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  Speech by Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Sri Anil Vinayak Gokak (23rd June 2005)

Bhagawan Baba, Brothers and Sisters of Sai family!

My Pranams (salutations) at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan Baba.

He has commanded that I should say a few words now. I therefore would talk to you about some of my personal experiences. Baba has graciously permitted me to do so and also about His Avataric Mission about which I spoke this morning to my young friends. My father (Late Sri Vinayak Krishna Gokak, 1st Vice Chancellor of SSSIHL) came in contact with Bhagawan Baba sometime in 1965 in Hyderabad. He in his younger days believed in God, but at that time, God was merely an abstract entity to him. But he felt that God existed when he found himself in a hospital in Edinburough. He had gone to see an exhibition. Suddenly, he felt an acute pain in the stomach. He rushed to the hospital and he was told that he had to be immediately operated and thereafter he got admitted. He did not know what to do because his examination in Oxford University was over but the oral test was yet to be completed. He thought that his entire trip to England was a waste. But then a telegram came from the University of Oxford stating that on the basis of his performance in the written test, they had decided to exempt him from the oral test. Therefore, at that point of time he realised there was someone called God but He was nearly still an abstract entity. Then for the next 20 years or so he came under the influence of Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo passed away in 1950 and thereafter after a gap of 14 years, he came in touch with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I may tell you that it was Bhagawan Baba who prolonged the life of my mother by 18 years and of my father by 5 years. There in no slightest doubt about it. My mother had to be operated and the doctor whom I consulted had given just 2 to 3 months. But when it was brought to the notice of Swami, He said there was no need of operation. When the X-rays were shown once again to the doctor, he said, "Everything is fine". Thereafter she lived for 18 years from 1976 to 1994.

Once when they were sitting in Brindavan along with students, Swami materialised a small casket and it was passed on from one student to the other. When it came to my father, it was slightly damaged and he brought it to Bhagawan’s notice and apologized for it. Bhagawan said, "Let it be with you". What did it contain? A commentary on the Bhagawad Gita!

Let me come to myself now. When Bhagawan visited our house for the first time in 1965, I was away in my district serving as an assistant collector. At that time Bhagawan told my father, "Your son has no faith in God". That was, to be frank, very correct. It was in 1969 that my parents took me and my wife to Bhagawan Baba. Bhagawan very affectionately materialised a necklace for my wife and also out of nothing a magnificent apple and gave it to her. At that time surely I was attracted and I felt that there was some power here. Later on, more and more events of this type took place strengthening my faith in Baba. It was in 1973 that I had another wonderful experience. Baba told me "You will go to Delhi" and I did go. That apart at a very critical stage of my career, He advised me again to be in Delhi which I did. At another critical stage I wanted to be at Bangalore to take care of my ailing mother. He said, "No, you shall not go to Bangalore, you shall go to Delhi again and whatever be the post you are planning for, will not come your way. I waited for 6 months for that post only to find that the whole thing fizzled out and I was back in Delhi. But at first stage I was attracted more by miracles. But later on as I became a senior administrator, I started taking interest in social welfare activities and without of course actively involving myself in activities like Seva Dal, Bhajan Mandali, study circle, I found that behind each activity there was a purpose. Then came the stage of a big water project. I visited that project in 1995 and gave a report to the Government of India and let me tell you that report was very much appreciated - "Here an NGO (Non Government Organisation) could achieve what even State governments couldn’t achieve." This was the stage when I felt that Bhagawan Baba, let me honestly use the word that comes to my mind, a Vedantic Socialist. These are the words which were used by Dr. V.K. Arya Rao in his book on Swami Vivekananda. He described Swami Vivekananda as a Vedantic socialist, that is one who is deeply immersed in Indian traditions and yet wants to take care of the welfare of the common man. That was the 2nd stage of my perception of Bhagawan. Later on as I progressed in my career and attained higher positions, I realised that He was something beyond that also and this realisation dawned on me when I had occasion to travel all over the globe at regular intervals in my capacity as secretary in the telecommunications department. I realised that the world was getting smaller and smaller, but mankind was getting divided equally fast because of differences in religion, culture and the outlook on both of them. At this stage, I was very much moved by the book "The Catholic Priest meets Sai Baba" which the Italian devotee Mario Mazzoleni wrote. In the book, he has explained why he has developed immense faith in Baba and how Baba is the one God who teaches you to respect your own religion. Though he was excommunicated by the establishment, he said I am unswerving in my loyalty to Bhagawan Baba. So, here was a who is trying to teach the whole of humanity how unity is very much desirable and how in fact all the religions of the world aim at one and the same thing.

Then came the year 2002, Bhagawan commanded that I should address the students in Summer Course at Whitefield. I started making preparations for my talk and during the course of preparation of that talk a number of events sped past my mind including the one that took place in September – the bombing of WTO (World Trade Center) on 11th September 2001. After that I felt that only an Avatar like Baba can act as a saviour of the world. Because that was a terrible event, a terrible blow to the survival of mankind, it was the ugly head of fundamentalism that sprang up and tried to destroy the fabric of the entire world. When I analysed the matter again and again, I found that due to pressures of globalisation, many people in fact have started feeling that their culture will be uprooted by the Western powers and therefore, they by way of reaction want to adhere to things which they consider to be the essential core of their culture, and that fanatics determined what that essential core is. That essential core is imposed on everyone else and fanaticism gets stronger and stronger. In such a world what matters is a deep and accurate understanding of the commonalities that underlie all religions, cultures and civilization. That was the trend which I found in books written by a number of scholars including Prof. Huntington in his book "On the clash of civilizations". So, in 2002 that was the matter and thereafter in 2005, He commanded that I should come here. Let me say again with you my profound feeling that I regard Him today as the saviour of the world. If there is anyone who can save the world today, it is Bhagawan Baba and nobody else. This is because of the universality of His teachings are rooted in the past, they look to the future too. The emblem of Prasanthi Nilayam which has the symbols of all religions of the world gives the same message. There is an underlying unity and underlying similarity among all the cultures and religions of the world and it is this commonality that you have to discover and act upon. I therefore forget the other differences which are minor. So the essential core had to be understood and that essential core is nothing but "Soham" (I am That). That is the message of Bhagawan Baba and here emphasis on rituals, scriptures is reduced to the bare minimum. You go direct to the innermost shrine of divinity on the strength of your own inner experience. I would also like to repeat what I said in the morning today - Bhagawan Baba is not a Vyaktinath (master of individuals), but He is a Lokanath (master of the world). He believes in multitudes not in solitudes. He wants to elevate humanity to higher levels of spiritual consciousness and His aim is different. The nature of His mission is also different. In Bhagawadgita, Lord Krishna said, "I am born from age to age" (Sambhavami Yuge Yuge). But if you read "Saitree", you will read the expression used is "Sambhavami Padhe Padhe"- I am here to guide humanity at each and every step so that humanity is elevated at every level of consciousness. The role of an Avatar is that is that of a pilot. Dr. John. S. Hislop says that the Avatar comes with the plane on the ground. But the fact that the plane is grounded on the land does not mean that the plane belongs to the land. The pilot waits for the passengers and then flies high up in the sky again. So the Avatar ensures that you elevate yourself spiritually under His guidance and when He is satisfied that you have attained the requisite level he takes you along with him to the skies. So, Bhagawan is modern in all his analogies, comparisons and similes. When He talks about human body, He says that human body is like an example of the law of gravitation. The falling stone may be visible but the law is invisible. Similarly, human body is visible, but the divine spark within you is invisible. So, Baba is scientific, modern in His comparisons, is yet very deeply rooted in our traditions and He by the imaginations, vision and if I may say so strong intellect, please don’t forget that. By the combination of all these, He ensures that the dynamic movement towards the attainment of divinity is not interrupted in any way. There is dynamics, but there is no instability - that is the greatness of Bhagawan Baba. I am afraid I have exhausted whatever I wanted to say very briefly and once again pray to Bhagawan Baba for all His blessings and strength which are necessary for me to carry out this noble task that He has so generously and nobly entrusted to me.

Sai Ram

Source: sssbpt.org website


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