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Avatar Declaration Day: A true reason to celebrate

Those of us fortunate enough to follow Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba will have realised through experience, each in our own way, that a great blessing has been bestowed upon us, perhaps as a result of sufficient merit acquired by us in our past. It would be inconceivable otherwise to be introduced and connected to this Grand Incarnation, the Purna Avatar, and His transformational teachings founded on universal Love for all beings. He tells us:

This Sai has come in order to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire mankind as one family through the bond of brotherhood, of affirming and illuminating the Atmic Reality (Atma – The Divine Self) of each being, to reveal the Divine which is the basis on which the entire cosmos rests, and of instructing all to recognise the common Divine Heritage that binds man to man, so that man can rid himself of the animal and rise up to the Divine, which is the goal. BABA

Indeed the most remarkable facet of His Mission and the simplest proof of His Divinity is the way in which followers from all the major religions, and millions of people from all over the world from different backgrounds, beliefs and culture, felt spontaneously attracted to Him and His Universal Teachings. They all felt united, inspired and transformed in His Divine Loving Presence.

I have come not to disturb or destroy any faith, but to confirm each in his own faith, so that the Christian becomes a better Christian; the Muslim, a better Muslim; and the Hindu, a better Hindu. BABA

To celebrate this auspicious day, it is important for us to understand where it all began. In yet another of the Divine discourses, our Beloved Swami revealed the following insight:

Nobody knew about Sai Baba in those days. When I returned to Puttaparthi from Uravakonda after My annunciation, the villagers heard the name ‘Sai Baba’ for the first time. They then thought that I had taken a Muslim name. But, Sai Baba transcends religion and caste. Wherever you see, there you will find Him.

The dropping of the collar pin, leaving the school forever and the parents requesting Me to come back to Puttaparthi—these are all reasons that prompted Me to come away from Uravakonda permanently. Since then, My glory has been increasing day by day. People from neighbouring villages started coming to Puttaparthi in large numbers in bullock carts to seek remedies for various types of mental diseases, including those possessed by devils and ghosts. They regarded Me with great faith and would say, ‘It seems the devils and ghosts would leave if the boy orders them so.’ True to their faith, the moment such ‘patients’ were brought into My presence, they were relieved of devils and ghosts. On witnessing this miracle, several people believed My words to be true. BABA

The First Message of Sathya Sai Avatar

Further research into the incident on the historic day of 20th October 1940 tells us the following:
After the group had returned from Hampi, the 14 year old Sathya headed off to school but turned around midway and returned to His brother’s house in Uravakonda.

As the caretaker of his younger brother, Seshama Raju was tremendously distressed and disappointed. But, from hindsight, we know that this little drama was a moment of great import for mankind. Sathya’s turning back from school marks a momentous turning in the cosmic order, beckoning untold Grace of which we are the recipients.

On reaching home, young Sathya tossed His school books aside and announced: “I am no longer your Sathya. I am Sai.”

As He stood outside the house, the sister-in-law took a look from the window. She was overwhelmed by the splendour of the halo around the boy’s head and shrieked!

Addressing her, young Sathya said: “I am going. I don’t belong to you. Maya has gone. My devotees are calling Me. I have My Work. I cannot stay any longer.”

With those words, He left home and never set foot in the house again. To his brother Seshama Raju, He declared he was not related to him and instructed him to give up all attempts to cure Him.
The Excise Inspector, Mr. Anjaneluyu, was an ardent devotee. Sathya went straight to the garden of his residence and selected a large rock which became the foundation on which Sai Baba sat and began His Work of transforming hearts. Word quickly spread about Sathya’s presence in the garden and soon a crowd gathered around the rock, some to worship, a few to mock, and many strictly out of curiosity.
So it was here on 20 October 1940 that the 14-year old Sathya declared His Avatarhood, and a significant new chapter was written into the saga of the Sai Avatar. It was here that He taught his first lesson in transformation, a prayer that is so dear to millions and holds an eternal message for all aspiring souls.

Maanasa bhajare gurucharanam,
Dustara bhava saagara tharanam

Significantly, these words mean, “Meditate O mind on the Feet of the Guru; for He alone can take you across the difficult sea of samsara (worldly existence).”

Samsara is the cycle of birth and death; the process of coming into existence as a differentiated, mortal creature over and over again until one is able to break this repeated rigmarole and merge back into the Infinite Source.

Our Beloved Bhagavan subsequently endeared Himself to millions of followers by standing by His promise to lift up His devotees, ensuring their safe passage above the stormy waters that threaten to engulf us through the journey of life.

“Tough” Divine Love

Records tell us that amid the ecstasies and auras perceived by devotees, for those who relied on their old ties with the boy Sathya, whether friend or family, it was a challenging time:
When Mother Easwaramma arrived from Puttaparthi, her son suddenly said, “Oh, maya has come!” and pointed to her. His parents pleaded with Him to come home, but He said, “Who belongs to whom?”

A Muslim boy, Abdul Ghafoor, was asked to sing the Prayer in Sathya’s absence, but it all ended with the singer, students and teachers in tears. Come to the throne they did, when the school was dismissed for the day, and all the teachers and students flocked to where Baba was staying. But in order to bring about a change in their behaviour, Baba did not acknowledge His former students.

Despite this ‘sudden’ detachment He showed for His family and school mates, Baba consented to letting His parents take Him to Puttaparthi - but only after they promised not to interfere with His task of meeting devotees.

Yet another Divine Leela...

To end this magical recollection, let us cast our eyes on the Beloved form of the young Sathya, garlanded and seated on the rock. In the foreground, we see a miniature Shirdi Sai Baba on whom too is a string of flowers – yet miraculously, the Saint of Shirdi appears only in the photo as those present at the time the picture was taken, claim there was nothing more than a small, crude rock at the forefront of the picture.

We bow our heads in humility before the Infinite, Divine glory of our Beloved Sathya Sai...Jai Sai Ram!!