LOVING LEGEND -- LIVING LEGACIES
October 20, 1940. It was on this day, seventy years ago, that Bhagavan Baba unveiled the mystery surrounding His birth, life and mission. He declared to the people around, and through them to the entire mankind, that He indeed is the Supreme Consciousness embodied in a diminutive and delightful form. “I am no longer your Sathya, I am Sai…I have My work; My devotees are calling Me…” He announced candidly on that day.
Ever since, this eternal reservoir of energy and empathy, hope and happiness, solace and succor, light and love, has nursed and nurtured, and ensured that the tiny seed of goodness latent within every individual grows into a gigantic tree of love and serenity. And like a perfect teacher, He has demonstrated this more by living that principle in every moment of His own life. The result is a luminescent legacy that will continue to illumine the dark alleys of humanity’s collective consciousness, elevating it to a state of absolute sublimity for generations to come.
“Loving Legend – Living Legacies” seeks to capture a few salient highlights of this glorious saga of Pure Love. This 30-episode radio documentary starts on October 20, 2010 on Radio Sai to continue daily till November 19, 2010.
Below is the textual adaptation of this audio series embellished with pictures, audio and video clips!
Let us immerse ourselves in the story of His glory and more important strive to make our little lives shine with the sacred glow of purity, nobility and genuine compassion.
Episode 14: Dharmakshetra Comes into Being
Dharmakshetra is Baba’s residence in the Indian metropolis Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. In choosing the name, Dharmakshetra, Baba once again linked the present to the distant past. This time it was to the Krishna Avatar and the Bhagavad Gita. Baba emphasised the importance of the name and declared He is all names and all forms.
'Dharmakshetra,' an architectural jewel shaped like a giant lotus, was inaugurated on 12 May 1968.
Inner Meaning of ‘Dharmakshetra’
No word of Baba is devoid of spiritual potency. Therefore, His naming of the building too was not done arbitrarily. 'Dharmakshetra' is the first word in the first shloka of the Bhagavad Gita; it describes the battlefield where the might of the Kauravas was destroyed by the Lord and where the victorious Pandavas were showered with His Grace. “The building’s name is a call, an intimate invitation to you, to give ear to the Gita,” Baba said.
From all parts of India and from far-flung lands, thousands gathered to witness the inauguration of Dharmakshetra. This magnificent structure was completed in 108 days after the first trowel of concrete was laid. [The number nine is the theme of the holy structure: eighteen petals of the lotus enclose the apartments where Bhagawan stays, the pillars, steps and trellis squares, all in multiples of nine, the Brahman number.]
Baba said that everyone is living, moving, acting and accumulating merit or demerit in their personal battlefield or Kurukshetra, for 'Kuru' means 'to do'. “If the current of dharma illumines every moment of life, then the Kurukshetra becomes Dharmakshetra. This is the lesson that Dharmakshetra will radiate round the world.”
World Conference of the Sai Seva Organisation
A few days after the inauguration, the First World Conference of the Sai Seva Organization was held at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan campus in what was then known as Bombay. Baba declared that this was the first time in the history of the world that a World Conference of devotees of an Avatar was being held, in the immediate physical presence and under the direct supervision and observation of the Avatar Himself!
As the delegates streamed into the hall that day at sunrise, they found a friendly fragrance beyond all memory and warmth of welcome seldom known before. Behind the dais, on the wall, were two murals. One depicted Chaitanya lost in the ecstasy of Sankirtan or Divine Chant. Pictured on the other mural was Thyagaraja, the saint who sang Rama’s majesty and compassion from the depth of his heart. Behind the chair that Baba was to grace was a mural of the lamp: the Flame of Light and Love that no wind could shake or dim!
At 9.00 a.m. Baba came in, showering His gracious smile on all present. The sight of Him emitting Light and Love thrilled the crowd. After heavenly echoes of Vedic chants and preliminaries, Baba beckoned the delegates to speak on the organisational aspect of Sadhana in their respective regions. In response, judges, vice-chancellors, scientists, doctors, poets, administrators, and businessmen rose and presented reports of the activities of the seva samithis, study circles and bhajan groups engaged in sadhana in their respective areas.
The World Reaches Out to Baba
Howard Murphet from Australia said: "Australia needs Your Love, Your Light."
Tideman Johanessan from Norway confessed: "Your Teachings, Your guidance are urgently needed in Scandinavia, where dogma has very nearly suppressed genuine spiritual yearning."
Dr. Nallainathan from Ceylon pleaded: "We are children groping in the dark. Make us see!"
Dr. C.G. Patel from Kampala prayed: "Africa needs You the most."
Indira Devi from Tecate, Mexico, said: "When I speak about Bhagawan to the students of Santa Barbara, Berkeley, Chicago and other colleges, they refuse to disperse after the talk unless I promise that I would bring Baba to America; they are hungry for Him."
Charles Penn from Los Angeles asserted: "We look to India for spiritual guidance; we pray that Baba will come to us. When He is with us, He will be with everyone else too!"
The public meeting at the campus held later in the evening was attended by over a 100,000 people and Sai could be seen seated firmly in the hearts of every one of them.
The Deputy Prime Minister of India, Mr. Morarji Desai, a confidante of Mahatma Gandhi, presided over the meeting. He had earlier met Baba at Dharmakshetra and sensed His Divine Compassion for the world struggling in the deepening bog of hate and greed. He was visibly moved when he saw before him squares upon squares of thickly packed aspirants, women on the right and men on the left, silent, expectant, full of ardour and adoration from all over the world, from temple, mosque, church, shrine, feasting their eyes on the charming face of Baba.
Mr. Desai said that the best teacher of man was the Gita, since it exhorted him to work for the betterment of the world to his utmost capacity, and at the same time be unconcerned with success or failure - for God, to whom all work is dedicated, knows best how it should be rewarded.
Swami Addresses the Conference
Commenting on the event, Kasturi has said: “Baba began His address in Sanskrit! He had directed me to translate His speech into English and I stood behind a mike at the other end of the dais. But, as Sanskrit, the language of the Gods, flowed so mellifluously from those Divine Lips, I was struck dumb with admiration and apprehension. How, I wondered, am I to channel this surging Ganga into the Thames?”
In a rousing discourse on the Divinity inherent in the Universe, Baba continued in Telugu: "The body is the shrine in which the 'I' is installed; the country is the temple of the 'We’, the collective will; the world is the temple of the 'He’, the sum total of the 'I' and 'We'.
"This is a gathering of people of all faiths and so it is fitting that I assert here that every faith is but an endeavour to cleanse the impulses and emotions, as part of the process of discovering the Truth, both seen and unseen. The search is for the same Treasure; the Summit is one; only the tracks are many. The guides too are many, clamouring and competing for pelf and prestige.
"Even those who swear that they did not find any trace of God in the depths of space or who aver that God is dead or that even if alive He has outlived His use for man, that He has ever been a handicap and a costly nuisance for man, these too must admit there is something inscrutable beyond the reach of reason, something that pervades the world and reveals itself in Love, Renunciation and Service. That something is God."
Dr. V. K. Gokak then addressed the gathering on the Avatarhood of Baba: "We have met here with the common purpose of affirming the supremacy of consciousness over matter, subject over object, seer over the seen, charioteer over the chariot, and the transcendental over the trivial; so, we will not be baffled, as others are bound to be, by the phenomenon of the Human Form that the Formless Absolute has donned."
Baba spoke on the Name of God, be it any name, and the steady influence for good its repetition generates in the individual. "In this age of materialism, the constant repetition of the name of God is the one hope which man has, to rise up to Him or to bring Him near. Repeating the Name brings His Grace. Sanctify every minute of your day and night with the unbroken recollection of the Name. I do not want you to think that I desire this Name and this Form to be publicised. I have not come to start a new cult. Know that this Sai Form is the Form of all the various Names that man has used, and uses now to identify and adore the One Divine.
"So, I teach that no distinction should be made between the Names - they are, all of them, My Names. Many of you plead for a Message from Me! Well, My Life is My Message. You will be adhering to My Message if you so live that your lives become evidences of dispassion, courage and confidence, revealing eagerness to serve those who are in distress."
It is Maya that Holds One from Beholding God’s True Form
Bhagawan cast His Grace-filled eyes on the thirsty faces before Him eager to drink in the Truth. Suddenly His eyes softened in compassion. His voice rose, the speed of His words doubled and trebled. Everyone present sensed, almost, instinctively, that a great moment in their life had come; in ecstatic thrill they prepared themselves to listen to a great Revelation, to a Benediction that the world can hope to receive but rarely in its history.
He said: "In truth, you cannot understand the nature of My Reality, either today or even after thousands of years of steady austerity or ardent inquiry, even if all mankind were to join in that effort. But, shortly, you will become aware of the Bliss showered by the Divine Principle that has taken upon itself this sacred Body and this sacred Name. Your good fortune in having this chance is greater than what was available to the anchorites, monks, sages, and saints that embodied facets of the Divine Glory!
"Since I move with you, eat and talk to you, you are deluded into the belief that this is but a human phenomenon. Be warned against this mistake. I am also deluding you by singing and playing with you and engaging Myself in activities with you. But, any moment, My Divinity may be revealed to you; you have to be ready, prepared for that moment. Since Divinity is enveloped by humanness, you must endeavour to overcome the Maya that hides it from your eyes.
"This Human Form is one in which every Divine Entity, every Divine Principle, that is to say, all the Names and Forms ascribed by man to God, are manifest. Do not allow doubt to distract you. If you only install in the altar of your heart steady faith in My Divinity, you can win a vision of My Reality. Instead, if you swing like the pendulum of a clock, one moment of faith, another of doubt, you can never succeed in comprehending My Truth and win that Bliss. Fortunate are you, that now, in this very life, you have a chance to experience the Bliss of the Sarvadaivathwa Swaroopam (the Form of God which embodies in it all Forms).
"Let me also draw your attention to another fact. In the past, on the occasions when God incarnated on earth, the Bliss of recognising Him in the Incarnation was vouchsafed only after the physical embodiment had left the world, despite numerous demonstrations of His Grace. Moreover, the loyalty and devotion which those incarnations commanded while in the physical embodiment arose through fear or awe at their superhuman powers and skills or at their imperial and penal authority. But ponder for a moment on this Sathya Sai Manifestation. In this age of rampant materialism, aggressive disbelief and irreverence, what is it that brings to it the adoration of millions from all over the world? You will be convinced that the basic reason for this is the fact this is Divinity in Human Form.
"Again, how fortunate you are that you can witness all the countries of the world paying homage to Bharat; that you can hear, even while this body is existing, adoration to the Name of Sathya Sai reverberating from even the nooks and corners of the world, when this Form is amidst you, with you, before you!"
This declaration stunned the delegates; each felt blessed with a Unique Vision. Often had Baba spoken of His being the Incarnation of God, of being God Himself in human form, but this time, He had emphatically identified Himself with all Names and all Forms of God that man ever moulded in his mind in the course of his history on earth!
Everyone has a Different Role in Society
The next day, Baba spoke in straight and sharp language on the basic approach to service through the Sai Organisation: "It is wrong," He clarified, "To believe that all have equal rights and duties, obligations and responsibilities. You cannot say that all cows are equal and purchase them by the dozen. Some may be dry, some may clamour for more feed, some yield less milk, some are young, some decrepit, some tame and some wild. Nor are all men equal. The code of conduct, for each and towards each, is decided by changing factors such as age, profession, status, authority, scholarship and gender, and considerations as to whether the person is a teacher or pupil, master or servant, father or son, sick or healthy. As far as I am concerned, there is only one rule that binds Me: Love. That Love will calm you, comfort you, and inspire you to merge with Me."
The Valedictory Meeting of the Conference was held at 10.00 a.m. on 19 May. Baba wanted that all those who had come from far and near be informed of the major decisions of the conference, which were rare directives aimed at the spiritual upliftment of the common man.
Too overwhelmed to be silent in his address, the literary giant of his times Dr. Vinayak Krishna Gokak who was to later on play a lead role in the Sai Education reforms found himself saying: "Sai is the gateway to all the greatness, all the effulgence of the spirit. Sai is no blinding word, Sai is no binding word, Sai is no limiting word. It is a word that contains the meaning of every other word. In the beginning was the Word! That word is He."
Baba spoke of the urgent need for man to be aware of his immortality and to draw courage therefrom as Arjuna did, when overcome by despondency.
Dharmakshetra, where Baba stayed during the conference, was the venue every day for a number of gatherings where Baba explained, elaborated, elucidated and emphasised the fundamentals of spiritual discipline and wisdom, regardless of time and unmindful of the exhaustion His physical body was likely to get. In addition, Baba was guiding there a Prashanti Youth Camp of over 65 university alumni. During a special gathering of the Lions of Bombay City, the members sought from Him guidance on the basic attitudes that will help their activities and the philosophy that can sustain them. It was noticed that Baba granted audience to the overseas delegates more often primarily because they had fewer chances of personal contact with Him, and were eager to be as near Him for as long as He permitted.
“My Unique Sign… is Love” - Baba
The rising of the Sai Sun made certain vested interests feel ill at ease. Bewildered at the millions milling towards wherever Baba was, calculating practitioners who traded in religion feared that the traditional tithes and offerings would soon dry up, threatening their very sustenance. Little did they know that Baba has come to water every plant in the Garden of Faith, that He was no sower of schism but the Great Harmoniser, the Mountain Peak that appeared to some as Siva, to some others as Vishnu, to some as Christ, to some others as Allah, or as Buddha, according to the angle from which they viewed.
The yellow section of the media yielded to the temptation of blasphemy and scandal-mongering while the more responsible periodicals tried to probe and understand. Most publications requested that their representatives meet Baba and try to measure the depth of the rare phenomenon in their midst. About 30 special correspondents representing leading English and Indian language newspapers came to Dharmakshetra on 21 May. The questions they asked were naturally prompted by curiosity; they wanted to know the purpose and modus operandi of the "miracles" performed by Baba.
In reply, Baba declared that these were evidences rather than demonstrations of the Divine. "It is Love that prompts Me to give and when I want to give, the thing is ready," He said. "I can, by My Sankalpa (Will), change the earth into sky and the sky into earth, but that is not the only sign of Divine Might. It is the Love, the Compassion, the supreme Patience to deal with all this frailty and fanaticism, it is the Resolve to cure them all - that is the Unique Sign," Baba explained.
Those who came to probe were prompted to sit and learn. He advised the newspapers to stress the unity of Indian culture and to emphasise the values of the Indian way of life instead of playing up the differences and defects. He wanted them to indulge neither in flattery nor in mudslinging; He asked them not to inflame or burn incense, but portray and highlight all examples of service and sacrifice.
On His way to Hyderabad, Baba halted at Sholapur where He urged the people to investigate into their own inner resources and learn to develop them. "Develop unshakeable faith in yourself, in your capacity to live well and long, in your capability to be of use to others," He exhorted.
At Hyderabad, too, His message was a tonic to the wayward and the vacillating: "Be cheerful and sprightly; cultivate faith in God, keep virtuous company, nourish discipline and cherish lofty ideals of service. Control the senses; avoid seeing evil, hearing evil, relishing evil thoughts and sights, words and news. Go straight, not along a crooked path. Do not read trash, or see foul films. Discipline the wavering mind by means of Bhajan, Nagarasankirtana and Namasmarana," Baba directed.
On the 10 June 1968, Baba returned to Prasanthi Nilayam.
The Eternal Emancipator
This chapter may well be closed with an extract from a letter by Charles Penn that he wrote on his return to America, after being exhilarated by his first physical darshan of Baba and having his faith and devotion enriched by the experiences at Dharmakshetra and the World Conference at Bombay - especially Baba's revelation of His being the One Divine Principle come in human form.
On his return to the US, Baba’s form appeared before him at his residence and said: "You, Charles, saw at Bombay the tens of thousands of seekers of Liberation, striving to catch at least a glimpse of Me. These numbers are but a drop in the ocean, compared to the countless unseen souls who try to reach Me from beyond mortal bounds. To all I give My Light and Love, and help each forward, towards Liberation.
"All who come to me in their concrete form have fortunately reached the stage when they are beginning to 'see' the reality. Those who cry for the chance to see Me in the concrete form have their prayers answered; to each I give every opportunity for darshan, for they deserve and receive My Love.
"Then, Charles, there are those who may never see Me in the concrete form. They have, all the same, reached Me through a friend, a book or a photograph. To each of these, if they yearn deeply, I give My darshan inwardly. These too I love as deeply for they have begun to see themselves, as being beyond their body, as Divine Souls. This is true advancement towards self-realisation. Liberation and Peace can be theirs through loving the Lord in meditation. All who meditate upon Me as the One with many Names and Forms will have Shanthi, Peace."
(To be continued)
- Heart2Heart Team
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