Monday, 17 March 2014

Time-travel to the days of declaration of Avatarhood of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba - Part 2

The renovated Sun-temple and Shiva-temple complex at Budagavi as it stands in 2014. The Shiva lingam in the sanctum
is presented as the inset. One can reach this place within 5 minutes of travelling along the Uravakonda-Bellary
road. This is where Sathya was on Shivarathri in 1943. 

Sathya looked up to His sister but did not speak anything. He just was clenching His teeth and clutching His foot.
“Oh my God! A scorpion stung you?” she exclaimed, rushing to help Him.
Again, He spoke nothing and slowly limped out of the bathroom. If a scorpion had stung Him, it must be pretty painful I thought.

(What you are reading now is the second part of this memorable time-travel series. If you have not read part 1, please do that first. The first part is located at the link below.

Time-travel to the days of declaration of Avatarhood of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba - Part 1)

It was a known fact that the Uravakonda region abounded in poisonous creatures - mainly scorpions and snakes. The place had actually been called Uragakonda. Uraga means snake while Konda means hill. Apart from being a home to snakes and scorpions, Uravakonda also had a huge hill right in the middle of the town. The hill is shaped like the hood of a cobra ready to strike. No wonder that the town was called Uragakonda due to these two reasons. Later, the name was modified to Uravakonda. The picture of the snake-hood hill has come to represent Uravakonda today. I am a decently big and powerful fly and yet, I found it hard to go around this hill! You can only imagine the proportions of this hill.

The magnificent hill at Uravakonda as seen from the grounds of the Karibasavaswami District Board
High School 
Coming back to the story, right now, I was keen to locate the scorpion that had stung my Lord. Maybe I could knock some sense into him/her about foolishly harming his/her creator. But to my surprise, there was no scorpion there at all! Then what had happened? As I was buzzing out of the bathroom, I saw Venkamma rushing in with a lantern. She too wanted to find the scorpion.
“There is nothing in there”, I screamed but my buzz fell on deaf ears.

Sathya was seated on the floor mat. Even in the darkness, there was a kind of serenity exuding from His face. Soon, Venkamma came to Him and asked,
“Is it painful? Are you experiencing a burning sensation in your leg?”
“I am absolutely fine. You please go to sleep and don’t worry.”
With that, Sathya calmed down His sister and all went to sleep. Everything seemed to return to normal and the ‘scorpion bite’ seemed like a minor aberration in an otherwise peaceful and well-spent Shivarathri day.

The next morning however, was one that would change history forever. Venkamma was the first to observe that Sathya’s lips and hands were quivering oddly. Something was definitely wrong and it was not be long before Seshamma Raju observed it when he gave Him the list of vegetables to be bought. But, Swami, as was His routine, took the bags and left to fetch vegetables from the market nearby after fetching water for the house. The vegetable shopping was His weekly schedule unlike the water-fetching which He did on a daily basis visiting the Gilakala Bhavi to get usage-water and the Bungalow Bhavi (3 km away) to get drinking-water.
When Sathya returned, He had in his bag a lot of brinjals (aubergines) and sweet potatoes. Apparently, these two were vegetables He relished I thought. ( A time travel into the future would reveal that He often called the humble brinjal as one that will ‘bring joy to all’! )

The elder brother, Seshamma, had chosen to ignore anything that he had seen in the morning. He had some work. Before leaving, he advised his sister Venkamma,
“Let Sathyam (that was how Sathya was referred to) have only some rice and rasam (South Indian soup).”
I saw the sister nod in strict obedience. I also saw her secretly keep aside some of the brinjal dish for the little brother who loved that vegetable. However, Sathya told her that He would be going to the nearby Sunkulamma (village deity) shrine. I saw that there were a few drops of the brinjal dish that had fallen on the floor. I could not resist going there and tasting it myself. I wondered what it was that my Lord saw in this humble vegetable. I buzzed now, escaping the swatting hand of Venkamma, to the tasty drops.

Swami's house as it stands today (March 2014). Bike parked in front of it to give an estimate of size.
The first signs

Soon, I had my fill. I knew that Sathya had gone to the Sunkulamma shrine but I did not know where the shrine was located. It must have been very far I thought because my Swami did not return home till late in the evening. I could see that the sister was quite worried because Sathya had not eaten anything the whole day. So, when He returned, she rushed to Him to see if all was well. She arranged a wooden plank for Him to sit on and served the food in a plate. However, Swami seemed so lost and different. I ventured as close to Him as possible. Even though I buzzed near His ear, He did not make the slightest movement.

Seeing that He was not partaking food, Venkamma sat beside Him. She physically took His right hand, put it in the plate and asked Him to eat. There was still no response. Now, she caught His hand, raising it to His mouth and said,
“Eat Sathyam! Please eat something...”
And then, it happened! It was so sudden and quick.

Swami just fell to the floor with a dull thud! The scream that Venkamma let out almost tore my wings apart. Seshamma Raju came running to the outer room. He immediately sent for a doctor. In the meanwhile, the neighbors had started streaming into the house. Things were happening very fast and I was in a state of utter shock. Some people splashed cold water on His face while a few others burnt an old newspaper and held the smoke to His nose. All their efforts to revive Him were in vain! Presently, a doctor arrived on the scene. This man, Seshamma Raju, was quite influential I felt to have summoned a doctor so quick.

(Above) Seshamma Raju's house in Uravakonda in the 1980s. (Below) The same house as it
stands today. The roof is completely gone. The 3 rooms can be seen from the separating walls.
The house is literally like 3 small bogies of a train. 
The doctor checked and rechecked but could find nothing wrong with the boy. He gave several injections, four to be precise, in the hope of reviving Him but nothing happened. A revered elder whom everyone referred to as Murthy garu (From later conversations I gathered that his name was Kasibatla Sriram Murthy), rose and suggested that my Swami be taken to a hospital. Seshamma Raju said nothing doing and sent summons to the parents in Puttaparthi.

I suddenly noticed Swami’s eyelids were stirring. My heart leapt in joy and I buzzed hard around people’s ears with the hope that they would notice. They had already noticed and were shaking Him up! Within a few moments however, without saying a word, their Sathya relapsed into unconsciousness. After this, He seemed to wake up a few more times but he went back to unconsciousness soon after. It was almost night now and someone suggested a remedy based on faith.
“Let us make an offering to our goddess Sunkulamma to revive Sathya.”
“Good idea”, everyone agreed and a group of people left with a coconut.

By now, I had flown to a crevice in the floor close to my Swami. I wanted to be by His side in this apparent time of crisis. A few minutes later, He stirred, opened His eyes and said,
“The coconut has broken into three.”
I wondered what that was all about but understood it in a minute as the group that had gone to the Sunkulamma shrine returned. They reported that ‘surprisingly’, when they broke the coconut in offering to the goddess, it had broken into three pieces.

I looked up at the supine Swami with awe and amazement. So, this was another of His many leelas. He may appear ill, unconscious, comatose or even gone but He is ever-aware in all periods of time. It would be sheer ignorance to think otherwise.

The Sunkulamma shrine has also been modified and renovated today. However, the deity within remains
the same. Legend is that the deity is a Swayambhu (formed naturally). 

Stage 2 towards declaration

I don’t know when I dozed off. It was late in the night when I was awakened by another awe-inspiring episode. As Kasibatla Sriram Murthy garu sat beside the comatose Sathya and kept praying for His welfare, Sathya stirred. He turned and held Murthy’s wrist. He was startled as the little boy said,
“Don’t worry! Sai Baba will take care.”
So the ‘Sai Baba’ name had been unleashed already. Murthy did not understand anything but was convinced for sure that his neighbor boy was no ordinary one.

The next day morning would witness new developments. My Swami apparently had decided to cast away His ‘unconsciousness’ episodes. He ‘woke’ up and sat up. Without a warning, He began to recite Telugu poems of great literary excellence. Seshamma Raju, being a Telugu teacher himself, was probably the most qualified person there to judge the quality of Sathya’s poetry. I saw that he had an absolutely stupefied look on his face. Though some of the poems were from highly regarded, well-known texts, many of them were original creations and Seshamma seemed to wonder when and where did the little boy acquire such knowledge? Ah! Does the fountain of all wisdom and knowledge in the universe need to ‘learn’ any time?

He decided to summon a few of his students to personally rush to Puttaparthi and fetch the parents. He had already sent two telegrams but he felt that more action was necessary. I decided that come what may, I would stay with my Swami. I was sure that all this was just another leela and did not want to miss a moment of it. My Swami ‘summoned’ Seshamma Raju.This was surprising apparently because till that day, Sathya had been highly respectful of his elder brother. Now, He was treating him as an equal.

Ah! The beauty of the Divine actions! He always treats everyone as an ‘equal’ for that is the only ‘mission’ of His earthly sojourn - to teach each one that he/she is no different from God. I don’t think Seshamma Raju understood this that day. However, he could not ignore the ‘summons’. Swami said,
“There is no need to send anyone. Grihamammayi (the girl of the house) and Grihamabbayi (the boy of the house) are already here, at the bus station. They do not know the way to this house. Go there and fetch them.”
Was I thrilled to hear this!

Sister Venkamma's diary notes - "When in Uravakonda, he was bitten by a scorpion and he fell unconscious. My brother sent two telegrams to our parents. They had not come. So, my brother called two students. explained the route to them and decided to send them to Puttaparthi..."
Seshamma could not not help but obey his ‘little brother’. By now, many people began to gather again at the house. Suddenly, a loud beeping sound was heard. I was startled and flew out my crevice. Nobody else seemed to be hearing this and I wondered whether I, a fly, had an antenna better than the human ear. I realized that it was my time-machine beeping. I soon would have to return to my ‘time zone’. The beeper was an indicator that I had one hour left. Oh! How time flies even for flies when with God?

Final episode witnessed before take-off

I settled back into the crevice. Seshamma Raju arrived home with the parents. The mother, Easwaramma, rushed into the house and hugged her baby boy. Swami just smiled and greeted her with an outpouring of what I got to know later as Vedantic philosophy. He went on this way for a while and then just collapsed to the ground exhausted.

The mother’s heart could not bear this. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she began to cry without any inhibitions. This was a new emotion that had been introduced to the room which had been filled with surprise, shock, fear, awe and wonder. Soon, several others too began lamenting what had been happening. I too could not help crying. A fly has no tear glands but it sure has feelings. At least I had. I felt very sad suddenly. The foolish thought that ‘something has happened to Sathya’ filled me too.

Amidst these tears, Sathya suddenly got up. He said aloud,
“Call that Narayan Shastri. He is misinterpreting the Bhagawatham.”
The tears dried up and sorrow was once again replaced by shock. There were murmurs all around. I gathered that this ‘Narayan Shastri’ was some well-known figure here. Curiosity overcame me and for the first time, I flew out along with Pedda Venkamma Raju, the father who exited the house towards Narayan Shastri’s house. I buzzed by his side. The house lay between Seshamma’s house and the Subramanya temple.

The house of Sri Narayana Shastri still stands at Uravakonda. 

Narayan Shastri, possibly the first scholar
to recognize Sathya as Swami. 
Turns out that Narayan Shastri is indeed a scholar and he is actually discoursing on a part of the Bhagawatham, the 11th canto named Hamsa Gita (also called Uddhava Gita). The father was almost shivering in fear as he conveyed what his son had told him to. Narayan Shastri flwe in a rage at being rudely interrupted at the whim of a chit of a boy.
“What on earth does he know of the Hamsa Gita?” he roared.
“FYI, He is the one who narrated it and gifted it to mankind”, I screamed but nobody heard my buzz.
“Please sir. I am also confused”, the father said with folded hands, “and I would be grateful if you come along and knock some sense into his head.”
“Definitely! That arrogant urchin needs to be taught a lesson.”

I had to buzz back in double the speed to keep up with the Shastri. He entered the house and at the very sight of the ‘scholar’, Swami began to expound complex verses, dilating on them with simple and lucid explanations. Apparently, they were all from the Hamsa Gita because Narayan Shastri was down on his knees now. He then bent and prostrated to Sathya as everyone watched in bated breath. He said,
“You are not an ordinary soul. You are a Great One and it is my privilege to have been summoned to your presence.”

This was beyond the understanding of the people all around.
“Not only is Sathya out of his mind, he seems to be infecting those that come close to him as well!”
“The scorpion bit has caused not only physical damage but also mental and psychological damages.”
“We need a doctor... a healer to help Sathya.”

These were the voices going around the house and I felt so bad for Swami. Could the people not realize that Swami was in no need of a doctor? He was, in fact, the Divine Doctor who had descended to the level of man to heal man of worldly diseases and ensure that he ascended to the level of God! And this was because man, in his greed, selfishness and ego had totally lost his mind and was infecting anyone and everyone who comes into his ambit.

But what a mere fly could understand, man couldn’t. Is it any surprise that Swami exhorts that man is becoming worse than an animal?

The general consensus in the room was to ‘cure’ Sathya. I knew that this would be a very painful period. And that is why I did not mind when the beeper indicating my return to my time-zone became persistent.

Whirrrrr...... Swooooooooshhhhhh...... Blip...

I looked at the humble dwelling that had witnessed so much of His-story. I bowed and applied the holy dust to my forehead. I vowed that I would come here again and again to derive inspiration and become a part of His story. After all, the house is just a 3-hour drive from Puttaparthi! With that, I turned to the greatest wonder that Uravakonda had to offer - the Sai Baba Gundu or the Sai Baba Rock. This was the rock that my Swami chose as His first throne when He guided man back on to the eternal highway to God, singing the bhajan - Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam.

For that, I shall use my time machine again.... very soon...

continued in a new article whose link is given below: Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's life episodes at Uravakonda - a time travel Part 1

For all readers:

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  1. you are an awesome extremly savvy fly- wowee thanks much keep on buzzing! Love it

    1. Thanks granny.... :)

      Tech-savviness is best used for God! :)

  2. Very nice, keep buzzing:)

  3. very many thanks for presenting the beautiful His Story in a different angle

  4. You are an eye through which we saw HIM and continue to SEE HISTORY of HIS STORY

    1. Thank you Raju for your gracious and loving comment.... Makes me elated to think of myself that way. :)

  5. Wonderful story...could see each scene playing it out so vividly! SAIRAM

  6. Wonderful history!

  7. That time machine of yours is brilliant! Thanks for taking us for a ride. Look fwd to you taking us again!

    I loved this bit:

    “FYI, He is the one who narrated it and gifted it to mankind”, I screamed but nobody heard my buzz.

    BTW: That is so cool to find out that Swami would have been 16 or 17 when He declared his Avatarhood, not 14 like everyone thinks! Thanks for letting us know bro!

    Loving Sai Rams
    Shiva Reddy

  8. Captivating story... making historical events fascinating!

    1. You should then rush to part 3 which is at :

  9. Sairam brother... to be honest... it was as if I was physically present at that time... thank you!!! you are an amazing fly brother...


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