SARVA DEVATHAATHEETHA SWAROOPA SRI SATHYA SAI VRATHA KATHA- Chapter 3- RAKSHA KAANDA (Swami’s Protection of Universe)
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Ram’s amazing Leelas and Mahimas are endless and to describe them in detail would fill many large volumes. His life story is deep like the ocean. It is extremely enchanting, fascinating and enjoyable. Going over it even mentally is sufficient to bestow every kind of benefit to the devotee. Sri Sai Bhagawan’s story is like the divine Chintamani (the gem that grants every wish of its possessor). His qualities and traits are living message of salvation (Mukthi), transcendental knowledge (Jnana) and absolute detachment (Vairagya), even as they bestow well-being and wealth on the world. Distress vanishes if his divine name is remembered and invoked. Those who develop love and affection for Sri Sai Bhagawan will find that their penury becomes a thing of the past; they get blessed with peace of mind (shanthi) and every enjoyment (Sukh). They attain a state of bliss (Anand) both worldly and heavenly. The Lord is the very ocean of love, vast and deep; he is the repository of kindness and grace; he is immensely solicitous of his devotees. As Sai Bhagawan is Parabrahmah himself, he readily forgives every unintentional lapse of his devotee. He is ever evaluating every individual, determining whether his heart is pure or impure. He is none but Parabrahmah having arrived in human form in order to rescue this world from the oppressive forces of evil and wickedness. Just like the bee cannot tear itself away from a flower full with honey, the human heart should steadfastly adhere to the divine Lotus Feet of Sri Sai Bhagawan. By his Grace, pure transcendental knowledge comes within grasp. One look from his lotus eyes is sufficient to relieve the distresses of the devotee and liberate him from all suffering. The Lord is all-merciful. Being the very embodiment of love and compassion and pity, whose chosen mission is to rescue the afflicted from misery he will spontaneously shower his benediction on all the worlds. Will he not bring succor to those who find refuge in him, who surrender themselves with heart and soul at his divine feet?
One of the members of a family of Sri Sai devotees, an official, fell seriously ill. He was running very high fever. His own nephew, being a doctor, was treating him. The fever turned dangerous and the patient was hospitalised. There he got every attention and service but, instead of improving, his condition deteriorated fast. Doctors did their best but to their disappointment their efforts were of no avail. The patient’s mother was heartbroken. She placed a picture of Sri Sai under her son’s pillow. She was constantly putting a little vibhoothi Prasadam in the patient’s mouth and was applying it on his forehead. She was inconsolable. Day and night she would be weeping and begging Sri Sai to save her son (Putra Bhiksha – son’s longevity by way of alms). The patient’s fellow officials, relatives and well wishers were coming to see him. Everyone had lost hope. One evening doctors attending on him came to the conclusion that he was beyond medical help; they accordingly removed him to another area earmarked for such hopeless cases and left. In deep grief, the mother, relatives and friends were in the verandah outside the patient’s room. It was around 12 o’ clock in the night. The patient who was thus abandoned to death, all alone and isolated, had a vision of Sri Sathya Sai Bhagawan. In distinct words, the Lord told him, “You are now going to become a new person”, and disappeared. By the morning the illness was gone. All the symptoms of the disease vanished. The doctors who saw him on their morning rounds were in raptures of disbelieving happiness. “How did such severe illness abate so suddenly? Some miracle must have happened and saved you”, said they to the patient and restored him to the normal ward bed. The devastated mother found herself utterly relieved of her agony; she rejoiced that the gracious Lord readily responded to her desperate prayer for putra Bhiksha. Relatives and friends of the patient also shared the all-round rejoicing. Within a short period the patient recovered fully and could go to Puttaparthi to pay personal homage to Sri Sai. The Lord was overflowing with love and kindness, called him into his presence and remarked, “You were dead but you were resurrected to life and have now come to see me!” So saying, He gave him his benediction and sent him back home. Needless to say, the grateful object of the Lord’s benignity, granted in such wonderful and timely manner, offered to the Lord his gratitude and returned home a happy man. In this case, Sri Sai did not give the patient his Prasadam, nor did he even touch him but rescued him from veritable jaws of death. Such is the extent of Sri Sathya Sai Avatar’s immense capabilities. They are unparalleled and incomprehensible at what moment, at what place and on whom the Supreme Being will choose to direct his transcendental mercy – it is something, which nobody can predict, despite going through the severest austerities over several ages. For, in the present Sathya Sai Avatar the Supreme Being is displaying the most astounding, the most unbelievable, the most bewildering occurrences, which had never been exhibited during earlier avatars on the sets of the Supreme Being’s cosmic stage play. We notice that such occurrences are taking place endlessly. He makes no distinction between the devotee and the devotee’s relatives and associates when it comes to distributing his bountiful favours of love. It is but a demonstration of his eagerness to treat everyone with an even hand.
In the Coorg region of Karnataka, there was a Zamindar who was Sri Sai’s devotee. The daughter of a poor family was working in the Zamindar’s estate. Her husband and mother-in-law were constantly abusing her and torturing her. Caught between the two tormentors, not having a sympathetic shoulder to lean on, with no one to whom she could turn for succor, the unfortunate woman was dragging her days through despair and hopelessness. Added to her misery, her offspring did not survive and she had no living child. This too came in handy for the cruel mother-in-law to subject the poor woman to vile and intolerable insults. The husband would not care to come to her support but would instead take his mother’s side in heaping more humiliation on the hapless woman. What could the miserable lady do in this situation? As things continued to become more and more unbearable, she decided to put an end to her life by some means and was awaiting a suitable opportunity. One day, both the husband and mother-in-law happened to go to the village fair. That provided the chance she had been eagerly waiting for. She was keen not to let it slip by, eager, as she was to make a final escape from her terrible lot. At about 9 A.M. she found a rope, tied one end of it to a rafter in the ceiling and the other around her neck and tried to jump to death. But suddenly the noose around her neck became loose. So, she tightened the noose and once again jumped to death. This time the knot on the rafter gave way and she fell on the ground. Due to abrasion of the noose around her neck, blood flowed. At that awful moment, suddenly she saw an extraordinary, unearthly flood of light and a vision. Sri Sai Bhagawan’s beautiful form, clothed in yellow robes, a benign smile playing on his lips appeared before her eyes. She had never before seen him in actuality but during a Bhajan in the Zamindar’s house she had seen his picture. She could therefore recognise that the form in her vision was of Sri Sai. She fell at his feet in adoration and forgot herself in her utter relief. At that stage one of the neighbours, a lady, happened to come in. She was surprised to see blood flowing from the neck of the woman. When she demanded to know what it was due to, the woman could not help confessing that she had tried to take her own life and that the ever merciful Sri Sai Bhagawan had saved her. But she kept the matter to herself for fear that if the Zamindar got wind of it she might lose her job and the family might even be driven out of the estate. But that night, the Zamindar’s wife had a dream in which Sri Sai appeared and told her how he had rescued the unfortunate woman from committing suicide. He blamed the Zamindar’s wife for not caring enough about the misery of that woman and the cruel treatment she was receiving at the hands of husband and mother-in-law. Because of her negligence a calamity was about to take place and he had to intervene to save a life.
On receiving the Lord’s reprimand, the Zzamindarni sent for the woman’s husband who described all the details including how the ever-merciful Sri Sai Bhagawan had stepped in and saved the distressed woman. The news spread all over the estate. One and all rejoiced that the Omniscient, Omnipresent, Merciful Sri Sai had come to save them all from terrible calamity and attendant scandal. Both husband and mother-in-law came to the conclusion that since God himself had pulled the daughter-in-law back from the brink of death, surely, she would not die at all. From that time onwards, they began to treat her with kindness and due consideration and the whole family found real peace and happiness.
Such acts of rescue have taken place in this Avatar countless times. Each is stranger, astonishing and bewildering than another. They are not mere odd occurrences. They are all demonstrations of the enormous, boundless powers of the Divine Being.
Here is another case. The wife of a Health Department official was suffering for a long time from paralysis of the lumbar region and lower limbs. She was incapable of rising or walking or moving. She was in great agony. She had some children also. She was given many medical treatments at place after place but it was all in vain. Not knowing what more to do to help her, the husband thought of having Sri Sai Bhagawan’s Darshan at Puttaparthi. Sri Sai summoned him to his presence. He was all sympathy and kindness and talked to him endearingly. He said, “Why worry about this small matter.” He clicked his fingers, producing little sounds, “Tak, tak…” adding, ” I will thus make her whole in a moment”. The unfortunate husband felt relieved at these reassuring words as he was totally devoted to Sri Sai and had implicit faith in his word. He returned home and was waiting patiently for the day when Sri Sai would make good his promise. As day after day passed, he was getting distressed. Three long months passed in this uneasy manner as he oscillated between hope and trepidation. Away from the house, he had to attend to his office work. At home he had to serve his helpless wife and also to look after his children. He was desperately looking forward to the promised divine intervention and relief. Every minute was agonising. Meanwhile, he had to go to an outstation camp in connection with his official duty. While making the necessary preparations, he went into his room. At that moment, Sri Sai Bhagawan entered into the other room where the paralysed lady was lying on her bed, gave her his vision and ordered her, “Come on. Get up and do pranam.” The lady felt overjoyed to have had the Darshan of Sri Sai so early in the morning. Totally forgetting her bodily infirmity, she got up immediately and stood on her feet. At that moment she heard sounds, “Tak, tak, tak…” as are produced when fingers are clicked. In overwhelming happiness, she bent down and put her head on the Lotus Feet of the Lord and did pranam. When she got up and looked around, Sri Sai was not there. She was in transports of joy. She was feeling unusually light and cheerful and fully capable of bodily movement. Her first concern was to make some coffee for her husband preparing to leave on his journey. She went into the kitchen and set about that task. After completing his preparations for his impending journey the husband went to see his wife. She was not in her bed. Hearing some sounds from the kitchen, he went there and found her moving about quite normally. He was in indescribable raptures. He neared her and enquired how she could move into the kitchen on her own. Thereupon she recounted all that happened in the morning, how Sri Sai Bhagawan had given Darshan to her, the ‘tak, tak..’ sounds she had heard, how she had got up from her bed and fell at his feet and how he had disappeared thereafter. Husband and wife were overjoyed that the longstanding disease had just vanished at the sweet, nectar like order emanating from the divine lips of Sri Sai, that their deep despair and gloom of years had been dispelled in a blissful moment marked by the Lord’s click of fingers – again and again the happy couple went over the whole occurrence in happiness and abiding gratitude.
This depository of kindness, who has appeared on the earth with the divine purpose of saving all the peoples of the world, very well knows the right moment when he should intervene and offer succor to the needy, which person needs help and in what manner he should be saved. He will present himself in a vision to that particular person, at that ordained moment and relieve his suffering in that merited manner as befits the case. He is capable of every masquerade; he assumes every shape and manner as the situation demands. To the onlooker he would appear as though he is not in the know of anything, that he is not at all concerned. Swami transcends and is wholly untouched by Maya. At the same time he entangles humans in the clutches of Maya and enjoys the fun. He holds in his divine hands the strings of this puppet show. That is his Leela. It is the duty of devotees to strive constantly to avoid the snares of Maya; to overcome every obstacle by constantly and devotedly worshipping Sri Sai Bhagawan and singing his praises; to keep busy in meditation (Dhyana) and prayer and similar other devout and elevating activities; to endeavor at every step to merit and receive the Lord’s grace. The Omnipresence of Sri Sai is complete and unbroken. It pervades everywhere. The directions in which his programme of Raksha (protection, rescue, safeguarding) operates are also wonderful. An instance is the case of a little boy saved from certain death. A well-to-do family had a double storied building. The mother was one day busy watching her children at play on the terrace. Her elder boy was four years old. While playing, he was running back and forth, and accidentally he reached the edge of the terrace, slipped and fell to the ground a full fifty feet below. At that exact and vital moment, Sri Bhagawan caught the little child who was on free fall in his arms and put him safely on the grassy patch below and vanished. Meanwhile, the mother discovered that her child was missing and went in search of him. As she came down the servant who had seen the child falling also came running and picked him up. On examination it was found that he sustained no injury or wound and was perfectly hale and hearty. Both servant and mother were surprised. The mother, still not believing her eyes, asked the boy with great concern whether he had really received no injury. The boy replied, “Our Baba caught hold of me as I came down and went away after leaving me here”. When the news reached the head of the family and neighbours, they too were wonderstruck. They recalled that Sri Sai had declared quite often, “I am following you (Venta); I am with you (Janta); I am before your eye (Kanta); I am in your home (Inta); I will always protect you”. They all told each other, “He has made good his promise to-day, for us and before our very eyes; this little innocent child has been saved from certain death. We are blessed, one and all”. The manner in which Sri Sai implemented his programme of Raksha in this particular case left everyone fascinated.
End of Chapter 3
Once again Pooja will be performed. A coconut or fruit will be offered as naiveidya and Aarti will be offered. Thereafter, recitation of the Katha will be resumed.