The Landmark Year of 1940 when Sri Sathya Sai revealed His Divinity

Friday, March 8, 1940

The whole town of Uravakonda was shocked to hear that a big scorpion had stung Sathya, for there was a superstitious belief in Uravakonda that no one could survive a scorpion sting! Twenty four hours passed without any effect, however at about 7:00 pm the next evening, Sathya fell unconscious. The locals propitiated the village deity Muthyalamma believing that worship would cure Sathya of all ills. Sathya however, proved to be not unconscious but ‘super conscious’, for He said, “The coconut has broken into three” (in the temple), even as He lay in bed at home, seemingly unconscious!

Sathya began acting in inexplicable ways thereafter. Things grew stranger and stranger as Sathya began revealing more and more of His ‘true identity’. This is most often explained as ‘a complete transformation of the personality due to the possession of the physical frame of Sathya by Shirdi Baba’. Baba in His later years explained that He Himself had initiated the process of manifestation (in this way). The time for Him to begin His mission was at hand, and He could no longer linger around acting like a mere boy with secular bonds. There was no scorpion that could sting Him; He was beyond ‘Visha’ (poison) and ‘Vishaya’ (objective world)!

Thursday, May 23, 1940

This was the glorious day when Baba first declared Himself as ‘SAI BABA’. The scorpion sting had left Sathya much different a boy as compared to the genial one known to the family members and the villagers. He had been acting strange much to the horror of all those who witnessed. That Thursday (23rd May) though, Sathya seemed His former self. He beckoned all the villagers, the neighbours and His family members, made them sit around Him and conversed with them in great ‘camaraderie’. He materialised various objects and distributed them freely. Those around seemed to have lost their fear of the ‘Muslim ghost’ that had possessed Sathya. The father Sri Venkappa Raju was infuriated by all this. He rushed towards Sathya armed with a cane stick and said, “Who do You think You are? If You don’t answer me I shall hit You. Come out with it – are You possessed a lunatic, an incarnation, a deity or a devil? Who are You?” Sathya replied calmly “Do you not know who I am? I am Sai Baba. I descended because the Venkavadhoota (the family saint of the Raju family) prayed for My descent”. The reply was calm and deliberate. The ring of truth in it was unmistakable. “Apastamba Sutra, Bharadwaja Gotra”, He kept on muttering to Himself through out that day. Sri Pedda Venkappa Raju was, however, still under the delusion that His son was possessed by the spirit of Sai Baba of Shirdi. He believed that a Muslim priest’s intercession would yield the desired outcome. He traced one such priest in Penukonda, and requested him to ‘de-possess’ his son. Sathya was taken to Penukonda where the priest, who happened to be a Government official, declared Sathya a ‘lunatic’. “Lunacy it is, but whose?”, retorted Sathya waving His hands in air and producing sacred ash which He scattered all over the room.

The subsequent Thursday, 30th May 1940, the father requested Sathya to give some proof of His claim and Sathya consented. It being a Thursday, Jasmine flowers were heaped for Puja as directed by Sathya previously. Sathya asked for the flowers to be placed in His hands. He scattered them casually, and lo! The flowers assumed the shape of the Telugu letters ‘SAI BABA’. The power of this ‘written’ name moved everybody to hail little Sathya as ‘Sai Baba’.

Saturday, July 15, 1940

A long standing devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba was promised by Him that He would reappear in the state of Andhra Pradesh bearing the same name ‘Sai Baba’. This devotee, Smt. Gali Sarada Devi, as a 60 year old, came to have His Darshan at Uravakonda. Her mind attained great peace, and a firm conviction grew in her making her believe that this lad was indeed Shirdi Sai Baba come again, for He spoke in Hindi in the same endearing manner that Shirdi Sai Baba did. He asked her, “Let Me have the balance 16 rupees you owe Me”. He went on to explain the precedence of the sixteen rupees much to her astonishment. ‘Oh, my God! How old an event, and trivial an incident! Who could remember it and recall it other than Baba?!’ she exclaimed. Little Sathya addressed her softly, “I do not want your money. It is only to assure you and to reassure you of My Shirdi identity have I recalled this.”
"I am Sai Baba"
  Sunday October 20, 1940

It was on this day that Sathya made a grand declaration for all of mankind to hear. He returned from school in the afternoon of October the 20th 1940, cast away His books in front of His sister-in-law and declared most emphatically - “I am no longer your Sathya. I am Sai Baba! My Bhaktas beckon Me. I have My work to attend to. I am leaving!” October the 20th is celebrated as the Avatar Declaration Day.


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