Sunday afternoon I read the announcement of Sai Baba’s death. Of the many teachers from Jesus and Buddha to my parents, Sai Baba is among the most loving, profound and powerful I have ever encountered. Baba works describe him best. He established free schools from kindergarten to PhD level. He created state-of-the-art hospitals in Bangalore and at Puttaparthi free all healthcare is free. In the U.S. we have battled over the cost of healthcare, but the Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospitals charge nothing including for highly specialized neurosurgery and cardiosurgery.Baba’s works also built canals that bring drinking water to millions of people who once had to walk miles for it.
When I first heard of this man, something in me hoped against hope that he was for real. I traveled to India to see for myself and discover the truth behind the stories of his immense generosity and I wanted to verify that he practiced his teachings of seva or selfless service. Being a doubting Thomas, I had to see. After correspondence with Dr. Safaya, who directs the hospitals, a visit was arranged and along with two companions I explored the hospital at Bangalore. It was real and sick and poor people from across India have been healed by the thousands. He counts prime ministers and presidents, film stars and cricket stars among his devotees. On Wednesday he will receive a state funeral service with highest honors in India.
A few days ago I dreamed of an empty cremation ground. I saw a man dancing on smouldering ash, but I had the impression that no one had been cremated. He danced gleefully with his legs kicking up in the air. A woman also danced with the same ecstatic joy. The man jumped out of the smouldering ash and danced on an ancient tomb stone with the same glee. I titled this dream, “Dancing on Death.” The dream revealed that death has no power over Love, that Divine energy that makes the world move. It is moving that Baba decided to depart his body on Easter Sunday, a day of resurrection. He has reminded us over and over that the body is a dress to be changed like any other. It grows old and wears out. But we are not the body.
This is a time of profound transformation as He becomes known on an even greater scale worldwide. News of his works spread over night from the Times of India which has often paid tribute to his work to ABC News and the Washington Post. Baba has often said, “My life is my message.” Those who are interested can discover the profound ideals he shared that united Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and all faiths. His ashram, Prashanthi Nilayam, the Abode of Infinite Peace, brought together people of all faiths and nationalities. His death will do the same as the world mourns and millions who knew and visited him grieve his passing from the body. His presence remains infinitely accessible.