Enigma, Sai Baba – More Sathya Sai Memories

Sai Baba giving darshan and taking letters in Kodaikanal
Sai Baba giving darshan and taking letters in Kodaikanal

This blog began life as a small gesture to right a wrong. I expected it to last six months. Instead the blog grew and grew. I began to love spending time each day with my Sai memories adding friend’s memories of Baba too. Eventually the blog grew to an all-round spiritual blog. In 2011, Sai Baba passed away. I continued with the blog to help heal my sadness. I am aware that many readers are not in the Sai Baba fold, nor wish to be. Still, a post about him from me is appropriate at this time, almost three years after his passing.   ~ 



By many devotee’s accounts, Baba was an enigma. This is true. To understand Baba is to learn how consciousness works. We are making strides in understanding consciousness, and when we do, we will know how Siddha Gurus work. They are masters of consciousness. Of course, today He is often thought of as that “infamous guru” – a cheat and a fraud. Some people have written that he possessed a few siddhi powers of no real account, while others say he was a magician. The majority of his followers felt he was the real deal and loved him dearly.

He certainly was flamboyant in his dealings with visitors. Not for a moment did he hide his motives for attracting people to his ashram. He always said he used miracles as visiting cards, the reason was:

“I give people what they want so they will want what I have come to give.”

He used to say his gifts of jewellery, gold watches and rings he gave to people, were trash and tinsel. Not worth anything. The only real miracle was turning a heart around to love and serve.

Even today, I remember how powerful my first darshan was back in October, 1990 and how it affected me. I simply could not keep my eyes open. I wanted to withdrawn into myself, not speak to others. On that first visit, I only stayed a little over two weeks yet the calm meditation I was thrown into had then lasted six months.

People visited Baba for all sorts of reasons. He rarely attracted people who were advanced on the spiritual path. He didn’t need to. They already had what he wanted them to have – an open heart. He attracted worldly people by the thousands. Some stayed, some never returned. Most wanted to witness a miracle or ask for help with work or finances, or a cure for an illness. Sai Baba knew his visitors were not going to turn into saints or even sages, so he treated each accordingly. He knew their limitations and gave them a glimpse of his own inner radiant peace, so they would learn what could be obtained with his guidance.

The old darshan area in the sand.
The old darshan area in the sand.

On my second visit during 1991, I had to visit the accommodations office to renew my chit to keep my room. There, seated on chairs waiting patiently, were three Indian men. None looked anything like others in the ashram. They were simply dressed with their hair tied back in short pony tails, looking like they had left some sort of meditation cave. One in particular caught my eye, he was shining. His skin shone with such radiance, I could not stop looking at him. He turned to look at me and his eyes were bright and penetratingly glowing with an inner fire. He had an aura of stillness and quietude about him. I continued to stare with utter astonishment. They were given accommodation chits and left the office.

Next morning during darshan, Baba went straight up to the men and called them for an interview. Afterward, they immediately left the ashram. I am sure they were not meant to stay. Spiritually advanced seekers were not encouraged to stay by Baba. That is not to say there were no true seekers in Prashanti Nilayam. There were, but they didn’t require the lime-light, and spent their days engaged in some service activities.

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Darshans were a wonderful experience, especially in those early days in the ashram. The vitality and energy that flowed from Baba seemed to permeate the entire surrounding area and the village. Whatever that energy was it seemed to wash our souls. Reactions differed depending on  people and their character. Some people were joyous and radiant,  while others acted excitable and even anxious.  Others seem to get rather cantankerous. Yet, others cried. I am sure whatever  and wherever His energy reached, there  would be a  short charge to the “chakra system”, if only temporary. I remember one American lady described her darshan as an extreme close embrace, might add she was not alone in her interpretation. Whatever the person’s mood, it seemed to surface during darshan and afterwards for many hours. Another distinct feature of darshan, was a need to sleep afterwards or to be alone and silent. Baba, himself, shone from the inside out. there was never a time when he did not appear extremely beautiful. Often He seemed to glide rather than walk across the darshan sands. On several occasions during darshan when it rained, He just turned his palm upward and the rain stopped. Of course it  began again the moment He stepped inside the temple’s veranda.

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..

The mandir verandah became the seating area for the elite and staff. They gathered with students for darshan. I am not sure they got anything out of the darshan other than a good seat. One of Baba’s favorite sayings was:

“You can have a good seat but you won’t have me.” – meaning, I suppose, if anyone cheated it wouldn’t matter where they sat.

Baba was not unlike many other Indian Gurus in this respect. He chose some people to sit near and some far away and we can only gather that He had his reasons. I often thought, due to his powerful energy, it was better to keep some at a distance.

Darshan was not without risk. He would not allow anyone to touch him or stay long in his presence, unless they possessed a very strong nervous system. Too much of his vitality could have dire results. I remember the story of one man being called for an interview while his wife was ignored altogether. Now usually Baba would usually call a family together for an interview. Shocked that his wife was left out, the man asked why. Baba answered:

“ Her nervous system is too delicate for my energy.”

I understood well his meaning. There were occasions when darshan was so strong it was hard to stay seated. I had left the darshan area more than once, due to the amount of energy flowing from him.

To attend darshan, we had to form rows. The seva dal then came along with a black bag of round discs, each with a number. The first person in the row took a token disc. According to the number, the row was seated inside the darshan hall. I might add there was no cheating. I watched many times for slight of hand, but I can say there was none in the general public seating. The seva dal shook the bag of numbers thoroughly before offering the numbers to each row. Amazingly, some people always had line one or two while others were placed, day after day, on the back rows.

I remember, on many occasions, friends of mine drew token one. They would do each day for months at a time. Often I tried to sit in their row knowing they would draw the precious number one, only to somehow miss out when the row was moved or being told to move by the staff. Baba knew who He wanted in the front and who He did not. The whole affair was maddening – and many followers left because of it.

Darshan on the men's side, Puttaparthi Ashram
Darshan on the men’s side, Puttaparthi Ashram

Here’s an example of this. The year was 1995. A few ladies decided to line up for a token number for the afternoon bhajan singing held inside the temple. We lined up in the sands near the back of the temple. There were always seven rows. The group of ladies would choose a row and sit quietly hoping their line would draw token number one.

At the time, a German lady was living in the ashram, and she appeared to be a “blessed soul”. Wherever she sat, she drew number one. This assured her of a wonderful seat in the temple hall. I watched daily as she confidently drew number one, then off she went with her row tagging along behind. Each day I tried to join her row but on each occasion, the row would either be dismantled or had to reform or she would change lines without warning. To cut a long story short, I could never sit in her line before something happening to change the situation. In the end, I gave up trying. By His selection of ladies, He proved to me to be all-knowing and very powerful. I didn’t need to see miracles or have interviews, rings or watches to have it proven.

To finish. My last darshan was at home while sitting in the chair on 24th November 2010. The day after Baba’s 85 birthday. He left us the following April, 2011. He had asked that I attend the birthday.  I had declined.


My last you tube dedicated to Sai Baba

Thank you to all my blogging friends for your kind support. You make my day in all sorts of ways. Namaste, eve

10 thoughts on “Enigma, Sai Baba – More Sathya Sai Memories

  1. It felt so beautiful to read your writing. The perspective you offer is invaluable and something that I have not come across much. It was enlightening for me. I am grateful to Swami who lead me to this blog via a photograph of a boat in an ocean against a marvellous sky. I hope you share more in your beautiful style.

    I have been a student at Baba’s school and University from 1998 and I continue to serve at Puttaparthi. I also maintain two active blogs on experiences with Baba. Please do visit when you get the time and inclination.

    http://aravindb1982.blogspot.in

    http://aravindb1982.hubpages.com

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    1. thank you so much for your kind comment. 🙂 I will have to look through your blogs.. I have the flu just now so not up to much. I try to write Sai stories with a view to meet all audiences, not only Sai devotees. At the moment I am absorbed in reading about the 16th Karmapa and find the way people describe him to be helpful. I think I shall have to take a few tips from those writings when writing about Sai Baba. Sai Ram. eve

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  2. While I am not real familiar with your beliefs, I do agree with the line that said : The only real miracle was turning a heart around to love and serve. Shouldn’t that be the goal of all religions?

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    1. I don’t have any set beliefs. I believe in “Kindness” – i try to live by that. All religions at their core teach the very same.. There is no difference in their goal, only in their delivery. thank you for your comment. I do enjoy feedback. 🙂

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  3. Your graphic portrayal of Sai babha’s influence and reach impressed me. You have described well how He manifested to different sets of people, the deep devotees, the superficial ones and those who saw Him as a source of consolation, relief for a specific occasion and so on. Faith in Him was raging and so was the criticism. He treated people as they deserved. Keep blogging on.

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    1. thanks so much. I rarely received reviews on my blog. I do so want to get away from the gush type of report that we were all so used to a few years back.. I hope to write more but not for a few more months yet. Most of the people visiting by blog are not devotees.. Thanks again. eve

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    1. thank you dear Eric. yes the entire time with him was powerful. I had my last darshan at home here, while sitting in my living room. This took place a day after his 85 birthday. He died the next april. i did not see him again.. so last darshan was here in my house and it was just as powerful.. amazing.. should have added that piece to the story. shall later on… thank you. eve

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