Some years ago it was, when the car-road direct from Prasanthi Nilayam to Bukkapatanam did not exist; the Sri Sathya Sai Baba High School, Bukkapatanam, held its annual celebration of Baba's Birthday on the 23rd November, as usual. Baba too blessed the boys by His Presence. After Bhajan, Baba discoursed to the students and He wanted all the boys to go over to Puttaparthi and share in the celebrations there with the assembled devotees, as well as in the feast that had been arranged. While returning from the School to Karnatanagepalli by car, Baba saw the boys walking in the sun along the road to Puttaparthi. He could not bear the sight of the children trudging in the sun, even for the distance of two miles! So, He stopped His car and asked that they should all sit in the shade of the trees, promising to transport them all by car to Karnatanagepalli! So His car, as well as three others belonging to some devotees, were put on this special assignment, while Baba waited on the other bank of the river Chitravathi for all of them to join Him, and the Bhaktas at Prasanthi Nilayam wondered why Baba took such an extraordinarily long time to finish the High School function and return to them! It took full three hours for the cars to bring over the three hundred and odd school children and Baba started His walk over the sands of the river, only after the teachers had assured Him that not a single boy had been left behind. Probably (why, most assuredly) no one, not even the children would have minded that short walk of two miles. But, He, in His Mercy, did.
It was Dasara at Puttaparthi, a few years ago, the forth day, I believe. At about 9 P.M. Baba sent word to a band of young men that they must assemble in the Hall for some urgent work, and within a few minutes, there were double the number, eagerly awaiting His orders. Everyone wondered what that could be! Well, Baba came and explained that the buntings and flags with which the Nilayam and the garden were decorated since the first day of Dasara had faded slightly and become dull in colour and so they have to be replaced by fresh ones, to be prepared and fixed during the night! The work engaged us till the smaller hours of the night and Baba was with the party all the time, attending to every details. Someone dared asking Him the reason for the extra attention upon the 5th day of Dasara and the reply he got was this: "Don't you know that tomorrow your Bandhus (friends and relatives) come for the feast?" and this we knew! For, the next day was the day the poor, the Daridranarayanas were coming to the Nilayam to receive Prasadam and Vastram from His Hands! But, who could imagine that His Prema was so great, so deep, so all-embracing as to celebrate the arrival of the poor by this 'de novo' decoration? When someone told Him that the feeding of thousands of people and the distribution of hundreds of saris and dhotis should be published in the papers, He turned towards him and said, "What! Do you publish in papers the news that your friends and relatives came to your house?"! We have, every one of us, to learn the lesson of those flags.
Baba travels by car whenever He moves about as everyone knows, but everyone may not know this expression of His Prema, while travelling. He knows all the places on all the trunk roads where the wayside beggars stand without stretched hand especially the disabled and the afflicted. So, long before the location comes, He is ready with His Gift and when the person is spotted, He stops the car, calls him towards Himself in His own sweet voice and places the aid lovingly in those hands! Oh, how He scans the area and searches for the familiar hand and face if by any chance he is not visible at the accustomed place!
Verily, it has been truly sung, "Karuna indeed is He; He is indeed Karuna." In the Viveka Chudamani, the Guru is described as Ahethukadayasindhu; His Grace is showered on all without interruption and without cause! Such is our Master, our dearly loved Baba.