This is not my photo, although I remember so well Sai Baba posing for photos during his stays in Kodaikanal
‘Diana had been over to India a couple of times with her mother, Analise, and both of them used to talk about Sai Baba’s miracles. I thought they must both be mad, or at least going mad. I seriously considered divorcing Diana. But there was my daughter Chrissie to think of. Anyway, I finally decided that, before doing anything drastic, I would go over and see this “character”, Sai Baba, for myself.
My parents had been show people and I was just about brought up in a circus. I was keenly interested in conjuring, and had seen what went on behind all the stage tricks. I figured that even if this character in India was a second Houdini, I would be able to expose him as a conjuror, and not a holy man miracle worker, as people claimed.
Just before I left Hollywood, I was having lunch with an important guy and – to give him a laugh – told him what I was planning to do. He seemed to have heard of Sai Baba, or read about him – may be in Schulman’s book, or yours – any way, he said: “What are you going to ask him for, Joel?” The idea came to me then.
I answered: “They say this character is God-so I’ll ask him for something only God can make – a rainbow”. He laughed, and we talked about other matters. But I decided that was what I would ask for.’
When asked by Howard Murphet, whether his friend had known any Sai devotees in California, Joel replied: ‘I checked on that later – for the same reason as you ask. No, he did not. He lived in a different world from them. No chance that anyone carried the story to Swami.
Anyway, a few days after that I flew to India, bringing Diana and Chrissie with me. It was early afternoon when we arrived in Puttaparthi, and an hour or so later we went for a walk up that hill behind the hospital. It was a hot, dry day, and we went up for a breath of air. We sat on some rocks and looked out over the country. It looked grim and parched-made me feel dehydrated just to see it.
Then in the western sky a bright rainbow appeared, Odd, I thought. How can you have a rainbow without a drop of moisture in the air? Something else struck me as peculiar. Instead of being curved in the usual way, the rainbow stood straight up in the sky like a column. I felt a bit spooky about it. Had this “character” heard my words right across in America, and caused this phenomenon?
Then the colours started to fade out from the bottom up. I felt I needed a drink. But of course there’s no alcohol at Puttaparthi, and even the water was warm in that season.’
In answer to Howard Murphet’s query whether his wife Diana had known about his unusual wish, he replied:
‘Yeah, I mentioned it to her on the way over on the plane. She saw the rainbow all right – ask her, yourself.
Afterwards, we came down from the hill, and there was a message that Swami wanted to see us. Diana got more excited about that than about the rainbow, but as we had come a long way, it seemed natural enough to me that He would see us on the first day.
When we walked into the interview room, Swami’s first words knocked me out: “Well, character, how did you like your rainbow?”
‘I was too dumbfounded to answer. He knew my name for Him, and what I was going to ask for, and had put that odd rainbow in the sky! It all blew my mind.
Well, I sat with the others on the floor, hardly hearing, and not understanding, what He was talking about. In fact, my mind was racing about like a rat in a trap, trying to find a way back to the common-sense world I knew. Granted he was a mind reader; telepathy does exist between people. It’s been proved scientifically. But the rainbow must have been a hallucination or I had been hypnotized.
“I’ll give him another test”, I thought to myself, “I will ask Him to produce some fresh fruit-out-of-season fruit – right here in this room, without warning.”
A few minutes after I’d had this thought, Swami stopped talking and waved his hand in his usual way. When he turned it up I saw a fresh fig sitting on his palm. He handed it to me without a word.
I ate it later. It was as fresh, as if had just been picked. Yet, figs were out of season and, as I learned later, none grew in that area anyway.’
This was how Bhagawan transformed Joel Riordan and sowed the seeds of faith in his heart. Later He gave him the job of supervising some painting work in the Brindavan Ashram in preparation for the Summer Course that year.
Joel was later fortunate to spend a lot of time staying with Baba and basking in His love and grace.
Another Touching Tale from: Antatha Saranam Nasti (‘Other than you refuge there is None)
Posted on Facebook and brought back memories of that book…
It happened in Kodaikanal, a student along with his grand parents was with Bhagawan along with other devotees. Swami was returning back from Kodaikanal to a devotee’s house for night stay. Swami asked the grandmother, “Will you let your husband go with you or remain with me?”. She replied, “We will abide by your decision Swami.”
After dinner, all the devotees went to the terrace for rest. Suddenly the grandfather said, “Swami I feel dizzy.” Swami said, “Come here!” Swami asked him to close his eyes and lay his head on His lap. And then the old man breathed his last.
Swami turned to the old lady and said, “If you want I can bring him back to life but one thing, no one ever had or will have such good fortune of dying on the lap of God. It is up to you to decide.” She replied, “Swami, let him remain with you, I don’t want him to miss such a great fortune. Swami gave her a smile of reassurance. And thus the old man attained ‘Moksha’.
Reference: “Sai Baba Avatar” by Howard Murphet. Page: 39-42. Publisher: Macmillan India Limited, 1978. Ms. Diana Baskin too records this amazing story in “Divine Memories of Sathya Sai Baba”.