Al Drucker is a prolific writer and, with his background in Physics, he is well able to write from his scientific background about Sai Baba. Many things are said about Sathya Sai Baba, both good and bad. There was always much “doings” – untoward, within the Sai Org. itself. Yet, Sai’s keen followers never doubted him, despite the general setup around him. What they, themselves, experienced and had verified by many an in-depth conversation with their guru, their lives were changed.. Here is Al’s bio, also an interesting write-up about his Kodaikanal interview with Sai Baba way back in the 1980’s.
AL DRUCKERS DETAILS
He completed his undergraduate and graduate work in Electrical Engineering and Physics. During his technical career following university, he became a specialist on air-to-air and intercontinental missile guidance systems, and became part of a special team responsible for the technical management of the country’s ballistic missile programs (Thor, Atlas, Titan, Minuteman, Polaris). During this time he was also on various governmental committees, serving with NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, the Federal Aeronautics Administration and other governmental bodies.
While thus engaged for many months in Washington, he became active in the early days of the Civil Rights and Voter Registration movements. This led him to rethink his societal aspirations, and shift his focus from developing missile systems to more humanitarian pursuits. After studying for some years in both the US and abroad, he changed his profession to become an acupuncturist, a homeopath, an herbalist, a group therapist, and a Rolfer. He joined the staff of Esalen Institute, at that time a recently-founded humanistic growth center in Big Sur, California, where he conducted a clinic utilizing natural healing modalities and taught a live-in course for health professionals on alternative systems of natural healing.
One day, while piloting an airplane over the California mountains, he was caught in a major storm front. After hours trapped in the violent storm, lost and running out of fuel, with his little plane coming apart, and after many unsuccessful attempts to raise a response from the ground to his emergency call, in short, when all hope for a providential rescue had faded, a calm, clear voice suddenly and inexplicably came on the radio above the din of the storm. Unbidden, the voice guided him around the worst cells of the storm towards a small mountain strip 300 miles off course. Miraculously, for just a few minutes, the field was clear of the blizzard, which allowed the plane to be set down, literally on its last remaining drops of fuel, as the engine quit just after touch-down.
Seeking the source of that beneficent voice that saved his life, but which had never identified itself, Al followed various unmistakable but mysterious leads, that led him on a metaphysical journey to India. There, Sai Baba, a great spiritual leader, spoke to Al, and without prompting, related all the details of the airplane experience, identifying himself as the voice that suddenly appeared, and told Al that it was he who had called him to India. (Not an easy pill for one trained in the sciences to swallow!)
Subsequently, Al made over 25 trips to Sai Baba and finally stayed in India for nine years to immerse himself in spiritual studies, while at the same time reverting to some of his earlier interests, by teaching classes and lecturing on astrophysics and aerospace subjects at the nearby university, as a visiting professor. At the ashram he also gave talks on spiritual topics to hundreds of overseas visitors, and published a number of books, including modern versions of the ancient Indian classics, Bhagavad Gita and Astavakra Gita. Returning to America he co-founded Atma Institute, a nonprofit school based on spiritual principles.
Excerpts from an Interview given by Sathya Sai Baba and recorded by Al Drucker
(Following are the highlights of an interview given by Sai Baba to all the Western devotees (about 40) who, in the first few days, had found their way to the Srinivasan bungalow, where Baba was staying and giving darshan. This was during Baba’s first trip to Kodaikanal, circa 1984 and was compiled from notes taken by me. I consider it one of the most succinct expositions of Baba’s advaitic message, and believe it to be particularly relevant to Western devotees.)
Devotee: Swami, what is the best way to relate to the world?
Baba: Do not spend your time thinking about the world or your relationships to individuals. These are all impermanent. They have only to do with the body. The body is just a water bubble. The mind is like a mad monkey. Do not follow either the body or the mind. Follow the Self, the Atma. It is beyond the mind. It is permanent. It is the unchanging truth within you.
Most important, do not ever think that you and God are separate. Think always, “God is with me; He is inside me; He is around me. All there is is God. I myself am God. I am the Infinite, the Eternal. I am not two; I am one, only one. There is no one else besides me. I and God are one and the same.”
To realize this Unity, the first step is to develop self-confidence. It comes when you realize that God is not outside of you. Self-confidence means thinking all the time, “God is in me… God is doing everything… without God I cannot be… all this is God… I only want to think of God.” When there is self-confidence then there will be love, there will be peace, there will be truth, there will be God. Without self-confidence there cannot be God. So, first there must be self-confidence and love of God.
Devotee: Swami, how to do we rise up to that highest level?
Baba: Through love. Only through love. Develop divine love. Divine love is completely selfless. Human love is mostly selfishness; all the time it thinks only of the little ‘i’. That ‘i’ is the ego. The ego is a very bad quality. Ego sees everything as separate; it sees everything as dual. You must remove this ego and see only the Unity. Think only of Unity; think only of the Atma. Atma is the one unchanging Truth, the one Reality that is the basis of everything.
Devotee: Swami, is everything predetermined?
Baba: For the Atma there is no time and there is no form. It is beyond time and beyond form. In the Atma all are one. Remember that Unity. Live in that Unity. Make that your goal. All are one… be alike to everyone.
Devotee: Baba, what is the relationship between the Atma and the individual?
Baba: The Atma is everywhere. But, do you know that? No, you do not know. What you say now all comes from your imagination. You have no experience. Do some Sadhana. Realize the Atma! Always think like that… “I am the Atma. I am all.” The individual exists only in your imagination. It is just an illusion. When the Atma is one without a second, when the Atma is everywhere, where is the individual? Only in your imagination. The Atma alone is real. Realize it through meditation.
Devotee: Then there is really no higher being related to this body, judging me and guiding me?
Baba: You see, you are still in 100% body consciousness. Do not stay with this body consciousness. Remove that. What will remain will be Atma-consciousness. Then there will be no anger, no hatred, no envy, no jealousy, no hunger, no desire… only complete Ananda… only bliss, bliss, bliss!
Devotee: But then, Swami, what is reborn in reincarnation?
Baba: The body is born. Birth and death only have to do with the body. Ego also relates only to the body. Similarly, reincarnation relates only to the body. Do not think of the body. Think of the Atma. The Atma is one; it is unchanging. For Atma there is no incarnation, there is no reincarnation.
Devotee: Swami, do I exist at all as an individual?
Baba: When you realize the Atma then there is no individual. You can think of individuals as different light bulbs. There will be a differences in wattage and in color. There will be differences in shape, but everywhere the current is the same. That current is who you are. You are not the individual bulb. You are the one current in all.
Devotee: Is there any difference between I and God?
Baba: You are God. You are not the ego. You are God!
Devotee: I am God?
Baba: Yes. You are the Atma. You are permanent. The physical is not permanent. The physical is not the Atma. You are the Atma, not the physical. You are God. Think like this always. Do not think about the body. The body comes and goes; for it there is birth and there is death. But you are not the body. Body is just rust and dust. Think only of God. Love God.
Devotee: Swami, how can we love something we don’t understand?
Baba: Develop self-confidence, then love will follow; it will come naturally from within. And that way the love will be pure. First comes self-confidence, that is the foundation. Then comes self-satisfaction. It is like the wall. Next comes self-sacrifice, it is like the roof. Finally the house is complete and the Indweller is installed inside; that is self-realization. It starts with self-confidence and it ends with realizing the Self. That Self is you. It is everything. It is God. That is who you really are.
Devotee: Does self-confidence mean confidence in the Self?
Baba: Yes, self-confidence is confidence in the Atma; it is an unwavering love for the Divinity within you. That is very important. What will help you to develop that confidence? Be equalminded, be satisfied with what you have. Be happy. The secret of happiness is not in doing what you like but in liking what you have to do. That is a great truth. Always have complete faith in the indwelling God who takes care of everything. True greatness can only come from faith.
Devotee: Lord, I want to arrive very early to You. What do I have to do?
Baba: Through love, only through love. Love is everything. Love is God. Live in love. Start the day with love, spend the day with love, fill the day with love and end the day with love. That is the way to God.