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II. Resurrections

Subbamma: What deliverance!
Bhagawan fulfils His devotee’s last wish.

Subamma was wife of the Karnam (landlord) of Puttaparthi. She had great affection for young Sathya, and after the declaration of Avatarhood, her house served as the first Mandir where devotees gathered for Darshan of Bhagawan. The moving story of Subbamma’s final moments are narrated by Prof N. Kasturi in ‘Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram’:

Subbamma was the person most anxious about Swami’s "health" and most worried about the hundreds of pilgrims who gathered at Puttaparthi. Baba even now recalls that the grinding stone in her house was always busy, preparing chutney (an Indian dish) out of the heaps of coconuts that the pilgrims offered. She had immense love and devotion to the Lord and Baba had said that He would satisfy her one desire... to have the Darshan of Baba in her last moments. It is indeed a thrilling story, the story of those moments and that Darshan.

Subbamma fell ill; she was taken to Bukkapatnam; but in spite of her illness, she came over one day in a bullock cart to see Prasanthi Nilayam, which was then under construction; she was soon bedridden; she could not move; her condition worsened; and, Baba was away, at Bangalore!

Subbamma, in her delirium, talked about Baba and the vision of Shirdi Sai Baba that she had been privileged to see, of the manifold Leelas of Sai Krishna that she had witnessed, and, when she came to, her talk was about the same incidents and the same Person. She was in the midst of relatives who did not have much sympathy with these sentiments, for they felt that her love for the strange little miraculous Boy had taken her away from attachment to her kith and kin. They told her that her Baba was a hundred miles away, and so, it would be better for her to concentrate her failing attention on men and matters, nearer and closer. But, her faith did not falter.

Meanwhile, Baba left Bangalore for Tirupathi, where He spent some time with the devotees of His own Concretised and Consecrated Image. Of course, Baba knew that Subbamma's soul was struggling to free itself from the mortal coil, and that she was rolling in her deathbed at Bukkapatnam. The people around her announced that she had breathed her last. But, some peculiar glow on her face, made them nervous to take the body to the cremation ground. The wise people of the village shook their heads when it was suggested that she had died. They advised patience, and admonished the relatives; "The bird has not flown yet," they said.

How could the bird fly, even though the door of the cage was lying open? She must have the Darshan and she must wait, until Baba comes. And, Baba too was hurrying towards her bedside. He left Tirupathi by car, and arriving at Puttaparthi, proceeded to Bukkapatnam, three full days after the first announcement of Subbamma's end!

Her eyes had lost the glint, she was placed on the floor and people were evincing an uneasy impatience. Baba sat by her and in a low voice, called out, "Subbamma," "Subbamma," just twice and no more! Then, to the wonderment of everyone crowding around, Subbamma opened her eyes; her hand extended towards Baba and grasped His palm firmly and began to stroke it lovingly; Baba put His Fingers to her lips; her mouth opened a little, as if she knew that Baba was giving her something to slake the thirst of the soul. From the fingers of Baba there poured into her mouth the Immortal Ganga and Subbamma joined the ranks of the Released!

Reference: “Sathyam Shivam Sundaram” Vol-I, by Prof. N Kasturi. Chapter: ‘Bala Sai’). Publisher: Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam.

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