Swami Moves In Mysterious Ways – Part Three


As I said in the previous post, I never expected this article to be so long; and now even this third and final part is far longer than I anticipated. In view of this, and to keep the reader’s interest, I’ve decided to post Part Three in two sections. I will post the second section tomorrow.

If you missed Parts One and Two, please click on the links below to view.

Swami Moves In Mysterious Ways – Part One http://wp.me/p1qAeL-10J

Swami Moves In Mysterious Ways – Part Two http://wp.me/p1qAeL-114

Day Two

Handing out sacred ashI continued to lay there wondering if I would ever get to sleep again and gradually the other devotees in the beds near to me started to get up. We chatted and I mentioned that I still hadn’t slept; I was also starting to feel guilty that I had travelled thousands of miles to the ashram of “God in human form”, yet I’d not engaged in any meditation or reading of spiritual texts. My new friends pointed out to me that I would not be able to function without sleep and they encouraged me to remain in bed. By now it was 07:00 am and they were all going out into their day. I decided to take the advice, and to my pleasant surprise, I actually managed to drop off to sleep. I awoke again around 11:00 am and went for a shower; I decided that I needed to solve the problem of my clothing and have another go at familiarising myself with the ashram. Yes, most definitely the previous day had been nothing short of a surreal nightmare. But having said that, in amongst all the confusion and fear I’d had an incredible inner experience with my loving God man, Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

I ventured out into the ashram and immediately I was met with a continuation of the previous day. The heat, the pushing and shoving and the blisters; I was in despair. I felt more and more fearful and vulnerable as the morning turned to afternoon; I was completely lost, unable to make head or tail of what was happening to me.
There are little kiosks dotted about the ashram at various locations where you can get a coffee; tiny cardboard cups for 6 Rupees. Whenever I stood in the queue I would have someone come and blatantly stand in front of me, or simply shove me out of the way before standing in front of me. It just helped to pile on the agony. At some point I felt at rock-bottom, and I got myself one of the little cups of coffee, sat down on a wall and started to cry. I felt like I had been reduced to zero; like I had no life of my own. I felt as though I was being worked by a puppet master. Many of you reading this may be familiar with the old Thunderbirds programme, where you could actually see the strings on the puppets; well I really did feel that I was a puppet that was being controlled by strings. I felt as though I was in the grip of a power so mighty, that I had no control whatsoever of my movements. I’d tried to settle myself in to ashram life but at every turn of the corner I was met with a brick wall.

As I sat on the wall crying, my life, metaphorically, flashed before me. I felt so insignificant, so tiny and so worthless; like I had less significance than a single grain of sand in the Sahara desert. Everything I’d ever done; all my spiritual work of the previous seven years, in fact, my whole life felt worthless and completely and utterly meaningless. I just did not have a clue what I was going to do. At some point I got up and started wandering around again.

I don’t remember when exactly, but after hobbling around for a while I stumbled across the Western canteen by “accident”. I realised that I’d hardly eaten anything since the meal in the South Indian canteen the previous day. I felt ready for some food and thought it might perk me up, but I had no idea as I walked up the pathway that Swami was about to pick me up and dust me down. As I neared the entrance I could see that there was some writing etched into the stone wall just to the right of the doorway. Out of curiosity I stopped to read what it said and it was then that I realised that all my nightmares had been nothing more than Swami’s play. He’d led me along that pathway in order to bring me to this moment. As I perused the writing I just couldn’t believe what I was reading. All of a sudden the penny dropped. I had doubted Swami because I’d allowed my mind and my ego to rule me; now as I read I could see that my beloved Baba had no choice but to use “tough love” in order to help his child. What I was reading was Baba’s Surrender Prayer. If you are not familiar with it allow me to enlighten you.

Sai Baba’s Surrender Prayer

Why get agitated? Let Me take care of all your business. I shall be the one who will think about them. I am waiting for nothing else than your surrender to Me, and then you do not have to worry anymore about anything. Say farewell to all fears and discouragement. You demonstrate that you do not trust Me. On the contrary, you must rely blindly on Me. To surrender means: To turn your thoughts away from troubles, to turn them away from difficulties you encounter and from all your problems. Leave everything into My hands saying “Lord, Thy will be done, you think of it”. That is to say: “Lord I thank you for you have taken everything in your hands, and you will resolve this for my highest good”.

Remember that thinking of the consequences of a thing is contrary to surrender. That is to say, when you worry that a situation has not had the desired outcome, you thus demonstrate that you do not believe in My love for you. You will prove that you do not consider your life to be under My control and that nothing escapes Me. Never think: How is this to end? What is going to happen? If you give in to this temptation, you demonstrate that you do not trust Me. Do you want Me to deal with it…yes or no? Then you must stop being anxious about it! I shall guide you only if you completely surrender to Me and when I must lead you into a different path than the one you expect, I carry you in my arms.

What seriously upsets you is your reasoning, your worrying, your obsession, your will to provide for yourselves at any price. I can do so many things when the being, as much in his material necessities as in his spiritual ones, turns to Me saying: “You think of it”, then he closes his eyes and rests quietly. You will receive a lot but only when your prayer will rely fully upon Me. You pray to Me when in pain so that I intervene, but in the way you desire it. You do not rely on Me, but you want Me to adjust to your requests.

Don’t believe like sick ones who ask a treatment of the doctor, all the time suggesting it to him. Do not do that: But rather, even in sad circumstances, say: “Lord I praise and thank you for this problem, for this necessity. I pray you to arrange things as you please for this terrestrial and temporal life; you know very well what is best for me. Sometimes you feel that disasters increase instead of diminish. Do not get agitated. Close your eyes and tell me with faith: “Thy will be done. You think of it”, and when you speak thus, I accomplish a miracle when necessary. I only think of it when you trust me totally. I always think of you, but I can only help you completely when you fully rely on me.

Stay tuned for section two tomorrow…

The Divine Teaser


There were times when dear loving Swami could be such a teaser, and I’m going to share two of my own personal experiences with you here.

The first one took place on the last day of my first visit to Prasanthi Nilayam back in October 2009.  It had been quite an eventful first visit, experiencing life on the ashram and Baba’s leelas, and I’d decided that on the last night I was going to treat myself to a comfortable hotel room.  Even the most expensive hotels in Puttaparthi are very cheap by UK standards so I booked myself into the Sai Towers Hotel, just opposite one of the main gates to the ashram.  The good thing was that it was a 24 hour reservation, meaning that because I arrived at around 7.00 p.m. I had the room until 7:00 p.m. the next day.  Also, for the previous two or three days there had been rumours circulating that Swami would be leaving the ashram to inaugurate a new ashram in Pune.  Where Swami is concerned you can never pay much attention to any rumours that may be flying around, however, this is one rumour that turned out to be true.  On the final day of my visit Baba was indeed off to Pune.

Even though my room was very comfortable I did not sleep that well and I arose quite early.  At some stage I heard chanting coming from the ashram.  I didn’t think anything of it at first but then I realised that it was only about 07:00 a.m. and the Vedic chanting on the ashram does not usually start until 08:00 a.m.  In my naive innocence I presumed that there was an earlier than normal darshan because Baba was going away for a few days.  This was not the case however and I can only presume that the chanting was to honour “God in human form” and to see him on his way.  For some reason I decided to head downstairs.  I say “for some reason” because there was no logical reason for me doing so.  It was still early and I didn’t feel like breakfast at that precise moment, but nonetheless I found myself heading down the stairs.

When I reached the ground floor I noticed that there was people lining the street.  For a moment I wondered what was going on; and then the realisation hit me.  I ventured outside to a hive of activity, and within a few moments of me being out there, Baba’s car swung out of the gate and turned to head right past me.  I couldn’t believe it, my loving Lord engineered my own personal “car darshan” for me on my last morning in Puttaparthi.  As the car went past with Swami’s tiny figure in the back seat I was screaming and pleading in my head for him to make eye contact with me.  But did he do it?  No, of course not; he teased and tantalized me with a view of his Divine human form, he engineered my own personal darshan with precision timing, but he wasn’t going to make eye contact with me.  Ever the Divine teaser, it was as though Baba handed me a bag of sweets, let me eat some and then took them back before I could get to my favourites.  But what he did do was suffuse my heart with his love, and what a feeling it was; my heart just melted.  I felt so blessed that Swami did that for me, and to this day, when I look back on that event I always have a little chuckle to myself at how he manages to tease us until we are on the verge of bursting.  I’m sure there are millions of devotees all over the world who have similar stories to tell.

Watch this space for part two.

Just Another Day At The Office For The Birthday Boy


It seems quite appropriate to be writing this article on this particular day; November 23, the 86th anniversary of Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s descent into flesh.  Devotees all over the world will be celebrating today but I’m going to tell you about an incident that occurred on Saturday 19 November in Cheltenham, when The Sai Organisation UK Region 7 held a regional birthday celebration in honour of our beloved Sai.  I must say that when I first heard it was to be held in Cheltenham this year I was a bit dubious to say the least.  I have never liked Cheltenham; it is a smallish town but very, very busy.  Traffic is quite often gridlocked and the town centre road network is not exactly driver friendly, especially if you don’t know where you are going.  Yes, I still have memories of being lost in Cheltenham on a number of occasions and driving around aimlessly getting more and more frustrated.  But I wasn’t going to let a little thing like that stop me from paying my respects to Swami.

I set off nice and early to take into account that I was, in all likelihood, going to get lost.  Surprise, surprise I reached my destination without any hitch and I arrived at The Cheltenham Hindu Community Centre in plenty of time.  There is always food laid on at these events and it never fails to amaze me just how sumptuous it is.  All of Cheltenham Sai Group worked tremendously hard in organizing the event, but the ladies who prepared the food must take a special pat on the back.  As ever, it was basic vegetarian fayre, but unbelievably good.  The chick pea curry was mouth-watering and the Indian sweets were out of this world.  Lunch was actually the first thing on the agenda before the celebrations started at 2:00 p.m.

The event kicked off with a wonderful little play by the kids from Swindon Sathya Sai Education Group, and there followed a lovely video “Love In Action” that highlighted Swami’s fresh drinking water, hospital and educational projects (unfortunately, the video had to be cut short due to time restrictions).  As the devotional singing and the event in general was drawing to a close an elderly lady in a wheelchair had a cardiac arrest.  Fortunately, there was a couple of GP’s present and also a couple of nurses.  But I found what followed so surreal.

The lady was very quickly lifted from her wheelchair and placed on the floor, where she immediately received CPM from a male nurse.  He moved so fast it was quite unbelievable.  Whilst the doctors and nurses attended to the lady someone called for an ambulance.  A makeshift screen was then formed by a number of other ladies using sheets; this gave a degree of privacy to the patient and helped to maintain her dignity.  Almost simultaneously most of the people not involved started to chant the Gayatri mantra.  I always feel so completely and utterly helpless in these situations but joined in the chanting.  It must have taken the paramedics at least 15 minutes to arrive, and it must have been very strange for them as they entered the hall with so many people chanting whilst a patient was receiving life saving first aid on the floor.

I remember thinking to myself as the drama began to unfold “what a way to go”.  It seemed that Swami had decided to take her, bathed in his Omnipresence, in an environment that she loved amongst other devotees, having just finished celebrating her Lords glory; I was convinced she was gone.  However, after a short time had lapsed we received a signal that the lady was going to be alright, and all those engaged in the chanting instinctively brought it to a close.  The paramedics took the lady to hospital and one of the attending GP’s made an announcement.

The female GP told us that the lady had indeed suffered a cardiac arrest.  She also informed us that the lady had stopped breathing and that she had turned black.  So we can conclude that the elderly lady had indeed “died”.  My friend Satyan from Bath, knowing that I didn’t particularly like driving in Cheltenham, called me later that night to make sure I’d arrived home in one piece.  He’d had a lift from the male nurse who’d performed the CPM.  During the drive back the man told Satyan that the lady would not have survived had they waited for the paramedics, so it just goes to show that it was not the lady’s time to go and Baba, from his cosmic residence, had somehow engineered the whole event as if it was nothing more than a scene from a play.  I have been to many of these functions now and never experienced anything like it before, so the drive home was very strange indeed; with everything swimming around in my head.  Now, five days later, I am still trying to get my head around the events of last Saturday; events that I found very surreal indeed.

Surreal for me maybe, but it was just another day at the office for the birthday boy!

Sai Baba – Avatar & Human Being


Dear loving Swami was known by devotees the world over for the multitude of miracles that he performed during his 85 years in physical form; miracles such as raising people from the dead (even when the corpse had started to rot), control over the elements and the ability to appear in a multitude of places simultaneously, to name but a few.  But what I personally found most heart warming about Baba was his human side.  Maybe not quite as spectacular in the eyes of the average devotee, but he had this way of showing his human-ness in the most simplistic of ways; ways that really touched the heart.   He always used to say that we should never try to comprehend him because he was quite simply beyond comprehension.  But he also used to say that the reason he walked among us, breathed the same air and ate and spoke just like any other normal human being was so we could relate to him.  So, I suppose it’s for this reason that there was also something incredibly human about Baba.

The late professor Gokak who was very close to Swami for a number of years recalled the time when he accompanied Baba on a trip.  The professor spoke of how Baba had forgotten his razor, saying “so I just gave him mine”.  He also spoke of how easy it was to forget just who Baba really was because sometimes “we would laugh and joke together and in those moments he was simply my friend.”  But one of the most amusing stories I ever heard was when Swami was much younger and he took a party to the Himalayas.  He played snowballs with the group and also enjoyed himself on a sledge.   But during the same trip he visited a cave-dwelling sage and gave him the ultimate blessing by showing him his cosmic form.

I was once blessed with experiencing Swami’s human-ness first hand whilst sitting in darshan during my first trip to Prasanthi Nilayam.  I’d managed to get myself a prime spot directly opposite where Swami used to make his entrance; I couldn’t believe my luck, and what happened next was absolutely amazing.

Sitting just along from me, to my right, was a man.  Behind him was a younger man holding a child.  She was a beautiful little girl and they were obviously all connected.  At one point the younger man passed the little girl to the man in front and he had her on his lap fanning her.  Immediately two Seva Dals approached and told the man that the child would have to be passed back.  This made the Seva Dals look particularly mean, but I didn’t realise it at the time that children were not allowed in the front row.  Apparently there had been various incidents over the years and eventually the ruling was made that children were no longer allowed to sit in the front row.  The man protested long and hard but in the end he had to relent and pass the child back to the younger man.  I also felt for the Seva Dals because on the whole they do a fantastic job, they are all volunteers and it was not the fault of the two Seva Dals in question.  The beautiful thing about this though, is that I was one of only a handful of people who actually saw this story unfold in its entirety, and I feel privileged that Swami engineered this so that I could witness it.

As Baba approached one of the men gave the little girl a letter and they stood her up so that Baba could see.  He has a way of letting his attendants know when to stop and when to start and which direction to wheel him in etc.  The child held the letter out to Baba and he halted and motioned for her to come forward.  He took the letter and she bent down and touched his feet.  He then blessed her and a cheeky grin broke out on his face.  As it did so a huge cheer went up and the section of the crowd that had seen this wonderful event in detail applauded.

It was Swami’s way of letting us know that he knew what had happened with regard to the child not being allowed to sit in the front row; and there is simply no way that he could have seen the earlier incident as he was still in his quarters at the time.  The face of the child’s father was an absolute picture and it was a truly wonderful gesture by Baba.  The unfortunate thing is that because the hall was so packed only those near the front were a party to this amazing event, and only a handful saw the whole event from start to finish.  I am truly privileged to be one of that handful.

Baba must have been about ten feet or so away from me when he called the child forward.  It was fantastic for me seeing Swami face on, and what I found striking was that as he approached he looked absolutely beautiful.  I never thought I would ever describe a man as being beautiful, but Baba was not of this earth.  He looked so tiny in his wheelchair but the power he gave off was absolutely awesome.

It’s now seven months since dear Swami discarded his physical form, and it would be ridiculous to say that his form is not missed by devotees everywhere.  But everyone I speak to says the same thing; since Swami left his body it seems as though he is even more Omnipresent than ever.  His love seems to be even more prominent than it was; if that is at all possible.  I, for example, have lost count of the times since April 24 that he has made his presence felt within my heart and my eyes have filled with tears of joy.  There’s definately something bubbling under, and I can’t wait for it to surface.

 

 

Sai Humour 5


I would like to share with you three more amusing littles stories from the Sai Humour series of articles.

In the interview room once Sai Baba asked a devotee ”how do you spell wife”?  Before the man could answer Baba said  ”W.I.F.E, Worry Invited For Ever”.  Then seeing the look of disappointment on the face of the man’s wife he corrected himself and very sweetly said ”Wisdom Invited For Ever”.

A young man with long hair was amongst a number of devotees who had been called for a group interview one day.  After teasing the man for looking like a woman Baba told him to get a haircut.  The man said ”will you cut the first lock Swami”.  Shaking his head in mock horror Baba said ”I am Baba not barber”!

The American Dr John Hislop was blessed with having spent a lot of time with Swami before he left this Earth in 1996.  One day Hislop was invited along with Baba and other devotees to the house of a very well meaning devotee for lunch.  On seeing that there was not going to be enough food to go round Baba said to Hislop ”go to the car and bring the food”.  Hislop, knowing that there was no food in the car went anyway, expecting Baba to have performed one of his miracles.  But even he did not expect the sight that greeted him.  He was astounded to see two angels, complete with wings, standing by the car holding trays of food.  He took the trays and went back in the house with his mouth wide open in amazement.  On seeing the look on his face Baba said ”shut your mouth Hislop, they are always there, it’s just that you do not see them”!

Sai Humour 4


Sri Sathya Sai Baba was born Sathya Narayana Raju on November 23 1926 and started performing miracles from the age of three.  His playmates in the village nicknamed him ”Guru” because he held them spellbound with his materializations and stories containing profound spiritual teachings.  As a young schoolboy he would materialise pens, pencils, books and sweets for his schoolmates, who were invariably very poor and whose parents could not afford to buy them.  Of course, as well as winning many friends and admirers, the fact that little Sathya was obviously very special stirred up feelings of envy, suspicion and even hatred in the hearts of those who were jealous of his popularity; there was even two attempts on his life when he was young.  But that will be the subject of another article on another day.

One who succumbed to his own jealousy, and paid the price with his dignity, was none other than one of the teachers at young Raju’s primary school.  This particular teacher was very suspicious of the boy and always assumed that he was up to no good with his so-called materializations.  He had been watching Sathya, and on seeing him giving out pencils and books etc. on this particular day, assumed that he had stolen them.  As a punishment he made the boy stand up on a bench in class.  At the end of the lesson, the sight that beheld the teacher who came to take the next lesson must have been truly something to behold.

On entering the classroom the relief teacher was amazed to see that his colleague was still sitting in his chair with a very embarrassed look on his face, and that young Sathya was standing up on the bench.  However, this particular teacher was one that recognised the boy’s Divinity and he loved Sathya dearly; to the extent that he knew exactly what had happened.  As he approached, his red-faced colleague  explained that he was stuck in the chair and could not move.  Trying to suppress his amusement, the relief teacher explained to his colleague that he had better ask Sathya to step down from the bench.  He did this immediately and found that he was straight away able to stand up from the chair.  Needless to say he never accused the boy of stealing again.

Sai Humour 3


I am prompted today to recall a truly funny prank that Sri Sathya Sai Baba pulled on some of his students some years ago at his mountain ashram in Kodai Kanal.  Swami enjoyed the cooler climate at Kodai and would normally visit late March/early April time.

It is well known that Baba would often use humour in demonstrating spiritual lessons, and on this particular occasion, he had decided that his students at Kodai had been slacking and needed a wake up call.  I am not exactly sure why, but I believe that Baba felt that the students were concentrating too much on his physical form and not on his teachings.  If any reader has heard this story before and has more accurate detail then I would ask you to leave a comment so that I can update the post.

The students were very, very excited, as always, at the prospect of Baba’s visit.  But they were left completely and utterly baffled by Swami’s attitude and manner towards them on his arrival as March was nearing its end.  Instead of greeting them in his usual way with loving smiles and words he completely ignored them; there was not so much as even a glance.  The students couldn’t understand this and were extremely upset; they simply couldn’t understand why their Swami, whom they loved so much, would neither speak to them nor look at them.

The students became more and more distraught as the days went by and their beloved Swami continued to ignore them.  When he passed them on campus he simply looked towards the ground and walked by without a word, a glance or a smile.  It got to the point where the students started to argue amongst themselves as they sought an explanation of Baba’s apparently strange behaviour.  Fingers were pointed and accusations flew around as emotions became more and more fraught.  I believe that this went on for around ten days until finally, as March bade its farewell and April descended, the students could take no more and decided to confront Baba.  This was unheard of but they were so desperately distraught that they waited until Swami was walking in the grounds and confronted him.  As they did so Baba, still keeping his head down, raised his eyes in their direction, and with a cheeky grin on his face said ”April fool” and walked off.