Journey To The Divine

How many of us have tasted the exquisite experience of an interview with Bhagawan?!? …wherein He becomes the most loving Mother, absolutely caring Father, most reliable Friend…and beyond everything, God Almighty… Dr Samuel Sandweiss shares what he witnessed, what he experienced inside the most alluring spot in Prasanthi Nilayam…Bhagawan’s Interview Room…

That evening Baba presented Himself much earlier than usual, at a quarter to four. No sooner had He finished His stroll among the two or three thousand people gathered and started back toward the temple than a heavy rain began to fall. People began scurrying for cover, and Elsie Cowan was knocked to the ground. “I feared being trampled,” she said later. “Then in the blurred confusion of that moment I looked up and saw a flash of orange and there was Baba smiling peacefully and being all protective. He helped me up and brought me to shelter and I was thrilled with this sense of protection.”

Baba invited Helen Vreeland—a devotee from Santa Barbara, California—along with Elsie and I in for an interview. There was one other person present, an English speaking woman in her late forties who appeared to be from the Middle East. Obviously in quite a bit of distress, she told Baba that she had two children and pleaded with Him for help. She felt unloved and unhappy and worried about the care of the children because of a serious physical illness she had. “I know, I know,” Baba said sympathetically. “Feeling unloved is not unusual, it’s general now in this world—one must be strong.”

He spoke about the importance of character, perseverance and faith. “Emotions come and go: pain is the place between two pleasures, pleasure is the place between two pains—transient, always changing. These come and go like waves in the ocean, like a breeze, and one shouldn’t pay much attention to them. Remember, you are the Unchanging, Infinite, Immortal.” Everybody is saying, “I want peace”; He continued… Peace is like a letter in an envelope. The ‘I’ of ‘I want peace’ is the front part of the envelope and the `want’ is the back. The `peace’ itself is the letter inside. Throw away the envelope of ‘I’ and `want’ and keep the precious letter of Peace.” He mentioned a number of familiar saying which took on new and deeper meaning. Gesturing expansively from His heart He seemed too full of the bliss He naturally and spontaneously radiated to us. “Most routes to God are circuitous,” He said; “like Japa (recitation of the name of God with the aid of a Japamala, similar to use of the rosary) meditation and bhajans. But the direct path is Love. “Start the day With Love, spend the day With Love, end the day With Love: That’s the way to God, that is the quickest path.” As He said this, He gestured to the suffering woman and to all of us as if He were in the heavens soaring in space.

“But, Baba, I am ill. I hurt.” was her response.

He nodded softly and gently. “I know: your left side, it cramps; there are glands there.”

She was surprised. “Yes, Baba, glands. Yes, it is cramping hard.”

“I know, I know,” He repeated in His soothing voice. “You don’t sleep well at night, worrying this way and that. Your insides are in turmoil; sometimes you pass blood.”

“That is right. Baba, that is right.” She began to calm and soften with this experience of Baba’s omnipresence and omniscience.

“Yes, these eyes are x rays,” He said, smiling. He continued to describe her condition, mentioning specific symptoms which she acknowledged. She kept pleading asking anxiously whether she would recover. “Surely, you will be all right.” He answered emphatically. “Don’t worry about the body. You are the I that is behind the body, you are Eternal.”

“But my children, Baba, my health,” she persisted. He produced the curative Vibhuti for her and told her to take a little in water at bedtime for three or four nights and she would sleep soundly; her side would start getting better and she would be well again.

It was during this interview that I began to see Baba less in the role of controlling great forces and being able to change history from afar, but more simply, as a manifestation of Pure Love. One might speculate that Baba’s purpose in America is to usher in a spiritual awakening in the West, or to help the chaotic political, social, or economic conditions, or perhaps to do something about the tinder box in the Middle East, or as part of some great design; but when we ask Baba, He smiles sweetly and says, “I am only proposing to do this for Elsie and Walter and to bring happiness.”

Baba produced some more Vibhuti for us, and Helen looked filled to the brim with love for Him. “You have given me everything, Baba,” She said. Hesitantly she asked Baba if she could lay her head on His Feet. He consented and stood up. Helen knelt, her face filled with a soft radiant glow, a mist of loving tears in her eyes and slowly and gently pressed her cheek to Baba’s Feet. She rested there a moment… her eyes closed, floating in a state of peace from this contact with the Divine. Baba stood quietly, smiling, recognizing the genuineness of Helen’s feeling and pleased to grant this heart felt request. The moment was touching, full of devotion and love.

Elsie gave Baba letters from American devotees and showed Him enlarged photographs of the Christ on the cross which He had manifested for Jack Hislop. Talking business, she asked Baba if she could sell the picture and how much she should charge. He smiled. “No, no, I Am not interested in the money; don’t talk about money with Me. Do your duty—it is your business…money comes and goes, morality comes and grows.” Again, such sayings take on a deeper meaning in Baba’s presence. It is apparent that He really means it when He says that He is not interested in money and does not want to talk about it, that it is a source of a great deal of conflict from which He intends to stay entirely free. At the same time, He understands and accepts its significance in the lives of His devotees. Suddenly He referred to the late Walter Cowan, who is ever with Him, as He has declared.

“Walter and I paid you a visit this morning,” he said to Elsie.

“Yes, yes, at six o’clock. I felt so filled.”

“No…five minutes to six,” He corrected her, smiling lovingly, looking again as if He were floating in heaven. Here is an older woman weakened physically, having difficulty seeing and moving about, yet driven with devotion and love—always moving towards Baba. And, she had a vision of Walter and Baba at 6 in the morning. No wonder. She also urged us on, further and faster towards God come as Sai Baba.

Baba helped her up. I recalled a friend telling me before I had met Baba: “He is capable of filling your cup until you simply cannot hold more, and He still continues to give.”

The woman with the illness rose to thank Baba. He smiled lovingly at her and began to stir the air with that marvellously acquisitive hand of His. Soon, there it was: a magnificent ring. This was the final touch. She fell into a swoon at Baba’s feet, crying “Thank You, thank You.” Her change from the agonizing fear at the beginning of the interview to this intense radiance of devotion and love was so overwhelming that my own heart seemed a reservoir of vicarious and personal joy, and I struggled to keep its gates from bursting. Never had I felt this exquisite experience so deeply. Baba showed me in an instant what years of psychiatry could not: the means for igniting this love. Such deep love is born out of the devotional yearning for the journey to The Divine.