The Power of Prayer
The Divine Guardian
Mrs.Bhat prays to Lord Subramanya,
and Baba responds
Every Hindu family usually worships a particular
deity as the family deity. In the family of K.R. K. Bhat,
they traditionally worshipped Lord Subramanya. But Mr. Bhat
himself was inclined more towards the worship of Lord Krishna.
Perhaps for this reason, or perhaps because he was very busy
as a top executive in the world of insurance, it was his young
wife who carried out the daily ceremonial worship of Lord
In 1943, Mrs. Bhat developed cancer of the
uterus. Medical men advised an operation though there was
no certainty that this would be successful. Mr. Bhat's widowed
mother was staying with the young couple at the time, and
she said to her son, "Lord Subramanya cured your father
of cancer without any operation; in the same way he will cure
your wife." The old lady's faith was so tremendously
strong that the young couple agreed to forego surgery and
place themselves entirely in the hands of the family deity.
Pujas (worship) to Lord Subramanya were intensified,
the religious practices became even more strict and devout
than before, the prayers more fervent and prolonged. These
pujas were now carried out mainly by Mr. Bhat's mother, while
the young wife remained in bed growing gradually thinner and
weaker. This went on for about six months.
Then one night, while in a state of semi-sleep,
the patient saw in the dim light from the moon a large cobra
circling her bed. Alarmed, she switched on her bedside lamp
and woke her mother-in-law who was sleeping in the same room,
her husband being absent on a business trip. No snake was
found in the room.
Yet as soon as Mrs. Bhat switched off the
light, she saw the cobra again, going around the bed. Almost
immediately the snake took the form of Subramanya, in the
same form as in the portrait hanging in their shrine. He seemed
to be floating above her. Then piercing her bosom with His
velayudha (The spear – the weapon of Lord Subramanya),
He seemed to draw her away with Him.
Soon she found herself standing before Him
on the peak of a high rocky hill. She knelt and touched His
feet with her hands and forehead, and He began to talk to
her. He asked her if she wanted to stay with Him or go back
to the world. She understood this to mean a choice between
life and death. Thinking of her husband and young children
and their need of her, she told Subramanya that she wished
to go back.
There was further conversation, and finally
Subramanya said: You are cured of your illness, and will soon
grow strong. Throughout your life I will protect you; whenever
you think of Me, I'll be there. Now go back."
"How?" she asked.
He pointed to a long winding, narrow staircase
that had opened near their feet, and led downward. She began
to descend - then there seemed to be a break in her consciousness
and she found herself back in bed in her own room, awake.
Immediately she woke her mother-in-law and told her about
the vision. When her husband returned home she told him as
But, she regarded the experience as sacred,
and did not make it known beyond the closest members of her
family. From that night onward she gained rapidly in strength
and there were no more signs of the cancer. Soon, she was
up and carrying on her normal life. Only now, there was a
difference. Now in addition to her household duties and religious
observances, she devoted herself to social welfare work among
the poor and needy. God had given her back her life, and she
was determined to use it fully in His service as best she
It was twenty years later that Mr. and Mrs.
Bhat first heard of Sathya Sai Baba and went to Prasanthi
Nilayam. To Mrs. Bhat, He said, "I spoke to you long
ago - twenty years ago."
Greatly puzzled, she replied: "No, Swamiji,
this is my first visit."
"Yes, yes, but I came to you when you
were living in Mysore."
And He mentioned the name of the street and
the city where she was living at the time of her cancer illness,
when she had the vision of Subramanya. Then He took her a
little way up the narrow winding stairs, which lead to His
quarters above and told her to look down. Immediately she
was reminded of the staircase leading down from the heights
on which she had been with Subramanya: in fact the two stairways
seemed identical. She was more bewildered than ever.
To help her understanding, Swami now waved
His hand and from the air produced a photograph of Himself
in the somasutra (chariot) of Subramaniam with a cobra circling
around Him. Now a light began to dawn on her. God can take
any form, she understood.
He had come to her twenty years before in
the form she worshipped, as Lord Subramanya. Now He was here
before her in the form of Sathya Sai Baba. She fell at his
feet, weeping tears of joy.
Reference: “Sai Baba:
Man of miracles” by Mr. Howard
Murphet. Page: 107-109 (Paperback Edition). Published
by Macmillan India Ltd, 1972.