Omnipresence is perhaps the most striking
characteristic of Baba. He makes His presence known at chosen
places and draws the devotees to be there in large numbers.
Manifestation of Vibhuti on different objects and photographs
is a regular phenomenon. Such manifestations of Divine Power
were available for the doubting Thomases at many places at
the same time, the difference being in the substance thus
produced, which could be honey or haldi (turmeric) powder
Baba calls them His visiting cards. Apart
from being a sign of His presence it also assures the members
of the chosen house protection and Divine Grace. A side effect,
certainly more impressive, is the change that it brings in
the way of life of the family members. They are but slowly
and surely tuned to a spiritual life, which was hitherto difficult
These manifestations which we call miracles
or 'chamatkars' are, as Baba puts it, designed only to bring
'Samskar' or refinement in the individual and from Samskar
to 'Sakshatkar' or the awareness of Divine in all and from
Sakshatkar to Paropakar - Service to Society - which is the
ultimate aim. In short these are the basics for the transformation
of the individual, the family and the society - the human
society at large. So the first and foremost benefit derived
from the manifestations that speak for His omnipresence is
the welfare of human society.
Strange are the ways in which Baba makes
His Presence known.
Dr V.K. Gokak, formerly Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University,
a Professor of English of high repute for more than four decades,
Chairman of the prestigious National Jnan Peeth and later
First Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher
Learning (Deemed University) was an ardent devotee of Baba.
Once Dr Gokak was asked to go to USA and some other countries
in response to an invitation from the organisational units
there to speak to the devotees. When he was about to leave,
he came to prostrate before Baba and seek His blessings. Baba
promptly blessed with the words "I will be with you".
Dr. Gokak happily proceeded. But later he was amazed to see
that throughout the plane journeys the seat adjacent to his
was invariably vacant. At first he thought it was a matter
of chance, but when it occurred regularly he began to ponder
over that only to remember Swami's words "I will be with
you". Sai's words never go waste. They are meaningful
and always true.
In the same tour he was about to address
a large gathering in one of the big cities of USA. Orator
that he was, the crowd was expecting a heavy downpour of his
resonant voice in meaningful words, but nothing came out for
a minute or two. Dr Gokak could not believe such a situation
he was in for the first time in his life. Suddenly he remembered
Swami and mentally prayed to Him. And to his great surprise
he found Swami sitting in the front row with smiling benediction.
And then there was a torrential flow from the Professor providing
a treat to the audience. When Swami says, "I will be
with you" we are also bound to be constantly aware of
In the same lecture tour, speaking at another
Centre to a vast gathering of seekers and sceptics Dr Gokak
narrated how Baba had taken the paralytic strokes and heart
attacks that would have been fatal for His devotees upon Himself
and was miserably afflicted. He described in his grand style
how the students sitting below the parapet wall slowly dragged
inch by inch Baba's feet to the edge of the balcony not allowing
the devotees to see the pathetic sight of His body's affliction
in such a graphic manner that it not only compelled the audience
to shed tears but also soothed an invalid old lady who got
to her feet instantly. Such is the Glory of the lord who has
come to wipe out the tears of millions.
In this context it is necessary to have Baba's
own explanation on Miracles. The Maharashtra Branch of the
Prashanthi Vidwan Mahasabha had gathered at the residence
of the then Minister of Agriculture Shri P.K.Sawant on the
14th of June 1968 to take advantage of the Presence and to
get some of their doubts clarified. Some newsmen also had
joined the assembly including the Editor of 'Navkaal', a Matathi
newspaper. About miracles Baba came out with an appropriate
answer: "It is wrong to call them miracles or chamatkars.
Or to say that chamatkars are done to earn namaskars! It is
only Nidarsan (evidence) not pradarsan (exhibition). It is
just like a play, sport - my natural behaviour. It is sign
which helps to turn into faith, devotion, inquiry and realisation
of their own Atma. As the intention or will arises in the
mind, the thing is made. It is ready when I want it. The moment
it is willed the thing comes to hand or happens where I will
it to happen."
The Omnipresent Sai has separate methods
of offering consolation and protection to each of His devotees.
Alf Tideman Johanessan of Oslo, Norway was the Head of a big
shipping agency at Bombay Harbour. His opponents became jealous
of his prosperity and they did everything against him including
black magic. A Parsi priest and another friend took him to
the Shrine of Shirdi to seek refuge. In February 1966 a desperate
Alf sitting at the tomb was gently patted by a short man in
blue shirt and whispered in his ear about Sri Sathya Sai Baba
asserting He is God on earth. He gave Alf a small locket studded
with the portrait of Baba saying 'this is Sathya Sai Baba,
you can see Him at Bombay on March 14th. The man just went
away. His enquiry about Baba did not bring him any information.
It was only after one week that the local Sathya Sai Seva
Samiti received information regarding Baba's visit to Bombay.
Baba reached Bombay after the midnight on 13th March and Alf
secured His Darshan on 14th morning at Gwalior Palace. And
in the interview that followed Baba related to him all his
personal problems Himself and told him "From now on.
I shall be your guide on all matters."
In 1983 Shri V.K. Narasimhan, Editor, Sanathana
Sarathi was directed by Baba to attend an international conference
organised by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation of Italy scheduled
for 30-31st October, 1983. It was only on 24th that Shri Narasimhan
was informed that he should board the plane on 28th from Bangalore.
On 27th Baba called him and asked him to proceed to Bangalore
for the journey on 28th. And he started for Bangalore after
doing 'Padanamaskar' to Swami. His papers were not ready till
then, but he got them just before three hours of his flight.
He hurriedly went to Whitefield, packed his luggage and reached
the Airport to board the plane, which landed him safely at
Rome. On 29th Dr Pawan of Australia who was producing a magazine
on behalf of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation of Australia
sought the opinion of Sri Narasimhan on the manuscript. When
Shri Narasimhan looked for his specs (for the first time after
he started) only did he realise that it was left behind at
Whitefield at the time of last minute packing. It was a shock
for him. He had no option but to pray wholeheartedly and fervently
for Baba's help to save him from the situation which was more
grave because of the conference next day for which purpose
alone he reached Italy. His intense prayer was promptly responded.
Just as he completed the prayer the specs fell from above
between him and Dr Pawn on the sofa they were sitting on,
much to the great surprise and relief of both - the same specs
with black frame which Narasimhan left behind at Whitefield.
When returned to Prashanthi Nilayam Swami told him "I
only had delivered your specs in no time from Bangalore to
Rome." Baba is beyond Time and Space. He is omnipresent.
A devotee used to worship Baba in his shrine
reciting everyday the 108 Names and on Thursdays the 1008
Names. As he completed this ritual he would prostrate head
long before Baba's picture imagining His Lotus Feet in his
clasp. And he remained in ecstasy for a few minutes in this
pose, his eyes filled with tears of joy. Sometime later when
he visited Prashanthi Nilayam Baba granted him an interview
and lovingly told him " Look at my feet and see the width
of space I require to place both feet comfortably on the ground.
When you clasp my feet after your daily prayers your palms
do not open wide enough; I have to keep my feet cramped between
them everytime you call me. Keep them a bit wider." His
reply was a cascade of tears. What more proof is required
for the Lord's omnipresence?