Volume 16 - Issue 04
April 2018
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Posted on: Apr 12, 2018

From Dependence to Independence

Mr. B K Misra

A post graduate in Arts from Ravenshaw College, Odisha, India, Mr. B. K. Misra taught English literature for 13 years in various universities including seven years in his alma mater. In 1966, he came into Bhagawan’s fold under amazing circumstances, and since then longed to serve at His Lotus Feet in Prasanthi Nilayam. His dream was fulfilled in 1980 when he joined the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, where he serves till date even after retirement. 

His earlier articles on Radio Sai include Be Human, Educating Your Heart, Feeling Sorry In Their Sorrow, and Sai Anandam.

Swami always used to reprimand devotees, more often students, for ignoring His spiritual presence within them and attaching too much importance to the external Swami. The message was clear: spiritualise your life.

When ‘God’ Became an Accessible and Beautiful Experience…

We can do that only when transformation starts from within and when God within becomes a palpable experience. But God walking and talking spread such a magical world of sweetness around us that we hardly bothered about an inner world. It was this walking-and-talking God who brought humanity together, redefined our relationships, chartered out the road to loving and serving all and showed us the possibility that we can really make this world a much better place to live in by resetting our allegiances and by walking with God.


Swami so fondly asked us not to follow Him, for we can't walk in His steps; not to walk in front of Him, for He won't walk in our steps, but to ‘walk with Me and be My friend’. The stunning realisation that God can be a friend, talking to us and walking with us changed our perception of God completely. This humble God, a bundle of beauty, power and grace, came to help us realise that He is only a mirror of what lies inside of us.

His extended tours, His ever-increasing personal involvement in the lives of devotees through many service projects and individual ministrations, His eloquent talks and of course the incredible miracles flowing from His Presence opened a new era of faith and devotion which mankind had lost in building up a material civilisation. His purity, simplicity and universality created such an aura around Him that whoever was touched by it felt blessed.

He gently showed the scientists and intellectuals that there is a more humbling dimension to human understanding, that omniscience and omni-felicity are a reality, that all religions have a much greater universal face than we wanted to believe and that the globe can become a single home for the Homo sapiens if we dare to take God's hand and walk with Him. All this He achieved by just being what He was - a very loving, caring and unpretentious God who loved to share our lives. Humanity needed a palpable God and He was that.

Once We Grow Up, We Can Go Up

But He decided to shake us from taking God for granted, and apparently left us to ourselves. We sorely missed Him after His unexpected physical exit. Before we graduated into seeing the ‘inner God’, He gave the playing field to us.

But it is also a way to teach the children that there will always come a time when they have to do a few things themselves. Dependence has to grow into independence without being antithetical to it. Independence is the fulfilment of dependence, taken to a higher level. Just as Jesus asked, “Which son is dearer to the Father - the one who says ‘Father, father’ and prefers to live in His presence or the one who goes out and does Father's work?” “Surely, the son who does Father's work,” the Lord affirmed. This could be the next stage of our dependence on Him. Just as God's Presence and Absence are inclusive of each other and each vitalises the other, the two stages of devotion are inclusive of each other. Swami wants to show us that ‘absence of God’ is a fallacy and a mental construct.

Krishna sent Uddhava to Brindavan to recognise this fallacy. Though Krishna was physically absent from Brindavan, for the Gopis He was present in every bush, in every bud, in every ripple of Yamuna and in every particle of dust He walked on. Uddhava thought Radha must have been devastated after Krishna left, but he realised that he was sent to learn the next stage of devotion from her.

Swami said Radha remained in such an exalted stage that in a few years she shed her body. The same thing happened to Meera too. Legends say that she simply melted away into Krishna. Her inner Krishna was so much more real that her physical body lost its separate existence. Her complete dependence brought her complete independence. These stages are indicated in the Gita as well.

After Krishna explained to Arjuna why he should not quit the battle, He said, “Arjuna, now I have told you all, but you may do whatever you desire” (Chapter 18-63) and Arjuna replies, “I will always do whatever You tell me to” (Chapter 18-73). Krishna knew Arjuna was ready for ‘doing the Father's work’. So He told him, “Give up all your confusions and all other allegiances and do My work. I will free you from all binding consequences.” That is complete freedom. Isn't it a classic instance of complete dependence leading to complete independence?

In the second chapter Arjuna had told Krishna, “I am Your disciple. Teach me what I should do”. After teaching him the secrets of life over 17 chapters Krishna gave him the right of choice. Arjuna was not an ordinary student and so he told Krishna that he was ready to completely obey Him. Swami has left behind a whole Gita composed over eight decades of living a life for us. He demonstrated in His life every word He spoke. We must now be able to say, “Lord, I completely obey You” (Karishye Vachanam Tava).

What Has Changed and What Hasn’t

Swami's physical exit gave rise to another phenomenon. Devotees who were used to looking upon Him as their Guide and Guru suddenly felt an emotional void. They would always visit Prasanthi Nilayam in any challenging situation and just being in Swami's Presence would reassure them that all shall be well.

Some problems were solved, and some lost their hold on them. He had been the strongest anchor in any situation. The huge Sai organisation suddenly lost its founding Father and it was not ready yet to function without Swami's hand-holding. For them too it was a very trying time. The spiritual goals of the organisation and the activities to promote them were thrown into sharp perspectives, and the need to defend the special nature of the organisation as a spiritual-social service setup became more urgent.

To add to the confusion, some people began to claim that they received messages from Swami through dreams and clairvoyance to do things in a certain way to help devotees. This had an immediate impact. Those who sorely missed His physical presence flocked to them for solace and guidance. This also brought a curious crowd who wanted to make use of this confusing situation in order to promote their personal goals.

Interestingly, this too was a situation where we began to see the road ahead with a little more clarity. We began to notice that whatever Swami meant to us while He was in a body has not changed. What has changed, obviously, is the level of connecting to Him. Now we have to climb to the next level of action and convert His physical absence into spiritual presence.

Swami wanted to take humanity into the next level of evolution where the immense material prosperity we have achieved can be utilised to achieve more enduring spiritual prosperity and recreate humanity as a global family. The gifts of nature combined with the gifts of knowledge could produce great peace and happiness for both individuals and nations. The same help from the Divine is still available.

Unlocking the Power of His Presence Within

From a Principle, God becomes a Person and then returns to the Principle. But in neither stage is His impact on our lives affected. Therefore, instead of seeking this help from external sources, from people who claim they could establish a connect, we have to turn inward; we have to spend time in contemplating the next level of our journey withGod and not to God.

During the early 1970s I had a friend in the Commercial Tax department of Odisha. He was dismissed from service on charges of accepting a bribe. When he was contemplating suicide, Swami came into his life and he somehow managed to land in Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami called the family on the second day and spoke to them very lovingly.

The man broke down before Swami and told Him with tears in his eyes that he was poor and would not be able to come to Him often. Swami's eyes began to fill with unshed tears. He patted the man's cheeks and told him, Bangaru, why should you come to Me? I am always with you. Live an honest life and I will take you to your goal.” It was such a powerful message for them. They went back in ecstasy to start a new life. 

Recently I met with an old student of mine in Puttaparthi. His story was an eye-opener for me. He had been working abroad on a very good salary. In a few years he developed a strange ailment which no doctor could diagnose. Since medical intervention is very expensive there, he came back to India and met many doctors, but none could help. When he was at the end of his tether and had lost all hopes, Swami came to him in a dream and asked him to chant Rudram and do nothing else.

The boy does just that, all day, 22 times. He lives alone in a small fourth floor studio room, cooks his own food and chants Rudram. He told me he is living with Swami for he always feels Swami's presence with him. Within three months of having chanted Rudram, he said he is 90% healed. Do we still dare say that Swami has gone, and we need some tool to contact Him?

Any feeling of uncertainty and lack of intensity in the Sai Mission today will end when we turn inward and connect with God there. The Sathya Sai Organisation is only an extension of the committed individual. So, whatever is true with the individual is also true with the group. The basic objective of the organisation has been to show people how to find God both outside and inside of us; the instruction was to show by living such a life.

When God ceases being an idea and only a lawgiver to preside over awards and punishments but turns into the closest ally, our divergent goals should converge into a single goal of liberation from negative propensities. The greatest blessing of this Avatar is the huge wealth of guiding words He has left behind and the assurance that He is always available to a sincere seeker. He has been proving this in abundance.

The highway to God is still being guided by Him. He is still looking after our families, presiding over our destinies and directing our actions. We have to get out of this confusion and seek Him; we should connect to Him at the next higher level. He never needed a physical prop to reach us and never will. We too must learn to abandon a physical prop to reach Him, for He is within each one of us.  

- Radio Sai Team

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