Who Am I? Part Twenty Two


You may recall that I shared with you the story surrounding the book, “Discover Your Psychic Powers”, by Tara Ward? Well, what I didn’t say was that when I went to buy it, another book jumped out at me, “Psychic Surgeon”, by Grant Soloman. In fact, this book jumped out at me before I even clapped eyes on the Tara Ward book, so I ended up buying both of them. Hold that thought because I’ll be returning to this in the next post…

Sitting in the development circle run by John Geis was the best thing that happened to me since I found Wood Green Karate Club back in 1974.I became disciplined in daily meditation and I seemed to be going in the right direction. I was now back at work too and I’d moved out of the flat in Gorse Hill. All-in-all life had got much better; there was still the little matter of my drinking but I will also be coming to that in the next post. John’s group sat in the living room, while his wife Sue’s group sat in the healing room. Afterwards the two groups would gather in the healing room and chat over tea and biscuits. The healing room was a wonderful room; it had such a beautiful energy that it was impossible not to feel at peace when you were in there. Around the walls there were various paintings and pictures of holy men and spirit guides etc. We had Christ, the Dalai Lama and also a small picture of an Indian man with hair like Jimi Hendrix. He had one or both of his arms (I can’t remember exactly) raised as if in blessing. I noticed the picture but didn’t pay too much attention to it; I suppose mainly because I didn’t have a clue who it was and I wasn’t inspired to ask about the man’s identity.

many months later, Sue’s group had undergone some changes and she had a new set of people sitting with her. One of these people was a man called John. One night, before group started, myself, John Geis and the other John were standing chatting in the healing room. Somehow, the conversation got around to the Indian man with fuzzy hair in the picture. I said casually, “who’s that, one of them guru blokes”. John Geis looked at me in disgust and said, “that’s God”! I didn’t understand what he meant and I didn’t realise it at the time, but in that moment, Sri Sathya Sai Baba introduced himself to me and it was the start of a great love affair. It was always impossible to describe with words just who or what Baba actually was; he always used to say, “You can never comprehend who I am, so don’t try”. He has been described as a holy man, a saint, God in human form, an Avatar* and much, much more. But for me, the simplest explanation, and what I truly believe in accordance with my actual experiences of Baba, is that he was a ray of light direct from source, in its absolute purest form, that took human birth in a physical body.

The difference between Baba and Christ, for example, is that Baba was a full Avatar, which means that he took birth with all the powers that he displayed (and many more that he didn’t display), and he was performing miracles at the age of three. Whereas Christ, although a highly evolved soul, had to go through an awakening process to realise the truth of his being. I’m not going to go too deeply into all my experiences with Baba, or Swami as I called him, because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, and I’ve already written so much about him in several of my books. Instead, I’m just going to give a bit of an outline and let the reader carry out further research as they wish.

Sai Baba was born in Puttaparthi, a remote village in southern India, on November 23, 1926, and given the family name of Satya Narayana Raju. From a very young age he was materialising books and pencils for his playmates out of thin air, quoting ancient scriptures word for word and composing wonderful music and poetry. He was beaten and even subjected to torture by his family who thought he was possessed by evil spirits. But at the age of 14, after many, many miracles and being hailed as guru by the villagers, Satya Narayana announced his Divinity and his mission for mankind, and was henceforth known as Sai Baba. As word of this incredible God-Man spread, Puttaparthi started to attract visitors from all over India and eventually the whole world. An ashram was built, which after a while simply couldn’t cope with the throngs of visitors from the four corners of the globe. The ashram, known as Prashanthi Nilayam (Abode of The Highest Peace) eventually expanded into a township in its own right, with shops, a post office, a bank, a police station and various other outlets. The darshan* hall alone holds 20,000 people, and every year millions of people pass through Prashanthi hoping for healing and guidance.

I was fortunate enough to visit Prashanthi on two occasions. However, by the time Baba gave me the inner call in 2009, and again in 2010, the ashram was just so busy, that especially during festival times, it made Vatican Square on new Pope day look like an empty room. As you would expect, there was also an element of negative press associated with swami; indeed some horrendous things were written about him over the years that were very upsetting for devotees. But swami just ignored all the negative stuff and quietly went about his mission. The negative press generally came from people who either had no experience of Baba, or who had experience of him but became bitter when he did not give them his undivided attention. The closest I ever managed to get to him was about 4-5 feet. By this time his physical form was very frail and he was in a wheelchair. However, I’ve written this about him so many times in the past and I’m going to write it again. He was an incredibly beautiful being. It was obvious to me that he was not of this world; he had a really dead-pan look on his face, but when he smiled it made your heart melt. He radiated pure love and I am eternally grateful that the Avatar took me under his wing.

For me his two greatest miracles are his fresh drinking water project and his series of Super Speciality Hospitals. Swami’s fresh drinking water project, which is ongoing, started in 1994 and its aim was to supply remote villages in India with potable water. It was the largest project of its kind ever undertaken by mankind, but thanks to Baba over 800 (and counting) villages have been supplied with a fresh supply of drinking water. Also, Swami has built several Super Speciality Hospitals where the poor and needy can get specialist heart and eye treatments completely free of charge. An architect that had undertaken work for the British Royal Family said that the planning alone for such a bold venture would take five years and the building many more years. Yet the plans for the first hospital, erected on the outskirts of Puttaparthi, took just five months, and seven months later no less than three heart procedures were carried out on the day the hospital opened.

I wrote about Baba more extensively in my book, The Amazing Journey, so I’m going to bring this post to a close now. However, Swami will pop up again before I complete my story. Below you will find links to a couple of old blog posts relating to Baba, a you tube video of his famous vibhuti (sacred ash) miracle and to my page on this blog devoted to The Amazing Journey

*Avatar – The descent of God into a physical body. Even though all of us are a descent of God into a physical body, an Avatar is the descent of God in its purest form into a physical body.

*Darshan – Within the sight of a Divine being.

Blog Post It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

Blog Post God Goes Home

The Amazing Journey

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Elephants Are Human Too


It is probably the greatest love story in the history of the planet; The Avatar, Sri Sathya Sai Baba and Sai Gheeta the elephant.  Years ago a tiny elephant was crying out in the bush, all alone and afraid.  Some miles away in the village of Puttaparthi a “young” Avatar in the shape of Baba heard the infant’s cry and went to its rescue.  The elephant was so small that Baba was able to pick it up and put it in the back of a Land Rover; and so was born, the greatest love story ever.  Swami called the elephant “Sai Gheeta” and the two were together until May 2007 when Sai Gheeta departed this earth.  The elephant absolutely loved Baba beyond words and would get very agitated if ever he had to go away.  On one occasion Sai Gheeta kicked up such a fuss when he sensed Baba was leaving the ashram that Baba actually abandoned his engagement.

I remember watching a video that aptly demonstrated the pure and unconditional love that existed between Avatar and elephant.  Baba, in pristine orange robe, was petting Sai Gheeta who had a lot of saliva coming from his mouth.  Swami’s upper robe became drenched with elephant saliva but he simply carried on petting his loving devotee and didn’t even bat an eyelid.

After Sai Gheeta left his body Swami acquired another elephant, a female this time, who we were told was called “San Gheeta”.  During my first visit to Puttaparthi it did not even occur to me to find out where the elephant was kept and go and pay my respects; in fact, during my first visit in October 2009 I did not even realise that Sai Gheeta was no longer in his body.  However, during my second visit in February 2010 my then girlfriend, Ciara, mentioned Baba’s elephant and said we should find out where it’s kept and go and have a look.  We established that the elephant compound was up the road from the ashram, past The Hill View Stadium and on the other side of the road; approximately three-quarters of a mile away.  So, towards the end of our stay we decided to pay the elephant a visit.  We did a recce and found the compound and also found out the time when San Gheeta would be let out for her daily exercise.

The time came to go and visit the elephant compound, but as we set out we had no idea that Baba was to shower us in his blessings and grace beyond our wildest dreams.  The designated time for San Gheeta to appear was 4.00 p.m., but, as anyone who has visited India will be able to tell you, this is 4.00 p.m. Indian time.  What this means basically is that it could be anytime.  But we arrived outside the compound gate and waited patiently.  A seva dal arrived soon after and he confirmed that 4.00 p.m. was indeed the time for San Gheeta’s exercise.  As you can imagine 4.00 p.m. came and went and there was no sign of San Gheeta.  We looked through the wrought iron gate for any sign of activity, but there did not seem to be anything going on.  I should also point out that you are not normally allowed inside the compound.

All of a sudden, out of the blue, a seva dal came and unlocked the gate and ushered us inside (along with another man with a small child).  We couldn’t believe our luck!  As we entered the compound the Samadhi (tomb or resting place) of Sai Gheeta was on the right.  We were ushered a bit further on and then around to the left was San Gheeta with her mahout (keeper).  At first we did not like what we saw.  The elephant had chains around her feet and appeared to be in distress.  But we came to the conclusion that she was quite boisterous and would need to be restrained at times; she would also have been excited knowing that it was time for her exercise.  She was obviously very young, but absolutely huge.  The mahout unfastened the chains and guided her out of her little compound within the compound.

Ciara had a camera with her and the seva dals said we could take as many photos as we liked, and we took full advantage of this (see pic below).  She was absolutely beautiful.  Her eyes were just like human eyes, only much bigger, and she was gurgling just like a baby.  But what was really amazing was that she was SMILING.  Yes, San Gheeta was smiling; and her smile looked so human.  She just stood there while we petted her; it was such a fantastic experience and we knew that it had been engineered by Swami.  It was soon time to take the elephant out for her exercise and we followed as the mahout guided her to the compound gate.  Once outside she was guided right, down along the main road through Puttaparthi.  It was quite amusing really because she was just plodding along, looking so happy with this grin on her beautiful face, but because she was so huge we had to almost jog to keep up.  There was a video facility on Ciara’s camera that allowed five minutes recording time, so I recorded a five-minute video of proceedings.  Outside the compound we were joined by a Russian lady with her child who tried to feed San Gheeta bananas as she thundered along the road.  We then turned left into The Hill View Stadium, which sadly, meant that our amazing experience with the most beautiful of creatures was over; it all seemed to happen so quickly.  In the photo below, San Gheeta can be seen exiting the Samadhi of Sai Gheeta.  We were told that she likes to go into the samadhi as if she is making a spiritual connection with her departed “brother”, and this is exactly what she did on her way out of the compound.

Ciara and I split up soon after returning to England so I no longer have access to that video.  But I often think about the time we spent in the company of San Gheeta, all because of the loving grace of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.  I will never forget her eyes, her gurgling sounds and her wonderful smile. Who says elephants aren’t human!

The Divine Teaser Part Two


In part two of The Divine Teaser I would like to share with you a little story that relates to my second visit to Prasanthi Nilayam, in February 2010.  As in part one, this event happened on my last day and it is also a prime example of Sai humour.

I went with a companion on my second visit, my then girlfriend, Ciara.  We decided to stay the first night in a good hotel and then see about accommodation on the ashram or find a simple apartment.  A significant thing also was that when we planned our trip we did not realise that it would coincide with Maha Shivaratri; one of the busiest festival times of the year.  The ashram had been unbelievably busy during my first visit, which coincided with Diwali and Gujarati New Year, but this time the volume of people was just unreal.  Because Ciara had a stomach condition, that meant she was in a great deal of pain for most of our stay, we ended up just staying in a very basic apartment for the duration.  Once the festival was under way we didn’t have much choice anyway because it would have been nigh-on impossible to find an alternative, what with the sheer numbers of people in the village.  I’d known before we set off that this trip was about her and not me.  I knew in my heart that Swami was calling Ciara; I also knew that he was aware of her stomach pains and that the harsh conditions of the ashram would have been too much for her to cope with.

Our apartment was down a side street but opposite a shop that sold T-shirts.  The motifs on the T-shirts were machined on the premises and the noise from the sewing machine was deafening.  As a result we did not sleep that well during the whole of our stay, but we kind of got used to it as the days passed.

Because of the volume of people in Puttaparthi (and on the ashram itself), I didn’t even bother to go through the business of laying my cushion down early in the hope of getting a place in the first line; I was just content to sit anywhere in Sai Kulwant Hall, and quite often I just sat at the back.  However, by the time we reached the last day of our stay Shivaratri was over, the crowds subsided and I decided that I was going to have one last go at getting as close as I could to Sri Sathya Sai Baba.  I knew that it would not only be my last darshan of the trip, but my last darshan ever, because Swami had already let me know that I would not be returning to Puttaparthi.  Baba has a way of letting you know things on an inner level, in the same way that he calls the millions and millions of devotees to the ashram; it’s just something that you know; words and physical presence are not necessary.

So, come mid-morning I lay my cushion down in the line to reserve my place and then went off about my business.  Early-ish afternoon I returned and took my place with my cushion along with the other hopefuls, and waited for the comedy capers to begin.  For the benefit of anyone reading this who has never been to Prasanthi Nilayam for the darshan of Sri Sathya Sai Baba I shall briefly explain the process of “the lines”.  Once morning darshan has finished you are allowed to go and place your cushion down in a designated area in order to reserve your place in the queue for evening darshan.  Once your cushion has been placed you can disappear until mid afternoon (but in the meantime hope that nobody steals your cushion and/or your place in the queue).  Once the first line of cushions stretches back up the hill until it can’t go any further, another queue is formed next to it.  At around 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. the queues are moved down alongside Sai Kulwant Hall.  This is where the fun begins because you get people who have not been queueing trying to sneak in and this can develop into pushing and shoving.  The two lines are then formed into four lines alongside the hall.  At some point the four people at the head of each line are invited to draw a token out of a bag, and whichever line draws token number one gets to go into the hall first, thus getting the chance to sit right at the front and get close to Baba.  Running is supposed to be strictly forbidden in such a sacred place, but as soon as people get inside they go tearing down to the front as though their lives depend on it.

I couldn’t believe my luck when the line I was in drew token number one.  Now before I go any further I will just say this.  Anyone who has had experience of Swami will know that he quite often plays Divine games (leelas), not only that, he sometimes gives us our own personal leela.  So, there I was in the line that drew token number one; things just couldn’t get any better, I was going to see my loving Lord’s Divine form one more time before leaving.  I got into the hall and sure enough people started running towards the front.  I tried my hardest to be disciplined but the trouble is, because of the runners, even though you may be in line one, if everyone runs past you and takes up all the spaces on the front row, then you wont get your prime spot.  So, seeing what was happening I convinced myself that Swami wouldn’t mind and I broke out into a trot.  However, because of other people’s selfishness I did not get my place in the front row.  But I still got a great position in row two directly opposite where Baba comes out.  There was two people sitting in front of me but I was sitting directly in the middle of their two sets of shoulders so I had a really good view; I was very excited and thanked Swami for getting me this spot.  As I have mentioned in previous posts it had got to the stage where Baba very rarely came out for morning darshan anymore, but you could bet your shirt on him coming out for evening darshan.

So I sat in my prime position, the Vedas were chanted and the bhajans were sung.  The time was getting on, so “anytime now” I thought to myself; I would see that orange robe in the distance and my heart would explode with love and my eyes would fill with tears of joy.  Then I would watch in anticipation as Baba came closer and closer to where I was sitting and I would get a really good glimpse of him.  “You never know”, I thought, “I might even get that all elusive eye contact.”  The bhajans went on and on, “yes, anytime now”, I thought again; and on and on they went.  Then I noticed something that I must admit, I found rather amusing.  There was an older Indian man sitting near me who kept looking around as though he was trying to attract the attention of anyone who would entertain him.  As he looked around with a very indignant look on his face he kept pointing at his watch, as if to say “what time does he call this”.  Then he would point and gesticulate with his hands as if miming “just who does he think he is, keeping us waiting like this”.  Then to my amazement ararthi* was called and the man got up and walked off in a huff.  The realization then dawned on me that Baba was having a bit of amusement in the way that only Baba can.

Every now and then Swami used to remind us that we were becoming far too attached to his physical form, and this was one such occasion.  I also felt that this was his way of telling me that I shouldn’t take things for granted.  I must admit that I was a bit disappointed that my dear Swami never came out, knowing that I wouldn’t see his physical form again, but I also saw the funny side and had a good old chuckle to myself.  In truth the whole thing was just one of Swami’s leelas.  There I was running (I’m ashamed to admit it) in Sai Kulwant Hall because I was scared of losing my place in the front row, but the reality is that we only ever sit where Swami puts us.  We all think that we are in control but all the time the Divine puppet master is having his play.  I have no room for complaint anyway because dear Baba had already blessed us beyond our wildest dreams before this incident occurred, and that will be the subject of a future blog post.

As long as I remain on this Earth I will never forget the sight of that man pointing at his watch and complaining that Sri Sathya Sai Baba was keeping us waiting; absolutely priceless.

*Arathi, aarthi or aarti (from the Sanskrit term Aaraatrik) is the ritual performed at the end of every darshan, in which the flame from wicks soaked in camphor is offered to the Divine. Aartis also refers to the song which is sung as darshan comes to a close.

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.

It’s All A Matter Of Perspective


It’s an amazing thing, perspective; it’s all to do with how we perceive things as individuals.  One man’s success is another man’s failure and what may seem fantastic to one person may be run-of-the-mill to another.  I would like to share with you a personal experience that I believe illustrates this very aptly.

In October 2009 when I went to the ashram, Prasanthi Nilayam (Abode of the Highest Peace), of Sri Sathya Sai Baba for the first time, I met an Australian man named Dave.  ”Aussie Dave” as I called him, was just one of many wonderful characters that I encountered during my two-week stay.  I first spoke to Dave after darshan one evening.  I can’t remember the circumstances, but I do remember having seen him around the ashram and in darshan before then.  He was a big man, but when you spoke to him you realised he had a heart of gold.  After our encounter in the darshan hall I bumped into him a couple more times before he went back to Australia.  There was one particular conversation I had with him that I found both interesting and surprising.  I should point out here that whenever devotees of Baba cross paths it is always, without exception, because Baba has engineered it; and there is always a reason.

I was in awe of many of the people I spoke to during my stay, and Dave was no exception,  because Baba had only come into my life in 2001 and this was the first time I’d received the call.  Dave had been a devotee for many years and had experiences with Swami that I could only ever dream about.  He showed me a ring he was wearing that Baba had materialised for him; he also said that this was his eighth visit to Prasanthi (sometimes he brought his wife but on this occasion he’d travelled alone) and not only had he been granted interviews with Baba as part of a group, but he’d also had a personal interview as well.  I was green with envy, but not in a bad way; I was very happy for him that Swami had showered him with so much grace, but at the same time I was thinking ”I wish I’d had those experiences too”.  He also told me what I thought was quite an amusing story.

On the occasion in question he’d travelled to Prasanthi alone and was lucky enough to have been summoned with some other devotees for a group interview.  He told how Baba had been speaking to him and suddenly left and went into an adjoining room.  Dave said that Swami seemed to take an age before he came back and there had also been crashing sounds coming from the other room; as if filing cabinets were being opened and closed.  He went on to say that Baba suddenly appeared again, threw one of his robes at him and said ”here, give that to your wife”!

Anyway, I digress, back to perspective and the point of this article.  There I was in awe of this man’s experiences with my wonderful Swami, he’d visited the ashram eight times, had group and personal interviews, had a ring that Swami materialised for him and he also had one of Baba’s coveted robes back home in Australia.  It all made my experiences seem so trivial.  After all, apart from the astral experience I had with Baba in December 2006, my encounters with my loving Guru consisted mainly of visitations during dream state.  But, when I shared with Dave my humble exploits with the ”God Man” I was dumbfounded to hear him say ”I’ve never experienced anything like that”.  He was genuinely amazed when I shared my experiences with him.

I’ve always heard devotees say that Baba knows us all inside out and he only ever gives us exactly what we need for our long-term spiritual growth and well-being.  He also only connects with us in ways that we can best relate to him; and I would agree with that 100%.  I often think of that conversation I had with Aussie Dave and still try to get my head around why, a man who’d had such incredible first hand experiences with The Avatar of the age, would be so amazed at mine, which seemed so trivial compared to his.  Having said that, I remain the only person I know who has had an astral experience with Baba.

I know there was a special lesson for me contained within that conversation.  I know also that I am ever so grateful for the experiences that I’ve had with Sri Sathya Sai Baba, even if they don’t seem as spectacular as some other people’s.

But I suppose it’s all just a matter of perspective!

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover


Another thing that I wrote about in my book, Astral Travelling, The Avatar and Me, was my disgust at well-heeled Westerners in Puttaparthi lavishly dressed in Indian robes whilst tinkering with their expensive gadgets in the “Hanuman Hill Rock Cafe” (no hills and no rocks in this establishment by the way).  But Baba had many ways of gently chiding me, as a loving Mother would a child, and showing me that he really did treat ALL in exactly the same way.  There was a number of occasions during my first visit in October 2009 when Swami brought this particular personal prejudice to my attention.  My thinking was, that considering the unbelievable poverty in India, if rich Westerners wanted to go to Puttaparthi and pretend to be Indian for a few weeks, then they should have lived in mud huts during their stay and deprived themselves of food.  In my book I told of one such man, Tony,  whom I wrongly presumed to be Italian.  Tony turned out to be from Hertfordshire in the UK, not far from where I was born.  But the purpose of this post is to illustrate how Baba gives us constant reminders of the faults that we ourselves need to work on and overcome, and how he does this with the most impeccable timing.

I had seen another man on the ashram (who also looked Italian), he was quite a large man, dressed in expensive looking robes.  One day he was wearing a blue Indian style robe and trousers, and even had cuff links on the sleeves.  I noticed this and the demon in me rose up as I pondered why someone would feel the need to dress in such a way in the house of God.  When my stay came to an end I brought some amazing memories back home to the UK with me, and for some reason the image of this man in his expensive looking robes stayed with me too.  It wasn’t long before I found out why.

In February 2010 I was blessed to receive the call again and made my second visit to Prashanthi Nilayam.  To my amazement I noticed that many of the faces I had seen around the ashram during my first visit were still there.  Although you are only actually allowed to stay on the ashram for a limited period of time, these people were obviously staying in the village in private accommodation.  I even bumped into Goran, a Croatian man who I shared a room with during my first visit.  Lo and behold I also caught glimpses of the large Italian looking man (still wearing expensive looking robes) on a number of occasions.

Now at this time Baba’s health was not what it used to be and he no longer glided along amongst the masses during darshan.  It had got to the point where interviews were becoming more and more rare and Swami would not come out as often as he used to.  During morning darshan for instance, Swami would very seldom make an appearance.  So I was utterly amazed when I was sitting in darshan one day towards the end of my stay……. who did I see making his way towards the interview room in the mandir?  Correct!  It was the large Italian looking man, looking resplendent in his finest robes.  Swami had choreographed proceedings so that I was sitting in exactly the right place at the right time to be able to observe this.  Showing me once and for all that God has no prejudice, no judgement and embraces all of his children with the same limitless unconditional love.

In spite of Swami’s noble efforts I still haven’t quite mastered the lesson of not judging a book by its cover.  If I was still at school my report would say “must do better”!