The Drama Unfolds – Story of Sri.Goddumari Anjaneyulu – Part 2
When we look at some of our black & white photographs, a sense of nostalgic haze comes in. Even if we know just a few people in a group in such a photograph, we tend to rewind our minds instantaneously to probably the era where this photograph would have been frozen in time. If such is the case for people like us, imagine how it would be for Bhagwan, whose rewind button could last a few Kalpas or Chaturyugas. We are currently having a glimpse of one of Bhagwan’s earliest devotees, Shri Anjaneyulu. In case you missed the beginning of this nostalgic series, please do catch up here Story of Sri Anjaneyulu Part1
There was yet a parent-sibling love between Shri. Anjaneyulu and Raju. Whenever Raju’s school uniform was torn, Anjaneyulu got a new one stitched. When Raju wanted His newly written play “Parijathapaharanam” (Abduction of the Parijatha Flower) staged at Anjaneyulu residence, Anjaneyulu had his attendants arrange the stage in no time. The play was meant only for the family. So Anjaneyulu himself dressed Raju in his wife’s sari. Anjaneyulu’s son, Narasimha Dass played the role of Sri Krishna, daughter Subburathnamma acted as Devendra and Raju Himself was Sathyabhama.
One of the most memorable days of this phase was when Raju had returned from a visit to Hampi with His brother and school had reopened after Dussera holidays. On His way to school, Raju visited Anjaneyulu at his residence. He took the latter’s new born daughter in his arms and exclaimed, “You, too, have fallen under Maya!” He then named the child Sai Prabha.
Along with Narasimha Das, Subburathnamma and another classmate of His, Shri Narasimha Murthy, Raju want to school. On the way He lost a gold collar pin that the Municipal Chairman at Bellary had gifted Raju. This apparently, worried Raju a lot. After the first hour of His class, the whimpering Raju went and complained to Seshama Raju regarding the loss. The latter rebuked Him and asked Him to tell his sister-in-law instead.
Picking up his school bag and muttering to Himself, “Antha Maya” (Everything is a delusion), Raju left the school and never returned again. On the way home He met Anjaneyulu. Anjaneyulu, seeing a brilliant light around the boy’s face asked him what had happened. Raju did not answer but proceeded home. The rest, as they say, has become famous in history.
Later in the morning when Anjaneyulu had come to know that Raju had discarded His worldly guise, threw away all His books and had declared His divinity, he rushed to Seshama Raju’s house. Seeing Raju, he immediately observed, “He is not Sathyam, he is Sai Baba Himself” and prostrated before him. He then reminded Raju, “You said you would come home for lunch. All the children are hungry and are waiting for you.” Raju immediately got up, said, “Let us go” and left for Anjaneyulu’s house with brisk steps, with the children struggling to keep pace.
When Anjaneyulu’s wife saw Raju, she was extremely worried and asked Him, “Sathyam, my dear child, what is the matter?” To that Raju replied, “I am not Sathyam, I am Sai Baba. I have to live for the welfare of mankind. Do not stop me.”Anjaneyulu was dumbfounded, understanding the purport of what the boy said. He was sure beyond doubt that their beloved Raju, their Sathyam, was Sai Baba, whom he had been worshipping for so long. Realizing this, Anjaneyulu spread a tiger skin and made Raju sit on the very stone where they had installed the shrine of Sai Baba of Shirdi.
Thus, the Sai Baba Gundu (Sai Baba rock) became the first pedestal for the new avatar and Anjaneyulu his first herald. After lunch, Raju retired to the rock again and was immersed in Himself for two full days. While the others started bhajans and worship, Anjaneyulu put a velvet pillow under the boy’s head. When He woke up, He desired to go to Seshama Raju’s house and then to Puttaparthi. He promised to come to the Anjaneyulu house again for lunch before his final departure.
On that day, as faithful as ever, Anjaneyulu worshipped the feet of the young Sathya Sai Baba and that of his parents. They were all garlanded. A photograph, now famous, was taken of the young Sai Baba and the miraculously procured Shirdi Sai Baba statue. Very soon, young Sathya Sai Baba left Uravakonda and never returned again. Like the simple cowherds, village henchmen, women and children of Brindavan saw Krishna leaving them just before His teens, never to have returned back, saw themselves witnessing an encore of Bhagawatam, in action.
Ayyagaru, as Raju would fondly call Anjaneyulu, had helped to provide a link between the two divine incarnations at Sai Baba Gundu. This inanimate symbol of divine expression would even become spiritually potent in later years. This simple Excise Inspector, thus was acknowledged by Bhagwan Himself as His first devotee. Just as Sage Vishwamithra not only recognized Rama’s divinity, but also provided a stage for demonstrating His valor, Anjaneyulu was the first to recognize Bhagwan’s divinity in His Avatar as Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It was Anjaneyulu who gave Him a pedestal for people to worship Him in Uravakonda as the young Sai Baba, who had announced to the world as a reincarnation of the mystic avatar of Shirdi – Sai Baba.
“Behold the man.” Years later, around the year 2000, Bhagwan Himself spoke of this unassuming devotee, “He was the first to recognize My divinity.” Till 2013, Anjaneyulu’s children had survived him and lived in Anantapur as Sai devotees, living with the most precious treasure that anyone could possess – The memory of their parents’ divine association with the avatar of our times – Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, at Urvakonda. This family had not only the great fortune of being witness to Bhagwan’s early years, they have also given us great moments to cherish.
Stay tuned for more such nostalgic moments from the early lives of Bhagwan, who witnessed His remarkable transformation of Raju to Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. In the next episode, we would relive yet another poignant moment which happened almost to date, around 80 years back.