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Monday, April 25

The Tale of Sathya Sai Baba and the Two Rascals

The incident was recounted to me by the person who was both an eyewitness and a participant, an Indian-American I'll call Ravi.  

Ravi was born and raised in the USA of Indian 'expat' parents who were devotees of Sathya Sai Baba. I can't recall exactly how old he said he was when they took him to meet Sai Baba but he was about 6 years of age. He had no interest in meeting Sai Baba; his interests were baseball and Spiderman. But Sai Baba managed to make a favorable impression by volunteering that he was a Spiderman fan then discussing Spiderman at some length with Ravi.

So in Ravi's mind if Sai Baba was God, as his parents believed, God was pretty cool.  And so a few years later he had no objection when his parents asked if he'd like to attend Sai Baba's summer school for boys. 

When the school ended he spent a short time at Sai Baba's large ashram, Puttaparthi, before returning to the USA. One day while there, he and other schoolboys were talking with Sai Baba in the temple. Then, realizing it was time for people at the ashram to attend darshan (seeing of a deity or holy person, which is considered a blessing) they paid their respects and left -- all but Ravi because Sai Baba kept talking to him and it would have been rude to cut him off.

Finally he sensed that Baba was talking just to talk. Ravi looked at his watch pointedly and interjected that he had to leave because it was time for Sai Baba to give darshan. 

Sai Baba replied that darshan could wait and kept chattering.

That struck Ravi as wrong; hundreds of people were sitting patiently on the hot sand waiting for darshan. He told Sai Baba that it was his duty to put in an appearance to those people and that he had to do his duty.

Sai Baba took him to the window and pointed to a man seated in the middle of the front row of the men's side of the darshan line. 

He said, "You see that man? He wants Swami to kill his wife for him. The man sitting next to him wants Swami to ruin his business partner. Swami can't go outside for darshan today."

Ravi retorted, "You're God. You should be able to figure out how to deal with this problem."

Sai Baba frowned in concentration then exclaimed, "I know! Watch!" He began moving his right hand slowly in a small circle that got wider and wider. As he did this the sand in front of the two men erupted in a 'dust devil' -- a mini-cyclone -- forcing them to squeeze their eyes shut.

Then Sai Baba ran outside and while the men were choking on swirling sand he sprinted along the darshan line, blessing babies in record time and grabbing letters of request offered him. Then he ran back into the temple without the two rascals ever having darshan, whereas everyone else in the gathering did.   


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(So I was wrong, when I assumed at the time I was bitten by a poisonous snake, which was before I met Ravi, that Sathya Sai Baba never ran.)

Now here we arrive at the part in my tales about Sai Baba where I ponder whether I should provide you with my analysis of the incident's social, religious and spiritual implications, or just tell the story. [tossing a coin] Ah. I see you were lucky this time.

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