A North Indian Tour with Sri Sathya Sai...

Sri Sathya Sai: The Divine Tourist

Sunday, July 14, 1957 to Wednesday, August 14, 1957

Swami left Puttaparthi by car on the 14th July 1957. He halted at Medkurthi near Madanapalli, to unveil the silver image of Shirdi Sai (Ayodhya Ashram, Medkurthi). He reached Madras on the 15th, and after a 4 day sojourn, embarked on a plane to Delhi on the 20th. He was very amused when He found 'Mr. S. S. Baba' on His ticket! He had a hearty laugh over the word ‘Mr’. 

The holy town of Rishikesh

On 22nd July, Swami left for Rishikesh by car. At Rishikesh, Swami visited the Sivananada Ashram. He materialised Vibhuti and Japamala for Swami Sivananda. He transformed the water of the holy Ganges into medicinal syrup and handed it to Swami Sivananda along with some fruits and Vibhuti. This mixture was meant as medicine for Swami Sivananda’s rheumatism. It is needless to say that Swamiji became well soon after.

Swami Sivananda at the
Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh
On 26th July, Swami took all the devotees and inmates of Sivananda Ashram to the Gharwal Palace along the banks of the Ganges. Swami spent a long time with the devotees clearing their doubts. He plucked the Jambu fruits from the tree outside the palace and distributed them to the devotees with His own hands. On their way back from the Gharwal palace, Swami had the bus pull over after He spotted a thin name plate that read ‘Vasishta Guha’. Swami got off the bus and proceeded towards the cave. His gait seemed to suggest He had visited that place quite often in the past, and as if someone waited for Him inside the cave. 

With Swami Purushottamananda
at Vasishta Guha

The occupant of the cave for the past 30 years, Swami Purushottamananda, welcomed Swami as if he was expecting Him. Swami reminded him of the travails he endured when he first entered the cave. Swami repeated the visit to the Vasishta Guha the following day evening as well. Swami sang many songs including a Tyagaraja Kriti, for the Swamiji. Swami materialised a candy for Swami Kalikananda as medicine for his stomach-ache. Swami materialised a Spatika Japa Mala for Swami Purushottamananda. Swami then asked all the devotees to leave the cave, while He decided to stay on with the Swamiji. 

Sri Subbaramiah, President of the Divine Life Society, who was with Swami on that day, stood at the entrance of the cave and could see what was happening inside through a small opening in the cave. He saw Swami placing His head on the lap of Swami Purushottamananda and laying Himself down. Swami’s body was bathed in Divine brilliance. Rays of splendour emanated from His face. The time was about 10:00 pm. Later, when the devotees enquired, Swami informed them that it was a vision of Jyotir Padmanabha (which was the form of Divinity worshipped by Swami Purushottmananda). 

Padmanabha - The lotus-navelled form of Lord Vishnu

Swami took leave of Swami Sivananda on the 28th and proceeded to Delhi. On the 30th, He proceeded to Mathura-Brindavan by car. He pointed out to various spots, identifying them as places where He performed Leelas in His former Avatar as Lord Krishna. In the Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple of Radhe Shyam, He created twin idols which were exact miniatures of the images installed there.    

The holy towns of Mathura-Vrindavan on the banks of river Yamuna

On 2nd August 1957, Swami left for Srinagar by plane and reached the Kashmir valley at 12 noon. Even though the head of the Shankaracharya Matt requested Swami to stay with them, Swami chose to stay in a houseboat called ‘Alexandra Palace’. The stream of devotees to Alexandra Palace continued unabated for 2 full days during Swami’s stay there. 

The scenic spots of Gulmarg and Kilanmarg in Kashmir

Swami left for Gulmarg and Kilanmarg on the 3rd August. He wanted to show His entourage the snows of the Himalayan Ranges. Swami organised for horses for all the devotees accompaniying Him. The horse Swami chose for Himself was called ‘Raja’. Swami trekked a distance of 12 miles (14,000 feet above sea level) on horseback. 

Sri Sathya Sai and His entourage in the hills of Kashmir

Swami left for Madras via Delhi on the 6th of August. After a short stay at Madras, He reached Puttaparthi on the 14th.
Source: Sri Sathya Sai Digivijayam – Part 1 (1926 – 1985)

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