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As Omnipresent

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 as well.

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 to practise.

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 His company.

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?