3 - Issue 6
Respected elders, brothers and sisters and my young friends.
During a very significant speech in 1981, Swami spoke about the 'eight flowers of worship'. Out of these He said that Ahimsa, non-violence, is the most important. Swami's concept of Ahimsa is far beyond the connotations of not causing physical harm. His concept of Ahimsa is not causing harm in word, thought and deed!
I would like to commence today with an offering of such a flower at the Feet of our Lord.
Albert Einstein, the famous physicist, was once asked whether it is possible for him to explain Divinity in scientific terms. He said that it is conceivable but it would make no sense; it would be like explaining Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in the form of an air pressure curve. We have the same kind of a problem in speaking about Bhagavan's Divinity. The Living Divinity cannot be explained in metaphors or examples; the limited cannot comprehend the unlimited; no form can contain it; the wayward cannot measure the stable; or the now measure the ever. We can only repeat the words of Sir Isaac Newton who said after enunciating the principle of gravity "I feel like a little boy playing with the pebbles on the seashore while the ocean of Truth lay all undiscovered before me".
Bhagavantham tells the story of how in the early years Swami once materialised a beautiful sapphire and stuck it on the statue of Shirdi Sai next to him. Bhagavantham was not only a staunch devotee but also a renowned scientist. The scientist in him wondered how the sapphire stood there without any ostensible means of support defying all laws of gravity. He started chuckling to himself, "Here I am accepting the principle miracle of the creation of a sapphire and I am questioning the secondary miracle of the sapphire defying the laws of gravity. Surely one who creates matter can also transcend the laws of matter."
A Malaysian devotee once told me the story of how 20 miles from Prashanti Nilayam his car stopped for want of gas. This was his first visit to Prashanti Nilayam and it was late evening. He was naturally concerned; he prayed to Swami, "Swami, make this car move forward to Prashanti Nilayam this evening." He prayed, asked the driver to start, and the engine stuttered and they started moving to Prashanti Nilayam. Next day the grateful devotee told Swami at Darshan time, "Swami thank you for the Grace of moving this car to Prashanti Nilayam without gas." Swami looked at him and said, "But that was not your only problem." Puzzled he went back, filled gas in the car, started the engine and turned the wheel. The wheel just locked and a mechanic was brought who found out that there was a broken tie-rod end. There was no way this car could have travelled 20 miles with or without gas. How many of us have travelled in cars with our broken tie-rod ends fixed unbeknown to us by this cosmic welder.
On this forum, several devotees in the last few days have shared their experiences of Swami. Each one of us have received this benediction from Swami if only we know where to look for it. Some of these we know; many like the Malaysian devotee we do not know at all. Howard Murphet, whose books have brought more foreign devotees to Swami than any other writer, calls all these 'parables in action'.
Whenever Swami materialises something, blows into something and creates something else or cures an affliction, He is in fact demonstrating these 'parables in action'. Their purpose is not to make us richer, or to cure an affliction but to demonstrate to us and instruct us in the science of being and in the art of living through the demonstration of His Omniwill.
I would like to share with you one such parable, one of many that I was privileged to have. I would like to share with you not the experience but the education behind the experience - it was like learning at the Feet of Divinity.
As an international corporate citizen, I had moved from country to country and finally moved from continent to continent. As the story I am about to tell has a lot of political implications, I seek your indulgence not to name the country where this took place as some of the people involved are still alive today. This country was a totalitarian military state and had had 3 major coups. There were 3 ethnic groups in the country - Muslims with political clout; Christians with economic strength; and tribal leaders who had their own axe to grind. Because of recent struggles there was a distrust of foreigners, particularly Asians. There was no constitution in this country and there was complete anarchy. I had heard of friends who had been taken away in the middle of the night and were never heard of since. There were summary executions - this was the order of the day. You could see bodies tied to automobile tyres and set fire to at the end of the streets; the stench of burning flesh and vulcanised rubber quite often rent the air. This was the background of the country where we wanted to introduce Swami's concept of Education in Human Values. We organised a conference of secondary school teachers and in order to give a big PR event to this incident, I was given the responsibility of inviting the wife of the president of this country to inaugurate the session and preside over the first day. I went and met the president's wife, she listened patiently and ultimately said that her office would get back to us as to whether she can preside or not.
A couple of days later, as I was driving to work I found that there was a big black limousine that was following me. I was concerned because this country had a fearsome secret service system. I made some enquiries with a contact that I had in the government and I learned that an enquiry had been ordered against me. As there was a lot of religious strife in the area in which we were living probably meeting the president's wife the previous week had triggered off a suspicion that our's is might be a religious institution and therefore needs to be followed. In the meantime the wife of the president had declined our invitation. My contact in the government confirmed my suspicion that I was in fact the target of an investigation and said that people were being taken away in the middle of the night never to come back; he strongly advised and cautioned me that I must quietly leave the country. The Indian Ambassador who I consulted one day before the event confirmed this and also strongly advised me to leave the country. I was very concerned and left for home a day before the function.
The day of the conference had come; in order to protect my identity they did not announce my name - they announced me as a spokesperson. My job was to talk about EHV and introduce the speaker of the day who was Victor Kanu. But in view of the religious sensitivity I was advised that I should make no mention of Sai or of the institutions which He heads. With great trepidation I climbed the stage; as I went up I found the same secret service agents who had followed me sitting in the first row - my steps faltered. I started with a silent prayer to Swami, but very soon I threw caution to the winds. Instead of talking about EHV, I spoke about the Author of EHV; I spoke about Swami; I spoke about SanathanaDharma; I spoke about Hinduism; I spoke about everything I was advised about not to speak. I had decided that if I was to go down I would go down with the Name of the Lord on my lips.
The talk was over and I went back home. Thoughts of being picked up and being incarcerated were very much in my mind. I was at home and the phone rang at 9.05 that night. I was certain that it was someone trying to tip me off to leave the country - but it was a friend of mine. He asked me whether I was watching the television. I said, "Why would I watch the television - I am waiting to be picked up!" The television in this country was totally controlled by the government. 9pm was prime time when every single set would be turned on. I turned on the television - I could not believe my eyes. There was full coverage of the morning's programme; my whole speech was telecast; my name and occupation were mentioned; my anonymity was over. Not only that but there was a full presentation of that morning's function; nothing about EHV, but all about Swami, His Teachings, and Hinduism. Swami was presented as an Eastern Messiah. All this happened in a country that was very much opposed to religious activities. It was mind-boggling. I did not know what was happening. The entire prime time news was only about this morning's presentation and covered all that I was advised not to speak about.
Next morning my contact in the government telephoned me. He said something strange is happening here. There was a handwritten ledger on the report that said I must be investigated and this ledger was serially numbered. When he went to that ledger that morning he found that the particular instruction that said I must be investigated was completely missing, but the ledger number continuity was maintained! There was no way that anyone could have torn the paper; only this particular instruction had completely vanished.
And there was more; within a week the Secretary of Education in the country called me and asked me whether I could give a write-up on EHV so that it could be introduced to the country's secondary schools.
More wonders; the Teachers Union, normally a very militant body, invited me to talk to them and they set up a conference which became the focus for introducing EHV at secondary school level in that country. This was the first country outside India to have formally accredited EHV in the secondary school system.
What was happening here? This was not mere materialisation or curing an affliction. This is something that broke barriers. This is something that completely changed the ethos. This is something that created a new order of things. What was Swami trying to convey here? He was only trying to convey that His work will always be done and that His Will will always be supreme. As He said three days ago
"Why does the sun rise; why do the stars hide their splendour in the day and show themselves in the night? Who ordered air to be around us all time; why do these streams roar and gurgle? I created the world with one word at My pleasure; I made mountains rise and with one word I placed knowledge upon mankind."
Sir Arthur Eddington the famous physicist said that the world is a wave of thought. Every law of nature, every action and reaction, every parable and happening that you hear in these forums is a witness to the vital vibration of His Divinity in the gross, subtle and causal cosmos. Swami once wrote,
"I move in the outer space. From those lofty heights I go to the devotee, first as thought, then as fragrance and then as light."
Sai experience is a combination of that light, of that thought and of that fragrance. You have seen here the world come to Swami - I have seen Swami go to the rest of the world. At a UN conference at Osaka , Japan two years ago, I saw 10,000 delegates give a standing ovation to a group of Japanese children performing a ballet on the values of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema. In probably the most popular square in Spain every Sunday devotees sing songs of peace and harmony watched by residents and visitors.
During a skiing holiday in the Austrian Alps my wife and I attended a Bhajan session at a little hamlet of 200 people, in the middle of nowhere where 20 Austrians who had never stepped out of Europe performed Bhajans and held a workshop. When out of deference to them my wife chose to sing a German song the leader said "No, in Sanskrit please". In the forests of West Africa , I have seen native tribes commence their daily meeting singing the song " Ore Baba, OseBaba".
And at a Sai retreat that I attended a few years ago in Argentina at the time of the Kosovo crisis one young adult asked a question, "If Sai Baba is raising human consciousness why are the children of Kosovo being murdered?" Pat came the answer from another young adult, "When Hitler's hordes roamed through Germany the world kept quiet; they did not even shed a silent tear. But when the children in Kosovo were being murdered the world roared back." That is how Sai Baba is elevating human consciousness - slowly and imperceptibly the world is turning into a golden age.
Swami told Howard Murphet that the golden age was coming. Howard Murphet then asked what work would Prema Sai do? Sai said "He will have plenty of work. Prema Sai will elevate human consciousness to Divine heights. Not only will there be a lot of work but He will also need a lot of help."
What kind of help, wondered Howard Murphet; then he remembered the story of how in a time of great flooding a man stood on top of his roof to escape the waters. When the water was rising higher the man prayed to God to save him. Soon a man came in a boat and asked him to get in. The man said "No, I have prayed to God and He will come and help me." Soon the waters rose nearly to his feet. Then another man came in a helicopter and dropped a rope. The man said "No, I will not come with you; I have prayed to God and He will help me." The laws of nature soon took their course and the man drowned. He went to heaven and asked God why He did not help him in his time of need. God said "I sent you a man with a boat and later, when you refused him another man with a helicopter…but you did not accept that help." The man understood; God is in everybody and He needs a million hands to help Him.
In establishing this, Swami has been saying that His Life is His message. He has been living that message particularly in the last 15 months. Ever since the drama of His fall He has been living one particular message - that He is not the body. Over 2000 years ago at another time and in another place in distant Jerusalem another cosmic being allowed Himself to bleed on the Cross in order to establish to the children of Israel one facet of reality. Everyday, Swami has been establishing with perfect equipoise the same facet of reality to all of us that 'I am not the body'. The reality that 'I am God'; the reality that Brahma Sathyam Jagat Mithya. It is for us to accept or reject this reality.
It's rather like the search for the Holy Grail. There is a lot of wealth and fame and pain in the so-called materialistic success story that I myself tried to follow 30 years ago. But in the evening of my life, like Percival (a Knight) I have come to the Fisher's King to ask Him; "Where does the Holy Grail lie?" The Grail serves the Grail King who lives in the innermost recesses of the castle. When Percival received this answer his search was over. The Grail King is a symbol of man's inner God.
Knowing this truth, it is glorious to be alive today - not only to be alive but to be aware that God is physically here is a privilege that millions never had! The only gratitude that we can offer for this privilege is to lay down our lives as flowers at His Lotus Feet. Sai Ram.
(Prof Anantharaman worked as the CEO of a Transnational Business conglomerate based in Switzerland, as an adjunct professor in several business schools including the Harvard Business School and is currently a faculty member in the School of Business Management at Puttaparthi)
|Optimized for Netscape and Firefox. Best viewed in Internet Explorer - 1024 x 768 resolution.|