The Truth Behind The Truth…

Howard Murphet, the privileged Australian author, who ‘introduced’ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai to the western world through his illustrious books, had his initial reservations before giving in to accept Him as God Incarnate.  God incarnates in every man and woman born on earth but we are not aware of this wonderful truth, although perhaps sometimes dimly aware. Our very purpose in being born as a human being, said Bhagawan, is to work towards the realisation of the great truth of our Divinity, writes Murphet.

It was during my first visit to Prasanthi Nilayam in 1966 when I first heard Swami being called an Avatar. I was sitting with a small group of young Indian men on the ladies side of the Mandir, when Swami suddenly appeared and started walking across the large square of sand that has now become a green park. He was walking barefooted and red robed towards one of the terraced houses that then stood in line with their backs to the road, and their doors and front windows facing the square of golden sand. We watched the progress of Swami in silence for a time, then the young man sitting beside me with whom I had a great deal of discussion, said in a quiet voice ‘Many of us regard Him as an Avatar’. This gave me something of a shock. Did he mean that this little figure, with the mop of fuzzy black hair above His soft luminous eyes was God? I looked at the speaker again. It was the serious face of the Crown Prince of Venkatagiri. From our previous discussion, I had learned to respect the knowledge and insight of this young man. Now he spoke in all seriousness about One that I had considered to be a great yogi with miraculous powers and understanding, being an Avatar of God. I remained silent; but mentally decided that when I got back to the Theosophical Headquarters, I would get any books I could find from the library, and try to learn what I needed to know about the term `Avatar’.

However, I did not, in fact, learn very much from the books available. Lord Krishna, Who lived some five thousand years ago, seemed to have been the last of the Avatars. He brought great changes to the people of the earth at that time as did, indeed, the former Avatar Rama. Did such Beings, when they came to the earth, always shake and move and change the world? Later on, I remember hearing Swami that Jesus Christ was a partial Avatar. Jesus did in fact change the Western half of the world from the power seeking, egotistical values of the Roman Empire to the compassionate Christendom. If a partial Avatar could do so much, what might a full Avatar do for the whole world? But first, I must get clear in my mind, what was meant by an Avatar, and find out if this small red robed figure, Whom I had begun to respect and love deeply, was really One. While I pondered this question, I continued to be with Sai Baba as much as I possibly could, which was most of the time.

`God as Man on earth!’ this seemed to be a far-fetched and incomprehensible idea certainly in my early years. Christian theology had taught me that God had come to earth once, but only once, in the form of Jesus Christ and that He would never come again, except at the end of the world. Certainly, my own thinking and Theosophy had knocked this idea out of my mind. It was not now a part of my belief system. I knew that Theosophy did accept the truth of the earlier Avatars, Krishna and Rama but this was all so long ago.

The idea of God Himself coming to the earth in the form of a man in this modern world was a concept that seemed impossible for me to accept. And if Almighty God did in fact decide on such an unlikely move, why should He choose to be born in a remote, primitive village, hidden away in southern India, where the mass of the mankind was unlikely to hear of Him for a very long time, if ever?

Then suddenly, the whole idea became acceptable to my understanding and to my belief. It happened this way. One day, I was strolling quietly in a small garden that fronted the doorway of Swami’s interview room in the two-storey house that stood where the white, lotus shaped Mandir now stands at Brindavan, Bangalore. We were all expecting Swami to emerge from the doorway at any moment. Appearing suddenly, Swami walked into the garden among us. He stopped not far from where I was standing. A young Indian, probably in his early twenties, stepped boldly in front of Sai Baba, and even more boldly asked the question `Are You God?’ The hush that fell over the group of men seemed expectant, and yet somehow fearful. But Swami was His calm, normal Self. He pointed His finger at the young man and replied, `You are God!’

Then, standing among us in that small quiet garden, He gave a simple revealing talk that taught me so very much about the nature of man and God. The gist of it was that God incarnates in every man and woman born on earth but we are not aware of this wonderful truth, although perhaps sometimes dimly aware. Our very purpose in being born as a human being, He told us, is to work towards the realisation of the great truth of our Divinity. We are, in fact, when born – Avatars, without the knowledge of this stupendous truth! The ones who are called Avatars are those who are born with the knowledge of this great truth of their identity with God. And so He said, `The only difference between you and Me is that while you are Avatars and you do not know it, I knew it from the time of My childhood. When l tell you as I do, that you are God, that God is within you all, you may or may not believe it, but you have to do more than believe it, you must by the life you live, and through your Sadhana reach the point where you experience your own Godhood. Then you will not only believe, but realise that you are God. That is the one step that you must take to know in your mind and experience in your whole consciousness that you and I Are one.’

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II