"Who is Mr.Swami?"
An interesting thing happened yesterday. As I was furiously plodding away at the keyboard, reliving my beautiful memories with Swami, I got a gentle tap. The tap came in as a message from Mr.Happy. He wrote in all sincerity and love - “Thank you for writing this. It was interesting and I can certainly appreciate your devotion for the Man in Orange. He does seem to command power.This was a great blog. I am not sure who Mr. Swami is - that is why I wanted to read part five because it had his photo and I keep seeing it around lately …”
I was very touched with his interest. And I stopped typing, pausing to think. “I keep writing about the object of my love, adoration and worship. I bring Him completely into my conversations with my readers. But I do the error of not introducing Him! Many do not require an introduction and still many do need one. I must write about who Mr.Swami ( Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) is.” And thus this venture. It is really so easy to say who He is - God. And yet so difficult, for the term “God” has different meanings for different people.
Before I begin, let me tell the readers that due to a wealth of information that can be provided, I stick to a skeleton framework providing links wherever necessary. You can, of your own volition choose to dive to the depths you want! Happy diving and splashing! Now, let me begin.
Sathya Sai Baba was born as Sathyanarayana Raju as the eighth child in a poor family in the village of Puttaparthi, Andhra pradesh, India on the 23rd of November 1926. (He shed the mortal coil on the 24th of April, 2011.) His early life was one that was filled with miracles and experiences galore.
The two voices waiting to talk aloud...
In the 86 years on earth, what He has achieved is monumental to say the least, Divine to say the Truth. And as I start to write about Him, I witness two voices within me. Both want to be heard. And I shall give them both an opportunity. The first voice is that of the head and the second is that of the heart.
Over to the head now.
Swami believes in the unity of all religions. He says that He has come not to start a new religion but to make a Hindu a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian and so on. He says that there is only one caste, the caste of humanity; only one religion, the religion of Love; only one language, the language of the heart and only one God though God responds to whatever name you call or form you ascribe.
He says that the summation of all the scriptures is contained in the phrases, “Love All, Serve All” and “Help ever, Hurt never”. And so, He exhorts one and all to serve for service to man is service to God. In accordance with these, He has pioneered some breathtaking service projects.
1) Starting small with a free general hospital, Swami has started two general hospitals and two super speciality hospitals which are absolutely free. The super specialty hospitals in Puttaparthi and Bangalore provide tertiary care to one and all - absolutely free of cost! And the response, especially from the poorest sections that earn less than a dollar a day has been one of unimaginable gratitude.
This has inspired medical service activities in over 120 countries of the world and healthcare is being provided to millions around the world. Some of the most amazing service has been carried out in the poor African continent! It has brought light to the dark continent!
But as I said, this is only a drop in the ocean. There is magnificent service going on in all countries. I have personally witnessed some, like this mind-blowing and heart-touching one in Trinidad and Tobago.
2) Swami has always defined education as something that brings out from within what is latent in a person. He says that education is not simply stuffing things external into a person! To achieve this, Swami has built schools and a university. And again, from the nursery to post graduation, the education is offered wholly free of cost! Mind boggling isn’t it? But Swami says, “When one has the pure intention to do good, there will be no shortage of men, materials, resources, money and good wishes. This is not miracle of God, but the miracle of Love. After all, Love is god and God is Love!”
The various temples of Education that He has started have inspired many others to do the same in His name and with His principles. A primary and higher secondary school also have begun at Puttaparthi. But that is not all!
The philosophy has inspired schools and educational institutions the world over like in Fiji
There are many more and I feel a sample should suffice.
3) India is a huge country with many places lacking access to good drinking water. Swami built massive water projects to provide safe drinking water to over 700 villages in Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, spending about 300 crores Indian rupees to millions of people in Medak & Mahboobnagar, to millions in the E and W Godavari districts.
and drinking water to the entire city of Chennai in India for which all the citizens and politicians came forward to express gratitude to Swami.
4) Service to the villages in making them self sustaining and happy has been another major effort from Swami. As in the other projects, starting small, He has achieved tremendous results. Among the hundreds of success stories, a sample would suffice to understand this.
That is quite a lot of talk from the head. I request the head to stop here and allow the heart too a fair share of talk time. So dear heart, start speaking now...
Talking of Sathya Sai Baba as a great humanitarian is like calling Lord Krishna a cowherd, Lord Jesus a Shepherd, the Buddha a prince and Prophet Muhammad a trader! Of course, He is a humanitarian, but He is much more.
He has taught me the greatest lesson of my life - the purpose of human life! I went to Swami seeking God. And then I heard him say, “Yes, I am God and so are you. The only difference between you and I is that while I am aware of this fact, you are not. “
I saw Him perform miracles - heal cancer, tuberculosis and blindness with a mere glance or a touch; create objects from thin air and heard about how He brought the dead back to life. But as I pondered on all these, I heard Him say that His greatest miracle was Love and that if one imbibed pure selfless love, anyone can do these so called miracles. And he said that truly everyone is nothing but love. Whenever He speaks, He addresses all as the embodiments of Love!
I stayed with Him and saw Him daily. Its more than a decade now and I cross my heart and say that He is my best friend who has showered on me the love of a mother, father and teacher, all rolled into one. He taught me that the individual is a part of society. Society is a part of nature and nature is the part of God! So if one claims to love God then one must love one’s fellow beings, serve the society and preserve nature. Reading what Swami has said about Himself tells us a lot about who He is.
Whenever I felt alone and lost, He came to me, not only physically but even metaphysically too! I have seen so many coincidences in my life and I know that a coincidence is also a miracle; just that God chose to remain anonymous! He found for me the love of my life and He has made me love life to the fullest. He taught me that Joy and Bliss is the nature of every soul and so we must be happy always. He made me realize that whatever is happening to me is for my good alone and therefore there is never the need for me to be sad. He has filled my life with love and taught me that everything I encounter in life is nothing but a reaction, reflection and resound of me. He has taught me to love me and therefore the whole world along with that! He is my world, nay my Universe. He embodies the most powerful force ever - that of Love - and so He is the most powerful. If you call that God, yes, He is my God!
How much ever I write on what He means to me, I shall never be satisfied for how can paltry words ever substitute an experience? But yet, like the salt doll that went to measure the depths of the ocean, I try to describe who He is with the hope that like that salt doll, I too shall dissolve in Him.
Millions are the ones who have experienced Him. And a few eminent people described Him variously. That should be an inspiring read in itself!
Now, I have a request to the reader who has come till here. Who Sathya Sai Baba is an endless topic. But we can just write our stories of love and add to this tremendously endless melting pot. Use the comments column to share the million other facets that I just cannot cover in a single blog! :)
If you liked this, you may also want to read the following:
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Saipriya on August 23, 2018:
Sai Ram Brother Aravind,
I started to read your blog from today as I got the opportunity to see your interview in souljourns last weekend, and got to know about this blog.
I am also dissolving totally into your stories just like the salt doll.
MOHAN on July 18, 2015:
He is in my drawing room coming in and going out of my house - HE always conveys - 'Go Ahead' IAM at your back..............
chitra on March 10, 2015:
SAIRAM wonderful writeups. Mind is full of blowing.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on September 07, 2014:
Dear Naveenchandra Acharyaji,
From my personal experience with Swami, each individual has a different path to the same goal. Irrespective of the path one takes, the ultimate goal is the SAME. In that sense, it does not matter which 'form', 'God' or 'Guru' we follow.
However, Swami always emphasizes on sticking to one's chosen name and form with all sincerity. Let me elaborate taking your case here. You have considered the Shirdi Baba form as your Guru. Why do you want to change towards the Sathya Sai form? If it is because you consider both as the same, then, you don't have to worry about 'changing loyalties' since you are not changing loyalties. But if it is because you feel like worshipping Sri Sathya Sai (without conviction of the unity), then desist. Having been loyal to Shirdi Sai, please continue to do the same. Know that, if you need to change to adoring Sri Sathya Sai, your Guru, Sri Shirdi Sai will guide you/advise you/ direct you towards the same.
There are many staunch devotees of Shirdi Baba who have come to Swami because their personal experiences convinced them that He and Shirdi Baba are one and the same. So too, many Shiva devotees, Christ followers, Muslims etc. have come because their experience showed them that He is the same as Shiva, Christ and Allah.
I hope I have made my thoughts clear. They are present in greater detail in this article:
But, the short answer to your question would be: If you are convinced of the oneness, then you can absolutely worship Sathya Sai as you do to Shirdi Sai.
Naveenchandra Acharya on September 06, 2014:
As one of the foremost devotees of Swami I would like you to clarify one of my doubts ....I believe oneness of all self realized souls but still as a Guru ...does anyone who considers Shirdi Sai as Guru can follow Sathya Sai as the verily same Guru and do the same worship ( ritualistic sense )
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on January 20, 2013:
@ C.V.Rajan - Thank you. :)
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on January 20, 2013:
It is totally understandable when one gets torn apart with thoughts and doubts. Doubts are most essential on the spiritual and scientific paths for they bring on progress. However, on both paths a scientific outlook is necessary too.
It does not matter what you believe. The question is, "Have you experimented?" It would be non-scientific to form conclusions, either pro-Swami or anti-Swami, based on what we think or feel.
You know that Jesus Christ cured the sick and ailing. And yet, did he cure all? But, does that decide what He is?
God's job is not that of a doctor alone... nor is it God's job to be a wish-fulfilling angel alone... What is God? What is the relationship between man and God? Is Sai Baba God?
There are questions which one should answer based on experience. And Swami says that one only has to seek God with a sincere heart - everything else will be revealed and taken care of with time. Faith begets experiences and those experiences reinforce faith.
Debates rage on even today on the various acts of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna - was Lord Rama justified in sending his wife away to the forest? What about the various acts of Lord Krishna which seem like 'cheating' or 'womanizing'? In any age or in any form, God has not been a simple 'A,B,C,D' to be understood. And yet, today don't we have millions who have been positively blessed by Rama, Krishna and Jesus?
So too, I have experienced tremendous things with Swami. And the more I seek with faith, the more understanding is granted.
If you are sincere, I only ask you to seek God from your heart. You will see the answers coming. Seek anything that you wish - just be honest and sincere. :)
There are so many more thoughts that arise which I want to share. But I stick to this much now. Please mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I shall be happy to provide you with any info that might help you if you are interested.
sainath on January 20, 2013:
I like baba because of the good works he did to the people in the region and his teachings but can not with a straight face believe he can cure cancer, TB and other terminal diseases. No matter how much I believe in Sai Baba there is no way this seems possible. And there is also the matter of magic tricks.
I am torn with these thoughts every day and can not seem to comprehend still. why does our loving baba needs these cheap trick to gain our trust?
Disillusioned from Kerala, India on January 01, 2013:
It really too difficult to express Swami within this limited space and you have done an excellent job of it.
I was really captivated by this sentence: "Talking of Sathya Sai Baba as a great humanitarian is like calling Lord Krishna a cowherd, Lord Jesus a Shepherd, the Buddha a prince and Prophet Muhammad a trader! "
Mark Aspa on October 24, 2012:
among so much i could write, (too lazy so i leave it to you!), i personally met two people who recounted their personal experiences of Swami healing them of cancer.
In both instances, they told Swami of the cancer in an interview and He assured them of healing, while touching the afflicted area of their body.
They were then medically verified to be free of cancer.
And this is but a drop in the ocean of accounts and recorded experiences!
Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on September 11, 2012:
You're very welcome, my pleasure.
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on September 11, 2012:
Thank you janshares for your lovely and loving comment. Just as you have been inspired by His words of love and selflessness, I have been inspired by His love and selflessness, having stayed with Him for 14 years.
And yes, as you correctly said, He makes you want to share love. If I had to sum up His life in one word, that would be it - LOVE.
Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on September 11, 2012:
Thanks for this informative and loving tribute to your friend, teacher, spiritual mentor. A musician/professor friend of mine uses Sathya Sai Baba quotes at the end of his emails. I would copy and paste them to send to my friends. I found his words on love, humanity, self-introspection, selflessness very powerful. He makes you want to share love. Thanks again for this hub.
punnia on June 10, 2012:
reading this itself was a small miracle that happened to me.for two days, after reading the book "Many Lives Many Masters" i was in a doubt, whether swami himself is god or godlike.i asked this to HIM only, coz i perfectly knew that HE only could answer me. and the second listener (the heart) was the kind of quest in me. Thanks alott brother..i thank swami to bring this to me. i know YOU have been loving as a mom, caring as a brother, passionate as a lover, and more since YOU called me to YOU...:)
GD on October 20, 2011:
I can see that you have steeped yourself in Swami's love. Loved reading the intro. In the Words of the late Sri Sri Sri Shankaracharya of Kamakoti Pitham, "Sai Baba is fire to play with and a diamond to cherish." Personally speaking,Bhagwan was a boon to the world, to mankind. As he himself said to Prof. Gokak when they first met, the 1st VC of PN Campus, "I am Loknath."
vaishnavi nagaraja rao on October 09, 2011:
“Yes, I am God and so are you. The only difference between you and I is that while I am aware of this fact, you are not. “ remembered these words being translated by anil kumar uncle in swami's discourses. swami's voice as well anil kumar uncle's voice just flashed in my mind. this tells why swami chose you as his photographer. indeed you are a genius. your words describe more than your photos. sairam anna
Dr Saritha on August 31, 2011:
Everything about Swami is wonderful.But when and how the heaviness in our chest go,we had like gopikas the Divine SaiKrishna showering His bliss all the time
Sai Jahnavi on August 27, 2011:
Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) is who ever or whatever you want Him to Be. If you want to see Him as a friend so He is, as a Doctor so He is, as mother, father, brother, sister, yourself. He is everything from space to water to earth to fire to animals to everything. Swami can't be described even if the whole universe sits together to describe him bcoz he is none other than the universe itself.Jai Sai Ram. j
Pardhu on August 24, 2011:
My friend, I echo all your feelings. Who is Sathya Sai Baba? My head answers: "For all those who claim that one must be selfish, corrupt and materialistic, at least a bit, in order to survive in this world, He is a resounding proof that one can live the happiest life without an iota of those qualities.". And my Heart says: "If ever He comes to me and asks me, 'HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN?', I would reply, "Swami, You are more me than what I am".
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on August 24, 2011:
"Starting small with a free general hospital, Swami has started two general hospitals and two super speciality hospitals which are absolutely free. The super specialty hospitals in Puttaparthi and Bangalore provide tertiary care to one and all - absolutely free of cost!" - I think that is simply awesome! Why can't more people do that instead of buying Lamborghinis and fighter jets ...
“Yes, I am God and so are you. The only difference between you and I is that while I am aware of this fact, you are not. “ - When I first read "It is really so easy to say who He is - God", I thought "Okay but we all are gods ..." And at first, I thought I would not comment on that since I thought that maybe my words might be seen as an insult but now that Mr. Swami said it (by the way is Mr. Swami okay, or how should I refer to him?), I think it is worth noting that we are all a little part of the Great Spirit, of Creation and we in turn create ourselves: we are gods (that's the way I see it and I can always be wrong ...).
"So if one claims to love God then one must love one’s fellow beings, serve the society and preserve nature." Beautiful! And I sincerely thank you for stating this.
Great blog! Thank you so much for putting this together and teaching me about something I wanted to know.
Hema.B on August 24, 2011:
Aptly written....we can share... but can never write everything about HIM....It touched my heart as i can feel & understand what you have written.I am grateful to HIM for using you as HIS instrument.Great going, keep on going.....
shruti on August 24, 2011:
As said.... this is just a drop in the ocean called Swami.... I knew everything that your head had to say (by-heart...... But what your heart said.... got tears in my eyes....its so true when He says "God is your true friend"!!!
Sai Chittaranjan on August 24, 2011:
A very well written and concise hub... I have already sent the link around to many of my F-o-Fs (Frineds-of-Friends) who are now coming to know of the Lord who walked the earth at the same time as they....
As usual your unique style of narration makes it interesting and at the same time easy to understand...
Aarthi on August 24, 2011:
It is very tough to describe in words who Swami is. He means different things to different people. Yet, He has a very unique and exclusive relationship with every single devotee of His!
A few days after Swami shed His mortal coil, He inspired me to write a tribute for Him in the form of a short poem on my blog. The link is http://voyagetowardstheself.blogspot.com/2011/05/m...
The beauty is that I have never been blessed with an interaction with Swami at close quarters, in the physical level. He has never smiled at me or spoken to me. Yet, I just felt at peace and blissful whenever I had His darshan. I felt as if I'd met my long-lost friend, whenever I had His darshan. He has touched and transformed my life. Therein lies the magical miracle of His love!!
I pray to Him to make me His worthy instrument! I believe that's the only way I can sanctify my life. And that's the real tribute I can pay Him, for all He's done for me.
Thank you for this wonderful writeup, bro, and for allowing us to share our thoughts too!
Balasubramanya Subbarao on August 24, 2011:
Your narration is excellent.It is an Encyclopedia about Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Anonymous on August 24, 2011:
A full stop can never be put to His autobiography. Yet, as Swami always says, "Do not try to understand me, experience me."
Sai Devotee on August 24, 2011:
I see that a diver has attempted to measure the depths of an endless ocean and reach the other side....often said,love gives courage and so did this happen!! all the best...we are far behind you....its not a race but a journey with a definite goal...do wait for us on the other side!!
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on August 24, 2011:
@ Spirit Whisperer - Thank you so much! Surely, you can link it! People would love to read about Swami
Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on August 24, 2011:
This is a wonderful hub. You have given a good introduction to Sri Sathya Sai Baba here and I look forward to reading more. As you know I too have written a hub about my guru and with your permission I would like to link it to yours.