Understanding the divinity of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
A tribute to mark his birthday on November 23
By Kanchana Kodituwakku
Divinity manifested in human form, 86 years ago on November 23, 1926, at a village named Puttaparthi in the southern region Damabadiva. He was named Sathya Narayan Raju after the family tradition and grew up with his family up to the age of 14 at which time he declared he was "Sai Baba” and that he no longer belonged to the Raju family, as he had come for the service of entire mankind.
He told his family that many thousands in the world were eagerly awaiting his arrival, bringing the divine light of salvation from worldly bondage to mankind and thus took his first steps for the service to humanity. He embarked on his divine mission with a few of his close devotees and subsequently took up residence at Prashanthi Nilayam (meaning the Abode of Supreme Peace’) located about one and a half km from his place of birth.
His foremost endeavour was to instil and develop the fundamental human qualities in mankind. Anyone embarking on the study of the core teaching of Sai, based on Truth (Sathya), Righteousness (Dharma), Love (Prema), Non Violence (Ahimsa) and Peace (Shanthi), will come to the conclusion that they are not in any way contrary or different to any of the spiritual paths laid out in the fundamental teachings of the world religions, be it Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism or any other.
The experience of true spiritual seekers of the world, belonging to all major world religions was that the teachings of Sai have had a remarkable impact in rightly understanding the deeper meanings of the doctrine taught by their great teachers, be it the Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Allah or the Hindu Vedas.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba emphasised the fact that everyone should understand the guidelines set out by their own great religious teachers and consciously follow and act according to the principles laid out by their own religions.
Those who understood the underlying truth of the teachings of Bhagawan Baba soon flocked around him in their thousands. Today, there are a multitude of Sai groups and Sai Centres established in over 203 countries worldwide and the service rendered to society at large by these groups, is indeed significant. Bhagawan Baba emphasised that the spiritual elevation along with the satisfaction gained by an individual indulging in selfless service to humanity, is far superior than that gained through the offering of prayers at religious shrines.
Furthermore the manner of paying obeisance to one’s own religious teacher would be more appropriate if done by indulging in ‘selfless service to humanity’. The occasions that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba practically demonstrated the real essence of his teaching on ‘Service to Humanity’ are numerous. Sathya Sai Baba who often developed mind and kind thought characteristics would radiate with colours like white, yellow, pink, light blue, light purple and green.
A normal person’s aura usually emanates a distance of two inches to a couple of feet depending on his or her intensity of inner development. Prof. Frank Baronovsky of the Arizona State University, USA had travelled to many corners of the world, experimenting on the aura of spiritual teachers, religious leaders, preachers and the like. He carried out photography experiments using the Kirlian camera to photograph the aura of Bhagawan Baba. The aura emanated by the living body of Sai Baba was of extraordinary intensity in white and pink and it transcended to unfathomable infinite distances in all directions, he said.
In the end Prof. Baronovsky not only understood the phenomenon of divinity, but became an ardent devotee of Sai Baba. His personal experiences may be browsed even to this day through the Internet.
At the present time when mankind has deviated from the great religious teachings of the world, the ‘cosmic consciousness’ descended upon this earth in human form as ‘Sai’, to instil the eternal message in mankind which is to follow the righteous path away from sin.
His ceaseless teaching was to always be considerate to everyone and be of service to all beings, while refraining from performing sinful acts, thereby awakening one’s own hidden divinity lying within. Just as our Lord Buddha explained to his disciples, that Nirvana was within one’s own self, Bhagawan Baba too expounded the same truth through his teachings. He encouraged everyone to shred the EGO and instil the eternal divine values taught by our Lord Buddha and Sai.
Bhagawan Baba elaborated his mission on earth in human form, saying “My advent on this earth took place to give to you guidance to reach the pinnacle of spirituality, but out of the many millions of devotees who come to me, those who ask for what I have really come to give and those who actually receive it are only limited to a few. Many of them come to me to ask me for worldly things which will make them more and more attached to the materialistic world.’
It is exceedingly difficult to understand the reality of the spiritual journey towards the goal of reaching Nirvana for the ignorant man living in a materialistic world attempting to satisfy the five senses. Even though this process is an extremely gruelling one, like swimming against the current, it is imperative for one to overcome the obstacles and go through the process to realise the real purpose of human life. To realize this final goal of life, the guidance of a real genuine teacher is essential. It was Bhagawan Baba, who gave proper guidance and propelled mankind into the right orbit towards self-realisation and finally shed his mortal coils on the 24th day of April 2011 to merge with the cosmic consciousness, immersing the world in an ocean of tears.
He established three large super specialty hospitals equipped with the most advanced up-to-date medical equipment in India. Over 1000 medical centres are in operation throughout India offering medical services free of charge to the needy, devoid of any kind of differentiation on race, caste, colour, creed or religious differences, only with supreme love towards humanity. At the same-time, numerous schemes for provision of food for the needy and housing for the poor too are in operation.
He successfully constructed and commissioned large scale drinking water supply projects for the continuous supply of purified drinking water to the backward remote villages in India. The children from poor underdeveloped villages are given ‘free education from kindergarten to PhD level at the numerous Sathya Sai schools, colleges and the universities, so much so that today the Sathya Sai University complex which holds a foremost position among those in the world, is an undoubted testimony to its on-going success.
The Light of the Kaliyuga, as he was identified by the world, worked tirelessly for 85 long years to instil the “Sai Dharma” to re-divert all those treading the unrighteous path, back to the righteous path. He won the admiration and love of people of all walks of life in the world, royalty, Heads of States, religious heads of all faiths, scientists, artists, sportsmen and the common man alike who all flocked together around him. He worked to bring about unity and harmony between all religious faiths and races of the world, so much so that people all over the world, were encouraged to celebrate their religious festivals every year, at Prasanthi Nilayam at Puttaparthi. Accordingly Vesak festivities, Christmas celebrations, Haj, Ramadan, Shivarathri and other religious festivities were organised with the active participation of large crowds from different countries in his presence at Prashanthi Nilayam.
To the doubting mind filled only with superficial analytical knowledge, it is exceedingly difficult to understand the divinity of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba that has been experienced by many thousands throughout the world; there are many who bear living testimony to this fact in Sri Lanka too. From time to time, there have been spiritual teachers born to this world and each of them did have followers and devotees, however, there have not been any records of so many devotees and followers of any other living spiritual teacher as much as with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Joyful birthday wishes to Sal Deva, the One who ushered in the divine light to mankind.