I am always aware of the future, the past, as well as the present of every one of you. So, I am not moved so much by pity. Not that I am hard-hearted, or that I have no daya (compassion)... Since I know the past and the background, My reaction is different. If only you knew, you too will react differently.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba, November 26, 1964

ALL SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS HAVE A BEGINNING. I would like to think that mine began the first time I saw Swami, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It was during Christmas 1979. My wife, my two-year-old son, Aaron, and I traveled to see Swami. We were new to the scene, and my knowledge of Swami was limited to what I learned from reading the book Sai Baba: Man of Miracles by Howard Murphet.

I was very anxious to see Swami because, after reading the book, I felt that He was God incarnate. But there was nothing like seeing Him to confirm that. We arrived in Bangalore (Bengaluru today) from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and found that Swami was stationed at Brindavan, Whitefield. So, we went to the Brindavan ashram and were seated in the darshan lines. Back in those days, there was a distance between Swami’s residence and the tree under which darshan and bhajans were held. As Swami was walking toward us, I saw a glow of light around him. He was lit up so brilliantly that the sight touched me somewhere deep inside. I knew instinctively that very moment that He was God. There was no doubt in my mind, and I was firmly convinced. That was the beginning of my spiritual journey, my search.

“I understood that Swami’s omniscience is not just about Him knowing everything but also knowing how to respond, whom to respond to, where to respond, and when to respond because He is aware of the past, present, and future.”

First Experience of Omniscience

One of the first significant incidents that happened to me after this experience was when I attended a discourse that Swami delivered. Though I do not recollect the details of the discourse, it was transformative and revealed another facet of His divinity.

My wife suddenly became ill with dysentery. I had purchased some vibhuti from the ashram, and I wanted to get it blessed by Swami to make her better. So, in the evening, I took it with me to the venue where Swami would give the discourse. We had been going for darshan for many days, and I was used to seeing hundreds of people in the venue. But when I arrived, thousands and thousands of people had gathered for the discourse. I could not believe how many people were there! Luckily, the Westerners had separate seating, and therefore, I sat in a relatively prominent place. I saw Swami on stage and heard the discourse. After the discourse, as Swami exited the venue, He came toward where we were seated.

I was so enamored by His presence that I forgot about the vibhuti that I brought for His blessings. Swami passed by me and moved away from me, passing about eight or nine people. That was when I suddenly remembered the vibhuti and, in my mind, cried out, “Swami, vibhuti!” That very instant, Swami stopped. He turned around and made a beeline back to me. With His right hand, He lovingly blessed the vibhuti, turned back, and continued to walk. I was stunned and started wondering how Swami could hear or know what I was thinking among the masses of humanity. Obviously, His omniscience was still new to me at that time! This experience did a lot to reinforce my faith in Him.

The Second Experience of Omniscience (and Omnipotence)

After my first trip, I constantly thought about Swami. I wanted to see Him again. Since I was in real estate, I had the freedom to leave my business, travel, and pick up working again when I returned. So, I was back again in India barely four months after my first visit. This time, my two-year-old son, Aaron, went with me, but not my wife. Just before we left, the last thing my wife told me was, “Be careful, and watch that Aaron doesn’t get sick!”

Being the sole parent on the trip, I was very careful with what he ate for the first five weeks of the trip. When the last week arrived, I became a little lax, and I agreed to his wish to try some street food in Bangalore. I let him have cotton candy and some other stuff that he liked. As you might have already surmised, he became ill. And his situation worsened pretty quickly. With my medical background, I knew that it was something far worse than dysentery. Since Aaron was extremely sensitive to medications, I was wary of taking him to a doctor who would prescribe strong medicines, the drugs of choice in those days, that could affect his liver or kidney. However, over the next few days, the situation worsened, and I felt that it had become life-threatening.

There was mucus and blood in his stool, which was very watery, too. I was very concerned. But, I had absolute and complete faith in Swami. So, whenever it was possible to take Aaron for darshan, we went, and I hoped for a cure from the Lord. Swami did not do anything about it. So, it became a struggle between a father and a devotee!

It was the day of the last possible darshan before I had to take him to a hospital. With great concern and a feeling of utter helplessness, I went for darshan. I had faith that Swami would somehow do something about the situation. I was sitting in the front row, but Aaron had to run to the washroom very frequently. The bloody mucus discharge continued. It was awful.

When Swami came for darshan, He came toward where I was seated. He was gazing at me, and I fell on my knees and said, “Swami, my son is very, very ill. Will you please help?” His response was to push against us and speak to some Italian devotees who were seated behind us! I was holding Aaron in my arms, and Swami was pushing us back into the crowd, literally!

When did you come? How many of you?” Swami asked the Italians seated behind us.

I was thinking, here is Swami, chatting with the Italians when I was having a life-and-death situation in my family. He looked at me again, and I repeated, “Swami, my son is very, very ill. Will you please help?” He simply turned and walked away, and I thought, “Well, here we go with the drama!”

I knew I had to go to the hospital now. Out of respect, I waited for Swami to get back to His residence. At that time, Aaron had to use the toilet again. I took him to the toilet, and wonder of wonders! He had a perfectly normal bowel movement! After that, he came out and started running about, playing as if he had never been sick!

Swami Always Does Everything for the Highest Good

It goes without saying that I was elated–both as a father and a devotee! I was overjoyed with how Swami took care of the situation.

Whatever I do is for your own good, not for Me. In fact, even the food I partake is for you only. The water I drink is for you. Thus, all the activities I undertake are for your good only. Those who realize this truth will be benefited. Their lives will be sanctified.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba, February 16, 2007

I understood that Swami’s omniscience is not just about Him knowing everything but also knowing how to respond, whom to respond to, where to respond, and when to respond because He is aware of the past, present, and future.

Mr. Cosby Powell  



Mr. Cosby Powell is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Pharmacy in the USA. He practiced pharmacy for several years before working in real estate development. He came to know of Swami in 1974 after seeing a film about Him by Richard Bock. Mr. Powell first visited Swami in 1979 and returned 14 times to see Him from 1979 to 1991. Between 1981 and 1991, Mr. Powell took many pictures and videos of Swami, resulting in 8 videos on Swami and His teachings, available on YouTube and bookstores.
Mr. Powell was fortunate to have many interactions with Swami through the years, including interviews and personal interactions.


First published in Eternal Companion Vol. 3, Iss. 3