M. S. Subbulakshmi Amma ~ The Queen of Bhakti Music:
“I am a devotee of Bhagawan. I have visited so many universities and educational centres and charitable institutions. Wherever I go the trustees ask me to give a musical concert to raise funds; and in this way so many institutions have been built.
But I went to Prashanti Nilayam where instead of asking me to perform, Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba gave me a diamond necklace and it is my experience that HE never accepts anything.” – M.S. Amma.
Swami invariably showed much love to M.S. Amma One year during Ladies Day, Swami asked her to speak. She said, “Swami I do not know how to speak. I could sing, but now, even that I am not able to do. How can I speak Swami?” Nevertheless, Swami would not take no for an answer. HE went down to where she was sitting, and helped her to walk up a few steps to the porch in Sai Kulwant Hall and took her to the podium. M.S. then said, “Swami, as I just said, I do not know how to make speeches. However, if they ask me are YOU father, I will say YOU certainly are father. If they ask me are YOU mother, I will assert that YOU are indeed mother.” In addition, in this manner she spoke just a few sentences, straight from the Heart. Later a few other women made speeches. That evening, when Swami was going round and giving Darshan in Poornachandra Hall before a cultural programme, HE told a group of women, “Today, so many people made speeches, but the speech of M.S. alone stood out. It came from the heart; all the others were artificial!” That says everything, does it not?
Photo: M. S. Amma Serving Food to Swami.
For decades, the Great M.S. Subbulakshmi and her husband were, like many in Madras very Devoted followers of the Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. One day Paramacharya asked her to go to Puttaparthi. M..S.Subbalaxmi was apparently puzzled by this command and wanted to know from the Paramacharya as to why she should go to Puttaparthi when she already had a Guru. The Paramacharya simply said: “Go and you will find the reason.”, then the Paramacharya of Kanchi said in tamil, ”Puttaparthile Ambaal Sakshaat Angirala Nadamadindruga” which means..”Goddess Durga is present in the form of a man in Puttaparthi in flesh and blood.”© ‘Sathya Sai is God’, Group.
Dr. A.V. Manohar Rao, born on June 21, 1947, is a reputed Paediatrician who voluntarily retired from Govt. Service in 2002. He narrates his experience of how Swami saved him.
‘It happened on December 10, 1995. The day began normally. I attended the pulse polio work throughout the day. The day seemed to be heading to end normally as I completed my work in the clinic. Later I visited one or two hospitals where I usually see patients, called on the would-be-in-laws of my daughter and returned home driving my car myself all through. On returning to my house, late in the evening, I felt uneasy – I don’t know why. I lost my temper while taking my dinner. It happened never before. I had a feeling that there was not enough air to breathe, and proceeded into an open lane adjacent to our dining hall. There, all of a sudden, I slumped and fell flat. When a person slips and falls down, it will be difficult for him to get up and stand until a few minutes. But I stood up at once as if it were a spring action. I could get up very fast as if someone was physically lifting me up and putting me erect. If a person falls down due to heart attack, it could be very serious – even fatal. As a medical Doctor, I knew that I had a heart attack but could not understand how I could be back on my feet again.
Meanwhile, our daughter, Lakshmi had phoned up my brother Dr. Ranga Rao and expressed her anxiety about the way I was feeling uneasy. Like me, he too returned only then to his house after attending to pulse polio work. Immediately he came to me – from Panjagutta to Asoknagar. On his arrival I told him that we should go the hospital at once. I went into the pooja room, prayed to Lord Venkateswara and got into my brother’s car. We rushed to the Medicity Hospital. After my admission there, Doctors on duty examined me and said that I was normal and that there was no worry.
My daughter, while telephoning to my brother, also phoned up her would-be-mother-in-law, Dr. Parimala. When Dr. Parimala was about to start to call on me, her husband, Dr. Sridhar told her. ‘What is the use of your going alone? Better take with you Dr. Prasad also.’ Dr. C.V.R.Prasad is a reputed physician and cardiologist. Luckily he was available at his house when Dr. Parimala rang him up. He immediately came to Dr. Parimala’s house, picked her up and came to my house. He did not know me except as one of the members of the Medical Profession. He came to see me only due to his regard for Dr. Parimala.
When they were informed at my house that I had already been taken to the Medicity Hospital, he would have normally preferred to leave it at that point, as the Medicity Hospital was not one of the hospitals, which he normally covered for practice. It was, indeed, kind of him to have come to the Medicity Hospital. When he examined me, he realized that I had a heart attack. Though it was not proper etiquette on his part to intervene in another’s area, he persuaded the Doctors on duty to do the needful. In fact, he started to treat me himself. By that time, my BP came down. He apprised me of all the developments but was continuously striving to give me encouragement and confidence so as to keep my morale high. He remained by my bedside the whole night, and left only in the morning after my condition improved and was past the immediate risk point.
In the morning, senior Doctors came, studied my condition, and said that I needed to undergo angiogram. I was taken to their main Hospital for angiogram. Dr. Somaraju, the well-known Cardiologist, performed the angiogram. I was advised that I should not ‘cough’ during the time of conducting it. Every year in December, I generally get cough in bouts. This December was no exception. The angiogram was done on December 20, 1995 followed by angioplasty.
As the catherization started, I began coughing severely in bouts just when I should not have done that. Dr. Somaraju asked me ‘What Doctor! You are coughing?’. Though he did not say anything more, he appeared a little perturbed. As a Doctor, I, too, could realize what a risk I was running. But there was nothing I could do to keep the cough away.
Suddenly, I thought of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and prayed: ‘Baba! I am helpless. I should not cough now but I cannot refrain from coughing. You are my only hope. Rescue me.’ Soon after, I found Bhagavan standing by my side. I was not imagining things. I could perceive him clearly. He put his fingers into the hair on my head and started caressing me. I felt His touch so soothing and reassuring. The cough suddenly stopped. Even earlier, curiously, I did not feel alarm or fright though I was aware, as a Doctor, that I was passing through a critical time. Strangely, I was placid. Now I almost slept. By the time I regained my consciousness, I was on a bed in the ICU. Angioplasty also was over successfully.
Just at that moment, a young Doctor, in white uniform, came to me: ‘I have vibhuti of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai. May I apply a little on you?’ It appears he was an ex-student of Sri Sathya Sai School. I assented. Inside the theatre, Swami was by my side. The moment I came out, Swami’s vibhooti was ready for me. What a grace, indeed! No need to add that I returned home later safely.
I continue to pursue my profession in good health. Some people who undergo angioplasty will be apprehensive of a relapse after a few years. But I have no such fear because Bhagawan was present in the theatre when I underwent angioplasty. How can anything like ‘relapse’ happen in my case when it was done with Bhagavan’s grace in His Divine Presence?
Divine intervention is very clear all through. If only I had the attack while driving? I had it in my house. As it was night, my brother was available at his house and could come in time. Dr. Sridhar Rao suggested to his wife Dr. Parimala to take Dr. Prasad – who, in fact, saved me that night. When I prayed desparately, Swami appeared by my side instantaneously, and the cough stopped miraculously. The young Doctor put vibhuti on my forehead and in my mouth even though I was a stranger to him.’
— Dr. A.V. Manohar Rao
Dr. Padma, sharing her experiences in her own way:
Can i now continue my dreams of swami ? I heard a yes !! Okay !! I have asoul sister !!!A great fan of swami !!!A doctor !! Her daughter was married living in America !!A considerable number of years passed and she was worried that she was not blessed with a grand child !! I also shared the worry of my soul sister !! My sister had gone for a vacation !! Swami came in my dream !! A girl was standing and a boy not familiar but He made me feel in the dream that they were the couple in America and the girl would be a mother !! I called my friend and her husband took the call !!i told him that they would get good news from their daughter and that i saw them all in my dream and swami was also there !!!He was in utter surprise as his daughter rang up just before me and announced that she was pregnant !!! Meenakshi the dream sequences may be mixed up because of time !! I am being right ! , in my narration !!?
Next , after my husband passed away i didnot wish to remain in chennai !!i suffered a empty house syndrome !!! I applied for job at parthy No reply !! Two years passed one day i was at parthy !! This is a part of the dream !! One person comes and tells me Swami wants water !! I rush to so many people to take water to swami !! Finally a very dirty unclean man offers to take the water and Swami has it while i stand far away watching !!!Swami call out in telugu and says How does it matter how the water came it is important that you got done what you wanted to do !!!! A month later Dr sunderarajan informed me at Apollo that he spoke about me to DrVaradachari orthopoedic surgeon who mentioned me to swami !!!and i was asked to join by a call from the ssssshospital !!!Then i remembered the long drawn water dream !!! I never asked why my application was not successful !!
Next !!! My granddaughter who was in SRM dental college refused to continue !she rang up the theatre at parthy and was sobbing onthe hostel phone !! When i went home she burst into the kichen demanding my answer !! She had a dream a foriegner rang the door bell !she opens it and asks “who is the girl who wants become a airhostess in this house Swami has sent this rudraksha bracelet for her !!This girl took it and demanded why Swami sent it through some one !?why couldnt He come and give it !!! I asked her do you want to become a airhostess and she noded !!!How did Swami know even before i knew !!! She was taken by me for the interview and joined the aviation industry !!!! Sairam
How we become Swami’s devotees? 🙂
A God-fearing and service minded person, who would not spend time in prayers and was hesitant about accepting Bhagawan’s Divinity saying, ‘I will not fall at anybody’s feet; Sai Baba is probably a great man and mystic, but I do not believe…’ was brought unto His Feet in His most unique and inimitable style. Read on the story of Sri Kuppam Radhakrishna’s entry into ‘Sai-fold’ along with his family. An account from Mr. Amarendra Kumar, from the book Modern Miracles.
How uniquely He brings devotees unto Him!
In those days, getting to Puttaparthi was a herculean task. We had to take a train to Penukonda. From there we had to go by bus, and the last part of the way by bullock cart. Many times we had to walk as much as 18 miles through the forest, and finally over the Chitravathi River to reach Puttaparthi.
As we arrived for the first time, we were surprised to find that Baba had crossed the river to receive us. He was actually waiting for us. Baba immediately came up to my father and asked him: ‘Are you not Radhakrishna from Kuppam?’ My father replied, ‘yes’. Then Baba said: ‘Come on! Prostrate yourself; touch My Feet; all your problems are over.’
My father answered: ‘Sorry, no. If my problems should be over, simply as a result of touching Your Feet now, I will have to touch them later.’ Baba said: ‘You are certainly going to touch My Feet. Forever you will remain My devotee.’
This statement came true; until my father breathed his last, in spite of so many things, he remained a firm devotee. Baba went on: ‘I have come all the way from Ashram to receive you, because you are all My children. ‘And we said: ‘Good. Thank You very much for all Your hospitality’ and we went to the Ashram.
At first Baba used to talk just with my father. Later on He asked us to sing a few songs as the whole family were good singers. We started doing bhajans, which used to last for three or four hours a day.
Our first trip to Puttaparthi lasted for nearly twenty days. In those days it was very difficult to stay there for even a day or two, with all the inconveniences. Yet, despite all the inconveniences, we felt really happy to stay there; we never minded them and often didn’t even notice them.
Gradually my father’s faith in Baba developed. On my part, I would say that from the beginning I felt a personal attachment to Baba rather than spiritual faith. But naturally, as the attachment grew and as we came to understand Him better, seeing Him from day to day, our faith also increased, most definitely. That is how we became devotees.
Mr. J.B. Madhava Rao (78), a retired Railway Official, shares a few of his experiences:
‘In October 1961, I was going to Tirupati to have darshan of my ishta daivam, Lord Balaji. I met one Mr. Chalapathi Rao of Renigunta in the train. I heard about Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for the first time from him and was impressed. Later, I came into contact with some devotees and began to attend bhajans.
In 1962, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam for the first time and had darshan of Bhagavan. I was here on Sivarathri. Bhagavan came to Yelamanchili in Visakha district on March 27, 1964. We all went there and had His darshan. Swami told us to open Samithi at Visakhapatnam, Yelamanchili and Srungavarapukota.
In 1964, I had to go to Bangalore on official work. Then, I took some time off to visit Prasanthi Nilayam. I used to hear rumours about Swami printing counterfeit currency in those days, and felt immense pain. That time, Swami called me for an interview. That was the first of nearly 90 interviews that were to follow during 1964 – 92. In that very first interview, I broached with Bhagavan thoughtlessly about the rumours I was hearing. There were some others also in the interview. They were taken aback at my impudence. But Bhagavan smiled and asked me to follow him. He took me to His room on the first floor of the mandir where He was staying in those days. It was a small room with an ordinary wooden cot on which some mattress was spread. There were a few chairs. There were two cupboards. Swami opened the doors of the cupboards. I was stunned to see bundles of currency notes in both the cupboards. Both cupboards were fully packed with notes. Leaving me there, Bhagavan went into the bathroom attached to the room on the southern side. When He was coming out of it, I looked at Him in bewilderment since I had not recovered from the shock of seeing so much money in Bhagavan’s room.
‘What did you find?’ Swami asked me coming out of the bathroom. About to say ‘currency’, I looked at the cupboards, and I was stunned. There were no currency bundles, but only Swami’s robes neatly folded and arranged. There was no one in the room except myself for full ten minutes. All the time I was looking at the bundles of notes in the cupboard as my thoughts went in several directions. I looked at Swami only for a couple of seconds as He came out of the bathroom asking me about the notes. How did the notes disappear? Who arranged Swami’s robes so neatly in a trice? Swami smiled as I told Him ‘there were bundles of notes in the cupboards a few seconds back’. ‘Mad cap’ Swami remarked jocularly and said ‘well! Which deity would you like to see?’ ‘Kodanda Rama’ I replied. ‘With or without Anjaneya?’ Swami asked. ‘With Anjaneya, Swami!’ I replied.
Even before I completed my reply, Kodanda Rama rose before me where Swami stood. He was eight feet tall. His aura was very brilliant! Anjaneya was there at the feet of Rama. Anjaneya was completely white. As the brilliance grew, I could not stand the sight and fainted. Swami might have sprinkled some water on me for I woke up with a shudder. ‘Go and have a glass of water’ Swami told me, ‘and rest for some time’.
In 1968, we came to Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami called my wife and me for interview on January 26. During the interview, I mentioned to Swami that I was not keeping good health. Swami materialised a gold coin on one side of which is Swami’s picture and on the other side is abhayahasta and Aum. ‘Whenever you feel any ill-health, do abhishekam to this with milk’ Swami told me, ‘and take that milk as theertham’.
After a few months, we came to know that my wife’s sister, Mrs. Subhadra was on her deathbed. She was ailing for some time with galloping TB and was vomiting blood. We went to their house in Vijayawada. I remembered Swami’s words about the gold coin. I did abhishekam with milk to the coin, and gave it to her as theertham. Within an hour, she asked for something to eat. We were told that she had had no food for days. If she took any, she was vomiting with blood. Then she ate two idlies. She did not vomit. Within a few days she recovered completely. There was no sign of TB when the doctors checked her. Everyone was amazed.
After a few weeks, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami called me for interview. ‘You have become a doctor and been curing people’ Swami said to me, ‘why did you use it for others?’ He took the coin from me and returned it after a while. ‘Take this’ Swami told me handing the gold coin back to me, ‘it has no power of healing now’.
In 1970, we began considering alliances to our eldest daughter Ms. Satya Syamala. I did not have any money. I came to Prasanthi Nilayam and told Swami about the alliance we were considering. I also told Bhagavan about my financial position. ‘Don’t worry’ Bhagavan assured me, ‘it will be done on March 10’. When I returned to Vizag, I came to know that the bridegroom’s party sent word that they had got the wedding date fixed by their astrologer. It was March 10 – the date Swami had told me. The marriage was held successfully. It is a miracle how money came from unexpected quarters.
On March 14, we were in Tirupati along with the new couple. After darshan of the Lord, we were returning. The vehicle broke down near Ongole in the night. My wife began to pray to Trinatha (Brahma, Vishnu and Siva). ‘If we reach Vizag safely’ my wife prayed, ‘I will do Trinatha Vratham next Sunday’. Soon three white ambassador cars came along and halted near our car. Drivers of those cars came to our car and repaired it. They escorted us up to Chilakaluripeta. ‘Please have a cup of tea with us’ I requested them as we were parting, ‘I don’t know how to thank you for your help’. ‘Not now’, one of them said ‘bye!’
Afterwards, when I came to Prasanthi Nilayam, Swami asked me about our Tirupati trip. I told Him what had happened. ‘Your wife prayed to Trinatha’ Swami said, ‘so I had to come as three persons in three cars. You offered me tea. You remember? I said ‘not now’. I was amazed. ‘Call me by any name, I respond’ says Bhagavan and He did so in our case.
When East Prasanthi was under construction, we came for seva from Vizag. We carried bricks and mortar and other building materials. Swami used to come often to inspect the progress of work. He used to get some panakam (water mixed with jaggery and pepper) and serve it in glasses personally to all of us.
In 1988, I was suspended from service in my Department though I was not at fault. I came to Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami called me for interview. ‘You are not at fault’ Swami told me, ‘don’t worry. You will be reinstated and paid all your dues’. It happened that way soon. I was exonerated of the charges and reinstated with pay for the period of suspension.
‘You were with me during my Shirdi Incarnation’ Swami told me in one interview, ‘and I will take care of you’. In 1992, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam for Sivarathri and worked as a volunteer. I could witness lingodbhavam from close quarters. In October, 1995, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam. ‘Have you seen Super Specialties Hospital?’ Swami asked me in the darshan line. ‘No, Swami’ I replied. ‘Go and see’, Bhagavan told me. I went there. Suddenly I had a problem passing urine. I saw there a signboard ‘Urology Department’. I went in. Doctors examined me. ‘You have to undergo surgery for removal of prostate gland’ they told me, ‘come on October 20’. As we were talking in the Department, Swami came there in the golf-cart which Bhagavan uses in that hospital.
‘What happened?’ Swami asked. I explained. ‘What?’ Swami asked the doctors, ‘you want him to undergo surgery at this age? No. Give him minipress tablets.’ So they prescribed that way. When I went to a medical shop, they told me that it was an expensive drug to be taken all through life. I went for darshan next morning. I got front line. ‘It’s very expensive drug, Swami’ I pleaded with Swami. ‘Yes, but your disease also is quite a big one’ Swami told me. ‘Really I can’t afford, Swami’ I prayed. ‘You go to the hospital tomorrow’ Swami told me, ‘they will change it’.
‘We did not know you are close to Swami’ they told me when I saw them the next day, ‘Swami was praising you like anything’. ‘I don’t know’ I replied, ‘it is all His leela’. Finally, they prescribed a cheaper drug ‘prajopress’. When I told Swami about the expensive drug in the darshan line that day, Bhagavan materialized a silver ring with gomedhikam stone and gave me to wear.’
— Mr. J. B. Madhava Rao.
God is present in everyone: Episode of Lakshmi bai Danghe (Shirdi Baba)
Shirdi Baba too taught wisdom on many occasions, in many ways using many examples. God is everywhere, present in every being. “Isa vaasya midam sarvam!” Meaning, God is present everywhere. Lakshmi Bai Danghe was a very rich lady. Though being affluent, she used to come to Shirdi and clean the ashram and serve the devotees coming to Shirdi.
One day seeing the opportunity, she fell at the feet of Shirdi Sai Baba. Baba said, “Lakshmi Bai, I am hungry.” Lakshmi Bai thought, “O Baba himself is asking me for food today, how I can bear it?” And asking Baba to wait for a while, she ran to her house to get some food. On the way she was sad, thinking, “I have been offering food to the photos of the Lord which do not ask for food and to the asking Lord I am unable to give food promptly!” So she went and quickly prepared some chapattis. In those days Baba used to eat well. He used to eat a pile of chapattis folding them into quarters and eating them in one go. So she made many chapattis and went to Baba and offered them in a plate. Baba on seeing them exclaimed, “Aha! They are very tasty!”
In the meanwhile a black dog came there wagging its tail. Baba called it near and the dog ate all the chapattis while He petted it. Lakshmi Bai Dongle was watching all this and said to Baba, “Baba what is this you do? You said you were hungry. I thought Lord himself is asking for food and prepared chapattis with love and reverence. Right in front of me you are offering the food to this dog. What sin have I committed? What fault lies in me? Did I have any bad thoughts while preparing these chapattis? I prepared these chapattis wholeheartedly and with love. Why are you insulting me thus? Is it justified?” In this way Lakshmi Bai talked to Baba with closeness as if she were talking to her father. Baba said, “Lakshmi Bai, sit down. I have eaten all the chapattis. My stomach is full.”
Lakshmi Bai said, “Baba, how do I believe you? I saw the dog eating all the chapattis before my very eyes and you say you have eaten them. How can I believe it?” Then Baba said, “Man can ask for food if he is hungry. Animals and birds cannot ask if they are hungry. They too have hunger but cannot express it. They too are the creation of the Lord. Hence isn’t it me who is eating when they eat? Do not think that this body alone is Baba. That dog too is Baba. This bird too is Baba. This buffalo here is also Baba. All the beings are Baba. ‘Isa vaasya midam sarvam’, God is everywhere. ‘Eshwara sarva bhootanam’ God pervades all the beings. Why are you limiting Baba who is present in all?
I made you cry thus because of your narrow ideas. Get rid of this narrow mindedness and broaden your vision. Hence, develop a broad mind. Whatever others may do take it as the will of the Divine. Think that whatever, good or bad, happens, happens for your good. It is proper when such good thoughts are fostered in the hearts of the devotees.”
Divine Discourse, 22 June, 1996
Listen to the above quote in His voice – https://goo.gl/Bny7nA
Radio Sai Team