Helping Hand at Himalayan Heights…

What would you do if you were caught up or trapped in an uncanny situation in a secluded place where human intervention was least expected? A sincere prayer with total surrender is the lone way out. How would God respond to such a prayer that comes with ‘Other than you, refuge there is none” attitude. Often He allows one to take on the challenges, trudging the first step, and in the nick of time when the last-ditch effort by the human fails, He makes His ‘guest appearance’ as is narrated below… an incident  from the diary of a former Civil Servant, as published in the January 1975 issue of Sanathana Sarathi.

I was on a trekking expedition in the Himalayas to Gangotri. On the return journey, the petrol tank of the car sprung a leak, at a desolate place, between Harsil and Jhala. The precious liquid drained away into the ravines.

It was late in the evening; not a soul was found anywhere. Petrol could be obtained only from Uttarakashi, 60 miles away. And, 60 miles in the Himalayan Region is equal to at least 200 miles in the plains!

Even if petrol could be obtained, the problem remained as to how to store and use it; for, the gaping hole in the tank was as big as a saucer. Hence, first, the hole had to be closed by welding. Where could that welding be done?

It looked as if we had to persuade the ladies and children to walk to safety towards some village near by in the fast enveloping darkness; then we had to remove the petrol tank and carry it for a distance of 60 miles to Uttarakashi and get it welded there and bring it back and fit it to the car; then, we could fill up with petrol, provided we get some quantity. All this had to be done, before the car could move an inch out of that vast wilderness. Certainly, we were in for three or four days of suffering, in the shivering snows. For, we had no other person who can act as mechanic or driver.

And, lo! What cannot a prayer do? This is when Sai came to help! His presence was felt by me in the midst of that desolate despair. I announced, immediately, that relief was at hand and will soon be arriving. I told the family that Baba would tell us latter at Puttaparthi how we had suffered and prayed and how he had helped us.

No sooner I said so, a jeep came round and gave us five litres of petrol in a tin; they gave us also a big cake of soap, so that we might stop the leak by plugging the hole with it. The car started without trouble; we proceeded a few miles and reached Jhala, at the bottom of a mountain at least 10,000 feet high.

We could get no food or accommodation at that place. We also discovered that the cake of soap had fallen off, and the tank had gone dry!

We prayed again and again, Baba answered our prayers. The same vehicle appeared before us, and the mysterious helper suggested this time that the petrol tin be fitted near the engine itself; he advised us to provide a direct connection with a length of rubber tubing. This was done and, lo, the car started and mounted up the perilous ascent of the Sukhi Himalayas, 10,000 feet high. The entire population of Jhala had come to cheer us, when we ventured to move into the Heights, with Sai and the stars, as our sole Guide and companions.

That quantity of petrol too was consumed that night to the last drop; Baba sent us succour in the same mysterious manner. Petrol was provided and we reached Ganganani late at midnight, safe and sound. We got both food and accommodation there and felt relieved and happy. The next day, by about noon, we reached Uttarakashi, with the least discomfort. The tank too was welded there. Further journey was smooth and uneventful.

When we met Baba at Puttaparthi, on our return from the mountaineering adventure; He welcomed us, with a twinkle in His eyes. He recounted the story of our travels, and told us all the detail’s of the succour He gave us, before we got a chance to open our mouth.

He knew; He had helped us; He had answered our prayers.

II Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II