He has a million names and a million forms, though He is beyond all names and forms, all adulations and attributions. The One whose stature transgresses all the limits and benchmarks set by the worldly, He often comes in response with the most viable and potent solution to his puzzles and problems. Quite often we have experienced this gentle tap from the Greater Heaven in the most unexpected, unfamiliar form. Read on for yet another story of His ‘visiting card’ born out of the pen of the illustrious Prof. N. Kasturi, as published in the Sanathana Sarathi, May, 1959.
Sri Jodi Adipalli Somappa
“Then, suddenly from among the crowd, an old man emerged. He shouted in a loud commanding voice, ‘Give the child to me;’ there were two women and one man with him, who also pleaded, ‘Give the child to him, lady! He is famous as a curer of children’s diseases. He has saved many children from death.’ And, so, losing all fear, my wife handed over the child to him.”
This is from a letter written by S. R.V. on 28th November 1958. The incident happened on 25th November 1958. The ‘old man’ was no other than Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Himself; the two women and the man who accompanied him were also creations of His Grace and Power, whom He had with Him, while He appeared in disguise in His Mission of Mercy! The child is the lovely little baby that Baba is seen holding, in the picture that forms the front-piece of this number of Sanathana Sarathi. (NOTE: The same image is reproduced in this article) Let us now look a little closer at this strange story, this Leela of Bhagawan...
A devotee, S.R.V. from Bangalore had come to Puttaparthi, with his wife and child, for the Birthday Festivities of the Bhagawan, on 23rd November 1958 and he left the Prasanthi Nilayam on the 25th at 12.45 P.M. taking leave of Baba, and receiving from His hands, the Vibhuti which He gets by a mere wave of the Hand, as well as a few oranges.
At 5:30 P.M. that evening, when some devotees gathered round Him at the Prasanthi Nilayam, Baba told them a dramatic tale of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth!’ He said that S. R. V.’s child, Geetha Sudha, called Sudha, for short, had died on the way to Bangalore at 2:45 p.m. but, He had left His body at Puttaparthi and hurried to the place and manifested Himself as an old man and saved the child. His narration was full of details and very clear and devotees who keep diaries of their experiences have recorded every word of it. He said that the child was sleeping on the back seat; that a scratching sound was heard by the mother; that when she turned she was shocked to find the baby stiff and blue and practically lifeless; that the moving car was stopped; that the time was 2:45 P.M.; that the place was between Palasamudram and Bagepalli; that a huge crowd of villagers gathered on account of the wailing; that every one was advising all kinds of remedies and cures; that a bus proceeding to Hindupur came on the scene, was stopped and added to the confusion; that as soon as the bus moved off, He appeared as an old man and demanded that the child be given over to Him, saying that He heard about the tragedy and had come running to the place; that He asked the party for a little Vibhuti, because He was sure they had it; that, keeping the child on His lap, He showed it His real form, upon which the baby, as usual on all occasions when He took the child up in His hands, cried; that He pretended to go through some curative rituals and handed the baby to the overjoyed parents; that S. R. V. thanked Him profusely for His service; that he offered to pay Him a rupee, which He refused to accept; that he pressed upon Him an Orange out of the five or six that He Himself had given him at noon while leaving Him at Puttaparthi, and that after invoking upon that fruit the calamity that had pursued the baby, He threw it away before reaching the Nilayam!
On the 28th November, a long letter written by S. R. V detailing the entire incident was received at Puttaparthi and it was given over by Baba to be read by those who had heard Him describing the miracle, three days earlier, within a few hours of the ‘death’ and ‘re-birth.’ What a surprise it was to read in the letter that the child was sleeping on the back seat (!) there was heard a scratching sound (!) that the body was stiff, that the child was breathless, that the villagers ran in from all directions, that there were suggestions galore, that the Hindupur bus was stopped at the scene (!) and then, the para quoted above! “Then, suddenly from among the crowd, an old man emerged ……………”
The letter continued, “The old man placed the child on His lap and she began to cry (!) He also heated a copper wire and applied it to the brow. We thanked him much for saving the child to accept at least a rupee as a reward (!) But, in spite of our best efforts he refused to accept it. I then gave him an orange from among the ones which Baba had given us while leaving. He asked us to leave for Bangalore without worry and do Arati to our Ishtadevata, Venkataramanaswami as soon as we reached home. I asked him his name and he gave it as Jodi Adipalli Somappa.”
S. R. V. concluded his letter thus, “I am now certain that the Old Man was no other than Baba Himself. I also suspect that the three villagers who asked us very forcibly to give Sudha into His Hands were also ad hoc creations of His Leela. My inference is that Baba must have gone on a ‘trance’ about 2:30 or 2:45 P.M. on the 25th.”
We, who had heard Baba relate the whole thrilling story on the 25th evening itself, have no doubt in our minds that Jodi Adipalli Somappa is no other than Baba Himself, Baba manifesting Himself 48 miles away to save the child!
Om Jodi Adipalli Somappaya Namah. . . Mysterious are the ways of the Lord. Words are of no avail, if one desires to describe Him. The mind is too feeble and instrument to measure His Glory. . . . . aprapya manasa saha!
(Readers may note that the story is an episode from the life of one of the distinguished voices in the carnatic music in India, Sudha Raghunathan from Chennai. Smt. Sudha Raghunathan has experienced the rare blessing of singing in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan on various occassions)