Sathya Sai Baba’s Divine Love Will Show Us The Truth
Howard Murphet talks on the spiritual quest for Sai Baba
What is the truth?
When at his trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus stated that he had come to earth to teach the truth, Pilate replied, “What is the truth!” and walked away. Apparently, he did not think that this tall gentle Jew, whom the temple priest had sent to be tried for his life as a troublemaker to the Roman rule, would have the answer to this big question. It was laughable to think that he would have the answer to a question the Greek Philosophers from Socrates onward had failed to answer. Well, what is the truth? Do we know it yet, 2000 years after that mocking question was asked in Jerusalem? Did Jesus teach the truth that he claimed he had come to teach? I believe that he did for those with ears to hear. Perhaps he did not emphasise the meaning sufficiently, but he certainly emphasised the importance of knowing and living the truth, for he said, “If you know the truth, the truth will make you free.”
Searching for a wise teacher
Most men and women long to know the truth about their own being – who they really are and what the purpose of their lives on earth is. Does all this struggle and endeavour end in nothing or does some important, happy destination lie at the end of this long road, this seemingly meaningless journey of pain and pleasure? Is there some formula for living that will lead them with mathematical certainty to a goal that will bring them permanent satisfaction and happiness?
Many men and women have searched through the world for a wise Teacher who will give them the answers to such questions and who will reveal the truth of being and provide the recipe for living that will bring them the freedom and joy they seek. Well, as one of those world-wandering sadhakas (aspirants), I eventually found the One, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I knew I had found my teacher but I did not immediately recognise him as a Godman or Avatar.
Very soon however, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba gave me the answers to most of my main questions; the mysteries that remain are probably beyond the level of my conscious understanding. He told me that there was just one purpose in my life, or indeed many lifetimes – that it was to develop and expand my consciousness until it had become one with the Divine Consciousness of God and thus to become one with the Divine Being that goes under many names. There is only one Being, He told me – One without a second. “In the darkness of our ignorance,” He told me, “you think that you are a separate being and that there are billions of others, but in truth there is only one Being.” Such an illogical statement was hard to accept against the evidence of my senses. Through the years that I spent in the environs of His physical presence, I began to realise the truth of this astounding paradoxical statement. Though you and I see many, touch many, hear many, communicate with many, there is in truth only One. If this be true, then surely we must come from the One.
A wise 6-year old boy
I remember one day some years ago at the Ashram, I was sitting on the veranda of the Mandir as Swami was calling into His presence a number of boys who had just joined his elementary school. He was standing perhaps three metres away from where I was sitting. I remember He asked each boy two things – his name and where he was from. Each of them stated his name and address in India. Each one seemed overjoyed to be in the presence of Swami but one little fellow, though smaller than the rest, had the brightest smile. He gave has name readily and when Swami said, “Where are you from?” he replied “From you, Swami.” Then the Lord Sai smiled too. “Look,” he said happily, “Here is one who knows he is from God”.
This boy could not have been much more than six and here was I, in my sixties and still trying to understand and realise that I was from God – that indeed we all are. So we come from God, yet we are still an integral part of Him – the One Being. Furthermore, in our present state of human consciousness, we are not aware of having any connection with Him; we are, in a sense, like the prince in the story who was taken from his royal home by a band of robbers. He grew up with the robbers and believed that he was one of them; indeed he had no idea of his royal identity – not until many years later, when a turn of circumstances brought him back to his home, did he realise his identity.
Must we go back to our spiritual home before we realise who we are? On the contrary, I think we must realise our identity before we can go back. Well, if we have come from God as the little boy stated, and with which Swami agreed, how did this happen or seem to happen?
Three explanations from Vedanta
There are three main explanations propounded by some of the great Rishis of the past who gave commentaries on the Vedanta. The word “Vedanta,” by the way, means the end of the Vedas, because this philosophy comes from the Upanishads, which are found at the end of each Veda. The word “Upanishad” means that these teachings are for those who sit close to the feet of the Master. They are, it is implied, beyond the understanding of the ordinary man or woman. The great sages strive to understand them but do they always succeed? Now, briefly, here are the three explanations on how there seems to be such a diversity of life, whereas in truth there can be only oneness or unity.
The first explanation briefly is that God through his shakti, created a maya or illusion in which we see ourselves as separate, whereas in reality we are only one. This is sometimes called “the mortal dream.” Our everyday consciousness in its waking state is really a dream state and only when we wake from this dream will we see the truth of oneness; this is called the Adwaita Vedanta or in English, non-duality.
The second great theory as given in Vedanta is that we were always throughout eternity separate souls, though part of the one God. The best analogy I can think of for this is the fruit of the pomegranate with its many separate seeds within the same skin, all being part of the one fruit. We are still part of the one fruit or the one Being without a second, whom we call God. We, the separate seeds, are not aware or have somehow forgotten who we are.
The third of the great theories is this; the one and only God created or emanated the myriad of separate souls from within himself, they are part of his very breath, part of his essence, as the Old Testament of the Hebrews states, and for all eternity they will remain separate from their creator, that is, separate in form while being one with God in their spirit or essence. This particular understanding of Vedanta seems to lie at the base of some of the world’s great religions. For some reason, known only to God Himself, separate souls in this world are born into the great illusion believing that they are separate or asunder from God. This mistaken belief of being asunder from the One is the original sin, or error from which all other errors emanate. When through the discipline of spiritual training, we come to understand and realise that though apparently separate in form, we are, in essence and in truth, one with God and with each other, then we come into the Kingdom of Heaven which is simply the state of Divine Love, or the feeling of oneness with all. Sathya Sai Baba, whose teachings are in line with the main teachings of Vedanta, together with the love he stirs in each spiritual heart, has not said, to my knowledge, which of these three explanations is correct. Since they all teach the one God and our eternal oneness with Him, perhaps the theories of creation are not important.
One further question
Though a great deal of joy-giving light has been thrown by the great Sai teachings on such fundamental questions as where we come from, who we really are and the purpose of our long journey through this school room of earth, it seems to me that one big question remains. That is: why did we have to come to earth in complete forgetfulness of our unity with the divine One, or to look at the matter in the evolutionary way, as theosophists and many of the great mystics do, why did we have to begin the journey in the mineral kingdom through only a modicum of consciousness?
Why did we have to develop that consciousness through life in the plant and animal kingdoms before reaching the human stage, and then struggle on further up the evolutionary ladder until we reach divine consciousness? As God is Chit or Absolute Consciousness and it is taught that we, each one of us, is wholly God, why the necessity of the long climb through aeons of time from the modicum of consciousness in the mineral to the full consciousness of the God-realised man? In brief, why was it, what the Masters call “the journey of necessity,” really necessary?
His Prema is the answer
Perhaps this is one of the questions which, in Paramahansa Yogananda’s terms “will be left for eternity”, or perhaps when we have reached that adulthood of consciousness as God-realised individuals when the great One will see the expanding consciousness of our minds?
Yet the most important vehicle I feel is the prema or divine love that our great leader, the Godman, Sathya Sai Baba, is constantly stirring in the sleeping springs of our spiritual hearts.