Last modified on 17th August 2015
From Sathyam Shivam Sundaram, Volume 1 by N. Kasturi [https://books.google.co.in/books?id=M_RdAwAAQBAJ&pg=PT102&lpg=PT102]
Baba was engaged even during those early days in Upadesh; in fact, His Life is one continuous Upadesh. A clear example of this is the Upadesham He gave to Digambara Swami, when he came to Puttaparthi, in 1941. The town of Bukkapatnam was all agog with the visit of this ascetic, an aged man, who had lost the use of both his legs, who had discarded dress, and therefore was looked upon by the masses as a triple example of sagehood. His admirers were eager to watch the reactions of Baba, when pitted against a veteran of many hardships. The Digambara Swami had taken also a vow of silence and so, the curiosity of the people became greater. The sweet little Divine Child met the Hefty Hero, who was carried to the village and deposited in front of the Karnam's House. Baba gave the unclothed Sage a big towel (!) and some advice, the like of which he would not have got anywhere else.
"If you have cut off relationship with Society, as your nakedness indicates you have, then why do you not go to a cave in a forest away from human society? Why are you afraid? On the other hand, if you have a craving for disciples, for name and the food available in cities and towns, why do you allow yourself to be mistaken for a man with no attachment?" These were the words that fell from the young Baba. They struck every one with wonder and admiration.
[Ravi: So powerfully truthful words, as always, from our dear Lord, SATHYA Sai Baba. It seems to me that one of the biggest traps for spiritually talented leaders of any spiritual following, is the craving for disciples/followers. Having followers/disciples per se is not the issue, the issue is the craving to have more & more of them, and to have the ambition of being a FAMOUS spiritual leader. And then if this is spiced up with some background of insults received from some other leaders, and so the desire to *show them* what one can do, then it becomes really dangerous spiritually. As then it becomes not only a spiritual fall for that leader, but a spiritual fall for his or her following too.
Oh! What a massive burden it must be, to be a spiritual leader with a large following!]The Digambara Swami looked crestfallen, for he was evidently not sincere enough to act up to his 'nakedness' and his Mounam! But, Baba was not sarcastic; no, far from it; He was ready to help, to assure, to guarantee! He said, patting the cripple on the back, "I know your difficulty. You are afraid you may not get food and shelter if you retire from the company of men, isn't it? Well, I assure you, any one taking the name of the Lord, wherever he may be, will get his food. I shall see to that. You may be in the deepest Himalayas or the thickest Dandakaranya, I shall give you food regularly there! But, if you have not that faith and that Courage, you can meditate on Him here itself; then, don't wander about naked and give all this bother to these people to carry you about from place to place."
What a grand teaching that! If only people would grasp its meaning! That was the Authentic Voice; only a Avatar could give that Assurance!
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Ravi: Another striking aspect of the account of the young Sathya Sai and the Digambara Swami, is the assurance given by the young Sathya Sai about provision of food (by God/Avatar) for the spiritual aspirant who has faith & courage, no matter where the spiritual aspirant is (the remote mountains of the Himalayas or the deepest jungles)!
It is my experience with Sathya Sai Baba during my nearly decade (Oct. 2002 to April 2011) of regular darshans of Him in Puttaparthi (as I was a teacher in His university for most of that time) that he laid enormous emphasis on faith in God and the power of faith in God to achieve anything (well, almost anything). Of course, one needed to do one's bit of work/effort towards the achievement but deep faith was the key ingredient that led to the achievement - that was and is my understanding of his teaching.
[I thank the author (N. Kasturi) & publisher of Sathyam Shivam Sundaram, Volume 1, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from the book on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]