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 HISLOP WITH BABADr. John S Hislop was one of those fine instruments used by Bhagavan Baba to spread His Message across the continents. Most of you might have read his wonderful books like 'My Baba and I' and 'Conversations with Sai.' Swami gave Hislop innumerable experiences so that the latter could get a feel for all aspects of Baba's Divinity. Baba also granted Hislop any number of Interviews, answered his questions in detail, came to his rescue during illness, saved him from disaster, created unusual objects for him and once even blessed him with a vision of Krishna. But relevant to this Christmas issue of Heart to Heart is the famous episode dealing with the creation by Baba of a crucifix for Hislop. Interestingly, the crucifix was created on Mahasivarathri Day in the year 1973, deep in the forest! This holy festival was celebrated by Baba in the company of a small group almost in privacy, and not before massive crowds as normally happens. Let us hear Hislop recall the event:

The crucifix was created by Baba on a most auspicious day, Mahasivarathri. ……The evening before, we were told to be ready in the early morning for a trip; and that when the cars were loaded and ready we would know the destination. Swami had decided that only a handful of people would be with Him…. THE CRUCIFIX

Our destination was the Bandipur Game Sanctuary in Bandipur Forest, several hours away from the city of Mysore. We arrived at the Forest rest house in the early afternoon. Later we took various winding roads hoping to come upon one of the Forest's wild elephant herds. ….. the elephants remained in their secret places and not even one was seen. But the drive through the hills had another and more important objective……

As we crossed a bridge above a sandy, dry riverbed, Baba indicated that this would be the place. … The cars halted at the side of the road, and we started to climb down the bank to the sandy river bottom. I was beside Baba. As we passed a bush, Swami broke off two twigs, placed them together and asked me, "What is this, Hislop?"
"Well Swami, it is a cross," I answered. Baba then closed His fingers over the twigs and directed three somewhat slow breaths into His fist, between thumb and forefinger. Then He opened His hand to reveal a Christ figure on a Cross, and He gave it to me.
He said, "This shows Christ as he really was at the time he left his body, not as artists have imagined him. His stomach is pulled in and his ribs are all showing. He had no food for eight days."
I looked at the crucifix but found no words. Baba then continued: "The wood in the cross is the same as the wood of the actual cross on which Christ was crucified. To find some of that wood after 2000 years took a little time! The image is of Christ after he died. It is a dead face."
I noticed something odd and asked, "Swami, what is that hole at the top of the cross?" Baba replied that the cross had been originally hung from a standard.

 A CLOSE UPA short while after the materialisation of the cross, Sivarathri was celebrated on the sandy river bed with devotees singing Bhajans and Baba bringing out a Lingam to mark the holy day and the significance of Creation - quite a change from the normal circumstances under which Sivarathri is celebrated.

A couple of years later, some American devotees asked Swami about the cross materialised for Hislop. Baba replied:

Yes, I made it for him. When I went to look for the wood, every particle of the cross had disintegrated and returned to the elements. I reached out to the elements and reconstituted sufficient material for a small cross. Very seldom does Swami interfere with Nature, but occasionally, for a devotee, it will be done."

The story of the cross does not quite end with its physical materialisation. Hislop had a strange experience a few months later, when the cross was being shown to a few friends. This is what he says:

Within a few weeks we were back in our home in Mexico and were soon to witness an amazing series of events in relation to the crucifix. ….. [One day] the time was about 5 P.M. On this afternoon, the sky along the Mexican coast was clear and peaceful. But suddenly without warning, there was a loud crash of thunder and as our eyes turned towards the windows, lightning flashed from a dark cloud where a moment before there had been only clear sky. A violent wind rushed through the house, causing windows and doors to open and shut with such force that the glass was in danger of shattering. The curtains were flying in all directions. We were much startled by this turn of events, but my wife at once said, "It is 5 P.M., the time Christ died on the cross, and what is now happening is described in the Bible." She later brought a Bible and we looked though until we found the pertinent paragraph, which said that at the moment Christ gave up His life, a violent storm arose with lightning and thunder, and winds rent the curtains of the temple. We concluded that we had witnessed a wonder totally beyond our power of imagination. Before our eyes had occurred nothing less than a recapitulation of events related to crucifixion. The following day, newspapers in San Diego carried a brief story commenting on the sudden and mysterious storm that had arisen without warning on the Mexican coast, near Ensenada. ….A year or so later, I sent a description of the event to Dr. Eruch B. Fanibanda for his book, Vision of the Divine. He showed the memo to Baba. After reading the memo, Baba said that the event had occurred as described and that the significance attributed to it was correct.

Blessed was Hislop to have had this wonderful experience and blessed is everyone of us to have heard about it.

Hislop constantly chanted Baba's Name, right till the very end. As he gave up the mortal coil, friends at his bedside kept chanting the sacred OM, even as the soul journeyed to its eternal resting-place, the Divine Lotus Feet. Some time later, Swami asked an American devotee on the veranda, "Where is Hislop?" The devotee looked up, as if to signify that Hislop was in heaven. Baba then said, "He has come to Me. Good man; always thinking of and working for Swami." There cannot be a better eulogy.


Volume 01: PDS / 08 Date : DEC 15 2003