I came to know of Sai Baba’s existence through my older brother. I think he was seventeen, or eighteen when I first saw this afroed, orange robed, Indian man’s photo displayed on a makeshift altar in his room. I would have been twelve or thirteen and had no more spiritual stirrings than the average skateboarding teenager. Born to Christian Baptists, my conception of God and, more so through my experience in church, I could only surmise that God hadn't interacted with any people on Earth for a few thousand years. Those people were prophets and apostles. God’s interaction with people was restricted to stories told by our church’s preacher. Heaven, hell, father, son, holy-spirit were concepts inaccessible to me as a kid. However, a difficult adolescence marked by family dysfunction pushed me to begin my own spiritual inquiry and find some meaning and purpose to my life. The tension at home drove both my younger and older brother from our family dwelling leaving me feeling very much alone in the world.
During school I would ditch class to go to the library. My high school library had an extensive section on Eastern Religions. There I would read about Buddhism and Vedanta and Indian Gurus. Reading the stories and traditions of Indian saints, particularly the story of the Prince Siddhartha’s renunciation of his wealth and position to search for the meaning of life, began to stir in me a desire to do likewise. Following my high school graduation, my older brother found a job for me laboring on the construction crew for which he’d been working.
The gap in our age seems insignificant now, but five years of age difference means a lot more in one’s youth. The time my older brother and I spent working together really was the first opportunity since we were kids to really bond. I looked up to him, as younger siblings do, and noticed in him a significant transformation had occurred since his acquaintance with Sai Baba. In fact, he had been to India and seen the holy man and recalled a few incidents of profundity in his presence. My older brother has always been reserved in sharing his experiences with Baba, and would only offer his thoughts when asked. So, one day when driving home from work I asked, “What is the deal with Sai Baba?” His answer was simple.
“Sai Baba is God.”
I simply could not wrap my head around the notion. He continued, “…but he says, ‘you too are God.’” Soon after, I bought a book on meditation and a box of incense. I tried to follow the instructions on how to meditate, but found my mind swimming in thoughts and unable to still itself. Somewhere along the line I read Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums and found some articulation for my own urge to ramble. After a summer on the construction crew, I decided to set off to locate my younger brother in the Western states of the U.S., all the while knowing it would be a journey to discover myself. I found my younger brother at a Rainbow Gathering in the forests of northern Arizona. He was traveling with a collection of hippy kids on a double-decker school bus. From there my travels lead me to the California coastline. When I first met the Pacific sea I sat and began to meditate.
I felt myself sink deep within, almost effortlessly. The doors of perception opened, and it seemed the whisper of the waves breaking on shore spoke the same voice of my own consciousness. I spiraled inward and saw the entirety of my life in simultaneity. I saw the pain of my life as having been the engine which drove me to finally locate the seat of divinity within myself. And then the voice spoke, “Sai Baba is God.” Perhaps “voice” isn’t the best word, as there was no sound associated. Rather it was understanding which was conveyed, an understanding that God was present among us, walking in human form on earth.
- By: SCOTT - RECEIVED, NOVEMBER - 2012