HOW SATHYA SAI BABA CAME TO ME
by James Sinclair
Mr. James D. Sinclair is a reputed businessman, who has made a very big mark for himself in the field of mineral prospecting. That apart, he is also a person who has been coming to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for spiritual guidance for several years for now. After having acquired his degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, Mr. Sinclair, in the year 1975, set up the Sinclair group of companies for which he became the President and the Chief Executive Officer. Thereafter, he established, in the year 1981, the James D. Sinclair Financial Research Institute, for which he became the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer. Later on his interest increased in the field of television and telecommunications, wherein he became the founding partner of the company Cross Country Cable TV. Presently, he is the Chairman and the Executive Officer of the Tanzanian American Development Corporation. The manner in which James Sinclair of America became a devotee of Sai makes a thrilling story. Sinclair had never heard of Baba but he had a deep yearning for God in his heart; that was enough. For the rest of the story, we turn to Sinclair himself:
“How is it possible”, I used to wonder, “that I was born at this time and age?” As a Christian, it seemed so unfair that here I was in the 1950′s, and Jesus was on this planet two thousand years ago. I used to pray as I drove to New York City for business work: “I know you are out there, but I can’t find you, Dear Lord. Instead, You must find me!” Those prayers were not wasted. They were heard and answered in the positive.
I will tell you of an event that at that time seemed shocking but would take thirty years to become fully clear. It has to be kept in mind that neither I nor my wife at that time had any understanding or inclination towards Eastern tradition or philosophies. In 1964, just a short while after our marriage, my wife and I accepted an invitation to stay at a friend’s woodland cottage. As we were going to sleep, I saw an old man standing over my bed in the moonlight. My feeling was not one of fear but rather like one has while a mother is looking at her son. The old man then turned and walked across the room and through the wall! Just then, my wife said in a loud voice, “Jim, are you awake?” She screamed since she was watching the old man as he walked through the wall. Barbara had never seen anything like that in her life and was shaken by the experience. Now let us leave this experience and move ahead to 1968.
Our married life had produced our first daughter. Business was not going well. My health was not so good. The IRS [Internal Revenue Service, which is the name for the Income Tax Department in the U.S.] was looking for me. I had just sold my car to pay the month’s rent for our living quarters. I was frustrated about the way things were going and my apparent inability to change the circumstances. One day, it just became too much for me to bear. I went into my cellar where I had a desk. I sat down and prayed:
I don’t know who You are.
I don’t know where You are.
I don’t know what You are.
But this I do know: You are!
So, You have to take over,
Because I have made a mess of everything.
I resolved not to leave the cellar till the Divine literally took over, whatever that meant. All of a sudden, I looked to my right and saw what appeared to be a little royal child dressed in gold and jewels. The child had long hair, so I thought it must be a girl. Suddenly, all my fear was gone. I was totally at ease. I got up and went upstairs. The fun was about to begin.
I began to meditate twice a day. The environment slowly began to improve. I had an interesting experience. My meditation was on the light from a candle. Every time I started my meditation looking at the candle flame, I saw a little fellow in the flame wearing an orange robe with a great shock of black hair. Then I would transcend thought. I also began to have the same dream every single night. It went on for years. I saw myself walking up a hill, led by three men in the darkness of night. One was an old man in white. One looked somewhat like Jesus Christ. The one in the middle had an orange robe. This dream occurred night after night for years. At that time, I had no knowledge of Shirdi Sai Baba or Sathya Sai Baba. For that matter I had no idea of any Avatar and did not know what the word meant.
Now we move ahead another eighteen years to 1984. I have been meditating now for fifteen years. I am a vegetarian, and I keep a special room in my house for my meditation. It is a tiny hut, completely private. My meditation has lost form of any kind. A friend who then was a technical commodity market analyst knew my interest in meditation. He suggested that I might like the tape he has. He told me that he it played before and after his meditation. It gave him a great spiritual feeling. I was most grateful and began the same practice for relaxation before and after meditation. Wow! It was powerful.
Now comes the spectacular story. Please understand that I don’t feel special in any way. In fact, I believe that someone had been knocking hard on my door for a lifetime. I was too stupid to know. Therefore, this person had to blow a bugle in my ear to get my attention. Well, the bugle blew in Connecticut, East Coast USA, one winter evening.
I was walking from the lavatory in the night. You know how you get a feeling someone is there. I did. I turned around and there He was. I hadn’t the slightest idea who He was. This handsome figure dressed in a long orange robe, with a shock of hair you wouldn’t believe, was in my hallway, looking at me silently. I nearly jumped out of my skin. As fast I had seen Him, He was gone. Well, it happened a second time. Not too much later, I was in my meditation room, and this same figure was standing when I came out of meditation. I rubbed my eyes. He was still there. He motioned as if I was to do something with His Feet. I knelt down and touched His Feet. As I looked up, He was no longer there. This time I didn’t feel scared, I felt out of my mind. I didn’t know which I needed more, spiritual or professional medical help! I was determined to find out who this fellow was that visited me. I certainly wasn’t going to tell my wife.
Off I went to the fort of spiritual knowledge in New York City, Samuel Weiser’s bookstore. I approached the clerk. He asked if he could help me. I said, ‘I certainly hope so.’ I described my visitor, of course without giving details of the visit. I wanted to know if there was any book about someone who looked like the description of my visitor. He said, ‘One moment. I will be right back.’ He returned and handed a packet of whitish grey powder and a book titled Holy Man and the Psychiatrist written by a doctor [this book is by Dr. Sandweiss]. The salesman told me that he himself was a devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Now I knew that the name of the form was Sathya Sai Baba. Was I in for a surprise when I recognised that the recurring dream had been of Shirdi Sai, Sathya Sai, and Prema Sai walking up the hill night after night for many years? The figure in the flame was also Him.
On my first visit to Prashanti Nilayam, which is a story in itself, I was granted an Interview with Baba. As I entered the room, He said, “All I have given you, and you have never been happy one moment in your life. I CAME TO YOU TWICE. Would you do something for Swami?” My answer was, of course, yes.
Swami went on, “BE HAPPY”. I had told absolutely no one at that time of the visit. In a 1994 Interview, Swami said to my wife and myself, “I came to you thirty years ago”. He said it right out of the blue. 1964 was the year when we had the experience in the woodland cabin with the figure of the old man in white. That was indeed thirty years ago.
Who was the royal little girl in my cellar when I was at my wits ends? I believe it was Baba in the form of Baby Krishna, welcoming me as a spiritual baby onto His path. Thank You, Swami!
JAI SAI RAM
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