A group of Sai devotees once requested Bhagawan to inaugurate a new temple in their town. But Bhagawan refused to comply with their request on the ground that black market cement was used for constructing the temple. When the devotees pleaded not guilty, Bhagawan revealed to them that the so called Sai devotee who had donated some cement bags for the construction of the temple had illegally saved them from out of the cement allotted to him as a contractor for constructing a dam. Hence Bhagawan's refusal.
A Vedic scholar was asked by Bhagawan to get out of His presence when he was seated in the midst of some students and other devotees at Whitefield. When the pundit showed signs of bewilderment as to why Bhagawan was so harsh to him, he admonished the latter, saying that it was a crime for a Vedic pundit to profess to be a Sai devotee and at the same time to indulge in illegal malpractices by way of lending money to poor and illiterate villagers without proper licence from the Government, and that too, at exhorbitant rates of interest.
The third incident relates to a Commercial Tax Officer in Orissa, who once made use of his official jeep to take his family and a few neighbours to visit a cave temple of Shiva in the interior of a dense forest on a 3000 feet high mountain. On their way back the jeep got stuck in a hill stream and refused to budge an inch. The dark night was gathering fast. An hour's struggle to extricate the jeep was in vain. The officer was terribly scared, because the jungle was known to be infested with wild animals as well as dacoits, and his party consisted mostly of women and children. Being a Sai devotee, he fervently prayed to Bhagavan in utter desperation. Lo and behold! There appeared on the spot four Sathya Sai Seva Dal volunteers who rescued the party by pulling out the jeep, and then vanished in a second. Thus by Bhagawan's grace, the officer and the party reached home safely. However, Bhagawan taught him a lesson not to misuse the Government vehicle for private purposes, by immobilising his jeep and thereby creating panic in him and his party.
About a decade ago, a recluse of forty-five summers by name Kalpagiri came to Prasanthi Nilayam. No one could guess that this so called "monk" was a wolf in the garb of a sheep. Four years earlier, he committed a ghastly murder and to escape from punishment by the due process of law, he made good his escape by donning the saffron robe and wandering in the Himalayas and other places of pilgrimage. As soon as the Omniscient Baba saw Kalpagiri in the Darshan line, He called him inside and told him during the interview: "My dear Kalpagiri! How can the saffron robe or visits to Rhishikesh and other holy places rid you of the sin of murder? Enough of your roaming in the guise of a Sanyasi for the last four years. Go now to the Police station and surrender yourself there. Experience your Karma by receiving the punishment due to you according to the laws of the land. When the death sentence is declared, file your clemency petition to the President. I will save you. You will not be hanged. You have my protection to atone for your heinous sin, through devotion, in this very birth. Come on, this sacred saffron robe does not befit you. Take this white cloth." Saying so in a tone that combined love and sternness, Bhagawan gave Kalpagiri a white dhoti.
Accordingly, Kalpagiri surrendered himself to the Police. The case was taken up. Though he confessed his guilt, the judge awarded him the capital punishment, as the crime was of a heinous nature. In line with Bhagavan's direction, a clemency petition was submitted to the President of the Indian Union. Eventually, Kalpagiri received the President's pardon. Death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and Kalpagiri became an ardent devotee of Bhagawan, spreading his beneficial influence on the other convicts too.
In conclusion, it may be seen from what is stated above that where there is a will, there is a way either to scrupulously abide by the Governmental rules and regulations or to violate them for selfish reasons. Bhagawan's stand on this is extremely clear.
Devotees who get tasted and tested in a mire of activities in the stage called life would often flock to Prasanthi Nilayam to recharge themselves with darshan and blessings of Bhagawan. Many of us have had several trips to this spiritual town often with cherished ambition to have a close coveted darshan with sparshan and sambhashan, if possible. Where do we stand now after making number of visits to Bhagawan? Are we really contented to claim that we are indeed happy without entertaining aspirations for a smile, a loving word, a touch or a coveted interview from Bhagawan? Harry Mansbridge of the UK had encountered three interesting personalities in Prasanthi Nilayam whose views on the topic would be really enlightening to each one of us. Extracted from the July 1989 issue of Sanathana Sarathi.
Friends ask me why do I keep going to India? Is it to be recharged? Is it to be exposed to the cleansing fire of Swami's leelas or is it to melt once again at His feet and to feel the warmth of His all embracing love? It is all these things and more.
Each visit is a new experience and this one (in February 1989) was no exception. I suppose it is imagination but His love appears to flow more sweetly each time. Being in the highly charged spiritual environment at Prasanthi Nilayam our senses and sensibilities seem to be bombarded relentlessly. We must continually look at our thoughts and our re actions to `happenings' and say to ourselves `what have I to learn from this?' One of the boards alongside the Mandir entrance proclaims: `Ask yourself every day, what have I come here for and am I achieving it?'
We all long for an interview and one day I had a very humbling experience. I rarely talk to people while we are assembling in the Darshan lines but this particular day, I spoke to three people about possible interviews. The first - an Australian - said that he didn't need an interview as he had received two smiles from Swami and had touched His feet. The second was a Canadian doctor whom I meet every year. I said to him, "I haven't seen you go up for an interview this year." He replied, "No, I haven't had one for four years but I am happy just being here." The third - a member of the U.K. group, who had taken a week to reach the ashram. He wanted to take photographs from outside the Mandir of Swami walking around the darshan lines. I advised him against it as the group might be called in for an interview. "I don't mind,” he said, "I've had so much grace already" ... three lovely characters who love our Lord.
Sometimes I feel I have so far to go that I haven't yet started on the path but then during the interview He shows so much love by gentle taps on the cheek and shoulder He knows that we are trying to practise His teachings and I feel that is the important thing, "to try" - try to change ourselves, our thoughts, our habits and our attitude to life. People's experiences are always interesting to listen to but we must have them ourselves for the full meaning of His power and glory to register.
Let us look forward to the day, hopefully soon, when the whole world will be at His Lotus Feet.