Russian Devotee Instructed in a Dream
A Russian devotee, Alexander, had been to see Sathya Sai Baba and
when he returned he excitedly told all his friends about the
phenomenal occurrences that were going on in Puttaparthi, India.
He told them an Avatar was on the Earth and discussed many of
the details of his visit with them. But all listened mildly and
had no interest in finding out anything further about this.
He started to plan a return trip and wanted to take at least one
other person with him. He had previously given several book in
Russian to his friend "Mikhail", but Mikhail would not read
them. Although the two had been friends since they were students
and Mikhail knew his friend was credible, still he had no
interest in Sai Baba. Alexander could not understand this as
Mikhail was a well educated man, a professor and well known
scientist with many achievements to his name.
Alexander had resigned himself to going alone back to India, but
unexpectedly, Mikhail had called and told him he had decided to
go. He had told his wife that he might stop drinking if he went
and so he got her support. He thought he might pay for the trip
by the savings from refraining from alcohol for six months.
Alexander explained to him that no one was allowed to have meat
or alcohol or tobacco in Prasanthi Nilayam and Mikhail agreed to
these conditions. But, even though he had decided to go, Mikhail
still refused to read any of the books about Sai Baba.
They arrived at the Ashram and were given a room to share with
other international visitors. On the third day Alexander gave
his friend three issues of the quarterly magazine, "Divine Love"
and Mikhail started reading only those articles where Swami
himself speaks. He was transfixed by what he read and continued
reading into the night.
The next day, Alexander got up to attend darshan as usual but
did not see his friend Mikhail so he saved a place for him in
the darshan lines even though the Seva Dal volunteer told him
this was usually not allowed. Finally, a half hour before
darshan time, Mikhail showed up and joined Alexander and they
settled down to wait for a glimpse of Swami. At last he appeared
and slowly, gracefully floated through the crowds until he
approached to where the two Russian visitors were. As he went by
them, Sai Baba looked directly at Alexander and Mikhail and made
a sign with his hands three times. Alexander was thrilled as it
is an unusual occurrence to receive some kind of sign or
attention from Swami.
After Darshan, Mikhail excitedly told his friend Alexander that
last night he had had a dream in which Swami came to him and had
a long conversation with him. Mikhail was confused because the
dream had seemed completely real to him and he could see and
remember everything just as when he was awake so he didn't know
whether to take it as a dream or a real event that actually
Then Mikhail narrated to his friend from memory, the following
conversation from his "dream". In the dream he found himself in
the very same lecture hall in Russia where he normally delivers
lectures to his students. But instead, Swami was at the rostrum
where Mikhail usually lectures and Mikhail was sitting at a
table like one of the students.
Sai: "You wanted an interview - you will have it now. You always
liked double lectures (two 45 minute periods without a break):
you will now have such a period yourself. You may ask me any
Mikhail: "Not everything is clear in religions. They divide"
Sai: "Religions were written for the time when people were
primitive and so they were expounded in the language and
concepts of that period. A blind belief and miracles were
required. Look at Moses who was taking Jews from Egypt showing
miracles. Each time requires its form. Temples were constructed
but the real temple must be in one's soul. You did not want to
read books about me, but you studied mathematics: first 2 X 2,
then further, then physics. From the simple to the complex, but
all the knowledge is held up by the highest knowledge which is
God. Gradually one goes from intellect to spirituality; one
needs intellect to live in the world. You started reading about
me for the sake of your friend. Your friend is my channel. He
brought you here and did it selflessly. Do not worry about
material things - You have a good intellect. Just imagine that
man's life in a cosmic scale lasts only one hundredth part of a
second, so what difference does it make where you live: in a
palace or in a hut?"
Mikhail: Where can I find strength?
Sai: "If you have spiritual strength, then physical strength is
not important. Your program was to go swimming in the sea (this
is exactly what Mikhail and Alexander had agreed upon). Go or
you will be sorry. One must do everything sincerely, nothing
should be done out of compulsion. You have a good intellect and
it's not necessary for you to stay here long. You have to
Mikhail: "How shall I live now? Maybe I should become a monk or
work out an algorithm for my future actions?"
Sai: "If you put bread into the mouth of a hungry man then he
will never learn to earn it himself. One can't work out
algorithms for the whole of one's future. That is why you are
given a choice in your life. I give you a trial and watch what
choice you will take. on that depends whether you pass your test
or not. If there was no choice, you would be slaves, and I don't
need slaves. You should find a spiritual path by yourself,
everything depends on you. You should not expect any gratitude
for whatever you give."
Mikhail: "What concrete steps should I take to come to
Sai: "Let us take an example of water - it is a substance. One
may pour it into a vessel; they may bring it to you in a
restaurant in a crystal glass or you may pour it into a gold
goblet. But the best of all is to go to the source, the spring,
and drink it from there. The spring is in your heart. it is
forgotten; you must yourself converse with God. What should you
do? You must gradually change yourself morally for the better.
You have bad habits. Start with getting rid of them. You have
already become better; less proud. Pride is making you blind.
Alcohol dries up your brain - that is the worst. It's an
obstacle to God. Smoking dries up your body. It hinders your
Mikhail: "What then?"
Sai: "Act according to the criteria of Truth. One can clean the
puss out of the wounds like Mother Teresa or help people, but if
you are proud then everything is in vain. If you want you may
bring people the knowledge about me, but do not be a lecturer.
Nothing should be done without sincerity, one should not be
lazy. Your wife is more spiritual than you, she is more
compassionate. Both of you still have an opportunity to come to
me - your life span is not finished yet."
Mikhail: "I can't understand: is it a dream or not? I am waiting
with my group for an interview."
Sai: "The cleverer a man is, the less faith he has. There are no
miracles in the world, only a level of knowledge. For you to
believe, tomorrow morning at Darshan I'll make this sign by
moving my hand three times like that (and Swami showed how he
would do it). That's the end of your double time."
And after the dream ended, Mikhail attended darshan where Swami
confirmed the truth of the meeting by making the sign with his
hand three times. He has repeatedly said that no one can see him
in a dream without his willing it. He chose this extraordinary
way to help Mikhail in his spiritual growth at just the right
moment in his life. As always he showers his love on all.
From the March 1998 issue of Sanathani Sarathi. Published by
Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.