IS SAI BABA GOD?
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from
Prashanti Nilayam. This Birthday, the Media stirred a bit and took some
notice of Swami. What we mean is that regional papers had more than their
usual quota of photos, and many TV channels showed up, in fact more than
even at the time of the 80 th. We suspect it was all in part due to 1) the
visit of the President, and 2) due to big events meant to mark the opening
of the new Sri Sathya Sai International Centre for Sports. As a part of all
this, many articles were written and also many people were interviewed about
“Sai Baba”. Inevitably, the talk show hosts fired questions like: “Sai Baba
says He is God. Do you believe that?” and so on. This Sunday, we would like
to take a few minutes of your time to consider this question, which, we are
sure, must have been fired at you also by many of your friends who have
heard of Swami but know little about Him.
It is easy for us to feel hurt when we hear such questions, but we must be a
little patient. In a way, these questions are a test for us. Do we really
know who is God and are we really convinced Sai Baba is God? Do our actions
proclaim that? Right now, we do not wish to get into all those aspects of
the issue but simply spend a few minutes trying to understand what exactly
is meant by saying Sai Baba is God. Of course, we are all familiar with
Swami’s remark: “I am God but so also are you. The only difference is that I
know I am God while you do not.” It is that remark we now wish to comment
Let us assume that the questioner, who wants to know if Sai Baba is God,
believes in the existence of God and is also prepared to agree that it was
God who created the Universe. In that case, we could possibly have a
dialogue as follows:
Sir you agree that there is a God and that He created the Universe?
Yes I do.
I presume you would also agree that before the Universe came into existence,
there was nothing except God?
Hmm… may be I can concede that.
In that case, I presume we can say that there some traces of the Divine
aspect in us.
I do not follow.
Listen, if artist X painted some scene, would you not agree that the
painting would contain and try to convey something the artist had in his
mind, his feelings etc?
That is entirely possible.
Similarly, don’t you think some aspect of Divinity pervades all Universe?
What do you mean?
The Universe is a creation of God, the Ultimate Creator and Artist. If the
creation of an artist can carry his imprint, is it not fair to expect that
an imprint of Divinity would be in every atom of the Universe and also all
entities formed by atoms coming together, including us?
You have a point there. But what has all that got to do with the issue of
Sai Baba being God?
I am coming to that. However, before we get on to that, I want you to
appreciate that just as our body has genes derived from our biological
parents, our Hearts carry Divine Genes.
Divine Genes? I have never heard anything like that before.
You have I am sure but not in terms of those words.
What do you mean?
Well, I am sure you have heard of compassion, selfless love, sacrifice,
Oh that? Those are virtues.
Yes, virtues they indeed are, but they also are aspects of the Divine.
It means that where virtues shine, there one can see the radiance of
Divinity. It is these virtues that I refer to as Divine Genes.
You believe that?
Of course, and that is because that is what Lord Krishna has Himself
declared in the Gita. And something more.
What is that?
All religions proclaim that Love is God and God is Love.
You know, I have heard people talk about such things.
No surprise in that.
But listen, God is supposed to be a Super Judge, hearing appeals, handing
out judgements, etc. He is supposed to be a Super Natural entity.
Well, those are conceptions that people have. But why do you have to think
of God, entirely in that manner?
Then what else is one supposed to do?
Do you know you can think of God as the Ultimate Friend?
OK, I do that but of what good is that to me? When I am trouble, I can go to
a friend and seek help. Say I am short of money, I can approach a buddy and
try to borrow. Can I borrow money from God?
You know something? You can actually do that!
Come on, you must be kidding!
No I am not. You see, it all works out this way. If we have the faith and
pray to God, then God will come in human form and lend that money!
I am all confused.
You shouldn’t be but I understand your difficulty; so let me explain.
Remember I told we all have Divine Genes? Baba refers to this as the Spark
of the Divine. In other words, this Divine Spark is capable of manifesting
as goodness. And when that happens we see God in action in this world. Thus,
when somebody sees you in distress and comes forward to help you, it is
really God in disguise who is doing that. If a friend comes forward to give
you a loan, it is really God answering your prayers.
I have to digest that slowly, but let us get back to my basic question. How
can you call Sai Baba God? And why does He declare He is God? How on earth
can anyone do that?
I shall answer that very question but do you know that Sai Baba also tells
everyone, “You too are God”?
He says that?
Of course He does, and that is because everyone is Divine at the core.
This is too much. If everyone is a walking God, then how come there is so
much evil in the world? This is some kind of a joke I must say.
You would not say that if you heard the rest of what I have to tell you.
What is that?
You see, when Baba says,” I am God,” He also adds: “You too are God; the
difference is that I know I am God but you do not?”
Oh my God! One more of those confusing riddles!
Not at all. You see, what does Baba mean by saying, “I know I am God”? He
means that He is fully conscious that He is the embodiment of all virtues
and that therefore all His actions must reflect those virtues because they
are the signatures of Divinity.
Are you then saying all of us do not pay attention to the Divine Spark
within and do what we please, without bothering to be virtuous?
Precisely! You see, because He knows He is Divine, Baba is always
compassionate and pouring out selfless love. Otherwise, how does one explain
the wonderful projects He has executed in the areas of healthcare and
drinking water supply? Way back in 1940, He left school when He was a mere
fourteen year old, declaring He would serve mankind. He had full faith He
would be able to do it, because He had full faith in His Divinity.
You have something there.
Indeed I do. The problem is that people tend to think of God as some kind of
a mysterious Super Being who is out there somewhere, doing all kinds of
things behind our back, pulling all kinds of strings. God is just Pure Love,
and where you see Pure Love, there you see God.
But then there are all sorts of other things that need explanations in terms
of God. What about them?
Oh sure there are but that is for philosophers to worry about. At the
practical level, and that is what is important in today’s world, what we
desperately need is tolerance, understanding, Ahimsa, compassion, love and
so on. All these emanate from the Divine Spark within. That is what Krishna
So according to you, Sai Baba is Pure Love personified, and where there is
Love, there is God?
Yes, and if we can exhibit Pure Love then we too become God.
And for that we have to first recognise that we too have the Divine Spark
Absolutely, and make all efforts to make that Spark into a roaring flame!
In other words, Divinity is latent in everyone, and if one triggers it by
becoming pure, then that Divinity begins to shine via virtuous actions?
Hundred percent correct!
Dear Reader! The above is a fictional dialogue no doubt but you get the
general idea of the approach we ought to take.
The human aspect of the Divine is not something we are making up. In 1976,
during the Summer Course, Swami spoke almost entirely on the human aspect of
Krishna , saying that His human aspect is far more important that His
childhood Leelas. In the same way, we can focus on the Avataric aspect of
God as exemplified by Rama, Krishna, Shirdi Baba and so on, in particular
the human aspects, so that we can base ourselves on what people have seen
and recorded, instead of dealing with speculatory matters.
By the way, many non-believers who swear by Science also have to come up
against some unknowables. For example, there is general agreement today that
our Universe originated about 13.7 billion years ago in a Big Bang. What was
there before the Big Bang? We can never know but only speculate. Keeping
this in mind, we can steer the debate away from the abstract Super Normal
image of God about which no one can know to the human aspects of God, which
can shine and does shine everywhere. It shines brightly in good people and
feebly in others yet to evolve. We might also hammer in the fact how the
world would be a much better place if people turn compassionate and loving,
and if money is spent on education and medical care, instead of on atom
bombs and sophisticated military aircrafts that cost millions each.
Do you agree with our line of thinking? Whether yes or no, please take a
minute off and write to us.
See you again next Sunday. Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,