THE EXPIRED THONGS

I embarked on a spiritual journey last spring and headed towards an ashram in search of self enquiry. My destination was India, a country known for its vast spiritual heritage. I carried in my luggage the minimal personal effects including a pair of old thongs. This search for the Truth of Oneself will, in my mind, be restrictive on personal wants and needs.

Two days after I had rambled around in my old thongs, I noticed that part of the right sole was coming off; I brought it closer to my eyes to have a microscopic view of the damage; I then perceived that there was another problem; the strap which run from between the big toe and the second toe to the right side of the sandal was threading off and thinning. I sadly told myself that the thongs had expired due to old age, wear and tear. It was essential for me to look for new thongs before the expired ones left me half-way. Opportunity knocked when the next morning I walked into a store to buy fruit juice. An array of attractive and colorful thongs was displayed on a self. I tried a few pairs until I fell on one which fitted perfectly.

I settled my bill, removed the new thongs from the box, glided my feet into them and placed the expired ones into the carton, to throw away. Strangely, I could not find a dustbin and the expired thongs slept in the box, under my bed, almost forgotten.

Time passed by. For the festival of Mahashivaratri, innumerable pilgrims arrived at the ashram from all over the world. One night, I misplaced my new thongs. I immediately run for the rescue of the expired ones. I had been advised by a physician to walk barefoot which was supposedly a good exercise for different types of inflammation and beneficial for my sore knees, but accustomed to the western way of life, I found it hard to hop around like a grasshopper without footwear.

Eventually, the expired thongs silently resumed their job of transporting me. Every time I came out of a hall or canteen where footwear was not allowed, my eyes fell on them, waiting for me, tattered yet so warm. They were serving submissively and devotedly like old wives. I left them here and there, under the nose of everyone but nobody touched them. They were too old to draw attention or to be stolen. Expired they were, in the eyes of all except in mine. What a startling spiritual lesson to learn! Respect and hold on to the old; in times of need, they are the most helpful.

Further, nothing ever happens accidently or mysteriously, spiritual life shows us. For every happening, there is a proper reason. Moreover we are taught that inanimate objects too have feelings and emotions. For instance, it is told in the sacred Hindu book ‘The Ramayana’ that when Lord Rama, The Avatar of the Treta Yuga went to rescue his wife Sita from the demon King Ravana, an army of monkeys came to his help. They built a bridge by plucking mountains from the Himalayas and throwing them into the seas to allow Rama to walk from his land to the realm of Ravana. When the bridge was done, one mountain cried because it was plucked from its original place but not used. Lord Rama then promised the mountain that in his next incarnation, it will receive his blessings. This very mountain was the Govardhana Peak which Rama as the Avatar Krishna in the Dwarpa Yuga lifted on his finger and held aloft for seven days in order to save the inhabitants of Gokul from the devastation of torrential rain.

Illustrating the words of wisdom of my Guru, ‘there is nothing in this world which has no heart, which is incapable of feeing of joy and grief; only, you must have the eye to see, the ear to listen and the heart to respond’, here is another example of emotion expressed by inanimate objects is the more recent case of ‘the weeping saris’.  At Anantapur, the Kaliyuga Avatar, Sri Sathya Sai Baba asked that a box of new saris be brought to his room; they were to be distributed to women workers who were helping in the construction of the Sathya Sai College. He chose 96 saris out of one hundred and disregarded four, which were returned to the box. After he distributed the saris, his attention was drawn to a trickle of water flowing from the bottom of the box. Baba later explained to a gathering at Dharmakshera that the saris had feelings just like humans and similar to the mountain that was set aside by him in the Treta Yuga, the saris were aggrieved; they were weeping because they had been set aside by him. He immediately removed the saddened saris from the box and distributed them.

To cut a long story short, I returned home with the expired thongs, having learnt that self enquiry leads one to detach from people, mundane life and worldly affairs by opening one’s eyes to the deficiencies in them.

Anita Bacha

 

Dream of Sai Baba

Sharing the dream story of Sai Devotee Ankit.

Reproduced in the own words of Ankit, this write-up is overwhelmingly sweet and packed with innocence and purity.Treat your eyes!

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 Sharing a Sai Dream

Courtesy of Ankit Sharma

 On Thursday 08 January 2015, I had an exceptionally beautiful dream of Sri Sathya Baba which I am sharing with all our friends and Sai devotees.

In the dream I see my friend and I with so many devotees standing in a very big hall of a temple. This temple is surrounded by so many trees and is situate in a jungle. We are feeling so much peace and sacred vibes all around the temple.

 In this big hall of temple there is a big tree and under the tree there is a very beautiful statue of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Near the tree and the statue there is room that is closed from inside. 
All the devotees are standing there with so much impatience and waiting for someone who is inside the room. Only my friend and I don’t know who is inside the room but other devotees know who is inside.

After few hours of waiting the door is opened by someone who is inside the room. My friend and I feel that this person is sitting in a deep meditation from long times. When he opens the room from the room so much sacred smoke of ‘dhoop’ or smoke of ‘agarbatti’ comes out from the room with this man.
However we do not see very well this man’s face. We are still trying to recognize who is this man when this man completely comes out from the room.
We see his face and this is what we see … He is our Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba himself in orange color robe looking so sweet and beautiful.  In his one hand there is ‘aarti  thali’ and he starts to do ‘aarti’   facing to the room door . Then one person, who is standing near to us, says that Baba is doing ‘aarti’ of his own guru first. 
After this ‘aarti’, Baba faces to the tree and his own statue Sri Sathya Sai Baba and starting to do ‘aarti’  and Baba is singing  the aarti  song and all the devotees are following to Baba in chorus and all are singing the ‘ aarti’ song.
Then a man who is very small in height took a “ganti’ (cymbal) in his hand and start to play the “ganti’ with a  stick and same time he is dancing from left to right in ecstasy.
After completing the ‘aarti’, Baba comes near to the tree and statue. He starts to talk to the statue. We are looking to the Baba. Then Baba says to all of devotees:

“Yes I can talk to my statue!”

 We can also hear the voice which is coming from the statue when Baba is talking to the statue.  Baba says so many times to us that Yes I can talk to my statue! Yes I can talk to my statue! Yes I can talk to my statue! After this, Baba turned to face His devotees and blessed us all with one hand raised. Then my friend and I look into the eyes of Baba and we see a wonderful vision of Baba. We see the whole world in His eyes! For us, it is a very special darshan of the Lord!

Sairam!

Thought for the Day

Statue Of Sairama 1

A Sai Dream Come True

The Truth upholds the fragrant Earth and makes the living water wet. Truth makes fire burn and the air move, makes the sun shines and all life grow.

 A hidden truth supports everything. Find it and win (Ramayana)

As you progress along the spiritual path,

You should walk hand in hand with God;

In whatever form you see Him, God is your ultimate guide and helper;

He will carry you forward on the spiritual path if only you will establish real contact with Him

(Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba)

In December 2004, I was spending Christmas with my son, Toshlen Anil, at Baba’s ashram in Puttaparthi. I vaguely recall dreaming of Sai often in those days compared to the present days when Sai comes very rarely in my dreams. Possibly the reason behind this rests in the fact that after Swami left the mortal coil, I left the Sai Organization and became engulfed in the material world with all its ominous consequences.

To come back to the topic of Sai Dreams, one night I dreamt that I was sitting in the Sai Kulwant Hall. My gaze was fixed on Swami. Around me, there were devotees singing Bhajans. Undisturbed I continued to look in wonderment at the Lord. All of a sudden, the whole body of Swami shrank into the size of a mini doll. I was incredulously stunned with the vision of Swami as a tiny Japanese doll!

I could not find an interpretation of this crushingly beautiful dream although I enquired about its meaning from many Sai devotees, including Sri Ram Chugani, Co-coordinator for Japan, when the latter was alive and I met him at the Kobe Sai Centre in Japan in 2009.

The meaning of this dream suddenly dawned upon me last night when I was talking on the phone to a business man in India. I ordered a statue of Swami from this man who is a supplier of ‘moortis’ (statues). We were in contact daily to get the minutest details about the perfect statue as I had envisioned Baba in yet another dream. The man was very patient and extremely respectful, bless him! He sent him many pictures of the statue in the cutting and fabrication process. Finally, last night he sent me by email a profile picture of the statue for my approval.

I opened the mailer and I was bowled over at the sight of the statue! It was exactly like I saw Baba in my 2005 dream! A Japanese doll!

I immediately run to my bookshelf, I got hold of ‘The Maker of Miracles’, a novel which I wrote and published in the USA in 2006. I quickly and excitedly delved in the pages. Under the chapter ‘Dreams of BABA’ at page 110, I wrote these precognitive words –‘A few days before, I was watching Bhagawan Baba closely at darshan when suddenly and by miracle, Baba shrank into the size of a baby boy before my bewildered eyes. He looked like a sweet Japanese doll for a split second then he returned to normal.’

Strange as it may seem, Baba monitors all the happenings in our life. I will add that even this man, the supplier of the statue, when I first met him, I told him –‘You know what? Sai Baba told me that I would meet you one fateful day and your presence in my life will be a stepping stone in my spiritual journey!

At the Lotus Feet of SAI

Anita Bacha

23 January 2014 Mauritius

Reflections

 A TRUTH UNTOLD

Kaki turned sixty-seven last summer. Her children were married and had left home. Her husband, a retired army officer, was more cantankerous than ever before; a wife beater and a bully, he had no one except the docile Kaki upon whom he could vent his erratic and ominous temper. Kaki sought refuge in her childhood memories.

 Alas! These memories were far from being joyful and bright. She recalled the often quoted proverb of her mother ‘out of the mouths of babes and sucklings comes forth the truth’. However, Kaki was a special child. She rarely talked, not because sometimes the truth is better left unsaid but simply because she was afraid. She was scared of telling the truth. She was scared of being accused of telling lies.

At an early age, Kaki became aware that she was endowed with a generous dose of acuity. She unwittingly watched and read the faces and mannerism of the people around her. This was how she found out about a sordid affair between her widowed grandmother and the dandy gentleman with the gold chain watch.

 Kaki’s grandma was a stern and authoritative woman. She was feared by all. She married a widower when she was fourteen and inherited a family of eight children. She procreate an additional eight kids. When Kaki’s grandfather passed, her grandma was a young woman bursting with feline energy. She heartily accepted to take Kaki under her charge when Kaki’s mother left this world.

The gentleman paid irregular, nocturnal visits to her grandma.  When he came, Kaki sat silently on a small wooden bench in the kitchen and shared with the two adults, the warmth of blazing charcoals in the hearth.  They talked and laughed at the same time as they enjoyed the home-brewed coffee which her grandma stealthily hid in a tin jar kept in a small cabinet under the stove. The jar was removed from its secret place only on the arrival of the gentleman. Kaki watched them dreamily. On these special occasions grandma was particularly attentive and caring to Kaki. She unreservedly treated her with a bowl of fresh boiled and creamy cow’s milk. A really scrumptious beverage for the child! She slurped the thick drink, licking the bowl clean. She never recalled when she fell asleep and who carried her to bed.

 Unhappily, in next to no time, that which looked like a fairy tale to Kaki turned out to be a horror story. One dark and silent night, Kaki was sleeping in her bed; her tiny toes touched what felt like the soft, warm and moist belly of a puppy. She woke up and found the gentleman, in his birthday suit, sleeping soundly at her feet.  She sat up in shock! She did not scream; she did not shriek. She was too terrified to utter a sound.

 As a consequence of the traumatic experience, she became a victim of severe panic attacks. She dreaded   the reunion in the kitchen and she shuddered with anxiety every time she slipped under her blanket. Nervous and wretched, she got into the psychosomatic habit of lying in bed in the fetus posture. The nightmarish incident repeated itself several times in the coming months or probably years. The trust and confidence which Kaki had placed in adults were lost forever. She hated them.  As her mental health deteriorated, she became pale, sad, aloof, forlorn and insomniac. But inhibited by an overpowering emotion of fear, she kept quiet about her condition and suffered quietly.

 The truth remained untold.

 On the other hand, the grandmother of Kaki and the gentleman continued to see each other for a good number of years. No one ever learned about their clandestine liaison.

 

 Anita Bacha

Short Story ‘ Service is Worship. Truth is God.’

Zillions of pilgrims flock to Kasi, where there is a shrine of Lord Shiva. It is believed that those who visit this sacred place will gain ‘moksha’ liberation and will escape the cycle of life and death. They will, in other words, win a place in Kailasa, the abode of Shiva.

 In Kailasa, Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, apprehensively, asked the Lord

“So many people are worshipping you in Kasi, but will Kailasa be big enough to accommodate all of them?”

Lord Shiva replied

 “All of them cannot come to Kailasa, dear! I will design a drama and show you the folks who will win my Grace and ultimately come to Kailasa. We will both act in this drama.”

Lord Shiva and Parvati then disguised themselves and came down to Kasi. Parvati, as a shriveled old hag, sat on the step of the Shiva temple and Lord Shiva, as a wizened old man, lay thirsty and crying for water in her lap.  Pilgrims were carrying the sacred water of the Ganges in silver vessels to pour on the Shiva Lingam in the temple as an offering to Lord Shiva. She wept and implored them to drop some water in the lips of her poor husband. Some looked at her pathetically and walked their way. Others said that they would bring some water only when they return from prayers and offerings to God. No one was willing to use the sacred water which they had collected to quench the thirst of the old man. In their mind, it was meant for God and it would be a sacrilege to offer it to a mendicant.

 Coincidentally, among the pilgrims, there was a thief who was hurrying in the temple to pick a few pockets. He heard the plaintive voice of the old woman and he stopped. He asked her what was the matter and she explained, adding that she could not leave her husband to fetch water as he could die any moment. Moved by the plight of the wretched couple, he got hold of his gourd. Earlier he had filled it with the water of the Ganges. The woman stopped him, in saying

‘Before you give my husband a drop of the sacred water, please say a word of Truth in his ear!’

The thief could not understand the woman and he asked her to explain what she meant. She replied

‘My husband will probably breathe his last as soon as the water wets his throat. Speak a good deed that you have done in your life when you offer the water!’

 He looked at the woman helplessly and said

‘Mother, I am a thief and I live by stealing others. I have never done a good act in my life. Offering water to this old man is my first good action.’

In so saying, he placed the gourd to the lips of the old man and poured a guzzle of water.

Then and there, the old couple disappeared and in their place stood Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in all their majesty, blessing the thief.

‘Son!’ Lord Shiva said ‘Life is meant to be dedicated to others, not to the self. Despite all your past wrongful acts, you have to-day performed a good deed by offering water to an old vulnerable person and you have spoken the truth. We grace you with this vision! Remember there is no morality higher than truth; there is no prayer more fruitful than service to others!’

Anita Bacha

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Short Story ‘Harry and Krishna’

 

Once there was a little boy who lived with his poor, widowed mother in a far away village.

His name was Harry. During school holidays he had no friend with whom to play. His mother was a loving woman and played with him when she was not busy with her household chores. One day, however, she fell ill and Harry became very lonely. His mother consoled him and told him to go out and play with Krishna.

‘Who is Krishna?’ Harry asked his mother.

‘Krishna is the friend of all!’

Harry rushed out eagerly calling ‘Krishna! Krishna!’

‘Hello!’ said a cow herd boy coming from behind a tree ‘why are you calling my name?’

“Let’s play!’ Harry uttered with joy.

They played together during the school holidays.

Back to school, Harry told the school master about his new friend, Krishna. The school master listened to his story but did not believe a word of it.

Soon it was the birthday of the school master. Harry became very sad; he had no money to buy him a birthday present. His mother then reminded him of his friend Krishna.

‘Go and  talk to your friend Krishna’ she told Harry, ‘he will surely help you!’

Harry did as he was told and Krishna gave him a pot of butter milk.

‘Here! This is a birthday present for your school master!’

Unfortunately, the school master was not happy with the present. He scorned at it and asked his servant to throw the milk curd away. The servant complied but amazingly, the pot was filled with milk curd again. After several attempts to empty the pot, he ran to the school master to tell him about the incredible happening.

‘What!’ the school master exclaimed ‘it is a magic pot!’ He immediately summoned Harry and asked him about the source of the pot.

When Harry replied that his friend Krishna gave it to him, the school master asked him to take him to Krishna immediately.

‘I want to see your friend!’ he exclaimed.

 The school master followed Harry to the place where Krishna was meeting him. At the top of his voice, Harry called for his friend but Krishna did not appear. Then from behind a tree, they heard a voice

‘Why are you calling me Harry?’

‘My school master wants to see you’ he replied.

‘No one can see me unless he believes in me, Harry! Your school master does not believe in me!’

The school master was bowled over. He returned to the school with his tail between his legs.

Anita Bacha

Sai Devotee Charles Penn

My passion for books and reading, not to mention for authors has opened diverse avenues in my life. As a child and an early ‘book worm’ I revered authors as semi gods. Pages became the wings that fly me to distant places. Later when I began to write my pen became my magic broom stick.

Decades ago when I became a follower of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and I joined the Sai fold I read ‘My Beloved’ and other books authored by the American Sai devotee Charles Penn. I was intrigued by this man. His devotion for Sai Baba baffled me. Moreover, I could find the answers for many of my queries about the paranormal in his books. Incredible but true, at an unnoticed corner of one book, I found the address of the Sai Centre of Vaness as if it was kept there only for me. Eager to know more and to satisfy my desire to understand the true meaning of life I started to write to him and to share with him my experiences of the Sai phenomena.

In 1997, as the Head of the National Adoption Council, I was delegated by the Government of Mauritius to attend the Second World Congress on Family Law and the Rights of Children and Youth in San Francisco, California. I brought the address with me. I had the intuition that a visit to the Sai Centre of Vaness had been spawned  out for me by the invisible hands of God. Hence at the end of the Conference, on 8 June 1997, I took a cab to Vaness.

Unfortunately when I arrived there I learnt that Charles had passed. I visited the ‘bhajan (prayer) hall’ to breathe in Sai, His robe was there and a ‘lingam’ which He had materialized for His American devotees. After reciting the Gayatri Mantra (the Universal Prayer), I accompanied American devotees to market square to distribute a brunch to street people. Service to the needy is one of the numerous activities of the Sai Organization and it is rigorously carried out by devotees in America.

Born and bred in a relatively poor and underdeveloped country I was shocked to contemplate the poverty in one of the urban areas of a rich country. More than ten years after I am still trying to understand the true meaning of life.

Anita Bacha

Sai Baba and Charles Penn