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  Volume 4 - Issue 02

(Continued from the previous issue)


H (HISLOP): Would Swami please explain His statement that the world is a mirror?

SAI: The world is a mirror, and life is the reflection of God. If the mirror is pure, only God is seen. The opposites, good and bad, are no longer seen at all. There is only God. If the world is not seen, then there is neither mirror nor any reflection. We have the idea of the world only because of the mirror effect. The mirror (world) exists only as long as our desires exist. 'World' means the inside sense world. We apprehend the world through the senses. These senses are seen outside. It is only because of the illusion of the senses that there appears to be a body. A corpse is burned when the wood is set afire. The inner senses correspond to the wood. When they are burned through inquiry and sadhana (spiritual practice), the body automatically disappears. Both inquiry and practice are necessary.

H: But, Swami, our experience is that objects exist independent of our consciousness of them.

SAI: For us the world exists only if we are there to see it. If we are blind, we do not see it. If we are in a faint, it does not exist for us. For us, the world is as we see it. It takes shape for us according to our viewpoint. If your viewpoint is that all is God, then everything we see is God. Suppose we take a picture with a camera. Do the trees enter the lens and impress themselves on the film, or does the camera reach out and grasp the trees?

 H: The trees impress themselves on the camera.


SAI: Wrong! I take a picture of a person who does not want his picture taken. Will the refusal prevent the picture? Or, put it in another way. The person wants his picture taken. Will that result in the picture? The heart is like a film that can capture the image of Swami. If the film is latent and clean, it can capture Swami even if He does not want it. But if the camera is without such a film, if the heart is impure and clouded, then Swami's image cannot be there even if He wants it. The body is the camera, the mind is the lens, the intelligence is the switch, and love is the film.

H: But Swami's image in the heart is His form. Krishna says, ‘The devotee need picture the Paramatma as un-picturable, that is enough'. What does that mean, and how does it apply to the image of Swami in the heart?

SAI: The image need not be that of Swami. It may be love, which is Swami. First, God is realized in form. He is seen everywhere in that form. Then God may be realized without form, since all forms are impermanent. A learning child, sees an elephant statue. On the statue, 'elephant' is written in words. The child cannot read the words, but learns about 'elephant' from its name as he hears it. Once he has learned to read, then just the word remains and from that he understands 'elephant'. The statue, the form, is impermanent, but the words remain as long as the language endures. The word 'elephant' represents elephant in its formless state. Likewise, once the devotee learns the language of divinity, then God need not be pictured; the word is enough. But one learns about God through form and the name.

H: We see here the form of God as Swami. How are we to understand the form? Does God appear only as that one form? If the question is improper, may Swami please disregard it.

SAI: The question is all right. Wires in the room are everywhere, but only one bulb is connected into the wires. Only the one light is seen in full power. The same current is in all the wires. The Avathar is one only, and this one body is taken by the Avathar. Of course, a brilliant light spreads outward as rays, but the rays are not different from the light.


H: Swami, please go a little deeper into 'form' and 'formless'.

SAI: The body is not the truth we attribute to it. An example: a man worships the mother who gave him birth for 30 years. He massages her feet, prostrates before her, gazes into her eyes with love, listens to her voice, is warmed and made happy by her affectionate and loving regard. At age 60, the mother dies. At once the son cries out, 'Mother, Mother, why have you left me?’ Why did the man cry out? The body he worshipped was there, the feet he massaged daily were there, but he cried out that his mother was not there, that she had left him. We have to conclude that even though the man had for the past 30 years regarded the body and mother as one and the same, yet when the mother died he instantly knew that 'mother' was not body and that 'mother' had departed even though body remained.

So, of what value was the body, which was never the mother, even though for a time it had been regarded as mother? Contemplating this mystery, it is apparent that had it not been for the body, the mother could not have been known. It was only through the medium of body that the man had been able to experience and thus know the tender, loving, sublime quality of the mother which resulted in love rising up in his heart. The formless, timeless quality of 'mother' could be known and attained only through the impermanent form.

H: Swami! This is wonderful! This explains the real significance of form.

SAI: The same is true of the formless transcendent divine. Without form, it is non-existent for us. We become cognizant of the divine through the medium of form.

H: Sai has revealed the secret of form and formless! How is the transition made from worship of God in form to worship of the formless divine?

SAI:The transition is made by full adoration of God in form, then seeing that beloved form in everyone and in every place. Then loving others comes naturally and easily.

H: When Swami is present, His form is easily seen and may be worshipped, but when Swami's physical person is absent, should one form a mental image of Him so that one may continue to see His form?


SAI: Yes. One should have a mental image of a form of God, fully developed, with one’s mind poured into that form. When the image of God is seen outside, it is qualified dualism. When seen in the mind it is qualified monism. When the form is absorbed into the Atma, that is Advaita, non-dualism.

The two preliminary steps are not separate stages; they are contained in Advaita, as buttermilk and butter are contained in milk. The image of God seen outside should be taken into the mind and then into the soul.

H: What is the best way to form the mental image of God?

SAI: If you wish, the form you see can be taken as an image. Or a photo can be taken.

H: If a photo of Swami, or the directly perceived image of Swami is taken as the mental image, no doubt the concentration should not waver from the chosen image?

SAI: The mind should be steady on the one chosen image of God. When an image is made of silver, the eyes, hair, mouth, and skin are all silver.

H: Please say that again.

SAI: The mind is poured into the mould of the image so that the mind is the image of God .

H: I see. That is most enlightening! But Swami we feel happier when in Swami's physical presence and not so happy when Swami is away.

SAI: You are identified with your physical form and so you look to the form of another. When you are less attached to the physical form, your happiness will be more even.


H: One regards himself as a son of Swami. Swami is as the Mother, and we confide in Him, directly, if possible but if not then by prayer and by writing to him.

SAI: There is an endless flow of letters coming to Swami. Swami reads all the letters and, about 10 a. m., the letters are burned. Swami does everything Himself, so everything is done right. Swami never sleeps. At the middle of the night, He turns off the light and rests in the bed because if light is on devotees gather. Swami has no need of sleep. But men need at least four hours of sleep; it is essential for them.

People think that Baba rests in the afternoon until 4 p.m. But He never rests. He is never tired. He is always working. People are upset when three or four relatives visit. But Baba's visitors are endless. Baba is attending to every detail of His scholars and colleges, and to the millions of His devotees. And, for most people, the responsibility for their work rests elsewhere. But Baba is responsible for the results as well as for the work.

H: Baba is responsible also for His other worlds, is He not?

SAI: Yes. For saints, Rishis and yogis everywhere, Swami is attending to the guidance, protection and welfare of these, wherever they may be.

H: I mean Swami is responsible for the entire universe, not just this world?

SAI: It is like this. Baba is the switch. The switch is turned on and all goes forward automatically. As the key is turned in a car, then all parts of the car work automatically. In a similar way, the universe is automatically regulated. So called 'miracles' are not miracles, nor do they prove divinity. Baba's endless work in all the worlds - easy, no weight, always happy - that is the 'miracle'.


H: Considering the endless problems that Swami deals with in this world, it is strange that He is always in bliss, always happy.

SAI: Regardless of the event, Swami is always happy, always blissful.

H: Please excuse a question that may seem rude: Swami seems to have different moods. What does this mean?

SAI: A boat glides over the flood but does not allow the flood to enter it. Just as one is at peace in a boat into which no water comes, no worries or concerns enter into Baba's state of bliss. But ordinary men do not do the same as Baba. They allow 'water’ - all sorts of worries and concerns - to enter the boat, and there is no happiness, no bliss, no peace of mind. Baba's bliss is ever present, regardless of the world.

Consider that each month Baba must meet an expense budget of hundreds of thousands of rupees. On His shoulders rest all the affairs of the schools, the ashram, the people within His physical circle, the interviews, the petitions, the correspondence, the problems. That is on the body level.

At the same time on the mental level, Baba is with those who yearn for God, no matter in what area of the world - saints, yogis, rishis, spiritual aspirants everywhere, watching them, guiding them, fostering every movement of heart or mind towards God.

But Baba is untouched by all this. His bliss is constant, unchanging. Even outwardly His bliss is constant, even though it may appear that He is angry, impatient, aloof or distant. The 'anger' is just sound, because the sound of anger is necessary to correct certain situations. In like fashion, 'aloofness' or 'distance' is just the appropriate role at that time and place. In fact, Baba's love is constant and unchanging, just as is His bliss.

H: Baba has the inconceivably immense task of the universe. How can He afford to spend time talking to people like us?

SAI: Baba, with His limitless bodies, is everywhere doing the tasks. 'A thousand heads, hands, feet’ – ‘Sahasra sheershaa purushah sahasraaksha sahasrapaad '. It is just this body that sits here talking with you. That is Baba's omnipresence. The Avathar is beyond the 5 elements. He is the Creator. Arjuna was the controller, Krishna the Creator. Science is outside; wisdom is inside. Man, turning outward, creates machines, but there his control ends. Witness the three dead astronauts of a few months ago. God is not subject to any limitation. He is the Creator of the elements, their Modifier, their Preserver, their Destroyer.

H: The Avathar is never born, but He appears to take birth in a body which then gradually grows to full size in the ordinary way. The bodies that one sees are impermanent, and Baba does not look to be different.

SAI: The Avathar takes only the body such as you have described. The difference is that men come into bodies with tendencies and the results of actions. Baba takes this body without any tendencies, completely free, with no desires or attachments, and always happy.

H: When one sees Baba as a form amongst all the perishable forms, cannot one point to Him as the one reality amongst all these perishable dream-like forms?

SAI: Yes.The one reality is Baba. 'Baba' means Being, Awareness, Bliss, Atma - one Reality.

(To be continued)....

- Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 4 Issue 02 - February 2006
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