I had an experience recently that was a classic case of rolling back the years. I find it interesting that the experience has a different meaning for me today than if I’d had it 10 years ago. For the first time in ages Swami Sri Sathya Sai Baba appeared to me in a dream. As expected, it was like being in the presence of a doting mother and best friend. Swami let me touch his face, and we had this moment where we were just in each others’ presence before the egoic mind brought me back to the land of objective reality.
Swami always used to say that if he comes to us in a dream, it is not a dream but a visitation. He also used to constantly remind us that he was not the body, and did not encourage devotees to follow him as a physical being, or look on his form as an object of worship. Nonetheless, it was very difficult not to; especially if you had the grace (as I did) to witness Swami’s amazing smile first hand and experience his awesome presence. A few years ago I would have relished a visitation from the loving “God man” and would have felt so lucky and privileged that he’d blessed me in such a way. Even though my recent visitation was an unexpected and wonderful experience; received with equal relish, I interpret the meaning differently. Back then, Swami the physical being would have been visiting me; I would not have seen his form as a symbol of the one eternal Self. Yes it’s true, that I would have known this, but confronted with Swami’s beautiful form, all thoughts of the formless would have flown away.
With regard to my recent experience, I enjoyed immensely basking in the presence and having my personal darshan of Swami’s form. But today, I understand what it represents and my interpretation of the visitation is that “The Higher Power” used a method that I would be able to relate to, to let me know that my little individual, egoic self has not been forgotten about. That for however long I have left in this body, and for whatever work I have left to perform, I am not alone; the loving bliss of eternal spirit will always be enfolding me.