I came to know Sri Sathya Sai Baba on April 1, 1978. On this day, I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance to the emergency ward. A team of specialists examined me and gave me a battery of tests, all of which I failed. Simple questions about my name, phone number, date of birth, occupation, place of employment and field of specialisation I could not answer. I was delirious and in a state of mental confusion and anxiety. The team diagnosed that I had a neurological dysfunction and I would be hospitalised for 6 months to a year.
A New Vocabulary in Values and Ethics
During the night in my state disconnected from reality, time and space, I dreamt a man with bushy hair and an orange robe who took me into a garden, sang a few Bhajans and touched my head. Next morning, the team of specialists arrived and started questioning me about my occupation, phone number, etc. I answered all their questions and was curious about this
simplistic level of questioning. They were amazed at my lucidity and queried what happened in the evening. I told them about the dream; the dream that was crystal clear in my mind. They concluded, it was an amazing recovery. However, they decided to keep me in hospital for two weeks for observation. After I was discharged, I found out that the man in my dream was Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
I started reading everything about Him, His miracles, community projects, discourses, etc., and was overwhelmed by His divine wisdom. The second miracle more critical than my amazing recovery is the miracle of transformation of my vision, work ethics and behaviour.
I studied at top universities in the West, McGill University, University of Toronto and John Hopkins University and never learned a lesson in human values or ethics. So, when I became a professor I never lectured on this topic in management. I thought it was nonsensical, problematic, subjective, relativistic, etc. Since I started studying Sai Baba's teachings I now lecture on values and ethics; there is an infusion of values and ethics in all my books, research papers, and conference proceedings. A new vocabulary on values and ethics has entered my mind and consciousness. The value-based perspective in education, motivation, leadership, technological change, etc., is really the centre of my pedagogy and I have taken it to the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, etc., where it was well received. This is a miracle of transformation not only in terms of my profession but also in my vision, goals, attitude, perception of reality, values, behaviour, lifestyle, work ethics—all elements of my personality.
I now lecture in my B. Com. and MBA classes on Sri Sathya Sai Baba's theories of stress management, human personality, education, values, ethics, leadership, etc., with a few questions in the mid-term examination on His teachings which are popular with students. I also assign research papers on His revolutionary definitions on education, manager, and have completed three books on His teachings and on students' reflections on these teachings.
Building Bridges of Human Understanding
It is because of Sri Sathya Sai Baba that my life is happier, more meaningful and insightful and my job is enriched with new challenges and new perspectives and meanings: "Work is love made visible." His love and service translated into action for over 60 years are mind boggling, and His initiatives at cross cultural understanding among devotees from over 160 countries are just as amazing.
For me the miracle of transformation is more powerful than His other miracles of healing, materialisations, etc. His revival of the great spiritual classics of Hinduism and Indian culture worldwide in 160 countries has made India the spiritual and philosophical beacon for the world. For the information age what we need is not more information but transformation according to Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Information-oriented knowledge makes man a machine, whereas transformation-oriented knowledge makes man a composer. One ton of information may contain zero insight. The mansion of happiness is built on insight into the Atma and one's character, one's moral compass, He states. Sri Sathya Sai Baba has given me a moral compass to guide me on the ocean of life. I have met many of His students in Canada who are true gems of virtuous character, work ethics and human excellence.
I am not from India and have never talked to Sri Sathya Sai Baba nor had an interview with Him. My ancestors left India 150 years ago. I visited His Ashram to know more about Him, particularly His teachings, wisdom, love, the ideal of service and His charismatic personality. His power to transform peoples' vision, goals, values, personality and character, His celebration of the unity of religions at His ashram, and His work at building bridges of human understanding across all cultures on the planet are most astounding and marvellous.