The Most Precious Substance



(An open letter to all Sai devotees, from an anonymous devotee)

August, 2001

Dear Friends:

Sai Ram, with love! As a Sai devotee for many years, my humble advice to you all is to avoid getting embroiled in the current controversy, and dive into the Self, which is Baba’s true being and ours. That is all Swami wants from us. Do you see what He is doing lately? He is telling everyone to stop paying attention to His form, to stop trying for Padnamaskar, and to seek God within. Even if He must strip away our faith in Him so that we can go inward, He will do so even at the cost of His reputation. He has no personal agenda; He only wants us to realize God – that we are God. Because He knows that this is the supreme goal in life, He will do whatever it takes to help us attain it – even if it means lying, cheating, breaking our rules, taking away our narrow-minded faith, and ruining our worldly lives! Everything He does has only one purpose – to wake us up to the Divine Self!

The truth is, as with any great Guru, there are many Sai devotees who have been subconsciously looking for an excuse to leave the Divine Master who has so deeply affected their lives and who, implicitly, threatens to destroy their ego. The most essential key for spiritual progress is for the aspirant to stop identifying himself with the ego-complex of mind and body. Destroy or render impotent the ego, and there will be room for God. But the ego does not want to die, and will look for ways to eradicate any threats to its existence. A powerful Guru is the greatest ego threat there is! Therefore, on hearing accusations—even unsubstantiated ones, as most of them are—directed at the Guru, many devotees will leave even after decades of supposed devotion.

Whom the Gods love, they kill; but not everyone is ready to die.

What I find very amusing is that people are getting so upset about sex. Since God is omnipresent, isn’t He already having all the sex in the universe? What’s the big deal? What’s a little sex compared to the truly horrible aspects of God’s play throughout history? Didn’t Krishna do his best to convince Arjuna to commit fratricide? Sex is nothing compared to the incredible anguish and hardship the Mahabharata war surely left in its wake! I’m sure Krishna was the ideal charioteer, angling the vehicle in just the right way so that Arjuna could get good killing angles for his arrows. And think of the wounding shots, the warriors left to die slowly in the heat of the day.

Was that “nice” of Krishna? Couldn’t He have just prevented the war? Does His behavior in that war fit into people’s concepts of a sweet and loving God?

Does God ever really fit into our concepts?

What of the Lord of Israel who caused all the first born of Egypt to die? Looks like we can add infanticide to the Lord’s playful activities. Did Lot’s wife merit such a severe punishment? The Lord saved Noah, his family and the animals – but he also committed genocide in wiping out everyone else. Didn’t God ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son? That was considerate. So, what’s a little sex compared to the fratricide, infanticide, genocide and outright cruelty that God has reportedly committed according to many holy texts?

The biggest mistake humans make is trying to tell God how he should act. How can we possibly do that? As humans, what do we really know about existence? One percent of nothing! We want God to be like a favorite uncle or an ideal mother or father – and of course He is all of that, but unimaginably more. Yes, He’s the loving Creator; but not only of what we like – He’s created everything, including war, murder, rape and torture. And He’s also the ultimate destroyer of all He’s created, including the bodies and minds and egos we cherish so much. When He incarnates in our midst, it is only out of His compassionate desire to bring us to Liberation – but the methods He employs may take any form and may or may not appear loving or ‘proper’ to our eyes. God is beyond our rules – completely! But whatever He does is done in Love and with Love, as a gift of Love, to lead us to union with Him in LOVE. His Love is OUTRAGEOUS.

But children—which we are in comparison to the realized ones and the Avatars—can’t always be told the truth. Children don’t understand adults’ ways of thinking; they have to be spoken to in a way they can understand. So the Avatars and scriptures do their best to present us with a picture of God that’s easy to relate to: Jesus the gentle shepherd (never mind the one who wielded a whip in the temple!) – and the charming boy Krishna with His childhood consort Radha (never mind the 16,108 wives and all the killing that came later!). Only as we mature spiritually are we introduced to the more ferocious aspects of God, to the Shiva and Kali aspects, or Narasimha, the destroyers of all the ego holds dear – and the Supreme Self transcending even the concept of God.

But no matter what your concept of Divinity may be, it must be the height of stupidity and arrogance to tell an incarnation of God what He should and shouldn’t do. Proverbs 3:5 says it all: “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Amen!

Those familiar with Hinduism know that great holy beings and Avatars often acted very strangely and defied social convention. This is also true of holy beings in other faiths. In Antonio Rigopoulos’ great book, “Dattatreya, The Immortal Guru, Yogin, and Avatara”, this widely worshipped Avatar of the Hindu trinity and the primordial Guru was often reported as having indulged in “unclean” actions. The following is a short excerpt from the book:

Markandeya Purana” [a Hindu scripture], reports that Dattatreya, to free himself of all attachments, plunged into a lake for innumerable years. Dattatreya wished to be forsaken by the assembly of Munis [silent Yogis] who were still on the banks of the lake awaiting his return. He emerged from the waters in the company of a beautiful woman. The text tells us that he made love with her … indulged in liquor, and was addicted to singing and musical instruments. Despite this, the Munis did not abandon Dattatreya, interpreting his behavior as a way of dissimulating his supreme dispassion. Dattatreya, attended by his woman, continued to perform austerities and was meditated upon by all Munis longing for moksa [liberation].

Think what the man in the street must have been saying about Dattatreya: ‘He’s a partying drunk, living in sin with a fallen woman!’ And think what they might have said about Jesus. ‘Let’s see, he doesn’t work, and one of the people closest to him is a known prostitute. He must be a pimp!’

Many years back, an unusual Mahatma (great souled one) used to visit Ammachi’s ashram. He had been chased out of many of the towns in Kerala because he loved to walk around naked, and was known to suddenly disrobe and then hug whatever woman he could find! When he came to Ammachi’s ashram, she would tell all her brahmacharinis [female disciples] to run and hide. Yet Ammachi also declared that this Mahatma was actually one of the immortal Masters, and that when his current body died he would simply use his yogic powers to enter into a new and youthful body, and that he had done it many times before!

Masters at that level often behave in ways that defy our conventional rules, perhaps intentionally shocking us out of our rigid concepts of ‘right and wrong’ into the Truth beyond the mind.

We are definitely not qualified to judge their behavior.

By the way, Ammachi has said there will also be a big scandal in her ashram towards the end of her life, and that many people will leave her. Swami Muktananda did exactly the same thing. Simply put, creating a scandal and watching the fallout is probably the easiest way to determine which devotees are truly worthy of the Guru’s grace.

As for the various characters who are slandering Baba these days, my feeling is that they are actually Baba’s employees (although they don’t know it!) – wonderful instruments in aiding those whose devotion to God has been limited to Baba’s form or some narrow idea of who Baba is. By spreading scandalous rumors, these chaps have probably helped many who were stuck in “God as a personality” concepts, helping them to break out of that limited view of the Divine, and instead seek God within and within all, and feel the divine presence in all they do. It’s a logical progression, and it’s what Baba wants for us. (If some people have to lose their faith in Baba in order to awaken to the Atman, I’m sure Baba doesn’t mind – for the Atman is what Baba truly is!)

Those whose devotion is limited to a “personality” probably have a long way to go to get realized. Such people would do well to concentrate more on the formless God, or the Self within, which Swami has been recommending we do for years. It might also be healthy to contemplate the thought that God is responsible for EVERYTHING, not just the good and the sweet. (As Baba said in a recent discourse, “All sin and virtue belongs to Me.”) We should consider the possibility that the adorable Baba we love is, in fact, all-encompassing, and embodies not only heaven, but hell as well – all wrapped up in the Supreme Peace.

The problem is, when God comes to Earth we expect Him to be the epitome of sweetness and ‘correctness’ only, so that we can stay comfortable in our prim spiritual egos. Luckily, He doesn’t comply! Although He may make us comfortable in the beginning, the more fully He reveals Himself, the more uncomfortable our egos get! Even the great bhakta (devotee) Arjuna couldn’t stand it when Krishna showed him His universal being.

God is awesome, horrible, beautiful, magnificent and, most of all, UNKNOWABLE. Yet we think we can wedge Him into our concepts and judge His actions! The truth is, mankind is completely incompetent to judge the actions of an Avatar.

Friends, if it has been your destiny to experience even a moment of Baba’s unconditional Love, just live in that. Such divine Love is so transcendently wonderful, so beyond the waking dream of worldly affairs, that I would be amazed if anyone given such an intense experience by Swami could ever doubt Him or His motives. But, apparently, there are such people. Count yourself blessed to not be among them.

What it finally comes down to is: Faith. Either you have it or you don’t. Faith is the most precious substance in the universe, and not to be thrown away over petty things or misjudgments. Do not give up your precious faith because of a childish feeling that your Guru isn’t “nice” or because you heard He did something “bad”. Don’t give up your priceless devotion because you were told by some ignoramus or other that Baba isn’t who you thought He was. In your heart, you know who He is, and your primary responsibility to yourself and to God is to tirelessly seek His omnipresence within yourself.

One thing is for sure: we don’t need to get entangled in the controversy. That won’t help our spiritual progress any, and would serve no purpose, least of all Baba’s. In truth, we need do nothing on the physical plane, for what is going to happen has already been written – that’s what the Akashic record is about. Simply do your best to abide as the Atman, and let this worldly claptrap alone; let the controversy rage and just witness it. It’s actually a great drama starring the supreme Actor. Indeed, if it weren’t for the anguish it’s causing, it could be rather amusing to watch people indulging in melodramatic behavior over the latest Sai “revelations”. Only a week ago, Swami was their all-in-all, and they would never tire of telling wonderful stories about Him. The next week, they’re having their Baba rings appraised and saying they don’t know what they ever saw in Him.

As God’s comedy unfolds, the characters He’s created are revealed!

The main thing we need now is to pray for unfailing faith and devotion – and to never let go of Him no matter how hard He shakes us. In “An Inner View – Journey With Sai”, there’s an apropos quote from Swami:

“To obtain God’s grace, you should first follow markata bhakti (devotion to God like a monkey cub clinging to its mother). After that, you will be able to achieve marjala bhakti (devotion to God like a kitten held by its mother in her mouth). Initially, you should have the stubbornness to reach God, and you should cling to Him in all situations of your life. Later, you will develop the faith that everything happens according to His will.”

Just trust the Lord with all your heart, and cling firmly to His feet, remembering His all-encompassing eternal nature. Look His way, and He will do the rest. Swami once said: “You may abandon me, but I will never abandon you.” If that kind of unconditional Love doesn’t melt Sai devotees’ hearts, they should go ahead and leave Him. But having left, they should watch carefully what happens later in their lives—especially at the moment of death—when they may well be blissfully reunited with the one they had long ago renounced.

That is Divine Love.


Part 1:
Sai Baba and Sex – A Clear View?

Part 2:
Potent Evidence: Who is Sai Baba?

Part 3:
The Most Precious Substance in the Universe

Part 4:

Krishna, Kali, Mr. Mischief!” (a song…!)