When the Guru Is Gone – Sathya Sai Baba

Offering of Flowers To Sathya Sai Baba

What happens, then, when the guru dies or goes away? How do disciples cope with the absence of the one whose living and loving presence has opened for them the door to their own heart, the one through whom all reality has been filtered, and their own self understood? The disciples of Jesus, Palestinian Jews living at the beginning of the Common Era, and the disciples of the Indian Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba, both Indians and Americans in 1970’s India, were both forced to negotiate the absence of the guru. These two groups of devotees,  separated by almost 2,000 years in time and more than 2,500 miles, in land mass, inhabited very different cultures. They told stories about their gurus that help us understand the evolving meaning of the body of the guru—both in its presence and its absence. It is an interesting tale of sameness.

In looking at what devotees have chosen to recall we come to see what the disciple community finds destabilizing in the guru’s physical absence as well as how that absence can be overcome; how the pain of loss of the “non-dual reciprocity” of guru and disciple is eventually transcended through a new understanding of the body of the guru. A process that many people face today while  recovering from the loss of Sathya Sai Baba, who many worshipped and adored.

In the Absence of the Body: Discipleship When the Guru Has Gone

 

An ancient axiom holds that when the disciple is ready, the guru will appear.  Much less is said about what happens when the guru disappears—and for this, disciples are rarely ready.  It is often a more traumatic event than the death of a parent or spouse or child, because the relationship between disciple and guru is of a different nature than relationships with parents, lovers, friends, or one’s own children.  While all these relationships can involve deep and selfless love, the love of the guru (in both the genitive and objective sense) becomes the lens through which the disciple understands the self, the other, and the world. And at least initially, the locus of this love is the bodily presence of the guru.

The guru not only shows the way, but is that very way.  “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” is how Jesus’ disciples remembered him.

Abhishiktānanda, a modern Roman Catholic monk initiated into Indian advaita by his guru, Gnānānanda, writes that “Guru and disciple form a dyad, a pair, whose two components call for each other and belong together.  No more than the two poles (of a magnet) can they exist without being related to each other.  On the way towards unity they are a dyad.  In the ultimate realization they are a non-dual reciprocity.”

 

How and Why We Remember

Gospel scholars talk about the “messianic secret” that describes how Jesus in the Gospels tells his disciples not to talk about his deeds of power or identity as the Christ, but to keep these things silent. Scholars often interpret this “secret” as a literary device (especially in Mark) employed to explain why, if Jesus was working all the wonders reported in the narrative, all of Israel did not come to believe in him, or at least know of him in his lifetime.3

In collecting the early stories of Neem Karoli Baba, Ram Dass encountered a modern corollary of the messianic secret. He writes that it took a number of years for Neem Karoli Baba’s Indian disciples to openly share their stories of Maharajji (as Neem Karoli Baba was known) due to his own directive that he should not be spoken about to others. There are stories of Maharajji ordering the burning of a collection of stories about him and of his tearing up a manuscript of an article on him. Neem Karoli, much like Jesus, ordered those who witnessed miracles effected by or through him never to speak of them. In the case of Neem Karoli Baba, this reticence is certainly not a literary device. Can it be that for Jesus, too, the “messianic secret” was real—and not a device of the Gospel authors?

We have similar instances of both teachers rebuking those who would compliment or draw attention to them. When his contemporary, Deoria Baba, said that Neem Karoli was an incarnation of love, Maharaji responded, “Why, that wicked man! What does he know? Who does he think he is?” Jesus, when called “good teacher” by an inquiring outsider, answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” Both of them were opposed having their deeds recorded, and yet their disciples felt the need to do so when they were gone.

Both maharaj and Jesus often complained that their disciples did not truly understand their message, or even who they were. Yet, in spite of the guru’s admonitions, the community of disciples feels responsible for interpreting him to one another after his disappearance, and for preserving/creating a body of material through which the guru will become known by others. The gathering together of such stories offers those who experienced them a way to process the events of the past and gives new generations the possibility of experiencing an awakening similar to that of those who lived in the presence of the guru. In theological language this is called anamnesis, a remembering that makes real in the present the being or event that is being recalled. Anamnesis is one attempt at making the disappeared body of the guru present again.

Now we have the same with Sathya Sai Baba, while alive he complained that his followers failed to understand him. He called himself an enigma, one who could not be known. His passing six years ago, came as a surprise to his community and left them in shock. How did they deal with his passing? On the surface, not very well. While some carried on just as before, holding on to their past habits and routines they had build up during their time with the guru, others floundered. Many left to find another guru or to find solace in a former student and imposter.  Although, I feel that a certain Anamnesis has taken place and the steadfast following will overcome the humbug following, in making  the guru’s Temple and Ashram, the guru himself.

 

Excerpted from Parabola: Where Spiritual Traditions Meet, Vol. 37, No. 3 (2012).

 By James H. Reho 

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The key is in understanding that the physical body is only an instrument of the divine. It is not forever. What was it that Sathya Sai Baba said so well ? “You are not the body.” “Drop all attachments to the body and its desires.”  I feel that includes all physical attachment to Sai Baba’s form also. ~  More importantly He said and I quote:  “At first, name and form are essential, that is the reason why Avatars come, so that God can be loved, adored, worshiped, listened to and followed, and finally realized as nameless and formless.” And to end on a happy note, a beautiful video of darshan with Swami to the huanting music of Secret Garden.  

The Meaning Of MahaSamadhi Or Shrine – Sathya Sai Baba

I am in your hearts,

You are in Mine.

Don’t be misled

I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added luster. Sai Baba

You cannot see Me, but I am the Light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, but I am the Sound you hear by.
You cannot know Me, but I am the Truth by which you live. Sai Baba

Isaac Tigrett’s Krishna with flowers – beneath his flat in the ashram. The flat is now vacant. He has joined the Muddenahalli Group.

Sai Baba giving darshan during the 1980s under the old tree in Whitefield

Remembering Sai Baba during darshan

The term guru means one who dispels the darkness of ignorance. Gu means one who is beyond attributes (gunas), ru implies one who is beyond forms (rupas). This refers only to God. That is why the guru is hailed as Brahma, Vishnu, or Siva. Only God is the true guru. All others are merely teachers, like the teachers of different subjects in a college. Guru is the one who reveals the guri (target) to the disciple. Guri here refers to the Aathmic Principle. Picture taken on Gurupoornima late afternoon 2011 – just months after Sai Baba passed.  Notice two rainbows in the sky – they appeared after a storm about 5 p.m. that evening.

By the tree where many seekers sit to reflect on  the memory of Sai Baba – Prashanthi Nilayam 


What is the Significance of Sathya Sai Baba’s Samadhi? ~ We learned from Swami all the  important practises of an aspirant and how to achieve the highest from our practise.  One of the most important spiritual practises that one can incorporate into regular puja is daily worship at the  “jeeva samadhi tomb or shrine.” (Samadhi) The reason being that the guru’s presence is still alive, although not seen, but still conveying energy to all who seek. The shakti energy remains forever in the Shrine of a powerful teacher – much  the same as it did during his life-time. That is to say his energy radiated out to seekers through the  body while he was alive, but now the “same energy” radiates to all from His Shrine. Sai Baba is still working through his vibration,  much as he had done over the decades while alive. Today, Sai Baba’s Samadhi  has a concentrated energy force that permeates all areas of his ashram. Very much like  a vortex of a storm, this energy or shakti is far-reaching.  The uplifting vibrations are  apparent in and around the Shine, embedded as they are, in every nook and cranny of the immediate area of the Samadhi. The guru’s shakti has now become a forceful tool for enlightenment. For those who come to the Shrine to worship and practise, there’s nothing better than the vibrations of the late Sai Baba.

The jeeva samadhi shrines/samadhi of any great gurus can lead aspirants further toward their chosen spiritual goal. The most important first step in all of spiritual life is  awareness, thus the guru is the very one to point that out. Every human-being has the In-dweller source, it is the guru’s job to seek out our very own In-dweller, the liberator of our souls.  Often it takes someone with a powerful shakti to drive us inward to where the source of our being is waiting to be discovered. Our own In-dweller lays dormant until  we are awakened by the forceful shakhi of a true guru/spiritual director. Thus, the search for the In-dweller, the one without a second, is the quest of all living beings.

Of course, for seekers of material gain and those with desires, worship at the jeeva samadhi of their chosen guru can help take away their need to fulfil their desires, for they will focus on the inner life through daily practice. Thus the “material minded” may get what they seek for a while, but  are transformed over time into true seekers. There are “humbug” seekers always, and once the guru is gone, they will leave the ashram, due to lack of interest in  “inner work.” Spiritual awareness and worship at the Shrine/Samadhi is very helpful in turning our minds away from all worldly desires and soon brings peace and a true sense of fulfilment to those seekers who are determined. This is the importance of darshan at the Shrine/Samadhi of a great guru like Sai Baba, or others like Ramana Maharshi  Eve

 Madhusudan mimicking Sai Baba in his new C-ashram

The Stange Case of Madhusudan of Muddenahalli – Faith – Video

 

looking out over the darshan area, from the Mandir
looking out over the darshan area.

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Recent video of the Muddenahalli group enjoying holidays. Interesting footage.

 

 

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Madhusudan taking letters from people gathered in Muddenahalli 

exactly in the manner of the original Sai Baba

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“Oh, what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive!”

A follow up on the Muddenahalli Team – two years on.

Curiouser and curiouser is the case study of Madhusudan Rao Naidu, the former student of Sathya Sai Baba and later colleague and friend to Mr. N. Murthy. Several years ago I wrote about the beginnings of the “Light-Body” phenomena, when it first became known to the public at large. I have never been able to quite understand how, at first, we were told stories that Mr. N. Murthy,  through dreams, was able to communicate with Sai Baba and to carry on the mission of Sathya Sai in a way most extraordinaire and beyond our ken! The whole idea that Sai Baba would be interested in carrying on a worldly sojourn from the astral planes just did not make sense to me. However, Mr. N. Murthy, decided he was the chosen one to take the Sai Baba mission forward and he explained why in detail, through a Souljourns video talk posted on line.  He spoke at length to Ted Henry about his amazing mission – for those of you  interested,  I have reposted it here.

Later the former student, Madhusudan came on the scene and proclaimed he was actually the one and only person to hear and see the “Light-body.”  (The astral Sai Baba)   and proclaimed himself to be the medium or “instrument” for the deceased Avatar! This caused many devotees to gather round him and pay homage at his feet,  or rather to the unseen Sai Baba who was readily available to Madhu – at least in his own mind!   The chosen venue for the darshans being Muddenahalli, the fourth branch of the Sri Sathya Sai University way up in the Nandi Hills.  I am not sure that  Madhusudan can actually cope with so many former devotees of the living Sai Baba now gathering  at his  feet, or to grant copious blessings and give Godly advice together with the odd trinket or two that he can now manifest – just like magic!

After the group’s Kodaikanal visit during May 2014, the show and Madhu, the impish raconteur,  was up and going and in full swing. The senior group with  Madhu, were off on travels to far flung places, while picking up handsome donations from some of the richest followers of the original Sai Baba. I have to think how must life  be for this youngish man upon whom, everything depends?  He is responsible for a host of grief-stricken Sai Baba “hangers on” and is also responsible for the building/s of a new Sai Ashram in Muddenahalli as well as  grandiose building projects for the future – among them,  no less, a casino and a hospital in Miss. USA!  Can he still be sane with so much depending on his dubious connection to the “unseen and unheard deceased Sai Baba?” Or has he, in his own mind, morphed into a self-styled God man while using the original Sai Baba name also mimicking his mannerisms? I cannot say. I only know that Madhu is carrying the world on his shoulders and I wonder if he can stay the course without some mishap or two.

Probably by now, he has convinced himself that he is indeed a very special personage, the chosen one to carry on Sai Baba’s mission here on earth. I am beginning to feel “sad” for Madhusudan, the  “Sukshema Baba”  who has so much depending on his continuing performances to convince people that he is indeed in deep communication with Sai Baba, who has afterall, now been gone five years. Notwithstanding that the Sai world at large is scrutinising his every move and just waiting to jump on his case, when the vibuthi runs low and the luck turns thin.

Just recently Madhu and his group visited Nigeria as guests of a wealthy follower of their cult.  By all accounts posted on the internet, they were detained and questioned  by the police about their activities and were then promptly deported. I am not sure they actually were deported, although that is the story one reads from the Sai Org. letter posted on line and the newspaper article that appeared shortly after. ( Both can be found on line.)  I am not going into the full details of the offical letter or the constant flow of claims and counter-claims on both sides of the Sai movement, whether this is true or not. I  would rather not be part of that. I actually don’t want to be part of anything or any movement other than be by myself nowadays.  Still, I do have to wonder how long Sadu Madhu will be able to stand the pressure of being a self-styled Godman  – to be the  provider of solace, substance and miraculous boons  to all who need a surrogate guru  for the now dead Sathya Sai Baba.

My original post from May 2014 – “Speaking of Sathya Sai Baba’s Light Body”

 

https://saibabathepurnaavatarandi.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/muddenahalli-fraud-and-scam-talk-by-leonardo-pablo-gutter/

https://sathyasaimemories.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/speaking-of-sathya-sai-babas-light-body-more-sathya-sai-memories/

 

http://www.news18.com/news/india/ahead-of-sathya-sai-babas-90th-birthday-karnataka-man-claims-he-is-babas-reincarnation-1167669.html

 

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Speaking of the  Astral World –

The  Rudolf Steiner link I meant to provide is very hard to understand and long to read. I have instead, re-written the one paragraph that stands out.

The  astral being or the  soul of the deceased – on reaching the higher realms does not interfere or mingle with souls on Earth, unless in the case of possession or are earth bound.  There are cases where a medium might contact a spirit, often one not on the highest levels, to give messages to their relations of survival of death. However, these links are not ever strong and can only be sustained for a very short time. The energy of the medium  or instrument and that of the astral soul, would not vibrate for long on the same frequency. That is just not possible. There are laws that govern the universe and for those who are complicit to using them for occult reasons, they are unable to do so at will. The boundaries between the Earthly  realm and other higher realms are overseen by the universal laws. (The angels of Light.) Thus, the many types of  energies, (the earthly souls and the astral souls,)  cannot co-exist for long, due to the energy and vibrations of those on the light realms being very different from ours on Earth. thank you.

 

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“I call those ready to see me; of course, there are different levels of readiness!!” ~ Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi

 

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Touched By Love – Sai Baba Memories

looking out over the darshan area, from the Mandir

 

‘At first, name and form are essential, that is the reason why Avatars come, so that God can be loved, adored, worshiped, listened to and followed, and finally realized as nameless and formless.’ – Baba

 


After the physical passing of Sai Baba during April 2011, darshan experiences are no different from those experienced when he was alive.  In other words, the vibrations can still be felt. One might say that Sai Baba has not gone anywhere. Long ago, I remember reading a particularly beautiful story about Sri Ramana Maharshi. Ramana told one distraught devotee not to worry about his imminent demise, for he (Ramana) was not going anywhere. He had no place to go to that He was not already there! Ramana would remain available to all who sought darshan and solace in his ashram. So it is, I now believe, the same with Sathya Sai Baba.  Here is a short story from Diana Baskin who tells us that Swami told her just before his demise these few words: I am not going anywhere.

 

 
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‘I am not going anywhere.’ –

Why would Swami tell Diana Baskin these few words, I believe without a doubt he was telling her that he would always be available to those who were dedicated to him. He also was giving a broader message, his vibration and his essence would always be there in Puttaparthi.

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Swami, the Heart Core of our Life

Swami became my Guru when I first came to India in 1969, taking on the task of teaching me the principles of a spiritual life by building a solid foundation rooted in Dharma. Later, He became my Mother, taking over the task of nurturing, acceptance and unconditional love. Finally in 1979, Swami took the role of Father by introducing me to my husband, Robert, performing our marriage ceremony and extending His strong hand of support and gentle loving guidance throughout our marriage.

Swami was the heart core of our life. For the past 40 years, our life centred solely upon Him, and the anticipation of our trips to India that brought us in His physical presence was our nourishment. My husband and I were devastated and heartbroken as we lost all at once our Guru, our Mother and our Father.

But Swami did not teach us to be weaklings and even in the midst of sorrow His teachings rushed to my side, giving me strength and support while gently reminding me that there was a limit to everything.

When the husband of our friend died, Swami said to her that she could mourn his death but only for a short time; after that, she needed to let go of her sorrow. Last Words of Swami

I understood intellectually that to honour Swami and His teachings, I needed to put them into practice, be a master of my emotions and keep my focus on positive and constructive thoughts. While this helped to some extent, it was not enough. I longed to re-establish the direct heart-to-heart link with Swami that gives joy to life.

Swami had not only foreseen the problem I would encounter but in His infinite compassion had given the solution, unbeknownst to me, shortly before leaving His physical body.

One morning, after Bhajans as Swami was returning to His residence, His car stopped in front of me and as the driver lowered the window, Swami motioned for me to come forward. His voice was very faint and I had to lean into the car and read His lips to grasp His words. At the end of our brief conversation, He said something so unusual and out of context that I had to ask Him to repeat it. These were the last words Swami ever spoke to me.

For the year that followed, I pondered His words and questioned their meaning but failed to find the reason why He voiced them at that time nor could I find any sort of veiled connotation they might imply. It was not until a few weeks after Swami passed, in the midst of great sorrow and mourning that like a thunderbolt from the heavens it hit me! Not only did I understand what He meant from the deeper perspective of Advaita but a mere remembrance had the power to re-establish the precious heart-to-heart link and fill my heart with love. The powerful words of truth, love and wisdom. “I am not going anywhere.”

source of Diana Baskin’s story -Sanathana Sarathi

Love Is My Form – Memories of Sai Baba

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Himy, an old friend of mine on FaceBook and a great supporter of this blog, wrote the following account for this blog,  back when Swami was alive. I loved it so much, I am re-posting it today.

I understand exactly how Himy felt that far off day in 1999, when Swami gave him close Darshan. I often felt the same way too during darshan! 

In this small story, Himy tells how he had mentally told Baba earlier that day, “I don’t want anything” and Swami, as always, knew exactly what Himy had thought. Himy tells us in this story, “I didn’t even get a bit of the vibuthi  Swami made”.  Likewise, I, too, was always telling Sai Baba, “I do not want anything”, then while at Darshan, I would end up at the back of the hall, often where I could not see him!  Often in those early days, I would end up crying because of his lack of attention towards me. I never much thought that Swami was giving me exactly what I’d asked him for! Although, there’s never “nothing” with Swami – the Darshans were deep and  always filled with light and wonder. He was always, until the very end, radiant and sublime, and as a result, we came away from Darshan filled to the brim. – Eve

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I Only Wanted Swami To Talk To Me! – Himy’s Darshan Story

On one of my visits to Puttaparthi, I had a really great experience with Swami. (I think it was during 1999). I was feeling very down and out.
I was feeling very small and insignificant and unworthy, even when talking to people.  I was just keeping to myself. Then I prayed to Baba to talk to me because that would make me feel better and worthy of being talked to by others also. With that thought, I went inside Sai Kulwant hall after having drawn 4th token (or something near to that number.) And I was sitting in the second row in darshan on the men’s side.

Then the music started and Baba  came out from the Poornachandra Auditorium. He used to walk then. He shuffled forward taking letters, blessing sweet trays. Finally he was opposite my row. He spoke to someone there.  Then He suddenly turned towards our side. There was a Russian sitting  in front of me.  Baba said something to him. Then suddenly He was looking at me and  saying something  in Telugu (I think – because I heard something like “neevu” which is a Telugu word). My head was spinning. I couldn’t believe Baba was talking to me !! At the same time the thought passed though my head “could Baba be mistaking me for some other guy, some Telugu guy”? I dismissed that thought as soon as it came because I knew that  Baba knows everything. He doesn’t make mistakes. Then Baba repeated what he must have said earlier, in English.  He said “Where have you come from ?” I was still too stunned to reply. Baba spoke a third time.  This time in Hindi. He said “Keedhar se aayaa?” meaning again  “where  had I come from.” I managed to say:  “SAI, Mumbai”. Then Baba threw up His hands in the air as if I had given the wrong answer and He said “Oh!! Bombay!”

Then He proceeded to make vibhuti right in front of me and gave some to a Telugu farmer sitting next to me. Others nearby  stretched out their hands and Baba kept giving vibhuti to all. Finally, I also picked up the courage to stretch my hands out for vibhuti. But Baba just turned away. When i was praying to Baba earlier in the day, I had told him that “I dont want vibhuti or anything else,  Baba,  please just talk to me.”

By turning away Baba displayed His omniscience. He proved to me that He knew my thoughts.  What a proof !! I sat there with tears flowing down my cheeks and couldn’t stop crying long after darshan. People would just look at me and I was not able to say anything. They just nodded, knowingly, and said “Ananda” meaning bliss! Baba does hear and answer our prayers. He knows everything.

From Himy

Beautiful Reflections Sathya Sai – More Sathya Sai Memories

Folks, I plan on being away for a couple of months in India. I am going back to visit Sai Baba’s Ashram. I  need a break and some release from the bitter cold, lack lustre days of winter. Also some time away from a computer and blogging. I hope to return with some new travel stories and, of course, photos. Here is one of my favourite memories from many years ago while on a visit to Whitefield, in Bangalore. I don’t visit Whitefield anymore because the Bangalore traffic is too congested nowadays to make the trip. I miss the enchantment of Whitefield, and of course the  darshans in Sai Ramesh Hall. Luckily, people have created beautiful you tubes, like the one above to savor our memories forever.

Sorry for mistakes in this post, I have had quite a few computer glitches this morning.


“Blessed Sweets” – I remember the day well, like yesterday!

It was during one summer in the early 1990’s at Brindavan that I noticed Swami was blessing more than the usual number of silver sweet platters.

One particularly happy afternoon I watched with interest two ladies seated on the aisle holding their bright silver platters high while waiting for his attention. Swami came to darshan walking from side to side in his usual fashion but eventually stopped in front of the ladies then blessed their platters, which contained not only toffees but also photos, vibuthi and lockets. I sat thinking to myself, I wish I too, had a silver platter to hold high for such a blessing.

Before darshan the following morning, I plucked up enough courage to buy a silver platter, a huge bag of sweets (Mango Melodies), and three packets of little golden lockets, each one with a small picture of Swami with his hand held in the ’Abhaya Mudra – ( the ‘WHY FEAR, I AM HERE’ blessing ) and one yellow rose. I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare my platter nor did I know where to place the lockets. After some thought I placed them under the toffees and then placed the rose on top. Ah, it looked pretty, I felt sure that Swami would bless my offering.

But Swami did not bless the dish on my first attempt and by the second day I lost confidence and gave the dish to an Australian colleague to offer but Swami would not bless the sweets. On the third attempt I was happy to be seated on the carpet’s edge of block two where Swami always walked. He stopped, looked, and blessed the sweets forcefully. I’d felt him taking a large swipe of the contents into his hand then he threw them, showering what seemed like a good portion of devotees. I could hear loud whoops of joy as the sweets were thrown. Puzzled, I wondered why.

After Swami had passed by, I glanced at my platter for the 3 packets of lockets but only one remained. Apparently Swami had thrown two packets of lockets with the toffees! No wonder there had been such loud whoops of joy from devotees in block two.

A few days later I learned that the lockets had been thrown without their clear wrappers. In fact they had been dispersed individually with no trace of the wrapper anywhere. One of the lockets had fallen to a lady with cancer and two others had gone to another lady with a serious illness! What I do know is the lockets made a lot of people very happy.

·**•.♥LOVE♥.•**·life·**•.♥LIFE♥.•*

Here’s a link to an interesting talk given in July last year in Puttaparthi Ashram.

http://media.radiosai.org/journals/vol_12/01JUL14/TO-FOLLOW-SWAMIS-WISH-OR-NOT-part-01.htm


Sathya Sai baba as I remember him

 Sathya Sai Baba – photo and  a few of my favourite quotes.

“Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths, false values and false ideals. But you are not part of that world.”

  ~ Sathya Sai Baba

When a person asserts that he is low and mean and that he knows but little, he becomes low and mean and his knowledge shrinks.We become what we believe we are. We are children of Almighty God, endowed with Supreme, Power, Glory and Wisdom.We are children of Immortality.When we dwell in this thought, how can we ever be low and ignorant?

– Sathya Sai Baba