Monthly Archives: March 2013

Millions Bathe In Ganga To Wash Their Sins, But She Washes Baba’s Feet

baba_feet_osmThe origins of Ganga are divine. When Lord Vishnu assumed the Vamana Avatar (a short Brahmin child-like incarnation), he visited Emperor Bali and asked for land that he could occupy with just three steps. The emperor was very proud of his accomplishments and mocked the folly of the Brahmin for requesting such a trifle. Little did He know that the person asking for the gift was none other than God. Bali consented and, lo, the Brahmin child started growing to gigantic proportions. Within just a few seconds, He occupied all the three worlds. With His gigantic form, the Lord placed one foot on earth and the second in the heavens. With just two steps He reclaimed all that belonged to the Emperor.

When the Lord asked Bali to live up to his promise of giving land equivalent to three steps, Bali placed his head in obeisance and asked the Lord to bless him.

When the Lord’s feet were in the heavens, Lord Brahma (creator) rushed to the place and bathed Vishnu’s feet with water. It is said that this holy, sanctified water assumed the form of Ganga and now runs through earth to purify countless individuals every single day.

While she has the ability to sanctify millions of sinners, she herself washes Baba’s feet. In both Shirdi and Parthi Sai avatars, Baba demonstrated this truth.

shirdi_saiWhy visit Prayag? Everything is at my feet

Once, Das Ganu, a follower of Baba, wanted to visit Prayag to bathe in the holy river. As he requested Baba’s permission, the latter said, “Our Prayag is here, believe me.” As soon as Ganu placed his head at Baba’s feet, streams of Ganga and Yamuna miraculously started flowing from Baba’s feet.

Ocean welcomed Baba with a garland

When Swami was on a tour to Kanyakumari, Baba was at the shore with a band of followeswami_blessingrs. As Baba stood there looking glorious like a million suns, He stood facing the waters and made an emphatic declaration: “See, the ocean is welcoming me with a garland.”

Almost immediately, a wave moved swiftly toward the shore, touched Baba’s feet humbly, and receded as soon as it had performed its worship. When everyone looked at Baba’s feet, an exquisite and extremely beautiful pearl necklace was encircling Baba’s holy feet.


Baba Appeared In The Middle Of The Sea To Save A Sinking Ship

dwarakamai_shirdi_saiThe book Sri Sai The Superman narrates a wonderful story about how Baba rescued a devotee in dire distress. It so happened that during the Russo-Japanese war, a devotee of Baba was commissioned as the captain of a ship. When the war reached its peak, all his steamers (baring a few) were sunk by the enemy lines and the opposing forces were keen on sinking his ship as well.

Just when his ship was about to sink, he took out a picture of Baba and with tear-filled eyes pleaded to Baba to come and save him. No sooner did he complete his prayers, Baba appeared on the scene and pulled the ships away to safety. The devotee was so grateful for this act of grace.

What’s more? Baba corroborated this miracle for devotees who were seated in His presence. Just when this incidence happened, Baba muttered an incorrigible “Oh!” out of the blue. Immediately, His entire dress was soaked with water and the space around Him (in Dwarakamai) was filled with a small pool of water. Devotees around Baba were confused by this incidence but knew there must be some explanation for the sudden manifestation of water.

After three days, a telegram arrived in Shirdi from Jahangiri Framji Daruwala, who wrote in to express his gratitude for Baba’s grace. It was then that all the devotees understood the meaning of the marvelous deed that Baba had performed.

Can a human appear in the middle of the ocean and pull giant ships to safety?

Through this incidence, Baba has given us an assurance that whenever we feel the ship of our life sinking in the ocean of samsara (worldliness), we can boldly call out to Him. He will surely come and rescue us. Sai is always with us.

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Invisible Baba: How An Inanimate Camera Obeyed Baba’s Supreme Command

invisible_Sai_Baba For humans, feats such as invisibility require complex scientific algorithms, invisibility cloaks, and armies of scientists who merely attempt to replicate, figure out, or debunk natural phenomena that are a product of God’s supreme will.

For Baba, however, none of these artificial tools are necessary. His will is all that is needed to work out the most mysterious of miracles. We all know that Baba’s will is obeyed by the entire universe, but the miracle we are about to narrate will prove that His will extends to inanimate things and our “so called” technical gizmos as well.

It is funny how technical inventions are fancied as being superior in terms of technological advancement, but when tested against the Divine Himself, even the most sophisticated human inventions are light years behind.

It so happened that once in Shirdi a devotee desired to take a picture of Baba. He approached Baba to see His approval but for some reason Baba was not interested. He told the devotee toinvisiblebaba2 capture a photo of His feet as opposed to the entire form. For some reason, the devotee ignored this command and went on to click a picture that covered the entire procession.

Although the devotee failed to follow Baba’s instructions, the inanimate camera obeyed. When the picture was developed, all the devotees in the background and the umbrella are visible but Baba appears as a luminous light and only Hissai_baba_umbrella feet can be viewed.

We came across two versions of this picture and both are provided in this post. Indeed, Baba is the most mysterious and powerful incarnation.

Furthermore, we are also providing a clearer version of the picture where Baba had consented and hence His form is clearly visible, much to the delight of His devotees.



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Baba Can Change Destiny Itself

baba_with_devoteesThe warmth of sincere devotion can melt God’s butter-soft heart in an instant, and in response to a devotee’s plea the Lord becomes like a servitor, willing to extend any service possible.

When the call is sincere, He will alter even destiny and rescue devotees from sorrow. This has been the experience of innumerable devotees.

Once, a mother-in-law was fortunate enough to experience this grace. She was a pious lady who had a big family with many sons and daughter-in-laws. Despite experiencing all forms of happiness, she was not at peace, for none of her children were able to become parents. She visited Puttaparthi with utmost reverence and placed her sorrow at the feet of the Lord of Parthi. He heard her request with compassion but explained that none of her family members were destined to become parents–that was their fate.

She was disheartened but she firmly held Sai’s feet and with tear-filled eyes begged Him to intercede. Swami was moved and asked if she believed in Him. She calmly said that His will was supreme and that He could alter destiny itself, if He so willed. Swami was touched by her faith and blessed her. The following year, she came with beautiful grand children.

Obedience to God’s teachings is a sure way to draw His response and when a devotee adapts his lifestyle to match Baba’s teachings, Baba is sure to save such a devotee from even the most unalterable writ of destiny.

In the Sai Satcharita, there are numerous instances where a devotee was to meet death or a terrible accident, but Baba intervened and saved the devotee.

Once a devotee was intent on visiting Chitali on business purpose. Just before the visit, Baba warned the devotee of upcoming danger. Shirdi Baba posed his hand in the form of a snake and said: “The lamba buva (snake) is dangerous but what can he do to the children of Dwarakamai. The presiding deity (Baba) is merciful; He will always protect.”

In compliance with Baba’s warning and instructions, the devotee took Shama on the trip. True to his word, just when the devotee was reading a newspaper a snake was found unnoticed, but Shama noticed the snake and quickly called for help. Needless to say, the devotee’s life was saved. There are many such instances where Baba saved devotees from accidents and even predictions of sure death.

God is so merciful, He cannot but run for His devotees. He is like the hard-working mother who is always busy performing routine household chores–in His case, cosmic-duties. Despite her burdens, the mother always provides for the children’s needs and keeps a watchful eye on them. The children may not know or realize this.

When they are safe or at play, she continues performing her chores, but if a child starts crying inconsolably, she will leave everything and run to console her darling. Similarly, God, who bears the love of a thousand mothers, rushes to respond to His children’s calls. His simple words will allay all fears and fulfill devotees’ wishes.

Characteristic Of A Devotee

sai_ba2A Sai devotee was once speaking to a friend when the latter randomly popped a question: “Since you have been His devotee for so long, I am sure your life must be very smooth, right?” The devotee was taken aback by the question because he had never visualized his relationship with Baba from a business perspective. He always enjoyed the love he felt for Baba and the love he received in return. There was never any bargain or requests. The friend’s question, however, prompted the devotee to introspect.

In fact, the devotee’s life was a hodge-podge of turbulent circumstances. There was a constant barrage of challenges and difficulties that left him with little room to live peacefully. From financial challenges to health issues and family hostilities, he had experienced all of that. He finally asked Baba, “Why so many difficulties when I pray to you?”

The compassionate Lord assured him as follows:

“My Beloved, can you ever measure the depth of the ocean with a small measuring container? The worldly perspective that your friend offered was like a small cup, whereas my grace is like the ocean. How can you measure one with the other? The hallmark of true devotion is not measured by the number (or absence) of worldly difficulties. For a true Sai devotee, the entire world is filled with Sai. Where does the question of difficulty ever arise? One’s devotion is tested on the basis of equanimity, fortitude, faith, love, and an attitude of selfless service and sacrifice. Problems are not the touchstone for measuring devotion.”baba_standing_rare

Didn’t Jesus, Mira, Buddha Hanuman face difficulties? Yet, despite the plethora of challenges they always smiled and resorted to God’s name, without ever swerving from the path leading to God. Despite the difficulties, they marched on knowing fully-well that all the “so called challenges” would foster their latent dispassion and devotion even further.

In ancient days, a guru called upon his disciple and asked him to plough a barren field. The disciple was so humble, he eagerly undertook the task without ever questioning the wisdom of working on a dry field. Even though the land was useless, the lad had utmost faith that due to his guru’s grace it will soon be transformed into a fertile, crop-ladden field. Day and night, the young boy toiled on the land, at times putting up with the ridicule of lazy onlookers.

For many years there was no result. In fact, his efforts appeared to be wasted. This did not deter him, though, and he continued his efforts with utmost faith. This went on for many, many years and one day the boy felt exhausted. Just as he was about the give up, the guru appeared on the scene miraculously and asked the boy what had transpired during the course of several years.

As the boy recounted the story of his failed effort, the guru smiled with a beaming light and asked the lad to look at himself. The young boy who was initially a weak creature had transformed into a young man with a rugged, muscular form and an unconquerable degree of strength. Not only that, he also breathed an aura of satisfaction, wisdom, and experience that could never be matched. Due to his implicit obedience, he had grown spiritually as well.

Indeed, the transformation was remarkable. Now, the guru asked him to look at the field. What did he find? Thousands of precious stones lay all over the field. These were hidden gems that only the guru knew about. Apparently, the guru wanted to bring these out through the boy’s tireless efforts.

God is like that too. He commands us to dig deep into our hearts and even though on the surface it may appear barren, underneath the dry appearance are pearls of wisdom, compassion, devotion, and love. Our initial efforts may appear wasted but if we persevere, one day God Himself will bring out all the treasures for us.

The truth is that suffering forms the basis of future success and through every painful experience we manage to acquire precious pearls of wisdom and become worthy recipients of the Lord’s grace.


Baba Commanded And, Lo, Dead Seeds Blossomed Into A Huge Tree

dwarakamai_babaScriptures have proclaimed that the thought of a pure yogi is like a river that reaches its destination, often making its way by cutting through rocks and stones. Nothing can stop the flow of a river. As a mere child, Hanuman gulped down the entire sun as if it were a mere fruit. If a pure devotee can hold that much power, imagine how much more powerful Lord Sainath would be?

Some of us innocently assume Baba’s divine words to be ordinary discourses. The truth, however, is that every syllable uttered by Baba has a profound impact. If Baba were to ever command the sun not to rise, it surely will not. Such is the power of Baba’s will.

During His avataric career as both Shirdi Sai and Parthi Sai, Baba often demonstrated this truth. On one occasion, there was an intense storm in Shirdi. The fury of nature was such that it threatened to submerge the entire village into oblivion. Seeing his devotees in despair, Baba roared at the storm: “Stop your fury!” No sooner did Baba command the clouds, the rain subsided immediately.

On another occasion, a devotee wanted to plant a certain tree near Dwarkamai, Shirdi. He lovingly bought the seeds and came rushing to Baba. In his eagerness, he explained to Baba that he wanted to plant the tree and that Baba should give him permission. For some reason, Baba was reluctant to accede to the request and said “No!” This refusal was enough to cast a gloom and the devotee returned to his home. In fact, he was so disappointed he refused food and water. Internally, the devotee was truly hurting for not being allowed to plant the tree.


After a few days, the seeds dried and reached a “dead state” where they could not germinate any further. The devotee was still hurting, though. Seeing his child-like faith, Baba’s heart melted and he called the devotee and chastised him for refusing food and water. When he burst into tears, Baba’s mother-like heart could not see it any more. Baba immediately pronounced a benediction: “Go and plant the dead seeds. Even though they have become useless, due to My will they will germinate into a fine tree.” Baba’s will is supreme. Indeed the dead seeds germinated into a tree.

The Guru Charitra recounts the story of Narhari Sharma, who was afflicted with leprosy. After several failed medical treatments, he lost hope and visited Lord Dattatreya. His honest prayers melted the Lord’s butter-like heart instantly. On seeing him the Divine Lord said: “Even though the disease is a consequence of your wicked deeds in a past life, it will be wiped out. If you have faith in my word, plant the dead branch of a Fig tree at the Sangama and go on watering it every day. You will be healed on the day the stumps put forth leaves!”

The devotee took this advice very seriously and started watering the dead branch every single day. Those around him mocked this act and tried to dissuade him. They could not believe that a dead branch could ever produce leaves. Narhari was determined, though, and decided to pursue his faith with ever-increasing zeal. Indeed, one day the dead branch produced leaves and at that very instant his disease vanished miraculously.

This universe was created by God. His will is supreme. If we pray to Him with faith, He can make the impossible, possible.

There Is No Physician Abler Than Me

guru_of_gurusMy cousin Rup (name abbreviated) was diagnosed with liver failure at the age of twenty two. He was too young but due to sudden progression of the disease, he collapsed into a comma. He was lifeless and barely breathing. Doctors made several attempts to revive him and put him on life support systems.

As the family was discussing his prognosis with the doctors, a team of doctors at Kothari Hospital, Mumbai, advised the family to start arranging for his funeral. Apparently, they did not see any hope for the patient. It was true. Medically, nothing appeared to be possible.

In the team of doctors, however, the family physician happened to be a devotee of Baba. He knew medically that was all that could be done but he also knew that Baba is more capable than any physician and started praying fervently. Just then, another devotee arrived from Shirdi. He applied Baba’s udi (holy ash) on the patient’s forehead and both of them started praying to Baba for the welfare of the patient.

Things took a strange turn the very next day. The patient’s vitals returned to normal and he started communicating the following day. The team of doctors was exhilarated at the recovery and attributed this revival as a “true miracle”.

Lord Datta has emphatically declared in the Guru Charita: “There is no physician abler than Me!”

I Came But You Did Not Recognize

In 2006, Swami had conducted Athi Maha Rudram on an epic scale. Tens of thousands of devotees from all corners of the world had arrived in Parthi to witness the Lord performing the grandest of all yagnas. At His calling, I had visited Parthi as well. It was the most exciting time of life. Twenty-one days of sheer bliss and hundreds of surprises and miracles, every single day.

As I would be seated in the rows, I would request Baba to grant me an interview or at least speak with me during the darshan itself. My prayers were answered on several occasions, often through naughty smiles, exchange of letters, a visit to the inner area of Swami’s temple and other similar experiences. I was not satisfied, though. I wanted to speak with Swami physically, one-on-one.

Swami always grants His children’s prayers but often displays His naughtiness in the act and also inculcates a few lessons for the long-term benefit of the devotee. I had visited Parthi on earlier occasions but had forgotten my way to the Kalpavriksha, the celestial tree in Parthi where Swami had performed numerous miracles as a child. I tried to find my way there but ended up at the meditation tree instead. As I stood there confused about the direction to take, a strange-looking man came to me. He was around five feet and a few extra inches. Dressed in a regular attire, he did not appear anything but ordinary. Sigh, how we look only on the outside.

swami_blessingWithout my prompting, he asked me pointblank: “Are you looking for the way to go to the Kalpavriksha tree.” I said, “yes!” Due to Swami’s veil of maya (illusion), I could not think logically and at that point it never struck me as to how he knew about my desire to find the tree. The conversation went on. He gave me directions to the tree and also offered me a picture of Swami. It was one of the popular pictures of Swami with two hands raised in blessing. At first, I was reluctant to take the picture from a stranger and refused. He said, “Two rupees only.” [Devotees acquainted with the teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba may have guessed it. Baba used to often ask for two rupees as a symbol of Shraddha (faith) and Saburi (patience).]

Something in me said “take the picture” and so I offered him the sum and took the picture. No sooner did I accept the picture he explained to me that he was a heart patient (translation: eager to seek devotees’ love) and that he sold pictures (translation: blessings) for a living.

I thanked him and walked toward the Kalpavriksha. As I was walking toward the tree, I flipcropped-moortis21.jpgped the picture on the other side and, lo, there was a pencil sketch of the statues that were to arrive at Om Sai Mandir in the future. In 2006, we had initiated the process of getting the statues done but everything was in its preliminary stages. The pencil sketch was indeed symbolic of two statues of Baba that were soon to adorn the mandir’s altar.

Until then I did not think of anything but a thunderbolt struck me that night when I was speaking to a saintly devotee of Baba. Before I could utter a single word, I was asked “Did Baba come to you today?” I said “no”. I am praying to Him but He is not responding. Again, the same question came: “Did not Baba come to you today?” My answer was “no” again. At this, I was given one more hint: “Did not Baba come and give you something today?” Now, everything sunk in. “Yes,” I said. He did come but I did not recognize Him in the form He had adorned. Then the saintly devotee went on to narrate snippets of my meeting with Baba, despite the fact that I was alone during the meeting.

Swami had indeed granted me darshan (vision), sparsham (touch), and sambhasham (conversation). He came but I did not recognize Him. Baba visits so many of us in so many different forms. We need to start seeing the inner Swami in everyone to avoid missing these surprise darshans.

Guru The Eternal Guide


“Manasa Bhajore Guru Charanam, Dustara Bhavasagara Taranam.”

Oh mankind, worship and install in the mind the feet of the Guru; it is very difficult to cross the ocean of life and death, but the Guru can safely carry you to the shore of divinity. This was the first bhajan sung by Baba himself. Baba was calling all those suffering in the endless rounds of births and deaths to worship the feet of the Guru, who was announcing Himself, and who had come again for taking upon Himself the burden of those who sought refuge in Him. (Vijayadashmi Discourse, 1953).

Once, Emperor Shivaji and his minister were going on an evening stroll. On the way, they came across a Buddhist monk. Immediately, Shivaji removed his crown and prostrated at the monk’s feet. The minister thought Shivaji demeaned his stature by this act. The righteous emperor at once sensed these feelings and wanted to teach the minister a lesson.

One day, he asked the minister to bring the head of a goat, a sheep, and a human being. The minister collected the goat and sheep heads. He went to a burial ground and cut the head of a dead person.

Shivaji commanded him to sell them in the market. The heads of the sheep and goat were sold in no time, but none came forward to buy the human head. When the emperor was informed, he ordered the human head to be given at no cost. The minister took the human head to the market and waited there for a couple of days. Despite his best efforts, nobody was willing to accept it. When this was conveyed to the emperor, he said, “Oh minister, you felt sad when I placed my head at the feet of a monk. Do you realize that the same would be the fate of our heads too, when we leave our mortal coils? Hence, we should sanctify our lives by serving noble souls.î Material wealth is momentary. Only truth and right conduct will remain with man and redeem his life. (Guru Poornima Discourse, 2002).

What is the significance of Guru Poornima? “Gu” means darkness and “ru” means light [the dispeller of darkness]. Guru is thus the one who illumines the path to divinity. Poornima stands for the cool full moon light. Full moon symbolizes a mind with total illumination. It is spotless. (Guru Poornima Discourse, 2002).

Shankarcharya had five disciples. One of them, Padmapada, was pure-hearted and always engaged in the service of his Guru. He considered himself as a Dasa [servant] of the Guru. While others would be engaged in studying scriptures and other sacred texts, Padmapada would busy himself in serving the Guru. No task in his Guru’s service was menial to him. He would regularly wash the Guruís clothes and attend to his every need.

Once, on his way back from the other bank of the river, he did not realize that the Ganga was in spate.

As he was crossing the river, it rose up to the level of his neck. He looked around, but had no fear whether he would be washed away by the swelling waters.

His only worry was how to take the clothes to the Guru even at the cost of his life. Placing the clothes on his head and chanting the word, “Guruji, Guruji,” he continued wading through the river. Because of his intense devotion, at every step he took there was a lotus-shaped stone on which he could place his foot. He thereby earned the appellation “Padmapada.”

Shankaracharya called him and imparted his teachings to him. He told Padmapada: “Service to the Guru is a great virtue. You have adored the Guru as God. Guru represents the Divine Trinity and is the Supreme Self.” Then, he imparted to Padmapada the sacred truth. The other four disciples used to treat Padmapada previously as an ignoramus. After receiving the teachings from Sankaracharya, Padmapada could repeat the entire Vedic texts at one stroke. He became a good exponent of Vedanta. (Guru Poornima Discourse, 1998).

This story illustrates the power of a real Guru. Although a true Guru can lead the disciple to enlightenment, in modern times there is a scarcity of such perfected beings.god_alone_guru

In today’s time, God alone is the real Guru.

What greater proof of this than the fact that Baba himself has come as the world’s divine teacher and is imparting his teachings to one and all. One only needs to look inside and the inner Guru will safely lead us to the shore of divinity.

When Baba Says No, It Is For Our Own Good

Despite our chronological age, spiritually we are all like small infants in front of the Divine Lord. We lack the foresight, vision, and omniscience that God possesses, at least until the time we merge with God and realize our true nature.

Baba is a very benevolent avatar and one of His assurances is that He will give us whatever we ask for. Sometimes, however, Baba firmly denies our requests or postpones them until an appropriate time arrives. Often, we misunderstand this denial to be Baba’s indifference to us. How can that be? Baba is love incarnate. What we perceive as His denials are, however, His acts of true love because He knows the ultimate outcome of what we are asking, even though we may not be able to perceive it in the short run.

Those who abide by Baba’s will fare well in the long run whereas those who disregard His instructions often face unfavorable events. Quoting from the Sai Satcharita:


“Baba gave certain suggestions or hints, when Bhaktas (devotees) went to bid good-bye and take leave. These suggestions had to be followed. If they were not followed or were departed from, accidents were sure to befall them, who acted contrary to Baba’s directions.”

He may deny one request but open doors to so many other opportunities

A friend of mine was applying for a job with a very big company. Despite his qualifications and intense preparation, the job offer did not turn out in his favor and he was dejected. At first we could not understand Baba’s leelas but eventually he received another offer at a much higher salary and was able to progress very quickly in his career. What happened to the first job? Well, the division met with severe financial losses. It was then that we realized why Baba did not allow him to work there in the first place.

Pedda Bottu’s story

Pedda Bottu was an ardent devotee of both avatars of Baba. She was fortunate enough to have witnessed both Shirdi Sai and Parthi Sai avatars and spent a considerable amount of time in His physical proximity. Pedda Bottu was spiritually very advanced but despite her metaphysical accomplishments, she would always behave like a child when it came to Baba.

When she was young, she would often accost Shirdi Baba with a request to initiate her with an upadesh. Baba uses a different way for each devotee and teaches each individual in a manner that befits him/her. Apparently, Baba did not want to initiate her with an upadesh but wanted to teach her in a different way altogether. She was adamant, however, and would repeatedly question Baba.

Finally, one day Baba decided to bless her in a very unique way. When she visited Shirdi Sainath with a request for mantra, Baba kicked her on the chest and said: “You are obsessed with upadesh.” To ordinary mortals, this may appear as a kick but Baba must have awakened her chakras because subsequent to this act of grace, she advanced very, very quickly.

Pedda Bottu was too young to grasp the hidden blessings and walked away dejected and disappointed. She went and lay under a tree. As she was crying, Baba suddenly appeared in front of her and said the following words:

“My child, I could not sleep in Dwaraka Mayi when you were lying here without fi_could_not_sleepood since morning. I have brought you here, for, I want to tell you something, but first you must eat.” Saying thus, Baba stretched His hand and materialized food (roti, kheer, and some other items) and water. When she was satiated with food, Baba revealed the secret to her: “Gori, I will appear in Andhra Pradesh with the same name of Sai Baba but in another avatar. Then again you will come to me. I will keep you with me and will give you joy.”

True to Baba’s words, she did experience the opportunity to live with both avatars and made very rapid spiritual progress as well. Although she wanted a verbal upadesh, Baba awakened her to many more divine powers that flowed from within her.