How Baba cured Himself and revealed
the Secret of His Advent
On the sixth day of July 1963, at about 6
p.m., an astounding miracle took place in the prayer Hall
of Prasanthi Nilayam. This was a seismic event that enlarged
the bounds of faith and instensified the ardour of devotion.
This was also the occasion when Bhagawan revealed the secret
of the triune Sai Avatar revealing Himself to be the incarnation
of the Shiva-Shakti principle. Prof N.Kasturi who witnessed
this phenonmenal event writes
It all began on the evening of 28th June,
when Baba asked me to announce that He would not grant interviews
for a week. No one could guess why, for there was nothing
out of the ordinary in the events of the day. On Saturday,
29th June at 6.30 am, while moving into His room on the first
floor from the southern verandah, Baba spoke of a "reeling
sensation" and suddenly fell on the floor. I was with
Him then; but though I held Him with my hand, I could do little
to soften the impact of the fall.
Even as He fell, the left hand clenched;
the left leg stiffened; the toes became taut. Evidently, He
had taken upon Himself in His Infinite Mercy, the stroke of
paralysis destined to incapacitate or perhaps kill, some saintly
Having seen Him while taking on the typhoid
fever, the gastric pain, the bleeding ear, the mumps, and
even the stroke, I awaited with Raja Reddy (another ardent
devotee) the moment of His coming to, when we could get from
Him the name of the person and of the place to confirm our
The face twitched and muscles drew the mouth
to the left ... the tongue lolled. The left eye appeared to
have lost its sight. We whispered to each other about His
postponement of interviews for one week! Baba seemed to have
known that some one had to be rescued that morning.
As the clock ticked the minutes away and
the hour hand moved relentlessly on, our anxiety thickened
into fear. Gloom filled the room and spread gradually all
round the Nilayam. Dr. B.G. Krishnamurthi said that Baba was
'in coma', that Baba showed symptoms of 'apoplexy'.
The jaws were locked tight; the pulse rate
was ranging from 84 to 100. That doctor, while treating patients
in the Sathya Sai Hospital, placed more reliance on the curative
value of the Vibhuti blessed by Baba than on the efficacy
of the drugs the shelves contained. Now that He found Baba
stricken, he could only pray to Him to cure Himself.
Meanwhile, some one who feared that the illness
was genuine hastened by car to Bangalore (106 miles off) and
brought with him, late at night, Dr. Prasannasimha Rao, the
Assistant Director of Medical Services, Mysore. Let the doctor
relate what he saw. I shall quote from his letter:
"It was on the afternoon of the 29th
of June that I was summoned urgently to the feet of Sri Sathya
Sai Baba at Puttaparthi. I sped on, in the company of my brother-in-law
Sri Kesav Vittal, to witness a spectacle of extreme pain and
suffering at Puttaparthi.
We reached the precincts of the holy place
after midnight. Anxious as I was to learn the full details
of the incident that caused the summons, it was His Will that
I should contain myself till the next morning. Next morning,
when I was taken into the room on the first floor of the Nilayam,
I saw there lying prostrate the physical form and body of
Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in a posture assumed by a patient, in
Respiration was hissing, at times; the left
side of the body, the upper and lower limbs were rigidly held
in a position of extensor tone. There were gross twitchings
of the face, occasionally on the right side. The head would
be suddenly tossed to one side or the other, with a groan
of anguish and the utterance of incomprehensible syllables,
which was the result of an impairment of the faculty of speech.
After an analysis of the signs and symptoms
and the history of the case, I had to infer that the semi-comatose
conditions and the posture assumed could only be due to a
space-occupying condition in the cranium with localizing signs
of predominance over the right half of the brain in the frontal
area. The differential diagnosis of such conditions in a person
of about thirty years, after excluding remote possibilities,
pointed to 'tubercular meningitis', with perhaps a tuberculoma.
The treatment was one of energetic antitubercular
measures, with symptomatic supportive treatment by intravenous,
substitution and replacement to maintain ionic balance and
nutrition. A diagnostic lumbar puncture was an immediate necessity,
for professional assessment of the case. My attempts to administer
glucose solution intravenously was, by a gesture and movement
of the body, foiled completely by Baba, leaving me utterly
bewildered and helpless, in the face of His Will.
Having completely resigned to His Will, I
returned to Bangalore on Sunday evening bereft of all hopes
of having His Darshan again, in the physical form assumed
by Him for this Incarnation."
Baba was 'unconscious' all the time; He evinced
only faint gleams of awareness as when He pushed away the
doctor's hand when the injection was attempted. The body perspired
a great deal but He could be given only a few spoonfuls of
water, the spoon being inserted, after pressing the jaw apart.
He was apparently severely exhausted.
Moreover He suffered from what Dr. Krishnamurthi
named 'angina pectoris', paroxysms of intense pain, originating
at the breast bone and radiating thence mainly to the left
shoulder and arm. The physical frame groaned. Inmates of the
Nilayam standing tip-toe under the window heard and wept.
To relieve the exhaustion, we could give only occasional drops
of glucose water of lemon juice, forcing apart the tightly
On Monday, Baba intensified the atmosphere
of tragedy. Summoning near His bed some residents of the ashram,
He gestured and lisped to make them understand that the tasks
allotted to them should be carried out with undiminished ardour.
It was a heart-rending experience - to catch those indistinct
sounds and interpret them. He warned us not to frighten the
other devotees. "Deal gently with them. Talk
sweetly to them", He seemed to say.
"Give them Vibhuti, ask them to leave for home and come
some other time".
He declined medicine and nursing, brushing
aside angrily the spoon, which had a few drops of coramine.
He insisted on going to the bathroom Himself, though He had
to be lifted or drawn over two doorsills. The pulse registered
danger after each such hazardous journey, the Doctor and we
could only wring our hands and pray.
The fact that it was a stroke of paralysis
could not be announced and so, a variety of rumours circulated
in and around the Nilayam to explain the ominous gloom. The
wildest of these was that Baba was under the maleficent influence
of black magic! Others surmised that He had gone into Samadhi;
still others guessed that He had taken a vow of silence and
inaction. Perhaps the villagers of Puttaparthi were more competent
interpreters, for they had known of His 'unconscious' days
at Uravakonda when He had 'gone out' of His Body to save a
devotee from calamity. They said, Baba was about to enter
a new chapter in His history, as He had done after that incident
at Uravakonda while in His teens.
Tuesday arrived. Baba showed signs of consciousness,
more often and for longer periods. Referring to the visit
of the Doctor, He said, "He can only take Darshan
and leave. Injections are inadvisable in such cases. This
will last five days in all. Tomorrow, the pain will be less.
I had two heart attacks, these three days. You must have heard
the groans. No one else could have survived".
He gestured and smiled.
Dr. B. Sitharamayya, who was the Medical
Officer in charge of the Nilayam Hospital, had been summoned
by a telegram. He came on Tuesday evening to the bedside.
Tuesday night was filled with fear, for Baba groaned causing
us excruciating agony.
Wednesday dawned, dark and dismal. About
9 am, Baba, who was extremely exhausted, showed signs of sinking.
He struggled for breath; hiccups tormented Him. The 'parents'
could not contain their sorrow; the 'brothers' and 'sisters'
were wallowing in grief. We tottered and wept aloud like panic-stricken
babies. They could not decide whether, at this awful hour,
they could stoop to the sacrilege of bringing to Prasanthi
Nilayam a Doctor from Anantapur or Bangalore. Was it right?
Was it pardonable? Was it not urgently needed? Could any doctor
be of use? What a tremendous responsibility this ... on our
aged shoulders! We gathered under the mango trees and, with
tears streaming down our cheeks, weighed the pros and cons.
Just then, glad tidings arrived! Baba had
regained consciousness; the hiccups had lost their vigour
- two hours later, we had a tragic jolt. His breathing worsened;
He gasped and rolled. His feet and palms became cold. We prayed
to Him amidst sobs; we got no sign to encourage us. The Doctors
sat on the floor and leaned against the wall, resting on their
hands their heavy heads. For four full hours, Baba broiled
us thus, in mortal anguish. Then He opened His eyes looked
around, and smiled at us!
About an hour later He beckoned us and told
us in His pathetically ineffective vocabulary, supplemented
by gestures with the palsied right hand, the events of those
four hours. We understood Him to say. "The mind
is a thousand petalled lotus, each petal directing it outward
into some facet of the objective world. In the very center
of the lotus is the Flame of the ‘I’ principle.
The flame is ever unsteady, veering now towards one petal,
now to another, but if through the exercise of Will you keep
it steady and straight, the ‘I’ is unaffected
by the events that happen to the body."
Some one quoted the words from the Narayana
Suktam, "Neela thoyada madhya-sthaad, vidyullekheva
bhaaswaraa, thasyamadhye vahni sikhaa" (In the center
of the blue cloud, shining like a streak of lightning, with
the tongue of fire in its center) Baba nodded approval. "During
those four hours, I held the flame straight. I was away, apart.
I was watching the body from above, Myself unconcerned, unaffected."
About 7 pm, Baba gestured: "All of you should
sleep round here, this night"! It betokened a crisis.
"Will there be a heart attack, this night?"
Some one dared to enquire. Baba replied 'yes'.
That night was the longest, the darkest and the most dreadful
in the lives of us, fifteen mortals. The heart attack happened;
we listened to the groans. We prayed to Baba to assuage the
pain and assure us of victory in the struggle.
At last, the Day of Relief. Thursday, the
sixth day, when as He had told us, the pain 'will lose its
severity' and the attacks on the heart 'will cease'! The Sun
rose over the hills across the Chithravathi. Baba announced
that the pain as well as the 'burning sensation in the chest
had gone'. The very first order He gave after this declaration
was: "Arrange now for all the devotees to get
Darshan; they are broken by despair". We pleaded
that the Darshan be granted two days later, on Saturday (Guru
Pournima Day) when thousands gather at the Nilayam to pay
homage to their Guru, Master and Teacher. We hoped that He
could recoup Himself more to bear the strain that Darshan
Baba asked me to announce at the Prayer Hall
that Darshan will be granted to all on Guru Pournima. I had
to do it after the morning bhajan sessions at 9 a.m., Thursday.
Baba reprimanded me, for I came away making a short statement,
without any detail about the illness. He insisted on my giving
the assembled devotees an accurate description of His physical
condition, so that they could prepare themselves.
I announced the condition of His leg, hand,
eye, tongue, and face in Telugu but I broke down when I saw
the agony on the faces that learnt for the first time the
awful truth. I had to repeat the announcement in English,
Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam, but I could not.
That night, Baba conveyed another bit of
good news; "The clot in the brain is dissolved."
We prayed to Him to 'will' to be His normal self: He was our
refuge in distress; so when the distress was caused by His
own play that was the only prayer we knew.
Throughout Friday and even during the morning
hours of Saturday, we attempted to persuade Him to give up
the plan to give Darshan in the Prayer Hall on the ground
floor. Some one appealed to Him to allow us to announce to
the gathering that He will render Himself hale and hearty
before Dasara, a hundred days ahead; another ventured to pray
that He should cure Himself fully by Krishna Janmashtami (celebration
of Krishna's birthday), which was forty days later. Baba seemed
to resent the proposals; He only shook His head.
The Prayer Hall was packed, as never before.
People from many villages around Puttaparthi, who had come
to know that Baba would be granting Darshan, came in large
numbers. The broad spaces around the Nilayam were filled.
Baba was carefully brought down the circular steps (18 in
all) to the ground floor.
Major Dr. M. Bhanu of the Government Hospital,
Palladam, writes, "I saw Baba moving out with the help
of three devotees, His left leg lifted gently over the doorstep
by one of them. He had a kerchief around His head to bind
the halo of hair that had gone awry and to hide the twitching
of the facial muscles, from the eyes of devotees. His gait
was the characteristic hemiplegic one, the paralytic left
leg being dragged in a semi-circle, the toes scraping the
floor. Seeing Baba in that condition, even the bravest wept
aloud". The wail was so sudden and so loud that we were
angrily blamed by many who inferred that it was the end; they
cursed our bravado in putting the most precious Life on earth
to this risk.
"Why did you bring Him down?" they
Baba was placed in the Silver Chair, propped
up by pillows. As soon as He was placed in position, a pillow
was placed over His chest and the limp left hand was lifted
by Raja Reddy and placed on it. Seeing this, there arose a
gasp from every breast. Baba signaled to me and I knelt at
His side to catch what He was trying to tell me. After repeating
to Him what I had guessed to be His Message and ascertaining
that I had understood Him aright, I announced to the grief-stricken
gathering of about 5000 people: "Do not grieve!
This is not My ailment. This is an ailment I have taken over.
I can never fall ill; No, Never. Do not feel dispirited. If
you lose heart, it will pain me."
Then, He signed to me to speak to them for
some length, and signed that He will speak again, after me.
Many felt that He had exerted too much already: they feared
the consequence of a further adventure in speaking with impaired
I called upon every one to pray to Baba,
(propped on pillows on the Silver Throne) the only refuge
we knew, to cure Himself at least by the next New Moon ...
for "the Full Moon today is blocked out for us by this
unbearable sorrow. Let the next New moon become a Full Moon
for us all and for the world."
Baba signed that the mike be held near His
lips. Slowly, He whispered into it, in thick-tongued syllables,
"Vinupisthundaa?" But even we who had learnt to
decipher the mushy paralytic alphabet could not make out what
He was trying to say. He repeated it twice. Then, some one
caught it and repeated it on the mike. Baba was asking them,
"Can you hear Me?"
This raised another groan: He was heard but,
alas! it tore their hearts. It was too indistinct. Evidently
Baba was too tired by that attempt to speak, for He gestured
for water to drink. It was brought soon by Kishtappa, in a
silver tumbler, and held to his lips by Raja Reddy.
His palsied right hand came towards it ...
He tried to hold it ... His fingers slipped into it ... the
fingers dipped ... He sipped a few drops ... He sprinkled,
with the fingers of the right hand, a little water on the
limp left hand on the pillow above His chest ... He sprinkled
the water, faintly shaking the fingers, on the left leg too.
He stroked the left hand with the right. And WITH BOTH HANDS,
stroked the left leg. He rose; the pillow fell off; we could
hear His divine voice calling us, as was ever His wont, "Premaswaroopulaaraa!"
He had begun His Guru Pournima Discourse!! O, we had our Baba
back again, hale, hearty, holy, healthy, heavenly .... .
People did not believe their eyes and ears.
But when they realized that Baba was standing before them,
speaking, they jumped about in joy, they danced, they shouted
‘Jais’, they wept; some were so overcome with
ecstatic gratitude that they laughed hysterically and ran
wild amongst the crowds rushing in.
Oh! it was the miracle of miracles. It shot
us in an instant from the deepest pit of gloom into the Seventh
Heaven of Delight. Major Bhanu writes, "The Doctor of
Doctors cured Himself in a trice, leaving me aghast with wonder".
of Love!) "Dikku lenivanikki Devude Gathi", Baba's
silver voice awakened all to attention. (“For him who
has no refuge, God is the refuge”). That is the reason
I had to take on this disease that one forlorn Bhaktha (devotee)
was to suffer from. He would not have survived it, nor could
he come through the four heart attacks I took on. My Dharma
is Bhaktharakshana (to protect the devotees). I had to rescue
him. Of course, this is not the first time I have taken on
the illness of those I want to save. Even in the previous
Sariram (body) at Shirdi, I had this responsibility. This
is My leela; My nature. It is part of the task for which I
have come, Sishtarakshana (protection of the good)".
(Had He not declared at Shirdi as Sai Baba, "The sea
may turn the rivers back! But I will not neglect My devotees").
He spoke for over an hour with the same eloquence,
the same compassion, the same humour, and the same love that
He evinces always. Then, raising the voice a little, He said,
"I have been keeping back from you all these
years one secret about Me; the time has come when I can reveal
it to you. This is a sacred day. I am Shiva-Shakti born in
the gothra (lineage) of Bharadwaja (a great sage), according
to a boon won by that sage from Shiva and Shakti. Shiva Himself
was born in the gothra of that sage as Sai Baba of Shirdi;
Shiva and Shakti have incarnated as Myself in his gothra now;
Shakthi alone will incarnate as the third Sai (Prema Sai Baba)
in the same gothra in Mysore State."
This illness has to be borne by Shakti (the
consort of Shiva), for She incurred the ire of Her Lord by
neglecting to notice Bharadwaja who had waited for eight days
at Kailash, their Home for an audience. As a consequence of
the neglect, Bharadwaja had suffered a stroke; Shiva sprinkled
the restorative water and cured him. Today, you saw the illness
of Sakthi (the left half) cured by Shiva (the right half)
by the same means. These matters are beyond human ken; so,
I had kept it away from you so long, but now that within the
knowledge of so many, Sakthi suffered and Shiva saved, it
is time you knew this. The Bhaktha who was saved by My 'taking
over' is only the 'immediate' cause; the 'remote' cause is
the boon and the retribution, Baba declared.
After this disclosure, Baba sang a few songs,
which He wanted the congregation to repeat in chorus. When
He started off in double quick tempo the lines, "Hara
Hara Shiva Shiva Subrahmanyam, Shiva Shiva Hara Hara Subrahmanyam,
Shiva Saravanabhava Subrahmanyam, Guru Saravanabhava Subrahmanyam"
Dr. Bhanu rushed in but let him explain why he did so.
"I forgot I was a volunteer posted outside
to keep the crowd in check; I rushed inside to fall at His
feet and pray to Him, not to continue that song, I was afraid
if His tongue performs the acrobatics, so soon after it regained
its normalcy, it might fail and suffer a relapse. But at the
very door, I held myself. I remembered the miracle I had seen
with my own eyes. I remembered the sweet voice that was won
back in a trice, I kept mum. Who was I to check God? I controlled
myself and stayed outside."
Baba ascended the steps to the first floor
with His usual agility. He announced from the verandah above
to the gathering that He would grant every one of them the
chance to touch His feet at Namaskaram the next day at 6.30
am. He partook of normal food that night. No one slept: the
miracle they witnessed kept them awake in ecstasy. Oh! within
a split second, Baba had given Himself back to the world.
Next evening too He gave a discourse. He
pitied those who revel in bad news and are eager to circulate
it. He declared, "From this day, nothing and
no one can stop or obstruct or delay the work for which this
Avatar has come. During a previous Advent (Krishna), only
one mountain, the Govardhan, was lifted; this Avatar will
lift many ranges. This Ganga (river of his mission) will roll
majestically on, feeding the roots of all mankind."
Referring to this mighty miracle, Baba said,
a few weeks later, "Rescuing a true Bhakta is My Dharma.
My Very Nature. Some one asked me whether it was right on
My part to plunge thousands into grief, in order to rescue
one. Such numerical calculations cannot apply to acts of Grace.
I act My Dharma, regardless of how it affects anyone.”
Shivam Sundaram”, Volume – II by Prof. N
Kasturi. Page 78-91. Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books
and Publications Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam.