I am attempting to pay homage to a larger than life phenomenon knowing that words would fail.
On the eve of His 86th Birthday, I offer my humble homage to the tireless efforts of a Loving Divinity that walked on this earth physically for 85years. His clarion call to “Love all, Serve All; Help Ever, Hurt Never” reverberated from a tiny hamlet of Puttaparthi in South India – a dot that was not on the world map until recently, a village so remote once upon a time, that access to it was through many means of transportation including a walk through the sands of Chitravathi River.
That call to Love that started 71 years ago when He was a mere lad of 14 now has spread through just about every country in the world, touching millions of people directly and indirectly.
I heard that call 3 times before I took serious note of it, once in 1969, once in 1983 and finally in 1993.
November 1969 – A Friday evening, a quiet street in Red Hills, Hyderabad, India. An evening of regular devotional singing at a retired Judge’s house; a nine year old girl led the bhajan “Hara Shiva Shankara” to a room full of packed young, old, middle aged men and women ecstatic in their collective expression of ritualistic worship paying tribute to their Gods.
A middle aged woman approached the 9yr old and asked if she attends Bal Vikas classes. The girl never heard of that name before and she was told that is a weekly class for young children to learn new devotional songs and stories about God.
Coming from an Orthodox Hindu Brahmin family where worship of Lord Shiva is as normal and spontaneous as breathing, the girl eagerly nodded agreement which meant a 5km walk each way every Sunday afternoon come rain, hail or shine for the next 4 years.
As life took over, the central figure of Bal Vikas classes faded into background and the girl grew up to get married and lead the dutiful life of a good daughter-in-law and wife – in that order. Religious worship was still a strong driver in the girl’s life, but this time in the in-law’s house the worshiped deity is not Lord Shiva but the Living Lord Sathya Sai Baba. The girl was only a respectful observer from a distance with no close personal attachment or ties to this Lord. She heard the exciting stories narrated by her mother-in-law with half an ear.
February 1984 – 6 months pregnant with her first child, the girl, one day saw Sai Baba in her dream. He came, stood in front of her and said “Anandam, Anandam, Nityanandam, Brahmanandam; Omkaram Para Brahma Swaroopam” – loosely translated it was about Supreme Bliss and ‘Om’ the ultimate embodiment of Divinity.
The girl woke up startled at the dream so vivid and real, turned to her mother-in-law for guidance but was brushed off with a comment that it wasn’t easy to dream about Sai Baba. Confused at the comment, perplexed at the seeming reality of the dream and not having any answers or further guidance, the girl moved on with life but never forgot the dream or what was said in the dream.
That was the second clarion call beckoning to follow the ‘Living Love’ walking this earth on its mission to show and tell what Love is all about.
Fast forward to May 1993 – life brought the girl to Australia for a better future but unbeknown to her, the real force behind migration was the ‘Living Love’ trying to connect with her brought her here to reveal itself.
A little ad in the local paper caught the girl’s attention which read “Sathya Sai Baba bhajans on every Friday, call……. for info”. “Wow! I can take my mother-in-law for the bhajans, I like to sing as well and she will enjoy her weekly sessions that she misses so much” – were the thoughts running through the girl’s head as she drove her mother-in-law on a cold, dark, wet evening on a Friday in May.
There were a whole heap of books on Sai Baba. The girl who likes to read picked up “Man of Miracles” and “Holy man and the Psychiatrist”. The miracles of that Holy Psychiatrist have hit home hard and memories of the dream came flooding back as the girl realised the previous two callings from LOVE to love and patience with which that LOVE waited and repeated its call.
The girl was ready to receive it fully, openly and humbly, grateful to have found it, knowing that she will never fully understand or fathom its power but craving to be enveloped and anchored in its simplicity of living and loving the LOVE that is physically present in its form.
That LOVE showed a way to a Peaceful, Truthful living with Righteous Conduct that ultimately leads to Non-Violence in Thought, Word and Deed.
How can the girl ever pay homage to the LOVE that is pervading and patiently persuasive in its eagerness to show the way?
How can the girl pay homage to the LOVE that demonstrated tirelessly for over 7 decades what love is all about, without taking a break?
Is it possible even to think that she can understand or fathom the depths of that LOVE that shines purely in its simplicity and is brighter than a thousand suns?
Is it humanly possible to peer into the depths of those loving eyes that see everyone in their naked vulnerability and yet love them to their core?
Can she hide from a pervading force that is embedded in every cell and atom of everything that seem to operate from that Force?
No, it is not humanly possible for me to understand that. So, I will not attempt to understand or analyse. I will just allow myself to be enveloped in the arms of that Gentle LOVE with total acceptance and through that touch I will come to know that LOVE enveloping me is already in me and is not separate from me. It is in me, around me, in front and back, above and below, always in all ways.
When I understand this, I have understood the LOVE that walked this earth even though no longer physically present in a form, is very much present in all the deep recesses of every living atom that is being guided and driven by it.
I pay homage to that LOVE which physically embodied as Sathya Sai Baba and walked on this earth to show and tell what loving is all about, what life is and to wake up and recognise that I am that LOVE, You are that LOVE, we all are that LOVE which manifests in a variety of colors, forms, shapes, sizes, smells and tastes, so we all can enjoy its varied flavors.
I pay homage to Sathya Sai Baba who made it possible for us to recognise that, not only recognise but to live with LOVE as an anchor that moors us solid in the flowing waters of life so we can become a resting place for the restless passers by.
The ultimate homage I can pay to Him is to become that resting place as He is to me. I can only do that if I become Love in Action like He showed through His life.
I can only do that if I make My Life HIS MESSAGE which is LOVE.