Canadian Hindu Leader Pundit Jankie Persad Sharma Passes Away

Canadian Hindu Leader Pundit Jankie Persad Sharma Passes Away
By Karishma Patel

Mississauga, Canada (CHAKRA) – An important leader and pioneer of the Hindu religion, Pundit Jankie Persad Sharma has died. He was a prominent leader for Hindus in both Trinidad an Tabago and Canada. He was the one to start celebrating Diwali in Trinidad in addition to building temples, performing wedding ceremonies as well as taking trips to India.

He was 80 years old and settled in Canada in 1989 after many Trinidadians requested for him to live there. He lived in Mississauga and passed away on Thursday, March 1. A funeral with many attendees was held for him a few days later.

Sharma’s father, originally from the state of Madhya Pradesh, came to Trinidad in 1910 with his 12 year old son. Once in Trinidad, Sharma’s father became a certified priest and conducted many religious ceremonies. He had eight children of whom Sharma was the eldest. Sharma along with two of his younger brothers followed his dad’s footsteps and also pursued becoming priests.

Sharma was conducting his own public prayers and rituals by 1944. He married a woman named Badewattee Persad in 1962 and they had six children altogether.

He had begun to create temples by 1971 in Matilda, Princes Town, Barrackpore and Rio Claro of which one is the well known Moruga temple in Matilda.

Boodram Ramoutar, a close friend of Sharma said, “His family fully understood and supported his role as a pundit and community leader with little time for all else. One special aspect was that he was not driven by material rewards, and treated rich, poor, man, woman, child, young and old with empathy and respect. In Trinidad alone, he had officiated at 4,000 weddings and become the guru of over 5,000 godchildren after baptising them as Hindus. It is fair to say that Trinidad has become richer in Hindu traditions, culture, and spirituality by the presence and teachings of Pundit Jankie Persad Sharma.”

For the diaspora, Sharma organized the first tour to India in 1983 because many Trinidadians were more interested in their roots and where they came from due to listening to radio programmes as well as from watching movies associated with their cultural past.

His initiatives such as his visits to India increased the demand of people wanting to learn more about their ancestors, their religious leaders and temples. The Sathya Sai Baba following was one such example. He became so respected by crowds as well as a charismatic leader that Sathya Sai Baba himself requested to meet him and talk privately as well as give blessings to all Trinidadians that he represented.

Sharma was asked to address the opening at the first Diwali Nagar celebration in 1986 in Chaguanas. Hindu awareness was growing and thus this event since then became an annual function which not only drew Hindus but also people of other faiths who just wished to experience the auspicious occasion of Diwali.

Thereafter, on the island, every Hindu celebration began to be celebrated with high respect and grandeur.

Most Trinidadians who moved to Canada, Britain and the United States starting in the 1970’s and onwards all called Sharma to perform their religious ceremonies such as weddings, house warming’s and other related religious events that required blessings from a respected elder. Due to this increase and demand for him, Sharma and his family moved to Canada thereafter to settle in the province of Ontario.

In Canada, he started the Satya Jyoti Cultural Sabha while becoming more prevalent to Canadian Hindus at the same time, marking a presence of Hinduism in the Canadian society.

All levels of government in Canada praised and honoured him with certificates and recommendations for his service to the Mississauga and Canadian community as a whole. Pundit Jankie Persad Sharma had become Canada’s first swami and was also known as Swami Atmananda Maharaj Ji.

Chakra News Reference

World’s Largest Solar Steam System Comes Up In Shirdi

Sai Baba Of Shirdi

Sai Baba Of Shirdi


World’s Largest Solar Steam System Comes Up In Shirdi
Submitted by admin4 on 30 July 2009 – 6:49pm. India News Technology
By IANS,

Shirdi (Maharashtra) : Hindu and Muslim pilgrims visiting the shrine of Sai Baba in this town will be served food cooked with the help of a solar steam system, inaugurated by New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah Thursday, that officials say is the world’s largest.

The solar steam system can generate 3,500 kg of steam every day – enough to cook food for 20,000 people. It has been designed for cooking food for devotees visiting the shrine devoted to Sai Baba, a 19th century Sufi saint who was revered by Hindus and Muslims alike.

The total cost of the new system at Shirdi, some 90 km from Nashik, is estimated at Rs.1.33 crore for which a subsidy of Rs.58.4 lakh has been provided by the new and renewable energy ministry.

The system will result in annual savings of 100,000 kg of cooking gas. It has been designed in such a way that it will generate steam for cooking even in the absence of electricity to run the feed water pump for circulating water in the system.

The ministry offers support of up to 50 percent of the cost of such systems set up by non-profit bodies and up to 35 percent cost support to profit making bodies.

“Over 40 systems covering a dish area of about 12,000 sq metre have been supported by the ministry so far for various applications, though the major application is cooking only,” an official statement said.

Some of the large solar steam cooking systems installed include those at Mount Abu in Rajasthan for serving 10,000 people every day, and at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh and Satyabhama university in Chennai, which cater to about 15,000 people a day.

Reference

Am I Not Your Father?

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Am I Not Your Father?
Experience from the garden of Love

There was one classmate of mine whose father died during his childhood itself. Swami had told his mother that He would look after the boy and his elder brother, who was and is still working at Parthi. He then called this classmate of mine and told him: “From now, I am your father. If you need anything, you should ask me and not trouble your brother or mother.”

A few days passed after the first semester of our first year was over. Most of the students were going home and my classmate too wanted to go and see his mother. But he did not have money for the ticket. He asked his elder brother who too expressed his inability to spare any money at that point of time. The boy was distressed, but did not tell anyone. Even we could see that he was slowly getting withdrawn in the room (he was my roommate too.).

In those days, Swami would call all the students to sit right from the bhajan door once bhajans started. Swami would keep moving in and out of the bhajan hall on several rounds of darshan.

One such day, He had just come and sat down on the throne and was looking at us as we rushed to sit from the front. He then suddenly got up and went into the interview room door. He then signaled to my classmate to follow Him. When my classmate came out 5 minutes later, he was weeping. Later on in the room, he told us what happened.

Swami had called him inside and asked him: “I told you that if you need anything you should ask me. Why did you go and trouble your brother? I know you want to go home and see your mother. You should have asked me. Am I not your father? Why do you then hesitate to ask me what you want?” He then gave him money for the ticket and spending and then told him to go and enjoy his holidays.

And the surprising thing was, my classmate never told anyone about what was eating him from within. Swami just knew!

-Related by a Sai student

Reference

The Baba We Adore

The Sathya Sai Baba We Adore

The Sathya Sai Baba We Adore


The Baba We Adore
by S. Ramakrishnan
Bhavan’s Journal
[Nov. 9, 1975 pp 20 – 29]

Reverential homage to Poojyapada Sri Sathya Sai Baba on his fiftieth jayanthi. He was born on November 23, 1926. It was a Monday, Somavara. The month was Kartika, specially sacred for the worship of Lord Siva. The ascending star on that day was Ardra. The combination of Karthika Somavara and Ardra Nakshatra is rare and is exceptionally auspicious.

To see him is a feast for the eyes. To listen to his spell-binding oratory is an education for purposeful living. To hear his soul-stirring bhajans is to go into ecstacy. Once we meet him, he simply haunts us and we cannot but give him a permanent lodgement in our heart.

Majestic and winsome, simple yet sophisticate, steeped in our ancient lore yet well-versed in current affairs, agile yet imperturbable, wise and witty, with a bewitching smile and a visage that exudes sneha and karuna, with the shock of curly hair that forms a natual crown on his head and the flame-red one-piece robe that stretches from neck to feet, Sri Sathya Sai Baba is a magnificient personality.

Baba is virtually deified by lakhs of devotees the world over. In their homes and offices, his photograph finds a pride of place among the family deities. I have seen his picture adorning the tables and office-rooms of many of our distinguished leaders, editors, literateurs, scientists, administrators, senior officials in the Secretariat in New Delhi and State capitals and even in the Indian High Commision in London.

One of the most arresting and revered personalities of the century, Baba spontaneously commands the respect and reverence of millions of people, in India and abroad. He has his own unique way of transforming people in all walks of life. Their number is legion. It is indeed true that Baba’s devotees include a sizeable number of those who are drawn to him because of his superhuman power or siddhi and are proud of venerating one endowed with such a rare gift.

And it is equally true that down the ages Mankind has always viewed the mysterious and the miraculous with awe and reverence associated with godliness.

But then not all of Baba’s devotees belong to the class of mystery worshippers. His followers include many people noted for their intellectual attainments, rational outlook and scientific research.

What is the secret of this magnet in human form that goes on irrestibly drawing devotees whose ranks are ever swelling?

Is it his power for materializing out of thin air with a mere wave of his hand an amazing array of objects that holds the key to his irrestible pull and commands the spontaneous adoration of the multitudes?

The Baba we adore is not the one who performs miracles of materializing Vibhuti, photos, rings, necklaces, silver and gold idols, spatika lingas and other precious articles, but the Baba who performs the greater miracle of transforming men.

The Baba we adore is not the one from whom people expect cure for all their physical ailments– after all, the human body is ephemeral and it must progressively decay and wear out and birth and death are but obverse and reverse sides of the same coin and the one is inseperable from the other.

The Baba we adore is not the one, who according to some, is the founder of a new sect or cult, but the Baba who stands for Sarva Dharma Samaanatva.

The Baba we adore is the Baba who, without fuss of the `arrogance of humility’ associated with knowledge and scholarship, lovingly and convincingly dins into people the inner meaning and significance of our ageless traditions, symbolism, customs and manners.

The Baba we adore is the Baba who is the bhakthavatsala, the snehamurthi, the karunasagara.

The Baba we adore is the Baba who comprehends the basic motive of everyone and who ensures eternal life to ideals and institutions which seek to represent the life-breath of Sanathana Dharma.

Wednesday, December 23, 1970. At Dharmakshetra, atop a hillock overlooking the Western Ghats, in the shade of the beautiful lotus-shaped Sathya Deep blooms the Bombay abode of Baba.

The sun had set some time ago and there was an all-pervading quietness. The sky had been lit up by the innumerable stars and star-clusters. There was something indescribably serene about the atmosphere. The clock had just struck the quarter hour to eight- the clock, the handiwork of man, a mechanical contrivance which, in its littleness, is vainly trying to measure the Immeasurable Eternity.

One felt the hovering presence of some Mighty Force. As Yudhisthira, the eldest of the Pandavas averred, the mind is famed for its swiftness even to outstrip the wind. But in Baba’s presence, the mind is riveted, as it were, and stands still, as if bidden.

About a dozen close devotees were there in the mini-guest house adjacent to Saytha Deep – some in the courtyard, some in the verandah and some inside the rooms. Dr. V. K. Gokak, Sri N. Kasturi, the late Sri P. R. Kamani, Sir Indulal Shah and Sir Ratanlal were in the rooms. I also happened to be among them. We were `conversing silently.’

In the verandah was an American, Dr. Joseph Hislop, from California. For the past forty years, Dr. Hislop had been on a pilgrimage in quest of Truth. He had associated himself with various religious and saintly organizations, and had been making a study and pursuing the search by a life of dedication to the cause. He has been a keen and ardent student of Eastern Religion and Mysticism, having had long contacts with Burmese monasteries (Buddhist monks) and Indian teachers of Yoga like Sri Mahesh Yogi.

Dr. Hislop was reading the Guruvayurappan number of the Bhavan’s Journal (December 13, 1970), standing in the verandah, slightly resting his back against the wall.

Suddenly there descended complete silence. All involuntarily sprang to their feet and bowed reverentially.

Softly treading the steps, Baba gently came in. He went closer to Dr. Hislop and looked at the picture adorning the cover page – the picture of Sri Guruvayurappan, with Sankha, Gada and Padma in His hands,

Dr. Hislop respectfully gave the copy of the Bhavan’s Journal to Baba. Baba glanced through the Journal from cover to cover, graciously making sparkling explanatory commands and remarks. In particular, he stopped at the the feature on Upanishads by Sri Rajaji and then told Dr. Hislop the gist of the Upanishads in a few short and succint sentences. He spoke of the young, bold, intrepid inquirer of Truth, Nachiketas, who went to the abode of Yama, the God of Death, and wanted nothing but imperishable knowledge that enabled man to conquer death. Yama offered him the best of things, things beyond the reach of mortals on earth, tempting and alluring. No persuasions, no enticements could move Nachiketas to give up the goal that he had set out to achieve- the transcendent wisdom to be learn from the Only Teacher, Yamadharmaraja, who could dispel all doubts regarding the mystery of life and death. Nachiketas was not made of common clay- he was one of the few that had the courage turn his gaze inwards to become one with antara chakshus and seek the truth and not, unlike the millions of commoners, to let the senses go after external pleasures. Yama imparted to him the Truth, and the vision of the ultimate reality dawned on Nachiketas.

Turning his attention again to the picture of the Lord on the cover, Baba queried: “What is the significance of the Sankha (conch), the Chakra (discus), the Gada (mace and the Padma (lotus) in His hands?”

None dared or could answer the question. We all looked on in mute silence expectantly for the answer.

Baba explained: “The Sankha represents the Primordial Sound, the Nada-Brahma. The Chakra,” he said, “symbolizes the Kalachakra, the Eternal Wheel of Time, that rolls on and on and on. And the Gada,” he proceeded, “symbolises the Will Power, the Sankalpa Shakti of the Lord, whose potency is voiced through the epigram – Tena vina trinamapi na chalati – Without His Will not a blade of grass doth stir. The Padma is the thousand-petalled flower, symbolizing the mind, with its fitfulness, rushing forth in all directions and the Lord hath it in His hand to proclaim that He is master over the minds of men.”

In 1971 a dear and respected elder, a distinguished educationist and philosopher, a former director of Bhavan’s Delhi Kendra, and myself went on a pilgrimage to Puttaparthi. We left Bangalore by car about 3 a.m. so as to reach Puttaparthi by 6 a.m.

During the three hour 100-mile drive, we discussed, among other things, about the advisability or otherwise of accepting a donation offered by a philanthropist for conducting research in Bhavan on Vishtaadvaita. The Bhavan has always firmly stood against fanning differences – denominational, religious, regional or linguistic. It is is pledged to foster harmony, unity. In view of the unbridled fanatic zeal of some of the overzealous followers of the great messiahs, there was a natural anxiety on our part as to whether the accpetance of the donation was likely to unconsciously carry with it the seed of some futile controversy on some abstract aspects of something or other. However, long before we reached Prashanthi Nilayam at Puttaparthi, we unanimously came to the conclusion to recommend acceptance of the offer to Bhavan’s Executive Committee. Thereafter, we discussed many other matters and by the time we reached Puttaparthi, we had forgotten all about the donation offer.

We reached Puttaparthi at about 6 A.M. As usual, there were large crowds of devotees, from far and near. When our request to have an audience was submitted to Baba, he told the messenger that “they left Bangalore at 3 A.M. They have not even taken water this morning. First give them breakfast and then let them see me.”

When we were duly ushered into Baba’s holy presence, we prostrated before him. He affectionately patted us and bade us to sit. After solicitous enquiries about the Bhavan, with a broad grin, he said, “Some people think that Advaitins and Visishtaadvaitins – followers of Adi Shankara and followers of Ramanuja – cannot work together, isn’t it? This is absolutely wrong.”

We were dazed. How could he have known what we had discussed a few hours ago in the privacy of a speeding car? Baba added. “The Saivites hail their Ishta Devata as Pasupati, while the Vasishtaadvaitins hail their Ishta Devata as Gopala. Is there any difference in substance?”

Then with his characteristic smile, Baba asked, “What is the name of your friend?” I replied, “Professor Sankaranarayanan”.

“Does not his very name proclaim that Sankara and Narayana are one? How can there be any difference between Advaita and Vishishtaadvaita, Saivites and Vaishnavites?”

On December 30, 1971, Munshiji’s 84th Birthday, I had the privilege of escorting Baba from Dharmakshetra at Andheri to the Bhavan at Chowpatty.

During the 45 minute drive in his inimitable style, Baba explained some of the truths of life. Referring to Kulapatiji, Baba remarked: “The machine is good. It has worked well. But it has gone old and worn out. It may break down in less than 4 to 6 weeks.”

When Baba met Munshiji in his sickbed, the latter never asked any question about his own longevity or family matters. His sole concern was the Bhavan and its future.

Baba emphatically said:

“Your sankalpa in establishing that Bhavan was absolutely pure and unselfish. In the same spirit, you have nursed it with love and care. You have rightly declared that it is God’s work. You may rest assured that the Bhavan will flourish and render more and more useful services to the cause of culture in India and outside.”

Munshiji literally shed tears of joy. And Munshiji breathed his last on Monday, February 8, 1971, in less than six weeks!

It is not uncommon, particularly in our country, that many institutions flounder when the founding father fades away from the scene. But fortunately for the Bhavan, thanks to the blessings of the godly and good, and the dedication, foresight and genius of Munshiji, the Bhavan is forging ahead.

The Seed of the London Kendra of the Bhavan was sown in June, 1972 – about a year and a half after the passing away of Munshiji. The decision to found a Kendra in London was an agonizing one. “Will it be a leap in the dark?”, “Will the Kendra thrive?”, “From where will the resources come?”— all these and a hundred other questions had to be sorted out before embarking on the venture.

On the day prior to our leaving for London for exploring the possibility of opening a Kendra there, I had Baba’s darshan at the Sardar Patel Stadium at Worli, Bombay, where he addressed a vast concourse of lahks of devotees.

Among the milling crowd, I was just a speck and, even if I wanted to, I could not have thrust myself forward!

Baba who was taking a round among the crowd suddenly stopped in front of me and surprised me with these words: “You are going to London tomorrow?” I said, ‘”Yes.”

“Well, go ahead with faith. Whatever may be the initial difficulties, the Bhavan’s London Kendra will flourish.”

And true to his prophetic words, the Kendra has got over its teething troubles and is now doing well.

A Merchant-Prince from Gujarat who had made his fortune by his untiring industry in East Africa once came and met me in the Bhavan a few years ago. The man who exuded opulence from almost every pore of his body, I expected, would also be brimming with inner joy, but, alas, this was not to be. He did laugh during our conversaion, but the laughter sounded hollow and in fact it was only an echo of his deep grief within. I enquired of him whether there was anything worrying him secretly.

He opened up and said, “Yes, it is my young son, eldest son…” He could not talk easily, such was his anguish.

Slowly I gathered that he was sorely distressed because his son who was in England for higher studies had been nearly `seduced’ into leaving Hinduism and embracing Christianity.

All the persuasive efforts of the father and the even more worried mother had fallen flat on the youngster for whom Hinduism, with its “maze of thousands of gods and goddesses” held very little attraction and appeared irrational and anachronistic.

The gentleman sought my help in infusing his son with faith in Hinduism. I explained to him that our ancients had enjoined to look upon one’s children as equals after they attain the age of 16. Hence, any compulsion was likely to harden the heart of they impetuous and misguided youngster in pursuing his own decision. I also stressed the futility of brow-beating of imposing a decision on a confused and bewildered, though sincere, soul. I told him tht the best way to `teach’ was to follow the way of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: expound and explain the pros and cons of the issue and then tell the son, as the Lord told Arjuna: “I have explained everything to you. Now you do what you think best.”

However, I suggested to the anxious father that his son might get a much better insight into Hinduism by coming into direct contact with noted religious leaders. Entirely agreeing with this view, the father pleaded that his son should be exposed to the influences of some of the religious luminaries in our land. Indeed, two well-known Swamijis had a dialogue with the young man but then, he could not be deflected. In the meantime, I had also given him a few of the Bhavan’s publications for reading and understanding Hinduism in depth.

As luck would have it, Baba happened to be in Bombay at that time and on Christmas day he was to speak on Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, at Dharmakshetra.

I suggested to the worried father that he should try and take his son to Baba’s meeting which might change his mind. At first, the young man did not seem particularly enthusiastic, but somehow he was persuaded to attend. The boy, his parents and myself motored together to Dharmakshetra. From Sathya Deep, Baba came down to the pandal, moved among the vast concourse and then commenced his holy sermon on Christ and the significance of Christmas.

When the speech was over, wild with enthusiasm the young man embraced me and said:

“When I saw him and his childlike simplicity and overflowing love and total freedom from fanaticism, my heart throbbed. When I was listening to his message, my mind stood still. My doubts vanished. I now realize that Hinduism is all-inclusive, all-embracing, is the `Mother of all religions.’ I am convinced that the core and kernel of all religions are the same. To be a genuine Hindu is to be a genuine Christian or Muslim or Parsi and vice versa. Mere changing of label by formal conversion is unnecessary, nay, it is indeed irreligious.”

If this is not a divine miracle, what else is it! Has not Baba himself dwelt at length on the ordinary miracles? I had the privilege of attending the Maharashtra Sathya Sai Conference in Bombay on March 31, 1973. Referring to the report of one of the Sathya Sai Kendras which had with a sense of pride mentioned that Vibhuti was coming out from some of the photographs in a particular Sai Kendra, Baba declared:

“We should not give attention and thought to the Vibhuti that comes out of the photographs. We must make an attempt to see that the Vibhuti of divinity comes out of our own heart. The meaning of the words Bhagavat Vibhuti is that you should develop what is called divine sight or divine vision. You should utter divine words. In your own life, you should propagate and give rise to divine ideas. The kind of Vibhuti which you see on the photographs may come today, but may disappear tomorrow. It may be created by some people in order to give favour for some kind of thought. We should not attach any importance to this transient phenomenon. It is a matter of some regret for me that members of the Sai Organization are also giving importance to such things. This is not the correct path. Isvara who lives in your heart is something which is permanent. What comes as divine Vibhuti from your heart is much more important than the artificial Vibhuti which we see… What is contained as Ishvara Bhava in your own divinity, each one has to try and propagate and hand over to others. That is real bhakti.”

I have often wondered: What is Greatness, Divinity? Man in his ignorance or arrogance has endeavoured to define Greatness by many a yard–stick, but has failed in the attempt. But when we are in the presence of Baba, we sense sublime Greatness — it is in the air, suffused throuhgout in the atmosphere around. All doubts and discords, all the petty things that trouble us at other hours, just evaporate. It is dazzlingly bright, yet soothingly cool. It is felt, but is indefinable. It is everywhere, but cannot be seen anywhere by the naked eye.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba is a soumyamurti. The mere sight of this Sanathana Sarathi’s radiant face, full of mercy and compassion, comforts and consoles. The words that flow from him dispel all doubts. They carry with them a force that is neither that of vehemence nor of cold logic. It is a force generated by the alchemy of love, springing from an Akshayapatra of Karuna and Prema.

Poojyapada Sri Sathya Sai Baba is a unique blend of sweetness and light, the gist of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Darshanas, Epics and Puranas, all rolled into one, with the intellectual sweep, sharpness, sway and alacrity of Sri Adi Shankaraacharya and the directness, catholicity, clarity and simplicity of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. Glory unto Him. Amen

The Aura Of Selfless Love

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


The Aura Of Selfless Love

Professor Frank Baranowski, a psychologist and regression therapist, specializes in research on auras, the energy patterns that surround all living beings, and works at the university of Arizona. He is an expert in bio-magnetic field radiation photography. He has photographed and interpreted the auras for numerous men and women using the ultra-sensitive Kirlian camera.

Professor Baranowski had read several books about Sri Sathya Sai Baba, including Samuel Sandweiss’s “Sai Baba, the Holy man and the Psychiatrist.” He wondered whether such a person could really exist and whether all that was written about him was factual. As he was, at that time, writing a book on reincarnation based on case studies and other findings, he was interested in Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s claim of being a reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba.

During Christmas 1977, Professor Baranowski was a guest at a home where a Bhajan (devotional songs) session was in progress. A stranger to this form of worship, he withdrew to a room upstairs. He was resting there quietly in the dark room when, to his astonishment, a candle on the table suddenly burst into flames.

The bright flame illuminated a nearby picture of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He could not understand who could have lighted the candle. He was alone in the room. There had not been any sound and no one had come in. How could a flame appear all of a sudden on the wick of the candle? He stared at the picture and it did many things to him. It seemed to penetrate into him and to beckon to him. To a man of science, this occurrence was totally inexplicable.

The thought of Sri Sathya Sai Baba lingered in him long after the candle experience. He decided to go to India and visit Sai Baba. Here is the account of his encounter with Baba for the first time, in his own words:

Sathya Sai Baba? Yes, I had heard of Him but with a lot of mixed emotions. The stories that were attributed to this man bordered on the incredible. As a man of science, I am aware of psychosomatic healings, and I have seen miraculous healings done by such notable personalities as Olga Worrell, and at such famous places as Lourdes. Yet, here were rumours of a man from India who could heal people by His mere touch. The story hinged on the unbelievable.

In July of 1978, I found myself at the first World Peace Conference at Bangalore. I had heard that Sathya Sai Baba resided in a place called Whitefield. This small community boasts of a college founded by Sathya Sai Baba and dedicated to science and commerce. As I arrived by taxicab, the first thing I noticed was the refreshing cleanliness of the area.

Though hot and stiflingly humid, hundreds of Indians and foreigners crowded the grounds surrounding Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘ashram’ or residence. I joined the patient assemblage, sitting squat-legged among the Eastern visages. I didn’t have to wait long until Sathya Sai Baba appeared. I must confess, this first time I saw Him I was not impressed.

He was of small stature and walked among the people as if He were distracted. He would hardly take the time to look at a person or to talk with them – then He would suddenly turn His head as if looking for someone else. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized I was seeing an individual who possessed gifts beyond description.

It was about five o’clock in the morning, and the followers had been singing their devotional songs and chanting during a parade around the compound at Whitefield, when Sathya Sai Baba came out of His residence.

Now, I have always been able to see the human aura. The auras around average people extend as much as three to five feet. Auras are composed of every imaginable colour and these colours change as a person’s emotional, physical and mental states change. In general, whenever the colour blue is evident in a person’s aura, it is an indication of deep spirituality; green is a healing color; yellow indicates high intelligence; and red means anger or frustration.

The colour pink, which is rarely seen, typifies a person capable of selfless love, and this was the colour that Sathya Sai Baba had around Him. The aura around Sathya Sai Baba went beyond the building reaching thirty or forty feet in all directions. Never having seen any aura like this before, my first reaction was to look for fluorescent lights, which may have been shining on Him. But as I watched, the beautiful pink energy pattern moved as He moved; there was no doubt that this was His aura.

Entranced by this remarkable sight, I barely heard the devotional songs that were being sung, and before I knew it, Sathya Sai Baba had gone. The crowd settled in the now-familiar cross-legged positions and prepared themselves to wait until Sathya Sai Baba’s next appearance, four hours later.

I have had the pleasure of meeting such personalities as ex-president Gerald Ford, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, and Pope John Paul II, and I have studied their auras as well as tens of thousands of others, I say this not as a testimonial but as a fact; not one person I have ever seen has an aura to compare to the size and colour of Sathya Sai Baba’s aura

The heat was remarkable; the humidity hung like a wet cloth over the gathering. Amid chanting, a few anxious eyes watched the threatening skies, Dark clouds gave foreboding signs of torrential storms, but all around me devotees were assuring each other “Sathya Sai Baba won’t allow it to rain”.

Then, there He was again, I felt my heartbeat quicken as He turned in my direction. Soon He stepped beside me, looked at me, and then made a quick motion to the man seated beside me. Suddenly crushed lilies began to appear in the palms of His hands, and as they poured forth, the petals filled the cupped hands of the seated man. But the flower petals didn’t stop coming; they went on to fill the waiting hands of a second, a third and then a fourth person!

As this great man turned away, He glanced in my direction as if to say, “Have you noticed what I have just done?” I couldn’t have helped witnessing what had happened. To answer possible arguments, Sathya Sai Baba’s sleeves reached His elbows. So it was not by magic tricks that these petals appeared. And I was not hypnotized into believing I was seeing them, for I am a licensed hypnotist myself and am very difficult to hypnotize. Within my limited understanding, it was difficult to believe I had just witnessed this miraculous demonstration. I sat there, in that same position, for a very long time, dumbfounded by what I had seen.

The very next morning I felt myself drawn back to the very same compound, sitting in the lotus position and waiting for Sathya Sai Baba to appear once again.

As I sat quietly, I heard a voice in my mind tell me that I must cross the field, walk through the area where the women were standing and talk to a man who was standing against a building there. I did not feel comfortable approaching a stranger, especially in a strange country where there is a language barrier, but I could no longer ignore the voice in my mind. I went across the field and found a man standing against the building. I spoke to him.

“I hope you speak English. I have a voice in my mind that says I must speak to you”. He introduced himself as Prof. Narender, and he said, “You must be the lecturer Sathya Sai Baba said would speak to me today”.

I am a lecturer; I have given approximately 9000 lectures all over the world. But how did this man know that?

In the next four days I watched Sathya Sai Baba with His people. He calmed them; He gave them hope. As He walked among them, the beautiful pink colour in His aura permeated the violent red colours in the crowd. His selfless love transcended their fears and worries. Perhaps you have to meet this man to understand His gifts. He gives of Himself to thousands of people from all around the world who await His blessings.

Prof. Narender’s message to me proved to be that I was to speak to Sathya Sai Baba’s college on Friday afternoon. Eight hundred students and later one hundred teachers listened to my lecture. As I stood next to Sathya Sai Baba, I could see His aura reach beyond the platform. It surrounded all the people in the room. Soon His love – and that’s the only word I can use for the warm, buoyant, totally immersing emotion we experienced that evening – reached each and every person in that room and they began to sing and chant devotions to this man.

The word “Avatar” is often used when referring to Sathya Sai Baba, meaning one who has Christ-like powers, or God-like power and one who may even be God Himself.

Now, I am a devout Catholic. Yet I would be a fool if I did not recognize the powers this man has. Amidst the singing and chanting, the Avatar turned to me and said, “Because you are a man of such great love….” and He showed me the empty palm of His hand.

He circled His hand in the air three times and produced a ring with the nine precious gems of the world embedded in gold. He said, “It will only fit the first finger of the right hand”. And indeed, that is the only finger it fits.

It’s magnificent! It’s a beautiful ring! But it holds special meaning to me because this great man, this Avatar, graced me with His words: “Because you are a man of such great love…. “

The next day I was once again honoured by Sathya Sai Baba as I was granted a private audience with Him. I was anxious to discuss not only reincarnation with Him, but also my grandson. The boy was born with a heart defect. At the age of one year he weighed slightly less than seven pounds. Numerous operations left him with little hope for a normal life, even if he survived at all.

But before I could mention this to Sathya Sai Baba, He told me that there would be an operation on the day I arrived home (in Arizona) and that the baby would be well. I said, “You must be wrong. The baby is not old enough to have this operation. The physicians said the minimum age for the operation would be at age two, even two and a half.” Sathya Sai Baba just smiled, and said, “No, it will be on the day you arrive home.”

He was right. On the day I arrived in Arizona, the baby was operated on. The doctor who performed the surgery gave my grandson little hope of survival. When my daughter introduced the doctor to me, I discovered he was from India. I told him I had just returned from there, and mentioned some of the places I’d been to. When I mentioned Whitefield he interrupted me and asked, “That’s Sathya Sai Baba’s country, isn’t it?”

I said yes, and showed him the ring I had been blessed with. The doctor looked at me with the eyes glowing, and said, “The child will live,” as if all that was needed was the mention of Sathya Sai Baba’s name.

The child did survive.

Perhaps of all the miracles I witnessed in my ten days in India, no miracle is as great as the miracle of one man giving so much love to so many people. In my estimation and experimentation, Sri Sathya Sai Baba is, aura-wise, exactly what He says He is and what He asks everyone to be. He is love, pure and simple. He is love walking on two legs. Such unselfish love is nothing other than Divinity.

His own words say it best –

“Love. Continue to love and all will be well.”

Reference: “Living Divinity” by Shakuntala Balu, Page: 47-50. Publisher: S B Publications, Bangalore, 1983.

(Note: Dr. Frank Baranowski is now deceased.)

Sri Lanka Celebrates Birthday Of Sai Baba

Sri Lanka Celebrates Birthday Of Sai Baba
Colombo, PTI:

Hundreds of devotees celebrated the 83rd birthday of Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi with traditional lighting of lamps, songs and other renditions on the occasion.

The glittering Sai Baba Centre at Colombo witnessed a sea of people on Sunday with the devotees waiting patiently to get a glimpse of the highly decorated Sai Baba’s portraits on his birthday.

At the crack of the dawn, people were seen queuing the centre as the celebrations began at 5 am with recitation from the Omkar, Suprabhatam and Nagarsangeerthan at the venue.

The people sang along with the music from the loud speakers at the centre on the occasion as the celebrations continued through out the day.

A chariot procession was also taken out on the eve of Sai Baba’s birthday on Saturday while people followed the illuminated rath chanting religious hymns.

The global akhanda bhajan (non-stop twenty-four hour devotional singing) was held at Sai Mandir on 8th and 9th November as a prelude to the birthday celebrations of Sai baba.

The Sai Mandir in Colombo also witnessed various functions on the occasion, with religious saints initiating the mangala arathi, veda chanting and omkar bhajan.

The Sivananda Nilayam and the Ramakrishna Mission Hall also hosted religious functions on the occasion.

Reference

Recent Events At Prashanti Nilayam – Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

Recent Events At Prashanti Nilayam – Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

Curtesy RadioSai

Monday, November 24, 2008
This evening, the Tamil Nadu Balvikas children were to perform a dance drama in Sai Kulwant Hall. Bhagawan arrived for darshan in His chair at 5.20 pm, and after His darshan round, went into the interview room. From there, He emerged to come onstage and start the drama at 5.45 pm. After the 70 minute drama, Swami came down from the stage and blessed the children with group photographs. Prasadam was distributed, and Swami accepted Arati at 7 o’clock before returning to His residence.

Sunday, November 23, 2008
Bhagawan blessed the overflowing Sai Kulwant Hall in a white robe this morning, as the 83rd year of His advent dawned. The procession to Sai Kulwant Hall began from Yajur Mandir at 9.45 am, led by the bands of the Primary School, the Anantapur campus and the Prasanthi Nilayam campus, with Vedam chanting students from the Primary School, Higher Secondary School and the University. Bhagawan was seated on a raised chair covered with golden cloth. Once Swami reached the stage, He heard the four bands perform ‘Happy Birthday’ and other tunes before moving to the verandah to bless the cakes assembled there. Once He returned to the stage, He asked for Bhajans to begin at 10.30. Prasadam was distributed. The large number of people who could not enter the Sai Kulwant Hall had darshan moving across the Gopuram gate, and accepted prasadam there. Bhagawan accepted Arati at 11 o’clock before returning to His residence.

The evening programme commenced with Bhagawan arriving from His residence at 5.40 pm. Once He reached the stage, He asked Prof Anil Kumar to speak a few words in Telugu and to introduce the speakers for the evening. Sri. V. Srinivasan, All India President of the Sai Organisations spoke first, and was followed at 6.15 pm by Sri. Ajit Popat of the UK. Bhagawan delivered His Birthday message at 6.55 pm, in which He declared that the Muddenahalli educational institution would come under the Sri Sathya Sai University within a year. After nearly an hour, He concluded by singing the Bhajan ‘Rama Rama Rama Sita’ and accepted Arati at 7.50 pm before returning to His residence.

Saturday, November 22, 2008
The 27th convocation of the Sri Sathya Sai University was scheduled for this evening. The procession from Bhagawan’s residence to the Sai Kulwant Hall led by the bands from the Anantapur campus and the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of the University began at 3.45 pm, and in a short while, Bhagawan entered the Hall in His chair clad in a maroon robe. He was flanked on the stage by the office-bearers of the University. The function proceeded in the conventional manner, with the Vice-chancellor Prof. Vishwanath Pandit presenting the graduands of the year, with the gold medal winners and recipients of PhDs being called up by Principal of the Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Prof. U. S. Rao. The convocation address was by Prof. G. Venkataraman, following which Bhagawan gave His benedictory address seated onstage for forty-five minutes at 5.20 pm. The proceedings concluded with the National Anthem just before 6.15 pm. The convocation drama presented by the students of the University got underway at the Poornachandra auditorium at seven o’clock after Bhagawan arrived there. After the drama, Swami blessed the participants with group photographs onstage before accepting Arati and retiring for the day at 8.20 pm. An announcement was made about breakfast and lunch being provided tomorrow free to all as Bhagawan’s prasadam.

Friday, November 21, 2008
Last evening, Bhagawan saw the dress rehearsal of the convocation drama at the Poornachandra auditorium from 4.30 to 5.30 pm before coming to the Bhajan Hall to accept Arati after Bhajans. Today, He distributed sarees both in the morning and the evening as extended Bhajan sessions went on. In the morning, He called groups like the Primary school teachers and so on into the Bhajan Hall and distributed there, while in the evening, He went around the Sai Kulwant Hall giving sarees. He also distributed a few sarees in the Bhajan Hall.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Ladies’ day at Prasanthi Nilayam began with the traditional Suprabhatam being sung by Smt. P. Susheela just before 5.30 am. The vedam chanting around the Mandir was also by the ladies. Bhagawan arrived in Sai Kulwant Hall at 9.30 am in a procession led by the girls bands of the Anantapur campus of the Sri Sathya Sai University and the Primary School, along with Vedam chanting students, as a welcome song was aired. Fifteen minutes later, when Bhagawan reached the stage, the programme for the day began with a ten-minute introduction by Mrs. Chetana Raju. The two speakers of the morning were Dr. (Mrs) Ankhi Mukherjee, former student of the Sri Sathya Sai University and Lecturer in the Universty of Oxford and Mrs. Sylvia Alden, who is a member of the Central Council of the Sai Organisation in the USA with a Masters in Special Education. After their talks, the materials kept in the centre of Sai Kulwant Hall were distributed to the needy. Solar LED lanterns, water purifiers, rugs and other items useful for the rural folk were passed on to the recipients drawn from various parts of Anantapur district. After prasadam distribution, Bhagawan accepted Arati at 11.10 before returning to His residence.

In the evening, once again Bhagawan was ushered into Sai Kulwant Hall in a procession, with another welcome song played over the speakers, at 5 pm. When He reached the Mandir, He moved to the Bhajan Hall where the children from the Primary school were ready in costumes for their programme this evening. After a brief interaction with them, Swami came onstage and started the programme for the evening. Smt. Sunitha and troupe presented devotional songs for an hour and Bhagawan blessed them with clothes before the programme by the Primary School children began at 6.20 pm. Their 70 minute dance-drama brought out the glory of Sai down the ages from Krita Yuga till the present, with video projections on the back-drop adding to the narrative. Swami was very pleased with their performance and went down among them for group photographs before returning to His residence after Arati at 7.40 pm.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The traditional Rathotsavam in which the idols of Rama Lakshmana Sita along with Venugopala Swami are taken from the Mandir to the Kalyanamantapam in Puttaparthi was held this morning. Bhagawan arrived at Sai Kulwant Hall after blessing the baby elephant Gita near His residence and after a darshan round in His chair, went inside a few minutes before 9.30 am. The procession led by Vedam chanting students began soon after, and as they came near the stage, Bhagawan arrived there to send them to the Gopuram gate. He then moved to the Gopuram gate to see off the procession and then returned to the Mandir and asked for Bhajans to begin a few minutes before 10 o’clock. At 10.30, He accepted Arati and returned to His residence. In the evening, Bhagawan arrived after the Bhajans began at five o’clock. He moved down the verandah in the chair and entered the Bhajan Hall from the rear door. Moving to the front of the Bhajan Hall, He sat there for a while before going on another round of darshan and returning to the Bhajan Hall to accept Arati and retire for the day.