May 17-20, 1970
The visit to Somnath is vividly described by Prof. Kasturi, who was present that day in the sanctum sanctorum. He writes:
"The 17th was an epoch-making day. Baba 'charged the Somanath Shrine' that day with Divine potency. He also fulfilled the prayers of the late Jamsaheb of Nawanagar, the person primarily responsible for the renovation of that historic temple, by visiting the place and allowing His Name to be associated with a structure that is a limb of that complex. The Rajamata succeeded in persuading Baba to inaugurate the imposing architectural gem called Dig Vijaya Dwar (after Sri Digvijaya Singh, the late Jamsaheb), the Gateway of Victory.
|The Majestic Somnath Temple on the Shores of Arabian Sea in Gujarat|
This temple is situated on a spot celebrated in the Vedas and Epics. The shrine is of Shiva, as Sauma, with Uma, as Shiva-Shakti. Baba has come as Shiva-Shakti in human form to charge the ancient shrine with Divine potency. The Shivayogis who specialized in Soma Vidya and the followers of the Paasupatha cult founded by Sage Lakulisa about 200 AD, spread the fame of this temple from sea to sea. They established Somanaths with Somesvara Shrines all over the land, in Ratnagiri, E. Godavari, Purnea, Jodhpur, Mysore, and South Kanara Districts.
Somanath was one of the richest temples of India. When the Muslims conquered and ruled over the Punjab and Sindh, it attracted the plunderers. Depredation, desecration, destruction, reconstruction and re-dedication became recurring chapters of its long history. The infamous raid by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026 AD was the third in the long list of catastrophes. The fifth temple too met with a similar fate, at the hands of the rulers of Delhi.
|Somnath Temple Ruins - late 1800s|
|Sardar Patel and Jamsaheb at Somnath Temple post-1947|
Baba declared that He would reveal, that day the genuine Somanath! This declaration filled us with wonder and enthusiastic exuberance. So all roads converging from Jamnagar to Somanath were shouting Jais in exhilaration. Baba was received at the decorated Shamiana in front of the Digvijaya Dwar by the trustees of the Somanath temple, as well as by the high officers of the District and States. Amidst strains of temple music, He walked on the red carpet laid on the steps, and opened the lock on the artistically carved and silver-embossed door with a silver key. Then, He proceeded along the festooned pathway, between rows of fresh banana trees, to the main shrine of Someshwar, the focal point of the faith of millions for millennia!
|The 'Digvijaya Dwar' at the entrance of the Somnath Temple that was inaugurated by Sri Sathya Sai|
He entered the holy of holiest; Brahmin Pundits were reciting Vedic Hymns, which reverberated from the arched and conical roof, from the finial 150 feet above the ground! He directed that a plate be brought. He spread the fingers of His right hand and shook it over the plate, 108 silver Bilva leaves and 108 golden flowers fell from His hand in a clinking shower. Devotees’ reverentially touched them for it is on their behalf and for their sake that he was undertaking the process of ‘charging the 3 feet high Lingam’. This Lingam had been recently installed, when Rajendra Prasad, President of India, inaugurated the Temple. He poured the leaves of silver and flowers of gold on the Linga, as He had done at Srisailam when He was set on revitalizing the Linga there. It was like Ganga water poured into the stream of the Ganga.
Within seconds, He waved that Divine hand! Lo and behold, a ball of brilliant light manifested in His palm. The Somanatha Linga is the only one of the twelve which is adored as Jyotirmayam, "Imbued with the splendor of light." And, Baba had the "Linga of Light" right now in His grasp! What a great moment was this, I wondered. Then I remembered Baba's announcement: "I shall show you the genuine Someshwara Linga today!" so, this was It, the Genuine One, installed, as legend says, by Brahma Himself, and worshiped by the Moon-God, the God who presides over the mind of man.
In a pamphlet issued by the tourist department, it is said that Skanda Purana mentioned thousands of years ago that "the Sparsha Linga of Somanath is a 'Swayam-Bhu' (self-originated) Linga, of great prowess, as bright as the sun, of the size of an egg of a hen, which is situated underground." It is a characteristic of Vayu, air. These are the other Lingas representing the other four elements: Akash, Tejas, Jal and Pruthvi.
|Sri Sathya Sai in the Garbha Griha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Somnath Temple with the materialised Sparsha Linga in His Right Hand|
So the oval ball of light in His hand was the authentic Someshwara He had resolved to bring up from its underground niche, kept away since many centuries from depredation and desecration. The Sparsha (touch) Lingam was nestling for centuries under the Linga in the Shrine. This information was given to us by Baba, as well as by the priests and trustees. Baba waved His hand again and created a silver stand on which it could be placed. He gave it to the chief priest, "Let it be in the full light of day hereafter! Let pious eyes admire its brilliance and imprint its glory on their hearts. There is no need any more to keep it away. The Avatar has come to remove all fear," Baba declared."
To make the triumphant emergence of Someshwara, Baba unfurled the flag on the towering finial over the central shrine. Thousands acclaimed 'Jai Bhagawan' as He gave Darshan on the temple steps."
Baba left for Rajendra Bhavan at Veeraval and at 2 pm, He motored to Keshod aerodrome from where He enplaned for Bombay. Over 30,000 devotees were awaiting the arrival of Baba at Dharmakshetra, Bombay.
Swami visited Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on the 18th in order to bless Dr. K. M. Munshi. Swami left for Brindavan on the 20th. Swami graced the inaugural function of the Bharat Engineering Workshop on the 25th. He gave a Discourse at the function.