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.  

On Reaching The Sixth Anniversary Of the Passing Of Sathya Sai Baba – Make Yourself A Light!

Swami in his 40’s

“I need only one ‘Mandir’ – Your Hearts!

Preserve the purity of your hearts, so that SAI may reside therein

….

We are coming up to the sixth anniversary of the passing of Sathya Sai Baba. To honour his most sapient teaching, I have written a small article called  “The Source.” It is posted below.  Sai Baba may have been the most high-lighted guru of his day, but his message is no different from other distinguished teachers who have lived, taught and left a remarkable legacy of a time-honoured practice to go within. He always stressed the need for inner reflection. He stressed that spiritual practices can only be done with the help of the body. All education obtained is through the body. Everything we are is due to the facility of the body. Both our merit and demerit are the result of  actions performed with the help of our bodies. And that all important incessant search for peace is a heartfelt attempt to find the God Source inside our own bodies but we are not just the body, we  are far greater than that.

WHY FIGHT OVER BODY PARTS? – THE SOURCE IS WITHIN.

Someone said something extraordinary to me the other day, while we were discussing Sathya Sai baba and the Muddenahalli splinter group. The now infamous group who have forged ahead in Sai Baba’s name. They said why be attached to body parts when you can seek the Source within? True, why do we hang onto body parts or a body form, when the wisest teachers tell us clearly we are not a body. The source of wisdom is love and that is something we can all find within ourselves. All spiritual teachers speak with one voice, when they say that a flesh and blood temporary body is just a vehicle to be used while on Earth. We are all just body-parts with the potential of finding the eternal truth within us. Best to focus and find that sacred place in our hearts where the in-dweller resides. Yes, it takes a lot of determination and dedication but it is not without merit, that we eventually find out that our spiritual teacher’s guidance is both wise and compassionate. But as always in cases of well-known spiritual teachers, once they pass from this world, those pivotal devotees who once held positions or power within their late teachers setup, struggle over the right to carry his/her name on in their own chosen way. They claim power and possession over their late teacher’s movement and cause confusion and division among followers. Power struggles are part of every religion and almost all sects. Such power struggle are normal in this ego-centric world, often going against everything their late teacher had taught. When hard nosed egos decides they are the one and only “Source of Light and Knowledge,” and they are the chosen ones, they literally go out of their way to be deliberately spiteful and vengeful to others, who do not see them as the “new mouth-piece” for their late teacher.


SO LISTEN TO THE WISDOM OF THE TEACHER AND DON’T ALLOW BODY PARTS TO INTERFERE WITH YOUR SEARCH FOR THE INNER SOURCE.

The early days in the old Mandir

 

Sathya Sai Baba’s words on mediums and cheats.

 

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.

 

 

Keeping Photographs Near To Our Hearts! – Rumi

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With the passing of Sathya Sai Baba, the pleasure of remembering those early days has been taken from me, because there is no longer anyone to remember with. Those ashram days are all but over for most of us that visited.  It feels like losing my  co-rememberer and like losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done, back then, were less real and important to what the day holds for us now. I began the blog with my memories of Sathya Sai Baba, taking notes from my memory and writings to post on to this blog. I eagerly waited for each visit to come around, so I could jot down more experiences and events as they unfolded in his ashram.  Mostly, I was lucky enough to have many stories to pass on to others with  like-minds and who had shared experiences. Now Sai has gone, I’ve turned  to creating YouTubes of  Rumi poems, to add to my list of hobbies. Through Rumi poems and my photography, I’m able to create Youtubes that will keep both photos and the poems I love, alive and at my reach.

This is my first You Tube this year. I hope some of you will visit and take a few minutes to watch.

Thank you. Eve

No Death, No Fear – Spirituality

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NO DEATH, NO FEAR

…The day my mother died, I wrote in my journal, “A serious misfortune of my life has arrived.” I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.

l opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants. And my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet… wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine alone but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. These feet that I saw as “my” feet were actually “our” feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.

From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time…

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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As Simple As Pie – Inspirational Quotation

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Many of you will have already heard  the sad news that beloved Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh,) is seriously ill in Plum Village in rural France, where he has lived for many years. Whether he will survive or not we do not know yet. He is 88 years old now and for most of  his life he has been  a simple Buddhist Monk; a humble and beautiful being who has been an inspirational to us all.  “Where were you before you were born?” is a beautiful talk from so many given over the years.  He takes this deeply philosophical question of life and death, turns it in to a homily providing us with an answer that is as simple as pie.

 

Today, we hear that Thay is now in hospital, sadly he is in the process of passing away.  It’s a great loss for the world. 

 


Where Were You Before You Were Born?

Sometimes people ask you: “When is your birthday?” But you might ask yourself a more interesting question: “Before that day which is called my birthday, where was I?” Ask a cloud: “What is your date of birth?” Before you were born, where were you?”

If you ask the cloud, “How old are you? Can you give me your date of birth?” you can listen deeply and you may hear a reply. You can imagine the cloud being born. Before being born it was the water on the ocean’s surface. Or it was in the river and then it became vapor. It was also the sun because the sun makes the vapor. The wind is there too, helping the water to become a cloud. The cloud does not come from nothing; there has been only a change in form. It is not a birth of something out of nothing.

Sooner or later the cloud will change into rain or snow or ice. If you look deeply into the rain, you can see the cloud. The cloud is not lost; it is transformed into rain, and the rain is transformed into healthy soil and the soil into cherry trees and the cherry trees into blossoms, the blossoms into cherries and then into the cherry pie you eat. Today if you eat a piece of cherry pie, give yourself time to look at the pie and say:

“Hello, cloud! I recognize you.”

By doing that, you have insight and understanding into the real nature of the pie and the cloud. You can also see the ocean, the river, the heat, the sun, the soil and the trees in the pie. Looking deeply, you do not see a real date of death for the cloud. All that happens is that the cloud transforms into rain or snow. There is no real death because there is always a continuation. A cloud continues the ocean, the river and the heat of the sun, and the rain continues the cloud.

9782071Before it was born, the cloud was already there, so today, when you eat a piece of cherry pie, please follow your breathing. Look into the cherry pie and say hello to the cloud.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 


The Astral Planes, Lessons – Spirituality

crocusesWe  humans are not solid matter, we are vibrational beings. All creation is vibration by design of the Creator.  Our thoughts are powerful and can project us while on Earth to any place we can think of. Once we enter the astral realms, we are pure thought. We are our own creators.

I was told long ago, no two deaths are alike. On death, our thoughts project us to the  realm of light that most suits our earthly habits. It’s the reason we are told to keep our thoughts positive and to live to the best of our capabilities. We do not change after death.  We are the same person. Nothing changes other than the body is gone. People with huge ambitions now, will not shed those ambitions on death but seek a way over there to satisfy them. A selfish person here on Earth is not always lucky enough to realize the astral planes, or those helpers sent to guide them home. Such souls can stay earthbound until another time, when help is sent to rescue them.

I read recently of the soul of a man who had died on the “Titantic” then became earth-bound. He roamed the earth for years, often possessing others’ bodies to satisfy his Earthy needs. This soul had come from a wealthy family who had not known suffering or want. He lived only for himself, ignoring all the grinding poverty of others. He simply was blind to it. On death, he too, become blind.  He was in the dark. His darkness was the darkness of ignorance. He did not even realize he was dead. He eventually was given help and guided towards the  light, where he was able to realize his mistakes.  Below is a piece from Sri Yonganda on the astral planes.

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Sri Yogananda from the book ‘Divine Romance’

From my garden - the first crocus
From my garden – the first crocus

Everything in this material world is a copy of it’s counterpart in the astral world; but the material manifestation is a gross one, limited and distorted by the law of relativity.

 

The principle of duality or relativity is inherent in creation; shadow as well as light is necessary to apprehend a universe of separate forms and creatures.

Relativity operates in the astral world too; but on that plane there are no fixed limitations – everything is perceived as different vibrations of light, naught else. In the material world delusion is deeply embedded in that law of relativity, preventing the physical consciousness from understanding things as they really are. You don’t perceive things in their essence as light because the instrumentality of your physical senses is too gross. You instead experience the relative difference between solids, liquids, and gases as so radical that if you leave the solid shore and try to walk across the liquid ocean, you drown. In the astral world, even though you can cognize the shore as solid and the ocean as liquid, there is no drowning in the astral liquid. You differentiate the solids from the liquids only as varying vibrations of light, which do not clash with each other. You can glide just as easily through “solid” light and ‘liquid” light. Or you can walk on liquid light in your solid body of light, as Jesus showed when he walked on the water. To him, both his body and the sea were naught but relativities of astral light, which he could alter at will by the power of mind. He demonstrated that a fully God-realized master can control the astral light underlying material creation. That is how he performed his miracles, such as healing the sick and raising the dead, feeding multitudes with a few loaves and fishes, and resurrecting his own body.

There is not one human experience you can think of for which the astral world has not an exact duplicate. You can experience birth and death and marriage and disease and everything that you see in the physical world. Relativities of light can create sensations and perceptions experienced as real. In the material world, because the law of relativity is so heavily laden with delusive power, man is constrained by those “realities.” In the astral world, everything is changeable at the command of the mind.

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How important it is to live in that finer realm! I am all the time there—even now as I am talking to you. Such happiness comes; there are no words I can use to describe it to you. In this gross world, you get tired of everything; even the most enjoyable things eventually become tedious or boring. But in the astral world the creations of your will are ever new. You will never tire of that world. If you want to be young you can be so. If you want to appear as a man or as a woman or in any form you wish, you can do so. You do not have to worry about money for your needs; a mere command of your will provides whatever you want. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to do that here? This earth is so limited; some persons have plenty while others starve. But in the heavenly astral world there are no such inequities; every being has according to his desire. If you want an opulent palace, it is there for you. If you want snow or heat or light or rain, you can have it just by the power of thought. With astral light the mind can create anything. You are free from all limitations when you know the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, which is behind this world.

Leslie Flint transcripts – from his website. Leslie Flint was the greatest voice medium ever to have lived. He has left us a wealth of information by ways of transcripts from voices on the astral planes, each giving evidence of their survival. Leslie, together with other great wisdom teachers, like Daskalos, and the Masters from the East, all agree to the conditions of the soul after leaving the Earth plane.    

http://www.leslieflint.com/transcripts.html

Good Thoughts, Good Habits, Good Death – Anandamayi Ma

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On Dying:

Anandamayi Ma’s attitude towards death is far removed from ours.  As she says, “The pilgrim on the path of immortality never contemplates death. By meditation on the Immortal, the Divine, the fear of death recedes far away.  It will serve us well to remember that  In the measure that our contemplation of the One becomes uninterrupted, we will advance towards full, unbroken realization.”

Man’s spiritual evolution is greatly affected by the thoughts he harbours at the time of death. “Just as a leech does not leave its place without hooking on to something else, so the soul at the time of leaving the body hooks on to some kind of new existence according to the state of mind of the dying person.”

Let no one conclude, however, that he can live according to his whims, indulging in sense pleasures oblivious to God, and that at the moment of death he will be able to catapult himself into the Divine presence by thinking the right thoughts. This is a miscalculation, for man is a creature of habit and therefore at death his mind will dwell on those thoughts that have occupied him most during his life.

To substantiate this point Anandamayi Ma told  the story of a greedy old woman, an oil vendor, who lay upon her death bed. All her life she had sold oil in the bazaar. At no time had she granted anyone credit, and never had she given away even the smallest quantity of oil. When beggars asked her for oil, she used to reply: “Not a drop will I give, not a drop.” While she was on the verge of dying, her relatives, concerned about her spiritual welfare, tried, to make her repeat “Rama” or “Krsna,” but all she was capable of uttering was: “Not a drop will I give, not a drop.” This had become her mantra.

This account is meant to show that man’s day-to-day thoughts and activities throughout his life determine his state of consciousness and his spiritual destiny.


Daskalos on Thought Forms

Every thought, emotion and desire creates and transmits an elemental – also called thought-form – that carries on an existence of its own. We create and regenerate two types of elementals. When negative emotion prevails over thought, we have created emotional thought-forms, or desire-thoughts. When our ideas, desires and emotions pass through reason and love, we create reasoned thought-forms, or thought-desires. An elemental can never be destroyed, only disenergized (when no longer fed with etheric vitality). Elementals of a kind collect to form powerful group elementals. If an individual, or a collection of individuals, are vibrating at the same frequency, they will attract such group elementals. Archangels also create elementals (e.g. nature spirits and angels) in the service of the Divine Plan.