“Look how they have made him an ordinary human being”, were the distraught words filled with anguish, sadness, and despair from my mother. She was referring to her God – Sai Baba. She had been following the news articles that reported finding a treasure trove of crores of rupees, gold and diamonds. Not wanting to be politically incorrect, all these articles leave the ardent devotee with unanswered questions – why did ‘God’ horde all this money? A seed of doubt has now been unfortunately planted in the fragile mind of my mother, like for millions of other devotees. This is such a dilemma because for decades my mother believed that Sai Baba is truly GOD. While she tries to make sense of all these harsh allegations about her God, she is surely and sadly caught between the devil and the deep blue sea - to believe these allegations will be a betrayal of her ‘Bhagawan’ and an admittance that she has been taken for a ride for decades. Not to believe will be fool hardy, as material evidence was found in their Gods room that looked like loot from Aladdin’s cave!
Oh, this is so sad… this is so very very sad. I wished my Mother did not have to go through this experience in this life time, only because she was so happy in her faith. It gave her so much strength, determination, and zest for life. At the age of 60 she learnt to drive a car! All so that she could go for her Sai Baba meetings and bhajans without having to wrestle with public buses or auto drivers. She used to run 2 schools, make incense sticks for the organisation, and run a free dispensary at our home….all in the name of her God – Sai Baba. Now in her eyes he has almost fallen from the pedestal.
I must also add that this disappointment is not new. A few years back, some of Sai Baba’s devotees were told that now Sai Baba is appointing ‘emissaries’ who have powers similar to him, and that these ‘emissaries’ will be found all over. Along came this youngster called Ken who claimed he was an ‘emissary’, had some miracles ‘happen’ in his home. Suddenly he became a ‘mini God’ too – not the same status as the big God (Sai Baba), but much like the relation between Jesus and God. Sometime later, this youngster proved to be a fraudster. What followed was anguish, sadness, and despair. After this youngsters exit, another person came along, but has not fallen as yet – in her eyes at least.
I always wanted to tell my mother to stop chasing God all over outside, and that her God was inside her. But then this will not be accepted, as it is so much easier to manifest the God outside in a human form. It is so much more satisfying to have a walking, talking God, rather than a God that is somewhere, everywhere, nowhere, outside, inside, within, without – too vague! And this philosophy of the omnipresence of God is embedded in all scriptures, which even my Mother pontificates about. But still she is chasing God outside.
To a large extent I can understand my mother’s situation… she is old, weighed down with tough life experiences, weak and needs an anchor. But what about people who are much younger, still doing the same thing that my Mother is doing?
For them it may not be a Sai Baba, but is a Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, or a Nityananda…and the list goes on. Ok, this is India and we have always have had a rich tradition of God men. When will we all reach a point where we truly believe that is God is inside us?
When we will we stop chasing God outside. My poor Mother is now tired with all the chasing. Will she have not been so tired if she had stopped chasing God?