W H O is Sai Baba?
by R. D. Awle
[Copyright 2001. Dated August 2001.
This material may be downloaded, reproduced and distributed freely,
as long as the source is clearly attributed.]
Who is Baba?
Testimony of the Modern Day Masters
That amazing testimony was recently strengthened for me when I went to one of Anandamoyi Ma’s ashrams in the Himalayas. When I shared the preceding quote with a Swami there7, he said that Anandamoyi Ma had then added, “It’s no wonder you keep hearing about Sai Baba. He is the Avatar of this Yuga!” (Avatar means Incarnation of God; a Yuga is an era lasting many thousands of years.)
Other Saints have given similar testimony. Shortly before he left his physical body behind, Paramahansa Yogananda was approached by one of his close American disciples, a woman.
“Master,” she said, “I know you are planning on leaving your body. You must take me with you! You are my God!”
“Nonsense,” replied Yogananda. “God is God; I am your Guru.”
“But Master, if you leave without me, I will commit suicide!”
“Enough of that foolishness! God Himself is now incarnate on Earth, in South India. His name is Sai Baba. When I leave you are going to live with Him.” (His prediction proved correct; after Yogananda’s death, that devotee spent the rest of her life at Sai Baba’s ashram.)8
<p>Mata Amritanandamayi (also known as Ammachi), Herself considered to be an incarnation of the Divine Mother, was once asked, “Who is Sai Baba?” She replied, “Avatar. Perfect from birth.”9
On the day after Sai Baba’s birth (November 23, 1926), Sri Aurobindo, another great Saint of this century, broke a long period of silence to announce, “Twenty-fourth November, 1926, was the descent of Krishna into the physical. A power infallible shall lead the thought, in earthly hearts kindle the Immortal’s Fire, even the multitude shall hear the voice!”10 It seems obvious at this point that his announcement of Krishna’s physical re-embodiment was referring to the birth of Sathya Sai Baba.
Mother Krishnabai, the Self-Realized disciple of Swami Ramdas (the great Saint from Kerala), told her devotees, “Sai Baba is an Avatar, a full incarnation of Krishna. He is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva together in one form!” She recommended they spend as much time in His presence as possible.11
Swami Satchidananda, the Enlightened sage who currently runs Anandashram in Kerala, was recently asked about the allegations against Sai Baba. He replied, “Forget about it. He is God!”12
Karunamayi (also known as Vijayeshwari Devi, considered by many to be a living incarnation of the Goddess Sarasvati) recently told one of her close devotees, “Sai Baba and Amma [meaning herself] are both watching over you.” Apparently she also knows who Baba is!
Yogi Ramsuratkumar made it clear on numerous occasions that Sai Baba is an incarnation of God. He often asked visitors from Baba’s ashram, “You’ve left God to see this beggar?”13 (Of course, that “beggar” was himself merged in the all-pervading Consciousness; the beauty of his attainment was matched only by his humility.)
Shiva Balayogi, another of the great Gurus of the last century, was once asked about Sai Baba. He replied, “Sathya Sai Baba is an Avatar.”14
Master El Moya and Master Kuthumi, two of the great Ascended Masters behind the founding of the Theosophical Movement, also declared Sai Baba to be an Avatar. According to author Howard Murphet, in the book “The Light Will Set You Free” these Masters have stated, “Avatar Sai Baba is carrying the Divine consciousness in the world today.”15
Maitreya, the mysterious Master who has been miraculously appearing before people in various places around the globe throughout the last two decades, has said (through his spokesman, Benjamin Creme) that He (Maitreya) is the planetary Avatar, while Sai Baba is the Universal Avatar.16
Testimony from Gopalakrishna Baba, Devi Amma, “Little Heart” and Vasantha Sai appears later in the website.
According to an article published in “Two World’s” Magazine of London, an Iranian writer was irresistibly drawn to a huge volume in Tehran. This book, called The Ocean of Light, is in 25 volumes. It is claimed to be the collection of the discourses of Prophet Mohammed. Volume 13 of these discourses is called “Mehedi Moud” in Arabic, meaning “The Great Teacher that was promised.”17
The detailed description Mohammed gives of this “Great Teacher” and “Master of the World” fits Sathya Sai Baba perfectly: “His hair will be profuse. There will be a gap between His front teeth. He will have a mole on his left cheek. He will not have a beard but will be clean shaven. His clothing will be like a flame.” (Sai Baba wears orange.) “His body will be small.” (Sai Baba is barely five feet tall.) “His legs and feet will be like those of a young girl.” (Baba’s feet are unusually small.) “He will give gifts that are light in weight.” (Baba most frequently gives rings, pendants and watches.) “He will go around among his devotees and touch their heads with his hand. Many of His devotees will have a dot on their forehead. They will gather under a large tree.” (For many years in His Whitefield ashram, Baba gave darshan under a large tree.) “So as not to be deceived, you should know that the Master of the World will bring things out of His body, through His mouth.” (For many years – including the last three – on the holy day of Maha Shivaratri, Sai Baba has brought forth out of His mouth a ‘Shiva Lingam’, an egg-sized sacred stone which had formed within His body.) “All the teachings of all religions of the world will be in his heart from birth. All the science and knowledge of the world from the beginning of time will be in his heart.” (In interviews with scientists and professors over the years, Baba has amply demonstrated full mastery of all fields of knowledge.) “All things which you will ask of God, He (the Master of the World) will give you. All the treasures are under his feet. Every eye that sees him will be happy, not only humans but disembodied souls. He will live 95 years.” (Sai Baba has said that His current incarnation will last for 95 years; this means he will leave his present body around 2020 A.D.) “In the last 20 years of his life he will be the ‘King of the whole world’, but at that time only two-thirds of the people of the world will believe in him.”18 (Sai Baba has literally millions of devotees worldwide. At His 70th birthday party, over three million people came to celebrate.)
I recently met an Iranian man who told me that he has studied The Ocean of Light in detail, in the original, and assured me that the preceding quotes are indeed in the prophecy (along with others which point directly to Sai Baba). After years of study, he is personally certain that the prophecy refers only to Sathya Sai Baba.
Baba Takes Venkateshwara’s Place
I was in Sai Baba’s Whitefield Ashram on December 6th, 1998, the day the priests from Tirupathi, dozens of them, arrived to receive the full darshan of the living God who had appeared before them in their shrine. (To help the Western reader understand the dynamics of the event, it might be a bit like a group of Catholic Bishops coming to bow before a Protestant, and acknowledging that Christ was incarnate in that form…)
The Amrit-Oozing Amulets
Is it not obvious that Baba is an incarnation of God?
Baba’s Own Words
“ You as body, mind or soul are a dream. But what you really are is pure existence, knowledge, bliss. You are the God of this universe.”20
Over the years, many people have reported that Sai Baba has appeared before them in various places around the globe in a living form – yet He has ‘physically’ left India only once. One example is Connie Shaw, the American author and lecturer, who states in her book Wake Up Laughing that Baba has appeared in her home in Colorado over fifty times! At one point He appeared in the middle of the night, waking her from sleep with a tap on the shoulder, to request that she take over the presidency of a local Sai Center. Since the center was mainly comprised of Indians and she felt it would be inappropriate for a Westerner to lead them, she refused His request. The next night He came again, and again she refused. When He appeared for the third consecutive night she finally relented and agreed to lead the center. When she reluctantly told the president of the Center about the apparitions, he confessed that on the same three nights Baba had appeared in his home as well, requesting that he resign so Connie could take his place!
Another example is James Sinclair, an American businessman who had never heard of Sai Baba, and who saw, on two occasions, an orange-robed man with an afro appearing and disappearing in his house in the USA. Inquiring at a spiritual book store if any living Master fit the description, he was shown a photo of Sai Baba, whom he instantly recognized as the man in his home. When Sinclair finally made it to Baba’s ashram, the first thing Baba said to him was, “ I came to you twice!”
Four Great Miracle Stories
“On May 10, 1977, I was struck with a massive heart attack. I was admitted to the Queen Mary Hospital on May 11, and I learned later that at 4 a.m. on the same day Baba had called my son, who was studying in Swami’s College at Whitefield, and told him, “ Go to Hong Kong immediately, as your father is having a little heart trouble.”
Daswani said, “I actually died for two minutes and was revived by doctors.”
Although Daswani came around, there was no improvement in his condition and he was confined to the Intensive Care Unit. On May 20, he suffered a relapse and started hemorrhaging from the anus. He was losing about four pints of blood a day. He had drips in both arms and a pad over his heart. The hemorrhaging continued for three days and by May 24, his family had lost hope for his life, and so had the team of doctors.
“On the morning of May 25, at exactly 4:10 a.m.,” recalled Daswani, “Sathya Sai Baba walked through the wall of the room and sat on the bed. He showered vibhuti all over me. The vibhuti came pouring out of his hand in a never-ending flow. With the vibhuti bath I suddenly felt a surge of strength all through my body. I was completely baffled by the appearance of Baba in the room, and thought I was dreaming or hallucinating. I therefore said, ‘Baba are you really here or am I dreaming?’ He said, ‘ I am here all right. What would you like me to do?’ I said, ‘Just put me on that couch over there next to the bed, so that I know I am not dreaming.’ He then lifted me up as though I was a feather and placed me on the couch. The drips in my arm remained intact, nothing was disturbed. Baba then left the same way as he had come.
“I then rang the night bell to call the staff nurse. A horde of nurses came rushing into the room. Their astonishment was beyond description. ‘How did you get here?’ they asked. ‘I walked,’ I said, aware that it would be impossible for them to believe the truth. ‘Who has been in here? And what is all this dust all over the bed, and all over you?’ they asked. I said, ‘Don’t ask me. Just collect that dust and put it in a paper bag for me.’ They did this and collected one and a half kilograms of vibhuti.
“I began to improve rapidly after this, and the doctors and the staff kept questioning me as to what had happened. Finally an Indian doctor showed up and he said to me, ‘Look, I am an Indian. You can tell me what happened.’ I told him, and he kept my secret. On May 29 I was able to walk by myself to another ward. I made a complete recovery, and what is more, my diabetes has disappeared and my blood sugar is normal. I owe my eternal gratitude to Bhagavan Baba.”21
“My story begins sometime last summer, when I first became aware of Baba. I was invited to visit some Indian friends of a friend of mine and they talked so lovingly and honestly about Baba that I decided to read more about him. I read ‘The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist’ [by Samuel Sandweiss], and in fact used it almost like a Bible, in that I read the writings of Baba everyday.
“At this time I had something of a drinking problem and was consuming far more alcohol than was good for me, but was unable to stop. I decided that I would enlist the help of Baba, so for three nights I sat there with the book, Baba’s photograph and the whisky. I poured my drink on the 27th November, at 11:45 p.m. and sat down to watch T.V. I put my hand on the book, looked at the photograph and said, ‘You really will have to help me to stop this.’
There was an almighty noise and the glass exploded into a million bits. It went everywhere in the room, it was under tables, on top of books in a bookcase and some of it was found by my housekeeper the following day, under the cushion I had been sitting on …
“The most interesting thing for me happened two days later. I was on a train and had not been able to get the sound of this exploding glass out of my mind, when a voice in my head said, “ Did you notice that not a bit of it touched you?” I cannot tell you the feeling of absolute joy I experienced at that moment. I suddenly realised that only a miracle could have stopped this glass from damaging me very badly. It was no more than a foot away from my face.
“I have now made a firm commitment to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, never to drink alcohol again.”22
Baba spoke with the stunned family for another half an hour, and then tapped the wall again. The street scene reappeared – and the boy walked back into the interview room, proudly carrying some souvenirs from Mecca!
A month later, when his friends returned home, the boy’s parents asked them, “How long was he with you?” Confirming the boy’s account, his friends replied, “Two weeks.”
(Clearly Baba is a Master of both time and space – as well as being That which is beyond time and space! That’s the fourth story I’ve heard about Sai Baba instantly transporting someone to a distant land through His interview room wall.)
Here is an account of the resurrection of V. Radhakrishna, as told by V.I.K. Sarin in Face to Face with God:
“The miracle took place in 1953. Radhakrishna was seriously ill with gastric ulcers and other complications, when he visited Puttaparthi [from his home town of Kuppam] in the hope that Baba would cure him. He was accompanied by his wife Radhamma and daughter Vijaya. On arrival at the ashram he was put straight to bed. Baba, who was then only 27 years old, visited him but made no attempt to heal him. Radhakrishna complained that he would rather die than continue to suffer the extreme pain he was in. Baba smiled but made no comments.
A few days later Radhakrishna went into a coma and his wife and daughter, who were at the bedside, heard the “death rattle” in his throat. Swami came and examined him, but still did nothing. An hour later Radhakrishna’s breathing stopped. He turned blue, and then went cold and stiff. A male nurse pronounced him dead. Baba examined him again. “Don’t worry,” he said. “ Everything will be all right.” But he still made no attempt to revive him. The faith of the wife and daughter was put to severe test. The following day they sat loyally by the bedside anxiously awaiting any signs of returning life. But there was no indication of revival. Somehow the two women managed to cling on to a vestige of faith that in His own way and in His own time Swami would revive Radhakrishna. On the morning of the third day the body turned dark, quite stiff and began to smell. It was suggested to Radhamma that the “corpse” should be removed from the ashram, but she refused adamantly to countenance such action without the authority of Baba. His aides asked for instructions as to whether the body should be sent back to Kuppam or be cremated at Puttaparthi. Baba replied enigmatically, “ We’ll see.”
The two women were in despair. They went to Baba and pleaded with Him. He simply said, “ Have no fear. I am here.” He did, however, promise to visit their room and examine Radhakrishna later. An hour went by, then two and there was no sign of Baba. It was then that Radhamma and Vijaya gave up hope. Then, suddenly, Swami appeared in the doorway of their room, calm and smiling. The two women burst into tears, like Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, weeping before their Lord who, they thought, had come too late.
Gently He asked them to leave the room, and as they moved out He closed the door behind them. They do not know – nor anyone else knows till this day -what really transpired in the next few minutes in that room where only Swami and the dead man were present. But in just a few minutes, Baba opened the door and beckoned the women in there, to see their loved one sitting up in bed and smiling! The stiffness of death had vanished and his natural colour was returning. Baba said to him, “ Talk to them, they were worried.” Radhakrishna, with a puzzled look said, “Why are you worried? I am all right!” He was not aware that he had been in a deathly coma. Swami then said to Radhamma, “ I have given your husband back to you. Now give him a hot drink.” Thereupon He blessed the family and left. The next day the patient was strong enough to walk. On the third day he wrote a seven-page letter to a relative in Italy. A few days after that the whole family returned to their home in Kuppam. Not only was Radhakrishna raised from the dead, but the gastric ulcers and the other complications were completely healed. It was a repetition of the raising of Lazarus.”23
A Word About Baba’s Manifestations
Yet vibhuti manifestations are only the beginning: He’s manifested thousands of items, including deity statues, japa malas, lingams, gems, fine watches, all kinds of jewelry, photographs, puja items, at least one crucifix, and various kinds of food – sometimes in huge quantities. (When they first emerge from the ether, many of the deity statues are literally too hot to handle, as if the metal had just begun to cool from its molten state.) Baba often makes such items miraculously appear on the altars of His devotees in various locations around the world – and then later causes vibhuti or kumkum to form on them.
I’ve heard that He once materialized a live monkey in His interview room.
He assures us that these manifestations are no mere magic, nor even the siddhi of being able to psychically move objects from one place to another. His miracles occur by God’s power, the same power that created the universe: the ability to will into being anything He wishes. (This has been proven on a number of occasions, such as the time a devotee handed Him a leaf and He returned the same leaf coated in gold, or the time he manifested an apple for a couple who had been trying unsuccessfully to have a child: when cut in two, the ‘apple’ turned out to be a passion-fruit on the inside. The couple ate it, and nine months later had their first child.)
First of all, there could be many devotees whom Baba wishes to bless with a faith-enhancing gift, who are simply not karmically ripe enough to receive a divinely manifested object. (Most souls in this age are immersed in dense worldly ignorance, and are neither spiritually ready nor karmically deserving to witness genuine miracles.) So, although Baba definitely has the power to manifest anything He wishes, and transform one object into another with a single puff of His breath (something He has proved time and time again for decades), for certain souls He might instead engage in a bit of beginner’s magic, and pull a ring from under His cushion rather than materializing it. This would enable those devotees to receive the gifts from His hand that they craved, thereby giving their faith a boost, while satisfying the requirements of the Law of Karma.
By allowing one or more devotees to glimpse the trick, my guess is that Baba would simply be exposing a doubt that was already lurking within their minds, bringing it to the surface so it could be faced directly – and in the process giving them a severe test. I imagine He might be saying, ‘So, you claim to be My devotee! But after all these years of experiencing my omniscience and omnipresence and witnessing my miracles first hand, and after hearing and reading thousands of accounts of the healings and blessings I have bestowed on others – you still doubt Me? Then perhaps you are not worthy to be My devotee. Here, you see? I am a fake! I have pulled the ring from under the cushion! Now, isn’t it best you leave Me and begin denouncing Me to the world? Then other immature souls will also stay away. V e r y happy!’
When the doubting devotee is thus challenged, he will either make the choice to leave Baba, or else receive the grace to remember Baba’s Divinity, infinite power and mischievous nature – and then cast aside all doubts and emerge with fully renewed faith. Using such a test, Baba can filter out devotees whose faith is only ‘miracle deep’ and shallow in true devotion and understanding, while retaining more mature devotees whose faith and devotion are based on a profound soul experience of who He is – a faith unshakable by such leelas. (I would guess that only those of the second variety are ready for the full-out quest for Self-Realization, the ultimate Gift, the one Baba took birth to give.)
Another possible outcome: by shocking a devotee out of his ‘miracle-based faith’, Baba’s tricky test could serve as a wake up call from the duality laden Guru-disciple dream, breaking the devotee’s attachment to worship of the external Guru, and leaving him with no recourse but to put all his focus on the non-dual Atman – which is, after all, the true spiritual goal. Through that sudden shift of focus onto the Self within, the devotee just might find Baba in a whole new way; it could even propel him all the way to Enlightenment – to the permanent realization that Paramatma Sai is his own indwelling ‘I’.
(Sometimes a painful whack from Zen Master Baba can be far more valuable than a miracle…)
One thing to keep in mind: intentionally bringing up doubts in the devotees’ minds is a time-tested technique used by many Gurus; I have personally experienced it with Ammachi, and also read about Neem Karoli Baba using the same method. What better way to bring the devotee face to face with his own Doubting Thomas, and challenge him to rise above all doubts into the true Atmic quest, into unflinching faith, surrender and Divine Love?
Knowing Baba’s playful Krishna nature, I certainly wouldn’t put it past Him to be playing a few games with His materialization leelas. He is, after all, an embodiment of Mahamaya, the Creatrix of the whole cosmic illusion, the One who is fooling all beings! Yet He is also the supreme Truth, and the supreme bliss – and if we can learn to enjoy His mischievous games as much as He does, without insisting He play by our rules, I believe we’ll have gone a long way towards attaining that bliss, which is our true eternal nature.
I know a young man from Mexico who witnessed what he thought was a fake materialization done by Baba. He went into anguish over the doubt it created in his mind, and secretly prayed that Baba would clear it away with something truly ‘unfakable’, such as making water pour out of His hand! The next day Baba called him in for a private interview, rolled up His sleeve and held out His down-turned hand – and suddenly, a stream of water poured out of His palm like water from a tap!
My friends, is it wise to doubt Him?
For those who have studied Sai Baba in depth and witnessed His materializations first hand, there can be no doubt that the vast majority of them are bona fide miracles. I and many of my friends have seen numerous unquestionably-genuine miracles up close: necklaces and watches literally popping out of the air beneath Baba’s hand, right before our eyes. And there are thousands of believable stories. My fiancé’s parents know an American woman for whom Baba once materialized a gold bangle during an interview. When she tried to put it on it was too small, and wouldn’t fit over her hand, so Baba took it back, held it up for all to see, and blew on it – and the bangle instantly expanded to a much larger size, which easily fit over her hand! But then she said, “Swami, now it’s too big – it’ll fall off!” So He bent over and blew on it again – and the bangle instantly shrank into a perfect fit around her wrist.
(Can any of you guys do that?)
I recently heard a story about a young Australian whose group was called for an interview. He had forgotten his yellow ‘group scarf’, and in a panic considered running back to his room – he went half-way towards the exit, and then changed his mind and decided to risk being turned away at the interview room door. Baba graciously let him in, sans scarf, and during the course of the interview Baba materialized a ring for him, with the usual photo of Baba’s face on it, which was passed around for all to see. After the interview, the young man went back to his room and took a nap, and when he woke up, he discovered that the photo on the ring had undergone a miraculous transformation: Baba was now pictured wearing a yellow scarf around His neck! (I heard the story from someone who was in the ashram at the time and saw the transformed ring himself.)
Do tell, doubters, how did Baba “fake” that one?
One thing to keep in mind: the gifts Baba give reflect the qualities of the people to whom they are given. Furthermore, what we see in the Sai Mirror (and receive therefrom) reflects primarily our own minds. Baba often manifests diamond rings, with surprisingly large diamonds set beautifully in gold; some of these rings have been valued at over a quarter of a million dollars. Yet one man, who has now taken to globally scandalizing Baba, also received a ring from Him – and when he took it to a jeweler for valuation, he was told it was not a diamond at all but merely a well-cut lump of glass! Is it any wonder Baba gave such a ring to one who would prove a completely false devotee?
His True Mission
“ This Sai has come in order to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire mankind as one family through the bond of brotherhood, of affirming and illumining the Atmic Reality of each being in order to reveal the Divine, which is the basis on which the entire Cosmos rests. This Sai has come to instruct all to recognize the common Divine Heritage that binds man to man, so that man can rid himself of the animal and rise into the Divine, which is his goal. This Sai has come to show that Love – Prema – is the easiest way to reach the Divine.”24
Baba says He has come to “ avert the crisis that has come upon humanity”, and usher in a new age of divine wisdom upon the Earth, a golden age of Love, peace and understanding – and He assures us that He will succeed. In the mid-1980’s He told His students that He would be working directly with the minds of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev to bring about a change in the world. I would guess it is no mere co-incidence that the fall of global communism occurred less than ten years after that statement was made! (As Baba said in the ’70s when asked about Communism, “ Communists? Come you next!”) Now Baba has thousands of devotees from the former communist nations, spreading His message of Divine Love where such words were forbidden for decades. Surely Baba’s work has made the world a better place; the Earth, by His plan, grown a hair closer to Planet Peace. Perhaps it will be with Prema Sai, Baba’s next incarnation – due to be born in some lucky South Indian manger around 2028 – that the global level of spiritual knowledge will reach critical mass, and the Earth and its atmosphere finally be divinely transformed, into a Paramatma-sphere. May the day come soon!
A Taste of His Teachings
Yet as I explored His teachings more deeply, I found that He is also a Master of advaithic philosophy, and a strong exponent of the jnana path (the path of Atmic wisdom). “T he main aim of human life is to acquire the knowledge of the Atman. This is the true Purushartha [goal of life]. Human life will find fulfillment only if this goal is attained.”25 The various approaches are beautifully balanced in His discourses, with devotion and Atmic abidance given equal importance.
Baba also stresses the practice of what He calls the five primary human values, namely, Love, Truth, Peace, Righteousness, and Non-violence. In many of His discourses He asks us to dedicate all our actions to God and live in tireless selfless service to humanity. He also lays importance on the practice of kindness, and the use of sweet speech under all circumstances, saying, “ You cannot always oblige; but you can always speak obligingly.” Baba advocates daily meditation for all, as well as repetition of God’s Names with love, devotional singing, and the practice of seeing and serving God within everyone, laying particular emphasis on continual remembrance of the Divine Reality. “ Spirituality means constant integrated awareness.”
Interestingly, He does not encourage His non-Hindu devotees to become Hindus, but rather, to use His teachings to become the best Christians, Jews, Muslims or Buddhists they can be. Many of the devotional songs sung at Baba’s ashrams contain the names of Allah, Jesus, Zaroaster, Mahavir, Moses, Guru Nanak and the Buddha, in addition to the Hindu Avatars. It seems to be a clear a way of saying, ‘Hear, O world! The Lord is One!’
“There is only one Religion, the Religion of Love.
There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity.
There is only one language, the language of the Heart.
There is only one God, and He is omnipresent.”
As an aid to the realization of His primary teaching – that we are God – He often recommends use of the mantra ‘So Ham’ (meaning “I am He”, or “I am God”). He has also offered His devotees the following maha-affirmation:
I am God! I am God! I am not different from God!
I am the eternal undifferentiated Absolute!
Grief and anxiety cannot effect me.
I am always content. Fear cannot enter me.
I am Satchidananda! I am pure Existence, Knowledge and Bliss.
I am Omnipotent! I am all-powerful; nothing is impossible for me!
I am Omniscient! I am all-knowing;
there is nothing which is not known to me.
I am Omnipresent! I am present everywhere. I pervade this universe!
I am Krishna! I am Christ! I am Buddha!
I am Sai! I am Sai! I am Sai!
I am God! I am God! I am God!
(Try saying that ten times a day, and see how fast your life changes…!)
Baba Is Also a Perfect Jnani
The advent of a Divine Incarnation such as Sai Baba might be a bit like when
Alfred Hitchcock played a role in his own movies. Although Hitchcock wrote and directed the whole movie, his character on screen might be only an ice-cream salesman in the background, visible for a minute or so, and many in the audience wouldn’t even notice the character. But those who recognized Hitchcock would say, ‘That’s not just a bit part – he’s the author and director of the whole movie!’ Similarly, there are those who look at Sai Baba and see only a ‘miracle showman.’ Look closer, my friends. He’s written this movie, and cast you in your role! (But don’t worry – your performance is getting rave reviews: ‘Exquisite! As if God Himself were playing the part!’)
Baba and Ramana Maharshi
“…the night when Ramana Maharshi passed away in Tiruvannamalai [14th April, 1950], I was with Swamiji [Sai Baba]. Krishna [another young devotee] and myself were both there. That evening, around 9:00, we continued whatever it was we were doing (I think we were doing a puja) when suddenly Swamiji looked up at us. There was a peculiar way of looking He has which means that He wants to go to His room. The moment Krishna and I went through the door into the room and closed it, Swami fell down. I was ready for it. Krishna and I both held hands, and Swami was lying across them. Then [He] rose up into the air, from our arms. He was as stiff as a board. He started murmuring – something about ‘Maharshi has reached my lotus feet.’ And then the sole of His right foot split open, and nearly two kilograms of beautiful, well-scented vibhuti poured out from the sole of His foot. I collected the vibhuti while [He] was still levitating in the air.
Then [He] came down and returned to [His] senses and asked what [He] had said. I said, “Swamiji, this is what You said: ‘Ramana Maharshi has passed away.’ And this is what came out of Your feet.” He said: “Put it into packets and give it out as prasadam.”
A day or two after this incident, we learned from the newspapers that [Ramana] Maharshi had died. It had been at the time that Swami said Maharshi had reached [His] feet.”26
So, at the time of his death, Ramana Maharshi merged in Baba’s feet! Is it not therefore clear that Sai Baba is a full embodiment of the Divine Self, the supreme Atmic Reality that Ramana had realized at the age of 17?
Baba’s Self-Realized Devotees
The first is a man named Gopala Krishna Baba, who lives in a small Sai Baba temple in Bangalore. His parents were ardent Sai devotees, but from his early childhood Gopalakrishna was intensely drawn to the local Sri Ramakrishna Temple, where he would spend all his time absorbed in devotion and meditation, cherishing the dream of becoming a monk in the Sri Ramakrishna order. He became so immersed in God that he almost never felt the need to sleep, and would remain awake throughout the night repeating the Divine Name. In his mid-teens, when Gopalakrishna was alone in the house one day, vibhuti began miraculously manifesting on Sai Baba’s photos in his parents’ puja room, leaving a strong impression on the young man. Soon afterwards He visited Baba’s ashram, and, as he tells it, “My heart instantly recognized in Sai Baba the same Divine Being who had lived as Sri Ramakrishna.” His devotion for Baba soon became the overwhelming force in his life, and in the coming years he often visited Baba’s ashrams, and received many blessings from Him. However, in 1990, when Gopalakrishna went to Baba’s ashram for the Birthday celebrations, due to the massive crowds he was unable to see Baba the way he wished, and therefore told Baba internally, “Next year I will celebrate Your Birthday in my own home, so please come there to receive my worship!” Clearly the Lord was listening, for the next year on Baba’s birthday, while Gopalakrishna was performing a puja in his home, Baba suddenly appeared before him in a living form, manifested a beautiful Lingam, and gave it to Gopalakrishna, an event witnessed by others. In those precious divine moments Baba told him, “ Every Monday, perform worship to this Lingam. I am with you always.”
And so it is. Gopalakrishna is now established in changeless Peace, knows the thoughts of all around him, and possesses many miraculous powers. His foremost Western disciple, a beautiful man from Holland, told me an interesting miracle story. It seems that on one of his first trips to India, he had come down with dysentery, and when he reported to Gopalakrishna that the medicine prescribed by a doctor could not be found in the local shops, Gopalakrishna simply waved his hand and instantly manifested a strip of the required tablets. Some people have reported that by drinking the water used in Gopalakrishna’s worship of the Lingam they have been healed of long-standing diseases; others say they have had their personal problems solved, while others say that his grace has enabled them to find the most precious gem of all, peace of mind. It seems that Gopalakrishna Baba is a genuine wish-fulfilling tree.
I recently had an interview with her, in which she said, among other things, “A Poornavatar like Baba doesn’t exactly come along at every tick of the clock!” (We are indeed fortunate to be alive at this time, and be aware of His presence on the Earth!)
Having lived a very full life in the world before coming to Baba, including two marriages and two divorces, Little Heart is in an unusually good position to know the struggles Westerners go through in making the transition to a life of spirituality. I always find it encouraging to meet a Self-Realized Westerner. (Yes, it is possible…!)
Vasantha Sai, Vijai Shankar & Others
I’ve also heard reports about a man named Vijai Shankar, based in Houston, who realized the Self through Baba’s grace, and is now traveling the world teaching advaitha (the philosophy of non-duality) and Atmic abidance.
In addition, I’ve heard that among Baba’s devotees today is the reincarnation of Saint Francis, the reincarnation of Mira Bai, the reincarnation of Sarada Devi, the reincarnation of Swami Vivekananda, and the reincarnation of Paramahansa Yogananda! (Hey, could be…)
It’s always inspiring to have the darshan of those who have reached life’s goal by following my own chosen guide. Jai Sai Ram!
Baba’s Charitable Works
In addition to His ashrams, Sai Baba runs a vast network of charitable organizations, including two of the finest hospitals in India, where all services, including open heart surgery, are provided free of charge to all. The hospitals’ success rate is phenomenal. Someone asked Baba, “Why do You build hospitals when you can cure anyone with Your miraculous powers?” He replied, “ Yes, I can cure any disease instantly. But for that the person must have total faith in me. Most people in this age have more faith in doctors and operations than they have in God. So I give them what they have faith in. But it is My hand that does the operations!” (Hence the success rate!)
There are also Sri Sathya Sai schools operating in a number of other countries, and over five hundred schools around the globe utilizing Baba’s “Education in Human Values” curriculum. A Sathya Sai School in Zambia has been dubbed “the Miracle School” by the Zambian press, because it accepts only students who have flunked out or been expelled by other schools, and yet consistently turns them into the best students in the nation. How is it done? The students do long periods of interfaith devotional singing each day, receive a steady dose of Baba’s ‘human values’ curriculum, and are disciplined only with Love. (I’d bet they’re also receiving huge doses of Baba’s Grace, wouldn’t you?)
Baba has recently constructed a beautiful College of Music near the Prashanti Nilayam ashram. (Does anyone else hear harp music?)
Ocean of Consciousness
Those of us who have experienced Baba’s Love and omniscient guidance, and seen the profound transformations brought about in our lives by His grace, can only bow in gratitude, and do our best to love Him and serve Him and worship Him within all. For Sai Baba is not a man; for me, He fully embodies the all-pervading God of Love (with a great sense of humor) who awakened me many years ago. I believe it can even be misleading to call Him “an incarnation of God” – for He is not that afro-crowned body in the orange robe giving darshan, the Guru who took birth in Puttaparthy. No. He is the all-pervading Ocean of Consciousness, the Substratum and Creator of all universes! That ochre-clad body we see before us is but a wave on the shoreless, all-encompassing Sea of Satchidananda, who Sai Baba is.
In His words:
“I am neither Guru nor God.
I am You; You are I; that is the truth.
There is no distinction.
The appearance of differences is the delusion.
You are waves; I am the ocean.
Know this and be free, be Divine.”
His true form (and ours) is indeed all-embracing, and yet transcends all manifestation. As a full embodiment of that limitless Paramatma, Sai Baba is Holiness itself, and His every word and action are nothing less than Divine Love in motion, healing Grace flowing effortlessly into our parched and thirsty world.
Love Walking On Two Feet
“I have met over a hundred holy men in India. Too many of these holy men are involved in their own personal egos. Their auras show mostly concern for themselves and their institutions. So [their auras] are only a foot broad or perhaps two feet.
“I am not a devotee. I have come here as a scientist, to see this man Sai Baba. I saw him on Sunday, on the balcony giving darshan to the devotees singing below. The aura Baba projected was not that of a man. The white was more than twice the size of any man’s, the blue was practically limitless, and there were gold and silver bands beyond even those, far behind this building right up to the horizon. There is no scientific explanation for this phenomenon.
“His aura is so strong that it is affecting me standing by the chair on which He is sitting. I can feel the effect and I’ve to wipe my arm, off and on, as you must have noticed. It is very difficult for me to admit. I am a scientist. I have given over six thousand lectures in all parts of the world but for the first time, believe me, my knees are shaking. The aura that emanates from Baba shows His Love for you. … If ever I can use the phrase that I have seen ‘love walking on two feet,’ it is here.”
At this point Dr. Baranowski concluded his talk, and Sai Baba then delivered a discourse. When Baba had finished, Baranowski asked for permission to address the audience again.
“I have been watching Baba, while He was addressing you. The pink aura that was manifesting was so vast and strong that it went even beyond the hall behind this chair. It filled this big hall, embracing all of you gathered here. . . I have watched Him for a week now, as He walked among you, morning and evening. I have seen His aura, pink in colour, go into the person He is talking to, or touching and returning to Him. . . His energy seems to be endless. . . In my estimation, He is exactly what He appears to be – LOVE. That is what He is.”27
And He is you. He’s reading these words through your eyes right now.
And when you look at His photo, He’s looking right back at you, seeing your entire heart, mind and soul, loving You with all the Love of God, and sending a ray of Divine Light to help you on your journey to Self-Realization.
May His grace descend upon you now, like a million goose-down feathers in the snow.