There was a gentle murmur doing the rounds of Mussoorie in the autumn of the early 1980s. Sri Sathya Sai Baba was coming to stay at Oakless Cottage, as guest of Rajmata Prithwi Bir Kaur of Jind. With bhajans resounding in the hills, he stepped out of the front door, on to a foot-stool to get into the gypsy that took him to the nearby Arandale Estate.
Stepping down bare-footed on to the sharp gravel was certainly not the best of welcomes. But he smiled at the discomfort, before giving us some vibhuti and shuffled off to rest. It was all over, you could say, a bit too soon.
Perhaps books on Godmen should have a statutory warning: ‘Of the believers, by the believers, for the believers!’ Then everything shall fall into place. How else can a certain Walter Cowan be raised from the dead in the winter of 1971? Or the plunge into the penumbra of defying science by materialising rudraksha beads, gems, shivlingams and rings by a mere wave of his gentle hands?
We are told: ‘Baba’s day, of course, began much earlier. By His own admission, He never slept; He only pretended to! By four in the morning, He was up and, bath and toilet over, got ready for work. Baba’s routine was something only he could manage. Rain or sunshine, He was up at dawn; never for Him the luxury of a lie-in or a bed-coffee! And be it sweltering summer or freezing winter it was the same plain orange robe that He donned… by seven in the morning He was ready for Darshan.’
But the real miracles are the ones that we take for granted. You have to see the changes he has wrought by bringing water and sorely needed medical help to the backward areas of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. The good news is his work carries on.