Dabbling and Diving

The Cosmic Visitor


Jonathan Swift wrote in his characteristic, caustic style, "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign - that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." Vilification is the tribute that envy offers to mystery. Ignorance breeds either humility or obstinacy; it seldom blossoms into inquiry and illumination, for it cannot recognise itself. It clothes itself in pride and revels in the petty practice of slander.

Dr. Gokak [see also: Cities Aflame, for a song by Dr. Gokak and Facets of Truth] describes Baba as the 'Cosmic Visitor'. Baba Himself announced in His twenty-first year,

"No one can comprehend My glory, whoever he may be, whatever his method of inquiry, and however sustained his attempt.

No wonder He attracted a campaign of vilification when He was just fourteen years of age. His father threatened to beat the alleged 'megalomania' out of His head. Brandishing a heavy stick [see: Serpent Hill], he accosted Him saying, "Are you God or a fraud?" when Baba replied, 'I am Sai Baba come again; worship Me,' the stick dropped from His father's hand. Miracles soon convinced him that it is best to leave his Son alone. Baba's elder brother drew His attention to the barbs of pettiness and prejudice aimed through rumor and scandal at the dazzling, new phenomenon Who had arisen from a 'hamlet between the hills'. Baba wrote to him, 

"These people have to be pitied rather than condemned. They do not know. They have no patience to judge aright. They are too full of lust, anger and conceit to see clearly and know fully, so they make all types of allegations. If only they knew, they would not talk or write like that... People are endowed with a variety of characteristics and mental attitudes, and each judges the other according to his own level of perception, debates and defends his point of view in accordance with his particular degree of enlightenment." [See: Resume - 1926 -1961]

Slanderers prowl around those who stand above the common level. Peggy Mason, editor of Two Worlds, writes, "A great light arouses detractors. Jesus was scorned as a wine bibber and a consort of publicans and sinners, who had received his healing powers through the good offices of Belzebub." Baba, too, was scorned while yet a boy of fourteen, as being possessed by a spirit. His brother and parents subjected Him to a painful process of exorcism [See: Serpent Hill]. The villagers of Puttaparthi spread the story that the boy was possessed by some local sprite which, through their efforts in that direction, would soon set him free. Baba says that detractors only help in separating the chaff from the grain, and even this by itself is sufficient reason to welcome them.

Baba is an open book. There is nothing exotic or esoteric about Him, nor is there any trace of abracadabra in His teachings; His ministration has no mysterious ceremonial or initiatory rite; He is ever intent on giving and forgiving; He never accepts for Himself any gift or offering or present; if you need Him, He says, you certainly deserve Him; He is by your side when you call, no matter where you may be; and love is the only currency He deals in.

Invokes a Sense of Unity

Therefore, institutions trying to propagate and promote special cults, purveyors of dubious remedies and agents of 'exclusive' roads to the Abode of God, naturally try to keep their own flocks intact by means of slander. Baba declares before hundreds of thousands of people, belonging to every caste, creed and religion, and assembled from every part of the globe, 

"There is only one caste - the caste of Humanity; 
there is only one religion - the religion of Love; 
there is only one language - the language of the Heart; 
there is only one God, and He is omnipresent.

This message demolishes the walls laboriously built and vigilantly preserved by petty, separative minds, who readily take refuge in slander and vilification as their first line of defence against this Cosmic Visitor.

Blatantly yellow journals felt encouraged to turn their slander towards the divine phenomenon by forces that could not, however, disturb it in any way. They spun spicy tales which they hoped would distort and damage its image and fetch them quick returns. Periodicals that were restrained were prompted into this nefarious adventure by those having vested interests. But Baba, being the embodiment of Love, has only love to offer in return for such presents. He says, 

"In every age, in every land, these unfortunate people drudge for their daily bread. I stand between the heap of praise and the heap of blame, blessing both. You recite My name in your homes; they shout My name along the lanes and by-lanes, and all over the marketplace. Why do you begrudge the few paise they earn by selling their stuff to provide their children a little food?"

Baba, in His infinite compassion, advises, "Pity them, they do not know... Pity them, for they cannot know." When I proposed to publish the first part of His biography, 'Sathyam Sivam Sundaram', in 1954, after a six-year stay in His presence, He at once demurred, saying, 

"Readers will not accept the book as authentic, since they do not and cannot know My truth. They will treat it like a fairy tale, as they do the Arabian Nights. Wait, I have still to make the world eager and ready for that book. Now, people will doubt your sanity; later, they will blame you for underestimating Me." 

And exactly this happened. The book was released in 1960. On 8th February 1962, I received a letter from Swami Abhedananda, for long a resident of the ashram of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi in Thiruvannamalai, who had recently met Baba: "In my humble opinion, an avatar is only a particle of the supreme Brahman, descending on the earth simply to moderate the ups and downs of humanity, and to alleviate their imaginary woes." He then went on to charge me with the sacrilege of underestimating Sai Baba, saying, "He seems to me to be the perfect, Poorna [purna: complete, full] Brahman, personified to end the unsettled state of the world, to rectify human defects and to bring man to realize his own true nature and its bliss."

The Superstition

Another group of people who cannot be happy with a divine phenomenon in their hemisphere, are the 'rationalists'. They are allergic to the very idea of God. And here is Baba declaring that He is God, and that every one is God, including those who deny God. Such people adore only their ego or their ism. They called a halt to their logic somewhere about the forties of the present century, before Eddington, Jeans, Freud, Jung and Einstein highlighted the limitations of science. Science has now humbled itself before the inscrutability of the cosmos. "The universe is a thought of God," says Jeans. The cell and the atom, matter and energy, are dealing surprise after surprise on syllogisms and systems laboriously built by hoary pundits of science. The once-respected faculty called 'intellect', has been discarded as a superstition by front-line thinkers in biology, psychology and physics.

As Paul Brunton writes, "If any one considers all the evidence of intention and, failing to believe that a higher power directs all, comes only to atheism; it is because the mind which such a person considers as evidence, is already closed by bias or ill-balanced by emotion, upset by suffering or too distracted by the five senses, or is faulty in yet some other way." Atheism is kept alive by the tendency to rebel against adult beliefs; it is a sign of juvenile stubbornness. Some propagate this cult because they have no courage to accept a stance considered out of date, while others behave in that manner for, being unhappy themselves, they desire to undermine whatever happiness is available to others.

A group of so-called rationalists once initiated a project with great fanfare, to 'investigate' Baba by means of certain tests which they announced in various periodicals. "We shall ask Baba to take off his gown. What about his hair - it may be fake; some say it is, so we shall have to find out. Perhaps we would have to use metal detectors to check if he is concealing some things on him," they announced.

"Grotesquely ridiculous and grossly insulting," exclaims R.K. Karanjia, editor of Blitz, who had himself in the past openly questioned and criticized Sathya Sai Baba. The faithful followers of the 'investigators' thereupon vilified Karanjia as having been bribed, bought out, hypnotized, converted, or otherwise influenced by Baba!

The sallies which such persons indulge in, remind us of the adventures of Don Quixote and his companion Sancho Panza. It is now well-established that what we call 'reason' is only a state of mind, and it is perverted and polluted by unreasonable likes and dislikes. It can be distorted by propaganda. It is so riddled by self-love that one sees things only as one wishes to perceive them. Child experiences, too, create bias towards persons, principles and procedures. But more than all other defects, our reason suffers from a tendency to rationalize prejudices, in order to salve the conscience and shield the ego from guilt.

"Take off the gown... pull at the hair... pass a metal detector over the body!" No wonder the Sancho Panzas were laughed off the stage. Many were aware of Dr. Osis' remark that "in the scientific community, as in every establishment, there is inertia, conservatism and hostility towards anything radically new." But no one could have expected such a caricature to emerge from this community.

Baba says, 

"How can science, which is bound by physical laws, investigate transcendental phenomena, for these lie far beyond its scope and comprehension... I have repeatedly declared that those who want to understand Me are welcome here. It is the spirit of investigation that is important. Foreign para-psychologists have come here and examined Me in a positive and constructive spirit. They do not write slanderous letters or make public demands. But the very approach of these people (the 'investigators') was wrong. That is why I refused them. I want people to come, see, hear, observe and experience Me. Only then will they understand and appreciate the Avatar."

Diving into Sai

Dr. Karlis Osis, a director of research from the prestigious American Society for Psychical Research, and his friend and fellow-worker, Dr. E. Haroldson, visited India three times, met many people who had a long association with Baba, journeyed thousands of miles on fact-finding assignments, and stayed at Prasanthi Nilayam for months together - seeing, hearing, studying, observing and experiencing. Dr. Osis writes, "The abundance of the phenomena encountered and the magnitude of the miraculous effect, were a complete surprise to seasoned para-psychologists like us... I have been an active searcher for twenty-five years and have travelled widely, but nowhere have I found phenomena which point as clearly and forcibly to spiritual reality as the daily miracles of Baba."

Baba says,

"Those who wish to secure pearls must dive deep to get them. It is useless to dabble in shallow waters and claim that the sea holds no treasures." 

Dr. Sandweiss journeyed to Prasanthi Nilayam and 'dived' with the intention to prove its barrenness, but to his own amazement, his efforts yielded pearls aplenty. His apprehensions about mass hypnotism, group hysteria and uncanny influences, were quickly laid low. Before he started on his voyage of investigation, he had written, "The opportunity of observing such events at first hand and of investigating their psychological mechanisms myself was very appealing. I felt that observing Baba in person would give me an idea of what might have taken place at the time of Christ to propagate those incredible stories." He has since written the now well-known book, 'Sai Baba', on the last page of which he has described the 'pearl' he secured, thus: 

"It has been my good fortune to draw close to Him at a time when it is still possible to become friendly with him on a personal level, and see the clear signs of His greatness in a close and intimate way. Yet I feel that soon Baba will become but an orange speck on the horizon, surrounded by millions of eager faces. And like the people in His village who were once blessed to know the sweetness of His being from daily personal contact with Him, I, too, will one day be saddened by having to view Him only from a distance."

Karanjia, too, on the suggestion of both, Baba's devotees and adversaries, finally decided like Sandweiss to 'dive'. He now recalls,

"I myself went to Puttaparthi to put all available criticisms straight to Baba, and to obtain His answer... The encounter was fantastic, almost shattering... Sathya Sai Baba revealed Himself as a scientist of consciousness, showing mankind the way to realize the indwelling God through love, devotion, detachment and selflessness, to evolve to a higher level of enlightenment.



"The false dichotomies created by Western thought between man and God, Purusha and Purushottama, simply do not exist in the Hindu scriptures, which propagate the mergence of God in man and man in God as the basis of religion. Baba personifies this philosophy... Baba's holy mission leads us deep into the spiritual significance of the Cosmic Drama. It aims to first unmake the materialistic, ego-bound man, and then to remake him in the image and likeness of God."

Karanjia goes on to quote the English version of a Telugu poem, which Baba once sang as a prologue to one of His discourses:

'I am the Dance Master;
I am Nataraja, the Lord of Dance.
You are all my pupils.
I, alone, know the agony
Of teaching you, each step of the Dance'.

Ruminating over the cosmic dimensions of the agony that this poem tries to express, Karanjia writes, "To one who carries the burden as well as the glory of human agony, campaigns of calumny indulged in by a few misled people can hardly touch him." And as simply and naturally as Christ's plea from the cross, for forgiveness for those 'who know not what they do,' Baba blesses the calumniators.

To those who are troubled by His assertion that man is Divine, the question asked is, "As God is omnipresent, can He not be found in man?" To those who feel hurt by His treating the rich as lovingly as the poor, the reply is,

"They bring to Me their troubled hearts and sick minds. I cure them by asking them to divert their wealth and power to spiritual ends like Seva." 

Those who will have Him 'perform' a miracle which suits their taste, must first understand that He is no 'performer'. What we call a 'miracle' is, in fact, only a concretization of His love. Baba also explains, 

"Articles that can be worn by devotees are given by Me, so that by wearing them the recipient can keep contact with Me throughout his life."

Most questions and doubts arise only from cleverness. The reason is used, as Aldous Huxley says, "to create internal and external conditions favorable to its own transfiguration by and into the spirit." Huxley goes on to assert that, "cleverness has given us technology and power. Therefore, we believe, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that we have only to go on being cleverer in a yet more clamorous way, to achieve social order, international peace and personal happiness."

In accordance with Bhagavân's constant advice, let us now resolve to understand ourselves by transfiguring reason into spirit, rather than disfiguring it into cleverness. Let us determine to resolve our own mystery. Only then, says Baba, can we hope to understand Him, to understand that we are a part of Him. Then the truth, 'My Me is God', will shine. Let little minds dabble; we shall dive.


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Written by N. Kasturi M.A., B.L.