"The Cave of Vasishta"
(Guru of Rama)
Supernatural Acts Of God-Sai Baba
The twenty-sixth of July, 1957, was full of pleasant memories for the devotees
and the residents of Sivanand ashram, for Baba boarded a bus and proceeded along
the bank of the Ganges to a palace of the Rani of Garhwal for a quiet morning.
On the way back Baba stopped the bus at a place where a thin little iron post
carried a half-distinct nameplate reading "The Cave of Vasishta" (Guru of Rama).
He descended the rather precipitous incline to the river bank as if he had been
there often before, and as if he were aware of a prearranged engagement with the
occupant of the cave. The Ganges curves widely near the cave, and so the scenery
was doubly attractive. The cave bears a hallowed name; it has been sanctified by
the austerities performed therein by many great recluses and monks in the past.
Swami Purushotamananda, a disciple of Swami Brahamananda of the Ramakrishna
order, had been initiated into monastic life by Mahapurushji, another direct
disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. The Swami had been in the cave for thirty years. he
welcomed Baba as if expecting him. He was more than seventy years old and had
spent the major part of his life in asceticism of a most rigorous kind and in
the study of the scriptures. His face had the genuine glow of spiritual joy and
the slightest mention of the glory of the Godhead sent him into samadhi, the
depths of inner bliss. When a young man of twenty-seven, Brahamanandaji had read
his palm at Kanyakumari and predicted that he would go into a cave for
Baba repeated the visit the next evening in spite of a thunderous sky and the
grumbling of those who accompanied him, but both ceased by his grace. Baba sang
a number of songs while at the cave. Hearing that the Swami had been suffering
from chronic stomach-ache for many years, Baba "took" some candy from nowhere
and gave it to him with instructions about diet.
More mysterious and significant was the Vision that he gave to Swami
Purushotamananda that evening. As early as 1918, the Swami had written to his
Master, "All is false and I cannot rest satisfied until and unless I come face
to face with Truth!" After sending everyone outside the cave, Baba and the sage
went into the inner room. Sri Subbaramiah, President of the Divine Life Society
at Venkatagiri, describes what he was able to see from outside the cave: "Even
now that picture is imprinted in my memory. I was standing near the entrance to
the cave. I could see what was happening through a chink in the door. Baba
placed his head on the lap of Swami Purushotamananda and lay himself down.
Suddenly his entire body was bathed in divine brilliance. His head and face
appeared to me to have increased very much in size. Rays of splendor emanated
from his face. I was overwhelmed with a strange inexplicable joy." When later
asked to divulge the nature of the vision, Baba informed us that it was a vision
of the darshan of Padmanabha as installed, since childhood, in his heart. "It
was Jyothirpadmanabha". He said Jyothi meaning Light.
After a minute or two, Baba rose and sitting by the side of the septuagenarian,
called him by name and slowly brought him into the consciousness of space and
time. Baba sang a song on Rama, composed by Thyagaraja and when he concluded, he
waved his hand and materialised from the air a rosary of sparkling sphatika
beads for Purushotamananda.
Five years later when the Swami left his body behind and merged in that Truth,
Baba announced his departure to me at Puttaparthi (thousands of miles away). It
was a few minutes after the emergence of the Lingam from Baba's stomach where it
grew for days. It was Mahashivarathri; Baba told me that Swami's body will be
buried with the Sphatika Rosary on the chest. (It was!)
The incidents at Vasishtha cave were literally mind-blowing. When we were
allowed in, we hung on every word that Baba uttered and gathered every signal of
adoration that emanated from the aged monk - the rising eye-brow, the twinkling
eye, the smothered gasp, the folded palm, the smile that shone atop the beard.
Baba told him of his early trials at the cave, of his struggles to light a fire
and of his amazement, one morning, to find a package of match boxes hiding in a
corner. Baba confirmed "I placed it there for you". The monk sat up at this
surprising revelation. The attendant monks explained that for many years they
were using fire-stones to get the spark which they would nourish, feed and
foster into flame. They too were aghast at the discovery, that Baba was aware of
their Guru, of his travails and his needs. "He knows all: He is all" they
exclaimed. Man has no means to identify what cannot be accounted for, explained
or measured. He can only sit silent, dumbfounded in deep dismay.
N. Kasturi-Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram