20th October every year is celebrated
as the Avatar Declaration Day. It is on this historically
significant day in the year 1940 that the young lad Sathyanarayana
Raju revealed to the world His Divine identity and the glorious
mission on which He has come. The following lines capture
the events on that epochal day:
Sathyanarayana started for school as usual.
However, within a few minutes, He returned to the house. Standing
on the outer doorstep, He cast aside the books He was carrying
and called out, “I am no longer your Sathya. I am Sai.”
The sister-in-law came from the kitchen, only to be blinded
by the splendour of the halo around Baba's head! He addressed
her, “I am going; I don't belong to you; Maya (delusion)
has gone; My Bhaktas (devotees) are calling Me; I have My
Work; I can't stay here any longer." When the brother
hurried home on hearing all this, Baba only told him, "Give
up all your efforts to 'cure' Me. I am Sai; I do not consider
Myself related to you".
In spite of repeated pleas, Sathya would
not step into that building again. He moved in into the garden
of the Excise Inspector Sri Anjaneyulu's bungalow, and sat
on a rock in the midst of the trees. People came into the
garden from all directions bringing flowers, fruits, incense
and camphor to worship Him. The garden resonated with the
voices of hundreds singing bhajans (devotional singing) and
following the lines of the first prayer that Sri Sathya Sai
“Manasa Bhajare Gurucharanam Dusthara
Bhava Sagara Tharanam “
(O Mind! Meditate on the Feet of the Guru,
which will take you across the wearisome sea of Samsara or
To celebrate this landmark event in Baba’s
life, the Avatar Declaration Day is celebrated every year
with devotion and gratitude.
In 2002, Avatar Declaration Day discourse
Swami recalled His childhood days and shared with everyone
His early years. A small excerpt is here:
“The Corporation Commissioner of Bellary
and his wife played host to us for three days. They took us
to the Virupaksha temple in the nearby Hampi Kshetra. Seshama
Raju and his wife told Me to remain outside the temple and
keep a watch over their belongings as they would go inside
to have darshan of the deity. I readily agreed and remained
outside. As soon as they entered the temple, to their utter
astonishment, they found Me standing inside the sanctum sanctorum
where the deity is supposed to be standing. Seshama Raju could
not believe his eyes. He thought, "Why did he come here
when I told him specifically to remain outside and take care
of our belongings?" He at once came out of the temple
only to find Me standing there! He again went inside and found
Me there also! Still he was not convinced. He told his wife,
"You go outside and keep a watch over Sathya. Do not
allow him to go anywhere. Meanwhile, I will go inside and
see whether he is still there." She did accordingly.
He again saw a smiling Sathya standing in the sanctum sanctorum.
The Corporation Commissioner was also a witness to all this.
He recognised My divinity. When they came out of the temple,
he caught hold of Seshama Raju's hands and said, "Raju,
do not be under the impression that Sathya is your brother.
He is not an ordinary person. You are deluded seeing His physical
form. There is divine power in Him.
We came back to the Commissioner's house,
had our food there and started our return journey to Uravakonda.
The Commissioner wanted to give Me a gift. He said that he
would get four pairs of shorts and shirts stitched for Me.
I firmly told him that I would not accept even one. He did
not want to force Me either. Then his wife suggested that
a gold collar pin would be an appropriate gift for Me. In
those days, it was a matter of prestige for children to wear
a collar pin. Immediately, he bought a gold collar pin and
put it on the collar of My shirt. I protested. Under any circumstances,
I never accepted anything from others. But, Seshama Raju insisted
that I accept the gift. He said that my refusal to accept
the gift would amount to showing disrespect to the Commissioner.
So, I obeyed him.
After returning from Hampi, I was going to
school wearing the collar pin. The pin dropped on the way
and could not be traced. A major change took place in Me.
Worldly attachment left Me in the guise of a collar pin. I
decided to embark on My mission to alleviate the sufferings
of My devotees.”