In this feature we are showcasing the work of women authors who are Sai devotees. Some of these books are old friends and some newer, but all are well worth a read. Look for additions to our showcase over the next few months!
by Joy Thomas
A popular and prolific Sai author, Joy described for us in a series of books her experiences, lessons and journey toward divinity with Swami as her loving preceptor and God. Here are a few excerpts from one of her books.
And so it was that on this beautiful morning, He gave me the human reaction I so craved. As He caught sight of me for what I presumed to be the first time since my arrival, His eyes brightened with surprise and delight, His smile widened, and He said in His happiest tones, “Ooooh, Pakora! When did you come?” Then He reached for and took my letter. Never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted my response. Had anyone told me fifteen years ago that an Indian man of my same age, wearing non-standard attire (a floor-length orange robe, actually!) with an Afro hairdo, would call me a name which at best means a plump dumpling and at worst is downright insulting, ask me my time of arrival, take a letter, and I would then have the mystical and much-coveted experience of Universal Love – I would probably have asked them what they had been smoking.
However, that is what happened on this glorious morning. The body sitting on the concrete pavement disappeared from my consciousness; the mind entertained no thoughts, but I knew myself to be the giver of love, the recipient of love, the witness of love, Love Itself. All who were there and all who were elsewhere were One – permeated by Love. All was Love. It had no boundaries. Nothing was outside of it. No differences or distinctions were within it. It involved no time nor space. It was Absolute and Supreme. pp. 79-80
As we continue along the spiritual path, resisting challenges with all of the ego-strength we can muster, we gradually realize the futility of such self-will. An experience of God’s love breaks through the fog of our delusion now and again, and we slowly but surely begin to put our faith in Him. As we grow in the conviction that He will not harm us but that He is loving us, caring for us, watching over and protecting us, we gain sufficient faith in Him to be able to surrender our will to His. We learn to accept and learn from the challenges with which we are faced instead of bemoaning our fate or fighting back. pp. iv-v
The sacrifice which each of us must make if we wish to be true Sathya Sai servants is the sacrifice of self-will. It will rarely be necessary for us to give up our human bodies in order to serve others, but there have been notable examples of those who have. For most of us, the sacrifice of our desires, our likes and dislikes, our judgments regarding right and wrong, and our criticism and condemnations of self and others is even more difficult than sacrificing the human body. p. 31
When the dream ends and the mist clears, one finds God within himself, as himself. He has, in fact, never been separated from himself. He has never been lost. He has never been dead. He has always been, is now, and ever will be All-in-All. Nothing can ever come between the Self and its Reality, for they are one. p. 191
Note: Joy Thomas’ books include an abundance of wonderful quotes from Swami’s writing and discourses, as well as from her interviews and dreams. What follows are two of these found on page 58 of her book, taken from Sathya Sai Speaks volumes 1 and 7:
If your devotion does not stand by you when you seek to revere God in the body-mirrors that move around you wherever you cast your eyes, how can you claim to be devoted to God, the Original of which these are the faint and faltering echoes?... Expand your hearts; enlarge your vision; enlarge the circle of kinship; take more and more of your fellow beings into the tabernacle of your hearts and adore them in loving worship. Wisdom is only compassion at its highest. Through sympathy you enter the heart of another and understand him through and through. You go behind the veil of pretence and punditry, convention and custom; you go behind good manners and fashion that people put on to hide their agony and ignorance from the world. Finding the unity in this diversity of roles is true wisdom...
The Gita says that you must be without hatred to all beings, but that is not enough. A wall has no hatred toward any being. Is that, then, the ideal? No. you must positively love, actively love, engage yourself in acts of love. That alone can win the grace you crave.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba