Sai and “I”
There is nothing apart from Sai. I cannot be separate from Sai. You cannot be separate from Sai either. Sai is pure consciousness. Sai cannot be contained in a form, any form.
I must write this from the angle of an ordinary humble devotee of Bhagawan Shree Shirdi Sai Baba. Baba is an avatar. We mere mortals cannot ever understand the consciousness of such a powerful entity. He is beyond time and space. He gives experience to every true devotee of his, day and night, if the devotee is open to receive it. Most of the time, a miracle is prevented only by lack of faith. Baba is available for any devotee around the clock. But, mostly, people call him only when they need something. This is a sad misuse or under utilization of a great avatar. Inner purity is all you need for materializing miracles. Inner emptiness is all it takes for filling the essence of Sai, the Sai consciousness, into our vessel of existence.
It was towards the end of 2004 when I had left my job in Iraq and was back in India literally cooling my heels which were quite worn out due to extreme situations that I had faced from almost 1998. I was invited for an interview on the subject of Spirituality and Management. This is way before the meditations came to me and I became known as Mohanji. Those days, I was more recognized in the field of management. The video was shot at a beach in India. And the filming began from the door step of a Sai Temple, close to the beach. That time, even though I had heard the name Sai Baba, I did not quite know anything about Baba, who He was, or where He was or even where Shirdi is. It is my habit to bow down and pay respects to the idols or pictures of any spiritual masters irrespective of religious barriers. That way, I bowed down and touched the feet of the big idol of Baba before I started the interview.
That was the turning point of my life. Soon after the filming, I visited Mumbai. When I visited a book shop, I found myself asking for a Sai Satcharitha. I did not know why I asked for this book. It was not a conscious, pre-planned purchase. Two weeks after I bought the story of Sai, I reached Shirdi. This was indeed His grace, His call.
My first step into the Samadhi Mandir is still like a dream. When we arrived, the night arathi was about to begin. This was in 2004 and the crowd was far less than now. I was not aware of the rituals of Shirdi nor had I heard the Sai Arathi until then. The bells were ringing and I was told the temple will close for public after the night poojas. I ran and reached the samadhi mandir. The arathi had begun. I sat down, looking at the captivating, beautiful statue of Sai.
It was like a home coming! I felt totally at home, as if I was there always or at least many times in the past. My body started to have a mild tremor. Goose bumps erupted all over. I felt wave after wave of soothing, mild energy flowing over me and into me. I slipped into a trance. Thoughts vanished. Mind became blank. Just one thought appeared in my mind as a prayer. In my mind I said “Baba, all these people have come for your blessing. Please bless everyone”. I could not ask for anything else.
Almost a month later, I came back to Mumbai. A group of people decided to set up a logistic company in Dubai and they asked me to join in as its CEO. The meeting was set in Mumbai. I was living with my parents in India at that time and had not taken up any job after I left the job in Iraq. I had some savings. But, since Ammucare charity activities gained momentum during my stay in India, my entire savings drained rapidly. I was determined to continue with the charity activities, even if I had to work hard more. Almost all that I ever earned, was spent on charity. Fortunately, since I did not have much expenses of my own, since personal requirements were less, it was easier.
I did not have sufficient money to take the flight and arrange a stay in Mumbai. One of the investing partners knew about this and arranged that. I arrived to Mumbai and they received me at the airport. The friend who arranged my travel and stay had arrived from Bahrain. He had changed his foreign currency and was carrying the Indian rupees in a packet. It was inconvenient for him to carry it in hand. So, he asked me if he could put that in my cabin bag. I handed over my bag to him, which contained my passport, a cheque for Rs.100,000/- which I owed to a property dealer, plus my clothes and the Sai Satcharitha. He kept his money on top of everything and we went to a suitable location to sit down and have the preliminary discussion.
We arrived at a hotel, almost 30 minutes away from the airport. We sat in the lounge and had our preliminary discussion. Since I had to meet other people, I left early. My friend who carried my bag promised to deliver the bag, later in the evening because we were staying at the same place. He left with my bag. He told me, he hired a taxi from the road, kept the bag in the boot, reached the destination, forgot the bag in the car and reached his room. He did not remember the face of the taxi driver as he was sitting in the back seat, nor did he notice the number of the car. He called me and told about this incident. It was a bizarre situation. A real test. My passport and everything else lost. It will take some time before we could make another travel document. In the night, we met for dinner. All were perturbed as my travel to Dubai depended on my passport and my passport is lost. Our plan reached a spontaneous snag. But, the place where we sat and discussed, there was a statue of Sai Baba and I felt that he is looking at me and smiling in a meaningful way. It could be a sign that I should not take up this employment? That was indeed the reason which came out true as one of the partners spoiled the broth and the group eventually got scattered. Anyways, that is besides the point.
After dinner, I thought of calling a friend who is a psychic, not because of the lost bag, but one of the group members wanted to talk to him. He asked me “You seem to be perturbed a bit. What is the problem?” I said “Yeah. I lost my bag”. “Is there a picture book of Bhagawan Sai in it?” He asked. I said “Yes. I have Sai Satcharitha in it”. He said “Don’t worry. Sai will bring it back to you”. I thought, ‘Where will I find the taxi in a colossal concrete quagmire like Mumbai? The taxi driver does not know me, nor do we know the taxi driver. How can we file a complaint with the police station without any details?’
Finally, at midnight, all of us decided to go back to the hotel where we sat and discussed first, when we arrived from the airport. My friend had taken the cab from outside that hotel. But, then again, the cab did not belong to the hotel. As expected, the receptionist was blank when we asked if anyone had delivered a bag there. We came out, quite dejected. As we came to the gate, the watchman of the hotel asked “Sir, is there no room?” I said “We did not come here for the room. We lost our bag. We came in search of it”. He asked “what is the color and make of your bag?” I explained the details. He replied “Sir, please see if this is your bag!” He produced my bag from his cabin! We opened and looked inside hoping that we have lost nothing. Everything was intact! And on top of everything was the Sai Satcharitha! In fact the Sai Satcharitha was kept at the very bottom of the bag. Who put it on top, above the money? Baba’s grace is indeed above all material wealth. Quite symbolic indeed. This was Baba’s way of conveying who the wire puller was! He had orchestrated the show. Imagine, if the car driver had not checked the boot of his car! Imagine if he had not delivered the bag at this hotel itself! There are many hotels on both sides of the road. How did he bring the bag to this hotel itself! So many probabilities and questions. Once again, Baba proved his presence in my life in the most emphatic way.
Evolution happens in body, mind, intellect and even spiritual stature of an individual each moment. Each one has the potential to transform overnight. So, when we say we know this person or that person, be careful. The person with the level of awareness that you thought you knew would have transformed into a totally different individual overnight. Hence, we must consider each person as totally different each day. This would also take care of most of our agonies related to expectations. This is the truth of existence.
I have been in corporate world for too long and too much. I have worked from a sales executive to the General Manager, Country Manager and CEO in corporate business for close to 24 years in the Middle East. I always had a problem in dealing with treacherous individuals, those who lie, cheat and make everyone’s life miserable. I always believed in truthfulness and straight-forwardness. Many times, I entered into traps of treachery and somehow got out of it without many wounds. This also is true with relationships. Falling in is easy, falling out is painful. The snares of terrestrial relationships have always been difficult for me to handle – being connected to the truthful relationships with the higher. This is also why I could easily see through the core of pseudo spiritualists and could run away from them as fast as I could. I would like to attribute all the effective escapes to the grace of Sai Baba. He has been looking after the formation years of my life and even now. Formation years are times of extreme vulnerability. When you cross over, since visibility is much better, the vulnerability is much lesser, even though the possibility cannot be completely discounted. Often, I found it better to play dumb and totally ignorant in egoistic groups where the pseudo intellectual discussions had no aim and value except pampering someone’s ego. Here, the hand of a higher master becomes very helpful. And Baba is always available to help and guide any sincere devotee. But, who goes to him for the highest?! Most go to Him seeking terrestrial favors! This is the tragedy of human existence. We do not know what we need and what to seek. We do not know what we are and where we are going! We cannot understand a true master from a pseudo master. We worship the priest instead of the God. We think that material richness can make us happy. With material richness, many become spiritually weak. They become mere watchmen of their own wealth and shun even God, developing insecurities of losing the matter! Matter has validity and specific longevity; ignorance makes us crave for permanence. Contamination of existence is nothing else. Great masters of high repute were ridiculed time and again. Those with pomposity and higher visibility were respected. Money became the criterion for respect even in the terrestrial spiritual world. People respect those who spoke well and not those who existed in silence. Again, the higher the noise, the better the acceptance. All masters who existed in silence found it difficult to “speak”. The same was with Baba. Hence Baba was also ridiculed by many during his physical times.
I always wonder about the state of people who steal others’ wealth and possessions and live without any qualms. I have also seen many people who refused to re-pay or pay back their debts, suffering huge losses in life. Many such matters of human existence including cheating, stealing, hoarding, killing, harming helpless beings, victimization – including production of meat, affected me and compelled me from detaching myself from these aspects of the world. What can a super subtle man who only knew to love do in a gross world of in-sensitiveness and deceit? But, as if to test and transform, I was put back into the commercial world, either due to lack of money or due to compulsion from friends which I could not deny. Many times I declared myself as a misfit in the commercial world even though the organizations that I managed achieved good success. I felt that my vulnerability – being in subtlety was increasing day by day.
Many times in between, I left employment and went through situations of no money, no shelter and no food. All these strengthened my faith in God. I never complained. I found the deeper purpose of heating the iron into melting point and also beating it when most vulnerable. A powerful spiritual sword was taking shape. Will of steel probably needed tough hammering indeed to become! During those times of test, even relatives stay away and criticize So, indirectly, it helped me to shed all expectations from everyone. It also helped me to stand on my own feet especially during crisis and also it removed the fears of having to walk alone. The will was perhaps more from the side of God than this puny, highly perishable individual, I suppose. 🙂 I realized that the capacity for people to see the truth is limited to their senses and predominantly mind. The highest is probably the intellect – the analyzing capacity. These faculties could only deliver relative truths and not real truth. I wanted nothing except the real truth. And I was willing to give anything for that. Nothing else satisfied me. Hence, when I started conducting meditation programs, I used to dedicate them to Baba and use His name as the source. People who could not understand my reason behind this action blamed me of trying to become another “Baba” or claiming that I am Him. Then, in one of the communions, Baba asked me to stop the dedication and use my own name. A saint also said, during the same time “You will be known in your own name.” I attribute this message also to Bhagawan. I would like to believe that He orchestrated everything so that nothing remains mine and I can enjoy my emptiness to the fullest.
It was through Baba that I also came into the roots of the Datta tradition. I also understood the relevance of my gothra when I became aware of the Datta path. This body is born in Bharadwaja Gothra. The same gothra (clan) of almost all the Datta Avatars. I again felt the hands of Baba for putting this soul in this Gothra. Bhagawan Datta, Shiva, Babaji, and Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba are all one. I cannot see any difference in them. In fact I cannot see any difference in anyone.
I shall conclude this with one more incident which provoked a real shift in my consciousness. I was working as the General Manager of a Logistic Company in Dubai in 2006. I had to attend a conference in Mumbai. Since I had to fly to Mumbai, I decided to also visit Shirdi – quickly before the conference and come back to Mumbai in time for the conference. While waiting for the flight, I thought of calling a friend of mine in India who has psychic abilities. It was late at night. When he picked up my call he smiled and said “Another trip! Eternal journey continues.” I also laughed at the truth in his joke. He asked “This time to see the God?” I said “yes, going to Shirdi as well”. He said “expect a big and life changing miracle. This conference is organized by Him to get you there to give you something precious. He knows that you have no money in your pocket, O man of charity!, with this conference, your company will pay.” I laughed at his good-hearted tease.
When such a thought is put in your mind, that would dominate our thought process. This happened to me too. I started looking for miracles. I had hired a cab to take me from Mumbai airport to Shirdi and bring me back. When I reached Shirdi, after the darshan at Samadhi Mandir, I always like to sit and meditate at Dwarakamai. I love Dwarakamai. It feels like old times always even though I would not want to think about me in another body and my connection with Baba while in that body, if at all. Baba always warns “The urge to know the past in order to re-inforce the present is a clear sign of insecurity. No true devotee should have that. If the past has to be revealed, it will be”. I also wanted to offer some quality materials to the Dhuni of Baba inside Dwarakamai. I requested the taxi driver to get me some good material for the fire place, and waited outside Dwarakamai. When he brought the materials, we went inside. The entry and exit were demarcated and guards watched both the doors. Once entered, one has to keep moving. Crowd was huge. I decided that I will not be able to sit inside and meditate in this trip, which made me a bit sad. We offered the materials to the fire and started to come out. The driver of cab was behind me. As I moved closer to the door, an old man came through the exit entrance with a child, grabbed my hand over my biceps and commanded “Sar idhar rakho” (Put your head here) and pointed at a small pillar. Baba used to sit leaning against that pillar when he used to live in Dwarakamai. I spontaneously obeyed. I was already in a thoughtless state. I knelt down and touched my head on the pillar and got up. There were many people behind me, in the queue. I was worried that the guards will shove us out. But, none seemed to notice the incident. Even the cab driver went past me. Then I got up. The old man patted on my back and said “Abhi Jao” (Go now). I obeyed without thinking. I came out and was a bit disturbed because I could not sit and meditate in Dwarakamai. Nevertheless, we started on our return journey to Mumbai and I called my psychic friend. As soon as he got my call, he asked “So, Bhagawan came and met you! Isn’t it a BIG Miracle?”. You could imagine my situation. “Oh my God. In that confusion, I forgot about the miracle and also did not think it would be Baba himself. He also had a child with him and then I realized that it was Ammu, my daughter whom I lost in 2000 in a tragic road accident. I did not look at the child at all. So many people and confusions and the setting was well made by Baba to avoid all my distractions and thoughts! I told my friend “Oh, I should not touch His feet”. He said “Oh you did. When you touched your head on the pillar at His command, you have touched the feet of the tradition. Good enough. Go on now. Life will never be the same again.”
Further to this, I have had many experiences and many of my followers also had many experiences, which I would presume that they themselves would narrate and share with you, if they liked to do so. I cannot and should not do that on their behalf. I would like to conclude this humble narration with my most humble prostrations at the Lotus feet of the Great Avatar Sai Baba. I can write a book about Him. I have done three blogs about Him and no words can ever explain Him.
I would also like to thank Swami Govindananda of Himalayas who gave me a picture of Baba from his altar and said “Mohan, Sai Baba lives in your third eye”. And to Bala Sai who delivered Baba’s message to me to return back to India and His promise that He will live with me! I consider this as a priceless message and confirmation. Sai temple will come up in Datta Tapovan if He so wills. The late Sri Balachandran, while coming back after Darsan at Shirdi and while entering his car, a man came and delivered a heavy packet and said “This is for the Sai temple that will be built. Sai sent this for you”. He turned to offer some money to the messenger of Baba, he had already vanished. He opened the packet and saw that they were marble feet of Baba. We were getting ready to build a Sai temple at Ammucare village site in Kerala. Due to financial deficiency, it did not happen. Now, most probably, the feet of Baba will decorate Datta Tapovan.
My humble prostrations at the feet of the grand Datta Tradition and the glorious gothra of Sage Bharadwaja to which I am lucky to belong.
My only prayer to Baba is “Bless All, Baba, for all are seeking your grace, knowingly or unknowingly.”
Aum Sai Ram