Introduction: Welcome to Sai Souljourns, a continuing series of interviews with followers of Indian Holy man Sri Sathya Sai Baba. This is Dolly Bailley whose name was changed by Sai Baba himself to ‘Shivangini’. Shivangini packed life time to spiritual growth in the brief seven years she was with Baba until her death in the year 2005. This interview was recorded in Midland, Michigan in April of 2004.
Ted Henry: What was it in the world that drew you so close to Sai Baba after spending most of life not close to any spiritual form?
Shivangini: Well, my spiritual journey started I think by Baba himself. How I get into it, it was about seven years back, January of 1997, when suddenly I found myself having a variety of spiritual experiences. They were so varied in nature. I was having holy dreams, visions and many appearances in our home of material objects which appeared from no where literally and we called them Miracles, all miraculously these things happening.
Ted Henry: I just want to make sure I understand that until that time seven years ago you had few spiritual thoughts or experiences or no spiritual thoughts or experiences.
Shivangini: I was a believer of God and had very very simple basic discipline of bowing down to God every morning before I go to work, before I step out of the home.
Ted Henry: That was it?
Shivangini:That was the extent, other than that I was not even familiar with any spiritual practices. If somebody asked me to do it I won’t even know what to do exactly.
Ted Henry: So all of a sudden your life changes, you have these spiritual thoughts and spiritual manifestations and miracles in your home.
Ted Henry: What did you make of all this?
Shivangini:It was very fascinating, initially actually, it was little frightening too.
Ted Henry: Sure,
Shivangini:because I didn’t know whether it was my mind which was tricking me into all these things. I was having, I was hallucinating or what? Things were happening but as my experiences progressed I realized that it was not all that bad, it was wonderful. I started giving me the peace, the joy which I had never experienced before.
Ted Henry: Did it take a form, did it have a name? Did you know it was Sai Baba?
Shivangini:Yes, very much so and the story goes like this. Before I started experiencing these things, a friend of mine who is a Sai devotee, she saw Sai Baba in her dream and Baba told her that he is going to Dolly’s house, Shivangini’s house. By the way Shivangini is the name that Swami has given me, my original name is Dolly.
Ted Henry: Does Shivangini mean anything?
Shivangini:Yeah, actually Swami told me, explained that Shiva, Lord Shiva, is the I mean, one form of God that in Hindu religion, and ‘Ang’ is the limb, the body. So Shivangini means limb of Shiva, Body of Shiva. He further explained that you are not the only ‘Shivangini’ actually all beings are the limbs of God.
TH: What a beautiful story and a great name! Now you were in somebody else’s dream, Your friend had Baba tell her to come to you to share the news about Baba?
Shivangini: No, she had the dream
Ted Henry: aa ha…
Shivangini:that Baba told, is telling her, Baba told her in her dream that he is going to Dolly’s house. She never chose to tell me this because she thought I am not a Sai devotee, I am not going to do any thing with this information. And to that friend of mine we actually striked as not very religious people, which we were not. So she did not even tell her dream to me, but a week or two later we were on the phone having a general conversation, by that time I was having these miraculous experiences and all that so I knew that she was Sai devotee so I asked her, ‘You know, you believe in Sathya Sai Baba, do you also believe in Shirdi Sai Baba’? Because some of my initial experiences were relating to Shirdi Sai Baba. So she says, ‘Yeah, but why do you ask?’ I said I am having some strange experiences, strange things happening here and then she says, ‘Before you tell me all the details about your experiences stop let me get my husband on the phone, I had a dream of Sathya Sai Baba telling me that he is going to your house and I told him about my dream but I never shared this with you, but now since you are mentioning that you are having these experiences let me tell you that this is what had happened’. So I learned about her dream later but I was having the experiences prior to that just during that time.
Ted Henry: So when that happened with these experiences and the revelation from your friend in her dream that Baba was going to come to you, did you become even more excited, did you become frightened that something supernatural was happening. How did you handle all these?
Shivangini:Actually this is a long long story and we ended up writing all our experiences and all the details in a book form
Ted Henry: And your book is called for anybody who would like to see it.
Shivangini:It is ‘Inner experiences’ and
Ted Henry: It’s available in Tustin or is it available in India?
Shivangini:I think it is available in all different centres in India and at Prashanthi Nilayam of course.
Ted Henry: and you recount your stories, your being introduced to Baba in that book.
Shivangini:right, right, all our initial, my initial, it was a two year saga, literally, two years into the journey when I published this book. But the journey continued afterwards but that book contains only first two years of experiences.
Ted Henry: and before we going on, you telling us about Baba giving you the name Shivangini and explaining what that is and presumable many other messages to and insights and blessings. How does he speak to you? Some people hear his voice; some people intuit his understanding, what about you?
Shivangini:See, initially, he taught me how to meditate and when I say he taught me it was like a thought to thought, my thought and a counter thought and it was very clearly that it was somebody else’s thought that’s how I am saying that it was Baba talking and I later on I started even recognizing his voice though it was not a voice that one hears from the ear from our senses but something within and even the inflection of the tone like whether that voice is happy, excited, sad, sad Baba is never is but what I mean in other words the tones, the inflection of the tones I could pick in that conversation and the communion that I had with him.
Ted Henry: and how do you tell the difference between the voice of Swami and the voice of your own human desire or your own ego.
Shivangini:See there are some thoughts which are mine, I am familiar with me and my mind. But when a thought comes which is actually very counter to my own thought and also it is shedding light on something which I never have been exposed to, at least to my knowledge in this lifetime. And that knowledge when it gets revealed to me it feels like a revelation from some other source rather than my own thought.
Ted Henry: and does this now happen to you weekly, daily or hourly.
Shivangini:Initially it happened to me only during meditations, then it progressed into awake stage also, while walking, talking, moving around, I was hearing these, I don’t want to call them Baba talking all the time but it was more like a guidance, a coaching, a counselling, you know that kind of phenomenon going on. And then further it progressed to no full sentence communication, it was more or less a word here and there and rest was for me to figure out. And then it further progressed into Baba saying ‘You and I are one’, so operate in that oneness.
Ted Henry: So he gives you some puzzles, some riddles to figure out every once in a while. Am I correct in ..
Shivangini:yeah, you can say that.
Ted Henry: In remembering correctly and then tell me if I am not that recently you told us he gave you a single name without anything more, the name ‘Chakravarthy’ and so an example like that, What do you make of that puzzle piece, if he doesn’t tell you much?
Shivangini:What I do, over these, this period of seven years I have learnt not to keep asking Baba question after every little thing that happens, so I give it the time that is necessary for natural unfoldments of these messages. So when he gives me that word I just tuck it in my mind, write it down so that I don’t forget but I don’t try to analyze, evaluate a whole lot at that time. It turns out that sometimes the meaning gets revealed within a day or two, sometimes in six months. I am patient with it now.
Ted Henry: you probably look back and smile and chuckle to yourself that aa haa..it all makes sense.
Shivangini: Yeah, actually he has taught me the language Sanskrit through this mechanism of giving me words which I have, I don’t know Sanskrit language, so I learnt. It was again his will that when he wants something done he streamlines everything that I ended up getting, acquiring a Sanskrit to English, hindi, dictionary and everytime he gives a word I just go look up in my dictionary and find out what it means.
Ted Henry: He put you up here in the smacked up in the middle of Michigan in this small town of Midland where they can’t be but a handful of people who have even heard of Sai Baba’s name before. How do you share this series of gifts and revelations to you from Baba. What do you do with it when it comes to just being an instrument for other people who want to know about Baba.
Shivangini:I will answer that question by saying, taking you back into time little bit, after the two years of the spiritual experiences, it felt as if somebody just very rapidly gave me lot of the understanding of the religion and spirituality and then to further evolve me or uplift me, I was inspired to start teaching the community children the human values, that’s the program of Swami.
Ted Henry: so these are the children of parents who live her in Midland who may not, probably are not Sai Baba followers.
Shivangini:Absolutely, that’s correct, yeah.
Ted Henry: You are teaching human values to them.
Shivangini: Right, right.
Ted Henry: you are passing on Baba’s
Shivangini: correct, so this process began, teaching human values classes to children, religion classes to children and even having study circle with the adults. Teaching Bhagvat Gita to our you know, small community and you know what you call it, you know conducting Thursday bhajans every Thursday in our basement here. So when we engaged in these kind of activities, people came to know, they started participating and more and more people found out Baba and when I started all this, it was not, intention was not ‘Baba’ that’s exactly what Baba wanted. He did not want ‘Baba’ to go out, he wanted his teachings to go out and when we started doing these, by the way we do holy festivals, each of the holy festival that is celebrated in Prashanthi Nilayam, we were doing the same thing here in our house. So when people participated in those holy festivals which they are very familiar with so, at that time they slowly got exposed to Baba and his teachings.
Ted Henry: Very briefly tell me something about the old ‘Dolly Bailley’ before she became ‘Shivangini’.
Shivangini:What do you like to know?
Ted Henry: Who were you? What did you do? You had this tremendous area in your life which is now filled with Sai Baba that wasn’t filled before,
Ted Henry: how did you occupy your thoughts and your time.
Shivangini:Okay, I think I can attempt to answer that. I was avery wordly person, not spiritually oriented, living her ein this small town with my family, my husband, two children and enjoying worldly life and pursuing a career in a chemical corporation here Dowcorney. I would say that I was happy go lucky kind of a person.
Ted Henry: You like who your were?
Ted Henry: you liked who you were?
Shivangini:Yeah, I mean, everybody has you know ups and downs of life and few things you are not satisfied with and all that but by far it was good and I liked it. I liked who I was but after getting exposure to and this training and coaching from Swami and that too all at heart level. I have personally not even spoken to him once, you know its all within.
Ted Henry: You have never had an interview in the flesh with Baba?
Shivangini:I am not one of those lucky ones, no I didn’t
Ted Henry: Those people may say you are the lucky one.
Shivangini:I don’t know when I see them having interview, I really feel they are lucky, ‘Oh, my God, look at that’. But I think that that is what I was… I lost my chain of thought that I you know was happy with who I was but this taste of peace and Joy that he gave me and all this knowledge which I didn’t even think I was capable of comprehending, which he gave to me in such a short time. I think it made me realize that what all I was missing earlier and thinking that I am happy and how myopic I was in my understanding of happiness.
Ted Henry: Now you are probably going to tell me, you can’t, its impossible to describe but you just mentioned the taste of peace he gave you. Can you attempt to describe that.
Shivangini: Yeah, in the scriptures they talk about, call it bliss. To tell you the truth for a long time, I didn’t know what bliss means but if I have to, since you are asking the question what this taste of peace is, it is really nothingness, it is vacuity. Its equilibrium.
Ted Henry: transcends all highs and lows.
Shivangini:yeah. It just allows you to be happy for no reason. Normally in life we look for a reason to be happy. When I win a million dollar lottery, I am happy but if I lose million dollars I am very sad. But here I don’t have to win a lottery or lose my money, nothing. I don’t have to have people around to make me happy. I don’t have to have possessions. I don’t have to have anything. This is the kind of happiness which is just there all the time in you.
Ted Henry: So why you? Why have you been given so much ?
Shivangini:I will answer that with a dream I had and initially in those first two years of holy dreams, series of holy dreams that I was having, in one of the dreams I saw a man, didn’t look anything like Baba but it was a man which looked very powerful, very attractive, very appealing, okay and but very serious. He was not you know, he striked me as serious mature person and very powerful person. It was in some place which I am not familiar with and it was a beautiful gorgeous room, it had all velvety reddish curtains and stuff like that and it was outstanding. I cannot describe it in words. In that room this man was sitting in the corner of that, there was atble and on the chair he is sitting. There was a one woman standing next to me and I was there and I had something in my hand and I extended and this lady was next to me. It seems like a person who was older to me, that’s all I can tell. I don’t even know this person in real life. And she took something from which I was extending and handed it to this man. And this man just looked at me and that woman and very with a very nice smile, he said, ‘Sadbhaav’. Sadbhaav means Goodwill for others and he got up and as he got up all the curtains that were there, those velvety curtains they started you know like…
Ted Henry: vibrating?
Shivangini:vibrating yeah. And at that time a voice came which I can’t say whose voice it was and it just said, ‘This is the blessing from God’. That was the end of the dream. Later, at that time the way Swami was growing me or p in the spiritual path, I would have these kind of dreams and then as he has advised me to meditate, I would sit down for my meditation and in the meditation he will impart the insight into the dream. So he gave me the understanding of what that dream was to answer your question why me? That was the Sadbhaav in me, the desire to do good to others or the having that which brought me to this.
Ted Henry: Hmm…
Shivangini:That is in short version of lot of other things he commented by me.
Ted Henry: Beautiful story, I asked how, what, for you to describe the old ‘Dolly Bailley’, now describe the new ‘Shivangini’. Do you have the same friends? I notice you don’t work any more,
Ted Henry: You quit your job because of Baba? Why?
Shivangini:Well, I am not working not because, you know I want to give more time to Seva, you know not as a plan. But things have worked out in that fashion. I am not working more because of my health. I do have a health problem but related problem which gets aggravated by excessive use of computers and all that, so that is more of my reason for not being working rather than this but… It all is coming together, meshing together that it seems like its giving me the time to do the spiritual things which would not have been possible if I continued to work.
Ted Henry: Everybody always wants to know how people who have come close to Baba have had their lives transformed. How about you?
Shivangini:Yeah that transformation is the key purpose of why Baba even gives us all these experiences and at times entertains us with all these experiences. Transformation occurs at different levels of our consciousness. Confirmation occurs at different stages at different states of our existence, in the awake stage, in the dream stage, the transformation doesn’t happen just now, I eat this and I don’t eat, I do this and I don’t do, not like that. The entire thought process gets affected. So at the thought level, the personal thought level my transformation if I would describe is that I have gained a better understanding of Who God is? You know we all grow up with certain ideas, you know wethink of God as we have thought of, learnt from others or have seen others think of God. Through Swami I learnt that God is not limited to a certain form. Truly the God is a formless entity. It can take any form that it chooses because it is not limited. The entire universe is a proof of his existence as Swami teaches us. All the forces of the nature, the elements, the Air, water, earth fire, space, all are a new God and how to connect to God and not limit him or limit yourself, recognize your own potential and recognize that that potentiality is which seems so dormant in individuals is actually as fast, as unlimited as that one divinity, the God himself.
Ted Henry: Lets say that somebody listened to you talk about that everything and everybody being God and they were to say to you, ‘Shivangini, then what do we make of the negative things, death and destruction, war and disease and children dying before their prime, is that also God?’
Shivangini:I will say something very carefully here because as I said we all grow up with certain ideas, certain thought processes and what I am going to say might be contrary to many normal beliefs on these lines, so please bear with me. Swami says that good and evil co existed from the very beginning of creation. So it is always there. There is quantum karma or am I using the right word?
Ted Henry: yes,
Shivangini:that we all are born with and we are given the intelligence to choose the right from the wrong and more of the wrong we choose we can go in the wrong path and every action has its consequences so the sufferings that we see in the world, are because of our actions done at some time or other in this life form or previous that are generating those consequences for us. The ones who have chosen the good, done more and more and more good, in this life form or previous, do not face those consequences, they have more rewarding experiences in life. If we look around in the universe we don’t find only suffering, we have lot of happiness too, but suffering is painful, we remember more of it. If 10% people are suffering, we say, ‘Oh my God, the whole world is falling apart’, 90% are enjoying. So, I think it’s a individual perspective to whether the glass is half full or half empty.
Ted Henry: Uh..hm..
Shivangini: So I won’t say the world is full of suffering only. Yes, there is suffering, there is all the examples you gave its there, and the causes are not just limited to karma, there are at times, by God’s design, things are happening to help us realize that everything has dual nature. Unless light is shown to us we will not know what darkness is? So, there are certain things that are happening in the world today are for the purpose of exemplifying, for the purpose of teaching us. Now what is our take from any of this teaching? It depends on the taint of our mind. What colour of glasses we are wearing? If we are wearing red color glasses, the whole world is gonna appear red, if you are wearing blue clour glasses its gonna appear blue. So, what everybody takes from every negative or positive event, situation that takes place around us, with us, within us, depends on individual. Did I answer your question?
Ted Henry: yes, you did. Very well in fact and it makes me wonder, we were talking about this before and I didn’t explain this very well. May be I won’t either this time but I will try. It makes me wonder about your own personal karma, even though you have been happy up until seven years ago your life has been empty of Baba. Now quite obviously it is full of Baba. It makes me wonder if you were still burning of some important karma up until seven years ago and now you are being blessed because that’s part of your past.
Shivangini:Um… that’s an interesting one, actually, am not sure if I have burned up all that karma, I might still be
Ted Henry: …………………………………………..What do you suppose it was?
Ted Henry: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Shivangini: Yes, yes, if god comes to your life that doesn’t mean you have to have suffering in order to have his blessing. He come s in your life that also does not mean that there were no room for further goodness or further pleasure of having him. So I think either way, I won’t, I mean.. where karma is its all goodness..
Speech breaking due to some disturbance at 31mins 18 seconds onwards
Ted Henry: For the sake of us who are too dense and who don’t pick up on the divine communicating with us, can you give us some examples of how Baba instructed you or guided you with images and or words of late that would be noteworthy for us to hear.
Shivangini:What did you mean?
Ted Henry: any messages you received lately
Shivangini: Okay, he wants us to be happy, he wants us not to be a burden of mother earth and how do we do that, more and more of our human values, of truth, righteousness, love, peace, non violence, And he has been guiding ..if you are thinking personally you know me, what guidance received, he has been teaching me knowledge of Vedas and Upanishads, which help first the person realize the divinity in themselves and then allow to see the divinity in others and then translate that further into actions and try to do good to others so that everybody receives that benefit, so that is in the nutshell what he wants or what kind of guidance he is giving. How and how long, where, when, and what needs to be done is something swami will decide, swami will dictate, and he has…………..that I have realized, that the true doer of our actions is the divine entity in us and we call it atman or soul or spirit or whatever names we might give it. But that is the real doer in us, the indweller in us so, with that spirit, I don’t question whether I should do this or not, I know that the prompting will come, if I have the good desire, it will get fulfilled and he has taken to a point where I have no desire.
Ted Henry: Literally have no desire.
Shivangini:I have no desire. I might get tested one of these days to find out that I had some trace of some desire but yeah he has helped me to prove it to myself that yeah,
Ted Henry: Lets talk about one of these…………….to aspire to, in addition to not having a desire, attachment to outcome which is so well equanimity, what if for example, ………………………………. Does that human concern…. Are you on you road to equanimity even with those areas.
Shivangini:I don’t come across arrogant here in saying,
Ted Henry: you are not.
Shivangini:yes Swami has subjected me to very very very difficult situations for the purpose of realizing whether I should or can interfere ever with divine will and that applies all around whether its me, my own family, my children, neighbours, the nation, the world. Not that compassion is not there. Its not a matter of indifference. Not that I don’t care, probably, I have been taught to care more deeply than I ever did but recognize what is our sphere of concern versus what is our sphere of influence, and Swami says there is no point in burdening yourself with all spheres of concern when your ability to influence all those sphere is zilch. He says if you have been given the opportunity or even if you see the opportunity to influence, it should match the capability.
Ted Henry: So what does he say? To be in acceptance of whatever is in your plate at the time?
Ted Henry: alright..
Shivangini:that’s what I am saying, if you seek to influence, then it has to match with my capability. If I am sitting here in Midland Michigan and here I have a great concern about the political activity that is taking place in Washington DC. I can sit here and go to ten different discussions with variety of people about what they are doing right, wrong, right wrong and discuss and debate but then I don’t have the capability even to take a flight up to Washington DC or do any thing about it or make any further significant contributions, I have wasted my energy, my time. I might have gained further insight into the problem and that’s where it stops. For most of the people it is all information, not wisdom, not knowledge. So, if you fill yourself with information, yeah now I know better, I know better what gain? If you are unable to contribute it’s a meaningless knowledge.
Ted Henry: So, what would wisdom look like in this situation, in this example, you were giving what would a wise person look like who reacts to the same situation?
Shivangini: It all depends on individuals, every individual will have a different capability. If I am a politician, I might be able to make a different kind of contribution. If I am a wealthy man I might be able to support by financial charity and contributions. If I am a you know, it depends on what my capability is, every individual is different and the God has done it so perfectly that he has filled this world with so many varieties of capabilities that we each can utilize whatever we got.
Ted Henry: Shivangini, you are a very young woman, you have been given tremendous awareness that most people simply don’t have. Where do you think Baba’s taking you? if we came back here thirty years from now….
Shivangini: if I am alive…
Ted Henry: Who might Shivangini be then? Where do you believe he is taking you?
Shivangini: I, don’t even want to attempt to answer that, only Swami knows where he is taking and when I say Swami, I ma referring to that formless divinity, the God. Do any of us know where God is taking each one of us?
Ted Henry: You seem to be on a very fast track going at a 120 miles per hour or more. So you are going somewhere.
Shivangini: Or, I am just in motion, I don’t know.
Ted Henry: Do you ever ask him? Baba Why me? What do you want from me?
Shivangini: Actually he has answered that question, but its better he says somethings if they reveal naturally rather than we try to shape them. If I, you know if you look in the world today any comment, any statement we make we can perceive it differently from different viewpoint and largersize it, evaluate it, analyze it. If I say Baba is preparing me for this role, Oh my God look at what she is thinking of herself. If I say he doesn’t have any goal, Oh, my God, Baba is crazy, he is doing all this for nothing. Okay, either way it’s a meaningless mental gymnastics if you want to… Yeah he is doing for a purpose, he knows the purpose and he has been kind to share that in piecemeal with me also. At this point do I want to take those pieces and throw them as pices or allow the puzzle to take its own shape that’s what where I am at.
Ted Henry: Its very clear he has helped you to change in significant ways and my guess is you are going to continue to change. How do you know what he wants you to try to change. Lets say from month to month or year to year. You spoke the other day of the old Dolly bailley would go with her husband and have nice recreation on a Friday night. On a Saturday evening entertainment, dinner out with friends, you have changed that, how do you know he wants you to change some things like this?
Shivangini:He has been literally hand holding on this path, on this journey. Some guidance comes very clearly, I mean do and don’t do this. Some guidance comes very subtly, it just like you intuitively know what he wants you to do and some guidance comes..does not even come You ask him and you don’t get the help and those are the areas where he really wants you to grow up and do it on your own. So…
Ted Henry: Does he ever want you to try to change others or other’s lives.
Shivangini:He has, yes…he has given the opportunity to help others in their spiritual pursuits. So there have been people who I talk to, work with only when, on their initiative, on their request, which I take as Swami’s inspiration to them.
Ted Henry: I realize that others, who knows who might here your story, lets say for example somebody is in a quandary as to which direction they should take for their spiritual life and they really don’t know where to go. What could you say to people who have an interest in spiritual pursuits…
Ted Henry: progress and they are in a quandary.
Shivangini: I have mostly started out with a questionnaire kind of thing which, it is not a formal questionnaire but I do give this to people who have come for help to tell me what do you do, what spiritual activity you do now, what is your goal? What kind of issues if you have any. What are your, you know interests and capabilities in terms of giving time to spiritual journey. So all those kind of you know understanding the individual should have before they decide what to do. Just like identifying the problem first before you find the solution. So Swami was the one who prompted me to put together this questionnaire kind of thing which I found very very helpful whenever people came for any guidance, to just tell them, have them think more, what they want, why religion, why spirituality, what are they expecting from it, what religion would do for them. So that kind of understanding when they gain then they are more apt to find out what is the solution which is going to work for them. For some people increase in spiritual practices is the answer and for some people forget everything just focus on your virtues, become a better person and for some people go, do seva you know like different people have different…
Ted Henry: …………on an area on which I think you can be of tremendous help to many people and its based on your incredible awareness of Sai Baba in your life and many people feel they are in a similar boat, that their lives have been blessed since they have become aware of Baba and its also based on the fact that as you go to see him in the form in Puttaparthi, he does not invite you in, he does not come up and sit down and talk for half an hour with you, he does not presumably come over and make vibhuti everyday for you and I know that that’s a challenge, for a lot of people who go to see Baba and they feel Baba doesn’t see them. How do you reconcile that.
Shivangini:I will answer that question with a personal experience. After two years of having experiences initially and writing down all the experiences, put it in the form of a book, he asked me, ‘Come see me in Puttaparthi’. I went there with the book in my hand, excited, book meaning it was not a published book. It was like a what do you call it a manu…
Ted Henry: Manuscript…
Shivangini: Manuscript and that I had in with me and with his blessing of course everything was streamlined, book was published within ten days and I came back with the books and everything. But he did not even look at me. He will come, you know go past me but he never looked at me, never talked to me, and in my head kept talking like he does you know, I said, Swami, Why are you doing this to me. I want to… at that time I was you know very naïve and immature in this area. I didn’t realize that personal contact is not that necessary, but I would say, ‘Why, why are you not looking at me, why are you not inviting me for interview, other people are going why not me?’ and he very nicely replied, he says, ‘Look, that person is suffering from cancer, he needs my help now, that person is so and so and this needs that. I talk to you all the time, why do I need to get you in that room and talk. Am I not talking to you right now? Yeah that was good consolation but I still wanted to be in that room, in the interview room, but it didn’t happen. I think what I am understanding that interview is not necessary, his one glance from 20 feet is sufficient to get his blessing, get his whatever you need and deserve. He gives it on the basis of need, on the basis of deservedness and he knows who is needy and who is deserving, and he is gonna give it. We don’t have to go closer to him
Ted Henry: Sounds like it might also be yet another lesson in duality. As long as we think that God is there and not inside ourselves we still need to continue our studies,
Shivangini: True, true. And also being able to accept God as a formless entity, that is the challenge for most of us. In fact it was a big challenge for me. I got to know Swami as God first and human later. I had difficulty seeing him as a human being and I said, ‘My God, he is a good pretender he does a good job of fooling us that he is just an ordinary person he is not. I hadn’t…you know like the person whom I had never seen, never met and I talk to him 10,000 miles away, everyday, for me, it can’t be an ordinary human being and it was not. But once I went there and saw him just like ordinary people, walking and smiling and this seemed very much like ordinary.
Ted Henry: Shivangini, forgive me, in advance for putting on a tremendous amount of pressure, I don’t mean to, as we are starting to wind down on our time here, I’d like to ask you just to reflect for a second may be two seconds, tell us what you think Swami wants you to tell us. Wants to communicate to us right now. What would you like to say?
Shivangini:I love his two motto statements, ‘Love All Serve all’, ‘Help Ever Hurt Never’. If I have to elaborate on each one of those, I think he is telling all of us to do our Dharma meaning do our obligatory duties, righteousness, our that thing which makes us entitled to the title of a human being. Become ahuman first and whatever dharma,righteous, right actions that we do, do it with a undercurrent of love. If we do that any time, any place, we will experience divinity and we can do it in all stages of our life. We can do it as a student, we can do it as a married couple, we can do it as parents to our children, we can do it in our professions, we can do it any where, everywhere, as retirees we can I mean there is a dharma actually in Bhagvat Gita there is dharma for each stage and age of life so, if we follow that and do it with love, our duties with love, that Swami says will bring you near to God.
Ted Henry: and is it ever disturbing to you that your loved ones, your children, your friends, aren’t in the same position of feeling Baba’s love to the degree you are you do.
Shivangini:Again, If I am not to be bothered by the happenings of the world, good and bad, how can I be bothered by the success of others and failures of others or their beliefs this way or that way.
Ted Henry: Excuse me for that, even when they are your own children or your friends.
Shivangini: that’s where I think that that’s very basic thing that Swami teaches, that is about me and mine. If I have to rise above my lower self to the higher self and the higher self of me is the same as the higher self of everybody else. What is the difference between me, mine and others? There are no others. We all are children of the same one God. We all are same. At the soul level we all are same. At the body and mind level are the differences and if I can’t change the mind of the person, I can’t change their destiny, I cannot, I don’t have a whole lot control on my own leave out on others so why should I be bothered. Yeah, does that mean that I will be indifferent, I will not care, Oh no, I will not give up my effort. If I see the child needing guidance and coaching to do more good, more right rather than wrong, within my capability of judging right and wrong, then I will guide, I will you know give them what all I can, moral values and all that and after that what they choose to do with it, the same divine which is guiding and prompting me will guide and prompt them too. And they will do it, he will take care. I don’t have to worry about it, that’s my Baba, he will do it.
Ted Henry: Who is Sai Baba?
Shivangini: Who is Sai Baba…? I guess, I think I have answered quite a bit as I have… during this interview. Sai is different things to different people, the ones who have known him as a great humanitarian who is building these hospitals offering free medical treatment to people, who is building all those water projects, providing water to drought areas and all that, to those people Baba is a great humanitarian. To some Baba is a great spiritual leader, to some he is a man of miracles, he can materialize vibhuti, he can materialize these rings and chains, I mean even and in my own home he materialized three books, he materialized two pearls which I showed you yesterday, he materialized..What do you call that sea shell kind of thing? Whats that?
Audience: Kotina shell
Shivangini: Kotina shell, so all these materializations, not only he can do it personally but he can do it 10,000 miles away right here in my home so I guess, I will leave up to the audience to decide who is Baba. You know it’s a, in that sense he is a man of miracle alright but to me he is the indweller of every heart, he is that divinity that formless divinity that we speak of however, it has taken a form of a SAI and this Sai as Swami explains to us is not Sai in the Sathya Sai form only, its triple Sai avatar. Avatar, you know God incarnate in the triple form because first it came as Shirdi Sai, now it is in the Sathya Sai form and he already has forecasted, projected, forecasted that he will be born after eight years of leaving this form as Prema Sai. So, why these three Sai forms, because he has the mission of bringing purity, unity and divinity to the mankind and to do that task in this modern era when there is so much to be corrected among people in the people’s hearts and all that one avatar, one form which 100 year duration would not have been enough so it takes 300 years of span to bring out that correction and for that upliftment of unity, purity and divinity there is a triple Sai Avatar.
Ted Henry: Great explanation. Shivangini, Thank you very very much.
Shivangini: Oh, thank you. I appreciate your giving me this opportunity to share
Ted Henry: and Sai ram
Shivangini: Sai Ram!