Sathyam Shivam Sundaram, Vol 1
The Wave of the Hand

Even as a child, Baba had the miraculous power of getting things from "nowhere". He surprised His playmates by taking peppermints and sweets from empty bags. In spite of His requests to keep this a secret, the news spread among the elders, and when they inquired how He got them, Baba remained silent. Later, when pressed by His friends, He said that a certain angel obeyed His slightest wish. This was, of course, to ward off further queries, because the villagers were satisfied by such an answer. They began to admire Him as a specially blessed boy, to be watched with care and treated with respect. Even at school Baba helped many classmates with a piece of rubber or pencil which He materialized by a Wave of the Hand. When any of them complained of an illness or pain, Baba "got" green leaves "from the Himalayas", as He told the boys, and made them chew them and swallow the juice. Some elders called it magic and even characterized it as black magic, warning the children that they should not have anything to do with Satyanarayana.
It was only after the Announcement that Baba regularly "took" Vibhuti and began giving it for a variety of purposes to all who came to Him. Baba has often spoken of the significance of this Vibhuti. Since it is materialized out of nothing and since the Ash is specifically associated with Siva, it is reverentially known by devotees as Kailasa Vibhuti, the sacred Ash of Siva who resides on Mount Kailasa. It is named Vibhuti since it endows one with prosperity; Bhasma - "ashes" because it burns away all sins; Bhasitam - "brightened" because it increases one's spiritual splendor; Ksharam - "destruction" since it removes danger; and Raksha - "protector" for it is an armor against the machinations of evil spirits. This is how the Vibhuti is praised in the Brihad Jabala Upanishad, one of the ancient spiritual texts. Baba says Vibhuti is also a constant reminder of the evanescence of the body which, ultimately, is reduced in cremation to a potful of ash!
Thousands of devotees and visitors have witnessed the miracle of the Vibhuti. It is indeed an inexplicable, ultra-scientific wonder! It is produced so casually, informally, gracefully, quietly, and so naturally that one might well miss the significance of the blessing. The right palm of Baba's Hand is held down on a slight angle - a wave or two, scarcely noticeable ; the fingers close to arrest the fall of the Vibhuti which has already materialized. The wonder product is handed to the recipient, as a token of Baba's blessings, and applied to the forehead. At an average rate of a minimum of one pound per day, the quantity of Vibhuti thus produced "out of the elements" by His Will must now have reached the astounding figure of over five tons !
Every idea has an inherent tendency to manifold itself in physical form. It all depends on the will, whether it is human or divine. Baba wills; it is done!
The Vibhuti may also be placed on the tongue, mixed with water and drunk as a specific against illness. It may be carried as a talisman. A devotee from South America had written that every night she went to bed with a packet of Vibhuti in her palm. Invariably she dreamed that her palms were resting at the feet of Lord Krishna. It is difficult to enumerate all the curative and alleviatory purposes to which recipients put the Vibhuti which Baba produces by a Wave of the Hand.
The Vibhuti He gives is also of innumerable kinds, suited to the purposes for which created. Sometimes it is in the shape of a hard cube, or often powder, fine, grainy or flaky. It may be fragrant or pungent, salty, sweet or tasteless, white or blackish, or of any of the intermediate shades. Sometimes, when He waves His Hand, it materializes - container and all! When a person left for England for higher studies, Baba gave him Vibhuti in a silver container with the additional blessing, "This will never become exhausted!" His Will, thousands of miles away, can replenish the Ash in a container by a pre-dated expression of His desire. When the Vibhuti is to be taken as a medicine for a long period, as during pregnancy, Baba asks the person to bring a receptacle, and by a light tap on the surface, the vessel becomes full of Vibhuti. When he gathers his devotees on the sands, as at Chitravathi or the river bed of Kaivalya at Venkatagiri, or on the beach at Kovalam in Kerala, or Kanyakumari in Tamil Nad, or on the river Godavari, He digs into the sand playfully with His Fingers. A huge cube of Vibhuti hiding there, He rescues, powders and distributes to all present. He may take the sand itself in both His Hands and pour it onto a plate. That which falls on the plate is not sand, but fine fragrant Vibhuti.
Baba's entire physical frame seems to be suffused with Vibhuti. When He is taken in a procession on Vijayadasami, the tenth day of the light-half of the month Asvina, and other festival days, thousands have clearly seen fine Vibhuti falling from His brow onto His eyelids and cheeks. When He leaves the body and goes to save His devotees. Vibhuti often emanates from His face, mouth, thumbs, toes or forehead. He merely raises His thumb and makes a mark on one's forehead, and the Vibhuti is there for all to see.
There have been instances in which devotees have dreamed that Baba came to them and applied Vibhuti on their brows, and found on awakening that the Ash was actually there! Some dreamed that Baba put Vibhuti on their tongues, and when they awakened, they found Vibhuti in their mouths! Baba signifies His Presence at the residence of His devotees by scattering the tell-tale Vibhuti on the floor of the shrine where His picture is kept. When Baba presents a Vision of Himself to save someone from an impending calamity, He invariably uses Vibhuti to effect a cure.
Once during a Dasara Festival a certain visitor from Telengana received an urgent telegram from home, informing him that his father-in-law had had a stroke and that his condition had created anxiety. Baba asked him not to worry. A similar wire came the next day, and Baba agreed to his going alone, leaving his wife to watch the festivities even though she was the daughter of the stricken man and the most needed at his bedside. When the son-in-law left, He gave him Vibhuti to apply to the father-in-law's forehead. He had materialized it by a Wave of the Hand. About eight o'clock the next evening, Baba was discussing the timings of the trains by which the son-in-law was proceeding to the sick-bed. Quite suddenly He sat up and said, "You have all gone wrong. The train won't take him fast enough. He will not reach the place before 9:00 p.m. Oh! "What a pity!" Then with a wink of the eye, He "left" the body and was "gone." He was "away" for about half an hour. When He "returned," He was so happy that He had applied the Vibhuti Himself to the sick man in Telangana. "Did you use the same Vibhuti that the son-in-law was carrying with him?" He was asked. "Yes, you will know that when he returns," He said. "Ask him, and he will say that the packet was empty when he went to the sick man." And so it was. On return, he related the story of his discomfiture; how he was blamed for being careless; how they rubbed their fingers over the folded paper in order to collect at least the tracings of the holy Vibhuti ; and how they failed in that desperate endeavor!
Baba sometimes performs Consecration or ceremonial bath for the silver figure of His "previous body" which is kept at the temple. A small wooden pot, artistically carved and painted, is filled with Vibhuti for this purpose. Holding it overturned above the image, Baba puts His Hand into the vessel in order to ensure an even flow of Sacred Ash. By contact with His Hand, the flow of Vibhuti continues long after the quantity originally produced is exhausted. Twirl after twirl brings down fresh showers of Vibhuti from the receptacle until the image is emerged in the fragrant powder, and the Ash mounts to unexpected heights. Finally Baba puts the wooden pot away, out of sheer physical exhaustion, so to say!
Regarding the Sacred Ash, another type of incident often occurs, although it is not exactly an illustration of the Wave of the Hand. Whenever a sincere devotee passes away, Baba gives His Darshan at the last moment and enables the person to enjoy eternal peace. On such occasions, symbolic of death, destruction, and the end of the temporary and the evanescent, there issues Vibhuti from the mouth of the person Baba blesses. On Saturday, November 15, 1958, at 5:20 in the afternoon, Baba was reading from a letter to those around Him. Suddenly, with a shout meaning, "Yes," He fell to the floor and was practically lifeless. Ten minutes later He moved a little and coughed three times, but they were not coughs; they were three puffs which emanated from His Mouth, bringing out quantities of Vibhuti to a distance of more than a foot and a half! Five minutes later, Baba got up, and without any sign of exhaustion or confusion, resumed the previous conversation. He was asked to reveal where He had been, and replied, "I have been to the city of Dehra Dun. The mother of Krishna, the doctor, who comes here frequently, passed away at 5:30 p.m. Krishna was there at the bedside. She had placed her fingers on her pulse and announced to all, 'This is my last breath.' They are singing songs of God in that room. She had a peaceful death. I gave her Darshan at her last moment."
On Monday, when the postman came to Prasanthi Nilayam, he had with him a letter from Krishna to Baba. Krishna wrote, "My mother drew her last breath on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. We were chanting during her last hours, which was her wish. She was remembering you constantly!" What a miracle this! Baba anticipated the moment of death, answered the prayers of a panting soul, described at the Nilayam 1500 miles away the happenings in the Dehra Dun room within minutes; even the emanation of Vibhuti, symbolic of the destruction of the evanescent material of the physical body when the soul is freed from bondage!
The Vibhuti is but the continuation in this incarnation of the Udi or Ash which Sai Baba of Shirdi gave as His boon to those who went to Him. Sai Baba of Shirdi used to take the ash from the hearth fed perpetually with fuel, so that He could have live cinders for the Udi, says Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Baba materializes whatever He wills by a Wave of His Hand. He says that what He produces is already in "Sai Stores," and that His "workmen" are so quick, they manufacture in the fraction of a moment even the most complicated artistry He thinks of and deliver it into His Hand!
Once Baba materialized a gold medal to be given to an accomplished violinist whose recital was just concluding. Baba showed the medal to those around Him. Even as they were admiring its size, beauty and shine, He said, "Oh, the name has to be inscribed," and He closed His Palm. Opening it immediately, He showed the medal to all. They were amazed at the miracle. The inscription, "Presented by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to Vidwan T. Chowdian," was deeply engraved thereon in English, complete with the day and the date. Showing the medal to us, Baba said, "See how quick are my workmen!"
Baba blesses artists who perform at the Nilayam during festivals and other occasions with gifts such as rings, necklaces, medals, and brooches. With the Wave of His Hand, there is a special appropriateness in the gifts. Nadaswaram Vidwan, a piper, was given a ring with an inset picture of Siva. It was found that his ancestors for many generations had been temple musicians, that his family had been given certain lands in perpetuity in return for their services, and that the form of the Lord worshiped in that temple was Siva. The Siva on the ring was a replica of the icon in his Village!
"I shall give you a Ganesa figurine; take it home and worship it," He told a visitor. It was an image of Ganesa, the God who removes obstacles, in the standing posture. "You have this form of Ganesa in your shrine room, is it not?" Baba asked as He handed it to him. The man answered, "Yes, it is".
It is not proper for the recipients to weigh or evaluate the gifts. for they are not of the earth at all. Once a musician who received a necklace studded with precious stones started on his way home to discuss its value and decide its worth. It was lost mysteriously; it simply was not around his neck! Chastened by the experience, he returned immediately to Prasanthi Nilayam. Chiding him gently, Baba "took" before his eyes the self-same necklace and presented it again to him.
Things that Baba gives can never be lost. A devotee, while returning to Hyderabad from Puttaparthi, discovered her luggage had been stolen at night, somewhere near Mahbubnagar. She reported this to the railway police. Two days later she was called upon to identify her belongings, for the thief had been apprehended and the luggage recovered. Imagine her surprise when she found every article intact except the rosary Baba had materialized and given her! She sent a message to Baba by wire. Baba replied that the rosary had come to His possession, because it could not be stolen! Who can describe her joy at getting the same rosary a second time from Baba's Hands!
A devotee, C. N. Padma, writes, "It was twelve years ago. One evening Baba took all those who were at the old temple to the sands of the river. After the chanting He called me, and while consoling me about my personal problems, He materialized a rosary and handed it to me. He had already given me one, and I kept it at my home in a silver box. When He gave me another, I was alarmed that my situation may have worsened, since He felt I needed additional protection. So I asked Him, 'Why, Baba, why a second rosary for me?' He said, 'This is the one I gave you last! You left it at home in that silver box; it was 'stolen' yesterday. Here, keep this safe!' It was true. When I went home, I found the house broken into and the Silver box gone."
There was the incident of Srimati Sakamma's diamond ring. Some years ago she had hurried to Puttaparthi for the Dasara Festival. In the confusion of packing, she misplaced a seven-stone diamond ring. Discovering its absence too late for any search to be made, she informed Baba about it. Baba simply made fun of the whole affair, cracked a joke or two, and heartily laughed at her loss. Months later Baba was visiting her coffee-seed-curing factory. Sitting in the kitchen of a small house behind it, and while sipping coffee, He said, "Oh, Sakamma, you want that diamond ring, don't you? Well, here it is!" With those words, He patted the wall, and lo, the ring was there in that Hand! That Hand is certainly Divine!
Sometimes that Hand is dipped in water, and the water becomes gasoline on which a car can be driven for miles. Once while motoring to Bangalore, the gasoline tank became empty near Chicballapur. Baba sent one of the men in the party to a water tank by the side of the road. He returned with mere H2O! Baba dipped His Finger into the can and stirred it a bit. The contents were emptied into the gas tank. The car was driven merrily along mile after mile, the engine not recognizing any difference at all. On another occasion when the diesel oil supply ran short for the dynamo which produced electric power for illumination during festivals, and when it was too late to send anyone for diesel oil twenty miles away, He dipped His Hand in water, and diesel oil was there!
Another miracle of the same nature was performed at Horsley Hills where a few devotees spent several wondrous days in His august company. Every morning Baba went into the jungle to a flat-topped boulder upon which He sat and discoursed. One day, as He walked there, He picked up a piece of rock of a peculiar geological formation; it looked more like a closely packed bundle of dry macaroni. He had the stone in front of Him while discoursing. When He concluded, He said, "I shall sweeten your tongues a bit." He took the stone in His Hand. Amazingly, it had become a lump of sugar-candy, a closely packed bundle of dry macaroni-like sugar-candy. It was as if every molecule of that stone had been transformed by His Will into a molecule of sugar. No one has ever seen sugar crystallizing in long thread-like bits! But this was not chemistry! This was Divine Alchemistry!!
Srimati Sakamma once broke her eyeglasses at Puttaparthi and was having great difficulty. Baba materialized a pair of the same prescription for her.
It was Sri Krishna's birthday festival, a day which is considered specially auspicious. Baba was with devotees at Madras who were making elaborate preparations. The hall was decorated and invitations were sent to nearby friends. Baba came and sat on a special seat, temporarily erected at one end of the hall, near the shrine during the worship. Just before the close, He stood up, and everyone rose with Him. He lifted both Hands above His Head. The throng of devotees was expectantly watching His Hands, for they had not seen Him in that pose during a festival. It appeared rather strange, but before they had time to wonder, He was holding in His Hands a huge glass bowl beautifully designed with birds spreading their wings. Baba placed the heavy bowl near the shrine on the platform. "Special sweets from Brindavan, the birthplace of Krishna," He announced. In that bowl were forty-three different varieties of sweets!
One day Baba crossed the Chitravathi River in two jeeps filled with devotees and drove into the reserve forest. When the jeep failed to climb the road, Baba walked with the party for about six miles along the upper reaches of the river. At last they came to a beautiful area, right in the midst of the forest. There were steep rocky banks on three sides, a large flat slab of rock to sit upon, and the river gurgled merrily along. All partook of the food they brought and drank tea prepared by some enterprising young men. Baba "made" a big piece of sugar-candy to sweeten their mouths. Then He waved His Hand, and all present opened their eyes wide to a miracle. He manifested a packet of photographs of Himself and proceeded to give one to each. There were exactly sixteen photos and sixteen men! Occasionally He has manifested larger packets for larger parties, and always the numbers agree!
Another incident that illustrates the divine in Baba happened at Cape Comorin in 1958. Sitting on the beach with a small group of devotees, Baba asked a person who had earlier in the day purchased and perused a book on the pilgrim center, what the book said about the local temple. He related the story of a diamond which once upon a time adomed the nose-stud of the Goddess in the temple. The diamond shone so brightly that pirates could see it from the sea! He described the pirates' greed and how they carried off the diamond during a raid. Baba asked, "Do you want to see it? It is just a matter of minutes and I can send it back before its absence is noticed." He patted the sand in front of Him - there appeared a huge diamond in His Hand! It was shown to everyone present, then just disappeared from the Hand to which it had come! Every miracle of His is done so unostentatiously, with a smile of surprise lighting up His Face as the object materializes.
A devotee had a rupee note which he had kept because it contained the autograph of a friend. One day, through sheer carelessness, he mixed it up with his other rupees and inadvertently spent it in Bangalore. The discovery of his loss made him morose. A week later, when Baba learned about this, He said, "Don't worry; it has not reached Bombay. I can see where it lies. I shall get it for you." The Hand waved; the rupee note, the same one, was handed over to the young man at Puttaparthi.
Baba bas materialized copies of the Gita and given them to devotees. When He made a copy for an old nearsighted devotee, He said, "See, it is printed specially for your sake in big bold letters," and it was! Giving a visitor, a professor who was a doctor of science, a copy of the Gita "from the sands," He said, "You do not know the Devanagari script, and so it is in Telugu. Take it." He has given for daily worship emblems of Siva and images of Lord Krishna, also images of other forms of God worshipped in Hindu homes. He also produces crucifixes and plates with mystic markings, all iconologically and artistically perfect, and all made by a Wave of the Hand!
He gives photographs of Himself - alone or with Sai Baba of Shirdi - or of the chosen Deity of devotees. Some of these photographs are very unique. There was once materialized a photograph of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa with four Sai Baba of Shirdi pictures on a square in the region of his heart and Sri Sathya Sai Baba in the center of that form! Once Baba gave a devotee a pair of silver sandals which materialized miraculously on His Feet.
Baba takes delight in recommending to inquirers that they chant the Name and meditate on the Form of the Lord which most appeals to them. He has come not to supplant or destroy but to implement and fulfill.
One evening on the river sands a visitor was wearing a badge bearing a representation of a saintly couple, Kusuma and Haranath. Baba gave a short account of their lives and said they spread the message of holy chanting. Even as He was speaking, He "took" from the sands a lovely silver icon, Kusuma and Haranath, standing on a coiled serpent under its spread hood! There was a dot of actual saffron on the brow of Kusuma. On another occasion He gave a devotee who worshiped Him as Siva, a large colored shell with the word Siva-sayi carved on it! Baba also expresses His love and wisdom by encouraging everyone to march bravely along the path he has chosen for himself.
Sandalwood images, silver icons, silver sandals, ivory figures, idols in the sacred alloy of five metals, emblems of Siva in blood-red stone, green or blue topaz or sapphire have all been created and given. He has also given gem-set rings and lockets of different varieties as the need or mood of the moment dictates. Very often when he sees a devotee wearing a gem-set ring, he laughs at him for bearing the burden of a stone without asking for wages! Taking such a ring in His Hand, He strokes it with His Palm. The gem vanishes, and left in its place is a portrait of Sai Baba of Shirdi, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, or both. Or it may be Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, or any of the other Forms of God.
At Venkatagiri there is a sheet of postage stamps which underwent this miraculous transformation many years ago. Seeing the sheet with the earthly emperor, Baba said in fun, "Why do you have a set of such things?" Even as He was making the remark, His Hand gently passed over the paper, and as He lifted it, every figure miraculously changed; the illustration and the price vanished; the picture of Baba was imprinted on every stamp, and the inscription was "Sri Sathya Sai." If He gets the idea of initiating an aspirant with a sacred mantra, He just rolls a piece of paper, handy at the moment, into a sharp pointed needle-like instrument. In a second it is transformed into silver or ivory, with the added decoration of the image of the Deity invoked by the mantra. He proceeds to write on the tongue of the aspirant the mystic syllables and then presents the instrument to the person to be kept as a reminder of the Grace of the Guru !
His Hands have another miraculous power, to increase and multiply whatever He wants by mere contact. For instance, Baba multiplies food when the quantity is insufficient for the people present. He wills; He contacts; the vessel becomes full. One such scene was on Vijayadasami Day in 1950, which is the last day of Dasara. From the town of Anathapur several devotees had brought with them two baskets of freshly plucked Tulsi leaves. They were sitting around the baskets, making long thick garlands with the leaves. Baba passed that way when their work was almost finished and the containers almost empty. He asked the group, half in fun and half in earnest, "Exhausted? Are you game for another two baskets of Tulsi?" They jumped at the idea. He bent down and placed His Hands within each basket. When He stood erect, the baskets were miraculously filled to overflowing with fresh green Tulsi leaves!
It becomes clear why Baba Himself serves sweets and other items on occasions when thousands visit and are fed at Prasanthi Nilayam. He gives food plentifully, and there is always an abundance. Plenty is the hallmark of that Hand.
While on processions, Baba, seated on the flower-bedecked palanquin, takes in His Hand the petals of flowers from the garlands offered Him and throws them over the heads of the devotees. What falls on the ground below? Peppermints, one time; coins, another time; portraits of Sai Baba of Shirdi or Sri Sathya Sai Baba, or of both, another time. One cannot predict what or when! Such is the mystery of that Hand. A number of devotees still possess the articles they collected on November twenty-third, 1950, during the procession from the Old Temple to Prasanthi Nilayam, inaugurated that day. These articles remain unsullied and bright for generations, since they are as substantial as other material objects.
The monk Amritananda related that he was suffering from chronic asthma, an illness which Baba diagnosed was caused and aggravated by incorrect practice of Hatha Yoga. During the months he remained at Puttaparthi, the drugs Baba gave him kept away the spasms and the Swami was practically freed from the dread affliction. Referring to these drugs, the Swami said, "The first two days He gave me Ash which He 'took' by a Wave of the Hand. 0n the third day there came into His Hand a golden-colored heavy powder which He put into my mouth. Then He turned to the four quarters, and with each Wave of the Hand, He 'manifested' quantities of a copper-colored powder which He applied to my back and chest. Afterwards He 'took' Ash and poured it into my hand, asking me to swallow a little when the spasm occurred. Another day He 'took' tender, soft, hairy roots of a plant and asked me to chew and swallow them.
On another day He gave me a midget version of banana which I had never seen before in India, Ceylon, Malaya, or in the Himalayas. He gave me a date fruit without seed! He 'took' a handful of leaves which He squeezed. He collected the juice in a vessel He materialized, then commanded me to drink it.
"Another time He waved His Hand, and I saw a bundle of greenish leaves. He passed them to me with a twinkle in His eyes and asked me to eat all of them. I was shocked to find that the underneath of the leaves had small sharp thorns. When I looked at Him imploringly, thinking, 'do you really want me to eat all this, thorns included?' He melted a little and stretched out His Hand, saying, 'Give them back to me.' I placed the leaves in His Hand; He gave them again to me. There was not a single thorn! Not even a vestage or indication that the plant was of such species. Gleefully, I ate it all. A few days later He called me into His room, and when He waved His Hand, a sizeable quantity of green leaves again appeared. 'A very good specific,' He said, 'coming straight from the Himalayas.' Keeping half of them, He placed the other half in my hand, saying, 'Come on! Chew and swallow.' They were terribly bitter, and I had to draw on all my ascetic strength to perform the task allotted me. Oh, how I prayed in my heart that He would stop with that and not force me to eat the horrible half portion He had kept in reserve! But He showed no kindness and gave me the balance of the leaves, commanding, 'Finish this also.' Reinforcing myself with all my courage, I placed in my mouth the second installment. Could one believe - by longer contact with His Divine Hand the second half had become inexpressibly sweet, sweeter than sugar cane or honey! He laughed at my joy and relief, and I came to know that the ways of the Lord are truly inscrutable." This genuine report is from an aged renunciate, who was long with Ramana Maharshi and who was learned in Veda and Vedanta.
Whenever Baba elects to give patients a medicine or curative drug, He waves His Hand and procures pills, powders, bottles of mixtures, ointments, syrups, oils, or fruits. Sometimes out of sheer fun, He might throw a fruit toward one, and when the happy recipient actually catches the gift, another species of fruit might arrive in his hand! He might make a gesture of throwing without anything seemingly in His Hand. The person to whom the throw is directed must be wary, for a fruit is on its way! When someone was seized with a sneezing bout, He called him to His side and "took" some sweets which He gave him to swallow. When another was suffering from fever for quite a long time, Baba, nearing the bedside, waved His Hand and "took" something which He deliberately placed in the hand of the patient who sat up reverentially to receive it. It was a big bumble bee which flew away, along with the fever!
When a devotee asked for permission to leave Puttaparthi early so that he might attend a convocation to receive a diploma, Baba said, "I shall give it to you now here!" and waved His Hand. A miniature diploma, exactly reproducing all the details of the actual one awaiting him at Madras, was in His Hand!
A Mysore devotee had arranged for family worship of Baba at Puttaparthi on the day of the festival of Gowri in 1961. He searched the village and also Bukkapatnam for all the auspicious articles the worship required. He was able to secure everything except black beads. Baba came for the worship, and the overjoyed couple was immersed in the worship of His Feet. They did not notice a large black ant running over the heap of flowers around His Feet. He saw it, lifted it up gently, and held it between His Fingers. "What, are you offering worship with ants instead of flowers?" He asked in fun. He handed the ant to the mistress of the family; she held out her palm to receive it, but what she received was not a black ant. Instead, through His Grace, from that Hand were given two black beads!
Another astounding example of the divinity of that Hand occurred one evening when Baba casually approached a half-open window in His room. He noticed an electric table lamp on the sill. No one was aware of His intentions. Those present saw Baba wave His Hand. When they rushed near to see what was emanating, He showed them His Palm in which rested a color film portrait of Himself! Evidently, He willed for something transparent to be a part of the lamp shade. He held it up to the light. Some remarked that the background of the picture could have been a little more prominent; some said that the hair was a little awry; one remarked that the face was not freshly shaven! He silenced all such comments by declaring, "My dear fellows, you don't see, it is my photo, just as I am now, with this dress, this background, this half-open window, this door, this door curtain, this switch." As they watched, the wonder grew! It was as if in the millionth of a second, someone had come with a camera, focused it, and snapped a color film photograph, developed, washed and dried it, and delivered it into the Hands of Baba!
One evening at Prasanthi Nilayam, while talking about the kinship between man and other animals, and about the various theories of the origin of man, Baba said that the human animal is more related to tree dwelling apes than to the ground dwelling varieties. He spoke of a tailless, hairless, tree dwelling Simian. When an interested listener, a professor of anthropology, could not quite grasp the type, Baba waved His Hand, and there was a small model of the Simian to which He had referred. The miniature, a work of art and scientific accuracy, is with Him now.
At Thippegondanahalli, the lake near Bangalore, some devotees had enjoyed a quiet morning with Baba. After a long discussion on the doctrine of rebirth and the nature of the soul, Baba materialized a small silver screw-top vessel full of amrita and distributed it to the group. He then gave the container to a man and his wife who were shortly leaving for England. When He noticed the disappointment of the couple at receiving only an empty vessel, He took it from them, and without even the Wave of the Hand, gave it back. It was full of the precious nectar!
Afterwards the party went to the reservoir which supplies water to Bangalore. While the engineer was describing the history of the project and pointing out the two rivers which joined at the spot and the pinnacle of the temple which had been sunk in the lake created by the dam, Baba stood listening at the water's edge. Suddenly He dipped His Hand in the water and then held up His Palm containing some of it. To everyone's surprise, Baba's Palm held a lingam, shining in the sun, with sandal paste and bilva leaf on it, as if He had taken it from a shrine where worship was being offered it! He turned to a member of the group: "Take this and worship it every day. You worship Siva, do you not?" Indeed the man was a member of the sect which worshiped the form of Siva as represented in the temple at the confluence of the rivers.
When Baba blesses His devotees and agrees to their arranging the marriage of their children at Prasanthi Nilayam in His immediate presence, He sometimes creates a golden disc and gives it to the bridegroom to be auspiciously tied around the neck of the fortunate bride. A Wave of the Hand, and the disc strung on a saffron-colored string is there in a moment. Sometimes when the ear-piercing ceremony is performed, Baba even materializes a sharp pointed bent gold wire with which the ear lobe is pierced and which serves as an earring for the child. It is impossible to enumerate all the capabilities of the Wave of that Hand!
When Baba decides to resort to surgery to cure an illness or defect, He waves His Hand, and the instruments needed are there in His Palm.
Another incident shows how the Wave of the Hand can transmit this miraculous Divine Power - to another person's hand. It happened some years ago when Baba was in His teens. With a large number of devotees He had gone across the river to a garden near Saheb Tank. Food was prepared and eaten. The party was returning to the village as darkness was fast falling on the river banks. Suddenly, while they were passing a bush, Baba ahead of the others, something streaked across the sands and coiled itself around Baba's right foot! "A snake, a snake!" arose the cry. A cobra bit Baba's right toe, uncoiled itself in an instant, and fled like an arrow along the sands. Baba said, "Let it go," but those who were angry at the cobra pursued it, desiring to kill it. Baba shouted, "Go," in a commanding tone, and the snake sped into the darkness and was seen no more. Meanwhile the effects of the bite were becoming apparent. Baba appeared faint and fell to the ground. Some men ran to the village to inform Pedda Venkapa Raju. Another, who knew the address of a magician residing a mile away, ran to get his help. Baba made some gestures to one of the two devotees trying to render first aid, to wave his hand. The devotee did so, and felt a thrust inside his palm. There emerged a talisman. Baba signaled to him to apply it, together with the froth from His Lips, to the wound. He did as ordered. Within a matter of seconds a "well" Baba got up, to the intense relief of every one, and began to talk as though nothing had happened to break the bliss of that happy day.
Just then, the parents and others came running with a huge armory of drugs, magic rites, roots, pieces of gramophone records, bottles of specifics sold in village fairs, and last but not least, the celebrated magician who lived a mile away. Baba jokingly greeted them all.
Baba later explained He could have "taken" the talisman, but since He never uses for His own benefit anything He materializes out of His own Hand, He had to convey His Grace to another hand.
It has been said about Sai Baba of Shirdi, "While the devotees took leave, Baba gave Ash as Prasad, besmeared some of it on the foreheads of the devotees, and placed His boon-conferring Hand on their heads." Sri Sathya Sai Baba also does this. His Hands confer the boons the devotees deserve, and have the healing touch to wipe out disease, ward off evil, and rewrite destiny!
Selected Excerpts From This Discourse
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