Chinese New Year 2009 – The Year of the Ox

Chinese New Year Of The Ox 2009

Chinese New Year Of The Ox 2009

Chinese New Year 2009 – The Year of the Ox
by Holly Hartman

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4707 begins on Jan. 26, 2009.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

An Obstinate Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in ox years tend to be painters, engineers, and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly. Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Walt Disney, and Anthony Hopkins were all born in the year of the ox.

Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

The Lantern Festival
In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other’s homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year’s Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other New Year events.

The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.

In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets. In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend. In addition, many Chinese-American communities have added American parade elements such as marching bands and floats.

Chinese New Year Ox Symbol

The Right Values

The Right Values

HUMAN values have changed over time, said Inter-Varsity Human Values Drama Competition (HVDC) organising chairman Shree Ganeis.

The competition, organised by the Sathya Sai Baba Central Council of Malaysia, was recently held at Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. It was the first of a series of events based on the theme Are U Valuable?, targeting students in higher educational institutions.

“The drama competition is only one of a series of events. What we want to do is to organise more activities that will emphasise the multiracial concept,” said Ganeis.

Thus, a criteria for the competition was that participating teams had to comprise members from different races besides demonstrating good human values.

The three institutions that took part were Taylor’s College School of Hospitality and Tourism (TCHT), Binary University College (Binary) and Universiti Teknologi Petronas.

The students took home trophies, as well as MPH and Jaya Jusco vouchers totalling RM4,750, sponsored by DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd.

The first prize winners, Universiti Teknologi Petronas, received RM2,500 worth of vouchers while TCHT bagged the second prize and took home vouchers worth RM1,500.

Binary, which came in third, won RM750 in vouchers.

The students were judged on their acting skills as well as the values they promoted in the play.

Binary put up a play about a boy who left home to study overseas, who did not realise how much his parents loved him until it was too late.

“The play is inspired by the fact that we are students staying in hostels and don’t get to see our parents often,” said Binary’s team director, Melissa Wane, 22.

“Parents play an important role but often times, the children do not realise this,” Melissa added.

“I have written six plays in the past but this is the first time I am writing a story based on human values,” said TCHT’s play director who wants to be known only as Sim.

Sim’s play revolved round a traditional Chinese family and touched on issues such as the importance of sons in a Chinese family and sentiments about inter-racial marriages.

The competition started with a performance by the Sathya Sai Baba Seputeh choir team, followed by a performance by Fallen Leaves, a theatrical production written and performed by people recovering from various addictions, including some living with HIV.

Ganeis said that the Sathya Sai Baba Council has plans for more events in the near future, such as seminars on career and time management, mural painting, and even campaigns promoting human values on campuses. — BY ALYCIA LIM


Mawar Presents Deepavali Goodies To The Needy

Mawar Presents Deepavali Goodies To The Needy

JOHOR BARU: Donations given to D. Mariyee put a smile on her face as she was touched for not been forgotten by society.

The 73-year-old was among 37 poor people who received Deepavali goodies from Majlis Wanita Johor (Mawar) at a ceremony in the Sathya Sai Baba Centre here on Friday.

The mother of four, who received items like festive cookies, tit-bits and cash, said, since her husband’s death 23 years ago, she had been working hard to provide for her family.

“I have been unable to work after falling and injuring myself three years ago. I rely on my daughter-in-law and donations to help me get by,” she said.

Mariyee said she was forced to stay with her daughter-in-law after floods washed away her house last year.

“I am thankful for the aid given by Mawar. I believe it will add to the festive cheer in our house,” said the single mother.

Mariyee receiving the festive goodies from Safiah while the Sathya Sai Baba Centre’s state coordinator Govindan Karuppiah (right) looks on at the event in Johor Baru recently.

In gratitude: Mariyee receiving the festive goodies from Safiah while the Sathya Sai Baba Centre’s state coordinator Govindan Karuppiah (right) looks on at the event in Johor Baru recently.

Another recipient, retiree T.S. Pakirisamy, said it was the first time he had received such help.

“My wife is a stroke victim and has been paralysed for 10 years. I hope the goodies can help lift spirits in our house,” said the 76-year-old.

Meanwhile, single mother M. Kalarani, 44, said she worked as a cleaner to support herself and six children.

“My husband passed away two years ago and I am the sole breadwinner for the family. I am grateful that Mawar is lending a helping hand as I do not earn much as cleaner and don’t have extra money for the Deepavali celebration,” she said.

Mawar Welfare Bureau chairman Datin Safiah Aris, who presented the goodies to the families, said she was pleased to see the smiles on the recipients’ faces.

She represented Sultanah of Johor Sultanah Zanariah Tunku Ahmad at the event.


Sathya Sai Human Values Debate

Human Values

Sathya Sai Human Values Debate
The Star Online
Sunday August 24, 2008

THE Sathya Sai Baba Centres of Perak recently organised the ninth annual Sathya Sai Human Values Debate.

The debates, which aimed to promote good values amongst youths, were conducted in the English Language and followed the Austral-Asian format.

They were open to universities, colleges and sixth form students in Perak between the ages of 17 and 25.

This year’s programme was one with a difference. Firstly, all arguments had to be supported by sound statements of human values. Secondly, all participants including teacher advisors, were required to do community service prior to the debate.

The service project was carried out at the Batu Gajah Handicapped Children’s home. Participants carried out gotong royong activities including cleaning the home and compound, washing cooking utensils, and bathing and dressing the inmates.

The aim was to enhance awareness on the importance of service to the less fortunate.

Seven teams from institutions in and around Ipoh took part in the debates which focused on thought-provoking topics relevant to the students’ lives. The participating institutions were Olympia College, Ipoh; SMK St Michael’s, Ipoh; Institut Perguruan Ipoh, Hulu Kinta; SMJK Shing Chung, Sungei Siput; SMK Anderson; SMK Methodist ACS; and SMK Sultan Yussuf, Batu Gajah.

The first preliminary round, held at Olympia College, saw students debating on the topic “Juveniles should be charged as adults for violent crimes committed”.

The topic for the second preliminary round was “It is morally wrong to place our parents in care centres”, while the semi-finals saw students arguing that “Poverty in the third world is the fault of the first world”.

The grand finals pitched SMK Methodist ACS, Ipoh, against Institute Perguruan Ipoh on the topic “Global warming is avoidable”. Both teams were very vocal.

Among the 300 people present was Perak State Education Department deputy director Mohd Yasin Mohamod, who gave away the prizes.

The opposing team from Institute Perguruan Ipoh — comprising Wee Vee Vien, Charlene Anak Charles Banyi, Shoba Andiappan and Nik Khairina Balqis Nik Mohd Asri — won the day and walked away with RM600 and the Dr P. Palani Velu challenge shield.


Education In Human Values

Education In Human Values

J. Jagadeesan’s Letter About The Sathya Sai Baba Controversy

Jagadeesan And The Sathya Sai Controversy

J. Jagadeesan’s Letter About The Sathya Sai Baba Controversy

An Open Letter to All Malaysia Leaders of Sai Centers and Youth
Coordinators (National, Regional and Center Levels)
Date: 7th October 2000
Re: The Sai Movement – The Future – The External Threat

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Recently, I sent an open letter to all Malaysian Sai leaders and youth coordinators on the subject of “The Internal Threat.” Today I would like to address the issue of “The External Threat” to the Sai movement. The “INTERNET” has become both a curse and a blessing! A blessing for those who seek to advance the boundaries of knowledge and to communicate good and noble thoughts to all at the click of a button, and a curse to all who use this incredible technology to indulge in filth and negativity!

I am specifically referring to the spread of negativity about Bhagawan Baba by forces that have their own agenda of Action! Unfortunately, since youth are the ones who most extensively use the Internet, they are often both the perpetrators and victims of this insidious campaign to malign the name of one of the noblest beings, who has walked the earth – nay – a Being of Divine Majesty who walks this earth.

Let me put this to you in the crudest terms possible, for I have no better way to demonstrate to you the grossness of the actions some are taking! If you see faeces on the ground, would you take it and hand it over to your friend? If you heard someone hurling vile accusations about your father and mother would you pass this on to your friend? Yet this is what some adults and youth are doing! Some do it in mistaken innocence of a gossip monger, who even though he or she does not believe in the gossip, feels a sense of “self glorification” by being the one to pass on the gossip… with a conniving whisper “have you heard of this?”

There are yet others, whose faith is weak, who have been involved with Sai, at a superficial level even for a long time! Others having possibly been denied of a miracle or favor from Sai, or ignored by Him after considerable personal attention, eagerly take up this filth and pass it on to others – hoping that others will also equally deny the Divine force and majesty of Sai!

This is the pathetic story of the fox that got its tail cut and is now trying to persuade others that a “cut tail” is the fashionable thing to have! In the story of the “fox that cut its tail” the other foxes saw through the insidious plan of the fox and chased him away! Unfortunately, in the case of Sai Centers and Sai devotees, many “Sai foxes” have unwittingly allowed their tails to be cut and they are thus depriving themselves of the greatest chance of a lifetime!

I say all this with certainty, for I acclaim the Divine Force that Sai represents, from the point view of one who was at one time a strong anti-Sai! It is thus not a blind “herd mentality” that I follow – but a firm conviction from not only my own experience, but that of many other devotees and even beings of the 4th dimension! I have written enough about these in my books “Journey to God” – Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 to warrant further elaboration. What Does Sai Say? Let me quote to all of you an extract of a letter from Sri Indulal Shah, the International Chairman! I quote. “Some time ago I had circulated a quotation from Bhagawan Baba’s divine discourse. I reproduce the same below:

“Many of you are pained by what some papers are indulging in, regarding me! Many are urging that something should be done about it. But, I am holding everyone back, for that is the best way to deal with both praise and blame. The ocean knows no overflowing or drying up. It is ever full, ever majestic and ever unconcerned.”

In my 35 years of association with Bhagawan, on several occasions He explains such incidents as “fly on an ear of an Elephant” which is not necessary to be disturbed or Baba reminds us that people will throw stones towards trees only if there are fruits. Let us collectively ponder what is our duty? It is our test on the path of experiencing Divinity. What vigil and fences have to be built around our organization? Let us remember nothing happens or moves without His wish. Everything that happens is for good, provided we are conscious of our Duty and personal efforts that should follow.

If one asks me (i.e. Jega), who will be the one who will bend and break at the first adverse winds of allegations and filth: it will be those who have remained in the periphery of the organization and those who have lived on the periphery of the Sai message. Also those who expect something from Sai, those who want His constant personal physical attention, those who live constantly on the margin of Sai’s physical miracles, those who have not lived the message of Sai through Service for mankind and selfless love for all – these are the potential drop-outs!!

Just examine silently those who have “dropped out” or turned against Sai, and you will discover this truth! Do not condemn them! Do not vilify them – only pray that they find Peace and Love in their lives!

“Close Devotees,” some of you have been stunned by the fact that so called “close devotees” of Sai have dropped out because of this filth that is being spread through their ears and eyes and into their minds! Devotees who have had so many “interviews,” those who have received Baba’s divine manifestations (rings, pendants, etc) have dropped out and so our jaws drop in amazement!

But, is this so unusual? Who betrayed Christ? Was it His enemies or those closest to Him? Who dared wage a war against Krishna – those who were His enemies or those who went to Him seeking His help? Was not Ravana, the Asura who turned against Rama, close to Divinity, for was it not from the Divine that he received his powers? Was not Hiranyakasipu (the father of Prahlada), the Asura who turned against the Devas and even Narayana Himself, close to Divinity – for was it not Divinity who conferred on him the awesome powers he used, to deny Divinity!

The Puranas and the history of all great souls are replete with stories of those who, once close, than turned against the Divinity they worshipped! How many of you are aware of the vile accusations hurled against the Buddha and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, during their respective lifetimes? If Jesus who had 11 disciples, had in his last moments, one who denied Him and another who betrayed Him, can one imagine what one can expect of the Sai phenomena, who has millions who revere Him!

Only a little intelligence is required to ascertain the TRUTH. Has any living being on earth, in his own lifetime motivated so much good and godly work for the needy and manifested so much transformation in millions – to go beyond self and to serve the poor, sick and the needy? Would anyone need to set-up such a huge worldwide edifice of selfless service and human values, to indulge in the type of filth that is being passed around? Use your own judgement!

Has your life not changed? Perhaps not, if you are still at the level of the Sai form, Sai miracles and Sai bhajans! But, if you are one who has plunged into making the Sai message a part of your life, your own experience, your own awe regarding what good work has been done and can be achieved to benefit all, will be the only witness you need to testify to the Divine grandeur of the Avarthar of the Kali Yuga!

In the Greek legend, Ulysses had to plug his ears and that of his fellow shipmates, so that the false and tempting voices of the “sirens” would not lead them to disaster, as they searched for the golden fleece! Now in our voyage for the “golden age,” the voices of modern sirens are tempting devotees away from Faith, Belief, Goodness and Love to hate and negativity! We do not have an ancient Ulysses to plug our ears! The modern Ulysseses are the selfless service and selfless love that Sai has motivated among those who follow His Teachings!

These will be the earplugs that must help us to overcome these treacherous times! I pray to all! Do not transmit the filth to others! Do not allow the filth to contaminate your mind! If you feel you do not want to follow the Sai path, by all means step aside, but do not incur the sin of coming between God and His devotees, the message of every vahana (vehicle) in a Hindu temple. For those who love Sai, let us do more! Let us manifest His miracles, His “Vibuthi” (Divine Glory) in society, by we ourselves becoming His Divine miracles, by transforming society to Love and Unity, through our selfless Love and our selfless Service! Please reflect on this, circulate to whomever you want to and act accordingly. Sai Ram and God bless!

Yours in service,

J. Jagadeesan

Relevant Links:
NEW –> Response To Timothy Conway Regarding Jagadeesan Letter

Exposing Critic’s Smear Campaigns Against Sathya Sai Baba
Alaya Rahm Self-Dismissed His Own Lawsuit Against The SSB Society
Alaya Rahm – A 6-Year-Long Daily User Of Illegal Street Drugs And Alcohol
A Scathing Response To Critics About Alaya Rahm’s Failed Lawsuit
UK BBC ‘Secret Swami’
The Truth About The Alleged Sathya Sai Baba ‘Sex Scandal’

Interview With Sathya Sai Devotee Dato. J. Jagadeesan

Jagadeesan And Sathya Sai Baba

In September Dato. J. Jagadeesan came to North America from his home in Malaysia to give talks in several cities in both the USA and Canada. After his talk in Vancouver on September 4th 2001 we were happy to invite him to our home in Langley for a day of rest before his next speaking engagement and during that time he very kindly consented to be interviewed.


David: What was the nature of your spiritual background before you came in contact with Sathya Sai Baba?

Jagadeesan: Spiritual background, I cannot really say, because what is spiritual, but my religious background, I can tell you, was nil. Sai Baba, in my second interview, told the people sitting there that I was an agnostic. I thought that I was an atheist, so I went back home and checked the dictionary. I realised that he may have been more accurate than me! The dictionary defines an atheist as someone who does not believe in God and an agnostic as someone who thinks something may be there, but he is not really concerned about it. So I probably was an agnostic. Actually I wasn’t a bad fellow, I kept a very strict code of conduct for myself. My father died when I was about seven years old and as a teenager I used to go out with a pretty wild crowd. My relations told my mother that I was going to get totally out of line, but my mother told them “I trust my son” and I never betrayed that trust. I never smoked and I never drank, even though I was mixing with a crowd of the biggest smokers and drinkers. So I did believe in God, but not in the God of any one particular spiritual path.

When I was thirty two I first came into contact with Sai Baba. I thought he was a fraud and I attacked him viciously. I used to make fun of him. I would say “Well, if God is imagination, then the Avatar is double imagination!” and “Did God create Man? No, Man created God because, being weak-minded, he needed a crutch. So God is an invention of Man!” I used to meet Sai Baba devotees, who told me that he could materialise things with a wave of his hand, to which I would reply “And that is why he wears long sleeves, to hide all the stuff that he brings out.” Devotees also told me that vibhuti would often appear on his pictures. I used to make a joke out of this by going to devotees homes and removing any dust that was on them saying “See, this is vibhuti. If you don’t clean your house for a whole week, you will get a lot of vibhuti!” I told them that they were being naïve, believing in all this vibhuti nonsense. It was just not possible, it was unscientific. Anyway that was my state of mind, so to speak.

David: Tell us a little bit about your conversion. It must have been quite a shock.

Jagadeesan: The conversion was very dramatic. I can even specify the exact time when I became a Sai Baba devotee! It was 10.30 PM on June 8th 1976. I was in my home in Malaysia and there of was a gentleman from Sri Lanka, called Mr Rajah, many Sri Lankans know him because he was a famous singer, staying in my aunt’s house across the road. He was a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba and was talking about him all the time and so I wanted to make fun of this man. I used to go to my aunt’s house every evening. On the evening of June 8th 1976 I went across to the house as usual, and it was a surreal evening. The moment I stepped into the house Sai Baba took over. I saw this book on the table with Sai Baba’s picture on it. I looked at it, and in my mind I said “Avatar? I don’t think so”. I felt very arrogant in my mind. I curiously flipped the pages open and came across a picture of an old man. I asked my aunt who it was and she said that it was Shirdi Sai Baba. I asked “Who is that?” She replied “A previous incarnation of Sathya Sai Baba”. I said “Oh my God, you mean these guys come in series!” My comment started the argument again and we argued from eight o clock to ten thirty. It was a two and a half hours debate, with my aunt and Mr Rajah defending Sai Baba and me attacking him. At ten thirty, at the height of my arrogance, I mentally challenged Sai Baba, saying “If you are who they say you are, give me a sign” and almost immediately vibhuti began to appear on the picture. Now at that time none of us had ever seen any vibhuti, none of us had ever seen any manifestations like that. The funny thing was that at the end of the evening everybody in the house started accusing me of putting the vibhuti on the picture as a joke, and I was the only one who knew that I hadn’t done it! This was the ultimate proof for me, because if someone had called me to the house and shown me the vibhuti I would never have believed them. I would have thought that they had put it there. I now had to protest my innocence, and no-one would believe me! It was a very strange phenomenon. So this was the actual moment of my transformation. For the first time in my life I realised that there was a power beyond science, and that this power was not a blind, unhearing power. This power could hear me and could respond to me. For me, the most important thing was that this power could come into my physical world in the form of holy ash. Whether this power was in heaven or in space didn’t bother me, but if this power could come into my world, I thought to myself, then, why am I wasting my time. This was my first yearning to seek the source of this power.

David: Tell us about your first visit to see Sathya Sai Baba. What happened on it?

Jagadeesan: My first visit was very interesting. At the time I was working for the Ministry of Industry and we used to go to Europe and America and Japan for conferences four or five times a year. I was actually due to go to Paris for a conference and so I decided to take four days leave and on the way there to go and visit Sai Baba. I must tell you a little side story here. Before I left on the trip my mother said to me that if I was going to India for only four days perhaps it would be prudent to make an appointment to see Sai Baba. So I called a friend who worked for an Indian company in Malaysia, and who owed me a favour, and I asked him to make an appointment. He assured me there would be no problem. He would contact his headquarters in Bangalore and they would make the appointment to see Sai Baba. This man did not know much about Sai Baba! He called back one week later and said “Sir, my headquarters tells me that they can fix a meeting for you with any minister in India, but with Sai Baba it is impossible!” I was actually very pleased about this in a way. Anyway I went to India and a lot of miracles happened to me on the way but eventually I ended up in Puttaparthi sitting in darshan and on the third day Swami spoke to me.

I was sitting in this huge crowd at darshan and, of course, being of the Indian race, I merged with the ocean of faces that was there since I looked like any other Indian. I have to say here that visiting India was a big culture shock to me and I was sitting there feeling very lonely. Sai Baba walked through the crowd and he came straight up to me and he looked at me and said “Hi, Malaysia”. I was so amazed that all I could say was “Yes, Sir”. Then he called me for an interview and what was wonderful about this was that on this particular day I was the only one that he called. In the interview room he started speaking to me like a father. Now my father passed away when I was only seven years old. At the age of 32 years old I found my father again. It was Sai Baba. He treated me like a little child. He hugged me, he pinched my cheek, he patted my head and he showered me with so much love. Now we all think that love is an emotion, but standing in front of Sai Baba I realised that love is not an emotion, it is an energy. His energy was just enfolding me and standing in front of him I felt this incredible love flowing all over me. A feeling of great humility welled up inside me and I said to myself “My God, feeling this divine energy of love, how could I ever have opposed him? I had better apologise to him”. Now I could not bring myself to tell him that I had been actively opposed to him, so I thought I would put it mildly and I said “Swami, please forgive me, because only four months ago I was a disbeliever”. Sai Baba replied “Not only a disbeliever, but strong opposition, strong opposition”. My knees gave way and I just collapsed on the floor crying, not silent tears but like a child, really loudly. Sai Baba said “Ssshhh, people outside will hear. Don’t cry, don’t cry, Swami knows everything” and he raised me back on my feet again.

Now my mother tongue was Tamil, but for most of my life I never spoke Tamil because I used English. My wife and I spoke English. My Tamil is very bad but, nevertheless, on the night of the incident that I have described, when vibuthi appeared on the photograph, I went back home and I composed my first song to Sai Baba in Tamil. This was the start of an ongoing process. To date 950 songs have come out of me and I have produced many tapes in both English and Tamil. At the time that I first went to see Sai Baba I had produced 32 songs and I had written them down in a little booklet. I handed this over to him and I said “Swami, thank you for the songs” because, for me, there was no question but that he was the composer. Swami held me by my shoulders and said “Don’t worry, you are my instrument. Spread it, spread it”. At the time I did not understand the meaning of this but now I see that I am indeed playing a small role in his mission. “Swami” I said “In Malaysia I am singing to your picture, can I sing one song directly to you now”. He said “Oh, no. You come this evening and you bring the other Malaysians with you.” Now I did not know that any Malaysians were there at that time, so I said “Swami, I came alone, I don’t know any other Malaysians.” Sai Baba replied “There are 32 Malaysians in the ashram, come this evening.” Now what is strange about this is that normally Sai Baba is always asking “How many in your group?” but this was the first and the only time that he told me how many people were there. This is the game that he plays with us. It is the curtain of Maya that he keeps throwing in front of us, confusing us and deluding us. We must realise that Sai Baba is not here to prove every minute that he is God, he is here to make us understand that we are divine. He is not here to prove his divinity but, if we are lucky, he may, just for a minute, open the curtain of Maya and let us glimpse his divinity. Then he will close the curtain again and once more we will get caught up in the drama. This is the thing that people fail to understand. Sai Baba is not here to prove that he is God. A father does not have to prove to his children that he is their father. You expect the father to give his children gifts and, of course, on occasions, to scold or to punish them. Swami is just like that.

David: What is it about Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings that appeals to you?

Jagadeesan: Somebody once asked me that if the incident of the vibhuti had not happened in my life, would I have ever become a Sai Baba devotee? I honestly don’t know, but having found Swami I know that he has given me direction in my life. He called me twice the first time that I was there. In the second interview, in front of everyone, he said “Jagadeesan, I want you to go back to Malaysia and I want you to be president of the seva dals.” I did not even know what seva dal meant and I thought that he was asking me to be president of the Sai Organisation in Malaysia, so I said “Not me, Swami, I am too young, find somebody older”. He said “No, no, you go and get the devotees to do service.” Now in my life in Malaysia I was a director of investment in the Ministry of Industry, I would get about fifteen invitations to cocktails and dinners every week. I had a very busy lifestyle and so I told Swami that I did not think that I would have enough time to do this. Swami just turned away and asked me to sing. Anyway, when I went back to Malaysia my life changed. I told all my associates not to entertain me after office hours because my time was far too precious. From the time that Swami revealed himself as the Avatar until today he has given an ocean of speeches, but we do not need not drink the whole ocean to know the taste. So when I talk to devotees I simply say that I am going to give you some drops from the ocean of Swami’s teachings so that you can know the taste.

There are five principle drops in the ocean:

  1. Belief in God. Believe that He exists. This belief should be unshakeable. He is known by many names, by many forms, and the fact that He does not answer your calls sometimes, does not mean that He is not listening. It could be because your question may be wrong or you may not be deserving of an answer.
  2. Follow your own religion, no matter what religion you follow. If you are a Christian, then become a better Christian, if you are a Hindu, then become a better Hindu, if you are a Buddhist, then become a better Buddhist. Every religion can teach us the path to Godliness and to goodness.
  3. Respect. Whereas many in the World talk about religious tolerance, Sai devotees are not supposed to have religious tolerance because tolerance implies that you don’t like their religion but you will tolerate it. Sai Baba says that you must respect and revere all religions. All religions teach the one primal truth, namely, that all religions come from the one God and so we should respect and revere all religions.
  4. Uphold human values. Human values are the essence of all the religions and Sai Baba teaches that there are five great human values – truth, right-conduct, peace, love and non-violence. First uphold these values in your own life and then promote them in society.
  5. Selfless service to all Mankind. If you truly believe in the brotherhood of Man and the fatherhood of God then go out and serve your brothers and sisters.

Everything that Sai Baba says is based on these five principles. This is what he wants us to do. I have dedicated my life now to service. Whilst doing this service and, in particular, working with the different faiths, my life has been one great adventure, interspersed with amazing miracles. I have tried to bring people together. In Malaysia there are many different religious groups and so I tell them that although we may not be able to pray in the same temples, surely, outside the temples we can all serve God together. So perhaps the greatest thing that Sai Baba has done for me is to free my mind from compartmentalisation. He has freed me from individual distinctions and made me a more universal person.

David: What is the greatest manifestation or miracle you have witnessed with Sathya Sai Baba?

Jagadeesan: I think, for me, the greatest miracle was my conversion, which I have already told you about but, following on from this, I began to see Sai Baba everywhere. It was so funny, and I would not only see him, but I would also see Ganesha, Krishna and Buddha as well. I was seeing Sai Baba along side me on the roadside when I was out jogging, at work, at home, in fact everywhere. It was so strange. I felt that I was going mad. When I was in my second interview with Sai Baba I told him about this phenomenon. He said “You think it is imagination, but it is not. It is a vision. Cultivate, cultivate.” I thought that he was going to call me again for a third interview on the day that I was due to leave, but he didn’t, he ignored me, and that really upset me. As I was leaving Prashanti Nilayam in my taxi I thought to myself “Swami, I am going now, surely you could at least wave goodbye to me”. As we drove down the road away from the ashram I decided to stop to take a film of Sai Gita, Swami’s elephant, with the little 8mm camera that I had. At that time, 1976, Sai Gita was quite small. I had finished taking the film and was walking back to my taxi when my eyes looked up at the hill behind. I saw an incredible sight, huge figures of Sai Baba, Krishna and Lord Subramanyam were all standing there and waving to me! I was stunned, I couldn’t take it in and so I put my head down and walked towards the taxi. I felt tears welling up within me. Once inside the taxi I looked out of the window. I could still see them there, waving to me. I just started crying. I cried and cried and cried and cried, and I dared not lift my head up, because every time I lifted my head up I could see them standing there on the hill waving to me. No one else in the taxi could see them, only me. It took me about an hour before I could calm down. That was a very dramatic manifestation for me. I have, of course, seen him materialise and transform many objects but the thing that is the greatest miracle for me is his transformation of people. I am a classic example, but there have been many others. He has transformed selfish, alcoholic, drug-addicted, materialistic people into incredibly selfless people, who exist only to serve society. For me, personally, that is the greatest miracle of Sai Baba.

David: Would you like to share with us how Sathya Sai Baba interacted with you over the death of your wife?

Jagadeesan: I was in Prashanti Nilayam in November 1996. Whilst there Swami gave me two responsibilities, firstly, to organise the Chinese New Year programme and, secondly, to organise a world-wide Sai conference. I had reached Madras airport on my way home, when I received a telephone call from my daughter telling me that my wife had passed away. Now my wife was the healthiest person in the world, I never knew her to be ill at all, so I was completely stunned by this news. The day before her death she had telephoned many people to arrange a meeting at six o’clock the very next evening, because I was coming back. A big programme was planned. At six o’clock, when everyone had come, she was still in her room and my kids, wondering why she had not come down, found her room locked and there was no reply. They broke the door down and they found her dead, in what is called the padanamaskar position, that means as though she was bending down and touching someone’s feet in front of her. They, of course, tried to resuscitate her and took her to the hospital but it was all to no avail. After her cremation I kept some of her ashes and I decided that as she loved to be in Prashanti Nilayam so much I would take the ashes there. So fifteen days after her death I and my four kids went to Puttaparthi to see Sai Baba. I had left there only a short time before as a happy man and now I was returning as a sorrowing widower.

Swami called us for an interview almost at once. Now I knew all about the things that he had told other people on the death of their spouses, so I was fully prepared for what he was going to say. I knew that he would say “I was there” and “She has come to me” and so on, but as we entered the interview room for the first time after my wife’s death I started to cry. Just like a whiplash Sai Baba said “Jagadeesan, where is your spirituality? Who was your wife before marriage?” Then he turned to my children and said “Who was your mother before birth?” When Swami makes statements like this, all sorts of things begin to explode in your mind. It is not what he is saying verbally that counts, it is what it brings forth from within you. I knew that he was saying to me “Whose wife and whose mother are you crying for now? Let us have no more nonsense about this.” Then, having been sharp with us, he was very kind and he materialised rings for my two sons and pendants for my daughters and a ring for me. He then called us into the inner interview room. There he said to me “Jagadeesan, your wife used to pray to me, saying ‘Swami, I want to merge with you, I want to merge with you’ and now her time has come.” I must tell you here that Sai Baba is on record as saying that the moment that a person is born, so the date of their departure is also fixed, but it is hidden from you. Neither your doctors nor your medical technology can change this date by one minute. God’s grace can intervene, but why should He intervene except for extraordinary reasons. Sai Baba then said “I was there.” I knew that he was going to say that, but I never expected what he was going to say next. He said “I was there and she did this to me” – he then got out of his chair and he bent down and imitated the padanamaskar position in which my children had found my wife – “And she came to me.” This demonstration of his omnipresence and omniscience was, for me, a shattering thing and for my children it was a healing moment.

David: You must be aware of all the scandalous stories that are now circulating about Sathya Sai Baba. How is it affecting Malaysia and how are you personally handling it?

Jagadeesan: I say this to people. Look, on the one side we have one hundred tons of the good deeds of Sai Baba and then on the other side there is one pound of these negative stories. Why do you focus on this one pound? First examine the one hundred tons of his good deeds and then I will talk with you about the one pound. Tell me which spiritual leader in the world from Krishna to Christ has escaped vilification and opposition? Avatars need the opposition to make their light shine brighter. It is difficult to attack Sai Baba because he does so much good, so this is a good opportunity for some people who want to attack him! Attacks on Sai Baba go in waves. About twenty years ago there was a book called Lord of the Air. There was a big fuss at the time, but then it all died down. There have been other waves since then. Recently a negative video about Sai Baba was shown on our TV. As a result, a journalist came to speak to me to get my comments about the video. I said that I didn’t want to see the video and she said “Aren’t you in self-denial?”. I replied “No. I don’t need any proof to know that the sun exists, so why should I watch a video which says that the sun doesn’t exist?” I then showed the journalist the evidence of all the incredible Sai work that we have done in Malaysia, our human values programme, our voluntary service etc. She was so amazed that when her report came out in the newspaper she produced a very positive report. She turned the whole thing around. So in Malaysia people know about the good deeds that Sai Baba has done and they are ignoring all this gossip. Christ said “By your works you will be known.”

It is a fact that no one can avoid negativity. People have attacked me on many occasions but the more they attacked me, the more attention I got from Swami and so I did not mind how much people attacked me! Let me tell you a story. Some years ago there were many independent Sai centres in Malaysia. I was trying to get them to come together, so I went and asked Swami for help. Now there were a lot of people sitting in the interview room at the time when I asked him. I had some questions, typed out on a piece of paper, ready to ask him. I said “Swami, should I form the Sathya Sai Council of Malaysia?” and he said “Yes, go and do.” I replied “But Swami, if I go home and say that, they won’t believe me.” So Swami took my piece of paper and under the questions that I had typed he signed his name to show his approval. Now when I got back to Malaysia a few days later my wife asked me what had happened in the interview room, because people were saying that I had given Swami a piece of paper asking for his authority to form the Sathya Sai Council of Malaysia and that he had torn it up and thrown the pieces of paper in my face! I couldn’t believe it! How can people lie like this and this story must have come from someone who was in the interview room. Here is a classic example of someone who has become negative in his mind and who therefore propagates negative stories.

David: Sathya Sai Baba has talked about a Golden Age that is to come and of the big changes that are soon going to take place. What are your feelings about the future of the planet and of Humanity on it?

Jagadeesan: I cannot predict what is going to happen, but it seems to me that not everyone is going to experience a Golden Age. I believe that we all have to find our own Golden Age. For example, here in British Columbia, today has been a lovely Golden Age day for all of us, but for the poor man living in Somalia life has been full of problems. We must make the Golden Age for ourselves by creating one around us. The Golden Age will not be a time when no problems exist. That may be true of Heaven but not here, though, perhaps, even Heaven has problems! The Golden Age to me means that you are in a state of inner peace and contentment come what may. There may be earthquakes, plagues and droughts etc., there certainly were in the past, but if we all find the Golden Age for ourselves, then, the aggregation of all the individuals who find it will make the Golden Age for society as a whole. I am sure that in twenty years time there will still be people who will never have heard of the Avatar, it was so with Rama and Krishna, it will be the same with Sai Baba. It is up to us to empower ourselves.

David: In the many years of your relationship with Sai Baba has he revealed to you who he is?

Jagadeesan: That is a very interesting question. For me, personally, he is my father, but when people ask me if Sai Baba is God, I am very frank with them. I say “I don’t know, because I have never seen God, I don’t know what He looks like.” If a man was to come from the jungle and I was to show him this microphone and ask him what it is, he will tell me that he doesn’t know. He hasn’t seen one before. However if I tell him that it is a microphone, then, for the rest of his life he will know what is a microphone. We recognise everything from a point of reference, and we have no reference for God. Nevertheless, all the holy scriptures describe God not by His physical form but by His characteristics – omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Now Sai Baba is manifesting to all who come to him many of the attributes ascribed to Divinity. Therefore, to that extent, I say that Sai Baba is a manifestation of a divine principle and note that I say divine principle not God, because every religion has a different concept of God, indeed, if you are a Hindu, then, you have more than one God! The fact that Sai Baba has manifested physically all the energies of Divinity still doesn’t mean that he is God, except in the sense that, as Sai Baba teaches, we are all God, we are all no different from God. This viewpoint is surely acceptable to all who come to him irrespective of the form of God that they choose to accept and worship.