Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The day of full moon, Purnima, in the month of Ashadh of the Hindu calendar is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima by Hindus. On this day, devotees offer puja to their Guru.
This was the day when Vyasa, author of the Mahabharata, was born. Vyasa (also known as Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, or Veda Vyasa), did yeoman service to the cause of Vedic studies by gathering all the Vedic hymns extant during his times, dividing them into four parts based on their use in the sacrificial rites, and teaching them to his four chief disciples – Paila, Vaisampayana, Jaimini and Sumantu. It was this dividing and editing that earned him the honorific "Vyasa" (vyas = to edit, to divide).

"He divided the Veda into four, namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. The histories and the Puranas are said to be the fifth Veda."
- Brahmanda Purana 1.4.21

The spiritual Gurus are revered on this day by remembering their life and teachings. Seekers try to get as much opportunity to do Satseva of the Guru as possible during this period. As the Guru principle is 1000 times more active during this period, when compared to any other day during this year, the satseva done on Guru Poornima fetches substantial grace of the Guru for their spiritual progress.
(Ref : Sanatan Prabhat)

This day is of deep significance to the farmers, for it heralds the setting in of the much-needed rains, as the advent of cool showers usher in fresh life in the fields. It is a good time to begin your spiritual lessons. Traditionally, spiritual seekers commence to intensify their spiritual 'sadhana' from this day. The period 'Chaturmas' ("four months") begins from this day. In the past, wandering spiritual masters and their disciples used to settle down at a place to study and discourse on the Brahma Sutras composed by Vyasa, and engage themselves in Vedantic discussions.

This year (2010) we celebrate Guru Purnima as a tribute to the Saptarishi, as they are the primordial teachers who continue to guide us to the secrets of life and universe. They are Gurus to the entire Universe, and can help us acquire the finest qualities, such as unconditional love, faith, bliss, and forgiveness. The Saptarishi or the Seven Great Sages (Atri, Bhrigu, Pulastya, Vasishtha, Gautama, Angirasa and Marichi) are venerated masters who completely dedicated themselves to the pursuit of inner bliss and divine light. They are known as 'Seers' as they are said to possess perfect knowledge about the past, present and future of humanity. They represent the higher mind, the vision of truth, and the principles of growth, expansion, and optimism.

Guru Poornima is celebrated by devotees by performing Guru Pooja (offering prayers to the Guru) to our Lord Shri Sai Baba. Each Sai Devotee can either perform the Sai Guru Pooja (prayer) at home or attend a Sai Guru Pooja or sponsor a Sai Guru Pooja being performed at a Sai temple by offering donation or other articles used in Pooja(Pooja samagri).

One can attend a bhajan or visit a Sai Mandir where ever possible. For those of us who do not have the fortune of visiting a Sai temple or attending a Bhajan, humming songs about Sai or repeating Sai slokams or Sai Nama would be a good way to spend Guru Poornima day.

It was the year 1906. The day was Vyasa Poornima in the month Ashada. It was called Vyasa Poornima in recognition of Vyasa Maharshi, who authored the eighteen Puranas. On the morning of this day, Baba called Kelkar, Sathe’s father-in-law, and told him that this day was Guru Poornima, when the Guru is to be worshiped. He asked him to bring Shama and other devotees along with the puja materials. Dada Kelkar collected all the devotees and with the puja materials, brought them to the masjid. By then, Baba with his half-closed eyes was concentrating on something. Noticing this, no one had the courage to talk to him for fear of disturbing his concentration. After a while, Baba opened his eyes, looked at the devotees for a moment and fell silent again.

Till then, everyone believed that Baba was the incarnation of God, with divine and supernatural powers but no one had the thought to worship Baba as their ‘Guru’. Hence, they did not know whom they should worship as Guru and how to worship, and kept quiet. Knowing their thoughts Sai Baba taught them as follows:

"You are all worshiping me as a fakir with divine and supernatural powers. Some of you believe that I am the incarnation of God. Allah Malik hai. I am only his servant. I am like a father to you all. You should benefit from me. I have come into this world to divert your thoughts from materialism towards spiritualism, and establish truth, righteousness, peace and love in you and through you to the entire mankind, and bless them with peace and happiness. This is the goal of Sai Avatar. If you worship me keeping me in a photo frame like other gods, you will not benefit anything from me. But you should consider me as your ‘Guru’ and surrender completely to me and put into practice what all I teach you. Your present actions only are the foundations for your future lives and births. You should all treat today’s Vyasa Poornima as Guru Poornima and worship me as your Guru and make your lives happy."


From among all the devotees who had gathered in the masjid, Dada Kelkar went to Baba, prostrated before him, washed his feet in a plate, took a little of this water ( Pada Tirtha ) inside and sprinkled it on his head, distributing it to all those present. After this he put sandal paste on Baba’s forehead, put a dot with kumkum and worshiped him with flowers and akshatas (rice). Then he broke a coconut and gave arati with camphor. While the arati was being given, Baba’s face became very radiant as if a thousand lamps were lighted with different colours. The surprised devotees wanted to touch Baba’s feet and prostrate before him. Noticing the thoughts of the devotees, he slowly walked towards the big stone that he created in front of Dwarakamai, while the devotees spread flowers all the way and made him walk on the flowers. As soon as he reached the stone he sat on it putting his left hand on the toe of his right leg and putting the right hand on the thigh of his right leg. Then he looked deeply into the eyes of each devotee, by which the joy experienced by them was beyond description. When they touched his feet, they felt an unknown divine power entering their bodies and reach their hearts. These things have to be personally experienced and cannot be explained. All those who experienced this, started to celebrate Guru Poornima on every Ashada Suddha Poornima day with pomp and gaiety. Even today Guru Poornima is celebrated in Shirdi. This festival is very important to Sai devotees as they worship their Guru according to their might and get the blessings from him. Those who worship their Guru with devotion and sincerity on this day will always have the Guru with them. Sai Baba had personally told them that he was Sadguru and they could not get another Guru in this world. We should completely surrender ourselves to him and seek Jnana Marga.

The Gurupurnima of 2009 was on 07 July and it was a Tuesday. By Baba’s blessings, it was decided that the English version of the Sri Sai Satcharitra compiled by me, was to be released on that day. Initially there was some discussion about having the function at Shirdi or at Siddipet. We sought Baba’s advice. My youngest grandson, Sri Saathvik was asked to choose between two slips of paper, one with Shirdi written on it and the other with Siddipet written on it. Saathvik had not yet completed his first year and so was thought to be the appropriate choice. He picked up Siddipet. My wife also had preferred the place as it was possible to organize the function with the help of my friend Sri Konda Krishna Murthy, the Chairman of the Sai Baba temple there. He had promised all help. The next stage was to find a suitable person to release the book. Various names were suggested, but most of them were busy with their own functions on that day. My wife was particular and insisted on only Sri MP Sainath, author of many books on Sai Baba and my guru in this field. Sri Sainath is a walking encyclopedia on Sai Baba. Being a true devotee of Baba, he always keeps himself away from publicity, and does not attend any public functions. When my wife and I approached him, out of consideration for me, he agreed to attend the function, arranged at any place, but would not get onto the dais. It was only after great persuasion that he agreed to release the book, but said that he would not make any speech. We were happy with whatever blessings we could get.

My eldest son, Srinivas, had come to Hyderabad, a week earlier, on official work. In view of the book release, he stayed for a week more to help me in this sacred work.

On the appointed day I got up at 03.30 am. It was Guru Purnima day and also as we were going to Siddipet for the book launch function, we sought Baba’s blessings by seeing the Kakad Arati telecast live from Shirdi on TV1 channel. Around 06.00 am, we engaged two auto rickshaws and went to Sri MP Sainath’s place in Gandhinagar. Sri Sainath and his wife Smt Krishnaveni had gone to Baba temple near their house. After their return, we all left for Jubilee Bus Stand from where we had to catch the bus to Siddipet. At the entrance itself, a Volvo bus coming from Bangalore and going to Siddipet was waiting for us. My friends, Sri DSS Rao, Sri Mohan Kish
ore and his wife Smt Lakshmi, Sri Yamanappa and his wife Smt Sharana Kumari, joined us. The bus left at 07.30am and reached Siddipet within 90 minutes. We all had one of the best travels to Siddipet. The temple management committee, with Sri Srinivas (President), Sri T Narasaih (Secretary) and Sri Shivanandam (Treasurer) took care of us by providing us with the customary breakfast prasadam, a room to keep the books and our luggage. As soon as we had darshan, Sri KK Murthy, his wife Smt Vijaya, Sri VS Naidu and his wife Smt Jayalakshmi, and Sri O Hanumantha Rao joined us at the temple. I was greatly overjoyed by such collection of my well wishers.

My friend Sri KK Murthy (Chairman) took all of us and organized a special Pooja to Baba. It was a very auspicious beginning. My friend, Sri Rajamouli (Joint Secretary) along with his friend Sri Sathyanarayana, organized the conduct of the programme. It began with an invocation to Baba. Then a couple of speakers, including Sri Sathyanarayana, spoke about the book, Sri Sai Satcharitra. By now it was nearing noon arati. Just then, my friend Sri K Babu Rao and his wife Dr. Prabhutva Kumari joined us. They were held up due to some reasons and were praying Baba fervently that they should be able to attend the programme. Maybe for their sake, Baba saw to it that the schedule was slightly delayed. Sri MP Sainath then launched the book and spoke some very fine words about the book. One of his statements which will be etched in mind is, “I have read many books on Baba. If all those authors have given 70% of Baba in their books, Srivatsa has given 100% of Baba in this book”. My friends Sri Mohan Kishore, Sri Babu Rao, Smt Vijaya and Sri KK Murthy spoke about the book and the relevance of the occasion. A special feature was the arrival from California, USA of Chi. Usha Nimikol. She had come with her father. Chi. Usha along with Chi. Archana Vengaldas and Chi. Sukanya Maddali, had designed the website for the Sai Mandir, Siddipet. Chi. Usha also spoke on the occasion. I replied to all the felicitations and requested that if each of the devotees present there could write down their experiences with Baba on a paper and give it to the Temple authorities, then we could publish them in a book form

My friend Sri KK Murthy was gracious enough to buy the first copy of the book. My wife and I honoured the first buyer with a shawl. Then we honoured other dignitaries. Around 02.00 pm,
we had Prasadam lunch. The Temple committee was kind enough to organize all these events. The book had brisk sales and after seeing it, Sri Shivanandam enthusiastically predicted that the book will soon have a second edition. We spent time with all the friends there till 04.00pm. All good things come to an end. Leaving Baba and all the friends in Siddipet, was really painful. I feel this pain every time I visit Siddipet. It will be very exciting in the morning when we start, and very painful when we leave for home. Sri Mohan Kishore and his wife had already left with Smt and Sri K Baba Rao, and Sri O Hanumantha Rao. We left with Smt & Sri MP Sainath, Smt & Sri VS Naidu, Smt & Sri Yamanappa and Sri DSS Rao. The bus to Hyderabad, it appeared, was waiting for us. There was a brief rain on the way. While getting down at the Jubilee Bus Stand, found that my mobile phone had slipped out of my pant pocket. Went for some distance in the bus, searched for it and when I could not find it, got down and walked back to where my wife and friends were waiting for me. My wife handed me the mobile phone and said that one of the passengers had given her. I thought that it was another of Baba’s miracles.

I was in some kind of a trance for the next few days, engrossed in the very divine ambience at the temple. Siddipet Temple has its own charm and fascination for me. Sri KK Murthy, Sri Granthi Srinivas, Sri Tadakamalla Narasaiah, Sri Rajamouli, Sri Shivanandam are all friends of long standing and our friendship has stood the test of time. On this occasion, it is my duty to express my deep gratitude to all of them for treating me as one among them and organizing the function so immaculately well. After all, life is an integration of such memorable events with all the friends coming together and contributing so heartily to make it a remarkably successful event! The beauty of the occasion was that no single person considered the function as his own or that of a friend. We all moved together as we were tied by a single thread of love weaved by Baba. It was at this temple itself that my journey with Baba began and the book took its roots. The extraordinary fact is that the book was released by a great devotee of Baba who also had the same name – Sainath!

Monday, July 19, 2010


“What is the origin of Dwarakamai?” asked my friend Sri Craig Sastry of Shirdi Sai Baba temple at Austin, Texas, USA. For a moment, my mind went blank, as this thought had never occurred to me. All the while it was taken for granted that there is a Dwarakamai in Shirdi and that it was the abode of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba. As things stand, I could not tell Craig that I did not know which, though true, could be construed as something else. I did the only thing I knew, I prayed Baba and said, “Baba! Save my honour as Draupadi’s honour was saved by Sri Krishna!” What followed is given below.

If we carefully analyze the Satcharitra, we find two defining moments in the life of Sai Baba, which encompass the entire body of his work. The first occurs when he enters Shirdi with Chand Patil’s wedding party. A young man - dressed in saffron Kafani, saffron topi and saffron dhoti - gets down from one of the carts of the wedding party and starts walking towards the temple. Almost at the same time Mhalsapathi, the poojari of the temple, comes out of the temple, and sees the young man walking towards him. For all outward appearance, the young man was looking like a Muslim fakir. Wandering Sufi fakirs were very common in those days and were known by their Persian generic name of sa’ih or sayyah. Mhalsapathi and his friends were in the habit of greeting a gosavi by ‘Namo Narayan’, a bairagi was welcomed as ‘Jai Ram’ and if the visitor was a fakir, he was received with ‘Jai Sai’. “Ya Sai!” Mhalsapathi invited the young fakir and asked him to sit nearby. The young fakir sat there, and liked the surroundings immensely. He said, “How secluded and quiet is this Khandoba temple, best fitted for a fakir to stay”. Being a Hindu and the poojari of a temple which had the idol of Khandoba, Mhalsapathi was afraid that the young fakir’s desire to stay there may prove to be harmful as Muslims do not believe in idol worship. He told the young fakir, “Oh Sai! It is not fitting that you stay here. This is a temple for the Hindus. You look like a Muslim to me. You better go to the masjid or the takia!” The young fakir - who had no intention whatsoever of breaking the idol of Khandoba - was surprised by the words of Mhalsapathi. He said, “It is the same god who has created both these people. Hindu and Muslim are mere words - know this to be the truth. There are temples in this world and there are masjids too. God has not constructed any of them. Try to see the god who is one for all of us. He is Allah-I-llahi. He is the Maha Vishnu reclining on the serpent Adisesha! There is nothing which is other than your Khandoba. Know clearly as to who the real Khandoba is. Those who know the truth do not care for these differences based on religion. Oh pious one! Do not think that these temples or the masjids are the only ones to lead you to god. I will not trouble you. I will respect your feelings and have the darshan of Khandoba from afar. I hope you have no objection to that?” It was the year 1858 AD.

It is obvious, even to the meanest intelligence and Baba was an extraordinarily intelligent person by any standards (then or now!), that the reason behind Mhalsapathi not allowing Baba to stay in Khandoba temple, either on a short or long term basis, was fear. He went by the outward appearance and not by what Baba really was. Though he looked like a Muslim, Baba was not a Muslim. He was a missionary and had, by concentration on God, achieved practically every siddhi that one can think of. The powers and the mission have a close relation. The mission has to be worked through the powers given and the powers are given only for carrying out the mission. His possession of vast powers both acknowledged and proven in Chand Patil’s case, was in need of a mission. At that moment, precisely, the mission was taking shape in his mind. Mhalsapathi’s reaction focused Baba’s mind on to a single point. Eradication of the fear and protection of the devotees became the mission of his life. And the immediate reason for that fear was religion. Religion, instead of uniting people, had become a divisive force and hence, unification of the two religions, Hinduism and Islam, got top priority in his scheme of things. “Why fear when I am here” and “Sab ka Malik Ek” followed subsequently.

Mhalsapathi not only rejected the shelter for the fakir at the Khandoba temple, but suggested that he should stay in either a masjid, or a takia (travellers’ bungalow). Baba understood that with his appearance (dress, beard etc) he would not be allowed anywhere and thought it fit to accept Mhalsapathi’s suggestion. Among all of his devotees, Baba had the highest regard and trust for Mhalsapathi, proved subsequently when Baba handed over his body for three days and three nights to Mhalsapathi.

Baba, then, went to the dilapidated masjid in Shirdi and settled there. That was only the beginning. The mission was now clearly defined. It consisted of unification of the Hindu faith within itself and of Islam within itself, and, by purification and refinement of both, the building up of one common central religion or faith that is fitted to be the world faith. It was imperative, in this context that the masjid had to lose its identity. This could be done only by giving the masjid a Hindu name, otherwise, it would have continued as a masjid and bulk of the Hindu devotees would have stayed away. The Hindu name had to be associated with the name of a Hindu god. The popular Hindu gods, then and now, are Rama and Krishna, with Krishna being slightly more popular than Rama.

My guruji, Sri MP Sainath in Sri Sai Satcharita Bhava Suma Mala, says:

Sri Krishna killed Kamsa. To take revenge on Sri Krishna, Jarasandha, Kamsa’s father-in-law, invaded Mathura 17 times and got defeated. On the 18th occasion, he collected a very mighty and large force to attack Mathura. He also sought the help of the demon, Kalayavana. Sri Krishna, did not want any further blood shed, and convinced both King Ugrasena and Prince Vasudeva to shift the capital to Dwaraka, in view of its inherent protection. As Sri Krishna avoided the battle, he got the title of “Ranchodji” (Hindi – one who forsakes the battle). Dwaraka is a very sacred place. It is also called “Dwaravati”, “Dwaramati”, and also “Kushasthali”. It is one of the four most sacred places. The other three are Badrinath, Puri, and Rameshwaram. It is also one among the seven places which confer moksha on a devotee. The other six are Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi, Kanchi, Avantika (Ujjain), and Haridwar.

Sai told Balasaheb Mirikar, “This is our Dwarakamai. Do you know? This is our mother Dwaraka. This masjid mother is very kind”. On another occasion, he told the Malegaon doctor, “This is not masjid. It is Dwaravati”. This also implies that Baba is Dwarakanath. And he has confirmed this belief of his devotees.

Just as Sri Krishna founded Dwaraka for the protection of his people, Baba also had in his mind the protection of his devotees, while naming the masjid after Dwaraka. In addition to Dwaraka, who else can give a better protection than a mother (mai)? Dwaraka and Mai came together to become Dwarakamai. And towards this end, Baba used all his yogic and divine powers, throughout his sojourn on this earth, to eradicate all the evil spirits (let us say, thoughts) from the earlier masjid. Several stories illustrate this.

Another interesting source "Sai Sarovar" says:

The Masjid was named after Dwaraka, the Karma Bhoomi of Lord Krishna. Baba once told His devotees about the history of Dwarakamai. One day, Lord Krishna and Queen Satyabhama were talking with each other in the palace. Queen Rukmani went there. Seeing Lord Krishna and Queen Satyabhama together, she became angry. She at once ordered the servant and taking the palanquin, elephants, horses; she prepared the palki and at once left the palace. She left Dwaraka and came to Pandharpur. After some time, Lord Krishna thought that now Queen Rukmani would have calmed down, so He started from Dwaraka to bring the angry queen back to the palace. On the way the place where Lord Krishna halted to take rest, he named it “Dwarakamai”. Just think, where was the Dwapar Yug and where is the Sat Yug and how Sai Baba knew these very things and details. Baba never showed off his greatness to anybody. He used to only say that He was a Fakir and an ardent servant of Allah Taallah.

Another prominent aspect of Dwarakamai, in particular and Shirdi in general, is that, its aura and prominence is increasing exponentially, day by day, even after the Mahasamadhi of Sai Baba, unlike other places which faded away once the protagonist of the place left the scene.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Sons and Fathers!!

An aged man lived in a place very near Jaipur. He had a small garden and wanted to cultivate it, but he was too old and preparing the soil was a very difficult task for him. His son, who could have helped him, was in a prison. The aged man wrote a letter to his son telling him about his problems. He wrote, “ Dear son, I am really feeling bad because I won’t be able to cultivate my garden this year. I hate to miss cultivating as you mother always loved the planting time. I am just getting too old to cultivate and plant the garden. Had you been here, all my problems would have been over. I know that you would have dug up the land for me, but , unfortunately, you are in prison. Yours, loving dad.”

Within a short time, the aged man received a telegram which said, “For God’s sake! Dad, don’t dig up the garden! That is where I have buried the guns!! Your son.”

Next day, dozens of local police with their officers came and dug up the entire garden, but could not find even a single gun. The aged man was astonished at this and wrote another letter to his son informing of what had happened and asked him what to do next.

His son replied, “Go ahead and plant your garden, Dad! It is the best I could do from here”

Good thinking is wise, making a good plan is wiser, but executing it well is the wisest!!!

(Thanks to my friend Sri DSS Rao, who sent me this lovely exposition. He is also an equally devoted son.)

Monday, June 14, 2010


Moments of joy, happiness, unhappiness, grief and sorrow occur in every being’s life, even other than human. Some moments, however, transcend all the known emotions and lift the being to a level of sublime ethereality. Such moments do not occur in every one’s life. Baba was kind enough to bless me with such moments in his temple at Austin.

We started at 07.50 am from Alma Road in Richardson, Dallas. The distance to Inner Space Cavern at Georgetown was 190 miles and could be covered in nearly three hours. My son was driving his Odyssey with all of us in the vehicle. We had a breakfast break at Hillsboro. By then we had traveled for an hour a
nd 45 minutes. After the upma break, we continued on the I-35 and took Exit 259 at Georgetown. The Inner Space Cavern does not look impressive from outside. The cavern was discovered by the Texas Highway Department in 1963 during the construction of I - 35. There were several large openings to the caverns during the Ice Age, and several skeletons of prehistoric Ice-Age animals have been found in the caverns; many were trapped in the cave after they fell through the opening, unable to escape, and others drowned in thick, quicksand-like mud at the bottom of watering holes. Some filled-in sinkholes have been found, including the prehistoric entrance to the caverns. Several miles of cave passage have been surveyed, with many sections of the cave remaining unexplored, due to filled-in areas blocking passage.

The caverns were carved by water passing through Edwards limestone. The caverns are estimated to be 90–100 million years old but were only open to the surface since the late Pleistocene period 20,000–45,000 years ago, evidenced by finds of mammoth and saber-toothed cat bones. All natural entrances closed approximately 14,000 years ago.

The cave was opened to the public in 1966. Visitors enter via ca
ble car which is lowered into the cave. Three different levels of tours are available, ranging from a basic guided tour to guided spelunking, with over 1.2 miles of passage being open to the public. However, non-public passages are well-guarded and independent exploration is not allowed. The only known entrance to the caverns today is the one into which the cable car is lowered, which was created by dynamite blasts. Some of the caves are more than 70’ below the ground level.

After a stay of nearly two hours, we left the Cavern for Shirdi Sai Baba temple at Cedar Park. The distance was 16 miles and could be covered in 22 minutes. It is one of the most spacious temples I have seen. The temple covers a little over four acres in a land of 9 acres. The temple is not a copy of the Samadhi Mandir at Shirdi, but an attempt is made to interpret the same principles in design.. The most obvious similarities are the kalashas and the gopuram above the sanctuary. The main thought on which this temple is designed is to create a reverence for the murthi of Baba. The sanctuary is planned in accordance with both universal geometric principles and auspicious dimensions. Semi circular arches oriented to the cardinal directions create a vaulted ceiling over the cube shaped sanctuary. Baba is positioned such that the crown of his head is at the centre of this pure cubic volume, and is framed in the four directions by the arches of the intersecting vaults. The mid point of these vaults, seen from within the temple as crossing of the diagonal intersecting lines, is immediately above the murthi of Baba on the same vertical line that passes through both the geometric centre of the sanctuary and the central axis of the kalashas above. The whole composition speaks of harmony and of divine order.

The temple is founded by Sri Craig Sastry (formerly Craig Edwards) and his wife Jill Sastry. When we neared the temple, I was afraid that the temple would be closed as it was already 01.45
pm. Baba was kind enough and we entered into the temple, little knowing what was in store for us. After we did the pradakshina and took the teertham and Prasadam from the purohit, I wanted to take some photos of Baba. Baba’s smile was very pleasant and I really could not take my eyes off him. However, the purohit prevented us from taking any photographs. Frankly, I was disappointed. Silently, I told Baba, “Look, Baba! I have come from so far, and you are not even allowing me to take your photo. Before I leave this temple, I would like to have your photo”

My wife wanted to give the English version of Sri Sai Satcharitra to the temple. On enquiry, the purohit asked us to talk to an American lady sitting in the office room. I was, as usual, very apprehensive. We went in to the office room and found that there were many others also
sitting there and talking to the lady. Two of them were Indians. So, I made a request to them about the book. One of them was Sri Billimoria. He was very friendly and said that Craig wanted to get the books. The discussion, naturally, was then directed to Baba, and we spent some time discussing various aspects about Baba and the Sai Satcharitra. Meanwhile, the American lady had called her husband who came almost immediately. We were introduced to each other. The American lady was Jill Sastry and her husband was Craig Sastry. When I told Craig that Smt Vani Amma had asked us to visit the Austin Temple, Craig recollected Smt Vani Amma’s visit to the temple last year and how she even gave a lecture. Then he took us round the temple and explained the various intricacies involved in the design. He took us to the fish pond and told about the efficacy of Vaastu. As a special gesture, he performed arati and offered naivedyam to Baba on our behalf. I was amazed at the clear diction and the correct way in which he chanted the mantras. He has an abundant knowledge of temple construction, Hindu culture, scriptures and the ritual aspects also. He also told me that they are all eagerly expecting 19 June, when a great miracle would take place in the temple. Then came one of Baba’s Instant Miracles! Without my asking, his wife Jill asked Craig, “As a special occasion, why not we have a photograph with Baba?” and Craig immediately gave his consent. Once again, Baba had answered my prayers. Before we left the temple, my son took some photos of all of us. Then, Craig took us to the office room, honoured us by draping with shawls. He gave us one of the shawls draped on Baba as a gift. My eyes were moist with the kindness shown to me by Baba. My wife observed that Jill also was undergoing similar emotions. Those glorious moments and the sublime bliss I enjoyed at that time have become the defining moments of my life. I could not have asked for anything more from Baba. With a very heavy heart, we then moved on to Barsana Dham.

After the Baba temple, we had to find Madras Pavillion as it was high time for lunch. Unfortunately, that took plenty of time. The Madras Pavillion is o
n a one way street on the blind side of the road. We went circled three to four times, and finally we could locate it. We spent an hour fueling ourselves. The Barsana Dham is a Radha Krishna mandir, with an exquisite ambience. The temple and ashram complex of Barsana Dham is situated on a beautiful 200 acre property. Designed as a representation of the holy land of Braj in India where Shree Radha Rani and Shree Krishna appeared about 5,000 years ago, all the important holy places of Braj like Govardhan, Radha Kund, Prem Sarovar, Shyam Kuti and Mor Kuti are represented in Barsana Dham where the natural stream, named Kalindi, represents the Yamuna river of Vrindaban. It is the main U.S. center of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat. With the Gracious blessing of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, Barsana Dham was established by H.D. Swami Prakashanand Saraswati in 1990.

The ambience is enriched with fountains and plenty of peacocks. By the time we left Barasana Dham it was 06.50 pm. We then took the long trail back to Alma Road, and we were home around 10.45pm. It was tiring day for the kids, Siddhartha and Saathvik, but they enjoyed to their heart’s content at Barsana Dham, playing with the peacocks there.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


No sooner did I complete my last post, got the information of a similar event happening in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh. This information is provided in the May 2010 issue of Sri Sai Darshan magazine.

Sri Alla Nageshwara Rao lives in the village Subhadrayyamma Peta. This village is in the Tuni Mandal of East Godavari District. Like his fellow village men, he is also a simple person, hailing from a very ordinary family. His living was also very simple as he did not have any ancestral property.

The only thing he knew was to sing, melodious devotional songs. Every evening, he would go on top of the nearest hill, select a comfortable place, sit there and sing songs. Occasionally, he would take other children and made them also sing devotional songs. Other than this, he was not tainted by the so called wisdom of the world.

Without his knowledge, one day, Baba blessed him. And in no time, Nageshwar Rao had built a temple for Baba on the same hill on which he used to sing songs. A beautiful Baba idol was also installed. When asked if this was not a task beyond his capabilities, the answer is simple, like the person himself.

“You yourself are saying that the task was beyond my capability. Then how do you think the task was completed? You are thinking that I have done it. But there is no power greater than the power of Baba in this world. I did nothing. Baba himself built this temple. He made all the noble minded people to donate lakhs of rupees and completed the temple.”

The villagers visit the temple every day. No day dawns for them without the darshan of Baba. In fact, the villagers have changed the name of their village from Subhadrayyamma Peta to Chinna Shirdi (small Shirdi).

A parallel event which happened in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh as recently as last year, wherein I was involved from the very initial stage is narrated below.

I met Sri Venkatesh, for the first time, in an exhibition more than 15 years ago. The exhibition was the annual All India Industrial Exhibition conducted every year in the month of January. He had put up a small stall dedicated to Sri Shirdi Sai Baba. A notice proclaimed that Baba’s Prasadam would be delivered at home for a small amount of Rs. 11/-. I thought that the amount was too small for the service being rendered and immediately registered. From the next month onwards till now, I have been getting Baba’s Prasadam at my home and during these long years my friendship with Venkatesh has also grown considerably.

To my surprise, I found out that Venkatesh does not do anything else for his livelihood. He has a mother, a wife and two small baby girls to support. Every month he goes to Shirdi by train, collects the Prasadam there, brings it to Hyderabad and delivers to all the devotees through out the month. Even if he has a clientele of one thousand devotees, a monthly income of Rs.11, 000/- is too meager to sustain himself and the family. The most stunning fact is that, he has unflinching faith in Baba and does not believe in working for anyone else. And he can talk only in Telugu.

Last year, may be in the summer months, one of the devotees, Sri Visveshwara Rao told Venkatesh that he would give him 200 Sq yds of vacant land in which a temple for Baba should be built. The land is several kms after Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad. Anyone who has knowledge of Hyderabad can understand the location. There is no house or any human movement within the purview of the human eye. I tried to dissuade him from the project, but Venakatesh was very firm. He said that Baba wanted a temple there and a temple there will be. Then things began to happen. People came flocking to help the construction work.

On the Vijayadashami day of 2009, the foundation stone was laid and the temple is ready to be inaugurated in the month of June 2010. It appears that the gram panchayat have come forward to offer another 2,000 sq yds of land behind the temple for the temple activities.

Would all these efforts have been possible without the explicit grace of Baba? Rajesh, Nageshwara Rao, and Venkatesh, to name only few, who are utterly simple and highly devoted, have immortality conferred on them by Baba himself!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Some more photos are added here to show the isolated place where Rajesh lives with Baba. The photo on the left shows the pathway used by Baba on the morning of 09 September 2007. The one above on the right shows the backwaters of Hemavathi river.


(The photo shows the place where Baba sat)

Rajesh and his friend Nagarjuna came to Bangalore on 19 May and I went and received them. My impression of Rajesh, at that time, was that he looked totally like someone out of this world. He was direct, simple and full of affection. His eyes were blazing and very rarely he batted his eyelids. He and Nagarjuna stayed with us for nearly four hours. At the time of leaving, he asked me to bring a particular girl with a pink frock. I was surprised as I had not paid any attention to anyone other than Rajesh. After some searching, I located the girl and brought her. As soon as the attention turned on the girl, the girl’s mother was scared and she also came to Rajesh. Rajesh told her that the girl would experience some health hazard and that Baba had provided a remedy also. The parents are to take the girl to Shirdi, get her teertham at Dwarakamai, and then sit there in meditation for a few minutes. That would cure the girl of the problem. Rajesh also told them that Baba had asked him to tell this to the parents, though Rajesh himself was not for telling this, this being not very pleasant information.

If ever a proof was needed for Baba being active even after His Samadhi, this was one. All the names given above are real. Any or all of them can be contacted over the following mobile numbers:

1. Sri Rajesh - +919343291342
2. Sri Nagarjuna - +919741105026
3. Sri Krishna Murthy - +919490956511
4. Sri Srinivas - +919880333479

In a recent mail, Rajesh adds:

"It was the month of February 2008. Our farm has one open well of 31 feet deep, 18 feet radius and one bore well of 240 feet depth. Both are having plenty of water. I was using only the bore well for both drinking and agriculture. We were not using the water from the well as it was stagnant and green in colour due to fungal growth. I was afraid to use it for cooking and drinking purpose. The well could be seen next to the building on the right side of the photograph. (The photo also shows the pathway taken by Baba on that September morning in 2007)

One day, due to voltage fluctuation, the motor of the bore well was burnt and there was no water for either drinking or agriculture. I requested Baba, after pooja, about this. He advised me to collect 7 flowers from Baba's Idol and drop the flowers, one by one reciting the names of holy rivers, Ganga, Yamuna, Godhavari, Saraswathi, Narmada, Sindhu and Cauvery. I did as told by Baba. It was Monday. Later he told me not to go near the well for three days. After three days i.e., on Thursday I went with my wife Mangala and peeped into the well, only to find crystal clear water in the well. At that time there was water for 22 ft out of 31 Feet. The water was available at 9ft itself. I came running to temple and prostrated at the feet of Baba. He said, “Use it”. Since then we are using only the water from the well and not from the bore well. Whoever drinks the water not only quenches his thirst but is also cured of skin problems, if any."


It is not that Baba has been kind always to Rajesh. There are occasions when He punished Rajesh very severely by beating him with His satka. Once, Baba told him to wait for one of His devotees who was coming. Rajesh waited till 3.00pm and assuming that the devotee may not turn up, he went for some other work. The devotee came half an hour late and waited for Rajesh for nearly an hour and left. When Rajesh returned, Baba bet him with his satka below his right kneecap. The satka made a cut and it started bleeding. Rajesh apologized for the inadvertent slip and begged Baba for mercy. The bleeding stopped, but the cut can still be seen.

Rajesh has a friend, Sri Nagarjuna. He was working in Secunderabad, and is a staunch Baba devotee. Baba got him posted to Tumkur, so that he could be of help to Rajesh. Rajesh asked Nagarjuna to visit Sri Sai Baba temple at Siddipet in Andhra Pradesh and meet Sri Krishna Murthy. Sri Nagarjuna visited the Siddipet temple and talked to Sri Krishna Murthy and later met him at his residence in Hyderabad. Sri Krishna Murthy called me for three consecutive days, but for various reasons, I was not available. Then he called in the evening of the fourth day and told me that he wanted to narrate a great miracle. I asked him to come over, as these could not be talked over in detail over a telephone. He came a few minutes later on and told me all the details. Then he connected me to Rajesh over my mobile. As he knew Kannada very well, I talked to Rajesh in Kannada and Rajesh was overjoyed to tell me about his experiences. He later gave my number to his friend Nagarjuna who was at that time in Hyderabad itself. I met Nagarjuna next day at his residence and heard the details once again.

I narrated all these strange but true happenings to Sri Srinivas in Bangalore. Srinivas is also a Sai devotee. Over the weekend he went with his family to Rajesh’s place and saw the temple, the idol and the surroundings. He took photographs of the same and sent them to me. He invited Rajesh to his residence on 19 May 2010, the day being his birthday. Srinivas told Rajesh that I would also be coming to Bangalore for the birthday and Rajesh could also meet me.


(Photo shows the outside view of the Temple)
Then the moment came for installing the idol of Baba. Rajesh did not know from where to get it. Baba once again guided him and told him to go to Shirdi for the idol. Next day, Rajesh went to Tumkur and was enquiring about how to go to Shirdi. Different people told him different methods. An old man, chewing mouthful of pan, called him and asked him if he wanted to go to Shirdi. When Rajesh confirmed, the old man asked him to go to Pune where a tonga would be waiting for him and would take him to Shirdi. When he reached Shirdi, Rajesh was stunned by seeing so many people. He was standing in front of Dwarakamai. He did not know where to go and how to buy. Once again the same fakir who came to his house was there. He warned Rajesh that people in Shirdi would cut his purse and rob him. He advised him to go to a particular shop and buy the first idol he saw. Rajesh bought the idol. It was very heavy. Without thinking any further about visiting the Samadhi Mandir or Dwarakamai, he returned back to his place.

So far, so good. Rajesh could not get anyone to install the idol and he did not know any mantras. Baba guided him not only for the installation, but He taught him how to do daily puja also. After some more days, Baba asked him to quit his job and dedicate himself to Baba. Rajesh argued that he had two young daughters who had to be brought up and groomed. Baba asked him to have faith in Him and not to worry. Rajesh duly resigned his job. He spent all his time in Baba’s service. After a few months, time came for paying the examination fees of his daughters. Rajesh needed Rs. 3, 000. He told Baba, “I have followed your instructions, see, what has happened now. I do not have any money to pay the fees.” Baba told him not to worry. He asked Rajesh to put his fingers in the slit of the cloth tied to the hundi vessel and take out three times whatever came without opening the cloth completely. Rajesh thought that this was another of Baba’s jokes. There had been no visitor for the past several days, and at most the vessel might contain a fiver or a tenner. However, he followed the instructions and placed his fingers inside the vessel and lifted out a one thousand rupee note. He repeated it two more times and removed, in all, three thousand rupees. Baba then asked him to go and pay the fees. Rajesh was diffident. He told Baba that it was His money and how he could use it. Baba asked him not to worry and pay the fees immediately. Since that moment, Rajesh’s duty has been to visit Baba’s devotees as per Baba’s directions and give them Baba’s instructions.


Devotees are often in the habit of falling into the trap of disbelief and loss of faith. It is during these times that Baba manifests Himself and redeems his devotees. The following is a great example of the same during very recent times.

Rajesh was living with his wife, Mangala and two young daughters - Harshita aged 14 years and Reema aged 9 years - n Mallasandra, somewhere between Tumkur and Gubbi. He was a Kannada teacher in Aryan High School in Tumkur. Rajesh had a farm and a farm house nearly 8 kms from Mallasandra. Off late, he found out that the farm produce was being stolen by someone unknown to him. So, he decided to move into the farm house and take care of the farm. The farm house was an excuse of a house. It had bare brick walls, without any plastering and a zinc sheet for a roof. The cooking gas was absent and all the cooking had to be done by burning the firewood. Rajesh used to commute by public transport to Tumkur – his place of work. Photo above shows Rajesh's house.

Life went on uneventfully till that September morning in 2007. It was a cold winter morning, and the time was nearly 5.00 am. The farm house had a wooden compound and a wicket gate. At that time, a simple looking fakir opened the gate, entered the verandah of the house and sat there. Rajesh’s wife, who got up early everyday, saw the fakir entering through the gate and was terrified. The farm house was a lonely structure there and as far as the eye could see, there was no other house anywhere near. There was no approach road to the farm house and the house could be reached only by walking through the fields. Because of the loneliness, she was scared of any unknown attacks and woke up her husband. By the time Rajesh could come out, the fakir was sitting on a stone and mumbling something to himself. When he saw Rajesh, he asked for some rotis as he was hungry. He indicated his stomach and asked for food. As the morning was cold, Rajesh’s wife thought that it would be good to offer some hot tea and then think of food. The fakir agreed for the tea and waited. When both Rajesh and his wife went inside to prepare tea, the fakir, meanwhile went to the farm and began making some gestures with his fingers in the air. He had the tea and then asked for rotis. He took out a packet of lemon rice, which was steaming hot. By the time anyone comes from the road to the house, any hot item would have become cold. Even after lapse of so much of time, the steam was coming out. Rajesh thought that that was a miracle. The fakir told him that the lemon rice was for his lunch and he wanted something to eat immediately. Rajesh’s wife, however, was hesitating to prepare the rotis. The fakir saw this and told them that as they did not want to prepare the rotis, he was going and then got up and left. While he had gone a few steps, Rajesh’s wife felt some compassion and asked her husband to give some money to the fakir so that he could eat something at the nearby hotel. Rajesh ran, patted the fakir on the back and gave him a five rupee coin and asked him to eat something in a nearby hotel. The fakir smiled and said, “Baba will bless you”.

That night Rajesh had a dream. The fakir who came in the morning appeared in the dream and said that he was none other than the Sai Baba of Shirdi, and that Rajesh had failed to recognize him. He also told that He had made markings in his farm for the construction of a temple and asked Rajesh to build a temple for Him. Rajesh thought that it was a very crude joke as he had no money at all. He told the same to Baba. Then Baba told him, “Why do you worry when I am here!” Next morning, the first thing Rajesh did was to check his farm. There were clear white markings on the farm, indicating where the idol should be placed and the outer boundary of the temple. After a few days, an unknown gentleman gave Rajesh Rs.40, 000 for the construction of the temple. Rajesh was a typical villager and did not know anything about either Sai Baba or how to go about the process of building a temple. He was a simple man who knew only the basics of maintaining himself and his family. He was totally perplexed about what was happening to him. When he told this to Baba, He appeared once again in Rajesh’s dream and gave him the name of a mason in a neighboring town. Rajesh went there as instructed and found that no one existed by that name. Finally he asked someone about the mason. The person was surprised and asked Rajesh how he got this name. This name was the pet name of the mason, as he was called by his relatives. Rajesh then came to know that he was talking to the mason himself. The mason was happy that Baba had referred his name and told Rajesh that he would build the temple without charging anything for labour but Rajesh should give him the materials. Thus a temple was built for Baba.