The book ANYATHA SARANAM NASTHI “Other than You refuge there is none” by Smt. Vijaya Kumari is a real gold- mine if you want to know, without censorship, what really happened in the ashram in the early life of Sai Baba. The content of the book is founded on the authors diary notes.

On the pages 130 - 131 the author writes about Sai Baba´s “Trance”
“Sometimes while conversing with all of us, Swami would suddenly go into trance... If and when a devotee was in great pain... Swami would rush there leaving his physical body behind.
At those times His body would become rigid... Sometimes while climbing down the stairs He would just fall down... While bhajans were being sung, He would suddenly become stiff, like a wooden doll, and sit motionless on the throne...
During those times, He did not have bodily consciousness... Sometimes, He would pluck hairs from his head and nibble on them.
If by chance, He happened to be holding a flower, he would pluck the petals and munch them.
If his Betel- leaf box were to be by his side, He would consume large quantities of betel leaves, betel nuts and lime. Once by eating a big chunk of lime, He suffered from thrush for a long time.
Sometimes he would be laughing like one demented. He would mumble something incoherently.
Sometimes Vibuthi would keep falling in great heaps from his open mouth...
One night He was lying on His bed and talking to us, when He suddenly fell down. His body looked like a small bundle, that was twisted and tangled, His hands touching his knees. After some time, he began groaning. We felt very pained by the sight. Why this suffering to one who is an incarnation of God?”

Perhaps this “suffering” was not at all caused by some “trance” or altruistic behavior to rescue a devotee in distress...
Perhaps Smt. Vijaya Kumari actually described some sort of epileptic seizures? Perhaps God Himself suffered from epilepsy in his youth?

In Bryan Kolbs and Ian Q. Whishaws book: “Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology”, you can read about epilepsy:

“Epilepsy is a condition characterized by recurrent electrographic seizures of various types, that are associated with a disturbance of consciousness. Although  epileptic episodes  have been termed convulsions, seizures, fits and attacks, none of these terms is entirely satisfactory, since the episodes can vary greatly.”
The authors describe different forms of epilepsy:

“Complex partial seizures are characterized by three common manifestations: (1) subjective feelings, such as forced repetitive thoughts, alterations in mood, feelings of déjà vu, or hallucinations (2) automatisms, which are repetitive stereotyped movements, such as lip smacking or chewing or acts such as undoing buttons; and (3) postural changes, in which afflicted persons sometimes assume catatonic or frozen postures...

If you read about complex partial seizures, in the Internet on different sites you can add to the description above, odd behaviors as picking at the clothes, swallowing, mumbling, performing repeated movements, speaking in a confused and repetitive way and secreting saliva from the mouth...

Is perhaps the “vibuthi” that sometimes would keep falling in great heaps from Sai Baba´s open mouth... actually saliva or froth?
According to the Smt. Vijaya Kumaris description of vibuthi, it could have any form, consistence or color...
In page 56 you can read: “Sometimes the vibuthi created of Swami instead of being in dry powder form, would be in form of a hard block, like a slab of jaggery. Sometimes it would be in the form of a globe. While breaking it for distribution, Swamis fingers would become red... sometimes it would be ashen in color, sometimes white, and at other times a mix of black and white. On yet other occasions it would be of varied colors...”
Not easy indeed to know what vibuthi is like...

Åsa Samsioe  Sweden

See more on Smt. Vijaya Kumari's book 'Refuge other than you I have none'