On the previous Mahashivaratri in 1977, observing the difficulties of the mammoth crowd of devotees surging forward to have a glimpse of the Lingodbhava at Prashanti Nilayam, Bhagavan had announced that He would be canceling further public celebration of the festival and that the devotees could celebrate the holy day in their own places from next year onwards.
The next Mahashivaratri was on Thursday, the 7th of March 1978 . Even as devotees were wondering where He would be on that sacred day, He went away to Ooty during the early hours of the morning of 4th March with a very small contingent of students and devotees. He left Ooty on the 7th and proceeded to Mudhumalai forest, which is on the way to Mysore. He broke journey at the guesthouse on the top of a small hill in the forest.
After breakfast, Baba walked on to the beautiful meadow in front of the guesthouse and posed for photographs with every member of the party. A Polaroid camera was used by a student to click the photographs. The photos were given to the members instantly. Finally, Baba asked a student to click His photograph.
The lower part of His orange robe had been caught in the twigs of a bush. Before the camera clicked, Smt. Ratanlal rushed forward to set right the folds of the robe. Everyone was astonished when Bhagavan shouted at her loudly, "Don't touch me!" and she retreated quickly.
After the camera clicked, Baba held the photo coming out of the camera and gave it to Col. Joga Rao. As he held it in his palm, the picture developed gradually.
In the place where he had expected to see Baba's form in orange robe, there stood a young figure in the black and white photo. The form, which wore a white flowing garment, had three heads and six hands!!! (See photo)
Each arm was holding an insignia of Divinity. The lower left arm bent at the elbow, was resting on the back of a majestic young cow. There were four dogs in the background. The face in the centre was that of Baba! It was the form of Lord Dattatreya as described in ancient Indian texts, the integrated form of the Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara!!!
That was His real form! After all eyes had feasted on that incredible creation and all hearts had registered the rare revelation, the photo vanished. Bhagavan confirmed while speaking to the students at Brindavan the next morning that it was indeed His true form. He also clarified that Smt. Ratanlal would not have survived if she had touched Him then!
(This is a repeat)
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