I first heard about Baba in an aircraft on my way back from England via Pakistan. An Englishman sitting next to me on the plane noticed that I was a vegetarian and a teetotaler. He started a conversation, which to me appeared more and more bizarre. Amongst many strange stories, he gave me an account of Walter Cowan's revival from death. I gradually convinced myself that the man was crazy. I declared in no uncertain terms that this was impossible. I then added that I should know better since I was a surgeon and the head of an internationally renowned medical research unit. "Death is irreversible," I said, "Once a person begins to decompose, there is no way to restore the corpse to life." I received the reply, "So, you believe there are limits to God's capacity?"
Introduction to Spirituality:
I had never thought about this issue until that moment. I was confused by his questions and I suspected his sanity. He talked about an Avatar on the earth. Very puzzled, I asked him, "Why should an Avatar come on the earth at this time? What is wrong?" He must now, in turn, have thought I was equally crazy and unaware. He made many disturbingly penetrating observations. He told me about Sai Baba and His miracles. But, I was not entirely sure of his sanity and with me he carried little credibility although we had spoken for many hours. As I was getting off in Karachi he took a plastic packet of some powdery material and with tears in his eyes pressed it on me saying, "This will bring you good luck" and then he added, "You owe it to yourself to go and see Baba in India." I remember saying to myself, "How crazy is this guy! He expects me to go chasing after some strange Guru in India!" I looked at him, suspicious that the packet he was offering might contain drugs. I was afraid that I might be caught with drugs by the Pakistan customs officials. Out of politeness, I reluctantly accepted it. Little did I know then that this 'chance meeting' was my introduction to genuine spirituality.
I was born and brought up in Kenya and educated in England. I had grown up with the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. Through living in Western countries, I had become familiar with the writings of the Christian mystics. My marriage with Tehseen, a Muslim from Pakistan, had given me some knowledge of Sufi thinking. But, this knowledge had not prepared me for a direct experience of an Avatar. I had two parallel lives—an inner spiritual life and an external worldly life. My approach to spirituality had been to try to bring God within the realm of my understanding. But, now I know that He is neither measurable nor understandable with the human mind. He is beyond any known physical laws and nothing is impossible for Him.
Within a few weeks of my return, my wife and I embarked on an exciting journey of discovery. We found books about Baba and met devotees and heard more about Him. Both Tehseen, my wife, and I wondered why we had not heard of Him before. Many ‘coincidences’ and surprising experiences led us to make many trips to Puttaparthi, sometimes alone and sometimes with our children. Gradually, all our life became more and more focused on Baba.
For me the greatest challenge was to bring Him within the realm of my understanding as a scientist. But, this has been a hopeless task. Baba seems to arrange events in my life in such a way that I have to confront repeatedly the rigid programming of my rational and scientific mind. During interview I have seen Him create Vibhuti. On one occasion, He filled the cupped palms of a student with fresh, hot Laddu Bundi which poured out from His fingers. I was intrigued how all this was happening. On another occasion, He materialised a gold ring with the symbol of a cross on it. This He handed to me to pass around to others after my inspection. When the ring had done the full circle, He held it under my full view and blew on it. In an instant the cross changed to the symbol Om. He looked with a smile, straight into my eyes and said, "See, My workers are very fast." As a scientist I had the greatest difficulty comprehending what I had just witnessed.
Gradually, I have begun to understand that, in fact, miracles are happening every moment of our lives. Is it not a miracle that a plant can turn the soil into flower petals and fragrance? Is it not a miracle that the rice and Dal we eat turn into the crystal of our eye or into our blood and thoughts? But we become insensitive to the wonder and mystery of life and begin to take these ‘miracles’ for granted. We fail to note the beauty and the mystery in which we are immersed. The rocks, the grass, the air, the sunshine, the rain, the whole creation is full of magic and miracle, but we do not connect with it. Baba's miracles show us the way to connect with these miracles of creation in which we are immersed.
(To be Continued...)