It was just after dawn on Easter Sunday. Sai Baba had left 7500-foot Mussoori after three heavenly days spent in this jewel of hill stations. His car led a caravan of automobiles down the one-lane, switchback road leading to the valley below. It was cool and crisp at that altitude, and we bundled up inside the cars, as the first glimmerings of the Easter sunrise came over the far hills. Just then, coming up the mountain road towards us was seen a small vehicle with a single flickering light. It turned out to be a scooter with an elderly couple on it, both dressed fairly lightly, he in a white Kurta, she in a Sari. The police jeep ahead pulled them over, and they both looked thoroughly chilled as they huddled there on the scooter by the side of the road.
When Swami's car came into their view, they suddenly became animated, registering through their movements and facial expressions, at once, surprise, joy and deep adoration. If they were disappointed at having come so far, undoubtedly starting out in the middle of the night to get up the mountain for Swami's Darshan, and now having caught only a short glimpse of Him as He sped by, they didn't show it.
But Baba stopped His car and got out. For a moment the old couple couldn't believe their good fortune. Then, as Bhagavan waited patiently, the woman produced a little camphor lamp from the scooter compartment and the man pulled out a garland. Swami lit the Jyothi (light) and they performed Arathi (Song of Adoration of the guru) to Him, garlanding Him and waving the light before Him, as we all watched spellbound from our cars. Then Baba materialized some Vibhuti (holy ash) and put it on their foreheads, and gave them both Padnamaskar (privilege of touching the guru's feet). How very sweet that whole scene was to us watching. Baba was lit up with smiles as He got back into His car. The couple sat down by the side of the road with hands folded in devotion and tears of joy streaming from their eyes. As our cars slowly wended past them, one almost felt that the two had fulfilled every ambition in their lives; gratitude and contentment bathed their faces in the Easter light.
For me, those few minutes were the highlight of that whole eventful North India trip. Here on Easter morning, we had seen Baba in essence...pure sweetness...pure love.
(A.D., Prashanti Nilayam, 1982)