Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Service Activities


Serve Man Until... You See God In All Men

By Mr. Bjørn Ribers, Denmark

Bjørn is a social worker at the Red Cross. He qualified with an M.A. in Psychology and Communication Studies. A member of the Sai Youth Group, he was involved in the Centre's Project for Homeless People and also visits homes for the elderly and disabled. His wife Henriette Emilie is an artist and has portrayed Baba in her paintings.

I first heard about Sri Sathya Sai Baba in 1986, when I was 14 years of age. I come from a Christian background, and it was a few months after my confirmation. My Godmother had recently been to Prasanthi Nilayam, and when she returned to Denmark she showed us pictures from the Ashram. A specific photo made a particular impression on me. It portrayed the big statue in front of Swami's temple, with the lotus flower and the five world religions, unifying spirituality and science. "Baba's message," she told us, "is that all religions are aspects of the same Truth, the same God, although they may call Him by different names." At this moment I experienced contact with a voice deep within me saying, "Yes, this is the Truth, this is what I have always felt myself." The words were accompanied by a sense of peace.

A few years later, my mother went to Prasanthi Nilayam and brought back vibuthi, literature on Baba and pictures of Him – as well as many beautiful experiences, which she captured in the paintings "Darshan" and "Morning Prayer".

Sai Ribers
spacer Sai Ribers
'Morning Prayer'

In the family we often spoke about Baba, His teachings and other spiritual issues. I had the life of an average Danish young man, went to college, engaged in sports activities and spent time with my friends and family, but the longing for a more spiritual life increased over the years. I prayed to the omnipresent God without name and form to show me the spiritual guide that I was destined to follow. The following night Baba appeared to me in a dream and spoke to me in English, giving me advice about several aspects of my life. These dreams have been part of my inner life and contact with Him since then.

In 1994, I was in Prasanthi Nilayam with a group of Danish Sai devotees for Christmas. I did not travel to India to find out who Baba was. For some unknown reason it already seemed clear to me that He was the reincarnation of Lord Krishna, the Creator of this Universe. Nor did I come for healing, to be convinced about Baba's ability to materialise, or to test His Divine powers. I went there because I had a deep longing to see Him and feel His presence.

Eyes of Endless Depth

Sai Ribers
Those Eyes...that encompassed eternity

One day during Darshan, He was standing right in front of me. He did not speak to me, but He looked into my eyes and smiled. His face was so beautiful. An old saying states, "The eyes are the mirror of the soul" and I often felt that when I looked into the eyes of a person I would see a reflection of their soul's uniqueness.

But with Swami, there seemed to be no individual soul. No beginning. No end. Looking into His eyes was a view into Eternity, into the Absolute Infinite Beingness – God. I was plunged into the unfathomable, overwhelmed and deeply touched. He left me awestruck, with tears in my eyes.

A few days later, on Christmas day, an Indian Sai devotee shared with me the following quote by Baba:

"No matter where you go, always know that I will be there, inside you, guiding you every step of the way. In the years to come, you will experience Me in My different manifestations of My form. You are My very own, dearer than dear to Me. I will protect you like the eyelids that protect the eyes."

Little did I know at that time, how significant these words would be to me in the years to come!

Aspirations of the Heart

When I returned to Denmark my life changed completely. If ever I were to be worthy of looking into His eyes again I would have to put His teachings into practice. What had He told me? That I should see Him in His different manifestations of His form, and that only through love and service to mankind could I serve God and attain God's grace. On a spring day in 1995 the following poem flowed easily into my mind.

Sai Ribers
Beloved One, Beloved One,
Let me be your sacred son.

I am Yours and You are mine
We are all in Love Divine.

Take my life and make me You;
Make me just as loving too.
You are God and I am too,
Let me work in love for you.  

Lead me on the journey through
All the way back Home to You.
I am Yours and You are mine;
We are all in Love Divine.  

Oh, My Lord I pray to Thee,
Make me humble on my knee.
I will serve the best I can;
See You Lord, in every man.  

We are One;
Father, Son.
Please make me Yours,
Beloved One.

Vision of Sai

I titled it Beloved One and the words defined the way I strived to live my life. Yet, words alone are not sufficient; they must be followed by practice. So I volunteered to become a visiting friend at the nearest old people's home. Several days a week I would go and spend time with the elders, talk to them, listen to their life stories and learn about the difficulties they are grappling with in the last days of their lives.

Sai Ribers
"I am everywhere, at all times..."

I realised, that when they viewed their lives in retrospect, the most valuable experience had been the love of their families. These moments of service were indeed rewarding for me. However, I often longed for India, for Swami and for the nearness of my Father, the Poorna Avathar.

It was on one such day, when I was on my way to visit an elderly man at the old people's home that I was longing for India and Swami. When I entered the room where the old man lived, I saw him lying on his bed. And as I went near and we started speaking, my thoughts went back to India and for a few seconds I didn't focus on the person in front of me, whom I had promised to serve.

When I looked up again it was no longer the old man lying on the bed. It was Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in His orange robe, with a crown of black hair! Not like a vision or a dream, but in His physical form. I was so awestruck that I almost fell on my knees. But the moment I moved, the scene changed. Again it was the old man lying in front of me.

"Serve man until you see God in all men," Baba tells us. I spent the rest of the day with my friend, reflecting upon Baba's words. As humble as I would be towards Swami, I should be to this man. As respectful as I would be to Swami, I should be towards this man. All the love I would have for Swami, I should have for this man. "In the years to come, you will see Me in My different manifestations of My form." Baba had indeed kept His promise. For five years I served several different people at the old people's home and I spent almost every evening there. I didn't see Swami in His familiar divine form again, but I learned to see and experience His omnipresence and His Love in His multiplicity of forms.

Source: http://media.radiosai.org/Journals/Vol_05/01DEC07/07-Ribers.htm

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