Last updated on 18th Mar. 2017
This post is directed at those Sathya Sai devotees, including Sai university alumni, who get assailed by doubt in the divinity of Sathya Sai perhaps due to readings of material which is skeptical of Sathya Sai's divinity, and discussions with people who are skeptical of Sathya Sai's divinity.
Let me first talk about DOUBT.
It is my considered view, based on my own spiritual journey and what I have read of spiritual journey of others, that doubt is common, perhaps inevitable for most, in the journey of spiritual truth-seekers and devotees.
In my Naadi astrology reading done around the mid 1990s, I was told of a big problem in my life when Saturn became prominent according to my astrological chart (Shani dasha starting) or something like that. This corresponded to sometime around 2010. I was curious about what this big problem in my life is going to be. BTW the Naadi reader had mentioned that prior to this time (2010) I would be moving to a spiritual centre and be pursuing spiritual efforts, which turned out to be correct. But some of what he said about this period (like I would be married and have kids) turned out to be wrong.
Back to the around 2010 Shani dasha starting (or something like that) matter in the Naadi reading. I expected that he would tell me of some major catastrophe in my life like some major financial or health problem! The Naadi reader, a young lad in his 20s I guess, from Vaideeswaram temple in Tamil Nadu who had come with his group to Navi Mumbai for a professional visit/tour, simply said that I would have DOUBT! That's it. At that time I felt that it (doubt) was such a minor thing. Perhaps I was relieved that it was not something like some major financial or health problem, but I don't recall that clearly.
But when DOUBT did strike me in 2010 in combination with some foolishness in my spiritual practice/approach, it was perhaps the BIGGEST STORM in my spiritual journey to hit me and leave me reeling. By then, spiritual belief & practice were a core part of my life. And DOUBT getting into that made me almost rudderless and lost, for a time. That feeling of being spiritually lost was TERRIFYING!
By Bhagavan's mercy and grace, with his priceless Darshan look interactions/guidance as well as a key discourse he gave then which cast light on the Dharmic way to solve the tangle that I had got into, I was able to overcome the STORM over a period of many months in the year 2010. I am very, very deeply grateful to my beloved and revered Gurudev Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for this guidance given in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam, including one very tough disciplinary paranormal/miraculous experience he gave me clearly giving me a message about the RED LINES that I SHOULD NOT CROSS OR ELSE!!! I am afraid I am not comfortable sharing further details of it here. Note that at this time, from an outward physical form view, he was wheelchair bound and had significant physical disabilities.
But these darshan interactions in 2010 in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam, gave me DIRECT EXPERIENCES of the extraordinary miraculous powers of Sathya Sai. After that, I had NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that Sathya Sai was/is Krishna come again and that he was/is Kali Yuga Avatar and Shiva-Shakti Swarupa!
It was doubt along with some foolish spiritual practices, that led me to these personal and intense spiritual encounters with Sathya Sai in physical form, which in turn resolved my doubts about Sathya Sai in physical form, and IMMENSELY STRENGTHENED MY FAITH IN HIM AS KRISHNA COME AGAIN! BTW prior to me coming to Sathya Sai, Krishna was my Ishta Devata (favourite/personal God) and my HERO.
Now let me get to the matter of not-understood or misunderstood or misrepresented or misreported actions of Sathya Sai causing doubt in some Sai devotees including some Sai university alumni. For those Sai devotees who interact in the regular world (as against being in Sathya Sai centres like Puttaparthi) it would not be uncommon to come across material which is skeptical of Sathya Sai's divinity, and people who directly question them about Sathya Sai's divinity quoting such skeptical material. I think many Sai devotees would avoid reading/viewing such material or getting into such discussions. But some may read it and may participate in discussions with such skeptics. That may then lead a few to get convinced by the skeptics and start doubting Sathya Sai's divinity!!! These things happen!
My view is that simply because we cannot understand some seemingly weird/odd actions of Sathya Sai we should NOT develop doubt. Further, we should be aware that there is a lot of misrepresentation and misreporting of Sathya Sai by people who are skeptical of divinity of Sathya Sai.
Some years ago (before Mahsamadhi), a Sai university alumnus shared with me an account of Sathya Sai (Bhagavan) telling Sai students that people cannot easily understand the actions of Avatars. What I have given below is based on what I recall from that account shared by the Sai university alumnus.
Bhagavan referred to the killing of washerman of Kamsa by Krishna.
I have given below two related references and extracts.
From Mathura and Kamsa, http://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/the-vishnu-purana/d/doc57632.html :
They reached Mathura in the evening. Akrura went ahead to the palace in the chariot, while Balarama and Krishna entered the city on foot. On the street they met a washerman. They asked the washerman for some nice clothes. But the washerman was Kamsa’s servant. Not only did he refuse them the clothes, he also abused that two brothers. So Krishna hit the evil washerman with his palm and split his head in two. Balarama and Krishna then took away whatever clothes they wanted. Balarama dressed in blue and Krishna dressed in yellow.
--- end extract from wisdomlib.org ----
From Krishna and Balarama In Mathura, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1995, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba discourse, http://www.sssbpt.info/summershowers/ss1995/ss1995-10.pdf :
Krishna and Balarama reached the main gate of Kamsa’s palace. The yaga was to begin the following day. A washerman was about to enter the gate. He had a load of Kamsa’s best silks, cleaned specially for the function. Balarama asked him, “Hey, what is that bundle you have?” Krishna said, “Why ask? Go see for yourself.” The washerman said, “These are the King’s costly silks. You seem to be villagers. You are not fit to even touch these clothes! Be gone!” Krishna heard this and gave a tight-fisted blow to the washerman. Both the washerman and his bundle fell down. Krishna opened the bundle and collected clothes for Himself and for His elder brother. The soldiers at the gate witnessed this scene and informed Kamsa.
--- end extract from Sathya Sai discourse ----
Ravi: In the Sathya Sai discourse extract above, Bhagavan omits mentioning that Krishna killed the washerman but the Vishnu Purana account of the wisdomlib.org article does mention the washerman being killed by Krishna.
In the (private) conversation with students (NOT public discourse), Bhagavan Sathya Sai raised the question of why Krishna should have killed the washerman!!! From our normal human viewpoint, the thinking would be that it would have been enough for Krishna to have slapped the washerman for his insolence but not kill him. Killing Kamsa's washerman for his insolence does not seem to be a Dharmic (ethical/fair/moral) thing for Krishna to have done!
Then Bhagavan Sathya Sai talked about the washerman in Rama Avatar who had remarked inappropriately to his wife about Rama accepting Sita back after she was kidnapped by Ravana followed by Rama killing Ravana and rescuing her. This remark of the washerman led Rama to banish his wife Sita who then stayed in a Rishi's ashram!!! Once the washerman came to know of this very sad effect of his remark to his wife, he felt very guilty and begged & prayed to Rama to kill him for his sinful act.
Bhagavan Sathya Sai said that Rama told the washerman that as he (Rama) is the king and the washerman is his subject, as the king it is his (Rama's) duty to protect him (washerman). So Rama said he (Rama) cannot kill him (washerman). But as he (washerman) has prayed to Rama to kill him, that prayer has to be answered! So the same washerman gets born again as Kamsa's washerman and when Rama returns as Krishna, the washerman is killed by Krishna TO FULFILL THE WASHERMAN'S PRAYER in his earlier birth as washerman in Rama's kingdom!!!
Ravi: So this shows us how Avatar's actions may seem inappropriate when viewed from human vision & analysis but is appropriate when viewed with full knowledge, sometimes across earlier lifetimes, that is known to the Avatar!
A small extract from http://sathyasaiwithstudents.blogspot.in/2013/03/an-interview-to-students-part-2.html quotes Bhagavan, "Everything in the world is interplay of reaction, resound and reflection. Whatever the students do, it will come back to them. But Swami is like the pure mirror, reflecting whatever is in the front. You do Namaskar in front of the mirror; the image will do the same. If you show threatening gestures, it will show the same."
In this context, I also recall that an elder Sai university faculty of Prasanthi Nilayam campus with many years of close physical proximity to Bhagavan told me the same thing, after Mahasamadhi. He said that Bhagavan was/is like a mirror. We discussed it for some time after which I felt convinced that the mirror aspect of Swami was an interesting explanation for at least some of Swami's interactions with his devotees that varied from devotee to devotee.
I think the mirror analogy for Bhagavan is very appropriate for my relationship with physical form Bhagavan. I viewed physical form Bhagavan mainly as my Guru from whom I sought spiritual knowledge and guidance, and also as my personal/favourite God (Ishta Devata) from whom I sought Grace and protection. It is my experience that Bhagavan played those roles of Guru and personal/favourite God (Ishta Devata) for me very well, and so I am very deeply grateful to Bhagavan.
Those Sathya Sai devotees who get swayed by doubt from skeptical material and skeptics, should, IMHO, focus on their direct experiences with Sathya Sai and go by those experiences, instead of getting influenced by the experiences listed in skeptical material. Perhaps the skeptic's experiences of Sathya Sai physical form was not positive because he/she consciously or unconsciously desired to have such not positive experiences of Sathya Sai!!! Yad Bhaavam Tad Bhavati! As Bhagavan himself said, or to be more precise, meant, in the article extract given above, if somebody had shown threatening gestures to Sathya Sai, Sathya Sai would have been reflected to that person as threatening him/her!!!
The bottom line for me is that we ordinary humans cannot understand some actions of Avatars like Sathya Sai, Krishna & Rama as we lack the complete knowledge of the matter. Sathya Sai devotees, including Sai university alumni, SHOULD NOT allow not-understood or misunderstood or misrepresented or misreported actions of Sathya Sai physical form (Naama-Rupa) to cause doubt about divinity of Sathya Sai physical form, and lose their faith in divinity of Sathya Sai physical form (Naama-Rupa).
[I thank wisdomlib.org, sssbpt.info and sathyasaiwithstudents.blogspot.in, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extracts from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]