Myth and Fact: famous Miracles
By Hari SampathDate: 07-18-00
I am going to post a series of Sai Baba "miracles" and the actual story of what happened so that devotees can see how these things get distorted far out of proportion. ALL these stories are from what I had heard personally and I can testify to their factual accuracy from my own personal encounters with those who knew the facts.
"MIRACLE" CAR ACCIDENT RESCUE IN GERMANY
Myth :In the 1970's there was a story doing the rounds in the Sai Baba devotee circles. The story was that an elderly couple from Germany were visiting Sai Baba for the first time in Abbotsbury, Madras where SB was staying. They were seated in the first row, and as Sai Baba went past them, he stopped, turned around, came back to them and said, " your daughter and son-in-law were about to be crushed by a truck in Germany on a highway, I saved them". Later, it was found to be true, and their daughter and son-in-law were indeed nearly involved in a collision with a truck, but had a narrow escape. Effect: All Sai Baba devotees were so excited by this "miracle" and "omniscience" of Sai Baba, that they most enthusiastically spread it all over the place and probably resulted in attracting more devotees.
Fact: What had actually happened was this, their daughter and son-in-law had a narrow escape from a truck collision, and had called their hotel in Madras to tell them about this. As the elderly couple had already left to see Sai Baba, the message was passed onto to some other member of their group who rushed to Abbotsbury to inform them, but couldn't get in as all the lines were full at the Darshan grounds. So, they passed on the message to some head volunteer to be conveyed to the elderly couple from Germany who were inside. Upon hearing this, news about this was taken immediately to Sai Baba by an eager to please and faithful devotee who said, " by Swami's Grace, that couple's daughter and son in law were just saved from an accident in Germany". SB, of course smiled knowingly and said "I know, I know..." like he always does, and asked someone to move that couple to the first row. As he had not seen them before, he walked past them first, and then upon a volunteer helpfully saying "this is the one, Swami", SB walked back and grandly announced his "miracle".
So, a "miracle" was heard "first hand" by all those present nearby and no doubt passed on to hundreds of others, each time a little bit added probably.
When the couple returned to the hotel, they called their daughter in Germany, who naturally confirmed the story. Thinking they were singled out for some "divine grace", this elderly couple were only too happy to "positively" confirm it for a lot of people to report in their books.
Result: One more "miracle" confirmed personally by the recipient, and "seen" by hundreds of others, goes into the records.
THE AIRPLANE RESCUE "MIRACLE"
This is a very popular story that was doing the rounds in 1995-6.
Myth: An aeroplane, preparing for landing, in Venezuela, ran into some very serious trouble. The pilot announced that all was lost. A Sai Baba devotee on board prayed to Sai Baba, and saw Sai Baba appear in the skies!!!! He appeared to be holding his right hand, palm facing up, and actually holding the plane, till it landed safely. The Sai Baba devotee, quickly took out her camera and snapped a picture of "Swami in the skies, among the clouds" (Rs 50-/ in PN, by the way ) . This incident was reported in The "Venezuela Times" next day as "Indian Saint appears in mid air to save plane"
Effect: Spectacular!!! What a great miracle!! Swami is giving another example of his Omniscience and control over nature and saving Grace!!! Reported to all and sundry, along with thousands of copies of the photo sold and distributed. When Sai Baba was asked about his comments, he said grandly after taking a look at the photo "where a devotee's heart is pure, Swami would even save hundreds of people by traveling anywhere". Later, news trickles in from the inner circle that actually as the plane was going to crash, Swami was telling those around him that he had just been to the other part of the world to save a plane as a devotee had called. How fantastic!!!!
Fact: Like most landings, the pilot was expecting a bumpy touch down, that is all. And like all Sai Baba devotees (if any of you have ever flown with Sai Baba devotees, you will know what I am saying), this particular devotee instantly started praying to Sai Baba. She had with her a copy of "Avatar" by Howard Murphet which she was reading and held the book close to her heart. As it was quite into early evening and slightly dark, she saw the reflection of the photo on the book cover on the glass window of the plane (the picture she took is an exact replica of the photo on the cover of "Avatar", surrounded by clouds). She was already in a panicky state of mind, and greatly excited, snapped what she thought she saw through the glass window, with her camera. The situation with the plane was ok, and they landed alright.
This was never reported in any newspaper, and there is no paper called "Venezuela Times". All the extra stories about Sai Baba talking about the incident when it is supposed to have happened were later additions, and Sai Baba had later addressed a person during a group interview and said " didn't I tell you when I was going to save that plane? " and of course, the close devotee said "yes, you did, Swami" , who would quarrel with God ????
Result: One more spectacular "miracle" goes into the records!!!!!
A "VISIT" BY SWAMI, CONFIRMED?
This is a very popular story that I have heard since the 1980's....
Myth: In Bangalore, a devotee family was in the habit of conducting weekly bhajans. Once, after a weekly bhajan session, and after prasadam distribution was over, a very little bit of the prasadam was left over. At that time, four persons came in to the house, saying they were Sai Baba devotees from Puttaparthi, and had come for the Bhajans. The available prasadam was just about enough to give a little to these four persons, who left saying "Today Swami himself is here". The next morning, a fellow staying opposite this house, he was NOT a devotee, asked this family if they had a nice meeting with Sai Baba the previous evening. This man said, "I saw Sai Baba go into your house yesterday evening".
Effect: Amazing!!! Since Sai Baba was in Puttaparthi at that time, and had obviously "bilocated" to this home to bless the devotees. He had come as four persons, and so that the family may know it was him, had even made the neighbor convey this to the family. What a fantastic miracle, which God alone could do. This family was so touched and greatly felt blessed, they called up hundreds of devotees and told everyone how Sai Baba had visited them in person and was actually SEEN by their neighbor. Moreover "Sai Baba" had himself said, "Swami himself is here today", after receiving the Prasadam from that house. The news spread like wild fire, gathering momentum as it spread, and also new additions and features. When this family visited Puttaparthi next, they naturally told Sai Baba how happy they were about the "visit", which he was naturally happy to confirm, and it became official for the book writers to report !!!
Fact: What had actually happened was, a group of four persons, on the way back from Puttaparthi were visiting some friends in the neighborhood. They had, by chance asked this family's neighbor the way to the house where Sai Baba bhajans were conducted and were directed there by him. Since this man was not a devotee, he assumed that Sai Baba was visiting, and so bhajans were conducted. And also, as he saw a number of people going there for Bhajans, he thought that Sai Baba had come. The next day he had actually told the family, and that too just conversationally "How was Sai Baba's visit? Did you have a nice meeting with Sai Baba? I saw everything from here". The family immediately jumped to the conclusion that he had actually SEEN Sai Baba himself, and ever on the look out for special "miracles", happily spread the story around. Later that neighbor was asked by someone if he indeed knew for sure that Sai Baba visited that house for bhajan, he replied "of course, I myself saw everything", still assuming that Sai Baba had come personally and so all the crowd was there. This added fuel to fire, and it gathered pace till Sai Baba himself "confirmed" it, and taken along with that visitor's statement "Swami himself is here today", which all devotees say when thay are at Sai Baba Bhajans, this became an "official" bilocation miracle.
Result: Sai Baba can bilocate, something which God alone can do, has done so in many places, here is one example with "hundreds of people" testifying...
SAI BABA "APPEARS" IN A TAXI IN PARIS
I heard this story in 1996.
Myth: A passenger gets into a taxi in Paris, France, and asks to go to a particular address. The taxi driver was not very familiar with the exact location, and so, the passenger who spoke perfect French directed the taxi driver to that address, and upon getting there, gave the taxi driver 200 Francs, saying he will take the taxi drive back in an hour and he wanted the driver to wait. An hour passed and the passenger did not return, so the driver goes up to the apartment complex to the apartment where the passenger said he was visiting and sees a lot of people leaving some kind of a prayer meeting. He sees a big picture of a man in a flowing orange robe and having thick crop of dark hair in the apartment. He says " Hey that is my passenger, he gave me 200 Francs and I have been waiting for him for an hour, is he here?? " The Sai Baba devotees are astonished!!!! Miracle!!!! They tell that man that it was the photo of a spiritual leader in India who was "god" .The taxi driver is not convinced and leaves somewhat doubtfully. After a couple of weeks, he returns to that apartment to ask about the "god" they were talking about and whether he could see him. As a group of people from France were leaving for India, this specially "blessed" taxi driver was given a air ticket and asked to join them. He came along with them to India, and straight away was seated in the first row. During Darshan, Sai Baba came up to him and asked "where is my 100 Francs?". The devotees present with him were amazed at Sai Baba's Omniscient knowledge and confirmation of the "miracle".
Effect: This "great Miracle" of Sai Baba actually bilocating to France for a poor taxi driver and "seen" by so many devotees was spread around to all the devotee groups, along with "evidence" of the "miracle" and also Sai Baba's confirmation of all this. Everyone who hear it passed it on to more people, and nobody doubted this since they all "knew" already that Sai Baba was God and could easily do this.
Fact: What had actually happened was a man from some part of Paris was a stranger to all this Sai Baba phenomena, and someone had given him a book he had read. He got the address of a center in Paris and visited to see what it is all about. He had with him a book that had a picture of Sai Baba as he was traveling in the taxi, which the driver saw. He gave the driver 200 Francs, saying he will be back and went up. After the Bhajan session, someone offered to drive him back wherever he had to go, and he just forgot about the money he had given the driver. When the driver went in to the apartment he saw the photo of Sai Baba there and said " that is the picture my passenger had with him " and NOT "that is my passenger". Since the visitor was a stranger coming for the first time, and had already left with someone, no one knew his name and details and thought immediately that Sai Baba had "visited" them in the form of a stranger. They simply went on and on about Sai Baba 's "miracles" to the poor driver and tried to convince him it was indeed Sai Baba who had come. Later, some one got the bright idea of taking this "specially blessed " man to Puttaparthi , when that confused driver came back the next week. They thought, that taking him there will also get them an interview, and it will also be "seva" for a poor devotee to be taken to India, and arranged his ticket too. After coming to Prashanthi Nilayam, they tried to arrange an interview by informing the inner coterie of all the "details" of the "miracle" and so the group along with the driver was seated in the first row. Of course, news about this "miracle" was taken to Sai Baba, along with details of the 200 Francs etc. Sai Baba also got to know from students close by the French translation of "where is my 100 francs" for dramatic effect, and went ahead and "completed" the "miracle" for all to see.
Result: One more "miracle" into the record.