By Sri Ghandikota V. Subba Rao
From Sri Sathya Sai Eternal Charioteer
23 November, 1990

[Mr. Ghandikota V. Subba Rao has been a devotee of Swami for many years. He served with UNICEF and the United Nations, as head of the Energy Section, for 34 years and took early retirement in 1985 to return to India to be with his 92 year old father, Sri Ghandikota Subrahmanya Sastry, the Rishi of the Sathya Sai Gayathri and a renowned Vedic scholar. Mr. Subba Rao has been living in Prashanthi Nilayam since 1985, on occasion translating Swami's speeches, giving lectures to overseas devotees, and editing publications of the Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.]


My first encounter with the glorious Sai phenomenon goes back to the early sixties. It was sheerly by accident that I ended up on a Mahaa Shivaraathri day at Prasanthi Nilayam on a visit to a very close relative whom I had not met for a long period. The first impact was made by the speech that Swami gave on that occasion, explaining the profound significance of that night of the emergence of the Shiva Linga. It is an unforgettable experience to watch at very close quarters the emergence of a couple of transparent Shiva lingas from the mouth of Swami. It was another mind-boggling experience to witness at very close quarters a virtual Vibhuthi storm which spread onto the entire stage, covering my clothes too. The unending flow of sacred ash from an upturned empty vessel, held by Kasturiji over the idol of Shirdi Sai Baba, at the mere turn of a hand of Swami was an extraordinary event.

A couple of days later I was also fortunate to witness a different type of miracle of Swami. A dozen or so young boys were sitting for the investiture of the 'sacred thread', called the Upanayana ceremony, and a prerequisite for this Samskara or 'sacrament' is the piercing of the ears, which normally takes place at a very young age of the child. Several boys did not have pierced ears. Swami came along, spotted precisely those boys whose ears were not pierced, touched their ear lobes, and lo and behold, there were holes in the lobes. Swami then graciously materialized earrings which He himself inserted in the ear lobes. The highlight of this ceremony was the materialization of the 'sacred threads' by himself. Swami gave them to the parents of the boys since it is customary for the parents to invest their child with the sacred thread. That Swami is omniscient has been attested to by a number of great scholars. It would suffice here to give two experiences, one in the realm of traditional Vedic lore and the other in the field of modern physical sciences.


I was once present when some of the most learned Vedic scholars gathered at Prasanthi Nilayam. Two adepts had differences over the complex procedure of the performance of the Vedic 'Soma Yaga' sacrifice as to the exact configuration or arrangement of the sanctified bricks in the construction of the main altar. They confronted Swami with their respective standpoints and doubts backed up by citations of authoritative Shroutha texts. Apparently even the great ascetic heads of the Math's (monasteries) are themselves not familiar with purely field practices of the elaborate yagnas. They are more familiar with Vedaantic and philosophical subjects than with the details of complex ritual sacrifices. Perhaps these pandits came to test Swami in a remote area of Vedic ritual knowledge. This is an area of Vedic knowledge which has been the preserve of only a handful of traditionally trained specialized scholars. But to their astonishment Swami specified and demonstrated the correct configuration of the sanctified and ritual place. Swami's procedure did not coincide with the expert view of either of the two pandits. They later checked up their palm-leaf Shroutha texts to confirm that what Swami had elaborated was exactly the same for that particular sacrifice! The assembled scholars were greatly amazed and some of them returned humbled as well as greatly impressed by Swami's knowledge in the field of Vedic knowledge


The writer can also provide from his own experience Swami's omniscience in respect of a specialized geo- science matter. Swami once asked me jokingly, I thought, what kind of energy I was dealing with as the Head of the Energy Department of the United Nations in New York. He wanted me to indicate the various primary sources of energy. Having headed the Energy Department at the world level for over a decade and a half I thought I could answer Swami's question easily. I listed practically all the traditional and modern primary sources of energy. Swami kept repeating there were still other sources. When I came to the end of the list after His many promptings, Swami took over to tell me that I forgot to mention "Geo-pressured energy". He explained in clear terms, briefly its character, its nature, occurrence, the fact of its being a vast hydraulic source of power deep in the bowels of Earth, with a vast amount of gas dissolved in it in a compressed form as it were. He mentioned that it is a triple source of energy, hydraulic, natural gas and geothermal. Swami's description recalled to me in a flash this frontier source of energy, which is known to only a few specialists in the world and which is yet to be exploited.


Swami's knowledge of Vedic learning on one side and on the other modern sciences is indeed astounding, as attested to by a number of scholars and scientists. That Swami is a virtual encyclopedia of Vedic learning has been attested to by my father Sri. Ghandikota Subrahmanya Sastry, a Vedic scholar of repute in Andhra Pradesh. I remember having once challenged my father, who believed that references to Swami could be traced to the Vedas and that in fact Swami is the embodiment of Vedic knowledge. My father's understanding of the Vedas and devotion to Swami were such that he used to tell me that whenever he listened to Swami's immortal teaching, the corresponding Vedic passage inevitably flashed across his mind. I recall one such incident.

The postman had just delivered that month's Sanathana Sarathi in Telugu. I immediately opened it and asked my father to convince me right then and there that whatever Swami spoke is Vedic in origin. He took up the challenge with a smile, right then and there, and immediately gave me sentence by sentence the exact Vedic quotes corresponding to Swami's words. I was flabbergasted by this evidence of Swami's encyclopedic Vedic knowledge.


The writer has experienced in his family numerous extraordinary miraculous cures performed by Swami, over a long span of association with the Sai phenomenon. The most astounding medical miracle of Swami was in respect of my third son, who suffered from intense fever and pains due to the perforation of the ileum at the end of the small intestine. Over a period of seven months, when he was hospitalized several times as emergencies, he was attended by eminent specialists in three New York hospitals. He was subsisting only on semi solids and non-fibrous "baby foods". The specialists in New York could not cure him, recommended major surgery and said the young man would have to wear a permanent pouch. At this stage we decided to fly to Swami at Brindavan. We were waiting for a long time under the Sai Ram shed. Swami amazingly came straight to us and called us inside for an interview. He materialized Vibhuthi which He himself put in the mouth of my son, and swept his soft divine hand over the abdomen. Then Swami declared that the boy was cured as of that moment and could eat spicy hot Andhra food to his heart's content. Hail to Swami's glory! That same evening, which happened to be Christmas eve 1977, Swami gave a dinner to all the foreign devotees, to which He invited us too. I cautioned my son not to start eating the feast spread before us. We had brought from New York his special foods including water for his drinking use. But he wisely ignored my warning, literally took courage in his hand and ate the food to his heart's content, as Swami had said. We returned to New York and the doctor there was astonished and called it an unbelievable medical miracle.


That Swami can make the impossible possible is illustrated by the miraculous birth of my first grandson. For seventeen years my eldest son's family continued to be childless. Eminent doctors in United States diagnosed it to be a near impossible situation for the couple to have children. My son and daughter-in-law came unannounced to meet me in Brindavan, Swami's ashram in Bangalore. Swami spotted them among the hundreds gathered there for darshan. He came into Trayee Brindavan (Swami's residence) and surprised me by telling me that my son and daughter-in-law had just arrived. He asked me to fetch them in for a joint interview. When the couple prostrated at His feet He blessed them, materialized a special type of finely granular, very fragrant holy Vibhuthi, and declared before me and later with several other devotees that Sathya Sai was now guaranteeing the birth of a Vamsha Vardhan (upholder of the lineage) in the Ghandikota family. He instructed my son that he should inform me as soon as the pregnancy of my daughter-in-law was confirmed after a few months.

One day when I was sitting on the verandah of the Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir, a cable from my son in the United States was delivered to me stating that the doctors twice confirmed the pregnancy of my daughter-in- law. I immediately showed the cable to Swami and remarked that I believed that the pregnancy was due to Swami's grace. Swami quickly retorted in the hearing of the people in the verandah: "'It is not at all a question of your belief. When Sathya Sai guaranteed a few months before, that a grandson would be born, it would have to...". I then realized that my words to Swami should have been phrased better!

Just a day prior to the birth of our grandson, Swami chided my wife for sitting around when we should be at New York helping in the delivery of our first grandson! He then materialized crystal sugar candy, instructing my wife that the candy should be put in the mouth of my daughter-in-law when the first labor pains started. It was a near miracle that we could leave for Bombay in the evening, arriving the next day at Kennedy airport in New York, to be received by our son and the pregnant daughter-in-law. That same night the first labor pain started and the sugar candy was given to my daughter-in-law. A son was born in the night - a comfortable and a normal delivery. Within 12 hours of the birth, Swami sent a telephonic message to me that we should name the boy Jayavardhan, our first grandson in the family.


In our country we consider Lord Rama as Maaya Maanusha Murthi - the embodiment of Maaya, concealing his divine identity. We call Lord Krishna as Leela Maanusha Murthi - the embodiment of divine play and drama. What should we call the present visible divine incarnation of Sri Sathya Sai, having witnessed nearly over a quarter century unending, undepleted, astounding miracles of Swami? I have come to the conclusion that it would be appropriate to call Him as truly a Mahaa Mahima Maanusha Murthi- the embodiment of limitless plethora of powers and Grace out of His boundless love for His children.

Sri Ghandikota V. Subba Rao with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba