Just before the beginning of the current age in which we are living (known in the East as the Kali or Iron age), the sage Markandeya recorded a conversation he had with God Vishnu (the embodiment of the preserver aspect of the trinity). In a passage in the Mahabharata text, it is recorded that Vishnu spoke of a time during the darkest period of the Kali Age when human values would deteriorate, violence and injustice would be widespread, falsehood would triumph over truth, oppression and crime would be prevalent. Vishnu told how he would take a human birth in order to intervene and set the world on a new course. Here is the text of that statement.
“When evil is rampant upon this earth, I will take birth in the family of a virtuous man, and assume a human body to restore tranquility by the extermination of all evils. For the preservation of rectitude and morality, I will assume an inconceivable human form when the season for action comes. In the Kali Age of sin I will assume an Avatar form that is dark in color. I will be born in a family in south India. This Avatar will possess great energy, great intelligence and great powers. Material objects needed for this Avatar's mission will be at his disposal as soon as He will think of them. He will be victorious with the strength of virtue. He will restore order and peace in the world. This Avatar will inaugurate a new era of truth, and will be surrounded by spiritual people. He will roam over the earth adored by the spiritual people.
The people of the earth will imitate this Avatar's conduct, and there will be prosperity and peace. Men will once more betake themselves to the practice of religious rites. Educational centers for the cultivation of Brahmic lore, and temples, will reappear again everywhere. Ashrams will be filled with men of truth. Rulers of the earth will govern their kingdoms virtuously. The Avatar will have an illustrious reputation.”
The Avatar mentioned in this text is referred to as the Kalki Avatar. The advent of this Avatar has been known of and predicted for thousands of years in various holy books and obscure texts including the Book of Revelations, Nostradamus in his book Centuries, The Ocean of Light (an ancient Persian manuscript of the revelations of Prophet Mohammed),and the Shuka Naadi Granthi - containing detailed prophecies of the Kalki Avatar written on hundreds of palm leaf manuscripts by Sage Shuka over 5000 years ago. The time of great evil mentioned in the prophecies corresponds to the Twentieth Century with its World Wars, regimes of mad dictators and authoritarian rulers, nuclear weapons, famines, diseases, pollution, crime, violence, catastrophes, and worldwide decline of morality.
Mystery of the Avatar
The Western mind is capable of believing in Jesus as the Son of God, at least on the part of some of the population, but seems unable or unwilling to grasp the concept of the Avatar as an incarnation of God. By contrast, the average Indian is aware of historical Divine personalities and Eastern literature is full of descriptions of the various Avatars. The Bhagavata text is precisely about the various Descents of the Divine on Earth.
Millions of people around the world accept Sathya Sai Baba as the Avatar of this age. How do we know that Sathya Sai Baba is truly an Avatar? This question must be answered by each person individually. Skepticism is natural and must be overcome by evidence and intuition. The important thing is to make a proper investigation. Sai Baba himself says:
"You must dive deep into the sea to get the pearls. What good is it to dabble among the waves near the shore, and swear that the sea has no pearls in it and that all tales about them are false? So also if you must realise the full fruit of this Avathar, dive deep and get immersed in Sai Baba. Half-heartedness, hesitation, doubt, cynicism, listening to tales, all are of no avail. Concentrated complete faith - that alone can bring victory.
In truth you cannot understand the nature of My Reality, either today, or even after a thousand years of steady austerity or ardent inquiry, even if all mankind joins in that effort. But, in a short time, you will become cognizant of the Bliss showered by the Divine Principle which has taken upon itself this sacred body and this sacred Name. Your good fortune, which will provide you this chance, is greater than that which was available for anchorites, monks, sages, saints, and even personalities embodying facets of Divine Glory. Do not allow doubt to distract you; if only you will install in the altar of your heart steady faith in My Divinity, you can win a vision of My Reality."
The Divine in Human Form
When Krishna lived on the Earth, few were aware of his divinity although he successfully accomplished his mission of ridding the earth of many powerful and evil personalities. Shirdi Sai Baba was an incarnation of God Shiva but most regarded him as a very great saint. Only a few of his closest devotees knew him to be an incarnation. It is difficult to grasp the implications of the Divine in human form. If we accept the Advaitha philosophy that there is One only without a second; nothing but God throughout the manifested universe and beyond, then logically we are in God, God is in us, we ARE God. The Atma within us - our innermost awareness is the Eternal Witness, a spark of the Eternal Flame. God enjoys the play of this universe by sporting inside the various manifested forms as the Atmic awareness of each. All this apparent diversity is the only the illusion of Maya - the formless taking on form, the Eternal manifesting in time and space and then indwelling each form as the Atmic spark within. Thus He sees all, knows all, is all. Really the form of the Avatar is like a focal point wherein this colossal Divine force can contact the human in the tiny knot of energy that is our Earth, on the fleeting time scale that is a human lifetime. But the Avatar is in no way limited by the constriction of bodily confinement because He is one with the source of all.
"The Avatar takes the human form and behaves in a human way so that humanity can feel kinship with the divinity. At the same time he rises to godly heights so that mankind also can aspire to reach God.
People could not stand the Lord in super-human form. ... If the Lord came in all His majesty people would be afraid and would have no opportunity to know and love him. It is only when the Lord comes in a human body that people are able to approach him and learn to love him and know him even a little bit. But one should not make the mistake of thinking that is all there is. ... For instance, the airplane flying high in the sky descends to the airport. But one should not make the mistake of thinking that the plane is a ground machine because they see it on the ground. In like fashion, although the Lord has made a landing here on earth, so to speak, He is not limited to His human form.
I am new and ever ancient. I come always for the restoration of Dharma (righteousness), for tending the virtuous and ensuring them conditions congenial for progress, and for educating the "blind" who miss the way and wander into the wilderness. Some doubters might ask, can Parabrahman assume human form? Well, man can derive joy only through the human frame; he can receive instruction, inspiration, illumination only through human language and human communication."
The Divine Lives in the Hearts of All
The Avatar appears to be human and we are misled into thinking of him in these terms but the Avatar himself warns us against this error. Sathya Sai Baba once responded to a devotee who asked when he should return for another visit: "First understand that you do not need to come back to see this little body", he said pointing to himself. Then he added - "Find me in your heart".
In his previous embodiment as Shirdi Sai Baba (1835 - 1918) he made a similar statement to his devotees:
"Though, I am here bodily, still I know what you do; beyond the seven seas. Go wherever you will, over the wide world, I am with you. My abode is in your heart and I am within you. Always worship Me, Who is seated in your heart, as well as in the hearts of all beings." Shirdi Sai Baba
Sathya Sai Baba, who is Shirdi Sai Baba come again, echoes this thought in many of his statements:
"You may be seeing me today for the first time, but you are all old acquaintances for Me. I know you through and through. My task is the spiritual regeneration of Humanity through Truth and Love. If you approach one step nearer to me, I shall advance three steps towards you.
Wherever you walk, I am there. Whomsoever you contact, I am in that person. I am in each. From each, I will respond. You can see Me in one place and miss Me in another. You cannot escape Me or do anything in secret."
Reason for the Divine's Descent into Matter
In past ages, when the power of evil reached a certain stage, the Divine descended into form to suppress the evil and to foster the good. In the Kali age in which we are living, evil has reached new depths. Of all the various ages - each with its own characteristics, the Kali age is the age of the deepest descent into matter and form, away from spirit. We have passed through the lowest point of the pendulum, the dark times of this 20th century and are now beginning the upward climb. The appearance of the Avatar coincides with the darkest hour of the Kali Yuga.
Mission of the Avatar
The Avatar comes to transform humanity but this must take place through the transformation of individuals making up humanity. To raise bread we mix a pinch of yeast into the dough and the action of the yeast spreads throughout the mix, eventually leavening the entire loaf. So the Avatar works through individuals, transforming them into the divinity they essentially are. The light from the many individuals gradually dispells the darkness of ignorance, impacting all of humanity.
Through interviews with devotees who come to see him Sai Baba reveals that he knows intimate details of their lives including physical problems and issues dominating their lives, sometimes even events they themselves have long forgotten. Though he left school at the age of fourteen saying "My devotees are calling me" and never read a book, he has been known to speak to people from all over the world using words from their own language. Though he never read the Indian classics he liberally sprinkles appropriate stories from them in his talks. He quotes long passages in the ancient mother language Sanskrit, and assists Brahmic priests in correctly carrying out elaborate Vedic rituals. He tells of undocumented events and conversations in the lives of sages, holy persons, and historic persons as if he were there at the time of their happening. To all who come to him he makes them feel as if he were their own. He constantly exudes bliss and love and all who come to him regard him as they would a loving parent.
Sai Baba never appears rushed or hurried and yet he accomplishes more than ten or even a hundred humans ever could. He is in constant motion from early morning until night greeting visitors, going over plans, giving darshan (sight of a holy person) and interviews, taking letters, attending bhajans (religious singing), taking part in and planning ceremonial events. He dedicates his entire life to his devotees and his mission with absolutely no attachment to possessions, personal time, or ordinary human pursuits.
The Dawn of a Golden Age
"Everything points to the terror of conflagration coming; and my mission is to preempt the fires by reestablishing dharma and the spiritual law of one God, one religion, one language [of the heart] embracing one humanity. ... I want to build one humanity without any religious, caste or other barriers in a universal empire of love which could enable my devotees to feel the whole world as their family.
If God Himself is here to foster Dharma, and you engage yourself in the same task, then you are worshiping Him. Then you are near and dear to Him, for you are serving Him, His devotees, and yourself.
My Mission has now reached that point in time when each one of you now has work to do. This planet has a purpose in the great galaxy in which it is held. That purpose is now unfolding before your eyes. I call upon you to radiate the Devotion within you so that its unseen power will envelop all who come into your orbit. To successfully perform your part always remain centered upon me. Allow yourself to impart that purity of heart within you towards all human beings and all living creatures and do not reach for the fruits of your work. This part of My Mission is performed in absolute silence. You are My instruments from whom My love will pour. Be always aware that the moment you let your ego descend upon you, My work ceases. When you have overcome your negative unmindfulness you will again become My source. The multiplication of My Love will be felt throughout the world. I have drawn you to Me. I have made great steps in My Mission over these past Incarnations.
So, in your lives, by your examples, live and practise My message, knowing that some will understand and others will not. Have no concern with the outcome of your efforts, for some people are ready and others are not. Each one is free to go his own way in his own time. Many will choose to remain in darkness with all the attachments that hold them back from the true path. But, eventually, their time will come and, one day, all will be re-united in the Kingdom of God."
Today the seeds are still in the ground, slowly germinating, as the teachings of the Lord begin to spread throughout the world and infiltrate the mind of man. Soon those seeds will begin to grow, and what emerges will brighten the world as the beauty of the absolute truth begins to reach so many people. It is a process which takes time and the new Golden Age will evolve gradually.
So you should live in hope.... Let the divinity within shine forth and become one of the great beacons to light up the world and hasten the arrival of the new Golden Age. It is there now for some, those enlightened souls who have already reached the state of God realisation. It is that awakened state that will lead to the new age.
There is only one nation,
- the nation of humanity
There is only one religion,
- the religion of love
There is only on language,
- the language of the heart
There is only one God
And He is Omnipresent
Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba's 500-year old horoscope
Astrological predictions of Baba's advent
There is an institution in New Delhi known as Indian Astro-Occult Research Association. Dr. E.V. Sastry, a famous and prominent member of the association happened to read the book Sathyam Sivam Sundaram. He then began a search to find out from Nadi Grandham available in Tamil Nadu, about the indications in Baba's horoscope. It was very strange, wonderful and startling. In these collections of grandhas which are more than five hundred years old and are considered as one of the wonders of the world, were found some parts describing Baba, all of which were not in a single instance, different from what is published about Baba's life in the book Sathyam Sivam Sundaram. This truth made him wonderstruck. Thereafter, he had great faith in Baba's greatness and marvelled at the advancement of the science of astrology developed by great sage like Agasthya, Budha and Sukra. Dr. Sastry (it may be mentioned here incidentally that his pen name is 'Leo') happened to come to Puttaparthi in November 1960 on the birthday of Baba. On that occasion Dr. Sastry had with him an old palm leaf taken out from the Nadi Grandham, which contained details about Baba written by some incognito, but an old, famous and well learned pandit.
On that auspicious day he placed it at the Lotus Feet of Baba and felt gratified.
That piece of palm leaf was only 36 centimeters long and 1/2 cms. broad. But within the breadth of 1/2 cms. on either side were 26 lines each containing 250 letters. Several facts were detailed therein. Only with the aid of a most powerful microscope could these letters be read clearly. These descriptions written in old Tamil poetic stanzas, in the form of an essay, were very beautiful, fully apt and highly illuminative. In that, not a single letter or word was redundant of uninformative. Palm leaves of this kind written in Sanskrit, are also found. Dr. K.M. Munshi had said that there are such grandhas written in the Tibetan language also.
In Tamil Nadu, there are kept in custody as sole private property, their divisions of the aforementioned palm leaf grandhas, under the names of Agasthya Nadi, Budha and Sukra nadi. Dr. Sastry contacted these three divisions and collected facts about Baba from these different grandhas, detailed according to the planetary position of Baba's horoscope. What is most astonishing to us in this is that the planetary position indicated in all the three grandhas at the time of Baba's birth into this world is identically the same without any difference whatsoever. In each of these, facts are enumerated in the form of poetry and past and present incidents in Baba's life are so truly described that we are awe-stricken at the accuracy and information. After reading all this we are struck with wonder at our ancestor's predictions of events that was done accurately without any mistake, and at the perfection of the science of astrology which has enabled them to predict so.
In one Nadi Grandhas the following is said: "The person to whom this horoscope relates, in his previous birth was Sai Baba, who was a famous Maharishi. He was also a world famous Sad Guru!" Another Nadi says, "I am an avatar of Sai". This fact cannot be contradicted also. In all three Nadis, the names of his father and mother are mentioned, clearly, truly and accurately. In addition, another fact clearly mentioned in these is, "the person to whom this horoscope relates, whose name is Sathyanarayana Raju, will renounce the world in his boyhood, will start schools and hospitals, will publish books for the upliftment of the world, will spend every day of his whole lifetime for the establishment of dharma, which is his ideal and objective." Another fact written in Budha Nadi is, "the person to whom this horoscope relates will spend the whole of his lifetime always enjoying the bliss derived from uniting jivatma with paramatma." In Agastheya Nadi it is mentioned that Baba will be an all merciful avatar of God. Not only that, but is it also mentioned the He will be, Akkilathara pitha i.e. authority on manava vamsam, preceptor, protector, and father of the world.
In Sukra Nadi it is written, "Baba will have all the siddhis possessed by Sai Baba; by love, kidness and knowledge he will establish eternal bliss in this world. He will establish a mandir which will be conducive for practising tapas etc." On top of all this is another important passage in Sukra Nadi, i.e. "the person to whom this horoscope relates will be an avatar amongst the avatars". Another sentence is, "He will derive immense pleasure in the service of mankind."
Those who are fortunate enough to have darshan of Baba and enjoyed the bliss of hearing His nectar-like words, and seen every action of His filled with mercy and sweetness and those who are able to understand at least one tenth of a millionth part of that great truth, even without the necessity of knowing what is mentioned in these Nadis, have understood the greatness of Baba. But, even for them, the fact about His coming into being, written separately, several centuries before His incarnation by three special expert astrologers, detailing his horoscope aspects, describing His character which is in no way different from what we see now in Him, is an agreeable surprise.
But in spite of the wonderful description written several centuries before, of the character and qualities of this avatar, and experiencing these great qualities with our very eyes of this great avatar there are some doubting Thomas' and this will help in clearing their doubts. Not only that, it is good if any of those, who have not yet got firm faith in Baba's divinity, are now convinced...
EVIDENCES FOR BABA'S
THESE ARE THE FACTS:
Some of them are well documented but some others are not. This is because those who observed the facts regarded them as special incidents in their personal life to be shared with others near them - not as social or historical observations to be recorded for scientific scrutiny by future generations.
1) Sri Aurobindo, the master of Integral Yoga, wanted to “ lift humanity out of the painful chaos it was in”. But he soon realised that it was impossible to do so unless the consciousness of Humanity expanded and rose above the material and mental levels. However this was a tall order for any human being and possible only for God i.e., unless the Godhead descended to the level of humanity and lifted it up to a higher level of consciousness, the expansion of consciousness will continue to be an ideal or a dream.
So, Sri Aurobindo devoted all his energies to intense Tapas or austerities with a Sky-high flame of selfless aspiration, to bring down the Divine to the level of Humanity as the first and essential step to divinise or supramentalise human consciousness.
For about sixteen years his efforts continued (from 1910 to 1926) and at last, on 24th November 1926, he announced that “KRISHNA” (the ninth and the most influential Avatar of God according to the Hindu tradition) had “descended into the physical”. “This would mean the coming down of the overmind Godhead, preparing for the descent of the supermind and ananda” i.e., the expansion of collective consciousness of Humanity to a level at which it can envelop the Earth as a whole and not be ego-centered, family-centered, community-centered etc. and thereby enjoy true and ever lasting happiness and peace. This day is still celebrated as the Victory Day (Siddhi Day) in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry in South India.
The term “overmind Godhead” may be unusual and abstract but the name “Krishna” used synonymously with that term is not so. It refers to the Avatar or God-come-in-human-form who walked on earth about 7000 years ago, and who is well known to millions of Indians and others in the world.
The announcement that “Krishna has descended into the physical” can be easily understood as referring to the latest Avatar of God. Did Sri Aurobindo explicitly say so? No. Indeed great masters and gods are fond of telling things indirectly (“Paroksa Priya Deva” says the Upanishad): Jesus talked in parables; the “revelations” in the Bible are symbolic and indirect rather than explicit. But the fact that Sri Aurobindo went into seclusion soon afterwards and the fact that Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s physical appearance or birth, as Sathyanarayana Raju, took place on 23rd November 1926 and consequent events, do justify sufficiently, the inference that Sri Aurobindo’s announcement heralded the Sathya Sai Avathar only.
It is easy to argue that the meaning of Sri Aurobindo’s words were far from what is inferred above. But that will be an argument at the level of the intellect or narrow reason, not from the depths of intuitive perception. Can saints and Spiritual Masters be understood fully by the use of intellect only?
Once it is, at least, accepted that Sri Aurobindo was referring to an Avatar, who else other than Sri Sathya Sai Baba has shown Avatar-worthy love to humanity, Avatar-worthy divine powers and influence, and, has done Avatar-worthy deeds designed to unify the diverse faiths, communities and races of the world of to-day? Who else?
An ardent Follower of Sri Aurobindo like V.K.Gokak (former Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University; ex-Director of Institute for Advanced studies set up by Govt. of India at Simla; winner of the prestigious Jnanpith award for contributions to Indian Literature; poet, critic and professor of English) had a different kind of doubt: He believed that Sri Aurobindo himself was the Avatar! So. it was difficult for him to accept Sri Sathya Sai Baba also an Avatar! He felt that both seemed to be fulfilling the expectations arising out of the term Avatar but could not reconcile the felt perception with his rational thought. So, he asked Sri Baba himself to solve the problem. In a trice, Baba clarified the paradox, saying: “I am Loka-Avatar (i.e., the Avatar come to uplift the world as a whole) Sri Aurobindo was Vyakti - Avatar (i.e, the Avatar come to uplift certain highly [spiritually] qualified individuals)”. Perhaps Sri Aurobindo was like St. John and Sri Baba is like Jesus !
2) THE SECOND FACT that points to Bhagavan Baba as the Avatar is to be found in the predictions of divinely inspired seers who foresaw the advent of a Divine person. Their Descriptions of the Characteristics of such a person tally very well with what we know of Baba. For example,
a) Nostradamus, the famous French psychic and astrologer who lived in the 16th century A.D., and predicted the coming together of U.S.A. and Russia, the Gulf Wars and the destruction of Hiroshima by Atom Bomb, prophesied that “He who has been awaited for such a long time - will appear in Asia - will choose Thursday as his Holy Day - his voice, reign and power will rise across land and sea - from all parts of the world they will come to honour him”.
b) Prophet Mohammed is alleged to have said certain things regarding the Master of the world or the Great Teacher in vol.13 of the Book, “Ocean of Light” ("Mehedi Moud" in Arabic)
The Prophet seems to have been asked whether he was the master of the world. He denied it and seems to have said that “the Great Teacher or Guide” or “ Master of the World” or God speaking and advising or “A Great part of God on the Ground” would come with the following characteristics:
“His hair will be profuse: His front teeth will be spaced apart; He will be clean shaven; His clothing will be like a flame; His face will be sometimes like copper, sometimes like gold and sometimes very dark; His body will be small in size; He will give gifts that are light in weight; He will live for 95 or 96 years; He will bring things out of His body, through His mouth”.
These predictions tally so well with the observed characteristics of Baba that there can be no doubt about the identity of the Great Teacher or Master of the world!
c) In India, palm leaf books known as “Nadis” are available in many states in which fantastic predictions in great detail can be found regarding many persons. For example, this author’s name, his parents’ names, his wife’s name, his place of birth, his place of work, his date of birth etc. have been predicted hundreds of years ago in palm leaves by some great seer!
In one such “Nadi”, the predictions regarding Satyanarayana Raju (the childhood name of Baba) mention his being an “Avatar amongst the Avatars” and about his “starting of schools and hospitals”.
Another Nadi mentions about his capacity to take on the illnesses of beings to save them from the curse and ill-will of others. One more nadi seems to have described Baba as the “Krishna of this Kali-Age”.
Reference can be made to Suka Nadi, Dr.Herbert B Puryear - Director of Assn.for research and Enlightenment, Virginia Beach, Virginia,US, Mother Mary's revelations in Yugoslavia etc.
Indeed scholarly persons are studying these Nadis and in some future year their findings are likely to be astounding and confirm the identity of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba as the Avatar.
2) THE THIRD FACT that points to Bhagavan Baba as the avatar is the set of published accounts of sincere seekers born in different parts of the world who craved for the vision of God in human form from the depth of their hearts. They began their search entirely independently and reached their goal when they identified or recognised the Avatar. The seekers about whom information is available to the Author include (i) Chinnaiya Raju of Tamilnadu State in India; (ii) Ms. Anne Marie of Germany; (iii) Dr. John Hislop of U.S.A.; (iv) Ms. Occah Seapaul of West Indies. Details of these seekers are available in (i) Miracles and Spirituality by Sarojini Palanivelu (1989); (ii) And the Greatest is Love by A.M. (1985); (iii) My Baba and I by Hislop (1985); and (iv) SAI the Word Made Flesh by Occah Seapaul.
Chinnaiya Raju was an atheist, and lived in the village of Kumaramangalam near the famous town of Chidambaram in Tamilnadu. It so happened that in 1957 he came across a book containing the Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. As he was skipping through it, a passage in page 258 struck him; It read: “God takes human form in every age to teach humanity about the Rules for the proper conduct of life and to induce Devotion”. Somehow this passage provoked his thoughts and he wondered if God did exist, whether he was available to be seen, heard and to guide and bestow grace. For hours he was immersed in such thoughts and after lunch he went to sleep and had a dream. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa appeared and behind him was seen a short person. He woke up. The same dream recurred the next day also in the afternoon nap! And on the third day the dream was different! The short person alone appeared and seemed to be pushed towards Chinnaiya Raju by a flood of light! Chinnaiya did not understand anything from the dream but he evidently continued in his inner search for the Avatar. After one month, the dream recurred but this time the short person said: “You search for the Avatar and find him yourself! The name is Sai Baba and the place is near Penukonda and Mudiguppa in Andhra State!”
For the next three days, Chinnaiya went on enquiring about Sai Baba and Penukonda almost madly! No one seemed to know or able to guide him. So, he decided to do the search for himself; after repeated enquiries, he came to know about the location of Penukonda and by train he reached it and then travelled on to Mudiguppa. It was mid-night in that village when he reached it! And at that time, a cartman called him and asked whether he wanted to be taken to Puttaparthi! Chinnaiya said that he was not interested in going there but was interested in seeing Sai Baba wherever he was! The cartman laughed and said that Sai Baba was in Puttaparthi only and that he would take him there.
In the early morning, Chinnaiya had his first darsan of Sai Baba and was surprised when he realised that the Baba was identical with the short person who appeared and guided him in his dreams! He was not sure whether the AVATAR could be so simple! And then Baba came to him and asked him “Was the journey in the cart comfortable?! Your wife is pregnant, is she not?!”
These questions were enough for Chinnaiya and he realised that his search for the Avatar had come to an end. He was a regular visitor thereafter to Puttaparthi and about three days before his death, he shouted aloud in the very early hours of the morning and to those who ran to him he said that he had Visvarupa darsan of Baba i.e., the perception of omnipresence of the lord. And he told his relatives that the call had come from the lord and others can be informed about his fast ensuing end!
Annie Marie of Germany in her eighteenth year (around 1950) read an inspiring Book, The Lives and Teachings of the Masters of the far East by Baird Spalding and she prayed from the bottom of her heart: “Oh! God, if I can be closer to you in India, then Please let me go there”. By an extraordinary turn of events, she went to England and married an Indian there, with whom she came to settle down in India!
In India for twelve years her search for the Lord took her to various Gurus and involved a lot of study and disciplines. And at last, in her forty-sixth year, she saw him! And she realised his Avatarhood, that he was verily the Divine Krishna come again! After that, she writes: “When I came home, my daughter asked me: Mummy, what is the matter with you? You are Glowing! The joy persisted.. This joy has not left me since”.
Dr. John Hislop in his sixteenth year (around 1922), suddenly felt that “These church people do not know what they are saying. In some place in the world there must be someone who knows the TRUTH and is able to directly say from that Truth”. He went in search of Truth. On the way he met J.Krishnamurthi, Swami Yogananda, Swami Vishnudevananda, the Yoga teacher Iyengar, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Dalai Lama and U Ba Khin of Burma and went through many a discipline meant or recommended for spiritual progress and the realisation of the Self or the Truth. In 1968 at last, he met Baba and with his spiritual training, “knew at once, without doubt” that Baba was the source of Wisdom and Love - and was God indeed in human form!
Ms. Occah Seapaul, the Govt. Lawyer at Trinidad, used to pray fervently: O Heavenly father! if thou art incarnating on earth, draw me to thee and lift me to a consciousness of oneness with thee”. And in 1976 when she had darsan of Baba in physical form in India, she “knew that he was indeed the heavenly father” to whom she had prayed.
She began to share her joy and experiences with more and more people; one of those who heard her was the mother (Head) of a church. The result was the invitation to Ms. Seapaul to unveil a picture of Baba in the Shrine of the Sisters of St. Catherine! And lo! thick streams of Amrit (Honey - like - liquid that manifests itself by Baba’s loving power) began to flow from the pictures of Baba, Jesus and Mary!
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR PEOPLE NOT RECOGNISING THE AVATARHOOD OF BABA?
People of this Age, in general, are slaves to the desires related to Body and Mind so much, that they are not really interested in knowing and recognising God or His Avatar. For many, worship of God is a ritual or part of a festival when they can indulge in eating, dressing etc. So, some concept of god or some form of god, caters to their superficial or formal needs to have a core of apparent purpose around which they can weave their whims and fancies.
They are like children playing with balls or dolls and lost in their games as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said: They don’t remember their mothers or bothers to answer their calls. But when hunger gnaws their stomachs or some limbs are wounded, they cry out “ma!” and come running into the house!
When people face losses of health, money, or relatives, when people are afraid of their future or death they run in search of God! When people are badly in need of “God” i.e., in need of solace and comfort and reassurance of the rightness of their ways and goals, any concept or person who provides these, acts as god-Substitute. Only those who need God and God alone get to know Him, fully enough and recognise His Avatar.
To understand any subject fully, one is forced to study a lot and deeply. To know about God who is the biggest, deepest or subtlest of all “subjects”, a lot of deep study is required. Many are not ready for that. This is the MAIN REASON that prevents people from recognising the Avatarhood of Baba and which prevented people from recognising Sri Krishna, Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed in their times.
THE SECOND REASON is that people have presumptions about God and Avatar. When an actual Avatar does not conform to their presumptions and expectations, they do not accept Him. This happens in science also. A new phenomenon is not accepted easily if it is in conflict with known Theories.
It is not the common man only who has this tendency. According to a legend, Anjaneya who was the greatest Devotee of God in Rama Avatar and Jambavan who lived during that time failed to recognise the Divine Avatarhood of Krishna. Anjaneya insisted that Krishna should appear as Rama! Jambavan took a long time in fighting with Krishna before recognising Him. Jesus Christ was not recognised as the Messiah by the Jews immediately. Prophet Mohammed was mocked because “he did not even have a donkey to travel on”! One man said, “ If you are the prophet indeed, I am not fit to stand before you and talk! If you are not and are lying, you are not fit to stand before me and talk!”.
There was a time when Baba was regarded only as a saint with some supernatural powers rather than an Avatar; at such a time a party of visitors from Coimbatore District went to Prasanthinilayam; they were tired after a strenuous journey by train and bus. So, Bhagavan beckoned from the Balcony to them and invited them to come upstairs to his room! And you know what they said in reply? One of them on their behalf said, “we are already tired! So why not you come down to receive us instead of asking us to come up?” (This was related to me by Doraiswamy Naidu of Udumalpet about 15 Years ago!) And the Beloved Lord said, “Oh! I have ‘comedown’ from the Heavens just to lift you all up (to a higher level of consciousness). So it is with pleasure I’ll come down to the ground floor to receive you!”. He came down and said: “I’m so happy to see you all! You ask for anything and I will grant that to you!”. And Doraiswamy Naidu with tears in his eyes told me, “ you know, Vidyakar, what we asked for? we asked for sweets, fruits that were not available in that season, blessing for a happy ceremonial celebration of the completion of 60 years and the like. We did not realise that he was an Avatar and really capable of granting anything that we could ask for! Had we realised that, we could have asked for liberation (from the bonds of body centered life) or Jnana (the ultimate wisdom).
THE THIRD REASON is that people do not expect the infinite God-the Absolute, the defect-and-limitation-free God to assume the Human form with definite taste, mode of speaking etc. I’ve been often asked, “How can you worship a man as god?”.
I asked such people whether they believe that Rama, Krishna and Jesus, are Gods. They said “Yes”, because they were not atheists and supposed to be religious enough! I pointed out to them that Rama, Krishna and Jesus were men who walked on earth, ate, spoke and smiled (and fumed - when occasion demanded!). Are such people of the opinion that God is omnipotent but for his inability to assume a human form with certain limitations and preferences? Surely, He can assume different forms, manners and living modes.
The problem arises because God is seen as someone outside us and not as the one who is within all of us and simultaneously beyond our limited selves and bodies. Once God’s immanent aspect is understood together with his transcendental aspect, once the Lord’s essential formlessness with infinite capacity to assume forms and limitations for play or display of his potentials and, once the essential qualitative identity of “God” and one’s highest, deepest and truest self are grasped or perceived, these objectors will realise the untenability of their view.
THE FOURTH REASON is simply the will of God! Baba has often said that only those whom he wills to come to him, will come to him - not others. (On another occasion, he has said that the time - table of events follows his own dynamic will and He like the Engine Driver of a train who waits for all the compartments to be joined together before he starts the Engine, waits for all those who can accept Him before He launches on world-wide plans for expanding the consciousness of humanity).
In this context, it is worth remembering Al Qur-on 10:99: “If it had been thy Lord’s will, they would have believed — All who are on earth! Wilt thou compel mankind against their will to believe!”.
THE FIFTH REASON is that people do not expect an Avatar to be so easily seen by them or available to them and especially to be proclaiming Himself to be an Avatar!
In this context, I am reminded of an anecdote regarding Charles Dawes who was the Vice -President of USA in 1920’s. He was travelling and stopped at a village store to get some soft drinks. “I need a bottle opener, But I’ll bring it back”, he said. The proprietress of the store asked him, “Where are you from? You look a stranger!”.
“I am from Washington D.C and am the Vice-President of USA”, Dawes replied simply. “Boy!” said the woman to a young man, “You go along with this man, and make sure you bring back the bottle opener!”.
WHO IS SAI BABA?
Sathya Sai Baba is the Planetary Avatar or God Incarnate, Who was born Nov. 23, 1926. He will live to be 95 years old and will disappear from view for eight years, then will reappear as Prema Sai Baba, to be born in South India.
Sai Baba, as He is usually called, is unmarried and started His world mission of teaching and healing when He was fourteen. He has only left India by conventional travel once – on a trip to Africa many years ago. Although He has said He will make two round-the-world trips in His lifetime, by airplane, He is constantly seen in His bi-locational capacities in virtually every country of the world.
His sacred, curative vibhuti ash and holy amrit nectar flow from tens of millions of pictures of Him in homes throughout the planet. His healings have been effected through hundreds of millions of people of every faith, both clergy and laity. At least ten documented cases of resurrections performed by Him are avidly read in over forty languages. Books about Him number over 800 and there are countless audiotapes, vidoes, tracts and pamphlets.
He is the most often-photographed Person in the world, though He has said that He has purposely kept the Western media from knowing of His Presence because of the logistics of bringing millions of souls to His ashrams in India, one by one. Sai Baba says that each soul who has gained the right to see His physical form has earned that, in most cases, through leading lives of good conduct and service for innumerable prior lifetimes.
Finally, the Avatar is moving into His more public role of meeting with, greeting and guiding such public figures as heads of countries, cabinet ministers, kings and queens, well-known media, sports and entertainment figures and well-known leaders. He says that name and fame mean nothing in the long run and that He takes no recommendations as to whom He should see since He knows the depths of every heart on earth.
Yes, Sai Baba is known for scores of categories of miracles (see "Sai Baba In Brief" by Connie Shaw). Yes, He is the most powerful individual ever to take up embodiment on this planet. Yes, He speaks every language in the world. Indeed, He can do all things, knows all things and exists everywhere at once. But, Connie Shaw says, "All of these feats pale in the Presence of His Love. I have seen uniformed Army generals fall at His feet weeping like babies. I have seen cabinet ministers clutch His hands and beg for strength and guidance.
Once I saw a row of seven burley videographers who were filming Baba just fall on their knees simultaneously and weep uncontrollably at the spectacle of His Love while He walked silently through the huge crowds. Sai Baba says that He has incarnated to demonstrate what REAL SELFLESS LOVE looks and feels like so that we may turn our lives around and be renewed in heart, mind and body as well in relationships and purposeful endeavor and community service.
Sai Baba’s teachings stress truth, love, right conduct, peace and non-violence. He encourages people to respect their spouses, children, parents, elders and leaders. He stresses good citizenship and following the founding ideals of the nation’s forebears. There are over 16,000 Sai Baba Centers in 150 countries as well as many colleges, free hospitals and clinics, eye banks and other institutions. Why does Sai Baba say we are here on earth and what is the purpose of life? He says we are embodiments of Love and that we are here to love and to serve each other without expectation of reward. Further, we are here to awaken to our inner Divinity as sons and daughters of a loving Father Who is now among us as well as in our hearts.
The Role of the Avatar
by Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Extracts from talks, August 14, 1990
Krishna Janmasthami Day
The Lord has a myriad heads, a myriad eyes and a myriad feet. The entire cosmos and every living being in it are reflections of the Divine.
Oblivious to the presence of this sacred Divinity within himself, man embarks on the quest for God. He behaves like a man who goes to his neighbour for milk, forgetting the wish-fulfilling cow in his backyard. Avatars are of two kinds: One, Amsaavatar; two, Poornaavtar. All human beings are Amsaavatar; partial incarnations of the Divine.
"A part of My eternal soul Self has become the Jiva_the individual soul_in the world of living beings", says Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. These partial incarnations, caught up in Maya (illusion), develop egoism and possessiveness and lead worldly lives. The Poornaavatars, however, subduing and transcending Maya, manifest their full divinity to the world in their lives. The Poornaavatar may behave, according to the circumstances, as if He were subject to Maya, but in fact He is free from Maya at all times.
In the Treta Yuga [over 10,000 years ago], Rama came as the very embodiment of Sathya (Truth) and Dharma (Righteousness). In the Dwapara Yuga [over 5,000 years ago], the Lord incarnate as Krishna, the embodiment of Santhi (Peace) and Prema (Love). Today the Avatar has come as the embodiment of all the four_Sathya, Dharma, Santhi and Prema.
In the understanding of the role of Avatars, the easiest, and the sweetest means was revealed by Krishna Avatar to the largest extent. This does not mean that other Avatars are irrelevant. Each Avatar is appropriate for the time of its advent. This may be illustrated by a small example: When there is a petty quarrel in the street, a policeman's intervention is enough. When there is riotous crowds, a Police Inspector may be necessary to deal with it. In an insurgency, the Inspector-General of Police will have to take charge of the situation.
When Righteousness was showing signs of decline, Rama appeared to protect dharani (the earth), dharma patni (his consort) and dharma (righteousness). It was for these three-fold purposes that Rama Avatar took place.
By the time of Krishna Avatar, the forces of wickedness had grown to greater proportions. Krishna was not concerned much about the earth or the wife. His main concern was with dharma. When dharma is firmly established, the earth and the dharma patni are also duly protected.
In this context, Rama is described as Maya maanusha vigraha (illusion in human form). In the story of Rama, it is related that Rama lamented over the loss of Sita. In Krishna Avatar the picture is different. Women were in distress for the sake of Krishna.
In Rama Avatar, Rama was provoked to take arms against evil doers. In Krishna Avatar, Krishna provoked the conflict and fought the evil doers. In Rama Avatar, duty came first and joy later. In Krishna Avatar, joy came first and then duty.
There is a vast difference between Divine bliss and momentary pleasure. What is called happiness is incidental to a situation and is not permanent. But ananda (bliss) is different. It is lasting. When you are hungry, you go to the canteen and feel happy after taking food. But that does not last long. Permanent happiness can be got only through devotion to the Divine. Avatars make their advent only to confer Divine bliss to mankind.
Every Avatar is an amazing phenomenon. Not to recognize the Avatar is equally a matter for amazement. Even more astonishing is the incapacity to experience the presence of the Avatar. Most astonishing of all is to be in the presence of the Lord and feel miserable. To be in the proximity of the Avatar, to move about with the Avatar, to sing and sport with the Avatar and yet fail to understand the truth of the Avatar is indeed a remarkable phenomenon! When the Avatar principle is understood, you experience real bliss.
When you have faith in the Divine, life becomes a victorious journey.