I learned of Sri Sathya Sai Baba when I was in India, as a research scholar, studying the Tantrism of the Saktas, under Mahamahopadhyaya Gopinath Kavirajji. At Banaras, I was well acquainted with the family of my friend, Miss Priya Sen and I saw the Puja room of one of her relatives, where the portraits of Baba and other saints and deities kept for worship along with them, were thickly covered with Vibhuti (holy ash)! I also saw small silver statuettes of Hindu deities that have mysteriously emerged from those holy pictures, and heard descriptions of miraculous happenings during their weekly sessions of hymn singing (bhajan)!
These wondrous events aroused my intense curiosity. During the course of a few months, we attended several bhajan sessions and I read Howard Murpet's book on Baba. I became convinced that Baba is a true Divine Avatar and my devotion to Him began to grow.
I deeply regret that we did not go to Puttaparthi, while in India. We had planned a journey to South India, at the end of our period of residence in that country, but, what little time we had, was taken up by the need to complete the research. Some friends in Calcutta who have also been blessed by Baba with Vibhuti from the pictures in their home shrine (!) told us that Baba was expected at Calcutta; but, He did not visit that City at that time and we had to return to the West, immediately thereafter
The miraculous aspect of Baba's Nature was perhaps the initial lure; but, it cannot explain fully why I feel so strongly that Baba is a Divine Avatar. He has begun to slowly influence my life, encouraging me to take the first small steps in Sadhana. In some mysterious way, I am experiencing Kaviraj ji as the force of Jnana and Baba as the force of Prema. I have no external Guru, but, I have learned the essential Unity of all Gurus; I try to realise their Oneness.
Even though I knew that Westerners are naturally sceptical and could not believe all these strange things happening in India, I could not restrain the impulse to bear witness, in my own limited way, to the appearance of a Divine Avatar in our life time.
I was both surprised and thrilled when my parents, who are devout Christians, became seriously interested in Him, after reading and hearing about Him. It is very difficult for Christians to accept Baba without feeling they have abandoned Christ; the Christian tradition does not prepare them for the idea that God returns periodically to Earth, though it should be admitted that little stands in the way of thoughtful people accepting the idea of the Avatar. My parents are now convinced that Sai Baba is an aspect of God, even though the Revelation has appeared outside organized Christianity.
We are all eager to learn more about Baba. We met Mr. John Moffitt, an author, who met Baba some years ago; he plans to write about Baba in a forthcoming book. We continue to seek others who have met Baba.
Unfortunately in our country, the Indian Guru is associated with hippies and misled eccentrics and I can understand why Baba has not yet visited America, despite the urgings of His American devotees. If He ever does visit the States, there must be a long responsible preparation for His Coming, so that all who are ready to benefit from His Teachings will be alerted.
We Westerners are immersed in a deep moral and spiritual crisis. This has had a purifying effect on some; but, others have been caught in the vice of passion and greed. Many decent people are longing for true leadership and direction.
The message of our Jesus, who lived on earth 2000 years ago, has been clouded by the interpretations of lesser minds, and the influence of Christianity has waned. The message of Christ has to be re-vitalised and addressed to modern problems. Our priests and ministers try to do this, but, their attempts are frail.
We need the Immanent Authority of the Avatar to bridge our sectarian distrust of one another's religious traditions, and to fuse the spiritual aspirations of all of us, into a Collective Force that will eventually result in a fully evolved Human Consciousness lit by the Divine.
What a Friend we have in Baba,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh! what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pains we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to Him in prayer.