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XI. The One appears as Many

The Lord – Ever Alert for His devotee
How Baba appeared as an old man to save Dr. Padmanabhan

Dr. R S Padmanabhan, a genial and highly renowned dentist practising in Bangalore, has been a devotee of Baba since 1942. His wife, Mrs. Kamala Padmanabhan and he are active members of Sri Sathya Sai Seva organisations. In his long association with Swami, the doctor has had wonderful experiences. Here is an instance where Baba saved them from a disaster as narrated to Smt. Shakuntala Balu in her book, “Living Divinity”:

Once, the doctor and his wife had gone to Puttaparthi and they were anxious to return to Bangalore the same night. That was during the monsoon season and Bhagawan had asked them not to travel at night but wait util daylight.

The doctor was restless thinking of the considerable amount of work waiting for him in Bangalore and, moreover, it did not seem like it would rain heavily. So they set off. Twenty miles later, the rain came down, lashing past the windows and drumming on the car. Visibility became very poor and turning back was impossible.

Dr. Padmanabhan kept the car crawling on - it was already dark and the road was empty - he felt it was better to plough on rather than stand still in the streaming rain and the darkness. He was also afraid, of the car engine stalling. The car bumped along, very slowly when, suddenly, there was a flash of light.

An old man was waving a hurricane lamp. Dr. Padmanabhan stopped. The old man told them that they were headed straight into a strong current of water that was flowing after a small bridge upstream had burst. The old man had halted the car, just in time: a few more yards and the car with its occupants would have been swept away.

"You are lucky", said the old man who advised them to stop for the night as the bridge could only be repaired in the morning. Then he went away.

Dr. Padmanabhan drove back to his cousin's house for the night and left again for Bangalore the next morning.

A month later, while Sri Sathya Sai Baba was in Bangalore, He castigated Dr. Padmanabhan for not heeding His words and starting out on the journey at night.

"If I had not been on the look out that night: what would have happened to you?" He asked, sternly.

The doctor, realising that it was Bhagawan who had rescued him that dark night, apologized to Him for having disregarded His words and expressed his gratitude for His grace.”

Reference: "Living Divinity” by Mrs. Shakuntala Balu. Page: 189-190. Published by S. B. Publications, Bangalore, 1983.

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