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  Volume 4 - Issue 07 JULY 2006
 
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THE MATCHLESS COSMIC SPLENDOUR

.... When God Becomes the Guru



The Presence

How many times have we experienced this? The serene silence in the hall is suddenly filled with soothing music and sonorous chants of vedic hymns, all eyes are glued towards one direction, uninterruptedly, in full concentration; there is an amazing one-pointedness in everybody’s mind and vision, not even a fraction of a second can be missed, every millisecond is precious, every moment is a blessing and as every moment passes by every pore of our being seems full, every cell of our body is as calm and composed as a great ascetic lost in meditation; we are filled with a rare feeling of fulfillment, something which can never be acquired in the external world, we have become so detached to the world which we have been clinging to like a leech clinging to its prey just a few minutes ago, we are filled with so much dispassion, all the wealth of the world cannot lure us to take that moment away from us.

There is so much quietness within us, there is so much peace; a kind of peace which makes us feel we are no more governed by our senses, we are mighty yet so calm…and we want that moment to become eternity, we want to just immerse ourselves in that experience, in that environment, in those sublime vibrations, we want to be lost forever in those moments, in that bliss…..we experience so much!

But Swami has not even spoken a word to us, He has not looked into our eyes, He has not come near us and taken our letter or listened to our problem, He has only just come out of His abode and moved amongst us. No, not even that - He has just alighted from the car and is sitting yards away from us silently and as serenely as ever on His sofa.

There is absolutely no communication, but yet so much is conveyed, so much is received and so much is given; there is so much achieved with so little effort; there is so much learnt without a word spoken and there is so much progress in so few moments.

Have we not felt like this innumerable times when we have had the priceless opportunity of seeing the Lord in front of us? How gratified we feel? How we look at His face with awe every time He comes out - even if we have seen Him hundred thousand times earlier? How springs of love, devotion and gratitude swell up in us and inundate us when we are close to His cosmos-compressed-into-a-tiny-frame?

Amazing Grace

Recalling her first encounter with Bhagawan, Ms. Hagit Marom from Israel says,

 
The Power of The Presence...
 

“How can I describe in words the magnitude of the grace I received...I did not stop crying from sheer bliss for three days. All the pieces in my life had come together…I came to Swami as someone who went occasionally to meditation retreats. I came back from Him knowing this is the life I have come to live. That this is the meaning I was always looking for. That this is the master I wanted that will teach me all that I need to know. My heart was overflowing with gratitude (and still is) and I was asking myself: ‘Why me?’ So many people gave so much to this world and I received this amazing grace. The voice in me that now had a name and a form answered: ‘All is Karma and the grace of God.’

I knew the only way I can show my gratitude, is to share what I was given, with anyone who wants it. Ever since that auspicious day that is what I do in my life, every time a little more, with the grace and the will of the embodiment of Love on this earth Sri Sathya Sai Baba, my Lord of Grace. I thank You from here to eternity for this amazing grace we have received from You, incarnating in our life time, touching and transforming our hearts to give us the greatest gift of them all - ourselves.”

Yes, this is what the Sadguru (the supreme preceptor) does. He teaches us, transforms us and gives our ‘self’ back to us. And all this happens, in just a few minutes, nay sometimes in an instant when we are in the proximity of the Sadguru, something which would have taken years and lives together under any ordinary preceptor. Let us look a little more into the role of the Sadguru?

Sadguru – His Mission And Methods

Is he the one who teaches a manthra or Vedanta? Is he the one whо explores properties of matter for us? Swami says,

“The true meaning of Guru is ‘one who dispels darkness of ignorance’. ‘Gu’ means ‘darkness of ignorance’ and ‘Ru’ means ‘one who removes’.”

Picture created by Baba for Late Sri G V Subba Rao
to show His "True Form"
.

And towards achieving this end, the Sadguru employs methods and strategies which are as unique as each man on the face of earth. For Sri Seshagiri Rao, who came to Swami very reluctantly (almost out of compulsion and with no other option but to escort his daughters to Puttaparthi), at a time when Swami was just a teenager, it was just one Darshan of Swami where he saw not a sixteen year-old-boy proclaiming his divinity, but the very same Lord Shiva (complete with moon and third eye) that he had been worshipping for fifty years with great devotion! Sri Seshagiri Rao never left Puttaparthi from that day till his very end.

For Renate Kuchardt who began her search for truth in 1969, two decades later, it was no special vision. Just the usual Darshan with an out-of-the-ordinary twist that cleared the darkness of her soul forever.

“In August 1988, I made my first trip to India to see Sri Sathya Sai Baba,” she says, “I was not a devotee yet, but I was very eager to see Him after watching Him 18 years earlier on German television. However, before I arrived Baba had broken His hip and therefore He did not make any appearances.

He only came out to give Darshan and a discourse for Krishna’s birthday. I was lucky to get a front-row seat for this celebration, which made it possible to see and experience Him very closely.

For two hours I watched Him give a discourse standing – with a broken hip. This left me absolutely astonished. No words can describe what I felt for him. I knew then that He was to become my path. I left the ashram as a devotee and with the desire to see Him in His full glory.”

 

 

How many persons have found light, love, peace, fulfillment and joy just by His mere presence? It all happens so mysteriously, so silently in every individual’s heart and soul that has been touched by Him.

How Fortunate We Are!

“Another meaning for Guru,” Swami says, "is One who reveals the Guri (target) to the disciple. He does this by removing the darkness of ignorance. Guri here refers to the Atmic (divine) principle present in every human being. The real Guru who can reveal the Atmic principle is a Jnaanamurthy (embodiment of wisdom); He is the very embodiment of Divine principles; and He is one who takes upon Himself a form to teach the same to the disciple; He is God Himself.”

How profound it is and how fortunate we are! What we have is not a Sadguru who is Godlike but God who has come down to perform various roles for us, the foremost and the all important role of being the true guide, the perfect role model, a preceptor beyond imagination.

The Revelation Of A Lifetime - Dr. Anil Kumar

It was in the early eighties, 1981 or 82, during the summer months and Swami was in Puttaparthi. Unlike these days when during almost all summers Swami is in Bangalore or Kodai Kanal, those days Swami used to spend some summers in Puttaparthi itself. Barring a few, almost all the boys had gone home.

These few boys, which included a dozen or two from the Bangalore campus of the Institute as well, had decided to spend their vacation with Swami in Puttaparthi. Recalling those days and the awesome and revelatory experience which he had which revolutionized his life, his thoughts and feelings for Swami forever, Dr. Anil Kumar, a student then and now a lecturer in Swami’s University, says,

“How wonderful those days were! We were so few of us in the Mandir, just about thirty or forty of us and we had the whole Mandir portico for ourselves. We all sat totally dispersed, each a few feet away from the other, not to occupy the whole space but to have an individual space for ourselves so that when Swami came out we could have His personal attention. And He did come so many times amongst us and how precious those interactions were!

 

 
The All-knowing... Ever-smiling...

One day, Swami called a dozen of us who were all from the Bangalore campus of the Institute into the interview room. It was a very intimate session where Swami at length explained to us how we must sing with devotion during bhajans and more importantly, how we must visualize the deity and understand the meaning of the bhajans while singing and give ourselves completely to the bhajan. This advice from Swami touched me and with great earnest I had begun to practice this in every bhajan session.

In those days, bhajan sessions in the morning used to be around 11am and Swami would often go out in His car for a ride in the morning to where, only He knows. One particular morning in the similar fashion He had gone out and the bhajans started. I was sitting in the Mandir and I enthusiastically joined the bhajans and as per His instruction started visualizing as I was singing. For me, Swami was Rama, Krishna , Devi, Guru, everything. So, let the bhajan adore any deity, I was constantly seeing Swami in my mind’s eye.

"The same Swami...Inside and outside"
 

In fact, I was immersed entirely in that sublime feeling and as the bhajans proceeded I was in a different plane altogether imagining Swami, fresh and so beautiful, gently swaying from one side to the other in rhythm with the beat of my heart, His hands cupped behind, a soft heavenly smile on His lips, His face so radiant, so enchanting and enamoring…I was lost, completely.

So oblivious I was to what was happening around me that I did not even realise that Swami, after returning from His ride, was standing right in front of me! I was sitting there absorbed in my divine reverie as it were, with Swami so beautiful and gently swinging from side to side in my mind and Swami was there physically right in front of me reflecting exactly what was going on in my mind for one whole minute. When I opened my eyes because of some hustle, I was obviously spellbound, speechless.

But what was mind-blowing was what Swami said that momentous morning looking into my eyes with an all-knowing loving smile dancing on His lips. He said, “Inside Swami and outside Swami, one and the same.”

My hair stood on ends! What a revelation! Who can give you such an experience other than Sai, the Sadguru, who is omniscient and omnipresent, beyond mind, logic, reason and the universe.”

Unending Magical Moments with the Sadguru

Instances like this are galore. Late Sri G V Subba Rao, a great vedic scholar who worked in the UN Energy division for decades before he settled down in Puttaparthi, narrates in one of his many articles,

Mr. G V Subba Rao with Swami
 

“Once just on the eve of my departure from Puttaparthi in a hurry to catch a plane that very morning in Bangalore, I was called by Swami to His modest living-cum resting room in the upstairs of Prashanthi Mandir.

Without being told that I was studying Thaittireeya Upanishad (a sacred vedic text) during my weekend spare time in Delhi (where I was then a resident representative of a UN agency) Baba, in His infinite Grace expounded for nearly one full hour the essence of this famous Upanishad.

When I began to write it all down, Baba remarked that there was no need to take notes; He assured me that whenever the need arose, I would automatically recall His teachings!

   

While Baba's instruction was thus proceeding, Sri Kasturiji, the editor of the Ashram magazine, came up to request Baba for Swami's article for the monthly ‘Sanathana Sarathi’ issue which was just then going to the printer. Swami, with a wave of His hand, produced the article and gave it to Sri Kasturiji in my direct presence! When Swami concluded His Upanishadic teaching, He materialized a king-sized hot laddu (a type of Indian sweet) as His prasadam to be distributed to members of my family. Furthermore, Swami assured me that I would definitely catch the plane as it was flying late that day. I reached Bangalore airport with all anxiety but to my pleasant astonishment I was the last passenger on the long delayed flight!”

There is no one way or one approach that the Sadguru uses. In a myriad ways, the Sadguru reveals Himself to different individuals - every student, every devotee who has come in touch with Sai has been metamorphosed just like the lion cub which always believed in eating grass and bleating as it lived with sheep from its birth until one day a lion caught it by its scruff, showed him his reflection in the water and asked him to roar. And the cub was never the same again. Similar is the task of the Sadguru. He puts us through different experiences, some pleasant, some pungent, some humiliating, some elevating till we begin to trust and believe and say, yes, we are not human or sub-human, we are verily divine. Sometimes a look is more than adequate, at other times a word or a smile or a rebuke is sufficient to shake us of our slumber.

The One and the Many

This happened recently, just a few weeks ago in fact. Swami had returned from his short trip to Kodai Kanal. There were only a few boys in the Brindavan ashram in Bangalore, the fortunate few who had accompanied Him to Kodai Kanal and a few others who had decided to spend their summer vacation with Swami. In the evening after bhajans, Swami would often call the boys inside to His abode Trayee Brindavan for what is generally known as a “Trayee Session”. These are very special occasions when Swami blesses the students and staff with His divine proximity and imparts lessons which are invaluable and incomparable to anything material in the world.

During one such session in the month of May 2006, while Swami was seated on the swing and was interacting with the boys, a few boys who were sitting right in front had the rare privilege of performing padaseva (the opportunity to gently massage His holy feet). (Yes! This indeed is a great blessing!).

One particular boy who was serving Swami this way wanted to give his hands a moment’s rest and so withdrew his hand for a few seconds. When he wanted to resume the Seva he found that Swami had moved His Foot. So he slowly raised the robe a little looking for His Foot. Immediately, Swami tapped him on the head and remarked,

“I have only two Feet! What are you searching for?”

There was laughter all round. But what came next from the divine lips was profound.

 
With Sai in Trayee...

Swami continued, “If you think that there is only one foot, you will keep searching. But consider that there are many feet, and then you will find His Feet wherever you put your hand. It struck like a flash not only the boy concerned but all who were witness to it. How often we limit Sai to the five-feet-three-inch tiny frame? How often we get deluded by His seemingly human acts? If only we are alert and we have the eyes to see and the purity of heart to experience then we realise that His every joke and every smile, every gesture and every word, whether a pat or a rebuke is all intended for one sole purpose - the very mission for which He has assumed a human form - that is, to make us aware of our oneness with the divine.

A similar event, which was used by Bhagavan to inculcate an important teaching, occurred on 18th of October 1990.

“Thousands of devotees from all over Andhra Pradesh,” says Dr. Ravi Kumar, “were arriving at Prashanti Nilayam for the golden jubilee celebrations of the day of annunciation. The devotees had taken lamps lit by Swami to every nook and corner of Andhra Pradesh and they were converging at the sanctum sanctorum for the Blessing of Darshan of the Lord on that special day.

The students were having their winter holidays. Still, there were many of us at Prasanthi Nilayam. That night as we assembled for parayanam in the holy precincts of the Mandir, one student voiced the opinion that on this historic once-in-a-yuga-event, all of us also should do something special to show our love to Swami.

We all heartily agreed with this suggestion and it became a brainstorming session. One student felt that we should include all the devotees as well. We are all children of Saimaa and it would represent mankind’s homage to God. All of us felt that it was the right suggestion. So it was decided that as soon as Swami came to the portico, we would all sing the song He taught mankind on 20th October 1940 Manasabhajare Gurucharanam.

Then someone suggested that we could also chant the Ashtotra Shatha Namavali - the 108 Names by which we worship Swami. We would also sing some group songs like ‘Why Fear When I Am Near’, ‘Thu Pyaruka Saagar Hai’, ‘I keep feeling your love in me’ and so on.

 
Boys singing to their Lord...

The next morning when this idea was placed before the wardens of the Brindavan and Prashanthi Nilayam Hostels they felt very happy and decided to seek Swami’s permission for it. So they asked the art group boys to make a card which they could show Swami and seek His consent. However by the time the card was ready the morning bhajans had started and Swami went into the prayer hall and sat on the throne. Still, the wardens went forward and seeing them the Lord came out (talk of encouraging good endeavours!) and asked ‘Emi samachaaram’. When the students’ prayer was presented Swami readily gave His consent. He even said ‘The Andhra Pradesh devotees’ programme is at 7.15 AM. Tell the boys I will come out at 6.30 AM itself to accommodate their program.’

Sai on the Prasanthi balcony...those days
 

Who can be so sweet as our beloved Mother Sai! Beloved Saimaa how are we ever going to repay the gratitude we owe You for giving us everything and for giving us Yourself so willingly?

The program was a great success as Swami was very pleased. A few days before 20th October it had been announced that no one should take Swami’s Paadanamaskar. That day, after the morning program, Swami came out on the 1st floor balcony and conveyed His happiness. He then said with an impish smile,

“If any of you are able to take Paadanamaskar now you can do so”. We all laughed.

It was only later that it struck us that what Swami was conveying to us was exactly what He had told mankind on that epoch making day in October 1940. The message was ‘Manasa bhajare guru charanam’ –‘In the mind (the mind can even touch His feet in the first floor balcony!) worship the Feet of (this) Guru and be redeemed.’”

The Test and the Triumph

To narrate instances of how every moment He teaches simultaneously to scores of devotees with His every act will be like trying to count the stars in the sky. The Guru is the embodiment of infinite wisdom and peace and countless are the ways through which He imparts this precious wealth of peace and wisdom. The following anecdote, for example, will tell you how Swami so amazingly not only revealed Himself but also at the same time conveyed a message whose profundity was beyond parallel.

Photo of Dattatreya materialised by Swami in 1978 for a select group of devotees. For full story, click here.
 

“We were seated that afternoon in the Poorna Chandra hall,” says Sri Ram, a former Sai student who takes us down memory lane,

“The winter vacations were on and we children were in our 'Home', watching a movie with our Mother Sai. It was a Telugu film on Lord Dattatreya (the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Ishwara in one as per Hindu mythology).

With our eyes riveted on the screen, we watched Karthaveerya-Arjuna enter the hermitage of his later Guru, Dattatreya. (Karthaveerya according to mythology was directed by his mother to visit Dattatreya, who would be his Guru).

After years of search, he finally found Him. The One, Whom, his parents said, would be his Guru... his God.

And as he took the thorny track that lead to the Guru's Ashram, he was tired, but thrilled. With every subsequent step, he felt the peace within swell. Aye, he had reached the end of his journey.

Actually, the journey had just begun...

'Good God! Is He supposed to be my Guru?'

He was sure that he had come to the wrong place, in search of the wrong person. The entire Ashram reeked of liquor and putrid flesh. The Guru Himself emanated the very same aroma from His being. Surrounded by a horde of women, He spoke, not the Holy Vedas but the lowly language of cobblers! Was He the great Dattatreya that his mother had spoken so highly about? Definitely not. But the drunken attendant serving his equally drunk Master said that He was Dattatreya. Karthaveerya approached Dattatreya with folded palms ...splash.

He got up with difficulty, more mental than physical, from the puddle of water where the attendants of Dattatreya had thrown him. Stunned, he squeezed his dhoti (garment) dry. The humiliation was too much to bear. The Guru whom he approached for Bramhajnana (highest wisdom) had next thrown him out of the Ashram! What kind of a Guru was this fellow? A true Guru, the scriptures say, rests not even for a hundred births until His disciple has attained the Ultimate Reality. But this Dattatreya had rejected him outright. Or was He Dattatreya at all?

It seemed to us that it was the same story both on and off the screen...

How many times have we held out a letter only to see Him turn His head away? How many times have we knelt down to pray, only to see Him ignore our prayer?

He pretends 'deaf’ when we speak to Him, rejects the kerchief we give Him and does not even look when we are actually there all the while....

Still, Karthaveerya resolved to cling on firmly. He went back to the Guru who continued to remain in the same insane stupor. With faith, he held on and prayed. He was abused, ridiculed and even beaten, but he did not swerve. This went on and on...

And then suddenly fragrance filled the air... the women and the drunken attendants changed to rishis...and in place of that grotesque Guru stood a form Divine and Effulgent. Dattatreya smiled at Karthaveerya and placed his hand on the disciple's head.

With a single touch He had given him Brahmajnana, the highest of wisdom.

The screen went blank, for, the movie was stopped. Bhagawan got up from His chair. The table was brought and the mike placed there upon. We waited with breath abated…

He did not thunder. He just said it without much ado... “I Am Dattatreya.” With gaping mouths we gazed at, our Guru... our God.... He added... “Test Is My Taste.”

 
"Test Is My Taste"

All One Needs for His Grace…Is Faith

Swami often tells us there are three things which if possessed makes the holder verily god, namely, Purity, Patience and Perseverance. And the Guru is relentless till we attain these immortal virtues. Tests will have to be welcomed to rise to higher planes of bliss. The only way we can overcome these tests is by holding the two solid staffs of Shraddha and Saburi, as Shirdi Baba used to say. Faith and earnestness is the key to attain God’s grace.

In the Bible it is said when a rich man approached Jesus and said, “Oh Lord, what can I do to come near God?” Jesus said, “Sell all that you have and give to the poor and follow me.” The man ran away when he heard these words.

But not Victor Kanu. When Mr. Victor Kanu’s wife asked Swami, “From where do we get funds to set up a Sai School in Zambia?” Swami said, “Sell your house and if funds are not enough, borrow from banks.” Victor Kanu and his wife did just that and today the Sai School of Zambia is hailed as the “miracle school of Africa” and awarded the Business Initiative Directions (BID) award at the 22nd International World Quality Commitment (WQC) Convention in Paris, held last year on May 30th. [Click here to read the full story].

Mr and Mrs Kanu receiving the Business Initiative Directions (BID) award. For full story, click here.

When all the employees of Andhra Bank all over India went on strike in 1989 Sri Gopal Rao, who was Chairman of the Bank then, just followed Swami’s instructions to “be firm in his path of truth and not budge” and so never gave in to their unreasonable demands inspite of threats to his life and political pressures from the highest level in the government. And in the end, he not only emerged triumphant but created banking history as “No Work, No Pay” went into the policy guidelines for employees of many banks all over India.

When Mr. Chidambaram Krishnan had a heart attack in his hometown near Tirunelvelli, he did not allow himself to be taken to hospital, he insisted that he be taken to his home and into his puja room. For he believed completely that Swami will take care of him and imagine, just then the telephone rings in the house and Swami is on line! Swami says,

“You depended only on me and so I have responded. Now come to Puttaparthi.”

As Mr. Krishnan was been driven to Prasanthi Nilayam unbelievably he took over the steering of the car and himself drove all the way to Puttaparthy. When they reached Puttaparthy Swami profusely blessed Mr. Krishnan and Himself accompanied him back to his village. This is what faith can do.

 
"I Always Respond"

Faith is all the strength that man needs and if millions round the globe adore Sai in the shrine of their hearts, it is because their implicit faith has done for them wonders which no other phenomena on earth can do. Not every time nor for everyone does Swami physically respond like He did for Mr. Krishnan, but He does call, by way of inner channels. And every devotee in the safest and deepest recesses of their heart has those amazing moments of their life preserved where faith was rewarded remarkably and life turned from depression to delight, from darkness to peace-giving light in an instant.

Instilling Faith In His Own Inimitable Way

Swami takes every opportunity to firm up our faith and this is what Dr. Ravi Kumar, a former Sai student and currently a lecturer in Swami’s University in Whitefield, Bangalore, experienced. He says,

“It was a week after the 70th Birthday. My sister presented me with an English translation of a Tamil devotional classic ‘Periya Puranam’ that she had been able to lay her hands on. I was very excited because I had read that it is a saga of the 63 Nayanmars or servitors of the Lord who not only lived for Him but also adored Him in delightfully distinct ways. So I started reading it straight away that night. When I went for morning Darshan the next day, I carried it with me and continued reading it till Swami came out to give Darshan. After Darshan, Swami went into the interview room with a group of devotees. I was sitting in the prayer hall in the first row near His Throne, enjoying this book.

The narration was of the life of One, who is adored as the son of God –Thirugnana-sambandar. When the child is three years old, one day, he throws a tantrum as the father is going to the temple tank for a bath - the child wants to accompany him. Cajolements and threats are of no avail and finally the father says, “If this is the way you behave, then go with me” and takes him along. Arriving at the tank, he leaves the child on the bank and loathe to leave the child unattended, enters the water with hesitation. Seeing the father has not surfaced for a long time the child began to weep.

He knows everything...and smiles
 

Now, at this point the interview room door opened and Swami came into the bhajan hall. I was delighted, and quickly closed the book. Swami went into the bhajan hall and talked to some devotees along the aisle for a long time.

As He was returning to the interview room after that, He stopped in front of me and posed a strange question, “How many litres of milk do you need?”

My immediate thought was ‘maybe I have put on too much weight!’ Swami repeated the same question again a couple of times. I was not able to give any answer and Swami went into the interview room. I sat thinking about the strange question Swami had asked me… Why did He ask this question? Being unable to find a suitable answer I returned to the book I was reading….Imagine the thrill that went through me when I read that …

With gracious compassion rising in His heart at the sight of the child, the Lord (Shiva) looked at Mother Parvathi and said, “give him a gold cup of milk”. (The narration continues that on coming back from his swim the father sees a cup of gold in the child’s hands and the tell-tale milk drops on his face. He asks who gave him the milk and the child - who till then was barely able to lisp - describes the Lord in wonderful poetry…)

I could not control my tears (of bliss) as it dawned on me that it was the same Siva-Sakthi who had posed this question to me. I must mention that I was sitting at the same spot at which Swami has disclosed that He is Siva-Sakthi incarnate after the miraculous cure of the paralysis on Guru Poornima day in July 1963… Oh! How can we measure our good fortune in being present on Earth when God has come in Human form!”

The Dawn Of Truth – The Revelation Of The Age

6th July 1963 was indeed one incredible day in the life of the Sai Avathar. What devotees went through before, during and after the event is something indescribable – from devastating depression and blinding delusion to joy and bliss that was euphoric, unimaginable and unprecedented. Swami, who was literally bed-ridden, with one side of his body totally immobile and stiff, His facial muscles twitching and one hand and one leg lifeless, asked that He be taken down to the prayer hall to see the devotees. It was like asking for Mount Everest to dislocate from land to the sea! Totally impossible, the most unintelligent thing to do, utterly foolish and witless – with all these thoughts in their minds the devotees prayed that Swami alter His mind. But Swami insisted. And He was literally carried from upstairs by devotees and placed on His chair, propped up by pillows. But then what happened next transfixed everyone to their spots. They were out of their wits. They had never seen such a thing before.

The Lord cures Himself....
 

Describing the momentous event, Prof. Kasturi, Baba’s biographer, writes,

“Baba signed that the mike be held near His lips. Slowly, He whispered into it, in swollen half-suppressed syllables, "Vinupisthundaa?", but even we (senior devotees) who had learnt to decipher the mushy paralytic alphabet could not make out what He was trying to say. He repeated it twice.

Then, someone caught the meaning and repeated it on the mike. Baba was asking them, "Can you hear Me?"

This raised another groan: He was heard but, alas, it tore their hearts. It was too indistinct. Evidently Baba was too tired by that attempt to speak, for He gestured for water to drink. It was brought by Krishnappa, in a silver tumbler, and held to His lips by Raja Reddy.

His palsied right hand came towards it... He tried to hold it... His fingers slipped into it... the fingers dipped... He sipped a few drops... He sprinkled, with the fingers of the right hand, a little water on the limp left hand on the pillow above His chest... He sprinkled the water, faintly shaking the fingers, on the left leg too. He stroked the left hand with the right. And with both hands now, he stroked the left leg. He rose; the pillow fell off; we could hear His divine voice calling us, as was ever His wont, "Premaswaroopulaaraa!" He had begun His Guru Pournima Discourse!! Oh, oh! our Baba hale, hearty, holy, healthy, heavenly...”.

And then Baba went on to declare,

“I have been keeping back from you all these years one secret about Me; the time has come when I can reveal it to you for this is a sacred day.

I am Siva-Sakthi, born in the Gothra (lineage) of (sage) Bharadwaja, according to a boon won by that sage from Lord Siva and Mother Sakthi.

Siva Himself was born in the Gothra of that sage as Sai Baba of Shirdi; Siva and Sakthi have incarnated as Myself in his Gothra now; Sakthi alone will incarnate as the third Sai in the same Gothra in Mysore State."

The audience was stunned, to say the least.

 
"I Am Shiva-Shakthi"

Guru Poornima Over The Years… Always Special

What is significant apart from the great revelation that Swami made, is the day Swami chose to enact the whole divine drama. It was Guru Poornima Day.

“A true Guru is one who enjoys and confers changeless supreme happiness. He is beyond space and time; and there is nothing higher than Him. He is the very form of truth and infinite. He has neither birth nor death, neither beginning nor end. He is God Himself,”

Swami has explained on any number of occasions and therefore it is no surprise that Swami chose Guru Poornima day to reveal about Himself and His advent.

Guru Poornima celebrations in the divine presence have always been special. In 1966, Swami returned to Prasanthi Nilayam on this day after a long tour of Mumbai, Poona, Gulbarga, Mysore and Madurai and gave all the devotees assembled a few drops of Amrit (Nectar) with the exhortation that the tongue which has tasted Amrit should no longer relish Anrit (Falsehood). He then inaugurated the branch of State Bank in Prasanthi Nilayam and comparing the Bank where money is taken and given, to the Bank where Love alone is accepted and given, said,

"That bank receives deposits and maintains accounts strictly and confidentially. Every little is entered and accounted for - thoughts, deeds, words, good, bad, indifferent. Develop the saving habit, for saving yourself. Here (in the bank) they take Dhanam (money); there, they take Dhyanam (equanimity) as deposit."

Each sentence that day was a brilliant flash, revealing the deepest Truth from the lips of the Divine Master.

In 1968, Guru Poornima was purely exceptional as Baba was, for the only time in history, out of India. Yielding to the yearnings of African devotees, Swami changed His plan of returning to Mumbai on Guru Poornima Day and spent the whole day showering them with His loving benediction and grace. “More than 25,000 persons gathered that morning for the Bhajan,” Prof. Kasturi writes,

“The Africans joined the chorus led by a Tanzanian, Mr. Zoodoo. For over two hours, Baba walked slowly among the lines of lonely, love-seeking eager hearts, giving each person a handful of sweets and a packet of Vibhuti. To the amazement of the recipients, most of them discovered inside the packet, lying ensconced in the midst of the holy ash, enamel or metal portraits of Christ, the Cross, Krishna or Sai Baba Himself.

The ‘Uganda Argus’ published an article, announcing that Baba had brought the message of Unity and Service, to the people of that Continent. Baba's discourses as well as activities were also televised and broadcast, so that the entire population could share the inspiration of the Gospel.” There was only light, joy and delight in the dark continent.

 
Swami in East Africa...in 1968
 

It was Guru Poornima Day again in 1971, when the new Hostel building with 100 airy rooms for the girl students of Anantapur College was inaugurated. It included a separate Auditorium planned and finished in a most artistic and lavish scale with a separate Library hall attached to the college building. Speaking to the students on that occasion in the presence of the President of India, Sri V V Giri and a host of other ministers, educationists and other dignitaties, Swami said,

“At present, Colleges are infected by anxiety and perplexity, discontent and ill-discipline, irreverence and futility; they have lost the status of temples of learning, where youth is shaped into self-reliant, contented and enterprising heroes; when I identified these defects, deficiencies and dangers, which are rampant in the country, I resolved upon this College in Rayalaseema (region), at Ananthapur.

I am never satisfied with the declaration of intentions. I must taste the Aananda (bliss) of putting them into action! I express my Love through every act, every intention of mine. More than floods of eloquence in praise of that intention and millions of words written in elaboration of the theme, I insist, by My own example, on immediate and complete fulfillment. This will be a Gurukul - a place where teachers and taught will grow together in love and wisdom, as close to the ideas of the hermitages of the past as possible under present conditions. Today is Guruvaar, Thursday; it is also Guru Poornima, the Day set apart for adoration of the Guru (the Preceptor)….. The seed has been planted today; it has to sprout and spread as a tree, heavy with fruits. It has to confer security and sustenance to all.”

And over the years how beautifully has this Sankalpa (Will) of Bhagawan, the supreme educator of this age, blossomed into ‘temples of learning’ holding aloft the lofty Sai ideals of integral education where the heart is as important as the head. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was awarded the “A ++” rating by the National Accreditation Council and hailed as the “Crest Jewel” among Universities in India by the University Grants Commission; the Institutes of Sathya Sai Education present now in every continent; the Sathya Sai Schools now run in every corner of the world from Argentina to Africa and Australia; the hugely successful EHV (Education For Human Values) programme organized for children and teenagers by Sai Centres all over the globe – all stand testimony to the grand and glorious revolution that Sai is bringing about in the collective consciousness of the world, more importantly in the hearts and minds of the younger generation.

A Silent Revolution of 'Educare" is sweeping the world...

In the Arati song that we often sing, the refrain of the last verse hails Him as "Sadguru­deva", which means, the Divine Teacher of the Su­preme Truth. All other attributes ascrib­ed to Bhagavan relate to His divine puiss­ance. But the true significance of His advent consists not merely in the mani­festation of His supra-human powers, but in His role as the Divine Guru who has come to awaken in erring and groping mortals the truth about their essential divinity. While all the others teachers or so called gurus show the way to the Lord, when the Sadguru descends, there is no path, there is no road to travel, as the path itself becomes the goal.

‘Your Mission Has Begun’

"Develop Love..."
 

In a message given intuitively to Charles Penn more than two decades ago, Swami had conveyed,

“Your mission has begun. Those are My words to you, My devotees. Each of you has a unique and valuable part to play in this lifetime. Only those whom I have called can serve Me.

My Mission has now reached that point in time when each one of you has work to do. This planet has a purpose in the great galaxy in which it is held. That purpose is now unfolding before our eyes.

I call upon you to radiate the devotional Love within you so that its unseen power will envelop all who come into your orbit.

To successfully perform your part, always remain centred upon Me. Allow yourself to impart that purity of heart within you to all human beings and all living creatures, and do not reach for the fruits of your work.”

Develop purity of heart that has been Swami’s message in every Guru Poornima - and how to develop this purity?

“Develop love,” Swami said in His Guru Poornima message of 2000, “Through love alone can you annihilate the mind and through love alone can you get cured of any disease. Only love can eradicate the evil qualities in you.”

Even in the previous year in 1999, Swami had emphasised the same principle and said,

“That day is Poornima in the true sense of the term, when the mind is filled with pure love. Let your mind shine brilliantly like the moon on a full moon day. This is possible only when you fill your mind with love. Fill your hearts with love. There is no wealth, no Dharma, no meditation greater than love. I expect all of you to live in unity like brothers and sisters. If you become the embodiment of love, you will become divine.”

What Should We Do This Guru Poornima?

So this is the message of our Divine Master, who is Himself nothing but love, love and love alone. Love that knows no conditions, love that loves because it knows nothing else, like water that can only flow and air that can only float, God can only Love.

To such a Master, to such a being who has literally taken us by our hand and shown us the royal road to peace, joy and fulfillment walking alongside us all the time, sometimes taking the role of a divine mother, sometimes a loving father, what is the ‘Guru Dakshina’ (offering) that we should present to Him as we celebrate and adore Him this Guru Poornima?

Swami once said,

“Real gurus are to be worshipped not by ‘dakshina’ (offering fruits, wealth, etc.) but by "pradakshina" (circumambulation), that is, by revering them with heart and soul.”

 
Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam...

So as we sing “Manasa Bhajare Gurucharanam” this Guru Poornima, let’s adore Him and demonstrate our love to Him by living up to His message. Let our love for Him translate into love for all beings, let love flow whenever we see a fellow human being, let us feel one with His creation, then one day indubitably we will be one with Him. Then, the guru, the disciple, the path and the goal – all would have become one!

- Bishu Prusty
Heart2Heart Team


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Vol 4 Issue 07 - JULY 2006
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