Isn’t it incredible! What was a small obscure village tucked away in an interior corner in the dry dreary lands of Rayalseema region in Andhra Pradesh just a few decades ago is now a happening place in the eyes of the world! Thousands flock to Prashanthi Nilayam everyday, the “Abode of Supreme Peace” religion, nation, creed, culture notwithstanding. The village which was described as “a stone’s throw from stone age” some years ago is actually the epicenter of a spiritual revolution heralding a new age and a new world order of peace and harmony.
In these times when aggressive materialism is the way of life and religion is either confined to temples and churches or grossly misinterpreted; while spirituality is for the mystics or for the retired and unsuccessful, what is it that draws people belonging to various cultures and professionals to the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan? What is the secret (if any) behind citizens from more than 170 nations which includes the man on the street to presidents and Prime Ministers coming to Prashanthi Nilayam? The influence of Sai sitting in a small corner in the southern hemisphere of the world is astounding!
There are His devotees all over the world, some who have never even seen Him, even in a photograph, but know Him! When the Sai devotees in New Zealand visited the men’s area of the Mt. Eden prison to serve the inmates, before they left they gave a picture of Swami to every inmate, and do you know when one heavily tattooed gang member saw the photo, he came up to them and said: “Hey bro, the fella in that picture you have there is not just for you guys. Two weeks ago He came into my cell raised His hands as if He was blessing me and then disappeared. I have not told any of my prison mates this as they would think I am going soft but it is the truth!” That is His Glory, His Grace! Time and space are limitations for the mortals.
When an Avathar comes He is the embodiment of all Power, all Wisdom, all Grace and all Glory but what is more important is that He is the embodiment of all Love – Love that is genuine, pure and knows no selfishness. In fact, this is the basis of everything that Sai Baba is. It is these magnificent facets of the Avathar that we have elaborated in the cover story of this special Birthday issue as a humble tribute to Him on His glorious 80th Birthday.
How many thousands all over the world have been guided towards a life where truth, righteousness and character are more important than power, pomp and position. Never before in the history of mankind has an Avathar revealed Himself so much in His earthly sojourn as Bhagawan Baba has done but still He remains an enigma wrapped in mystery inside a puzzle! As He Himself said on one occasion, “Only another Sai Baba can know what this Sai Baba is!”
But if we go through all the revelations He has made on Himself over the years in His infinite compassion, sometimes directly, sometimes covertly, some publicly, some to chosen ones, we can catch a glimpse of the Phenomenon that is the Sai Avathar. We have gathered few such precious pearls and strung them into a garland called “The Sai Avatar On Himself” for you in our feature article section.
In the Window to Sai Seva section in this special issue we have glimpses of Sai Seva done in different countries of the world as well as a report on the relief activities that were undertaken by Young Adults of USA for the hurricane Katrina victims. Do not miss the moving story of Pradeep, a heart patient from the less developed state of Orissa, India, who was treated in our Hospital in Bangalore, in the Healing Touch section.
Earlier years during Birthday celebrations, Swami used to sit on beautifully decorated Jhulas (swings) and would swing gently as devoted artists rendered melodious songs and the devotees would be lost enraptured by His Grace and Beauty. To relive those moments we have gathered for you pictures of Swami on jhulas of varied types and styles - enjoy that in our photo gallery.
In a recent discourse during the Dasara Celebrations (you have a detailed account of this in Prashanthi Diary), Swami said, “Cultivate pure love; for, purity is unity and unity is divinity. Let your individual love be transformed into pure love for God.” This should be our goal – to love God genuinely and earnestly. For, when every individual ignites that spark of divine love in his heart, the golden age would have arrived.
Let the whole world unite in singing His Glory.
In Sai Service