V. C. Kondappa was Baba’s teacher at the school at Bukkapatnam
and Uravakonda. He was also one of his first devotees. Along with
teachers like Manchiraju Thammiraju and Sesha Iyengar, he would go
to the Thursday sessions to listen and benefit from the young
Raju’s spiritual wisdom. They would ask him questions. They
treated him with awe and respect – as a divine being. They would
perform rituals, pujas and attend bhajans.
Raju went to Hospet during the Dassera holidays, V. C. Kondappa
also accompanied him. At his insistence a photograph of Raju was
taken in Hospet. It shows Raju as a simple lad, wearing a
four-cubit dhoti and half-sleeve shirt, with cropped hair, sitting
on a chair.
greatest moment in Kondappa’s life took place when he decided to
write a book on the life of the young Baba. This book, in Telugu,
was called Sri Sayeeshuni Charitra (The Life Story Of Lord
Sai). Kondappa had obtained the poetical contents from young Baba
day V. C. Kondappa and Subbannachar, another teacher (who wrote
the foreword for the book) came to Puttaparthi to satisfy their
long-standing desire to know about the early life of Shirdi Sai
Baba, because the books available threw no light on this unknown
were wonder-struck when Sai Baba revealed that He was Shirdi Sai
Baba Himself. He also asked them to stay there for the night, when
He would narrate His life history, granting them their heart’s
wish, even before asking. That momentous night, Baba narrated the
life story of the first 16 years of Shirdi Sai, as well as details
of His own life.
C. Kondappa asked Baba, “You tell everyone you are Shirdi Baba,
reborn. What is the proof? Before I write a book on you, I should
know this.” It was then that Baba agreed to reveal His identity
to them. He gave them the Darshan of His previous incarnation in
flesh and blood. After this, though many devotees prayed for this
vision, Baba replied, “It cannot be granted to everyone. There
is a specific reason for this.”
Baba took keen interest in the preparation of the book. After the
book had been released, one day Baba asked Professor M. L. Leela
to read the book in His presence on the Chitravathi riverbed.
When the sentence ‘Shirdi Sai Baba is now reborn as Sri
Sathya Sai Baba’ was read, Baba’s form changed to that of
Shirdi Sai Baba. From among the assembled crowd, her father,
Lokanatha Mudaliar rose shouting “Hey Sai! Hey Sai!” and
rushed towards Baba and hugged him tightly. Baba found it very
difficult to release Himself from Mudaliar’s embrace until His
form again changed, back to that of Sathya Sai.
many years, Sri Sayeeshuni Charitra was the most
authoritative version of Baba’s biography. N. Kasturi mentions
that he, too, had learnt heavily on material in this book for his
biography Sathyam Sivam Sundaram.
would often stay in Kondappa’s house at Bukkapatnam. During one
such visit, Baba told both Kondappa and Subbannachar that an
envious person was trying to poison Him with poisoned vadas and
warned them not to eat them. Baba’s warning turned out to be
accompanied Baba on trips to various places in those early days.
He accompanied Baba on His first trip to Anantapur to the house of
Dr Vishwanadha Rao.
Today his sons survive Kondappa. Baba still recalls this humble
devotee and one time teacher with fondness and respect. Here was a
case where a Sandipani (guru of Lord Krishna) had also become a
Valmiki (biographer of Lord Rama).