A Poem by N. Kasturi
presented to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba,
on 16 October 1958. 

What is Truth by N. Kasturi

How Kasturi received his name

Reminiscence of Professor Kasturi

View a collection of photos gathered by Kasturi
out of his book: "Loving God" - Eighty five years under the Watchful Eye of The Lord.


See also:

Interview with Mrs. Padma Kasturi, daughter of S'rî N. Kasturi.

Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram - The Life of Sri Sathya Sai Baba
'Truth, Happiness, Harmony' - The biography of Bhagavân S'rî Sathya Sai Baba.

Pathway to Peace - As learnt at His Lotus Feet



'Kasturi's photo taken in 1930' 

Nârâyana Kasturi M.A., B.L. (1897-1987) has been Baba's biographer for many decades. Besides he has also been the translator for Baba's discourses and writings, editor of Sanathana Sarathi and an elderly devotee at Prasanthi Nilayam. He is the author of:

Sathyam Sivam Sundaram - The Life of Bhagavân S'rî Sathya Sai Baba,
Prasanthi - Pathway to Peace. This book was one of the publications offered during the 60th Birthday.
- Easwaramma - The Chosen Mother. Directed by Baba, N. Kasturi wrote Baba's biography from birth to 1979. "Easwaramma, The Chosen Mother" is the first in this series of five books. "Sathya Sai Baba, Volumes I-IV" were originally titles "Sathyam Sivam Sundaram".
- Kasturi's autobiography: Loving God - Eighty-five years under the watchful eye of The Lord.
- Sadhana, the Inward Path. These are quotations from the Divine Discourses of Bhagavân S'rî Sathya Sai Baba.
- Light of Love - An account of Bhagavân's visit to East Africa from June 30th to July 14th, 1968. It includes the Divine Discourses given by Bhagavân during the trip and the author's experiences of his Divine journey.
- Garland of 108 Precious Gems - Commentary on the 108 Names with which devotees of S'rî Sathya Sai Baba offer homage to Him.
- Siva Sakthi Swarupa. This question and answer format book describes a divine miracle which happened in 1963, and describes in detail how Sai Baba is both the embodiment of S'iva and Sakthi.
- Sathya Sai Baba - God in Action. A compilation of talks given by professor Kasturi to groups of foreign devotees in Prasanthi Nilayam.
- Sathya Sai Baba announces His Mission, and Why the Avatar has come. A written narration; this historical discourse was given on November 23, 1968.



A Poem for Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Have you heard our Baba speak
At public meetings anywhere?
He never calls it speech;
Nor will you name it so!

He does not raise His voice, harangue,
Or rouse the mob or rail or flail;
He does not hesitate,
He will not calculate,
Hum and haw and pause and ponder,
Making you wonder why you came!

He does not waiver, wander,
Collecting thoughts, contriving notes;
He does not waste a moment, decorating thoughts in showy lace and frills,
clothing borrowed texts in shimmering gauze.

He is no orator-pompous, proud,
Clamouring for claps, publicity-mad!
He will not circumambulate, declaim... or, even... 'speak'!

He is the rain-cloud, bringing Life
To the parched ones here below!
He 'talks'... He 'talks', to you, and you, and every single you that has gathered there.
To every single Arjuna, with heavy heart and empty hand,
Afraid to fight the battle of Life on to Victory.

You feel He has come for you, to you.
You see Him, silently looking around!
The searchlight eye full circle swings!
How lucky, you are there!

He smiles; He wins you by that smile!
You scarce can take your eyes from off that Face,
So alluring, so Divine!
You scarce can pull your heart from off His grip;

The clasp is cool comfort!
The silence deepens...
Though thousands have been squatting, waiting,
For hours and hours...
Himalayan stillness; twilight calm!


The Golden Hour has come!
Heaven's Gate ajar!
The voice is sweet as honey
Hived by Heavenly bees from Parijatha trees!
His call is clarion clear!

O! 'Tis thrilling, 'tis filling rapture in the soul,
Flowing like the Ganga, freeing the bound,
Yielding rich reaping, for just ploughing and sowing
Welling and swelling like Gersoppa Falls,
Yielding vast power, for just wheeling and wiring!

His talk is a cascade, so limpid and pure,
Teaching, never preaching, unraveling all knots,
Stilling the questionings ere they emerge in mind;
Defining, refining, consoling the pining,

Commanding, yea, demanding the bending of pride,
Sparing no one, be He ruling or serving.

Chiding, reprimanding the fool, and fanatic;
Joking and coaxing, poking fun at all hoaxing;
Quoting from what He said in the past ages,
Detailing facts of his incarnating.

Resplendent poetry, spontaneous, sublime,
Painting pictures of transcendent Truth,
Parable, proverb, scintillating bright,
Tinkling, twinkling, tintinnabulating lilt,

Every hour a minute, every minute a second;
Every word a manthra, every phrase, Suuthra,
A Gayathri a sentence, Upanishath a speech!

For He is no well or tank or river!
His is the ocean of Wisdom Divine!
Oh! His words shower mercy, like morning dew
On every heart-bud awakening from dreaming.

He is feeding your roots and speeding the sap,
Sprouting the buds, painting the petals,
Perfuming them well, inviting the bees,
Ripening the pods, with each word of His!

There! The meaning of His word, a tiny seed
Drops on your rock-like heart! And wonder of wonders!
It germinates there!... sprouts and puts forth leaves!
The silken half-blind baby-roots do run about
Tickling the stone, jabbing, pleading for suckling!
Succeeding at last, it grows; and, growing into a tree,
Your rock is broken into clay!

His talk, you will find, is cooling, not freezing
Warming, not burning; raining, not flooding;
Healing the ailing and hearts bewailing;
Soothing, not searing; no toxin, but tonic;
Balming and calming; all fact and no fiction!

Every sentence spreads joy and scorches gloom,
Impelling attention, compelling assent,
Dispelling dejection, repelling sloth,
Attracting you nearer, detaching from bonds,
Infusing courage, and fusing creeds,
Imposing no doctrine, composing all feuds,
Informing (so charming!), never harming, disarming!
Sifting the responding, lifting the desponding.

Stressing on 'Doing, Behaving and Living',
Appealing for 'Feeling, Believing and Acting'.

Calling all listening, to spurn imitating,
Vainly disputing, blind leading the blind,
Knocking at Paradise through power and pelf,
Or boasting of branches of family tree,
And seeking for peace, in earning and spending
And wanting and panting and hoarding and guarding.

As you hear Him talking, you quietly resolve
To take a step forward on the pilgrim road;
Unfold your wings and soar into the sky!
You feel you are a Lion, cheated into bleating!
A diamond, set in dirty lead!

Engaging in no fray, enraging no foe,
He is welcoming all, who are thirsty or starving,
Or limping, or blinking, or climbing and sliding,
Raising the stooping, embracing the drooping
Assuaging pain, assuring His Grace.

He reminds us all of the road we have missed.
He describes the joy of the journey's end.
He opens our eyes; He strengthens our limbs;
He heartens the struggling, groping his way,
Awakening the sleeping, making the sitting stand,
The standing to walk; the walking to reach!

Proclaiming, revealing, announcing to all
Asserting His coming for our burden assuming,
Redeeming the wayward, the downcast, diseased;
Underlining the Truth, undermining the false;

Ah! What is this? What luck! What Grace!
Even as He talks, 'it' blossoms into song,
Oh! Captivating Song! He teaches us to pray
Tranquilising all the furious waves,
Steeling the nerves and strengthening the will,
Attuning our soul to Dharma! Sathya! Prema!

And when it stops
And you open your eyes,
You find them full of tears!
Your neighbour weeps like child for mother,
But why? Look up and see; He has left the dais!

Be proud you had the chance. From this moment, I know
You are bound to be an ascending, attempting, adventurous soul.
Arjuna, resuming arms for the fray
With Krishna leading the horses aright -
How lucky you heard Him talk!

What is Truth by N. Kasturi

"You are a King, then?" said Pilate. Jesus answered, " 'King' is your word. My task is to bear witness to the Truth. For this was I born; for this I came into the world, and all who are not deaf to Truth listen to my voice." Pilate said, "What is Truth?" And, with those words, went out again to the Jews.

Pilate did not wait for an answer from Jesus. Alas! The pity of it! Jesus knew himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Instead of learning from Jesus what he had come to teach, Pilate went out again to the Jews who were clamouring to have Jesus crucified.

The Oath

When we probe into the question posed by Pilate, we are confronted by a battalion of 'buts'. The person in the witness box swears with his hand on a holy book or on his chest to speak "the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth." But the Truth, the authentic stuff, is neither cognisable nor communicable. Every one of the witnesses, while professing to speak the 'whole' Truth can indulge only in half truths, which are often double lies! They give differing versions of the incidents or actors, since their responses are painted or polluted, trimmed or transfigured by the desire for vengeance or victory. The observation itself, though from close quarters and by persons watchful and intelligent, is mostly through glasses coloured by conceit or prejudice, servility or hatred. Seldom is truth spoken unqualified, or unvarnished. It is treated as a tool and not as an axiom. In every argument, contest, or dispute, struggle, strife or war it is the first on the casualty list.

Truth too delights in the game of hide and seek. It revels in camouflage and masquerade. The real and the genuine challenge our faculties to the utmost, for they appear only as we desire, decorated, modified or moulded in order to flatter our likes and dislikes. No wonder, an aspirant for experiencing the Truth bewailed, as the Veda records, "What thing I am I do not know. I wander alone burdened with my mind." The mind squirts its ink of aversion or attachment, avarice or anxiety on whatever he prefers as Truth. Swami declares, "The knowledge of the Truth is acquired by uninterrupted inquiry by the clarified intellect and purified mind."

Purified Mind?

Our senses gather such bits of information of the objective world as can please the ego that is their paymaster. "Our brains shuffle the bits around, until they fall into some acceptable pattern", says Lyall Watson. Arthur Koestler says, "Between the retina and the higher centres of the cortex, the innocence of vision is irretrievably lost; it has succumbed to the suggestions of hidden persuaders." Some of these persuaders have surprisingly filtered through even the subtle genetic sieve from our previous sojourns on earth!

There is another equally deluding factoróthe needs and beliefs of the others amidst whom we have to grow. We are "cultured" into accented and respected patterns of action and reaction, analysis and synthesis, ideas and ideals. We are conditioned so much by the invi¨dious forces of social approval that we imbibe and implement, customs and conventions, frills and fashions, models and maps, idioms and idols, do's and don'ts bwhich are prescribed or proscribed by 'public opinion'.

Clarified Intellect?

An experience is an airy something, seeking a local habitation and a name. It can seldom secure admission into the realm of awareness except by means of words or linguistic labels, or vocalised visas. It has to be categorised and catalogued by the faculty of reason, compared and confirmed, before being registered. The richer one's vocabulary, the more rewarding his experience becomes, for himself and others. We have to be content with blunt multipurpose vocables for delineating the indefinite.

Much depends on the integrity of the person who utters and on the intelligence of the listener. But even when both are so equipped, if they are yoked to a language in which sublime spontaneous experiences are not expressible through distinct words or through prefixes and suffixes, prepositions and paraphrases, it becomes difficult to have them stamped on the memory for recapitulation and reflection.

This defect was noticed centuries ago by the sages of the Upanishad texts. The Brihadarânyaka Upanishad, while dilating on Sathya Vidya, the process of meditating on Brahman (the Absolute) as Sathyam (truth) reveals that the word Sathyam is a tri-syllable. Sa thi yam - The first and last syllables are truth; in the middle is falsehood (anritham), falsehood is embraced by truth; thereby, it partakes of the nature of truth."

The Mirage

Schroedinger speaks of reality as 'observer created'. Heisenberg writes, "The object we perceive is inextricably connected with our subjective consciousness. In fact, no one can observe any object or individual without coloring it with himself. There are no observers; there are only participators."

Einstein has told us, "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth is shipwrecked in the laughter of the gods."

The Vedic Hymn laments:

Who really knows? Who can presume to declare?
Whence was this born? Whence came this creation?
Did the gods come after non being became being?
And being became this? How has this come to be?
That out of which creation has happened -
Whether That held it firm? or, not?
He who oversees it in the highest heaven
He really knows ... Or, maybe, He does not.


A Hundred Answers

If Pilate had questioned a hundred persons, "What is truth?" and waited for answers from them, he would have received a hundred different replies - each one an unconfirmed guess, a tentative hypothesis, a hesitant approximation. Every person has his pet definition. Truth is Power, Truth is what I uphold, Truth is the conscience that pricks, Truth is what the Book proclaims, Truth is what survives the onslaught of centuries, Truth is the child's lisp, the Flash of the Sword, Truth is what the stars reveal to the adept, the Oracle asserts, the lie-detector reveals, Truth is the nugget that the psychiatrist digs up, etc. etc., mostly fictitious, fragile, fragmentary figments of one's own imagination.

The path to Truth is paved with discarded certainties. The level of moral purity, mental clarity, intellectual verity and emotional stability decide the Truth we can rely upon. When the horizon widens, the waves subside and the storms are stilled, more facets of Truth come within our reach.

Our minds with their numberless preferences and prejudices, desires and designs, befog the Truth in order to please our passing fancies. This diversionary strategy stunts our intellect and stultifies our intuition. So, we have to grope for Truth in the wilderness of a vast "perhaps". Indeed, we have in India an honest and honoured school of sceptic metaphysics named Syad Vada, which professes and propagates its view of Truth as 'may be', 'perchance', 'perhaps'!

This Syad Vada appears as legitimate. Therein, the innate incomprehensibility of "the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth" is demonstrated by seven steps of an astonishing logic of possibilities, the Saptha Bhangi Nyaya, which debunks the idea of finality:
(1) Syad asthi (perhaps, it exists)
(2) Syad nasthi (perhaps, it does not exist);
(3) Syad asthi cha, nasthi cha (perhaps, it exists and does not exist);
(4) Syad avakthavyah (perhaps, it is indescribable);
(5) Syad asthi cha avakthavyah (perhaps, it exists though indescribable) ;
(6) Syad nasthi cha avakthavyah cha (perhaps, it does not exist and is indescribable);
(7) Syad asthi cha, nasthi cha avakthavyah cha (perhaps, it exists and does not exist and is indescribable).

No Scepticism

But, Sankara the most meticulous exponent and protagonist of Advaita Darshan which collates mystic awareness of truth with logical validity and scriptural revelation, is not enamoured of scepticism. While commenting on the Saptha Bhangi Nyaya he writes, "How can a teacher of this school of philosophy, who has to be assumed as an authority, impart instruction when the means of knowledge, objects of knowledge, the knower and knowledge remain indefinite in nature? Also, how can those who rely upon his views act upon his instruction?

In spite of this indeterminism, incomprehensibility and his own incompetence, man is persistently urged by an inner hunger for truth, an inner voice that prods him to arise, awake and receive instruction from the Masters. He pleads "Lead me from the unreal to reality: lead me from darkness to light; lead me from death to deathlessness." When the hunger is tolerated, dismissed or suppressed and when the voice within is jammed or joked about, the Master, the Swami presents Himself as Teacher to guide Man to his Truth.

"Human-ness and God-ness, the role and the reality co-exist inseparably in every one of you" Swami told a gathering of students in 1974. "They are the negative and the positive, which, together produce the warmth of love, of light, of wisdom. Once you establish yourselves in the awareness of reality, you can wander safe and free in the alleys of the apparent."

God is the Truth

Swami says, "God is the Truth of all beings and things. Every wave and particle, every atom and cell is filled with God and functions in and through God. You may, out of perversity, pride or poverty of intelligence reject this truth, but life has been assigned to you again so that you free yourselves from the shackles of falsehood and reach the goal of truth." Subjective defects and objective distractions are the challenges one confronts, but they are not as formidable as they seem. "Ask; it shall be answered. Knock; it shall be opened. March; you shall reach," we are told.

Countless numbers of pilgrims and pupils have criss-crossed the earth, along its highways and bye-ways, in search of truth, the truth of themselves and of the scenario and struggle into which they have been thrust. The trek of patients in search of cures towards the doors of the wise has continued throughout history. Man can find no peace until he understands the truth of whatever arouses wonder, awe, sympathy, reverence, curiosity and fear. He strives for unity and coherence, harmony and beauty. He wants to know things as they really are, not as they seem to be or pretend to be.

Luckily, there is a bright side to the story of man's journey to truth. Prophets, sages and saints, masters and messengers, have appeared among all peoples and taught men by precept and example the truth that can free them. The cosmic consciousness itself, when it becomes aware of its fragments getting fogged and frustrated, wills to shape itself into a form that can move among men and move them home towards itself. Such a Form is known as an Avatâr, a particularisation of the Absolute. The Avatâr happens in order to fulfill a felt need and so, it's wisdom, love, power and compassion pour over all who need them. All men, indeed all living beings, are its concern. And, ' lifeless' matter too.

For, as Swami says, Sarvam Brahmamayam, everything has emanated from Brahman, the vast ocean which emanates ripples, wavelets, waves, foam and flakes of snow and icebergs. The atom is a replica of the cosmic energy; cell is an echo of cosmic will. "Vâsudeva is all," the Gîtâ declares, without exception. The Rig Veda proclaims, "All this is Purusha himself, all that has been and all that is going to be." This is the truth. The Rudra Adhyaya of the Yajur Veda commands man to adore 238 representative entities of God, illustrating thereby that there is nothing except God. (The Katha Upanishad condemns those who see the cosmos as manifold and not as basically Brahman; they have to plod through life after life until they realise the error).

Rudra, the name assigned to God, is described in the Vedic texts as the motivator seated in all hearts, as the provider, the saviour of the universe which is His self assumed form. He is identified with the chiefs, the middlings and the lowly, the tall, the short and the stout, the aged, the young and the juvenile, the wise, the curious and the dull, and the sleepy. He is stone, sand and dust, slush, pollen and gravel, ripple, foam and wave, river, stream, lake, and canal, lightning, cloud, shower and rain, ocean, island and shore. Rudra is the highway, the road, the track. He is the sprout, the shoot, the leaves, the pests, the birds with throats blue and yellow, the tree and the timber. He is the one engaged in trading or farming or rearing cattle. He is the cow pen and the crop, the food and the cook. He is the man behind the plough on fertile land or barren. He is the person who is brave and fearsome, fighting from trenches and on open fields, with missiles, arrows, spears and swords. He is the warrior who revels in duels, who moves forward in chariots with helmet and coat of mail. He is the foot soldier, the horseman, the leader of dogs and the led. He is the scout, the messenger, the smith, the carpenter, the hunter, the wily guerilla, the cheat and the dacoit, the decoy and the impersonator.

Rudra is in the form of the monk, the cave dweller having a crown of matted hair, the one who has mastered the steady pose, the sage who has crossed over and who leads others across, the elderly scholar, the dialectician delighting in debates, the Vedic expert and the master of rituals. He is the person who is compassionate, sweet and tender.

In fact, God is the warp and woof, the cotton and yarn, of the fabric, apparent to us as the universe. That is the Truth which is encased in every cell and star.

1987 Sanathana Sarathi


How Kasturi received his name.
(taken from the book "Loving God" by Kasturi)

'On the twelfth morning of my life, a label was attached to me amidst a great deal of religious noise. My father saw me for the first time only then, when he came to name me. The name which has stuck to me ever since was an ancient one, much the brighter, because it was borne by a series of grandfathers. The rule was that the first son must be named by the father after his own father. So, I was given by father the name his father bore .... My first son was named Narayana by me, because that was the name my father had .... Father took me from mother's hands and sat on the floor facing the family shrine with me on his lap. He prayed to God to bless the name and help me to add some more fragrance to it. The he raised me by the shoulders to his face and whispered thrice in my right ear a long string of strange sounds, by which I was to be known thereafter. It was a nine-syllabled rodomontade (ranting talk). I had tumbled into the Brahmin caste and so, the last two syllables had to be Sharma, symbolising that status. The rest of the name, Kasturiranganatha indicated, neither the God idolised in my village nor the God installed on the Seven Hills. It denoted God, as adored by millions in Tamilnadu, installed in a reclining posture, on a multi-hooded many coiled serpent and described by that name as "musk-dot adorned". Kasturi means 'musk', 'ranga' means 'stage', and 'natha' means 'director' or 'master'. The temple of "Ranganatha with the Kasturi dot" is situated on an island, called Sri Ranga (The Stage), in the Kaveri River, formed by it while half-way from the Mysore Plateau to the Bay of Bengal.

... The substance called musk is valued as a precious perfume. Since it is also dark in color, a dot of musk between the brows serves to ward off the evil eye. It was preferred by nobles and princesses over cheaper contrivances. The brow of the idol at Srirangam was marked with the Kasturi dot, for nothing less could satisfy the devout worshippers. The name "Director of the Stage" reminds us that 'All the world is a stage'. God directs the cosmic play, unaffected Himself. he reclines magnificently on terror and poison, with His head on a pillow of calm. His will achieves and motivates. The Katha Upanishad declares, "Seated, He journeys; reclining, He is everywhere".

Kasturi Ranganatha Sharma was too long a word to be uttered in full, every time I was spoken of or to. The caste symbol 'Sharma' could be painlessly amputated. The rest symbol too had to be curtailed, but, the problem was, head or tail? My grandfather was accosted and referred to, by all who had to deal with him, only as Ranganatha, and for the daughter-in-law (my mother) to mouth the name of the father-in-law was taboo! So, the second half had to be jettisoned. The result was, I came to be known as the fragrant animal substance used for 'dotting' the Divine Brow.

I could stand with folded hands in the presence of the "Kasturi Ranganatha" only in my 70th year! It came about through Baba's Grace. Friends invited me to a town called Tirupur to speak on Baba, on the 24th day of December. And Baba directed me to go. But, I longed to spend Christmas Day with Baba, since it reminded me of my entry into the world stage. I asked permission to go over from Tirupur to Srirangam and worship Him in the Ranganatha, reclining on the serpent. The serpent, Baba says, is symbolic of pollution, poison and death and God is pictured as overwhelming, quietening and mastering these evil traits. Baba said, "Yes. Go to Sri Rangam and eat your fill of sweet rice". The reference to sweet rice did not surprise me. Years previous, when we were proceeding to Madras, Baba, as was his wont, asked every single person in the car to sing for Him a song. My genes had no music among their components but I had to obey, nevertheless. Memory brought up for me a song I had heard a clown sing during a play I chanced to attend while at school. it was a prayer to Shiva for a morsel of sweet rice, wrung out of a hungry onlooker at a feast conspicuously consumed by the rich. Baba must have discovered that my subconscious had hooked up this particular lilt, for the reason, that I myself had an unfulfilled hunger for this dish, deep within me! He decided to remove that pang at Srirangam on my 70th birthday.

I was thrilled when I stood before the shrine and filled my eyes and heart with the entrancing vision of the 20 foot idol, stretched on the coils of a seven-hooded serpent excluding captivating icono-charm. To my eyes, the Feet, the upraised soles were not of dark green stone as the rest of the Divine Body was. They were alabaster with a shade of blue. They were soft, tender, fair, familiar, alive; they were Baba's! I removed myself away from the portals of the shrine with great reluctance. Sweet rice was, I believed, the routine offering at Ranganatha shrine but that day, we were given only laddus and muruks. 

We had one more temple to visit on that holy island - a famous Shiva temple with the sacred Jambu Tree. When we moved out of that temple, the priest ran behind us, to announce that it was specially sacred day when "Sweet rice was offered to the deity." This was welcome news indeed. He insisted on our turning back into the temple. He made us squat on the clean floor to the right of the shrine; he spread banana leaves before us and served sizable heaps of the dish Baba had asked me to 'eat my fill'.'



Reminiscence of Professor Kasturi.

Sri Kasturi was born on Christmas Day 1897. Swami jokingly called him 'the 97 model'. Naming the year of production was the way antique automobiles were identified. He passed away on 14 August 1987 and was cremated on the banks of Chitravathi on the 15th. He was 90. He had made it easy for us to remember by coming among us on a Christmas Day and leaving us on India's Independence Day anniversary (India attained Independence at midnight on 14-15 August 1947). Kasturi served Swami for 40 years and lived those 40 years in Independent India.

Talking about Kasturi, I told V.K. Narasimhan (Kasturi's deputy editor and later the editor of Sanathana Sarathi) that Kasturi was Swami's Hanuman. VKN corrected me, 'No. No. You are wrong. Kasturi was Swami's Vyâsa'. VKN told me that Swami asked him to write a tribute on Kasturi in SS (see below) - a rare expression of Swami's Grace. Apart from Swami rushing to Kasturi's hospital bedside at the time of his last moments and giving him vibhuthi, another rare blessing was Swami getting Kasturi to write his autobiography 'Loving God' and Swami launching it on Christmas Day 1982, in his presence, on his 85th birthday, 5 years before his death . On that occasion, without prior notice, Swami had asked VKN to speak on Kasturi. VKN spoke for 5 minutes, after that Swami had whispered into VKN's ears, 'Very good, very good'. In that day's Christmas discourse Swami said, "Whom does God seek? He looks for a sincere, selfless, steady devotee. Besides, He seeks an ideal son who can be held before mankind as an example and an inspiration. Such persons have become extremely rare nowadays" (SSS vol. XV, ch. 59). I like to think that Swami found that 'rare person' in Kasturi.

'Loving God' is not only Kasturi's life story. It is the story of God and jîva, guru and sadhaka, the story of Swami making Kasturi an exemplary instrument in His avataric mission, an inspiration to humankind. It is a message for all. That is probably why Swami got Kasturi to write it. 

In my monologues with Swami, I thanked Him several times for Kasturi's multi-facetted seva, for Him and for us. Today again, I join GR to think kindly of Kasturi. May he be well and happy, at His Feet or wherever he is! Loka(s) Samastha(s) Sukhino Bhavanthu! - May all the beings in all the worlds be happy.

Please see his photo taken by GR and posted in the files area of Sai Discourses. Swami also took Kasturi's photo once. It is a very funny story and one, as is usual with Swami, with a very profound spiritual message. I leave you to read it in Kasturi's own inimitable language in 'Loving God' and learn/re-learn the message that Swami conveyed to us at Kasturi's expense. Before that see the appreciation written by late V.K. Narasimhan (Editor) and published in Sanathana Sarathi, September 1987, p. 260.

Unto Sai a Witness

"Death is the denouement of the drama of life," wrote Prof. Kasturi in 1981. That denouement came to him on August 14 at noon, a few minutes after Bhagavân Baba saw him in the Sathya Sai Hospital at Prasanthi Nilayam. He was 90. 

Bhagavan Baba, who was overseeing a students' rehearsal in the College Auditorium, abruptly stopped it at 11.30 a.m. and went straight to the Hospital. Reaching the bedside of Prof. Kasturi, Swami called him: "Kasturi!". Prof. Kasturi opened his eyes for a moment and looked at the Lord. Bhagavan materialized vibhuti and placed it in Kasturi's mouth. Kasturi closed his eyes and a serene peace enveloped him. Swami told those at the bedside to do Namasmarana. An hour later his spirit merged in the Lotus Feet of the Lord. Streams of devotees paid their last respects to him at the hospital. 

The next morning his mortal remains were cremated on the bed of the Chitravathi river. 

For over forty years he rendered devoted service to Bhagavan as writer, editor, companion and tireless propagator of Swami's life and message. Millions of devotees all over the world got acquainted with Bhagavan's life and teachings through the four volumes of "Sathyam Sivam Sundaram" (on the life of Bhagavan) and the 11 volumes of "Sathya Sai Speaks", besides the Vahini series

Prof. Kasturi was a witness to the innumerable miracles of Swami and he could bear authentic testimony to the glory and magnificence of the Avatar as few others could. He had traveled with Bhagavan all over India. Vivid accounts of his intimate experiences with Swami are given in his autobiography, "Loving God," which was released by Swami on Christmas day in 1982.

Kasturi continued to work right upto his last illness, giving of his best to "Sanathana Sarathi," which Swami launched in 1957 with Kasturi as Editor.

After 1982 Kasturi brought out two books, one on the Lord's mother "Easwaramma," and the other on the essence of Swami's message in a book entitled "Prasanthi - Pathway to Peace". 

It could be truly said of Kasturi: "Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven". - Editor.

August 14 to be understood as August 14, 1987.





'My Mother at 75' 

'Myself and Wife Anointing Avatar on Advent Day' 

'Carrying Sunshade over 'Sun'

'With the Lord on Kashmir Hills'

'Holding beholding Vibhuthi Wonder'


'Holding beholding Vibhuthi Wonder'

Vibhuti-abhisheka (the silver statue of Shirdi Sai Baba covered with ash):
ritual cleaning with ash.
Swami did this ceremony (first time in 1940 and last in 1976)
to teach the devotees a lesson of detachment:
"S'iva burns kama (god of desires) to a heap of ash. Afterwards, S'iva decoreates Himself
with that ash and thereto shines as the triumphant on desires.
When kama (desire) is destroyed, prema (goddess of love) can rule.
Love can only be true and complete when all desire has been given up.
There is nog greater sacrifice to offer God then the ash, which is the sign of your victory over desire" !

'The Translator stands corrected'

'Sand as Srî Krishna'

'Bhâgavatam Recital - Kerala'

'Portrait Unveiling' - at Bukkapatnam

'Each hair can bear a nation's woe' - Poet's Meet - 1964
I'm reading the above line

'Toward Badrinath - 1961'

'When He first drew me to Himself - 1948' 

'He looks at His own Portrait - 1967

'He clicked at His empty chair'