January 9, 1993: All Passengers Saved

Maharaj apparently saved an entire planefull of people, on the request of his disciple Preetam Singh, manager of a stud farm. Indian Airlines Flight IC 840 was to take off for Hyderabad from Delhi. A dense winter fog shrouded the runways, and the flight was already eight hours behind schedule. It tried to take off at 4 a.m. with 163 passengers and crew aboard. As reported in the newspaper, the plane suddenly swung to the left, hit an obstacle, turned in the opposite direction, and flipped upside down. Witnesses saw a sudden flash of fire, with a huge ball of flame from the dislocated wing. With what the newspaper credited to “remarkable presence of mind,” all 163 people escaped through an emergency exit before the entire plane was engulfed by flames. Several were given first aid, but all survived. The miraculous escape was front-page news.

The inside story: Maharaj’s chela Preetam Singh, who was a passenger on the plane, saw disaster looming and immediately prayed to Maharaj, “Please help us, Maharaj! Nothing else can save us.” Then he found himself opening the emergency window exit next to his seat, and many passengers followed him in jumping out of it. Within four or five minutes, everyone had exited the plane before it burst into flame. He began yelling, “Maharaj has saved us, Maharaj has saved us!”, but the newspaper reporters thought he was referring to God. They did not know that his teacher had answered his disciple’s plea.

Not only did everyone escape alive; Preetam Singh also recovered his money from the burnt-out shell of the plane. He had been carrying a briefcase with 47,000 rupees. When he reached home, he received strong inner guidance to go back and claim his money. His family thought he was crazy and tried to dissuade him, but he got a taxi and went back to the airport. He described the three packets he had been carrying, their amounts, and the key that was also in the briefcase. The briefcase was found, and with it, all three packets of money were returned to him intact.

Preetam Singh came to Maharaj in his garden on the hillside to tell him. He was carrying the briefcase and opened it to show me the still-intact money. Not having a camera with me, I didn’t take a picture. Maharaj said to him, “We did this only for you. You must never forget this the rest of your life.”