Master of Matter
The Divine Sport of Baba on the
sands of Chitravathi
Smt. Vijayakumari was one of the privileged
few who came to Baba when Baba was very young. There were
only a handful of devotees around Baba in those days and He
would spend lot of time with them. The fortunate souls were
blessed with unforgettable and blissful experiences. Smt.
There was a huge boulder under Kalpavriksha (the Tamarind
tree atop the hill on the banks of the Chitravathi). Two hundred
people could comfortably sit on that rock. Watching Swami,
seated amongst us, it seemed to me that He was verily Yasodha
Bala, Lord Madhava (Lord Krishna), who, in the days gone by,
balanced the huge Govardhana mountain on His little finger
to save the lives of the cows and cowherds of Brindavan.
Jumping up to pluck a handful of leaves from
that Tamarind tree, Sai would give a leaf to each of us and
ask us to keep our palms closed. When we opened them at His
command a few moments later, we would find all varieties of
things, sugar candy in one hand, a peppermint or a rosary
in another. When, as asked by Him, we closed our palms once
again and then opened them, only tamarind leaves would be
in our palms! Ah! What a pity! I should have eaten the sugar
When thinking to ourselves, "How surprising.
How could such different things materialize simultaneously?"
we used to gaze at Him in wide-eyed wonderment. He would clap
his hands to rouse us from our stupefied state.
Because this tree gave devotees whatever
they wished for, it became well known as "Kalpa Vriksha"
(the mythological Wish-Fulfilling Tree). Sometimes, He would
say, "Shall we see who can reach here first after
circling this small mountain three times?" That
was enough for us - my elder brother, Dr. Jaya Lakshmi, Guindy
Leelamma and myself, we were ever ready.
"All right, run,"
Swami would say. While we were doing the first two rounds,
we could see Him sitting imperially and chatting like a king.
But in the third round He would join us and, before we could
finish the third round, He would complete the three rounds,
come there before us and once again sit in His original place.
Victory was His. How was this possible? After loud clapping,
the boys would lift up our leader in their arms.
His energy was boundless. Witnessing it was
a pleasure that has to be savoured by the eyes, not something
accessible to thought or word. Climbing down the hill, we
would all meet again on the banks of the Chitravathi at some
spot selected by devotees.
After singing for sometime and listening
to our Gopadeva's (Swami's) discourse on the pranks of Krishna,
or the stories of some devotees, we would cry out that we
were hungry, and pester Him to give us something to eat. Even
as He moved His hands in the heap of piled up sand, we were
able to say what He was about to pick up. We could identify
the strong aroma of Mysorepak! (A sweet made of chickpea flour,
sugar and clarified butter). Ghee (clarified butter) would
drip from it, and it would be hot. He would put the pieces
immediately in a tray and would serve us all with His own
How am I to describe that taste, it was so
delicious. Irrespective of how many people would be present,
He would go on distributing and the pieces seemed to multiply
After eating the sweet, we would clamour
and say, "Swami! Our mouths have tasted too much sweet.
Give us some savouries". Our Swami, the embodiment of
compassion and love, would pick vada (A savoury prepared with
chickpea flour and fried in oil) from the sand. It was tastier
than nectar, essence of curds, honey, all put together - there
is no use trying to describe it. Everything paled into insipidity
before that vada. As He picked up the vadas from the sand,
they were hot, and dripping ghee, but surprisingly, not a
speck of the sand clung to them! How is that possible? Nothing
can explain this wonder. Again, He would pick from the sand,
rosaries, idols, pendants and books, and hand them to those
destined to receive them.
The articles Swami created from the sand
were unprecedented wonders. Things that could not be produced
anywhere. Nothing can stand comparison with those! Those idols
would be made of panchaloha (five alloys), sandal wood, ivory,
teakwood, silver or clay.
He would materialize out of the sand, idols
of Lakshmi, Narayana, Radha, Krishna, Shirdi Sai, Sri Rama,
Lakshmana, Bharatha, Shatrughna, Nataraja, etc. The rosaries
materialized out of sand would be made of pearls, corals,
or crystal beads. To some, He would give rudrakshas. (A dried
fruit used as a bead on a rosary by devotees to please Lord
Once He gave Sarala, my sister, a black bead
chain with a pendant of Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) as a wedding
gift. Each black bead was encased in an intricate design in
Some years later, when the chain broke, she
took it to a goldsmith to have it welded. Awed by the intricate
workmanship, he said in wonderment, "It is not possible
for anyone to repair this. I am unable to understand how the
golden strands are woven around the black beads. Where did
you buy it?"
Hearing Sarala's reply that it was a gift
from Swami, he remarked, "Then He alone can mend this
chain. No one else in the world can do it.” So delicate
are the gifts of Swami. As for rings, talismans and lockets,
it is impossible to keep a count.
He gave my mother a statue of Vinayaka (Lord
Ganesha) that He created out of sand. We could not say whether
it is made of clay or stone. Not too black, it had a slight,
The wonder of wonders is that the idol did
not have a full-length trunk. When we asked Him why He gave
mother an idol like that, He told us, "Do abhishekam
to the idol, every Sunday, with milk. The trunk will grow
to its normal size". Just as He had said, the
trunk began to grow day by day. It is verily an impossible
task to estimate the value of His gifts.
Sharanam Nasthi – Other Than you Refuge There Is None”
by Smt. Vijayakumari. Page: 52-56.
Published by the author, 1999.
Name the fruit –
The Raja of Venkatagiri was from the royal
family that once ruled over Venkatagiri near the temple town
of Tirupati. He was one of the privileged few who came to
Baba when He was in His twenties. The Raja was a prince of
the old school. A well built man of stately physique, he was
educated in England, mixed in international social circles,
hunted big game and played polo. He had a princely demeanour,
and the manners and speech of an English gentleman. Yet in
religious matters he was a very orthodox Hindu. The Raja and
members of his family have over the years experienced wonderful
miracles of Baba. Here are two of them recorded by Howard
“The Raja's second son was one of a
party of men driving along with Baba by car from Madras to
Puttaparti on one occasion. Not far from Chittoor in Andhra
Pradesh they stopped to have a picnic by the roadside.
After they had eaten the main course, Baba
asked what fruit they would like for a dessert. They proved
to be a very difficult party; one asked for a mango, another
for an apple, a third for an orange, and the fourth for a
"You'll find them all on that tree over
there," Baba said, pointing to a wild tree growing nearby.
They rushed to the tree full of excitement,
for they had learned that anything was possible with Baba.
Sure enough on one branch of that wild tree hung the fruits
they had named - a mango, an apple, an orange and a pear.
They plucked them and declared that the flavours were of rare
The Miraculous Lord
Rama idol for the sands
It was one of the earliest visits of the
young twenty-four-year-old Swami to Venkatagiri. A party of
between twenty and thirty people left the palace in a fleet
of cars for a drive in the country.
Baba, who had never been in the area before,
asked the Raja to stop by any patch of sand they might happen
to see. A few miles further on, they came to a dry sandy river-bed.
Here they stopped, and all sat on the sand around the young
Swami. After talking for a while, He rolled His sleeve up
to His elbow and thrust His arm deep into the sand before
“Then”, the Raja told me (Murphet),
"we all heard a strange sawing sound - at least that's
what it seemed like. I asked Baba what the sound was, and
He replied enigmatically that the goods were being manufactured
Kailash, incidentally, is the abode of Shiva,
the God associated with yoga, yogic powers and divine grace
bestowed on mortals. Many Sai devotees believe that Baba is
himself an incarnation of the Shiva-Shakti aspect of divinity.
As Baba withdrew His arm from the sand there
was a great flash of blue light that spread to a circle of
some ten feet in radius. Then they all saw that Baba was holding
in His hand something about eight inches in height and made
of pure white sphatika (crystal).
It proved to be a statue of Rama, one of
the avatars, together with His consort, Sita. After everyone
had seen this "gift from Kailash", Baba handed it
to the veiled Rani of Venkatagiri, telling her to wrap it
in silk and leave it thus covered until the following day.
When it was unwrapped the day after, the
white stone had turned blue. The little statue now stands
in the Raja's shrine-room - still the colour, he says, of
the blue light that flashed forth at the moment it was drawn
from the sands.
Reference: “Sai Baba:
Man of Miracles” by Mr. Howard
Murphet. Page: 156-158 (paperback edition, 1972). Published
by Macmillan India Ltd.