Why should we serve society?

Why should we serve society?
Sai Reflections
Published: 17 Mar 2010

Love is equally present in all. You make use of this love for selfishness, self-interest and for service.

Unfortunately, in the present day world, selfishness and self-interest predominate. Everything is done now with an attitude of “my people and for me.” If there is no society, where do you and your people stand? You get education out of society and earn money from it. Even the position and reputation you hold come from the society. Having received so much from society, what help are you rendering in return? While receiving the benefits from it you still keep harming the society! Over the years, Sri Sathya Sai Baba has placed great emphasis on the value of selfless service by saying, “Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray.” When we are engaged in any kind of activity, our mind is focused on the task at hand. The mind has a free run and takes us along its whimsical path only when the body is not engaged in any activity. The adage, “an idle mind is a devil’s workshop” is so true. In these times of fast communication and bombardment by the media, our lives are made stressful and peace of mind seems so far off. An idle mind can also trigger by itself all pent up negative feelings and imaginary fears. That is why Satya Sai Baba also defines rest thus: “Change of work is rest… otherwise it becomes rust!” The mind, which is a bundle of desires, is constantly fed by fleeting thoughts and hence it is virtually impossible to still the mind. We are mere expressions of our thoughts. Even prayers, meditation or singing the praises of the Lord cannot give quick results.

However, when the body is engaged in activity, the mind has a better chance to be focused away from useless and negative thoughts. Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “Bend the body, mend the senses and end the mind.” Therefore, whenever we are engaged in good deeds, like selflessly serving others, we are not only purifying our senses but also filling our minds with positive and Godly thoughts. Bending the body signifies humility, an essential quality for a true spiritual seeker. To please God, to please our conscience, we have an inescapable duty to perform—ie, to give something back to the world that has and still is sustaining us. What is service? Every activity is service, as long as there is no selfishness or ego. We offer the fruits of our labour to the Lord without any reward. It is up to Him if He gives us something in return—greater than our input, lesser than our input or even nothing at all. The manifest world is God’s kingdom, our Father’s kingdom and we, as His children, have rightfully inherited everything in the world to enjoy, but not exploit and destroy.

We cannot enjoy anything unless we do our part to care and share. After all, no one enjoys a great meal without sharing it with another! All the resources of the world and the benefits which society has to offer for our happiness are not just for ourselves alone. There are others around us who are less fortunate. We have an obligation to make the world a better place for future generations to inherit. Service is not confined to helping the sick and the disadvantaged alone. It also involves avoiding unnecessary waste and destruction of resources. Desires have a voracious appetite to consume far beyond our needs and breed selfishness. By learning to manage well all the God given resources—money, food, time and energy—we improve not only the quality of our own life, but also become privileged to share the surplus resources with those who are less fortunate. This is true spirituality and expansion of love in a practical way. When we wake up every morning, our prayers need not be in quantity, but improved in quality. We can ask ourselves: “What can I do today that will please God?” What is Sai Baba’s clarion call? Love! Love!! Love!!! And, what is love in action? Service! Service!! Service!!! Remember: “Love All Serve All”.

Guardian TT Reference

Wensley Gains More Than A Cure

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sri Sathya Sai Baba


Wensley Gains More Than A Cure

Wensley Roth lives in New South Wales near the Queensland border with her husband and children. It was while I was in that area in the early 1990’s that she told me an interesting story. That is nearly a decade ago now but I have not told her story in an earlier book because something seemed to stop me. The reader will realise by the end of the chapter the reason why I had an inner prompting to wait. She not only told me her story verbally but wrote it for me in all details.

It was in October of the year 1990 that she noticed a swelling on the right side of her neck. This she was told was an enlarged lymph node. In the following month a number of lymph nodes were removed from her right armpit and from the shoulder. Her medical specialist informed her that she was suffering from a disease known as non-Hodgkins lymphoma. This disease, he told her, was treatable but could not be cured – it always comes back. Wensley remarked, “I would like to be the exception to that rule.”

During the early months of the next year, that is 1991, she heard about Ian Gawler’s clinic for people suffering from cancer and in March that year she paid two five day visits to his centre. I would like to introduce Ian Gawler here because I knew him personally some years before. He was suffering from a serious bone cancer and had several months’ treatment from a number of psychic healers in the Philippines. Then he was advised to go to India to Sathya Sai Baba to complete the cure. He did so and Sathya Sai Baba assured him that he was cured. Ian felt complete faith in this and, after gaining some strength, returned to his practice as a Veterinary Surgeon in Victoria. Then he had the idea to open a clinic in which he could help patients suffering from cancer. So it was interesting for me to learn how Wensley fared in Ian Gawler’s clinic. Briefly she told me that it had been well worthwhile and she gained a number of benefits from her time there. For one thing she was taught some very useful techniques in meditation and visualisation. A woman she met at the clinic showed her a photograph of Sathya Sai Baba and gave her some of the vibhuti he had manifested. Furthermore, it seems to have been through this woman that she obtained a copy of Dr Sam Sandweiss’s book The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist. One day while she was resting with her eyes closed she became aware of a man standing before her with a great deal of compassion in his eyes. He had a peculiar headgear which seemed to be a cloth tied over his head. When she opened her eyes the vision faded away. She told her friend about the vision who wondered if it could have been Sai Baba. Later when she saw a photograph of Shirdi Sai Baba she recognised the man in her vision. She began to feel a longing to go personally to Sai Baba, whom she somehow felt was her Sadguru in this life, yet he seemed so remote, so far away in India that she felt reluctant to go to him at this time.

The benefits she gained at this time at the Gawler Institute are too numerous to mention here. One, however, is that Ian Gawler taught her a number of affirmations which she used and felt were very helpful in fighting the disease. One was, ‘At last I can be my true self’ and another, ‘I have much to achieve in this incarnation’ and a third, ‘My spiritual evolvement is number one priority in my life.’ On returning home towards the end of April in that same year, she found that the tumour or swelling on her neck was only half the size it had been eight weeks earlier when she went to Ian Gawler’s clinic. Her oncologist was pleased and told her to keep it up, whatever it was that she was doing. So she kept to a strictly vegetarian diet with fruit juices and mineral and vitamin supplements. She also continued the meditation and visualisation that she had learned at the Gawler Institute. She did this twice daily for a period of half an hour to one hour each session. Often her meditation would be the white light meditation that Ian Gawler had taught her. “I would visualise the light as coming from Baba,” she said, and sometimes his form as Sathya Sai would appear to her while she was meditating on the light. And sometimes, surprisingly to her, she would hear the word Jesus pronounced strongly and clearly by an inner voice when the form of Sathya Sai Baba appeared. “I did not understand this at first,” she said, “But later wondered if Jesus was the one who sent Sathya Sai Baba or did it mean that Sathya Sai Baba was the Father who sent Jesus?”

Wensley continues her story: While at the Gawler Institute I learned that disease comes about when the divine energy that is constantly flowing through the body is blocked at some point and for some reason. Then at the point of the blockage of the sustaining energy, probably the one called prana, a lump is formed. So I tried to visualise the divine energy again flowing through my body, propelled by Sai Baba or by Jesus, so that the lump would be removed.

A few weeks later, tests showed that the lump in my neck had been reduced to the size of a pea and my Oncologist remarked that this size was normal in many people. A week later I could not feel anything at all where the lump had been. And this was only about six months after the original diagnosis.

About a week after this very encouraging development, I was driving my car along a road when I saw a notice above the entrance to a ground, saying “Sathya Sai Camp.” Although I was not familiar with the name Sathya, the word Sai arrested my attention. There were some people under the sign at the entrance, so I made some enquiries. The two I spoke to were Arthur and Poppy Hillcoat, who became my friends later. They confirmed that it was a Sathya Sai Baba camp and kindly invited me to join the camp. I felt very happy about their invitation and told them that I would attend the next day. This was a wonderful day for me being among a crowd of Sai devotees, hearing bhajans sung for the first time and enjoying a talk by Arthur Hillcoat. Arthur and Poppy kindly gave me a beautiful photo of Sathya Sai Baba sitting in a cross-legged position. They also gave me two of your books, Howard, Sai Baba Man of Miracles and Sai Baba Avatar. It was by a photo in one of them that I was able to confirm that the one who came in my vision while I was at the Gawler Institute, was Shirdi Sai Baba.

It was in October of that same year that I had my first dream of Sathya Sai Baba. He was looking straight at me and was surrounded by an aura of pink light. Then he extended his aura to envelop me. (Later Wensley, no doubt, would have learned that the pink colour is the aura of love.) It was in December of that same year that my oncologist could not find any trace of my recent disease. So I thought with joy that I was cured. He remarked that he wished all of his patients would manage their diseases like I did. My joy at being cured was deflated when I heard my oncologist telling my general practitioner that I was in remission. I recalled that he told me earlier that this was a disease that could not be cured but would go into remission and then come back.

I continued reading regularly the books about Sai Baba and enjoyed many dreams and visions of him. Consequently my love for him grew more and more and I felt certain that he was the Sadguru I had hoped to find. So I decided that my search was over and I must as soon as possible visit him in India.

In the early months of the following year, which was 1992, I intensified my meditation both on Sai Baba’s teachings and on his present form. While I was doing this I was surprised to hear the name Jesus pronounced several times and I felt certain there must be some connection between Sathya Sai Baba and Jesus. I longed to know what the connection was. Was it, I wondered, that Sai Baba was a reincarnation of Jesus or did it mean that Sai Baba was the Father God who sent Jesus? Then I was given a vision. In this Jesus was standing before me, dressed in a long white gown. He held his arms before him to make the sign of the cross. Next I saw Sathya Sai Baba in the cross-legged position in which I saw him in the photograph, floating towards the figure of Jesus. Then the words came to my ears or inner ear, “Sai Baba crucified.” The words sent a shot of sadness and compassion through my heart at the thought that Sai Baba too had suffered the pains of the crucifixion. But how could this happen? It must mean, surely, that the two were one, one in the Christ consciousness and the cosmic consciousness.

There was another thing in that vision. When Sathya Sai Baba was quite close to Jesus, I heard the latter say, “Sai Baba is the Lord.” When I thought about these words, I decided that it meant that Sai Baba was the Avatar carrying the divine consciousness in the world today.

One day during the Easter of 1992, I was feeling rather low in spirits so I put an extra large pinch of vibhuti into a glass of water, drank it and lay down to rest. Later as I was waking from a sleep, I heard a voice saying, “Divine intervention.” Then a few minutes later, as I was looking into the glass from which I had taken the vibhuti water, I saw two images, one of Sathya Sai Baba and one of Jesus.

The fruit of my many visions and dreams was my first visit to Sathya Sai Baba at his ashram in India, that is, his main ashram known as Prashanti Nilayam. This took place in November, 1992. On the day after my arrival I was granted an interview. I shall never forget the exultation and gratitude I felt when I heard Sathya Sai Baba say to me, “Your cancer has been cured.” So I felt this was not just a remission but, by His Grace, a cure.

Sometime later I had a dream, a very vivid dream, in which a lady who was Indian but dressed in western clothes, appeared and said to me with a smile, “The object of your disease was to bring you to Sai Baba.” How blessed I am that He whom Jesus called the Lord has revealed His divinity to me in so many ways and in His mercy, turned the remission into a cure. I am humbled to be the recipient of so much of His Grace. Now when I wake up each morning to the glory of the sunrise, I feel happy to be in a new day in which I can love God. My latest dream message was that just as the Mother-Father-Siva-Shakti God loves me, so I must strive to mirror that love to Him and to all mankind on planet Earth. This will be an expression of the Divine One within me. Thank you beloved Sathya Sai Baba.”

Note by author: It is almost a decade now since Wensley gave me her story and while I was writing this chapter in October, 2000, I tried to make contact with her through friends in Queensland, but nobody seemed able to trace her. So, sadly I began to think that perhaps, after all, the killing disease had returned and carried her off as the same non-Hodgkins lymphoma did to my wife. Then, joy of joys, I had a phone call from ‘the pink twins’ in Brisbane, telling me that Wensley had walked into a Sai Baba function carrying a bunch of beautiful flowers and smiling like a picture of radiant health. They told her that I would like to hear from her and she phoned me the next day. Now I can happily conclude this chapter by saying that Wensley’s hope to be the exception to the rule came true. The so-called remission was a cure, as Sathya Sai Baba told her, on her first visit to him.

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

What Is Truth?

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


What Is Truth?

When at his trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus stated that he had come to earth to teach the truth, Pilate replied, “What is truth?” and walked away. Apparently he did not think that this tall gentle Jew, whom the temple priest had sent to be tried for his life as a trouble maker to the Roman rule, would have the answer to this big question. It was really laughable to think that he would have the answer to a question the Greek Philosophers from Socrates onward had failed to answer satisfactorily. Well, what is the truth? Do we know it yet, 2000 years after that mocking question was asked in Jerusalem? Did Jesus teach the truth that he claimed he had come to teach? I believe that he did for those with ears to hear. Perhaps he did not emphasise the meaning sufficiently, but he certainly emphasised the importance of knowing and living the truth, for he said, “If you know the truth, the truth will set you free.”

Most men and women long to know the truth about their own being who they really are and what the purpose of their lives on earth is. Does all this struggle and endeavour end in nothing or does some important, happy destination lie at the end of this long road, this seemingly meaningless journey of pain and pleasure? Is there some formula for living that will lead them with mathematical certainty to a goal that will bring them permanent satisfaction and happiness.

Many men and women have searched through the world for a wise Teacher who will give them the answers to such questions and who will reveal the truth of being and provide the recipe for living that will bring them the freedom and joy they seek. Well, as one of those world wandering Sadhakas, I eventually found the One, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I knew I had found my teacher but I did not immediately recognise him as a Godman or Avatar.

Very soon however, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba gave me the answers to most of my main questions; the mysteries that remain are probably beyond the level of my conscious understanding. He told me that there was just one purpose in my life, that it was to develop and expand my consciousness until it had become one with the Divine Consciousness of God and thus to become one with the Divine Being that goes under many names. There is only one Being, He told me One without a second. In the darkness of our ignorance, we think that we are separate beings and that there are billions of others, but in truth there is only one Being. Such an illogical statement was hard to accept against the evidence of my senses. Through the years that I spent in the environs of His physical presence, I began to realise the truth of this astounding paradoxical statement. Though you and I see many, touch many, hear many, communicate with many, there is in truth, only One. If this be true, then surely we must be part of the One.

I remember one day some years ago at the ashram, I was sitting on the verandah of the Mandir, as Sathya Sai Baba was calling into His presence a number of boys who had just joined his elementary school. He was standing perhaps three metres away from where I was sitting. I remember He asked each boy two things his name and where he was from. Each of them stated his name and address in India. Each one seemed overjoyed to be in the presence of Sathya Sai Baba, while one little fellow, though smaller than the rest, had the brightest smile. He gave his name readily and when Sathya Sai Baba said, “Where are you from?” he replied, “From You, Sathya Sai Baba.” Then the Lord Sai smiled too. “Look,” he said happily, “Here is one who knows he is from God.”

This boy could not have been much more than six and here was I, in my sixties and still trying to understand and realise that I was from God that indeed we all are. So we come from God, yet we are still an integral part of Him the One Being; and furthermore, in our present state of human consciousness, we are not aware of having any connection with Him; we are, in a sense, like the prince in the story who was taken from his royal home by a band of robbers. He grew up with the robbers and believed that he was one of them; indeed he had no idea of his royal identity not until many years later, when a turn of circumstances brought him back to his home, did he realise his true identity.

Must we go back to our spiritual home before we realise who we are? On the contrary, I think we must realise our identity before we can go back. Well, if we have come from God as the little boy stated, and with which Sathya Sai Baba agreed, how did this happen or seem to happen?

There are three main explanations propounded by some of the great Rishis of the past who gave commentaries on the Vedanta. The word ‘Vedanta’, by the way, means the end of the Vedas, because this philosophy comes from the Upanishads which are found at the end of each Veda. The word ‘Upanishad’ means that these teachings are for those who sit close to the feet of the Master. They are, it is implied, beyond the understanding of the ordinary man or woman. The great sages strive to understand them but do they always succeed? Now, briefly, here are the three explanations on how there seems to be such a diversity of life, whereas in truth there can be only oneness or unity.

The first explanation briefly is that God through his shakti, created a maya or illusion in which we see ourselves as separate, whereas in reality we are only one. This is sometimes called ‘the mortal dream’. Our everyday consciousness in its waking state is really a dream state and only when we wake from this dream will we see the truth of oneness; this is called the Adwaitha Vedanta or in English, non-duality.

The second great theory as given in Vedanta is that we were always throughout eternity, separate souls, though part of the one God. The best analogy I can think of for this is the fruit of the pomegranate with its many separate seeds within the same skin, all being part of the one fruit. We are still part of the one fruit or the one Being without a second, whom we call God. We, the separate seeds, are not aware or have somehow forgotten who we are.

The third of the great theories is this: The one and only God created or emanated the myriad of separate souls from within himself, they are part of his very breath, part of his essence, as the Old Testament of the Hebrews state; and for all eternity they will remain separate from their creator, that is, separate in form while being one with God in their spirit or essence. This particular understanding of Vedanta seems to lie at the base of some of the world’s great religions. For some reason, known only to God Himself, separate souls in this world are born into the great illusion believing that they are separate or asunder from God. This mistaken belief of being asunder from the One is the original sin, or error from which all other errors emanate. When, through the discipline of spiritual training, we come to understand and realise that though apparently separate in form, we are, in essence and in truth, one with God and with each other, then we come into the Kingdom of Heaven which is simply the state of Divine Love, or the feeling of oneness with all. Sathya Sai Baba, whose teachings are in line with the main teachings of Vedanta, together with the love he stirs in each spiritual heart, has not said, to my knowledge, which of these three explanations is correct. Since they all teach the one God and our eternal oneness with Him, perhaps the theories of creation are not important.

Though a great deal of joy-giving light has been thrown by the Sai teachings on such fundamental questions as where we come from, who we really are and the purpose of our long journey through this schoolroom of earth, it seems to me that one big question remains. That is, why did we have to come to earth in complete forgetfulness of our unity with the Divine One, or to look at the matter in the evolutionary way, why did we have to begin the journey in the mineral kingdom with only a modicum of consciousness?

Why did we have to develop that consciousness through life in the plant and animal kingdoms before reaching the human stage, and then struggle on further up the evolutionary ladder until we reach divine consciousness? As God is Chit or Absolute Consciousness and it is taught that we, each one of us, is wholly God, why the necessity of the long climb through aeons of time from the modicum of consciousness in the mineral to the full consciousness of the God-realised man? In brief, why was it, what the Masters call ‘the journey of necessity’, really necessary?

Perhaps this is one of the questions which, in Paramahansa Yogananda‘s terms ‘will be left for eternity’, or perhaps when we have reached that adulthood of consciousness as God-realised individuals, we will know the answer.

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

Two Sai Stars

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Two Sai Stars

There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will –
Shakespeare

I agree with the Bard on this and moreover feel that there is a time when the shaping divine force strikes the note that starts something of importance.

I had met Dr Ron Farmer and his wife Swanny some ten years earlier but the time was not right for our special spiritual brotherhood to begin. Now, in June 1998 the time was right. We were the only three guests for dinner at a friend’s place in Queensland and so had the opportunity for a long talk together. At the end of the talk I felt that I must see them again and hopefully see them often. They must have felt somewhat the same because it was not long before they paid me a visit at my house in Oyster Cove.

Ron and Swanny invited me to spend the following weekend with them at their home about half an hour’s car drive away at a place called Willow Vale. It was to be the first of many delightful weekends spent in the fresh invigorating air and spiritual peace of their residence. We approached it through rolling green hills and found their long one-storey beautiful house on the top of one such grassy hill. There seemed to be no other house nearby, just the open countryside with, in one direction, a view of a mountain range that was part of The Great Dividing Range. It reminded me of my country upbringing in Tasmania where neighbours’ houses were out of sight behind trees on distant farms, with, in one direction, the glorious blue wall of the Western Tiers. Yet I very soon found that the aloneness spelt by my first view of the Farmer residence was certainly not loneliness, in fact, two unseen houses were not very far away. One was on the other side of a high white lattice wall with tall palm trees supporting it while the other hidden house was down the hill hiding behind an edge of the hill and hedges helped by clumps of trees. The house beyond the lattice wall was occupied by two ladies and two other four-legged beings, generally known as a dog and a cat.

We did not see much of the two ladies but quite a lot of the four-legged entities, especially the one known as a dog. He was a glossy, completely black labrador named Yang. It was an appropriate name as he seemed the personification of all things gently male. I felt that he showed good taste too, in choosing Ron as his master and friend. I think he went home only for meals and spent the rest of the day with Ron. Their day together would begin early, with Ron finding him waiting on the mat by his front door. Then their mutual demonstration of affection would begin, with pats, strokes and tail wags interspersed with conversation in which both would join, Yang talking in his own version of human language which he fondly hoped his beloved master would understand. Ron told me that if he and Swanny got in the car to drive away, Yang would turn his back on them and look the other way as if he could not bear to see this terrible event. For most of the day where you saw Ron you would also see Yang. I too, loved this near-human animal from the moment I gave my first pat to his shining black side.

I once happened to go to the house beyond the lattice when the lady Diana was feeding her treasured Yang. To me she made the remark “Yang is a soul-dog you know.” I agreed whole-heartedly but thought to myself, “But surely all domesticated dogs have souls,” and so, too, do many cats including the one I first saw sitting aloofly on the grass of Ron’s lawn.

My heart gave a jump when I caught sight of her, she was that ‘Thing of beauty that is a joy forever,’ as poet Keats remarked. I spoke to her from a distance, she turned her head and gave me one disdainful glance from her shining blue eyes then turned her head away. Suddenly I remembered the cat-enticing technique that my wife Iris, a great cat-lover, had taught me long ago. I tried it on Yin and within about five minutes of this cat-magic, she walked slowly across the grass towards me and sat at my feet. I was able to stroke her beautifully marked head and her plush back of an indescribable off-white colour. Before my weekend at Willow Vale came to an end, Yin was rolling over on her back inviting me to scratch her tummy. She was no longer aloof with Ron and Swanny and at a later time would sometimes follow Ron around like Yang and another labrador dog that joined the family.

Unlike the glossy black Yang this one was rusty in colour and so had earned the name Rusty. He lived in the other hidden house at the foot of Ron’s grassy hill. His owner was another Sai devotee called Kevin Dillon. Kevin Dillon, however, was frequently away on his property further north in Queensland and so Rusty began to attach himself for much of the time with Ron. The latter told me that Rusty was uniquely useful in one way. He had a keen eye for the venomous reptiles that were often found in the long grass among some trees at the lower end of Ron’s property. When Ron began to mow his grass, Rusty would come through a gap in the hedge and keep a close watch on the mowing operation. He would sight a snake hiding in the grass just before Ron, pushing his mower came to the spot where he was in danger of being bitten by the snake. Rusty would seize it in his teeth at a spot where it could not bite him and shake it to and fro until it was dead. I have seen the kookaburras fly to the branch of a tree with a snake in the beak and shake it vigorously in the same manner, killing it before they made a meal of it. Rusty’s only purpose in killing a snake however, seemed to be the protection of his friend, Ron.

Some weeks later when I came for another heavenly weekend at Willow Vale, something tragic had happened to our beloved friend, Rusty. Somebody driving a car on the Dillon property, fortunately not too fast, had failed to see Rusty and with a front wheel had hit the dog’s hindquarters. The result was that Rusty walked with a bad limp and sometimes would collapse and sink to the ground. Ron took me down to the foot of the hill to see the injured dog. We called his name and he came limping through a gap in the hedge wagging his tail and seeming to smile welcome with his eyes. I suddenly felt a great sympathy for this suffering friend and had the idea of putting my hand on the injured back near towards the tail, Ron did the same, both of us hoping that we had enough healing in our hands to help his injury get better. The dog seemed to enjoy it and stood quite still. After this period of healing, his limp seemed to be better and his hindquarters did not suddenly collapse on the ground as he tried to limp along. For the rest of the weekend, Rusty came out towards us for his healing session whenever we came near to the Dillon house and there was a definite improvement in his injury, by the time my weekend was up. Ron told me later that he continued the healing practice on his own and eventually Rusty had no limp at all. After that he spent much more of his time with Ron and Swanny, even accompanying them on walks. Yang, who had previously seemed to enjoy Rusty’s company, showed signs of jealousy. Ron played the part of the spiritual father to him and gave him a ‘human values’ lecture against the negative emotion of jealousy. Yang seemed as if he understood or perhaps it was just the tone in Ron’s voice, in any case, he would hang his head in shame.

After my return to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, I received by phone, regular bulletins about the adventures of the four-legged Farmer family, Yang and Yin and Rusty. Things seemed to be going harmoniously among them and I feel that through the love and understanding of Ron and Swanny Farmer, some, if not all of the three, will be elevated to a human incarnation at the next birth or soon after. I am tempted to go on writing about these beloved entities but feel I have said enough to show the part they play in the lives of my two star friends, so I will now tell something of the background of each of them and show how they became involved in John Fitzgerald‘s work for God.

First then, some interesting biographical facts about Dr Ron Farmer. He was born in the state of Queensland and remained at school there until the age of sixteen. Then he travelled to Melbourne and joined the Royal Air Force. This was about in the year 1954 and his main ambition in joining the Air Force was to learn all he could about radio electronics. After about three years of this he found it no longer of interest so left the Air Force and worked for a number of different companies that served the Air Force. One of these was the Aeronautical Research Laboratory at Fisherman’s Bend in Melbourne. Here he found himself serving with the War Games Department where part of his duties was to interview helicopter pilots. This work took him to Sydney where he was asked to study psychology to help in his interviewing of helicopter pilots. This study of psychology at the New South Wales University was the break in his life that might be termed ‘lucky’ but I prefer to call it ‘the finger of God’ placing him where he was meant to be. He loved psychology so much that after two years, sponsored by the War Games Department, he felt a strong urge to continue and did so at the University of Queensland, where for a time he was given some financial help but eventually won a scholarship which carried him through to his Ph.D in Psychology.

Not long afterwards he was back at the University of NSW as a lecturer to graduates in Psychology on the subject which he calls Behavioural Therapy. This had previously been considered a very complicated branch of Clinical Psychology but Dr Farmer had the gift of making it seem quite simple and interesting. The result was that he found himself giving talks on the radio and being interviewed by the press on this fascinating subject. His name thus became well-known to the public and he found people coming to him for help in their mental and psychological problems. In this way he found himself building up a clinic and dealing with patients from the members of the public, in addition to his university work. He thus found himself going through a period of very high pressure work which led eventually to a nervous breakdown. Employing some of the therapy that he had used for his patients for his own treatment, he turned the nervous breakdown into what he called a ‘nervous breakthrough’. When he had fully recovered, he wrote a good lecture on this method of treating a nervous breakdown, which I have heard on an audio cassette. It is probably available to anyone who needs it.

A very important part of Ron’s breakthrough was his spiritual awakening. Although he went on lecturing at the university for a time, he found this work and the other limitations in the academic life a handicap to his now fascinating development of the spiritual dimension which was showing its face more and more in the world around him. So that, after six years altogether of university lecturing, he resigned and started his own clinic in Sydney. Yet he did not feel this work altogether satisfying and after about a year as a professional Clinical Psychologist, he felt the compulsive urge to go exploring. Perhaps it was, in reality, the urge to become somehow more involved in what has been called the New Age. And so he went to live in a commune at a place called Nimbin, in the north of New South Wales.

While reading many books born of the New Age, he built himself a house in Nimbin and opened a clinic in which to treat patients professionally by his clinical psychology. Moreover, with the aid of two friends, he opened what must have been the first New Age Bookshop in New South Wales. His shop, like his clinic, was situated in Lismore. In order to stock it, he ordered books from all over the world and so he had the pleasure of reading his growing stock of books, which included the work of leading spiritual writers from all countries. He spent about eight years soaking up this world wide literature of the developing New Age. Inevitably, he ploughed his way through to books on Sathya Sai Baba. This was in the year 1984, a most important milestone in his life. The finger of God seems to have been active here too, because soon after the arrival of the books, he found himself at a friend’s place watching a video about Sai Baba. During the film there was a close-up of Sai Baba looking straight into the camera and so he seemed to Ron to be looking deep into his own eyes. “At that point I nearly fell off my chair,” said Ron. Asking him why he reacted in this way, he replied, “When he looked straight into my eyes, I felt sure he knew all about me and all about everybody. In fact he knew everything. I knew that this was the man I had to follow, there was no-one else like him.” Now he read avidly all the Sai Baba books in his possession and felt that Nimbin, Lismore and neighbourhood were not the right place for him. He had to be where there were more Sai people and Sai activities and so it was that he returned to Sydney and re-opened his clinic there. And of course, he attended any Sai meetings and other activities available in his area.

It was while he was visiting a Sai Baba meeting in Homebush, a suburb of Sydney, that he met Dr Devi, the wife of the well-known Dr Sara Pavan, the Anaesthetist. Dr Devi one evening announced to the meeting at Homebush that she was going next day to a Nursing Home where the patients were all seriously handicapped mentally. Anyone who wished to come with her, she said, were very welcome. One person went and that was Dr Ron Farmer. He was quite unaware of the fact that one of the most important things in the whole of his life was to happen to him at this Nursing Home. Towards the end of his visit on that first day, the Matron of the Nursing Home said she would like to introduce him to the Clinical Psychologist who was working regularly at the Nursing Home. Ron had no desire to meet this Psychologist. All of that profession that he had met in recent years had no interest whatsoever in any aspect of God or the spiritual life of man. So he gave some reason to the Matron and excused himself from the meeting; but he was very interested in the Nursing Home itself and before long he was there again. This time the Matron said, “I have told my Psychologist about you and she is very anxious to meet you.” This time Ron made no excuse but submissively went upstairs with the Matron. She conducted him into the clinic and introduced him to the dark-eyed, smiling Swanny. He had immediately, he told me, a deep feeling that something important, something inexplicable was going to happen. He had never had this feeling before at the point of first meeting someone. The inexplicable feeling had, he said, an overture of deep peace, he wanted to see her again. Asked what she felt at the first meeting, Swanny said, “His face looked so very sad and I felt a strong urge to make him happy.” So they began seeing each other frequently, usually at lunch-times. One of the most important things they had in common was the fact that they both used spiritual principles wherever possible in treating their patients, but it was not long before their feeling for each other deepened into something more important than their academic interests. This was love, the kind that, while including romantic love, goes far beyond. It is the true love of union and includes sharing and caring.

After they were married, Swanny began having dreams about Sathya Sai Baba which brought her onto the Sai path with Ron. They had been married about three years, both happily working in their profession of Clinical Psychology when the bell rang heralding a new chapter to their lives. The bell, in this case, was the telephone bell in their home; it rang about ten o’clock one evening. Ron went to answer it. On the other end of the line, a young man’s voice said “You don’t know me but my name is John Fitzgerald, I have a lot of money and I want to help street kids but I don’t know where to start.” There was silence for a few moments then the voice went on, “A friend of mine, in fact, my Architect, took his son to one of your meetings. It was a meeting on Human Values and he told me that you and your wife were the best two people in Australia to help me with my project.” John Fitzgerald went on to request them to visit him at his office on the Gold Coast as soon as they could, if they were interested in helping him. Ron replied that he and Swanny were going up to the Gold Coast in the following week and they would be happy to call and talk to him. When he returned to Swanny, Ron said, “I have been talking to a young man in Queensland who is either mad, or he is a very wise man.” He told her the gist of the phone conversation and they both decided to call and see him on the following week when they were going up to the Gold Coast on some other business. And so, in due course, they were sitting in John Fitzgerald’s office listening to his philanthropic dream. One thing that impressed them both was hearing John say, “My gift of making millions is something God has given me, so I must use it in doing God’s work.” The interview lasted for three hours and at the end of it they were his partners in the Karma Yogic work he was planning to launch. Swanny had such faith in this new found friend that at his request she agreed to give up her work and spend all her time helping John. Dr Ron Farmer agreed whole-heartedly with this move, he too, felt full faith in John Fitzgerald. Thus, the divine association had its beginnings.

Now I would like to give some background information about Swanny Farmer, who is, I must say, one of those rare people whose pure inner beauty shines through, thus endowing her with a special outer beauty. I feel it was someone like her to whom Shakespeare addressed the words, “Do noble deeds, not dream them all day long and so make life, death and the vast forever, one grand sweet song.”

Swanny was born in Indonesia in the year 1952. Her father, a businessman in Djakarta, found his fortunes greatly improving after this third daughter was born and so he was able to send her two older sisters to complete their education at Hanover University in Germany. When Swanny was seventeen years old, that is in 1969, she was also sent there to join them and complete her tertiary education. She specialised in psychology because it seemed that this was the kind of training she needed to help people in their lives. She obtained a Master of Arts degree at Hanover and worked for a time in Germany. She was invited to become a German Citizen, but decided instead, to go to England and obtain another degree in psychology. Thus, she attended the University of Manchester and after about two years there, obtained a degree of Master of Science in Psychology. With these two degrees she was certainly qualified to work in her professional field in many parts of the world. Her heart called her back to her home in Indonesia where she worked in the psychological field for about two years. However, Swanny felt that she was not making full use of her potential in Indonesia and as one of her sisters was practicing as a Medical Doctor in Australia, she decided to move to that country where, indeed, she had no difficulty finding professional work and eventually finished up working up at the Nursing Home for mentally disadvantaged children in Liverpool near Sydney, where eventually she met Ron Farmer.

As already told, Swanny Farmer changed her job again at that fateful three hour interview with John Fitzgerald when he invited her to be what he called his navigator, in finding the right children to launch his Toogoolawa scheme of providing schools, as well as some accommodation hostels for the unfortunate children who, often through bad parenting, were homeless, school-less and on the point of becoming street-kids. Ron, who whole-heartedly supports the project and gives it much voluntary help, carries on other work for Sathya Sai Baba too. One of these is conducting a small publishing business in conjunction with his wife Swanny and a Sai friend by the name of Ross Woodward. They have already published a very good book designed to help people anywhere in the world to conduct study circles on the literature of the New Age, particularly the teachings of Sai Baba. The quality of the book holds out good promise of other treasures to come.

Dr Farmer of course, continues his main professional work regularly seeing patients at his clinic which is in the same building as John’s company offices on the banks of the Nerang River. In this therapeutic work he frequently makes use of the Sai and other spiritual teachings. He told me about several of these as we walked together on the grassy lands round his home at Willow Vale. At my request he put several on an audio tape for me. Here briefly, is the gist of one such treatment.

A Minister of the Uniting Church asked Dr Farmer if he would treat the Minister’s twelve year old daughter. Dr Ron Farmer agreed and in due course the twelve year old girl was sitting in his clinic. Her main problem was that in the school classroom, when as a pupil she was asked to stand up, perhaps to read something, to recite something or answer a question, just the fact of standing there in the classroom of sitting pupils would bring on such a powerful agonising form of stage fright that she would break out in a cold sweat and be unable to speak a word and so would have to take her seat. As neither teachers nor pupils have any understanding or sympathy in such situations, the twelve year old girl would suffer a great deal.

Eventually after asking her several questions, in an endeavour to find a door that he might open for her, Ron asked intuitively, “Do you have any recurring nightmares?” The answer was that she did, a terrible dream that recurred every week or every fortnight. In the dream she was walking along the edge of a cliff when she fell over the precipice and in terror went down towards the bottom. She always awakened before she hit bottom but it was an experience of great terror. Ron felt that if he could cure this nightmare terror it would also cure her classroom terror.

Ron remembered one of Sathya Sai Baba’s teaching to the effect that it does not matter in the least what form and name of God you worship but you must remember He is with you always and you must trust in His love and His help. This girl was the daughter of a Minister of a Christian Church and would probably look to Jesus as her divine guide and saviour. So Ron asked her, “Do you believe in Jesus?” “Oh, yes I do,” she answered. Then Ron asked, “Do you love Jesus?” “Yes,” she replied enthusiastically, “I love Him with all my heart, He is my life.” Then Ron explained to her the principle taught by Sathya Sai Baba, that is, if we hold onto the name and form of God, bringing it into everything we do, life will become harmonious and any problems will be solved. Moreover, Sathya Sai Baba says, unlike what is taught in modern psychiatry, that the unconscious is benevolent. So Ron proceeded to relax his patient and asked her to close her eyes. Then he took her in imagination, through the details of her recurring nightmare. She was walking along the cliff edge picturing the scene and then her foot slipped and she began to fall, but now she was holding onto the hand of Jesus as she fell. He kept repeating to her, “You’re holding onto the hand of Jesus, you’re falling, but you’re holding onto the hand of Jesus,” this he repeated for about ten minutes. Watching her face as he made her picture that she was holding onto the hand of Jesus, the expression of fear changed quickly into a beautiful expression of peace and happiness. So eventually, he asked her to open her eyes and asked her, “What was that like?” She replied that she forgot she was falling and felt happy in the protection of Jesus. Asked what she felt in her body, she replied that she felt relaxed, deeply relaxed. Then Ron asked her to imagine she was in the classroom situation and that the teacher had asked her to stand up and read something, but while she was standing up she pictured the scene where she was falling, holding onto the hand of Jesus, so she felt relaxed and not at all worried with this situation because she was holding the hand of Jesus and felt the joy of his protection. After this guided imagination, he said to her to open her eyes again. Then he said, “Do you feel now that you will be alright in the classroom when you have to stand to your feet and speak?” She smiled happily and replied, “Yes, I feel sure I will because I will have Jesus close to me holding my hand.” “Well,” Ron replied, “If ever you have the slightest return of that problem, contact me and I will bring you some more help.” She agreed that she would do so, but she never contacted Ron and he felt that his spiritual therapy had worked. He has found that this use of the name and form of the God one adores has a very powerful effect. It releases the stupendous power of divine love which always conquers fear.

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