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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Seeking indwelling Divinity

by Phyllis Krystal - Sanathana Sarathi, May 2001

I HAVE HAD MANY EXPERIENCES of the way Bhagavan Baba will teach us, if we are willing to allow Him to do so.   But if we are not open to His divine hints, He will not force them upon us;  instead, He will allow us to follow the dictates of our ego until we are ready to ask Him for guidance.  That requires us to be humble and admit our own fallibility, which for most of us is a very hard lesson indeed.  It often takes many failures to force us finally to surrender our own ideas and our own strong desires, to trust Him to give us what He knows we need for our spiritual growth and then be willing to accept whatever that may be, whether we like it or not.

"Find Me in your Heart"

One of His most often repeated exhortations is that we detach from His physical form and turn within ourselves to seek guidance from the inner Baba, the resident within each of us.  But for many of His most ardent devotees that is very difficult.  He is so very tantalizingly attractive in every way that we do not want to replace that delightful contact with a more nebulous one.

From the very first time my late husband and I visited Him in January 1973, He made this message of detachment very clear to me.  During that first visit, Baba was staying at Whitefield near Bangalore, instead of His Ashram at Puttaparthi.  At our farewell interview, I asked Him if He wished us to return and if so, when, since we did not yet know the protocol.  I shall always remember His answer to that question.  He stared intently into my eyes and pointing His finger at me, said, "First you must understand that you do need to come back to see this little body," with which He pointed to His own chest.  After a significant pause as He watched my reaction,  He continued " find Me in your own heart!"  Then, with a big smile He reassured me by saying, "But you will come back to be re-energised."

That early interaction set the stage for me on the following visits.  I realized that in that brief communication, He showed me the eventual goal for each and all of His devotees.  However it is not at all easy to follow this advice.  He is so full of love and so powerfully wise and all-knowing that it is far too easy to become attached to His form and to crave constant attention and guidance from Him and to seek answers to all our questions personally.  Even though common sense dictates that it is impossible for Him to give detailed advice to each of the many thousands of those who continue to journey to see Him and receive His Darshan, we all remain anxious to  have Him personally reassure us on all the countless aspects of our lives, whether they be connected to health, marriage, children, occupation, financial situation or a host of other seemingly important and urgent matters in our estimation. 

Process of Detachment from Form

In some cases, when He sees fit, He does seem to take us by the hand, like a loving parent with a child while it still needs helpful support as it makes its first, unsteady steps.  But eventually, as with a human parent, He starts to wean us from that support  so that we can become strong and stand firmly and confidently on our own two feet.  He is actually acting in a very merciful way in thus setting us free, even from relying on His form rather than on our inner guide.  He knows only too well that, like our human parents, He will not always be available in person.  So, He prepares us to seek direction from within.  This weaning process is by no means simple or easy to carry out and we often balk at the very idea, or doubt that we can receive authentic guidance from the invisible Baba who is our Real Self within every one of us.  We fear that our ego may be getting in the way of this contact.  This weaning process, as with babies, is a gradual one.  But there comes a time when we arrive at a place where we are forces into the unknown and trust that we will be guided from within, otherwise we will flounder in indecision and defeat.

As I  look back over the years since I first came to know Baba, I can observe His direction in my life' even when it was not apparent to me at that time.  At first, He very patiently and painstakingly offered me much needed help and direction.  Then one day without any previous warning, He looked intently at me and with great seriousness of tone of voice and facial expression, said, "You do not need to see Me, Mrs. Krystal."  That was the beginning of the weaning process.  Baba has given us all His teachings which are sufficiently clear and simple for  even a child to understand and follow.  He now expects us not only to listen to or read what He says, but be willing to put His teaching into practice in our every day lives, in all our various activities when we are faced with the necessity of making a decision.

Channels of Divine Communication

I was present when He gave clear and helpful advice in answer to a question that had formed in my mind.  This incident occurred during a meeting of some of the members of the US Council that took place in the  Ashram in His presence.  One of the subjects under discussion was the question of how to handle one of the officers who had a very strong will with which to control others.  The question that occupied my mind was, "How can we be sure in determining what is Baba's direction instead of our own ego or someone else's will?"  With Baba's uncanny ability to read  our thoughts, even when we have not voiced them, He turned to me, saying, "You have a question, Mrs. Krystal?"  I replied that I was not an officer of the organization (at that time), but as the wife of one, I was not expected to speak.  Drawing Himself up to appear very large and imposing, Baba said, "Swami gives you permission to speak; what is your question?"  So, I asked the question.

His answer was helpful for every one.  He advised us to take one of His photographs to a quiet place and from the heart ask Him to provide an answer.  He assured us that within twenty minutes an answer would be on its way to us.  However, it may not become clear until sometime later, as it needs to reach us by various channels and at the correct time.  This advice is now becoming even more valuable, as more and more people flock from all around the world to visit Him.  He Himself has warned us that one day, He will appear to us as a little orange dot seen from a distance. 

The channels through which we may receive His answer to our requests are numerous.  I liked the process of  watching for signs and hints from different sources.  If we fervently ask for His help and let go our will and all our preoccupations for or against an outcome, we will receive indications. At first we may be nervous and doubt the signs, but with regular practice it will appear like a treasure hunt or an adventure, where we will never know when a sign will appear or what form it will take.  Patience is the chief requirement as the signs frequently  become clear at the very last minute before a decision has to be made.  They come in a dream, in a book we are currently reading, or spoken by a friend or an acquaintance or in some other apparently coincidental way. 

But with all this methods to help us to benefit from our inner Baba's guidance, regular practice is essential for success, just as it is for any other undertaking.  Fortunately, as soon as we are willing to ask for help from the Baba within, it is forthcoming. It is our responsibility, first to ask for it and then to watch for it to be given to us.  Then we need to accept it and let it help solve our problems.
 

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