29 January 2012. Dictum sapienti sat est: ‘a word to the wise is enough’
My humble pranaams at the Lotus Feet of Sri Satya Sai Baba, who was the Divine incarnate of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba with the most powerful indomitable and invincible miraculous valorous might that is not witnessed by any known Human incarnations so far. I pray to Thee to give me enough wisdom, agility, and dexterity to venture on this knotty task of undertaking to dwell on His Life to the world Who barely understands the spiritual ways. May the Lord forgive my short comings in this gigantic task of attempting to describe your divine Himalayan personality that is beyond the descriptions of even the scriptures?
Sri Satya Sai Baba was a towering personality of the highest spiritual order seen in the twentieth and twenty first centuries. Since this ephemeral world suffers from the duality, Baba said that even the Avatars suffer from some human weaknesses when S/He takes on human form. But the difference is, even their such traits are not intentionally meant to harm anyone deliberately, unlike the mortals.
Another difficulty to understand their behavior is due to the limitations imposed on the mortals by the three dimensional world views. Avatars operate at beyond the three dimensions. Hence the esoteric meanings of their words may not be easily discernible to us who tend to compare ‘Them’ to human levels, which ‘They’ are not.
Baba said, “Love my uncertainty” and at the same time He also used to say, “Come, experience and only then believe”. Both statements were made by Swami which apparently appears as contradictory to us but the point is, “Are we competent enough to question and scrutinise the inscrutable”?
Sri V. C. Kondappa was Swami’s school teacher at Bukkapatnam and Uravakonda and biographer also. Even Mr. N. Kasturi had borrowed heavily from his book for Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Swami’s official biography started and written by Mr Kasturi in initial four volumes that has now multiplied in multiples of volumes written by other followers of Swami in Prashanti Nilayam.
Mr. Kondappa is quoted, “One day V. C. Kondappa and Subbannachar, another teacher (who wrote the foreword for the book) came to Puttaparthi to satisfy their long-standing desire to know about the early life of Shirdi Sai Baba, because the books available projected no light on this unknown period.
They were wonder-struck when Sai Baba revealed that He was Shirdi Sai Baba Himself. He also asked them to stay there for the night, when He would narrate His life history, granting them their heart’s wish, even before asking. That momentous night, Baba narrated the life story of the first 16 years of Shirdi Sai, as well as details of His own life. Thus far the world knew nothing about the first twenty years of Shirdi Sai Baba. Despite all these, a vacuum still persists on the life of Shirdi Sai Baba between the sixteenth year and the twentieth year; nobody knows, “Where was he during those four years of his life. There are indistinct and vague suggestions that He toured the North West troubled part of India in those days due to multiples of problems including the communal riots. He is also said to have assisted the formidable Jhansi Ki Rani Lakshmi Bai in her fight against the British rule.
V. C. Kondappa asked Baba, “You tell everyone you are Shirdi Baba, reborn. What is the proof? Before I write a book on you, I should know this.” It was then that Baba agreed to reveal His identity to them. He gave them the Darshan of His previous incarnation in flesh and blood. After this, though many devotees prayed for this vision, Baba replied, “It cannot be granted to everyone. There is a specific reason for this.” This particular incidence assumes special significance as it is not known commonly to many people thus far.
Please peruse: http://www.saibaba.ws/articles/kondappa.htm
When Baba first denounced home, at that time also, He revealed His same identity as Shirdi Sai Baba by throwing a handful of flowers on the ground that read in Telugu language, “Sai Baba”. An ‘ordinary stone’ in front of Him on photography showed up as a statue of ‘Sri Shirdi Sai Baba’ depicted in the photo above. This happened when Baba first renounced home in the fourteenth year of His age and sat in the garden of their neighbour on a solid platform where the stone was there already and a photographer came on hearing His glory on the third day of His renunciation and clicked. Lo and behold, the stone in photo showed up as photo of Shirdi Sai Baba. This was His first proof of Shirdi Sai Avatar.
On 23 May 1940, Sathya called household members and reportedly materialised prasad and flowers for his family members. His father became furious at seeing this, thinking his son was bewitched. He took a stick and threatened to beat him if Sathya did not reveal who he really was. To this Sathya announced calmly and firmly "I am Sai Baba", a reference to Sai Baba of Shirdi. He proclaimed himself to be a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi—a saint who became famous in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Maharashtra and had died eight years before Sathya was born. Satya Sai Baba himself used to direct to visit His previous place of Incarnation. Sri Shirdi Sai shrine took time to popularise unlike Sri Satya Sai. Sri Shirdi sai was not much known outside Maharashtra state. Since Satya Baba started referring His devotees to go there, it helped in spreading his name far and wide.
Later that year, Sathya Sai Baba declared that he had no worldly relationship with anyone and, around this time, devotees began to gather near him. In 1940, he began to travel to Madras and elsewhere in South India and soon had a large regional following.
He also declared that He has no worldly relations with you and His devotees are calling Him.
On 8 March 1940, while living with his elder brother Seshama Raju in Uravakonda, a small town near Puttaparthi, Sathya was apparently stung by a scorpion. He lost consciousness for several hours. Within the next few days there was a noticeable change in Sathya's behavior. There were "symptoms of laughing and weeping, eloquence and silence." "He began to sing Sanskrit verses, a language of which he had no prior knowledge." Doctors believed his behavior to be hysteria. His parents brought Sathya back home to Puttaparthi. Concerned, they took him to too many priests, "doctors" and exorcists with no avail.
Baba has clarified it later on, there was no scorpion bite. Indeed no such scorpion was seen by anyone. “I enacted it to declare my Divinity to the world as my test or proof by undergoing the agony”, Baba asserted. Had I done it without acting like it, nobody would have believed it? Hence inexplicable and inscrutable are the ways of “Inscrutable”.
Later that year, Sathya Sai Baba declared that he had no worldly relationship with anyone and, around this time, devotees began to gather to him. In 1940, he began to travel to Madras and elsewhere in South India and soon had a large regional following.
In 1963, Sathya Sai Baba suffered a stroke and four severe heart attacks. It is believed that he healed himself of these in front of the thousands of people gathered in Prasanthi Nilayam praying for his recovery. On recovering, Sai Baba gave a discourse announcing that he would be reborn as Prema Sai Baba in the neighboring state of Karnataka. He stated, "I am Siva-Sakthi, born in the gotra (lineage) of Bharadwaja, according to a boon won by that sage from Siva and Sakthi. Siva was born in the gotra of that sage as Sai Baba of Shirdi; Siva and Sakthi have incarnated as ‘Myself’ in his gotra now; Sakthi alone will incarnate as the third Sai (Prema Sai Baba) in the same gotra in Mandya district of Karnataka State." He stated he would be born again eight years after his death at the age of 94 to 96.
These phenomena by an Avatar are quite baffling for us but it is only a natural part for the Divine. No wonder, Baba kept repeatedly telling Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson, when he wanted to conduct controlled experiments that His manifestations and miracles are beyond the comprehension of physical scientific experiments. Baba often used to remark, “Spirituality starts when Science stops”. I myself as a scientist agree on His assertion. The instantaneous manifestation at two or more places is difficult to monitor by any known scientific laboratory. A misuse merely for demonstration purposes is strictly prohibited for several reasons. One of them is that such manifestations need investment of manifold spiritual energy which cannot be exercised like this.
Dr Erlendur Haraldsson is Professor emeritus, Faculty of Social Science, University of Iceland, Oddi v/Sturlugötu, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland. He visited Puttaparti about ten times over a period of one decade with his visits lasting months sometimes. He was also accompanied by some other colleagues from time to time and one such colleague was late Prof. Karlis Osis from America who told EH, Quote: *It has also been argued (see Braude, 1986) that, like many other human abilities (e.g. creativity), psychic ability may best be studied in extremis, and in the environment in which it naturally occurs. Or, as Karlis Osis once remarked, “When we have a full flame, why only study the sparks?”
The ‘full flame’ Dr Osis was referring to was Sai Baba, whom he met along with the first author in 1973. About no contemporary individual has there been such abundance of claims of paranormal experiences, physical as well as mental, as in the case of Sathya Sai Baba (Haraldsson, 1987; Murphet, 1971)...* unquote.
By priori, sparks were implied by the other lesser known Saints whom EH was often showing interest in.
Also peruse: Modern miracles: an investigative report on psychic phenomena associated with Sathya Sai Baba http://books.google.co.in/books/about/Modern_miracles.html?id=eP4b5EyAoakC
Satya Sai Baba’s other proclamations were no less intriguing including His forecast of living in this world for 96 odd years. Baba had asserted it several times to many in His talks openly without meaning or referring to any particular almanac or calendar. I am also aware of. I should certainly leave it to Baba himself more so when we cannot ascend to His level to comprehend His reality and the value of His utterances. It cannot be denied that He had developed huge number of deep rooted devotees globally and may have been aware of the impact of His passing away in their psychological damage; hence He preponed it. It is my own construct and is open for suggestions.
Then we have from Baba’s devotees to detractors making claims as it suits their own temperaments and tastes. One such version is posted here from a devotee.
Quote: “Sai Baba lived for 96 years as per his given wordings and was true to Hindu years calculations. Sathya Sai Baba was certainly correct about his sayings in 1963, where he had announced that he would live up to 96 years. Hindu Maha Sabha President makes a note of Baba’s forecast of living till 96 years has been successfully accomplished as per Hindu year calculation. He adds in his interview with NBTV that, Sai Baba had attained 96 years and few months when he passed away on 24.04.2011.”
While there is another group instigated by a powerful vested interest against Baba have their own versions to promote. They do not tire out in their attempts to their best to prove things otherwise. They quote: “NOTE PARTICULARLY SAI BABA'S ASSERTION:"My Word will never fail..." They pick up threads to suit their taste. Let us examine their some versions while ridiculing the lunar month hypothesis.
Quote: “Of Sathya Narayana Raju (later Sathya Sai Baba) it is reported by several devotee writers that he will die at the age 95 and/or 96 (Some places in India a person who is 95, yet is in-the 96th year, is said to be 96 years old.) On various occasions Baba has reportedly said in private that his life would last 96 years [e.g. by S. Balu, 'Living Divinity' London: Saw-bridge Enterprises, 1981, p. 29] which age he finally confirmed in a public discourse in 2000. Yet, contradictorily, in two early discourses in 1960 and 1961 respectively, he gave the length of his remaining life as 58 and 59 years (see scans below). This adds up to a life-span of only either 92 or 93 years!
It has been on-line for years by now, but at last its question 'how long' can be answered definitively! The answer to the main question, 'how long'? Sathya Sai Baba lasted only until his 86th year (some reckon this as age 85, more normally only as 84) and NOT until into his 90s! He is on record as having predicted four different times of death, all in his 90s! (see scans from his discourses etc. below)”
While we accept the fact that there is an antithesis going on for some time but Swami always said, “They are also my devotees who are spreading my message as per my divine plan. Bad news spreads faster but Baba also used to caution, it is negative propaganda that may harm them also, perhaps like the Newtonian Law of actions and reactions. I am certainly not here to pretend any apology.
Baba never liked to interfere into His Divine plans between Him and His devotees. Baba, in fact admonished anyone wanting to interfere. There are quite a few instances. Before I finish, I shall humbly narrate some instances from His Life Divine as told by the most esteemed personality Prof Anil Kumar from Puttaparti who is also the translator of the speeches delivered by Sri Satya Sai Baba as follows:
shiva has poison in his neck
Lord Shiva is also called Halahaladhara. Regarding Halahaladhara, we have already considered a few aspects like Somasekhara, Jataajutadhara, Gangadhara, and Trinethra. Now we think of Lord Shiva as Halahaladhara. Dhara means ‘the one who has’, and halahala refers to poison. Shiva contains poison in his neck. So, halahala means ‘poison’, and dhara means ‘the one who has’ halahala. Not only that, but Shiva has snakes around his neck—Pannagadhara. Pannaga means ‘snakes’.
pray to siva to protect us against all these evil tendencies
Halahaladhara and Pannagadhara, what do they mean? What exactly do you mean by that? The poison of our problems, the poison of worldly attractions, and the poison of sensual pleasures are all contained in His neck so that we are not affected by any one of these evil propensities or evil tendencies. Moreover, by reciting Shiva’s nama or name, and by praying to Him, by saying His glorious name, it will act as an antidote to all these evils and sins. So to protect us against all the poison of evil tendencies, we should pray to Lord Shiva.
sai has poison in his neck
Let us go into the biography of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. In His childhood, somebody served vadas to Baba. V-A-D-A-S is a south Indian dish. Vadas are circular in their form, brown in colour (due to being deep fried), and quite hot stuff. What did some people do during His childhood days?
Some envious people mixed poison in these vadas and served them to Him. Poison was served to Baba. However, He ate all the vadas and nothing happened to Him. Knowing that there was poison in the vadas, put in there by a particular person who happened to be near Swami, Swami called him. Baba came close to him, excused him, and pardoned him. That is the compassion of Swami. (Later Baba vomited them out and the dog that ate them died, Baba did it deliberately to demonstrate the poison in vadas)
Poison will kill you, and poison will kill me. But poison cannot kill Sathya Sai Baba. Why? Because He has poison in His neck, Halahaladhara. If He bears poison in His body, what can poison in vadas do to Him? Lord Shiva is Halahaladhara; so also is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
sai transforms bad people by his compassion
Lord Shiva has snakes around His neck, so He is known as Pannagadhara. Pannaga means ‘snakes’ or ‘evil forces’. However, these snakes cannot bite or harm Lord Shiva. Similarly, people who are full of jealousy, full of envy, full of pride, and people who are interested in character assassination are snakes that cannot harm or defame Baba. These things cannot damage His fame. This is impossible because He is Pannagadhara. By his compassionate hand, He will transform them; by His mercy, He will pardon them. On the other hand, these things will only enhance His glory, mystery, and Divinity, so that the whole world will come to know of Him much more than ever before.
fire on baba’s hut
Do you know what happened in His younger days when Baba was resting in a hut? Some people set that hut ablaze, set fire to it. But nothing happened to Baba. Why? As the hut was burning, suddenly the sky opened up and rain fell only on that particular hut, nowhere else. So the fire was extinguished and nothing happened to Baba! Why? It is because of His Divinity.
People full of envy cannot burn Him, and people full of jealousy cannot bite Him. Why? It is because of Pannagadhara. He has got snakes around His neck. The snakes are the symbols of jealousy and envy; they cannot bite Him. That is what it means. More at: http://www.saiwisdom.com/sunday/English/2010/07.02.2010(E)central.htm
Now that Swami has cast His mortal coils in the eyes of us who dwell at the worldly level; but Swami is still very much amongst us in His invisible spiritual form. Soul never dies. Lord Sri Krishna in Srimad Bhagwadgeeta says in 2:23-24 on the immortality of the soul.
2:23, “Lord states that neither can soul be damaged by a shashtra (instrument or weapons), nor can it be burnt by fire, nor can it be soaked in the water, nor can it be dried by the air.” Lord Krishna reiterates His same vow in the next verse to lay emphasis on it.
2:24, “This soul is eternally undivided and indestructible, the soul is incombustible, insoluble and unwitherable. The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable and immovable and primordial.”
Swami mysteriously chose the Easter Day (24th April 2011) to proceed to His Divine Journey, a sacred day in Christianity. I have also followed every event as closely as possible to follow after His purported illness, no one from the Central Satya Sai Trust including Prof. G. Venkataraman has said anything or issued any statement on the “Divine Plans” of leaving this worldly journey; hence I as a Sai devotee will not commit the blaspheme of any personal innuendos or a futile attempt to interfere in His divine plans of personal unauthorised interpretations. Least of all, when I am not sure; if it will please Swami to any extent, if I did so?
Despite all these confabulations and computations, Baba, in a very rare and unimaginable gesture, portrayed by Arvind who is His official photographer, took His few pictures which Baba has never posed in a pose of salutations.
A beautifully written note by Aravind, a young man who works at Radiosai in Prashanti Nilayam shows it well. He takes pictures and videos daily of Swami in Prashanti and was the one who took the poignant pictures of Swami with His Hands in Namaskar. - Sai Ram,
... It happened on the evening of 20th of March. Swami had not been ‘keeping well’ if I may use that term. His darshans were few and spaced between. And yet on this day, He took two darshan rounds. He called all the students who were seated for blessings and poured grains on their head. (about 40 students were blessed that day).
>>He distributed a few sweets and smiled at all present. He even called the tiny tots from Primary school and blessed them. In the words of a very senior singer, “Today Swami seems so hyper active!!” There was rejoicing. And when He received Aarthi, everyone were thrilled with His tapping His hands rhythmically. And then it happened...
>>As the Samastha Loka chant filled the air, Swami raised His hands. But it was not the familiar Abhayahastha. He had FOLDED HIS PALMS IN SALUTATION! He seemed to send a beautiful message, “Salute all for God is in all”. The Vedic chant “Sahasra sheersha Purusha” resounded in my heart. (That hymn says that God has thousand limbs, heads and sense organs symbolic of the fact that God is in all.) In the Bharatiya custom, this is how one takes leave after a visit!
>>My hairs stand at their end and I have goosebumps when I realize how Swami had indicated the Mahasamadhi. But I did not see! Swami says, “Pashyan Api Na Pashyati Moodho” (You fool! You see and yet do not see!) That was the condition. But I took pictures that day.
>>And today, just seeing the pictures is so relieving and enthralling for it told me that Swami knows His plans. Even when He was fine and was a week away from being ‘admitted’ to the hospital, Swami had shown us His decision.
>>And in showing us this decision, He also showed us His expectations. He wants our lives to be His message and one of His final acts of benediction teaches us that we should see Him in all just as He saw Himself in all. We should bow to Him in all just as He bowed to Him in all. We should love all and serve all just as He did.
>>And in order to share the experience, insight and blessings from Swami that day, I post the following five images. Let us pledge to Him that we will live in our lives imbibe His message of pure Love for all
Five pictures are in Namaskar pose while the sixth is in His usual gesture of “Blessing (Abhayahastha)”
On 20th March, He did give the final indications in His language of silence, but nobody could discern it. The Language of Divinity is not easy to fathom for us whose language is encompassed in spoken human words.
While I love the uncertainty of ‘His Certainty’, I conclude here with my apology at the Lotus Feet of the Divine world teacher for my any deficiencies or my inadvertent mistakes in my presenting the humble bouquet of these finite few summary words.
(Dr. O. P. Sudrania is a senior retired teacher in surgery and a medico-legal counsellor; now also engaged in research of spiritual and socio-political analytical science as a part of service to humanity.)