following talk was given by David Jevons at a public meeting organised
by the Vancouver Sai Baba Centre and held in Vancouver in order to
celebrate Sai Baba’s 75th birthday on November 23rd
QUEST FOR DIVINITY
I speak to you tonight I am very conscious of the fact that, due to the
time zone in which we live, we are amongst the very last people in the
world to be celebrating Sai Baba’s 75th birthday.
For over twenty hours now, starting in the Far East, literally
tens of thousands of people have been taking part in this great event.
Just as you see a wave performed by the spectators at a football
match, so in a sense we are the tail end of a gigantic wave which has
embraced many cultures and many creeds and which has risen and fallen as
the Sun has moved across the face of the Earth.
We can only wonder at what will happen on the 80th or
even the 90th birthdays.
The pace of Sai Baba’s mission is accelerating.
Another large free hospital is about to open in Bangalore.
His devotees increase in number every day. His works are expanding in many fields.
As he so often says -
is my form, Truth is my breath, Bliss is my food.
life is my message, Expansion is
will Sai Baba accomplish in the next twenty years, before he leaves his
physical body? What dramatic events will we witness? Do we realise how blessed we are to be living in these times,
how privileged we are to see an avatar fulfilling his divine mission? Sai
Baba has said -
incarnations of the Lord are not accepted as such by many.
Even their parents, kinsman and comrades hesitate to adore them.
Only a very few sages, who cultivated the inner view through
study and sadhana, know their reality.”
is it that attracts people to Sai Baba?
What is it that draws people to him irrespective of race, culture
or creed? Why do so many
worship his form? Why do
they travel many thousands of miles to India, to sit on their backsides
on the hard ground for hour after hour after hour, just to sit at the
feet of this Godman? It is
because they see something in him for which they have been desperately
searching all their lives. It
is because they see in Sai Baba a quality which they recognise only
dimly in themselves - divinity. We
are all on a quest for divinity and we are drawn to this pure
manifestation of divinity that is shining like a beacon in this world of
darkness like moths are drawn to a flame.
Why do we seek this divinity?
Sai Baba says -
is in everyone a spark of truth. No
one can live without that spark. There
is in everyone a flame of love, life becomes a dark veil without it.
That spark, that flame of God, is the source of all truth and all
love. Man seeks truth, he
seeks to know that reality, because his very nature is derived from God,
Who is truth. He seeks love
to give it, and to show it, for it is his very nature, that of God and
God is love.”
attracts most people to Sai Baba is his unconditional love, this
lightening bolt of divine energy that strikes your whole being as you
sit there in darshan. We
experience this divine love so rarely in our own lives that when we do
experience the real thing, we are forever dissatisfied with all the
lesser forms of love that we have accepted as love up to now.
No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter
how far you have strayed from the path of dharma, you know that Sai
Baba’s love for you will never waver.
You know that the perfect Father, the perfect Mother, will always
be there to nurture and to protect His child.
were in Puttaparthi for the celebration of Sai Baba’s 65th
birthday and Swami came out to us on his birthday and said -
are you all saying ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, for I am always happy.
So don’t waste your ‘Happy Birthdays’ on me.
Keep them for yourselves, who are rarely happy, because you have
so many desires. This is
not my birthday because I have no birthday.
There no birthdays for me, for I am ageless, I am eternal. You should celebrate your birthday, which is the day that you
are born into knowledge and out of bondage. I consider my true birthday as the day when divinity blossoms
in your heart, the day you resolve to practise my advice and to engage
in spiritual disciplines.”
you honour that birthday request? Recognise
that we are met here to-night, not to say ‘Happy Birthday’ to Swami,
for he is always happy, but to become aware of our true birthday, the
day when we are born into knowledge and out of bondage, the birth of
divinity within ourselves. I am God, you are God, there is no difference between us and
between us and God. Anything
which denies this reality is itself not real.
Any love which is conditional is itself not love.
Any truth which cannot stand for ever, is itself not truth.
Sai Baba is a living example of love and truth in action.
That is what draws people to him, even those who follow an
established religion. I
heard a delightful story the other day about a devotee who was sitting
in the canteen in Puttaparthi and who began talking to a very serious
grey- haired man, who was sitting next to him.
This man turned out to be a Cardinal from the Vatican who had
been sent to find out just exactly what was going on at Puttaparthi, why
so many people from so many races all over the world were making the
pilgrimage there. So even
the Vatican is taking notice of Swami!
birth has not been gifted to Man merely to indulge in worldly pleasures.
None of the things of the world that we experience are capable of
conferring any permanent sensation upon us.
All our experiences of the physical world only tend to increase
our desires and to focus our energies on the outer world. Therefore we should strive to give up our endless desires and
should devote our energy and attention to recognising the indwelling
divinity. That is the quest
that we are all offered. That
is the quest on which every human soul is bound: the pursuit and the
recognition of eternity. In
Sai Baba we have the perfect example of what this means.
We have the perfect example of the reality of living a
God-focused life. One of
the amazing things that I’ve noticed is that when you go to Prashanti
Nilayam, to take part in the celebration of Sai Baba’s birthday, you
have to keep on reminding yourself just whose birthday it really is. Why
should this be so? It is
because on your birthday people come and give you presents, but on Sai
Baba’s birthday no-one is giving presents to Swami, it is Swami who is
giving all the presents. I have watched him each day giving presents to his devotees,
saris to the ladies, dhotis to the men, sewing machines or bicycle
rickshaws to the poor so that they can earn a living.
Baba once jokingly said to us during an interview, given shortly before
his birthday, “There will be a million people coming here and they all
have at least ten wishes. How
can I fulfil ten million wishes?”
Of course if he wanted to, he could, but the point that he was
making was well made. Everyone
comes to Sai Baba wanting and desiring.
How many come offering and giving? How
many come to serve the divine? What
present are we going to give Sai Baba on this, his 75th
birthday? What will be our present to him?
Have we thought about that?
Perhaps there is something that we can do right now, some
resolution that we can make, some negative quality that we can release,
to change the direction of our lives in that pursuit of divinity. Sai Baba has listed some of the sins that you might like to
consider. Business without morality. Are
there any business men here tonight?
Are you conducting all your business deals morally and ethically?
Politics without principle.
There must be a lot of politically active people here tonight
with the election campaign in full swing. Are
you running and supporting a principled and positive campaign?
character. You only
have to read the newspapers each day and to read about the violence that
is prevalent in our schools to know that character based on recognising
and exhibiting right human values is sadly lacking in many schools
today. Worship without sacrifice.
By your very presence here tonight I recognise that you’ve made
a sacrifice, a commitment, but is that true of the other days of the
without hard work. This
is why Sai Baba tells us not to do the lottery.
Are we a part of this wanting something for nothing society?
Do we expect the State to support us even when we are capable of
supporting ourselves? Human existence without
regard for the scriptures.
How often do we study the holy texts, how often do we try to seek
meaning and purpose in our earthly existence on a committed basis?
Devotion without austerity.
Do we follow Sai Baba’s injunction that the rich must give up
their wants so that the poor can have their needs?
Perhaps among this list there is a little something that we can
offer to Sai Baba as a birthday gift tonight.
you don’t feel that the seven sins are for you, then perhaps you might
like to consider the six human weaknesses of lust, anger, greed,
pride, hatred and attachment which are all born out of separation from
the Godhead. If we could
eradicate just one of these weaknesses then the others would surely
follow, just as a house of cards collapses when you remove just one
card. All of these
weaknesses are but different facets of the one illusion, namely, that we
are separate from God, that we are separate from every other human
being. We can only
entertain these feelings if we regard ourselves as being separate from,
as living in isolation from, other human beings.
We have deceived ourselves into believing that All is not One.
How else could we harm another human being, be it in thought,
word or deed? It is because
we do not believe that they are God, and this is because we do not
believe that we are God. I
recall here Sai Baba’s words “You
are as close to God as you are to
your self.” So if we
do not know our selves, our inner selves, how can we begin to know the
reality of the Godhead?
What a wise man said thousands of years ago is just as applicable
today “Man, know thyself.” So
any personal transformation that we achieve, any gift that we offer to
God, any service that we render to Humanity, all comes back to us
because All is One. There is no separation.
Help another and you help yourself. Heal another and you heal yourself. Love another and you love yourself. Sai Baba’s daily life is a continuous demonstration of his
prime directive “Love all. Serve all.”
That is why he is continually reminding us that his life is his
message. Can we make our
lives his message? What a
birthday gift that would be!
Joyce Moller introduced me before this talk, she reminded you that I
have followed the career of an airline pilot. Sai
Baba is always joking with me about this.
He once put his arm around my shoulders and said “You are my
pilot, but remember I am your pilot!”
He often uses the analogy of a plane taking off to describe the
various stages of his mission. On his 65th birthday he said that his plane was
taxiing out and on his 70th birthday he said that it was
lining-up on the runway. He
prophesied that on his 75th birthday his plane would take
off. So today his plane is
taking off. This plane is,
of course, a cosmic plane, not a physical plane, nevertheless, it
implies a selection process. You
need to have a boarding card to get on the plane.
I know that many devotees have been severely tested in recent
months by all the negative stories that are circulating both in the
press and on the Internet about Sai Baba.
Nevertheless, the fact that you are here tonight, celebrating his
birthday in his presence and offering your devotion to him, is, I
believe, a boarding pass for that plane.
It must constitute, for many of us, an offer from Sai Baba for us
to walk the final path towards liberation.
Sai Baba has said that the Golden Age is coming, that it will be here by
the time that he leaves his physical body in 2026.
He has said that even elderly people will witness this event.
So we are all a part of that process.
We all have a vital part to play in the birth of the Golden Age.
That is why we are in incarnation at this time.
That is why we are gathered here tonight, in his presence,
honouring his life and giving thanks for the sacrifice that he has made
for us. The thing that
impresses me the most about Sai Baba is his service. Every day thousands of people come to see him.
Every day he come out to give darshan.
Every day he is the focus of attention with thousands of eyes
watching his every move. Truly
he lives in a goldfish bowl. How
many of us could cope with such pressures? How many of us could give such love and attention to everyone
who comes before us? Sai
Baba has the time for all who answer his call, be they rich or poor,
kings or beggars, famous or infamous.
Often times he will ignore a prince sitting in the VIP section
and yet will talk to some obscure individual who is sitting quietly
amongst the masses in darshan, revealing a profound knowledge of their
life and their human problems. The omnipresent Sai Baba knows everything about all those who
come into his presence. In
my own life I have had so many demonstrations of his omnipresence that I
no longer question the fact and if the physical Sai Baba demonstrates
such omnipresence, then, how much more so is the God of all Creation,
our Creator, Who is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient in all of our
you have any doubts about the reality of this power then listen to this
little story. I have told
it before, but it bears repeating. A
former Vice Chancellor of Sai Baba’s college was giving a talk to a
Sai Baba group in Connecticut in the USA and in it he related this
story. The Vice Chancellor
said that recently he was sitting on Sai Baba’s verandah in the ashram
in Puttaparthi next to a
very important Indian politician. Sai
Baba came by and called the politician by name and asked him to come
into his private interview room. The
man went inside and came out ten minutes later sobbing, and then the
sobbing turned into deep uncontrollable crying.
Sai Baba came by and said to the man “What’s wrong?” Then Sai Baba waved his hand, manifested some vibhuti and gave
it to the man who took it and ate it. A short time afterwards, when the
man had regained his composure, he turned to the Vice Chancellor and
said “Because you have witnessed all of this, I will explain it to
politician then explained that his wife had been very sick and that she
had told him that she wanted to go and see Sai Baba for one last time,
for the very last time. However the politician had been very busy and while he was
away at his work his wife had died.
All this had happened ten days previously and the man was now
coming to see Sai Baba after cremating his wife.
When Sai Baba came into the interview room the man said that
Swami had scolded him and had reminded him of what a wonderful wife he
had had, of how she took care of his every need, cooked his food, looked
after the house, even to laying out his clothes before he went to work,
yet when she had made her one last request, to be taken to see Sai Baba,
he had been too busy to do it. Sai
Baba then said “I went to her and I comforted her and now she is with
me. Here, I will let you
see her now.” At that
moment, the man’s wife emerged from inside Sai Baba and stood as a
living human being in front of him, no longer appearing thin and sickly.
The wife smiled and took her husband’s hand and said “Do not
be sad, do not grieve for me, I am very happy, very happy.”
Then the man’s wife merged back with Sai Baba. This
story speaks volumes about the reality of Sai Baba for here is the
omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent Sai serving the world as only he
those of us who have been privileged to know Sai Baba personally, I can
only say that his divinity shines forth like a beacon in this dark world
of Kali Yuga. There are
those who will attack him because they fear the light, because they
prefer the darkness to the light. There are those who will denigrate him because they would
rather believe in other people’s reported experiences than in their
own. There are those who
will deny him simply because it is an easy option, because it requires
so much more energy and attention to hold on as opposed to letting go.
There are those who will deny the God in Sai Baba because they
cannot yet recognise the God in themselves. Equally
so, though, there are those of us who have witnessed the Divine in
manifestation and who cannot deny it.
I recall the words of a long-time devotee of Sai Baba, speaking
to us just after we had come out from our first interview, many years
ago. Our children, although
young, had been present. The
devotee said “How blessed they are, for once they have seen divinity,
they will never be able to deny it!” These
wise words are also true of us. We
are divine. There is no greater truth than that. That is Sai Baba’s message.
That should be our message.
As Sai Baba is always saying to us, “Make your life my
message.” On this,
his birthday, he would ask for no other present than that we recognise
would like to finish by quoting the words of Sai Baba on his sixth-fifth
your vision. Cultivate the
spirit of love. Being endowed with the human form you must strive to
develop human values and not to stray away from the path of
righteousness. Fill your
minds with sublime thoughts and your hearts with divine feelings.
Consider the entire society as your home, only then will you
realise genuine unity with all. Be
aware of the divinity that is inherent in every human being and thereby
you will grow in your own self-esteem. Fill
your life with joy and above all be happy, be happy, make others happy,
all will be happy, God will be happy!”
Happy Birthday Swami.