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 

..

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 Day Love All – Serve All Left The Living World

 

sai-tigrett       Isaac Tigrett talking with Sai Baba at darshan in 2009.
……

 

I have come to light the lamp of Love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added luster. I have not come on behalf of any exclusive religion. I have not come on a mission of publicity for a sect or creed or cause, nor have I come to collect followers for a doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of Love, this virtue of Love, this duty of Love, this obligation of Love. ~ Sai Baba

….

Madhu with Sai Baba

                                             Madhu with Sai Baba during his student days


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Easter Sunday 2011 is the saddest day in the memory of millions of Sai Baba devotees world-wide. It was the day He passed away. The day we never thought would come, but come it did and earlier than we had expected. It was the day “Love All – Serve All” died too. I use the term Love All – Serve All, because it is a well known quotation associated with Swami and is the one loved the most and its meaning is associated with everything Sai Baba taught over the years.

So what did Love All – Serve All really stand for during Sai’s life? Well, ‘what didn’t it stand for’ might be the better question to ask. Swami had for decades, come rain and shine, come pain or illness, gave two daily darshans to the huge crowds gathered at one or the other of his ashrams. I only remember Him ever missing darshan one month, that was during his recovery from His hip replacement surgery in June 2003. I was there in Whitefield at the time, on looking back, I keenly remember how miserable and utterly soul-destroyed we all were due to not seeing our Baba, the “One Light” that so filled us with joy and energy.

When the month was finally over, He gave a glorious come-back darshan sitting on a gulf buggy. I swear it was the longest darshan I’d ever had. He also gave a detailed talk about His hip operation on that day, July, 5th, 2003. He said, “I am not this body. Body consciousness leads to untold suffering. One has to get rid of body attachment in order to enjoy peace and happiness. What is this body composed of?

This body is a den of dirt and prone to diseases; it is subject to change from time to time;
it cannot cross the ocean of Samsara. It is nothing but a structure of bones.
O mind, do not be under the delusion that body is permanent. Instead, take refuge at the Divine Lotus Feet. (Telugu Poem)”

He also gave other hints during that talk that his time with us would not be long. And although we thought the buggy was temporary, it wasn’t. Swami no longer walked among us after the operation, he used a variety of vehicles such as the famous golf buggy that, I believe, he first used in the Whitefield Ashram and later on he used a small car, then during the last years a wheelchair.

He moved  among us for another six years, although the last year He appeared extremely ill and with the additional handicap of two strokes. His strength began to fail. Still, even then he came to darshan often, never giving in to the horrible suffering of that little impermanent body, that he told us he had no attachment to.

His message remained the same: My Life is my message. My life is one of giving and sharing with others. I give you what you want, so you will want what I have come to give. Love all, Serve all. Love ever, Hurt never. The message he gave was always the same message, only made different by the quotations and words He chose to pass on this all-important lesson, that we are born to live, love, share, and adhere to the highest values of human life.

Heart-felt grief hit all of us on the day He left his little body. Life would never be the same again. We had lost our “Sai Light” – our “Radiant Sai,” the giver of joyful bliss, often coupled with hard life-lessons too.  We were forced to face the future that would not include a physical Sai Baba. That beautiful form. He would not move among us in the flesh again. We had to do as He’d done, move on. Move on to a higher practise, one that required us to mature and seek the God within.

  • Isaac Tigrett had made the quotation, “Love All – Serve All” famous by using the slogan in his numerous Hard Rock Cafés, dotted all over the world. He’d been instrumental in the building of the now famous hospital in Puttaparthi. Isaac Tigrett had given a  donation towards the building of that beautiful building.

Oddly enough, he’d been living in the ashram at the time of Swami’s passing. He had predicted that Swami would die early in his 2009 Dallas talk, and he told us afterwards, that Sai’s passing had been no surprise to him.

In the whirl-wind of change taking place in that empty space left by the physical Sai Baba, things were changing fast. We had the drama where Mr. Tigrett claimed Baba had instructed him to build a retreat and a school somewhere in Coorg.  He’d called it the 7th Ray. He was given the name, the “Living Will” by the press, however, things did not go to plan.

 

Meanwhile, in the small  hill-top hamlet of Muddenahalli something else was unfolding, something none of us could have or would have ever imagined! Mr. Murthy, a long time devotee and senior officer there, claimed the spirit of Sai Baba contacted him, whereby instructing him to build schools and hospitals. He also claimed he’d had vivid dreams of Sai Baba.

Even more strange, an unknown student of Sai Baba, Madhusudan, emerged on the scene. This young man had a knack for mimicking Sai Baba. He had actually made quite an art of this during his student days. (How a student could mimic Sai Baba is a puzzle to me and shocking.)

A few years later during 2014, Mr. Murthy and friends, Madhusudan and Isaac Tigrett attended a gathering of  former VIP and studnets in Kodaikanal. It was during that rather impassioned meeting that the “Muddenahalli Baba” aka as “The Light Body” or “Sukshma Baba,” became the invisible source for everything Sai Baba. Apparently, we learned, Sai Baba’s  “subtle body” was using the former student to talk through! This affair had all the hallmarks of being delusional, because Sai Baba had often given speeches during his life-time, condemning those people who claimed he spoke to them. He said, time and again, he needed no one’s help to communicate messages. He had entire control over the universe and on all levels of life both living and dead, astral and causal.

False Baba aka MMM Mullah Making Machine

 

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Another, the former student

Below video on how regurgitator does the trick, this time with a ball


Link To Mr.Tigrett’s Muddenahalli Talk of several years ago :

http://www.znakovi-vremena.net/en/tigrett-muddenahalli.htm

Yet, all written statements and video clip from Sai Baba, declaring  He was beyond normal needs of communication and, whether in the body or not, He could contact anyone at any-time, or anywhere. Space and time were no barrier. This all fell on deaf ears. People flocked to Muddenhalli! There, they could relive their old darshan days once more, by following Madhusudan who mimicked Sai Baba’s every action.

Now, three years later, we see a bold Madusudan who not only mimics Sai Baba, but also can “produce” rings, create vibuthi and now, on Maha Shivaratri, cough up a lingam!– just like his mentor and teacher, Sai Baba had done all those years ago.

So what do we have today? – We do not have a physical Swami. We do not have unity. We have division and dissent in the Sai world. We have Sai followers who are confused and perplexed, with some even leaving the fold. We have the old ashram in PP, with its beautiful Samadhi, now condemned by Mr. Murthy as a waste of time. We are to be felt- sorry-for. He claims that Madhusudan is now the real source of Sai Baba, there is no other. (Odd that Sai Baba would condemn his own samadhi and abode of the highest peace where he, himself, lived some 85 years.)

Perhaps, too, we still have many grieving and lost former Sai followers who cannot make the transition from dual to non-dual; the very fabric of Sai’s teaching; The core value of his teaching; The highest of his teachings!

Whatever has happened, we now have a sad situation of a “wannabe” Baba, soon-to-be a fully-fledged Baba, all-be-it utterly contentious, acting out on behalf of many gullible people, who cannot bring themselves to accept that the old order has passed away. Not only that but the former Student now has a fly-by-night following world over. There’s to be a new ashram in Ca. USA, probably in the form of a retreat, come ashram, 7th Ray style perhaps? for Madhu devotees to revel in.

Whatever joy and monies may be made out of this new cult, remains to be seen, or even if it can stand the test of time. Our Sai Baba stood the test of time, his presence permeates every stone of the ashram, every tree, every flower, every brick, every cat and dog, every monkey, every insect and every heart and soul there.

aamudd

There is a group of MDH followers who live and hang out in Parthi because they can’t afford the living expenses at their high end fantasy land. The cheapsters have no shame in living off the generosity of PN because here they enjoy a good comfortable and clean lifestyle at very low prices. But their loyalty is to the dark side. They too sit outside the Sai Kulwant Hall or hang out by our coffee kiosks in the ashram trying to recruit more gullible and innocent people. If they have an iota of self respect they should not set foot in the sacred ashram which they denounce and criticise so vehemently. I guess their downward spiral will land them where these ungratefuls belong. And they even display an attitude of arrogance. Why can’t they follow their faith in the fraud all the way without defiling our slice of heaven with their stinking presence. Disgusting bunch of shameless Judases. ~ Comment on facebook by Kuruna Munchi

Until such time we listen to  our Wisdom teachers, all of whom tell us God is within, we will always have the three GMMM – God Mullah-Making- Machines – only too willing to part the gullible from their money and commonsense.

Eve

Rumi, Thief Of Sleep And Other Poems, You Tube

 

 

“Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.”  Jalaluddin Rumi.

 

 

Hot of the press my new YouTube dedicated to all great Teachers of Truth. Like Rumi says, come, come, come whoever you are, come!  Life is short and there’s so much to learn about love. So Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come! (I like that. 😉 ) eve   

 

In 1976 the poet Robert Bly handed Coleman Barks a copy of Cambridge don AJ Arberry’s translation of Rumi and said, “These poems need to be released from their cages.” Barks transformed them from stiff academic language into American-style free verse.  Since then, Barks’ translations have yielded 22 volumes in 33 years, including The Essential Rumi, A Year with Rumi, Rumi: The Big Red Book and Rumi’s father’s spiritual diary, The Drowned Book, all published by HarperOne.  They have sold more than 2m copies worldwide and have been translated into 23 languages.

A new volume is due in autumn. Rumi: Soul-fury and Kindness, the Friendship of Rumi and Shams Tabriz features Barks’ new translations of Rumi’s short poems (rubai), and some work on the Notebooks of Shams Tabriz, sometimes called The Sayings of Shams Tabriz.  “Like the Sayings of Jesus (The Gospel of Thomas), they have been hidden away for centuries,” Barks notes, “not in a red urn buried in Egypt, but in the dervish communities and libraries of Turkey and Iran. Over recent years scholars have begun to organise them and translate them into English.”

800 years ahead of the times

“Just now,” Barks says, “I feel there is a strong global movement, an impulse that wants to dissolve the boundaries that religions have put up and end the sectarian violence.  It is said that people of all religions came to Rumi’s funeral in 1273. Because, they said, he deepens our faith wherever we are.  This is a powerful element in his appeal now.”

“Rumi was an experimental innovator among the Persian poets and he was a Sufi master,” says Jawid Mojaddedi, a scholar of early and medieval Sufism at Rutgers University and an award-winning Rumi translator. “This combination of mystical richness and bold adaptations of poetic forms is the key to his popularity today.”

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140414-americas-best-selling-poet

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

Welcome To The Path Of The Heart

goldenheart

 

….

I say welcome to the path of the heart! The journey within you! Believe it or not, this can be your reality. To love unconditionally and to come alive as never before! This path of love doesn’t go anywhere, although it is an adventure all the same. It just brings you more here and now into the present moment; to be in touch with every second that life gives you. To bring you into the reality of who you already are. This path takes you out of your suffering mind and back into your heart centre where the journey began long ago. There are countless ways of bringing you back to your heart and life without a doubt teaches you that.

 

my photo taken this year in the garden of rocks where there are several wonderful painted rocks. Here is one of Sai Baba. the garland, I could not quite place over the rock as I would have liked.

LIFE always gives us
exactly the teacher we need
at every moment.
This includes every mosquito,
every misfortune,
every red light,
every traffic jam,
every obnoxious supervisor
(or employee),
every illness, every loss,
every moment of joy or depression,
every addiction,
every piece of garbage,
every breath.

Every moment is the guru

Charlotte Joko Beck

Lets Fall In Love With Our Maker

Krishna with Radha

image: Krishna with Radha

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me;

my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”

Meister Eckhart, Sermons of Meister Eckhart

Radha Krishna - thanks to FB page on same
Radha Krishna

We need to fully understand love if we wish to fall in love with the supreme love, known as  “Divine Love.” Nevertheless, such an understanding  is not something  that happens outside this world or beyond our space-time continuum. This is because each object in this world manifests the divine and thus, we as individuals  can encounter the divine in anything, anywhere and at any time.

But once this understanding  happens, and it is crucial that it does happen at some point, we come to realise that the divine permeates everything. Thus, one way of defining divine love would be by falling in love with everything, as distinguished from the love of one particular object. But this definition does not sufficiently distinguish divine love from human love and the question still remains: is the nature of divine love (i.e., the love of everything) the same as human love?

Once we acquire the realisation that the divine permeates everything, then the nature or mode of our love of the divine changes dramatically. As the object of our love becomes “everything,” the manner of our loving evolves from human to Divine. This is known as enlightenment.

Divine love may begin with our loving another person, but gradually our love grows to embrace everything in the world, and as our love encompasses everything, we transcend the norms associated with human love and the manner of loving changes.

When Love Beckons You –

krishna909

I believe that both Gods and Goddesses dwells within our innermost being as the very spirit of our creative expression. To me, they are a great path that we must walk, a song we must listen to, a beat to dance to. A lesson to learn, a garden where flowers bloom, a puzzle  to solve, a book to read,  an ocean to swim in. That’s what they are  to me. Krishna said in the Bhagavad gita, Chapter 10:  “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly, engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.”

Eve

….

“When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth……

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.”

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully.”

~ Kahlil Gibran, Le Prophe’te

Old Widow In Her Weeds And Other Poems – Love And Friendship

from the wild garden - this month
from the wild garden – this month

 

Shy Marigold
Shy Marigold

Photographs from the summer garden. This year I grew my wild-flowers from seeds. They survived the driving rain and gusty winds of Springtime, the cold and dull days of early Summer now in August, they bloom and grow as if to reach the sky. So magical to behold. I have taken many photos of them all, especially the Marilgolds although I have only posted a few.  Eve

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“A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April — drip — drip — drip.
Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet,
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells;
Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has is all she needs –
A poor Old Widow in her weeds.”  – Walter de la Mare, Peacock Pie

 

Funny Faces
Funny Faces

 

 

Marigolds
Marigolds

 

LONELINESS  is the doorway to unspecified desire. In the bodily pain of aloneness
is the first step to understanding how far we are from a real
friendship, from a proper work or a long sought love. Loneliness can
be a prison, a place from which we look out at a world we cannot
inhabit; loneliness can be a bodily ache and a penance, but loneliness
fully inhabited also becomes the voice that asks and calls for that
great, unknown someone or something else we want to call our own.
Loneliness is the very state that births the courage to continue
calling, and when fully lived can undergo its own beautiful reversal,
becoming in its consummation, the far horizon that answers back.

From upcoming The Reader’s Circle essay; LONELINESS
(c) David Whyte

 

Patunia growing in a window box
Patunia growing in a window box

 

Wild Rose - from the vase in the kitchen
Wild Rose – from the vase in the kitchen