Volume 12 - Issue 07
July 2014
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Posted on: July 09, 2014

TO FOLLOW SWAMI’S WISH OR NOT?

THAT IS THE QUESTION!

Prof. G. Venkataraman

PArt 01

 


The following is the transcript of a talk broadcast recently by Prof. Venkataraman over Radio Sai. The transcript is supplemented with appropriate photographs and video clips. We hope you would enjoy this article and also find its accompaniments useful.

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prasanthi Nilayam.

Dear listeners, this is a special talk, made necessary by certain happenings in recent times that are rather unusual and disturbing at the same time. I am sure you must be wondering what it is all about; so, let me begin at the beginning.

From the time Radio Sai started functioning, it has been primarily concerned with the dissemination of the teachings and the message of our Most Beloved Bhagawan. That said there have also been times when I personally had to make exceptions in order to intervene and dispel deliberate misinformation that was being spread to create confusion in the minds of devotees. I expected that after Swami withdrew, there would be no need for this sort of thing, since the problem was external to the community of devotees. Everyone believed that a new era of collective responsibility would begin in which everyone would be united in preserving His legacy in all manners possible, particularly by way of sustaining the various institutions Swami had established.

The Recent Confusion

Sadly, it turns out that I was mistaken. Lately certain things have been happening which belong to an altogether different category of problems that have serious implications. Many have expressed their anguish about this in person to me when visiting here, while others have conveyed their agitated feelings via e-mails.

A good many of you who are deeply immersed in work, and use your spare time for re-living those golden times which so rapidly dissolved into history, are perhaps wondering what is it that I am talking about; allow me please to put the matter in perspective as best as I can.

I start with Easter Sunday 2011 when, what we thought would not and cannot ever happen, actually did. Our dear Divine Master decided that He had given His Teachings and must now withdraw to His Eternal, Formless and Omnipresent Aspect, leaving us to behave like adults, and improve ourselves spiritually by carrying on His Mission, besides spreading His Teachings.

The Eternal Dissolves into Eternity - Part 01

The Eternal Dissolves into Eternity - Part 02

However, this being the Kali Yuga that did not quite happen; and thus began a major test for the faithful, a test that commenced without warning or even enough time to recover from the traumatic experience we all had to go through. Having started the test, it seemed as if Swami was telling us,

Bangaru! Here is your test. You can easily handle it if you are completely familiar with My teachings and your buddhi is sharp enough to discriminate between what would please Swami and what would not. And remember, when you talk of Swami, I am not confined to one form or place but Omnipresent.

At the same time, since you who are now alive have been given the extraordinary blessing of experiencing the Avataric Form, you have to be extra careful in understanding and interpreting My teachings.

sathya sai baba at kodai  

The last point is important. In my experience, I have found that where Swami is concerned, problems usually arise in two different ways. First is through misunderstanding Swami’s teachings and second is through misinterpretation.

There is a difference between the two situations. Misunderstanding leads to mistakes but genuine ones. This has happened to me several times and of course on every occasion Swami duly ticked me off; that is how He sometimes imparted education, by acting as a tough headmaster. Where misinterpretation of Swami’s teachings is concerned, sometimes it is due to spiritual ignorance while at other times the intentions are questionable, if I may put it that way.

I am sure many of you may be somewhat irritated and also wondering what exactly is it that I am trying to say. Well, two things have been happening recently which are linked and also disturbing. Let me start with the more recent one, which has set alarm bells ringing in many places. It is all about an email that is going round, in which the writer says,

QUOTE: I know now that Sai Baba needs me here as he has just made his first public appearance in the subtle body (light body), while taking 150 people to Kodaikanal.........for the past 10 days. Many discourses and films will be released soon...

The writer continues: 

QUOTE: You will, I am sure, hear of this historical moment which will be a test of faith for many. The rumour that He was in the subtle body and has taken residence in Muddenahalli, has been widespread for 2-3 years now.

On my first of a dozen or so visits over the last 1 & 1/2 years, when He called me to Muddenahalli, He told me, ‘My body had decayed and useless and I had to leave it behind. But I will continue My mission as promised until my 96th year. Then, I will take a new form.’ END OF QUOTE.

The writer adds that at “His command,” meaning of course Swami’s command, he the writer, visited the institutions set up by newly-formed Trusts “in various countries,” and further that many more such institutions, i.e., schools and hospitals would be built including a super-specialty hospital in America, not forgetting the execution of water projects.

Here comes the interesting part and listen carefully. The writer of this mail also says:

QUOTE: He (meaning Swami of course) told me not to speak of my visitations to his new form or activities of his post-Samadhi mission, which I had not, but that time has now come.  I am sure this is beyond understanding for many as it is not possible to comprehend this phenomenon intellectually but only through the boundless perception of the heart.

This will most certainly be a new controversial test of faith for all, and a great commotion will now begin (as is and has always been his signature), for many that call themselves devotees of Sathya Sai Baba, so few really understood what he was.....…Or who they are... So again he stirs the pot of transformation...wow! END OF QUOTE.

This letter is, if I may put it that way, the effect; and the cause for it is, as the writer himself has described,

The rumour that He was in the subtle body and has taken residence in Muddenahalli … for 2-3 years now.

You will recall I had read out this part a little earlier.  

So that in brief is what is bothering many, yours truly included; that Swami has taken residence in subtle form elsewhere and, through the agency of others who are in communication with His subtle Form, He gives instructions, authorises missions and most recently has told the writer that He would be back in His 96th year meaning, I presume, in the year 2021. Furthermore, as this writer says, all this would be comprehensible only to the limited few through the boundless perception of their heart while most of us remain trapped by our intellect which, presumably, is quite feeble to understand happenings in the subtle world.

The Misinterpretation

So you see there is Swami’s test. What I am not sure about is who is being tested?! Maybe, together we can figure it out. But meanwhile, we too have been hearing about this Muddenahalli business, that people have started going there, etc. However, we chose not to pay attention for an important reason. A large number of devotees who were attached to the physical form had unquestionably been traumatised by Swami’s withdrawal and were ready to clutch at any straw to seek consolation. If they felt secure by going somewhere else, why unnecessarily disturb them? That was the view we took.

Soon we found that instead of coming out of the shock and back to normality, these suffering souls were being systematically presented an alternate reality according to which Swami had taken residence in Muddenahalli in subtle form, etc. Although this was clearly in violation of not only what the scriptures say but also what Swami Himself had declared, we chose to refrain from commenting on this bizarre and dubious alternate reality that was being promoted. Presently, things have gone to such a stage that it has become necessary for us to come out of the shell and, in general public interest, draw attention to certain things that Swami has said which have a direct bearing on this strange turn of events.

As a prelude, let me begin with an incident that happened many years ago in Trayee Brindavan when Swami was having one of those famous Trayee sessions, at which I happened to be present. In other words, what I am going to say is from my own personal knowledge.

That evening, soon after the usual opening formalities were completed, Swami asked one of those present to speak. Since talking about experiences was the norm, this person narrated with much gusto how Swami suddenly appeared at midnight in a hospital room in Canada where a devotee had suddenly become very sick. There was no medical attendant or nurse around and this person was collapsing. He prayed, whereupon Swami manifested and healed the seriously ill person, who then fell asleep. Ending his talk with appropriate dramatic flourishes the speaker sat down and then asked Swami:

Swami, You are here in Brindavan. And yet, You suddenly manifested in far off Canada to come to the assistance of a devotee who called out to You. How did You do that Swami?”

All eyes were now focussed expectantly on Swami, wondering what He was going to say. Swami took His own time and then slowly said to the speaker,

You seem to have a rather poor opinion about God!”

sathya sai baba

 

While all of us gasped, Swami continued,

These days, when a man speaks in Washington, you are able to see and hear him here in your drawing room. If man can do that, is it so difficult for God to be in two places at the same?

Actually it is not as if God travels from place to place and so on. He is everywhere and all the time. However, He is not visible. When required, He manifests at the place He has to be in and after He has completed what He had appeared for, He unmanifests Himself.”

This was a great lesson and I soon realised that there is a perfect example in Nature that we hardly notice.

As we all know, planet earth is surrounded by a thin protective skin called the atmosphere which, by the way, we now seem hell-bent on polluting beyond decent limits. While the atmosphere is made up primarily of two (transparent) gases, namely, nitrogen and oxygen, it also has water vapour. However, this water vapour is not visible. In other words, what we regard as a clear sky actually has a lot of moisture; the vapour not being visible to the eye, we say the sky is clear. Stated differently, the sky being clear is merely a perception and does not mean that there is no water vapour.

I am mentioning all this because even though the sky might be clear, suddenly a cloud could appear as if from nowhere. And just as clouds appear seemingly from nowhere, they could also thin out and disappear. In other words, if Nature could make clouds to appear and disappear, could not the Creator also manifest and unmanifest as He chooses?

Going back to Swami being in residence in Muddenahalli after Mahasamadhi, one wonders where He was in residence just before He incarnated as the Avatar of the Kali Age. Was He somewhere close to Shirdi? What happened after He shed His form as Lord Sri Krishna, which happened about five thousand years or so ago? Any number of such questions can be asked.

Someone asked me: “Swami has said in so many of His Discourses, I am in you, etc. If Swami has taken residence in Muddenahalli, does it mean that Swami vacated my Heart?”

you are in me i am in you

What I am trying to point out is that this business of systematically creating an alternative reality is causing unnecessary doubts in the minds of ordinary devotees. Is this right and proper? Here I must make a mention of a question addressed to me after I finished a talk I gave soon after Mahasamadhi, to a group that had come from the Far East. One person got up and asked,

Many people are saying that Swami can no longer be physically seen, is there any point in going to Puttaparthi? Do you have any message or answer for them?

I replied,

No one can be compelled to go here or there. People visit places for their own reasons and are perfectly free to do so. However, your question reminds me of what our headmaster told us after a morning prayer-session when I was studying in a school. This happened around 1948 in Madras, Chennai as it is now called. I remember very clearly what the headmaster told us because it made a lasting impression on me. He said,

Boys! Some of you must be wondering whether there is any benefit in attending these prayer sessions. Let me tell you that the sound vibrations generated during prayer every day gets embedded in these walls around you. Day after day, this accumulation of sacred vibrations goes on. This school has been in existence for many years, and right now all of us are immersed in the subtle vibrations accumulated during all those years. The vibrations generated by prayer are powerful and would have a beneficial effect on you.”

Continuing my answer to the question asked of me I then said:

I narrated what the headmaster said to us because one day during His Discourse, Swami suddenly paused, looked directly at the boys sitting in front of Him and then said,

Boys! Always sing bhajans with intense devotional fervour, and deep Love in your heart. The physical sound would fade away for sure but the subtle vibrations would fill the entire universe. More important, they would be embedded forever in every pillar and nook and corner of this hall. This hall would thus become one of the holiest places on earth.

I continued:

I have just told you what Swami said on that occasion. Before I continue on that theme, I must return to the remarks of my headmaster. He said people go on pilgrimages to holy places, bathe in sacred rivers, and so on. Why? What was special about them? In what way is Tirupathi superior to the temple in your village? Why is the Ganges considered to be more sacred than other rivers? The answer to all this is simple. If one goes to holy places one would pick up extra subtle vibrations; that is what is special about pilgrimages.


- Radio Sai Team

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