Navaratri with Sri Sathya Sai: Vibhuti from Shirdi and Petrol From Water

Swami seated in a palanquin surrounded by devotees during the Navaratri festival at Prasanthi Nilayam in 1946

Towards the end of September 1946, Dasera was celebrated for the first time in Puttaparthi. A few days prior to Dasera, Baba called Sri Seshagiri Rao and asked him to bring an empty vessel. Baba rubbed both His hands on the sides and top of it. Just like cascading water, Vibhuti poured continuously into the vessel from His hands. All those who witnessed this were wonder struck. Baba then told them to keep the vessel in the Mandir. He said that the Vibhuti was the ash from the sacred fire (Dhuni) created at Shirdi in His previous Avatar. 

He added that during the Dasera festival many people would come and it would be celebrated with great pomp and show. The Vibhuti in the container was to be distributed to the devotees during the festival as Prasadam. A petrol engine was brought from Tiruchchirapalli to generate electricity for the festival. Unfortunately, it was difficult to procure petrol in those days. Baba visited the place where the engine was installed and instructed those present to fill it with water and turn it on, and it worked!

Bhajans were conducted from 8:00 am and concluded with Arati at 9.00 am in the Mandir. At 4:00 pm, a palanquin richly decorated with flowers was arranged in order to carry Baba in procession. The pageant, with devotees singing Bhajans went around the Mandir. A similar programme was scheduled for all the nine days.

Swami taken in a palanquin during the Navaratri Festival - 1946

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