Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 3 (1963)
Story - Excerpt from Divine Discourse
The Fifth Veda

Droupadi praying in distress from the assembly hall of the Kauravas is an instance in point. The Mahabharatha proves times and again that the Lord answers prayers that come out of faith and agony in yearning. A cowherder called Maladhasa was determined to see the Lord as He was described in the sacred texts he had heard expounded in the village temple by a pandit. So he prayed and prayed to the “black Lord riding on the white bird” all the time his cows were pasturing in the fields. Eleven days passed, but there was no sign of the “black Lord riding the white bird”. Maladhasa had forgotten to take food and drink during all those days and had become weak - too weak to walk or talk. At last, the Lord melted at his entreaties and presented Himself before him as an old Brahmin. But the Brahmin was not riding a white bird, nor was he black, beautifully black, as the pandit had described. So, he asked the Brahmin to come the next day at seven in the morning so that he may bring the pandit and verify whether He was the Lord Himself. The pandit laughed at the whole affair and refused to take part in it; but Maladhasa was so overly persistent that he agreed. The entire village turned out on the river bank the next day, long before seven o’clock. The Brahmin was there, exactly as he had promised, and Maladhasa showed Him to all. But they could not see him! They began to laugh at the cowherder’s antics and threatened him with a severe beating for bringing them along as butts for his joke. Maladhasa could see the Brahmin clearly, but no one else could. At last, he got so enraged that he walked up to the old Brahmin and gave him a whacking blow on the cheek, saying, “Why don’t you show yourself to all?” That blow changed the entire scene. Krishna appeared in resplendent robes, smiling face, captivating form, and the white bird. As the astounded villagers were recovering from amazement, the heavenly chariot floated down from the sky, and Krishna asked Maladhasa to sit inside it. Then, with the Lord by his side, Maladhasa rose up and was soon out of sight.