SAI BABA’S CHILDHOOD AND DIVINE GAMES

This is a true story of God who appeared on Earth in a human form. The embodyment happened on 23/11/1926 in the small and quiet village of Puttaparthi in South India. Puttaparthi was a poor village with little white houses covered in straw, without a school, a doctor’s office or communal infrastructure, which once upon a time was famous as the Home of cattle breeders (Gollapalli). The legend says how an unusual snake drank milk from the teat of a cow every day. One day a shephard noticed the snake hanging under the cow’s udder and hit it with a stone. Writhing with pain, the snake cursed all the shephards in the village and foretold that soon the village would be full of ants’ hills, which soon happened. Because of that the villagers changed the name of the village into Puttaparthi (ants’ hill). As a proof of the legend there is a stone in the village even today with a hollow on one side and a crosswise red line as a track of the cobra’s blood. Later Sai Baba discovered that on one side of the stone there is a picture of Sri Gopalasvami who is playing a flute leaned on a cow. Since then the cobra’s curse has lost its damaging power and the kettle in Puttaparthi started to prosper. There is also a temple in the village built by kettle breeders, as well as the old tower of the Raju family. Next to the village there flows the Chitravathi river. Puttaparthi has always been famous for learned and pious people heroes and benefactors. The Raju family was also famous for piousness and the building of the temple.Sri Kondama Raju was especially remarkable for his piousness; he was a small farmer and a big master of music and acting, but also a vegetarian. He lived up to a very old age because he died at the age of 112 when his grandson Sai Baba gave him the last glass of water. Occasionally the wandering saint Venka Avandhuta came to his little house. Once he told Kondama Raja: ‘You will witness the embodyment of God on Earth in a human form.’ His little house was a place of gathering of the village children whom Raja told various stories about God and saints and he sang them various holy songs. His wife Sri Lakshamma was also very pious. In their marriage they had two sons whom they named after the wisemen, Pedda Venkapa Raja and Chinna Venkapa Raja. They inherited their literary, musical and drama abilities, but also their piousness. The older son Pedda Venkappa Raja married Easvaramma, the daughter of Sri Subba Raja from the neighbouring village, who took part in the building of the temple. In a happy marriage they had a son and two daughters. Several years passed by and Easvaramma started to yearn for another son. Together with her mother-in-law, she prayed to God every day and adhered to the strict vows like vigil and restraint from food. Strange things started to happen in their house at night, such as the playing of tamburitza and drums which were leaned against the wall. One day the mother-in-law told Easvaramma that she had dreamt about Sathya Narayana or the human inner God, and at the sam time she warned her not to be afraid if something strange and unexpected happened to her. The heaven heard her prayer and saw that she had a pure heart, good health and she was sinless, so God descended to the Earth and accepted the human form.

One day Easvaramma came to fetch water from the village well and she stared at the surrounding hills. At once she saw a ball with blue light in the sky which was slowly coming closer to her and felt that it entered her stomach. At once she was unconscious and in that state she was driven home. When she became conscious again, something in her told her that she became pregnant, which was confirmed after a few months. In the morning of 23/11/1926 during the sun rise Easvaramma gave birth to a son.. Women who were present at childbirth put the baby on the cloth on the floor. Soon afterwards the women noticed that the cloth was moving and that a cobra was coming out of it but it didn’t bite the child. In a moment the snake miraculously disappeared. In India, the cobra is one of the symbols of the God Šiva. The child got the name Sathya Narayana (the true God). One day, when he was nine months old, his mother gave him a bath and clothed him, and on his forehead she put vibhuti (the sacred ashes) from Šiva’s temple. The she noticed a halo of glittering light around the child. From the very beginning the child was the favourite of the whole village of Puttaparthi because he was graced by beauty, gentle character and a constant smile on his lips. Soon the smell of jasmine filled the air around him. He liked to have a spot on his forehead, so he would take the paint from his sister’s toiletry sets and paint his forehead. When he started running along the dusty and muddy streets, bare hills or fields of rice, there were some signs that he was different from his peers. He had a strong heart sensitive to all the living creatures and he couldn’t bear to see someone suffer. He kept away from places where they killed or tortured animals. When his parents chose paultry for slaughtering to eat, the little Sathya Narayana would press such an animal to his chest, coddling and stroking it wishing it would be spared. The neighbours in the village called him ‘the divine wiseman’ because of his great love towards people and animals. Since his early youth he was a vegetarian. He often went to the neighbourhood to Karnam’s house, whose inhabitants were vegetarians, and took vegetarian food which the elderly lady Subbamma offered him. He could run fast and he liked games and amusements in nature, and he was the leader of the scouts. He never participated in the games where they tortured animals, such as cock battles, entrapping bears or ox-cart races. When a travelling sound film came to a neighbouring village, his father would take his children, but Sathya wouldn’t go because, as he said, the film showed the ugly side of the family life and praises cruelty, cunning and crime, and Gods were vulgarised. Always when a beggar came to Sathya’s door, he would give him something to eat. When he met cripples or blind men in the street, he would bring them home and ask his mother or sisters to give them something to eat. Sometimes his family would reprimand him because of this. Once his mother told him: ‘Sathya, if we give away food to beggars and blind men, you will have to starve yourself.’ This threat didn’t scare him, so he continued to take his meals to starving people on the door, and he himself would give up lunch or supper. One day when he gave a lot of food out of family supplies to beggars, he decided not to eat for several days. Nobody could persuade him to come to his plate which stayed untouched, but the little Sathya seemed to have a mysterious feeder because he wouldn’t show any signs of weakness for days. When his worried mother asked him to eat, he would answer that he had already eaten sweets made of rice on milk which an old man had given him. He gave his hand to his mother and she felt the smell of milk and yoghurt from his palm. However, nobody ever saw this old man. Sathya’s behaviour was always exemplary, but also mysterious. All the parents in the village started to mention the little Sathya as an example to their children. He became their spiritual teacher (guru). During a night procession when they set up the picture of the saint Rama on a oxen-drawn cart decorated with flowers on the cart next to the priest there sat the little Sathya as a spiritual teacher of the children (guru), while all the others were walking next to players and drummers. In the village of Puttaparthi there is a primary school which the little Sathya attended together with his peers. He showed as very bright in learning and mostly he showed the talent for music, poetry and acting. Already at the age of eight he wrote poems for village parties. At that time school punished every being late to the lessons. Every child who was late would feel the teacher’s whack with a cane rod. In order to avoid whacking, the children would gather even before the sunrise under the eaves of the school building, even when it was cold and there was rain.Sathya felt sorry for his friends when they were shivering with cold, so he brought them shirts, towels and blankets (dhotije) from his home. Before enrollment into higher school they had to pass an exam which was held in the town of Penukonda, 16 miles away from Puttaparthi. About 18 children set out for the exam in the oxen-drawn cart. The exams lasted for three days, and the only one who passed them was Sathya. He continued attending the higher classes of primary school in the village of Bukkapatnama, 4 kilometres away from Puttaparthi. Together with other children, he had to go to school on foot in the early morning after a cold meal of rice or whey. In his bag, besides the books he carried his afternoon meal. Coming earlier to school he would gather the children together, set up a statue or a picture as well as flowers and perform the ritual of liturgy. The children would gather around him because out of his empty bag he gave away sweets, fruit, pencils or rubbers, and for the sick he brought healing plants from Himalaya. Some children started to call him their spiritual teacher (guru) even here. When the children asked him where he had got all the food from, he would answer that the village goddess (Grama Šakti) was giving it to him. Sathya was a leading star in Bukkapatnam because he was the smartest student in the classroom, although he rarely opened his books. This causes envy in some children who waited for him at the Chitravathi river and violently pulled over sand or kept his head under water, but he forgave them everything and never complained. During the summer months he would often come to the Chitravathi river with his friends, where he swam or played full of laughter and cheerfulness. On the sandy beach he made sandy balls and threw them to the children to eat them. When a child caught a sandy ball, in their hand it would turn into something warm, delicious and tasty. He would often lead his friends to the peak of the rocky hill where there was the green tree of tamarinda. There he would ask his friends which fruit they wanted. Every kind of fruit they wanted would appear on the branches. There were apples, pears, bananas, figs, mangos and other fruit. Sometimes he would disappear in the mountains and there wasn’t a sign of him for days. For each lack of knowledge or discipline at school, the whistle of the teacher’s rod could often be heard, the rod which beat the back or palms of unhappy students. Here’s an example when Sathya himself was punished. The teacher gave the task to describe the greatness of India in English. As Sathya was the best in doing this task, the teacher told him to punish all the students who hadn’t done the task instead of him by holding their noses with his left hand, and punching them on their cheeks with his right hand. As Sathya was against any violence, his punches were gentle. The teacher then got angry and caught Sathya for his nose and gave him about thirty punches on his head. One day the teacher noticed that Sathya wasn’t writing down his lecture, so he shouted that everyone who hadn’t written down anything should stand up. Only Sathya stood up. He answered the teacher’s question why he hadn’t written anything: ‘Sir, why would I write down anything if I understood everything, ask me a question and I will answer it.’ The teacher’s pride was hurt so he ordered Sathya to stand on the desk and keep standing until the last bell that day. After the bell had rung, a teacher from another class entered the classroom. It was the teacher of English Janab Mahbub Khan who loved Sathya and often offered him sweets. When the teacher Khan entered the room he was surpristed because the teacher was still sitting and Sathya was standing on the desk. When he asked the teacher why he didn’t stand up, he whispered to him that he couldn’t because the chair stuck to him and lifted together with him. The children answered through laughter that it was probably Sathias magic. When both teachers asked Sathya to come down from the desk, the chair fell off and the teacher could freely move. After finishing the primary school in Bukkapatnama only the students who passed the final exam got the final report. Among many Sathya’s friends there were Ramesh and Suresh who loved him very much and came to him for everything. They had pure hearts, but they weren’t especially bright. They asked Sathya to help them at the exam so they would pass this final exam. Sathya promised them help, but told them not to write anything on the exam paper and not to give in any papers to the school supervisor, and to leave the hall when he was giving in the papers. The exam lasted two hours, and Sathya wrote three answers, one for himself, and two for his friends in their handwriting. After ten days the results were announced, and only three students got the passing grades, Sathya and his two friends. His further education Sathya continued in the remote Kamalapuru where his older brother Seshama Raju lived and worked as a teacher, because his parents wanted him to continue his education at colledge in order to become a clerk. Here Sathya was also the best student, quiet and well-behaved so he became the favourite with all his teachers. During the performance of a drama in town he sang a prayer in a beautiful voice before the rising of the curtain, which brought him the reputation of a ‘real musician’. The sports teacher founded a group of school scouts in which he wanted with all his heart Sathya to come in as the soul of the group. Sathya kept refusing the teacher and his friends scouts because of the clothes which, because of his poverty, he couldn’t buy. His close friends became very sad, and one boy, the son of the chief accountant in the income office, brought one day to school two scout uniforms and offered one to Sathya. But despite the request and persuasion he didn’t want to take it with the explantation: ‘Your father provided all these uniforms for you and they were not meant for me. I am the truth, as my name says. If I put on this uniform instead of you, I would destroy the truth.’ Sathya finally joined them in order to go to the kettle fair in Pushpagiri. He wanted to show that he served his fellow creatures and that love overcomes everything else. As he didn’t have any money for the bus fare, he set out on foot for the fair. He sold his books from the previous class to a poor boy for five rupees although he was offering him twelve rupees. At a restplace his bag and his money were stolen. Searching for his bag in a stony ditch, he found a coin and continued his path towards the fair. On the fair he noticed a man who was offering a win for lucky people on his primitive roulette. Satthya came to the man and turned the needle of the roulette several times and each time he won. He stopped the turning when he gathered twelve anna which was enough till the end of the week, because food came mysteriously with the wink of the hand. As he wasn’t buying food with the other scouts, the teacher thought that he was fed by some relatives on the fair. Sathya got down to work with a lot of enthusiasm and so inspired his classmates to selflessly socialize every day. On leaving they offered him a bus ride, but he vanished and came back to Kamalapura on foot. In Kamalapura he occasionally wrote poems for the salesman Kote Subbana. When he got the necessary data, he would write a song in telu language praising a certain product. He would hire a group of boys who would, walking down the street, carry plates with the name of a product and sang a song about the product. The verses of the song would come into peoples’ ears and advertise the product which was sold more. In return the salesman gave Sathya money, clothes, books and other necessary things. He talked his friends out of alcohol, cigarettes and chewing betel leaves, as well as out of going to the cinema where they showed immoral films, but he encouraged them to sing divine songs (bhajana), and to take care of cleanliness and personal hygiene. When Sathya’s brother Seshama Raju finished his educational course in telus language, he got a job in a secondary school in Uravakonda. He took his wife and children with him, but also Sathya because of further education in a secondary school. Before Sathya went to Uravakonda, they talked about him there as an excellent writer in telus language, a good musician, a dance genius, wiser than his teachers and that because of his divine powers he could see the past, the present and the future of every man. Every teacher wanted Sathya to be in his class, and soon he became the favourite of the whole school. Every day before the beginning of work when the students gathered to pray, Sathya would stand at the teacher’s desk and lead the religious class. He played an instrument and he was the soul and the body of drama class and athletic team and the best among the school scouts. For himself and his brother’s family he would go to the village well, a mile from home, six times. He carried water in earthen pots hung over his shoulders. Every second or third day he would collect dry branches around the surrounding hills and in tied bundles he would put them on his head and brought them home. Despite these and other chores he would always be fresh, lively and full of laughter and humour. His neighbours were worried about him working so much and begged him to write to his parents to take him to themselves. Sathya answered them: ‘Why are you worried? I like to be useful and I am happy to be able to serve others.’ Soon many people asked Sathya to help them find lost things. To his friends he gave only the first and last letters of the people where they could find lost things. One day a teacher lost a valuable ink-pen and asked Sathya to reveal the person who had taken it. Sathya named one of his servants but the teacher didn’t believe it because the servant was always honest. Sathya further revealed that the servant had sent the ink-pen by post to his son who was studying in Anantapura, which he could prove. After a few days Sathya, through only to him known channals, got a letter in which the servant was asking his son how the ink-pen was writing and advised him to take care of it because it was valuable. The son answered his father that the ink-pen was beautiful and that he would take good care of it as his father’s gift. This answer from the son came into the teacher’s hands. The next case talks about a muslim who had lost his horse as his only source of income by transporting people and things. Sathya told him at once that the horse was next to the spire of a nearby shrine, a mile and a half away from the town. The man really found his horse there, quietly grazing. One evening, on an oxen-drawn chart in Uravakonda, a group of women came to participate in showing a film. As they were squeezed in the cart, one woman stole a golden ornament from the hair of another woman. The disappearance was discovered when they came down from the cart, but none of them suspected the other because they knew each other very well. Then an older man advised them to ask a miraculous boy who lived there. As soon as they came to Sathya, he pointed his finger at one of the women and said: ‘Hey, Janakamma, give back the golden hairpin.’ , which she immidiately did with her head stooped out of shame. From what has been said until now, in the fragile body of the 13-year-old Satya we occasionally saw a lot of miracle as a flash of power and magnificence. In the evening on 8th March 1940, Sathya was walking barefoot on the ground and suddenly he jumped into the air with a loud scream, holding himself for one of the toes of the right foot. As in Uravakonda there were a lot of big black scorpions, his friends thought immediately that one of them had bitten him and they were worried because nobody can survive the bite of a scorpion or a snake. However, Sathya slept that night without any pain and the next day he felt well, but in the evening he fainted and his body stiffened, and his breathing quieted down. His brother brought a doctor who gave him an injection and left some medicines for him to take when he became conscious again, but Sathya was unconscious the whole night. The next dax he regained consciousness, but he behaved strangely. He refused food and didn’t answer any questions. Suddenly he would start singing or recited verses, he would either laugh or cry. At a time he would have a strength of ten people, and at another time he would be fregile like a thin branch or he would stiffen. Sometimes he would be very serious and spoke about philosophy or God and describe far away pilgrimages where he had never been. Sathya’s brother informed his parents by post, but they needed a few days to come. After a few days his brother became nervous and found a man who would cycle to Puttaparthi for their parents. While he was describing the way the man should take, Sathya called him and told him not to send the man because the parents will be there in half an hour, which came true. The parents got scared when they saw Sathya’s state and called several doctors, and ghost busters, but nothing helped. In the end the parents took Sathya home to Puttaparthi where from they took him to several doctors, but with no result. On one occasion Sathya told his parents: ‘Why do you worry so much? There is no doctor who can cure me.’ The parents then brought the ghost buster whom Sathya laughed at. After that a famous devil exorcist, an admirer of Goddess Šakti, was brought from a village next to Kadiri. He was of a giant built, with bloody red eyes, a wild appearance and primitive behaviour. He started his ritual by sacrifying a bird and a lamb, then he shaved Sathya’s head and with a sharp object on the top of his head he cut in three rather big crosses. On the open wounds he poured out milk-of-lime mixed with a garlic and sour fruits juice and he hit the boy on his joints with a heavy stick. At the same time he ordered that 180 buckets of cold water should be poured out on the boy’s head. The parents watched this cruelty and were surprised when Sathya didn’t say a word. And in the end he used his strongest weapon – kalikam, a mixture of all the cruel magician’s methods in torturing. He applied it to Sathya’s eyes. The boy’s body shook with pain, his face reddened and swelled, and his eyes closed and shed tears. His parents and his older sister cried with pain because they felt guilt because of this torture and wanted to save the boy from the jaws of this demon of death. Sathya gave them signs that he would go out and that they should wait for him readily. Outside he told them to bring him a plant which had healing features. When they put the plant on his eyes the swelling withdrew and his eye lids opened. By this Sathya’s treatment the demonic doctor was beaten and he got very angry, like a wild animal whose pray had eluded. In order to calm him down, the parents payed him with a promise to bring him again for a treatment when he recovered. However, Sathya’s behaviour continued to be strange because at a time he would get the power of ten people, and a little later he would be weak like a fragile stalk. He would often recite divine songs of praise and talk to adults about the rightness of their behaviour. A friend of the family advised them to take him to a medical charlatan in then next village who treated such cases with green leaves of a plant. Sathya was put on an oxen-drawn cart without his permission and chased the oxen. After less than half an hour Sathya suddenly said: ‘ I don’t want to go nowhere, let’s go back.’ At the same moment the oxen stopped and they couldn’t make them go any more. Then they turned back the cart and the oxen started to go immediately. One day a jeep driver asked Sathya for help on how to start his jeep which stopped near Puttaparthi. Sathya went with the driver to the jeep and in it he noticed the dead body of a tiger killed by and English officer. Because of his great love to people and to animals, he couldn’t allow animals to be killed, so he said to the officer: ‘I stopped this vehicle because you killed this animal, and she has three cubs who are now whining and calling for her. Return immediately to the woods and find the cubs and give them away to a zoo. Don’t kill an animal any more because they haven’t done anything wrong to you.’ The officer admitted his mistake, found the cubs and drove them in his jeep to a zoo. Since then he photographed animals with a camera or a camcorder. On 23/05/1940 he got up in a very good mood and called all the members of his family whom he presented with flowers and bombons. They all watched in amazement how he swung with his hand several times and each time he had flowers and bombons in his hand which came from nowhere. These miracles were soon heard of in the village and the neighbours came into their house where Sathya created a ball of rice boiled in milk with a swing of his hand. Baba told people: ‘Even after you had seen a miraculous boy who had passed uninjured through all those horrors, you are still not convinced that I am Sai Baba. I had wanted to announce that I was made of a divine material which was unaffected neither by pain, nor by cheerfulness. When people ask you where they can find God, show them the way to Puttaparthi.’ As his father Venkapu Raju had been somewhere outside and hadn’t seen those miracles, after the call he came into the house and stood in front of Sathya, saying angrily: ‘This is too much, this has to be stopped.’ He came even closer to Sathya and swung his stick and threatened to push it out of him. ‘Tell me if you are a God or a ghost or a nuthead?’ The reply came quickly from Sathya: ‘I am Sai Baba’ (mother and father). The father went numb watching Sathya, and his stick slipped out of his hand. Sathya explained his words. ‘I am Sai Baba, I belong to the family line of Apastama from the tribe Bharadvaja (ancient wisemen-spiritual teachers) and I came to defend you from troubles. Keep your houses tidy and clean because cleanliness is half the health. The father asked: ‘What will we do with you?’ ‘You will respect me every Thursday!’ – answered Sai Baba. One Thursday somebody provoked Sai Baba and asked him to give them a proof. Sai Baba asked them to give them the flowers of jasmine which he threw into the air, and on the ground there formed the words SAI BABA from the flowers in telus writing. However, his father didn’t give up the plan that Sathya should finish the secondary school, so he took him back to Uravakona where everybody greeted him as a mysterious person and a prophet. On Thursdays his brother’s house was full of people from Uravakona and the surroundings who asked Sathya to materialize flowers and sweets for them. One day a group of secondary-school teachers came to Sathya, asking him various questions about spirituality which he immediately answered. On the invitation of some citizens from the neighbouring settlements for Sathya to visit their places, his brother Seshamu Raju organized a one-day trip to the temple Virupakša (Šiva’s third eye). They all came into the temple except Sai Baba who stayed outside. When the priest illuminated the altar with the flame of camphor with linga on the altar there stood Sai Baba with a smile on his face. His brother went out of the temple to check if Sathya went into the temple before the pilgrims but he found Sathya outside leaned against the wall. The surprise of the present people turned into respect for Sai Baba. The next day in Hampi Sai Baba cured a man chronically sick of tuberculosis with his touch and forced him to walk for a mile. With a swing of his hand he materialized various objects for his followers, and late in the night people sang sacred songs (bhajana). From Hampi on 20th October 1940 they came back to Uravakona where Sathya went to school. On this day the local tax inspector Sri Anjaneyulu saw Sathya going to school and around his head he saw a magnificient halo. When he came home from school that day, he threw his books away and shouted: ‘I am not your Sathya any more. I am Sai.’ His sister-in-law came out of the kitchen and saw the glow of halo around Sathya’s head, which almost blinded her. Sathya spoke to her: ‘I’m going away because I don’t belong to you. I have some work to do and I can’t stay any more because my followers are calling me.’ He turned around and went away, despite her begging. He couldn’t hide his divine power any more and the appeal of the mission which brought him to the earth among people. When his brother came home Sathya told him: ‘Give up your trying to cure me because I’m SAI BABA and I don’t think I’m related to you. I’m going, because my work is waiting for me.’ Since that thay Sathya didn’t want to come into his brother’s house, but he moved into the garden of the summer house owned by a market inspector where he had resided on a rock covered with tree crowns. People came to the garden in great numbers and sang spiritual songs (bhajanas) which Sathya had taught them, and which will soon come into every corner of India. His school mates cried when they heard that he wasn’t going to school again. After three days of singing of holy songs (bhajanas), a photograph came into the garden and took a photo of the rock behind which there was Sathya. On his photograph the stone turned into Shirdi Sai Baba, the descendant of the present Sai Baba. After a few days the parents came for Sathya and persuaded him to go with them to Puttaparthi where the locals prepared a magnificient welcome with music. Baba created fruit with a swing of his hand like no one in this area had seen before. He answered that the fruit was from Shirdi. Baba suggested that after the evening bhajanas he should give away the fruit to the people. He asked for a big basket which with a swing of his hand he filled with fruit. As in the basket there were around 40 pieces, and there were around a hundred people, Baba gave away the fruit himself and everbody got a piece. For some time Sathya stayed in his parents’ house, and then he moved to his grandfather’s where he cured many people and created various objects in the air. As the number of people grew bigger and bigger, and the space was tight, one day he went to Subbamma Karnam who nurtured him with love in her house and welcomed Sathya’s followers. Holy songs (bhajanas) were sung first only on Thursday, and with coming of a big number of followers they were sung every day. For the singing of songs (bhajanas), which were mostly composed by Sai Baba, a small room was used at first, but because of the bigger and bigger number of followers the family Karnam built a storage which was widened more and more. However, as Sai Baba always demanded that he feed everybody who had come to visit him, bigger rooms for eating were needed. Because of the bigger and bigger number of the followers they were often left without cooked food. Sai Baba always demanded two coconuts and hit one against the other, they would both crack open exactly in two parts. Then he would pour out coconut water into bowls with food which multiplied, giving a sign for the serving to be continued. There was always enough for everyone, and there were even leftovers. Occasionally Sathya would complain about a bad atmosphere of the place where he resided and would disappear in the surrounding mountains or to the other side of the Chitravathi river where they would find him sitting quietly. Almost every evening Sai Baba would go to the sandy beach of the Chitravathi river with his followers, where they sang holy songs (bhajanas). He would take them to the peak of the hill where there was the tree of tamarind from the family of leguminous plants. Here he fulfilled all the wishes of his followers for different kinds of fruit, materializing apples, pears, oranges, mano, figs and other fruit. Then they saw Sai Baba’s head in a big bundle of light like a fire post. Often he would unbelievably quickly climb the rocks. Sometimes he talked with his followers on the sand, and in the next second he greeted them from the top of the rock. One evening he called them from the hill to stop and he called each of them individually: ‘Look at me, I am giving you the mercy of seeing the divine light.’ At the same moment there was a fire ball like the sun which was impossible to look at. A few followers fainted. Often they raced which of them would come first to the top of the hill, but it was always Sai Baba who came first. One day Sai Baba tied a swing to a branch of a tree and, enjoying himself, he was swinging to the delight of the present followers. Suddenly he told his followers, ‘Look’. They looked up and saw a magical boy in the light and with a swing decorated with flowers. Many followers then fainted, so he revived them by throwing unpeeled barley grains which he created with a swing of his hand.

Chitravathi river

Chitravathi river

 

The Tree of wishes with many pieces of paper

The Tree of wishes with many pieces of paper

One evening, when Baba was coming back from a picknick on the other side of the Chitravathi river, his right thumb was bitten by a snake. While some ran to tell his father, and the others to fetch a magician, Baba swang with his hand, created a talisman and asked the present people to put it on his wound. In a few moments Baba stood up and continued walking as if nothing had happened. On another occasion, when twenty of his followers were driving in an oxen-drawn cart to Dharmavaram, and Sai Baba was walking with a few young men behind the cart, he suddenly turned into a sixteen-year-old girl who was taken in the first cart. Soon the news came that Sai Baba wasn’t at the back any more so the search for him began. They found him in front of the middle cart, but now the mysterious girl disappeared and couldn’t be found. His older sister Venkamma begged him all the time to give her the picture of the former avatar Shirdi Baba about whom Sai Baba composed a lot of holy songs (bhajanas). He promised her that she would get it on Thursday, but on Wednesday he went to Uravakonda and his sister forgot about the picture. However, in the night she was woken up by the cry ‘Mother, mother’, and soon she heard a penetrating sound in the room. She got out of bed, lit up the lamp and saw that out of a bag protruded the picture of Shirdi Baba. To some followers Baba gave visions of the wished divinity and his various characters. A lot of followers heard Sai Baba speaking: ‘Why are you afraid when I am here? If you look at me I will look at you. When you get my blessing (daršan), all your sins will be forgiven. You leave your pains to me, and I will carry all your burden.’ There were some individuals who didn’t believe in his divinity. One evening in Puttaparthi a group of people from Penukonda came who didn’t believe in the divine powers of Sai Baba. Baba asked them if they would like to see the grave of the former avatar Shirdi Baba. When they said yes, he took each of them individually, but also his father, to the next room where they saw the holy grave of Shirdi Baba which was decorated with flowers and scented canes, and next to the grave one of his admirers was praying. In the vicinity they saw the Anjaneya temple, and far away they saw a margos tree. After this vision they all apologized to Baba, telling him that he was a divine person, the embodyment of Shirdi Baba. He ordered his family to respect Sai Baba as God and not to disturb him with anything any more.

Sai Baba Father and Mother

Sai Baba Father and Mother

Sai Baba in his youth

Sai Baba in his youth

Sai Baba in his youth

Sai Baba in his youth

Sai Baba wore Indian clothes dhoti for years, which consisted of a shirt and clothes which winded round the body and dragged between the tighs. Later he started wearing a long orange dress like Shirdi Baba. As a 16-year-old boy Sai Baba told (foretold) the priest Lakshmiah that Puttaparthi and the whole area would turn into a place of a perfect peace where hundreds of thousands of followers from India and the world would be able to come nad wait for Sai’s blessing (daršan).