Who Am I? Part Thirty Four


I stated right at the beginning of my story that I always felt that I never belonged anywhere, and that remains the case today. The only difference between now and then, is that these days I understand why. It’s just as well because I don’t think I’ve ever felt more different that I do now. Even within the spiritual environment I have never felt as though I fitted in; I have never been mainstream with regard to my work as a medium. As a result of this, over the last few years I have questioned even more the purpose of me carrying on with this type of work. Work that is so far removed from the reality of Self and which relies on the presence of the false-self in order to function. Work that will ultimately only serve to hold me back (due to its dualistic nature). Hence, in the last few years more and more of my regular churches and centres stopped booking me, and I too, became much more choosy with regard to which ones I served. The culmination of this is that this coming Sunday, 3 December 2017, I will be taking my last Divine Service. It will be at the spiritualist church in Stroud; which was one of the first centres I served way back in 2002. They say you should never say never, but there would have to be some really special reason for me to stand up as a medium again.

I mentioned in a previous post the feeling of not being a part of the chaos that goes on around us in the world; but rather, simply being a witness. Well that is something else that has become more and more prominent these last few years. Another thing I wanted to mention is that I have also pulled away from the Sai Baba groups as well. They undoubtedly do a lot of good work, but something that sticks in my mind is this. When Swami walked among us he would always emphasise that he was not the body, and that we should not worship his physical form. But even though Swami gave up his body in April 2011, I still find devotees bowing down to photos and worshipping them. Swami remains in my heart, but I have no attachment to photos.

I suppose this last post in the series (apart from the summary post) is really all about tying up a few loose ends, so there is a couple of things that I will touch on here to take us up to the end of Part Thirty Three.

A wise man once said that the universe only exists when there is an observer; and of course, this is true, as we ourselves create the world in which we live via our thoughts. All that exists is consciousness; which vibrates as energy at varying degrees of subtlety. What we see as the world is a combination of two things; a reflection of what is going on inside us, and our mind’s interpretation of the particular vibration we are gazing at. Which brings me onto my out-of-body experiences. I believe I mentioned earlier in my story that somebody once asked me, “why, what’s the point”? It made me think, and I came to the conclusion that they occurred in order that I could inform others that there most certainly is more than what we experience here in the physical world. That’s fine, but I now look at things from a different angle. Firstly, you can only have an out-of-body experience if you assume that the body actually exists. Secondly, as everything we can see in this world is mind construct, it must stand to reason that everything we can see in the astral worlds must also be mind construct; albeit at a different level of vibration. Therefore my view now of what I once believed were incredible astral adventures, is that they have the same meaning as standing up and demonstrating mediumship or slapping someone around the face with a wet Kipper; in other words, they only have the meaning I choose to give them and in ultimate reality they don’t exist. These days my out-of-body experiences are very few and far between, and those that I have are very rarely worth writing about.

I would also like to mention something that I first wrote about in 2010; this is something I learned from my two visits to India. Westerners, understandably, have a habit of reacting to the extreme poverty they witness (especially concerning children) when visiting countries such as India, by wanting to help. This is very commendable, and some Westerners actually try to do something during their visit that they believe will help those in need. However, we need to be really careful how and when we do this, because we can actually end up causing more harm than good. As visitors, we don’t always understand the culture of the community we find ourselves in. I noticed in Puttaparthi that people can get very jealous if they see others in similar situations to themselves, seemingly being given preferential treatment by visitors. When we visit these countries we are only there for a matter of weeks before we move on. Once we have gone, those that we helped may be the subject of retribution by those who are jealous. They can be ostracized, or even beaten. There are quite often official organisations who will accept donations towards their projects. In many cases you can even decide where your money goes. In India, for example, if you wanted to donate Rs1000, you could ask for Rs250 to go towards feeding the poor, Rs250 to go towards a women’s shelter, Rs250 to go towards helping children and Rs250 to go towards an animal shelter. Or any amount and any combination that you wish.

My dear friends, I will return soonest with Who Am I? The Epilogue. Take care!

 

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Who Am I? Part Thirty One


Selena House Nursing Home in Swindon, which was closed down in 2012 due to malpractice.

This is probably the longest blog post ever! Take a coffee break if necessary, but read to the end, you won’t be disappointed!

I have just been reminded that the name of the nursing home where Mrs H stayed was Selena House; and that is where I’m going to begin this post. Within a month of moving into the home my mum became very ill and was admitted to hospital; GWH in Swindon; the same hospital where she had received such appalling treatment before. At some stage I had a telephone conversation with a consultant who told me that my mum had come to the end of her life and probably only had a couple of hours left. She went on to say that there was a chance my mum might last a couple of days, but in all likelihood she would be gone in a couple of hours. I explained to the consultant that there was no such thing as death and agreed with her that when Mrs H was considered “well” enough, she would be taken back to Selena House where she would be given TLC until she expired.

I was booked to do a clairvoyant demonstration in Bristol that afternoon, and that’s what I did. I was of the opinion that if the Divine wanted me to be with my mum when she left this life, then it would happen. It would make no odds if I went flying to Swindon like a bat out of hell to be at her side, or whether I didn’t. When I arrived at Selena House in the evening, five or six hours after my conversation with the consultant, my mum was asleep in the lounge. A member of staff woke her up and she then sat up and had a sandwich. She would go on to have two more birthdays.

Selena House after the fire.

In April 2009 I noticed that there were no longer any lucid moments at all. Mrs H had zero mobility, she was doubly incontinent and now what little mind she had, was gone completely. I’d had a lot of pleasure getting to know this “new” person who had once been my mother, but it now seemed that after several false alarms, she was at last getting ready to leave her body. During the early hours of the morning of May 11 2009, I got a call from the night staff at Selena House informing me that my mum was very poorly. As before, I knew that it would not change anything if I went bombing off to Swindon. I visited at my usual time of around mid-day. I went into my mum’s room and she was indeed at the point of no return. Her mouth was dry, her eyes had glazed over and she had the rattle in her throat. I wet her lips, and placing my hands on her, I asked the higher power to allow the energy of love to flow through me. Afterwards, I noticed that she had some colour in her face. I knew that at a soul level she was absolutely fine and would soon be free. I then left in the knowledge that I would never see Mrs H in physical form again. At 00.40 am the following morning, the duty nurse rang me and advised that Mrs H was about to expire, and less than a minute later she breathed her last. I was very relieved and happy that a wonderful soul was now free.

In 2012 Selena House was closed down by the authorities for malpractice, and some time after, the building was damaged by fire.

In a way, through my annoyance (I think anger is too strong a word) and frustration at family for their complete and utter lack of interest in my mum’s situation, I actually felt sorry for them. For the last four and a half years I’d had an enriching experience getting to know a new person and actually had some very joyous moments, whereas they had missed out. They didn’t miss out on their inheritance though! My mum had very little by today’s standards, and it had to be shared between me and my brother, the three grown-up kids from his first marriage and his two grand kids. At the time of writing it is over eight years since my mum’s funeral, and apart from bumping into my nephew in Swindon a couple of times, I’ve not seen any of them since.

In July 2009 I started to question more and more my work as a medium. In the space of less than a week there had been two incidents in Spiritualist churches I served that really made me think that I was wasting my time. Spiritualism had always given me the impression that it was stuck in the past, but I had evolved considerably since the days of sitting with Sue and John Geis in Gloucester, and no longer saw the point of constantly obsessing over messages. Many of the people I encountered seemed to have very little understanding of the spirit, and some of the behaviour was beyond me. However, while all this was going on, I received the inner call from Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and in October 2009 I was on my way to Prashanthi Nilayam.

No one can come here unless he is called. Not even 20,000 horses can bring you here if you are not called – Baba

My inheritance afforded me the luxury of being able to book a flight to Bangalore. As with my snow story from a previous post, to save me having to write loads, I’m going to copy and paste a chapter from my last publication, From Logic To Enlightenment. It’s a bit of a seat belt job, so hold on!

The story I’m going to share with you first appeared in my book, Astral Travelling, The Avatar and Me, which was published in 2010, and tells the story of my journey to the ashram of my guru, Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Southern India. 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. The account you are about to read is not a word-for-word repeat of what appeared in those two books, but rather a brand new article specially written for my blog. I decided to share it here because the person I am now is more evolved than the person who wrote the original, therefore the style of writing is slightly different. 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 Baba’s ashram, Prashanthi Nilayam (Abode Of The Highest Peace), but Swami obviously had other ideas and my life went off in another direction. However, cue 2009 and I received the inner calling from the Avatar; and what followed was a truly amazing and somewhat surreal experience. But first here is the best definition of an Avatar that I’ve ever come across. It’s from Author Jonathan Roof’s book Pathways to God:

The word Avatar is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “descent”. An Avatar is a descent of spirit into form. Although all people are spiritual beings encased in mortal bodies, the word Avatar describes the manifestation of God in human form. All people possess a divine inner reality, but few manifest it. The Avatar expresses divinity throughout his incarnation. His earthly career is a sign of his everlasting love for all people.

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…

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 realized (to my horror) that in amongst the throng of people waiting at the exit for passengers, and who were holding up signs with the passengers’ names 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 “wide-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 chapter 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 (Divine play). 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. 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.

The taxi driver directed me to the appropriate block and then off he went on his way. A rather stern and extremely efficient seva dal booked me in, and before I could blink, a coolie grabbed my bag and proceeded to lead me to my “hotel”. When I arrived at block DD2 I could not believe my eyes. It was dormitory accommodation at its most basic! Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think for one minute that it was beneath me, it’s just that I thought I’d left dormitories behind when I left the army all those years ago. The beds were the single metal-framed type and the mattresses had been used by countless devotees over the months and years; the communal facilities were down at the far end.

A rather kindly seva dal must have sensed I was feeling disorientated and confused and he helped me find a decent mattress. Another devotee gave me a spare mosquito net, so all I needed was a shower and some suitable clothing. It was such a relief to get my smelly jeans off and get in the shower. I changed into a pair of lounge pants I’d brought with me and some flip-flops and decided to go and familiarize myself with the ashram and purchase some appropriate clothing. The only problem was that the lounge pants were too big for me and they had no pockets and by the time I got to the shop I realized that it was only open at certain times and I’d missed out; I would have to carry on as I was until the next day.

I couldn’t believe how busy the ashram was; I was getting jostled everywhere I went. It seemed that every corner I turned I was getting pushed and shoved; it was like being in the crowd at a football match. I found this quite intimidating, especially with the lack of sleep; yes, it was turning out to be quite an experience. All of a sudden I was thousands of miles from home and my life seemed to have been turned completely on its head; my comfort zone had been exchanged for searing heat, pushing and shoving, no sleep, confusion, more heat, more pushing and shoving; and I was now feeling even more disorientated and vulnerable. What I also found disturbing was the massive police and military presence on the ashram. After all, was this not The Abode of The Highest Peace? What was with all the machine guns and rifles? I was getting more confused by the minute.

At some stage I wandered past the South Indian canteen, and thinking that it was about time I ate something, I purchased some food coupons from the nearby kiosk and ventured in. I couldn’t believe how cheap the food was; just very simple vegetarian food and it tasted wonderful. I then wandered out again to face another buffeting from the hordes. By this time, I’d realized that my Western flip-flops were not suitable for trudging about in all day and I was now limping from all the blisters on the bottom of my feet. One good thing was that I had established where darshan (within the sight of a Divine being) was to take place and at the appropriate time I hobbled over to the Sai Kulwant Hall in the hope that I might make some sense of all the confusion.

At this early stage I had not been educated in the practice of laying a cushion down after morning darshan in order to reserve a place in the line for evening darshan; all that was to come. Instead I hobbled up to the entrance and was amazed to find that I had to undergo a body search before being allowed in. Now I REALLY was struggling to take it all in. There were already thousands of people seated in the hall and I made my way to a spot that gave me a good view of the mandir (temple). This bit was quite strange because on one hand I felt like a little boy lost, my feet were killing me from the blisters, and being a big softy Westerner, I didn’t get on with having to sit for ages on a hard concrete floor either; to say I was uncomfortable was an understatement. But on the other hand, the Vedic chanting was beautiful; I’d never heard it before, and then all of a sudden it happened. I felt a pulling sensation from within my chest as though someone was actually reaching inside me and pulling on my heart. Then my eyes welled up with tears of joy. I remember thinking to myself, “it must be Swami; Swami must be coming”.

A few moments later, sure enough, I saw his tiny frame appear in the distance as he was wheeled into the hall. This was my first ever sight of the Avatar and I had the most incredible feeling of love come over me; a feeling that I’d never experienced before. I was quite a distance away from Baba, but I could see him clearly and he even seemed to position himself on the mandir in such a way that I had clear sight of him. I knew that he knew I was there and I knew that he did this especially for me. I just wished that I could have made sense of all the other stuff. Anyway, I was sitting on that concrete floor for what seemed like eons when…

All of a sudden there was a CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, a bell started to sound; it was unbelievably loud, similar to a church bell, but just continuous clanging. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I didn’t even know the bell was there, but somehow I’d managed to sit virtually on top of it. On glancing around I realized that the bell was housed in a concrete structure so I hadn’t seen it when I sat down. Having had no sleep and having also been sitting on the stone floor for some time, the bell going off just made me want to scream. But it was a sound I grew to love as the days went by as I learned that it signalled the singing of my favourite devotional song, which was always sung at the end of darshan. When darshan was over I struggled to my feet and hobbled towards the exit. As I did so, one of the many resident pigeons in Sai Kulwant Hall emptied the contents of its bowels all over my arm. “Just about sums up my day”, I thought, as I limped on my way.

The other devotees in my vicinity in DD2 were very helpful; they understood what I was experiencing, but there was a lesson to be learned here. I had been thinking that the ashram should have been called “The Abode Of The Biggest Hassle You Ever Experienced In Your Life”, and not “The Abode Of The Highest Peace”. However, in the bed next to me was an oriental man. He never spoke to anybody, although if you spoke to him he would answer but would not engage in conversation. I couldn’t help but observe his behaviour. All he did was read his spiritual texts, meditate and sleep. He would kneel on the floor and use his bed as a table and read his book of scripture, whatever book it was. He always seemed at peace regardless. That first night in the dormitory was a nightmare for me; I still never slept a wink, so how did HE do it?

My oriental friend had a pre-bedtime meditation and immediately fell asleep. It was as though I was being told that my “Abode Of The Highest Peace” was wherever I made it; and my friend certainly was at peace. I realized afterwards that Swami had engineered the whole thing and that I was being shown that it is possible to find peace wherever you are, if you are spiritually awakened enough to transcend the “nonsense” of the material world. At the time I could not understand how that man managed to find so much peace; the noise in the dormitory at night was unbelievable. There was people coughing and snoring, and getting up to use the facilities. The door into the communal toilets was on a spring, and every time someone got up to use the amenities you heard an almighty BANG as the spring door slammed shut. I tossed and turned all night, my mind dancing around all over the place and playing all kinds of tricks on me. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever sleep again as the first devotees started to get up at around 03:30. The oriental man was one of them. He awoke and immediately had a meditation before getting on with his day. I did not think that I could sink any lower, but Swami had other ideas.

I 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 familiarizing 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 TV 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 realized 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 realized 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.

As you can imagine I was blown away by that. I stand by what I’ve said already, that we are in control of our lives, no matter what. However, the Creative Force that willed the whole game into existence has the power to override the rules any time it wants and turn our lives upside down in the blink of an eye. Baba made sure that I was in no doubt as to who was pulling the strings. I really didn’t have any control of what was happening to me; and that was a frightening feeling I can tell you. But now the sun had risen in my heart and I was off inside the canteen for some food. All of a sudden I had my appetite back and I had a feast fit for a king. It was a bit more expensive than the South Indian canteen but still very cheap indeed. When I’d finished eating I went outside and sat on the long concrete bench that was built into the wall by the entrance door.

There was an Indian man sitting next to me, and I couldn’t help noticing that he was wearing western style shoes with socks. It may seem like a stupid thing to notice, but up until then, every male Indian I’d seen was either bare footed or wearing flip-flops. All of a sudden he spoke to me; he said his name was Sunil and he came from Bangalore. He explained that he was not particularly spiritual and did not stay on the ashram. He just loved coming to Prashanthi, so he visited once or twice a year and stayed in accommodation in the village. We had a really good chat; he was a very nice man and seemed to understand what I’d experienced. Most importantly, he managed to put my mind at rest with regard to the military presence and the sub-machine guns etc. He explained that a very high-ranking government minister had been visiting the ashram in order to seek Baba’s guidance; hence there was extra security because of the threat of terrorism. It was such a relief to hear that and I realized straight away that the encounter was just another scene in Swami’s play, but Sunil REALLY was a Godsend. He asked if I’d been into the village at all, and when I said I hadn’t, he offered to show me around. I was really grateful for this. Alas, all good things must come to an end, eventually he had to get on with his day and we parted company. That was the one and only time I saw him, but from then on everything fell into place.

Evening darshan had been another incredible experience, with Swami pulling on my heart again just before he came out and my eyes welling up with tears of joy. I did miss the shop again, but it didn’t matter and I eventually sorted out my clothing on day three. After darshan, I went back to the Western canteen for my evening meal. Whilst in there I encountered a Croatian man named Goran who was looking for a room-mate. So the next day I was able to transfer from the dormitory into room C19 in one of the blocks. My second and final night in DD2 was another sleepless one, but I didn’t care. I got on really well with Goran and from day three onwards my sleep pattern returned to normal. I met many amazing people during my time at Prashanthi and of all the things I learned there are two that stand out. Firstly, our “abode of the highest peace” is anywhere we choose to make it, and…

Swami most certainly does move in mysterious ways.

Jai Sai Ram

 

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

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!