Spiritualism In The US
I found myself in the US on November 23 that happened to be Sathya Sai Baba’s 87th birthday. This year somehow the Thanksgiving Day which is observed on the fourth Thursday of November preceded this day. But for me it was no thanksgiving as the visit is to give company to my ailing daughter-in-law, an unfortunate victim of fourth stage cancer. During such times of melancholia, my helpless heart always looked for some sort of spiritual solace and Sathya Sai Baba’s birthday programmes here filled much needed void providing me a bit of divine succour, at least temporarily.
Baba reverentially addressed as Swamy, has a considerable following globally and the US is no exception. His devotees in the mid-Atlantic area of the US had set the celebratory ball rolling on October 27th itself. Ironically, it was just before the super storm Sandy landed on the eastern USA with a force that was termed as the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. The hurricane’s fury damaged thousands of homes and took toll of over 200 lives mainly in New York, New Jersey and Long Island region. Later I learnt that the US chapter of the Sathya Sai Organisation, true to its motto “Love all and Serve all”, teamed up with many organisations in spontaneous acts of kindness by providing food, clothing and transportation to those affected by the sudden natural calamity.
The day of October 27 was probably decided to accommodate Dr Michael Goldstein, Chairman, Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation, who especially flew in from California to attend the celebrations. He was the guest speaker at the programme organised in Greater Baltimore’s spacious temple community hall. After a session of the melodious bhajan singing and devotional music, Dr Goldstein rose to speak recounting several of his experiences including divine miracles during his long association with Sathya Sai Baba whose main message to his millions of global followers was, “Service to mankind is the service to God.” During the course of the talk, he also enunciated a nine-point agenda for a happy life.
He classified these nine points under three main heads—outlook, attitude and action. Under the outlook, for the sake of spiritual happiness one should—(i) forget the past, (ii) not be preoccupied with the future and (iii) should know that all events are God given opportunities. Under the second head attitude, his advise was (iv) be happy, (v) show selfless love and (vi) be quiet and peaceful. Finally under the actions head, he desired devotees (vii) to discard unworthy thoughts, (viii) to follow your conscience and not to procrastinate and finally (ix) to focus on Swamy or God. But what touched my heart the most was the incident of a miracle narrated by Dr Goldstein wherein Baba cured one of his friends from an advanced stage of cancer.
Subsequently, another grand function observing Swamy’s birthday was organised at the Inter Faith Center, Columbia in Maryland by local devotees. There were enchanting items like Veda recital, programmes by Bal Vikas children as well as young adults. Besides, there was a guest speaker and incidentally he too told the audience that his aunt was cured of cancer by Swamy. I too had heard of some amazing stories of terminal patients who were cured by Swamy’s blessings. He certainly had miraculous powers otherwise people even from unheard corners of the world would not have flocked to his ashram in Puttaparthi in large numbers to seek solace. Though now he is not in physical form, the devotees belonging to all faiths from distant lands continue visiting his samadhi to seek his blessings.
By NK Pant