Translated by: T.P.Ravindran




As a person, who was fortunate to have Sathya Sai Baba's Darsan every year, since the first visit to him in 1974, except for some breaks in between, and to attend His interviews, I, who had been a Muslim in the superficial sense of the term, have endeavoured under His guidance to become a Muslim in the spiritual sense. It was only during some brief spells in my life, when I, being a weak and wavering commoner, had distanced myself from Swami, I had turned against the religion in which I was born and brought up. It means that today I am able to say that I am a Muslim, only because of the inspiration provided by Swami. For that, any amount of gratitude to Swami will be insufficient. This book is only an expression of that gratitude.

Though I had a traditional Sufi background, I had to learn listening to the parched up principles. The reader may notice in this book an attempt to describe in limited words the Sufi philosophy, which my intellect absorbed at a later stage in my life. I have inserted some excerpts from my earlier book 'Sathya Sai Baba Probes and perceptions' in chapters 6 and 7 only to improve the clarity of the subject matter. My humble request to the readers is to approach, with an open mind, my conclusion that Islam is Sai vision itself.

I submit this book at the feet of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the embodiment of love.

C. A. Karim
Leenalayam Vettom,
Tirur 676102


Karim Bhaijan was considerate and bold enough to entrust me with the translation of his new book ISLAM SAIDARSANAM. That he holds the readers' attention by analysing, comparing, contrasting and finally proving the point is evident from the sales record of the Malayalam version of this book. His words are irreplaceable and his quotes never seem to be out of place.

I consider myself lucky to have been given the opportunity of translating this book. During an editing session of the translated manuscript with the author, some portions, which a reader of Sai literature might already have come across, were omitted and some fresh passages were added.

ISLAM, perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted religions, when viewed in the Sai perspective seems to Imbibe Selfless Love for All Mankind.

Words are incapable of expressing my gratitude to Swami for the bliss I basked in by being an implement by the side of the author in spreading Swami's message.

Prostrations at The Lotus Feet!!!



How did a youth, who had been brought up in Islamic tradition, offering prayers five times a day and observing month long fasts, turn against the religion and become anti-Islamic? What prompted this youth in his early twenties to denounce Muhammad, the Prophet and Quran, the breath of his life?

There are those, who have subjected religion to reason and have become rationalists and atheists; but what about those, who turned against religion because of the flaws in its observance? Their number may be few, but I for one have such a story to tell.

It was beneficial to understand the meaning of the prayers through a little knowledge of Arabic language and the study of Quran. Most of the non-Arabic Muslims offers prayers without grasping their meaning and therefore the purity and purpose of prayers are lost to many.

As I offered prayers imbibing their import, my perception was different. How can one pray without visualizing Allah? Whenever I called Allah, there appeared a vague human figure somewhere in the enclaves of the mind. The first thought that struck me was whether my feeling was anti-religious. It definitely was, according to the Islamic doctrine that I had been taught. Allah is formless; ascribing a form to Him is sin.

But how does that sin shape up? I subjected the vague figure in my mind to scrutiny. The gigantic figure with a grave expression on the bearded visage somehow seemed to resemble an indistinct image of Chekkutty Musaliar, my guru at the Madrasa.

Right from my childhood, Chekkutty Musaliar had been the most respectable person in my religious concept. I heard about Allah's proclamations from him, who used to give Jumua discourses oh Fridays. With my eyes wide open, I used to listen to his exuberance of eloquence on Allah's commandments. I had seen and heard Allah through Chekkutty Musaliar. Therefore, it was no wonder that my mind conceived Allah like him. I realized that it was impossible to imagine a formless God, but only possible to absorb Him in the intellect. But how could worship be meaningful, without a mental picture? Worship is the supreme expression of love. Is love possible without assigning a form to the one being loved? After all, imagination is impossible without an image. Then how do the Muslims pray? Doesn't an indistinct figure take shape in the mind of any one of them, as it does in my case? In case they also face such problems, is it not sheer psychological stupidity to impose imageless worship? Things being so, is not the Islamic system of worship that I adopt absolutely wrong? So ran my thoughts.

The older Muslims considered it just as the intellectual immaturity of an adolescent. Most of them denied seeing a form. Some stressed that they were seeing a formless Allah, though they had been imagining some form earlier. I noticed some of them turning pale at my question. Some other well wishers advised me to approach Islamic pundits of a high caliber to clear my doubts.

During that period, Alavi Maulavi, a top class leader of the Mujahid Movement, was working as a teacher in my neighbouring village Paravanna. I approached him with my doubt.

As soon as I finished my question, he replied gravely, "Such perceptions are not possible; you are bluffing"

Hesitatingly I repeated, "I... see... a form. Why is it so?"

Rage enveloped his visage. He said, "Satan makes you think so. How can you feel what none of us feels?"

Such a reply was unexpected as well as dogmatic. The reactions of some other pundits also were almost identical. One of them commented, "That millions of Muslims do pray without envisaging a form is in itself evidence enough against your argument. Go and find out how they pray."

My friends also received the same sort of reply from the editor of 'Prabodhanam'.

A survey of millions was impossible. But I decided to find out from ordinary folk. Was the Satan instigating me only? What were the perceptions of others?

Such a survey has to be conducted among the innocent, who are incapable of lying. I had realized that there were people, who lied to protect their faith.

First of all, I subjected my young friends to enquiry. Most of them had perceptions like mine. Little children gave distinct descriptions of the form as fat, bearded and turbaned. Satan had instilled such visions in them.

When I continued studying the other religions, I could not agree with the dogma that only Islam was right. Such a line of thought motivated me to enter into the realm of rationalism.

When Quran and Hadith were subjected to a second study, I felt that they did not stand to reason. Though later the Sufis made me understand that they were holy pronouncements communicating with the human heart through their intrinsic significance, as a youth I felt that the peripheral impact of the Quran was irrational. I regarded the Mujahid-Jamaat factions as Islam. It was under their influence that I grew up shedding off the Sufi heritage of my father.

Not only Islam, but any other religion also would appear absurd, if viewed only externally. But as a rationalist, I was incapable of assimilating all that. What incited me to contribute articles to the magazine 'Yuktiwadi' [The Rationalist] was the conviction that Islam was a debatable idea.

It was this rationalistic mode of thinking that drew me to Sathya Sai Baba. He has always been a riddle to the rationalist. That the manifestation of God in human form was a dire need for the common man was an internal craving of the human mind. As far as I was concerned, Bhagawan Baba was the answer to this.

It was my contact with the Sufis, which made me realize that my line of thought was perfectly Islamic. I could study the Sufi system well, only because of the inspiration provided by Sathya Sai. I had the opportunity to avail the library facilities in Kerala and other parts of the world. It was only after understanding the Sufi system, that I, who had repudiated Islam through misunderstanding, could imbibe the real form of Islam through the Sai perspective. That is why I have titled this study as 'Islam The Sai Perspective.'


Sri Sathya Sai Baba, regarded by millions as the most wondrous phenomenon of this era, has now entered the final decades of His incarnation. The ideals and miracles of Sathya Sai Baba, whom posterity will chronicle as the hub of history, have reached even the remotest corners of the world. The followers of all faiths are finding their religious ideals manifested in Sai. Sathya Sai, the shining example of the Sanathana culture of India, is being appraised according to the viewpoints of other religions of the world also. Therefore, an attempt to evaluate the Sai vision in the Islamic perspective has become the need of the hour.

What is Sathya Sai Baba's comment on Islam?

"Islam is a word which denotes not a particular religion but a state of mind, the state of total surrender to the Will of God. Islam means dedication, surrender, peace, tranquillity. Islam denotes the social community whose members have achieved supreme peace through surrender to the All-merciful, All-powerful God and who have vowed to live in peace with their fellowmen. Later, it came to be applied to communities that considered themselves separate and different and so hostile to the rest. Islam taught something higher. It directed attention to the One in the Many, the unity in diversity and led people to the Reality named God." [Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. XVI P. 80] This is a short and sweet description of the concept that is Islam. Who all can be considered coming under Islam, based on the above concept? Sathya Sai says:

"Since Islam means surrender to God, all who in a spirit of surrender and dedication, live in peace and harmony in society, do really speaking, belong to Islam." [Ibid. P 83]

A lot of verses in Quran prove that the same was the teaching of Muhammad, the Prophet. As the whole universe has surrendered to God, the religion of the universe is the religion of this total submission.

"Are they desiring some religion that is not Allah's? All in earth and heaven have surrendered to God either by compulsion or on their own."[3: 83]

It is said in another context, that this total surrender [Islam] is the only religion acceptable to God. If someone longs for a religion, other than the total surrender to God [Islam], it will not be accepted. [3:85] Those, who interpreted the term 'Islam' narrow-mindedly, are the ones, who detached themselves, were different and held enmity to others in the long run. It is the feeling of total surrender, and not the belongingness to a particular religion, that is important. Examine how Quran explicates this:

"Those, who have faith in God and the day of final reckoning and perform good deeds, receive return from their saviour, no matter whether they are believers, Jews, Christians or Sabeans. They never have sorrow or fear." [2: 62]

It is on this basis that Islam instructs to respect all divine personalities.

"Say: We believe in Allah, in what was revealed to us, in divine pronouncements revealed to Ibrahim, Ismail, Ishaq, Yakub and his off springs and in what was given to Moses and Jesus from their saviour. We do not attribute any difference to any of them. We are those, who have surrendered to Allah. [Muslims]" [3:84]

Islam agrees to the various customs in practice by different sects. "The mode of worship for each sect is defined. Each one is only following that. Let them not quarrel with you for that. "[22:67]

In another context it is said, "To each sect among you, I have designed its own code of conduct and mode of action. If Allah had so willed. He would have brought all of you under one community only. But God intends to test you in what He has given to you. So, compete to advance towards good things." [5:48]

Therefore, Quran explicitly states that the followers of each religion should stick to their own ways.

"Thora [The Old Testament] was definitely our presentation. It has both orientation and brilliance. Let the followers of the New Testament give verdict according to what Allah has presented in it. Impertinent are those, who do not pass judgement according to what Allah has presented." [5:44,47]

Quran advises so, as the fundamentals of all religions are the same. Sathya Sai Baba identifies this common fundamental source as 'Sanathanadharma'. He says, "Sanathanadharma forms the foundation of life. It deals with the whole personality. It has imbibed all religious faiths and has gained influence the world over. The primary essence of all religions, the gist of the pronouncements proclaimed by prophets is not limited to one country, one individual or one era." [Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. XIV. P. 344, 345.] "Wherever Sathya, Dharma, Santhi and Prema are emphasized in whatever religion or language, by whichever teacher wherever he may be, there we have Sanathanadharma." (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. I, P. 51)

Sathya Sai says that this Dharma was nurtured and practised in ancient India. Look at what the Islamic pundit Syed Hussain of Iran has to say:

"It goes without saying that in India itself, the Muslims did not treat the Hindus as simple pagans or idol worshippers like those of Arabia, but came to respect them as possessing a religion of their own. Many of the Sufis in India called Hinduism as the religion of Adam. Abraham is for Islam the original patriarch identified with the primordial religion [Al Dinul Hanif], which Islam came to reassert and re-affirm. The connection of the name of Barahimah (Hindus) with Abraham was precisely an assertion of the primordial nature of the Hindu tradition in the Muslim mind. [Living Sufism.P112, 122]

Again the relation between Hinduism and Islam is mentioned: "Shah Jahan's son Dara was a Sufi of Qadiriyya order and a devout Muslim. He believed the Upanishads to be the 'Hidden books' to which the Quran refers (LIV. 77-80) and wrote, "They contain the essence of unity and they are secrets which have to be kept hidden." His 'Majma ul Baharin' is an attempt to show the identity of the Muslim and Hindu doctrine of unity. His translations and numerous of such Hindu classics as the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha and the Yogavasishta, upon which the Persian sage Mir Abdul Qasim Findiristi wrote a commentary, are a veritable treasure which should be known to the Muslim world at large and not to remain confined to the Persians and the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent." [Ibid. P. 124]

Ibnu Arabi, reverred as the top spiritual guru by the whole Muslim world has written a poem showing this broad perspective of the true Islam.

"My heart has become capable of every form; it is
A pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christians
And a temple for idols, and the pilgrim's Kaba and
The tables of Torah, and the book of Quran
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love's camels

Take, that is my religion and my faith." [Tarjmanul Ashwaq bid. P. 132]

Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, author of 'Maznavi', the book of verses, known as Quran in Persian says, "Though the ways are various, the goal is one. Do you not see there are many roads to the Kaba? For some the road is from Rome, for some from Syria, for some from Persia, for some from China, for some by sea from India and Yemen. So, if you consider the roads the variety is great and the divergence infinite; but when you consider the goal, they are all of one accord and one. The hearts of all are at one upon Kaba...once they have arrived there, that disputation and war and diversity touching the roads this man saying to that man "You are false, you are an infidel.." [Rumi: Fihi- mafihi Ibid. P. 132,133]

Ibnu Arabi says in his Fususul Hiqam:-

If the believer understood the saying of Junaid 'The colour of water is the colour of the vessel containing it', he would not interfere with the beliefs of others, but would perceive God in every form and every belief. He has opinion, not knowledge. Therefore God said, 'I am in thy servants' opinion of Me' i.e. I do not manifest myself to him, save in the form of his belief.' (Studies in Islamic Mysticism R. A. Nicholson. P. 159)

This is the opinion of the Sufi yogis, who have made Islam a way of life. It is a truth that attracts anyone, who studies Islam. The famous European authoress Karen Armstrong writes:

"In 1984 I had to make a television programme about Sufism, the mysticism of Islam and was particularly impressed by the Sufi appreciation of other religions a quality that I had certainly not encountered in Christianity. [Mohammed A Western Attempt to Understand Islam. P. 13, 14]

The yogis and gurus of every religion arrive at this truth, when they have already experienced religion. That is why most of them, especially the Sufi yogis, are drawn to the Indian philosophy. Hazrat Inayat Khan, a famous Sufi mystic of India says:-

India, India, the land of my birth
To compare with you there is no place on the earth
In my deepest despair I heard your call
Your sacred rivers, your holy shrines,
Your sublime nature, your spirit divine,
Your moonlit night and your glorious dawn...
They draw me so much and I wish I could fly.

(Inayat Khan A Biography Elizabeth de Jong Kessing. P. 159)

Ali Ansari, a Sufi scientist remarks:

"The earliest recorded evidence of the systematic cultivation of mystic experience is found in the Vedas of ancient India." [Sufism and Beyond P. 36] But as Karen Armstrong says, 'it is impossible to generalize about the religion we call Hinduism, because it eschews systems and denies that one exclusive interpretation can be adequate.' [A History of God P. 39]

The line of thought, which maintains that there should be only one version for truth, causes religious fundamentalism and religious rivalry. "The innumerable Buddhas and the elusive paradoxical Avatars reminded the faithful that ultimate reality could not be adequately expressed in any one form." [Ibid-P. 104]

The yogi, who transcends through the spiritual sensations, irrespective of the religion he belongs to, finally realizes the unity of existence. Imam Gassali understood that the truth of religions could be grasped only through religious experiences, only after living as a Sufi for a decade. Yahya Suhravardi of Iran and Ibnu Arabi, who journeyed through the Arabian countries for a long time, have inseparably linked Islam to mysticism. The life's work of Suhravardi was to link what he called the 'original oriental religion' with Islam. He claimed that all the sages of the ancient era had preached a single doctrine. This perennial philosophy was mystical and imaginative. Unlike dogmatic religion, which lends itself to sectarian disputes, mysticism often claims that there are as many roads to God as people. This was the finding of Karen Armstrong in her study on Sufi gurus, [Ibid. P. 265]

This spirituality in Islam found the divinity in man the Quranic vision through experience. Ibnu Arabi believed that each human person was a unique Avatar of the divine. [Ibid P 274] He does not like being stuck to one particular religion. He says, "Do not attach yourself to any particular creed exclusively, so that you may disbelieve all the rest; otherwise you will lose much good, nay you will fail to recognize the real truth of the matter. God, the omnipresent and omnipotent is not limited by any one creed, for he says, 'Wherever ye turn, there is the face of Allah.' [2:109] {As quoted by Karen Armstrong, ibid P. 275, 276}

Sufis attained this broad outlook by going through the Advaita vision they found and experienced in Islam. Therefore, we have to evaluate the Advaita philosophy in the Islamic perspective.


In his speeches Swami often used to quote, "Advaita Darsanam Jnanam." (Advaita vision is wisdom). It is not just a philosophy one can establish by intellectual acrobatics; one ought to have a vision of it. Then only it becomes wisdom.

When we talk about monotheism [Tauheed] in Islam, some people see it only in the literal sense that God is only one and not many. Muslim mystics maintain that the monotheism in Islam is actually the Advaita vision. Probably in their perspective, polytheism is considering man and God as not one, but two different entities.

The fundamental maxim of Islam Kalima "La ilaha ilia Allaha" means that everything is Allah, in the language of the spiritually enlightened. They claim that the meaning of the verse "La maujudu ilia Allaha", being sung in Muslim Ratib [Bhajan or devotional singing] is the exact import of this Kalima; there is nothing other than Allah.

Allah is all-men, women and the people. [Secrets in Spiritualism -Sheikh Naksbandi P.33] Maliekkal Bapputty, the Sufi scholar, is of the opinion that monotheism changed to polytheism and vice versa because of preaching without grasping the truth. [Atmavidya Islamil P. 9] See how he elaborates:

"Tauhid [monotheism] means unifying the diverse or uniting the diversification. Ishraq [polytheism] means diversifying one or dividing unification. True knowledge is the realization that the creator and the creation are one. According to the present interpretations of the pundits, who comprehend only superficially, it will be more apt to rename the Kalima, 'La ilaha ilia Allaha' as the Kalima of Ishraq. It was a basic mistake that the pundits committed in understanding that there was something beyond the perfection of unity. "[P. 30, 31]

How did this happen? This author reveals that many of the utterances of the Prophet, written two hundred years after him, are not authoritative. It was such interpretations that distanced Muslims from the Advaita view. This Sufi saint concludes his book with the following lines, "In my opinion, the yogic Lord Krishna and the bow bearing Arjuna have unified in Muhammad the Prophet. That abounding oneness, which included me and everything excluding me, was called God; and he responded to the call." [P. 224]

Many scholars thinking on such lines can be found in the history of Islam. 'Qurante Ulsaravyakhyanam' [Interpretation of the internal import of Quran], a publication in Malayalam, is the translation of the interpretation of Quran by Ibnu Arabi. In one context it is stated: "No creation has its own essence. They all exist because of the essence of Allah. That is the truth. The belief against this is Shirk Those, who believe that something other than Allah has its own existence are imparting partnership to Allah." [P. 369]

Ibnu Arabi expresses the same idea in fewer words. "It is the same power that is worshipping and is being worshipped. Nothing is true, other than the truth of Allah." [P. 157]

Such Sufis are the ones, who interpret Quran spiritually. Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal gives the following comment about such interpretations.

"No understanding of the Holy Book is possible until it is revealed to the believer, just as it was revealed to the prophet." [The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam P. 181]

Murad, another Sufi says that the meaning of the words alters in accordance with the experiences of the people using them. [Among the Dervishes P. 58.] Seyyed Hussain Nazr remarks, "If the approach to Quran is superficial, its meaning also seems to be superficial. Then it keeps its secrets concealed. Only through spiritual inflictions, the internal import of Quran is imbibable." {Matham, Vedam, Pravachakan [Religion, Veda, Prophet] P. 65} Muhammad the Prophet had given such interpretations of the inner meaning to some of his special disciples. The author throws light on that too.

"Once standing atop the Arafa Mountain, the famous Ibnu Abbas related the Quran verse, 'Allah created the seven heavens and the corresponding earth.' He stated further, "O, men, if I present before you the prophet's interpretation of this verse, you will stone me." The incident indicates that there is in the Quranic verses an inner significance, which has to be conceived only by a section constituting the exceptional and the specially enlightened." [P.66]

The renowned Islamic thinker of modern times Dr. Ali Shariati, regarded by many as the source of inspiration of the Islamic revolution in Iran, remarks about the non-dualistic unity between man and God.

"In Islam, the distance between man and God is absolutely avoided. Among creations man is the only entity, in whom divinity is inherent." [Marxism and Other Myths P. 22] He says that man and the universe are the distinct contrivances of a supreme singular essence and that Islam will uplift man to God. [P. 86, 116.]

Ibnu Arabi had revealed that it was Muhammad, the Prophet himself, who had taught him the interpretation of the inner meaning of Quran. It was during a divine vision in the Kaba of Mecca, that the Prophet instructed him to write the 'Internal Quran.' Jili, another well-known Sufi produced his work, 'The Perfect Man' also under divine direction. Refer to what he says in his book about man's perception of his own divinity.

"When man progresses from his mundane state, reaches an elevated status in all purity shedding off the bad fat, and peers removing the screen, he realizes that his own essence is the essence of Allah. That was why the Prophet had proclaimed, "If one has known oneself, one has known Allah." [The Perfect Man P. 224]

The experience of such scholars normally goes like this, "I do not see any object, unless I see Allah in advance." [P. 234] Moreover. the spiritually enlightened one perceives that his speech, life, knowledge, desire and power are that of Allah only. [P. 203] As they merge with God, such visionaries answer those, who call Allah and fulfil their needs. With that he begins to shine as a clean reflector of the concept that is Allah. When somebody calls this man, who has attained this vision, Allah answers the call. If he becomes angry, then Allah also will be angry. If he is satisfied, then Allah also will be satisfied. "[P. 204]

How contiguous the concept of incarnation of God in Sanathanadharma is with this situation! Some utterances of the Prophet throw light into the mysteries of the concept of incarnation. Some Hadiths such as 'One, who has seen me, has seen God', 'I am light, everything originated from my light.' And 'I am Ahmad without m' [ Ahmad without 'm' is Ahad i.e. One God] are worth studying. Sufis used to relate the story of the Prophet revealing his Vishwaroopa (cosmic form) to his disciples as Krishna had revealed his to Arjuna.

Bayaseed Bastami was the Sufi yogi, who in the ultimate state of non-dualistic perception, declared a number of times that he was God. Look at some of his statements:

"If I bade the empyrean to move, it would obey and if I told the sun to stop, it would cease from rolling on its course." [Quoted by R. A. Nicholson in his book 'The Mystics of Islam'. P. 136-137]

"He that lives with God hath seen all things visible and heard all things audible and done all that is to be done and known all that is to be known." [P. 144] "The skull of my head is the empyrean and my feet are under the earth and my two hands are east and west." [P.137]

Mansoor Hallaj [AD 857-922] who was sentenced to death for uttering the famous words 'Anal Haq' [Aham Brahmasmi] said that essence-wise man was God. According to him, God had created Adam from Himself. That was why Allah ordered the angels to prostrate before him. Those, who have attained spiritual realization, know themselves that they are God. Let us call them 'Waqif.' Waqifs do not pray, because in their plane only God exists, according to Mansoor. [P.156]

The French writer Louis Massignon [1833-1912] had authored a research work in four volumes, titled, 'The Passion of AI-Hallaj' about this Mansoor Hallaj. Princeton University Press has published its English version.

Many of the Muslim modernists do not accept Hallaj. Ibnu Taimiya, one of the founders of the 'Wahabi' movement, maintains that he is a threat to Muslim beliefs. He even goes on to say that individuals like Hallaj and those, who agree with him must be executed. [Vol. 1. P. 9, 51] But Jalaluddin Rumi regards Hallaj as an ardent devotee of God. Darashiko also used to praise Hallaj, who had spent some days in Northern India.

Hallaj was accused also of displaying miracles publicly. Hallaj used to say that superhuman powers automatically came to him, who had merged himself with God.

Imam Gazzali says, "One of the accusations levelled against Al- Hallaj was that he taught that having attained the sainthood the adept becomes 'Al-mata'- he who says to a thing 'Be' and it becomes." [MishquatuI Anwar by W. H. T. Gardiner P. 25-26]

Islamic history is filled with many, who have attained the Advaita vision transcending through the inner truth of Islam. It is transparent that this Islamic vision is the same as Sai's.


Since God as per the common concept and God according to the mystic concept are totally different, those who study the subject delve deep into research. The former is based solely on superficial faith. Therefore, such studies reach beyond the realms of reason.

What is God?

The glaring irony is that God will no more remain God, if subjected to some definition. As expressed in the Upanishad verse, 'Yato vacho nivarthante aprapya manasa saha', it is beyond mind and words. Yet, we try to reach God with words. Sathya Sai says, "Who can say that God is this or God is that? Who can say that God does not have this form or that trait? Each one can take to the shore only up to the capacity of one's container from the vastness of the ocean. Taking as much as it can from that boundlessness, each religion defines God within its own boundaries and claims to have understood God. Each of the blind men had described the elephant as pillar, fan, rope or wall, because each one of them had come in contact with only a particular part. They were unable to imagine the animal as a whole. Likewise, each religion grasps only a part and declares that their perspective is precise and perfect. Every religion forgets one thing that God is the aggregate of all names, forms, characteristics and descriptions. The religion of humanity is the conglomeration and essence of all the factional faiths.

The reason is that there is only one religion and that is the religion of love. [Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. IX P.83]

Let us examine here the definition of God in Islam.

Where does God exist?

Let me quote the verses from Quran.

Wanahnu akhrabu ilaihi min hablil wand - "I am closer to man than his jugular vein."

The implication of God being closer than a vital internal organ of man is worth pondering over. To make it more transparent, here is another verse about the creation of man. Wanafahtu fihimin roohi. "I blew into man from my soul." In this context, it is revealed that it is the spirit of God, which is present in man.

Huvalawwalu wal aakhiru wallahiru wal batinu. "God is the beginning, the end, the externality and the internality." This means that there is no time or place without God.

Wasiya kurussiyuhussamawathi wal arli. "His throne is as expansive as the universe."

Fa aynama tuwallufasamma wajuhullahi. "Wherever you turn, God's face is there."

Waquanallahu shain muheetan. "Allah envelopes all."

Wahuva maakum aynama kuntum. "Allah is with you, wherever you are."

One final verse shows that God is beyond mind and words. [Aprapya manasa saha.]

Falan yakullahu kufuwan ahad. "There is nothing like God."

But how is this elevated concept of God conceived by common minds? Quran says: Allahu noorussamawathi wal arli. "Allah is the light of the universe."

This is an indication to visualize Allah in the form of light. 'Meditation on light' is the most potent and effective meditation given by Sathya Sai to his devotees. The thirty-fifth verse of the chapter titled Al-noor [Light] in Quran is as follows:

"Allah, the light of the universe; the simile of that light: a niche in the wall to keep the lamp. A lamp is inside the glass in the niche. The glass is effulgent like a resplendent star. The oil for the lamp is from a blessed olive tree situated neither in the east nor in the west. The oil is full of brightness even without fire. Brilliance upon brilliance!"

It is possible to conduct 'Meditation on light' by bringing the form of light into imagination. In his book 'Mystics of Islam', Nicholson illustrates:

"The prophet prayed to God to keep a light in his ear; then in the eye and then in each and every organ of the body. Then he prayed Transform the whole of me into light." [P. 53]

The 'Meditation on light', that Sathya Sai teaches, is also same. Noori, the great Sufi, also talks about this mode of meditation.

"I see the light once and fix my gaze on it until I become the light. "[Ibid. P. 94]

But what does Islam say about worshipping the outward symbols? Many consider Islam as an anti-idolatrous religion. But the Indian concepts of idol worship were not the ones of the Arabs during the time of the Prophet. See what Bhagavatha insists on idol worship:

Atmanam tanmayan dhyayan Moorthim sampoojyayet harehe.

"The idol of Hari should be worshipped by divinely contemplating on the spirit. "[11:3:54]

There is another portion, which clarifies what idol worship is not to be. "Man performs the farce, that is worshipping idols etc., abandoning me, who is eternally existent in all beings. One, who is deserting the all pervading me and is worshipping the idols, is pouring fat to the ash. I am not pleased in him, who disrespects his fellow beings, though he worships me in my idol form, with an assortment of materials. Until one feels me, the omniscient, residing in one's heart, one has to worship me in idols, observing one's Dharma. [Sreemadbhagavathamritha Third Skanda P. 124]

"Some people religiously perform Pooja on the idol. If they hurt others even when they pray, such prayers do not yield result." [Ibid. seventh Skanda P. 340]

It is said in Brihadaranyopanishad, "Those, who regard themselves and God as separate and those who worship a separate God, are unaware of the import. In the eyes of the Gods, they are equivalent to animals."

Look at what Manusmruti comments on the different Gods:

"Atmaiva devata sarvaha
Sarvatmanyamavasthitham" [Manu: 12:119]

"All Gods are the spirit only. All exist in the spirit."

The Arabs at the time of the Prophet had some concept about a single God. To them idols were not Gods; but only represented the spirits of the dead masters. Their belief in idol worship was that the spirits of the holy dead would recommend them to Allah, the sole God. It is evident from the verses quoted above from Indian scriptures that the Indian concept of idol worship was nothing like this. To the Muslims, who have understood Hazrat Ali's statement, "I do not see any object, unless I see God in it", it will not be difficult to comprehend the idea behind the idol worship of the Indians. See how Sathya Sai Baba expounds the same in very few words.

"You may transform stone into God; but do not change God into stone."

When we consider the first part of the statement as permission for idol worship according to the Indian culture and the second part as the opposition to idol worship as per Islam, we can see that one is not contrary to the other, but complementary.

Though worship of God in human form is not found in common in Islam, for the sake of worship Sufis had used such symbols. See the following passage:

"In 1201 while making the circumambulations around the Kaba, Ibnu Arabi had a vision which had a profound and lasting effect upon him: he had seen a young girl named Nizam surrounded by a heavenly aura and he realized that she was an incarnation of Sophia, the divine wisdom. We cannot see God himself, but we can see him as he has chosen to reveal himself in such creatures as Nizam, who inspires love in our hearts." (Karen Armstrong A History of God. P. 270-271). Look at another quote:

"I shall instruct you how to realize the supreme truth. One, who seeks realization, should search for a spiritual guru. Then contemplate through the middle of the eyebrows. First of all meditate on the guru, keeping the spine straight and the head and neck held aright. Replace the guru with the Prophet. Concentrate. Once you attain peace, the realization that man and God are one dawns on you." [Atmavidya Islamil P. 217, 218]

The Muslim mystics of the Karamiyya, Salamiyya factions believed, "At the day of resurrection God will be seen in the form of a Muhammad like human".

[The Passion of Al-hallaj. Vol. Ill P. 160]

Likewise the Gulatshiyas also believed that 'the handsome human form' mentioned in 82:8 and 64:3 of Quran was the first appearance of God [Nuzool] as human in a curly haired, beardless form. [Ibid. P. 100]

The Sufi yogis never forgot the fact that God was beyond name or form, though there was the attempt to visualize the formless God in a form.


Many consider it a fashion to scoff at miracles the rationalists with the idea that they are made up stories and the believers with their dogmatic arguments. Whenever the rationalists and scientists discover that the miracles are facts, we see them becoming staunch devotees right from that moment. We have been witnessing a large faction of people getting cultured through miracles. This culture leads them to a change meant for helping others. This transformation, in turn, leads them to the realization of truth.

The situation was the same in the past, as it is of now. People believed in Jesus, because they had witnessed signs and wonders. Same was the case of the prophets. Is it not beyond scientific analysis, if such a phenomenon, by which all the water in the casks turns to wine in a house of wedding, occurs without the help of the tools and tackles of a magician?

The miracles by Jesus retold in the Bible are famous. The marvels of Sri Krishna are also well known to the common man. Majority of the Muslims believe in the miracles by the Prophet. All the authoritative scriptures contain the miracle, in which a pillar made of date palm, on which the Prophet rested his back, had shed tears, when he had left it. Imam Shafi maintained that the crying of the date palm pillar was a bigger marvel than restoring life to the dead. Similarly, the incident of water bursting forth from between the Prophet's fingers is also chronicled. Even after many had quenched their thirst, even after all the animals had drunk, the water continued to flow. Another miracle was the fall of rain, when the Prophet prayed. The marvel of preparing food for over a thousand persons with only one 'Sau' [2.5 Kg] of grains is also found in the authoritative scriptures of Hadith. It was said that the Prophet had distributed fruit for everyone in the battlefield. And what more! The Muslim chronologists had even recorded that he was capable of splitting the moon in two.

It is easy to discard these stories, treating them as mere legends. Could it not be-that Jesus, Krishna and the Prophet were magicians or hypnotists? Was there a group of scientific researchers investigating them, while they were performing the miracles? What reply can be given, when a rationalist asks, whether their miracles cannot be equated with those performed by a dexterous magician?

But, the answer that the believers can now provide is Sathya Sai Baba. This twentieth century divinity, who pervades Prashanthi Nilayam and who can conveniently be subjected to observations and inspections, has, before the world, been leading a miraculous life, which exists only on the plane of wishful thinking of believers. That is the plane truth.

Sai Baba's creations out of nothing have been the most reputable and debatable. When not only modern science, but also the ancient Indian philosophy maintain that nothing can be created out of nothing, is not some discrepancy evident here? Sathya Sai explains like this, "I will and it happens." People view this in different perspectives. When we say nothingness, it does not mean absolute vacuum; there has to be some matter or energy minutely present. Therefore, Sai-devoted scientists clarify that one matter may be transformed to another. Their philosophical explanation may be that God is all-pervading and hence the same divine power performs the creation. There are countless evidences to prove that Sathya Sai creates, what he wants. Even scientific research has made its entry on the scene.

The Summer Course of 1973 was in progress at Whitefield, Bangalore. One student, a habitual smoker, had promised Swami that he would not smoke again. Once when Swami asked him, he vehemently denied that he had smoked. In front of those present, Swami materialized a photograph, showing even the background of the place, where the boy was sitting and smoking.

Here comes another more miraculous creation than the inexplicable one cited above.

Since the declaration that he was an incarnation, only a few people came to Puttaparthi in the initial days. I am now relating an incident related by Leelamma of Tamilnadu, who used to inhabit Puttaparthi in those days.

Swami used to materialize for devotees, idols and pictures of their favourite deities. One day, when Swami spotted an old woman, who demanded nothing, he asked her, who her favourite God was. She replied that her husband was her favourite God. When she asked for a photo of her husband, who expired two years before Swami's birth and who had never been photographed, Swami at once materialized it. The old woman, overcome with emotion, bowed at the feet of Swami.

In 1924, there were no studios in Puttaparthi or its surroundings. The man's face had never been captured by a camera. What is the secret behind the trick, by which Swami produced the photograph of a man, whom He had never set His eyes upon?

Sri. Gokak had described about Swami creating a small copy of the picture that was hung on his wall, of a guru, who lived two generations ago. Once Swami materialized a gold medal for Vidwan Sri. T. Chaudayya, who rendered a fiddle recital during the Navaratri celebrations. Later, telling that the name should be seen on it. He pressed the medal in His palm. The inscription, 'Presented by Sri. Sathya Sai Baba to Vidwan Sri. T. Chaudayya' immediately appeared on the medal. The day of the week and the date were also mentioned. [Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram Vol. I. P 175-176]

ln1951, with a touch of His hand, Swami transformed the stamps bearing the head impression of the Raja of Venkatagiri to stamps bearing His own head impression. American researcher Haraldsson had received one of those stamps from the Raja's son during an investigation trip. Anyone, who probes into Sai miracles, can find thousands of such instances. American scientists Karlis Osis and Haraldsson, who came to investigate about the Sathya Sai phenomenon, focussed their research on this aspect. After conducting research for more than ten years, Haraldsson clearly admitted in his thesis that he could not give a scientific explanation to it. In his work, he had often recorded that a number of Sai devotees, who lived with Swami during His childhood and adolescence, [Some of them are not devotees anymore due to various reasons.] when were questioned one by one, talked a lot about such miracles of Swami's creating what they wanted. In Sathya Sai's life there are many miracles equivalent to that of the water pouring forth from between the Prophet's fingers.

In the houses of Sai devotees in different parts of the world, Amrutha, Vibhuti and Tirtha [holy water] have been showering from the pictures of Sathya Sai and other Gods. If somebody does it to achieve fame, it can easily be detected.

Magicians display the trick of creating objects out of nothing. Anyone skilled at the sleight-of-hand can do it. But none of them can perform as stated above. They never used to create photos or things, which you demanded. Even if they could create gold chains and currency notes by their sleight-of-hand, they never used to distribute them among the viewers. Sathya Sai's creations like diamonds and chains worth millions are distributed among the devotees. The golden idols materialized by Him are being worshipped in many places even today.

When the materialization of a gold chain for a construction expert, recorded by a movie camera was viewed in slow motion a news item appeared in some paper 'He takes the gold chain from his assistant.' (The Deccan Chronicle 23-11-92) If it were true, then it was a golden opportunity for the seekers of truth. Anyone can shoot pictures of his marvels and publish them in detail to expose the myths.

But what is the truth? Right from the time the movie camera was invented, such miracles have been recorded and even today are being recorded and inspected in slow motion. But no one could find any incongruity till date. No authoritative speaker had uttered anything, which the news item had quoted him as saying. Anyone interested in knowing the truth can go to the TV centre and find out. Dr. Haraldsson and Dr. Wiseman conducted an investigation on the news item and published an article. Dr. Haraldsson writes:-

"A visit to India in July 1993 gave the author and Dr. Wiseman an opportunity to investigate this claim of fraudulent exposure. In Hyderabad we met the executive editor of the Deccan Chronicle, Mr. P. N. V. Nair, who supplied us with more information about the incident and helped us obtain a copy of the well-guarded tape. This was achieved, in part, by the author agreeing to be interviewed by the Deccan Chronicle. The resulting article did not correctly reflect my views and distorted some of my statements.

According to Mr. Nair, the Deccan Chronicle received some 200 readers' letters regarding their story. It published 28 letters, 18 were complimentary about the article, 10 were not.

The complimentary articles fell into the following categories. First, some were congratulating the Deccan Chronicle on possessing the strength of will to publish the information the same letters often condemned the DD for not broadcasting the footage in question. For example, on 25 November, Mr. S. Sarjeevi wrote:

"Hats off to your bold expose. Once again the Deccan Chronicle has proved itself to be a straightforward newspaper. You have succeeded where the DD has failed morally."

Second, many of the letters were supportive of the expose but maintained that individuals should still have respect for the spiritual advice given by Sai Baba. For example on 25 November, B.V.Rao notes:

"No doubt the Baba is a great philosopher and philanthropist doing yeoman service, but he need not perform fake miracles to attract people. Such actions will only make him unpopular."

Finally many of the letters stressed that it was unfortunate that so many government officials were in attendance at the event in question. For example, on 25 November, S.K.Kumar wrote:

"The accolades and patronage that he receives from the President of India, the Prime Minister and scores of top politicians speaks volumes of the superstitions that VIPs practise. This is a lesson that they should learn and stop fooling around with public funds, wasting it on visiting Godmen."

The letters attacking the article fell into the following categories: First, some accepted the accusation of cheating, but felt that Sai Baba should not have been exposed because of the good work that he carries out for the community. For example, on 25 November, B.V.R.K.Theerthulu wrote:

"A great man must be excused small mistakes. If the Baba pronounced that he would create a gold chain out of the thin air, then one would look for the hows and whys. If the Baba had not specifically said that he would be doing so, then the rest is handiwork of the press to malign the Baba."

Some individuals noted that the article had failed to expose Sal Baba because it did not account for the many other miracles, which he is alleged to have produced. For example, on 26 November Capt. L.Ramanath notes:

"I feel it is needless to recount here the scores of benevolent miracles, graced by Baba on many of us, in the war zone and in the peace areas, within and without India, far away from Baba's physical presence."

One letter not published by the newspaper was written by D.S.Rao of Secunderabad on 24 November. It brought a counter-allegation of fraud. He suggested that the suspicious handling of the memento between Sai Baba and his assistant was merely due to excessive weight of the memento. Furthermore he stated that the film did not show even an IOTA of what is claimed, namely that Sai Baba is taking the necklace from his personal assistant. Secondly D.S.Rao speculates that the tape is blurred and suggests that the photographs used by the newspapers may have been deliberately blurred to allow false accusation to be sustained, and the film may be the result of careful mixing and editing.

This letter was not published by the Deccan Chronicle (the author and Dr. Wiseman found it in the file shown to them by the editor), and as a result D.S.Rao wrote to the Indian Press Council (letter dated 05 December 1992) complaining of unfair coverage and defaming Sai Baba. The Deccan Chronicle was acquitted of unfair reporting, as it was found by the Indian Press Council to have published views from both sides. Hence Rao's letter was not published and his complaint not upheld.

The Investigation

We carried out a careful analysis of the tape supplied by Mr. Nair. Sai Baba is seen standing on the podium of the hall. Several people are seated at the back of the podium, facing the audience. A large and apparently heavy memento (probably 18 inches by 18 inches at its base) is brought in by an assistant, Mr. Radhakrishna Menon (RM). The memento held with four hands by Sai Baba and RM, is handed over to the architect who designed the building Mr. R.Chakrapani.

Immediately after he receives it, Sai Baba makes a circular sweeping movement with his right hand, in which appears a gold-coloured ornament or necklace, which he places around the neck of Mr. Chakrapani. This whole sequence of events takes about 17 seconds.

To assess the possibility of sleight-of-hand it is important to study two crucial moments on the videotape. The first is when Sai Baba puts his hands under the memento apparently to support its weight. There is a moment of hesitation as the weight is shifted, during which Sai Baba's left hand and RM's right hand touch, or nearly touch. At this moment the necklace could have changed hands from RM to Sai Baba.

The other crucial moment is when Sai Baba lets go of the memento, places his right hand under the memento, and possibly touches his left hand. At this moment Sai Baba could have shifted the necklace from his left to right hand.

In the Deccan Chronicle it is stated that Sai Baba 'takes the gold chain from his assistant. 'However, this definitely cannot be seen on tape. The chain is not seen until it appears at the end of the swirling circular movement of Sai Baba's right hand.

The meeting and touching of Sai Baba's and the assistant's hands would have given the assistant an opportunity to pass an object to Sai Baba's hand. The question is, however, did such a transfer take place? The tape does not contain enough information to assess this question with any certainty. If such transfer did not occur there needs to be another explanation for why Sai Baba moved his hand over to his assistant's hand. Was it to help him support the heavy memento until it was safely in the hands of the architect, or, was there some other reason? We can only guess.

The Deccan Chronicle did not report anyone present on the August 29 function observing fraud. In a brief conversation with the authors the architect, Mr. Chakrapani, rejected any discussion of the incident.

The Quality of the Videotape

The quality and resolution of the tape leaves much to be desired and limits the inferences that can be drawn from it. Dr. Wiseman took the videotape to a company, which specialises in investigating corporate fraud. This company possesses some of the world's best equipment designed to enhance poor quality of the videotape.

The technician kindly offered to enhance the videotape in question. The videotape was run through a real time Snell & Wilcox Kudos Noise Reducer. The machine carries out three operations. First, it removes via recursive filters the random noise on the tape caused by repeated copying. Second, it improves the graininess of the video by median filters and finally enhances any edges on the video through edge enhancement filters. After all this the video is certainly easy to watch, and did not contain much of the random noise present on the copy provided by the Deccan Chronicle. However the resulting tape still did not reveal further information about the incident. In short, the reason for Sai Baba's hand movement still appears unclear and is open for various interpretations, but the tape contained no firm evidence of fraud.

The company also analysed several still frames taken from the video. These were scanned into a computer and run through an Improve image processing system (developed by Home Office in Britain). Again the images were enhanced via median filters and certain areas of the frames were enlarged. The resulting photographs show the crucial moment as Sai Baba's hands touch under the memento, but do not reveal any further information.


The analysis of the Sai Baba film/tape has illustrated the difficulties encountered by researchers wishing to assess psychic claimants on the basis of filmed or taped evidence.

First, such material is often recorded under less than ideal conditions. This is often due to the individuals involved in filming having completely different agenda to researchers. The Doordarshan film crew was sent to cover an event, not to assess Sai Baba's alleged materialisations.

Second, the film crews (especially those involved in covering news items) have to edit their footage over a short period and often quickly dispose of the original unedited footage. Such editing can severely limit the inference that can be drawn from the resulting footage. Footage of Sai Baba (and perhaps his personal assistant) before and after the above episode could have provided valuable information. It may, e.g., have the assistant secretly taking the chain from his pocket, and carefully positioning it under the memento. Alternatively, it may have shown Sai Baba having problems holding the weight of the mementoes previous to the incident discussed above. The former scenario would have provided further evidence of the fraud hypothesis, and the latter for the non-fraud hypothesis.

Third, and perhaps most important of all, the quality of the film footage is rarely good enough to unequivocally state that a certain event is, or is not, due to trickery. This can be the case for many reasons. The information needed to accurately assess a fraud hypothesis is often occluded on the film and / or occurs off camera. In the present example the viewer ideally needed to see exactly what happens under the memento as it is handed to Sai Baba. The angle at which the event was filmed means that the happenings under the memento are occluded. This problem can be particularly difficult to overcome, especially if a skilled trickster is able to see the position of the camera and execute his/her sleight-of-hand in such a way as to prevent accurate recording of the trickery. Information on the tape may also be blurred. Such blurring might be due to the attempted filming of rapid events, or multiple copying of tape leading to poor picture-quality. The latter problem certainly occurred in the present example and may have been exaggerated by the technicians constantly replaying (and therefore helping to degenerate) the part of the tape containing the incident in question.

The brief video recording contains a hand movement of Sai Baba which is open to different interpretations and hence looks suspect to some (to a greater or lesser degree) and not to others. This would have given Sai Baba an opportunity to receive an object from the hand of his assistant, especially if the latter had some skill in handing over an object of this kind or size. Whether he did or not cannot be seen on tape. The statement made by the Deccan Chronicle that Sai Baba takes the gold chain from his assistants not corroborated by the tape nor the picture they print.

The Deccan Chronicle article echoed through much of the Indian press, apparently without any additional journalist viewing the videotape. This is the example of how a videotape containing a scene where sleight-of-hand might (or might not) have occurred can become an allegation that trickery has in fact taken place (besides getting other facts wrong). This is then interpreted as an exposure and is unverified echoed by the media." (Miracles are my visiting Cards An investigative inquiry on Sathya Sai Baba P. 296-301)

Another identical investigation was conducted by Haraldsson earlier also. A misleading description was published in 1982 in 'Miracles: A Para scientific into Wondrous Phenomena' by researcher Rogo. D.S. He writes: There is... some indication that Sai Baba often deliberately fakes his purported miracles (when films taken of some of his exhibitions are slowed down, it is clear that he is quite an expert at sleight-of-hand) (P.90). Haraldsson writes:

"In a letter to Rogo, I asked for further details, particularly which films he was referring to. He answered in a letter that he had had several conversations in 1975 with Dr. Edwin. C.May, a physicist at the prestigious S.R.I.Institute near San Francisco, and that Dr. May had told him that he had filmed Sai Baba producing objects. According to Rogo, Dr. May had told him that when the films were slowed down and examined frame-by-frame, sleight of hand was evident. Rogo himself, however, had never seen Dr. May's films but had taken his word for this. He suggested that I write to Dr.May.....

I wrote to Dr. May, who rang me up a few days later and told me that he had never met Said Baba; hence he had never taken films of him and had never even seen any film of Baba. He had filmed a woman in Bombay, alleged by a small flock of followers to produce Kokum paranormally, and he had found her clearly engaged in fraud." (Miracles Are My Visiting Cards Heralds P.218)

Such incidents show that truth comes out, when the investigation becomes scientific.

For those, who plan to study Sathya Sai Baba minutely. His 'rescue phenomena' often come to aid. The miracle of appearing in more places than one can also be included in this category, since it occurs together with the rescue phenomena or without. The general characteristics of the phenomenon are the following:

The devotee calls Swami at some scene of danger. Swami comes and saves him. Swami would tell those sitting nearby that He had been to a particular place. It would be found true, when those, who had undergone the experience, retold or wrote about it. Some people, who listen to Baba's description, write letters or send telegrams to learn the truth.

I feel that this phenomenon is one of the most significant in Sathya Sai's divine life. The detailed study of a small portion of His life throws more light in the sphere of our intellect.

The story of a freedom fighter, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, is retold by an American engineer by the name of Al Drucker in his article. [Golden Age 1980 P. 140] While driving through a narrow road and letting another vehicle pass, the car turned turtle. His wife screamed, 'Ram, Ram.' The couple fell approximately 100 ft. down the side of the road; but escaped from injuries. The car was smashed to smithereens. They regarded this escape as miraculous. Later, while he was sitting in the front row for Darsan, Swami asked as soon as He spotted him, "So, you have come, haven't you? Good. You must be grateful to your wife for your life. Unless she had called me you would have been dead. I was the one, who pulled you out of the car and took you safely to the ground below. And you had not remembered me even once! I had often saved your life without your knowledge. Do you remember the Air Raid Warden?"

Reminiscence of an incident long forgotten was back in his mind. During the Second World War, he had been a student in London. When the sirens blared as a warning to the impending bombardment by the Germans, everyone used to find refuge in underground shelters. Once when the siren blared, this student of ours covered his head with a sheet and went to sleep. Suddenly, someone knocked on the door shouting at the top of his voice, "Open up. Someone is there. This is the law." When the door was opened, a red faced Englishman focused a beam of flashlight on his face. "Didn't you hear the siren? Go downstairs. Come with me." They descended the long stairs. The Englishman paced slightly behind the student. No sooner had the student reached the shelter, than the sound of an explosion was heard right from the place, where he was sleeping. Though it was sad that the warden was trapped in the incident, he was glad that he escaped.

Swami revealed, "I was that warden. That day I appeared to rescue you from the bomb. I have often saved you like that. Now you can be with Me." Pay special attention to the fact that Swami was quite young when this happened in London.

The experience of the king of Venkatagiri, who visited London, was related by his son to Heralds. Baba was staying at the Osborne House in Madras. One day. He was talking to the sons of the king. "Your father's passport is lost. Now he is praying for my help. They are turning everything topsy-turvy and searching." Swami added, "They cannot find the passport."

Next day, Swami told them that He would keep the passport in the royal baggage. When the king returned, he explained everything in detail. [Modern Miracles Eriendus Haraldsson P. 78.]

Sri Raja Reddy had lived with Swami for quite some time. One of his varied experiences is narrated below.

"My mother was on her way to Kasi. Others were also with her. At that time we were with Swami at Kodaikanal. Swami told me, "Now your mother is on the train traveling in this route. [He gave the location.] She has got fever. As she entered the lavatory, she was about to fall. I rescued her. Now she is fine." When the mother returned, she described all this. [P. 189.]

One of the many experiences of Dr. Gadia, who runs the 'Om Sathya Sai Dispensary' in Arusha in Africa, goes like this:

In 1962, one day at 2:30 p.m., Sai Baba asked Gadia to take down this note, "At present, your mother is being subjected to an operation in Kampala. Doctors are of the opinion that she cannot be saved. But I will give her a new life, I will make her well."

Dr. Gadia immediately wrote to Kampala and from his brother's reply found that whatever Baba had told was true. The letter's content was that his mother, suffering from an intestinal ailment, was taken to the hospital, that the doctors conducted a surgery as the last resort and that the doctors had no hope of the success of the operation. It was also mentioned in the letter that his brother had applied Sai Vibhuti at the last moment, praying for the blessings of Swami.

Another day, at Brindavan Swami informed Dr. Gadia, "I had been to Kampala yesterday to rescue your parents from a car accident." The doctor learned about the actual incident later. Though the car was smashed, both his parents had a miraculous escape. [Living Divinity Shakunthala Balu P. 225.]

If such experiences, only the recorded ones, were added to this book, this would turn out to be a very large volume. When you talk to devotees, the tales of marvel that unfold are innumerable. Is it to be inferred from these that Baba, the man, rushes to devotees anywhere in the world at their call? Baba Himself often says that He does not reach anywhere, but has been present there all the time. That means that He claims to be omnipresent. It is quite clear that this is not to be considered in the physical sense.

Devotees arriving at Prashanti Nilayam from various parts of the world often say that such miracles are still being observed at many places. This aspect deserves utmost importance in the studies of Sai Baba, because it seems to me that this is the practical version of the concepts of philosophers about the relation between the individual mind and the cosmic mind. The difference between the individual life and God may be the same as between personal awareness and collective consciousness. Is it not that person, who has risen from personal awareness to collective consciousness, the one, who has truly attained spiritual realisation? Those, who remain permanently in the cosmic consciousness, will have contact with any person's life such a perception is not irrational. Are not the rescue operations observed in the Sai phenomenon the marvelous aids available from the power of collective consciousness to one, who considering oneself as a part of the collective, raises oneself to the state of collective consciousness, purifying one's own mind? Here, the believers regard such a person as a devotee. It is not pertinent whether each personal essence experiences the divine essence as Jesus, Krishna or Sai. If we are capable to comprehend that formless essence behind the forms of Sai, Krishna and Jesus, we can also guess the reason why these marvels manifest in different names and forms.

One of the most significant aspects of Sathya Sai Baba's personality, probably another factor not apprehended by non-devotees, is the phenomenon of 'taking over the disease.' Swami confirms, "Disease never affects this body. If at any time illness affects, understand that it is someone else's and not mine." [Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram Part III P. 239.] Expert physicians have recorded the diagnoses of the diseases, which affected Him off and on. But to their surprise serious and fatal ailments had suddenly vanished.

Getting afflicted by serious diseases, bearing the severe pain inflicted on the Self without accepting treatment prescribed by the experts, sudden disappearance of the disease, declaring that no evil can affect the Self and that the Self is the power that conquers all, getting involved smartly in incessant activities, forecasting frequently that the Self will live up to the age of ninety-six, moving among tens of thousands of people asserting that no one can harm the Self, consuming only a morsel of food for namesake is such a phenomenon found anywhere in the annals of history?

On 7th December 1970, Swami was at the residence of Sri. Nakul Sen, the Governor of Goa. That day, He was feeling so severe a pain that it was impossible even to lie down. Nakul Sen and others learned about it only the next day. To the Governor, who suggested that the house was ill fated, Swami said, "No, it is not like that. I had brought the disease to Kabo to get rid of it here itself."

Expert physicians from the Goa Medical College and the city were summoned to the Governor's residence. The pain had concentrated on the navel; there was fever too. The experts offered different views on diagnosis. The whole day Swami was struggling in pain. Kasturi had to announce all this to twenty thousand devotees waiting outside to have a glimpse of Sathya Sai Baba. He also informed them that Baba had taken over the disease of a devotee.

At 8 p. m. the doctors released another bulletin: "Fever 100 F, Pulse 100 M, Breath 16 M, Blood count 22,000, Neutrophilis 85 pc Para colic appendicitis Does not consent for operation."

Press reporters released the news to the outside world. Some suggested Swami to abide by the instructions of the doctors. Swami asked, "What do the doctors know? What can they instruct? Your love alone is enough for me."

On 9th and 10th, the doctors insisted that operation was necessary as the condition was very callous; the appendicitis had burst and the blood was full of puss, Swami's whole body had darkened. Doctors even declared that Swami would be dead in ten minutes. The Radio Broadcast was that Swami was on deathbed. When doctors insisted on taking Swami to the hospital, Smt. Nakul Sen blocked the passage and challenged, "You will be able to take Him only over my dead body."

The chief physician gave in at last. "We are arguing unnecessarily. Sathya Sai is divine."

Swami materialized rings for the twenty-five doctors present there.

But, when Swami announced that He would give a discourse in the evening, the doctors were puzzled. When they examined Him at 5 O'clock, they were dumbfounded. The portion affected by appendicitis was soft; there was no lump or anything there.

At 6 O'clock, Swami walked to the Bhajan Hall. He talked for forty minutes.

He said, "There are many, that doubt the existence of God, those who deny it and those who discard the idea of God itself as superstitious. As if to help them to get rid of this ego, the might of God with its inherent compassion exhibits its superhuman attitude. The doubters receive answers without questioning; the doors are opened without knocking, because those, who deny, never knock. Through discernible experiences and facts established beyond arguments, blind faith is enhanced to the divine state and becomes bright. The human body gets prone to illness due to wrong food, indulgent habits, foolish hurried haste and mad emotions. But the disease, which you had seen during the last two days, was absolutely different from this. That was the disease, which I had taken over myself to save someone afflicted by it. Continued healthy life of this man was essential for the clear jobs I had in mind. It is one of the duties of the incarnation to shower compassion and bliss on the devotee. The appendicitis had ripened. It swelled. The doctors would have been able to remove it by operation only. I knew that the devotee was not capable of surviving it. I have incarnated in this body to rescue other bodies from pain. This body is free from pain; disease never affects it." [Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram Part III P. 228, m244.]

Only to check Swami's statement that nothing will affect Him, some people have even tried to feed Him poison. During His childhood, Swami had regurgitated a vada, a little later after consuming it to show that it contained poison. The woman, who had fed the vada, became a devotee at once. But in 1974, the venom administered by an unidentified man was extremely ferocious. Just before Swami was leaving Puttaparthi, one man offered Him food. Swami knew it contained poison. "If Sai Baba is God, let Him survive the fatal effects of this poison. Otherwise, let Him die or live the rest of his life with weak and lame legs." Swami later revealed that this was the thought in the man's mind. Swami had accepted the food, thinking, "If he needs this to confirm his belief, I shall help him."

The incident occurred in the middle of March. At first, the devotees felt that Swami had difficulty in walking. Swami complained about pain also. It went on increasing. Afterwards, Swami became completely weak in the knees. He was not able to stand up and walk. Keeping His hands on the floor and dragging up His legs. He had to crawl to the bathroom.

At that time, a devotee. Dr. Sundar Rao, was with Him. He requested Swami's consent to summon a famous neurosurgeon from Bangalore. Swami denied it, saying that doctors would not be able to do anything. He promised those with Him that He would cure it at the appropriate time. But, the days crawled by and the ailment persisted. For the consolation of the devotees waiting outside for Darsan, Swami granted it through the door kept slightly ajar; men unseen by the devotees outside supported him on both sides. Some devotees might have felt it a little odd.

However, after some days, Swami suddenly came out of this state, dipping His fingers in water and sprinkling it on His legs, as He had shown once before.

As I said earlier, when such miracles occur even today, we are compelled to learn the spiritual truth that Sathya Sai represents. To some extent, we can grasp these truths from His discourses published in numerous volumes and from the books that emerged from His pen. But it will be more comprehensible from the interviews with Him. Tomorrow's world will evaluate even dialogues with non-devotees as Sathya Sai Gita.


The interviews with Sathya Sai Baba are invaluable 'Gitopadeshas.' Often during such conversations, many had the feeling that the phenomenon of Sathya Sai was being unveiled.

Arnold Schulman, the American film scriptwriter was not one, who believed in the incarnation of Sathya Sai Baba. He was more or less an agnostic. Coming to India with the inspiration to write a book on Baba, he lived in Prasanthi Nilayam for some time and tried to study Him. When Schulman was about to return home, Swami granted him an interview.

As soon as Schulman entered the chamber, Baba said, "So, you have seen enough."

"Too much. I don't understand anything I've seen." Baba laughed.

"Appearance is not different from emptiness." Baba said, struggling for the words in English, "Yet, within emptiness there is no appearance."

"Life is only the memory of a dream. It comes from no visible rain. It falls into no recognizable sea. Some day, not for a while yet, you will Understand how meaningless it is to spend your whole life trying to accumulate material things. I have no land, no property of my own, where I can grow my own food. Everything is registered in the name of someone else, but just as those people in the village, who have no land, wait until the pond dries up, so they can scratch the land with a plough and quickly grow something, before the pond fills up again, I grow my food, which is joy or love. To you the words have different meanings, but to me both words are the same. But I have to do it quickly, quickly in the heart of those, who come to see me, quickly before they leave."

He looked up again into the writer's eyes. "The kind of belief in me, I ask of people, is more, much more than most people think, is faith or love. That is why many people, who come to see the miracles, stop loving me, the minute I stop entertaining them and giving them presents. No, what I ask you is to give me everything -not fruit or flower or money or land, but you, all of you, with nothing held back; your mind, your heart, your soul....... But these are just words."

Baba watched him for a time, with intensity. "You cannot run away from me." Baba said, "As I told you, no one can come to Puttaparthi, however accidental it might seem, without my calling him. I bring only those people here, who are ready to see me and nobody else; nobody can find his way here. When I say ready, there are different levels of readiness, you understand." Baba laughed.

"I know your past and I know your future. So I know why you suffer and how you can escape suffering and when you finally will."

"Are you God?" Schulman asked this question openly.

Swami said, "Why do you waste your time and energy to explain me can a fish measure the sky? If I had come as Narayana with four arms, they would have put me in a circus. If I had come as a man like every other man, who would listen to me? So, I had to come in this human form with more than human powers and wisdom."

"Then you are God. Is that what you are saying?"

"First you have to understand yourself; I told you that. And then you will understand me. I am not a man, I am not a woman, I am not old, I am not young I am all of these."

Listen to what Swami says about the essence of incarnation: "Some people think that it is a beautiful thing for the Lord to be on the earth in human form; but, if you were in my place, you would not feel it so beautiful. I know everything that happens to everybody in the past, present and future. So, I am not so quick to give people the mercy, they beg me for. I know why a person has to suffer in this life and what will happen to him the next time he is born, because of that suffering this time. So, I cannot act, the way people want me to. They call me cold-hearted one time, softhearted the next. Why don't I do this? Why do I do that? Why don't I stop all the wars forever and get rid of all diseases and suffering? What they don't know is that I am not responsible for suffering. I don't cause suffering any more than I cause happiness and joy. People make their own palaces and their own chains and their own prisons."

The words Swami uttered at the end of the interview are worth more attention:

"I am always with you, even when you don't believe in me, even when you laugh at me, even when you hate me and even when I seem to be on the opposite side of the earth. I am in you; you are in me. Don't forget that. We cannot be separated." [Baba Arnold Schulman P. 167-172.]

The third world conference of Sathya Sai Organizations took place in 1980. In that context, some journalists visited Swami.

One reporter asked Swami, "When the poor are suffering without food and clothes, will they be satisfied to receive God in the form of food and clothes?"

See how Swami answered this:

"Haven't those with food, clothing and shelter any problem? Are they happy and content? Do they have peace? No, the satisfaction derived from food, clothing, shelter, money etc. is only temporary, or limited to the physical plane. It does not solve man's basic uneasiness there is lack of peace of mind. If you have that peace, you can live without physical pleasures. Desire and selfishness are the fundamental cause of all problems. When desires are limited, the mind becomes lighter; it attains peace. When you achieve mental and spiritual peace, physical peace will automatically follow."

When the question, "What is truth?" was asked, Swami answered, "What the inner soul feels right is the truth. The truth is in you only."

When a journalist pointed out the downfall of religion, Swami said, "No, religion never declines. It is always the same. But those, who follow religion, do not realize what for religion exists. It is wrong to say that this religion is good, that religion is bad and so on. All religions propagate unity and love. We should not magnify the silly differences between religions. We must hold high the significant aspects of unity. Love works wonders. It can conquer the world.

God's image is in your heart. If you cannot see it, your heart is covered with the dust of desires and indiscipline. Wipe off that dust with education, action and devotion. You will be able to see God in yourself." [Living Divinity Sakunthala Balu P. 7, 8, 19.]

Once, when Swami paid a visit to the house of a devotee, he told the women present:

"Praying regularly for hours, observing fast, going to the temple, proceeding on pilgrimage all these are not necessary. When you are engaged in household activities and family responsibilities, never become angry; never get enraged. Never do your work in a hateful or rueful mood. Do everything merrily. Be content with the thought that this is the work given to me by the Lord. Go to Bhajans and Japas, if you find time." [Ibid. P. 113]

The question, "What is fate?" was answered by Swami as follows.

"Fate is the result of your actions. Just as there will be reactions in future for all your present actions, there are reactions to your past actions. They affect your body and mind. Every thought, word and deed will bounce back to you. Therefore, it is not that fate controls you; conversely, you control the fate."

When asked about Swami's miracles, particularly about materializing large objects, Swami replied, "Since Swami has accepted a body, Swami has enforced some restrictions on it. Swami has materialized golden idols. In the same manner, Swami can create a gold mountain also. Then the rulers will surround Swami; others will not be able to approach Swami. Up to 16 years in Baba's life there are 'Leelas;' from 16 to 35 miracles, from 35 to 60 teachings and miracles. After 60, he will be further beyond reach of the public. Even after 60, close devotees can meet him. This body will live up to 96, appearing to be youthful." [Conversations with Bhagawan Sathya SaiBabaP. 104.]

Swami had told John Hislop about the change in Him after 60. "After 60, Swami will directly provide perpetual energy to the minds of those, who work with Him actively. This will be the beginning of a change. It will be like husks blowing away from the heavier grains in a gust of wind. During this time, many devotees will fall away from Swami. Firm and staunch devotees will remain. Don't you see the change yourself? Long back, in the early stages, Swami used to come to your room to talk. Now you daily come to this verandah, whereas Swami does not stand before you or talk to you. Such changes used to occur at different stages of the incarnation." [Baba and I John Hislop P. 204.]

Once Swami asked a man, "Who are you?" Pat came the reply, "I am a devotee." Swami asked, "When you always think about your wife, family and hundreds of other things and possess a dual mind, how can you become a devotee? There should be only one chair in the heart, not two. As in musical chairs, only one is allowed to sit, either God or someone else."

Immediately the man said, "Swami must help us."

Swami said, "It is my duty. I always do my duty. I am a sweeper, I am a dhobi, I am a baby. Sometimes I am a husband, sometimes a wife, as in the story of Sukuba.... Thus, Bhagawan will do anything for the Bhakta, who has only Bhagawan in his heart." [Divine Glory -V.Balu P.31]

While a devotee was talking about his trip to America and other countries, Swami said, "You have lots of money. You go here and there. But, why? The pleasure is here, inside you. You do not see that wealth in you; you do not introspect. Self-control is man's primary requirement to recognize this. You talk, these days about a lot of controls, like diet control. But without self-control, nothing can be achieved. As far as man is concerned, the most important things are self-discipline and self-control. As a start to this, you must control your tongue. God has given only one mouth. All other senses are in pairs eyes, ears, hands etc. This single mouth has two functions, viz., talking and eating. So, when you think about control, start by controlling your words. Even the few words you speak should not have any selfish motive. Eat less; that will save your health.

Man today is selfish. Sometimes I used to suggest that it is better to be a fish than being selfish. The fish cleanses the water it lives in, whereas man pollutes his environment. Such a man does not do anything for his society or others. He is selfish. Only when you relinquish selfishness, you can attain spiritual knowledge and spiritual realization." [Ibid. P. 32.]

To one, who doubted the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, Swami said, "Why do you doubt? You don't worry about them. You try to find out who you are. Ask yourself, "Who am I?" When you discover who you are, all doubts will vanish.

When egoism is completely relinquished, there is absolute unselfishness; then Maya is removed and realization of God is attained. When you egoistically think that Swami is yours, Swami gets imprisoned by your pride. Then Swami cannot come for your help. But, when you think that you belong to Swami, then Swami is at liberty to look after you and enhance your spiritual progress. This is all a question of humbleness and approach."

The devotee asked, "Is there any particular mode or method for total surrender to God?"

Swami replied, "Yes, there is. In the first place, treat everything as God. God is omnipresent and omnipotent. He is in this chair, in the sofa, in the table everywhere and in everything. The true realization of the all-pervading nature of God will turn aside your egoism, because this egoism is the obstruction in the path of spiritual surrender." [Ibid. P. 33.]

Once when a devotee said that he felt sad, when someone made some bad comments about Swami and that he had discussed it with others, Swami counselled: "If you heard something that hurt your feelings, why should you discuss it with others and hurt their feelings too? It is quite natural that your feelings will be wounded, when you know that a remark is irresponsible or untrue. But why should you hand it over to others? You keep it to yourself; else wipe it off your mind. It will be better to wipe off. Do not hurt others' emotions by talking to them, especially when it is about the person you love and respect. Discussing the scandal brings about the utmost destruction, to the self and others as well. Do not at all listen to the slanderous and unpleasant outrages raised against anyone. And if, inadvertentty, it is heard at all, do not pay any heed. Do not become a post office. Hearing scandal is sin. But it is more sinful to discuss the scandal and gossip about it. It is better to avoid friendship with such gossip-mongers. If there is true devotion, show it by talking about good things. You can talk about Swami's teachings or you can discuss other spiritual topics. That is the path to spiritual progress. You pollute your mind by discussing bad and unpleasant things and contaminate the minds of others too." [Ibid. P. 38]

Dr. Fanibunda once asked Swami, "Sometimes people raise the question, 'If Swami is God, why doesn't He remove all the suffering?"

Swami said, "The reason is not that I do not have the desire to remove all the suffering. But how can full reward be given to partial devotion? Swami has great desire to impart happiness to all mankind. If you wish so, God's grace can change your fate. All things good or bad are the reflections of different actions of mankind. The world is not mere sand and earth. People also inhabit it. The people and the earth are inseparably related. Today, man has inculcated useless habits. He destroys the resources of the earth water, food, sound, light and numerous others. For example, when soft words are enough, he talks loudly. He overeats and wastes food. When one bucket of water will do, he uses two bucketfuls. When a little light is sufficient, why is electricity wasted by the use of powerful lights? All the energy and resources of the earth are the light of the Supreme Spirit. When one wastes a resource, one is wasting God. Every action of man has a reaction, resound and reflection."

To the question, whether Swami ever felt happiness or sorrow, Swami answered, "You see agony and ecstasy because of your dual nature. God sees only as one, not different. Since Swami knows that everything is Godly, and there is no life or activity away from divinity, there is no time or occasion, when He experiences sorrow or happiness. Swami never has such feelings. Whenever someone came and complained that he was undergoing pain and sorrow, I used to wish if I also could experience them. But as the public is not aware of this aspect, I act sad; I act sad and painful to correct them, to guide them on the right path and to make them understand about me. I quote these from real personal experiences. These are not statements of imagination. Getting immersed in physical sorrows and deriving pleasure out of material gains are completely absent from my life. In this context, it is said, "My life is my message." If you follow me, you will experience tremendous tranquility and ecstasy.

To the question on life after death, Swami replied, "Death is like sleep. A person discards the body, the same way the clothes are discarded. Only the body perishes. As the mind does not have physical existence, it does not perish with the body; the process of thought continues. After all, mind is the flow of thoughts."

Swami has explained whereinsoever that the intellect and the soul are beyond the mind.

In an interview with Dr. Fanibunda, on the occasion of his wedding, look at what Swami said about family duties and married life:

"Marriage is a union of bodies, minds and souls. Before marriage you had the absolute authority on your body. But now you own only half of your body. The wife's right side is the husband and the husband's left side is the wife. Husband and wife are like engine and compartment. If life is to be useful, both are necessary. Without one the other is useless. Husband and wife must always take food together. Together they must perform everything religious and social; e.g. even giving alms must be together. The duties of the wife in 'Grihasthashramam' are first to the husband, then to the world and then to God; in 'Sanyasa', the first is God, then the world and at last the self. Work is worship; duty is God. Duty without love is sorrowful; duty with love is desirable. Love without duty is divine. As 'Grihalakshmi,' the wife should always shower smile and love. There lies her real beauty.

Before marriage, the maxims 'Mathru devo bhava' and 'Pithru devo bhava' were always apt. [Let mother be God, Let father be God] After marriage, the parents of the girl have no authority on her. She must consider her mother-in-law and father-in-law as her own parents. It is her duty to serve them. Though it is true that she should obey her husband, she has to exercise her authority along with the husband. [Vision of the divine Dr. Fanibunda P. 38, 97, 98.]

If such pieces of advice by Sai are gathered from his interviews alone, they will constitute a huge volume. Even the small, little jokes Sai cracks turn out to be messages for listeners. The essence of the statement of Sathya Sai that he is a mirror is evident from his conversations with great thinkers at their level and with the commoners as per their standard.


Once Sathya Sai wrote on the cover of The Holy Quran for a Muslim devotee "I am in you and around you. Be happy." He signed below without mentioning the date.

Dr. Zeba Basheeruddin, who initially suspected that the 'I' in the inscription referred to the physical form of Sathya Sai Baba, changed her opinion later.

What does Sathya Sai Baba mean when He says 'I'? See how Zeba Basheeruddin describes one of her experiences.

"I had once engaged my three children in a difficult task, as I was unable to attend to it myself. Many hours had gone by; but the children had not returned. I was worried about their safety. With emotions of fear mingled with hope, I sat at the doorstep scanning the street. Sensing my tension, my mother calmly started chanting 'AyatuI Kursi' [Lines in Koran ensuring safety and security] After some time, she closed her eyes and remained silent. Minutes ticked by; but there was no sign of the children coming. The silence aggravated my tension. Why did mother stop praying? What could have happened? After a seemingly long spell of fifteen minutes, mother opened her eyes and asked, "Does your Baba have large eyes?"

"Yes, He has." I replied.

The next query was, "Has He got thick hair neatly set around His head?"

The third one threw more light on the identity. "Does He wear a long Kurta reaching down to His feet?"

Definitely the description was that of Baba. What she told me after that was extremely important as far as I was concerned. She revealed, "As I was chanting the prayers from Quran, I had the vision of your three children in my inner eye. Baba was also with them."

Oh God! Oh my God! What a relief!! What a fool I was to be worried! I informed mother that Baba had promised to protect the children right from their birth... Mother, who firmly believed in the formless Allah, was not a Sai devotee. She explained that the proclamation was not referring to his physical form, but to the divine trait of being

Al Hafiz [The Protector]. However, the children were back safe and sound, within an hour." [Sai Baba Mercy to the Worlds P. 19, 20.]

Mrs. Sarojini Palanivelu in her book 'Miracle and Spirituality' relates the story of a lad from Tamilnadu. His father was a notorious ruffian and hence he was compelled to keep aloof from the company of his classmates. Boys of his age despised him branding him as the son of a rowdy. Whenever he tried to mingle with others, they ostracized him.

The tender heart ached. One day, interspersed with sobs, he managed to convey the cause of his sorrow to his mother. His mother said, "Yes, your father is what they say he is."

Innocently, the boy asked, "What shall I do to reform my father?"

'Pray to Allah' was the instantaneous reply.

The boy started chanting 'Allah...Allah..' as if in severe penance.

One day Sathya Sai Baba appeared in his father's dream and said, "Come to Puttaparthi; bring your family too." At first the father, who had no awareness of Baba, paid no heed. But Sathya Sai appeared regularly in his dreams asking him to come to Puttaparthi.

Spotting this boy in the rows for Darsan, Sathya Sai approached him and lovingly embraced him. He materialized a pearl necklace for the boy and patting on his back said, "Now your father is a good man; be happy." [P. 96,97]

Dikr [remembering the name of God] is the Muslim mode of prayer. Sathya Sai is proving that one reaches Allah following this path.

But the picture is complete only when one takes into account Swami's saying that He is omnipresent and is capable of appearing in any name or form. The Almighty assumes human form, as envisaging a formless God is inapprehensible to devotees at large. Let us examine what Miss Firoza writes about this inapprehension.

"In my younger days according to my principles of faith, I used to pray to Allah, visualizing him as some sort of omnipresent, omnipotent and invisible resplendence. Every time I prayed, I felt that I was talking to thin air. I wondered how God could listen to all this. As a result, a desire to see God in some form was born in my mind just an anxiety to know to whom I was offering my prayers. Because I believed that God listened to everything, in my silent conversations with God I started asking why God could not manifest in human form, if He was potent enough to create the whole human race. When I call God in my prayers, can't He grant me at least one Darsan?" [Sathya Sai The Eternal Charioteer P. 13]

Later, Miss Firoza happened to hear about Sathya Sai Baba and believed in His incarnation. She wrote to Baba praying for the cure of her ailing mother, who had no faith at all in Baba. Moreover, she used to severely criticize her daughter worshipping Baba. The very next night, Baba granted Darsan to mother in the form of Sathya Sai. As a result, she gradually recovered.

Here we must remember that Sufis used to teach that one could contemplate on the form of the prophet or the preceptor to attain a higher spiritual level, as it was strenuous to worship the formless God. This writer asked a Muslim lady, who prayed five times a day and regularly read Koran, in what manner she visualized Allah. Her reply was, "When I perform Sujud [Prostrating in obeisance], my forehead touches the feet of Sathya Sai Baba. It is through Him that Allah has manifested today. This type of prayer provides me with utmost pleasure." As the divine power has manifested in the form of Sathya Sai Baba, some Sufis meditate on Allah envisaging him in Sathya Sai's form. Zeba Basheeruddh relates the story of a Sufi saint, who directed a Muslim devotee to Sathya Sai Baba, when that devotee was looking for his preceptor in the tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya. [Sai Baba Mercy to the Worlds P. 12.] A Sufi guru had presented a metallic locket to a German lady. 'Allah' was inscribed on the locket, which the lady eventually lost. She could not trace it anywhere. Finally, after two years, she was in the presence of Sathya Sai Baba. And what did the Fraulein find while taking her maiden Padanamaskar? The metallic locket on the divine lotus feet covered by ochre robe! There was a divine smile also on that visage! She grabbed the locket and burst out weeping. [Smruthi P. 26,27]

Syed Kabir, another devotee writes:

"As I was born in a Muslim family, it was, in the early stages, difficult for me to believe that God, incarnating as man, was living amongst us, talking our tongue and doing everything as other men do. At that time, I had not realized that one would have to learn afresh the truths of one's religion. I learned the truth of Islam at the feet of Bhagawan Baba." [Sai Vandana P.219]

While describing about the interview granted to a group of devotees from Iran, look at what Mahdi. N. Bahduri has to say.

A lady requested, "You had once materialized a garland of beads for me. Now please advise a Mantra for me to chant always."

Baba said, "God is only one; chant Allah" [Sathya Sai The Avatar of Love P. 9]

Ustad Ali Amjad Khan writes: "Swami is the embodiment of love and compassion. He transforms this world to a better place to live in. One can visualize this through the compassionate eyes of Baba. This body, known to the world as Sathya Sai Baba, is an incarnation in human form." [Sai Vandana 2000 P. 120]

Baba emphasizes another point to those, who thus consider Him as an incarnation. Prof. Basheeruddin writes: I remember my wife once telling Swami, "Swami, You are God; You can do this." In His soft voice Swami said, "You are also God; but you are not aware of it. "[Golden Age 1979 P. 157.]

Tajmul Hussain of Trinidad describes his experience in an article in Sai Vandana 1990. During Hussain's maiden interview in 1977 Swami proclaimed, "I am your guru." Hussain had been on the lookout for a guru for years. Since then, he made it a practice to visit his Guru every year. His wife also accompanied him on these trips. In every visit, at least one interview each, he was benefited by numerous pieces of advice and sensations of pleasure. They were also witnesses to a number of miracles. In an interview in 1982, Swami pronounced that Hussain would have to take up 'higher responsibilities'. Later, he was able to guide the activities of the Sai Organization. Once Swami materialized a Sivalinga for the couple. Then there was the cure of many diseases through holy water. Swami had appeared in person in Arabia and Canada to grant Darsan to Hussain's wife Shalimar. Tajmul Hussain ends his passage with the sentence, "My humanity is gradually becoming absorbed in His divinity. "[Sai Vandana 1990 P. 43]

This is the spiritual transformation that Sai aims at.

Dr. Ali Hussain, who has worked as a Sai activist in Geneva, discovers Sai through Quranic verses. He quotes some portions from 30:59 of Quran as follows: -

"God created the heavens and earth in truth. And He creates you out of the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation in three-fold darkness. Allah is your Lord. There is no God but He... No laden soul bears the load of another. You shall return to your Lord and He will tell you what you have been doing." He comments that it is an irony of fate that Muslims are unable to comprehend the significance of such divine utterances even after the lapse of a thousand years. [Sai Vandana 1990 P. 45.] He maintains that we are fortunate that the omniscient Sathya Sai is correcting our perceptions. Ali Hussain points out that the verses from Koran quoted above are about the law of action. The existing interpretations are insufficient. He explains that the spiritual interpretations of the lines are continuing births, the plural 'mothers' and the darkness hovering over the past, the present and the future.

Naseem Banu, a social worker, had entered the Sai Tariquat [The Sai way of life] in the Sufi style only. She was born in a family, whose ancestry could be traced back to Mohiyiddin Sheikh. The ears, which were accustomed to hear Ratib right from infancy, acted as receptacles to the stories of Sri Krishna related by her mother. The religious tolerance in the descriptions about the Sufi scholar Yahum Thangal, who used to sit on the granite platform interpreting the utterances of the oracle of the Devi temple in front of her house, made her mind mature. But after marriage, her heart ached at the severe intensity of her husband's atheism. Bearing all the ruthlessness of the husband, who cast away the Holy Quran and the robes for prayer, she prayed silently five times a day. When she came across the biography of Sathya Sai, titled 'Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram', she read it voraciously. She felt that there was no better answer than Sathya Sai for atheists like her husband. She told her husband, "Read the book once again; this incarnation has arrived for people like you."

In the incidents that ensued, there was the trip to Prasanthi Nilayam with her husband, the sudden demise of mother, the appearance of Sai Mata in the dream and the consolation, "Why do you cry? I am there for you, your Sai Mata.", Swami's interview with the couple, and Swami's reaction as "Didn't I tell you? Do not cry. Am I not there for you, your Sai Ma?"

The frequent interviews granted by Swami and the inspiration provided by Him in matters spiritual as well as physical transformed life as a whole. But it pained her, when her husband started straying away from the path. She prayed in all sincerity to Swami, when it seemed that her husband was abandoning Swami and was in search of other gurus. Again Swami interfered compassionately and magically. Interviews followed one after the other after a lapse of seventeen years in the lovely, lustrous tranquility of Prasanthi Nilayam. Banu, who has gained a diamond ring, dress materials and the overflowing elixir of love from Swami, is practising meditation also along with her regular prayers.

One day a man attired in the garb of an Arab entered the Sai Centre in Quatar. The man was of Sudanese origin and an employee of the Censor Board. The devotees were nonplussed. Muhammad Sayeed had come to attend the Bhajan. While he was engaged in the censoring work, he happened to read about Sathya Sai Baba, to whom he felt a sort of attraction. Swami had found entry into his heart.

When a serious disease afflicted Sayeed, he wanted to seek refuge in Sai. Swami appeared in his dream and asked Sayeed to come and meet Him. At that time, Swami was at Kodaikanal. Dr. Malini, a Sai activist, came forward to render all the help for Sayeed to reach Kodaikanal. Her relatives at the native place also offered to take care of Sayeed.

Swami came to Sayeed, who was sitting in the rows for Darsan, materialized Vibhuti and put it in his mouth. Swami asked him to return at once. As soon as he got into the car, his soul merged with Allah.

A Pakistani Muslim working in Abu Dhabi became a devotee of Swami. He turned out to be a regular visitor at the Sai Centres in Abu Dhabi. Once Swami appeared in his dream and advised a Mantra. It was difficult for him to chant, as he had no knowledge of the language. Then Swami wrote it out for him in Urdu.

From that day, it became the daily chant for that Muslim. Thus Sai brings millions into His fold to embrace the religion of love.

It is given to understand from the predictions that the final decade of Sathya Sai's life will accelerate this transformation.

Here Islam becomes the vision of Sai.


Years ago, when I had the chance for a long conversation with one of the leaders of the Mujahid movement in Kerala, I got a small description about the translation of Quran by Ibnu Arabi. According to him, the translation was totally unacceptable. I had, long before, felt that the essence of Quran lay in its internal import and not in the superficial meanings. It was only when I read some portions of the interpretation later, I became aware of the spiritual excellence of Ibnu Arabi. Its followers and others misinterpret Islam, not realizing the truth that Islam lays emphasis on this spiritual implication. Listed below are some of his interpretations:

Animal Sacrifice

Fulfil Haj and Umra for Allah. If you are obstructed on the way, sacrifice as you can. Sacrifice the animals. [At Bakhara 196th verse]

Interpretation: You fulfil the Haj that is the supreme essence of unity and the Umra that is the qualitative unity. If evil tendencies block your path, sacrifice the body awareness. We must sacrifice the evil temptations at the grounds of Kaba that is your heart.


O, believers in truth, enter wholly into Islam. [208]

Interpretation: Enter Islam i.e. enter into total submission to Allah. All your inherent powers must totally surrender to Allah.

Man, a Single Community

The human race was a single community. [213]

Interpretation: All humans are born with pure nature and in the path of ultimate truth. That was why the Prophet proclaimed; "Each baby takes birth in pure nature."


War is made mandatory for you. [216]

Interpretation: Battles against one's own body and against the devil are compulsory. It is dangerous to connect momentary physical pleasures to the spirit. Expel the evil forces from the country that is me heart.

Worship of God

There is no ilah but Allah. He is eternal and self-created. His throne is more expansive than the universe. [255]

Interpretation: Worship of anything other than Allah is improbable. With or without the knowledge of the worshipper, all prayers reach Allah only. The reason is that there is really none other than Allah, who is worshipable and existent. The Prophet says, "God's throne is the heart of the true believer; His interior the unsubstantiated universe and his exterior the substantiated universe."

Powers other than God

Those, who have disregarded powers other than God and have believed in Allah, are tightly holding on to the powerful rope. [256]

Interpretation: Denying powers other than God is the understanding of the fact that there is no existence for anything other than Allah. Only Allah is existent and powerful. The ultimate essence is indivisible. Duality is impossible there.

All is God

Everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah. [284]

Interpretation: All spiritual galaxies are His interior, His qualities, His invisible storehouses and the intrinsic brilliancies of His existence; and the substantiated universe His revealed resplendence, names and actions.

All Divine Personalities Are One

We do not show discrimination between any messengers of Allah. [285]

Interpretation: It is the discovery of unity in diversity. When different mirrors reflect the explicit effulgence of the supreme essence, they see each of them as its real image.

God's Nature

God is the form of all kinds of existence. There is none worshipable, other than He. He is eternal and self-created. [Alu Imran 1,2.]

Interpretation: Only Allah has real existence. With or without the knowledge of the worshipper, all the prayers go to Allah. Real existence of more than one is impossible. The numerous relative existences are the varied charismas of this sole existence. To quote the poet, "The face is only one. But, according to the variety of the reflectors it seems to be many."

The One and Only Truth

Islam is the only religion in Allah's domain. [ 19]

Interpretation: This religion is the whole-hearted surrender of faces to Allah. It means that by surrendering everything to God and shedding off the 'I', I am merging with Allah.

The Divinity of Man

Say: if you love Allah, follow me. Then Allah will love you. [31]

Interpretation: The nerve-centre and reflector of God's love is the Prophet. The magical line of love is His path. God proclaims, "Once I love man, I will be his ear that hears, eye that sees, hand that holds and leg that walks."


Pilgrimage aimed at the temple is the obligation of men to God. [97]

Interpretation: Pilgrimage to the temple that is heart and circumambulations around it are the obligation of those capable.

Divisions Prohibited

There is no relation between you and those, who cut their own religion into pieces and have become many factions. [159]

Interpretation: Those, who have cut their own religion to pieces i.e. those, who have subjected their own religion to different selfish whims, are the ones, who have surrendered to the evil traits of body awareness. Each selfish trait conquers each faction. If they have embraced any religion, they have made it an implement for partiality and obstinacy, depending on the degree of their selfishness. They also misuse the religion to impart strength to the tyranny of the evil power, which rules over them.

Allah Manifests

What are they waiting for other than the angels appearing before them, or your saviour (Allah) Himself, or some sign from the saviour? (6:158)


On the day of resurrection Allah will appear in many forms before His creations. On such occasions only the non-dualists can understand Him. But others can perceive Him only in the forms they have believed.

Vision of God shedding off the ego

When God spoke to Moses, Moses said, "O, protector, manifest thyself before me, let me see thou." Allah stated, "You cannot see me. But you look at that mountain; if it stays on firmly, you can see me. When God manifested to the mountain. He shattered it. Moses blacked out. When he regained consciousness, he said, "How pure art thou!" (7:143)


While seeing God, there is no state of duality for the viewer -there is neither 'I' nor 'you'. Allah appears, when 'I' disappears. When He appears he makes 'me' disappear. Another Sufi said, "I see my Lord with the Lord's eyes. 'Look at that mountain' means that you see your own existence. When I manifest the existence will not stay." When the Lord manifested, the existence of Moses collapsed and dissolved in God. Moses lost his ego and thereby his consciousness.

Are Teachers of Truth Magicians?

'Warn the masses; spread the good news to believers of truth that there exists truth in God.' With this message, when I made this revelation to one amongst them, were they astounded? The deniers of truth declared, 'This is mere magic'. (10:2)


The non-believers commented about the Prophet that He was an established magician and that His superhuman powers came from Satan. The reason for their saying so was that they were screened from God by the devilish attribute that reigned supreme in them; they were the worshippers of Satan. They consider superhuman as Satanic, since they are unable to attain spiritual heights.

Quran Explanation of the Original Scripture

None other than Allah created the Quran. It proves the earlier divine proclamations true and also explains the theory of God. (10:32)


Quran corroborates the Vedic scriptures that appeared earlier and also the original scripture. Explanation for the gist of the original scripture exists in it.

Friends of God

Listen: The friends of Allah have no fear; they will not be subjected to sorrow. (10:62)


God's friends are those who have come out of concealment of oneness, shedding off their ego and dissolving in God. They have no fear, as they are alien to individuality. When all is surrendered to God, can there be another state of mind? The Prophet said, "The friends of God belong to the faction that reminds you of God...they love each other, not because of blood relation, nor because of selfishness. Their faces exude aura.

The State of Death

When the heaven is split,
When the stars have fallen,
When the course of waters are changed,
When the tombs are overturned..(82:1,4)


At the time of death, the soul is split. The stars fall and merge with the earth. The five elements are returned to the original state. The tombs get tossed about.

The One that is Covered

"O, one that is covered, wake up; be alert." (74:1,2) Interpretation

The cover that is the body is an old rag. It conceals the soul. When the body is cleansed through Sadhana, the soul takes to wings. So, this is an advice to Seek the soul and become one that reveals the truth to others.

Some portions were quoted above, only to appreciate the beauty of this spiritual interpretation. Islam, based on this interpretation of inner meaning, serves even today as the beacons of Advaita philosophy.


Majority of the Muslims do not believe that 'wahdatul wujud' [Advaita] is the fundamental principle of Islam. What is the reason?

The condition prevails not only in Islam, but in other religious factions also. In the Hindu systems, there are people, who regard only Dvaita and Visishtadvaita as truth. We have to get into our head one thing - Advaita cannot be established by arguments and counter arguments. It is an experience. There is nothing wrong in the conviction of the preceptors, who have not yet reached the stage of Advaita experience, that only Dvaita or Visishtadvaita are right. Dvaita is the first step. Going up from there one reaches Visishtadvaita and gradually Advaita in the end. The three steps are 1) I see light, 2) The light is in me and 3) I am the light. Whereas the non-dualist has gone over all the three steps, others just do not reach that level.

Are there Muslim factions, which publicly support Advaita?

Yes, there are the Sufis. Many Sufi gurus used to teach Advaita openly. Some do not talk about Advaita to the general public. They advise it only to their intimate disciples.

Do the Muslim systems prevalent today accept Advaita? What is their stand?

Most of them see it only superficially and hence it is not delicious to them.

What about the Muslims of the older generation?

Major portions of those, who are said to be conventionalists, agree with it in principle.

Has any contemporary Muslim saint been preaching Advaita?

Until recently what was being heard in the Ratib recited all over Kerala was pure Advaita. For example, look at the lines in Rifai Ratib:

'Hoo Allah, hoo hoo Allah
Ha hee hoo hum Allah'
This means that he, she, they and all are Allah.

Even today, some people recite such Ratibs. But the trend has disappeared in many places, because of the opposition of modernist Muslims. Sheikh Beeran Auliya, a saintly Sufi guru, who was alive in Malabar till recently, had been reciting the following poem:

La kannu illallah, la mookku illallah
La lisana illallah, la kallu illallah
La pallu illallah, la mullu illallah
La moujud illallah, la ilaha illallah

(Not just eyes and ears and tongue
And teeth and stone and thorn,
But all that is in existence
Is only Allah's essence.]?

Had Muhammad the Prophet ever uttered anything like this?

Of course, he had. The lines quoted from page 203 of the work 'The Perfect Man' in the chapter titled, 'Advaita Vision Is Wisdom' are what Allah had pronounced to the Prophet. Beeran Auliya was only repeating them.

Could you quote any other Sufi scholar?

Couplets from Wahdatumala, recited by Faridubawakhan of Eerattupetta, who expired on 26-6-91, were shining examples of Advaita. Let us look at one of them.

Allahu allathe ilia mattonnu
Ellam avanilninnundayidunnu.

[Other than Allah, there is nothing;
Out of Him is born everything.]

Examine the interpretation given by a disciple to this couplet.

The verse elucidates the meaning of 'La ilaha illallah'. There is nothing other than Allah. If there is anything, then two powers will simultaneously be existent; and the whole universe will perish under their collision. Therefore, the existence of two powers is impossible. When we see a number of bulbs burning, we mistake them to be different lights. We are the different bulbs; but our light of life is only one and that is the Supreme spirit. [The Path of WahdatuI Wujud]

Do Sufis consider those, who have experienced Advaita as 'incarnates'?

No, they call the highest among such people as Insanul kamil [The Perfect Man]

Allahu allathe illennarinju
Allahu Allahu mathram seshichu
Allahu Allahu poortheekarichu
Ithu poorthiyayal Insanul kamilayi
Allahuvinu malhoorayi

[Knew nothing existed other than Allah,
Remained Allah and only Allah,
Filled with Allah and only Allah,
The realization makes man perfect,
The mirror for Allah to reflect.]

Interpretation: Dissolving in the supreme essence and resurrecting to 'Bakha', the perennial truth, man becomes perfect. Such a person is called Insanul kamil. He transforms into a mirror of Allah. If one calls him, Allah also hears the call and if one calls Allah, he too hears the call. That was why Muhiyiddin sheikh said:

'Valla nilatheennum enne vilipporkku
Vaykoote uttaram cheyyum nhanennover'

[Those, who call me from any land, Remember
Through the mouth answer I will render] [Ibid. P. 42]

Where is the above verse from?

The lines are from 'Muhiyiddin Mala', which was being recited by conventionalist Muslims all over Kerala.

Is it not being recited today?

Some people still do recite. But the modernists among Muslims are avoiding it.

Do people pray to such Sufi gurus?

Muslims of olden times used to do that. Some still do. Whenever something untoward happens, my mother at once calls 'Ya Muhiyiddin'.

Don't the modernists treat it as 'Shirq'?


Is it correct?

The term 'Shirq' means imparting partnership. Company is known as 'Shirquat'. In other words, Shirq is regarding that there is another existence, other than Allah and calling that existence along with Allah. It was mentioned earlier that the idol worship by the Arabs was also of the same type. As Muhiyiddin Sheikh has merged in Allah, when 'Ya Muhiyiddin' is uttered, it reaches the supreme essence. Once this is clear, it is not 'Shirq'.'

Is praying to Sathya Sai also similar?

Definitely. Sathya Sai is not a phenomenon separate from the supreme- being.

Aren't we all like that?

Yes; but we do not understand that. Sathya Sai says, "You have listened only to the first part of my statement. When I say that I am God, I say that you are also God. What is the difference? I know that I am God; you do not know that you are God. I have come to make you know that.

Can't everybody talk like that?

Anyone can. But there is a difference between merely bluffing and talking from one's own experience.

Do the Sufi gurus, who have attained the Advaita state, observe the Muslim customs like praying five times a day?

There are also those, who do not observe such things.


The reason is that probably they do not feel such customs as mandatory. But fearing that the public may lose their way by emulating them, some gurus do strictly observe the customs. And those, who do not, may be giving the indication that one should not be a slave to customs.

What is your opinion about Islamic prayers five times a day? Are they not to be observed?

Not just five times, one can pray even fifty times. Islam envisages continuous prayer. The meaning of the line 'Ikhamattussalat' in Quran is 'Be steadfast in prayer.' Why should it be limited to five for one, who is engaged in incessant 'Dikr' [contemplation of the name of God]? One, who transforms every breath of his into remembrance of God's name, [This is known as 'Murakhaba'] need not limit himself to five times. Listen to what Sathya Sai says about this 'five times a day' prayer.

"Generally, all men take food of some kind or other for the body five times a day: an early cup of coffee in bed, breakfast two hours later, a heavy lunch at noon, a tea at four and a fat dinner at nine. Islam prescribes food for the spiritual nature of man and that it be taken five times a day, as prayer. For the arousal of Aathmic consciousness, for earning spiritual joy and for promoting the manifestation of Aathmic illumination, prayer is prescribed as many as five times a day, from the dawn of discretion up to the moment of death." [ Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. XVI P. 82.]

Is the principle of incarnation true according to the Islamic perspective?

If the term 'Incarnation' is taken only in its literal sense as 'descent', believers in Advaita will not be prepared to agree with it, as it means that God is descending from somewhere else. Neither Sathya Sai nor the theories of Sanathana Dharma will accept it in the sense that God, residing somewhere else, descends to earth in human form. Such a concept of God is purely materialistic. But there is some similarity in the belief of incarnation and Rasul (the messenger) See:

"The Islamic doctrine of the Rasul is ultimately the same as the Hindu doctrine of the Avatara the immediate difference being that the term Avatara means 'descent' that is of divinity, whereas the Rasul is defined as an archangel or else as a human incarnation of the spirit." (What is Sufism? Martin Lings P. 33)

Muhammad Nabi proclaimed that he was the last prophet. Does it mean that no one else will come again to establish righteousness in this world?

Not at all; Muslims believed in Nabi's prophesy that after him, Christ, Mahdi etc. would come. Seyyed Hussain Nasr says, "At the end of the cycle the appearance of the Mahdi brings to light the common inner meaning of all religions." (Living Sufism P.115) Besides, The Prophet had forecast that great souls would appear in each century. Only, the title 'Nabi' is not given to them. In fact, it will be right to state that Nabi had not considered the divine personalities after him any different from himself, since all of them were to emanate from his aura. See the passage given below:

"Though many Qutubs have come as Virat Purushas, they are all the holy Prophet only. It is not incarnation, but the lustre of the Prophet. 'Seed of the Universe' is the principle. Allah will maintain the lustre of the Prophet till Khiyamam i.e. the last day. It is the same lustre, which is present in all the sages coming here. When Ibrahim Nabi was cast into fire, Muhammad the Prophet said that it was he, who put out the fire. Muhiyiddin Sheikh also claimed that he had done it. What does it indicate? Were both of them there? No, there was only one. Then, why did both claim? Both were right, because Nabi and Muhiyiddin Sheikh were the same and not different. Both were the same lustre." [The Path of WahdatuI Wujud. P. 45, 46] "Jili also holds that in every age the perfect men are an outward manifestation of the essence of Muhammad, which has the power of assuming whatever form it will and he records the time and place of his own meeting with the prophet who appeared to him in the guise of his spiritual director Sharafuddin. In every age he bears a name suitable to his guise (libas) in that age." [Sixth chapter of Insanul Kamil Quoted by R.A.Nicholson in 'Studies in Islamic Mysticism P. 87]

Is there something as Khiyamam [The last day]?

Sufis interpret Khiyamam spiritually. There are Nabi's utterances also to corroborate this. e.g.: Khiyamam will not come to anyone, who chants, 'Allah, Allah.' [The scripture titled 'Muslim']

Another statement:

'As long as a divine one inhabits the earth, Khiyamam does not exist.' [Roohul Bayan 5/ 367]

How does one reach the state of the perfect man?

Let me quote a Muslim saint:

'Neeyum mattellam fanayay bhavich,
Nayan oruvan tan tanay ninach,
Nee Allahuvinekkondu janichu
Nee avanayal neeyappol jayichu.
Merge you must with Allah,
To be reborn by Allah
And transform to Allah.
You win, as you become Allah.

Interpretation: After merging with Allah, you have to be born again. Allah has to cause that birth. Moreover, you have to become Allah. You are supposed to have won, once you have become Allah.....His birth caused by Allah, he becomes Allah i.e. the mirror to Allah. [The Path of WahdatuI Wajud. P. 76]

In another context it is said, "When one is dissolved in the supreme essence, one's ego gets uprooted. If the 'I' is not cut off at the root, that 'I' will remain as a stubborn partner to Allah. Once one sheds off his ego and merges into Allah, only Allah remains in one. This killing of the ego is what is referred in Hadith as, 'Die before your die.' The death of one, who has done it, will be extremely pleasant. He will die laughing. The man, who has merged in God, can receive nothing and reject nothing. He transforms to the Supreme Being. [Ibid. P. 169]

As in Hinduism, is it necessary to have a guru to move up the spiritual path in Islam? How can one find a guru?

Sathya Sai says that one has to pray to get a guru. In this age, the incarnate himself is the guru. So, as far as Sai devotees are concerned, the spiritual guru is Sathya Sai only. In the course of regular spiritual Sadhana, many devotees get instructions from Swami. Many have published such instructions in book form also e.g. 'My Beloved' by Charles Penn.

But, Sufis say that there are nine ways for others to find a guru. They are:

1. Solitude Concentrate keeping only Allah in mind.
2. Appetite Consume as less food as you can.
3. Reduce sleep.
4. Observation of silence.
5. Sidkh i.e. innocence.
6. Tawakkul i.e. total surrender to God.
7. Patience.
8. Determination.
9. Yakeen i.e. firm belief.
[Ibid. P. 197-199.]

What do you think about the hardliners found in various religious factions? What is the reason for the growth in religious fundamentalism?

Getting away from the fundamentality is the main reason. The fundamentality of religion is strictly spiritual. Muslim hard line policy must be evaluated taking into account the peculiar circumstances under which Islam had sprouted and flourished. In the wake of Nabi's death, political dissentions became severe and each faction interpreted the religious principles to its own justification. Contemporarily, those, who imbibed Islam spiritually were also growing; but only a minority. Religious fundamentalism arises out of the attempts to put into practice the religious pronouncements at their face value, without understanding the historical and chronological implications. In her book, 'Battle for God', Karen Armstrong explains that the same tendency prevails among Christians and Jews too. [Both her famous works are about these three religions, the other work being, 'A History of God'.]

The flaw with the fundamentalists is that they do not assimilate the fact that the interpretations about God and religion are spiritually oriented. As Gregory Nyasa had remarked, "Every concept about God is an untrue resemblance or an idol God does not reveal it Himself." [A History of God P. 135.] What Alfa Rabbi says is correct^ "The prophets had presented the truths in poetical and ornamental language for the common man to understand." [Ibid. P. 204.] In all these three religions, the hard liners' thoughts flourished simultaneously with the spirituality that grew in the mystics. Even so, the mystic thought had more influence on the populace until the advent of the nineteenth century. The God of the hard liners and the God of the mystics are very much different. "When the God of the more dogmatic religions divided mankind into factions at war with each other, the God of the mystics was becoming a unifying force." [P. 276]. Thus, God, separated from man, transformed into some kind of idol. It was this type of God that resented the atheists. When this negation of God reached the stage of suppression of religion, the calamity occurs, also when man's intrinsic thirst for religion is suppressed, as Freud says, when sex, an important factor in man's life, is suppressed. This also promotes intolerance. [P. 415.]

Besides, intense devotion to traditional religion, the conviction that their own interpretations on religion are true, seeing God as another existence instead of the sole existence etc. acted as manure for the growth of fundamentalism. The concept that is God has often acted as a drug on people. When we consider God as an equal or a larger and superior entity to us, such a danger occurs. Today, the concept of the mystics about God is the most suitable and replaceable one. They never consider God different from us. [P. 450-454]

In short, fundamentalism will flourish as long as religion does not become spiritual.

Then do you mean to say that a Muslim by faith and tradition can become a Sai devotee?

Definitely. That is why Sathya Sai lays emphasis, when He asks a Muslim to be an ideal Muslim, a Christian to be an ideal Christian and a Hindu to be an ideal Hindu. Like the Muslim mystics, Sathya Sai also asks man to change his mind, but not his religion, to imbibe the culture and religion he believes in, to become broad-minded and to get to the real religion, the religion of love.


1. Sathya Sai Speaks VOL. III, IX. XIV.
2. Living Sufism Seyyed Hussain Nazr.
3. Mohammed A Western Attempt to understand Islam Karen Armstrong.
4. A History of God Karen Armstrong.
5. Battle for God Karen Armstrong.
6. The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam Dr. Mohammed Iqbal.
7. Among the Dervidhes O. M. Burke.
8. The Mystics of Islam R. A. Nicholson.
9. The Passion of AI-Hallaj.
10. MishquatuI Anwar W.H.T.Gardiner.
11. Sai Baba Mercy to the World Mrs. Zeba Basheeruddin
12. Miracles and Spirituality II Mrs. Sarojini Palanivelu.
13. Baba Sathya Sai Part I R.Ganapathi
14. Modern Miracles Haraldson
15. The Divine Leelas of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Nagamani Poornayya
16. Sathya Sai Baba, The Embodiment of Love Peggy Mason & Ron Laing.
17. At the Feet of Sai Lowen Berg.
18. Vision of the Divine Dr. Fanibunda
19. Living Divinity Sakunthala Balu
20. Divine Glory V. Balu
21. Baba and I John Hislop
22. Baba Arnold Schulman
23. Conversations with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba John Hislop.
24. Sathya Sai The Avatar of Love
25. Sathya Sai The Eternal Charioteer
26. Golden Age 1979 Prasanthi Nilayam
27. Sai Vandana 1990 Prasanthi Nilayam
28. Atmavidya Islamil Haji Maliekkal Bapputty
29. Qurante Ulsaravyakhyanam Ibnu Arabi
30. Religion, Veda, Prophet Seyyed Hussain Nazr
31. Srimad Bhagavathamrutham Siddhananda Swamikal
32. The Path of WahdatuI Wujud K. V. M.
33. The Perfect Man Abdul Karim Ibnu Jili
34. Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram Vol. I, II. N.Kasturi
35. Atmavidyarahasyangal Nakhshabandi
36. Muslim Hadis collection
37. Marxism and Other Myths Ali Shareeati
38. Manusmriti
39. Brihadaranyakopanishad
40. Quran

Islam is not just a term identifying a religion, but a mental state that surrenders totally to the will of God. This Sai vision about Islam is being subjected to scrutiny in this book.

Through his study the author finds out that the Muslim mystics had also realized the words of Sai, "There is only one religion and that is the RELIGION OF LOVE.

The Masjid Presented by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi.

The Masjid Presented by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi.