A child's Great Faith
(Story told by Bhagawan Shri Satya Sai Baba)

Sri Sailam is a great pilgrim center in Andhra Pradesh, and is famous for its temple of Siva and Parvathi atop a hill. There, Lord Siva is adored as Mallikarjuna and Goddess Parvathi as Bhramaramba. There is a legend relating to this sacred shrine and the Divinity that abides there as Siva and Sakthi.

In a hamlet very near Srisailam, there lived a mother and a lad, six years old. He was called Balaramanna. He was studying in the local elementary school.

Once, on the eve of Sivarathri, all the school boys were returning home eagerly discussing the festival. One boy said: "My sister and brother-in-law are coming tonight for Sivarathri. Tomorrow we will all go to the temple on the hill. "Oh! What fun it is to be with my sister and brother-in-law". Another boy said: "My sister and brother-in-law have already come. They have brought me new dress to wear. We are all going to the temple tonight itself." Balaramanna heard this talk. He wondered whether he too had a sister and brother-in-law. He ran home and asked his mother: "Mother, do I have a sister?" Where is she? What is my brother-in-law doing? Why don't they visit us? My friends are all enjoying themselves in the company of their sisters. I too would like to be with my sister and brother-in-law." The mother knew the child's heart. In order to comfort him and sow the seeds of faith in him, she said: "My dear child, you too have a sister and brother-in-law. They are, "Brahmaramba and Mallikarjuna". "Is that so? Where are they? I shall go and bring them home for the festival. Tell me where they are", said the lad. The mother sent her son along with her neighbours to the temple on the hill. She told them to take care of their son and gave them some money to buy odd little things for him. Balaram said: "Mother, should I not take something for my sister?" The mother replied: "No, my son, since you are a child, they will themselves give you a lot of gifts."

Balaram was taken into the shrine. The neighbours showed him the two idols, beautifully decorated with flowers and apparel and said, "Look that is Goddess Brahmaramba, your sister and that is Lord Mallikarjuna." Balaram at once ran to the idol of Brahmaramba, caught hold of her hand and said: "Sister, please come home with me. Mother has sent me to invite you." There was no response. He ran into the other shrine and loudly said: "Brother-in-law, please come with me along with my sister. I won't leave the place without you." The temple priests took him for a mad cap and pushed him out. Balaram's agony knew no bounds. He was determined to return home with his sister and brother-in-law. He decided to end his life if his sister and brother-in-law did not appear before him. He ran and stood on the top of a peak and cried: "Listen, if you won't come with me, you my sister and you my brother-in-law, I will jump off the peak and end my life." At once, he heard someone calling: "Brother, wait!, wait! we are coming, we are coming." Both Lord Mallikarjuna and Brahmaramba ran towards him and gathered him into their arms. Balaram said: "You must come with me, mother is expecting you." The all compassionate Lord and his consort did accompany the lad. They granted to them the vision to see them as Siva and Sakthi.

"Whatever you hold once, you have held,
Hold on to it, till you win.
Whatever you have asked, once you have asked,
Ask aloud for it, till you win.
Whatever you wish, once you have wished,
wish deeper for it, till you win.
Whatever you have planned, once you have planned,
Plan firmer for it, till you win.
He must grant to stop your wail.
Wail, weep, pray till you win.
Don't lose heart and turn away
True devotion will surely win."

Story told by Bhagawan Shri Satya Sai Baba in
oka chinna katha