Manchiraju Thammiraju
Sanathana Sarathi, June 1964

It happened at Uravakonda, 24 years ago, when I was a teacher at the High School there.

The most distinguished student of the school, Sathyanarayana, already known as Sai Baba, was absent; He had gone to Puttaparthy, the village where He was born. My fourth son, Ramarao, was then five years of age. Uravakonda has few wells with drinkable water; my wife used to go for it to the "Bungalow Well". It used to take some bit of time for her to walk up to the well, draw water and fill the pots and return, especially if the crowd was big. So, that day she collected the children from neighbouring houses for Ramarao to play with, and giving them a quantity of sugar in a cup, she asked them to play "Puja of Sai Baba" and eat the sugar, after offering it to Baba. She then left for the well, all the while lamenting in her heart at the absence, in physical form, of Sathyanarayana, the present Avathar of Sai.

The children started Bhajana and Puja. And wonder of wonders, they saw Shirdi Sai Baba sitting on the wooden plank which Sathyanarayana had given their parents to be placed near the shrine. They repeated some Namavalis and did Puja to the Divine Visitor. They offered the cup of sugar and, would you believe it, Baba ate some of it. The boys ate the remainder. Then Ramarao ran out of the house to bring his mother in, for he had heard her sigh for a Darshan of Shirdi Sai Baba.

The women from the well were about 20 yards away; the children ran forward, shouting the good news and asking them to hurry up. But, they found the plank empty. "Where has He gone?" they asked the children in the room. They answered, "He went into that picture; we saw Him do it." Of course, Baba had denied Darshan to us, who are immersed in objective pleasure-seeking; but, He gave Darshan to those innocent little kids and ate what they offered!

We went to Puttaparthy and asked Baba about this incident. Baba's answer was: "Your wife felt forlorn that I was away here, far from her and you. So, I presented Myself before Ramarao and the children, in that Form, just to convince her (through the description of the experience from these innocent children) that I am there always.

But, why did He choose 'that' Form, the form of Shirdi Sai Baba? The answer is, there is no 'that' Form or 'this' Form; both are the same.

[Article posted by Sai Deepak B. Daswani on SaiNet]