Sometimes miracles happen through someone, even without their knowledge. There have been many who, like Jesus, performed miracles.  And they didn’t claim that they were doing everything, but that it was the God’s will. That shows that there was no ego involved. Miracles should happen that way. There are all sorts of miracles. You might be completely confused, stressed out, or unhappy and then you start doing some Yoga practices. Within a few months, you become a wonderful seeker who is peaceful and healthy. Is that not a miracle? It’s okay for you to take credit for having things happen, as long as you know you are only a tool, an instrument, and that all the miracles came only from that one big Source. Then you are safe.

Miracles happen because the Divine power is always present, everywhere. I can give many examples, but here are a few from the lives of several South Indian saints. Sundarar Nayanar, one of the most prominent saints of South India, was also a devotional poet and a great yogi. He did many miraculous things purposely but somehow he was able to eliminate the ego from all that. He was very mischievous. At one point he went to a temple and he prayed to Lord Siva: “Lord, I don’t have any money. I really need some money. I need some gold! Real gold!” He prayed in songs and the songs are in some books that I have. He sang the song and gold bars came to his hand.

Then he said, “Oh, that’s nice but I have to travel a lot before I return to my home. I have many shrines to visit and to worship in. If I carry all this gold somebody will rob me on the way.”

Lord Siva asked, “So what do you want Me to do?”

“I will drop this gold bar here, in the temple pond and when I reach home, I would like to find the same gold bar over there, in that temple pond.”

“Well, okay, I will do it.”

But he was so mischievous, and he said to Lord Siva, “Oh wait. How am I to know that You are giving me the same quality gold over there? I know, I will make a mark on it.” So he rubbed the gold on a sharpening stone to reveal some of the gold’s luster. He told Lord Siva: “This is the gold that I am dropping in this pond, and I have to get the same gold over there in the other temple pond.” He also kept a very small sample piece that showed the exact same luster. Different grades of gold will have different lusters. Then he traveled and when he returned home, he went to the pond, searched for his gold, and he found the exact same bars.

So, what is the purpose behind doing all this? Nothing, except to show that it can be done in the name of God. He could then say to everyone, “See, with the help of God, I can do all this.” All these things can be accomplished through Yoga and through great devotion to God.

(Photo: The 4 Nalvars of South India.)

Sundarar was one of four well-known ancient South Indian saints (Nalvars) totally devoted to God. Each saint cultivated a different relationship with God. Sundarar was devoted to God as friend. He treated God as an equal and was a great Raja Yogi. Sambandar thought of himself as a little child and God as Father. Still another, Manickavasigar, thought of God as the Beloved, meaning: “You and I are one and the same,” which is the Vedantic approach. Appar, a fourth famous saint, cultivated a relationship with God as Master, he as servant: “ I am just serving Him.” That is Karma Yoga. If you see his picture, he will have a spade with him. That means, he serves God. Appar didn’t ever go into a shrine to pray. He said, “Well, I’m happy cleaning the outside of Lord Siva’s temple. And sometimes while weeding, gems would be found in the soil. He would say, “Ha! Why, Lord, do You want to tempt me? Please, take them away.” The Lord tested him like that.

All four of these saints were more or less following different paths, but they were equally highly evolved individuals and that’s why they are worshipped as saints. Sundarar composed all the miracles that occurred in his life into songs or hymns. Many of these hymns are biographical, describing his experiences with Lord Siva in his everyday life. One of them goes like this:

“Lord, I have a wife, Paravai, but somehow I also love this other girl, Cankali. God said,  “Hey! When you married the first girl, you made a vow that you won’t even look at another girl.”

“Yes, that’s right, but I’m also madly in love with Cankali. What am I to do?”

God tells him, “Okay, go ahead, spend some time with her.”

“But if my wife finds out, what am I to do?”

“That’s your problem!”

He went with Cankali for some time, and then somehow his wife found out about it. So when he finished all that love business and he came back, she shut the door and didn’t allow him to come in.

He went to the temple and complained to Lord Siva. “Siva, look, it was just a temporary love affair, and now I’m finished with it! Don’t you know I really love my wife?”

“Then what can I do? She doesn’t want to see you.”

“Lord, please, you have to go and do something.”

Because he was such a sincere devotee, God literally had to go to her place and say, “He really loves you, that was only a temporary madness and so please take him back.”

(Photo: Sundarar)

The point is that if you have that kind of devotion, love, trust and complete surrender to God, you can do and ask anything you want. But, you first have to completely surrender to God, with pure faith and devotion; then nothing is impossible. God is always there to make everything right. That is what happened in this story. But, to really understand all this, it is important to know the background. Those two women were the daughters of Lord Devendra, in a previous life. In a past life, when Sundarar visited Devendra and was walking in the flower garden, these two daughters both fell in love with him. At that time Sundarar said, “No, I am not going to marry anybody.” Then Devendra said to his daughters, “Okay, go down to the world, be born as Paravai and Cankali. He will be born as Sundarar. You will each have some time with him.

So this whole situation had to do with an unfulfilled love affair that moved down from heaven into the world so it could be resolved. It was Lord Siva that made Sundarar love these two women saints. And in those ancient days, men could marry as often as they wanted. It was not considered a sin if the love was sincere. Because he had already given himself completely to God, he could demand that God go and work for him. Later he sings, “Don’t you know that I have given myself completely in Your hands. You are responsible for everything. You made me think of that girl.” God did go as a messenger to console and convince Paravai to take him back. Now, in this day and age, I am certainly not suggesting that you try to  apply that same approach!

There are many stories of miracles that happened with Sundarar. He loved Lord Siva and wrote many, many devotional stories about his experiences in the form of songs. In one, he sings, “I am forever your slave, I am always remembering You. You know that. I have never forgotten You and never for a moment have I done anything that was not in service to You.”

He goes on and on, so finally Lord Siva says, “Yes, yes Sundarar, I know that; you don’t need to mention that. What is the problem here now? You are saying all these wonderful things so I know that there is some mischief behind it. You don’t need to tell me all that.”

“Okay, so I just want to make sure you know.”

The song continues, “There are a lot of rice fields here. I asked Him to give me some rice and He gave me a lot. He gave me so much but I couldn’t bring it all home because it was too much for me to carry.

Lord Siva asked him: “What is the problem then?”

“Well my wife has no rice at home to cook.”

“Come on, come to the point; what is that you need?”

“I don’t have any people to carry the rice so send some of your close disciples to carry it to my home because I don’t have any people to carry it. It’s Your business to see that the rice goes to my home.” And Lord Siva did send that.

In an earlier song he sings, “She is starving, there’s no food, give me some rice.” The rice was brought. All this has been documented. These are historical facts given in the songs. Nobody could just imagine, and compose songs like this!

Again, you might ask, “Is God really there just to give us these things?” When you have that kind of total faith and you prove that you have that faith, God is there for anything you want. You may say, “I have total faith,” but you should be proving it. There will be tests. Faith should stand up to all the tests. It requires unshakable faith. When can you say your faith is unshakable? When somebody shakes it. If nobody shakes it how can you say, “I have unshakable faith.” So things will happen to shake that faith and still you say, “Whatever happens, it doesn’t matter. Even if I am dying, I’m not going to lose this faith.” When that faith is proved, then you can even command God and all creation. But first, you must pay the price. And that is what has been proven in Thiru Sundarar’s life. So there have been many, many miracles, not just one or two.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda