by Sri B N Narasimha Murthy
Janma karmacha me divyam evam yo ve’tti tatvataha
Tyaktva deham punarjanma naiti maameti sorjuna
This is one of the 700 stanzas in the Bhagavad Gita. These particular verses are extremely significant for spiritual aspirants, who want to realise their divinity. It means “That person after giving up the body will not be re-born and will merge in Me.” This is the reassurance given by Lord Krishna. But who is ‘that’ person?
Krishna declared, “When I come down as the Avatar into this world, whoever understands the real essence of My birth and action, janma and karma, will merge in Me after he gives up the body.”
Think about it – isn’t it such a glorious opportunity for all of us now? We are contemporaries of Sai Krishna, the Poorna Avatar. And, if we truly understand the real essence of His descent, it will liberate us from the bondage of birth and death!
But how do we really understand Him? How do we understand God? How do we understand Avatar? Especially when He has repeatedly said, “Don’t try to understand Me. Experience Me and enjoy the bliss”.
There is no way we can with our limited intellects understand the mystery of the Avatar. Then what should we do? The only way is to wholeheartedly believe the words of the Avatar Himself. We have to accept and believe in totality whatever Sri Krishna has said about Himself, and what Sathya Sai Baba has said about Himself. There is no other way to understand the mystery of the Avatar.
Bhagawan had said that He had planned His life in six phases – the first phase is Leela, the second is Mahima, the third is Upadesha, fourth is Vidya, fifth is Vaidya and the sixth, final one, is the establishment of the universal essence of Sanathana Dharma or the Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man. And towards this objective, He spent 85 glorious years transforming individuals.
And then He put us all through a very difficult test! He gave up the physical body in 2011, leaving everyone wondering why. Swami had said that He would be in the Sathya Sai form for 96 years. But He left suddenly. Like all devotees, I too went through the vicious cycle of shock, cluelessness and laments. And this was in spite of having been so closely associated with Swami. In fact, I was blessed by Swami to write His biography. You may remember that Professor Kasturi wrote the first few volumes of Sathyam Shivam Sundaram – Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and he covered Swami’s life up to the year 1980. The fourth part was published in 1980. At 1980, Swami was only 55. The next volume of the biography was not published for next 25 years. Little did I know that one day Swami would ask me to write about the later parts of His life! It was all His grace. I was only Swami’s pen. I have to confess that I have no such capabilities or credentials to be a great writer, especially a writer of the biography of God, biography of the Avatar. But Swami utilised me to write the next three volumes. The fifth volume covered Swami’s life from 1980 to 1985, the sixth volume from 1985 to 1994 and seventh volume from 1994 to 2003. And then the next 20 years I thought, by Swami’s grace, I would spread it across ten parts! So, you can imagine, I was also in for a shock.
But soon the time for rejoicing came, as Swami came back! Not that He ever went anywhere. We have all heard and/or read in the Bible that Jesus Christ came back after three days – that is termed as resurrection. Four months after He left the body, Swami appeared to me. It was July 2011. He asked me to move all His furniture and things from His room in the Mandir in Prem Deep (the earlier residence that Swami used to stay in when He would visit Muddenahalli) to Sathya Sai Anandam (the hilltop residence that was built upon Swami’s instructions in February 2009). He said that He was going to live in Anandam from the 15th of July, which coincided with Gurupoornima. And the rest as they is history!
Swami has since very beautifully shown us all the path of merging in Him. The message is undeniably loud and clear – nothing can come in the way of performing our duty as per our conscience – not even a physical body. That Swami continues to touch and transform lives, by doing what He alone can – making all of us His instruments to alleviate the pain of mankind through selfless service – is the example to live by. The only way to reach Him is to be Him.