Last updated on 12th Jan 2017
Prof. Vinayak Krishna Gokak, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinayaka_Krishna_Gokak, was a scholar of Kannada and English literature as well as an acclaimed writer in Kannada winning the Jnanpith award in 1990 for his epic, Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi, which the wiki says dealt with the Vedic age. He was earlier awarded the Padmashree in 1961 for another work of his in Kannada, Dyava Pruthvi.
I am now re-reading his book, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, The Man and the Avatar, an interpretation. What struck me is how knowledgeable about Sathya Sai, Prof. V.K. Gokak, the 1st vice-chancellor (VC) of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Sai university), was. BTW he was VC from 1981 to 1985.
I thought of sharing a few paragraphs from the initial chapters of the book that I have re-read so far. They are given below:
[From pages 18-22 of the paperback version of the book:]
An avatar is a paradox cut in the image of the Divine. He is divine though human. Most people know how Baba, when the right half of his body was completely paralysed, sprinkled a little water over it with his left hand and was 'whole' again. He is human though divine, as when Shirdi Baba shed tears over the death of the cook whom he had loved so well. Sathya Sai Baba is the loving Sai mother pouring her love over her little children. But he is also a real task-master, sometimes relentless when a devotee is at fault and has to be taught a lesson.
A poet and an enchanting singer, Baba is also a philosopher and a social worker. He talks away sometimes like a simple and innocent child. But he can be a master diplomat when the occasion requires it. Approach him as a friend and you will find that he is too remote from you. Speak to him with awe as to Universal Man and you will see that he is speaking to you as a friend by your bedside.
The Avatar is there to separate the subtle from the gross, grain from chaff and soul from the desire-self. He sets free invisible forces which change the destinies of nations.
When Baba writes about Sri Krishna in Bhagavata Vahini we get to know what an Avataric personality has to say about an Avatar. Baba makes Arjun say, after the self-slaughter of the Yadavas, when he had to return alone tragically from Dwaraka: "We have failed to understand his play. With that deluding human form he moved with us, mixed with us, behaved with us as if he was our kinsman and well-wisher, our friend and guide and saved us from many a calamity. We were carried away by pride that we had His Grace. We sought from him mere external victory and temporal benefits. We ignored the vast treasures with which we could have filled our hearts. We never contemplated his real reality".
The impression that one finally has of an Avatar is this unique blend of the human and the divine, - the attributes that go to make up aishvarya or divinity and all those human qualities that make him so sweet and lovable, qualities that may be summed up as madhurya or sweetness.
--- end extracts from Prof. V.K. Gokak's book ---
Ravi: It is so nice to see that the 1st vice-chancellor of Sai university was so knowledgeable about Sathya Sai and could express his views on Sathya Sai so well. I think Bhagavan would have viewed Prof. V.K. Gokak as an ideal kind of Vice-chancellor for his spiritual Sai university, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.
I would like to add two more paragraph extracts from Prof. V.K. Gokak's book.
From Page 11:
The West has been reconciled to prophets. But it is shocked by the concept of avatarhood except, of course, in the case of Jesus Christ. An avatar is God Himself descending into human flesh. But how can a two-legged thing be God? How can such an ephemeral creature govern the universe? Avatarhood is therefore dubbed a piece of Indian fantasy or maya.
From Page 26:
To the sceptic who thinks it is absurd to take any human being as God, Baba says: "Yes, I am God. What capacity do you have, as you stand, to test this statement? Plunge into your own soul and see from there. You will then realize the truth of the statement. I may add that you are also God." The concept of Avatarhood has to be understood in its proper context. An avatar is the saviour who takes the human evolution a step higher. He is a ray direct from the Supreme and it is because of his presence in a world hemmed in by cosmic laws that there is the possibility of transcendent grace.
--- end extracts from Prof. V.K. Gokak's book ---
Given below are comments from my Facebook post,
https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1846072175609351, associated with this blog post.
In response to a comment, "This is indeed wonderful to read. Can we say the same about the VC's that have come after Mahasamadhi?", I (Ravi S. Iyer) wrote (slightly edited):
--Name-snipped--, Very unfortunately, the VC who was in charge at Mahasamadhi time, turned out to be a traitor to the Sai university and to Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, by backing the traitors Narasimhamurthy and, later the so called false belief communicator, Madhusudan Rao Naidu. That VC was in charge till Nov. 2014. That VC did not make any notable public speeches or comments about Bhagavan as far as I know.
The next VC who is the current VC seems to have not said anything notable in public about spirituality or about Bhagavan.
Both these VCs are scientists. Prof. G. Venkataraman is an outstanding example of a scientist VC who was also able to expound publicly on spirituality & Bhagavan. But these two scientist VCs, who held/are holding charge slightly before and after Mahasamadhi, seem to be only science people who perhaps are rather ignorant about spirituality in general and Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in particular.
I should also mention the name of Dr. S. Bhagavantam, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suri_Bhagavantam, who would have been a cohort of Prof. V.K. Gokak, as another outstanding example of a scientist who was also able to expound publicly on spirituality & Bhagavan. Note that Dr. Bhagavantam was not a VC of SSSIHL. I am mentioning his name to show that being a scientist did not mean/does not mean that one needs to be ignorant about spirituality and Bhagavan, either in the early stages of Bhagavan's mission, say 1970s and 1980s, or in later stages like the 2000s and now.
Further, I think if the current VC of SSSIHL makes an effort to read up on Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and his educational vision and mission over the decades, I am sure he too will be able to expound on them publicly. I mean, it is not complex rocket science. But there has to be the urge to perform that spiritual duty part of the VC of SSSIHL role.
[I thank Prof V.K. Gokak and have presumed that copyright owners of his book 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.]