Here is how my whole family was drawn to Baba.
The story actually starts in around 1940s with my grand father who died as a young child due to high fever. His parents took him to the local doctor who said that their child, my grandfather, had passed away. According to the hindu rituals, his body was being taken to the place where his body had to be cremated. Just as the procession of my grandfather's family was proceeding, a sage stopped them and said that he had come from the Himalayas as he had sensed the untimely death of a person.
He asked, the dead child's parents to bring him eggs, which they refused to give as they were Brahmins, and were not supposed to touch eggs or meat. The sage then asked them to make egg like structures with dal and give it to him. The family members did as told, all the while when my grand father's body lay dead. The sage threw these egg shapes on to the ground chanting some mantras and doing all sorts of things when suddenly the dead boy, my grand father came to life.
Although he was alive, he still couldn't move as much and was mostly paralysed. The sage then said, "My name is Arunagiri." He then continued on and said, "Whenever the boy feels pain, give him a water massage while taking my name. For a few months give him only food which is liquid. Later on he can continue to eat solid foods." With this being said, the sage left. Arunagiri as per my grand father refers to the god living on the highest montain in South India, who is Venkateshwara. Needless to say, from then on, my grand father became an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateshwara.
Later on my father was born and he vividly recalls that their family used to go for bhajans to a Sai devotee's home when he was very young. Later on they discontinued it. Similarly, my mother recollects that she used to go for Bal Vikas classes although her parents were not believers of Sai baba. Later that too was discontinued. Just before my father was going for his first job, his father had come to bid him farewell at the Railway station. There a person was selling photographs of different Gods and deities. My father picked the photograph of Baba. But, his father said, " No, dont buy this picture", but my father's reply was, " No I want this picture". Today when I ask him why he chose Baba's photograph, he says "I don't know why."
Later on, my parents got married according to the Indian tradition and they still had the picture of Baba that my father had bought, however they were still not devotees. But, they did respect him. One day, a small idol of Shirdi Sai which my father had got from Shirdi began to ooze oil, continuously for a few days. They were perplexed and kept wiping it off the idol and to their surprise it would begin to ooze out again. They didn't pay much attention to it as they had never seen such things happen before. It was much later in a place called Sulur in India, that our maid told my mother of a house where "Sathya Sai baba does many miracles." My mother was curious and asked the Aunty if she could come to their house one day. Her reply was, " We don't call anyone. Who ever wants to come can come. We conduct Bhajans in our place on Thursdays and people can come if they want to." My mother took me and my sister along with her the following Thursday and there was a group of about 10 people singing songs that I could hardly understand.
In their prayer room there were large photographs of this man with curly hair in a red robe, whom I had never seen before. However, I had seen his picture in our house and I still don't know why I never asked my parents about him. On that day, my mother sang a bhajan she had learnt when she was in Bal Vikas. What a coincidence! The bhajans ended and the devotees were explaining to my mother holding a pad and reading out things from it that made my mother very excited. I was however not able to understand what was going on! The main hosts explained to my mother that this person ( Sri Sathya Sai baba) was 80 years old and were saying things like, "He writes on this pad and knows about everyone. "
As I said before, I couldn't understand much and I just left it. We returned to our home and my mother was very excited and so, I asked her what the matter was. She told me that Baba writes on that pad in their house and blesses with vibhuti (which I too saw on the pictures and idols) in the house. When I heard this, I was shocked! The next thursday, the first thing I did was look at the statues covered with Vibhuti and then look up at the ceiling! I was wonderstruck! I didn't think this was possible. I even saw things like the Jalebi, which is an Indian sweet, being kept as prasad and after a few seconds, it would be on the mouth of Baba's photographs!
On the walls all around the house were writings like, "Happy Birthday, Bless baba", "Happy deepavali" etc. I asked Aunty about this and she said," Oh! this? Baba writes whenever he wishes and the writings also keep fading away with time." This was true, I had seen that the writings were surely fading yet, I don't think I had much faith! We regularly went for the Bhajans until one day, my Mother was surprised to find vibhuti in our own home on the Bananas and also in front of other Gods' pictures. She had kept the Bananas as it was tamil new year day, a sunday. My mother had just come back from the telephone booth after calling up her relatives; my sister was sleeping and I was at the trekking camp and there was no one else at home. She immediately called Aunty and told her about the vibhuti. After some time Aunty called back and said, " Baba has a message for you. He has written - I bless your children to be prosperous in life" My mother was taken aback! Just a few days before this, she had told my father in the kitchen that the only thing she wanted was that her children should do well in life and today there was a message from Baba!
This strengthened our faith to a great extent. Then we were asked by Baba after a few weeks to get a statue of Shirdi Sai Baba. My father ordered a statue from Shirdi, but the shop keeper said that they had only one peice left and someone else had already asked for it. However, he said that in case they do not pick up the statue he would give it to us. And as expected, the person who had ordered the statue never turned up! The statue came to us and we admired its beauty. After a few days, there was a whole downpour of Vibhuti on the statue. The statue was covered with vibhuti from top to toe. This was another reminder that he was with us in our homes just like he was when he heard the conversation of my dad and mom.
A few weeks later, there was a message from Baba, " Ganesha is not a decorative item. Keep the staue in the mandir (puja room)." Here is what had happened, my mother had placed a Ganesha statue in the hall. So now, she followed the instructions and after a few days, the Ganesha statue too was covered in Vibhuti. Baba said, " I have blessed the idols" . What more can be said about Baba ? He is so compassionate and loving. Then one day, we were given a book by Uncle and Aunty of Sri Vasantha Sai Amma. Baba had given her lots of messages and many blessings. Baba used to write about her and used to always make her happy in some way or the other. He also told Vasantha Amma that she was the reincarnation of Radha of Krishna's time. Although, all this did get us much interested, we weren't too much into Amma. Once it so happened that my mother had to go to a different place for completing some work and had to stay there for a long time. And invariably, my father and mother would be talking to each other most of the time on their mobiles. Then there was a message from Baba! He addressed the message to my father saying that he has too much attachment to his wife. He said, " You are always on mobile phone talking " How did he come to know that they were talking to each other! But it wasn't over yet. My mother told my father, " What is this? Baba himself is always writing messages for Vasantha Amma,isn't he attached to her?" Probably, that should not have been said!
A few days later, there was a message! This is what Baba said, " Vasantha has been waiting for me for Yugas together. You two can't stay without talking to each other even for a single second! " The message was clear, he knew everything about us, simply everything! That too he conveyed how important detachment was. He also reaffirmed who Vasantha Amma was, and added much more credibility to her experiences and her words. I have written a lot, yet the Leelas of Sai cannot be completely written or told to anyone, it can only be experienced to understand them.
Thank you and Sairam,
(EDITOR'S NOTE: WHAT FOLLOWS IS A SECOND PART OF SRIRAAG'S STORY THAT WAS SENT TO SOULJOURNS SEVERAL DAYS LATER...IT IS INCLUDED HERE WITH HIS PERMISSION)
I was born in 1996. The striking thing about the message of Baba which was specially for my parents was that for a long time after that they lived separately due to my mother's work and my father's work being in different places. Now after 5 years, we are all here in Perth together. So, Baba was indicating that we all would have to be slightly detached in the near future and it did happen.
There is one story I would like to share with you and Jody. My father had gone for Baba's Darshan and to for some other work of his in 2006 in Brindavan. He didn't take much money with him as he felt that he wouldn't need too much money and he also had a huge list of things to be bought in South India given by my mother. He reached Brindavan in the middle of the night in front of baba's house and had nowhere to stay. Angry at Baba, he said in his mind, " You are sleeping in this great house and I have no place to even sleep" Just as he completed thinking of this, a policeman came up to him and asked about why my father had come etc. Then he went near one of the Auto Rickshaws and told the man inside to come out and asked my father to sleep in there!
My father spent the night there, and the next day he went for Darshan. There he found a Slovakian man, his name was Thomas Millettec. After the Darshan was over, the man started asking my father if there was any hospital nearby, as he had a back problem and wanted to get it checked. My father told him about an Ayurvedic hospital in Coimbatore and that my father too was going there so he could drop him. But the problem was that to get admitted into the hospital, you needed to have an appointment plus, the waiting list used to be very long. Still, they both decided to try their luck. My father would be booking the bus tickets but this Slovakian man stopped him and paid for both of them, he would book first class seats and would take care of all of the money issues. They would reach different stops and the man would just not let my father pay for anything! My father was doubly scared as he didn't have the money at that time to pay to this person. Mr Millette had booked the tickets in the best of buses, best of hotels and so on.
At last they reached Coimbatore, where my father took him to the Ayurvedic hospital where both my father and the man were rejected saying that bookings had to be made more than 2 years in advance or so. As they were walking out dejectedly, the Doctor ran towards them and shouted, " Wait! Wait ! " He told my father and the man that just as they were leaving, a patient had decided not to stay in the hospital and that they could provide his room to them. Surprisingly, the number of people who were allowed to be present with the patient was just one! So, my father had been given a room to stay, and once again Mr. Millettec took care of all the money.
My father wanted to leave but the person insisted saying that he knew no one else in the city. So, my father stayed and completed his jobs in the mornings and would return in the afternoons to the hospital. He would go for buying the vegetables and other items as prescribed by my mother and the Slovakian guy would just not allow my father to pay! In other words, my father hardly spent any money other than his train tickets to Brindavan. Oh! Also, the person very kindly purchased two photographs from Brindavan of Baba and gifted them to my father.
Later, it was time for my father to leave. So, he asked Mr. Millettec for his details and his mobile number so he could repay him back once my father returned home. But, this is what happened. My father had the details in his pocket along with the now expired bus tickets, they had used to come to Coimbatore. So, my father just picked out the paper from his pocket and tore it thinking that he wouldn't need the bus tickets again. But, when he reached home he realised that he had actually torn the details given by Mr. Millettec. So, my father could never contact him again and accepted it as Baba's will. He ended up doing all his jobs, buying all that mother wanted and at the same time spent almost no money. He was totally taken care of by Baba.
Ted, you may publish the previous mail if you wish. As to my life, I don't know where I'm heading but he'll take care of me, and I know that for sure. Lets just wait and watch! Oh yes! I completely forgot! In all the Nadi's of baba it clearly states that after his return, he will go around the world along with Amma, to preach and teach people of the value of his teachings. I state this as I do remember reading in Jody's book that Baba did say that he will be traveling around the world. So, there is no doubt about anything with respect to Bhagavan's return, at least for me.
With love, Sairam
From Perth, Australia - Received, June - 2012