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  Volume 3 - Issue 7
JULY 2005


Sai Baba - The Ultimate Teacher
by Dr. Somenath Mitra - U.S.A.

Being in the teaching profession, I know how difficult it is to communicate even the simplest ideas. Swami, being the source of all knowledge and the indweller of every heart, is the ultimate teacher. He gives exactly the lesson a spiritual aspirant needs and is capable of receiving. He does not merely impart the knowledge, but provides for deeper realization. Here are two examples where He taught me profound lessons in His own unique way.

Lesson I

I was a guest lecturer at Swami's college and was invited by the professors to sit with them during Darshan. It was overwhelming to be at such close proximity to Baba. One day all of a sudden He stopped in front of me and I had my first conversation with the divine:

Sai: "What is your name?"

I replied: "Somenath Mitra"

Sai: "You gave lectures three days ago?"

Somenath: "Yes, Swami."

Sai: "What is bad?"

I was completely taken by surprise, could not answer.

Somenath: (after some thought) "Good is with you Swami" (an intelligent answer I thought)

Sai looked dissatisfied, gestured no, no...; moved His hand around and said "Good-Bad, Good-Bad..." I could not understand.

Sai: "What is pain?"

I put on a blank look.

Sai: "Pain is the interval between two pleasures. What is pleasure?"

Somenath: (I had heard this before and readily caught on). "An interval between two pains."

Sai: "Yes! Pain, pleasure all the same. Pain shows the pleasure and pleasure shows the pain. Similarly good and bad are all the same, the good shows the bad and the bad shows the good."

The message came to my mind "Yes! there is no good, no bad, there is only Sathya Sai".

Sai: "How are you?"

This turned out to be a really difficult question. What do I know about myself ? Nothing. I thought for a while, could not come up with an answer for the Omniscient; He waited patiently. Eventually I just shook my head.

Sai: "Air pockets, air pockets?"

Normally I would not have understood this. During my flight to India, I was reading a book where Swami tells the author that you live your life like an airplane going through air pockets. Every time the plane hits an air pocket it goes down. Similarly, every time something disturbing happens, you lose your equanimity. I clearly understood what He meant and hoped that people around me did not. An amazing example of His omniscience!

Somenath: Yes, Swami. Sai nodded knowingly.

I got the impression that He will take care of the air pockets. He talked to me so lovingly almost the way I talk to my three year old daughter. In such simple terms Baba elucidated a complex concept that for the divine there is no good or bad.

Of all the things, Swami chose to tell me about good and bad, so it must have some direct significance in my life. This is what I think it is. Even as a teenager, years before coming to Sai, I used to wonder if the world is an illusion, whether good and bad were also not illusions. Every now and then I disagreed with conventional sense of good/bad and it would be a source of conflict within myself. For example, I would see a street dweller sleeping peacefully in a crowded city street and wonder, how come some of the established members of the society (who have everything such as, wealth, family, scholarship) cannot sleep at night? Which of the two individuals is doing better? Is there really a difference? Does it matter? There is even a possibility that based on their respective Karma, these two individuals could switch places in their subsequent births. Looking back, I feel that if there was one doubt that I wanted clarified from Baba it would have been the one about 'good and bad'. Being Antaryami, (In-dweller) Swami answered my query on His own.

Now that there is no good or bad, do I have the permission to indulge in all the so called "bad" actions? I certainly have. However, I have to accept the "pain" resulting from a bad Karma with the understanding that pain and pleasure are the same. Baba compared good/bad to pain/pleasure, so there is an implicit warning that there is unity in good-bad only at a level where there is unity between pain-pleasure. These are just other aspects of "unity in diversity".

Lesson II

This incident took place during the same trip to Parthi. My parents were with me. One day Swami called the three of us for an interview. At the end He said, 'come back tomorrow, we will talk some more'.

During the next morning Darshan, my heart was beating fast: Sai Ram! Sai Ram!... Finally He beckoned me to the eagerly awaited interview. When I stood up, He walked up to me and asked, "where is mother - father?".

I pointed at the mass of devotees and said "they are there". Baba walked away without saying anything. We had the most wonderful interview. After a few days I came back to New Jersey, and life went on.

Several months later, while attending Bhajan, I had a vision. I was sitting in the Darshan line, and Swami stood right in front of me. I had my hands clasped, and I was repeatedly telling Him, "Swami! You are my Father". This whole sequence was quite vivid. Although I called Him Baba, I had never really thought of Him as my father. This was new to me and I was a bit puzzled.

The next morning during my Puja the same vision reappeared, again I was saying "Swami! You are my Father". All of a sudden Swami's words "where is mother-father?" flashed in my mind. I had assumed that He was inquiring about my parents, but now it became clear that the reference was to the divine mother-father. Instantly I realized that He is my real Mother (Sai) and Father (Baba). Not only mine, but every animate and inanimate being's.

Unfathomable are the ways of the Lord. His lessons are so subtle, yet so lucid. It has lasting impact because it is based on a deeper experience. If I had listened to hours of lectures and read volumes of books about fatherhood/motherhood of God, I would not have learned what Swami explained using just four words "Where is mother-father?". Thus, Swami is the ultimate teacher. He uses the whole domain of the conscious and the subconscious experience as His class room. The lessons are particularly exciting when they come in the form of His divine leela. When I was a student, I seldom remembered what was taught in the previous lecture. However, these words of Swami are locked up in my heart with the key thrown away. I recollect each word again and again in an effort to re-live those glorious moments.

Dear brothers and sisters! We are fortunate to be on the earth at this point of time. We can learn and realize in a short time what
normally would have taken us several life times because the Lord Himself is here as our teacher.

Courtesy: “The Splendour of Sathya Sai”, Page-159

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