Many times Sai Baba has said that He knows all about us, our weaknesses and strengths, our past, present and future. And with this all knowing knowledge He can help us improve ourselves if we are willing to let Him. He can guide us through difficult times, protect us, even save our lives if our karma is that way. He can transform us and make us wiser human beings too, but it takes time and we need to listen carefully to His every word.
Sai’s instructions are often subtle. He may be talking to someone else and say something that, if we are alert, allows us to see our own situation in a new light. In other words He uses hints rather than direct commands.
One morning in 1999, in Kodaikanal, Sai strolled along the line of ladies seated in the patient area, taking letters and blessing photos but suddenly stopped in front of an elderly lady seated near me and asked her sweetly,
“Are you leaving?”
With a puzzled look, the lady answered “Oh no Swami.”
He looked happy and said, “good girl, you stay.”
The lady next to me turned and whispered in my ear,
“It’s you that wants to leave, I remember you said so before darshan. I bet He means you.” She chuckled in a knowing way.
She was absolutely right about my wanting to leave. I had remarked to several people before darshan that I felt unwell and perhaps I’d better leave earlier than planned.
Now what to do? I had heard Sai’s instruction to the lady and heard her puzzled reply. Obviously she had no intention of leaving now or any time soon. Could Sai have meant me? I really didn’t know. But His short conversation with the lady had given me much to think about.
Back In the quiet of my hotel room, I sat and thought about the trip. It had been a tough one. My husband had suffered a serious accident a few months before and the trauma of it had left me exhausted and stressed. In fact, I had cancelled my planned trip to India in early March due to my husband’s poor health and my own exhaustion.
Then a few nights later, I had a vivid dream of Sai welcoming me in a warm way, and offering me vibuthi. On waking I decided the dream was a ‘hint’ to go ahead and re-book my trip. Later on that morning I did so, and left on Easter Sunday for Whitefield.
Later on in Kodaikanal, I developed severe stomach problems due to the weather and this only added to my stress. Luckily, the patient’s darshan line is on the ramp which afforded us close darshan of Sai every day. Even so, my stomach problems grew steadily worse and thoughts about returning home were constantly on my mind but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to leave.
The weather worsened in Kodaikanal and we were often out in the rain. On the afternoon of the 5th May, while we were lining up for afternoon bhajans, the heavens opened and there was a torrential down-pour. The lines of ladies waiting outside suddenly surged forward and scrambled for the hall and I found myself swept along with them. After a lot of pushing, the gush of ladies were allowed inside the hall. Being a patient, I was offered a chair and with a large sigh of relief, I sat down. My clothes were drenched and clung uncomfortably to my back and my little silk shawl was so sodden I had to threw it away. I felt uncomfortable and began to make plans to leave again.
By the time Sai came for bhajans I had ‘dried out,’ but the storm continued to rage outside. Thunder clapped and lightning flashed and we shuddered and shivered as the rain came in through the door. Sai, of course, sensing our mood stayed a long time blessings us all the time.
The storm continue unabated through the bhajan and worsened just as we were leaving the hall. I was about to leave myself, when a stranger approached me and said,
“Don’t leave without Swami’s permission.” Her face was serious, her penetrating eyes full of concern.
“Do you mean the hall?” I replied, unable to analyse her meaning.
“Don’t leave.” She said and again she emphasised, “Stay with Swami.”
Astonished by her knowledge of my thoughts, I stood puzzled. How could she have possibly known of my leaving plans? I didn’t know her and only vaguely remember seeing her in the darshan line.
“Tomorrow is Easwaramma day and several years ago, Swami gave us saris and He may do so again. ” She said enthusiastically. “I’m sure you would like a sari from Swami.”
“Yes,” I nodded, “a sari would be a splendid gift.”
Then I turned and ran out of the hall and into the rain with her words still ringing in my ears. Had Sai indirectly, given me another message? His way of telling me to stay – perhaps?
Easwaramma day dawned dull and chilly. I joined the darshan line and sat down with the other ladies on the muddy sidewalk. Cold wind penetrated our wool shawls and we shivered and groaned with the cold. Not only was it chilly and damp it was also very crowded as local people had come for the festival
When the ashram gates opened, the seva dal seated the patients along the red carpet. We had no idea of what Sai would do that morning but our hearts lightened at being given such splendid seats. To add to our good fortune a pale morning sun suddenly emerged from behind the grey clouds.
Sai came out around eight a.m, he. walked slowly along the red carpet on the ramp, while giving each lady a precious sari. He smiled, joked and teased us, love just flowed from Him and warmed our hearts. After all the ladies had received saris, He returned to stroll up and down several times while prasad was being distributed. As He moved slowly among us there were several opportunities to touch his feet. A heavenly morning filled with love, but one I almost missed.
Sai only gives instructions to help us. If we want to make the most of our time with Him, then we need to follow his commands, not only the obvious ones but the subtle ones too. And if we truly believe in Him, that He is a being who has transcended individual consciousness and merged with the Supreme, then we would be foolish to ignore His instructions, however mundane they may sound at the time.
p.s. The sari I received was pink with orange flowers. I never wore it. At that time I did not wear saris. The sari was packed away in my suitcase and stored in the loft of our house. Sadly, when looking for it a few years later, it had disappeared altogether. We searched high and low for the sari but it had disappeared and was never to be found. The truth is that I would never have worn the sari anyway. Sai knew this at the time. Perhaps he decided to take it back…… It was the only time the gift of a sari had come my way. There was never another…………
from the story:
“Then a few nights later, I had a vivid dream of Sai welcoming me in a warm way, and offering me vibuthi. On waking I decided the dream was a ‘hint’ to go ahead and re-book my trip. Later on that morning I did so, and left on Easter Sunday for Whitefield.”
While at Kodaikanal, I had not bought a packet of vibuthi for Swami to bless. I thought to myself, if he wants me to have some, he will create it himself. He did not do so. Instead, a Danish friend, Ann Katherine, urged me to buy a packet of vibuthi but I forgot to do so. Towards the end of my visit, Ann Katherine, decided she would buy me a packet of vibuthi instead. She gave it to me one morning and ordered me to, “take it to darshan.” I did so. Swami blessed the yellow packet of vibuthi with a gentle touch. 🙂