A Mica Miner Strikes Gold
“What took you so long to come here, Babu Naidu?”
The mica miner and landlord from Brindavanam, Nellore (in Andhra Pradesh, India), Mr. Makkena Bala Durga Krishna Prasad, was taken aback at this query from Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Baba had addressed him by his popular nickname (Babu Naidu) and indeed seemed to have special powers as Dr. Lakshmi would frequently describe. Dr. Lakshmi was Babu Naidu’s family doctor and a staunch devotee of Baba. During her many visits to Babu Naidu’s home to treat diabetes, she had constantly coaxed and cajoled him to visit Swami along with his wife. After a couple of years, in 1954 he had yielded.
Baba called the couple in for an ‘interview’. During the course of that interview, Baba revealed all the events from his life, right from his childhood difficulties up to the point when he had become the respectable Babu Naidu, the mica miner.
“You are no human being, Swami”, said Babu Naidu falling at Swami’s feet, “You are God!”
The couple had planned to stay for 4 days in Puttaparthi. As it often happens after discovering God, they just stayed on. More than 2 weeks passed.
Pills for ills
Since the plan was for a short stay, Babu Naidu ran out of his diabetes pills. Soon, he was struggling under the weight of the disease and Swami noticed it. “Are you not keeping well Babu Naidu?”
“Swami, I am a diabetic, my pills are exhausted and they are not available here.”
Swami smiled and summoned Dr. Sitaramaiah (who would later go on to become the Superintendent of the General Hospital at Puttaparthi) to examine Babu Naidu. The doctor agreed that the patient was indeed in dire need of his medication.
Pulling up the right sleeve of His robe, Swami smiled and said, “Look what is coming from Sai’s stores…”
Lo! In the divine palm was the exact bottle of pills that had been prescribed for Babu Naidu. A few hours later, when Dr. Sitaramaiah checked on the patient on Swami’s insistence, Babu Naidu was doing absolutely fine with normal sugar levels. The grateful miner was astonished by Swami’s benevolence as he stayed on with his family in Puttaparthi for more than a month.
Swami responds instantaneously to selflessness
Bhagawan’s arrival in Babu Naidu’s life was indeed a golden touch and, in a few years, the business grew extremely well. He became the largest mica miner in the region. At the peak of his prosperity, misfortune struck when the District Collector found a pretext to shut down the mines. The whole business came to an immediate standstill and Babu Naidu did his best to get them restarted. He even filed a case in the court, spending a lot of money, but all of that was to no avail. Exhausted and frustrated, he travelled to Puttaparthi with the family.
Swami saw him and asked, “Babu Naidu, why are you here?”
“Swami, the mica mines are all shut down. More than 2000 families have lost their daily bread. We have done everything possible but it is beyond us now.”
Swami just kept gazing at him. Then, He looked up for a while before returning to look into his eyes. “Babu Naidu, when is the next court hearing?”
“Swami, October 26th.”
“Go back to Nellore. Go to the court. I shall take care.”
“Swami, these are very complicated things. It is not easy to win this sort of a complicated case, that too against the government…”
“That is what your own lawyer feels too. He will not turn up in court on the 26th. I want you to present your case yourself. The judge will review your file and you will see what happens. But now, you leave for Nellore tomorrow.”
At the court, it was a rerun of what Swami had said. The lawyer didn’t turn up and the judge asked Babu Naidu to speak. After the miner put forth his case, the judge picked up the case file and browsed through it. Then, pinching the space between his eyebrows with his thumb and forefinger, he sat silent. The assembled crowd looked on, wondering what was happening. After a while, the judge opened his eyes and seemed to come out of a reverie. Pounding the gavel with finality, he said, “The mines were closed by the collector of the district who has no right to do so. If there was any problem action had to be taken by the mines inspector. Hence, I am canceling this closure. The mines will be re-opened immediately.”
Surprised but jubilant, Babu Naidu rushed to Puttaparthi to express gratitude to Swami.
“Didn’t the judge close his eyes and put his fingers between his eyebrows?”, Swami asked, “I told him what needed to be done.”
Now, the twinkle in Swami’s eyes was replaced with a serious deadpan look.
“See Babu Naidu, the day when I asked you why you were here, you didn’t ask anything for yourself or for your family but were more concerned about the welfare and livelihood of those 2000 workers and their families. That concern of yours for others has moved this divinity and hence I did what I did.”
The Call and the Response
As years passed by, Babu Naidu’s health deteriorated. In 1960, the diabetes caused him to fall unconscious as the left leg turned gangrenous. The doctors at Pandali Nursing Home at T Nagar in Madras suggested that amputation was the only solution. Fortunately, Swami happened to be in Madras at that time at the residence of V Hanumantha Rao. Babu Naidu’s teenage son, Ram Babu, prayed to Swami for direction and Swami advised him to adhere to the doctors’ advice. The surgery was carried out and the leg amputated.
Three days later, when Babu Naidu gained consciousness, he was unable to take the shock of a missing leg! Such was the shock that he collapsed again and, in the early hours of the morning, the doctors declared him dead. Ram Babu, rushed to Swami again, waiting at the gates of V Hanumantha Rao’s residence. At around 8 AM, Swami came out on the balcony and seeing the lad at the gate, said, “Ay! He is Babu Naidu’s son, Ram Babu. Let him in.”
The son rushed in and broke down before Swami, stating that Babu Naidu was no more. Swami seemed surprised. “Who said your father breathed his last?” He said, summoning His car immediately. Swami and Ram Babu rushed together to the Pandali Nursing Home.
The Divine Word never fails
At the hospital, Babu Naidu’s body had been placed on the floor. It had been decorated with flowers and the relatives had begun gathering around. “Babu Naidu? Where is Babu Naidu?” Swami walked in a brisk manner. Everyone seemed surprised with His arrival and the doctors wondered what would happen when Swami found out that the patient was no more. Swami went straight to where the body was.
“Babu Naidu! See who has come.” Nobody stirred, including Babu Naidu. Swami now asked for all the sheets covering Babu Naidu to be removed. He waved His right palm and created a profusion of vibhuti. He then rubbed the entire chest and body of Babu Naidu till it turned near-white like a Himalayan Yogi. Then, to the awe and amazement of everyone around, Babu Naidu got up and sat!
As the stupefied doctors and relatives watched on, he said, “Swami! Swami! You have come! You have come!”
“Yes! I am here, Babu Naidu. Tell me what do you want?” Even as He said that, He materialized jasmine flowers, turmeric and kumkum and gave it to Babu Naidu’s wife, Mrs. Bhaskaramma.
Babu Naidu spoke up, “Swami, my youngest son Ram Babu is not married yet and I want that to be done. I want you to take care of my family.” Swami smiled and assured him, “From today, Ram Babu is my son. You don’t worry. And I shall take care of your family forever. This is Swami’s word.” Then, Babu Naidu pointed to his leg and said, “Look at my leg Swami! See what has happened to me…”
With divine compassion overflowing from His eyes and hands, Swami lovingly patted Babu Naidu. Then, He gave another promise, “This is Swami’s word. From today, nobody in your family will ever suffer from diabetes.”
Babu Naidu turned silent. He had nothing else to ask or say. His tears of joy spoke in the silent language of love. Swami now turned to Ram Babu and said, “Finish the formalities and wait for my instructions.” Then, blessing Babu Naidu once again, Swami exited the hospital as quickly a He had entered it.
The Golden End
Ram Babu understood the significance of Swami’s words only a few days later. But then, many others too understood about the blessed life of Babu Naidu. Swami was then at Venkatagiri. Even as He was delivering a discourse in the evening, profuse vibhuti began to emanate from Swami’s mouth. As everyone watched in amazement, Swami covered the microphone, turned to Raja Reddy and said, “Raja! Babu Naidu is no more. He has reached me. Tell Ram Babu to finish the formalities and come meet me.”
The mica miner had indeed struck a gold mine! He had become Swami’s Bangaroo and had won a permanent place at His feet.
And yes, lest we miss it, since Babu Naidu’s passing, there have been 3 generations of family members that have been completely diabetes-free and the entire family is indebted to Swami for the boon bestowed on them and continues to live in His service.
As Swami promised to Babu Naidu, He performed the marriage of Ram Babu as a fatherly figure, ensured property division among the family members amicably and also took care of the education of Ram Babu’s children and grandchildren, ensuring the family legacy carries on…
As narrated by Praveen Makkena, alumnus of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, grandson of Babu Naidu and son of Ram Babu.