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A Coconut to Begin Tapas

Sathyaraju, Shivabalayogi as a fourteen-year-old, was initiated into tapas on Sunday, August 7, 1949.  Two days later, on Tuesday morning, a village woman came to where the young boy was sitting in samadhi meditation by the canal.  She was convinced that Sathyaraju was a shivabalayogi — a boy Shiva yogi — and she worshipped him with incense and flowers and made a traditional offering of a coconut.

Having finished her worship she distributed pieces of the coconut as prashad (blessed food) to numerous people who had gathered before the boy yogi.  Everyone received a piece of the coconut even though it was impossible that one coconut could be distributed to so many people.  As the blessed food was distributed, it kept becoming more and more.  Miraculously, the prashad multiplied to feed the people.

Coconut Multiplication

This took place about a month before the second birthday function in Bangalore.  That would have been 1965.  The first birthday was done in a very modest way, only some thirty or forty kilograms of rice.  By the second time, more people were coming to Swamiji so he told us that we should do the function really well and feed a lot more people.  We all had plans and we were trying to organize.

Meanwhile, a person from Cubbonpeta named Sheetayya told Swamiji that he wanted to have bhajans in his house and invite all the devotees.  Swamiji asked the bhajan group and others to go there.  Before they left the ashram, Swamiji gave them a blessed coconut.  He said that those people were so poor they could scarcely afford more than that one coconut, yet they had the courage to invite Swamiji’s devotees for bhajans.

The bhajans were going on when a wonderful thing happened.  There was a small puppy there.  When all the others were in trance and dancing, even the dog started dancing as though it was in trance.  It would go and pounce upon people and play very wonderful games.

Swamiji on one of those trance people told them to break the coconut in two and grate it.  They grated the coconut and passed it out as prashad.  There were about three hundred people there.  All three hundred people were served from that single coconut.  They all had prashad and even the next day morning for the puja they could serve about ten people out of that.  One single coconut served so many devotees.

When people realized what had happened, the coconut distributed to so many people, they realized that Swamiji was a real yogi.  The news spread throughout that area and thousands of people became Swamiji’s devotees.  By the time Swamiji’s birthday was celebrated a few weeks later, it was really magnificent because all these devotees came to the ashram.

Bobbattu Multiplication

Some time in the late 1960’s or the early 1970’s, my mother made some sweet pancakes called bobbattu to take to Swamiji.  She made them with Sathyanarayan Amma and another lady.  They counted eighty of them and put them in a stainless steel container.

They drove to Adivarapupeta and presented them to Swamiji who, as was his custom, had the container put under his asana.  Swamiji was giving public darshan that day from six to eight o’clock and several hundred people were lined up.  Swamiji was sitting on an asana in the same place where the Samadhi is now located.  People entered the ashram building from the east door, had his darshan, and then left by the door to the west.

Swamiji called my mother and asked her to distribute the bobbattu pancakes to all the devotees.  She was nervous because she knew there was not enough for everyone, but Swamiji insisted that she distribute them.  He made her take a handful from the container and give them out.  At first she tried to tear the bobbattu in half and give just a piece to each person, but Swamiji saw what she was doing and made her give out whole pancakes.

With the help of some other devotees, they took handfuls of the pancakes from the container and distributed them, then returned to get more bobbattu from the container.  In this way, all the devotees were served.

Afterwards, my mother told Swamiji that she knew for a fact that she had brought only eighty pancakes, yet several hundred devotees each received one.  “How was that possible?” she asked.  Swamiji just told her that she had miscounted.  He typically would not admit to causing miracles.

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