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As Humorist

As a humorist Sai is matchless. His subtle humour, which is often earthly in texture, deludes us to believe that He is of the earth and is with us on the same plane. It will not, all the same, hurt or offend anyone. He is at home with the boys of His College with whom He cracks jokes to often convey a lesson in spirituality, morals or ethics.

One day Swami on His way to the Hostel plucked a Tulsi leaf and placed it in the palm of a student and said: 'Keep it safe. Don't show it to anybody'. He just obeyed. But the warden insisted to see it. When the boy opened the handkerchief in which it was tied he found a gold coin. So he said 'Keep it safe, don't show it to anybody'. But his friends pestered and he had to yield. When they opened the handkerchief it was only a Tulsi leaf. The boy was greatly disappointed. Seeing his disappointment Swami called him and asked for the leaf. He blew at it and lo! The gold coin appeared and Swami blessed him to keep the same with him as His gift. Nothing is beyond His Power. His sankalpa is enough. It can change earth into sky and sky into earth. This incident, though humorous, was but a glimpse of His omnipotence. The students get such revelations often which cement their faith in their protector and patron.

Once Baba was to reach Bangalore a few days after the Shivarathri festival at Puttaparthi, as was His wont. But even after a week or ten days He did not move. Students at Bangalore were disappointed at the delay and they started imagining about possible reasons. But towards the end of March news reached them that Swami was shortly expected there. Their joy had no bounds. The usual preparations were carried out briskly for receiving the Lord. Baba came. The students sang and did Aarathi. He received it with no smile or talk. The students were flabbergasted. Each one started a vigorous and thorough search of his heart. None could find any reason. Swami gave darshan to the devotees and returned to His residence with head down as if to avoid the students standing in a row on either side. Their prayer for reason was unanswered. There was gloom in the campus. They apologised for any error unknowingly committed. No effect. Prayer turned into sobs and tears. The next day He gave darshan and returned as usual. But this time the students were determined and they encircled Him and cried for Pardon. Nothing happened. He looked only downward. A few seconds passed in grave silence. Then He like a great actor just mumbled "April Fool". There was a spurt of radiant laughter, which was shared with love by Swami as well. What a drama! The Divine actor cum director wanted to open the floodgates of joy to His ever loved dearest children, His 'only property'.

Once, looking at the overgrown hair of a young man in the hippie style sitting before Him in the interview room Baba asked, ' Why are you carrying this hair? Why don't you crop them off? The young man replied: 'Yes Baba, You may kindly cut one strand and the rest I shall do' Baba replied 'I am Baba, not Barber'.

A devotee once told Swami: 'Swami, there is one way to wipe off the poverty of India'. 'What is that' Swami enquired. 'If you can by your divine power convert the water of Indian Ocean into petrol, that is enough', said the devotee. Swami said 'But….' The devotee enquired ' Why but, Swami?' Swami quipped: 'Then, if someone throws a lighted matchstick into it?.

Once with a mischievous smile Swami asked Allen Drucker: 'Drucker have I gone fat?' 'No' Swami 'No' replied Drucker. But placing his hand on His abdomen Baba repeated the question. 'See why this is so enlarged'. Drucker repeated his 'no'. Then swami slowly whispered in the ear of Drucker 'I am carrying Prema Sai'.

Judy Warner was waiting for Darshan with the typed script of her book in hand for Swami's blessings. Bhagawan came and stood before her. When she showed the manuscript He touched the same and enquired 'What is the name of the book?'. She replied 'Transformation of the heart'. 'Transformation of the spiritual heart or physical heart?' Swami asked. 'Swami, Spiritual Heart' she said. 'Good. The only change for the other heart is Bypass surgery'.

An incident of 1959 which Kasturiji has narrated in his Loving God is interesting and revealing. Kasturiji was called to the Presence through a messenger. Baba told him that He needed a photograph of Kasturiji to be passed on to the editor of a newspaper having a circulation of 30,000. Kasturiji was enticed by the prospect of high publicity and, as directed, he rushed to get ready for the event that was to bring name and fame to him. He returned 'shaved and starched' in minutes to be positioned and photographed by Baba Himself. Looking at him through the lens Baba further inflated his ego by admiring Kasturiji's 'photogenic face'. And with a 'Ready' He clicked, only to drive out a cotton mouse tucked inside the camera which drew a shrill shriek from a frightened Kasturiji who had already reached the corner of the room thinking it was a real rat. Baba had a hearty laugh and Kasturiji followed. Reprimanding for being so gullible Baba advised him to aspire for lasting fame through dedicated service to God than through newspapers, which became waste paper the next day.

Swami's humour is only a medium to convey a great lesson, a correction to weed out a flaw, and a gentle push on the path of spiritual progress.

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