My husband and I were at a crossroads in our lives. We didn't know where to live any more - in Canada or in Europe. He had given up his job in Canada, and we had sold our house there, to follow a dream of living in the south of France on a property that he had bought with his sister, and renovated. But nothing seemed to go right, so we turned tail, trying to reverse direction.
Back in Canada, all our plans again went a-gley, and we found ourselves on a precarious foothold in Toronto in a furnished apartment. Our fifteen-year-old daughter was in boarding school in Canada, our five-year-old with her aunt in France. We didn't have much confidence in ourselves because everything we tried, failed. We were looking for "a reliable psychic" to advise us what to do, and were making the most of being in a big city to try to find one. We met a lot of interesting people, but it was in the spring that the breakthrough came, and we found something -or someone - far beyond our wildest dreams.
In April, 1974, a young couple from India moved into the next apartment and soon invited us for supper. When they heard about our search in the spiritual realms, they lent us Howard Murphet's book, Sai Baba, Man of Miracles.
We felt we had at last found the beginning of an answer to our quest. I recognized the loving presence that had been giving me comfort for several years. My husband felt a strong pull toward Sai Baba of Shirdi. When we tried to return the book to the young couple, they gave it to us, saying they had lent it to many people but we were the first who had read it. We thanked them because reading that book was a life-changing experience for us. We took our courage in hand and moved back to Europe, reuniting with our younger child. The teenager declared her independence from us, and refused to leave Canada - for the time being. Troubled times ensued that were also rich in experience.
Three years later we had moved back and forth across the Atlantic without finding the sanctuary that we longed for. We had to push past hostility and had achieved a measure of material success, but the only friendly counsel that we gained came through dreams of Sathya Sai Baba and through our spirit guides. We had also met followers of Sai, and received two photos of him. We sat down one day in France with his portrait to ask for counsel. After a long silence, my husband said he was sending me to see Baba, and not to come back until I had had an interview and Baba had told me what we were to do. I set off on the path of our wildest dreams and found them leading me along pathways of truth and love.
My first of six pilgrimages to Prasanthi Nilayam lasted four months. My husband and younger daughter came with me the following Christmas for five weeks, then my husband and I went to see him two years later. The next three trips I made on my own. Swami told me that he was always with me, and to keep that knowledge in my heart. I remember one interview when several of us from Switzerland came up on the verandah, following two others from the same country, and Swami looked at us, appearing surprised to see so many crowding up,
"I called only two!"
"Don't you want us too, Swami?" I asked, looking up at him with big round eyes like a chastened puppy.
"Come in, come in, bad girls!" he laughed, "Come and join the mental hospital."
I believe he has always been with me in all my lifetimes, and so it is not really easy to say when I first knew of his existence. I have written a book about my experiences under his wings, entitled Birch and Pine Whisper His Name - A Tribute to Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Exerpts from this book appear in my blog http://alongwoodlandpaths.blogspot.com/
Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada