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Posted on: Sept 12, 2013
THIS 9/11 AND THE OTHER 9/11s
The Potent Messages from 'HIS'tory
Karanjia and His Blitz
“'You do not have to be crazy to work here, but it helps.' So read the sign outside Russy Karanjia's office in Blitz. He passed away on February 1, 2008, exactly 67 years after he founded one of India's most powerful publications... 'Free, Frank, and Fearless' roared our masthead'” writes P. Sainath, who worked with Karanjia's Blitz as its deputy editor for over a decade.
A much-acclaimed and award-winning journalist, P. Sainath is currently the Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu. But he honed his talents and toned his writing during those years with Russy Karanjia.
Blitz was India's first weekly tabloid started in 1941 focussed on investigative journalism. “We were not always fearless. We were sometimes too free for our own good. And we were obnoxiously frank. But Blitz was always readable, thanks to an editor with an unrivalled instinct for what would make news to an incredibly diverse readership...,” P. Sainath adds.
So that is what Blitz was - ever engaging and spicy with racket-busting reports, giant political scoops, courageous exposes and irreverent stings embellished with quality visuals. In the 1980s, it was a major Indian tabloid published from Mumbai with a circulation of 6,00,000.
It was in the mid-seventies that the suave and feisty, most respected and most feared Karanjia carried a story on Baba denouncing and deriding His divinity. But what he had written was all hearsay.
Someone told him, “Why don't you go and check it out for yourself?” He liked the idea and like a true journalist made a visit to Puttaparthi.
The result was the article 'God is an Indian' in Blitz. Interestingly the date of publication was a 9/11 – September 11, 1976.
What is more significant is the message that this piece brought out, and that is where we see not just its seamless connection with the other important 9/11s (9/11 – Part One and 9/11 - Part Two) but also the absolute relevance of those words even now, when we seem to be groping in the dark, and more often than not stumbling and fracturing ourselves in our quest for world peace.
The U-Turn and How it Happened
Mr. Karanjia was extremely fortunate to be granted an exclusive two-and-half-hours no-holds barred interview with Baba. This self-professed atheist and Marxist, as they say, 'came, saw and was conquered'. In the introductory chapter of 'God Lives in India' (he later compiled his articles on Baba in Blitz into a book) he writes:
“To Baba's devotees, the Avatar has come to provide a solution, and a cure, to a world living in terror of a nuclear holocaust. The false dichotomies created by Western thought like God and Man, Purusha and Deva, simply do not exist in Indian scriptures which prescribe the assimilation of God in man and man in God as the basis of religion.
Baba personifies this philosophy. As He told me, 'God is man and man is God. All of us have something of God, the Divine spark, within us. All men are Divine like Myself with the Spirit embodied in human flesh and bone. The only difference is that they are unaware of their godhood.'
For the doubting or confused minority to which section I then belonged, Baba has this message:
'Those who want to secure pearls from the sea have to dive deep to fetch them. It does not help them to dabble among the shallow waves near the shore and say that the sea has no pearls and all stories about them are false.
Likewise, if a person wants to secure the love and grace of the Avatar, he must dive deep and get submerged in Sai Baba. Then only will he become one with Me and carry Me in his innermost heart.”
Karanjia continues further and records:
“I have still not dived deep enough into this ocean of love and devotion to secure the grace. My experience of Baba is limited to a brief encounter in Bombay followed by a long dialogue at Puttaparthi. Nevertheless, the encounter was a fantastic, almost shattering one.”
Describing this 'shattering experience', at one point he writes:
“Baba not only radiated powerful emanations of what I can describe as spiritual love and grace, but went on to amaze me with the knowledge of the most intimate developments affecting my life and work.
He appeared also to know beforehand the questions I planned to ask. As soon as I began asking one, He would stop me with a gentle tap on the knee to begin answering it. I never completed a question. Still I got all the answers.”
That's how life-altering the experience was for Mr. Karanjia and the questions he asked spanned a variety of topics, right from 'why God takes human form' to 'what troubles man today', from 'why Baba creates rings and watches' to 'what is the surest way to save the planet now', from 'why Baba does miracles' to 'what is the secret of this triple Sai incarnation', and so on.
The Problems Today and Their Way Out – Baba Answers
Here are just a couple of questions, those that directly pertain to the 9/11 discussion I have been dealing with till now in this 3-part article.
Karanjia: The existing situation driven by evil forces to destruction as You have correctly analysed it, appears to suggest the inevitability of another Mahabharata-type war. Does this mean that the salvation for which You are working can be consummated only after a destructive war?
Baba: The evil must and shall be removed before such a catastrophe takes place. There will be minor wars and skirmishes… of course these cannot be helped in the existing state of affairs.
But today as I told you, the evil is so widespread that humanity itself would be destroyed in a nuclear holocaust in the event of a world war. It is to prevent such a catastrophe that this Avathar has come, that is, to raise human consciousness above the existing syndrome of anger, hate, violence and war, and save the world from disaster.
This can be achieved only by the re-establishment of the brotherhood of mankind through the Vedas, Shastras and all religions with their evangel of dharma; this will liberate the human race from the chains of karma.
I always say: Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish, let the glory of God be sung in all the languages in a variety of tunes. That should be the ideal. Respect the differences between the faiths and recognize them as valid so far as they do not extinguish the flame of unity.
Karanjia: What is the solution to this escalating conflict between wealth and power on one side, and poverty and weakness on the other?
Baba: The transformation of both into a single co-operative brotherhood on terms of equality without competition or conflict. This can result only from truth and love. The main issue is to fuse the two classes into one single class. The problem, however, is one of bringing them together on a common base or platform.
Wealthy people live isolated in a certain state or condition. The poor also are similarly isolated in another state or condition. How do we bring them together?
I do so in many subtle ways by breaking the barriers of wealth and poverty and creating a feeling of equality and oneness between the poor and the rich. In this ashram you find them living and working together, even performing menial labour on terms of complete equality. Here there are no distinctions whatsoever, or any special facilities for the rich. They live, eat, work, worship and sleep like the poor. All live like a community of workers to share the common austerities of the ashram.
Despite our rigorous discipline, industrialists and businessmen want to come here. Why? Because they secure peace of mind beyond physical comfort which no wealth or power on earth can purchase or provide.
Thus we open to them a wonderful new world of spiritual treasures and they must sacrifice material wants and comforts. My mission is to show them the way to peace of mind which everybody, rich and poor alike, desires. In that process of spiritual evolution, the seeker learns that this blissful state cannot be purchased for money in a shop or gifted to one by anybody but oneself. It can come only from the universal source of divinity, the in-dwelling God that embraces poor and rich alike.
This concept creates a common fellowship, a brotherhood of give and take between the wealthy and the poor. Those who have too much are obliged to give up their unnecessary wants, while those who have too little get their needs fulfilled.
After all, in spiritual terms, all mankind belongs to one and the same class, caste or religion. The divine principles in each and all of them derive from one and the same God. This fundamental oneness has to be made manifest to them through direct contact with spiritual realities and the persuasive expanding power of love, till they become part of the universal religion of work, worship and wisdom.
My mission is the re-establishment of the spiritual law of one God, one religion, one language embracing one humanity.
I preach only one religion of love for all, which alone can integrate the human race into a brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God.
I know only one language of the heart beyond the mind or the intellect which relates man to man and mankind to God, thereby creating mutual understanding, co-operation and community life in peace and harmony.
On this basis I want to build one humanity without any religious, caste or other barriers in an universal empire of love which would enable My devotees to feel the whole world as their family.
Re-asserting the Divine Message of 9/11s
Isn't that a fantastic 9/11 message!
If we examine closely it is the same message that Baba proffered through Vivekananda on 9/11 1893; the words were different but not the spirit.
On 9/11 1906, this went out to the world again now via the charismatic character of Gandhiji and his Satyagraha.
In 1976 the Divine Himself spelt it out candidly and did it so dramatically through a dynamite of a personality like Karanjia. It was Baba's spiritual blitzkrieg through the Blitz!
Now another 9/11 just passed by when the whole of India and people elsewhere rejoiced adoring the Annihilator of all Anxieties and Worries, Lord Ganesha.
But our obstacles will be removed and peace will dawn, Baba says only when we observe this festival understanding its spiritual significance.
“You may install idols and worship them. But do not forget the inner significance of all worship,” He said on this occasion in 1994.
Further He explained:
“All external activities are necessary only to help you to get into the spirit of non-duality and experience unity in diversity.
On these festival days, you should remember that God is One, and all religions uphold the same principle of 'One God who is Omnipresent'.
You should not have contempt for any religion, as each is a pathway to God. Fostering love towards your fellow-beings, receive the love of the divine. This is the goal of life.”
This is the only way to permanent world peace, the only solution to save the world from witnessing another 9/11 of the kind we saw in 2001.
If any of these previous 9/11s (from 1893 to 1906 to 1976) had received even one-hundredth of the attention that 9/11 2001 received, then probably as Swami Vivekananda said “human society would be far more advanced than it is now” in the true sense of this statement. I hope and pray that at least on this aspect let history not repeat itself.
by Bishu Prusty (Radio Sai Team)
Graphics: Mohan Dora (Radio Sai Team)
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