I had the great good fortune of an interview with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba at the meeting of the Prasanthi Vidwanmahasabha (Maharashtra Branch) held in the residence Hon'ble Sri. P. K. Savant, Minister for Agriculture, Maharashtra Government, on 14th June, 1969. The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Sri Balasaheb Bharde and the Chairman of the legislative Council, Sri V. S Page were also present, with many others.
Baba came in and sat with us, on the same carpet! Sri Savant said, "These people have all come to speak with You and present their doubts before you. He pointed to me and asked me, "Well, ask what you wanted to ask". I felt that it may not be appropriate to begin the sessions, with a question on His Miracles, and so, I turned to Sri Page and said, "You may start with your questions". Then, Sri Bharde intervened; he told Baba, "This person has interviewed many persons so far on the topic of miracles and published their answers in his paper, the Nava Kaal, he desires to ask you about them. Thus I was encouraged to present my questions first. I was emboldened because, there is intense thirst among the people to know more of these miracles. So, I dared ask, "What is the power which works these miracles, these chamatkars?"
Baba answered, sweetly and with a smile, "It is wrong to call them chamatkars or miracles. Those words are not proper. When the power is ever-present, and never declines how can it be a miracle? I know the background of your question. What you refer as miracle or, chamatkars, is in fact, Divine Power. It is as vast as the Ocean; it is an inexhaustible mine. From this sea, all those who feel the need can fill their pots and carry away the water.
For example, I create things. This is what you call, miracles, isn't it? I do not create them, for exhibiting the Power; that is to say to attract people towards Me. I have no such motive; things are so being created by Me, quite naturally. It is My sport, My Leela. It is a sign of Divine Power, which helps to turn man towards Divinity. It is not Pradarshan; it is Nidarshan. Yad bhaavam, tad bhavathi: as intended, so it happens. As the intention arises in My Mind, so; the thing is made. The moment it is willed, the thing comes to hand".
When this answer fell on my ears, I was reminded of a passage in the article that Sri Bharde contributed to Nava Kaal, where he says, "I have not seen so far, any person who does miracles as spontaneously, as naturally, as Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He stood before the idol of Rukmabai at Pandharpur and raised both His Hands, saying "The decoration is incomplete", and as He said so, a necklace of gold concretized in His Hands. That jewel which He then placed round the neck of the Idol is still there".
"Is your (Shakti) Power to create things, inexhaustible?" I ventured to ask. He said, "it is Divine, Daivashakti, boundless as the Ocean, inexhaustible. Every one, whoever he is, can take from it what he needs, to his heart's content".
Sri P. K. Savant noted how Baba was gladly answering the questions, and welcoming them. So, he felt bold to ask, "Though this is the inexhaustible and boundless, why is it not used to cure the poverty and misery of mankind?" At this, Baba laughed outright. He said, "Poverty means, not having or possessing certain things, isn't it? You seem to think that misery is caused by the non-possession of certain things. Where there is no mental peace, there is misery, however many things a man may have or may not have; a man may have a magnificent banquet before him; he may have an air-conditioned room; he may have a transistor radio on his table. But, will these prevent his misery? Can he be happy with these? Sovereigns can command all things that give comfort and joy, but, are they happy? Even if a person has no such things, if he has mental peace, equanimity, he will be quite happy; leave him in a jungle, his happiness will not diminish, cannot diminish. My Task is to confer mental equanimity and that lasting happiness.
I do not give things to people in order to make them richer; I give in order to foster devotion and faith in them. A sick person comes to Me. I give him something I create, vibhuti or some article. Noticing that sign, he becomes conscious of Divine Power. He acquires mental peace; that peace sets him right. It was not that I cured him; he earned mental peace through contemplation of Divine Shakti (Power) and that set him on the road to health. If he is not given anything created by Divine Power, his mental peace and strength will diminish; so I am conferring on him, such things. It is not as if I give these things to those devoted to Me; I give, whenever it is desirable to turn the afflicted towards the Godward Path.
Where does this mental peace, mental strength come from? It is already in him, but, he is not aware of it. That is the reason why he is struggling to get it from external objects. A rock lies by the side of the road; it is apparently lifeless. Pour water on it and scatter some seeds; they won't sprout. But, break it, powder it into fine dust, pour water and scatter seeds; they will sprout. A tree will grow on it and it will yield fruit, which will sustain human life, which will reproduce life. So it has life latent in it; only, it does not manifest, when it lies on the side of the road. The sages and anchorites of India had discovered the life-principle in the rock; they declared that the rock too is God. On the other hand, the Westerners failed to discover even the Divine that is inherent in man!
Another example: Take two sticks and rub them together, fast. Fire will emanate. There was fire in them so long; but, the fire did not burn them. So too, great power reside latent in the mind. If that is developed, the rich treasure of Ananda can be secured. Sadhana is but another name for the means to develop it. Man does not engage himself in this Sadhana; he wants Ananda; so, he seeks to earn and accumulate external objects, expecting to get Ananda therefrom. So, he loses all. The body is the cart; the mind is the horse. The cart should not be placed in front of the horse; the care of the body should not be held more urgent and important. If efforts are directed more for bodily comforts than mental peace, the journey called life will be beset by obstacles.
Dhritarashtra—what was he deficient in? He had a mighty army, a vast kingdom, a hundred sons, untold treasure, fame and fortune. He had everything that man needed for happy life. But, he had one defect; he had no Atmajnana, he was blind to his real Atmic reality. Therefore, he did not have a moment of inner peace.
It is said that Bharath is a poor country while America and Russia are mightily rich. As a result, countless numbers of Indians have their eyes fixed on America; they believe that if America is followed, wealth and happiness can be attained. A young Indian felt like going to a picture house one evening. As he started, he remembered a close friend of his, an American. He did not know it was 4 A.M. there. So, he called him over the phone and asked, "I am now going to see a Film; what do you propose to do?" The, friend laughed and replied, "Film? At this time of the day? Are you mad? This is the hour when one should plunge into sleep. I am determined to sleep for at least four hours more". Hearing this, the Indian too gave up his plan to witness a film: he spread his bed and struggled to plunge into sleep!" Following the American ways of life will lead to such absurd situations, wont it?
(to be continued...)