Krishna denotes all manifestations of Bhagavān Viṣṇu — the carefree and effortlessly self-manifest personality who is the fountainhead of all-pervasive consciousness. But Nāma Kaumudī finishes its definition by stating that the word krishna specifically refers to someone who was “raised on Yaśodā’s breast.” So, although krishna refers to consciousness itself (brahman) and although it refers to Viṣṇu as the source of all consciousness (paramātmā) and the epitome of all personality (bhagavān), in the ultimate focus this word denotes a very specific form of Bhagavān: the one who is raised by the loving breast-milk of the queen of Vraja, Śrī Yaśodā Devī. Ultimately, the word krishna refers to the famous Gopa of Vṛndāvana whom the Bhāgavata Purāṇa lauds as the fountainhead of all Viṣṇus, who are themselves the fountainheads of all consciousness, which is the very substance of reality itself.
The most literal, basic meaning of krish- is simply, “pull.” Krishna- means “existence.” It has this meaning because existence is the tangible coagulation of consciousness, a structure pulled into place by consciousness’ gravity. The primary trait of Krishna is that he “pulls,” like a magnet, like gravity.
Krishna has already spoken of himself several times as the highest deva, one with Brahman, thus very much invoking the spirit of monotheism. Historically, there is a very strong emphasis on monotheism in the Abrahamic traditions. We hear the very subtle and powerful enunciation of monotheism in the Jewish Shema: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4–5) This proclamation has had an enormous impact on Christianity and Islam as well. Monotheism is often considered by pious people and scholars in the West to be the acme of religious understanding. But no other religious notion has had a more pernicious consequence in creating bigotry and fanaticism than monotheism. Monotheism has resulted everywhere in “my-theism,” leading to warfare against other people’s religious forms. No one would say, “There is one God, and it is not my God but yours.” The late Nobel laureate Octavio Paz said, “We owe to monotheism many marvelous things, from cathedrals to mosques. But we also owe to it hatred and oppression. The roots of the worst sins of Western civilization—the Crusades, colonialism, totalitarianism—can be traced to the monotheistic mindset…. For a pagan, it was rather absurd that one people and one faith could monopolize the truth.”
Krishna’s monotheism is not of an exclusive sort that says “You must not worship any other god.” On the contrary, it is very inclusive. Of course, depending on the degree of understanding and the quality of one’s inner nature, a person may be inclined to worship this or that deva. But all the devas are included in Krishna and he blesses them all. “But whatever form any devotee with shraddhā (faith, respect) wishes to worship, I make that shraddhā firm and steady. Disciplined by that shraddhā, the devotees who worship those forms obtain their desires. In truth I myself give these to the devotees.” (7.21–22) It may be mentioned in passing that this inclusive aspect of the Hindu religion was much emphasized by Vivekananda, the great Hindu monk of India, in his speech at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, and he quoted these shlokas from the Gita. It should also be mentioned with some sadness that in some Hindu quarters there is a tendency, often in reaction to exclusivist biblical religions, to make Krishna a sectarian God, in competition with other gods, but the Gita is nothing if not inclusive.
Krishna, as the Unmanifest, Unborn, and Imperishable, is not and cannot be revealed to all. Most of us are caught in the delusion of opposite—us and them, believers and infidels, good and evil, and the like—which arises from desire and hatred, attraction and repulsion; and this illusion arises right at birth, as Krishna says. (7.27) This could lead to a notion similar to “original sin” in Christianity, resulting in a deep sense of personal guilt. But it is possible to be free of this delusion of opposites and come to Krishna realizing that all action is Brahman. (7.29 and also 4.24) Those who know that Krishna is the supreme being (adhibhūta), the highest deva (adhidaiva), and the greatest yajna (adhiyajna) remember him even at the time of death and are united with him.
What has become of Christmas? With the true meaning lost within the busy quest for self-gratification, there is little time to read of study the real meaning of Christmas, yet our very survival on this planet depends on us elevating our hearts and soul to another level, one where ME becomes we….The soul of man today dwells in unrelenting noise that drowns out all contact with that blissful inner harmony that can only be found in inner silence. This inner and mystical silence wherein the purest spiritual state can be achieved is the Silent Night…”
In the Christian story of the “Nativity”, the King of Kings as the Son of God is born in a stable among the beasts of burden. This most noble and glorious of Beings is depicted as being born in the most lowly of abodes. His room is a manger fit for animals, his bed is made of straw, his source of heat is the very breath of the beasts that so very wilfully share their quarters with him. The stable is not a castle or a mansion. The Shepherds are not noblemen and there are no servants waiting on him. Why does this most glorious, exalted and long awaited wonderful event transpire through such humility, modesty and lowliness? Why this event is called the Silent Holy Night?
This image of the divine child is a most beautiful symbol revealing very profound principles and truths. The stable sheltering the beasts represents the material aspect of our beings as that which belongs to the body, form and matter. It is that which belongs to the physical self, which houses the animal appetites and the desires of the senses. It corresponds to that which is the lowest aspects of our being, that which binds us to the earth. Just as the blooming of the beautiful sacred lotus flower on the surface of the waters has its roots below the surface anchored in the mud underneath, so too our highest spiritual understanding is rooted in that which is the lowest in us.
The comforting warmth given off by the breath of the beasts is allegorical of the alchemical fire of the vital force resident within every cell in our body. It is this fire that incubates the divine child within us. The darkness of the Holy Night represents the unconscious mind that has begun to be illuminated by a star which the Magi seek to behold and follow to the manger. If we meditate on this beautiful picture of the kings of the East adoring the Divine Child, we realize a beautiful image. The stable is no longer perceived as something lowly when divinity has found abode within it. The radiance of this infant as the unfolding and birthing of a man-god reveals the consummation of the alchemical wedding of heaven and earth. What a beautiful and sacred temple our lowly stable has become as we realize a most wonderful presence within its simple and humble manger! What a blessed and sacred temple the body of man truly is!
The soul of man today dwells in unrelenting noise that drowns out all contact with that blissful inner harmony that can only be found in inner silence. This inner and mystical silence wherein the purest spiritual state can be achieved is the Silent Night. If we keep vigil, and we receive the higher grace of God, then we will become conscious of that Holy Night, where we will perceive the star of the Magi and follow it to its crib in the manger as the inner depths of our beings, and there behold the new born Divine Infant representing our birth into a new and higher spirituality. In this way we will realize our own divinity as our inner master reveals himself and manifests his light into the world.
Merry Christmas and All Best Wishes to all. ~ Steven Kalec
In the small town of Puttaparthi, home of the late Sathya Sai Baba, the times are a changing. It has grown and is no longer cheap to visit, unless there’s room in the ashram for you to stay. Hotels have sprung up and so have the tarriffs, even flats to rent come at a high price. The once sleepy South India village has grown and now has become a pilgrimage centre for Sathya Sai Baba devotees, although it appears somewhat lonely, without the old magic of Sathya Sai Baba being present. They were magical times! A time most of us do not want to forget. Although, there are some who have forgotten those days and now chase after the fake Madhusudan in Muddenahalli calling him, “Swami.” How can this ex -student with limited mental faculties and a huge ego besides, be Swami? One cannot even imagine. Those fake devotees are still living in Puttaparthi, where they are actively persuading others to join them on their frequent visits to darshan of Madhusudan. Unfortunately they are openly tolerated in Puttaparthi. Why I do not know! The ex-student tells everyone he is the one person on planet Earth who can both hear and see the late Sai Baba at any given moment. He claims that the real mission of “Sai” is carried out through him alone! He has elevated himself to the position of a new “God.” This is nonsense of course. Swami said “Life is a game, play it”, but games have rules and the Muddenahalli Fraud Squad are NOT playing by the rules set forth by Swami. Those of us who stand up for the TRUTH by pointing out the discrepancies between the Muddenahalli crew’s actions and Swami’s teachings are like the child who declared, “The Emperor has no clothes!” and nailed the deception that everyone knew but were afraid to say.
In Swami’s time these fake devotees would have been banned. He never tolerated for a minute anyone who broke rules or whom he felt unfit to stay in Puttaparthi. I remember on one occasions in 1994 when He was staying in Whitefield. Swami, one afteroon, called us in for an interview. Most of those present were Westerners. There must has been around 400 of us. He spoke about many issues but the one he concentrated on the most, was the one I took to heart – the topic of flitting from guru to guru. He said: “do not go from guru to guru – do not waste your time or their time. You will learn nothing. You will only make of yourself a spiritual prostitute. Do not make yourself into such a low person. Do not become a spiritual prostitute! Stay with Swami if you want me to be your guru. I will help you and keep you safe.”
He eventually banned a number of persons for being less than sincere. When He banned people, it was for life. Swami kept to his boundaries and most of us abided by his wishes.
A friend wrote:
“The Muddenahalli Misleadership, although they may have been placed in excellent roles close to Swami due to boons from good deeds in past births, have squandered their “longed-for-by-the-gods” good fortune by turning a deaf ear to what Swami so pointedly cautioned us about when He was in His Form; that is, to never collect money in His Name and to run away from anyone who professes to be the “go-between” for Swami and His devotees. Swami has made it abundantly clear that His connection to His devotees is direct, Heart to heart, no go-between EVER necessary.
The Muddenahalli Fraud Squad Misleadership are preying on the naive, the ignorant and the egotistical, traveling the world in First Class style, but soliciting funds like beggars! They are appealing to peoples’ EGOS by telling them that “only the top 20% of devotees” will see Swami’s “Lightbody” and follow (that Fraud) Madhusudan. And they twist Swami’s very words, homogenizing them so as to make their blatantly fraudulent actions palatable to those who don’t know any better or do not care investigate the Truth.
This is how they are performing their “duties” in the name of the late Sathya Sai Baba!
Not Swami-like at all.”
Photos of the Muddenahalli Impersonator and Plan Master, Isaac Tigrett:
Madhusudan as a student:
Terry has written a heartfelt letter on leaving Puttparthi which I share here. (Towns parthi – Puttaparthi and MDH – Muddenahalli.)
“I could no longer afford to live there. As a tourist I could not earn money. I had a small pension that helped me but it was not enough to cover my increasing costs of living in Parthi. I came home to be close to my mother and siblings and my children and grandchildren who need me in their lives right now. No one in Parthi needed me for anything and I got more than 50 hate mails a week! People would cross the street when they saw me. MDH believers roam freely through the town. They eat in the canteens and preach about Madhu who they believe to be God. No one stops them. They do not have to report their overnight stays at MDH to the authorities and strut through town confident that soon MDH and Parthi will be one organization. Letters to the Trusts, to Prasanthi Council, and people who I thought would help us understand the problem have gone unanswered, not just ones I write, but dozens of devotees tell me they do not get as much as a peep of a reply.
I worked so hard and wanted to alert people, many of whom were my dearest friends and still are, to the dangers of MDH Frauds, to expose them. Being a woman and a non-Hindu continued to create obstacles in day-to-day affairs. I would only get a few likes on my reports. The most I ever got was 100 once. Devotees, real devotees, also did not support my work. They are quick to scold me and complain that I am not capable of understanding Swami’s teachings.
Meanwhile, writing about MDH showed me how few people truly care to adhere to Swami’s teachings. They want tinsel and trash as He called material things….promotions in their jobs, good marriages for their offspring; and do not understand at all the meaning of the three zeroes Swami taught as a requirement for liberation…Loss of Health, Wealth, and Reputation. Frankly, it is so obvious that reading the Avatar’s teachings did not, and does not, interest them.
No one forced me out. I left to be of use in a place where people need me, my work, my insight, my forthrightness, and my LOVE. I hope this helps you understand that once Swami is within us and there is no separation, wherever we are is the right place. He showed me that being abused and hated by so-called devotees is not the way He wants me, or anyone else, to be treated. Earning money was a necessity as well. I ran out of funds in the new “use only plastic” economy and could no longer afford to live in such a costly environment. The two events happened simultaneously. HAHAHAHAH No use of plastic bags allowed, but you must use plastic money cards….”
Meanwhile to end of Sai Baba’s famous words: “Follow The Master; Face the devil; Fight to the end; Finish the goal.”
Might add: Madhusudan and others. ~ On their last visit to Ca. They told people that the “invisible” or Lightbody of Sai Baba had instructed them through Madhusudan, to buy land in Ca. to build an Ashram in his name. They even went ahead with a fire ceremony to mark this important occasion. Oddly enough it is right there in the fire belt, at Los Gatos, in the hills above San Francisco . Would the real and true Sathya Sai Baba tell them to buy land to build an ashram in his name on ground that would be burned to a cinder within a few months? Does not ring true to me!
Construction of Bayeux Cathedral began in the Roman period, under Bishop Hugues, to continue under William the Conqueror’s brother, Bishop Odo (11th Century). Following serious fire damage during the 12th Century, the cathedral was rebuilt in Gothic style in the 13th Century. Construction of the central tower began in the 15th Century, under Bishop Louis d’Harcourt, to be completed only in the 19th Century following major work by Eugène Flachat.
Excerted from an interview with Ram Dass. A Conversation with Ram Dass by David Ulrich 2017 for Parabola Magazine.
“The soul is not part of the incarnation. It comes into the incarnation. And the soul is not afraid of death because it has done it so many times. And now the ego is individual, and the world at this moment is ruled by nations which are egos. And I find, for example, that the United Nations is very ineffective. But then what would we substitute? We could substitute wise beings from different religions or different states—philosopher kings, if you will.
If you want oneness in society, you have to teach people to go inside instead of going outside, because if they want peace, they need to find it within. I remember being at a peace rally. Everybody was yelling, “PEACE PEACE!” That isn’t peace! Peace is inside, in me and in everybody else. If you want peace, you go down in.”
Sometimes a visit to a catheral like the one in Bayeux can also bring you down into the heart. The tranquility and sacred atmosphere of this beautiful interior – once the crowds have left – can be felt. It is easy to sit down and breathe deeply and find that peace in the depths of your own sacred being. We stayed for three glorious days but three days is not enough to discover all the wonderful sites in this special Normandy town. Today I offer some of my photos of the elegant cathedral in Bayeux.
This photo is provided by the Calvados Tourist Office. Photo from the crypt.
Spirit in the tree – the face in the bark, forehead,eyes,nose and lips, and neck. – Best seen from a distance.
SPIRIT IN THE TREE – For Real And Not trick photography!
From my original thoughts on seeing the face in the bark.
“I don’t know what is happening here. Certainly, I had nothing to do with it. Today, out walking in the local park of the Chateau Tronjoly just down from our home, I was busy taking photos for “My House” album, when something very odd took my attention. I saw a face in the bark of an ancient tree. So here’s what I saw, or what I thought I saw and that is a youngish woman staring back at me. You too may see the face if you look at the photographs long enough. I haven’t changed these photos other than lighten them up a bit. The manifestation occurred while I was walking down the back of the Chateau, following the steam as it meandered past the old ruins of coach-house where upon I found two unusual trees. I had not noticed them before, nor their unusual shape. There is a label on each tree. although I could not read what is written there.
The trees themselves are ancient. I would dare to say they were probably planted hundreds of years ago. The original Chateau dates from the 13th Century. The trees have not been touched or damaged due to their superb location near the Chateau and thus protected. On my first encounter with the trees, I took long distance photos at first then I moved forward to take an up close.” I pointed my camera and was amazed by what I saw looking back at me there in the ancient moss covered bark. Staring at me a nympth like face! In real life (3D) it was much clearer than in these photos. Still you can see a likeness to a nympth in the trunk of the tree, when leaning away from the computer. The forehead, nose and lips, and neck are clearly defined. The face is so clear and spirit like, the eyes, looking outward – half open, half closed. I moved around the bark on the tree but the face remained clear. I took about six pictures, all they are extremely clear on my camera, although not so clear up on this screen. I am not surprised to see such things here in this part of Brittany, so renowned for its spirit like beings, ancient druids and medieval ceremonies etc. The face is not carved. The bark is natural although he trees are under protection.” ~ eve
Here is some light reading on Tree Spirits
I have always believed in tree spirits. It just makes sense. There has been much written about them from way back. It is believed that spirits and ghosts use trees as a dwelling place when visiting the earth. This theory goes way back to the Old Testament where there are references to “sacred groves”. The early Celts, Romans and Egyptians all believed in tree spirits. The Egyptians believed that it was deities who occupied their trees. In India, shrines have actually been built under trees to gain the favor of a revered spirit. Many have believed that if you cut down a tree with a spirit dwelling in it, you will lose your life. The Celts believe that all trees have spirits. Some of the more common “spirit” trees would be ash, apple, cedar, oak, cherry and pine to name a few. Each of these trees are said to host a particular type of spirit. Are these just superstitions? Perhaps, but I continued my search for answers.
There is said to be a famous haunted tree in Gilberton, Alabama in the United States. A woman named Linnie Jenkins claimed to hear strange noises and crying coming from her pecan tree which was located on her front lawn. It attracted media attention, and by 1981 thousands of people from all over the country came to see the mystical tree. It was discovered that the house had been built on the site of an old Indian graveyard, and many believed the cries heard were from those Indians who had died.
Have you ever heard of Huna? Huna is a philosophy of ancient Hawaiian magical shamanism and healing. In Huna, it is believed that everything is “alive, responsive and aware” therefore everything has a spirit. Huna teaches that spirits are connected even if they are of different life forms. For instance, human spirits connect more closely with other human spirits. But, human spirits connect with animal spirits as well, especially dogs and horses. Huna states that human spirits also have a very spiritual link to the tree. This may be the
reason why so many people are distraught when a tree is destroyed. For reasons unknown to us, we form a connection to it. Wisdom can be gained from trees, especially old trees. Supposedly, tree spirits act as guardians and protectors. How often has a person taken comfort in leaning against a tree trunk or lying on the ground beneath its branches? This brings to mind the children’s story The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Even the book Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, refers to tree spirits.
Raked the leaves again this morning. I raked them the day before yesterday too. There are so many now. They rain down in all their rich shades of gold and crimson. Odd when they fall, they twis and twirl then lightly land on the now bare wooded shrubs. So for a short time, like every year, the garden has turned to a reddish, brownish and golden flurry of colour that is quite mystical in many ways. Looking towards the sky the falling leaves appear like a kaleidoscope when shaken as they tumble down. For me It means a long time spent outside, clearing not only leaves also broken branches and clearing bracken or pulling weeds. The hard part is lugging everything over to the large old white sacks and filling them to be deposed of. I love the crackle of the leaves under my feet as I walk to fill the bags. The whimsical way small bits of fallen branches lay on and around the garden path are a delight but some would say a mess. The real magic of this time of year are the hundreds of mushrooms growing among the clutter. More than last year, they just pop up on old tree stumps and between the slate and in shaded areas of grass. I love the smell of the earth this time of year too, its just so sweet after the rain. Especially in that part of the garden that remains untouched. There, the earth is fresh and full of ground covers and where beetles and spiders are busy about their day. The freshness of this untouched beauty, makes me think of Eden – who knows it may have originated here. I feel this will be our last autumn in the house and although I want to go, I will miss the sweet earth – the smell of bracken and broken mushrooms. The songbirds as they chirp up high in the trees. My, what a wonderful thing a garden is. ~ Eve
photos from my garden.
I would not call this meditation, sitting in the back garden. Maybe I would call it eating light on a summer’s day. Mystical traditions recognize two kinds of practice: apophatic mysticism, which is the dark surrender of Zen, the Via Negativa of John of the Cross, and kataphatic mysticism, less well defined: an openhearted surrender to the beauty of creation. Maybe Francis of Assissi was, on the whole, a kataphatic mystic, as was Thérèse of Lisieux in her exuberant momemnts: but the fact is, kataphatic mysticism has low status in religious circles. Francis and Thérèse were made, really made, any mother superior will let you know, in the dark nights of their lives: no more of this throwing off your clothes and singing songs and babbling about the shelter of God’s arms.
Mary Rose O’Reilley, The Barn at the End of the World
Interesting piece from “The Tibetan” Methinks this needs to be posted on my blog today. Sorry folks not to have been posting my usual stuff this year, I have two cataracts, one on each eye, both need to be removed. Must say cataracts are horrible, they restrict my writing and reading. I will be happy when they are gone and my eyesight is restored. I cannot wait until I can see well again and I will be able to write again with confidence. The photos used for this post are from a Face Book page, sadly I forget the titles of the images. Sorry.
A little about the Dweller on the Threshold for your interest. – “The Dweller on the Threshold is illusion-glamour-maya, as realized by the physical brain and recognized as that which must be overcome. It is the bewildering thought form with which the disciple is confronted, when he seeks to pierce through the accumulated glamours of the ages, and find his true home in the place of light.” I guess that does not explain too well the inner significance of the Indweller – here’s the link http://www.esoteric-philosophy.net/dweller.html –
THE DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD
“The Dweller on the Threshold is illusion-glamour-maya, as realized by the physical brain and recognized as that which must be overcome. It is the bewildering thoughtform with which the disciple is confronted, when he seeks to pierce through the accumulated glamours of the ages, and find his true home in the place of light.”
“The Dweller on the Threshold does not emerge out of the fog of illusion and glamour, until the disciple is nearing the Gates of Life. Only when he can catch dim glimpses of the Portal of Initiation and an occasional flash of Light from the Angel of the Presence, Who stands waiting beside that door, can he come to grips with the principle of duality, which is embodied for him in the Dweller and the Angel. . . . As yet, my words embody for you symbolically a future condition and event. The day will surely come, however, when you will stand in full awareness between these symbols of the pairs of opposites, with the Angel on the right and the Dweller on the left. May strength then be given to you to drive straight forward between these two opponents, who have for long ages waged warfare in the field of your life, and so may you enter into the Presence where the two are seen as one, and naught is known but life and deity.”
“The Dweller on the Threshold is oft regarded as a disaster, as a horror to be avoided, and as a final and culminating evil. I would here remind you, nevertheless, that the Dweller is ‘one who stands before the gate of God’, who dwells in the shadow of the portal of initiation, and who faces the Angel of the Presence open-eyed, as the ancient Scriptures call it. The Dweller can be defined as the sum total of the forces of the lower nature, as expressed in the personality, prior to illumination, to inspiration, and to initiation. The personality per se, is, at this stage, exceedingly potent, and the Dweller embodies all the psychic and mental forces which, down the ages, have been unfolded in man, and nurtured with care. It can be looked upon as the potency of the threefold material form, prior to its conscious co-operation and dedication to the life of the soul, and to the service of the Hierarchy, of God, and of Humanity.
The Dweller on the Threshold is all that man is, apart from the higher spiritual self; it is the third aspect of divinity, as expressed in and through the human mechanism. This third aspect must be eventually subordinated to the second aspect, the soul.”
“Memory . . . is not simply just a faculty of the mind, as is so often supposed, but it is essentially a creative power. It is basically an aspect of thought, and – -coupled with imagination — is a creative agent, because thoughts are things, as well you know. From ancient recesses of the memory, from a deeply rooted past, which is definitely recalled, and from the racial and individual subconscious (or founded and established thought reservoirs and desires, inherited and inherent) there emerges from the individual past lives and experience, that which is the sum total of all instinctual tendencies, of all inherited glamours, and of all phases of wrong mental attitudes; to these, (as they constitute a blended whole) we give the name of the Dweller on the Threshold. This Dweller is the sum total of all the personality characteristics which have remained unconquered and unsubdued, and which must be finally overcome before initiation can be taken. Each life sees some progress made; some personality defects straightened out, and some real advance effected. But the unconquered residue, and the ancient liabilities are numerous, and excessively potent, and — when the soul contact is adequately established — there eventuates a life wherein the highly developed and powerful personality becomes, in itself, the Dweller on the Threshold. Then the Angel of the Presence and the Dweller stand face to face, and something must then be done. Eventually, the light of the personal self fades out and wanes in the blaze of glory which emanates from the Angel. Then the greater glory obliterates the lesser. This is, however, only possible when the personality eagerly enters into this relation with the Angel, recognizes itself as the Dweller, and — as a disciple — begins the battle between the pairs of opposites, and enters into the tests of Scorpio. These tests and trials are ever self-initiated; the disciple puts himself into the positive or conditioning environment wherein the trials and the discipline are unavoidable and inevitable. When the mind has reached a relatively high stage of development, the memory aspect is evoked in a new and conscious manner, and then every latent predisposition, every racial and national instinct, every unconquered situation, and every controlling fault, rises to the surface of consciousness, and then — the fight is on.”
“The Dweller on the Threshold, always present, swings however into activity only on the Path of Discipleship, when the aspirant becomes occultly aware of himself, of the conditions induced within him as a result of his interior illusion, his astral glamour, and the maya surrounding his entire life. Being now an integrated personality (and no one is disciple, my brother, unless he is mental as well as emotional, which is the point the devotee oft forgets) these three conditions . . . are seen as a whole, and to this whole the term ‘Dweller on the Threshold’ is applied. It is in reality a vitalized thoughtform — embodying mental force, astral force and vital energy.”
A brilliant Indian student by the name of Vemu Mukunda had taken science courses at universities in India. Then he left his motherland to conduct post graduate research in Scotland. He took a job in England working in the field of nuclear science. Although outwardly he seemed to have successfully established himself in his chosen field, yet he was not happy. He had left his family, friends, and culture behind and now found himself living in an environment where the advancements in technology were considered the highest goal and his only social life consisted of attending endless rounds of cocktail parties. He felt his life was empty and without purpose and this feeling came to a crisis point when his brother and sister both died back in India. Furthermore the negative use of nuclear science to build weapons of mass destruction weighed on his conscience and made him question his choice of career. He began to sink into a state of chronic depression which was only briefly relieved by the release he felt when he made music on the Indian stringed Veena that he had played since childhood.
It was during that period of black despair that a series of strange incidents occurred to bring a new influence into his life. By coincidence, a mutual friend in London had a veena at home that was badly damaged and when he heard of Vemu’s skill with the instrument he invited him to his home to see if he might be able to repair the instrument. Vemu went to the home along with some friends and indeed found the instrument so badly damaged that he was completely unable to get any pleasant sounds out of it at all. However he agreed to take the instrument back to his home and see if he could repair it.
On the way home, the friends who had brought him wanted to stop at a house where they knew the residents were conducting Sai Baba bhajan sessions (sacred singing). Though Vemu had no special interest in doing so, since he was riding with them he went along with the plan.
When they arrived at the house and went in, he saw a picture of Sathya Sai Baba on the wall and immediately had the thought: “Oh, no not him”. His parents had been followers of Shirdi Sai Baba and they felt that Sathya Sai Baba, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, was an imposter and so Vemu had also taken on this attitude. Shirdi Sai Baba left his body in 1918 and many of his original followers were unwilling to believe that he had taken on the Sathya Sai form eight years later (Sathya Sai was born in 1926) even though Shirdi Sai Baba had told his followers just before his death that he would take birth again eight years hence.
Vemu had no interest in the bhajans and so he sat behind the other singers and took no part in the singing. However during a lull in the bhajans the hostess put a veena in his hands and asked him to play something. In an abstracted mood he began to strum the instrument and presently a tune came into his head and he began to play. The others very much enjoyed his playing and when the song ended they asked him to play another song. He agreed, playing the first tune that came to mind. At the end of the second song, he suddenly realized that the two songs he had just played had been composed by two different Indian Saints but the titles of the songs had the same meaning in the respective languages of the composers: “No One is Equal to You”.
Now Vemu looked down at the veena he had been playing and realized that it was the badly damaged one he had been taking home to repair. But mysteriously, every note he had played on it had been completely harmonious. Now he tried to play it consciously and not a single harmonious note would come out of it. He began to feel as if something miraculous had occurred and he felt the hair on his head standing on end.
He thought to himself: “Sai Baba! What power. Is he a black magician?”
After this incident Vemu began to get invitations to play professionally. He accepted whenever it fit into his schedule and strangely, wherever he played he would run into someone who would talk about Sathya Sai Baba. At home his friends in London kept pressing him to attend Sai Baba bhajan sessions. He began to feel that he was being pursued by Sai Baba!
Vemu had been schooled on the principles of science and so his confidence was more on the field of matter than that of the spirit. He felt that the realm of spirit was only a way by which some people escaped from harsh reality. And yet some part of him wanted to proceed into the spiritual realm while the other part wanted nothing to do with it. His mental torment increased and he felt himself being torn in two different directions. He continued to resist the spiritual impulse and yet, the world of physics and materialism had lost its charm for him.
Finally in a state of complete desperation he sat down and addressed a letter to Sathya Sai Baba at his residence at Prasanthi Nilayam. Although he had heard that Sai Baba does not answer directly by writing back, it was said that he would provide the answer in some more direct form. He poured out his heart’s dilemma asking Sai Baba if he should continue in his chosen profession of nuclear engineering, quit and become a full time musician, or renounce the world and become a religious devotee (Sannyasi).
As he boarded a flight to Paris for a Veena concert, he wondered how and in what form he might receive a response to his letter but nothing unusual happened on the trip. On his return to London, he began to feel an inexplicable urge to visit the same home where he had played the damaged veena during the bhajan session. This was curious to him since he didn’t even want to go there the first time. He ignored the urge for a while but finally gave in. Approaching the house, he noticed the “Om Sai” written on the front of the house. The owner of the house, Mrs Sitabai, greeted him at the door and told him she was very glad he had come because she had something for him. They went to the shrine room and she handed him a photograph telling him an unknown visitor had attended the last bhajan session and had asked that the picture be given to Vemu as soon as possible. He looked at the photograph and saw that it was a picture of Sathya Sai Baba playing the veena!
He was immediately overcome with emotion and surrendered to Sai Baba by prostrating before the large photo of him on the wall. Tears of emotion ran down his cheeks. He knew now that he had his answer. He soon quit his job and became a full time musician. His reputation as a skilled veena musician spread and he began to get calls from all over Europe, including as far away as Russia. He felt that somehow his sudden success was due in part to the guiding hand of Sathya Sai Baba and he began to feel that he wanted to return to India and visit him. At about this time his mother and father were also asking him to return to India to see them and so he began to think seriously about making the trip home. But at the back of his mind was a fear that all the events were just coincidences and the result of his own imagination and that Sai Baba might refuse to see him. It would be a great disappointment to him if Sai Baba ignored him.
He decided to write to a friend and have him ask if he should come to visit Sai Baba. Soon afterwards he had a vivid dream in which Sai Baba came to him and rubbed his sacred ash (vibhutti) on his left shoulder beneath his shirt and said to him: “Come to India”. When he awoke the dream seemed very real but he still felt that it might have been created out of his wish to go to India to see the great teacher. After several days of struggle he made up his mind to go so he canceled all his performance reservations and took a plane to India.
When he arrived at Swami’s (i.e. Sai Baba’s) residence he took his place on the grounds at the end of a line of men. One of the devotees told him that he had arrived just in time for Darshan, in which Sai Baba circulates among his devotees giving sight of a holy person. Vemu sat quietly enjoying the feeling of peace that emanated from the place and waited patiently. Soon there was a stir at the other end of the lines and he caught sight of the orange colored robe of Sai Baba as he circulated slowly, gracefully among the devotees, stopping briefly to talk to some, to create vibhutti for some lucky ones, or to take letters from others. As Sai Baba got closer, Vemu felt his excitement and anxiety increase. As he saw the robe and delicate feet approach him he could not bear to look directly into his face, encircled with a halo of hair and so he cast his glance downward onto the ground. His heart was in his mouth and his body became rigid as he noticed the feet approach ever closer. Vemu had written a letter to give to Sai Baba but he had completely lost his wits and did not even think to hand it to him. He felt Baba take the letter from his hand and then he raised him up and he heard him say in a quiet voice: “Go inside and wait”.
Vemu went inside and when at last he faced Sai Baba alone in the interview room, Sai Baba created vibhutti for him and rubbed it on his left shoulder under his shirt just as he had done in the dream. Then Sai Baba began to discuss the obstacles in his life showing complete familiarity with his career struggle, his desire to play the veena, his depression, and other details of his daily life. As the talk ended, Baba circled his hand and produced out of air a five faced rudraksha bead in a gold setting at the end of a gold chain. He gave it to Vemu to wear constantly and told him that he would have great success both in his new career and in his spiritual progress. He then invited Vemu to play the veena at a musical concert to be held at the Sathya Sai College in Brindavan.
When the time of the concert came, Vemu brought along his eighty year old father who had been a close devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba. His father told the son he would just sit outside on the outer grounds and wait. But when Sai Baba learned the father was present he immediately called him inside and in Vemu’s words: “For a whole hour Swami talked to my father like a loving mother to her child. After that my father was a changed man.” Now the entire family, Vemu’s father, mother, brother and all the other members of the family are followers of Sathya Sai Baba.
From a story that appears in its original form in Sai Baba, Avatar by Howard Murphet. Birth Day Publishing. San Diego, CA.
This book contains a whole collection of devotee’s stories as well as the personal experiences of the author with Sai Baba.