Dear Brothers and Sisters, (click to read this letter in French)
Our Beloved Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, our Dearest Swami, elected to leave His Physical Form this morning, at 7:40AM, April 24, 2011 due to cardio-respiratory failure according to the report of the attending physicians. We grieve the loss of our Beloved Swami, the embodiment of Divine Love, who has left us on this Easter Sunday, this day of Divine Resurrection. We lament the greatest loss that we will ever sustain.
No words that are written or spoken by anyone can completely assuage our grief or allay our apprehensions about the future. However, we can waste the remainder of our lives grieving for the loss of His Physical Presence, which accomplishes nothing. Or, we can accomplish everything, the fulfillment of our spiritual destiny that He ordained, by devoting our lives to Him and to His Divine Message of selfless love and service. Before, He lived in our spiritual hearts and also in the Presence and Identity that he assumed in the world as our Beloved Swami. Now He lives only in our spiritual hearts, as the Lord of Lords, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Now, we must turn inward to experience His Divine Presence and Love.
Our mischievous and wayward minds wreak havoc in these solemn moments. The mind asks to no avail. It perplexes and perturbs us. Our heart answers. It consoles and enlightens us.
Similar questions are being asked in many places.
Why did He leave us now? We expected 10 more years.
Actually, according to the lunar calendar which has been used by Hindus and others, Swami lived to 95 years, not 85 years (Here is a discussion of it). Perhaps he left us sooner than we expected. However, Our Beloved Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is not confined by the demise of the Physical Presence and Identity that he assumed, nor is He constrained by time. He will be with us forever.
What will we do now if we are left to our own devices without the comfort of knowing that He is always there? Has he not been our source of selfless love and wisdom, our recourse in all of the travails of life?
He has always been there and always will be there! Just as our mothers and fathers were our protectors when we were children, Swami has been the Divine Protector for all of us, young and old. "Being there" is being accessible to us always, whenever or wherever there is a need. He resides in our spiritual hearts. He is "always there" for each and everyone of us whenever and wherever we need Him.
Just prior to my last conversation with Swami, I was very preoccupied. Swami suddenly called me to come close to Him. He reached out, took my hand, and caressed my hand gently. Then He smiled lovingly and said ever so softly, "there is fear in your heart." I felt deeply soothed by His Divine Love, the Love of Divine Mother and Father. I kissed His hand and His feet repeatedly. I felt the exuberant joy of a child. For an instant, I recaptured youth and innocence. His sweet words and gentle caress dissolved whatever fear that I must have been harboring and brought exhilaration and a feeling of rejuvenation instead. He will always be there for us. He is our Divine Mother and Father. This has not changed. It will always be so. This is Divine Truth impervious to time and unaltered by the demise of His Body.
What future awaits us as His devotees, each of us individually, and all of us together, as a spiritual organization? How can there be a Sri Sathya Sai Organization? How can we come together if Swami is no longer living among us to inspire us and correct us when we go astray?
"Why fear when I am here?" declared our Beloved Swami. He has always been and will continue to be present as the Divine Indweller who resides in our spiritual hearts. Being "here" refers to His Spiritual Presence, not His Physical Presence. He will always be "here". This has not changed. "Here" is everywhere and forever. "Here" is accessible to each and everyone of us in our own hearts. To be with Him "Here" and now, we must choose faith, not fear.
Swami has come to demonstrate how we should live these human lives. He has come for the awakening of conscience and selfless love in the minds and hearts of all people. To Love all, serve all. To Help ever, hurt never. The Sri Sathya Sai Organizations are based on these spiritual principles that He has provided. We will certainly persevere!
When I presented the decisions of the World Conference for His Divine Approval and Guidance, which I sent to all of you in a recent letter, Swami gave His Approval to all that I submitted. All that I submitted was derived from the reports on your World Conference study circle comments and conclusions. Therefore His Approval of the recommendations was His Approval of your earnest deliberations and sincere aspirations to improve the Sri Sathya Sai Organization. We will certainly abide by these decisions so readily approved by our dearest Swami. Already a committee to draft universal guidelines for all countries has been appointed and begun their work, a tentative program for the World Youth Conference in July has been submitted, and all of the other decisions are under deliberation.
Now it is our sacred duty to wholeheartedly support and contribute our love, good faith, and best efforts to ensure that the International Sri Sathya Sai Organization continues to be a beacon of selfless love and service in the world. It is our contribution to the spiritual legacy of our Beloved Bhagavan Baba, our dearest Swami, for all of mankind.
We must listen to our hearts with spiritual self confidence. My heart tells me that His Lessons for mankind will not be forgotten or forsaken. My heart tells me that our spiritual lives, our noble actions, and our selfless love will become worthy testaments to His Divine Presence among us.
Lord of Lords, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Divine Mother and Father, Dearest Swami, may we always love You unwaveringly, always follow You without faltering, and always find You in our heart of hearts.
Lovingly in the Service of Sai,