Swami Moves In Mysterious Ways – Part One


ATTAAMI mentioned in a post a few months back that I was going to revisit some older writings; the reason being that in the last year or so I’ve acquired many new blog followers who will not be familiar with my earlier work. The story I’m going to share with you first appeared in my book, Astral Travelling, The Avatar and Me, which was published in 2009. That book is now out of print, but a second edition was published in early 2013 with a new title, The Amazing Journey, and an extra chapter. Obviously, the account posted here is not a word-for-word repeat of what appeared in those two books, but rather a brand new post specially written for the blog. I hope you enjoy it!

Swami first came into my life in 2001 and things have never been the same since; well you wouldn’t expect them to be, would you? In 2003 I had it in my head that I was going to go to Prashanthi Nilayam, but Swami obviously had other ideas and my life went off in another direction. However, cue 2009 and I received the inner calling from our beloved Lord; and what followed was a truly amazing and somewhat surreal experience.

I managed to get a really cheap direct flight from Heathrow to Bangalore and my Sai brother, Satyan, arranged a taxi for me at the other end. My other friend had said that I could stay at her flat in Swindon the night before my departure as it was much easier for me to travel from Swindon than where I live in Tetbury. So all was going to go swimmingly well, wasn’t it? Well wasn’t it? I think you know what is coming next. Yes, correct! My idea of a plan in no way resembled the plan of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. So, my dear readers sit back, relax, fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride…

Swami, Sri Sathya Sai Baba blessing a devotee

Swami, Sri Sathya Sai Baba blessing a devotee

I’d had to sleep on the floor in the living room of my friend’s tiny flat, which wasn’t a problem at all, but I suppose coupled with the excitement of the journey, I had no more than two hours sleep. I had a wonderful flight; it was my first long haul and I was very pleasantly surprised how enjoyable it was, but I had no sleep on the plane either, for no particular reason; it just didn’t seem to happen. So by the time I landed in Bangalore I’d had about 2 hours sleep in the last 48, but no big deal; after all, everything was going to go swimmingly, wasn’t it?

I exited the airport at around midnight local time, and I soon realised (to my horror) that in amongst the throng of people waiting at the exit for passengers, and who were holding up signs with the passenger’s name’s on, there was no one holding up a sign with my name. My fears were soon confirmed when in a fairly short space of time I was the only person left waiting at the exit. “Billy-No-Mates Westerner” standing out like a sore thumb, thousands of miles from home! Sure enough I soon attracted attention; from airport security, because no loitering is allowed due to the constant terrorist threats in India, and from local “Del Boy” taxi staff on the lookout for gullible Westerners to overcharge for the journey to Baba’s ashram in Puttaparthi. I think I fitted that bill admirably, I couldn’t have been a better candidate; even if I’d had “mug” tattooed on my forehead! To cut a long story short, I had the mobile number for the taxi driver and the security staff phoned him on my behalf. It turned out that my dear friend Satyan had given him the wrong flight details so he wasn’t expecting me until the next day. He told the security staff that he was “on his way”, but it soon transpired that in India the phrase, “I’m on my way”, means something completely different from what it does in England. I should say before we go any further, that my account of events is quite drastically truncated; there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to add all the minute detail of everything that happened to me. But, nonetheless, I’m sure you will have a good idea by the time this article is finished.

I was told by security that I needed to wait on some benches by a kiosk that was to my left of the airport exit, and the taxi driver would meet me there. Well time ticked by, daylight broke and I was beginning to wonder if my taxi would ever turn up. It got to the point where I got fed up waiting and decided to find my own taxi. Wrong move! Cue Swami and one of his famous leelas. I was immediately accosted by intrepid folk who wanted me to take one of their taxis. Accosting quickly turned to harassment, and with my lack of sleep I soon became hot and bothered; to the extent that I nearly took up their offer until I saw the car they wanted me to travel in. My change of mind made their harassment more intense and I struggled back in the direction of the benches with my heavy bag. Just as I was approaching (taxi folk in hot pursuit) I saw a man waving at me; he was also clutching a piece of paper to his chest. As I got closer I breathed a sigh of relief when I noticed the words “Mr Richard” written on the aforementioned piece of paper. My taxi had arrived. I’d exited the airport at midnight; it was now 07:00 am!

It soon became very clear that the whole business had been engineered by Swami. Had there been no mix-up I would have travelled to Prashanthi in darkness; and thus would have missed all the wondrous sights that now unfolded before my eyes, like a play; being acted out scene by scene in accordance with a script that had been written with meticulous precision. It was my first trip to this amazing land and in the three and a half hours or so it took for us to arrive at the ashram I must have witnessed virtually every single aspect of Indian culture.

I saw Red Kites flying gracefully above; I witnessed the colour and the bustle of the small towns and villages we passed through, bullock carts sharing the roads with the cars and trucks. Unfortunately, not everything I saw was welcoming to the eye, such as the poverty; I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. However, the most distressing sight that I saw was when we passed through one small town and I saw a group of women in the back of a smallish open-backed truck. At first glance they reminded me of cattle that had been herded onto the back of the vehicle. There was a man standing on the running board at the back berating one of the women, and as we drove past he struck her. I couldn’t believe my eyes; but the look of pain on the woman’s face confirmed that I wasn’t dreaming.

After stopping for refreshment in the town of Chikkaballapur we arrived at the ashram gates at 10:30 am. Taxis are not normally allowed in but the driver explained to the seva dals (stewards) on the gate that I had never been to Prashanthi before, so he was permitted to drive me up to the accommodation office. By now, my head was in a spin, due to a combination of having had no sleep, for what seemed like a lifetime, and the incredible sights I’d seen en route from the airport. The sun was beating down now too and for the first time I was experiencing the incredibly fierce Indian heat. I’d worn jeans for the journey and spilt coffee down them on the plane; needless to say, as well as feeling as though I was being cooked in the thick denim the odour from the coffee stains wasn’t exactly pleasant on the nose either.

Little did I know that my adventure was barely beginning, and in Part Two, I will share with you how Swami reduced me to zero before picking me up again and showering me in his grace.

Sai Ram.

TAJ-Final Version-EB

NEWSFLASH – NEWSFLASH – NEWSFLASH


fb-thumbnail-gold-sqI am proud to announce that the first book officially published by Inspirational Storytellers (IS) is now “live”. Also, within the next few days the first CD to be produced under the IS banner will also be available to buy on Amazon. The reason I’m proud is because they are both my products! The details are as follows:

Alive And Well – and living in a heart near you!

Alive And Well

Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba may have left his mortal body on 24 April, Easter Sunday, 2011, but he lives on, not only in the hearts of us all, but in his teachings as well. This book is a cross-section of Baba’s wonderful spiritual wisdom condensed into 5 chapters – Sathya (truth), Prema (love), Shanti (peace), Dharma (right conduct) and Ahimsa (nonviolence). It is suitable for both long-standing devotees and those who are just discovering “The Ocean of Bliss” that is our beloved Swami. In line with Baba’s mission, 100% royalty payments from sales of this book are being donated to the “end hunger” charity The Extra Guest. http://theextraguest.com

The Extra Guest is a not-for-profit organisation with no governmental or political affiliations that seeks to fund world-wide ‘end-hunger’ projects and help those in poverty to create a sustainable future. The charity also aims to raise awareness of humanity as one family, encourage an ethos of sharing and promote the practice of ‘ethical dining’. The Extra Guest responds to Emergency Aid Appeals around the world and currently supports Sustainable Living projects in:

Liberia – Rice farming project
Bangladesh – Coping with Poverty and Natural Disasters
Faridabad, India – SOS Family Strengthening Programmes
Local UK Food Banks.

Buy in the USA http://ow.ly/npUB6

Buy in the UK http://ow.ly/npVIY

The CD is a remastered version, including musical backing track, of Native American Wisdom. A meditation CD that has previously only been available to buy directly from me. Below is a sneak peek at the cover.

NAW - Cover

“I Will Protect You Like The Eyelids Protect The Eyes”


It’s quite common when Sai Baba groups meet up for events etc. that people bring their unwanted spiritual books and Baba-related items so that others may reap the benefits from them.  Normally, the books and photos etc. are placed on a table near the entrance to the hall and anyone can browse and help themselves.  A few years back I availed myself of a few of someone else’s unwanted books and on opening one of them I was amazed to find a photo copy of an A4 sheet of paper with the most incredible words of wisdom from Swami; the original had been hand-written very professionally in a lovely calligraphic style.  On reading the words it was apparent that they were tailor-made especially for me, but specifically, the second paragraph contained the most beautiful and striking statement; “I will protect you like the eyelids protect the eyes”.  I found this to be true on Monday 6 August 2012.

I had been agonizing over recording a CD of mantra chanting.  Nothing wrong with that, but considering that the finished product would be available for sale, it somehow didn’t feel right; a bit like a Christian taking stuff from the Bible and putting it out on Amazon for personal gain.  But I knew that my intentions were good, for reasons not relevant to this post, and I also asked a few friends who confirmed that I should go ahead with it.  So I made arrangements to use DB Studios in Stroud, Gloucestershire here in the UK.  I arranged a recording session with my friend Chris, who is a partner in the studios, for mid-day on Monday 6 August.

Stroud is about ten miles from where I live in Tetbury and I set of at about 11:30 a.m. in great anticipation.  I’d decided on the mantras I was going to record and during the course of the drive to the studios I went through them.  The main reason for this was so that my throat would be warmed up sufficiently for the recording.  I quite often chant whilst driving, but not to this extent.

In between Tetbury and Stroud is the small market town of Nailsworth and the road out of Nailsworth connects direct to Stroud; a distance of about 4 miles.  For the first couple of miles there are a number of industrial units and showrooms at various intervals on the right hand side.  One such showroom sells pine bedroom and garden furniture and is about two miles along the road.  I had just started my second rendition of the mantra Om Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnat Purnamudachyate when I just happened to notice a red car waiting to pull out from the pine showroom onto the main road.  It all happened so quickly but at the same time it seemed like slow motion.  It was as if the driver deliberately waited for me to pass that point before pulling out; but in truth I doubt that he or she even noticed me.

I didn’t even have time to hit the horn but managed to swerve the car to the left and avoid a collision.  Luckily there was room for me to do that.  Had the road been more narrow I may not have been able to.  Of course the whole event took me by surprise, and I won’t say what words were coming out of my mouth at this point, but they were not mantras.  However, I knew that once again The Avatar was at play and I very soon had a big smile on my face as I resumed chanting.  It just goes to show that when you are engaged in God’s work, Divine Spirit will do whatever is necessary to ensure that the work gets done.  This was also further proof for me that my intention to record a mantra CD had received the highest approval.

The recording session went well too and I hope to have the finished product available sometime in October.

For your interest, there is a you tube link below to the mantra Om Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnat Purnamudachyate. It’s truly beautiful and I hope you enjoy it.

When The Avatar Comes Calling


I had an amazing experience this morning that ended at approximately 06.40.  It was so amazing, in fact, that as I sit here typing a little over four hours later, I am still trying to get my head around the whole business.  I have had Sai dreams before, but I can honestly say that this experience was on a par with the time Sri Sathya Sai Baba plucked me from my physical body and carried me away on an astral journey back in December 2006.

Strangely enough some details of the dream are very vague, especially the early stages.  But the main content remains very vivid in my mind.  Because of the vagaries of the early part of the dream I will start this account by relating what my heart is telling me occurred.  I was in a room that seemed quite small and I cannot remember the decor, but I must have been craving for Swami’s presence.  I vaguely remember calling out for him and then being raised up fairly high off the floor and finding myself facing a picture of him that was on one of the walls.  I became very excited about seeing Baba and even though the picture looked a bit un-Baba-like it was most definitely the God-man; with his orange robe and shock of black fuzzy hair.  His face was kind of different but his eyes were so real.  I do remember talking to him in a very enthusiastic way, when I look back now it was as though somewhere within me, at a very deep level, I knew he was coming.  but within seconds my experience was over.

Now this is the bit that I remember very clearly.  I was not happy with my experience being so short, but not in a negative way, and I started calling once again for Baba.  I must have been calling with such enthusiasm because all of a sudden Swami was there.  He was laying on a bed asleep and I appeared to be looking down at him.  I enthused “wake up Swami, wake up!”  He opened his eyes and within a split second we were standing face to face.  We were so close you could have barely got a cigarette paper in between us.  I did something next that under normal circumstances you would never do to an Avatar; I grabbed his right arm with my left hand as we faced each other.  It was done in a nice way of course; I was so full of excitement.  I said “I’ve been missing you” and “speak to me Swami, speak to me”, but Baba just looked at me deadpan.  There was a great feeling of friendship between us that I could feel inside me, and I said to him “what’s up, cat got your tongue?”  I seem to remember saying “cat got your tongue” to him again and this time he gave that little Swami half-smile; like a cross between a smirk and an impish grin.

Then he started speaking to me but I could only hear jumbled sounds coming out of his mouth that seemed distant and I was straining to try to understand him.  It was almost like a jumbled radio broadcast, but right in the middle of the “noise” I made out the words “try not to worry so much”.  The look on his face was the look of a loving father, mother, sister, brother and friend all rolled into one.  He was as solid as solid can be and his form reminded me of how he looked back in the 1990’s.  There was signs that he was beginning to age but he had this fantastic youthfulness about him.  What was really apparent was that the whole experience was just so natural; a bit like making a cup of tea, it was almost as though it was expected that two friends would meet up and share a few moments of pure undiluted love.  He was so non-judgemental; accepting me exactly as I am in spite of all my little faults; and the love between us was beyond mere words.  Then it was all over…..

I suppose I should now say “and then I woke up”, but it wasn’t quite like that. It’s true to say that when the whole experience began it was most definitely a dream and I was certainly asleep.  But as Swami was interacting with me I was wide awake, I simply had my eyes closed; so the whole episode was played out on the inner plane.  When Baba had gone I just lay there in bed with my eyes closed; only opening them to look at the clock.  When I did look at the clock it said 06.45, so I am guessing that I was laying there for at least five minutes before looking.  What I found unusual was that I said to Swami “I have been missing you”.  That is not an expression I would normally use; I would normally say something like “I miss you”, I missed you” or “you have been missed”.  I believe there are a number of deeper, hidden messages in here for me to unravel, and I may share them in a future post if it seems appropriate.

Finally, there was one particular detail about Baba’s physical form that I will not share because I believe it to be very personal between Swami and I.  But the reason for mentioning it is that Swami always works in ways that are very precise and literally everything with him has a meaning of sorts.  I believe he gave that tiny bit of detail as a gentle reminder to me not to get attached to the form.  I believe he came to me in that way because that is how I relate to him.  But at the same time he did not want to divert my attention too far away from the “formless”, so he gave me a little reminder that the physical body will deteriorate over time.

Oh what an experience!  How truly blessed I am!  Thank you so much Baba!

Jai Sai Ram.

Thought For The Day #111

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Man falsely imagines “I am doing this”, “I am planning this”. It is the supreme, all pervasive consciousness that motivates, unfolds the skills and operates the intellect – Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Thought For The Day #93

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Love alone can win it, Love that needs no requital, Love that knows no bargaining, Love that is paid gladly as tribute to all living, Love that is unwavering. Love alone can overcome obstacles, however many and mighty – Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Thought For The Day #57

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“Embodiments of Love!                                    

 Spirituality does not mean a life of solitude. True spirituality lies in understanding the unity of the entire humanity, and giving up the sense of attachment and hatred. The principle of atma is the same in everyone.  What is the form of the Atma (spirit)? Sugar has a form, but can anyone describe the form of sweetness? Sweetness can only be experienced, it cannot be explained. Similar is the case with the atmic principle too. It is ancient, eternal, attributeless, formless, pure, unsullied and immortal.The sweets such as mysore pak, gulab jamoon, burfi, etc., may vary in name and form, but sugar is the same in all. Likewise, names and forms are different, but the principle of atma is one and the same.” ~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba