Dr. Krishna Raman on Holistic Health and Fitness

Dr. Krishna Raman on Holistic Health and Fitness
Friday, April 17, 2009 at 12:19:54 PM

Dr. Krishna Raman has achieved great success in cost effective preventive and curative healthcare by integrating Yoga and Western Medicine in his clinical practice. He has seamlessly optimized patients’ overall health and wellness with the best of what both modern and ancient sciences can offer.

Medindia interviewed Dr. Krishna Raman MBBS, FCCP (Internal Medicine) and trained in Yoga by the legendary yoga expert B.K.S. Iyengar in Poona.

Dubbed by the Economic Times as the ‘Man with a mission’, and widely known as the ‘dancers’ doctor’ Dr. Krishna Raman does more than just scribble prescriptions—he guides the patients on the principles of good living and healthy lifestyle. Medical practice worldwide has only recently woken up to promote patients’ holistic health. Dr. Krishna Raman has tested and tried this method of complementing Yoga with western medicine for the last 25 years. True to the maxim, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” his patients are from all over the world—Germany, Mexico, UK, US, Singapore, Sri Lanka and many other far corners. Some patients recovered so well that they went on to become Yoga teachers themselves, and vouch for the success of this method of striving for holistic health. Dr. Krishna Raman spoke to Medindia from his clinic that has a tastefully designed Yoga room annex in a quiet neighborhood in Chennai, South India.

Question: You are a doctor with degrees in western medicine. Yet you have published many medical papers in various forums showing the benefits of complementing western medicine with Yoga. What prompted you to integrate Yoga with western medicine in your clinical practice?

Dr Krishna Raman: I have been practising Yoga since I was 14 years, even before I entered a medical college. My parents have taught me a disciplined life style that includes exercise in daily life and have also set an example of value based living.

Medical education helped to lend a perspective to the yogic postures in terms of health benefits. As a medical student I won awards for yoga demos in inter-collegiate cultural events. A German patient who was suffering from nocturnal cramps for nearly 25 years was referred to me by a patient of mine who knew of my interest in Yoga. I realized all she had was muscle cramps and taught her some asanas and in just three days she was fully cured. She was fully convinced of the benefits of practicing yoga and is now a yoga teacher herself. I was amazed at the therapeutic potential of yoga after that and delved deeper into the ancient science and there has been no looking back ever since.

I continue to research yoga with Ultrasound and other techniques to prove or disprove the effects of yoga. This scientific approach is very important. With humility I would like to mention that my perspective of yoga has undergone a total transformation after I was fortunate enough to be drawn into the fold of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Question: Do you administer yoga therapy to all your patients?

Dr Krishna Raman: No. Only if the clinical condition demands it and most importantly, only if I feel that the patient is able to do the asanas will I opt for yoga therapy. A patient who had almost lost total bladder and bowel function came to my clinic asking for yoga therapy. I advised immediate surgery.


Mystery Of The Missing Yogi

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Mystery Of The Missing Yogi

Read up on Giri Naidu’s (12th standard student in Prashanthi Nilayam shcool) experience as published in Sanathana Sarathi, March 1985.

A few days remained for the Navaratri festival to begin at Prasanthi Nilayam. I was at Madras, having no hopes of witnessing the grand celebrations at Parthi.

One night Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba appeared in my dream. The next night too He appeared in my dream and repeated His order, “Leave for Parthi immediately.” I dreamt that I pleaded with Him, “Oh Baba! How to come to You when I am caught in the coils of never ending troubles.” Bhagawan replied, “Nonsense! Come immediately.” I was worried how I could leave for Parthi when my mother and sister were critically ill, and I not much better than they. The day passed while I was in a dilemma.

On the third night again my Lord appeared in my dream but not as Sai Baba, but as Sai Shiva, for He looked at poor me with angry eyes and lashed and thrashed me verbally for not obeying His divine command, and once again He summoned me to Parthi, without regard to my tearful pleadings.

I woke up in the morning dazed. I was unable to make up my mind. But the thought of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba again coming in my dream made me tremble. I dared not keep my head on the pillow, fearing I would fall asleep and He might again appear in my dream and give me another sound verbal thrashing. Somehow I decided to leave for Parthi that very night.

That day Madras seemed to have incurred the wrath of Indra for it rained incessantly. With the help of our sympathetic neighbour, my ailing mother, sister and myself boarded the night bus for Anantapur. We were to reach Anantapur at dawn. We spent the night miserably but waiting for the glorious day to dawn. As the bus sped by, tearing through the dark night I pined to see the golden rays of the sun. My childish emotions overpowered me, for I accused the sun of being lazy and a late riser. It was not too long when my angry accusation turned into prayers too. I prayed to the sun to rise fast at least for my sake. But the sun took his own sweet time, and the day dawned.

The bus was nearing Anantapur when it came to a halt with a sudden jolt. There was a bridge which it had to cross. It was heavily flooded. All around was a scene of destruction. The bus took an hour to cross the flooded bridge, with great difficulty. After we had crossed the bridge, to our great delight we found a bus going to Puttaparthi trying to cross the bridge. Our bus conductor advised us three to quickly get down and board the bus leaving for Parthi, without our going to the Anantapur bus stand. We hurriedly brought our luggage down and boarded the Puttaparthi bus. The latter’s conductor was very hostile. He rudely said, “There is no place, so get off the bus.” When I tried to request him, he took our luggage and threw it out of the bus, and forced us to get down. To our great dismay we found that the Anantapur bus was nowhere in sight and the deserted look all around made me shiver in fright. To my great surprise, as soon as we got down from the bus bound for Parthi, the bus could not move as its engine refused to start. Half of its chassis was in the water and half on dry land. It could neither proceed forward nor go back. It refused to move an inch.

My mother and sister seated themselves on the luggage and were on the verge of collapse. I stood beside the raging river and viewed the angry waters, while mother sat lost in prayer or despair, I do not know. Broken logs of timber rolled and came dashing against the bridge. The corpse of a goat was caught in the swift current of the swirling waters. The dark sky above seemed to be determined on a downpour to drench us, The grim situation cast a gloomy spell on me. I cursed myself for being responsible for the watery grave I had chosen, as I felt our end not far.

Something said within me that the Lord is my host and why should I give myself away to despair and frustration. No sooner had this thought occurred in my mind than I felt the pressure of a hand on my back. I whirled round and saw, “a white long robed yogi with a white beard and matted hair” smiling at me. He had a tender voice and spoke softly. His eyes twinkled and his face shone with splendour. I stood bewitched while he spoke, “Son! You seem to be troubled. Tell me, it may be that I could help you.” Hearing him speak such kind words, I was very much delighted. I told him of the soup that we were in. He gave me a reassuring smile and said, “Is that all! O. K. How many persons are you?” I replied, “There are three of us.” Then I saw him dig his hand into the side pocket of his robe and take out three pink tickets. The smiling yogi said, “I don’t need them, you can take them.” Now with tickets in our hands we boarded the bus that still stood there. As I was boarding the bus, I again felt a pat on my back. I looked behind and saw. It was the smiling yogi. He then uttered these mysterious words, “You go to Puttaparthi and `I’ shall meet you there.” And he hurriedly walked away.

We climbed the bus. The bus conductor gave us a threatening look before he could speak out a word, I showed him the tickets that the yogi gave me, The conductor was shocked and he questioned me, “From where did you get them.” I told him about the yogi. He got down from the bus to look for the yogi. The yogi could be found nowhere. He seemed to have melted into the thin air of the deserted region. The conductor climbed into the bus. He looked shaken. He timidly got three seats vacated and offered them to us. As soon as we took our seats, the engine that had refused to start for two hours miraculously started all of a sudden, and the bus moved towards its destination.

The happy passengers shouted with joy and the air was rent with shouts of JAI SAI RAM!


Millions Flock From Around the World to India’s Hugging Guru



Millions Flock From Around the World to India’s Hugging Guru
Saturday, March 07, 2009

AMRITAPURI, India — The droves who come here leave with no souvenirs, no memories of posh hotels, nothing more than they brought.

All they came for was a hug.

The woman offering the soft embrace is considered a guru, and her tender approach and simple message have galvanized followers to amass in crowds thousands deep at stops around the globe. Part of the appeal of Mata Amritanandamayi, or Amma, as she is universally known, are teachings she says transcend any single faith, let alone simply her Hindu upbringing.

“My message is not unique,” she says through an interpreter. “There will ever only be one message capable of purifying man, nature, the atmosphere, the earth we live on and life itself. That message is: Act with compassion and love for all our fellow beings.”

The masses aren’t coming for Amma’s eloquence, though. Far more than any oratory, any dogma, any writings, people are drawn here by her touch, and so they line up and wait in marathon hugging sessions that can stretch 20 hours and more. The guru’s aides say she sleeps little, sometimes just an hour a night, but is as eager to hug her first visitor as her last.

Here, on these lush banks of the Arabian Sea near India’s southern tip, along backwaters dotted with coconut and cashew trees, Amma has built the capital of hugs. Her ashram, or spiritual center, is a maze of buildings reached by boat or a footbridge over a river.

Eventually, visitors find a large open-air auditorium with a group of men playing music and chanting, and lines of plastic chairs full of people awaiting their turn to walk up the ramp at stage right. When they finally make it, they enter a space so full of people it is hard to move.

Amma is finally in sight.

She is wrapped in a sheer white sari. Her dark hair is tinged with gray and pulled back, her face round, her features soft. Her ears and nose are pierced, and a red and gold dot is worn between her eyebrows. Her smile is beaming but imperfect. She looks older than her 55 years.

She offers hugs as aides come to her with varied questions about her multimillion-dollar charity network of hospitals and orphanages; she gesticulates frequently as she talks.

When the time comes, the visitor is nudged to sink to his knees before Amma’s makeshift throne covered in gold fabric. And, in an instant, it happens.

She holds the visitor’s head tightly between her shoulder and face, uttering in Malayalam what is unintelligible to the non-speaker. Some, she simply holds, others she gently strokes or pats their backs. Some are brief encounters; others last several minutes.

Some sob. Others can’t help but to break into a gaping smile of their own. Some tremble, believing they have been given a divine touch. Nearly everyone seems moved.

When it is over, Amma offers her visitor a small gift — often a hard candy or piece of fruit — and the line moves on. All told, her aides claim she has done this more than 25 million times.

“Her hugs are really like a sermon,” said Vasudha Narayanan, the director of the Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions at the University of Florida. “In her touch, in her hugs are the greatest teachings.”

The experience so moves some that they give up their lives to follow the guru. Dante Sawyer was editing a jazz magazine in New York when he first met Amma in 1998. He had never felt anything like it.

“You really experience a love that’s given completely, selflessly — it’s just like sunlight pouring out,” said 35-year-old Sawyer, who is known at the ashram simply as Sachin. “It’s a love that doesn’t have demands of you.”

Two years after first meeting Amma — a name that means mother in Malayalam — he moved here to dedicate his life to her work. Countless others have similar stories to tell.

Amma was named Sudhamani when born to a relatively poor family here and from childhood was said to have spent a great deal of time meditating, singing and chanting, fixing her eyes on a picture of Krishna.

As her followers tell it, she felt compassion for others from an early age, even to untouchables, and was driven to tears by others’ suffering. Her own family viewed her with disdain, even wondering if she was mentally ill, those who tell her story say, and she was beaten and treated as a servant. She even pondered suicide.

All sorts of lore surrounds her story, including miraculous claims of turning water to milk and allowing a poisonous cobra to flick its tongue against her own. However it happened, though, as a young woman she attracted a following. Some ridiculed her and deemed her a fraud, but the number of devotees grew, and people began to journey to her in the 1970s.

She became regarded as a guru, but unlike other Hindu spiritual masters, she allowed herself to be more than just seen, offering her touch to anyone who wanted it. Amma’s touch is seen as having the potential to ignite one’s spiritual power.

Critics remain, charging Amma’s movement amounts to a personality cult. They question the finances of her organization or even claim it is linked to radical groups. Amma and her followers reject such accusations.

Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, considered Amma’s most senior disciple, says the guru has attracted so many followers because she is accessible to anyone and allows people to feel the presence of God.

“She is humble but firm as the earth,” he writes. “She is simple yet beautiful like the full moon. She is love, she is truth, she is the embodiment of renunciation and self-sacrifice.”

Today, her spiritual star power drives not only her popularity, but the success of international humanitarian efforts fueled by millions in donations. A visitor to her ashram is not asked to give anything, but many around the world do, funding her many Indian charitable endeavors, as well as massive relief for those affected by events such as the Asian tsunami.

She has a sleek Web site. Her movements are tracked on Twitter. She even has a logo.

At the end of her exceptionally long days, Amma climbs the steps to a simple studio apartment in a small peach-colored walk-up at the ashram. She will go to bed alone, having refuted her parents’ numerous attempts to arrange a marriage.

Amma received no formal education beyond the age of 10, and on this day, like every other, she has steered away from scriptural specifics. But her message is clear.

It is about taking as little as possible and giving the maximum, about embracing the core of faith.

It is, in essence, about a hug.

Fox News Reference

How Sathya Sai Baba Came To Me

by James Sinclair

James Sinclair

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.

Sai Baba Trinity

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!


RadioSai Reference

Testy Over Standards

Testy Over Standards
Most private schools refuse to take part in provincial EQAO program
Last Updated: 2nd March 2009, 4:41am

Toronto-area private schools aren’t putting stock into the standardized testing that parents can count on in the public system.

In an exclusive elementary school report card issue yesterday, the Sunday Sun reported private schools came second among GTA school boards, following the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud.

However, it’s difficult to get a full picture of how private schools rank in the evaluation by the Fraser Institute. Only seven of 250 private schools in the GTA voluntarily have their students take standardized provincial testing from the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). While the testing is mandatory for public schools — it’s not in the private system.

The Fraser Institute, an independent think-tank, releases the annual report card, basing its findings on the province’s standardized EQAO tests, which are given to kids in Grades 3 and 6.


So why don’t private schools think EQAO is the way to go?

“We find our testing (Canadian Test Centre’s CAT-4 evaluation) tells us more about where we need to improve as teachers,” said Sybil Taylor, principal of Century Montessori Private School. “We did two years of EQAO in early 2000 and there was a feeling that there was too much competition with ranking.”

The North Toronto Christian School, a private school in the Finch-Bayview Aves. area, doesn’t perform EQAO testing because it costs $55 per pupil for private schools.

“Cost is an issue and we would generally question the value of this,” said Gordon Cooke, the school’s administrator. “We’re not convinced that EQAO is vigorous enough to test performance.”

The school, which has 600 students from JK to Grade 8, uses CAT-3 and Canadian Tests of Basic Skills as ways of evaluation. Cooke said the school also rejects EQAO because it takes up class time.

Cooke added that parents don’t need to see private school rankings on the Fraser report to know it’s a quality school.


“Parents are convinced of a (private school’s) strong academic state through word of mouth and coming to the school and talking to staff,” he said.

Peter Cowley, of the Fraser Institute, said Ontario is the only province where many private schools opt out of standardized testing.

“The vast majority of private schools in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec all participate in province-wide testing, and that is because a portion of their tuition fees are covered by the provincial ministry of education,” he said.

Dr. Revathi Chennabathni, the principal at Sathya Sai School, said her private school participates in the EQAO exam because “it provides an unbiased assessment of our school for parents to decide if this is the right school for their child.”

More parents are choosing private schools because of smaller class sizes, said Agatha Stawicki, who organizes annual private school fairs for parents in Toronto and Oakville.

“More and more smaller schools are opening to fill a gap that’s for the community,” she said. “About 30% of kids that attend private schools come from families with incomes less than $50,000, which means parents are making significant sacrifices to make that choice to enrol their child in a private or independent school.”

Parent Kesh Maharaj said he sent his two kids to Sathya Sai School because it offers a human component.

“For the schools that don’t participate in the Ontario standard testing I can only hope that the kids are gaining the correct lessons from the teachers,” said Maharaj, 32, who is also co-chairman on the Sathya Sai School parent council.

“There is also a level of responsibility and ownership which parents must take in the success and proper functioning of any educational system. Personal responsibility and personal commitment to continued education at home are equally important for the successful education of our children.”

Toronto Sun Reference

Isaac Tigrett – House Of Blues – Hard Rock Cafe – Isaac Burton Tigrett

Isaac Tigrett

Isaac Tigrett

Isaac Tigrett – House Of Blues – Hard Rock Cafe – Isaac Burton Tigrett
Founder-Creator: The Hard Rock Café – The House of Blues BOZO’STM Hot Pit Bar-B-Q

Throughout his professional career Isaac Tigrett has followed the evolution of music, art and other social trends and their impact on culture. Mr. Tigrett’s keen insights into trends and social/cultural movements, together with expansive creative capabilities, fuel his visionary approach to creating experiences and environments that entertain and educate customers and participants.

In his early career, Mr. Tigrett’s focus was on the evolution of music and pop culture and their impact on society. In 1971, at the age of 22, he created the world famous Hard Rock Café in London with his 50/50 partner Peter Morton (23). Tigrett was the concept creator and named the venture HARD ROCK CAFÉ. Morton was from a distinguished restaurant family in Chicago USA. He supplied the food and catering know-how. Eric Crisman, an early manager, describes the two young entrepreneurs.

“Tigrett and Morton couldn’t have been more dissimilar! Like oil and water! Tigrett was a revolutionary hippie activist with long hair, dressed in King’s Road “blue velvets” and snake skin boots. Morton sported Saveille Row tailored blue blazers, Turnbull & Asher shirts, blue jeans and Gucci shoes (See Newsweek photo shoot 1971). While Tigrett’s musical tastes were Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin; Morton’s brand music was the group Bread, Cat Steven’s and Roxy Music. Tigrett’s crowd consisted of hippies, artists, and musicians while Morton hung out with models and fashion designers.”

Tigrett and Morton held together their shaky partnership until 1981. Tigrett then bought out Morton’s interest in the only existing Hard Rock Café on London’s Hyde Park Corner and all World Rights to the name Hard Rock Café. Morton retained rights to develop the Hard Rock Café’s in the USA states West of the Mississippi River and three foreign countries; Israel, Colombia and Australia. Tigrett controlled all the USA States East of the Mississippi, and all other countries “world wide”. Morton opened the 1st Hard Rock Café outside the original in London, in Los Angeles Calif. in 1983, with its original 1971 Americana décor.

Tigrett re-launched The Hard Rock Brand in 1984 in New York City with long-time friend and partner Dan Akyroyd. Tigrett wowed the music world and its fans with his creation of The World’s First “authentic” Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Musicians World Wide rushed to donate their Rock Memorabilia to Tigrett’s Rock Museum for “time immemorial”. A week later he re-launched the original London Hard Rock Café as Europe’s First Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Morton quickly copied Tigrett’s creations in London and New York keeping the “new” HRC brand consistent.

Tigrett went on to develop the Hard Rock Hall of Fame in Stockholm, Sweden; Tokyo Japan; Dallas Texas, Reykjavik Iceland; Boston Massachusetts; Orlando Florida; Cancun Mexico; Washington DC; Jackson Tennessee (Tigrett’s home town) based on his “Original” HRC in London, and began to develop franchise opportunities “world wide”. Tigrett took the Hard Rock though three Public offerings in the United States and Europe.

Morton went on to develop Hard Rock Café’s in San Francisco CA; Chicago; Denver Colorado; New Orleans Louisiana and other sub markets in his territories, West of the Mississippi River. Morton developed the 1st Hard Rock Café Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada, using original designs created by Tigrett and “the world renowned” Graphic Artist – for their “Royal Majesties,” The Beatles – Alan Aldridge.

Tigrett and Morton sold their perspective Hard Rock Café companies which eventually went to England’s Rank Origination PLC. Rank went on to expand the Hard Rock Café Brand in 40 countries; 124 HRC’s 4 Hard Rock Hotels and 2 additional HRC Casinos. Rank sold the Hard Rack Café Brand to the Seminole Indian Nation of the USA in 2007.

Following the sale of his interest in the Hard Rock Café, Mr. Tigrett was involved in numerous charitable activities. Prominent among those was his role as a founding trustee of the Rama Foundation of Zurich, Switzerland; and principal sponsor of the creation of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medicine, a free 500-bed advanced surgical hospital that serves the rural poor in Anantapur, India.

Following the opening of the Medical Institute, Mr. Tigrett turned his attention to his next venture. Using the skills that he has demonstrated in building the Hard Rock Café “Brand”, he again wowed the music community with his “new creation,” the famous HOUSE OF BLUES, again with long time friend and “Blues Brother” Dan Akyroyd. Mr.Tigrett’s vision for The House of Blues grew from his belief that popular tastes were evolving from rock’n’roll to alternative original music art forms such as Blues, Jazz, Latin, Country & Western, Urban, Rhythm & Blues and Rap.

Tigrett’s new HOUSE OF BLUES “cultural creation” consisted of a dynamic Live Music Venue for 2000 people plus, an exclusive Private Club and gourmet restaurant called The Foundation Room, and a 350 seat “New Orleans Restaurant” filled with previously unseen Original American “Out Sider Art.” He extended the HOUSE OF BLUES brand into other media including a record company (with BMG), radio shows (with CBS), television production (with Time Warner), and the Internet’s First Live Music Address, LiveConcert.com (in partnership with Real Audio). House of Blues also launched the now famous music tours “Smoking Grooves” (Urban&Rap) and “Barn Burner” (Heavy Blues).

Tigrett founded the much-heralded HOUSE OF BLUES venues in Harvard Square, Cambridge Massachusetts; New Orleans, Louisiana, Los Angeles CA, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Orlando, Florida; and Chicago Ill. Including the HOB Hotel, (340 Rooms) in Chicago.

Tigrett left HOUSE OF BLUES in 1998 after a “Board Room” power grab by directors Chase Bank, The Disney Company, The Aeneus Banking Group and Goldbury Ventures.

Tigrett went on to form The Word Foundation with the Interfaith Center of New York, which broadcasted on the Worldwide Web. Some of those video and Internet broadcasts included: The Parliament of the World Religions from Cape Town, South Africa 1998; His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s “A Global Quest for Union”; World Sacred Music Festival 12/8-10/1999 in Cape Town, South Africa; His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s World Sacred Music Festival, April 2000 in Bangalore, India; The Sixth Annual Alternative Therapies Symposium & Exhibition on 4/25-29/2000 in Kohala Coast, Hawaii; The Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, under the patronage of His Majesty Mohammad, King of Morocco, 5/31-6/8/2000 in Fez, Morocco; and “Wisdom Sharing: Community, Ritual and Healing”, The Association for Transpersonal Psychology 8/4-6/2000 in Vancouver, Canada.

Tigrett returned to his native home town Jackson Tennessee in 2001 to attend to his ailing mother, Frances, until her death and in 2005. Tigrett now lives in Prasanthi Nilayam in South India at the Ashram of his Master Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Tigrett is currently launching his next venture, a Spiritual Retreat in the “rain forest” of S. India – at the behest of his Master, “THE MYSTIC INN OF THE 7TH RAY.”


The Ark Trust of Great Britain
In 1988, after selling the Hard Rock Cafes, Mr. Tigrett became CEO of the non-profit environmental group with fellow supporters Chrise Hyne, Peter Gabriel, Kevin Godley Sting and others which, under his leadership, launched the first “environmentally friendly” Household Products in the U.K.

The Rama Foundation of Zurich, Switzerland
Mr. Tigrett is a founding trustee of the Foundation, which funded the creation of a Free (500 bed) Advanced Surgical Hospital for the rural poor in Anantapur, India.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City
Mr. Tigrett served as Trustee & Regent of the Cathedral, and on the Executive Board of Directors.

The House of Blues Foundation
Tigrett founded The HOB Foundation which promotes the teaching of Music and Art in American Public Schools. To date 500,000 kids have experienced this highly acclaimed program developed by Harvard University and Cambridge Bridge & Latin Schools (one public classroom at a time) at each HOUSE OF BLUES Location. 100’s of scholarships have been granted by the HOB Foundation to America’s brightest urban kids for college education (Tigrett says “the only two important things I have done in my career is opening the first classless restaurant in the UK (the Hard Rock Café at Mayfair’s Hyde Park Corner in 1971) and the creations of the House Of Blues Foundations 1991”)

(Click here to go to HOB Foundation and Outreach Video Link)

National Freedom Award
Mr. Tigrett founded the National Freedom Award, given every year on behalf of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee to an individual who has displayed a dynamic commitment to Civil Rights. Past recipients included President Jimmy Carter and Reverend Desmond Tutu.

The Smithsonian Rock & Soul Museum Memphis Tennessee
Board Member Emeritus

Blues Foundation – Memphis, Tennessee
National Board Member Emeritus

Centre College
Doctorate of Humane Letters, January 17, 1996. Mr. Tigrett was Awarded an Honorary Degree from his alma mater, Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, for promoting African American Culture and Racial Harmony.

Rhodes College
Doctorate of Fine Arts, honoris causa, May 17, 1997 for his contribution to the rebirth of the blues, his commitment to promote racial harmony and for his vision and work towards a more harmonious world.

Inner City Arts Award
1997 Man of the year Los Angeles CA.

Nation’s Restaurant News
Named Isaac Tigrett as one of the greatest restaurateurs of the 20th Century

Angel Foundation
Los Angeles, CA – Angel of the Year 1997

Museum of American Folk Art
New York, N.Y. Man of the Year, 1998

Agape Church

Los Angeles man of the year 1998

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sloan School of Business
Young President’s Organization;
Boston MA, Los Angles CA.
University of Mississippi
The Global forum of Spiritual and Parlimentary Leaders – Moscow Russia

Hard Rock Café Plc.
In 2007 British Rank Origination Plc sold the Hard Rock Café Business which includes 124 Hard Rock Cafes, 4 Hard Rock Hotels and a pair of Hard Rock Casinos to the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida, a Native American Group, for US$ 965 million

In 2007, The Hard Rock rights for Casino’s and Hotels in half of the USA was sold to New York based Morgans Hotel Group for US$ 770 million.

House of Blues Hotel, Chicago sold in 2007 for US$ 228 million.

House of Blues Entertainment, Inc.

In 2007, Live Nation (Clear Channel Communications, Inc.) bought the House of Blues Entertainment group for US$ 350 million and is launching HOB’s Across Europe and Asia.

Tigrett was born in 1948 into an influential Southern family that founded Jackson, Tennessee in the 1820’s. Family entrepreneurial activities included lumber, farming, railroads, bus lines, real estate, banking, and manufacturing. Tigrett moved to England in 1967 where he worked as a dough boy at Carr’s Biscuits of Carlyle. On a 600 pound savings, Tigrett founded the Century Carriage Company in 1968 which exported used Roll Royce and Bentley automobiles to the U.S.A. Tigrett cleared $250,000 in 1969, which financed the Hard Rock Café in 1971. Tigrett had 1 child, Augusta, with Maureen Starkey Tigrett (formerly married to Ringo Star) and raised her children, Zak, Jason, and Lee from 1976 until her death 19 years later.

Official Website For The Hard Rock Cafe
Official Website For The House Of Blues
Official Website For The BOZO’S Hot Pit Bar-B-Q

Maha Shivarathri – The Night for Sacred Vigil

Sathya Sai Prema

Sathya Sai Prema

Maha Shivarathri – The Night for Sacred Vigil
Maha Shivarathri has been among the most spiritually signifying events in the festive-galore Prasanthi Nilayam…and the festivity has had a unique trail to this Divine Abode that dated back to the early 1940s when the Master Indweller of this Home of Supreme Peace, had come out with the most significant declaration after the times of Bhagawan Sri Krishna, revealing The Sai Advent. Shivarathri in the immediate Divine Presence of Lord Shiva Himself is the uniqueness of the festivity in Prasanthi Nilayam.

The Festival of Austerity
Maha Shivarathri is the holy occasion when the jiva remembers and adores Shiva, who is the life of lives and the Lord of all souls, who through His cosmic dance, a metaphorical representation of life on earth, conglomerates the three acts of the Godhead, namely, creation, preservation and destruction. Bhagawan has said: all that you find in this world, mobile and immobile, is nothing but the Cosmic Dance of Shiva. This is wonderful, blissful and beyond human comprehension…

Maha Shivarathri means ‘the Great Night of Shiva’. According to the Sivapurana, this holy day falls on the Krishna Chathurdasi day which is on the fourteenth day during the waning of the moon in the month of Megha, though in some years it may occur in the month of Phalguna.

Rudram Chanting – Morning, February 23, 2009
An unprecedented gathering converged in Prasanthi Nilayam during the occasion, thoroughly unmindful of the inconveniences that is natural for an assemblage of gigantic proportions, is an apparent testimony to the inner urge of man to realise his essential Truth. The enthusiastic devotees filled every inch of space available in Prasanthi Nilayam from two days in advance in the run up to the festivity. One could see long disciplined queues making a beeline, much before the first rays of the Sun peeped through the eastern horizon, to ensure a place on the coveted occasion in the Sai Kulwant Hall. Anticipating a surge of devotees, arrangements had been made to put up huge screens to show the programmes live to those who could not have a good view from their spot. Such screens were projected on both sides, ladies’ and gents’ side in the Sai Kulwant Hall and in the Poornachandra Auditorium.

On the auspicious morning, Bhagawan came out at 8:30 moving gently among the devoted assemblage, completing one full round, reaching the dais…Craning necks, glued eyes, folded hands and prayerful lips, minds attuned to the ecstatic vibrations and hearts beating to the melody of souls…He was the focal point….for the weak and the meek, rich and the poor, men and women…for one and all…The special Shivarathri Cakes prepared by the overseas group of devotees as well as by the students were blessed and cut by Bhagawan before He He came onstage granting blissful darshan.

Over a thousand Youth from Karnataka, well trained in Rudram chanting were blessed by Bhagawan to chant Rudram in the Divine Presence on the auspicious morning.

His Glory does not require any catalyst to express…Sai Kulwant Hall that was filled to capacity reverberating with the Vedic chants, with every single heart beating for the form of the formless one with eyes glued in rapt attention. Bhagawan sat through the session for nearly an hour conferring Divine benediction on the privileged folk of Prasanthi Nilayam, His students and the youth and the multi-thousands thronged to have a glimpse on the auspicious morning! With the chanting of Rudram reaching its crescendo, the Sai Kulwant Hall became verily transfixed in the world of Lord Shiva, with the form of the formless Shiva sitting right in the middle, most nonchalant, presiding over the proceedings. After almost an hour long sitting, Bhagawan called for Arathi and before leaving advised the boys and youth to assemble at 3 o’ clock for the evening session.

Speeches, Divine Discourse and Commencement of Bhajans – Evening, February 23, 2009
An electrifying Divine Discourse, inspirational rhetoric by seniors followed by Akhanda Bhajan were the highlights of the glitzy Shivarathri evening at Prasanthi Nilayam in the immediate Divine Presence. In the afternoon the hall was occupied by the students, staff and other devotees much before the scheduled hour. Bhagawan in His resplendent yellow robe gave darshan to all assembled before occupying the centre stage on the dais. An Ice Lingam, an apt representation of the Holy Kailash Mountain, the dwelling place of Lord Shiva, was brought to the front as specially instructed by Bhagawan for the complete public view. The gigantic lingam brought with special care by the Youth from Karnataka was made up of 600 kgs of Ice, 20 Litres of milk and was 5.08 ft in height.

The session began with an address by former Vice Chancellor Sri SV Giri who dwelled upon the greater significance of the sacred night, calling the festivity as a cultural representation of the country, Bharath. Sri. V. Srinivasan, All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations was categorical in expressing the greater benediction that befell on the capacity crowd assembled in Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate the festivity in His Divine Presence. The third speaker, Mr. Ajith Popat gave an electrifying speech, an appetizer warming up for the lofty Divine Discourse that was in waiting.

Hailing Mother India and her greater cultural heritage, Bhagawan said, having been born in Bharath, people of the country have the responsibility to upkeep her cultural heritage. Referring to the auspicious Shivarathri Night, Bhagawan was candid in expressing that many nights that we pass could not be compared with the auspicious Shivarathri Night. The holy night should be utilized in chanting His Divine Name. Exhorting to listen to the glory of Lord Shiva, He said, when you spent the night in constant contemplation, it verily becomes Shivarathri. Shiva is beyond physical form. We assume Him a physical form out of our imagination. Hari and Hara are beyond the physical.

Dwelling upon the story wherein Mother Parvathi, being prodded by Goddess Lakshmi, questions Lord Shiva of His odd credentials to be her husband, Bhagawan brought home the point quoting Lord’s reply to Mother Parvathi that Lord was beyond names, caste and lineage; He has no name and no form; He is changeless; He has neither birth nor death; neither beginning nor end; He is eternal and Atma Swarupa.
Talking about the greater importance of meditation, He said one should advance through the three levels of concentration, contemplation, and thereafter Meditation. Meditation is resulting out of a steady unwavering mind. True identity with the Divine could be achieved only by sacrificing action leaving the feeling of doer ship. May you experience any amount of discomforts, never give up the consciousness. As a prerequisite to attain peace one needs to start with Sathya and Dharma by rooting out all negative tendencies/qualities.

Referring to all the criticism being poured unto Him, He asserted that He is not affected by any of them and He remains to be the same. He only has Love to give back to all of them as he does not have any trace of hatred or anger. Bhagawan exhorted the assemblage of devotees to follow the path of Sathya and Dharma and to Love All and Serve All. When Sathya joins Dharma there comes Prema…While singing Prema Muditha Manase Kaho…think of Him, meditate upon His Name wholeheartedly with Love. He concluded the Divine Discourse calling upon the devotees to Be Happy.

Conclusion of Bhajans and Narayana Seva (Serving of Prasadam) – Morning, February 24, 2009
The Sacred Vigil that began with the conclusion of the Divine Discourse continued into the early hours of the 24th. It was nearing 8:40 a.m. All eyes were glued to the pathway leading from Bhagawan’s Residence…and lo! The dazzling maroon clad Divine Form emerged out of Yajur Mandiram!…Bhagawan moved along the entire pathway, through the assemblage of devotees on to the dais. On His way some of the staff members requested him to consecrate the prasadam to be served to all devotees and the Lord obilged. Bhajans continued for some more time as the prasadam was being shifted to the designated location before Bhagawan called for Aarathi. This was followed by special prasadam, tamarind rice and laddu, served to the entire assemblage of devotees. Bhagawan sat through for more than half an hour watching the prasadam distribution proceedings before retiring to Yajur Mandiram.

“Shivarathri was the festival which manifested most of the God that Baba is” wrote Sri N. Kasturi in his narration about the festivity of the seventies and eighties. If God is Love and if that Love has embodied in human form, He is bound to shower that Love…and it was that all-encompassing Love, all-conquering Love that probably precipitated in the hearts of the tens of thousands of men and women assembled on the Shivarathri occasion, to treasure as most valued…to carry home…and further on…in the journey ahead.

Reference (With Pictures)

Also see:
Night Of Shiva – Siva Celebration – Mahashivaratri 2009 – Maha Shivarathri 2009 – February 23rd 2009

Walls Of Sai Baba Temple In Shirdi Adorned With Gold Sheets

Sai Baba Of Shirdi

Sai Baba Of Shirdi

Walls Of Sai Baba Temple In Shirdi Adorned With Gold Sheets

Shirdi, Jan 11 (PTI) The four walls surrounding the statue of Shirdi Sai Baba have been adorned with gold sheets weighing 50 kg and embossed with pictures of the 20th century saint.

The sheets mounted over the walls, prepared using about 50 kg gold, 50 kg bronze and about 250 kg copper, have been donated to the temple’s trust by a Hyderabad-based businessman Adinarayana Reddy, a Sai Sansthan trustee told PTI.

Bangalore-based artist Raja Algar who has embossed the sheets with pictures depicting the saint, six in all, has been working on it since the past four months, he said.

Algar has worked on the designs of many temples including the Tirupati Balaji in Andhra Pradesh, he said.

In 2008 Reddy had donated the golden throne on which the Sai Baba now sits, after his wife Sulochana had a dream in which the saint asked her to get it made.

The throne which costs close to Rs 90 crore was made using 100 kg gold. It was also prepared by Algar.

The temple, the second richest in the country after Tirupati Balaji, see 25 per cent increase in the number of devotees each year, the trustee said.

Shirdi Sai Baba temple has collected Rs 81 crore in cash, 120 kg of gold and 440 kg of silver in the form of donations during the year 2008, he added. PTI


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.)

Robert Bozzani: How Swami U-Turned My Life

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Robert Bozzani: How Swami U-Turned My Life

One among the few devotees from the western hemisphere who came to recognise Baba’s divinity way back in the early seventies, Mr. Robert Bozzani (also known as “Bob Bozzani”) was a forty-five year old flourishing businessman from the USA when he came to Sathya Sai Baba for the first time. For more than thirty five years since then, he has visited Puttaparthi at least once every year and has been a hand-picked instrument of Bhagavan in His Divine Mission. Currently, he is a Trustee of the Sathya Sai Book Center of America, California, USA:

Robert Bozzani: God draws people to Himself in myriad ways. And every traveller bound for the Divine Pilgrimage has a different and interesting tale of how he was first drawn to the Lord. So too is my story.

My tryst with divinity began when I was a 12 year old boy, studying in a public school in Pasadina, California. My mother, giving in to the counsel and pressure from her friends, decided to switch me over to a Church school. Three weeks into this school, and I encountered something which sowed the seeds for a transformation that was to last a lifetime. For, at the Church School, our teachers told us – “You know, there is one thing we must tell you. That is, God would not like it if you went to another Church. If you do so, you will be doomed to perdition.”

Three Unanswered Questions
I did not feel too comfortable with that. Instead, three questions raised themselves to my mind.

  1. If there is a God, shouldn’t He be there for everybody?
  2. If He has manifested as Jesus Christ, does that mean that He has not manifested earlier, or will not manifest hereafter?
  3. Shouldn’t there be more to this universe than what I can think of? This thought stirred the depths of my consciousness every time I looked up at the night sky even as a young boy and saw all the beautiful stars twinkling and shimmering in the empyrean.

It was essential that I first lose my way in the labyrinths of worldly happiness, for only then it would strengthen the urge for spiritual bliss and peace. Thus, I took the path of the temporal and the mundane, because my path, being born in America, was to seek happiness in a materialistic way.

So I went, full barge as one would say, and finished school, and later went on to become a flourishing business man. Then I got married and even had wonderful children. It was essential that I first lose my way in the labyrinths of worldly happiness, for only then it would strengthen the urge for spiritual bliss and peace. Thus, I took the path of the temporal and the mundane, because my path, being born in America, was to seek happiness in a materialistic way.

I had everything that was supposed to make one happy; I could not ask for more. But, at the age 45, I was so unhappy that I didn’t want to be around any more. The feeling was, in fact, deeper than that. I just thought life was useless, but nobody could feel or know how I felt inside; absolutely nobody, not even my wife, family, or my mother. I was trying to find happiness in the pursuit of the great American dream. But I could feel that in spite of having everything, I had nothing.

‘Sai Yoga’ – Union with Sai, Through Hatha Yoga
It was around this time that Bhagavan decided to draw me to Himself. And this happened in the early seventies through my wife who had developed an interest in Hatha Yoga. Keen in her intent of pursuing this ancient form of Yoga, she got in touch with Indra Devi, the leading Yoga practitioner in the West, who was also an ardent follower of Sathya Sai Baba. My wife went twice to Tecate, to supposedly learn Hatha Yoga but when she was there with Indra Devi, they spent so much time talking about Baba.

When my wife returned to California, she told me that she had learned about Sathya Sai Baba and would like to go India sometime. Reluctant and unconvinced, I dropped it at that. But my wife wanted to go the following year, and she did.

Then, towards the end of the year 1973, about December, my wife made a statement which was so unlike her. She said, “I am going to go to India, whether you come or not.” I did not say no to Satya Sai Baba, because, fortunately, we had an open upbringing. We were brought up that way. So, I said, “Well, I guess I am going.”

He Appeared, Not in Dream, But in Person
Here, I should mention something very significant which happened in this month of December. Actually, during this period I was deeply depressed and one night Sathya Sai Baba appeared to me not in a dream, but in person. I woke up in the middle of the night on December 9, and there was Baba standing at the end of our bed! He was clothed in a white robe and with a raised hand as if blessing and comforting me, He said, “Don’t worry, everything will be alright.”

And the unique thing about this experience is that Swami spoke to me in the voice of my physical father who had actually passed away the year before! In fact, I remember, saying to Him, “How are you, father?” And Swami again answered in my father’s voice. He sweetly said, “I am fine, but working very hard.” It wasn’t until several years later that I found out that Shirdi Baba often talked to newcomers in a voice they are familiar with so that they feel comfortable.

It did not stop at that on that momentous night. Baba, next, took me out of my body and I remember looking down on the bed where my wife and I were actually sleeping. It was such a unique experience. He then put me back into my body and told again, “Don’t worry, every thing will be alright.” After this, Swami left. But again, it wasn’t until a year later that I completely understood the message that Swami wanted to give me that night. It was very clearly this: “I wasn’t the body”.

So, filled with such experiences, we came in February 1974 to Bangalore, India. And as per our plan, I was to escort my wife to Puttaparthi, ensure that she was safe, and then I was to go back to Bangalore, and from there, start touring. I was still, not so convinced about His divinity.

But way back in 1974, having come to Puttaparthi, it wasn’t easy to turn around. We reached Puttaparthi into the evening and it was impossible to go back. So I decided to stay on for the night and return the next morning to Bangalore. In fact, I hadn’t checked out of the hotel even, since I knew I was going back.

Answering the Three Divine Puzzles
The next morning, Swami was very kind to call our group in the Mandir. It was not an official interview, but a sort of a small discourse. Professor Kasturi was there who translated His words for us. And then, something very beautiful transpired. It was actually quite extraordinary for me then. For, as I was to learn later on, Bhagavan talks to each one of us – heart to heart. And one is sure of a message from Him, whether it is in a discourse, or whether one is in darshan. Directly or otherwise, Swami has a message for each of us, if we are alert to it. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don’t. But in my case, it was direct.

For, here was Swami giving us a sweet talk. But suddenly I could feel Swami answering the three questions that I had asked of an unseen Creator when I was a twelve-year old. I could hear His message distinctly, addressed straight to my heart, though not verbally, and felt their import and impact.

  1. Yes, there is a God and He is here for everyone.
  2. He has come before Jesus, and He is here now and He will come even after.
  3. No doubt, there is much more to this universe than what man thinks there is.

After the discourse and that wonderful get-together, I walked out of the Mandir, found my wife and said to her, “He is God. We are staying.” And I sent somebody, who was going to Bangalore, to check out of my hotel and send my luggage to Puttaparthi.

Instantaneous Realisation
Then came the dramatic twist to my tale. My wife, who was very enchanted by Sathya Sai Baba, and wanted to come and see Him in the first place, was dumbfounded. For I, the non-seeker, had realized Baba’s divinity instantly. Whereas, it took her three years to accept the fact that Sathya Sai Baba was God Incarnate and the Avatar of the Avatars. That’s interesting. I got it like that! She took a little bit longer.

But acceptance or not, Bhagavan ensured that He made us feel comfortable all the time when we were with Him. Let me share one instance. We were fortunate to have a private interview with Swami. On that occasion, He told us things that we didn’t know. He revealed us about our past and present; it was surprising He knew events about our lives that nobody would know. But what struck me the most, more than His overwhelming omniscience, was this: He had such a beautiful way of personalizing any moment that you were/are with Him, by making you think – ‘Here is God of the Universe, and I am the only thing existing at this moment’. That is the divine love that He is able to pour out. You cannot explain it. But it’s there.

I still remember that, sometime later, we were standing up with Baba, and so was He. But we did not have to look down at Him. For, He had raised Himself up to our height! And Swami and we were looking at each other eye to eye, and were just in a natural flow, back and forth, at that particular time. It was an unforgettable experience of how He made us so comfortable. And He did so not just for ‘that’ moment, but during all the moments that we’ve been with Him, in all these 34 years.

That first time, we stayed at Puttaparthi for about two weeks. We were even fortunate to follow Bhagavan to Anantapur, where He stayed for a couple of days. And from there, we left for America.

Baba came to be a major turning point in my life. For, when I returned to the USA, I was absolutely sure that my life was to take a total U-turn from thenceforth. During that one interview which we had with Baba, Swami had said to me, “You are very unhappy.” I must say that I added to myself, “Even though He is God, He doesn’t know how unhappy I am right now, which I know now He did.”

Then Bhagavan in His infinite mercy reassured me, saying, “Do not worry. Things will change… You are unhappy with your work. Don’t worry. That will change.” So I came back, invigorated by hope and suffused with optimism, thinking, “Oh, wow, work is going to change. A new job on my way! How exciting!” Soon I was to discover that it is not my work which was going to change; it was I who was about to change. And that was the beginning of my transformation.

Swami Sows the Seeds of Change
The seeds of change had already been sown by a discourse that Bhagavan Baba gave in 1968. That particular message to me is still one of those which is most important; I replay it even today. In that discourse, Bhagavan clearly stated the reason behind His Divine Descent. He said that this time He had come to protect the righteous.

However, since everybody was tainted with sin at this particular time, He had come to ‘Transform’. To me, that really hit home. I tried to dive deep into that, and listen intently to the Voice of Bhagavan to put into practice any particular idea that He might point at me in my path of transformation.

Guiding me also on my individual path of transformation was Swami’s message to me, which He pointed out in that interview. Swami told us – “Duty without love is deplorable. Duty with love is desirable. Love without duty is divine.” And that is where I started my journey from. For, though I always did my duty with a sense of moral righteousness, I could not say that it stemmed so much from Love. Thus, Swami decided to set to me on to this path of ‘Love without Duty’.

It has been 34 years now, since I first met Swami. And I am now beginning to get His message. I would not say that I practice ‘Love without duty’ in the truest spirit, but I’ve been fortunate enough to get parts of that, and it is really beautiful.

Swami’s message is Love. “Love is God. Live in Love. And do everything with Love”. That is where Swami has been dragging me along – to really dive in and get that message. More importantly, practising this Love was very important to my personal and spiritual growth, because at that time, my heart was very dry and I didn’t know it. I thought I was being nice but the fact was that I felt completely devoid of Love from within.

Sai Can Spot You, Wherever You May Be
The next time we arrived at Puttaparthi was in 1975 for the World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation. That was the time when the American chapter of the Sri Organization was first put together. Dr. John Hislop was appointed as the first chairman of the American Council. And it so happened that I was appointed as one of the Council Members. It was again a very interesting experience. I was seated half way back in the Poornachandra Auditorium during the function. Bhagavan Baba was present even as Dr. Hislop announced the names. And when my name was called out, Swami acknowledged me in that crowd, even though I was seated right in the midst of a jam-packed hall. It is amazing how Swami can directly see you even in the midst of a multitude of people. I was touched, truly overwhelmed!

Swami has this inimitable way of uplifting one’s spirits. With His soothing words, He would make you feel that when you are returning to your world, you are going to be happy immediately and everything is going to be perfect. And I learnt that it was not quite so, because things begin to happen slowly. They neither change overnight, nor by themselves. I encountered this fact of life, even in my work, where I found it difficult sometimes to handle people; there were a few with whom I had to necessarily interact. But I realized that Swami sent such people to me so that I could learn to open my heart.

Thus it was that, when I began getting His message of Love and doing everything in Love, I could feel the change, both in my workplace and in the Sai work. This has been my wonderful and fortunate path all the way. Because, when you begin to get this subtext of Love, you become a happier person. Thus, I went back to the same society and environment, and yet I was able to fit in an entirely different way. It was a slow yet steady process of metamorphosis. For, on the one hand was the wonderful feeling that God is here and now. Yet, on the other hand, my desires took awhile to loosen their hold on me. Although I wasn’t too happy with the endless merry-go-rounds of pleasures and pain, I was still getting entrapped in their vicious cycle in my quest for happiness.

Swami has this inimitable way of uplifting one’s spirits. With His soothing words, He would make you feel that when you are returning to your world, you are going to be happy immediately and everything is going to be perfect. And I learnt that it was not quite so, because things begin to happen slowly. They neither change overnight, nor by themselves. I encountered this fact of life, even in my work, where I found it difficult sometimes to handle people; there were a few with whom I had to necessarily interact. But I realized that Swami sent such people to me so that I could learn to open my heart.

Bhagavan told me that everything would change for the better, and I thought that it was going to happen instantly. But Swami taught me through my personal experience that first I needed to put His Words into practice. What mattered was not the change, which would, in due course, effect itself, but the effort that went behind working that change. And that’s the effort that really pays off. That’s when I understood that if I took one step towards God, He’d take a hundred, even a thousand steps towards me; that He would pour His grace on me. But what was essential was the first individual step.

Bhagavan Roots Out an Unseen Weed
When I made that conscious effort to transform myself, Swami would pitch in with more lessons and guidelines so that I made some headway on this path to progress. There is one instance of this transformation which is very dear to my heart. We’ve been fortunate to come to Puttaparthi every year since our first trip; sometimes we’d be there at least once for a length of time. Many times, we undertook two trips, even were blessed with three trips in a year. This incident occurred in the 1980s when we arrived once more to this Holy Abode of Peace. But this one time, Bhagavan walked up to me when I arrived, and pointing His finger, said, “No ill-will”.

When Swami turned and left, I said to myself, “One thing in my heart, I’ve never had any ill-will against people. That’s not in there. But Swami, You know even if there is a little bit of those ‘weeds’, and I know that You are going to pull them out.”
Nevertheless, Swami’s statement got me thinking, and triggered in response a self-introspection as to what I had done in all these days to warrant such a statement from Him. I tossed and turned in my bed, and finally, after 10 days, the ‘why’ of Swami’s message dawned on me. And when it came, it came as a revelation!

The day after I was supposed to return, I was scheduled to meet a manufacturer that we represent. I was in the automobile business. And this was a meeting with the factory representative, who I felt, beforehand, was not comfortable with me and I too wasn’t compatible with him. In fact, I thought he had an “ill-will” against me. I somehow felt that he wanted me out of his path. And when that struck me, I said to myself “Oh my goodness, that’s the ill-will I hold against this person.” The next morning, during darshan time, Swami came up to me and said, “When did you come?” Then I knew I had got the message right!

Indeed, Swami’s message has a great meaning in today’s complicated setup where everyone looks at the other with suspicion and malice. And if only we would go out and reach out to people, the world can be a different place.

So I returned to my country. The meeting was to be held the next day. This gentleman came with his team of managers, and my team of executives were supposed to meet them at this big meeting. I do not recollect the agenda of that meeting now. But I remember, I said to this man, “Before we meet, won’t you come into my office?” Once in my office room, I told him, “You know, I really understand that you are doing the best that you want for your company and I admire you for that.” I really said that. Wonder of wonders! This gentleman began to cry. We hugged and we went out; there was no meeting. We had coffee and tea, and it was over. That’s the divine guidance that Bhagavan Baba can give us. And since then, we were just very good friends.

Indeed, Swami’s message has a great meaning in today’s complicated setup where everyone looks at the other with suspicion and malice. And if only we would go out and reach out to people, the world can be a different place.

And this miracle can be achieved by the simple yet powerful word – Love.

With Swami, it is not U-turns, it is L-Turns – Transforming through Love!
Talking of Love takes me back to that 1968 discourse wherein Swami said that He would be known all over the world by how we devotees conduct ourselves and put into practice His teachings. And that discourse has always been my touchstone in these 34 years whenever I keep getting off-base from Swami’s teachings.

Because whatever we do in a moment of true Love or sharing catches the attention of people. And I have encountered this even in far-away America, with people wondering as to who is this guy who goes to India so often.

The point is I realized that as I began to practice what this Beautiful Avatar is trying to teach, I began to see a nice relationship. I observed a change was occurring. It was not that the people were changing; in fact, whether they changed or not became irrelevant to me. What was important was that I was changing. And what really mattered was how I interacted with them.

The point is I realized that as I began to practice what this Beautiful Avatar is trying to teach, I began to see a nice relationship. I observed a change was occurring. It was not that the people were changing; in fact, whether they changed or not became irrelevant to me. What was important was that I was changing. And what really mattered was how I interacted with them.

I knew that a metamorphosis had been effected for certain when my mother told me – “You know, I don’t quite understand who your Satya Sai Baba is, but He must be something really special because you have changed so much.” And that’s a beautiful statement to come from your own physical mother.