Mrs. Bhat Prays To Lord Subramanya And Sathya Sai Baba Responds
Every Hindu family usually worships a particular deity as the family deity. In the family of K.R. K. Bhat, they traditionally worshipped Lord Subramanya. But Mr. Bhat himself was inclined more towards the worship of Lord Krishna. Perhaps for this reason, or perhaps because he was very busy as a top executive in the world of insurance, it was his young wife who carried out the daily ceremonial worship of Lord Subramanya (aka Lord Murugan).
In 1943, Mrs. Bhat developed cancer of the uterus. Medical men advised an operation though there was no certainty that this would be successful. Mr. Bhat’s widowed mother was staying with the young couple at the time, and she said to her son, “Lord Subramanya cured your father of cancer without any operation; in the same way he will cure your wife.” The old lady’s faith was so tremendously strong that the young couple agreed to forego surgery and place themselves entirely in the hands of the family deity.
Pujas (worship) to Lord Subramanya were intensified, the religious practices became even more strict and devout than before, the prayers more fervent and prolonged. These pujas were now carried out mainly by Mr. Bhat’s mother, while the young wife remained in bed growing gradually thinner and weaker. This went on for about six months.
Then one night, while in a state of semi-sleep, the patient saw in the dim light from the moon a large cobra circling her bed. Alarmed, she switched on her bedside lamp and woke her mother-in-law who was sleeping in the same room, her husband being absent on a business trip. No snake was found in the room.
Yet as soon as Mrs. Bhat switched off the light, she saw the cobra again, going around the bed. Almost immediately the snake took the form of Subramanya, in the same form as in the portrait hanging in their shrine. He seemed to be floating above her. Then piercing her bosom with His velayudha (The spear – the weapon of Lord Subramanya), He seemed to draw her away with Him.
Soon she found herself standing before Him on the peak of a high rocky hill. She knelt and touched His feet with her hands and forehead, and He began to talk to her. He asked her if she wanted to stay with Him or go back to the world. She understood this to mean a choice between life and death. Thinking of her husband and young children and their need of her, she told Subramanya that she wished to go back.
There was further conversation, and finally Subramanya said: “You are cured of your illness, and will soon grow strong. Throughout your life I will protect you; whenever you think of Me, I’ll be there. Now go back.”
“How?” she asked.
He pointed to a long winding, narrow staircase that had opened near their feet, and led downward. She began to descend – then there seemed to be a break in her consciousness and she found herself back in bed in her own room, awake. Immediately she woke her mother-in-law and told her about the vision. When her husband returned home she told him as well.
But, she regarded the experience as sacred, and did not make it known beyond the closest members of her family. From that night onward she gained rapidly in strength and there were no more signs of the cancer. Soon, she was up and carrying on her normal life. Only now, there was a difference. Now in addition to her household duties and religious observances, she devoted herself to social welfare work among the poor and needy. God had given her back her life, and she was determined to use it fully in His service as best she could.
It was twenty years later that Mr. and Mrs. Bhat first heard of Sathya Sai Baba and went to Prasanthi Nilayam. To Mrs. Bhat, He said, “I spoke to you long ago – twenty years ago.”
Greatly puzzled, she replied: “No, Swamiji, this is my first visit.”
“Yes, yes, but I came to you when you were living in Mysore.”
And He mentioned the name of the street and the city where she was living at the time of her cancer illness, when she had the vision of Subramanya. Then He took her a little way up the narrow winding stairs, which lead to His quarters above and told her to look down. Immediately she was reminded of the staircase leading down from the heights on which she had been with Subramanya: in fact the two stairways seemed identical. She was more bewildered than ever.
To help her understanding, Swami now waved His hand and from the air produced a photograph of Himself in the somasutra (chariot) of Subramaniam with a cobra circling around Him. Now a light began to dawn on her. God can take any form, she understood.
He had come to her twenty years before in the form she worshipped, as Lord Subramanya. Now He was here before her in the form of Sathya Sai Baba. She fell at his feet, weeping tears of joy.
Reference: “Sai Baba: Man of miracles” by Mr. Howard Murphet. Page: 107-109 (Paperback Edition). Published by Macmillan India Ltd, 1972.