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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group VI | Late Mrs. Nagamani Purnaiah

Late Mrs. Nagamani Purnaiah,

      Mrs. Nagamani Purnaiah was an old devotee, who had recorded her experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan, in the book 'The Divine Leelas of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba', published by the House of Seva, Bangalore - 560 067. She was among the earliest and the most intimate devotees of Bhagavan with extraordinary experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan. She had innumerable occasions to experience His Divinity in the late forties, and fifties of the last Century.

'I heard of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba from my relative, Mrs. Kamalamma of Bangalore and accompanied her to Puttaparthi. Mrs. Sakamma, known as the coffee queen, also came with us and told us many leelas of Bhagavan. When I met Swami for the first time, He was wearing a thick rose garland stretching to His feet, and I forgot about every thing and was at His feet for a long time till Kamalamma and Sakamma lifted me up asking anxiously 'what happened to you?'

When we were returning to Bangalore after staying at Parthi for a few days, Swami accompanied us to the other bank of the River Chitravathi wading through waters with us. While in midstream, He poured water in my hand with His, when the water poured by Him turned into a talisman in my hand. 'It will protect you' Swami told me, 'wear it.'

While we were in Parthi, I made a garland of tulasi to put it around Swami's neck. But it was too small to put it through His head. Swami saw my predicament, took it and stretched into a bigger garland full of tulasi leaves and returned it to me. Then I could put it around His neck easily.

One day an old man was bitten by a scorpion, and came crying to the mandir. Swami had retired just then. I did not like to disturb Swami. I took a little vibhuti, prayed to Swami and gave it to him. He swallowed a little and rubbed a little on the spot where he was bitten. In a few minutes his pain disappeared and he left happily. Swami woke up after the old man had left and asked me, 'have you given any medicine to anyone?'

'No, Swami' I replied, 'I did not give any medicine to anyone.'

'Liar!' Swami laughed, 'did you not give vibhuti to the old man bitten by the scorpion?' I prostrated at His holy feet and said 'it is Your grace that had relieved the old man of the pain.'

Once when I wanted to go to Puttaparthi, my husband permitted on one condition. 'When you are at Parthi, you are not looking after yourself' he said, 'eat well.' He gave me several biscuit packets and ready to eat foods. At Parthi, I completely forgot about them. On the day of my return, I prayed to Swami 'make me appear fat to my husband. Otherwise, he won't permit me to come here again.' Swami mentioned this to several devotees as if it were a joke, and laughed to His heart's content. I went back. 'You appear thinner' was the remark of my husband on seeking me. In fact, I was so.

Next day we went to a movie. Finding a weighing machine there, my husband made me take my weight. My weight increased by 10 kgs. He doubted if the machine was out of order, and took his own weight. It showed his weight correctly. Swami saved me thus.

Once, Swami asked me to be at Parthi for Navarathri. 'You can paint all idols' He had told me, 'if you come a few days earlier.' But when I went to the bus stand, I was told that all buses were stopped going toward Parthi due to heavy floods. I was praying to Swami. 'Phone up Ranjith Singh' my husband asked me, 'and check up if buses are going.' This was on the following day. Mr. Singh was the Inspector General of Police and our family friend. 'No! They are not going' was the answer of Mr. Singh. If I told the truth, my husband would not allow me to go. How to tell a lie to my husband? I prayed to Swami keeping my hand on the talisman Swami had given me, and told my husband 'Mr. Singh says that buses are going today.' My husband allowed me to go.

When we came to the bus stand, the clerk at the enquiry said, 'we told you yesterday itself that there is no chance for a week. If you want, you can go up to the point where the floods have inundated the road, and return.' I boarded the bus. After getting into the bus, I closed my eyes and started praying to Swami intensely. After sometime, I asked the driver 'where are we?' 'We are on our way to Puttaparthi' he replied; 'we crossed the stretch inundated earlier, safely as the flood water had receded.' I was told later that soon after our bus had crossed, the stretch was inundated again. Ours was the only bus that could reach Parthi that day.

On seeing me, Swami said 'you have come? Only your bus crossed that stretch!' The flood did not recede for the next ten days!

Once I had the good luck to travel with Swami in a car from Parthi to Bangalore. There was another devotee, who was taking Swami to Bangalore as well as his driver, in the car. I took some snacks and flask-full of coffee. On that day, I had only one rupee in my purse and thought, 'if only I had had money, I would have bought some fruits for Swami to eat on the way.' After getting into the car, Swami said 'we go to the old mandir first, and then to Bangalore'. He asked us to sit in the car as He went into the old mandir. Then one lady came to me and gave Rs.25, 'please get me some woollens when you come next time.' I was happy that I had now some money. On the way we halted at some place and ate the snacks. Though I had money, I could not find a fruit stall to buy fruits. Swami got up and went to a tamarind tree on the roadside. He plucked a nice, big apple and gave me. I cut it and offered to Swami. 'You all have it' Swami told me, 'if you eat, it means I too ate it.' He did not partake of it. We all ate. Swami then plucked a golden locket from the same tamarind tree and gave me. In the locket was an image of Shirdi Sai and in the heart of Shirdi Sai was Sri Sathya Sai!

That day we reached the devotee's house in Bangalore where swami was staying. He went to rest and did not come out even at 10 p.m. I decided to go home in a taxi and requested the host to send someone with me as company. But he had none to spare as Swami was there. So I caught hold of the talisman Swami had given me and went to my house safely in a taxi. Next day, Swami chided me for going alone in the night in a taxi to my house.

'I had the talisman with me to protect me' I replied.

After a few days, Swami left for Mysore. Then I found that my talisman was missing. After three days Swami returned to Bangalore and phoned me, 'the talisman has reached me. No need to worry.'

I hurried to Him and begged Him to give the talisman back to me.

'No' Swami refused, 'you dared to go in the dead of night alone by taxi because it was with you. So I withdrew it.' After several days, of course, He relented and let me have the talisman.

After a few days, a Rani of Hyderabad invited Bhagavan to her palace. He asked us also to come with Him. When we were at Hyderabad, the talisman's rings fell off. 'Pray mend it, Swami', I pleaded giving it to Swami.

'Do you want the gold frame' Swami asked, 'or my mantra in it?'

'I want mantra' I replied.

Immediately Swami threw it away out of the window into the garden and said 'whoever picks it up tomorrow can have it.' Next morning we all searched for it in vain. At the breakfast, Swami said 'the water given to me is not pure.' The hostess was perturbed. They filtered the water well and brought. 'There is a fish in this glass of water' Swami remarked seriously. We went and looked into the glass. Something was swimming in the glass. It was my talisman! Swami took it out, and out of it took out a yellow paper on which a mantra was written. He gave it to me. I made a gold cover to it and wore it around my neck.

Those were Razakar movement days in ex-Hyderabad State. Razakars were attacking Hindus and killing them if any resistance was offered. Once we were going in a car when Razakars stopped us. When they saw Swami in the car, they quietly let us go.

One day there was swelling on the cheek of Swami. He did not allow us to call a doctor. We were all worried. In the evening, Swami removed out of His mouth an idol of Krishna and gave it Rani, who was a devotee of Krishna.

'See!' Swami asked us 'how is the swelling?'

The swelling disappeared and was no longer there.

Owing to Swami's grace, I could have darshan of my mother physically on the fifth day after her death, as I could not see her before her death.

Swami graced our house on three successive Gouri pooja days. On one day Swami gave harathi Himself, and offered it to everyone. When my turn came, He materialized for me a pendant embedded with diamonds and saffires.

While returning from Puttaparthi, I told Swami 'I feel sad to leave the place, for I would not get Swami's darshan there even though I might have all luxuries.'

'You shall have my darshan in my house in Bangalore', I felt as if some one had tapped me on my shoulder and woken me up when I was asleep one night. I woke up only to find that I was at Prasanthi Nilayam. Many ladies were sleeping on one side, and males on the other. Swami was sleeping on a cot. When I looked on my side, there was a male sleeping there. I was stunned. 'How did I come to Parthi in the night? Who is this man by my side?' I shuddered to think what people would say if they found me sleep by the side of a stranger in the night? I wanted to go and complain to Swami. But He was sleeping with an innocent and childlike smile on His face. I could not disturb Him. 'I would go and stand near His feet so that I could tell Him when He woke up' I thought and tried to get up. Suddenly, the scene disappeared. I found myself in my bed room in my house. The person sleeping by my side was none other than my husband. He woke up and asked me 'what are you doing sitting up in the middle of the night? Lie down and get some sleep.' Then I realized that Swami had given me darshan in my house as promised by Him.

Once when I was at Puttaparthi, a woman brought her husband who was ill and was advised surgery. The sight was so pitiable that I prayed to Swami to take pity on him.

After a while, we went to the Chitravathi and returned after ten minutes with water. 'Pour some water on my hands' Swami asked me. As I poured water, I was alarmed for His hands were full of blood.

'What is this, Swami?' I asked.

'You asked me to save that patient' Swami replied, 'I performed an operation on him.'

That night I could not sleep. How did that man withstand the pain of operation without anaesthesia?

Next morning, Swami called me. 'Get some cotton wool' He said, 'and give it to the patient.' I took cotton wool and tapped the door calling 'Amma!'

'Quick' Swami's command came from behind, 'go and give cotton wool to him.' So, I entered the room with great trepidation; what did I see there? The patient was sitting on a plank and was eating plateful of idlis! There was no need for cotton wool. It was only a joke played on me by Swami!

'Swami materialised a trisul and a knife' the patient told me. He materialized vibhuti and smeared on my face. Then I went to sleep. After five minutes, I woke up; Swami told me 'operation is over.' That is what I remember'. He soon got well and was attending to his normal work.

On another occasion, when I was at Puttaparthi, a woman was brought to Swami with burn injuries. The accident occurred when someone was lighting a petromax light. She was standing there watching it. Suddenly kerosene splashed on her and she was engulfed in fire. At once she called out to Swami, and a small boy appeared on the scene and put out the fire. Her sari and blouse did not catch fire but her face, neck and hand were burnt badly.

'Don't take me to a doctor' she told her people immediately after the accident, 'take me to Swami.'

Swami materialized with a wave of His hand some leaves of herb plants that grow only in the Himalayas. He squeezed the leaves to get their juice, and gave it to her to swallow. He then asked her to apply the pulp thereof on the affected parts of her body.

Within a few days, her wounds healed completely without leaving a single scar. If she had gone to the hospital, it would have taken months before her wounds healed completely. Even then scars would have remained causing an ugly look.

Once, Swami took us to the Chitravathi. He sat quietly piling up the sand in front of Him. 'What is today?' He asked us all of a sudden. It was Sivarathri day. Of course, Swami knew it well. Why was He asking us? One of the devotees answered 'it is Sivarathri day, Swami.'

'So you see' Swami said, 'Iswara will be born today.'

Next moment, an idol of Parameswara came up slowly out of the sand. It was boiling hot. Swami took it in His hand, and placed it on one side.

'Siva needs Parvathi' said Swami, 'doesn't He?'

We all said 'yes!'

In a trice, an idol of Parvathi emerged out of the sand heap. Like that, Swami took out the idol of Vighneswara and then a lingam. All the idols were made of panchaloha (an alloy of five metals). They were so hot that handling them produced blisters on Swami's hands. Then Swami waved His hand, produced some vibhuti and rubbed it on His hands. At once the blisters disappeared!

'Look!' Swami exclaimed. We all looked at the river flowing quietly behind us. There were three cheetahs drinking water in the river. Some of those present there got frightened, but the cheetahs neither approached us nor did they do any harm to any of us.

Once we accompanied Swami to a village in a truck. We were returning around 1 p.m. The water we brought with us was exhausted. We were feeling thirsty. Swami asked a devotee to go to the Chitravathi and bring water. When he brought the water, Swami poured a glass of it each to all of us. When we drank it, we were surprised. It was lemon water! Swami reserved some water in the jug. He poured a glass each to all those present at the mandir from the same jug. The small jug gave a tumbler-full each to so many, that too, lemon water!

Likewise Swami materialized amrit on the Ugadi day, and gave us all a spoonful each.

On another occasion, some villagers came and complained that some evil spirit was causing danger on the way to the market. Swami went with them and drew a circle on a spot there. He caused it to be dug when a pir and four other symbols of Muslim worship were unearthed. They were brought to the mandir and kept there. Every year, Muslims in the village borrow them from the mandir, perform Muharram rites and then return them to the mandir.

One day when I was with Rani of Hyderabad, she sent her clerk to see off some of her guests. The clerk was sitting with the guest in the train and chit-chatting. Suddenly the train started. The clerk tried to jump from the moving train and fell accidentally between the platform and the rails. The guest of Rani got panicky and pulled the alarm chain. When the train stopped, the guest got down only to find the clerk ascending the platform from below. He was unhurt.

'How could you remain unhurt?' the guest asked in bewilderment.

'Swami's hand held me tightly to the platform and I was watching the wheels go by', the clerk said.

I was with Rani when the clerk returned from the railway station and narrated his experience.

In the early years of my association with Swami, I used to paint pictures of Swami and sell them to devotees. I used to remit the sale proceeds to the mandir for narayanaseva. One gentleman took a painting from me. He wanted to put it in his pooja, but kept it somewhere and forgot. One day he remembered about it, and searched everywhere in vain. Then he prayed to Swami. To his great surprise, he found it in his pooja room at the very place and in the position where he wanted to keep it!

Once, a woman bitten by a cobra was brought to Swami. Swami materialized vibhuti, mixed it in water and poured some in her mouth and some in her ear. She woke up as if from deep sleep.

One day, I went to Whitefield. We were 12 persons sitting in a room. Swami also came in and sat with us. He took a green leaf and etched on it a beautiful peacock with His nail. He gave it to us. We all saw it and returned it to Swami. Swami then blew on it when it changed into an opal. Each of us took it into our hands and saw it. Then Swami took it back and blew on it when it changed into a big pear! Like this Swami changed it to a big diamond, japamani (a large prayer bead), and in the end as the original leaf again.'

-- Late Mrs. Nagamani Purnaiah

      (As extracted from her book 'The Divine Leelas of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba')