Published Tuesday, May 3, 2011 @ 1730 hrs.
(courtesy: Tribune, Chandigarh)
Tears started rolling spontaneously when i sat in my mandir after the inevitable had happened. Sri Sathya Sai Baba had departed from this world after battling multi-organ dysfunction for about a month.
It immediately transported me to my first encounter with Him in Justice PN Bhagwati's house, way back in 1982 while I was pursuing L.L.M. Baba came, peeped in my eyes, lifted me by hand and deposited me into a sofa, while uttering, Sit here, sir".
I could understand the intrinsic meaning of the prophetic monologue only after result of state civil services was declared. I had topped. I immediately booked myself for Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of highest peace, where Baba lived throughout His life. On reaching, I realised that I was just one among thousands. Each devotee had some unique experience to cherish.
In 1989, i was deputed as a guide to an official delegation led by deputy chairman of the Planning Board. Three vice-chancellors, one of whom subsequently rose to be the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry and one IAS officer were members of the team. My wife and two other women were, however, not part of delegation.
Acting smart, i positioned myself on knees strategically in front of the door from where Baba was to emerge for morning darshan, so that i could seek His prior permission for the women. Baba appeared but turned rather abruptly towards women's enclosures. It was frustrating. I had been deprived of an opportunity. Baba had, however, some other plan. Lo and behold, He went straight to my wife for inviting them as if He knew them and their seating plans. What an emotional over-run it was!
In 170 countries in the world today, Baba is hailed as an apostle of love, "Love all - Serve all" and "Hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray" epitomise His core philosophy.
True to His declaration "My Life is My Message", He stirred and inspired millions of His followers to turn role-model ambassadors in His "dharma sthapana" movement. He declared that "I have come not to disturb or destroy any faith, but to make the Christian a better Christian, the Muslim a better Muslim and the Hindu a better Hindu".
Baba was an inexhaustible reservoir of pure love who tried to kindle the "lamp of love" in every heart. Prof. Baranowski, a regression therapist and bio-magnetic specialist from Arizona University, who captured radiations of various hues, flowing from Baba's persona, with "Kirlin" camera, declared Him as "Love" walking on two feet.
Baba inspired His followers to reach out to the poorest of the poor and wipe every tear from every eye as idealised by Mahatma Gandhi. This concept has been described as "spiritual socialism" by critic-turned-believer RK Karanjia in his book "God Lives in India". Baba re-defined the psychology of human personality; chemistry of human rhythm; physics of gravitational force of love; sociology of inter-human contours and philosophy of life.
It is irrelevant to debate whether Baba was God or not. There is no need either. Nobody would, however, be able to ever counter what Baba did for redeeming the mankind was surely godly.
(Writer Ashok Kumar Yadav is an IAS officer from Haryana)