Last updated on Dec. 27th 2016
Some comments of mine made recently on Facebook are reproduced below (slightly edited):
See the great thing about Swami was he would transform people. If people were already saints they did not need to really come to Swami. They could have set up their own ashram.
Well, let me tell you what I heard. Swami said, I was told, that he has taken form of Sathya Sai not for dedicated renunciants (sannyasis) as there are already realized masters who are available for such sannyasis (and sannyasinis). Neither has he come for those who are utterly disinterested in spirituality and are only interested in material world. He has come for those in the middle, part of the world and yet having spiritual interests and aspirations.
That explanation seems to fit well into my experience of Prasanthi Nilayam. It has been and continues to be dominated by married people with families and not Tyagajeevis. And it is that, that is attractive to many people the world over. How to lead a family life and yet be spiritual and progress towards God?
One should not forget that Rama and Krishna were also like that. In fact, they married and even had children.
So, yes, Parthi was not full of saints and is not full of saints even now :-). In fact, sometimes one feels that one has to hunt hard to find saints or saint-like people in Parthi. There was Bhagavan at a very high pinnacle of spiritual mastery and knowledge and spiritual power surrounded by (spiritual knowledge wise/spiritual mastery wise) little men and women (including me). And I think that is why Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi led to such chaos and confusion and trauma, creating an environment where pretenders and impersonators of Bhagavan could attact Sathya Sai devotees.
Some comments of mine on my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1838826126333956, associated with this blog post.
In response to a comment, "He came for everyone brother! Whenever in doubt, let's just ask Him what has He said and there is the answer.", I wrote:
I agree with the view that Bhagavan has left behind an awesome legacy of writings and discourses, as well as great numbers of devotees with direct experience of Bhagavan, who can be useful for all kinds of people. But I used the qualifier 'mainly'. My view is that he spent most of his time with people who were into a mix of material and spiritual life. This is in contrast to some spiritual masters who would have sannyasi and sannyasini disciples whom the spiritual master would be very close to and raise as successors to his/her spiritual legacy & mission.
Regarding part of a comment, "Regarding experiences of devotees, isn't it better to learn about Swami's message directly through Swami rather than through some other person?", I wrote:
Well, one of the greatest gifts that I received from Sathya Sai and Sathya Sai devotees is the gift of faith in divine power and Hindu scripture. My faith in these prior to Sathya Sai was somewhat weak. Sathya Sai made it quite strong. I think Sathya Sai devotees who have 'encountered' Sathya Sai divine power, may be able to inspire or pass on that faith in some manner to people who have not experienced Sathya Sai divine power or any other divine power.
Also, while Sathya Sai discourses would cover Swami's views on love, it is those who have experienced his love & compassion that will be able to talk about it with confidence and surety to others. How Sathya Sai transformed the life of a devotee is also best related by a devotee, as Sathya Sai sometimes would shy away from saying such things and leave it to the devotees to say it.
God and the devotee(s); Avatar and the bhaktas - One seems incomplete without the other, isn't it? So from a Sai reading point of view too, I think both are needed, direct words of Sai, and words of devotees about how they experienced Sai.
I agree that Swami's direct words are the most vital words, and should, after context is properly factored in, be viewed as the final authority.
In response to a comment, " It's about balancing spiritual life with worldly life sir.
That is why swami always wanted us back in the world and not over stay in PN", I wrote:
Well, Swami's instructions were different for different people. He gauged/knew the background of people who had come to him and guided accordingly.
In response to a comment (slightly edited), "Swami is for eveyone...He is omnipresent and beyond any time boundaries .Swami has come for the spiritual uplift of the masses(masses meaning the majority ) .He has not come for a elite few ...Rest of the chaos and confusion that had happened are probably due to the ignorance of some people who were overly attached to the physical form but perhaps not so to his messages... thus limiting swami to one physical form and due to the physical absence searching for the same else where and in the process thinking a very very ordinary glass stone to be a kohinoor diamond ..", I wrote (slightly edited):
Well said, --name-snipped--.
Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
No known saints in these here parts [Ravi: referring to Puttaparthi]......but some darn good people, nevertheless.
Ravi S. Iyer responded (slightly edited):
Well said, Terry. I agree. Puttaparthi has a lot of good people.