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Signs and Wonders
There was a blind person once who came to the Nilayam for getting his eyesight restored; he was a teacher in the in the State of Mysore, who had lost his sight suddenly, without any apparent reason. Baba did not pay any attention to him, at first. Then one day He said to me pointing to the man being led by his wife along the veranda, "See, that man wants his eyes back; he does not know that blindness is his good fortune!" Two days later, he received a letter from the Government of India offering him a scholarship to go to Delhi for training in an Institution for Teaching the Blind! I know of one deaf supplicant, to whom Baba said, "Your ears are your Guru; they brought you to Me; now, be thankful that at least one source of attachment is providentially put out of action." About another supplicant, He said, "If I give him back his eyesight he is sure to ruin himself." Baba has the knowledge of the past and the future; everyone is an open book for Him. So, He says, "You pour sympathy so easily; but, I have to calculate the potentialities, the retribution they deserve, the use or misuse they will make of additional faculties and capabilities." When some one died in one of the cottages around Prasanthi Nilayam, and the kinsmen prayed that Baba might revive him, Baba said, "Do you mean to say that this area alone is mine? What of the thousands who have died this moment all over the world? They are also as much mine as this person. Again, tell me how this man is indispensable for the world's progress? He has finished his career; he was born to work out his destiny, not to provide temporary trivial joy to a few who cling to him.
In the Vivekachudamani, Sankaracharya refers to the Master as "Ahethukadayasindhu - the Ocean of Mercy that saves without any reason or context." Baba is like that. He cures some chronic illness by the exercise of His will; He allows other supplicants to suffer. No one can say, why? The instance of Seshagiri Rao who is referred to in the First Volume too will throw some light on this aspect of Baba's ministration. Seshagiri Rao, who tended the shrine at the Old Mandir and later at the Nilayam for full 14 years had a fall and was in the throes of death. He was declaring aloud with his last breath the amazing Truth which no one except sages recall at the moment of mortal crisis: "This body composed of the five elements is disintegrating into its components; I am being liberated!" I stood by, admiring and envying the old man. "What great good fortune, to pass into the beyond with these words on one's lips!", I told myself. Suddenly, Baba appeared in the room, as some one had informed Him of the approaching demise of His trusted servitor. Baba chided Seshagiri Rao in firm tones. He said, "How dare you start on this journey, without taking a ticket from Me? Come down; do the task allotted to you. I order you to come to the Prayer Hall this noon and carry on with Arathi, as usual. We stood aghast, at this 'unkindness', but, who are we to pit our judgement against the All-knowing One? Seshagiri Rao obeyed the order; he attended Bhajan and went through the allotted schedule of work.
Six months later, he fell ill, seriously ill. He was admitted to the Sathya Sai Hospital; his condition became worse, pathetically worse. His brain became soft, he lost all disgust for dirt, he made everyone sad that a faithful servant of God should suffer so. His brother came from Bangalore and prayed to Baba that he may be allowed to take him to the Victoria Hospital where he could be given personal attention by his son and his nephews, who were employed there. But, Baba said, "Do not worry at his present plight. I am allowing him to work out the suffering he has to undergo. After this, he has the chance to die peacefully and quite happily. Otherwise, I could have dispatched him months ago, when he had a fall." And, it happened so. A month passed. Seshagiri Rao recovered quite mysteriously. The sun shone around him in his apartment. He spent six weeks of bliss, doing his chores. Then he started to decline and took to his bed. His son was by his side, tending him lovingly. One evening, Baba went into the room. I had the privilege of going with him. He asked me to bring a cup of hot milk. Spoon by spoon, He fed him the entire cup, calling on him by name and telling him that it was his Baba that was feeding him! Then, He rose and moved; turning back while at the door, He looked at him and said, "Now you can go!" And Seshagiri Rao obeyed, within an hour! Baba knew when he had come down and when he had to 'go'. We can only watch and pray, only stand aghast at the wonder and the meaningful "waywardness" of the wind of Grace.
Let Dr. T. Nallainathan of Castle Lane, Colombo tell us of one such wonder. "A boy of 12 called Anthonis was suffering from Ependymoma (a cancerous growth of the cauda equlova of the spinal cord inside the lower vertebrae). His father's brother is a famous surgeon, and the neurosurgeon performed an operation in my presence which lasted for 3 hours and 15 minutes; but, no good came out of it. The boy passed urine at all hours, without intermission, while unconscious. This did not stop, nor could it be checked or decreased. A member of the Sathya Sai Seva Samithi, Colombo gave the child a little Vibhuthi brought from Baba. That very night, the parents found noticeable improvement. So, they went post-haste to Baba at Madras; they had His Darsan on November 10th. Bhagavan created an amulet by a wave of the hand and asked that it be worn by the boy round the wrist. They had Darsan twice and returned home happy. I saw the boy on Christmas Day, playing delightfully and talking of attending school, after the holidays! I know he is attending school now."
Among the large number of cases that have come to my notice, I shall quote here a specially wonderful cure. One noon in '66, February, a young couple arrived by car from Bangalore, after landing there by plane from Delhi. The lady's brother had been sent home from a New Delhi Hospital, as a hopeless casualty. Some one told them of Baba and they came to seek His Grace, so that the brother's life might be saved. Baba gave into my hands two packets of Vibhuthi from the receptacle kept in His Room for distribution by Him and asked me to tell them to take the two to New Delhi 'immediately!' The case history of the brother makes very sad reading; "Balija, aged 30; chronic nephritis; anaemia.
I was amazed when I received a telegram from the sister that they were bringing the patient to Prasanthi Nilayam 'the next day'. This was before the fortnight was over, after their visit. The car from Bangalore came into the compound and three people came out, a couple and a stranger. They walked briskly towards the Mandir and as soon as I saw and recognised them, I inquired, "Where is the patient?" They laughed and pointed him to me. It was the third person, the man with no sign of illness on him, except a woollen muffler wound round his throat.
Or, let us listen to another tale, from the Padubidris of Bombay. "May 4th, 1957. It was her first birthday. The children's party was in full swing. While her young guests helped themselves with the snacks and sweets, the little hostess rocked vigorously on her wooden horse. She needed something to provide her distraction from pain. Medical experts were investigating her case. The birthday party was not quite over, when the X-ray report came. It revealed with sudden unbelievable finality that the poor one-year old was stricken with a bone-eating disease of worst type: Pott's Disease; the disc between the 5th and 6th vertebrae was completely destroyed. Nothing more grim could have befallen us.
"The bone specialist ordered that the child be strapped in plaster to reduce her movements to the minimum of almost nil, to help the recalcification. Besides, a prick with streptomycin everyday and a long list of medicines and tonics were prescribed. How long was she to be tortured thus? We prayed to Sai Baba; dreamt that He was holding the child protectively close to Him. In June 1958, she was out of the plaster, but, the doctor prescribed an iron jacket as support to her recalcified vertebrae. On November 4th, we reached Puttaparthi with her. Baba interviewed us for 45 minutes. He blessed the child, stroked her back, gave her Udi, and told the anxious grandmother, "Leave everything to Me; I shall always take care of her; you are worrying too much about her." He assured us that the child would start walking in January... and, she did!"
Instances where He has willed off the cases of cancer, saying "Your cancer is cancelled," are plenty. The case of D. R. Ghule is remarkable in many ways. In a letter dated 15th June, '66, Rao Saheb V.R. Ghule writes, 'On 11th May, 1966 I had sent a letter to Bhagavan Sri Sai Baba informing Him of the sad plight of my brother, Dattatreya Ramachandra Ghule, aged 76. I wrote, "The pain is now concentrated on the right side of his throat, like terrible pin thrust, even while swallowing milk, tea, or coffee. He has become very weak. He is unable to speak clearly. The doctors at Jubbulpore declared it was cancer and he is now taking X-ray treatment at the Tata Hospital here at Bombay. Day by day, he is getting weaker and weaker. We obtained the book, "Sathyam Sivam Sundaram" and after reading it, we brought a photo of yours and kept it in a prominent place for daily Darsan. I do not know whether this appeal will reach you, for I do not know your present address or your correct address. With folded hands, I beseech you, to save my brother from this terrible pain and illness."
"On the 13th, in the morning, my brother's condition became serious and doctors called him for an immediate operation. I placed a copy of my letter to Baba at the feet of Baba in the picture and prayed for His mercy. It was about 12-30 p.m. At 1 p.m., my brother asked for water, which he drank freely! He, then, drank milk, which he had not been able to take for long past! We took him to the hospital, where he was found to be normal and the doctors declared that there was no need for an operation. He is now very much better".
The amulets, packets of Vibhuthi, or other articles that He gives are but assurances for the recipient, that they have 'something' from His hands. They are superfluous, when we know that His Will is Supreme. It can cross frontiers of sea and land, language and age, and it can be won by prayer, sincere and deep. It cures, for reasons best known to itself. He has come for the revival of morality and the restoration of faith in God and in the ultimate liberation of man from grief and pain. These cures are visiting cards that He scatters, in order to announce that the Divine has come among men. "Take up thy bed and walk" has been said by Baba to many, at Prasanthi Nilayam, during the daily session of Grace-gifts, called "interviews" and then, He gives the advice, "Walk in fear, walk in hope, walk in Truth". There was a girl in her teens who was being carried about by her brother. She had come from Bhadravathi in Mysore State. For 5 long years, she had not set foot on the ground, Baba called the brother to him and asked that the sister be brought. He carried her in, as one carries a child. Within minutes, the door of the Room opened and 500 people sitting outside the Nilayam saw the girl walking, helped by the brother and mother; Baba had asked that they go round the building three times! And, the next day, she did it alone! And Baba exhorted the girl to go home and be happy! Each cure is an eye-opener, the gift of a new vision, the vision of the Divine Healer, who heals the body so that it may be a fit instrument for the conquest of the mind and for the realisation of the Ananda lying dormant within the region of senses, emotions, impulses and intellect!