As I was doing my daily meditation in Swami’s room, He asked me, “Have you read Bhagavathamu?” (Bhagawatham is one of the most popular text of the sacred story of Lord Krishna).
I sheepishly replied, “Not yet Swami.”
“Bhagavathamu Chadivithe Baaga Avuthaamu (by reading Bhagavatam we become better)”, He beautifully played with the word Bhagawatham in His typical Telugu.
He continued, “In the word Bhagawathamu there are five letters, Bha-Ga-Va-Tha-Mu. Each stands for a certain quality that one develops, by studying this sacred text. ‘Bha’ signifies Bhakthi (Devotion), ‘Ga’ denotes Gnana (Wisdom), ‘Va’ signifies Vairagya (Detachment), ‘Tha’ means…means…do you know what ‘Tha’ stands for?”
I was puzzled and hastily blurted out, “Swami! Is it Thyagamu (Sacrifice)?”
“No it is not Thyagamu, I am unable to remember what it stands for, well, the last letter ‘Mu’ means Mukthi (Liberation)”, He concluded.
But I was intrigued and asked Him, ” Swami! How can you, the all knowing, not know what ‘Tha’ stands for?”
“Oh! You see I do forget things, sometimes”, He gave that half smile of mischief.
I knew He was up to something, instantly! And I did not want to leave it there.
(Well, those who have lived physically close to Him would know that seemingly Swami used to forget certain things on certain occasions, which included names of people and often Swami used to remember students and devotees by a special ‘nickname’ that He had playfully coined for them, like the city they came from (Bombay boy) or country they belonged to (America man) or shape of their physique (Pakoda for oversized ones) or size of their body (Palm tree for a tall person) or profession (like Doctor or Professor) or a particular project (Hospital boy or Drama boy), or even some special characteristic like spectacles (soda glasses) or white hair and so on. Of course this was something so typical of Swami, which we used to thoroughly enjoy).
I persisted, “Swami it was alright when You used to seemingly forget certain things while in the body, probably due to Jeeva Prajna (Individual consciousness) which perhaps would at times overshadow the Daiva Prajna (Divine consciousness), but how can You forget things now when You are all the time, Your Pure Divine Self?”
Pat came the reply, “Oh, you see when I decided to come as Sathya Sai Baba, I took a particular form with particular qualities, since I am still coming to you as Sathya Sai Baba, I am still behaving like Sathya Sai Baba.”
That was a bouncer, as we used to say in a lighter tone.
“Swami, you are saying that YOU decided to come as Sathya Sai Baba, then who are YOU?”, I was naturally curious.
He heard it, smiled, and leaned a little forward on His recliner sofa, to come closer to my face and whispered, “IF YOU WANT TO KNOW ME, THEN BECOME ME!”
I wondered that we may claim to know Him because of our association with Him for a few days or even decades, but none have truly known Him. As once He had said, “Only another Sai Baba can understand this Sai Baba.” Therefore the only way to know Him truly is to become Him truly, pure and selfless.
“Aye! ‘Tha’ stands for Thatvamu (The Divine Principle)”, He said it with a smile, the omniscient One!”