The Celestial City

When Puttaparthi beckons, one needs to understand that life is taking a different turn, a turn towards goodness and beauty, a turn towards the main highway, wherein spiritual blossoms await to unfold mysteries of His Supreme Benevolence. Read on how Christine Draper experienced Him in the Celestial City called Puttaparthi, transforming his life for good. Extracted from Sanathana Sarathi, May 1986.


A few years ago in the Sanathana Sarathi i wrote about ‘experiencing’ Sai Baba from afar. Like many people at that time I had only read of Him and relied upon other folks’ experiences to give me knowledge of the Avatar of the New Age. However, this state of affairs was soon to change.

In November 1981 my daughter became seriously ill and for no apparent reason that the doctors could discover, she started having epileptic fits which became impossible to control. The tissue over her brain began to swell and one very black Monday permission was sought from me to agree to a surgeon operating upon her brain in an attempt to find the cause of her trouble. Very reluctantly I agreed to this but, at the same time, felt impelled to embark upon the almost impossible mission of speaking to Sai Baba on the telephone. Of course i should have known that pleas for help over the Sai telegraph are received by Him instantaneously and it was not necessary for me to spend seven hours trying to get through to Puttaparthi via British Telecom. However, i did manage it, only to be told that i must send a telegram instead!

The next day when i contacted the hospital i was told that although the surgeon had been ready to perform the operation, a further examination of the swelling revealed that it had stabilised and indeed appeared to be shrinking. Needless to say it continued to shrivel and, as ‘predicted’ by Swami, Clare left hospital after a five-week stay.

Some four weeks before this incident i had dreamt of following Sai Baba across a narrow footbridge, only just catching my daughter by the hand as she began falling into a flowing river which ran beneath the bridge.

You will appreciate, therefore, what a tremendous sense of excitement and anticipation i felt, on setting out on a visit to India to see for myself that Embodiment Of Divinity In Human Form Who had already manifested His power to me.

Imagine God’s first beautiful day, with a clear blue sky and a sun reaching high ready to warm all under its rays and birds using the soft breeze to carry their songs of joy at the imminent approach of their Lord of Creation. Anticipation turned the atmosphere electric and all human heads turned as one when, as if from nowhere, Sai Baba appeared, drifting along like a cloud through a sky filled with human longing for His touch. He was here at last and i was seeing Him!

When you have yearned for something for so long it is almost too difficult to grasp when the reality occurs, but nothing can ever erase for me that first moment of seeing Swami in the flesh.

Going to see Sai Baba in India is probably the wish of most devotees and like so many i saw the trip as the zenith in my life. It has made me realise that i was turning a very important corner and being led down another street where life and all its works were just beginning. Certainly that road Sri Sathya Sai Baba shows us all is a main highway and major route to the Celestial City.

Like others i came back from my trip filled with new resolve and strengthened with spiritual energy and know now that when i wrote before of Baba’s grace in allowing me to experience Him from afar, i must now recognise that greater blessing He has bestowed upon me in allowing me to experience Him in human form.