Why does God have to descend on earth from age to age? Could not Lord Rama and Lord Krishna, who declared the intent of their advent as ‘Dharmasthapana’ or restoration of righteousness, achieve their Mission from wherever they are, if they are omniscient and all-powerful? Many so called intellectuals and rationalists in present times debunk the idea of ‘God in Human Form’ as pure gobbledygook.
Even many theologians and believers, though they worship the Almighty and profess walking on the path laid down by one of the Prophets or Messengers of God, treat the concept of God Himself descending down with scorn and disbelief. It was the same many centuries ago too. The most popular Mughal Emperor of India, Akbar, the Great, who believed in the invisible and formless Allah, once openly scoffed at this so called ‘Hindu idea’ of Avatars (God assuming forms) and threw a challenge to all the men in his court to convince him about the need and rationale for such an event. Birbal, the celebrated courtier who was known for his wit and wisdom, asked a week’s time from His majesty. A few days later, Birbal arranged an exciting boat ride for the pleasure of the king and his family, and as the premier was cruising along soaking in the sublimity of nature, away from his sight, the canny Birbal dropped a life-size doll of the King’s little son to the river. The King, who was shocked to hear the loud splash which was accompanied by a piteous cry from Birbal, “O, the prince has fallen into the water!” instantaneously jumped into the water to rescue his ‘son’. It was then that Birbal disclosed the real drama, and after the emperor’s tempers were down, explained, “I seek pardon, your majesty, but I had to perforce stage this drama to answer your doubt.” The King was perplexed. Birbal clarified, “Your Majesty, you could have ordered any of us to dive into the river, but the circumstance was so precarious and your affection for the little one was so intense that without batting your eyelid, your Majesty himself took the plunge. So is the case with God’s Incarnations. I have answered your doubt, my lord.”
What does a mother do, when she sees her child walking away from her towards a grave danger? Does she look around to find the most suitable person to help? Or does she dash without loosing a split second? It is the same with our Lord too. In a revealing discourse delivered more than a quarter century ago, in 1964, Swami said that the decline of righteousness and the unmatched Love of the Lord for His children is what compels the Lord to descend. He further added, “The Lord is Love itself. He comes in human form so that you can talk to Him, move with Him, serve Him, adore Him, achieve Him, and recognise your kinship with Him.”
In the only press interview Bhagavan has given till date, in 1970, the editor of ‘Nava Kaal’ asked Him, “At what age did You acquire this Divine Power?” Swami said, “From My very birth…” and then He continued, “From before that.” The editor, evidently, was stuck with wonder. And then Baba continued, “Yes, I resolved upon My Birth. I decided who should be My Mother. Mere humans can choose only who is to be wife or husband: the Mother was chosen by the Son in the Rama incarnation and in the Krishna incarnation. Then too, the task for which the birth was decided upon was, conferring Love on all. And through that Love, foster righteous living."
As we celebrate His Birthday this month, eighty-two years have passed of this most mysterious, magnificent and mind-boggling phenomenon on earth, yet what we know of Him is as miniscule as a molecule in the Milky Way. How many times has He stunned mankind! Right from the moment of His birth when musical instruments started playing mysteriously on their own, to the days when He was a tiny-tot playing on the sands of Chitravati – plucking all kinds of fruits from the tamarind tree for His playmates, to leaving them bewildered one momentous evening with the vision of the Sun, the Moon and the Third Eye all in succession; or the days after the declaration of His Advent when He started appearing simultaneously in two places or going in ‘trance’ suddenly to save a devotee; or the occasions when He left scholars and scientists of all hues stupefied with His eloquent and enlightening elucidation of the Vedas and Upanishads to the secrets of the Creation and Cosmos; or the diamond of a declaration He made in 1963 after curing Himself of the paralysis of seven days with just a sprinkling of water saying, “I am Shiva-Shakthi Swaroopa”; or the riveting revelation He made in the First World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations in Mumbai, 1968, asserting: “I affirm that this Sai Form is the Form of all the various names that man uses for the adoration of the Divine”; or the grand Guru Poornima festival in 1968, when He inaugurated a college for women in Anantapur and said, “The seed has been planted; it will sprout and spread, heavy with fruits, providing shade, security and sustenance to all"; or the mesmerizing manner in which He brought back Mr. Walter Cowan from the dead in December 1971; or for that matter, the way the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (now Sri Sathya Sai University) came into being with its three beautiful campuses in the early 1980s; or the incredible creation and functioning of the medical marvels – the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences which continue to amaze professionals and administrators, believers and skeptics alike; or the jaw-dropping mammoth Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Projects which know no end, starting from Anantapur and many neighbouring districts to the city of Chennai to the tribal regions of East and West Godavari districts to who knows where next, and which made even the UN sit up and take notice; or…well, the story of this glorious saga can go on.
And what we have enumerated now, you are aware, are just a few shining pebbles our eyes immediately fell upon in the grand seashore of His Glory. Speaking to thousands gathered on the occasion of Dasara 1961, Swami had said, “For every act of Grace you experience or read about, there are countless you do not know.” And how true this is!
For every doctor who serves voluntarily in Swami’s Super Specialty and General Hospitals in His physical vicinity, there are thousands in all parts of the globe who are stretching themselves to the limit to bring hope and happiness in the hapless and diseased. Did you know that just two months ago 36 eminent Sai doctors from the UK traveled to Malawi, one of the poorest countries of the world where every day 140 people die of HIV/AIDS and 95% of the adult population (between 15 to 49) is infected?
Similarly, for every youth of Swami’s Institute who serves the poor doing Grama Seva in villages nearby Puttaparthi, there are thousands of inspired youngsters the world over who plunge into village service with a passion that would equal a Mother Teresa and Baba Amte. And this is no exaggeration! When you read how the Sai Youth of Orissa have converted a Kustha Ashram, a leper colony - where the 300 odd inmates, ostracized by society and permanently scarred by human apathy, whose lives were no different than rubble on the road - into a land where everybody is now smiling and every soul is shining with hope, joy and happiness, you will realize it yourself.
What we know of His work and Glory is probably only a drop of the infinite ocean. The incredible cascading effect His every act perpetuates is unfathomable. But what we do know and have experienced in innumerable ways, sometimes aware and at other times unknown to us, is His love. In fact, that is all He has; that is all He is. In a landmark discourse in May 1968, Swami had said, “You elaborate in your lectures the unique powers of Sai, the incidents that are described as 'miracles'…. But I request you not to attach importance to these. Do not exaggerate their significance; the most significant and important power is, let Me tell you, My Love. I may turn the sky into earth, or earth into sky; but that is not the sign of Divine might. It is the Love, the fortitude, effective, universal and ever-present; that is the unique sign.”
If the Sai Movement is marching ahead at mind-numbing speed in every continent today, it is not because of the magnificent monuments of Healthcare, Educare or Sociocare that Swami has built, but because of the way the Lord has touched, transformed and triggered in millions the zeal to love all and serve all. One grand example of this process was the Prema Jyothi Exhibition which was staged in Chennai in the last week of September this year. When you read the cover story you will be amazed at the instances of inner revolution that He brings out so spontaneously and suddenly. Pure Love can convert a particle of dust into a diamond in no time. Prema Jyothi demonstrated this amply.
As we celebrate His birthday this month, let us remind ourselves of a Birthday message He gave many years ago. “Adore Me, on the day that you are I, on the day when you derive unbounded Bliss therefrom, on the day when you can be full of joy that you are born." Dear reader, let us celebrate! We are living with God, the most loving God. This is the best time in history. We are blessed! And if we so decide, we can be One with Him completely… in Love.