Sai Miracle Children

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Sai Miracle Children

A completely new and fascinating phase of Sathya Sai Baba‘s work for mankind has been launched. He is bringing to birth in different parts of the world, what I have termed ‘Sai miracle children’. He is reported to have told a Sai devotee who has spent a long period with Sathya Sai Baba at the ashram in India that there will be thirteen of these children and I understand that there are five of them in incarnation already. One of the five is in Holland, another in India, two of them in countries that I am not certain of and a fifth one in Australia. Of the latter, I am quite certain, as I have spoken to his mother and had reports from several of my close friends who have been to visit him and I have a photograph of the little boy himself.

The story of his birth, which was related to me by his mother and the account of his subsequent miraculous manifestations are of such an outstanding nature that they would perhaps sound incredible to any but Sai devotees of long-experience and deep understanding, yet there are many unimpeachable witnesses to them. First then, the birth. When she was six and a half months pregnant, and certainly not expecting the birth of the child, she was having a meal one day in a well-known restaurant with her husband and possibly some friends. She told me that during the meal, she suddenly had a vision of a group of monkeys standing in front of her making excited noises, while the one who appeared to be leader came close and was talking to her in some language that she did not understand. She could make nothing of this vision of excited monkeys. Although a Sai devotee, I expect she had not read about Lord Rama and his army of monkeys led by the great devotee, Hanuman but to me it seems that the child in the mother’s womb has some close connection with Lord Rama. At any rate, on the following day, the mother was rushed to the hospital as the birth of the child was imminent. She told me that while she was getting undressed to go to bed in the hospital, she saw Vibhuti oozing from her body, particularly around the stomach area. Immediately she felt it must have a connection with the child she was carrying. She did not feel that she, herself, was worthy of such a manifestation, so the child within her must be very holy indeed. She felt some worry however, that he was arriving so prematurely. He arrived that day and was very small indeed, weighing only a kilo and a half. He was put into a crib and at this particular hospital it was customary to write the religion of the child just born, on a label to be put on the crib, in order that ministers of religion visiting the newborn babies could give their blessings to any child born into their religious flock. This mother and her husband were close followers of Sai Baba, so on the label for religion, she wrote ‘Sai Baba’. She was somewhat surprised and very pleased that all the religious leaders who visited the hospital that day, including a Buddhist priest and several from Christian denominations, as well as giving their blessings to the newborn children of their own religious denominations, all came and blessed the little boy under the label ‘Sai Baba’. On this first day of his life, something else surprised her when, going to look at him lying in the crib, she saw a gold cross lying on his forehead. It had just appeared there as he lay asleep so she took it off and hung it around his neck.

Although so tiny at birth, the little boy was perfectly healthy and grew quickly to normal size. East and west met in the two parents. The beautiful and spiritually advanced mother was Singhalese, from Sri Lanka, while the tall, handsome father came from Greece. They named their Sai miracle son, Alexander Saisha. He is generally called Alex. I know, as I have a photograph of Alex, taken when he was between two and three years old that he is a very handsome little boy indeed.

The account of the miracles that flow from him was given to me partly by his mother and completed by my close friends who have visited him. I think the Vibhuti must have been manifesting on his skin while he was still a baby-in-arms. I know the Vibhuti appearing on his face and head could not have been such a nuisance to him as it was to the little Vibhuti baby-in-arms that the Indian parents brought to Sathya Sai Baba over twenty years ago. I saw it appearing immediately after the mother had wiped it off him, she, and the baby’s father had brought him to Prashanti Nilayam to beg Sathya Sai Baba to make the manifestation of Vibhuti less frequent. I write about it in my book entitled Sai Baba Avatar. I would say that little Alex of Australia is not a fallen Yogi reborn, as Sathya Sai Baba said the little Indian child was. Alexander Saisha is one of the group being sponsored into incarnation by Sai Baba for a particular purpose of which I will say something later on.

Sometime after the manifestation of Vibhuti on his skin, Amrita began to flow at about the third eye area. This is sometimes called ‘the nectar of the Gods’. Then a healing oil bearing a wonderful perfume, started to flow from the crown of his head. This oil, of which I have been given a little myself, is reported to have cured cases of cancer. Of course, neither the Amrita nor the oil are flowing constantly, which would be too much for the child to bear. They flow intermittently, sufficient for quantities of each to be kept in bowls by the parents, for gifts to some of the lucky visitors. I, myself, have also received a little of the Vibhuti and can say that it’s taste is not like any other Vibhuti I have ever had. It is sweet with some indefinable pleasant flavour.

Another outstanding phenomenon manifested by this little Australian boy who is not yet quite three years old, is the production of Shiva lingams. They do not come up from within his interior or by the wave of his hand, as do those of Sai Baba, but simply appear in the palm of his little hand as he lies asleep in his bed. He may be either asleep or awake when they appear but they are of remarkable size, some larger than a duck egg, his mother tells me and they are all made of beautiful crystal of glorious colours. Sathya Sai Baba, himself, who is frequently in the house tells the mother to whom these sacred symbols of Lord Shiva should be given. It is really a great honour to receive one.

Another remarkable production recently begun by the little miracle boy is items of jewellery. Although a few of these have been medallions, the great majority have been rings golden rings. Between thirty and forty of these have come from Alex up to this time of writing which is May, 2001. Some of the rings have borne precious stones, and all appear of first class quality, “The kind you would find in the best jeweller’s shops,” remarked an observer friend of mine. The rings may appear in his little hand partly buried in Vibhuti, or they may be lying beside the sleeping child. Rose petals are often found, strewn by some unseen power, on each side of the little sacred form. Sometimes, the shining gold rings are found among the rose petals. Who receives these beautiful and valuable rings? Once or twice the little boy himself has handed a ring to some lady among the daily visitors, but generally I understand, the oft present Lord Sai in subtle form tells the mother for whom each of these rings is intended. Some of the ladies who receive the jewellery, are overwhelmed at the receipt of such a precious gift. The reader may well guess that this little Australian member of Sathya Sai Baba’s miracle team receives plenty of visitors. The fact is, that although no publicity, bar that of word of mouth, has ever been given, people from all over Australia and many from abroad come daily to see him. The house where he lives is a small one and only thirty people at a time can sit comfortably there. The generous hard-working mother books people who apply by phone, allowing for thirty each day, six days of the week. Sunday is a rest day. Applications have been on such a scale that she is always booked out for some nine months ahead. They certainly cannot cope with more than this number and that is why the parents have asked me not to give any indication of the location of the little boy and his unnamed parents in this chapter.

These young parents are not rich, just the reverse in fact, yet they give food as Prasad to all the daily visitors. My Carer, Sita Iyer, along with two good friends of mine, had the blessing and the great joy of visiting the home recently on a day when mainly friends of the family were present. They described the food served as, “More like a banquet”. In the main, the mother cooks the meal herself with some help from a member of her family. One of my friends heard the mother say, “I cook for Sathya Sai Baba, and he is often here while I’m cooking to direct me. Then I serve it as Prasad to my little son’s visitors.” I know personally, from long experience that only the best quality food is served in Sathya Sai Baba’s presence and that when visiting friends to have a meal He usually goes to the kitchen first and either helps cook Himself, or gives advice to the cook. So I understand that when he supervises the cooking for the visitors of His miracle child and perhaps He stays there some of the time when it is served, the little mother considers that nothing but the best is good enough. But, the question is, how does a young couple on a small income provide such expensive food for so many people six days in the week? I know that some of my friends think of the ‘loaves and fishes’ when Jesus fed the multitude. I feel myself that something like this must be the answer. I have known cases in India where Sathya Sai Baba has multiplied the food and I think of Jack Hislop’s remarkable and story about how when he was on a visit with Sathya Sai Baba and the hostess was overcome with embarrassment because she did not have the food to serve them dinner, Sathya Sai Baba said to Hislop, “Go and get the food in the car, Hislop.” Jack knew full well that there was no food in the car but he went anyway. He found, standing near Sathya Sai Baba’s car, two Angels holding a tray of food between them. A big tray it was, but Jack managed to carry it inside, his face still stamped with a look of amazement, at which Sathya Sai Baba said, “You can shut your mouth Hislop, They are always there but you just don’t see Them.”

The parents of little Alex do not say how this miracle is achieved. It, like so many other things of which they do not speak, are private matters between them and Sathya Sai Baba. And so, for their comfort and indeed for the little boy, I can only say that their location is somewhere in the vast continent of Australia. Furthermore, I know nothing of the other four miracle children except that they exist. As they are all Sai-sponsored children I presume their miraculous powers must be the same as, or similar to, those of little Alexander Saisha. Anyone may hear by word-of-mouth, of the location of any one of the team of Sai miracle children, but if it is the Australian one, please remember that the parents who are true Sai Baba devotees will not accept a donation in the form of food, money or in any other way.

Now, let us consider briefly, what Sathya Sai Baba may have in mind in initiating this new and unexpected phase in his mission. Sathya Sai Baba has not told anybody to my knowledge about any special reason he may have so I can only give my own opinion here. I have stated in a number of places in my writings that Sathya Sai Baba has said, in fact he said it as early as the 1960’s, that the Golden Age will begin before he leaves this body, which will be in 2021. So, I expect that every well-informed Sai Devotee is aware that this is the culminating point of his mission to mankind. It is a greater mission than any Avatar has attempted before, but as I heard Sir George Trevelyan state from a Sai platform in Rome, “Avatars do not fail, it is not in the nature of an Avatar to fail in his mission,” or words to that effect. We know if we read the sacred writings with a little insight that the Avatars who have gone before have not failed in their main mission to mankind on earth. And so, I have great confidence that this living Avatar will not fail in his mission.

No doubt many of my readers have heard about the big propaganda campaign against Sai Baba that was launched in recent times. The dark or backward-pulling forces were undoubtedly aiming to ruin the Avatar’s mission once and for all. But, did they ruin it? The strong wind that blew away the chaff leaving only the grain behind may have helped rather than hindered his mission. Perhaps he intended for this wind to blow for what was the chaff but those of little faith and less understanding. In the words of the old hymn, those, “Who never loved him well, and those who had lost the love they had.” Of what value is such windblown chaff in the building of the critical mass that Sai Baba must create in the very short span of years that he has at his disposal. If the Golden Age is, as he has stated, to have it’s initiation in the few years between now and 2021, what is the function of the critical mass, as it is called in science. A good homely analogy is the small amount of leaven or yeast required to raise the flat loaf of unleavened bread to the level of the baker’s loaf. In the same way, the present level of the consciousness of mankind can be lifted by a quantum leap to the level required for the Golden Age by the power of the critical mass. What must this critical mass consist of in numbers and in quality? We do not know the numbers required but no doubt God does. We may, perhaps, have some thoughts about its quality, about its content; surely it must be the true grain without any admixture of chaff. It must be those devotees of God who have deep understanding, firm faith, those who are striving with all their willpower to live according to the highest values of truth and the Divine Love. In short, those devotees who are firmly on the journey home.

So it may well be, I think, that this team of thirteen miracle children are meant as a strong weapon in the building of the critical mass and thus help to bring about on time, the greatest miracle ever. That is, raising the mighty loaf of human consciousness and thereby bring about that new world of peace, contentment and joy for which we are all longing. At least, that is my opinion and my great hope.

Reference:: “The Lights of Home” by Howard Murphet

Sai Avatar And Mysticism

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Sai Avatar And Mysticism

I would like here to draw an interesting comparison between the teachings and missions of Sai Baba Avatar, who walks the earth today and those of Mysticism. Mysticism began as a powerful spiritual movement about one millennium ago affecting all the monotheistic religions. Whatever the founders of these religions may have taught, the ordinary members of Church, Synagogue, Mosque and Temple worship a God ‘out there’ somewhere, somewhere beyond the bright blue sky. The Mystics however, arising from the membership of the various religions found a God within themselves, deep within, seeming closer to them than breathing, nearer than hands and feet.

It may be that the fathers of the Mystic movement in each religion had an intuitive sense of the inward divinity; or it may be that the movement was born with those who had meditated deeply and discovered the inner presence. In any case, the movement grew in some religions rapidly, in some slowly. In most of the religions it was not welcomed, in some it was condemned as blasphemy to bring the austere, judgmental God from his pure throne far beyond the earth, into the intimacy of one’s personal body, into the body of sin, as thought many. This was not acceptable to a large number of the orthodox religionists, yet in spite of this opposition, the Mystical movement grew apace and eventually had a good influence on each of the monotheistic religions.

For some reason, it grew most strongly and rapidly in the Muslim religion and a good proportion of the followers of Allah became Mystics or Sufis as they were called. In the Jewish religion also, Mysticism was, and is, a strong movement; it is known as the Cabala. It had no particular name in the Christian religion but those individuals who followed the mystical path of close inner union with God were often called Saints. Some who responded to the divine voice within themselves, such as Joan of Arc, were martyred and then later canonised as Saints.

There was, moreover, a vast difference between the God of the ordinary religionist as taught in the religious institutions and the inner God of Mysticism. The former was a judgmental God giving the heavenly rewards to those who kept his Commandments; and terrible punishments, often everlasting, to those who disobeyed his laws; whereas the inner God of the Mystics seems to have been a close and loving friend, leading his human children along the pathways of love and deep understanding back to their spiritual home. It seems strange that a greater proportion of people is not attracted to the intimate God of the Mystics away from the judgmental tyrant resident in the remote skies. Perhaps it is because it is not easy for most people to find the inner divinity, maybe many more would, if they were given leadership.

When, in my student days, I was researching all the churches of every denomination to find the one that appealed to me most, I heard no mention from the pulpit of the God who resides within the heart of man. Indeed, I had to live through many decades and travel through many countries before I met the One who revealed to me the great secret, which is the secret of life itself and is so simple that it should be made known to every child.

The time was the mid sixties of last century. The place was a small garden at Brindavan, near Whitefield. I was strolling in that garden with a few men of varying ages; we were waiting for Sri Sathya Sai Baba to appear through a doorway. When he did appear, one who must have been the youngest among us, accosted him with the pointed and important question, “Are you God?” It was then that we received from the divine lips of Sathya Sai Baba, the great revelation. Perhaps it was the matter-of-fact tone of the stupendous statements that made me accept them immediately without question. He told us that we were all Gods, we were, indeed, Avatars of God, having brought God to earth within us, each one of us, when we were born, but we had forgotten this great truth long, long ago. The purpose of our lifetimes on earth, he said, was in order to remember the great truth of our own divinity. It took many lifetimes to re-discover and experience this one great truth of our identity. To help mankind in this task, Avatars with full memory of their divine identity come to earth from time to time. He, himself was one of those; he had known it from his early childhood in the remote village of Puttaparthi. “God is everywhere,” he said, “But the easiest place to find Him is within yourself.”

At later times through the years I spent with him, he frequently reminded me in many different ways of that God within, who is our true identity. Once he said, “My job as your Guru is to lead you to your inner Guru.” Then many years later he said, “I have brought you to your inner Guru or God and there is no spiritual reason why you have to come to me again.” Then he added as an afterthought, “But in a human way I always like to see you, of course.” So here was Sathya Sai Baba revealing to me, very soon after I had come to him, the reality of the inner God discovered by the Mystics through inner search, but never mentioned in Sunday School or Church. Surely every child should be told this magnificent truth about themselves.

So it is that I see Sai Avatar as a super Mystic and I ask myself what is the difference between an Avatar and a Mystic are their teachings different or the same? Is their mission on earth different or the same? Considering their earthly mission first, I see that of the Avatar today, as of all former Avatars, to be vaster, more expansive than that of a Mystic. Sai Baba, Sai Avatar, has the charisma necessary to attract huge crowds from all parts of the world and the teachings to change the consciousness of millions. He has said that he is the Avatar of the masses, whereas one such as Aurobindo is the Avatar of individuals. Unlike Aurobindo, Sai Baba’s teachings are put in simple language that does not require a philosophical bent of mind to appreciate and understand.

To all people of deep spiritual perception, the signs in the world today are not those of doom and destruction as might appear on the surface, but of a great change. A change that could be described as the death of the old world, or of the old world order and the birth of something that is entirely new, stupendous, wonderful, in fact what has been termed the Golden Age. The present Avatar has said, and I have often heard him say it, that the Golden Age will be born before he leaves his present body in the year 2021. In support of this, two of the leading ascended Masters have predicted that this new age will begin in a little over a decade from now, from this time of writing; it is now early in the year 2001. Other great workers in what Sir George Trevelyan called the ‘Force field of Light’ are working for this new age and know that it is not far distant.

No Mystic, be he Christian, Sufi, or Jewish, ever came to the world with such a mighty mission as this. The Mystic’s aim, in whatever century he was born, was to teach as many people and change the lives of as many people as he could in his lifetime. But he thinks in terms of individuals, or perhaps hundreds, and eventually maybe thousands of individuals, but his mission is not to raise in a few decades, the level of the consciousness of the whole of mankind.

One of them whom I feel to be among the greatest, that is, Rumi of the Sufi order of Mysticism must have brought many to the light through the Dervish Dancing he started in Turkey, through his poetic teaching and his great influence on the world of art, but his ambitions fell far short of bringing a quantum leap upward to the world consciousness. So, while the Avataric mission and that of the Mystics is different, their teachings in general are much the same. The differences are few, mostly a matter of degree and can be related to their missions.

While I have through the years read something of the writings of the Mystics, particularly of the Sufis, and some of the Christian Saints, the one I have studied more thoroughly is a modern Christian Mystic named Joel Goldsmith. Although he would be classed as a Christian Mystic because the Master he followed was Jesus the Christ, he was Jewish by birth and lived in our modern age from approximately 1890 to 1964. To what might appear to be a coincidence, though I believe when on the spiritual path, there is no such thing as a coincidence, most of his books and a large quantity of his audio teaching tapes, suddenly became available to Sai friends of mine. Together we studied his books and his tapes. The most remarkable thing about them is the way they fit into the Avataric teachings. Put in different words and language, style, they make an excellent supplement to what Sathya Sai Baba has taught about the relationship of man and God and, while giving a different reason for the great illusion of separateness, teach the truths of Adwaitha or the essential oneness of all mankind beneath the veil of illusion. The only difference in the teachings of the Mystic and the Avatar that I have noted, is in the matter of prayer or man’s verbal communications with God.

The Mystic, Goldsmith, follows closely his understanding of the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament which says such things as, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all the rest will be added unto you.” His Master, Jesus, also says in other places that the Kingdom of God is within you and that God himself is within you and in prayer we should ask, he says, for further understanding and enlightenment and for help in living the Spiritual life of compassion, forgiveness and so on. If we do that, Joel Goldsmith points out, there is no need to ask God for any material advantages, such as a better job, a higher salary or anything else of a worldly nature, because God has said through Jesus, that all such things will be given to you if you concentrate on using prayer for the advancement of your spiritual evolution. Sai Baba, on the other hand, encourages his devotees to ask for whatever they want, whether it is material or spiritual. He says that he will give people what they want if it will not bring them any harm, in order that they will, in time, ask for the things he wants to give them. Those things are of course the spiritual treasures. So Sai devotees happily petition God for material things that will help them in their daily living. Many even ask for simple things like a parking place for the car and believe that Sathya Sai Baba helps them.

Perhaps this wider latitude granted by Sai Baba is that he calls people to him at an earlier stage in their spiritual development, earlier in their spiritual journey homeward, than those who would be attracted to the Goldsmith teachings. People have to be ready, Sathya Sai Baba says, before he calls them unto him, but they are ready at an earlier stage than they would be for the Mystic’s teachings. And so, they have analogically, the easier kindergarten or primary school privileges. Furthermore, by giving them the material trinkets they love, he establishes more firmly, their love for the living Avatar, placing their feet more firmly on the spiritual path. Interestingly I discovered, when much later he told me that he was now in my heart and visits to him physically were no longer necessary, that the material things such as rings and watches and the many other trinkets, do work as a kind of talisman in helping to bring the student to his inner God.

In speaking about the Vedic chant, the Gayathri, I have heard Sathya Sai Baba praise it because it contains only one petitional prayer and that is the request for spiritual Light. As our footsteps advance along the pathway home, our petitions to God will automatically become spiritual requests and not those of a worldly nature.

The other types of communication between man and God, those we generally call meditation or contemplation, Joel Goldsmith teaches that they should be carried out at least twice a day for a period of a quarter of an hour or more each time, and then throughout the day whenever possible, if it be only for a minute or more. This, in a sense, is like the ‘receiving’ practice in Subud, by the Master, Pak Subuh, who said that we should endeavour to receive the spirit and grace of God while we are occupied in our daily task, particularly when cooking or preparing food. Such divine blessings, he said, would be tasted by those eating the food.

Joel, like Sathya Sai Baba, gave specific instructions in different forms of meditation and said that each student would, in time, discover the best form and the most fruitful technique suitable to himself. These teachings are really no different in essence from those of Sai Avatar, except that the latter perhaps adapts the instructions for the type, manner and periods of meditation to the needs of the individual, but he does encourage all of his devotees to interweave in their daily lives, communications with God such as repetition of the divine name, quiet moments of meditation and sweet loving interchanges with the divinity. Whatever can be fitted into the necessary worldly tasks of one’s life, helps to increase the strength of one’s divine life along the pathway home.

It is interesting to note that the modern American Mystic gives as much emphasis to love or prema in the development of the divine life as does Sai Avatar. Joel is sterner than Sathya Sai Baba in condemnation of human love as being too tainted with selfishness or the element of self-interest, to equal the selfless purity of divine love. Man must be satisfied with nothing less than the attainment of this pure, selfless love. Sathya Sai Baba, while saying the same thing in principle, is a little more tolerant and understanding towards certain kinds of human love. Mother love, or more correctly, parental love, is closest to the pure love of God and in some cases where a parent is prepared to give his own life to save that of the child, love reaches its highest level. As Sathya Sai Baba said when he was on earth as Jesus the Christ, “No greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.” And there have been examples among world explorers, among warriors on the battlefields, and among members of families, of those whose love has been so great that they have willingly given their lives to save that of others. Here, the greatest of all human values reaches its zenith in the pure Divine Prema.

It is, indeed, heartwarming to know through study and experience that the stupendous mission of the world Avatar is being supported, if in a humbler and relatively modest way, by the Mystics of the world both present and past.

I would like to conclude this chapter by stating that I personally have found great joy in the realisation that Mysticism is giving its unqualified support to the work of Sai Avatar, as we workers on the divinely human path must strive to do.

Reference:: “The Lights of Home” by Howard Murphet

Easter And The Dharmic Life

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Easter And The Dharmic Life

One day, a little over half a century ago, I was sitting in a coffee house in the wonderful city of Old Jerusalem. The table where I sat looked through the open front onto a cobbled street. This was the street I had come to see and to walk along. Its name was the Via Dolorosa, which means the Way of Sorrow. This is the street along which Jesus of Nazareth walked carrying his heavy cross on that first Good Friday some two Millennia ago. His back was covered with blood from the metal tipped whips with which he had been scourged and there was blood on his face from the crown of thorns that had been forced into his scalp. Though a man of strong build, he had been greatly weakened from the torture he had suffered at the hands of the Roman soldiers and his cross was heavy. Story tells that he fell over at least once during his journey up the hill to the place called Calvary or Golgotha. Having reached that summit, he was nailed to the cross he had carried and remained there suffering until the sun set on that first Good Friday. Then, as bodies were not permitted to remain on a cross on the Jewish Sabbath, which was the Saturday, Jesus the Christ was killed by a spearthrust by the Roman legionnaire named Longinus. The corpse was taken down and Jesus was carried by his great uncle Joseph of Arimathea and his friend, another devotee of Jesus, named Nicodemus. They put the corpse in the private tomb in the garden of Joseph’s house in Jerusalem. Then a large stone was rolled in front of the tomb, closing it off. Finally a squad of soldiers from the Temple troops was placed on guard at the entrance of the tomb.

All was quiet throughout the Saturday, the Sabbath, but early Sunday morning brought the beginnings of the final act of this world drama, out of which a great religion was born. Somehow the stone had been rolled back and the tomb was empty. Nobody was there. A little later in the day, Jesus walked through a closed door into a room where some of his disciples had gathered. His physical body had been transmuted into a subtle body which some have called a spiritual body, a body of glory and a body of light. This is a phenomenon that Sathya Sai Baba has demonstrated many times. That is, he travels through walls or closed doors in his subtle body and when necessary lowers its vibration to create a solid body that can be felt by human hands and can be seen by normal human eyesight. Some days later, after communicating with his disciples and others, this body of Glory, this body of Light, ascended to the highest spiritual realm as Lord Rama and others have done.

What, if anything is the significance of this Easter story to you and to me? “Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected to save all mankind,” write the Christian theologians. “But,” preach the Christian evangelists, “To be saved you must believe in Him, in Jesus.” I want to take you, if you have not gone there already, a step deeper into this great, important question. In fact, Sathya Sai Baba has already shown us that step if we can take it. He teaches us that we are all one and I feel that most of us accept that, even though we may not have experienced it. But if we ordinary humans are all one beneath the surface, then surely Godmen are also all one and they are aware of it. Sathya Sai Baba has shown himself in the forms of Rama and Krishna and Dattatreya and Jesus. All physical forms are but the clothing of one Godman, one Avatar of God. Sathya Sai Baba has indicated, not only by taking the form, but in other ways, that he and Jesus are one. Once on the Christmas day platform at Prashanti Nilayam, I said a few words about the several different names Jesus had been known by when he was on earth and afterwards. One of these was Isa, which he was called in India and the Middle East. Sathya Sai Baba opened his own discourse by saying the true name of Jesus was Isa the letters of that name also make the word Sai. Isa and Sai are one. So the Godman who can save us from our iniquities and lead to the goal does not have to be named Jesus or Isa. Today his name is Sai and by his loving grace, his infinite mercy, he is leading us on to our spiritual home. But why, you may ask, did the all-loving Godman in the body named Jesus or Isa have to suffer the Via Dolorosa and the Crucifixion?

Long before the time of Jesus, in the temples of ancient Egypt, men went through the ritual of crucifixion as an initiation to the highest. But why did one have to go through it in agonising actuality on the human stage? Was it simply that a great spiritual Light should come into the dark world of the west under the Roman Empire? It was that and more than that. Spiritual masters such as Rudolf Steiner have given interesting esoteric reasons why the Crucifixion of Jesus is for the benefit of all humanity, but here I would like to give only the explanation given by our own great Master, who, as I said earlier, went through it all himself in an earlier body. And why do I say that you and I are today treading the Via Dolorosa, treading it voluntarily as the Godman did two thousand years ago? We have come through a certain doorway in consciousness from the ordinary self-consciousness of mankind to a level where we have become aware of the purpose of our lives and where we are going. We know that our destination is union with God. We know that we are treading the path to our spiritual home. We have discovered, too, beyond all doubt that we are two people. Each of us is at least two people, one the obvious self-assertive one who makes a great deal of noise on the stage of life, what Sathya Sai Baba calls the personal ego. We have inherited this from a long way back when we were parts of the animal consciousness. This was necessary for that phase of life but now, with our feet on the spiritual path, we realise that this ego who dominates our lives is really an anachronism. He is an anachronism and an impostor who belongs to a past time. He has no place in eternity. But the other Self does belong to eternity. He has been buried away in the dungeons of falsehood and maya, in the darkness of our ignorance for so long that we seldom hear his voice. And when we do, we call it ‘conscience’. It is, in truth, the voice of God and is therefore the root of all consciousness. We now know that the ego self has to be eliminated in order that the God Self can take command and guide us into that spiritual harbour which is our destination. But it is not an easy struggle while our feet are on this slippery and narrow path. Some have named it the razor’s edge. Jesus himself said that it was a way that was strait and narrow. I am calling it the Via Dolorosa.

Sathya Sai Baba has said that pleasure is just an interval between two sorrows and here we know the purpose and meaning of sorrow, hardship and adversity. We know their meaning and their value in helping our faltering footsteps up the slippery, rough, cobbled road to Calvary. We know that we must strive here to live the dharmic or sacred life that will take us in the shortest possible time to the cross on the hill and what lies beyond it. Sathya Sai Baba makes a cross with his two forefingers and states that the cross stands for the final death of the personal ego. When this false ego is finally annihilated from the body, which is its tomb, there will arise that glorious eternal spiritual Being which is our true Self. And this, as the Godman Jesus illustrated, will be able to communicate with and inspire his brother men who are still on the human path, to arise and become part of the one God.

So this great drama of Easter is important to every one of us because it illustrates what every human being must go through before he comes to his glory. It is our model. It seems to me that we must strive with all the divine will that is in each of us to live the life of dharma, the special sacred life, as we strive with brave hearts and divine understanding towards the cross of final victory that stands on the hill. We all know and we are all striving to practice those five divinely human values, those five bright beacons that our Lord has given us to keep our feet on the slippery way. I just want to say here that it behoves us to delve as deeply as possible into their meaning.

Take, for example, the first one, Sathya or Truth. It was Jesus who said, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free.” What is this truth that will set us free from our bondage? For me it is the fundamental truth of oneness. If we can reach within the glittering lights of diversity and take hold of this truth of oneness and strive to live it, then we are well on the way to freedom.

The last of the five beacons is Ahimsa or Non-violence. That seems fairly straightforward, but is it? One of our greatest Godman leaders, Lord Krishna, encouraged the violent destruction of a large part of the Kshetria caste in order to rid the world of a group that had grown evil beyond redemption. He was cutting down the diseased tree, as Sathya Sai Baba says. But Krishna encouraged the right understanding and the right attitude when necessary violence must be carried out. We know that life must be destroyed in order for man to eat and to live. When our hands are doing violent acts, from the chopping up of spinach, through the cutting down of a tree, to the slaying of men in battle, we must do it with love and reverence, without any violent feeling towards the form of life that we needs must destroy for a greater good. For all forms of life from a blade of grass to the greatest sage are a part of God. I feel it would be true to say that the more we can follow the life of dharma, the more we can weaken our false ego as we try to tread the narrow path, less painful will be the final crucifixion of the ego.

Here we have the key to true Shanti. While our feet and hands are playing their part in the tug of war between good and evil, let our minds be in the eternal, the infinite. A line from an old prayer says, “There is a power that maketh all things new. It lives and moves in those who know the Self as one.”

May that power grow in us all as we struggle up the Via Dolorosa with the great vision of oneness before us.

Reference:: “The Lights of Home” by Howard Murphet

The Mystery Of Vibhuti

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


The Mystery Of Vibhuti

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” With these words of the funeral service, the human body is committed to its final formless form. In some denominations of the Christian church, ash is blessed by the priesthood, becomes known as Holy Ash and is used as a symbol of penitence, reminding man that his time on earth is short and that he should use his time to seek the true eternal values. Back in the timeless mythology of the Hindu religion, ash was used by Lord Siva as a symbol or flag of victory. After his victorious battle with the god Kama, the god of desire, Siva reduced his enemy’s body to ashes and smeared his own body with those ashes, so then it was a victory over desire. But, as we all know, Kama, like Phoenix, rose from his own ashes and is very much alive and active within each one of us, where he is known as the kama rupa, or body of desire. Indeed, as I have heard my late friend Dr V K Gokak say, “He lives our lives for us.” Only one who has reached the state of enlightened self-realisation could, as Siva did, adorn himself with holy ash as a sign of victory over desire. So why do we smear our foreheads or swallow quantities of this symbol of victory and purity which Sathya Sai Baba has named vibhuti? And why does He call it vibhuti?

This is part of the great, the important, mystery on which I would like to invite your consideration.

Looking into the Sanskrit dictionaries for the meaning of the word ‘vibhuti’, one finds such definitions as ‘manifestations of divine power’ or ‘opulence by which God controls the whole universe.’ Other words used to define the meaning of vibhuti are divine glory and splendour and magnificence. In some translations of the Bhagavad Gita, we find the title of Chapter Ten is, “The Yoga of Vibhuti” while in others it is called “Manifestations of the Power and Glory of God”. And we so learn that the union with the divine which we seek is aided or perhaps accomplished by the power, glory, splendour and munificence of God and this is called vibhuti.

Nowhere in the great Scriptures of the nations have I personally read of or heard of a Godman or saint who produced holy ash from unseen dimension by the wave of his hand or by any other means.

Interestingly, during the near-half century that Sai Baba spent at Shirdi, He used ash, from the fire He kept burning, to help people with their health and other problems. This ash He called ‘udi’ which must bear some relationship to the word vibhuti. So why did Sri Sathya Sai Baba name the ash that He manifests many times a day by circling His hand by the title vibhuti? Surely He must mean us to understand that this wonderful material which comes in various shades of colour, perfume and taste, carries with it the divine power, glory and splendour that lie in the meaning of the word itself. And surely this is something of which we should be fully aware when we use vibhuti either externally or internally.

We should not be like I was when He said to me on the first day of our meeting in a room in Madras, “Would you like some vibhuti?” I said “Yes,” because I wanted to see Him manifest it out of nowhere. I had no idea what to do with it, nor of its power. But I discovered its power of healing on the following day when He manifested vibhuti for my wife and cured her of hepatitis on the spot. It is strange that Sathya Sai Baba, not always, but frequently, manifests His divine power and compassion through material things, such as the leaves and flowers of plants, water, lingams and nectar but certainly most often through holy ash.

I have heard people say that the power of vibhuti lies in its placebo effect, its effect on the mind of the patient, thus creating greater faith and expectation. But I know of cases in which the recipient of vibhuti had no expectation at all, no expectation of a cure, that is. My wife, Iris, was one of these in the case just related, but the most striking in my experience was the cure of the parachute jumper, Squadron Leader A. Chakravarthy and his absent wife, which I describe in detail in my book “Sai Baba, Invitation to Glory”, I will repeat the main facts here.

Chakravarthy, along with two scientists with whom he had arrived at the ashram, was called for an interview during his first evening there. Sathya Sai Baba manifested several things for two of his friends and then told Chakravarthy to join his two palms together in the form of a bowl. Then Sathya Sai Baba waved His down-turned hand in small circles above the bowl thus formed. Vibhuti poured from His hand until Chakravarthy’s two joined palms were full. Then He told the parachute jumper to eat the vibhuti. The Squadron Leader, who was also head of the parachute jumping school in the Indian Air Force, had no idea why he should eat the vibhuti but he came from a spiritual family and had the feeling that he was in the presence of a Godman, so he did as he was ordered. He consumed every morsel of this double handful of vibhuti. “The flavour was quite pleasant and I thought I was getting some spiritual benefit from it,” he told me.

He had an interview on the following morning and the same thing happened. Again the Squadron leader did as ordered and ate all the vibhuti, having no idea what the specific benefit might be. He and his friends returned to Bangalore after spending the one night at the ashram. He was amazed and of course, overjoyed to discover in the next few days that he had been completely cured of a disease that the medical doctors had told him was incurable. He was even more astounded to find that his wife was cured of the same incurable disease. They had both been told by several doctors that the disease they shared was not only incurable but would prevent them having children. Now, as if to confirm the cure, Sathya Sai Baba told them that they would have a son to be born on Sathya Sai Baba’s own birthday that year. This duly took place. No placebo effect could have played any part in this unexpected healing of two people by two double handfuls of vibhuti given to one of them.

Several friends have told me how they have cured diseases in animals, mainly pet dogs and cats, by the application of vibhuti and this seems to indicate that the healing power exists in the vibhuti without any help from mental expectation or even faith.

The quantity of vibhuti required and time taken for healing are also part of the divine mystery. In Chakravarthy’s case, two double handfuls of vibhuti healed two people almost immediately. In the case of Mayan Waynberg, (given in my book “Sai Baba, Invitation to Glory”) another example of vibhuti healing an incurable disease (that is, incurable by ordinary medical means), the patient was instructed by Sathya Sai Baba to take a pinch of vibhuti in water daily, but it took nearly two years for the complete cure. Different diseases, different methods and only the Divine Healer Himself knows the reason. All we can know is that this sacred substance that we have learned to call vibhuti is imbued with the divine power, glory and opulence to work great miracles.

Then there is the amazing worldwide phenomenon of the appearance of vibhuti on articles, mainly on holy pictures, under the glass when they are mounted in frames with a glass front. Such things are happening to Sai followers from Russia to Malaysia and Australia. Why and how is this done, may be asked.

Well, I would say, it certainly builds faith and even takes people to Sai Baba. My famous friend, Jegathesan, of Malaysia told me that when he heard people talking about Sathya Sai Baba, his reaction was negative but when vibhuti began to appear on the pictures of Sathya Sai Baba and other holy figures in the home of one of his relatives in Malaysia, faith was born in his heart and he immediately went to see “The Living God in India.” Well, we all know the fine work that Jegathesan has carried out in the Sai mission to the world.

As to the ‘how’ of the operation, I have heard more than one person say that the job is done by other beings and not by Sathya Sai Baba. But psychic science has proved beyond question that, in general, discarnate spirits do not possess the psychokinetic power to move even a featherweight physical object.

An exception to this rule is the stone-throwing poltergeist and it’s not the nature of the poltergeist to smear holy ash on holy objects in order to increase man’s faith in God.

We know that Sathya Sai Baba Himself can travel in a flash to any spot on the globe and, when there, use His divine psychokinetic power to carry out any physical work He likes. We know, too, that He has helpers, multitudes of helpers, on the subtle planes as well as on the earth plane. He could endow any of these helpers, be they discarnate, angelic or devic, with the power to spread vibhuti on the glass or under the glass of holy pictures, inside books, on the cover of books when they are lying underneath other volumes, on the hands of saintly dying people (as once happened to a dying Sai devotee in Melbourne, Australia). So, whether He does the work Himself or delegates it to some of His numberless subtle helping hands, it is not possible to know, and I do not feel that it matters, since all the divine work is done by God.

Remember the story of the man who, sitting on the roof of his house during a rising flood, refused all help from men in boats and helicopters who tried to rescue him, saying, “Don’t bother, I have prayed to God to save me.” When in due course, he was drowned, and his soul stood in the presence of God, he said to the Almighty, “I prayed to You to save me, but You did not.” God replied “I sent rescuing boats and a helicopter to take you off your roof and save your life but you had forgotten that all helping hands are My hands.”

Another mystery is why does vibhuti appear in some homes and not in others? By what criteria does God select the homes? Are the people blessed by vibhuti, more spiritual than those who are not? From my observations, I do not think so.

I have noted that the ash recipients in India seem to be more humble, more egoless than usual. I first saw the phenomenon, for example, in a Brahmin home in Coimbatore. It seemed to have covered practically everything in the shrine room and while I sat watching, it was pouring from a small statue of Shirdi Sai Baba.

Many years ago on my arrival at Prashanti Nilayam, I met a young man in the village outside the wall. He told me the story of his aunt who lived in a humble dwelling within the village. He told me that while Sathya Sai Baba was away on tour, vibhuti and amrit began appearing on the pictures in his aunt’s home. It was not long before crowds of people filled her courtyard to see the phenomenon and receive gifts of vibhuti and amrit, there being plenty for everybody. Attending to the growing crowds became too much for the poor lady who was a widow. She became overwrought and unable to carry on.

Then suddenly Sathya Sai Baba, who was still on tour bodily, appeared to her in His subtle form and said “I am stopping this now. Lock your gates and let nobody in.” From that moment no more vibhuti or amrit appeared. My first book on Sathya Sai Baba had been published and the young man knew my name, so very kindly he took me round to meet his aunt. All was quiet there. Though her pictures were no longer producing ash or amrit, she had stocks of it kept in jars and kindly gave me some. She belonged to the class of the meek, the humble, the surrendered to God, the lovers of the good. Sathya Sai Baba had both blessed her and protected her.

But in other countries of the world and also in other parts of India, I have found vibhuti appearing in the homes of people whom I could not class as humble and surrendered. In fact, they seemed to have as much ego as the average searcher in the domain. So the mystery remains and I feel that only God Himself knows the answer.

Reference:: “The Lights of Home” by Howard Murphet

Signs, Strange And Significant

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Signs, Strange And Significant

In the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney, Australia, I have a number of friends, most of them followers of Sathya Sai Baba. I would not have called Peter a Sai devotee at the time of this episode, but he was certainly interested in Sai Baba and perhaps it was to encourage this interest that Rocky Bugmann, an active member of the Sai centre in the mid mountains, gave Peter a very attractive, good-sized photograph of Sathya Sai Baba. Without framing it, Peter stuck the photograph on the wall of his bedroom in a position that allowed him to see it easily while he was lying in bed. Incidentally, Peter is a bachelor of middle age and lives alone except for his four legged friend, a dog named Adam. Perhaps Adam acquired that name because of his hatred of snakes. Adam of the Garden of Eden had no reason to love the reptile, for it was because of a snake that he was thrown out of paradise into the wide and terrible world.

Although Peter has a large house, he usually allows Adam to spend the night on the floor of his bedroom. It may have been no more than one or two nights after he had hung the picture that the strange phenomena began. While Peter was lying comfortably in bed with the light on, gazing intently at the photo of Sathya Sai Baba, it suddenly became three dimensional, that is, it stood out an inch or so from the wall. At the same time, the image of Sathya Sai Baba changed to a man who appeared to be an historical character. Judging, Peter said, from his clothes, style of hair and beard, he belonged to history but Peter could not identify him. After a while the photograph went flat against the wall again and Sathya Sai Baba was there. For the next five or six nights, the photo of Sathya Sai Baba played the same strange tricks, the only difference being that it was not the same person who appeared in place of Sathya Sai Baba. Each night there was a different one, always appearing to be someone from an earlier period of history and never identifiable by Peter. Peter was quite fascinated but puzzled. It must be some sign to him from Sathya Sai Baba but he could not figure out what it was meant to tell him. And who could help him? The only other person in the room to see this pantomime was Adam the dog, and he seemed quite unaffected by the strange antics of the picture.

Then came the night when, instead of another human being appearing in the three dimensional photograph, in the place of Sathya Sai Baba came a large cobra. It was raised and its hood was spread as if about to strike its victim. Peter was horrified. This, he thought, is a symbol of evil and he immediately turned out the bedroom light but it was a long time before he could go to sleep. He, like many followers of the Christian faith, perhaps through the myth of the Garden of Eden, regards snakes as an animal cursed by God and therefore evil. At last he fell asleep. No dreams came to help him with his problem and as soon as he woke in the early hours before full daylight came, he got out of bed with the intention of removing the picture. But it was not on the wall anymore. Knowing that he had not stuck it to the wall very securely, he looked on the floor below where the photo had been hanging. It was not far away but ripped into many small pieces. This must have been the work of Adam the dog who was lying near the heap, as if to protect his master from any evil that may remain in the torn-up picture. Peter gathered the pieces and burned them.

It was not many days after this that Peter informed Rocky and myself about the episode, about what had happened to the photograph. Both of us assured him separately that to Sathya Sai Baba, who is an incarnation of Lord Siva and his consort Parvati or Shakti, snakes are certainly not evil, just the reverse really. Illustrations of Lord ..Siva often show him with a necklace of snakes around his neck. They are one of his symbols and he has, indeed, appeared as a cobra to a number of people at his ashrams, including myself. The one that appeared to me was a beautiful white cobra in the garden at Brindavan. It had behaved more like a friend than an enemy of man. Peter understood readily and happily. He was very pleased when Rocky gave him another photograph. But he had had his ration of signs and wonders and the second photograph behaved as photos are expected to.

I think that Peter would now call himself a Sai devotee. There are, of course, many different brands and types of devotees and they meander to the feet of our Lord by many strange but interesting routes.

* * *

The Sai signs that came to the married couple, Syd and Karen Paterson were also strange and certainly significant. The Patersons live near me in the Blue Mountains and I regard them as earnest devotees who are making good progress on the Sai path that leads back to God. Strangely, they too witnessed some Sai photograph leelas but, unlike Peter, it was after they were already Sai devotees. It was in this case a framed photograph hanging on the wall of their sitting room. One day when they were sitting discussing Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings while looking at the photograph on the wall, it began to play some strange antics. It would, for example, move along the wall to left or right and sometimes seemed to come away from the wall towards them. At other times bright lights would appear around the photo, bright pink or green or just white light. Of course, they told each other what they were seeing after it had happened but to test that it was just not a fault in eyesight, they decided to tell one another at the time of the happening. For example, Syd might say, “The colour has turned to silver,” or, “The photograph is moving along the wall to the right,” and Karen would confirm that she was seeing the same thing. Then Karen might say what was happening and Syd would agree that he was seeing the same thing. So they decided that what they saw was actually happening and believed it to be a sign of God’s presence in their lives.

Other signs also came to them separately. For example, Syd who is a painter by trade, one day – and all day – during his work saw the face of Sathya Sai Baba appear on whatever surface he was painting, perhaps a door or a wall or a cupboard. This gave him great joy and he had a wonderful day.

Another sign that he spoke to me about was that one day he suddenly experienced adwaitha or non-duality – everything was one. This brought him a great feeling of bliss, an uplift of consciousness. Unfortunately, he said, this did not last all day but just for a short period. Nevertheless he has remembered it always and knows that the truth of Being, lies beyond what we see with our eyes and is in truth, oneness of all life.

Later on, about the middle of the year 1990, Syd had his first dream of Sathya Sai Baba and it was to him a very important prophetic dream. It remained very vivid in his memory. He told me that it seemed to begin with him standing talking to a neighbour who had lived next door to him in a Sydney suburb. Suddenly they saw the form of Sai Baba on the opposite side of the street standing on the pavement. Sathya Sai Baba had a white robe on, said Syd, but I don’t know whether he was aware at the time that white is the colour of mourning in India. Whether or not he understood the significance of the colour white, Syd knew instinctively that the old overcoat that Sathya Sai Baba had swung across his shoulder, represented the body of his own father. Sathya Sai Baba gave them a smile and a wave and moved off down the street. Syd was so full of his strong feelings that he omitted to return the wave but the neighbour did so, remarking something about Sathya Sai Baba being the head of some weird cult in India. Syd did not answer but remembered thinking, “If only you knew the truth!” At the first intersection, Sathya Sai Baba turned as if to go along the cross street but instead he faced up towards Syd and his friend and gave another wave. This time, both men returned the wave and Sathya Sai Baba vanished.

It was a sad dream for Syd because he felt sure that Sathya Sai Baba was giving him a sign that his father, who was very sick in a nursing home hospital, would not last very long. Thinking about this, Syd prayed earnestly to Sathya Sai Baba to be granted four boons. The first was that the hospital would warn him of the approaching death in sufficient time for him to let his old mother know, so that she, who was living in the same nursing home would get there in time for his father’s passing. The second was that he, himself, would manage to be present in the bedroom of his father at the actual time of his passing. The third was that his father would have a peaceful end with no pain and the fourth was that Syd would be aware of the actual moment his father left his body. Perhaps this was asking a lot, he thought, but felt sure that somehow Sathya Sai Baba would grant his wishes.

It was not long after this that the call came from the hospital telling him that his father’s condition had deteriorated so rapidly they were sure he did not have long to live. So Syd had time not only to warn his mother but also his brother. That morning they were all sitting in Father’s ward. Brother had brought along his wife too, but Syd had not brought Karen because at this time they were just at the very beginning of their friendship and Karen did not know his parents. The patient did not seem to be aware of their presence. He was sleeping peacefully with no apparent pain and so the hours dragged by, with a nurse coming in about every half hour or so to check the patient’s condition, which seemed to indicate to Syd that the end was not far away.

After a few hours of watching, mainly in silence, Syd felt that his mother, who was unwell herself, was looking as if she needed a rest. So he advised her to go to her room and lie down for half an hour then he would call her. She went and the brother, who had some urgent business to attend to, left too with his wife. Syd was left alone with his thoughts. His good father, for whom he felt great love, was still alive, breathing quietly. Then, after about ten minutes, something strange happened. A shaft of what seemed like dark blue energy about a yard in length and perhaps six inches in width began to emanate from his father’s throat chakra at an angle of about forty five degrees to the body. Then it vanished and the sound of the breathing stopped. At a later time, Syd learned from someone who had had a great deal of experience with death and dying and the hereafter, that this was his father’s astral body leaving the physical. But Syd must have known this himself intuitively because of what happened later.

The next event happened almost immediately. Sathya Sai Baba came into the room, not the usual Sathya Sai Baba but one about half the size of his small self, a dwarf Sathya Sai Baba and he was dressed in green, which is not a colour he ever wears. Syd took this as a symbol that his father had had a peaceful passing because to Syd the green colour meant peace, like the peace one feels in a green meadow. To emphasise the point further, the diminutive Sathya Sai Baba floated onto the bed and sat cross-legged on the chest of the dead body. Having emphasised the point to Syd of his father’s peaceful passing, Sathya Sai Baba vanished. Soon after that two nurses came into the room. One of them went and stood behind Syd with her hands on his shoulders while the other went to the other side of the bed to examine his father’s body. The one behind asked gently, “Where is your mother?” Syd replied “She’s gone and so has my father.” “Oh, no,” she replied, “I think your father is still alive.” But the nurse on the other side confirmed that he had passed away. Syd sat for a while in quiet remembrance of his beloved father and mentally gave his thanks to Sathya Sai Baba for granting him the four boons he had requested and indeed for being present and blessing the transition of his father who had not even been a Sai Baba follower.

Karen, who is very studious and gentle, has had her own experiences of God’s hand in her life. While her husband Syd has felt the unity of all life, she has gone beyond the maya in a different way. For example, she says one day at work, when everything seemed to be going at a mad rate it was as if worldly affairs in her life, that is the maya, was going around at an ever increasing rate and seemed impossible to handle, her mind went beyond it all. She saw it as it was, an unreal, crazy illusion. She wanted to laugh at the crazy antics of people, including herself. It was unreal and she stepped back from it all into the quiet peace of reality. She found that on future occasions when the worldly merry-go-round seemed to be getting out of hand, just to focus on the memory of this occasion was helpful in trying to re-establish that peace.

Earlier in the same year that Syd’s father had died, Karen too, had witnessed the compassionate hand of Sathya Sai Baba at her own father’s death. “Neither of my parents were followers of Sai Baba and they only ever heard his name when I was at home with them and could not help talking about him sometimes.” Her father was sent to hospital through his emphysema and the work of some other mysterious, tropical virus. She felt somehow that this illness was terminal but the hospital staff was not very co-operative about informing her and the rest of the family of his state of health. So either Karen’s mother, sister, herself or another member of the family spent a lot of time in the ward to check on his recovery or otherwise. One day when she was in the ward alone with her father, he suddenly asked to her great surprise, “You know that fellow you went to see in India I’ve forgotten his name what was it?” Karen told him. “Yes, that’s right,” he said. “I had a dream of him the other night.” Karen felt great surprise and delight to hear that Sai Baba actually visited in a dream, her non-Sai father. She questioned him about the nature of the dream. “Oh,” said her father, “He just walked up to me and shook my hand.” The pleasure Karen felt had a tinge of sadness. She felt sure that this handshake meant that her father would leave his body very soon. Then she asked her father, “How did that make you feel, Dad, when he shook your hand? Was it a good feeling?” “Oh, my word!” her father said. There was such enthusiasm in the old man’s voice that Karen felt assured and humble, with a rush of gratitude to the Lord that he seemed to be taking care of her father at this time of his great need.

A few days after this pleasing but worrying conversation, Karen’s father did, in fact, pass away. Only her mother was present and she told Karen that it was an easy, peaceful passing. He just seemed to stop breathing, she said. Karen knew with an inner knowing that Sathya Sai Baba had been present unseen and had given her dear dad a peaceful and blessed passing. She was very grateful and somewhat surprised that Sathya Sai Baba would in this way, help one who had never taken the slightest interest in him.

To me, the fact that Sathya Sai Baba gave loving help and compassion to the two fathers is a sign that Syd and Karen have their feel firmly on and are making good progress along the spiritual path. The ancient sage Narada in his Bhakti Sutras states that anyone well advanced on the path of devotion will bring divine help to several generations of ancestors and descendants. So I feel that Sathya Sai Baba’s blessing to one generation ahead, that is to the two fathers, is a result of Syd and Karen’s own devotional work and progress. Sathya Sai Baba is interested in and brings blessings to the members of the Sai devotees’ families.

Narada’s Sutra 71: His ancestors rejoice, the gods dance in joy and the earth gets a Lord and Saviour. Such a devotee who is full of God-realisation gives salvation to seven generations of ancestors and descendants in the family. The gods rejoice to see a man of God-realisation as he is one with God. The Earth gets in him a saviour who can bless all mankind.

Reference:: “The Lights of Home” by Howard Murphet

Memories Of A Chinese Lady

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba


Memories Of A Chinese Lady

When my wife Iris and I went to India from England in 1964, we planned to stay for one year spending six months at the Theosophical School of The Ancient Wisdom and then six months visiting any interesting Ashrams, thinking we might find addresses of some such Ashrams, from people at the Theosophical Headquarters, Adyar near Madras. This we did but we also met Sathya Sai Baba during that first year with the result that we stayed for six years. We finally had to tear ourselves away in the middle of 1970. Then after spending some time in England and over twelve months in America, mainly with Sai friends in California, we reached destination Australia about the end of 1971.

A couple of years or so later, some time in the early seventies, we were planning to re-visit Sai Baba in India and spend about six months there. We hoped to go as far as Singapore on the Greek Ship the Patris on which we had had the memorable voyage in 1960 at the beginning of our spiritual search, me for my prophesied ‘Star in the East’ and Iris for a teacher who would lead her to God. The Patris at the time was taking Australian passengers as far as Singapore from where they went on by plane to England. We would go by plane to India.

We managed to book passages on the Patris but just before we sailed, a friend who had spent some time in Singapore told us that if we wanted to do any shopping there, we should go to a certain shop in Northbridge Road where the Manageress was fond of Australians and always gave them a good deal. He could not remember her name but as she was the Manageress we should have no trouble. Of course we wanted to do some shopping in India, as who didn’t, in those years. It was our first visit to that City and we had heard that passengers on the Patris were given accommodation for a number of days at a good hotel in Singapore, so we would have plenty of time to visit shops and other places before catching our plane to Madras in India.

It was a wonderful trip of about three weeks on the Patris of happy memories. The Captain, Ichiadis, who had been the First Officer aboard on our earlier voyage gave us special treatment and we had meals at the Captain’s table several times. I shall never forget the first time. Iris was sitting on the Captain’s right and I was somewhere along the table, when after soup, the fish course came, what were Iris and I to do? We had been vegetarians since 1964. I decided to eat the fish but Iris was a very strict vegetarian and she told the Captain that, being a vegetarian she had to miss the fish. His unexpected reply was, “Well, I don’t like the look of it so I won’t have it either” and he kept her company as a vegetarian for the rest of the meal and for other meals that she had sitting at his right. He was a thorough gentleman, as all well-educated Greeks that we have met, are.

We were sorry when the Patris sailed back to Australia while we stayed in Singapore but we spent a very pleasant week there on some sight-seeing tours and doing our shopping. For the latter, we made straight for the shop in Northbridge Road recommended by our Australian friend and sought the Manageress. Her name proved to be Janny Tay and we did not have to do the usual bargaining which was customary in Singapore in those days because Janny gave us good price reductions without asking; even on items she did not have in the shop and had to send out for, she gave us reduced prices. At the end of our shopping Janny looked at a ring on my finger and said, “That is a beautiful ring may I ask where you got it?” I told her how it had been miraculously manifested for me by Sathya Sai Baba in India some seven or eight years earlier. I gave her the ring to examine it was made of Panchaloha, the untarnishable alloy used for making idols in India. There was some interesting carving on the Panchaloha and a beautiful embossed gold figure of Shirdi Sai Baba on the crown of the ring. As Janny Tay’s interest did not wane, we both told her more about Sai Baba and his spiritual teachings. At the end of the talk she said with a sigh, as if regretfully, “Ah, well, I’m a Buddhist of course,” but she added, “Come to see me whenever you are in Singapore.” We decided that we would certainly do that although there seemed little hope of her becoming a Sai devotee.

Towards the end of our planned six months’ stay in India, which proved to be well over six months, we managed to make brief contact with my young sister Leone, who had made a brief stay in India during her trip around the world. She was planning to call for a few days in Singapore and then go on to China the country in which she had always been very interested. We told her if she was buying anything in Singapore to go to the shop in Northbridge Road managed by our friend Janny Tay. She said she would do so but later by letter she let us know that Janny Tay had left the shop and, as her stay in Singapore was brief, she did not try to locate the lady. This news surprised us greatly and we thought that maybe my sister had gone into the wrong shop. We hoped we would find Janny Tay still managing the shop where we first located her. So, on our return journey to Australia, although we were only staying in Singapore for one day and had no shopping to do, our first call was at the shop in Northbridge Road but Janny was not there. We asked some of the assistants in the shop if they could tell us her whereabouts but they did not know, or if they knew, they did not want to tell. On several subsequent transits through Singapore we visited the shop hoping that she may have returned but she was never there, so eventually we decided that we had lost a promising friend, and never expected to see her again.

A few years later when we were spending a longer than usual time in Singapore, a totally unexpected thing happened. It came about this way. We were staying in a pleasant apartment some distance out from the centre of Singapore, in the green and leafy grounds of a settlement belonging to a religious organisation. We had some connections with this organisation and were able to obtain the apartment for a couple of weeks.

One day we had a surprising visit from a prominent Sai devotee with whom we had had a slight acquaintance. It was Dr Kanda Pillay, a leading Orthopaedic Surgeon with a practice in Singapore. How and why he had traced us to this remote spot, we had no idea, but were very glad to see him. After a pleasant talk, mainly about Sai activities and Sai people, he asked why we were staying this time so long in Singapore. “Well,” we explained, “We are trying to catch up on the interesting places we have not had time to visit before,” and we told him our plans for that day. “You can use my car and driver to go there,” he said, “I will not need it myself today.” Despite our protests he insisted in his kind gesture. After a very enjoyable journey we sent the car back to Kanda Pillay’s home in Singapore. The next day he paid us another visit at the flat, this time with an invitation. He had arranged, he said, a special luncheon party at a good restaurant in Singapore and he would like us to come to it if we would. The people at the luncheon, he said, would be mainly followers of Sathya Sai Baba and it would be a good opportunity for us to meet some of his Sai friends. He would send his car to pick us up at our apartment and take us to the restaurant – how could we refuse!

Next day Kanda Pillay did not sent his car but came in it himself to take us to the luncheon. At the restaurant he led us to a private room where we found about twenty people, men and women, sitting around a large oval table. Before leading us to our places he took us around the table introducing each person to us. The guests were a mixture of Indian and Chinese. When we came to two Chinese ladies sitting together he introduced one of them saying “This is my friend Janny Tay.” I caught my breath and I heard Iris give a gasp. Neither of us had recognised the Janny Tay we had met some years before. “Not the Janny Tay of Northbridge Road?” I queried. She looked surprised and then replied, “Well, I used to be at Northbridge Road.” It was, beyond any doubt, our Janny Tay the lost had been found and furthermore, found as one of a party of Sai Baba followers. This added a big bonus to our pleasure.

After a delightful luncheon period she took us and a few others to her home, where in the evening, her husband Dr Henry Tay was planning to show a short movie, a videotape I think, on Sai Baba. So we had the rest of the afternoon and tea-time to talk and there was much to say. We did not ask her how she came, after all, to be a follower of Sai Baba but there is little doubt that her interest began with the talk about my ring and Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings at her father-in-law’s shop on Northbridge Road some years before. Whatever had happened since then seemed to have made her a firm devotee of Lord Sai. Henry was, she said, a follower too in his own way. During the long talk we learned something of Janny’s background. Both she and Henry had obtained medical degrees at a Melbourne University, in fact I think that was where they met but Janny had herself never practiced medicine. She had gone straight into business as manager of her father-in-law’s shop. We met her two small children when they came home from school. The girl, Audrey was the eldest and the boy Michael, a very likeable little fellow.

During her missing years, that is, missing to Iris and me, Janny had not been idle, she had not only become a Sai Baba devotee and visited Sathya Sai Baba in India, but had also launched the first stages of a string of shops that would spread over Singapore with some in other countries. They specialised in selling watches and were known as the Hour-glass shops. As the years passed, other things were added, such as a watch factory in Switzerland and eventually Henry was persuaded to give up his medical practice and join Janny in the expanding business. Other commercial ramifications were added and eventually the business became so large that it was made into a company. Janny, who remained the leading light of the company became quite famous in the business circles of Asia when her investment and other activities spread to Australia. Her name became well known there, particularly in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Our own friendship with this warm-hearted Chinese lady ripened through the years, in fact we always made contact with her while passing through Singapore, either going to India or coming back. If our time was short we had lunch with her and she always loaned us her car and driver, whose name was Mr Wong, for transportation to the restaurant where we were meeting. If we were staying for a night or more, Janny invited us to stay at her mansion-like house which had been built in the prosperous years after our first or second meeting. If she was away overseas on business we often stayed with her sister Anne, a very beautiful lady living in a very beautiful house. Anne’s husband was also part of the medical profession being an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. Furthermore, he became during our many visits, Chairman of the Singapore Sai Centre, a large and very active group which we visited several times when opportunity offered.

On one occasion when Janny had asked us to stay at her place, and had suddenly been called away overseas, we found our host was Henry and our hostess, the third child, Sabrina. Henry kept a close eye on her but she proved to be a perfect little hostess. Audrey and Michael were now absent, being in England to complete their education. One of the many pleasant memories of our visit to Janny were luncheon parties she organised, sitting by the side of her luxurious swimming pool. There we met her friends and also some associates from her business connections; they were all cultured and interesting people. One afternoon, when all visitors had departed and we were sitting having a pleasant chat with Janny, she made an unexpected request. Unexpected, because she was a person who gave favours rather than asking them. We were leaving next day for India and of course, Sai Baba. “I know you always have an interview with Sathya Sai Baba while you are there,” she began “So I will be very grateful if you will do me a favour.” An opportunity to do her a favour was something we were always looking for and we told her so. “Well,” she said, “I have purchased a large tract of land in Australia, in fact in Queensland, in the northern part of the Gold Coast. I would like to develop it into a kind of Health Farm and Holistic Healing Centre, but it would be a very big project and I would not like to attempt it without Sathya Sai Baba’s agreement, so would you please ask him if I should go ahead or not. If he says, ‘No’ I will sell the land and if he says, ‘Yes, I should go ahead’ I will do so. Would you mind doing that for me? If I wait ’til I go myself it may be too long. I may not even have the favour of an interview from him.” She paused, looking at us questioningly. We both quickly agreed we would do as she asked if Sathya Sai Baba gave us the opportunity, as we felt sure that he would, while we were there, “But,” said Iris, “It would be a good idea if you gave us a photograph of yourself. We know you have met Baba personally but it would help him to quickly bring you to mind if we showed him a photograph.” Iris was very astute in such matters. Janny quickly found a suitable photograph of herself and gave it to Iris. Both she and I were happy to have a mission to perform for our dear friend.

Well, the moment came when we were sitting alone with Sathya Sai Baba in the private interview room where he takes individuals, after seeing everybody first in the main interview room. It was the opportunity to put Janny’s question to Sathya Sai Baba as to whether she should develop the Holistic Health Resort or simply sell the land. Iris handed Janny’s photograph to Sathya Sai Baba and we told him the place where she had purchased the land was at Oyster Cove in the northern regions of the Gold Coast of Queensland. Sathya Sai Baba silently looked at Janny’s photograph and then seemed to go off into deep thought. I have seen him do this before I think it is more than thought in the ordinary sense. He has the power of course, to go into both the past and the future at such times. We anxiously awaited his reply. Suddenly his eyes which had been far away came back to the present and he smiled, we held our breath; “Yes,” he began, “Tell her to go ahead and develop the Health Centre but tell her not to develop a place for the under-privileged only, it will be a spiritual place and the rich need spiritual guidance as much or even more than do the poor, so she should cater for them too. She will understand what I mean.” So we wrote a letter telling Janny of Sathya Sai Baba’s reply and on our return journey going through Singapore about six weeks later, we discussed it with her giving her all the details. She was certainly very pleased. “Yes, we will make it a spiritual place,” she said, and went on “and plan to make it attractive to the rich as well as the poor. When the time is right we will start a Sai Centre there and if you will come there and be my Chairman, Howard, it will become a great Sai Centre in every way with a healing atmosphere.” I replied that if it was possible I would certainly be her Chairman, thinking that she meant of the Sai Centre only. “Thank you,” she said “I will build a house for you at Oyster Cove.” I thought she was speaking somehow metaphorically, and did not take her statement literally.

Well, years passed, a good many years when we did not see Janny. We sometimes stopped over at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia instead of Singapore on our Sai-ward journeys, which had become less frequent anyway. When we went through Singapore, Janny seemed to be away always on business somewhere in the world. We heard that she was developing a centre at St Kilda in Melbourne, from talk, it seemed to be a kind of super Roman Bath with warm sea water for swimming, massage centres and the rest, but on occasions when we spoke with Janny’s sister Anne, in transit through Singapore, we were told that Janny was certainly going ahead as rapidly as possible with the big project at Oyster Cove. Our informant said that a golf course was going to be part of the centre at Oyster Cove and also a polo ground. It sounded as if Janny was carrying out her instruction to cater for the well-to-do. Perhaps we might be lucky enough to visit it ourselves one day when Janny was there herself, we hoped so. But before that happened, Iris had departed to the vast and happy Forever, leaving me alone to cope with the lights and shadows of earth.

Though I saw nothing of my friend Janny for several years, I heard of her. The news was that she was selling off some of her Australian possessions, such as a luxury apartment at Surfers’ Paradise and an expensive home in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. The grapevine reported also that she had sold some of her chain of shops, that is, the Hour-glass shops. This was all apparently a result of the serious currency troubles in Asian economies. I wondered if the Oyster Cove project would also have to be sold, or even abandoned. It must have been about in late November or early December of the year 1997 that I had a phone call with the well-known voice of Janny Tay at the other end. After brief greetings, she said, “Your house is ready, Howard, can you come up for Christmas?” Dumbfounded, I asked her what house, what did she mean, what house and where? “The house I promised to build you Howard, at Oyster Cove of course, it’s all ready, when can you come?” The dim memory came back to me that she had said she would build me a house, but I had not taken that seriously. Now there was a house ready and I was being invited to take it over immediately. As well as expressing my gratitude to her I had to let her know that I could not come at Christmas as I had made other arrangements. Remembering that Iris and I had found it too hot in Queensland in summer time, I said to Janny that I would try to come down in June the next year, that is, 1998. I did so and found a colony of about a hundred attractive houses on the shores of a lake which was, I was informed, mainly a man-made lake. A few grand two-storey houses were built close to the edge of the lake. One of these was a part-time residence for Henry and Janny Tay. The short street leading directly to it had been called Tay Court. From this, one could reach two other palatial residences on the lake shore, both of them having been erected by wealthy Singapore friends of Janny. The only other street in Oyster Cove at this time, in which ‘my house’ was located was named Wisemans Court.

Next door to my very attractive house was another similar one occupied by Janny’s half-sister named Helen Richie Robbins. She was a widow of an Australian army man of that name. Originally from Malaysia, Helen now regarded herself as a permanent resident of Oyster Cove, her job being to look after Janny’s interests while the latter was absent in Singapore or elsewhere on her business matters. Our two houses were connected by a paved courtyard and she proved to be a very good friend, always bubbling with happiness, despite the not-far-distant sorrow of her Australian husband’s death.

I learned that the progress of the big plan to build a luxury hotel, establish a golf course, build a very fine building to house the Holistic Centre had been slow somewhat. I was not told why but assumed that it was financial difficulties brought about through the currency crisis in Asia; but Helen gave me the impression that there were no problems about capital for developing Oyster Cove. Although the beautiful street Wisemans Court, and the other even shorter street, Tay Court, seemed as blessedly free of motor traffic as the roads of Tasmania had been in the first years of the motor car, the two official offices were very busy indeed. One of them was for selling real estate and the other busy currently on other development and plans. After I had been in my new delightful residence for a few weeks, Janny herself arrived from Singapore.

Soon after her arrival she came and we had a good talk in a lounge of my delightful residence. She asked first if I was comfortable I assured her that I was and again expressed my thanks for this most unexpected development. She replied that I should not have been surprised, because she had promised to build me a house long before. Then I remembered something too. I said “That was a long time ago, some time in the 1970’s and I dimly remember saying I would be your Chairman of something what was that?” She seemed delighted. “You promised,” she said, “you would be Chairman of my Holistic Healing Centre,” and she immediately called Helen in and told her that she had made me Chairman of the Centre that she hoped to open at the end of the year. Helen expressed pleasure at my appointment and said she would have to get the Architect in to make a change to his plans to include an office for me, there. She seemed a little surprised about Janny saying that it would be opened at the end of the year. The real estate manager was not only surprised, but 100% sceptical.

Janny who was always busy as well as optimistic, did not stay long. She had to go down to Melbourne to inspect the progress of her bathing project at St Kilda and to see Sabrina who was still at school in Melbourne. Oyster Cove proved a delightful place to spend the worst winter months, always seeming to have sunny skies and warm weather. Although the Sai Centre at Oyster Cove would be something for the future, there were already several ones not far away to which I was able to go at least once a week, while I was there.

My health began to show the signs of my advancing years towards the middle of the next year, that is, 1999 and I was not able to travel to Oyster Cove until about the middle of July. However, I stayed for a longer period although there were further signs of deteriorating health. It was sometime during the month of September that Joan Moylan, who was living at Paradise Point, not far from Oyster Cove, came to my house to give me a session with my wife, Iris. It was not only very enjoyable, but a very instructive sance. Iris came and sat, facing us, in the chair that we had provided for her against the wall, about two and a half metres from where we were sitting. Then my mother walked in with her Bible under her arm. Iris immediately got up and offered her the chair, coming and sitting nearer to us on the foot of a bed. Other people began to appear, including my two deceased sisters and Iris’ deceased mother, Eve. Then Sathya Sai Baba was suddenly there standing beside the chair, now occupied by my mother. It seemed a good chance to ask him a very important question, because, as there seemed no prospect of the Holistic Centre being opened that year, I was beginning to doubt if I would be able to do the job offered by Janny. So I asked Sathya Sai Baba if I would be well enough to take the position of Chairman when the Holistic Centre opened. His reply came in three words, “In name only.” Soon after that he disappeared from the room but we had a very interesting session with unexpected visitors. I believe that was the time when a line of my ancestors appeared along one wall and Joan said she knew they were ancestors of several generations but was not able to identify them by name. At the close of the session they all formed a queue to touch the feet of Sai Baba, who had reappeared. I felt very pleased that my deceased ancestors of several generations were on the journey home to God.

I felt that I must let Janny know what Sathya Sai Baba had said about my position of Chairman so that she could think about getting somebody else to fill the position. I knew that Helen was expecting her in Oyster Cove during the next week. I must find an opportunity to talk to her and explain the position; she would, I knew, be very busy talking to those who were already working on the Oyster Cove project, turning ‘negative energy into positive energy,’ as she called it. On her second day in Oyster Cove I went for lunch with her and a number of her friends at a 1st-class restaurant at Sanctuary Cove, a short drive away from Oyster Cove. I managed to tell her there that I needed to talk to her and she understood that I could not do so there among all the other people, so when we drove along Tay Court to her big house and everybody else had dispersed, she took me by the arm and led me to the double swing overlooking the lake. I did not waste any time because I knew her days were always busy solving problems and smoothing the way to the progress of the Oyster Cove development. So I told her just what Sathya Sai Baba had said, that I would be able to fill the position of Chairman in name only. She realised as I did, that there were problems holding up the building of the Holistic Centre and neither of us were sure how many years would pass before it could be built, because now a new road had to be put in before she could get official permission to begin the earth-moving and to lay the foundations for the building that would be the heart and very purpose of the Oyster Cove Health Centre.

Janny sat silent for a while looking out over the Lake as we swung gently backwards and forwards. Suddenly she turned, looked into my eyes and said “Howard, if you can be Chairman in name only and in spirit, that will be all I need, after all, if sometime in the future I need a more active businessman as a Chairman, I can always appoint a Deputy,” she patted me on the arm in a friendly manner and concluded, “So you are still Chairman of the Holistic Centre as well as of the Oyster Cove Sai Centre when the time comes to form it.” I was surprised and very gratified that this wonderful Chinese lady whom I had loved like a sister for so many years still wanted to have me officially connected with the Holistic Centre for which Sathya Sai Baba had given his blessing. ‘Holistic’ is a New-Age word that seems to embrace ‘whole’ and ‘holy’, a healing that makes people whole and holy, a work that is both spiritual and practical and I felt, she might eventually find somebody more qualified to lead such a work for God.

So I will end this chapter with the happy memory of sitting and swinging gently over the edge of the shining lake, beside the wonderful lady I had met so many years ago, over a counter in a shop, in Northbridge Road, Singapore.

Reference:: “The Lights of Home” by Howard Murphet

The Yoga Of Love

Sathya Sai Baba - Bhakti Yoga - Yoga Of Love

Sathya Sai Baba - Bhakti Yoga - Yoga Of Love


The Yoga Of Love

Bhakti yoga, it is said, is the most essential of all the yogas.

I was first introduced to the philosophy of bhakti yoga by the late Dr I K Taimni at the “School of the Wisdom” at Adyar in India. Dr Taimni, himself a scientist, occultist and theosophist, constantly wore a happy, smiling expression that is often a sign of a bhakta. It seemed to me that his life was inspired and governed by some living divine Love.

Taimni’s tentative attempt to interest us in bhakti took the form of discussing some of the aphorisms from the classic, Narada Bhakti Sutras. But I, along with most of his other students, I fear was too immersed in the “head” to be interested in the philosophy of the “heart”. I was fascinated by the theosophy of the Absolute, the emanation of the universes, the seven principles of man, and so on. The ancient truths of the East, crystallised in theosophy, seemed to offer all the answers. The studies brought a mental expansion that threw off the old fetters of religious dogma, and led by exciting ways into broader vistas of understanding.

Devotion to a God-with-Form, and the yoga philosophy that goes with it, seemed like an unnecessary intrusion into my new-found theosophic world. I decided that bhakti yoga was certainly not for me.

One of Narada’s Sutras states that divine love, “Is like the experience of joy which a dumb man has when he tastes something sweet”. The man has a strong urge to express what he feels but is unable to do so. Every man is in fact dumb when it comes to describing the inner experience of even ordinary, let alone divine, love, when it bursts the dam of the heart. The ineffable experience came to me the first time I was alone in the presence of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

This was the beginning of a complete turn-about that changed my attitude to many things, including bhakti yoga. Instead of regarding bhakti, as I had before, as an emotional bath for the mindless, I began to understand what the sages meant when they said that it was the most effective yoga for the vast majority of people in this dark Kali Age.

I learned another lesson too. Philosophising about love and of devotion to God is really of little avail until the Christ-child of Divine Love is born in the individual heart. That child is usually fathered by some Form that spells Divinity. This may be a Self-realized guru, a great saint, a Godman or Avatar of the past, some other chosen Form of God, or, above all, a living Avatar.

There have been great bhaktas of the Christian religion who have found their inspiration in the image of Jesus Christ. Then again, the Forms of Krishna, Rama and others, have opened the hearts of millions in Asia. In practically all religions there are degrees of bhakti directed to some chosen Form of God. You don’t have to meet a living Avatar to be initiated into the Yoga of Devotion, but I believe it is a tremendous advantage if you do. I, myself, probably needed a spiritual bomb to shatter the thick mental shells around my heart. And so I met a Living Divine Form to ignite the necessary explosion.

Bhakti yoga deals in the main with the control and purification of the emotions. The means of purification is devotion to God in an ever-increasing degree. The aids and steps to strengthening and increasing the devotion are elucidated by Narada and the other sages who wrote about the bhakti pathway. Sai Baba confirms, and applies the ancient teachings, and goes beyond them.

One of the acknowledged aids to fostering devotion is satsang, or the meeting together of spiritually-minded people; especially those following the same Shepherd, or chosen Form of the Divine. Such meetings should be used, it is taught, to tell and hear stories about the Beloved One, to talk of his divine attributes and sing of the glories of God. Even when engaged in the ordinary activities of life the devotee should, where possible, sing songs of praise to Divinity.

Followers of Sai Baba in all countries meet regularly to sing bhajans, which are songs of praise to the glories of God in his many Forms and under His many Names. For, as Baba says, the One God fills all Forms and answers to all Names. Sai devotees are taught that they should have family bhajan singing in their homes at least once a week, and should meet regularly with other devotees for group singing.

Bhajans are mainly in Sanskrit, but Baba encourages the composition of such songs in other languages to suit his followers, for the Sai Movement is international. Many bhajans are now sung in English, Chinese and other tongues.

While the company of spiritual people is beneficial, that of great souls, saints or Godmen is of inestimable value for the enhancement of bhakti, Narada tells us. It is not easy to find such elevated Beings in the ordinary walks of life; indeed a searcher would be fortunate to meet one in a lifetime. And that is doubtless an important reason why devotees travel from far countries as often as possible to spend time near Sathya Sai Baba, and thus have their bhakti batteries recharged.

On the other hand, “Evil company must be shunned by all means,” writes Narada. “For it leads to the rousing up of desire, anger, delusion, to loss of memory, to loss of discrimination and to utter ruin in the end”.

A student has to be very well established on the path of devotion before he is securely insulated against the effects of bad company. Even an advanced bhakta is in danger of succumbing to the evil influences of those around him, for the sensory urges in his subconscious sleep lightly and can easily be aroused. So it is an important rule that evil company should be shunned at all times.

Even so, the devotee’s greatest enemy is really himself, that is his lower self or ego. Sathya Sai Baba is constantly stressing the need to transcend this ego, this bundle of sense desires, attachments and delusions that has been building-up in each individual for a lifetime. For many lifetimes, Baba says. Self-inquiry and self-examination are important weapons in the battle of the ego. The devotee must keep an eye on his own motivation, detecting any self-interest content, even in thoughts and actions that appear on the surface to be altruistic. He must seek to lower that egocentric content, and increase the element of genuine love and service to God.

When down-pulling emotions, such as anger, pride, possessiveness and the rest of the brood, make an appearance, they should, Narada states, be directed towards the Divine Form that is the object of devotion. It may seem very strange to the novice that he should be taught to turn the barbs of his most shocking thoughts and feelings towards his beloved Guru.

But Sai Baba confirms this ancient teaching. I have heard him say to devotees, “Bring your worst thoughts and emotions and place them at my feet. I will burn them away in the eternal fire.”

Even advanced devotees will at times lapse into detrimental attitudes of the mind. When this happens, they should think of the Divine Name dear to the heart, and offer their errors to Him. This, done with love and surrender will lead to purification.

Another important yoga discipline on the path to emotional purification is given in Narada’s Sutra 74 which states, “Do not enter into controversy about God, or spiritual truths, or about the comparative merits of different devotees.”

It is not difficult to see such controversy can easily lead to feelings of anger, contempt, superiority or inferiority all of which stimulate and enhance the ego.

Besides, as Baba points out, mere reason cannot solve the spiritual mysteries or find the ultimate Truth. There is bound to be a diversity of views on such matters, and the devotee must be tolerant of other people’s religious beliefs. Friendly discussion is in order, but not debate and conflict. As to the comparative merits of devotees, only God Himself can judge such questions truly.

Although, as stated earlier, most people need the great inspiration of a Divine Form for the birth of bhakti, it can be developed and increased by spiritual practices. “Devotion manifests itself in one whosoever it can be when one has made oneself fit for such manifestation by constant sadhana (spiritual disciplines),” says Narada in Sutra 53.

Related to this is the statement by a great Christian bishop who was queried several times by one of his priests on the subject of how to develop Divine Love. The bishop repeatedly answered in the same way: “Love God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself.” “I know I should do that,” replied the priest, “but please tell me how to do it.” The bishop finally gave him the only help that can be given in this problem. He said: “You learn to walk by walking, to swim by swimming, to ride by riding; in the same way you must learn to love by loving. Practise loving thoughts, speak lovingly, and perform action of selfless love daily. Through such disciplined actions, love of God and man will grow in you until you become a veritable master in the art of loving.” Knowledge, will, and action can lead, if not to the birth, at least to the development of devotion to God.

Man is not all emotion; he has also a discriminatory intellect and will power. These should be exercised in the yoga of love. Narada certainly indicates this teaching in some of his aphorisms. He states, for instance, that the aspirant should give constant loving service, should give up fruits of his actions and through discrimination, pass beyond the pairs of opposites, such as pleasure and pain. The student must strive to reach that state of constant inner joy which is part of his true nature. He should be unaffected by pleasure and pain, praise and blame, and the other pairs of opposites.

The Sai Bhakti way, while confirming this truth, has a still greater content of Jnana, Karma and Raja yogas than are found in the Narada Sutras.

Although man cannot hope to understand God, or even himself, through his rational mind, he must still try to attain at least some knowledge of God, of his own relationship with God and with the world. In other words, Sathya Sai teaches that man must delve into Sathya or the spiritual truth of Being. Otherwise his Bhakti yoga, on a purely emotional level, will be unstable and floating in a void of ignorance will lead to all kinds of superstitious beliefs and practices.

The basic truth of Being is that man is one with God, but through a veil of ignorance called maya, he sees himself as separated. And so he identifies himself with the transient world of forms that reach him through his distorting senses. Especially he identifies himself with his body, with his children, his possessions, his ambitions. From all this he builds a self-image and ego which is unrelated to his true Self. The true Self is the Divine Self, and when man identifies himself with That, he loses the false concept of separation and returns to at-one-ment with his Creator. This is the aim of all yogas.

Moreover, man’s understanding of the universe about him is wrong. Even if he accepts that a Divine Artist created the universe, he does not normally perceive that the Creator is within his own creation, that in varying degrees the Divine is in all forms, from the saint to the star to the stone. At times man does have a glimmering of this, and calls it Beauty or, as Wordsworth expressed it, “The Light that never was on sea or land.” The yogin by whatever path he travels comes eventually to see God in all things and realizes that there is only One eternal Reality.

But before he reaches such a level of realization, a mental acceptance of the basic spiritual Truth will enlighten his footsteps, and lend support to the wisdom of Love that leads to the great Vision of Truth.

As well as the mind reaching outward for the knowledge it craves, it must, says Sai Baba, reach inward. It must make that inward journey of discovery that we call meditation. While devotional meditation is the type most commonly practiced by his devotees, Baba does teach different varieties to suit individual requirements. But regular practice is prescribed for almost all.

Love, Selfless Love, is the Sai central tower that is being built ever upward towards the divine heights. All structures built around it are support structures, their purpose being to strengthen and facilitate the work on the central Love Tower.

While one of the support structures is right knowledge another is right action. As man has a mind that must be satisfied, so he has hands that must find work to do. The old proverb rightly states that, “The devil finds work for idle hands to do,” so Sai Bhakti does not leave them idle. It teaches that the hands as well as the mind and tongue must work for God, and the best way of doing that is to work for one’s fellow men, without thought of gain. Work must become a form of worship. Says Baba: “Love for God must be manifested as Love for man, and Love must express itself as service.”

The students in the Sathya Sai schools and colleges, for instance, are trained through voluntary work to become true bhaktas in action. Among other things, they help to organise and run medical camps where the poor are given free treatment and help for such things as polio and disease of the eye. These white-clad students also go into the backward villages for big clean-up operations, clearing the dirt from the streets and years of filth from the drains. This is the kind of lowly distasteful work that in India would normally be left to outcasts. But the student-bhaktas do this, as well as their mundane daily chores, as a service to God as an expression of the love felt for the Divine in man. In this way action becomes joy and brings no karma.

All voluntary and social work anywhere should be done in this same spirit of selfless dedication; then it is good yoga, bringing full benefit to both performers and recipients. But if the actions are tainted by worldly desires and motives, yogic benefits to the performer vanish and, because love is lacking, the recipients gain less. This is a Sai teaching.

Bhakti, coming from the Fountain Love in the individual spiritual heart, flows out through all thought, word and action. Sathya Sai urges us to remember whenever we look at our watch, that, as well as it giving the time, its name gives us the message: “Watch your Words; watch your Action; watch your Thoughts; watch your Character; watch your Heart.” In this way all life can become a course in yoga, as indeed it should be for those who are aware that man is on an evolutionary path, and that he can consciously speed his way along it.

Many sages have declared that in this present Kali Yuga the easiest way to union with God is along the Path of Devotion to a Form of God that stirs love in the heart. God is both with form and without, both manifest and unmanifest. But in this Age, soaked in body-consciousness, it is difficult for the ordinary person to take the jnana road directly to the Unmanifested or Formless God. That way is for the few. “The goal of the Unmanifested is very hard for the embodied to reach,” says Krishna in the 12th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.

It is much easier to worship a Beloved Form and reach the goal that way, as Sri Ramakrishna states – “He in whom Bhakti is surging with fervour has already come to the threshold of Divinity. Know it for certain that he will very soon get into union with God.”

Among the followers of Sri Sathya Sai Baba I have met those in whom bhakti seems to be surging with fervour. “They converse with one another with choking voice, and tearful eyes,” and describe how “Their bodies thrill and their hair seems to stand on end.” These, according to Narada, are manifestations of supreme devotion. He goes on to say that when a devotee reaches the highest levels on this path, and the summit of Bhakti is attained, such a one sanctifies his family, his land, indeed the whole world, and “This earth gets a Saviour.”

The fulfillment of Divine Love brings the bhakta into oneness with God. He knows that there is only the Beloved, and that he and all things are at-one with the Beloved. Such a saint, having no selfish motives will, through all his thoughts and actions, help to save mankind from its life of blindness, bondage, and sorrow.

Bhakti is not only the easiest Way, it is also the joyous Way, for it is accompanied by a constant underlying joy, however adverse the outward circumstances.

Those for whom the Sai Bhakti door has opened know with a bright certainty the goal towards which they are heading. The road towards it has a radiance and profound contentment of its own. True, there are some sharp thorns on this narrow Way, and sometimes dark clouds engulf its radiance. But deep in his heart the traveller knows for sure, in the words of John Masefield, that, “Though the darkness close, even the night shall blossom as the rose.”

Reference:: “The Lights of Home” by Howard Murphet