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 Diana Baskin
A popular Sai author and a long-time devotee who received immeasurable grace over the years, Diana’s books are full of insightful observations, dropped in casually among wonderful stories of Swami. Here are a few excerpts from one of her books:
When Swami was with us in the main room, we were in heaven; all tension, pain and restlessness vanished instantly. Watching Him was delight to the eye. Hearing Him was food for the soul. Does there exist a human being on earth that one would not tire of looking at? We drank in Swami’s beauty with an unquenchable thirst. His every movement is pure grace, putting to shame the greatest of dancers. His smile lights the room and beings unsurpassed joy to our hearts. His unmatched humor brings peals of laughter and delight, transforming us into little children. His wisdom is so profound, that with a few simple words, we not only understand but experience truth. His beauty Divine is almost liquid in its ability to change from the delicately feminine to the strongest masculine appearance. Even the color of His skin changes from the lightest ivory to the darkest brown. What a wonder to watch this continuous transformation, this heavenly phenomenon!
I often asked myself when I looked at Him, Who is He? Can the omnipresent God be contained in a human body? p. 43
Mother would not hear of buying Swami an ordinary garland from the vendors at the front gate; she wanted the very best for him. She always put forth maximum effort in doing whatever she felt would please Swami the most. She was amazingly quick to grasp a hint from Him and learned at lightning speed... We went to the central market in Bangalore and spent much time examining the various flowers until Mother found the very best roses. We ordered a magnificent, thick, five-foot-long garland of mixed colors.
On the morning of the house opening, Swami gave my mother and me each a splendid sari and told us to put them on; we went to another room and changed. Attired in our new saris, we followed Swami outside, where, to our surprise was assembled an entire band. The band started playing grandly and beating the drums full force as we all walked in procession towards the new house. In the group there were many foreigners... Upon looking around at the crowd, I began feeling a bit anxious; I had not expected such an impressive affair.
We followed Swami into the house which had been tastefully decorated with carpets, flowers, oil lamps, a large picture of Swami and His chair. When the group had gathered inside, I glanced at Swami to see what I should do. He motioned for me to go over to an oil lamp and I understood I should light it and looked around for matches. I found them and attempted to light one, but my hands trembled making it impossible. I looked to Swami for help. He immediately responded by coming to me; He took the matches from my shaking hand and lit the lamp Himself. Dear Swami, Lord of the Universe, yet always there rushing to help with our petty little difficulties... pp. 60-61
After the house opening, we returned to Swami’s house where He complimented my mother on the beauty of the garland. He asked that she place it in the refrigerator in a back room to preserve it. A garland, after its use, is usually placed on statues or pictures of gods and then discarded; we wondered why Swami wanted to keep it.
The following day, Swami performed the remarriage of Elsie and Walter Cowan... We had advised Elsie to bring Swami a special garland for the ceremony but she felt, as many people do, that such formalities are not necessary as Swami does not care about such things.
Slowly I was learning to follow Swami’s teachings on dharma (right action). Right results can only be obtained by right actions. Understanding the right action at the correct time is a most difficult and subtle matter and one spends a lifetime studying and applying righteousness. Observing Swami, who is dharma personified at all times, was a great lesson in learning how our lives should be conducted.
“Where is the garland?” Swami asked the Cowans, looking around for it before performing the ceremony. “We did not bring one,” the Cowans answered apologetically. For a few moments Swami feigned a sad, forlorn expression, as though the ceremony could not be continued without it. We waited in suspense for Swami to find a solution. He then turned to Mother, as if He had just thought of the idea on the spur of the moment, and asked that she fetch the garland placed in the refrigerator the preceding day. pp. 61-63
Swami’s reality cannot be grasped by the mind. I have found that when interacting with Him, a veil of illusion clouds my vision by the very effort of having to use the mind to verbalize and identify Him with His form. He has assumed a human form because we would not be able to relate to another form. What would we do before a burning bush or say to a light brighter than a million suns? When we are with Him, if we are able to still the mind and reach the very core of our being – beyond name and form – we can experience the impersonal aspect of Swami that is pure love. That, we are soon thrilled to discover, is also our own true nature.
The most elevating, beautiful time I ever spent with Swami was in total silence... On this particular day, no one had yet arrived and Swami was sitting alone in His chair. We took our usual positions directly in front of the chair and sat quietly facing Him. Not one word was spoken. Swami was playing with a rose and occasionally He glanced over at us. For about twenty minutes, it was as though only the three of us existed in the entire universe. Such a deep feeling of peace and love filled our being that we felt as though our bodies had disintegrated as we melted into an ocean of bliss. p. 76