritual philosophy of surrendering. I know that we should perform our actions without the fruits in mind (karma yoga), because aiming for results keeps us bound in insatiable circle of desire and disappointment.

My spiritual conundrum lies in asking the question – how do I balance surrendering while pursuing my dreams? This has been the theme of my life for the past year or so. I ask Baba to help me along my progress.

Some of the answers to my questions lie in a prayer hanging above my nightstand. It is the Prayer of Surrender, written by Baba. In it Baba says:

“What seriously upsets you is your reasoning, your worrying, your obsession, your will to provide for yourselves at any price. I can do so many things when the being, as much in his material necessities as in his spiritual ones, turns to Me saying: “You think of it.” then he closes his eyes and rests quietly. You will receive a lot but only when your prayer will rely fully upon Me. You pray to Me when in pain so that I intervene, but in the way you desire it. You do not rely on Me, but you want Me to adjust your requests.”

So this answers my question about expectation. Clearly there is a reason why things do or do not happen, as Baba does it for our benefit. And He is right, in a way. I do reason and worry, and obsessively contemplate on ways to further myself, and am deeply affected when those efforts don’t come to fruition. But if you think about it, why not leave the burden of that to someone who can handle it? An individual who not only created the singular me, but the billions of countless beings, planets and stars, suns and cosmos – surely that person can handle the trajectory of my life.

I willingly offer that to Swami. Because it is tiring to ponder and compulsively obsess over something that we ultimately have no real control over. The only control we have is over our emotions and reactions. Whether we are met with pleasant or unpleasant experiences in life, we have to blindly take it as for our benefit. The equanimity we gain from greeting any situation, good or bad, is the main source for our spiritual growth.

It is not only a lesson in being detached from one’s efforts, but reinforces a fundamental spiritual tenet, which Baba eloquently preaches, which is to have our “Hands in Society, but Heads in the Forest.” Meaning to say, while we operate in the world of professional aspirations and career-oriented goals, we must not let that world overwhelm us. Otherwise we risk halting our progress towards the shore of realization and drowning in the sea of misery.

I guess the one thing that must evolve is my thinking. I am a believer in the adage “God helps those who help themselves.” So I would function thinking “if I am doing this much work and effort and earnest concentration on my goals, my work will never go unnoticed and unrewarded!” But like an arduous ascetic in a hermitage, the Guru may purposefully avoid praising his disciple, nay, may even chastise the ascetic – but not out of malice, but to quash the growing fire of his ego. The ego that says, “I did this work. I deserve reward and recognition.” And as the ascetic works harder to win his Guru’s praise, the Guru knows best to pour cold water on his disciple’s desire-driven heart.

Baba is my Guru. The world is my hermitage. It is for my betterment. It is for my growth. Atop a mountain a rock appears jagged, but when it finally rolls to the bottom it is as smooth as silk. So too the spiritual path is rough and tough, but the journey is not in vain. It is to rid ourselves of the defects and sheaths of ignorance which trap us in this cyclical existence, so that when we reach the destination, we will have truly evolved.

[Editor's Note: In this post, a Sai Youth has shown how he was able to find answers to some very pressing and real-life questions through reflection and meditation. Ultimately, based on what he discovered from introspection, it is very clear that Baba guided his thought process. It appears that he has understood the importance of working hard but leaving the results in Baba's capable hands.]

The Power Of Prayers: Countless Problems Vanish

moortis2.jpgA group of elder devotees were once praying to Baba at the mandir. Suddenly, Baba appeared in front of them. Usually, Baba appears with a bright aura around Him and He reveals His form, bright and resplendent as a million suns. This time, however, Baba appeared to be covered with a thick, dark black liquid.

Everyone was shocked to see the substance around Baba and requested Him to explain the meaning of the vision. Baba then said: “Millions of devotees pray to Me asking for several material benefits. Often, their past sins come on their way and so I take on their sufferings and sins on Myself to relieve them and give them an opportunity to move toward a brighter future. I don’t mind suffering for the sake of My devotees. The black liquid you see is their sufferings that I have taken on Myself.”

One elder devotee could not see Baba in this form and begged Baba to show a way to minimize the impact of these sins. At first Baba kept quiet but upon repeated requests, finally gave way and in His characteristic compassionate voice said, “Don’t lose heart. Even mountains of sins will disappear if you pray sincerely. Chant God’s name.”

The band of devotees took this advice seriously and collectively started chanting God’s name 27,000 times. Upon completion of each round of 1,000 names the black liquid would start reducing little by little. Finally when the round of 27,000 names was completed Baba appeared bright as a million suns. Countless sins from humanity had vanished by this small effort by a determined group of devotees.

Indeed prayers are very powerful. If we adopt the practice of praying daily, all our sins will be burnt to ashes and our future will become very bright.

Onion Transformed Into Sweet Potato: Baba’s Will Is Supreme

baba_standing_rareIn early 1900s, the environment in Shirdi was a multicultural place where devotees from different faiths freely practiced their religious beliefs without fear of persecution or ridicule. Baba always allows devotees to adhere to their own beliefs and practices.

Once, a devotee by the name of Kusa Bhav visited Baba. Kusa Bhav was hardly in his early twenties when he had met a guru who taught him several mystical mantras. With the aid of these mantras, Bhav would produce various objects out of thin air. Unlike real miracles, these objects were merely transported from other dimensions and were not a product of Divine Will, like one demonstrated by Baba.

When Bhav arrived in Shirdi, Baba did not let him enter the place. Baba said, “If you want to come here, you must give up your attachment to lower powers. You are using them to fool people.” Kusa Bhav loved Baba deeply and immediately gave up the practice of lower powers. Baba asked him to read the Guru Charita 108 times as an act of purification, which Bhav willingly did.

One day, Bhav visited Baba during lunch time. Baba was eating an onion with bread. Seeing this, Bhav said, “Baba, today is Ekadashi (eleventh holy day of the Hindu Calendar). Why are you eating onions today? They are prohibited on Ekadashi.

Baba was in a playful mood that day and said, “Child, I did not eat onion. I ate sweet potato. Do you want proof?” Saying this Baba vomited a sweet potato in lieu of the onion He had actually eaten. Kusa Bhav was young but very intelligent. He immediately snatched the potato from Baba’s hand and gulped it down with great relish. Baba feigned anger and said, “Arre, why did you eat my ushti (something I had already eaten)?”

Baba had indeed eaten an onion but His will is so powerful, the onion had transformed into a sweet potato. In Parthi, Baba had said several times: “I can transform earth into sky and sky into earth. All powers are at the tip of my palm. My will is supreme.”


Yet, Baba was deeply touched by his faith and granted Kusa Bhava a boon. Baba said: “From today whenever you think about Me, the vibhuti from Dwarakamai will manifest in your palms the moment you think about Me.”

Baba is such a kind and powerful incarnation. Knowing that Kusa Bhav had given up lower powers, Baba granted him the ability to produce vibhuti which was bound to benefit devotees. In 1940’s or 50’s when Narasimha Swami, a saint, visited Kusa Bhav, he manifested warm vibhuti straight from Baba’s Dwarakamai just by thinking about Him. This was nearly thirty years after Shirdi Baba’s Mahasamadhi.

Baba Runs For His Devotees


When Shirdi Baba’s fame reached all corners of the globe, hundreds of thousands of devotees started rushing to Him. Baba is a very unique avatar. He connects with each devotee on an individual level and makes each devotee feel like the most special person in the entire world. Only Baba can do that because He has so much love for His children.

On one occasion, there was a long line of devotees waiting on Baba. In the mass of devotees, there was an old and fragile woman who had heard of Baba’s fame. Her wish was to see Baba and feed Him with her own hands. How was she to feed Baba, though? Her financial condition was extremely impoverished and she herself was living on support provided by others. Furthermore, would the Lord of the Universe accept her modest offerings when He had access to the most delicious of foods?

She was struggling with these thoughts, but somehow managed to bring a stale piece of bread for Baba. Her motherly heart could not accept to offer Baba with just a piece of bread so she decided to bring a raw onion in lieu of vegetables. That is all she could afford.

Waiting for her turn, she was standing all the way toward the end of the queue. No one could notice her in the mass of devotees. The sun was scorching and her health was fragile, still she braved the condition for just a brief darshan of God. Though physically frail, her heart was brimming with love for Baba.

Baba’s devotees were serving Him in myriad ways. Suddenly, The Lord of Shirdi sprang up from His seat and rushed toward the mob of devotees. Everyone was surprised to see Baba rushing out in this manner. His attendants followed Him but Baba ran toward the end of the line of devotees. The elderly woman was exhausted by the wait but was thrilled to see Baba rushing toward her.

Before she could utter a single word, Baba said, “Amma, please give me the delicious food you have brought for Me today. My stomach is roaring with hunger. Kindly feed Me with your own hands.” The devotee was overjoyed to witness the Lord’s extreme compassion toward her. How did Baba know she was carrying food when there were so many devotees waiting for Him? Why He rushed only toward this fragile woman, who was virtually unnoticeable? Indeed, Baba is omniscient.

In His own characteristic way, Baba displayed the same compassion Lord Rama had for Shabari and Lord Krishna for Sudama. Baba cares only for our feelings and for our love and affection.