Home >> Cover Story
Posted on : Oct 18, 2011
Glowing Tributes to Baba's 'Kanu'
On September 3, 2011 the Sai family lost Dr. Victor 'Krishna' Kanu, a devotee par excellence. Radio Sai paid its earnest tribute to this exalted devotee through a comprehensive cover story: Baba's Fantastic Flute published on October 8, 2011.
In this article we shared with you the life sketch of this exemplary messenger of the Lord who strove to share His love with indomitable determination. Many devotees have expressed deep pain in his passing and have penned their poignant thoughts. It is only appropriate that we share these heartfelt feelings as these are reflections which inspire us to lead a life of dedication and devotion which Victor exemplied.
We start with the tribute by Father Charles Ogada from Nigeria. At the end of this article you will find links to more such eulogies from senior members of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation who have worked closely with Dr. Kanu for several years.
A Saint is Born
by Father Charles Ogada
As Sri Victor joins the Masters ascending
In the corridors of History
Many have spoken of Great Hanumanji of Lord Rama
Today the Kali Yuga has witnessed
During the Dwapara yuga
The miracle school of Zambia Sri Victor built
Christ the son came first
When the Father came, Sathya Sai
Yes, today a Saint is born
Where Hanuman is, There Rama is. Where Victor is, there Sathya Sai is!
In the year 2001, I travelled to Puttaparthi to see Swami. This was my very first visit to Prasanthi Nilayam and Swami called me for an interview. Throughout the interview, Swami showered endless Love and Joy, which warmed our hearts, and as it drew to an end, I began to feel an overwhelming urge, like a bubble rising within my heart. I wanted to invite Swami to Africa! My mind was telling me, “this is impossible. Don’t be crazy!” But the words of Jesus gave me courage. “If you ask the Father anything in my Name, he will give it to you.” Up until that point, I did not know that Swami had visited Africa previously. As we proceeded to leave the interview room, the urge became stronger and I could not hold it any longer. This time I was standing alone with Swami just at the entrance of the interview room. Then, with folded hands I poured out the yearning in my heart. “Swami”, I prayed, “Please, come to Africa”. Swami’s face glittered with a smile as he said to me, “I am already in Africa”. “Do you know Victor Kanu?” He continued. “No Swami” I replied. Then, with such melting love, Swami said to me, “I am working through him” pointing to His Heart as He said it.
I didn’t realize the full extent of Swami’s words, until I met this devotee who was introduced to me by his Guru even before I set my eyes on him, almost three years after. Victor had come to Puttaparthi and when I was informed of his arrival, I was naturally excited and went to greet him. After a brief introduction, I was hit by his thunder of Love as he said to me, “Come to Zambia and help us.” His command was as sure as Truth. But I was very uncertain. At this time I was going through a crisis with the Catholic Church and I did not know what Swami wanted me to do. After hesitating for a while I said to him, “Oh, I have to ask Swami.” How foolish I was! Here was “Swami” talking to me and I was telling “Swami” I will ask “Swami”! I did not yet understand what Swami meant when he said to me, “I am working through him.” It meant, to have seen him, is to have seen me.
|Father Charles Ogada speaking in Bhagawan's Divine Presence|
Of course, it is not in the nature of Victor to give up as he was certain of what he knew. Like a Lion, he came back to me with the call of Self Confidence – to wake me up from my trepidation. “Take one step towards Swami”, he said quoting his Master, “and Swami will take ten towards you!” Immediately, I thought within me, “But in my own case, Swami takes all the steps”. Now as I look back I realize that if this were to be the case, I would have been lame and spiritually deformed. It is not that God cannot take all the steps for us, but he allows us to fall and make mistakes, so that we can rise on the foundation of Self-Confidence. If the mother were to carry the child all the way through the journey, how can the child’s limbs grow strong?
The following year, on the festival of Guru Poornima, my papers (work permit) were ready for me to travel to Zambia. And this was the beginning of another learning experience from the one of whom the Lord Himself said, was “His perfect instrument”.
The Miracle School was the Miracle of His Love
Victor came personally to pick me up from the airport. As he hugged me, I felt the love of a Father towards his son and from then on, I called him “Dad”. Eating, working, laughing, praying and playing with him were sacred lessons in the school of life. In fact, I regarded myself as one of his students. The Sathya Sai School of Zambia is a Temple of Learning, for the teachers as well as the students. In this Divine Temple, Swami “worked through His Victor” to bring about the miracle of His Love. The students were drawn from the rejects of society, economically, emotionally, socially, mentally and morally. Victor admitted the “zeroes” and transformed then into all round “Heroes”! Have you ever experienced total joy that made your heart want to jump off your breast - ripples of bliss rising and raising you beyond the limits of human possibilities! This was the joy we experienced as we watched the pupils unfold the divine within – like fragrant flowers in the garden of Sai! From the void of nothingness, suddenly there was a big bang – an explosion of the Divine within. And you just pinch yourself as you wonder whether this was the same pupil you knew just a year ago.
I could remember the first task given to me by Krishna Kanu. Shortly before he left for India for the birthday of the Lord that year (2005), he called me to his office and told me he was giving me an important assignment. That assignment was to help upgrade the academic standards of the grade eight girls (who were to sit for their National grade 9 exams the following year) during the five weeks holidays coaching. These students were asked to continue classes during the holidays.
The grade eight girls, Sri Victor explained, were exceptionally weak due to the fact that the majority of them had been picked from the “drop-out” list of the Zambian school system. This was my first encounter in witnessing the transformative power of Swami’s Love!
Victor loved the children with the same passion with which he loved the Lord. To the parents and the staff, he was “all things to us all” – father, friend, teacher, motivator, director, organiser. In matters of disputes and discord, he was a bridge of harmony and you could not but smile with pride at his sense of diplomacy! Truly, he was for us the ambassador of God who erased the gap we create between the human and the divine.
His Life was His Message, His message was Swami
Victor was a colossus of inspiration. I will never stop wondering how he did this. He was the perfect example of total dedication to one’s duty, come rain and come shine! With his health condition, it would have been completely impossible for anyone to do what he did with extreme dexterity. His body suffered from diabetes and as a result, his eyesight was heavily impaired that he could hardly see anything. For quite a long time, he had suffered from a poor heart condition coupled with high blood pressure. Yet never a time did he talk about his health problems or complain about them. Vibrant, energetic and with a cheerful joy, he carried out his duty as divine. Sometimes, he had had severe heart attacks and had to be rushed to the Super Speciality Hospital. Beloved Swami would take away this condition by telling him, “I will take care”. Since he had surrendered his body to the Lord, it was the duty of the Lord to take care of it.
One of the core messages of Swami is for us to transcend body consciousness. In fact, Swami said this is the basis of spirituality. It is the ego that identifies with the body. And this is the major obstacle to the realization of the inherent Divinity. Beloved Swami had said:
“If it is asked whether Ahamkara (egoism) is also essential, the answer is: Aham (the ego) should be present but not Aham-kara (the feeling of egoism, the sense of separate identity associated with the body consciousness). Aham means "I." The "I" should not be identified with the physical form. "Aham Brahmaasmi" (I am Brahman). "Na Aham Jivaasmi" (I am not the jiva--the individual soul). "Aham Aham" (I am I). This Aham is the essence of everything. In the Sanskrit alphabet, the first letter is "A" and the last letter is "Ha." When the two letters are combined, you have "Aha." All the sounds in the language are comprised within these two letters. Aham means the principle which is present in everything in the cosmos, from the atom to Brahmam. This is the significance of the Veda”
From my personal encounters with Sri Victor, I am certain that he has well transcended body consciousness. And his life is a clear testimony of how one can go beyond Ahamkara through Seva (selfless service). I used to take care of him when he visited Nigeria, and although he was unable to see anything, he travelled alone to different parts of Africa to discharge his duty as Central Coordinator. His beloved wife, Genoveve, would meticulously package and label his medications according to use, time and dosage. I used to ask him, “Dad (as I call him), how do you manage to do this?” And he would reply with a big broad laugh, “Charles, (stressing the 'ar') this body has its course. I don’t give it a thought.”
When the Last Desire was Granted...
Towards the end of last month, Sri Victor came in my dream. This was the first time as far as I am aware, that he has ever appeared in my dream. He was full of light and his hair and cloths were snow white. I was showing him around our work in Nigeria and he was blessing them. When I woke up from that dream, I knew it was not an ordinary dream. A day after this dream, Sri Victor called me on the phone. It was the most pleasant surprise. Outside the time I was in Zambia, I cannot remember getting a call from him. He would usually send an e-mail. One could therefore imagine my joy hearing his strong kingly voice from the other end! When I narrated the dream to him, he said, “It is Swami blessing!” Then I remembered once again the words of Swami, “I am working through him”!
Although my heart danced in joy at these experiences, little did I know that this was his farewell blessings to me. In African culture, before an elder joins his ancestors, he would first call his children and impart his blessings on them one after the other. This manner of death was the one criterion that assures the living that their father had reached ancestor-hood.
Back when I was still in Zambia, Sri Victor used to share with me his intense desire to bring the message of Sai to his own people in the war torn Sierra Leone. You could literally see his eyes moisten with tears as he expressed this one last desire of his soul. For many years, Sri Victor had not visited his home. One could imagine his joy the first time he visited home with a team of paramedical and medical experts from UK and other places bringing medical facilities to people who had been torn and deformed by the ravages of war. This was the beginning of the spread of Sai message of Love in Sierra Leone. Last week, he went to supervise the construction and inauguration of a Sai Centre in his home town. At last this last desire was fulfilled and his soul like Simon’s, was free to sing the nunc dimittis:
At last oh all-powerful Swami
You have kept your Promise
And you may let your servant go in Peace
With my own eyes I have seen your salvation
Which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples
A light to reveal your will to those who do not believe
And bring glory to your people Yonibana
- Radio Sai team