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Friday, January 25, 2013

Sai Baba

Tehelka on Sai Baba -- Why we believed in him - (Dr J Geeta Reddy, 
Kunal Ganjawala, Dr Devi Shetty, Bombay Jayashri) 

Saturday, April 30, 2011 
Why we believed in him 
Dr J Geeta Reddy     
Dr Devi Shetty     
Bombay Jayashri     
Kunal Ganjawala     
M N Krishnamani 

FOR NON-BELIEVERS and many in the media, Sathya Sai Baba was an 
ambiguous figure on the landscape, a scamster cheating his followers 
with the dazzling conjuring of vibhuti and other small objects, the 
master of a multi-crore empire, a mortal accused of sexual 
improprieties. But this week, it has been difficult to avoid the 
mighty upsurge of grief that has marked Sathya Sai Baba's passing. 
For millions of devotees, this was a life changing moment. It is clear 
the stream of belief ran much deeper than gullibility and awe. Here 
are five deeply personal stories from seemingly unlikely Sai Baba 
devotees -- doctors, Supreme Court advocates, serving ministers and 
musicians -- detailing the miraculous ways in which their faith was 
jump-started. Clearly, faith bears no cold analysis. Perhaps, it is 
the particular genius of this land that we can inhabit spaces that 
blur the line between reason and unreason. These accounts go some way 
in explaining the charismatic phenomenon that was Sathya Sai Baba. 

1.Dr J Geeta Reddy 
Industries Minister, Andhra Pradesh 

My husband had a paralytic stroke. He recovered within days of 
meeting Baba 

Dr J Geeta Reddy 
I NEVER THOUGHT I would become a Sai Baba devotee. But fate had other 
plans. In 1980, my husband, Dr Ramachandra Reddy, had a paralytic 
stroke at the age of 30. It paralysed the left side of his body, even 
the left side of his mouth. We went for the best possible medical 
care in London, but were told he would never recover fully. I was 
almost beginning to lose hope when some people, including English 
doctors and professors, told us to look up the godmen in our own 
country. We had never heard of Baba before this. Finally, we got our 
first darshan in Whitefield outside Bengaluru. Nobody told Baba what 
the problem was. He just went up to my husband and started touching 
his left side, his arms and head. Baba told my husband not to worry. 
After he had finished the gents' queue, he came to the ladies side. 
He didn't have to ask for me. Baba just came to me and said, "Don't 
be disheartened, I'm taking care of your husband." As I looked at 
him, there was no way I could miss the love and compassion in his 
eyes. Following this meeting, my husband recovered really fast. 

This wasn't the only time when Baba made a difference to my life. My 
husband and I went abroad for a 12- year spell. In 1992, Baba came to 
Hyderabad. My mother had passed away recently, and I was shattered. 
But once he spoke to me, I knew he'd taken my mother's place in my 
life. He told me he was my mother. It was indeed comforting. 

Seeing him in person was an electrifying experience. He had an 
enchanting smile. One would feel so happy and content when he'd just 
look at you. The great thing about him was he didn't believe in long 
discourses, rituals, pujas or shlokas. In fact, he once told me, "I 
use these illnesses as my calling cards." And now he is gone when we 
need him the most. 

2. Dr Devi Shetty 
Cardiac surgeon and founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya 

Baba walked into the room and his sister slipped out of a coma Dr 
Devi Shetty 

GOD HAS NOT CREATED everyone equal. I believe that some people have 
superhuman powers. Sathya Sai Baba was one of them. My brother-in-law 
told me about him 12 years ago. When I met him, he already knew I 
wanted to build a cardiac hospital on the outskirts of Bengaluru -- a 
project most were sceptical about. When I met him, he simply told me, 
"The city will come to you." It really did come to me. Baba once gave 
me a ring that I wear all the time, except during surgery, because I 
feel his warm presence. 

The most beautiful miracle of Baba's is the one my brother-in-law 
witnessed. He was treating Baba's sister, who at the time, had been 
in a coma for days. When Baba walked into the room, she woke up, 
talked to him for a few minutes and slipped back. How do you explain 
that medically? 

A Hindu woman once came to me for treatment. Someone in the Ajmer 
Dargah had told her it would save her life. She had aortal arteritis, 
a rare and serious condition. She insisted I operate. I didn't know 
how to. I had to patch up her liver, her intestine and re-establish 
circulation to the brain. I did and she has been healthy for eight 
years now. Similarly, a very established doctor and friend saw his 
patient in a hospital levitate while meditating. I have seen people 
who are two yards away from death surviving and perfectly healthy 
people dying suddenly. How do you explain this? We do 36 heart 
surgeries a day in our hospital. We cut off circulation to the brain, 
paralyse the heart, and the patient is practically dead. Each time, I 
don't know if he or she will survive it. Any doctor who thinks he 
does is kidding himself. You don't want to hear this from a doctor 
and a scientist, but my hands are about as powerful as forceps 
controlled by God. 

3. Bombay Jayashri 
Carnatic musician 

He picked me from hundreds of people in a religious gathering and 
asked me to sing 

Bombay Jayashri 
WHEN I WAS nine, Sai Baba was addressing a huge gathering in Mumbai. 
I was far away from his gaze, yet he managed to find me. Of hundreds 
in the gathering, he picked me, a small girl, and asked me to sing. I 
often wonder how could he have known that I loved to sing. Ever 
since, I have sung for him in Mumbai, Chennai and Puttaparthi. I 
think he was a Mahapurusha in the true sense of the word. I might not 
have seen any of his ‘miracles', but I think his very presence was 
magical. It is hard to maintain discipline in a house of 10 people. 
He, on the other hand, created a spiritual silence in audiences that 
were sometimes as large as three lakh people. People say it is only 
his physical presence that is gone. For me, it is a huge loss that I 
won't be blessed by him the same way again. 

4. Kunal Ganjawala 

A mercury Shivling sent by Baba helped my wife recover from a fatal 
accident in 24 hours 

Kunal Ganjawala 
FOR ME, Sai Baba was neither a godman nor a saint. He was God 
himself. He has been the force that protected my family during 
challenging times. Everyone in my family is a firm believer of Baba 
and his powers. In 2006, my wife had an accident and was bedridden. 
The doctors had given up on her. Baba sent me a Shivling made of 
mercury. Science tells you that you cannot bind mercury, but here I 
was with a mercury Shivling in my house. My wife did the abhishek of 
the Shivling and drank the water. Within 24 hours, she was feeling 
alright. Once she was hale and hearty, the Shivling broke by itself. 
Years later, my wife and I met Baba at a religious gathering. He 
stopped by us and produced a mangalsutra and a ring in front of 
40,000 people. I tied the mangalsutra around my wife's neck and she 
put the ring on my finger. Later, I was fortunate enough to spend 
some time with him in his private chamber. His body might have 
perished but his soul will live for ever. 

5. M N Krishnamani 
Senior Advocate, Supreme Court 

My wife had hip cancer. Baba just said, ‘Cancer, cancelled', and she 
was well and could walk 

M N Krishnamani 
SAI BABA saved his miracles for others. My sister suffered from a bad 
gastric ulcer. She was weak and the hospital doctor prescribed milk 
fed through the nose. A young, inexperienced nurse misunderstood the 
instruction and gave my sister milk intravenously -- directly into 
the blood. She lost her consciousness and it seemed she would die. 
When the error was corrected, she suddenly got up and said, "Baba was 

He gave me vibhuti. I am perfectly okay." She walked out of the 
hospital without an operation. 

In 1999, my wife suffered a heart attack. Four months after a bypass, 
she fainted during an evening walk. I rushed her to the hospital. She 
was in the intensive care unit and had breathing problems. They said 
-- four months to live, operate immediately. When she heard this, my 
wife insisted on having Baba's darshan before surgery. The doctor, 
who was also a devotee, discharged her. Bound to a wheelchair, oxygen 
cylinder in tow, my wife and I went to meet the Baba. It was 
Christmas. At Puttaparthi, we stood in the front row waiting for 
Baba's darshan. On seeing me, he said, "No second surgery for her." 
He produced vibhuti out of the air and told me not to worry. She was 
wheelchair-bound but after the darshan, she started walking and 
didn't need that second surgery. 

I went back to Baba a second time for my wife, about eight years 
later. My wife had developed cancer in the hip. She could neither 
walk nor lie down and was on morphine injections. When I saw Baba, he 
said, "Cancer cancelled", and produced a crystal Shivling with a wave 
of his hand. "Do abhishek and give her the water to drink," he said. 
On the ninth day, my wife went to the market. Her cancer was gone. 

Sai Baba's life, however, meant far more than the many miracles he 
performed. I used to believe only in the Vedantic philosophy. Now 
when I pray, I also chant Jesus, Allah and Buddha's names. You can 
find all the world's religions in Puttaparthi. I once saw an Iranian 
boy chant the Gayatri Mantra with perfect diction. By showing us the 
similarities in religions, the Baba united us. Not to mention the 
several cashless hospitals he ran or his colleges that took students 
without fees. For us, he was a living God. 

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