When Sri Sathya Sai shared stories about Old-time Devotees…

March 6, 2002

Kasturi used to say whenever I used to hold his hand, “Swami, place Your hand on my head. If You hold my hand, it might slip. But if You place it on my head, it will remain there permanently.” Kasturi, Lokanathan, Tirumalacharya (devotees of Swami), all these people were like that only. Whatever Swami used to tell them, they would do. They all lived for 100 years. Kamavadhani (a great Sanskrit scholar) used to teach Vedam to students. (Pointing to the Warden – Dr. Siva Sankara Sai) He also learnt from him only. Once he came here, he never went back. His wife and children pleaded with him to return home, but he refused. He told them, “I should get that property, which will come with me at the end. You all will not come with me at the end. Only Swami will come with me.” Once I went to his place. His wife and children requested Me to bring Kamavadhani along with Me. I asked Kamavadhani, “Will you come to Kadali (located in East Godavari District in present day Andhra Pradesh) with Me.” He said, “With You Swami, I will come anywhere.” We went there and had food at his place. There, they pleaded with him to stay for atleast one day. But he came back along with Me on the same day. Bangalore Padmanabhan’s father also came here and never went back. He used to tell, “I do not want to come to Bangalore.” Even when I used to go, he never came. Tirumalacharya, composer of Suprabatham, was also like that. They had no diseases at all. They all lived a long life. On November 18th, he performed Sita-Rama Kalyanam (celebrating the celestial marriage of Lord Rama and Mother Sita, a tradition in Prasanthi Nilayam to mark the commencement of Swami’s Birthday celebrations). He was sitting and chanting Mantras. People came and put the idols on the chariot. He went with the chariot and came back. He told Me, “Swami, the work is over. I will go, have bath, have my food and come.” I told him to have food and not come here thereafter. After having food, he slept, and passed away in his sleep. He passed away without any pain. Suraiyya, the gate keeper of Prasanthi Nilayam was six feet two inches tall. He lived for 100 years. He used to do door duty till 8.00 pm in the night. He never used to allow any body without My permission. He was a celibate. 

Kasturi was also like that. After I used to sleep, he used to come and press My feet. I used to tell him, “I do not have any pain.” He used to tell, “Swami, I am doing this for my satisfaction.” Once, I went to College for a function. It was the first time M.B.A. course was introduced. I told Kasturi to go to the hospital and get a check up done. So he went there. That time this big hospital (Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital) was not there. Even the present General Hospital was not there. After the speech, I went to the hospital and asked Kasturi, “How are you?” He said, “Swami, I do not have any pain.” I told him to stay for one more hour in the hospital. I gave him Prasadam and made him drink water with My hands. I came back to Mandir and told Kutumba Rao to arrange for the funeral near Chitravati. I told him that I will send the Dhoti also. Kutumba Rao asked, “Swami, all this is for whom?” I told, “For Kasturi.” I went up and came down, and the news came that Kasturi had passed away. They used to live so happily. 

Pujari Kistappa is another devotee. All these people followed Swami’s command. That time, there was no problem. But nowadays, starting from a child of five years, everybody is getting heart attack. They keep so many worries in their head. They watch T.V., and even those worries get into their head. While dying also, they have lot of worries. So when they are born again they have worries. Our next birth depends upon the last thoughts of the last birth. (To an elderly teacher) What do you think about always? 

Teacher : Swami, I always think about You. 

Swami : Manchidi (Good). (Then Swami materialised a ring for him.) Is it not good? 

Teacher : Swami, everything You only have given. 

Swami then continued His narration: 
Sheshagiri Rao was a very humorous person. He used to come to this Mandir. Hanumantha Rao, old transport officer of Madras, built this Mandir. That time, I had a small car. The seats were lower than that of a sofa. It had two seats. I used to sit on one seat and used to tell, “Sheshagiri Rao come and sit.” He used to say ‘Sai Ram’ out of fear, and used to get in to the car because I used to drive very fast. Something that I got, no one has got in the world. I got the driving license at the age of nine! At that time, Hanumantha Rao and Chandramouli, regional transport officer, were there, and all of them sat in the car. They drew various lines on the road and told me to take a turn at a particular place, go back at a particular place and so on. I drove the car very well. 

After the drive, Hanumantha Rao told Chandramouli to give Me a license. Chandramouli said, “Sir, to give license one has to be atleast 18 years.” Then Hanumantha Rao said, “Driving correctly is important and not age. You may give license to a 80 year old person, but will he be able to drive properly?” After getting license, I and Sheshagiri Rao used to go to Madras in the car. Sheshagiri Rao used to have breakfast here, and for lunch we used to be in Madras. I used to drive very fast. People on the side of the road used to say that some drunkard might be driving the car, He is bound to fall. But I never fell down. I drove that car for 14 years. Sheshagiri Rao used to call up home and say that he would be starting at 8.00 am in the morning for Madras. His wife used to say, “So you will be here for dinner.” But I used to be there by 11.30 am itself. That was war time. So there was no petrol. The government used to ration one gallon per month. So, I told Subbana to fill water in the tank. The car never stopped anywhere! Sheshagiri Rao used to close his eyes and sit. After we reach Madras, I used to give a gentle pat and tell him that we have reached Madras. He used to ask, “Swami, did we arrive so fast?” He used to cry and say, “Swami is bringing me in His car.” He used to tell Me, “Swami, I did not even talk to You in the car because I was so scared!” He stayed like that for 10 years. 

Once we went to Hyderabad. At that time, Ramachandra Reddy was the leader of the Razakar Movement. I went straight to Chincholi Rani’s house. She was the Rani, who had the Kamandalu (water container used by saints) that was used in the Shirdi Avatar. From there, I used to go to villages. Ramachandra Reddy followed Me everywhere. But Sheshagiri Rao never used to come. He used to stay in Ramachandra Reddy’s house. There, they made dosas and served him. They did not ask him if he was a Brahmin or not. They used to put eggs in the dosas and make them. He used to tell them, “Why don’t you make such nice dishes when Swami comes?” The wife slapped her cheeks and said that she could not make such a dish for Swami; but did not tell the reason why. The next day, I went to their house. At that time, Sheshagiri Rao was describing the dishes to Me. Then Ramachandra Reddy told him that they put egg in the dishes. (Laughing heartily Swami said) That’s all. Straight away, Sheshagiri Rao went outside the house, took a neem twig, and started cleaning his tongue; and he kept on reciting some Mantras to purify himself for having consumed eggs! 

Once, Subramanya Shastri and many others were following Me. This Subramanya Shastri’s Guru was Shankaracharya. They were all very much concerned about My food. Venkateswara Rao said that he would arrange for food. He told one of the widow teachers in his school to prepare food, and to dress up like an Iyengar Brahmin. After the food, Kamavadhani asked Venkateswara Rao, “What is the name of the lady?” Rao said that it was Leelamma. Then they enquired about the other person who was there in the house. Rao told them that he was the second husband of the lady. Then they asked him the name of that person. Rao said that his name was Rami Reddy. (Again laughing heartily) That’s all, all the Brahmins were shocked and started reciting Mantras and Shlokas. (It is considered inauspiscious in the orthodox Brahmin culture to consume food prepared by people belonging to the non-Brahmin caste.) Then I told them, “See, they have prepared food with a good heart. It is pure and neat. So do not worry about the caste.” 

Karnam Subbama was also a Brahmin. No Harijan (person of a lower caste) ever dared to cross in front of her house. Once, I was invited to a Harijan’s house for food. I told Subbama not to come. But she said, “Swami, I am not bothered about what others say. I will come where You go, because wherever Brahma (God) is there, that is the place for Brahmins.” Only Subbama crossed the barriers of caste. (Then Swami called one doctor. To students) Who is he? 

Student : Dr. Gopinath, Swami. 

Swami : Both his wife (Dr. Hema) and he are F.R.C.S. Last night, his wife came from America. I sent a car. His son studied in our college only. Now he is in California. I put him in General Hospital so that he can take care of all the children. (Swami got up to go.) 

Prof. A. K. : Swami we are very happy. 

Swami : Why? 

Prof. A. K. : Swami you have told so many things. 

Swami : All these are normal only. 

After that, Swami blessed birthday boys and went inside interview room. 


  1. Thanks for this most interesting and precious post. I love Swami!

  2. Wow some very rear, inspiring and interesting moments spent with Swami with that era of devotees. Thanks for sharing. SR

  3. Sairam pranams to swaamy for make you to share this

  4. Old is Gold always...Blissful to read....Thanx...Sairam


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