Travelling To The Light…

Ana Elena Diaz-Viana received a spiritual gift from Bhagawan the night of November 23, 1975. At that time, she didn’t know Him, had never heard of Him, and didn’t even have any idea as to why she was having the experience. In March 1976 Bhagawan appeared for the first time in her dreams and six years later she went to India to be in the Divine Presence. Bhagawan has guided her mostly through dreams and personal experiences. She received a technical degree in Computer Sciences in her native Venezuela, where she was the founder of Sai Centres in different cities of the country and eventually worked for the S.S.S.B Organization, becoming the first president of the Venezuela’s Coordinating Committee in October 1988. Since 1993 she lives in the US.

In a visit to Swami in 1997 He gave her indications to ‘write’, but remained apprehensive for want of further hints and details. In the next trips Swami would make gestures as a joke about her ‘inability’ to write a word.  After helping with the Spanish translation of the book ‘Sai Thy Kingdom Come’ that speaks about the extraordinary prospects of Sathya Sai Avatar, she realises the extraordinary time we are living now.  Awaiting Bhagawan and His Golden Age, she wonders at the bounteous blessings of being a witness to epochal times of Sathya Sai Avatar.  

Nothing could be more difficult than offering something to the Lord.  For the hundredth time I watch through my window. The golden-brownish leaf refuses to leave the tree, the sun and wind have been punishing it for a while, but it is still there…attached.  I have been waiting for the small leaf to drop as if it was a divine signal. For the hundredth time, I’m going through the inner revision of my motives to write this story, scrutinizing the depths of my heart, reviewing the intricate layers and disguises of my ego. Would it ever leave?

Swami asked me to write many years ago. He used to tenderly scold me with a twinkle in His beautiful eyes: ‘you have been here two weeks doing nothing!’ As He encouraged me, He also knew I wasn’t ready. My shyness, my silence, my ego, my reluctance to get out of my mind…. Sreejith, a dear friend is now playing Swami’s role in pushing me to write, and at my age, I may not have too much time to continue delaying this unfulfilled request.

This story is not mine, it is actually a script written by Thy Hand. Here I am, Divine Sri Sathya Sai Baba, my beloved Swami, at Your Divine Lotus Feet. With all my imperfections, offering just the intention to transcribe the script, the action and the results are all Your’s.

Divine Light

In November 1975, I was a 25-yr old mother living in Maracaibo, Venezuela. At that time, I was going through an existential crisis. Although I have read about religious experiences, nothing could have prepared me for the event and the life-changing experience that started on the night of November 23rd.

By early November I had been preparing for my son’s fifth birthday party and celebrating a job promotion. I was enjoying a successful career in Information Technology, a field that at the time had a high demand for professionals. Apparently from a personal and material point of view, my life seemed a fulfilled existence, needing nothing. Why did I feel so empty all of a sudden?  Was the most recent job promotion what brought this realization? There was no material success or worldly affair or mundane love enough to fill the void in my entire being!  I thought I was going through a depression, but other than this feeling of emptiness I continued to function as usual.

One night, while working late as usual, I felt the void and desperation taking over my mind, regardless of my need to focus on work. This time, I realized it was coming from unresolved basic existential questions. Everything was meaningless! The feeling was overwhelming.  Driving home I asked God if He really remembered His creation. Is He aware of His creation? If so, could He please demonstrate to me that He was listening or will this be a one-side conversation again?

Between the ages of 5 and 9 I could clearly remember conversations with Him, it was so natural to feel His presence in my heart! Then, when I was 10 years old my parents moved to a farm, and I was sent to a Catholic boarding school. The religious practices were designed around a rigid daily schedule of prayers and masses.  Perhaps to balance all these obligatory rituals, once in a while I used to go alone to the Chapel and sit in front of the Crucifix. Not praying, it was my only opportunity to talk to Him:

Why do I have to see You in a statue? Why do I have to settle and have faith just by listening to the stories of the Gospels, rather than experiencing You in the flesh? Why did You come almost 2,000 years ago and not now? I would have followed You! I would have recognized You among the people. Why is everyone saying You died for our sins? I wasn’t even born then! Why?

My ‘complaining’ session would usually end with: “I am sorry to say that I am like Saint Thomas*, I desperately need to see You! If You are really listening, give me proof!”

Fifteen years later, in that blessed night of early November’ 75, my plight was still the same but the pain, this time, was unbearable. Looking up at the starry night and doubting His existence, I raised my hand –as if possible to touch Him- and asked: “If You really hear me, give me proof!”…. Nothing prepared me to expect a trip across the universe as part of the answer.

Some days later, I was working on a weekend. There was a payroll modification that had to be ready before December 15th and that meant very little time left for all the tests and checks required before releasing it to production. I came home late that night. It was November 23, 1975. A little book was on my bed as if someone left it for me, but I didn’t know who brought it or why.  The title was: “I AM – A Meditation Guide” by Connie Mendez.

The book – a classic of metaphysical literature – suggested one has to sit straight in the padmasana position with closed eyes, the concentration fixed in a point between the eyebrows, on the forehead, all the while mentally repeating “I AM ___” (fill the blank with either God, The VERB, Who I AM, etc.). The objective was to discover and identify oneself with the inner Divinity or the Higher Self.  The idea was attractive and had some logic (we surely must have an inner self right?).

I couldn’t say convincingly “I AM GOD”… and “I AM WHO I AM” did not have meaning for me. But I AM THE VERB could be something which I could identify with….I AM THE VERB…the sound, the same vibration that has been resonating since the beginning of the universe. May be I could feel myself surrounded by the vibration and be part of it… repeating with all my concentration: “I am the Verb, I am the Verb, I am the Verb…”

At some point my mind stopped thinking and all I could ‘be’ was that thought… “I am the Verb”….a vibrating sound was reverberating inside me.  Suddenly, someone lighted a flash in front of my face! The flashing light was so powerful that it left me blinded.

Surely it had to be my brother Jose Alejandro behind this prank. He was 15 and had received the newest camera with flash photography for his birthday. Since then, he had been tormenting all of us with close-up photos, flashing in our eyes….. Oh no! – I thought – he took a picture of me sitting in this weird position and is going to make fun of me!… However, there were no signs of J.Alejandro in the room.

Closing my eyes again, and without thinking ‘I AM’ or anything, the flashing light appeared and disappeared again. It was puzzling, what could it be? It caused me a little fright, but then my mind reasoned “why should I be afraid of something inside me?” So, this time I tightly closed my eyes ready to find out what it was.

The Light appeared but this time it didn’t go away, it morphed into a spiral of white light, then swirled, and out of the spiral coloured lights rained on me, through me, lovingly blessing my entire being, filling the room, the house, the city. It was like being inside of a kaleidoscope watching a marvelous show…and then the noise started or perhaps then I became aware of the terrible roam inside of me.

A magnificent crescendo sounding like the ignition of powerful airplane turbines went into a higher frequency, so high that in my mind flashed the possibility of “may be there is an airplane falling on the house”. And then I realized that the swirling light and the impossible crescendo were actually pulling me apart, taking me out of my body, blissfully lifting me to the stars, attracting me, pulling my soul as if the Stars were calling me.

To the stars?? How? My rational mind screamed for sanity! For the second time I opened my eyes, trying to stop the experience, only to realize the sound coming from inside was taking me out…and there was nothing, absolutely nothing I could do to stop it.

The next time I had awareness of me (whatever part of me that had taken off), I was travelling across the universe, crossing at an unimaginable speed…. circling planets and suns, traversing galaxies, and my mind being immersed in what I called ‘blocks’ of information. It was like receiving answers to all the questions I ever had, all the questions that have ever been since the beginning of creation, the sum of satisfying knowledge, coming to me for the first time in my life. And the LOVE! It was like crossing an ocean of love, thousands of light-years passing in seconds of pure bliss. Somehow I approached a spiral galaxy, and entered into it’s dark blue liquid center, dissolving myself into something that felt and looked like ‘blue ink’, just to reappear on the ‘other side’ of whatever this dimension was.

In this new ‘space’ – just to give a name to the nameless, incomprehensible dimension – my consciousness identified itself with a small little light, travelling very fast at an incredible speed. It was filled by millions of other lights… same as myself… the space was totally illuminated and I knew, deep inside the DNA of this small light, that WE ARE LIGHT.  These little lights were ALL OF US, and all of us were part of Him, travelling inside Him, living in this blissful dimension.

The experience, for the next few days left me in an  ‘altered state of consciousness’ -as it is called now- in which I was falling in love with everything – walls, trees, dogs, people, lampposts! Everything was alive, everything had meaning, everything had consciousness, and I seemed to be part of the most intimate feelings of the World. I was in love with God and the entire world.

During those blessed days I could also read other people’s minds (it was just like listening to annoying radios) and explored some events coming from a past life. At work, I must have seemed strange. My co-workers looked at me and thought I was on drugs, and even one of them asked me: “Little girl, what have you been smoking?”.

However, nothing fell apart. But I can’t explain who did my job, as I have no recollection of much else other than wonderful feelings of love and happiness. The signal to enter in meditation was the sound of a million little bells inside me. Never again I went back to cross the universe or visit the God’s “space”.

My ‘Loving’ or ‘Altered Consciousness’ phase lasted about 15 days. One day, without a particular reason, I went back (or was it down?) and found “Me”, living again in my usual self. So much pain and despair!

I went looking for answers. One of the places -strangely very close to my house and unnoticed until then- was the ‘Mission of Divine Light’, which was part of the Guru Maharaj’s organization.  One of the teachers or elders in the organization was a very wise old man. He listened to my story and communicated with a sad but firm voice:

It is not going to happen again, Ana. God gave you His answer and showed you everything that is possible to reach as part of our evolution. But don’t consume yourself crying and blaming yourself for losing that state. It was only a divine gift of energy given to you by your Spiritual Teacher, so you know God, and the pathway to return some day.

I was unable to accept this answer. It made me desperate to think I had lost paradise and that it would be the ‘only time’ I’ll be there in this life.  I asked him to clarify the statement about my Spiritual Teacher? How does one meet his/her own Spiritual Teacher? And why would He choose me?

When the disciple is ready, the Teacher appears. Make yourself ready, prepare for his/her coming to your life. Lead a pure life, eliminate animal products from your diet because it is a heavy energy that pulls you down,  practice meditation at dawn and sunset, and continue repeating the same ‘mantra’ (I am the Verb) you used the first time.

Your Guru has chosen you many lives ago, He has been working with you and some day He will show at your door, or will come through a dream. The call from your heart will bring Him to you in this life, but you must wish it and do everything in your power to concentrate your mind on Him.

After following all the practices and reading all the books I could, my longing was increasing rather than calming down.  At night I would cry asking for my Spiritual Teacher.

On March 10, 1976 I had a dream in which I saw a small village, and outside of a house there was a gathering of people wearing white clothes. One man called me and said:

Come in, you have an interview.

The room inside looked like a temple. In the middle of it there was a Man with a crown of curly hair, wearing a long white robe. He was sitting on a chair like a throne, and was looking at me with a stern face.

There were several people sitting on the floor.  I walked to get closer to Him and fell on my knees.  I was trembling. Somehow His majestic countenance and high vibration made me realize He was someone very high, very powerful, and I felt very small and afraid.   I noticed a medallion over His white robe, it was a circle with a triangle inside, and for some reason it looked strangely familiar.

He looked straight into my eyes and asked:

What do you want?

Without any volition from my part or thought process preceding this answer, someone inside me responded.

I want to know why we are on this planet.

He spoke in a sweet voice, and sometimes would show me some images:

This planet is like a university. All of you come here to learn lessons. In each existence you learn multiple lessons and your consciousness expands until it becomes universal. Some lessons can take multiple lives, like multiple courses until you know everything and you graduate.

What happens when we graduate?

After graduation, you go back Home.

At this point I have gathered enough courage to be closer to Him. I touched His hand and pleaded:

Ay! Let me go, please, please, let me go back Home.

He smiled for the first time. With a face expressing the sweetest love, He said:

Not yet. You still have things to do here.

I asked:  What is your Name?

When He pronounced His Name, I heard a thunder, saw the image of a stone, and some strange symbols etched on the stone. Although in the dream I heard His name, once awake couldn’t remember it.

The next morning I told my dream to all my family. Edward my 5-year old son heard the story of this strange looking man, who seemed to be my Spiritual Teacher. Mom said He was probably a ‘Saint from Africa’. I wondered if He was alive on Earth or living in another dimension. My brother said He was a ‘Rock Star’ because of the hair.

For the next five years we wondered about this dream. Within time, I found resignation to wait, and my life took many directions. My old desperation to go back ‘Home’ became more like a dream, something that seemed so distant in the future.

Swami appears in television and dreams

March 1981. I am watching television with my 10-year old son Edward, and am pregnant with my second child. My belly is so big that it is unbelievable I can still breathe; I’m due the next week. We are watching a program about the “Lost Years of Jesus”. This is a documentary about the so-called ‘lost years’ of Jesus, between age 12 and 30, of which nothing has been said in the Gospels. The documentary made by Richard Bock, a Hollywood producer, presented some findings of Jesus’ sojourn in India. According to some documents, Jesus studied in a monastery in North India and also lived in Pakistan. The documentary ends with a movie about Sathya Sai Baba:

“In modern times, there is a man in India performing the same miracles as Jesus. He is dedicated to the poor, the sick, and the people who need him. He has resuscitated people from the dead and there is at least one case fully documented”…(inaudible name)…”Baba proclaims He has not come to create a new religion or proclaim a religion is better than other …(inaudible name)…Baba says the only religion is Love, and the only caste is humankind”.

It left me paralyzed. Couldn’t talk or do anything else than watching His beautiful form on the television, distributing some food among people sitting on the floor. Oh the way He walked! He was majestically floating among the people. His loving gaze looked at the camera and I was in shock.  It was Edward the first to react and recognize Him!

Mom!! This is the man of your dream!

He was the man of my dream, my Guru, my Spiritual Teacher, the one responsible for my experience, and the one I have been waiting for.  And I only knew that His name was something like ‘Ali Baba’…. So in those days, whenever I spoke about him or talked to him in my heart, I would say ‘Ali Baba’.

Christian my second son was born on March 14, 1981, a very healthy and strong boy with a big voice. One night I was feeding the baby and a red dot of light came out of his third eye, remained there for about 2 minutes and then disappeared.  That night – probably around the 20th of March – I had the second dream of Swami. He gave me instructions on how to raise the boy and some information that must remain private. I was fascinated.

In July 1981 my 4-month old baby suddenly fell gravely ill with a bronchopneumonia.  After 2 weeks in the hospital the infection from his lungs had not subsided and it was affecting the stomach. One night the doctor tried to prepare me for the worst and I lost my senses. Chris’s father shook me saying: “Don’t lose your faith, don’t lose your faith!” Immediately my mind went calling for ‘Ali Baba’.  Repeating like a mantra “Ali Baba, if you can hear me, if you can heal my son, please come! Please help my son!”… over and over again until the respiration became normal and the baby slept peacefully. My mother had fallen asleep on the visitor’s couch.  I too fell exhausted. That night I had the third dream with Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

I could see clearly the hospital room. He came through the bedroom door and glanced towards the baby. While touching the baby’s head He told me:

Don’t worry. He is not going to die, he is just purifying himself.

Ali Baba, please bless us! Please let me know how I can find you; where can I see you?

Swami placed His hand over my head and left the room saying: “Don’t suffer. Today you will know more about Me”.

It was 5:00 AM. “The man from India, Ali Baba was here!“  My mother and I hugged each other thanking God.  The following day the boy was acting as if nothing had ever happened to him. The doctor decided he should stay one more day in the hospital, just in case. That very same afternoon, a doctor friend of the family (Gela, an incredibly advanced soul), came to visit and joined the little celebration we were having in the hospital room.  I asked casually:

Gela, do you know this Indian teacher and healer, his name is Ali Baba?

Gela couldn’t contain her laughter when she answered:

Of course!!  And I love Him, but His name is not Ali Baba, it is Sai Baba!  You can find books about Him in ‘xyz’ bookshop.

Gela then proceeded to tell me the most extraordinary stories – although I couldn’t understand half of it as these occurred in other dimensions, in which she had met Sai Baba and He had saved her from a very difficult situation.

At the end of that blessed day, I had in my hands a book on Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Swami in person – my first trip to India

On August 1982 I travelled to India for the first time to meet Swami in person.  It was the end of my quest, and the beginning of a very long travel to the Light. Many marvelous incidents happened to make possible my trip to India with a group of 24 people.

The first time I saw Swami in person I heard bells ringing inside me. He glided among the devotees, I couldn’t think or speak or do anything but watch this extraordinary being. Someone like Him has surely walked the Earth before, but I wasn’t there, so, finally this was my chance, my long time request to God was fulfilled.

When Swami passed in front of me, He didn’t look at me, but from the bottom of my heart I said:

The only thing I want to ask You is to please take care of my sons, please care for them as if you were their Mother. I surrender them to You, they are Your children, Your boys.

Swami still didn’t look at me, His majestic stride continued past the women’s line. I just enjoyed the moment, and somehow knew He had heard the silent request of my heart.  I remembered the Psalm “All that He does is splendid and majestic; His righteousness endures forever”.

Fifteen days later I was back in Venezuela. My mother came to greet me and the first thing she said was:

“Sai Baba was here! One night I was sleeping in a bed besides Christian’s bed and I heard him crying. I woke up and extended my arm towards the baby and started to pat his back while doing ‘shhh, shhh, shhhh’.  At the same time, I heard ‘someone’ also doing ‘shhh, shhhh, shhhh’ and I knew no one else was in the room! So I sat up, and saw only a small, dark hand patting the baby’s back and a voice coming out of nowhere doing the same sound. I knew it was Sai Baba’s hand and voice, and for some reason I wasn’t scared, the whole experience was so natural!”

My mother clearly noted the date and time of this extraordinary experience. It coincided with the exact date and time – given the time difference between India and Venezuela- when I was receiving my first darshan. This was the extraordinary response from my beloved Swami!

The real impact of His appearance in our lives, His protection, and the changes He had produced in the destinies of my whole family can never be fully understood or measured. We are still wondering what merits we have accumulated from other lives, since we can’t see so much Grace being the result of our present lives. We can only pray; we can continue the spiritual path so we can preserve the Love of our dear Sri Sathya Sai Baba imprinted in our hearts, waiting for His return to us.


* Saint Thomas was the apostle who had said in disbelief: “If it is true that He has resurrected I have to put my fingers in His wounds to believe it”