Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was born on the 23rd day of November 1926, at a quiet little village, Puttaparthi, in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, then a part of the Madras Presidency. The year was Akshaya, the Never-declining, the Ever-full. It was the time of sunrise; and, the villagers were chanting the names of Lord Shiva, remembering that the day was still Karthika Somavara, a Monday of the Holy Month of Karthika, devoted to the puja (worship) of Shiva. That day was made even more auspicious for Shiva worship, because the ascendant star was Ardra (the star of Shiva). On this day, when these rare and propitious signs came together, the people thronged the temples of the Lord to offer special pujas and pray for His benediction.

Signs of the Descent

Meanwhile, mysterious indications of the impending incarnation occurred in Pedda Venkamma’s house. For example, there was the twang of the tambura! Since the brothers and the father were all interested in the village operas, there was a big tambura (a string instrument) and a maddala (drum). As the birth of the Son for whom Mother Easwaramma prayed, announced itself as imminent, the house was awakened at midnight, and sometimes even later, by the tambura twanging automatically, and the maddala beating rhythmically as if an expert Hand was playing on it! One Shastri (Vedic scholar), whom Pedda Venkama Raju approached for an explanation, said that it was an auspicious occurrence: it meant the presence of a Shakthi, a beneficent Power, conferring harmony, spiritual elevation and joy.

The Sun rises above the horizon!

The Mother had also just finished her Sathya Narayana Puja in accordance with her vows, for, even while she was going through the final rituals, the pangs forewarned her. When Easwaramma announced the pangs, word was sent to the mother-in-law, Lakshmamma, the pious lady of the house; but, it became known that she had gone to the house of the priest to perform the Puja of Sathya Narayana; the messenger discovered her there and urged her to return; but she was so confident of the Grace of Sathya Narayana, so steadfast in her devotion, so disciplined in her religious adherence, that she refused to be hustled! She sent word that she would bring with her the sacred offerings after the Puja and that on no account would she allow her prayers to be interrupted! She finished the entire ritual with full concentration, came home and gave her daughter-in-law the flowers and the sacred water. Easwaramma partook of the blessings of the Lord. Next moment, the Lord was born and the Sun rose above the horizon!

Sathyanarayana Raju

A very significant event occurred soon after the birth of the child, which revealed the divinity of the baby. One day, it was noticed that the bed of clothes on which the baby was lying was being moved up and down in a peculiar way by something underneath. They watched with bated breath and when they looked under the bed they found a cobra underneath! The snake was playing the role of Sesha to the Seshasai! (according to Hindu belief, Sesha is the serpent on whose bed of coil Lord Vishnu rests.)

The baby was named Sathyanarayana because there seemed to be a significant relationship between the worship to that God and the realisation of the mother’s cherished desire. When the Namakaranam (naming ceremony) was performed and the name was whispered in the ear; it seems the baby smiled, for the suggestion to give that name must have emanated unobtrusively from Itself! The embodiment and exponent of Truth could not give Himself a more appropriate name.

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