THE RAMALA CENTRE
The 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 2000. It has been edited but only for the purpose of reproducing it in this Newsletter.
QUEST FOR DIVINITY
As 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 -
“Love is my form, Truth is my breath, Bliss is my food.
My life is my message, Expansion is my life.”
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 -
“The 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.”
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 -
“There 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.
in Puttaparthi for the celebration of Sai Baba’s 65th
birthday and Swami came out to us on his birthday and said -
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.”
Will 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!
Human 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?
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? Education without 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 year?
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.
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.
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 lives.
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 you.”
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 can.
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 that fact.
I would like to finish by quoting the words of Sai Baba on his sixth-fifth birthday.
“Broaden 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.