Pandit Ravi Shankar sees a parrot sipping tea1

In the world of music, Ustad Allauddin Khan was Ravi Shankar's Guru. But in spirituality, his Guru — his only Guru, he says — was Tat Baba.

In his autobiography, My Music, My Life, Ravi Shankar describes an incident which is so spiritually significant. As you know, spiritual Masters can take any form they want to. One day Ravi Shankar's Guru, Tat Baba, went to another town far away. All of a sudden, one of the disciples came running to Ravi Shankar. He was screaming, "Baba has come! Baba has come!"

Ravi Shankar was very puzzled because he knew that his Guru was physically absent. He went to the place where his Guru was supposed to be but he was not at all convinced that his Guru would be there. In fact, he felt that the devotion of this particular disciple bordered on fanaticism.

When he arrived at the house, what did he see? A beautiful parrot sitting on Baba's couch. This couch was reserved for Baba alone. Someone brought the parrot special food which birds like, but it was not at all interested. Then it saw a cup of tea and it began to take little sips from the cup. By this time, all the disciples realised that the parrot was none other than their own beloved Tat Baba. He himself liked tea very much.

The parrot stayed on the couch for three days and many visitors came and paid their respects to it. Ravi Shankar also bowed down before his Guru. Then, one day, the bird disappeared out of the window.


  1. TCE 33. 30 October 2002