HIS VISITING CARDS
the previous article on the Avatar we mentioned that from
time to time, swami gives us something called a visiting card.
In simple worlds, he manifests a miracle. Swami often says
that miracles are for 'nidarshana' i.e establishing divinity
and not for 'pradarshana' i.e exhibition. He points out the
role of a miracle in the overall scheme of his plan: first
chamatkar, a miracle. Then sanskar, or refinement. Next comes,
paropakar, or selfless service and finally saakshaatkaar or
the ultimate vision of the Divine. That is, He attracts us
through the miracles, refines our hearts and minds with His
teachings, and prods us along the path of selfless service
which leads us to self realisation.
So you see, He is like the doctor who gives us the visiting
card. There is no use glancing at the card and praising its
beauty and expressing awe at the credentials of the doctor.
One has to approach him, get diagnosed, take the prescription,
follow it and get cured of the disease!
The visiting cards of our Divine Doctor come in many varieties
and colours. The list is endless
but we present to you
a few of hem
the sixties and the seventies, this Shivarathri would draw
unbelievably huge crowds because of the incredible vibhuti
abhishekam [ceremonial vibhuti bath] that Baba performed,
and the Lingodbhavam [bringing out the Lingam] that followed.
Here are two accounts of the abhishekam, one by Kasturi who
was privileged to participate in it, and another by Howard
Murphet the Australian devotee who was simply stunned by the
Baba sometimes performs
Abhishekam or ceremonial bath for the silver figure of His
'previous body' [i.e., the idol of Shirdi Baba], that is kept
in the Mandir. A small wooden pot, artistically carved and
painted, is filled with vibhuti for this purpose. Baba holds
this pot upside down over the idol, puts His hand inside the
pot and twirls it, so as to make the vibhuti flow evenly.
Miraculously, the pot does not get emptied! The flow continues
as long as His hand is inside, long after the original quantity
has been exhausted. The twirling process brings down fresh
showers of vibhuti, from the pot. When Baba withdraws His
hand to switch over to the other one, the flow momentarily
stops; but once the other hand is inserted, the flow resumes!
This goes on till huge quantities of vibhuti have been poured
on the idol, and the pile of vibhuti has mounted to unexpected
N.Kasturi, in Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram, vol. I.
The following is an extract from the diary of Howard Murphet,
quoted by him in his book Sai Baba - The Man of Miracles.
The entry is dated 18th February, 1966.
On the stage is a large
silver statue of Shirdi Baba in His characteristic sitting
posture. Mr Kasturi takes up a small wooden urn about a foot
in height, and filled with vibhuti. This he holds above the
head of the silver statue, and lets ash pour over the figure
until the urn is empty. He shakes it well to make sure that
the last grains have fallen out, then continues to hold it
above the statue with its open top downwards.
Sai Baba thrusts His arm as far as the elbow into the vessel
and makes a churning motion with His arm as women did when
making butter in the old days. Immediately, the ash begins
to flow again from the vessel and continues to do so in a
copious stream until He takes His arm out. Then the ash flow
stops. Next He puts His other arm in and twirls that round.
The ash streams out over the statue again. This process goes
on, Baba using alternate arms, ash pouring from the empty
vessel while His hand is in it, and stopping immediately He
takes it out. Finally, Shirdi Sai is buried in a great mound
of ash - much more than the vessel could possibly have held.
Now the urn is placed on the ground; the miraculous, ceremonial
ash-bath is over."
And finally find out what baba himself has
to say about this event:
vibhuti abhishekam has a potent inner meaning
that Swami wants you to grasp. The vibhuti
is the most precious thing in the truly
spiritual sense. You know that Siva burnt
and reduced to ashes Manmatha, the Lord
of Desires or Kama. Manmatha is the one
who disturbs and agitates the mind, compounding
the confusion that already exists. After
destroying Manmatha, Siva adorned Himself
with the ash, standing gloriously as the
Destroyer of Desires. When desire is annihilated,
Love reigns supreme. When there is no desire
to warp the mind, Love is seen in its pure
form and in full bloom.
- Bhagavan Baba
If the vibhuti abhishekam was a stunning experience, the
opportunity to witness the Lingodbhavam or bringing out the
Lingam was an even greater sublime blessing. Let us first
turn to Kasturi:
Since 1950, Sivarathri
has been celebrated in Puttaparthi, and each year since the
declaration of the manifestation, Lingams have materialised
within His body. Baba has said that He often finds it difficult
to postpone or prevent the formation of Lingams within Him.
Bringing out the Lingam is quite a painful affair, as Kasturi
Baba gives Darshan
during the evening, and then begins His Discourse. In between,
there are spasmodic struggles in the stomach. He continues
with the Discourse until the region of the struggle changes
to the upper part of the chest and the neck. He seems to be
undergoing some kind of a physical tension, and suddenly,
to the joyous wonder of all, Lingams fall from His mouth.
. The Lingams that emanate on successive Sivarathris
differ in number, size and composition
And now, over to Murphet for his description of what he saw.
Once again, it is from his diary entry.
But the big climax
of the day was yet to come, and many people talked to me about
it. They told me that every year, one or more Siva Lingams
have materialised in Baba's body at this sacred period. He
ejects the Lingams through His mouth for all to observe. They
are always hard, being made of crystal clear or coloured stone
and sometimes of metals like silver or gold.
"Are you sure
He does not pop them in His mouth just before He goes on stage,
and then eject them again at the right moment?" I asked.
My hearers looked
at me with amusement and pity. One of them said, "He
talks and sings for a long time before the Lingam comes out,
and it is always much too big to hold in the mouth while speaking.
Last year, it was so large that He had to use His fingers
to pull it out through His lips, and it stretched them so
much that the sides of the mouth bled." Another one added,
"There were nine one year. Each was about an inch and
a half in height. Imagine holding all those in your mouth
while you talked for an hour!"
The Lingam is the transitional
link between the form-less and the form
aspects of Godhead. The emergence of the
Lingam represents the Emergence of the Cosmos
from the Formless.
.. Do not exaggerate
the creation and the manifestation of the
Lingam from Me. In Me who can create the
worlds and fill the Universe, there are
things more worthy of adoration, that is
- Bhagavan Baba
Year by year, the size of the Sivarathri crowd began to increase
until it became almost impossible to manage. And then in 1977,
Baba suspended the Lingodbhavam. Twenty two years later, out
of compassion for the devotees, He revived the Lingodbhavam;
on 15th February, 1999, He brought out the golden Lingam,
Hiranyagarbha. He did likewise in the years 2000 and 2001
The vibhuthhi abhishekam and the lingodbhavam were two miracles
which were witnessed by a large number of fortunate people.
There others which baba perfomed in privte gatherings
such unique visiting card was given in Dwaraka, the holy city
built by lord Krishna
In May 1968, Baba went to the princely state of Jamnagar,
in response to the prayers of the Prince, the Jamsaheb and
his consort, popularly known as the Rajmata. Jamnagar forms
a part of the present Gujarat State, and is famed for its
many holy places such as Dwaraka, the city built by Krishna,
and Somnath where the famous Siva Temple was repeatedly raided
for its wealth by invading hoards and tribals from Afghanistan.
Swami arrived in Jamnagar from Bombay on 14th May by a chartered
plane, and on the following day left for Dwaraka [the city
built by Krishna], accompanied by the members of His party,
other devotees and the Rajmata [Queen Mother] of the erstwhile
Princely State of Nawanagar.
.. The residents of Dwaraka
and Sai devotees from other towns packed every inch of available
space in the Krishna Temple, long before Baba arrived. While
Baba could easily enter the Temple, the others were pushed,
crushed, jostled, and squeezed. Seeing the plight of those
who came with Him, Baba came out and drove away.
While returning to Jamnagar in the evening, Baba suddenly
said, "Look! The sea is here!" The cars stopped.
The party went to the beach where after strolling for some
time, everyone sat down on the sand. Baba then heaped the
soft sand to a height of about half a metre in front of Him,
putting all into a state of extreme expectancy. He then flattened
the heap, and drew a pattern on it. "It is ready', He
said, wiping the sand from His hands. He then dug His hands
deep into the pile and drew forth a bright golden image of
Krishna approximately 25 cm high. It was the image of Krishna
playing the flute, the very acme of goldsmith's art and craftsmanship.
"You did not get the Darshan of Krishna in the Temple;
have it now!" He said. For devotees, it was a moment
of supreme ecstasy.
Did you like these visiting cards of His? Preserve these visiting
cards in your heart and call on Him whenever necessary. He
is always ready, waiting to attend on you!