This is a story about Krishna.... In a way, the story was not completed until November, 1975.
A number of years ago, 1 was in Bhagawan's car. He was in the rear seat with two persons, one on each side of Him. I was in the front seat, with the driver. We were on our way to Puttaparthi.
Driving in the car with Swami is a fascinating experience. Not only is there the thrill of being close to the Divine Lord Himself, but, sometimes He will give you the opportunity to ask questions. Sometimes, He engages in animated conversation in Telugu with the companions. Sometimes, He indulges in jokes with one or other of them. Sometimes, He remains silent, making the characteristic gesture with His Hand that seems to indicate that He is giving attention to something quite unknown to us. And, very often, He sings bhajans, with every one in the car joining in the chorus (except me, who has a musical voice, akin to the crow). The net result of all this enthralling activity is that my neck is constantly being twisted in order to see what is going on in the back seat. Swami understands my plight, but, does not advise me to desist; He allows me the liberty to turn round. Of course, I do not stare all the time. I look only so long as I dare and then I resume my posture, turning to the front again. So, my looking at Swami is intermittently back and forth.
At some point in the journey, maybe about half way, Swami was talking and I turned to look. My breathing stopped and I was transfixed! I could not credit my eyes. His devotees see Swami's Face as beautiful indeed, although the chief impression I receive from His feature is that of Power and Majesty.
What transfixed my movement and stopped my breathing was Swami's Face... The Swami I know was not there! Instead, there was a Face of the most extraordinary beauty, quite different of shape and cast from the features of our Beloved Sai. The charm was so great, so poignant that my heart seemed to twist, almost as though it were in pain. Never in life, nor in photos, nor in painting by great artists have I seen a Face of such exquisite beauty. It was beyond imagination and concept, totally out of experience.
And His colour was blue. Not just blue, not the blue with which artists paint Krishna but, a deep blue, like the velvet blue that sometimes can be seen in a dark sky, like a blue that I have at times seen from the deck of a ship thousands of miles from shore on the Pacific Ocean. I do not know how else to describe it.
I could not remove my eyes from Swami. At length, I caught myself and turned away. But, at once, I looked again, and the same beauty surely not of the world, was still there. This continued for at least fifteen minutes. The two men sitting with Swami were beginning to look at me with somewhat puzzled expressions for, my staring was different from what they had become used to.
After a few miles, Vittala Rao (on Swami's left) asked me, "Hislop! What were you staring at Swami like that?"
Instead of answering, I directed a question to Swami, "Swami! What was that blue colour?" Swami replied, "Oh! That? Whenever there is something of unfathomable depth, it appears to be deep blue.”
That was the end of the conversation. Naturally the thought had come to mind that may be this was Lord Krishna, but, neither then, nor at any time in connection with this experience did I ever say the name of Krishna to Swami.
There the matter rested until November 1975. It was before people started to arrive in multitudes for the Birthday. Swami's schedule was still somewhat free and He was taking me with Him in the jeep and so on... and probably, that was why I got invited into the Interview. An army man and his wife had come from Assam. They were devotees, but this was their first time to actually see Swami. Often people wait for months for interview, but this family was called as soon as they arrived. I was seated on the verandah of the Mandir and saw them go into Swami's room. No sooner had they entered than Swami motioned to me.
There was the mother and father, the son and daughter. Swami spoke to them most lovingly. He knew everything about their lives and it was very evident that He was an intimate member of that household.
After a while, Swami asked me, "Hislop! Tell them some experiences.” I complied and after mentioning some incidents, I told the same story just now related in these pages, but, not even then, did I mention the Krishna name. The man was deeply impressed and words broke from His lips, "Oh! That had to be Lord Krishna"
Swami smiled and said, "Yes, that was Krishna; not the Krishna pictured by artists and imagined by writers. I showed Hislop the real Krishna.” The man said, "Oh! How I want to see Krishna.” Swami smiled again and said, "Wait; wait.”
There is a sequel to this story. About a month later, in December, at Brindavan, I was talking with Swami and I brought forward the names of some famous saints and gurus of the past and Swami said some things about them. Then the idea struck me that, wonderful though it must have been to know those great personages and learn from them, the present day was the first time since Krishna lived that one could have God Himself as Guru. So I started to say, "Swami! In the thousands of years of time, since Krishna...."
Swami interrupted me before I could say another word and exclaimed "Time since Krishna...? I am Krishna. Where is Time?" I folded my hands and bent low to Him and said, "Well, Swami. This is the best of all times, to be born!"
Swami replied, "Yes; the most fortunate of all times. Even more fortunate to be born now, than during the Krishna Avatar.”
Once before, within my hearing, Swami declared Himself as Lord Krishna. This story has been told in detail elsewhere. It happened in Dharmakshetra, at Bombay (Mumbai), and came about as part of the extra ordinary drama of `the weeping saris' to which a few of us in the room with Swami were the fascinated witnesses. I had exclaimed that this had to be the reenactment this very day of the drama of the mountain that had occurred in the Avatars of Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. Bhagawan replied, "Yes; it is the selfsame Rama and the selfsame Krishna Who is here this very day.”
In the light of what has been recited in the preceding pages by me, a direct witness and participant, we need never look back with even the slightest tinge of envy to those fortunate people who lived during those wonderful days of the Krishna Avatar. This very day, and every day that we look at our Beloved Sai, we are, gazing directly at Sri Krishna.
Let us treasure His Divine presence. In ages to come, the rich experience of our days will be told and retold as the wondrous story of the Sai Avatar.