This picture was taken by Ratan Lal on May 15, 1968. The event took place near Dwaraka, where Krishna lived, which is on the west coast of India, about 325 miles northwest of Bombay. The description of this event is given by N. Kasturi in Sathyam Sivaram Sundaram, Part III, on page 183-184. To paraphrase:
'While returning to Jamnagar in the evening, Baba suddenly said, 'O, the sea is here!' and the cars stopped. We came upon a wide patch of sandy shore, with a temple on a heap of rocks at one end. Baba walked along the watery edge and sat on the sands at last, as Krishna must have sat some fifty centuries ago.
Sai Baba heaped the soft sand to the height of a cubit in front of him, putting us all into a state of extreme expectancy. He flattened the heap and, with his finger, drew a three-slanted line, a rough circle on top of it, a small triangle over that, and finally a short line across the circle. 'It is ready,' he said. Digging his hands deep into the pile, he drew forth a bright golden image of Lord Krishna playing the flute. 'You did not get darshan of Krishna in the temple; have it now,' He said.
Kasturi surmises that the long line was for the body, the circle for the forehead, the triangle for the peackcock feather, and the short line for the flute.'
In 1968, when this photograph was taken, there were few devotees visiting Sai Baba. However, now there are tens of thousands of people visiting Prasanthi Nilayam, Sai Baba's ashram, every day. After the crowds started becoming huge, Sai Baba stopped his practice of walking with a few devotees to the nearby riverbed, because he is followed by masses of people wherever he goes.
The crowds did not start becoming huge until the early 1980's, and even then they were small in comparison to the 4 million devotees who came to celebrate Sai Baba's 70th birthday in 1995. It is a miracle in itself that a gathering of 4 million spiritual seekers received no media coverage.
In spite of these numbers, each individual has a unique relationship with
Sai Baba, and receives what he needs, although not necessarily what he