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 Phyllis Krystal
Mrs. Krystal, well known for her “Cutting the Ties” therapeutic work, also wrote one book about her experiences as a long-time devotee of Baba’s.
Our taxi dropped us at the main gate and we hurried inside, deposited our shoes in the appropriate piles, and quickly found places in the neat lines of waiting men and women already assembled. This time, again I chose to sit under the shade of a tree at the back of the women’s lines, rather than in front where I would be conspicuous. We barely had time to settle ourselves when the now-familiar figure appeared. As he emerged from the door of the house, his bright orange-red robe and black hair were clearly visible through the iron gates. The usual hush came over the crowds as people craned their necks to see him more clearly. Many people held their hands together, ready to greet him as he approached.
When he stepped through the gates and came into full view, I felt a quickening all through me. A ripple of happiness welled up from deep within and quickly expanded until I was enveloped in a warm glow of happiness at being in his presence again. it was like coming home and being reunited with my real Mother and Father, both contained in that one small body. that thought reminded me of a previous interview, when he had warned me not to come back to see “this little body”, but to find him in my heart. Yet here I was thrilling at the very first sight of his physical form approaching. Then I also recalled that he had added that we would come back to be regenerated. So that was what I was feeling! My battery was already being recharged at the very first sight of him. That must be what was meant by darshan. I had known the meaning of that term in theory, but now I was experiencing it in my entire being, and on many different levels of awareness. His power was so potent that the mere sight of him could set in motion an inner reaction when I least expected it. Perhaps the point I needed to see was that it was precisely when I was least expecting it that I was open to receive it. Whereas at other times, when my mind was clamoring with its questions, expectations and desires, the way was blocked to acceptance of his power and its action within me. At that point I was reminded of one of his pet says, “I will give you what you want in the hope that you will want what I have come to give you.” (pp. 83 – 84)
The prospect of the forthcoming speech weighed heavily upon me during the remainder of the year. Even at that time I realized only too well that Baba was purposely drawing my attention to a problem on which I needed to work. How could I be so presumptuous as to try to help other people to overcome their fears when the anticipation of giving a talk was now causing such terror in me? I had always vowed that I would never share any of the techniques I had received unless I first proved that they worked for me. So I must practice what I preach! I resolved to work on this fear immediately.
I soon discovered, however, as with many of the weaknesses Baba uncovers, that I could not plunge in and eradicate this one by pulling it out by the roots like a weed, merely because I had been made so clearly aware of the need to do so. Both from the inner teaching and from my own past experience, I knew that changing any habit, attitude, or negative emotion involves a process composed of many steps. Only rarely can it be accomplished in one big leap, though most people would prefer such a deceptively quick and easy method. I have often told those with whom I work that growth, healing or any other basic change can only be achieved by first becoming conscious of the need to change and then by taking the necessary steps to bring it about. There is no magic wand which can be waved either by us or by someone else to effect the change. We can take the first step only from the point where we actually are in our development, and not from an imaginary place where we may mistakenly imagine or wish we were. We also need to be drastically honest, for only then can we move towards the goal of finally becoming one with the God we already are in reality. (pp. 175 - 176)
During this time of travel with Baba I gained a fresh perspective on his impact on people. I had been able to observe him with the many influential men who had been attracted to him and who gathered around him in a close group in each city. I began to see the groundwork he has been laying for his self-appointed task of first cleaning up his own back yard, as he expresses it, before journeying to other parts of the world at the urgent request of his many overseas devotees.
If he can secure the devoted co-operation of men of wealth and influence in India, he can more quickly bring about the transformation he has in mind for that country. He takes people as he finds them, good and not so good, knowing that as they participate in his plan to improve the standard of living of the masses, they too will benefit by such seva or service. Slowly and imperceptibly it will make them less selfish and more compassionate as they become more involved. This aspect I would call the exoteric or outer organizational part of his mission.
The esoteric aspect involves far fewer people and includes individuals from all walks of life who have been searching for more meaning to life than they have been able to find in the material world. Some have undergone sever sorrows and hardships of a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual nature, but these very problems have forced them to seek further instead of plunging them into self-pity and despair. With these people Baba engages in a very different course of action. He hones away the outer superficiality to reveal the stark reality of their own indwelling God-self. This process, though subtle and hidden, is implemented as soon as an individual has willingly requested Baba’s help to achieve self-development. In such cases he can be a relentless taskmaster, but only when invited to help, as he always honors our frère will. Besides which, he never asks anyone to bear more than is possible at any time, though it sometimes seems as if one is pushed to the brink of endurance. This experience appears to be essential before most people are willing to surrender their ego-demands and ask to be shown the path towards union with the God-within. It is a matter of “Thy will, not mine”, directed at the indwelling spark of the Divine which inhabits all living things. (pp. 249-250)