RadioSai G. Venkataraman Writes About The Sathya Sai Baba Controversy (Part 3)

Sathya Sai Baba And Venkataraman

RadioSai G. Venkataraman Writes About The Sathya Sai Baba Controversy (Part 3)

(NOTE: All Links Located In The Following Article By Prof G. Venkataraman Were Added By Joe Moreno And Were Not Included In The Original Article)

One thing about Divinity in human form is its power of attraction, which manifests in extra-ordinary ways. Here is a personal recall of one story from my own personal experience. This incident happened in 2004, I think; it was definitely after the invasion of Iraq by the Coalition forces. How do I know? Read on and you would find out.

It was summer and Swami was in Brindavan, and I too happened to be there. One day, someone told me, “Hey there is a man from Iraq and you ought to meet him.” I was excited. Man from Iraq here, and that too at this time? I sure must not miss him! I then arranged for this man to meet me in the Guest House adjoining Swami’s residence [Trayee] one afternoon. Sai Prakash who handles the camera in our studio [Prashanti Digital Studio] was there and I asked him to come with his camera.

The man came at the appointed hour, with his wife – I did not know his wife was with him – and we started talking, even as Sai Prakash was rolling the camera. What unfolded was an amazing tale, and yet not altogether surprising. We have shown this clip on Sanskar TV and I believe it can also be viewed in Saicast. But anyway, here is the story of this man in brief.

His name is Suleiman Dawood, if I recall correctly, and in the seventies, he used to be the Inspector General of Baghdad Police, an important and powerful post. Saddam Hussein had become President and once ordered himto do something that went against his Conscience. Suleiman refused, resigned and fled the country along with his wife. He first went to Turkey, spent many years there engaged in business; he then went to Bulgaria, once again to do business. After Saddam was deposed, Dawood and his wife returned to their native land. The Americans asked him to head Baghdad Police once again but he refused; as he told me, he did not want to serve the conquerors. He now had enough money and could afford to be without a job. But he was far from happy, as he saw misery and suffering everywhere. He was troubled and constantly prayed to Allah.

One day, he heard a voice that said, “Go to India.” Suleiman was stunned but later dismissed this experience as an imagination. But the voice persisted, over days. Suleiman decided he would go to India. He told his wife who thought her husband had become mad. She asked, “Where to in India?” “I do not know!” “What do you mean I do not know? Whom do you want to see in India?” “I do not know!” “You mean you simply want to land in India without knowing where to go, and whom to see?” “That is right!” “Why do you want to go?” “Because holy man is calling me, that is why!”

Now which woman in her senses would accept that? At this point in the narration, Dawood’s wife intervened to say, “I decided to accompany my husband. I did not do this out of any faith but because I thought he had become crazy and needed someone to be with him and help if needed.” And so the two started on a journey literally into the unknown. Imagine the situation then. It was hotting up, though the Americans had conquered Iraq. Baghdad airport was closed – no flights to any where; only military flights. So Dawood decided to travel by land – first to the border with Iran, then though Iran to the border of Iran with Pakistan then cross into India, to go where he did not know! But he started on that journey because something was pulling him. He travelled by train, bus and taxi.

As he was telling me this amazing tale, his wife was constantly praying. Roughly eighteen days or so after starting from Baghdad, they crossed into India at the Wagha border and went to Amritsar. There someone told him that holy men were only in South India! So the couple went to Delhi. There in the New Delhi Railway station, Suleiman was trying to find out to which place he should go. Some one said, “Go to Puttaparthi, but for that you must first go to Dharmavaram”. This man then tried to buy tickets by some train or the other to go to Dharmavaram. But the girl at the counter did not give him the ticket. Instead she said, “I think you want to go to Puttaparthi because that is a holy place and not Dharmavaram. I will put you in a train that goes to Puttaparthi,” and gave him two tickets by a train going to Bangalore via Puttaparthi.

A day or so later, the couple landed in Puttaparthi station; it had taken them 23 days to come there from Baghdad. When they started they did not know where they were going; but did they know now? The answer to that came when Suleiman turned and saw a big picture of Swami with a smiling face at the station. Suleiman was excited and told his wife, “We have come to the right place. Look there; that is the holy man who was calling me!”

Suleiman went to the Ashram but was told that Swami was not there but in Brindavan; however, that did not bother him because a German devotee was just then going to Brindavan and promised to take the Iraqi couple there. When I met these people, they had been in Brindavan for about a week and they were so happy. There was joy on the face of this man who kept on referring to Bhagavan as Baba Swami. He was most keen to seek Bhagavan’s blessings for the people of Iraq, about whom he was very concerned.

The above is a prosaic description of an extra-ordinary experience of mine, hearing the story of a man drawn by an unknown but powerful and irresistible force, out of his war-torn country, to something he could not describe but which was drawing him nevertheless. That is an example of the CALL that comes to the blessed ones, in many different ways, unfailingly, if the yearning is there within. That is the Divine “OUT THERE”, calling to the latent Divine within. In this case, “the Divine out there” was Swami, as it was in the case of James Sinclair, much earlier. [Many of you may know that story and I shall notrepeat it here.]

These are amazing incidents, hardly known, but which would be summarily dismissed by the non-believers as made-up or as hallucinations at best. That is to be expected. My own experience of the Avatar is that He often plays the role of an examiner. He would test and see if we pass the test or flunk the test. Swami says that when a carpenter drives a nail into the wall to hang a picture, he first shakes the nail to see if it is firmly in; if it is not, he hammers some more and only when he is absolutely sure, he hangs the picture. He does that test to protect the picture. In the same way, the Grace of God comes only when there is deservedness.

This is an important point, not easily understood. I too went through this phase of innumerable doubts: “God is unreasonable; why does He do this and not that?” and so on. All the time, we are designing tests to check out God, unaware of the fact that He too is engaged in testing us! In the old days, we used to have a system called Grace Marks; I do not know if that system is still there but the way the system worked is as follows. Let us say the pass marks is 35 out of 100. Let us say a candidate taking the exam gets 34 out of hundred. On the face of it, the candidate can be declared to have failed in that subject. But this ignores one crucial fact which is that when subjective evaluation is being done, there is a margin of error. In science, we call this experimental error. All observations are prone to such error and when an experimenter quotes a result, he is also obliged to quote a precision. In the case of exams, this fact that there could be a margin of error in assigning marks was taken into account by giving to a competent authority, the power to grant Grace Marks. Thus, a Vice Chancellor could give an extra mark to a boy getting 34 instead of 35, so that his fate is changed from failed to passed; an enormous difference really.

It turns out that God also follow such a system. People talk about Karma cancellation, without understanding the ABC of it. God having stipulated the Law of Karma, lets it run all by itself; He seldom intervenes. However, there are two exceptions. Exception One: The person concerned has almost atoned for all past bad acts and has only a bit of Karma left. In this case, God can and does do Karma cancellation just as banks sometimes offer credit cancellation. Rich countries did this recently to many poor African countries which could not pay back the money they had borrowed. In the NDTV program that I mentioned earlier, one lady angrily exclaimed, “I was in the room when Sai Baba gave an Interview. There were two very sick people; Baba ignored them and instead created a ring for the American Ambassador, as though the diplomat badly needed a ring.” This is a classic case of we trying to judge God rather than realizing it is all the other way around.

So much for Exception One. What about Exception Two? That was revealed a long time ago, and is clearly documented in the Gita, if people who sling mud would care to take a look at. Right in the middle of the Gita, in the Ninth Chapter to be precise, Krishna gives the Eternal Assurance that if one constantly thinks of God, then God would take care of that person. This He follows up with another emphatic assurance in the last Chapter wherein He says that if a person surrenders unconditionally and totally, then He would grant full protection to that person.

In practical terms what this means is that the Avatar does not necessarily have to cancel Karma on all occasions. It is not His duty, as some people seem to imagine. Cancellations too are bound by certain considerations and it is an ignorance of those that lead to all kinds of doubts. Many years ago, I have myself seen one afternoon, two people come out of the Interview Room on wheel chairs. Swami asked one of them to get up and walk in full public view, and he did. But the other man continued to remain on the wheel chair. I was surprised and felt sorry for him. Next morning this other person was called for Interview and I told myself, “Ah, this man’s turn is coming in the morning shift,” but alas he did not walk; he still is on the chair but his devotion has not diminished one bit. To many who have prayed, Swami has said, “I can cure but the Karma cannot be washed away. Only, the suffering would get postponed to the next birth; do you want that and carry forward the luggage or do you want to get rid off it once and for all?” So you see, this Karma cancellation is not a simple matter and it is not surprising that those without any deep knowledge of it talk rubbish.

Having said all this, I must also mention one other thing. In some cases, patients with bad cases of cancer, Swami has willed that they shall not suffer pain. My wife died of cancer, and she did not suffer the unbearable pain that cancer patients often have to in the last stages. Her brother, an oncologist himself, and who incidentally diagnosed her first attack of breast cancer, sent me a lot of morphine pills for the last stage [that came seven years after the first surgery], but they were not used at all. Swami took good care of her, and when she died, I did nothing about the funeral; it was entirely taken care of by Him, right down to the last detail; He even arranged for a large number of ladies to go along with the funeral procession, singing Bhajans all the way. Just prior to death, He personally visited her in the Hospital and materialized vibhuti for her and put a bit of it in her mouth. And He has done it so many times to so many who were with Him, serving Him in one way or the other. In other words, when deserved, Swami does grant a partial rebate.

Talking of Karma, I must recall one case which was described by Baba Himself when He addressed students many years ago. It was His personal meetings with students, and a few of us elders were present; I was present because I was the Vice Chancellor them. Swami said that in the early days there used to be a person who took care of the Canteen in those days. This man loved Swami intensely but was pretty nasty with all others. He was repeatedly warned to be loving, but his natural tendencies or Gunas ruled him. In his last days, he became very sick but no one would help him. There came a point when he lay in his own excreta, and his body full of pus began to stink. Swami then went to him, cleaned him and attended on the sick man. The fellow wept, “Swami I served you so much; is this how my life must end?” Baba replied, “You showed love to Me and that is why I have come. But I always warned you not to abuse others; you never paid heed to My words. What can I do if your Karma chases you like the bloodhound from hell?”

Dear reader, people who know little of Vedanta and have merely picked up aword here and there, may talk rubbish. We could ignore them; but I am writing all this so that at least you get some idea of how this inviolable Law of Karma works. The reference to the case of the rude man brings me to another point that many raise. They say: “Listen, Baba all the time talks about Love but you see here so many people talking rudely. Is this not a contradiction?” This sort of remark is nothing new and indeed used to be made regularly in the old days directly to Swami Himself. Often, Swami would laugh it away with some humorous remarks but on occasions He has given the correct explanation for why such things happen. He says, “This Ashram is just a part of the wide world outside. People come here from outside. Some stay for just a short while and return, while others stay here wanting to do service. I give them the chance, hoping that they would use their stay to transform. It is up to them to change for the better. If they want to stay attached to their undesirable habits including getting angry easily, all they are doing is to add to their Karmic burden. They can never escape that. I do tell people to improve but their Gunas have a strong hold on them. Man must struggle to rise above his Gunas – that is the teaching of the Gita. But who cares?”

Complaining about the Ashram is nothing new. Someone did the same to Ramana who asked in reply, “Have you come here to improve yourself or to improve the Ashram? This Ashram is a microcosm of the world outside. If you learn to improve yourself here, then you can go into the world and stay improved; that would also enable you to improve your environment!” And believe me that is actually true. I have talked to many who have vouched for this. Dr. Jeevanandam is a famous surgeon who works in the University of Chicago. He has done nearly three hundred heart transplants, and some of you might have heard the interview with him that we have carried on RadioSai. He told me that earlier, he used to be very impatient, but having come to Swami, he learnt patience. I can similarly say that I myself have been helped in many important ways. I am not perfect I agree, but I do honestly believe that I have less baggage of undesirable habits now than I had in the past, thanks entirely to Swami.

No where is this transformation most marked as in Swami’s students. So many of them have been so beautifully transformed that they go out into the world and set very good examples. I have heard Samir Bhatia [then of HDFC Bank and now heading Barclays in India] tell me that after he recruited Swami’s students in large numbers for HDFC, he found them making a change in the company’s ambience. During weekends when other members of the bank staff partied, our ex-students would simply disappear. Later it was found that they went to nearby villages for doing some small service. Attracted to the idea, others slowly joined and soon the Bank itself adopted a few villages for development. This story has repeated itself in so many places.

In the NDTV program that I referred to earlier, Swami Agnivesh said that if Sai Baba was God, He Baba should have stopped the tsunami. He also asked why Sai Baba does not do anything about corruption? I would like to respond to this at two levels, first about the tsunami itself and secondly about fighting evil [which is what corruption is].

As regards tsunami, Swami has made it clear many, many times, that Avatars seldom interfere with natural phenomena, except locally. Krishna did this and so has Swami in a little known incident relating to a big flood that swept Puttaparthi in the early seventies. We have carried a detailed account of this earlier in H2H and so I shall not repeat it here. But I would like to add the following. Krishna could have saved Abhimanyu, but He did not. All the Upa-Pandavas were slaughtered by Ashwattama; but Krishna did not do anythingto stop it; He could have though. In the larger scheme of things, sometimes certain things happen.

On a short time scale, we cannot see the meaning but on occasions, on a larger scale some Divine design does become evident. Take the case of Jesus, hailed as the Son of God. Could not have God saved Jesus? Of course He could have; then why one earth did He not? Because by sacrificing Himself on the Cross, Jesus became a beacon to millions later, when the world needed His teachings most. Many a time, there are hidden multiplier effects but we do not see them. And having failed to do, we jump to all sorts of conclusions. By the way for the record, may I say that research by a Sri Lankan scientist now in Princeton, and published in a leading peer-reviewed scientific journal, Geophysical Letters, has revealed that in Sri Lanka, in one coastal area where the coral reef was blasted away for collecting gypsum and coral blocks for sale to tourists, the tsunami wave, with nothing to stop its fury,went far inside and swept a whole train with about 1700 passengers, kicked it around, killing all the passengers. In our Tsunami Special of H2H, we published a photo of this ill-fated train. What I am trying to drive at is that while Nature does lash out, man compounds the damage. We see this again and again where earthquakes and hurricanes are concerned. A big earthquake in California kills in tens whereas a smaller quake in Asia kills in thousands. A hurricane hitting Florida kills a dozen where as a typhoon hitting Philippines, kills in hundreds. When man does not bother about protecting his fellow beings then Nature cannot be blamed entirely.

As regards the complaint that Baba is not doing anything to fight corruption, I would like to say the following. Corruption is but one evil [an important one though] that afflicts today’s Society. The fundamental cause is the deviation from Dharma. Avatars come to remind man about the need to adhere to Dharma. This is what Rama did in His own way, and so too Krishna. Baba also does the same in His own style. He does it thorough quietly spreading the Message of Love. Not many may be aware of how, many terrorists in the Warrangal District of Andhra Pradesh have changed their way of life and taken to peaceful living after coming under the spell of Baba. These are little known facts but I know them because I talk to the people doing Seva there; in addition, I have seen these people come here in batches of hundreds, to rejoice in their transformation. Alas, transformation is not a headline making process and how would anyone tuned all the time to the Blackberry, headline News and so on, know anything about it?

I respect the social activism of Swami Agnivesh but I do have to wonder whether the Swamiji had read anything of Vedanta. May be he feels he has no need to, but let me tell you that while man has the duty of waging war against Adharma, God who has no duty [Krishna makes it very clear, if swamiji would care to read the Gita], merely advises; that is what He did in Kurukshetra. And in this Yuga, the Avatar tells us to fight Adhrama by using the “weapon” of Love. That is what the volunteers of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation do silently and quietly, throughout the year from Darjeeling to Kerala.

We do our best to carry these heart-warming stories, which I hope, at least some of you bother to read. I am sorry to say there is not much enthusiasm amongst many devotees for such stories dealing with selfless Love. People seem to enjoy gossip more and if that is the preference of many devotees themselves, can we blame Media if it is after rumour and unsubstantiated material because they make good stories? Please go to H2H archives to see these heart-warming stories that we have carried in detail. All these form merely the tip of the iceberg of selfless service.

Swami Agnivesh, we do follow the strategy of activists, but work quietly and silently; they also serve who do so silently. I am not against what you are doing; sometimes one has to raise one’s voice loudly against injustice to draw attention to it; but that does not mean that everyone has to do it that way. In cricket, there are fast bowlers and also spinners; it takes both plus good fielders and bats men to make a team. So Swamiji, 1) please for heaven’s sake do not simply sleight us and ridicule us just because we do things differently, and 2) do not expect Sai Baba to take to the streets. He serves as a guide post, even as Krishna did.

I will not mention here what Swami did to help at the time of the Gujarat earthquake and the Tsunami. However, I should say something about one little known incident when Baba provided protection, even as the country was facing great danger. I do not know how many of you recall the sudden and unexpected assault on India by the Chinese in 1962. I remember those days very well. I was in Bombay then and it used to be one long love feast with everyone chanting Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai, meaning that India and China were like brothers. Those were the days when India enjoyed great international visibility while the Chinese were universally shunned, thanks to the prejudice in the West. I still recall the visit of the Chinese Prime Minster Chou en Lai to what was then Atomic Energy Establishment and later became BARC. There was conference in Bandung in Indonesia, and Chinese leaders were brought there in an Air India plane that was blasted with a planted bomb; fortunately many survived.

We thought we were very friendly with the Chinese, but behind the scenes, the Chinese were not at all happy with the border between India and China as drawn by the British. There was much argument and finally, in October 1962, the Chinese actually sent troops into India. Nehru was shattered. But meanwhile, the invading troops moved swiftly especially on the eastern side, and were on the outskirts of Tezpur in Assam. This was unbelievable; the Chinese were actually almost on the plains of India and not just on the far off mountains. India made desperate appeals to America, which just then had gone through the Cuban Missile crisis with the Soviets. America sent help immediately and I vividly remember seeing American planes landing every 20 minutes in Santa Cruz airport [we could see these planes all the time in the sky] bringing guns for mountain warfare.

Now what has all this got to do with Sai Baba? Just wait! Even as the Chinese army was making short work of Indian troops [totally unprepared] some people went to Swami and said, “Swami, the country is facing grave danger. You must do something.” Swami simply replied, “Have no fear; nothing will happen; this is Punya Bhoomi; the Chinese will just leave.” Hardly anyone believed Him. But do you know what actually happened? On 21st November 1962, the Chinese who were just walking into India without facing any resistance worth the name, UNILATERALLY DECLARED CEASEFIRE. Just two days before Birthday! Since then, the two countries have moved much closer to rapprochement.

Of course, sceptics would not believe that Sai Baba had anything to do with either the unilateral declaration of cease fire by the invading Chinese or their subsequent withdrawal; but then the Avatar is not here to convince people. He is here to help those who seek help. That is the way it always has been and that is the way it shall always remain. From my own experience I can add the following. 1) On occasions, the Avatar would do things we would consider illogical and undesirable. Maybe in human terms those actions are so; but not so when one sees matters in the larger perspective. Moreover, relationship with the Avatar is all matter of faith and unconditional Love. Krishna makes that very clear in the 12th Chapter, and the specs remain the same – no change, not even of a comma. Sometimes He creates doubts just to let us find out if our faith is firm or weak. The Avatar comes to help, to guide and to teach. But He also tests, bowling difficult googlies, if I might use a cricketing expression. Krishna describes this succinctly. He says [in the Seventh Chapter]:

O Arjuna, I know all beings of the past, the present and those to come in the future. But no one knows Me! Concealed as I am by the power of My Creation, I am not manifest to all. The bewildered world does not recognise Me, birthless and changeless! Deluded by the manifestations of the three Gunas [characteristics in-built into Creation], the world fails to recognise Me, the Imperishable, who transcends the transient aspects of Creation. Verily, this Divine illusion of Mine [Maya] is hard to surmount. But those who take sole refuge in me, pierce this veil!And in the Ninth Chapter Krishna adds: Not knowing My transcendent nature as the Sovereign Lord of the entire Universe, fools slight Me when I incarnate in diminutive human form. Vain are the hopes, actions and knowledge of those witless ones who have embraced a fiendish, demoniacal and delusive attitude. But the great ones, O Partha, guided by their [latent] Divine nature and knowing Me as the Imperishable Source of all beings, worship me with their Minds always fixed on Me.

I hope that says it all. The Avatar weaves the web of Maya and filters out the Doubting Thomases; the faithful may seem foolish and illogical to the doubters; but where the Lord is concerned, they are the ones who are redeemed.

One who lives by the Head in the name of rationalism would flunk the test of the Avatar because this test deals with matters beyond the realm of pure logic. As Krishna makes clear, there is a Manifest Universe in which God hides in immanent form. But He does not cease to exist when the Universe ceases to; that is because He is Eternal, and His Eternal aspect is the Unmanifest form of Divinity, beyond Space and Time. That, philosophers declare, is the realm of the Heart that lies beyond cold logic.

This realm may lie beyond space and time; yet it is accessible even on earth, provided one seeks it not with the Head but the Heart. As I pointed out earlier, Einstein pursued Science with his Head but when it came to experiencing the wonderful feeling of “Cosmic religiosity” as he put it, he did so with his Heart. That same feeling was sought by Vedic seers via meditation, and many others, like Mother Teresa for example, via the simple method of showering selfless Love. The world of experience may be dismissed with words such as make-believe, hallucination etc., but even rationalists have experiences such as feeling thrill, excitement etc. The sublime bliss that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu experienced almost all the time was at the highest end of the experience scale. For the rationalist it might not exist but for Tyagaraja it existed when he was in deep communion with Rama through his soulful songs. I guess it must have been for many others in other cultures too. I distinctly recall the words written by Heisenberg, then a young man of about twenty two. Soon after making a break-though that led to the discovery of quantum mechanics, Heisenberg wrote a letter to his sister. As well as I can remember, he wrote: “I felt like I was looking over the shoulders of the Good Lord as he wrote the symphony of the Universe!”

Dear Reader! We do have to worry to some extent if there are attempts in high quarters to derail us, but at the same time let us not be rattled by the riff-raff. For example, one of these rabble rousers says that Sai Baba supports the atom bomb because, according to this man, Baba’s close associate at one time was [late] Dr. Bhagavantam, “the father of the Indian atom bomb” – that is what this man says. I happen to know a thing or two about Dr. Bhagavantam, not only about his scientific contributions, but also about his professional career and also his stay here with Swami. As far as his professional career is concerned, Bhagavantham did his early work on the Raman Effect, under the supervision of his scientific mentor, Sir C. V. Raman. Later Bhagavantham wrote books on the Raman Effect, one of the very first ones in fact. Subsequently he branched off into the application of group theory to the analysis of spectroscopic data and the book he wrote with Venkatarayudu, became quite famous until other books appeared. Later, Bhagavantham did a lot of very good work on magnetic space groups, and how to use them for the analysis of macroscopic magnetic data on solids. As a professional, Bhagavantham was a Professor of Physics in Andhra University and later he became the Director of the famous Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. In that period, Swami has on occasions visited Bhagavantham in his house in I.I.Sc. Bhagavantham also served as the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister. I can say with full knowledge that Bhagavantham had absolutely no connection with the genesis of the Indian nuclear program. I ought to know having served for three and a half decade in the Department of Atomic Energy. In fact, the names of the people who developed the first nuclear device are well-known to the Indian public, most of whom I know personally. They include my former boss [late] Dr. Raja Ramanna and my former colleague Dr. P. K. Iyengar.

Is there any connection at all between Bhagavantham and the atom bomb? Well, in a very indirect way as follows. [By the way, we have Bhagavantham himself narrating this story before a video camera. That was shot by an American many years ago. We have that clip and may be we will put it on Saicast.] Soon after Bhagavantham came to Swami, Baba asked him whether he knew anything about the Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavantham replied that he did not. Swami then remarked that this was a matter of shame since the father of the atom bomb, Robert Oppenheimer recalled a famous verse from the Gita when he witnessed the very first test in 1945 in the desert sands of New Mexico. This is a very well documented incident, in which Oppenheimer recalls the verse about Krishna appearing brighter than a thousand suns. This verse occurs in the eleventh chapter. The brilliance of the exploding bomb and its enormous power reminded Oppenheimer of this particular verse. By the way, Oppie as he was known, learnt Sanskrit just to study the Gita in the original. After reminding Bhagavantam of this incident Swami said it was unfortunate that while an American scientist knew the Gita, the Indian scientist did not; so saying Swami materialised for Bhagavantham a copy of the Gita from the sands do the Chitravathi river, where both were at that time. That is the only connection between Bhagavantham and the Indian atom bomb! You see how ignorance can distort facts. And these are the people one is supposed to believe when they make allegations.

But such is the state of today’s society that it has lowered its standards to deplorable levels so that the moment the word child abuse is uttered, the allegation is given credence, while TV conducts a Kangaroo court and pronounces verdict, based on a Jury that communicates via SMS! I was told that just around the time the Hindustan Times [which, ironically once used to be edited by Mahatma Gandhi’s son!] came out with its anti-Swami piece, the Guardian in the UK had some similar allegations to make. This is most unfortunate because the Guardian is a highly respected paper. But these days, standards of journalism are no longer what they once used to be. I never thought I would live to see the days when leading newspapers in India would carry a photo of an execution on their first page. In fact, just about twenty years ago when public hanging was a common occurrence in a neighbouring country, it used to be said that such display was the height of uncivilised behaviour. But those norms were thrown to the winds last week, even by what are thought to be respectable papers in India. Yes, we live in times when decency seems irrelevant.

Finally, I would like to make an appeal to our readers, the young ones especially. You have before you a great opportunity, to discover your true nature and use that discovery to improve your neighbourhood and the world at large. Do not underestimate your potential. Today you might be in a small position but who knows what tomorrow would bring? When he was a sixteen-year old kid, Clinton shook hands with Kennedy in the White House. Years later, he came to occupy it and when he left it, he was in a position to do a lot of good to the poor in Africa which he is in fact doing. Therefore have faith and get ready for the future in the belief that if you do, God Almighty would not overlook you when He is looking for people to play big roles.

In this context, please do some time reading spiritual literature. Read and then reflect because that alone would broaden your mind. Having broadened your view, try to see what you can do to help. There are many ways you can. You could, if you have writing skills for example, write for us stories about the triumph of Love and Dharma in this day and age; many think that these are nice topics for giving talks but do not work in practice. Good always triumphs in the end – this is not a Hollywood formula, but the reality of Dharma. Of course, evil may appear to succeed spectacularly in the short run but there is hardly any historical evidence that evil triumphs for ever. It cannot for the simple reason that Dharma is the basis of creation and not evil.

At a practical level, I would request our readers, the young ones in particular, to spend some time becoming actively familiar with not only Swami’s teachings but also the details of what He has done. I regret to say that there is abysmal ignorance about what exactly H2H is, with many [including old Sai students] mistaking the Sai Inspires service to be H2H. Also, not many still seem to be aware that there is actually a 24/7 radio service. Likewise, it is unfortunate that though a deluxe and indeed priceless set of five picture volumes have been brought out on the occasion of the 80th Birthday with 800 pages of photos about Bhagavan Baba’s life and Missions, [including about the Hospital and the Water Projects], not many seem to be aware of them, and what is worse, even if they are, not much interested. If we take so little interest in the teachings as well as the Missions, then how can we hope for anything better from the outside world that knows so much less?

Just today, we received a mail from an anguished parent who is deeply troubled that his kids could not care less about the world except their “super-world icons”. But then if people take interest in helping us, we can reach out to so many who would like to care, about less-fortunate individuals, and about humankind and Nature in general.

This has been a rather long article and I think before I end I should really pull together the substantive points I have sought to make.

  • My purpose has been two-fold; first is to inform and second is to enable devotees to arm themselves with sufficient data so that in future, they could, should it become necessary [which God forbid!] they can on their own rebut strongly as suits the occasion.
  • Other than that, I have tried to set forth many points in some detail so that people who have come to Swami lately, including youth, have a better perspective of what God and the Avatar are all about.
  • As Swami has pointed out, human birth is a gift granted so that humans can redeem themselves and return to God. As Baba says: From God we have come, and to God we must return.
  • In practical terms, it means we must spiritualise life. In turn that means we must go through life making an earnest effort to be continually aware of our Cosmic origin and nature and the need to be in total harmony with the Cosmos itself.
  • If we live our life like that, then at least some around us would be influenced and come under that spell and also transform.
  • We should not under-estimate the potentially for this spread of goodness. Huge forest fires often are the result of small bush fires linking up. There are many other examples in Nature of self-organized criticality. If goodness spreads, then a stage could definitely come when a critical threshold is crossed and things turn out to be for the better. Such turns have occurred in the lives of individuals but we need to steer humanity towards such a positive turn, so that the planet and humanity can both be saved.

The road ahead is not easy; it is pretty rough and we have to encounter many bumps in the shape of people talking irresponsibly and in a negative manner. We have to weather all this as we go along.

I hope that what I have set forth above would help at least to some extent in that.

Finally, I do hope all of us realize that God comes down as man only ever so rarely. When He so does, we should not waste that precious opportunity in diluting Divinity with seeking to advance personal agendas, however good they might be. In a Discourse some years ago, Swami said forcefully: “What is all this about seeking personal Moksha? Go out and serve the people out there. God will then come looking for you and grant you liberation even if you do not want it!”

We have been asked to see God everywhere and resonate to that experience with love and service. That can happen only when we look beyond the Head to realm of the Heart.

Let us pray that those who are trapped in the illusory realm of the Head and damn Swami, experience true Love and transform. As they say, today’s saint was yesterday’s evil man and today’s evil man will be tomorrow’s saint. Before it becomes a ripe and sweet fruit, many stages have to be crossed. So, while responding to critics we should not get carried away and lose the larger perspective.

In practical terms it means we must set apart time to continually drink from the fountain of ancient wisdom. It is not enough merely to check e-mails, blog, track of the stock market and all that. Vedanta says do all that as a part of the role you have to play in life, but not at the cost of the larger perspective. Borrowing from Adi Shankara, let me say that when the end comes, Blackberry would not save us but only the name of the Lord! God bless, Jai Sai Ram.

Love is your greatest asset. Develop love and always speak the Truth. Truth sounds bitter whereas people are easily pleased by falsehood. People do not relish milk, which is brought to their doorstep, whereas they are prepared to traverse miles together to consume a bottle of liquor. Falsehood has become the order of the day. Falsehood may please others but not your Conscience. Strive to satisfy your Conscience before satisfying others. Under all circumstances, follow the path of Truth. In case the utterance of truth is likely to lead to some danger, remain silent. – BABA

Please look up the following from earlier issues of Heart2Heart, for more information concerning some of the points raised above.

H2H Issue]




5. FAITH, FORTITUDE AND THE DIVINE TOUCH [From September 2006 H2H Issue]

6. TRUTH WILL ALWAYS TRIUMPH [From Vol. 2, Issue 05, March 1st 2004 H2H Issue]

Thank you, Sai Ram.

Reference (PDF File)

Full Article Reference

Also see: The Truth About The Alleged Sathya Sai Baba ‘Sex Scandal’

God, Avatar And The Doubting Thomas (3 Sections):

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