WISH-FULFILLING TREE IN PUTTAPARTHI INTACT...
Those were the halcyon days when Bhagawan used to climb the hill by the side of the river Chitravathi, with His devotees and spend some wonderful moments with them under the tamarind tree. He would ask them, “What do you want?” and each of them would express their desire to have a particular item of their liking. Bhagawan used to satisfy their wishes by doling out to them sugar candy, rosary, peppermint, etc., of their choice from the tree. Thus the epithet “Kalpavriksha” (wish-fulfilling tree) came to the tamarind tree blessed by Bhagawan.
Anyatha Saranam Nasthi, the book that talks much about Avatar’s youthful days has the given below episode about the Wish-Fulfilling Tree.
As soon as Swami set out like the Moon surrounded by the stars, we would follow Him and walk behind Him like His shadow. Some would grasp His robe, some would hold His hand while others kept up a conversation. As we walked, Swami would suddenly disappear! We would then go in various directions in search of Him, looking in every tree, behind every bush and shrub, and even in snake pits! Becoming tired after prolonged searching, we would collapse and call out, “Swami!” He would then suddenly jump out of the bush next to us, crying, “Boo!”. What a wonder! How was this possible? Had we not searched for Him thoroughly everywhere, looking under every stem and leaf? While we stared at Him wonder-struck, He would hurry us saying, “Come on, move, get going!” and run away. Sometimes, He would be on the topmost branch of the tallest tree, calling out to us! Even as we were wondering how on earth He managed to get up there, we would find Him standing by our side, laughing loudly. Randomly, He would pluck leaves from a tamarind tree or some other tree, and place them in our hands. To our utter amazement, these leaves would be transformed into guava or sugar candy! Or else, He would pick a stone from the road and throw it into the air; it would come down as sugar candy!! He could hardly keep quiet even for a minute. We used to feel so zestful in His presence.
There was a huge boulder under the Kalpavriksha. About two hundred people could comfortably sit on that rock. Watching Bhagawan, I would recall the son of Yasoda [Yasoda Bala] Lord Madhava, who in days gone by, balanced the huge Govardhana mountain on the tip of His little finger to save the lives of cows and cowherds. Jumping up to pluck a handful of leaves from that Tamarind tree, Sai would give a leaf to each of us and ask us to keep our palms closed. When we opened them at His command, we would find all kinds of things, sugar candy in one hand, rosary in another and peppermint in the third. He would then ask us to close the palm again and when we opened them as commanded by Him, we would find only tamarind leaves! We would think: “What a pity, I should have eaten that candy!” We would then gaze at Him wonder-struck, thinking to ourselves: “How amazing! How could such a variety of things materialise simultaneously?” He would then clap His hands to rouse us from our stupefied state. Because this tree gave devotees whatever they wished for, it came to be known as Kalpavriksha.
During their walk to the river, Swami and His party of devotees often rested for a while on the rock adjacent to the Kalpavriksha, especially as it provided scope for fun and games. Later, the group would head towards the sands of the river. And it was on the sands that the Leelas reached their crescendo, as we now hear.
Coming down from this rock, we would assemble on the Chitravathi sands at a suitable spot selected by the devotees. After singing for some time and listening to Swami’s Discourse on the pranks of Krishna, we would shout that we were hungry and pester Him to give us something to eat. Even as He moved His hands in the heap of piled-up sands, we would be able to predict what he would be pulling out. We could recognise the smell of Mysorepak [a type of sweet]. Ghee [clarified butter] would drip from it, and it would be hot. He would then place the pieces on a tray and serve us all with His own hands. How am I to describe that taste! ………… After eating the sweet, we would say, “Swami, we are satiated with the sweet. Now give us some savouries.” Our Beloved Swami, the embodiment of compassion would then pull vadas [a savoury dish] out of the sand. Its taste cannot be described even by Lord Brahma. ……… As He kept pulling vadas out of the sand, they were hot and dripping with ghee but surprisingly, not a speck of sand clung to them! How is that possible? Only questions and no answers! He would also extract from the sand pile, rosaries, idols, pendants, and books, and hand them over to those destined to receive them.
The articles that Swami created from the sand were unprecedented wonders, things that could not be procured anywhere. Nothing can stand comparison with those! The idols were made of panchloha [a combination of five alloys], or sandal wood, or ivory, or teak, or silver. He would materialise out of the sands, idols of Narayana, Radha, Krishna, Shirdi Sai, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha, Shatrugana, Nataraja, etc. The rosaries materialised out of the sand would be made of pearl, coral, or crystal beads. ……….. He gave mother a statue of Vinayaka that He created out of the sand. We could not say whether it was made of clay or stone. Not too black, it had a slight reddish tinge. Wonder of wonders, the idol did not have a full-length trunk. When we asked Him why He gave mother an idol like that, He said, “Do Abhishekam [pouring an appropriate liquid] to the idol with milk, every Sunday. The trunk will then grow to the normal size.” Exactly as He had forecast, later the trunk did grow! We simply cannot estimate the value of His gifts.
One day, when we were all walking towards the Chitravathi, Swami suddenly disappeared. Even as we were searching for Him, we heard the sound of a clap; looking up, we saw Swami alerting us, “I am on top of the hill!” It was six in the evening. The Sun had softened its beams and was sinking towards the west. The sky was filled with black clouds, as if it was wrapped in a dark blanket. Swami said, “Look at Me. I shall show you the Sun!” Even as we were wondering how the Sun that had already set come back again, we saw new rays rising behind Swami’s head. The whole sky was now filled with blue clouds and the rays turned red! And redder and redder they became, till they looked fiery; they exuded so much heat that it made us all sweat profusely. These rays were as hot as those from the scorching midday Sun. Unable to bear the heat, we loudly appealed, “Swami, it is too hot!” The heat then subsided. “Oh gosh!” we exclaimed, and were settling down, when Swami’s voice again came down to us from the top of the hill, “I shall now show you the Moon.” We saw behind Swami’s head, the half-unfolded honey-coloured rays of the Moon. Soon they turned white, and became whiter and whiter still. We now began to shiver in the cold; our bodies became stiff and our teeth began to chatter. “Swami! It is very cold!” And as we were imploring Him, the cold began to slowly subside.
On the night of 19th of May 2011, at around 8 o’clock, there were fierce gusty winds accompanied by thunder and rain in Puttaparthi. The impact of the whirlwind was so strong that many trees in Puttaparthi were unable to withstand the gales. Even the Kalpavriksha lost most of its branches, but contrary to the reports that appeared in some sections of the media, its roots and main trunk are intact. Here are a few photographs of the tree in its present state.