Eye To Eye – Story From the Buddha – Myths and Legends



 photo from Eve’s flower collection – England 2016


The Buddha was visiting a small village in India. Several  people brought a blind man to him and said,


“This man is blind and we are his closest friends. Although we try in every way to convince him that there is light, he is not ready to accept such a fact. His arguments are such that we are at a loss. Even though we know that there is light, we have to admit defeat. The man tells us that he wants to touch the light. Now how do we make it possible for him to touch the light? Then the man says, ‘Ok, if it cannot be touched then I want to hear it. I have ears. Make the sound of light so that I can hear it. If this is also not possible then I want to taste it, or if the light has a fragrance I want to smell it.'”

There is no way to convince the man. Light can only be seen if one has eyes – and he has no eyes. He complained to the village people that they were unnecessarily talking about light just to prove that he was blind. He felt that they had invented the story of light just to prove him blind.

So the people asked Buddha if, as he was in the village for a while, perhaps he could make their blind man understand.

Buddha said, “I am not mad enough to try to convince him! Mankind’s problems have been created by people who have tried to explain things to those who cannot see. Preachers are a plague to humanity. They tell people things which they cannot understand.”

So he said, “I won’t make this mistake. I will not explain to this blind man that there is light. You have brought him to the wrong person. There was no need to bring him to me, take him instead to a physician who can treat his eyes. He does not need preaching, he needs treatment. This is not a question of explanations, or of him believing in things you tell him, it is a question of treatment for his eyes. If his eyes get cured then there will be no need for you to explain; he himself will be able to see, he himself will be able to know.”

Buddha was saying that he didn’t consider religion to be just a philosophical teaching – it should be a practical cure. So he recommended that the blind man be taken to a physician.

The villagers liked what Buddha said so they took the blind man to a physician for treatment and fortunately he was cured after a few months. By that time Buddha had gone to another village so the blind man followed him. He bowed to Buddha, touched his feet and said, “I was wrong. There is such a thing as light but I couldn’t see it.”

Buddha answered, “You were certainly wrong, but your eyes got cured because you refused to believe what others told you unless you experienced it for yourself. If you had accepted what your friends had told you then the matter would have ended there and no question of treatment for your eyes would have arisen.”

One should search for one’s own understanding because one cannot attain anything by worshipping the insights of another. In fact, the search for one’s own understanding can only begin when one drops the idea of the other. As long as there is any outer substitute, as long as something is being supplied from the outside, the search cannot begin.

Nobody can reach anywhere in somebody else’s boat. And nobody can see with another’s eye – nobody ever has and nobody ever will. One has to walk on one’s own feet, one has to see with one’s own eyes, one has to live by one’s own heart beat. One has to live by oneself and one has to die by oneself. Nobody can live in another’s place; nobody can die in another’s place. Nobody can take another’s place; neither can one take anybody else’s place. If there is anything totally impossible in this world, it is the fact that no one can take anyone else’s place.


– Sathya Sai Memories Cont.


The Dhobi Man: – Memories of Sai Baba

Who did Swami say he was? He said he was the Dhobi-man… He took it upon himself to clean our dirty laundry. ( Re: Our deeply in-bedded traits and desires.) On visits to the ashram, most of us would find we were having a goodly amount of our “dirty linen” washed by him. Of course, most people did not recognise their desires and certainly few saw their faults. They spent most of their time concentrating on each others’ faults. Often times, during visits to the ashram, I saw all kinds of odd behaviour and often times, I was aware of my own odd behaviour. I guess the amount of vitality that Swami pushed through us daily really did change the way we acted while there on visits. It was a bit like being put in front of a giant generator that set our hearts on fire and whereby we, for a short time, lost our usual worldly reserve and became what we truly are. Truly I tell you, no one knew our faults more than Swami. I can safely say that!  For Swami was a mirror to us.

Swami did not pick out only those people in the general public for the laundromat. No,  he especially chose those from the VIPs. The more important the VIP thought he was, the more he was put through the wash and grind. The odd thing, though, was those people hardly ever recognised they, too, were part of the process. Most just talked about others being “evil,” “bad,” or “crazy” or “lustful,” but little did they know the very  “evil, bad  crazy, or lustful” behaviour they were seeing in others, came through their own faulty visions and were, of course, a reflection of themselves. But as I have already said, they could never, ever see their own faults and desires, they only filed such lessons in the too-hard basket…

Here is a small excerpt from ‘Guru as Mirror’.

The relationship between student and teacher is a spiritual one, a relationship focused on identity. The quest for identity is the ultimate quest. To know oneself, to find out, to discover who you are, is the truth that everyone is looking for. The student seeks out a teacher because they want to know who they are. They are looking for help to understand the confounding complexities and limitations of their own personality. You could say they are having an identity crisis. Usually, the search starts with an experience of discontent and a feeling that they may be more than they thought they were, or that life may hold more potential beyond just eating, sleeping, money, sex, marriage, home, job and acquiring more stuff. This is why the spiritual path is not for normal people; it is for people who are looking for something more than success in the realms of the three basic power-drives which fuel the three lower chakras: money, sex and fame. When these start to look less interesting, it is then that a person is at a critical point where they begin to realize they are more than their body and mind, more than a skin encapsulated ego/personality. At this time, they begin to seriously ask: Is there more to life? Is compassion, generosity and kindness really worthwhile? What is Love, and does God exist?

We all need help to be able to see ourselves as we truly are. The job of a guru is to provide this assistance. A guru is someone who sees you as you really are, sees beyond your personality foibles, sees you as a holy being. It is through the medium of love that the guru is able to perceive this truth.”

To God There Is No Zero – Ocean Of Bliss

The Marina, Horfleur


I was continuing to shrink, to become…what? The infinitesimal?…So close – the infinitesimal and the infinite. But suddenly, I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet – like the closing of a gigantic circle. I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God’s silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man’s own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. The existence begins and ends in man’s conception, not nature’s. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes,  smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero., I still exist!


~ Scott Carey, The Incredible Shrinking Man.


Le Mont Saint Michel


In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.

~ William Blake


source: Arcs – Parabola – Fall 2012 with thanks.

A Man Of Faith – Interview -Daskalos

The article below is part of The Common Boundary Interview with Daskalos shortly before his death. The full article can be found on Researcher’s Of Truth Website. A slight problem with the wordpress, the paragraphs are of different size…..

Daskalos has been reported to be instrumental in hundreds of public healings, such as the following incident described by an Italian journalist in the Markides biography: In front of several witnesses, Stylianos Atteshli healed a three-year-old English boy of polio. I stared with curiosity at the English-woman holding her child. Only when she placed the boy in Stylianos Atteshlis’ arms did I notice that [the boy’s] left leg was covered with a heavy plastic brace. It was atrophied and clearly shorter than the other leg…. Stylianos Atteshli sat on a chair with the child in his arms and began to speak to him with a very sweet tone in his voice. As he was doing that, he began to gently stroke the sickly leg. He pulled it a few times as if to make it longer. . . . Ten, twenty minutes must have passed; I don’t remember. I had my eyes glued sometimes on the child and sometimes on Stylianos Atteshli. Suddenly, the child made a pained grimace. At that point he raised the boy up, gave him a light slap on his buttocks, and said, “Now, run, my boy. “And the child began running around the room. Was it a miracle! Was it suggestion! One can make whatever conclusions one wishes. I just describe what I saw.

Despite these reputed powers, Daskalos rejects the mantle of miracle worker. “They are phenomena, nothing more,” he insists. “If we knew how nature works, we would not call them miracles.” Like most genuine mystics, Stylianos Atteshli has led an outwardly unremarkable life. He was born in 1910 in the Greek part of Cyprus, near the town of Strovolos, and spent his years as a civil servant, family man, and Christian. Behind the worldly facade, however, Daskalos was an altogether different being. Gathering a circle of students ( “Researchers of Truth”) around him in the Stoa  [school room] at the back of his modest home – Daskalos set about instructing the group in esoteric Christian wisdom, contemplation, exosomatosis, and the development of healing powers.

Although such a great soul would have been venerated in most cultures as a mahatma, shaman, or curandero, Daskalos was rejected by the orthodox clergy of Cyprus, who made efforts to have him excommunicated from the Church as a “magus of Mephistophelean proportions,” to quote Markides. In time, as Daskalos’s fame grew and the harmlessness of his work became apparent, these misguided charges were dropped by the Church. Harmless though the work may be, the Gnostic system that Daskalos teaches is nearly impenetrable for those who have not been initiated into its terminology and imagery, as thousands of us found out during two sold-out lectures by Daskalos at Town Hall in New York City. Stepping onto a stage littered with hundreds of letters and photographs from devotees requesting healing, Daskalos led us in the Lord’s Prayer and then spoke for an hour about the origins of the universe, the psycho Noetic planes, the “mind super-substance,” the holy archangels, the “infinite absolute Beingness” (God), and the mission of Joshua Emmanuel the Christ.

As the tall man in a gray suit ranged mysteriously from topic to topic, many of us–well versed in meta-physics-tried without much success to follow the sweep of his mind. I left both talks intrigued, confused, and convinced that Daskalos was operating at a level achieved by few. Interviewing such a mystic is far from simple, as I discovered the next day at a hotel in midtown Manhattan. Already apprehensive, I was further surprised when this extraordinary man took my hand and informed me, without ceremony, that he could read my thoughts and knew exactly what I wanted to ask. Having established this advantage, he ignored many of my questions and allowed his discourse to follow its own self-dictated rhythm.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Magus of Strovolos Common Boundary:

I’m interested in what you said about picking up the thoughts of other people. Is this a constant experience for you!

Daskalos: It’s happened since childhood; for me it was something natural. I didn’t know the others were different.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Magus of Strovolos CB: How did you first know you were a teacher!

D: Wait a moment. Let us settle this word “teacher.” The teacher is Joshua Emmanuel the Christ. No human being has the right to call himself a teacher. I have rejected the so-called titles [e.g. magus of Stovolos] given to me in various books. We call the members of our system “brother guides,” equal to all other brother and sister guides. Many Hindus call me swami, yogi, but it is unnecessary. And definitely not the word “magus,” for God’s sake.

CB: If not Daskalos or magus, what do you want to be called!
Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Magus of Strovolos

D: Nothing. I have completely annihilated the so-called personality of a time and-place man. What matters is the teaching, which can help people come out of their confusion! reshape their lives, and alleviate their suffering. There is much pain and suffering in the world today due to the ignorance of not knowing the truth. Now, how did I know who I was! Who can say! I simply did, from the time I was very small. It was very difficult for me because even my parents could not understand me. My father said, “This son of mine, manifesting these things without learning them, talking in languages from previous incarnations.” He was wondering, Who is my son! This happened according to my nature and not through any pre-calculated intention to be a Daskalos. Maybe it was predestination.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Magus of Strovolos CB: You have said you were a boy at the time Joshua!

D: Yes, I was taken to the Essene school at the age of 10, destined for the rabbinate. Joshua was in a period of teaching many disciples–he had many followers. Being an Essene novice, I was lucky enough to look after these rooms where he lived four days a month, and to be near him, adoring him, worshiping him. Can people understand each other through human language? No–it is the poorest kind of communication. In few hundred years, human beings will be able to communicate in a better way.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos or Magus of Strovolos ? CB: Until you were what age!

D: When I was 17, he was crucified. Those 7 years were the best incarnation I ever had. I have had past incarnations as an Egyptian hierophant three or four times, and I remember, as if it were my language, hieroglyphics and what they mean. I have given this information to Egyptologists. Yet, though I have had very serious incarnations, I was aware even as a boy of 10 years that I was near something very high in Joshua. I already had my powers of exosomatosis [out-of-body travel] at that time, and Joshua knew it. He was teaching these things, but the greatest thing he taught me was humility. [We aid interrupted by an aide, instructing me not to ask any more “personal” questions.]

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos - Magus of Strovolos CB: Let’s talk about suffering. We seem to live in a very dark age–the Hindus call it the Kali Yuga. There are rumors every day about apocalypse and Armageddon. Is it only our perception that we are in a dark age, or are we actually at the end of a cycle of history!

D: Disregarding this question] This is no excuse! God has given us everything in abundance-fresh air for everyone to breathe, the super-substance of mind so that we may reach God. Christ has taught us how to use it! What is prohibiting man from using reason and love to free himself from his current state of suffering! These habits of personality are being presented as an excuse.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos - Magus of Strovolos CB: I agree, but many find it easier to blame the state of the world on a divine plan.

D: You see [leaning forward and looking deep into my eyes], I get much from your thoughts [laughing. You came here to talk to me about psychology. But what is psychology! What are psychometry, psychotherapy, psychiatry! Persons use the word “soul”–psyche-and distorts its great meaning. By “soul” do you mean the behavior of the personality! This is not quite accurate. The relationship between soul and personality is complex. The personality may be sinful, but the soul is not sinful. It is God. The soul cannot be harmed. You don’t have a soul; you are a soul. In our system, we speak of something else that we call the permanent personality. This is the state between time-and-place incarnations, which has no name except the I-am-I. This permanent personality actually passes into the soul. That I-am-I passing away from the gross material body remembers everything.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos - Magus of Strovolos CB: Yet I don’t remember my past lives.

D: This is part of the mercy of God to give human beings the opportunity to advance without feeling remorse for the sins they have committed. People misunderstand the mercy of God.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos - Magus of Strovolos CB: Are you saying that ignorance is a form of mercy!

D: Yes. Of course, ignorance has many meanings. However, when you attune yourself to your permanent personality, you will remember. Then you’re out of Ignorance. Let us talk about healing. Psychotherapy and all forms of healing use the mind super-substance, the underlying principle of existence. The mind, as energy, moves through you and is given to the other fellow to be cured. But who is doing the work! Some so-called psychotherapists say they have successes. They definitely have. but unfortunately they have not healed their own ego personality and go on saying “I, I, I have done that,” meaning their personality They do nothing! It is He who is doing the healing, not Me. This is the great truth. You must make your conscience light so that this vitality I am passing to you will help you recover One cannot be healed unless he is worthy to be.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Essenes - Kyriacos Markides CB: Worthy!

D: Yes. No psychotherapist has the right to call himself a healer, because the healer is God. Agent! Yes On many occasions, have known how to get that etheric vitality and pass it to the other. But these healings do not depend on my will as a personality but on the will of God There have been cases where this etheric vitality is sent through me and sent back When this happens three times. I stop. It is not the will of God that this healing occur.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Essenes - Kyriacos Markides CB: So you cannot predict what will happen!

D: Before I meet a person, I do not know if it will happen, but when my aura touches his aura, I feel immediately whether he will be healed or not. Then I pass the etheric vitality Atrophied legs become longer-all kinds of things happen that you would call miracles But I repeat, they are not miracles. They are phenomena. This is the whole truth. Nothing is dependent on me; it is all God.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Essenes - Kyriacos Markides CB: In other words, all of these phenomena are within the circle of possibilities of every human being

D: If they were not possible, how would it be done!

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Essenes - Kyriacos Markides CB: For gifted people like you, this seems evident. But not everyone is aware of having these faculties

D: It’s true that I’ve had these things since childhood–my mother knew it, and everybody knew it. But I always thought it was something everybody could do. Perhaps in my case it is the work of many incarnations, the merging of my permanent and soul personalities. Who can say! What I do know is that they are not favors from God. You have to earn and win what you have.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Essenes - Kyriacos Markides CB: Speaking of God, how can skeptics and atheists work with their doubts about the existence of the divine!

D: I do not believe there are atheists; there are only people deceiving themselves. Often they have a lot of God in them without knowing it. I was talking to the ambassador of Russia once. A very famous man and a good thinker Suddenly he said. “My God, my God” I said, “Oh, do you believe in God!” This question confused him, and he asked me to explain what God was. I said he could call it love, understanding, a feeling in the soul. I gave him the example of a rich man who calls himself a Christian but steals and is greedy, and on the other hand, a poor fellow who never speaks of God but who has a piece of bread and shares it with a hungry child. Though neither the man nor the child will satisfy his hunger, this man will have the feeling of satisfaction in his soul and have much of God in him The ambassador still didn’t seem to understand. I said, “If I ask you what electricity is, you may not know. But you know what it can do. He said, “I still don’t understand, though I want to!” I said, “By introspection, you will understand, Your Excellency.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Essenes - Kyriacos Markides CB: In your system, you emphasize that the brain and the mind are not the same thing.

D: A battery is not electricity! When I have difficult things to meditate on, I come out of my body and use the mind directly, not the brain. One of my students was in America when a fight broke out in a coffee shop. Somebody took a rifle and shot, and the bullet destroyed a large part of his brain. They took out the bullet, and the doctors in America said that if he lived he would not be able to walk, talk, or go to the toilet. The boy was about 26. Two medical doctors brought him back to us in Cyprus. I began trying to invoke his soul to take control. I can’t say it was not very difficult; it was. You know what happened! This boy, who could not speak when he arrived, told the doctors, “I want to get up and walk.” They wouldn’t let him try, but I told them to leave him alone. Today this man is working now in Cyprus, and nobody knows that he had such an accident. Orthodox science today knows very little about life. You call such incidents miracles. No! They are phenomena occurring within the mercy of the absolute super-intelligence we call God.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos -Essenes CB: It is reported that you are able to move across time and space at will, with full consciousness.

D: Yes, I can do it, but not with my human brain [laughing]. You’ve just mentioned something that people do not understand–motion. What is motion! You said “moving in time,” implying that there is motion in time and space. But when you attune yourself to the cosmic memory, on the higher levels of the noetic plane, and you want to see something in what people call the Akashic Records, this does not apply. When I want to, I can know everything through the attunement of my mind in a few minutes. It is difficult to speak openly of these things, but there are the divine powers in human nature, when you know how it feels to be God. Through exosomatosis, you are able to access experiences from other places and periods of time. You are able to remember all of your previous incarnations and everything- in your incarnations. Before that, you cannot remember anything.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Essenes - Kyriacos Markides CB: Does that increase your pain!

D: Yes. But it is also a divine blessing. I often attune myself to previous incarnations. Each one is like a book I have written. It is on my shelf.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshlis,  Daskalos - Essenes - Kyriacos MarkidesCB: How many have there been!

D: Hundreds. It doesn’t matter. I can get up and read them again, live them again nothing is lost. I enter a life and see things, Christianity is not founded on dogmas. Christianity is based on only two instructions: Love God with all your heart, soul, and intelligence; and love every other being as you love your own self: not as on a television screen but three dimensionally. You find yourself moving about in a three-dimensional world, but you can change nothing, just as a singer can change nothing on a record. However, the divine mercy is such that you can understand the lessons of what you are seeing.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos -Essenes CB: An incarnate Tibetan lama told me that it’s the wisdom mind, not the mundane, biographical mind, that continues from life to life.

D: He is speaking of the soul nature. Many powerful Tibetan lamas have come to me. Some years ago, I met the Panchin Lama, who was in Athens on his way to London. This was quite interesting. First, how did he know me! Definitely not from the gross material body. I “happened” to be at a friend’s house a kilometer from where the Panchin Lama was staying, without my knowing that he was in Athens. Someone called and said that he would be greatly pleased if I visited him. I went and found him in a great room with a yellow carpet. He was in an orange robe, sitting on a cushion. I took off my shoes according to their habit and sat next to him. He was holding his rosary in his hand and gave it to me. I took my rosary from my pocket and gave it to him. We sat looking at each other for five minutes. Not a word in any language of this world was spoken. He went to give me my rosary back, and I indicated that he should keep it because the beads were costly. I got up, put on my shoes. The man of the house said to me, “Why are you leaving without even hearing his voice”. I told him that we had said more than human beings can say in five years of daily contact. “I have given him so much love, and received so much love from him, that I am happy.” Now, what is this! Can people understand each other through human language! No–it is the poorest kind of communication. In a few hundred years, human beings will be able to communicate in a better way. For example, if you say to me “my house, I can know, through attunement with you, exactly what your house looks like. But the one who cannot attune himself will not know what you mean. He will think that your house is like his house. Therefore, saying the word “house” in spoken language means nothing. When people reach the level of our teaching, they will be able to communicate far more clearly. But at that level there are no secrets or hypocrisy, because you can know the other fellow’s thoughts.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos -Essenes CB: You can read people’s minds!

D: It is not reading. When you are able to attune yourself, you simply know everything. These teachings have been known to mystics of past centuries and will be known to the science to come.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos -Essenes CB: This brings us to the question of contemporary Christian mysticism. Many Westerners who are hungry for mystical training go to the Buddhists or to the Hindus or the Sufis for instruction and inspiration. Where are the enlightened Christian mystics today!

D: You have the New Testament. Read it. Study it. You don’t need anything else I had a student, a schoolteacher in Cyprus who was in our circles for five years. He was saving and saving to go to India. He finally got a year’s leave and came to me and said, “Daskale [the familiar form], I am going to India.” I never stop people from doing what they want to do. Anyway, he went to a guru and sat near him. The guru was very powerful and taught him many things. Toward the end of the stay, the guru asked him, “Why did you come here!” He said, “I’m wondering that, too. I haven’t learned anything my teacher didn’t teach me in Cyprus” The guru said, “Go to him and try to understand what he is saying, not what you want to understand.” This is the point: Do not focus on what you want the teaching to mean but on the teaching itself. Even if you have the greatest teacher, if you are not ready to understand what he is saying, there will be no benefit.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos -Essenes CB: Are you critical of the Christian Church today, in which women may not be ordained priests, homosexuals cannot marry, and so on!

D: Everything has been distorted nowadays. Christianity is not founded on dogmas – these are human weaknesses All dogmas contain within them the weaknesses of those who rule. True Christianity is based on only two instructions: Love God with all your heart, soul, and intelligence; and love every other being as your own self. What is not that is not Christianity for me.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos -Essenes CB: When you work with someone who is dying, are you able to help that person through the transition!

D: By death you mean change. St. Paul said, “I am dying every day.” You came to this life as spermatozoa. Where is that now! Dead. The sperm became pregnancy, a boy or a girl playing on the ground. Where are those children now! Dead. What does “dead” mean! No longer existent in the gross material world. What will you be in 30 years if you’re still alive on this level! Not a single cell of your body will still be “you.” You are constantly dying. Matter in, matter out. As orthodox science has found now, matter is not destroyed but transformed to something else and something else. As a personality, too, you are changing all the time. But your I-ness, your Atma, is the same. Over time, that I-ness is simply expressing itself at the various levels of consciousness. According to the law of duality, you have two personalities: your changing personality and your permanent personality, your I-ness. The aim of our system is to help people know the difference, to find the thing that is you and that is life. So death does not exist. There is a transition, passing from the gross material body to the psychical world.

Christian mystic Stylianos Atteshli,  Daskalos -Essenes CB: Are you able to know when you will leave this body!

D: Of course.

CB: One last question. Will Jesus come again!

D: Remember that Joshua said, “I am,” not “I was.” He is here today, and anybody can attune himself to the Christhood. Sooner or later all human beings will recognize that reality in themselves.

Written Material © Mark Matousek, Common Boundary
for Oprah Magazine.

An Early Western Visitor Speaks: – Early Devotees

From ‘Man Of Miracles’ – Howard Murphet

“Now he told me something about the ashram. Its name is Prasanti Nilayam, meaning the “Abode of Great Peace”. About seven hundred people live here permanently, while hundreds are coming and going all the time. The residents occupy the inward-facing terraced houses around the perimeter. The visitors occupy whatever space is available at the time perhaps a room in one of the large buildings, perhaps a spot of floor in one of the open sheds, perhaps a corner on the Post Office verandah, or at times of great festival crowds, the bare brown earth beneath a tree. People like myself, who have been softened by the creature comforts of western civilisation, Baba usually puts in the furnished guesthouse.

In the early morning I had heard strange but soothing sounds of Sanskrit chanting. Now I learned that it came from the school where boys and youths are studying the Vedas. They are not only learning to read the Sanskrit of these works but also to recite it by heart. They are being taught by pundits to chant the texts with the correct intonation and emphasis, as was done in India’s ancient days. The reason for this is that the uplifting spiritual benefits of the Vedas come from the mantric effect of the sound as much as from the meaning of the words. That is what the ancient writers tell us, and having been subjected to some of the chanting myself I don’t find it hard to believe them. There are very few schools like this one in India today; perhaps because it normally takes about seven years to learn one Veda, as Mr. Kasturi informed me, and there are four of them. Over twenty years to master the lot, and no commercial rewards to speak of at the end of it all! But Sai Baba seems determined, against the surging tide of materialism in modern India, to revive her ancient spiritual culture.

The ashram also has its own canteen where I had been invited to have my meals, but I was told that as I was Baba’s guest I must not pay. The accommodation was also free and I had been given a set of free books! It seemed I was not allowed to pay for anything. But perhaps I could make a donation at the end of my stay, as one does at most ashrams in India. This point I queried with Mr. Kasturi.

“No,” he said emphatically, “Baba will not accept donations. He never takes money from anyone.”

“He seems to have some wealthy followers,” I replied, “Perhaps they give financial help to the ashram.”

“No,” Mr. Kasturi smiled. “But don’t take my word for it; ask them yourself. Many will he arriving in the next few days for Sivaratri.”

“What’s that?” I queried.

He explained that it was the great annual festival to the god Siva, that many thousands came to Prasanti Nilayam for it, and that during the festival Baba always performed two great miracles in public.

I decided then and there to wait for the festival Of Sivaratri (Siva’s night) and see the miracles. In the meantime I would read Sai Baba’s story as written by N. Kasturi, talk to his followers, and get close to the great man himself whenever I possibly could. Kasturi gave me hope that I might be called for an interview fairly soon, although Baba was very busy.

During the next few days, in fact, I was fortunate in being invited to several group interviews. For these a dozen people gather in one of the interview rooms at either end of the bhajan hall, or “prayer hall” as it is sometimes called. Sai Baba sits either on the one chair, or else on the floor – depending, it seems, on his whim – and the people sit cross-legged on the floor, fanning out in a rough circle about him. On each occasion I managed to get as close as possible to him and sat to his right within a couple of feet of the hand that performs the magic.

These group interviews usually begin with some talk on spiritual subjects. Baba invites someone to ask a question; then in the answer he expounds on such matters as the meaning and purpose of life, Man’s true nature, and the way he should strive to live in order to reach the goal. The teachings are always clear, vivid, and intensely practical.

Towards the end of each meeting, if some people have personal problems, he may take them into another room one by one or in family groups. But never a meeting went by without Baba producing at least one item besides the vibhuti he always produces, with his theurgic hand-wave. Pendants, chains, rings, necklaces and other objects I have watched him pluck from the air in this way and then give to some delighted individual.

He apparently knew my suspicions of him were not yet dispelled, because he still pulled his loose cuffless sleeve up before taking an object from nowhere. But on one occasion he did not need to raise the sleeve above suspicion. It was a very hot day and he was wearing a robe with short sleeves that came only to the elbow. Now, as if he would exorcise, once and for all, the sceptical spirit within me, he let his right hand lie open, palm upward, on the arm of the chair within a few inches of my eyes. If I had been a palmist, I might have read the lines and mounds on the small palm and slim graceful fingers. I could certainly be quite sure that no items, however small, were concealed there.

Then he lifted his hand from where it lay, and began to circle it in the air about eighteen inches from my face. One moment the hand was empty, the next it was holding something big that protruded brightly on either side of his fist. He shook this out to reveal a long necklace of coloured stones. It was what the Indians call a jappamala which, like the Christian rosary, is used for prayers. Its regulation size is one hundred and eight stones or beads. There, was nowhere in three-dimensional space that a conjurer could have hidden such a bulky object and produced it under these circumstances. Baba gave it to a grey-haired lady on his immediate left. When he placed it around her neck, she was so overcome that her eyes filled with tears and she went down on her knees to touch his feet.

Every day now saw the crowd swelling. The buildings were all full and people were beginning to spread their beds under the trees. In this gathering tide of dark-faced, white-robed Indians I was the only western male. Bob Raymer having returned to his home in California. Among the ladies there were only two pale faces left, ochre-robed Nirmalananda and Gabriela Steyer.

Yet I did not feel like a foreigner: I felt that I was among brothers, and was completely happy. One could hardly be otherwise with brotherly love shining in every face and inspiring every word and action. Any stranger was your acquaintance in minutes and your close friend within an hour, anxious to help you in every way and eager to tell you about the wonderful things that Sai Baba had done for him or some members of his family. “




Howard Murphet was one of the first Westerners to be made welcome at Sai Baba’s Ashram.  I am not sure what year he found Sai Baba but one would think it was in the 1960’s….


To avoid confusion: Sai Baba had a Trust Fund created to accept  anonymous donations which enabled the ashram to develop and eventually all other buildings.