SAI BABA AND THE COSMIC CHRIST
By Ron Laing
This is the month of December, the holy month of Christmas, when thousands gather at Prashanthi Nilayam to pay their homage to their "Father". Here is an interesting article celebrating this sacred month.
Sai Baba and Jesus - Extraordinary Identity
I had studied the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba for two years before going to India, and I had come to the certain conviction that once again the Word had been made flesh, that the Divine Principle had incarnated to save the world from destruction. Everything Swami said and did struck a note in the core of my being. He crystallised virtually everything I had come to believe in 65 years of search. I had come home.
What also impacted me increasingly was the extraordinary similarity in the life, teachings, miracles, and personality of Sai Baba and Jesus of Nazareth. They even seemed to express themselves in the same phraseology. Of course it is true that all world teachers basically assert the same truths, but there is an extraordinary identity between Sai Baba and Jesus which is quite unique.
In 1968 Albert Eckhart wrote,
'The difference between Sai Baba and Jesus Christ is that the first is living and his miracles are confirmed by men, whereas the miracles of Jesus are reported in the Bible only. Nevertheless, the behaviour and the deeds of both are nearly and often the same.'
The teachings of Jesus spread across half the globe. Sai Baba, in a little over 40 years, is said to have 50 million devotees and there are Centres in 64 countries of the world. (This article was written in 1984. Now there are Sai Centres in about 180 countries and correspondingly a much larger number of followers - H2H Team). Puttaparthi is rapidly becoming the Vatican of the East. At the Birthday celebration in 1980 there were 350,000 people accommodated on a campus of 100 acres.
On Swami's 50th birthday Dr Diwaker, an Indian scholar and statesman, said this:
'Once Swami was a village urchin, uncared for, untutored, unloved. Now on his 50th birthday we assemble from the four quarters of the globe and what do we find? Philosophers and politicians, educators and legislators, scientists and technologists, the learned as well as the ignorant, the rich as well as the poor, and from all nations and from all religions, if this is not a marvel and a living miracle I would like to know what is!
Sai and Jesus...Same Love
Jesus went about loving people and healing the sick. Sai Baba, too, does just that — loving people and healing the sick, serving mankind 24 hours a day. Both interpret the purpose of human life in exactly the same way. The symbolic meaning of the Cross is the eradication of the ego — the vertical stroke represents the T with which we are born, and the horizontal stroke the erasure of the ego. Baba's interpretation is identical. 'The sole purpose of your incarnation is the crucifixion of the ego on the altar of compassion.'
Both have made stupendous statements. Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. I and my father are one.'
Baba has made even more incredible statements, 'My power is immeasurable. My truth is inexplicable, unfathomable. I am beyond the reach of the most intensive enquiry and the most meticulous measurement. There is nothing I do not see, nowhere I do not know the way, no problem I cannot solve. My sufficiency is unconditional. I am the totality — all of it'
Both proclaim the brotherhood of man and the universality of the message. 'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,' said the Christ.
'My mission is for all mankind,' says Baba, 'I have not come to collect disciples for any particular sect, creed or religion, such as the Hindu religion. I have come to light the lamp of love in the hearts of all humanity.'
Sai and Jesus - Same Teaching and Message
The teaching of both is exoteric and esoteric. Christ taught the masses in simple parables, yet astounded the scholars and theologians with the scope and insight of his knowledge. Baba also teaches the masses in parables, yet was explaining the most abstruse passages in the Vedas to India's pundits at the age of ten. Both come over as men of the people, intensely human and lovable, albeit divine, rather than as cloistered holy men. One might say 'divinely human and humanly divine'. One feels this about Jesus, at one and the same time a friend and a god-man. So too with Baba — at one moment borrowing a razor from Dr Gokak when travelling, and then suddenly performing some stupendous miracle (like 'cancelling' the cancer of a devotee).
We are told that Jesus commanded an audience of thousands, and was acclaimed by virtually the entire city on his entry into Jerusalem. Baba commands an audience of tens of thousands on a whirlwind visit to a big city. Both started their mission when children. Christ taught in the temple at the age of 12. Baba was performing miracles at 6 and started his mission at the age of 13.
The teaching on karma and reincarnation is common to both, although most of Christ's teaching on these truths were expunged from the four Gospels which were kept, at the Council of Constantinople in 553 A.D. They are, however, still intact in the Aquarian Gospel and others. 'A man reaps what he sows,' says Jesus. 'Whatsoever acts a man does, good or bad, follow him,' says Baba. 'The Kingdom of heaven is within you,' said Jesus. 'We make our worlds ourselves,' says Baba. 'God is your best Guru, and He resides in your heart.'
Christ upheld the role of women and tried to raise their status above the level of mere chattels. He was often surrounded by women. Swami, too, reveres women, and elevates them in their vital role of motherhood as being the custodians of future generations. 'The mother is the child's first guru,' He says. Three of His first six colleges are for women only (and every year November 19th is celebrated as Ladies Day in Prashanthi Nilayam and all Sai Centres).
Christ preached joy and the life abundant. 'I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.' Joy is the very essence of Baba's personality and teaching. Listen to those who know Him intimately — Howard Murphet, author of three books on Baba: 'We who struggle on through sorrow and passing joy, see in Baba the embodiment of perfect joy.' Or to Dr Sandweiss, author of The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist, 'He appears to be in a state of constant bliss. His face and body are lit with an aura of energy which I have never observed in a human being.'
Of course the cornerstone of the teaching of these two god-men can be summed up in the one word - love. No newcomer to the Gospels, unconditioned by theology, could possibly read them without gaining the over-whelming impression that the paramount message contained therein is one of love. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God . . .' and 'Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.' Sai Baba, too, is the embodiment of love. It is the essence of all His teaching, the golden thread which runs through everything He says and does, the criterion by which He judges everything.
There is the same similarity in the detailed teaching. 'Avoid killing, theft, adultery, greed, sensuality, anger, impatience, hatred, egotism, pride.' Are not these exhortations an appeal to the Christian values? In the ten volumes of Baba's Discourses can be found every precept of the Sermon on the Mount. I give here a few of the sayings of both.
The Sermon on the Mount
Jesus : 'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.'
Sai : 'The pure heart becomes inspired; it sees beyond intellect and reason.'
Jesus : 'Search not for the mote in your neighbour's eye but look for the beam in your own.'
Sai : 'Instead of seeing faults in others, search for those in yourself.'
Jesus : 'Judge not, that ye be not judged.'
Swami: 'Do not judge others, for when another is judged you are yourself condemned.'
Jesus : 'Cast not pearls before swine.'
Sai : 'Do not discuss devotion with those who have none; it will lessen your own.'
Jesus : 'Love your enemies.'
Sai : 'Carry on even if you are hated.'
Jesus : 'Not everyone who sayeth 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of the Father.'
Sai : 'The secret of liberation lies not in mystic formulas and rosaries, but in stepping out into action.' (Love and Service)
Jesus : 'For as much as you do injury to one of these, you do it to me.'
Sai : 'Do not slander or injure anyone, for you are slandering Me who is in him.'
Jesus : 'For Thine is the power and the glory.'
Sai : ' No man can claim achievement, for all are but instruments in the hands of the Lord..'
Jesus : 'Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.'
Sai : 'Bring Me the depths of your minds, no matter how grotesque, no matter how ravaged by doubts or disappointments. I will not reject you. I am your Mother.'
Sai and Jesus - The Same Divine Charisma
As with the teachings, so with the personalities and miracles. It is clear that Christ had a radiant transparency, a divine charisma, with no trace of affectation, pride or ego; that he was motivated solely by love which radiated from him. The impact of meeting him must have been soul-shattering. How else could a man walk up to a small group of illiterate fishermen, talk to them for an hour, and then say, 'Follow me,' and have them do just that, abandoning all?
Sai Baba has a similar effect. The sight of Him changes men and women. Often souls are instantly transformed. Dr Sandweiss was an example. When Swami first looked at him he wrote: 'What was communicated in that brief moment? The world! Something broke inside me. Some of Baba's love and joy penetrated my soul and I found myself laughing like a child ... I felt somehow transformed in one dazzling, incredible minute. I was left with my mouth hanging open.'
The Christ is said to have had an aura that reached out for a mile, so that 'sensitives' who came within it were psychically aware of his presence and were uplifted. Sai Baba's aura has been described by Dr Baranowski, a clairvoyant and Kirlian photography expert from Arizona University, as almost limitless. 'The white (energy) filled the entire room, the pink (intense universal love) went beyond the walls of the building and beyond this were bands of gold and silver reaching to the horizon.'
The Christ had X-ray eyes, instantly knowing thought and character. Baba has said, 'I see into the mind and heart. I see who has an urgent problem and needs the help of an interview.' He sees the past, present and future of everyone he meets. His omniscience regarding the past and present is constantly proved.
One gets the impression that Christ preferred simple people with a good heart. He mainly chose simple men as his disciples.
Baba often rails at the scholars and pedants, with their 'desire for disputation and the laurels of victory over those preening themselves as learned'. 'Be simple and sincere,' Baba tells His devotees. Both show their dislike of the Pharisee type. Christ called them 'whited sepulchres'. Swami calls them 'dry as dust scholars exulting in their casuistry and argumentative skills.'
Both have clearly shown their love of children. Jesus rebuked the disciples who wanted to keep the children away. 'Suffer little children to come unto me' . Baba shares this love. When a large group of children from the Wellingborough Centre (UK) went to the ashram they were too excited to sleep on the first night. Baba came to their quarters and asked them if they would go to sleep if He, too, went to sleep? Whereupon He lay down on the floor and pretended to sleep. Soon the only sound was blissful breathing — and Baba crept out on tiptoe.
Both demonstrate a capacity for vehement 'righteous indignation' when necessary for a purpose, as, for example, when Jesus drove out the money-changers from the temple with a leather lash because he opposed the buying of animals for sacrifice. A friend of mine who is a close devotee told me how one day a man with a very wealthy father, who was dying, actually came to Swami to seek financial advice about his coming inheritance! Swami thundered at him, with an emotion which astonished my friend, for thinking of money when his sick father needed his care, and dismissed him — only to revert to His normal loving self in a second. The 'anger' was just a necessary 'act'. As He says, 'Sometimes I have to make a noise!'
Jesus and Sai - The Same Personality, the Same Miracles
Both also show a combination of deep humility and commanding authority. Jesus is often referred to as 'one who spoke with authority' - one envisages a tall, commanding figure. Yet he knelt down and washed the feet of his disciples. Swami might often play and joke, but should anyone take undue advantage of it, in the twinkling of an eye He resumes His authority. Once, when a devotee enquired if he might ask a favour, Baba replied, 'Of course. I am yours. I have no rights.' At one time a servant of mankind, at another the Lord.
Both, of course, have been maligned and persecuted. 'Calumny is the lot of all great souls everywhere, at any time. It would be unnatural if it were not so,' says Baba. He is oblivious to praise or blame. Christ was accused of being a wine-bibber, of mixing with publicans and sinners. Baba has been criticised for allowing 'sinners' to use the ashram. Their replies were similar: 'I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'
Baba has said, 'Sinners have more need of me than you have.' Christ was accused of healing by the powers of Satan (Beelzebub). Baba has been called a black magician.
There is also a remarkable similarity in the miracles. Christ healed the sick. Baba heals the sick daily. Christ raised Lazarus from the dead when his body is said to have been in a state of decomposition. Baba has raised the dead on at least two occasions. The body of Mr V. Radhakrishna was also in a state of decomposition. (In fact, there are many occasions, when Swami has given the Gift of Life to chosen devotees, please go here to read our cover story on Resurrections - H2H Team).
Both multiplied food — Christ at the feeding of the five thousand, and Baba on many occasions when the food has run out. Christ changed water into wine. Baba has changed water into petrol and fuel oil. Christ could control the elements and calm the seas; likewise Baba has made a rainbow appear, and made floods recede. Christ could levitate and walk on the waters. Baba was levitating as a child to the top of the rocky hill at Puttaparthi.
The Divine Assurance of Sai
Christmas is a major festival at the ashram and celebrated with much more fervour than in the West where it has become so grossly commercialised. Baba often gives talks to small groups of Christians and points out the excisions and interpolations in the Gospels.
To those who feel a sense of disloyalty to Jesus He has on more than one occasion manifested a figure of Jesus above His head, thus identifying the two. There are also accounts of people praying before a statue of Christ and seeing it transform into an image of Sai Baba.
Finally, on Christmas Day 1972 Swami was talking to a group of Christians. He referred to a statement of Jesus which He said had been excised from the Bible. One day Jesus said to his disciples, 'He who sent me will come again. His name will be Truth. He will wear a red robe. He will be short, and have a crown (of hair).' Of course this description exactly fits Sathya Sai.
When I read about this it completely fascinated me, for I had already come to believe that Sai Baba was the great Celestial Being who had overshadowed Jesus - the One whom Jesus referred to, and prayed to, as 'the Father'.
Well, in January 1980 I plucked up courage during a private interview with only my wife present, and referred to Baba's statement on Christmas Day 1972. I said, 'Swami, does this omission in the Bible mean that it was You who sent Jesus of Nazareth into incarnation?'
'Yes,' He replied. Then came the question which lay at the very core of my soul, 'In that case, are you what Western Christians call the Cosmic Christ?'
'Yes,' He said again.
It is impossible to convey in words the tone, the quiet assurance in which He affirmed these two questions. Gently, lovingly, with total conviction, with a sort of ineffable simplicity, and perhaps most of all, with a total lack of self-consciousness impossible in a human being. He looked straight into my eyes, which were no more than twelve inches from His, and just said, 'Yes'. I only know that it was impossible not to believe Him.
- From Sathya Sai Baba Magazine - Spring 1984.