But he did not glance towards us - not even once... despite
the fact that he sat in a chair a fair way to the front on the stage... However,
I noticed that during all this time he sat and studied his students intensively
(the male students naturally - who else?)
Were he truly omniscient, which he asserts that he is, one could hardly call his behaviour on that occasion loving... it was merely grim...
Besides the longing to be loved, there are a good deal of other things he employs when he chains his devotees to his own person...
Just think of the feeling of being chosen... by God himself!!!...
But he also binds us by instilling fear and guilt feelings or shame in us... for example the shame of not living up to the expectations God has to us... not to pass God's TEST!!!...All the talk about 'separating the wheat from the chaff' is just a way for him to prevent his devotees leaving him when it begins to become all too obvious for them that he is not what he sets himself up to be...and we go for it...
It also seems that those who get really close to him are those who later are the best candidates for leaving him... perhaps the hard reality becomes all too pressing, the nearer one gets?
In the book 'Nectarine leelas of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba', R. Balapattabi writes that only two!! of 45 persons who visited Baba in 1944 were still his faithful devotees. The rest of them left him bit by bit on separate occasions... So all the 'leelas' and all the miracles they were party to evidently did not help to convince them that he is God... (These 'leelas', of which all have read about with some envy, are said to have occurred in plenty in Baba's youth.
As to testing his devotees, just consider the following quote: When you hang a picture on the wall, you shake the nail and find out whether it is firm enough to bear the weight of the picture. So too, in order to prevent the picture of God (His image in your mind and heart) from falling and being shattered to bits, the nail... driven into the wall of the heart has to be shaken to ascertain whether it is firm and steady.
Thereby all responsibility is laid on his devotees - it is their own error if they do not have sufficient faith, while he also makes them ashamed as soon as they feel doubts... say what you wish about Sai Baba, he is no fool! . The above quote comes from page 153 of Charles P. Di Fazio's book From Where Did You Come? Di Fazio writes about a group of 18 American students who visited Sai Baba in 1993 together with Hal Honig. They were not as enthusiastic after the visit as they had been before they came there... From page 148 onwards, Di Fazio writes: Baba also did things, that to young American trained minds, were uncomfortable, disconcerting and confusing. Then he gives some examples of what it was that caused this... (what Baba later did with them during the private interviews is not made clear - we can only guess this).
For instance, Baba materialised a bracelet for one boy in substitution for another, and when Baba left the room, the old bracelet was lying in the chair where Baba had been sitting. The young man thought that Baba must have used sleight of hand, producing one bracelet and hiding the other.... He wanted Baba's divinity to be clear and unquestionable.
For another young man, Baba materialised a ring which He pronounced a 'diamond'. On the way back home, the fellow shopped for a ring for a girl friend. While doing so, he showed the ring that Baba had produced, to the man behind the counter, and asked him what it was. The man said that it wasn´t a diamond.
And apropos the executions by police rifles in the ashram, Di Fazio writes: The American students were dumbfounded! How could that happen at Prasanthi Nilayam, the Abode of Peace? Why didn´t Sai Baba prevent those deaths from occurring? Didn´t He realize in advance that the whole event was going to happen? Obviously the trauma of the incident added to the doubts about Baba that some of the boys had been experiencing.
Di Fazio's own conclusions from all this was that the poor numbskulls did not understand what was for their own good and that Baba only was shaking the nail.
One of the students died in an inexplicable manner after his return home, writes Di Fazio. It is not made clear of what he died, but one can read between the lines that it must have been a suicide.
Why fear when I am here... a certain wastage is only to be reckoned on. If we should still tend to be given to a few doubts, we should learn the following: See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil. ... Criticism is nothing but the reflection, reaction and resound of one's own wicked qualities.... God forbid... or even worse: Bad thoughts in the mind are worse than poisonous reptiles in the house. Who wants poisonous snakes in the house!!
Then it is considerably more comfortable to be happy that one belongs to the exceptional band of those who are chosen by God himself... No one can come to Me without My calling him, even if a hundred people persuade, drag, or push him. It is My Will that has brought every single one of you here to Me..... I must tell you that you are luckier than men of previous generations. The accumulated merit of many previous births must have granted you this luck. You have got Me and it is your duty now to develop this relationship that you have achieved by sheer good fortune. How lucky we are...
And nothing is impossible if one in addition should belong to that happy band who have Baba's special GRACE... Even though one may not belong to these especially chosen devotees, one has every possibility of gaining merit, even if it involves travelling to Puttaparthi 20 times without being considered worth a glance...... but one can always console oneself that one even got to see him, even if it was from a certain distance... and as it says in Sanathana Sarathi p. 235, August 2002)
He passes through the rows of devotees assembled for His Divine Darshan. As He Himself has declared, His every Darshan is an act of Divine Grace which even the gods of Heaven yearn for. If Baba should appear wholly uninterested, or directly angry, when he goes past you after you have waited for three hours with paralysed legs on a hard stone floor, you can be completely confident that he is only pretending... in reality, he is not the least bit angry or irritated... it just looks like that.
Moreover, a genuine devotee can take pleasure in all the future benefits if he/she is but determined and toughened...
The recipient of God's grace will lack nothing. He will have no troubles and he will commit no wrongs, because he has surrendered to God. Grace will set everything right. Its main consequence is self- realisation, but there are other incidental benefits too, like a happy contented life and a cool courageous temper, established in unruffled equanimity... This is the nature of Grace. It fulfils a variety of wants."
Or even better... If you have the capacity to draw the Lord to yourself, He will himself come to you and be with you. Be like Krishna´s flute: a hollow reed straight, light, with no substance to hinder His breath. Then He will come and pick you up from the ground. He will breathe divine music through you, playing upon you with delicate touch.
Yes, that sounds marvellous! Who would not want to be part of this???? But one should not believe that it will be as easy as all that... first and foremost there are demands of faith and surrender to be met... not to mention devotion. Your faith and devotion should be like the unshakeable boulder on the seashore. The waves will not stop hitting the boulder. Yet, it remains steady. Similarly, problems will pound you ceaselessly. But your devotion must be like the boulder weathering all that it hurled at it. There is nothing like blind faith. For faith there can be no reason and no season. Devotion means wholehearted love for Bhagawan. Such love can tame even wild animals. It is only when your hearts are filled with such love that you can claim to be devotees.... When devotion grows intense, the wish to understand does not continue. There is no further wish to understand. There is only devotion .
That man knows how a millstone should be carried... and how shall he get us to stop pondering unnecessarily. Why bother oneself about rifle executions or physical abuse of boys/children??.... and think how wonderful to be able to stop thinking about why Baba in every Sanathana Sarathi persists in repainting his moral stories from Indian mythology, which in certain cases are incomprehensible for us Westerners.
Take, for example Sanathana Sarathi of July 2002, where on page 202 it says,
"King Harischandra considered truth as his very life- breath. He dedicated himself to the cause of truth so totally that he gave up his kingdom and even had to sell his wife and son in the process. He considered truth as his kingdom."
A nice guy, this Harischandra! But to make it all more watertight... if there should, despite all the exertions by Baba, remain a few devotees who still persist in holding certain doubts... then we know, don't we, that the Lord's ways are inscrutable - aren't they?
God s actions vary and their significance cannot be understood by man. No one has the authority to tell the Divine how He should act. God deals with a person according to his past actions and according to the requirements of the prevailing situation. So delightful, this... now we can relax from all of it and just dwell in our devotion.
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