How I Learned About Sai Baba
My earliest conscious memory of encountering Sai Baba was just after my 25th birthday in October 1999. I was living in Bournemouth, UK and was a regular visitor to the wonderful health food shop close by. I always noticed a picture of this little Indian man in an orange robe posing with a calf.
I thought the picture was nice and being someone who’s always been interested to learn about the various religious/spiritual paths, kept saying to myself ‘I really must ask Carl (the owner of the shop) about the man in the picture’ but somehow always forgot about it.
One day I finally managed to ask. The brief dialogue between Carl and I went something like this:
“Who’s that guy in the picture with the calf?”
“Oh, that’s Sai Baba”
“Is there a local group or something like that I can visit to find out more?”
“Well, I have a book out the back you can borrow, I’ll get it for you”
The book was given to me in an old padded envelope. I looked at it briefly and said:
“OK, I’ll read it. But can I tell you afterwards how I honestly felt about it?”
So I went off and began reading the book straight away. I was living in a small apartment with my girlfriend at the time and we had been arguing a lot. She had left to visit her parents and I was alone for a few days. I decided to fast on organic rice / oats and try to ‘get my head together’ and work out how to get some peace back into my life.
The book was called ‘The Embodiment Of Love’ by Peggy Mason and Ron Laing. After a dozen or so pages I found myself periodically slipping off into deep thought, closing the book and staring at the front and back covers. I had read many various books on spiritual teachings and practices but I’d never come across someone who was actually saying they were God. I was intrigued to say the least. I kept thinking ‘If what he is saying is true, that changes everything’.
I spent much of that day reading the book and in the afternoon decided to telephone my old friend who I had first visited India with in 1992. In many ways he was a spiritual and healthcare guide to me, converting me to vegetarianism and generally chatting with me about esoteric/spiritual issues. Our conversation went something like this:
“Hi, I am reading a book about Sai Baba and he says he’s God…not like a Buddha or Bodhisatva or something, but actually God. What do you think about that?”
“Well, I’m not sure really. I’ve met people who are totally for him and I’ve met people who are totally against him. I’ve heard some amazing stories for sure.”
“But do you think it could be true that he’s God? Cos if it is…well…that’s it isn’t it? That’s the end of the search.”
“Well, I don’t know. I mean, I guess he could be some kind of planetary or solar logos or something. I’m not sure about actually being God though.”
As I was asking him what he thought about Sai, I had a strong feeling that I knew the answer already and was just pretending to require his opinion. I think in my heart I was certain that everything I had read in the book so far was indeed true.
I carried on reading the book the second day and had nearly finished by the time I went to bed. I remember reading something about Sai saying that it was OK to test him, so that night I ‘prayed’ something like this:
“Baba, you say you are God. This is the biggest claim. I must demand that you prove it to me tonight somehow.”
I fell asleep and awoke in the morning with tears in my eyes. I think I must have wept quite a lot. I didn’t remember anything about the dream for a couple of days until it popped into my head one morning as I was drinking coffee in a local café. I was gazing out of the window at the rainy autumn day and felt an upsurge of what I now recognise as ananda (divine bliss). I noticed that a few tears were trickling down my face and I wondered what could be causing this feeling. I looked out at the people walking along the pavement and felt a powerful love towards all of them that I’d never felt before. I chuckle now as I remember looking at my coffee cup and rationalising that the coffee really was the best in the world! ‘I’ve never known such a good coffee’ I thought to myself.
Then a few minutes later I began to remember waking up with tears in my eyes and the dream started to come back to me. I went home and checked my dream diary (I was writing down all the dreams I remembered at the time). Indeed I had made an entry referencing the dream, it was written in barely intelligible scrawl (I must have written it when still half asleep):
“Dreamt I met God last night”
The following is a recount of the first dream I had regarding Sai Baba.
I was in some kind of room with approximately 7 others. We were stood casually in a semi-circle all looking at a Goddess of some sort. I remember noting that her beauty and resplendence could not possibly be contained in words. She was jyoti, light. All the while I was marvelling at her divine presence, I was acutely aware that this was indeed Sai. The form was not of a little man with an afro, but a Goddess – and that Goddess was Sai.
I was on the far left of the semi-circle and looked towards the others saying something like:
“Do you understand the implication of this? Do you understand what this means?”
A few of the others turned to me excitedly and said:
“Yes! Yes! Isn’t it wonderful!”
The thought quickly came into my head that those who were now looking at me could not have understood what it meant, else they wouldn’t be looking at me, they would be looking at her (as the others in the group were).
I turned back to her and a voice in my head said:
“You can have sex with her if you want…just by moving closer to her.”
I was indignant and replied:
“That’s ridiculous, it’s God!”
Next thing the Goddess moved towards me and held her hand out towards me, palm up. It was disappearing and re-appearing into the light. She said:
“I can do whatever I want and you can do whatever you want”
The next month in my life involved much change. I moved up to London to find some temping work in order to save money to visit Baba. My thoughts were completely immersed with Baba and I was viewing many pictures and reading ‘Sathya Sai Speaks’ volumes I had bought from the charming Sai Baba centre in Baker Street.
Then one night I had my second dream:
I was on a sports ground and in front of me was a football goal and a goalkeeper. To my left were other young men, we were all in football kit. In the far left was Baba in His orange robe. From behind the goal footballs seemed to be materialising and flying out randomly towards us. As the balls came towards us we would try to kick them back in the direction that had come from and into the goal.
My strategy was to relax, half close my eyes and just keep swinging my right leg as if I were going to score a goal. My reasoning was that seeing as the Avatar was with us, my best bet would be to let Him somehow work through me and guide the perfect goal. Footballs were indeed coming towards my foot and I was striking them quite well, but each time they would miss the goal by a small margin.
In The Garden with
Baba & My Sister
From the football ground the dream shifted to a garden setting, a place I think was probably Brindavan, Whitefield but I’m not sure. I was walking in the garden with my sister and the atmosphere was highly spiritually charged.
The next thing I know Baba is stood in front of me. My eyes saw a young man so I said to Him:
“Baba, I see you as a young man”
He leant forward slightly and said:
So I repeated my self in quite a manner-of-fact manner:
“Baba, I see you as a young man”
He looked at me and replied:
“So you see me as I am then”
I looked back at him an nonchalantly shrugged my shoulders as if to say ‘I guess so’.
He promptly vanished and soon three older Indian women in Sari’s came floating towards my sister and I. They seemed slightly hysterical and were saying:
“Where’s Baba!? Where’s Baba?!”
I recognised that they were probably some kind of weird demons or something and replied to them in a firm tone:
“Go away now!”
In my mind it was clear, Baba was in my heart and any suggestion to the contrary was sacrilegious.
Then my sister spoke:
“Are we in some kind of cult here?”
“I’ve been looking at the various cults for ten years and I can assure you this is not some kind of cult” before taking her by the hand and walking away from the three women.
Next we were sitting cross legged on the floor in some kind of open-sided hall (the darshan area of Brindavan I presume), my sister to the right of me. There were many other in the hall and Baba approached from the right. We were in the front row and as he passed us I looked to my sister who appeared to be in a completely catatonic state, like the realisation had hit her. I was pleased.
My First Visit to Prashanti Nilayam
By December I had saved enough money to fly to India to visit Baba. I arrived in Delhi and decided to spend a while in Rishikesh preparing myself spiritually for my forthcoming visit to Baba’s ashram. In Rishikesh I practiced a bit of tapas (fasting, sleeplessness, japam, meditation etc) for about a week before heading down to Andra Pradesh in the south. I was exceedingly tired when I arrived at the ashram one evening but that didn’t stop me from getting up very early the next day for darshan. I kept nodding off and waking up with a start during the wait for Baba to appear but when he did I was truly blown away. I’ll never forget my first glimpse of the orange robe. ‘There it is’ I thought to myself ‘There is God in a man’s form’.
I was about 5 lines back and when Baba walked past me my whole body started to vibrate strongly, my back was perfectly straightened and when I closed my eyes I saw a thin horizontal line of brilliant light. I stayed for twenty days and they were the most spiritually eventful twenty days of my life so far. I was changing fast and I felt Baba was treating me very nicely. Although I never spoke to Him physically I did have quite a few experiences in His presence, some of which are outlined below:
One time he looked into my eyes and I saw the entire universe. I could not tell if I was Him or He was I, in that brief moment I could perceive no separateness from Him or His creation.
Another time I handed him a letter I had written which consisted of 4 requests for the safety of my friends/family in coming millennium and for my swift spiritual development. When I realised He was walking towards me to take my letter I started to become overwhelmed. Again my body started vibrating and I began letting out short and fast gasps of air from my mouth. As I handed Him the letter I remember feeling like a balloon that had just been completely filled with air and I was half expecting to fly off out of the hall into the sky as a balloon might if the air were suddenly to be released from it.
Another time I decided not to leave the hall after morning darshan as instructed but instead sat cross legged on one of the stone benches to see what happened. Seva Dal seemed oblivious to my being seated there so I kept waiting. Next I saw Baba walking through lines of Seva Dal and they were touching his feet. When that was finished it seemed to me that Baba was walking towards me and I quickly looked down so as not to catch His eyes. I felt unworthy of His gaze.
After darshan one morning I was in a particularly blissful state. As I walked out of the darshan hall and by the South Indian canteen I found myself somehow magnetised to an old man sitting at a small table. He had a pleasant countenance and smile and just two books laid out on the table in front of him. I looked at them, one was white and the other was black. The black one was called, I think, ‘Pralaya 2000’ and the white one was called ‘Sai Era 2000’. I eyed them both and, intuitively realising these books were for sale, said I wanted to buy the white one. I pulled out a 100 rupee note from my pocket, guessing it probably cost less than 100 rupees (books in the ashram are very cheap). He looked at my note and said “Ah..um..90 rupees”, took the money and gave me 10 rupees change. I took the book away with me and began to read it on the lawn, still in a very blessed state. I read a paragraph about the biblical quote that ‘The father who sent me will come again, his name will be truth, he will wear a gown as if dipped in blood, many crowns from his head’ and began to cry ecstatically quietly to myself. It began to dawn on me that the old man sat at the table near the south Indian canteen was indeed Baba himself, after all, in the physical world since when has an old man sat at a table near the darshan hall selling only 2 books? Maybe there was some truth to the rumours I’d heard about Baba appearing as old men who wonder around the ashram conversing with devotees.
Sometime I would find myself staring at the huge stone Ganesha idol by the front gates to the ashram. I liked it very much and to my eyes, it would often appear to somehow be ‘on fire’. “That idol is truly alive” I would think to myself.
Smashing a coconut on the shiva lingham outside the Ganesha idol’s cage seemed to mark some kind of sizable shift in myself, a cleansing experience.
I came to a kind of realisation early Christmas morning. I was staying in the Westerners shed and very eager for darshan, as were other young men. One by one we left the shed earlier than is prescribed, as I remember before 4am. Seva Dal had formed and were holding hands to keep us back from the central compound area. As more and more of us came out of the sheds ahead of time the Seva Dal could not hold us back and their chain of hands broke. I was amongst those men at the front and as we swiftly walked to the waiting area I realised that this truly was some kind of ‘divine army’ of devotees, all dressed in clean white clothes and 100% focussed on the Lord incarnate in Puttarparti. To me it was a marvel.
At times I would be walking around the ashram campus with a mantra, say the Gayatri mantra running over and over in my mind. Then, like some kind of DJ, I’d overlay some japam, say ‘Sairam’ or ‘Soham’ so both ‘records’ were playing at the same time. Then I’d overlay something like ‘Sai Shivo Hum’ and marvel as I ‘observed’ these three sacred mantras running concurrently in my head, thinking to myself ‘where else could such a phenomenon occur in a young man if not in Prashanti Nilayam?!’.
The ashram food was satvic and good. I used to frequent both the north Indian and Western canteens, thoroughly enjoying it all. One lunch time I had sat down to eat and after a few mouthfuls stopped to think about what was happening to me internally. After a while I thought to myself ‘God! This food is holy!’ and tears started flowing there and then.
Other thing I thought I’d mention is since the first time I realised Sai was Lord I’ve noticed that I feel a big wave of energy/tingles comes over my body when I turn my palm up and move my arm in a small circular motion (like how Baba does it). Unless I’m stuffed full of food or drunk alcohol this feeling comes pretty much every time I do it. Often it is possible to see the hairs on my arms stand on end when I do it, and sometimes my whole body even shudders. When I have been fasting the effect is much stronger and the feeling is never unpleasant.
Yes, You Will Go To Rishikesh
I got the train to Delhi with a view to possibly returning to Rishikesh for more tapas. There were no available seats on the train so I sat crossed legged in the intersection of two carriages. It was a long journey for sure and I was very tired. I remember when it was dark and people were asleep in the train I found a small space on the floor of one of the carriages, climbed into my sleeping sheet and lay my head down on a jumper I had folded up. The next thing I remember was a bolt of electricity coming into my body and I quickly sat upright. As I remember, I clearly said out loud ‘Yes, you will go to Rishikesh’ – it may just have been a vivid voice in my head that was not actually said out loud though. Once more, as with the bolts of electricity I had been experiencing in Goa for an entire month, one of the physical results had been the sudden discharge of semen.
Anger In Brindavan
I remember visiting Brindavan, Whitefield the next year but Baba wasn’t there and I didn’t think much of the town so I only stayed a couple of nights. One night in the hotel during sleep I remember being ‘electrocuted’ during one of my sleep ‘experiences’ and bolted up out of bed pulling my T-shirt off (which seemed to be on fire). I was so angry at having to go through all this burning and electrocution (I had counted about 12 such experiences the month before in Goa – all incorporating a spontaneous ejaculation) and walked over to my makeshift shrine and started kicking it all over. As I was destroying my shrine there were definitely two different ‘me’s’ involved. The ‘me’ that was the actor, the one who had been electrocuted and burned and who was now smashing up his shrine and the ‘me’ that was just watching calmly as the show took place.
Liberation in Gran Canaria
Around 2002 I took myself off to Gran Canaria for a week of quiet contemplation, study of Sai Baba books and fasting. I was staying in a little town in the north of the island in a family run pension. Sometime during the week I remember writing a prayer to Baba in my spiritual journal. I was feeling frustrated because although I’d asked for Him to visit me the day before, He didn’t come – at least not to my memory. So I wrote something like:
“Baba, I really must insist that you visit me tonight”
That night I covered my body in Vibhutti ash and sat to meditate in front of my shrine. Afterwards, chosing not to sleep in the bed, I lay on the floor in front of the shrine and fell asleep. The following dream occurred:
I walked into a room and saw Sai Baba sat on some kind of throne. To His left was another person, someone quite spiritually advanced I think, perhaps it was even Mahavatar Babaji, I’m not sure. As I walked towards Him, He looked at me in a disapproving way and said something like:
“No, you can’t come here, go away”.
Not to be dissuaded I replied:
“No Baba, I won’t go away” and proceeded closer to Him. With his hand he bagan to push me away, re-iterating that I was not welcome there. I was determined and started to push back at Him, in what ended up as a Kung Fu exercise I know called ‘Chi Su’ or ‘sticking hands’. This pushing/deflecting of hands and arms continued for a short while before something very deep in my seemed to ‘break’ and I genuflected with an incredibly powerful sense of longing in my heart. At this point Baba took my right hand and placed the back of the palm to His forehead. He smiled blissfully and closed His eyes. At this point a part of me thought ‘this is my chance!’ and I blurted out:
“Baba, I want liberation. Please help me destroy my ego!”
At this point everything seemed to change. Baba looked to be in physical pain but it didn’t concern me, after all, He was the Avatar and Avatars don’t identify with pain.
Then I noticed was that a golden lingham had appeared from out of His mouth and He handed it over to me. I took it and held it up to see. I didn’t think much apart from something like ‘Hmmm, the gold egg is quite small but certainly solid’ before handing it back to Him.
The next thing I notice is that the ‘egg’ (lingham) had expanded greatly in size until all I could see was brilliant gold everywhere. Then I heard ‘the voice’ which said very clearly:
“I am the egg, I am expanding myself now”.
And then I saw something which is tricky to express. I saw the most massive explosion of pure energy spewing outward in all directions to an incomprehensible degree. It was as if I was witnessing the creation of a universe.
The next thing is I am dressed as Santa Claus and standing on Baba’s shoulders in a busy railway station. I am very happy and called out “Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!” to everyone. Then I had a thought: ‘Gosh, I must be absorbing an aweful lot of prana through the soles of my feet, seeing as I’m standing on the shoulders of a Purna Avatar!’. Next thing I know I am standing infront of Baba, still in the busy station and He says “Don’t forget.” For some reason a brushed off His remark and said ‘yeah, yeah…’ and looked around as if I had some place more important I needed to be. I walked off away from Baba and soon had a ‘moment of clarity’ whereby I realised that I’d brushed off the Avatar of the Age and quickly turned around to see if I could see Him in the crowd…but He’d gone.
Around 2006 in Goa I had two more Baba dreams in the space of three or four days. The first one went like this:
I was sitting in a large hall, similar to the kind of hall where a comedy show might take place, various tables with chairs around them and a large stage. Many others were in the room also. Then a compare came on the stage and gave a rousing introduction saying something like:
“And now!...ladies and gentlemen!...SAI BABA!!!”
Then Sai Baba came running on the stage in a flamboyant way, like a TV star might do. I was surprised to see Him like this. On stage he bagan to perform a show whereby He was making his abdomen wave in and out using his midriff muscles. It was like I’d seen contortionists do before and again, I was surprised…“What on Earth is He doing here?!” I wondered. Then as I looked more carefully at his midriff contortions I realised I was looking at the ebbing and flowing of the entire universe. “Aha!” I thought “So that’s what He’s doing!”. Then the scene changed and Baba was very sick on a hospital bed. In slow motion I saw His body fall off the bed and then as soon as it hit the floor, I saw the whole thing happen in reverse, again in slow motion.
Then the scene changed again and I was back in the hall where the show had taken place. The audience were still there however this time they were all stood up and wrapped up as an Egyptian mummy might be. Baba again came into the room and appeared to be disorientated, much in the same way a drunk person would be. As He staggered around He was knocking over many of the ‘mummies’ who were falling over like skittles. The crowd was chanting:
“Baba sick! Baba sick! Baba sick!”
I didn’t appreciate this mantra so I called out to everyone:
“No, not like this. The mantra is Baba healthy! Baba healthy! Baba healthy!”
The Beggar Woman
I was walking in Margao, the biggest town in South Goa when I came across a dishevelled looking beggar woman, filthy and dressed in rags. She certainly looked in a bad way but somehow I recognised it was Baba, so I walked across the road towards her and prostrated. I stood up again and looked her in the eyes. “Are you OK?” I said. “No, not really” was the reply. I gave her a hug and said something like “Don’t worry, everything will be OK”.
I still don’t quite understand the full meaning of that dream, although I think it’s something like: ‘God’, as in ‘people’s understanding of God in this world’ is indeed a beggar, we are in the Kali Yuga and knowledge of the Lord has never been poorer. I remember saying to my friend the next day:
“Well, I dreamt about Baba again last night. He was a beggar woman and I was counselling her”. Then I laughed: “Imagine that! A young man who dreams that he’s counselling God! The psychiatrists would have a field day with me!”
A Journey To Arcturus?
It was the summer of 2002 or 2003 and I was staying at a friends house in the English countryside for a few days. His mother had created a pleasant space in the spare room which had lovely crystals in it and also a picture of Sai Baba I had given her. I liked to sleep in this room on a folded blanket on the floor as I would always sleep well and usually have nice dreams. At this point in my life I was getting quite keen on ‘channelled’ literature by individuals who claimed they were in contact with extra terrestrials known as ‘Arcturians’. I have no idea as to the validity of what they say/write and have not bothered with any ‘channelled’ material for years, however I can vouchsafe that whatever I was ‘doing’ at that time (guided meditations, fasting etc) was having a strong effect on me. One night before sleeping I decided to light a candle and try to visit Arcturus in my astral body. I had been fasting and was tired so it was easy for me to drift off to sleep lying neatly on my back, on the floor. I prayed to Baba to assist me and protect me with this endeavour.
As I drifted off into sleep I heard a loud crackling sound in my left ear, so I sat up and looked around me to see what it was. I couldn’t work it out, so lay down again an drifted off to sleep. Again I heard the crackling sound and a voice in my head clearly saying “prepare yourself”. I was terrified, so I sat upright again, half expecting some ET’s to walk in the room and take me off somewhere. I took a japa mala and put it around my neck, looked at a Sai Baba photo and once more lay down to continue with my endeavour. All I remember is somehow being taken ‘up’ somewhere. I was being held in Baba’s arms as a baby is carried by it’s mother. I even have a recollection of a dummy in my mouth. The next moment it was morning and the sun was shining through the window, I felt an over-riding sense of well being/clarity and my whole body was tingling and vibrating somewhat.
During another period of fasting/prayer/mantra etc I slipped off into a kind of sleep:
Immediately I was walking into a room of sorts (my dreams often involve being in a room) and Baba was there. He looked surprised and said something like ‘Oh, you got here quicker than I thought!’, I just shrugged and looked at him incredulously, as if to say ‘Come on Baba, I know you better than that, you knew exactly when I’d arrive’.
One morning in the Darshan hall in Puttarparti I was in a deeply blissful state as Baba walked past me. I closed my eyes and suddenly I was striding towards a bright light in the distance, I knew this light was ‘the goal’. I kept striding throughout but noticed people from the left and the right distracting me in various ways. For instance, from the right a young man punched me in the face but it didn’t bother me at all, I just kept striding. Then from the left I saw a nice, attractive, friendly looking girl but she did not distract me, I just kept striding. Other distractions came at me (I’ve since forgotten what they were), but I’ll never forget the essential nature of the ‘vision’. Such is the effect proximity to the Avatar can have on a spiritual aspirant’s consciousness.
My Burned Shin
Whilst staying in India during 2003 or 2004 I was in the habit of filling up a large carbon water filter with boiling water from a large urn each morning. One day some of the boiling water spilled on to my left hand as I was pouring and I reactively pulled it away. This caused the remainder of the boiling water in the vessel (about 5 litres) to pour all over my exposed left shin (I was wearing shorts). I went into shock and was yelping and screaming terribly. The skin on my shin was a mess and I was in severe pain. Alls well that ends well – thanks to a combination of home-made colloidal silver, oxygenated water and urine therapy my shin healed wonderfully however it was a dream I had a few days afterwards that made me think the experience was some kind of test/initiation from Baba:
I was at a party in a house in England with many of my old friends from school/college/university. I was having fun and felt very comfortable there. Then I noticed that Baba was stood by the open front door. Everything about Him was the same as how I’d seen Him in India except that the lower part of his orange robe ended at His knees, showing His shins. I instinctively walked towards him and faced him as I was on the threshold of the door. At that moment I felt a very strong urge to leap clean into Him and attempted to do so, however my attempt was thwarted by a gentle motion of His hand, as if to say “not now”. So I walked passed Him and out of the house instead.
Sai Visits Me
It was 2000 I think and I had checked into the Ganga Putra hotel in Rishikesh to do some ‘heavy tapas’ as I would refer to it. Lots of fasting, sleeplessness etc was the order of the week. I had developed what I enthusiastically called ‘a great new sadhana I came up with’. It took 9 hours in total to complete, beginning at 9pm and finishing at 6am. During the first half of every hour I required myself to sit in the cross-legged position and focus only on meditation or nama japam, even if my legs began to hurt I was not allowed to move them out of position. During the second half of each hour I could write in my spiritual diary, do some gentle yoga stretching, do some pranayama, go to the toilet etc. This particular session became quite gruelling for me, especially during the final two or three hours but I persevered right till the end. My legs and feet were killing me by the time I stood up at 6am. I had a big poster of Sai Baba behind me on the wall and the first thing I did was stand up to face it. My legs were shaking and in pain; heaven knows where ‘I’ was, but I remember my legs buckling and my just sitting on the floor in front of the poster and weeping, as if to say ‘when will all this struggle end?’.
That day I went for a walk along the Ganges and dropped by an old swami’s house who I had recently made the acquaintance of. After that, I wondered around a bit more and then by the afternoon made my way back to my room in the hotel, which certainly felt like some kind of temple to me. I was so tired that I couldn’t resist lying down on the floor to get a bit of sleep. Task master that I can sometimes be, I set my alarm for 1 hour after I lay down. In a second I was asleep and in another second the alarm was going off. I remember not wanting to get out of bed as a boy but I don’t ever remember the effort it took to sit up and pull myself out of sleep this time. I don’t know what, but something definitely ‘cracked/broke’ deep inside me during that effort. I did it though, I dragged my heavily sleep deprived body up off the floor in the name of Sai Sadhana and I doubt I’ll ever forget the resolve it took to do so. Anyway, that’s the prelude to the experience that happened to me that night:
I awoke early in the morning and needed to go for a pee. As I was peeing in the toilet I suddenly remembered that a man had been in the room with me the evening before but I couldn’t remember who he was or when he left. Being in India as a backpacker I instantly became concerned that perhaps the man was a thief and that after I’d fallen asleep he’d stolen my ‘bum-bag’ with money/passport in it. I checked in the cupboard and everything was as it should be, then I noticed on the spare bed in my room there were my photo’s of Baba neatly laid out. I remembered that I had been telling my ‘visitor’ of the evening before how much I loved Baba, and was showing him my photos. Then it dawned on me that my visitor must have been Sai himself, although I don’t have a conscious memory of how he looked. So, either he had actually appeared in my room in a kind of astral capacity or my imagination had lead me to get up out of a deep sleep and lay out my photos of Baba on the bed. Either way, it just goes to show…it just goes to show…something! I’m not sure what exactly.
He appeared to me
as Howard Marks
In another dream during a stay in Rishikesh, Baba had appeared to me as a famous man in the Cannabis world called Howard Marks. During my teens and twenties I was smoking cannabis most days and never really felt it to be a big problem, unlike other drugs can be. Anyway, this dream was preceded by a prayer from me to Baba about my lifestyle:
A small group of friends and I were sat on the floor around a low table in an converted attic of a house. A face that I recognised was sat to the far right. I had a feeling that I knew him but it took me some time to work it all out. Then I had a slight panic that I had misplaced two small bags of cannabis, so climbed down the steps from the attic to check. Everything was OK, they were on top of the TV where I’d left them. So I climbed back up to the attic and sat down again, looking over to the man on the right. I offered him a joint to which he politely declined and said “No, I think I’d be a bit too good at it”, a comment which confused me.
Then I noticed that indeed the man was Howard Marks, the famed cannabis smuggler of the 70’s and 80’s. Yes…it was Howard…but then I looked closer and it was the face of Sai that had somehow merged with Howard’s face (the face had a slight greyness to it as I remember). Then I knew it was Baba the avatar, yet again, in my face. Internally I joked “Aha! You rascal! It’s you again…I know! Ha!” to which He leaned towards me so His face was only a few inches from mine and nodded His head very obviously and said “Yes”. My brain went into gear and I grabbed my chance to ask a question that had been in my mind since I’d taken the bus back from Haridwar to Rishikesh a few days earlier.
“That building with the Sai logo on it on the road from Haridwar, is that an ashram?”
“No” he replied shaking His head very deliberately, “not an ashram”.
My Godson, Ben.
During darshan one day I closed my eyes and saw two friends of mine, Matthew and Becky. Becky was holding a tiny baby and I was facing them. I prayed to Baba there and then ‘please let me be the God father to this blessed child.’
A couple of weeks later I got an email from Matthew telling me that Becky was pregnant. I replied saying ‘That doesn’t surprise me, I’ve already seen the baby whilst I was in Puttarparti’. A short while later I got another email from him asking if I wanted to be his God father, I replied “I thought you’d ask that, of course I would, I prayed to Baba to let me be the God father”.
Sai, The Throne & It’s Carriers
This dream occurred around 2004-2006:
I was the only member of the audience in a theatre house. The stage was empty. The next thing I know is that Sai Baba is being carried on to the stage on a grand throne carried by a group of men. The men holding the throne didn’t seem to be in particular control and as they walked forward they stumbled and the throne fell down. Baba just ‘went with it’ and let His feet touch the floor before calmly walking away.
I still don’t have much idea about what this dream could mean? Perhaps something to do with my concerns about corruption in the Sathya Sai organisation or perhaps something completely different.
On The Golf Course
With Isaac Tigrett
I have trouble remembering the details of this dream well, but here goes:
I was sitting in a kind of marquis in an English garden and had the idea that I should watch Sai Baba videos with Sai Baba. So I plugged-in the TV/video and we began to watch. What came on the screen was Sai Baba on what appeared to be a golf course with Isaac Tigrett stood to His left. Tigrett seemed very excited and was making an announcement which I remember as “I am very happy to say that the Lord has appeared on Earth and here He is as Sai Baba!” and with that He gave Him a big hug.
I felt ‘Oh that’s nice, Tigretts really excited, he really knows that Baba is God’. Then the video ended and there was a message on the screen that said “since the filming of this video, Leonard Orr has changed his opinion about the Avatar.”
I still don’t really understand what this dream means.
In a very quick dream I had around 2003:
Baba walked over to me and handed me an open dictionary, He pointed to the word ‘Devolution’. I looked at the word and didn’t think much about about it. Then He left.
I still don’t know what this dream could mean?
In 2011 I had a dream whilst spending part of the monsoon in Goa. By this time I was 36 and although still smoking cannabis most days, I was smoking much less and the quality of hashish I could regularly obtain was some of the highest in the world:
I was sat next to Baba and said to Him calmly “Baba, I want liberation”. He looked at me, leant forward a bit and said “Pardon?” So I repeated myself, again calmly and quietly. Next I offered him a small lump of my prized hashish, freshly made in the Atlas mountains of Morocco. He took it and pulled out a similar sized piece of hashish, very similar to mine. Then He placed both in a small clear plastic bag and began to push them both together with His hands to create a blend. “That will make it stronger” I commented thoughtfully. “Yes” He replied, very deliberately.
He Gave Me A
This dream seemed to pop-up out of nowhere. It was last year (2011) in the Czech Republic.
I was in a room talking with a friend when Baba walked in. I didn’t make any effort to catch His attention as He walked straight towards my friend. I didn’t really care that He wasn’t acknowledging me as I realised it was just another one of those ‘other side experiences’ and anyway, even if He was right in front of me physically I probably wouldn’t expect anything of Him, not even any acknowledgment.
When He walked out of the room my friend looked at me and said “He’s given you a ring”. I thought about it for a moment and then looked down at my right hand which was in a loosely formed fist. I reasoned that the ring must have been materialised in my hand and slowly opened it to see. Indeed it had, it was lodged between my third and little fingers and it was a woman’s ring.
So there we have it, one more set of Sai experiences to add to the long, long list of others that have been submitted and are yet to be submitted by people from all over the world. As I cast my mind back to Krishna’s time, or Rama’s time, and think of all the people who were part of the various stories, I feel honoured and humbled as I realise that I, too…as James Cooper during the period called Kali Yuga, had the great privilege of playing a tiny part in the story of Sai Purna Avatar, Vishnu’s 10th and final avataric expression, come as a trinity incarnation that calls itself Sai Baba.
It won’t be long before Prema Sai is with us, my prayer has been (and still is) for me and my Godson Ben to visit Him one day.
One Final Story:
"About 18 months before Baba's mahasamadhi it was a summers day in south
Bohemia and I was walking accross the square in the middle of town. I was
mulling Sai as I often do when seemingly out of nowhere a voice said 'And
for those who never got the chance to see Him, it will have to be enough
for them to know that there once lived a very special man." It was somehow
'me' speaking I think but the effect was very strong.
The gravity/profundity/power etc of His incarnation hit me (like a fruit tree,
the people only fully appreciate it when it's gone) and I felt a huge wave
of energy rise up in me, resulting in me crying alot. I had to hide my
face and quickly make my way to the river until I'd stopped weeping. "Why
am I mourning His death now?" I wondered. When His form actually passed in
2011 I was stunned for a couple of minutes, a couple of tears fell but
that was it - my mourning had been done over a year before."