(Kesavaiah entered suddenly a different phase in his life and was not attracted
to spiritual discipline andthere was no spiritual urge in him in about 1939. He
even went to the extent of questioning how God could be dwelling in stone-idols.
He preferred charity to the poor, to temple worship. After worshipping Lord Subrahmanya
at Palani, he then realised that idols in temples were not mere stones but were
the true manifestations of the Lord Himself. One night Baba appeared in his dream
for a few minutes and then onwards, he became a staunch devotee of Baba.
Sri Kesavaiah was born on 1st of July, 1899 as the second of the four children to
a Vaishnavaite couple, Sri Balaiah and Smt. Sanjeevamma who were devoted to Lord
Sri Rama. He was born on Sravana Bahula Amavasya day and the traditional belief
at that time was that such a boy born on that day would either become a sadhu or
a thief and consequently his parents were anxious. During his childhood, young Kesavaiah
was brought up in a religious atmosphere with the daily reading of the Mahabharata,
the Ramayana and theBhagavata. The family lived at Pamidi in Andhra Pradesh on the
banks of the sacred river Pennar which was sanctified in the past by the presence
of several great saints and homas performed by saints and there are several ancient
temples in and around that place. However, some astrologers predicted and assured
the agitated parents that their son would surely become a great sadhu. Over a period
of time, his parents observed that young Keshavaiah started showing signs of affinity
towards religious matters and with this development, his parents started feeling
happy. Even during his younger age, he used to spend several hours in rapt meditation
in the nearby temples.
While at the middle school where he was studying, he was drawn to his teacher by
name Lekklar with whom he spent lot of time and stood first in the Bible classes,
after having learnt about Jesus Christ. Even at his younger age, he was blessed
with a divine vision of Jesus Christ. Similarly he was also attracted to a Muslim
who used to tell him about Prophet Mohammad and his teachings. After some time,
he was also lucky to have the vision of Prophet Mohammad. He did not evince much
interest in playing with other boys. He was avoiding chit chatting and other gossip.
He was also not particular of going after sweets and other daintees. He was totally
a different child right from his childhood.
In due course, he became proficient in prophecy and his teacher, Lekklar was stated
to have observed that Kesavaiah predicted about the end of the British rule, after
some years, in India. At a time when the name of Congress Party was not known prominently
in India, he hinted at his prophecy that the Congress Party would rule India for
a long time.
During Oct, 1918, when Sri Sai Baba shed his mortal coil and went into Mahasamadhi,
about that time he and his mother Sanjeevamma were both unwell. And on that day
his mother passed away. Strangely enough there was a wild rumour in the village
that Kesavaiah had passed away. From that day onwards Kesavaiah’s health rapidly
After completing his high school studies at Ananthapur, Kesavaiah joined as a clerk
in the District Registar’s Office at Anantapur in 1923, and within a year, he was
married to a girl named Govindamma. After ten years, he was promoted as the Sub-Regisitrar
in 1933. As an official, he had won the respect of everyone by his honesty and competence.
He was against uttering any lie and did not utter a lie. He was against accepting
any bribe. He was known for his honesty and fearlessness. At the same time, he was
also equally kind and sympathetic in his duties towards the poor.
He entered suddenly a different phase in his life and was not attracted to spiritual
discipline. There was no spiritual urge in him in about 1939. He looked fully westernized
in his dress, habits and ideas as any other young man of his age at that time. He
even went to the extent of questioning how God could be dwelling in stone-idols.
He was also against offering of coconuts in temples as he felt that it would be
of no use. He also felt that the money that was used in performing religious rituals
could be better used for the welfare of the poor. Thus he became a non believer
in temple worship and idolatry. He preferred charity to the poor, to temple worship.
That was his philosophy and mental outlook at that time.
Such people were suddenly drawn to spiritual matters in unexpected circumstances.
In later part in 1939, his elder daughter was seriously unwell. His well wishers
advised him to go on a pilgrimage and visit some temples. Accordingly, he started
on his pilgrimage commencing from holy Rameswaram in the South. He visited the temples
at Rameswaram, Srirangam, Madurai and Kanchi and there was no change in his outlook
except that he was attracted by the sculpture and architecture of the temples. He
next visited the temple of Lord Subrahmanya at Palani which brought about some radical
change in his outlook, bringing him towards spiritual matters.
After worshipping Lord Subrahmanya at Palani, he closed his eyes and bowed to the
deity with unswerving devotion. On opening the eyes, he saw a flood of divine light
in the place of and also around the idol and was thrilled and impressed by the flood
of divine light. He had derived lot of ecstasy due to the sight of the flood light
around the idol. At the height of his ecstasy, he lost all his consciousness for
some time. After some time, he felt extremely weak. Later when he visited again
Rameswaram, he experienced at that time, ecstasy when he looked at the idol of Lord
He then realized that the idols in temples were not mere stones but were the true
manifestations of the Lord Himself. These two mystic ecstatic experiences opened
up the dormant mystic power in him.
With passage of time, it looked as though he was endowed with some mystic powers
which would enable him to clearly see any body’s past, present and future on seeing
any one. But whenever on seeing any person, if he happened to visualize his bad
future, he could not control himself but used to immediately caution him about his
bad future and also advise him about the remedial measures to avert that bad future.
Such was his kindness towards fellow persons.
He returned to Dharmavaram from his pilgrimage in May 1939. Thereafter he had vision
of Sri Sai Baba and was lucky to have Baba’s darshan in the vision. He heard about
Sri Sai Baba for the first time from Sri M.Malli Reddy, a famous lawyer in Anantapur
in Andhra Pradesh. Sri Malli Reddy used to visit frequently Dharmavaram where Kesavaiah
was working and both knew each other very well. Sri Malli Reddy was a devotee of
Sri Sai Baba since a long time and knew Kesavaiah from 1930. But somehow, there
was no occasion for Sri Malli Reddy to raise the topic about the greatness of Baba
and inform Kesavaiah about Baba, his mission and miracles. In 1939, one day Kesavaiah
accompanied Sri Malli Reddy to the railway station to see him off and was telling
Sri Malli Reddy about his innumerable problems till the departure of the train.
Sri Malli Reddy then suggested suddenly to
Kesavaiah to visit Shirdi, pray to Baba and start worshipping Baba for getting all
his problems solved. In those days Baba’s greatness was not so well known in all
parts of the country and Kesavaiah himself had never heard of him earlier.
But ever since he heard the name of Baba he went on thinking who that Baba was.
He and his wife decided to worship Baba’s picture. That night Baba appeared in his
dream for a few minutes. The next day when he was still thinking of writing for
a picture of Baba, he received a Baba’s photo surprisingly from the Sai Baba Sansthan,
Shirdi. And after two days he also received a packet of udi. How could the Sansthan
know about Kesavaiah and his address? How could they send him the photo and udi
too. It was too short a time for Sri Malli Reddy to have written to the Sansthan
on his behalf for this purpose. So he felt that undoubtedly this was the miracle
The next day, when he was putting on his usual western dress before going to his
office, Kesavaiah heard a mysterious voice, “Why all this show for you?” This brought
about a strong transformation in him and he immediately switched over to the use
of the traditional dhoti dress. All his colleagues in the office wondered at the
sudden transformation in his dress.
About this time he again met Sri Malli Reddy who was pleasantly surprised to hear
about Kesavaiah’s dream experience. He said, “You are blessed indeed. Not every
one can have the darshan of Baba even in a dream. Undoubtedly you must have been
his devotee in your previous life.” Henceforth Kesavaiah started worshipping Baba
with utmost devotion. Within a short time all his troubles got solved and vanished,
perhaps with Baba’s Grace.
In April, 1941, he came to Penukonda in Andhra Pradesh on transfer. Besides his
daily puja to Baba, he used to perform special puja to Baba on every Thursday and
at the puja time on Thursdays; large crowds were assembling for seeking help from
Baba through him. He acquired marvelous powers with Baba’s Grace and used to foretell
events with mathematical accuracy and cure their diseases. He was having Baba’s
picture only in his puja room and used to look at the photo of Baba before telling
all this information. He was so popular during that time that he was getting several
letters from far off people, explaining their problems and requesting for
solutions through Baba’s Grace. He used to keep all such letters before Baba’s photo
and thereafter he was sending replies to all such people. It is gathered that he
had received as many as 2000 letters from different people within a period of about
16 months and that all such letters were replied by him promptly, indicating solutions
to their problems. In view of all these developments, he was being addressed as
Samiji Kesavaiah or Swami Kesavaiahji.
There were many other remarkable experiences he had. When he visited Shirdi in 1943
he had a wish to go to Pandharpur. He cast chits to know Baba’s views in the matter.
As the response was in the affirmative, he proceeded on his journey. A stranger
met him at Dhond and accompanied him to Pandharpur and took him to a choultry in
a Tonga. He even paid for the conveyance. After making all the necessary arrangements,
he said to Kesavaiahji, “Whenever you think of me I shall come to you.” And then
he went away. It is not necessary to tell that Baba only came to him in the shape
of a stranger.
In 1948, Kesavaiahji was instrumental in getting a temple constructed for Sai Baba
in Penukonda. He continued his service to Baba and used to offer Baba’s blessings
to the visitors. Then he became unwell due to tuberculosis in 1948 and came to Chennai
and stayed there for medical treatment. Inspite of his illness he went on curing
the sick by offering the udhi from Shirdi. Doctors who examined him found that his
left lung had collapsed and there were no chances of his survaval. Kesavaiahji himself
gave up the hope of his recovery and made all arrangements for the subsistence of
his family in the event of any calamity of his impending demise. He lay on his bed
calmly, looking at the Baba’s picture with unswerving devotion. On 29th April, 1949,
in the morning, Kesavaiahji clearly saw in a vision that the attendants of Death
were entering his room. With courage, he said to them, “You may take me away after
securing the permission of Sai Baba!” Immediately Baba appeared before him and drove
them out. Thereafter Kesavaiahji’s condition rapidly improved. Dr. Veera Reddy,
who was regularly treating him, had remarkable experience at Kesavaiahji’s unexpected
sudden recovery and he also started developing faith in Baba.Thus he recovered very
well with Baba’s Grace.
From 1949 onwards, he used to perform on every Thursday puja to Baba in “Sai Nilayam”
in Shenoy Nagar in Chennai. Over a period of time, several devotees used to visit
“Sai Nilayam” and he was offering to them Baba’s udhi received from Shirdi for their
welfare. Kesavaiahji used to touch the forehead of each person and apply udhi there
simultaneously blessing each one of them and this process resulted in mystically
solving their problems. B.V.Narasimha Swamiji also appreciated Kesavaiahji’s service
to the devotees in predicting the coming events accurately and offering solutions
for their problems. Over a period of time, Kesavaiahji had acquired some spiritual
powers and siddhis. He visited Shirdi as many as 73 times. In spite of all these
developments, he was simple and unostentatious in his approach. By being a Grihastha,
a family man, he practiced and demonstrated that it was possible to receive Baba’s
Grace and become a Swamiji who could help people to tide over their problems.
In due course, “Sai Nilayam” in Shenoy Nagar became an important spiritual centre.
During 1959, Sri Sai Baba Bhaktha Samajam came into existence and became a registered
body with Swamiji as the Founder-President. In March, 1975, Sai Baba Mandir with
meditation hall along with magnificent edifice was inaugurated in Shenoy Nagar.
He also inaugurated several new Sai Baba temples in several places in Andhra Pradesh
and also started Sai Baba Samajams at other places outside Chennai.
As days passed, devotees started flocking to Kesavaiahji for succour and he was
the medium through whom Baba’s Grace passed to them. Nearly seven years after his
miraculous experience, Kesavaiahji started sharing the illness of his devotees in
curing them. Kesavaiahji had many mystic visions in which Baba blessed him. In one
of these visions, Baba gave him holy water and in another, Baba blessed him by keeping
his hands on Kesavaiahji’s head. Baba several times indicated in advance the coming
dangers to him and helped him in tiding over the dangers.
He wrote several articles on Baba and about his philosophy to several magazines.
Thus he was propagating about Baba and was also assisting several people in attaining
spiritual enlightenment. He did service like that for such a long period of about
Today, as a monument of Baba’s Grace, a magnificent Sai Baba Temple had
taken shape at Shenoynagar in Chennai. Swami Kesavaiahji inaugurated The Sai Mandir
at Vidya nagar on March 12, 1981. After serving Baba relentlessly, he later attained
mahasamadhi on 7th August, 1981. Blessed was his soul.