Aravind Balasubramanya has spent more than 2 decades with Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He has studied under Baba and been His photographer.
“Miracles are my visiting cards.”
That is all the importance which Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) gave to miracles. But then, it has been miracles at many levels that have drawn people all around the world to Him. After His physical departure (Mahasamadhi) on the 24th of April 2011, when I returned home, I was witness to a miracle that made my jaw drop open in awe and wonder. And then started a series of manifestations and materializations from a couple of pictures at home. Many times, as I would be working in office, I would get a call from home.
“Aravind! There is vibhuti from Swami’s picture” OR
“Son! Today, kumkum and chandan(sandal powder) have manifested in two separate heaps”
In the beginning, I was so excited and I blogged about how Swami made vibhuti come in the Rava Idly or how it appeared on my bike. I wrote about the latter story in third person. After a while however, I decided that one could not go on blogging about all that was happening at home because how much could one write about? I felt, that the writing would become quite repetitive in the sense that it would be like - “vibhuti came from this or vibhuti came from that.” I also felt that it would probably be monotonous to the reader though it is novel and amazing for the one experiencing it. At the same time was a voice within me that kept reminding me of what Swami had conveyed to me - “The more the experiences are shared, the more will be the joy.”
Today, I decided to write about some of these manifestations at home. I shall not go into each and every episode but a selected few which are really special and unique in terms of how they occurred. And I share this with my world-wide family knowing that it will bring the same joy, faith and love that it brought (and continues to bring) to my heart. Finally, this writing is also to serve as a documentation.
Episode 1 - Sindhoor in 25 seconds
4th of October 2012.
My wife, Pooja, and I woke up in the morning and it was a bit gloomy. The previous night, we had discussed something that had been bothering her a lot. Obviously, the night’s sleep hadn’t erased those thoughts and feelings from either of us. The aftertaste had lingered and there was a low feeling in the morning. And then, I felt that enough was enough. I began to speak to her about Swami saying that whatever was happening was for the best. We just have to trust Him and let go.
At the same time, I told her to go to the altar (which is part of our bedroom itself) and read the Prayer of Surrender (PoS). This prayer is a favorite of mine. It has been written as a ‘piece of advice’ from Swami and has amazing power to calm one down. I don’t know from which discourse it has been taken. I don’t know when or to whom Swami gave this prayer. I simply love it so much that I have laminated a copy of the same for the altar.
Pooja told me to read it out for her. So, I got up from bed, went to the altar, pulled out the laminated text and began to read it out to her. There is a ‘Lakshmi Yantram’, a mystical drawing supposed to propitiate Lakshmi, the Indian Goddess of wealth, placed in front of this laminated PoS. When I took the PoS out, the Yantram began to lean on the wall. I thought I would place it back properly when I replace the PoS behind it. And so, with my back to the altar I started to read out the PoS to Pooja who was lying in bed still.
Within 5 seconds my father walks in with two silver lamps ready to be lit for the altar. He asks me to make space so that he could enter the altar. And even as I make space, he exclaims,
“Aravind!! What is this?”
I look back and what do I see?!
A heap of ‘Sindhur’ had formed right in front of the ‘Lakshmi Yantram’!! Sindhur is a special powder used by ladies as a mark of being married. However, it is rarely used in South India where KumKum does the same job. I have never seen such Sindhur anywhere in Puttaparthi and I had not seen it just 25 seconds before when I took the laminated PoS from behind the Lakshmi Yantram!!!
Episode 2 - The secret vibhuti
31st October 2012.
I walked into the bedroom at 10pm, ready to go to bed when suddenly I ‘smelt’ Swami! It was not a fragrance of vibhuti or incense. It was Swami’s fragrance and I quickly closed my eyes so the I do not lose that experience of Him by my side just because I was unable to see Him! I closed my eyes and the fragrance lingered and I was so thrilled. I asked Pooja whether she was smelling the same but the answer was a negative. Even when she came to where I was standing, she did not get the fragrance.
We both agreed that Swami had indeed visited the room and was letting us know about it. Since there had been Vibhuti coming from a couple of pictures, we thought we should check out whether any had manifested as proof of His presence. We went to the altar and scanned all the pictures. There was no vibhuti. We also checked the ‘dinner plate’ which had been placed for Swami for sometimes it appears there. It was not there too. I was a bit puzzled because I could swear that I had ‘smelt’ Him! After about 10 minutes of searching in vain, we went to bed.
The next day morning, I shared the experience with my parents. They enjoyed it. They also told Pooja to clear away Swami’s ‘dinner plate’. She went to do so. When she came back, she told me,
“Swami had come yesterday! We just did not look at all places. Vibhuti had indeed manifested!”
And then, she showed me Swami’s silver tumbler of water. At the bottom, under the water, was a thick layer of vibhuti!!!
Episode 3 - A LIVE demonstration
This has to be one of the most unforgettable episodes and I feel bad that I was not fast enough to shift my phone into ‘video’ camera mode. Maybe, He did not want it captured on video!
13th December 2012.
I was shaving in the bathroom in a happy frame of mind. The reason for my joy was that vibhuti had appeared in from the photograph in the altar and it had collected on the large paper that I had placed under the photo for the same purpose. Even as I continued to shave, I heard a shriek,
“Aravind! Come here fast... FASSSS...SSSSST.”
It was my wife Pooja and I almost cut my chin!
I rushed to the altar where she was and she was pointing out to the photograph. The vibhuti on the paper had increased. She said,
“The vibhuti formed a strip on the photograph and just oozed out right now, in front of my eyes!”
I quickly took a picture with my phone. I told her to inform my parents. She rushed out and even as I stood there, right in front of my eyes, another band of vibhuti formed on the picture and fell out in another heap! A big Vibhuti spot also formed on Swami’s shoulder in the photograph! And by the time my parents came to the altar, they could not see what Pooja was excited about because they were now seeing what I had become so excited about!!
Of course, I showed them the picture I had taken so that they could also see the difference!
Episode 4 - An unexpected manifestation
2nd January 2013
The morning brought a pleasant surprise. The small idol of Lord Hanuman in the altar had a big heap of Vibhuti right in front of it. This idol is of the ‘Monkey God’ in a standing pose tearing apart His chest to reveal Lord Rama and Mother Sita seated in the heart.
Hanuman has always been an ideal for all devotees on how one should love God. He has stated,
“At the level of the body, I am the servant of Rama. At the level of the mind, I am the devotee of Rama. At the level of the spirit, I and Rama are one!”
No wonder that Swami has placed a 65-foot statue of Lord Hanuman on the Vidyagiri hill overlooking all His educational institutions at Puttaparthi.
The vibhuti that had appeared seemed to have emanated from the ‘heart’ of Hanuman. It looked beautiful and we concluded that maybe it had appeared on New Year’s Day, January 1st, as a blessing for the year.
As is the practice, we do not collect the vibhuti that has manifested for at least a day. And so, we decided that we would collect the heap, the next day viz. 3rd January 2013. I finished my bath and went to the altar to clear the vibhuti heap. I made a ‘spoon’ from a piece of fresh paper and started to scoop off the heap. Even as I did so, the paper felt so heavy. The vibhuti I had gathered just fell down from the paper and along with it fell a small metallic object. I looked closely and saw that it was a silver medallion pendant of Lord Ganesha!!!
I shouted out for my father. Pooja and mother had left for the mandir already. He came in and both of us drank in the darshan of this lovely Elephant God who is the remover of all obstacles. Two things struck us which made us so happy.
1. January 1st, the day when we believe the heap of vibhuti manifested, was also Sankashta Chaturthi, a day dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha.
2. This Ganesha was not in any traditional pose but in a meditative one! The trunk was not turned to the left as is the usual case but to the right. It is said that the Ganesha whose trunk is turned to the left grants worldly success, name and fame while the one whose trunk is turned to the right grants spiritual success and liberation. We felt happy that the Ganesha on the pendant was ‘Balmuri’ - right-curving and not ‘Edamuri’ - left-curving!
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saisarannaga on November 03, 2018:
I was wondering whether i had read this post. Memory is failing since i crossed 74 years. But then i found my comment long back on this post that I am feeling jealous of you! I only wish that you must share more such articles so that i may become more jealous of you! Om Sai Ram..
Saipriya Ganesh on October 25, 2018:
Sai Ram Brother Aravind, I enjoyed each and every bit of this article. I was able to feel the happiness within me the way you wrote the article. Thank you for sharing the photos. Let swami bless you and your family with more happiness.
Vsk09 on April 10, 2016:
No one can change the evils in the world except ourselves. If that was the case all the great messiahs before Sai would have able to do so. What changed after Jesus and Mohammed or as Aravind says, the Buddha? Nothing! The times are getting more and more volatile. The present yug is full of evil which is why great men like Sai are needed to bring about some reprieve like a huge tree providing shade from the scorching sun. Mind sets need to change. If Sai can bring about a small change for the better in your life, cherish it. Everything needn't be questioned or debated! Grace of God is personal and needs to be enjoyed. Let us not throw out immature questions and feel proud that we have made a point. We only show our ignorance more! The very essence of the Gita is to get away from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge. And in this quest of the human mind such questions don't help. Sairam.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on April 10, 2016:
@Emge - Your comment is nothing new. That is the first thing that people say. If you have gone through the article, you will realize that nowhere have I said (or Sai Baba has said) that vibhuti will solve the problems of the world.
I just feel that you should spend a little more time in thinking what will solve the world problems! It's not such an easy answer; nor is it a superficial one.
Let me pose a question back to you. Do you think the Buddha was successful? How do you say he was successful when he did not solve the problems he set out to solve - namely abolish sickness, old age and death?
It will do you and the world around a lot of good if you seriously contemplate on this question. It will also make you more sensitive and more human. It will ensure that your comments are also made to foster compassion and love.
MG Singh emge from Singapore on April 09, 2016:
Sai Baba certainly had some spiritual powers, but they were limited and in reality vibhuti appearing has no meaning. It does not solve the ills prevalent in the world.
SaI Ishwar on April 06, 2016:
Lovely experiences !! The experience about the manifestation of Ganesha's pendant out of the heap of Vibhuti was very thrilling !!
VSK09 on December 21, 2015:
How blessed you are, Aravind! I have been a witness to such miracles myself at a friend's place where vibuthi and abhishekas continue to happen. There is a divine presence of Swami in His subtle form at their place. I hope Swami continues to shower His blessings on them and through them on all of us. Sai Ram.
VSK09 on December 20, 2015:
You are so blessed!
Mukul on March 26, 2015:
I pray to satyasaibaba to cure & heal mind & body of every individual in this world & bless him & show him the successful path of life.
Charon on August 21, 2014:
Wonderful. Thank u for sharing. Gives me so much encouragement that Baba is here. Love u Baba. Always let me be at your feet.
ISHAA on May 24, 2014:
I really need some vibhuti packets... Urgently! Plz help me... Om sai ram
srikanth iyer on March 06, 2014:
sairam it was nice to hear such live happenings . I wish even i could receive that divine ash of swami .
H on February 28, 2014:
I urgently need Sai Baba's vibhuti. Kindly someone please contact me email@example.com
Sunita Menon on February 18, 2014:
Brother Arvind, on 7th morning, I woke up and decided to lie down for some more time. Its very rare that i go back to sleep, but that morning I did and had a dream. I was cleaning the altar in our house, and saw some dust under one of Swami's pictures. On a closer look, I knew it was vibhuti. Then when I looked to the left, in my dream, I saw a photo of Hanuman, just like the one in yr grounds, vibhuti was pouring from his finger tips and I was calling out to everybody at home. Oh !! what a wonderful dream it was and the first of its kind for me. Then my husband woke me up. As soon as I woke up, I went to the altar and realised I didn't have a Hanuman picture. I got the same kind of picture , like the one in the stadium, the same morning. Now all Swami has to do is to manifest vibhuti....
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on February 13, 2014:
@Hariom Vibhute - If you mean vibhuti in large quantities (100gms and more) you will have to visit the ashram or any Sathya Sai Center near your home. If you let me know your hometown, I can guide you to the nearest center. Each 100gm packet costs about Rs.3/-.
If you wish small quantities, they are freely distributed as packets in any center (10-20 gms).
Hariom Vibhute on February 13, 2014:
I want to order vibhuti packets how can I do that ?
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on October 31, 2013:
@saipakora - :)
Nice.... That is my intention too.... To share stories so that all of us can relive them! :)
saipakora on October 31, 2013:
OM SAI RAM
I love your stories! You make me happy like if I was there, seeing, smelling and sharing with all of you! I'm happy, very happy too!
OM SAI RAM
Me encantan tus historias! Me hacen feliz, como si yo estuviera allí y pudiera ver, oler y compartir con todos ustedes! Estoy feliz, muy feliz también!
Neeta on September 22, 2013:
What a beautiful revelation of Swami's manifestations. Thank you for the joy of seeing the photos. Wish we could have some of the sindhur and vibhuti!! I guess desire for spiritual manifestation is not as bad as the materialistic one!?!?
Shana Seeboo on August 08, 2013:
Thank you for sharing your experience. It means a lot to me.
Tharaga on May 28, 2013:
Swami is great and has done amazing things. It is the truth that every single believer of swami will always be protected by swami and hence lead a happy future. I have not physcially seen swami since a live a very long distance away. But I wish to come to puttaparthi very soon. Swami has performed many goodness in my life and he will never let me down. Threrefore I am ready to devote my whole life to swami
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on April 03, 2013:
@ S.Kumar - Thank you so much. It indeed feels so wonderful.... But still when the heart aches to see Him, it is inconsolable....
But even those tears seem to give some kind of joy.. :)
S.Kumar on April 03, 2013:
Wonderful Arvind! All this is Swami's love for you both and also the devotion and dedication you have for swami's teachings. Both you and Pooja are blessed to feel his presence at your own home. Looks like Swami is doing this more and more these days for those who honestly miss HIS physical presence. Grace!
kokila Vaidyanathan on March 29, 2013:
Beautiful experiences. I always wondered about these miracles and manifestations until we witnessed it at home once. Will share that later as I m still soaking in these for now. Sairam
Mark Aspa on January 06, 2013:
very nice...wish it would happen to me!
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on January 06, 2013:
@Marie Flint -
Thank you so much for your recollections as well as the edits. I felt very happy reading both of them.
I have incorporated the edits you suggested and understood the rationale and grammar behind them also. I have picked up English mostly through reading and usage and thus, I make mistakes in grammar. Thank you so much for your efforts in teaching me. How I wish someone could do the same for all I write! Once you point out the mistakes, they seem quite obvious and understanding dawns on me.
As for the multiple punctuations - "?!?!?!" - I feel that putting more number of exclamations and question marks indicates greater surprise and amazement! :) I shall keep my excitement in check and the grammar in mind!
Once again thank you for stopping by and adding so much value to the hub and my grammar.
v.saisaraswuthi on January 06, 2013:
This is a New Year's gift from Swamy to all of us. We are also blessed to see these manifestations of LOVE .Thank You.Sairam.
Anantharuban on January 06, 2013:
May Swami bless you and your family more and more. Thank you for sharing.
Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on January 05, 2013:
I first heard about Sai Baba while living in Denver, Colorado. I used to eat at "The Tahj" restaurant where Indian cuisine was served. Occasionally the owner would host a spirtual meeting where people would share their ideas and experiences. I learned that Sai Baba's fragrance was jasmine, and, according to one lady who had suffered from high blood pressure, Sai Baba had placed some ash on the lady's tongue and told her, "I will help you." She testified at the meeting that her blood pressure was "normal ever since." This same woman also related that he said to her, "You are from the West--you need something material." And, according to her story, he materialized a ring for her.
Another woman of Indian ancestry claimed that she placed her hands on Sai Baba's feet and was immediately filled with light. (She joked about not having asked for anything.)
I am so glad for you and your family that you have these on-going experiences with this Indian master. Such experiences are gifts that keep the spirit uplifted, and I'm sure Sai Baba enjoys doing them for you. Thank you for sharing.
A few suggested edits:
My wife, Pooja, and me [I] woke up [ALSO in other places, wherever "I" is the subject (usually before the verb)]
night’s sleep hadn’t erased those [INSERT: discussions OR thoughts] in[CHANGE TO: from] either of us.
written as a ‘piece of advice’ from Swami and has amazing power in[to] calming[calm] on[one] down
Pooja told me to read it out[aloud OR out loud] for[to] her. (Prepositions optional--"aloud" sounds better with "for" and "out loud" works better with "to.")
Within 5[five] seconds[,] my father walks[walked] in with two silver lamps[,] ready to be lit for the altar. He asks[asked] me to make space [word choice for "make space": move] so that he could enter the altar. And even as I make space[REWRITE: As I began to move], he exclaims[exclaimed],
“Aravind!! What is this?”
I look[looked]] back[--]and what do I see?!?!?[DELETE 3 marks, maybe just: see?!]
65-feet [NOTE: I know it seems plural "feet" should be used with 65, but as an adjective, we say: 65-foot-high statue.]
I hope you find these editorial suggestions helpful. --Blessings!
ANIL on January 04, 2013:
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on January 04, 2013:
@ Poornima Srinath - Every time something like this happens, I feel like shouting out from the rooftops and sharing with the world! I have been restraining for months now and when this happened, it just burst forth as spontaneous writing! :)
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on January 04, 2013:
@ Sucharita - When He fills our hearts so completely, what is it for Him to fill a vibhuti dabba? Don't worry, it will happen! :)
@ Saisarannaga - That kind of 'positive jealousy' always makes us pine for Him more! The beauty of Swami is that with His touch, even apparently negative qualities get sanctified. Thank you so much for your comment.
@ Aarthi - Yes! Ganesha holds a special place in my heart! I have written about that awesome experience in
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on January 04, 2013:
@ Granny Maria -
The fragrance that I got is not like any other that I have smelt or felt! It is unique. The sad thing is that while sounds and sights can be captured and shared on the internet, there is no way to do the same with smells!! Thank you for sharing that wonderful experience. God responds through whatever form we seek.
@ Jugesh - The images should be seen - just refresh your browser.
@ Jyoti aunty, Suresh Rao sir, Shruti and Niranjan - Thank you for sharing in the joy.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on January 04, 2013:
@ M.G.Singh - I chose to answer you first because I was taken aback by the total lack of general awareness displayed. Frankly, I expected better research and seeking from a person who holds a post-graduate degree in Science and boasts of having worked at the top corporate levels and in the air-force.
FYI, Bhagawan Baba's social service projects are so massive that it has been recognized on the world stage in 175 countries! (Note the number - it is not " babas can thrive only in India and make people forget that poor and destitute" as you ignorantly put it in your comment) I would request you to go through these two hubs (if you have time and want to be truly scientific in your approach)to get an idea about Baba's life.
The former article links extensively to the massive drinking water supply projects costing more than 800 crores of rupees (shall I convert them into Sing dollars for you?) benefiting more than 1200 villages in Andhra Pradesh. There are also links to the 2 massive super specialty hospitals that provide tertiary care ( note- tertiary and not just primary!) ABSOLUTELY FREE OF COST to everyone. This is seen nowhere in the world! And these hospitals have completed 22 years and 11 years of functioning respectively. On a daily basis, at least 10 operations costing a minimum of 1.5 lakh rupees are done FREE of COST!
That is not all. Inspired by Baba, His devotees have started hundreds of service projects in many states of India and in many countries of the world. I have written about 2 of them.
If you are really interested and did not put your comment simply to hurt people, then contact me and I shall direct you to the magnificent social service miracle and the millions of lives that have been positively impacted.
The next time, I request you to comment after you have done some research. Makes me wonder how your 2000-odd articles might be if this is the way you write from your biased opinions!
MG Singh from UAE on January 04, 2013:
I have one question how does this help the poor in India where 60% of the population lives on less than a dollar a day in abject poverty( indian government figures). Such babas can thrive only in India and make people forget that poor and destitute also need to live. Is this the Indian rope trick
Rajesh Bukka on January 04, 2013:
Thanks for sharing .... Om Sai Ram .
steve olffers on January 04, 2013:
o baba your are greath a am so heppy!!!!
Sharada Madhav on January 04, 2013:
I am so happy for u brother.. how blessed you are !! and indeed how blessed we are to visualize all these miracles of Swami via your postings !!! thank you so much brother for sharing...
Nalini on January 04, 2013:
wonderful wonderful! You are truly blessed! Thank you for sharing this with us.Always enjoy reading your articles. X
Sruti on January 04, 2013:
Thanks for sharing all ur miracles. Swami's miracle are our energy. By reading your articles i coul feel this is new year gift swami gave me.
Rajesh M on January 04, 2013:
Thanks for sharing
poornimasrinath from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA on January 04, 2013:
Wow!!!What a surprise! I wonder how you even managed to write about it so quickly..if it had happened to me I would have been in some untold state of bliss which would have taken a long time for recovery to normalcy! enjoy the divine presence!
Jayanthi on January 04, 2013:
It was like a live experience.Really blessed.Keep posting motivates us even more.
Aarthi on January 04, 2013:
Wow! Thanks for sharing Aravind! :) Feels wonderful to see the pics, esp the silver medallion of Lord Ganesha. I know He holds a special place in your heart. :) I wish the very best for you and Pooja and your parents. May Swami continuously immerse you in joy and happiness.
saisarannaga from Chennai in Tamilnadu, India. on January 03, 2013:
I really feel jealous of you Aravind. Any way, the photos are beautiful and Swami has got a soft corner for you!
Sucharitha on January 03, 2013:
Fabulous..thanks for making my day! I always wait till our vibhuti dabba in the altar is fully empty, before refilling it..hoping someday it will refill automatically :)
Patience I think is the key!!
Niranjan Kanchan on January 03, 2013:
I felt the same joy reading this, as u would hv felt with all this "FEELERS"of HIS presence.
Shruti on January 03, 2013:
Feels so good to know that He is always around us... whether we are aware of it or not!
suresh rao s on January 03, 2013:
Wonderful manifestations for Barru and family. Swami's grace is more than evident in your lives. Sairam.
Jyoti badakere on January 03, 2013:
thank you for sharing this with all of us.it is true that the more u share the more joy u spread. Pl continue writing
Jugesh on January 03, 2013:
Sairam Aravind, thankyou for sharing all the miracles, it gives such so much bliss but we are unable to see all the images. Is there any you can post it so they can be seen ?
Maria on January 03, 2013:
certainly its so novel , amazing,& awe inspiring whenever we witness manifestation in person - I too have had the surrender prayer laminated . Sindhoor has often appeared at another friends home in SF- I took before and after pics she was holding a Lakshmi Puja it's a thrill to see.
Is it Michael Kors you smell as his familiar fragrance. I sent some by courier 4 yrs ago as I know he liked ?
I have seen a medallion appear from thin air- thrown at my author friend in SSF who wrote the book 22 weeks with divinity on Bharosha Ma. Shree Malti Lal the SF trance medium who incorporates Shirdi Sai all the time, was visiting in the village of Shirdi 2 yrs ago - while she was on the phone with Ashu her devotee here she said I want to give a gift to Gwyn McGee ,he suddenly reached up and caught a large Shirdi Sai Pendant with pearls around the edge falling out of space...We all thought she was talking of bringing a gift back for her when she returned.
Her Shirdi pendant happened just as yours today (its still the third of Jan here)
this is very exiting- of course please you must share & share , please Aravind doubt your doubts instead the occasion. Its all meant never monotonous to a reader!
prashant nayampalli on January 03, 2013:
We are blessed by reading this article and especially when it comes at the right time. I am sure others too have experienced this.