Prof. N Kasturi describes many events from late 1960 to early 1961, including the Mahashivaratri 1961 during which Sri Sathya Sai Baba declared the Reality of His Advent. Excerpts below were taken from Sathyam Sivam Sundaram, Volume 1, Chapter “The Mission Begun”, written by Prof. N Kasturi, Swami’s chosen biographer. *
The thousands who attended the Dasara celebrations of 1960 must be even now remembering the thrilling declarations that Baba made in His discourses, about Himself and His Mission. On the very first day, during the Hospital Day celebrations, Baba said that it is waste of time and energy to force incomprehensively abstruse vedantic doctrines down the throats of simple, unlearned folk; it is foolish to recommend to them exhausting fasts and vigils. Teachers and gurus must urge them slowly forward, from where they are, encouraging them to take one step at a time, to give up one evil habit after another, and to lengthen the period of japam and meditation.
Baba spoke on three successive days about Himself and His Mission, for the recitation and explanation of the Telugu poem, Sri Sathya Sai Gita by Vidwan Doopati Tirumalacharyulu on those days, provided Him with the necessary cue and background. He declared that He had come again to proclaim the same doctrine of Karmasanyasa and Sharanagati. "Just as the clouds hide the glory of the Sun, the clouds of doubt and delusion hide My glory from your understanding," He said. He wanted that like Arjuna, all men should now give up the Moha born out of Agnyana and get released from the shackles of 'I' and 'Mine'. "Prema is the seed, bhakti the sprout, Faith the manure, Sathsanga the rain, Surrender the flower, and merging with the Lord the Fruit," He declared.
"You are all more fortunate," He said, "than men of previous generations, for you have Me as your guide and guardian, watching over you and warning you when your steps go wrong. Make the best use of the rare chance; do not leap about like frogs, ignoring the lotus that blooms by their side, but be like the bees that swarm from far and near to drink the nectar in plenty." Words such as these, resonant with the authority of the Lord, who called upon all to take refuge in Him, came plentifully from Baba in every discourse. "Faith is its own reward; it will reveal Truth. If you consider that Krishna was a cowherd, you reduce not only Krishna, but yourselves too to the level of the cowherd boy. Take Him to be the Lord residing in the shrine of your heart and He acts as your charioteer." "Do not deny or doubt, or hesitate to acknowledge the Lord, when He has made Himself available so easily to your prayers," He said.
"You cannot grasp the full significance of the Avatar or stand the full splendor without a period of preparedness and hence, I reveal to you only small installments of the glory, like the creation of Vibhuti, etc.," He said one day. "No, it is not in My nature to scatter attractions to draw people towards Me; I shower joy, without any purpose; it is on account of this, that I revel in mahimas."
Lifting the screen that hides His Divinity from us, He declared another day, "Some ignorant people commenting on Me say that I have a double personality, Daivatwam (Divinity) most of the time, but Manushyatwam (humanity) the rest of the time. But, have faith in this, I am ever and always of the 'twam', of the 'ity' only. God does not change, or get transformed. I am telling you this, because there is a superior spiritual attachment between us, not the mere casual connection of visitor and visited."
Another day, He spoke in a more minatory tone. "I must warn you all against false teachers and deceitful gurus. There are many such, who go about performing imitation samadhis, pretending that they have fallen into divine ecstasy and promising to communicate that ecstasy to those around them. They lecture during the samadhi and dance and sing, in what they call raasakreeda. They deserve only severe castigation for all their pains. Keep away from these," He said. "I will soon take up the task of exposing these impostors and granting them the punishment they deserve," He announced.
On Guru Pournami day, 1961, at Mysore city, Baba called upon the devotees and followers to keep a strict watch over this class of gurus and warn them against the slightest tinge of greed, egoism, pride, envy, and hypocrisy. "The time has come to weed out the gurus who are setting bad examples to the shishyas, the sanyasis who compete in the accumulation of comforts and the acquisition of fame," He said. "I shall soon enter upon this Task; it is one of the purposes, for which I have come," He announced. "Sanyasis, who have given up all ties with the world and decided to burn their boats, should not celebrate their birthdays; they should not pester the rich with their importunity for donations and funds; they should not cater to the egoism of their followers by granting them pompous titles, praising their spiritual attainments; once you start diluting the strict discipline prescribed for monks, you cannot arrest the inevitable fall. Dharmasthapana requires that the Dharma of the sanyasi should first be corrected because it is he, who commands the respect of all and it is he, who holds forth the spiritual ideal. If he begins to compromise and slide down the path, then religion will become the laughing stock of all."
The same Sankalpa was ringing in the discourses that Baba gave during the Birthday Celebrations, in November. Addressing the vast gathering of the villagers of Puttaparthi, He said, "For more than twenty years now, you have been seeing only the light, not benefiting by the warmth, for you did not care to come near. But, I knew that this day would come and that you would all one day give up doubt and delusion, and recognize the way to peace and happiness. Believe Me, this Puttaparthi is soon to become a Tirupati. Thousands of yogis, sadhus, and aspirants will be coming here in future years and derive solace and salvation. The re-establishment of Sanathana Dharma will emanate from here."
On Mahashivaratri day , He emphasized the Universal Aspect of His Message and declared that it was for all humanity that He had come. "There is no one in this World, who does not belong to Me; all are Mine; they may not call out My name or any name; but, still they are Mine."
The meaning and significance of these profound utterances became evident only at Coimbatore, where Baba installed the marble image of the Previous Shariram, the former Avatar Shirdi Sai Baba, at the famous Naga Sai Mandir. Truly, it was a historic occasion, that function on the 26th day of February, 1961. The Naga Sai Mandir is so called, because Shirdi Sai Baba had given darshan to countless devotees there as a naga or cobra, which rose up from the heap of flowers, listened to the Bhajan for hours together, and even posed for a photograph, before finally disappearing. This miracle took place seventeen years ago and the mandir has since then served the spiritual needs of thousands from the city of Coimbatore and the surrounding areas. This was the first occasion, on which Baba was formally installing for daily worship an idol of His previous manifestation and so, devotees were eagerly expecting some important pronouncement from Baba that day.
Nor were they disappointed! Baba said, "It is really amusing, is it not, that I should install this idol of Myself in another manifestation. I am doing so for a very valid reason. This day deserves to be inscribed in letters of gold, for this function is the beginning of a new era, 'the Sathya Sai Era', when Saayi will become the Hrudayasthayi, the Inner Motive Force, of all. The only other instance of a similar kind, of an Avatar installing an idol of the Lord, is that of Rama installing the Ishwaralinga at Rameshwaram. That was done as a preliminary to the Destruction of Ravana and the Rakshasas, to the divine task of Dushtanigraha. Now, I am doing this as a preliminary to the other task of all Avatars, Dharmasthapana, the Establishment of Dharma in the world."
Epoch-making Declaration, indeed! Words ushering in the New Age of Love and Justice, of Peace and Unity! Clarion call for humanity to gather under the Sathya Sai banner!
Our Venkateshwarlu just now spoke of the Lord as the Director of a Drama of Delusion. But the delusion is in you, not in the Lord, who is possessed of only Supreme Power (Mahasakthi). Unable to grasp that Supreme Power and to understand its manifestations, people envelop themselves in doubt and delusion, that is all. He also said that I am by birth an Andhra, etc., but, the whole world is my birth place. I am not to be identified with this or that province or state. Dakshinamurthi does not belong only to Dakshinapatha. Again, Venkateshwarlu mentioned the various points spoken about Me by those who have neither seen nor experienced Me. These are all unnecessary and useless diversions, which distract. The sculptor should see before him only the form of his personal deity (Ishtadevatha) and should strive to quickly remove with a chisel the stone that envelopes that form. So too, all discussion whether this Sai is that Sai or that Sai is this Sai is irrelevant. The same sugar is poured into different moulds to prepare several types of sweets. So also, Rama, Sai, Sathya Sai all are the same sugar. That is enough for the aspirant, who will realise the truth in good time. Do not worry your mind with such problems; do not mix with people who talk loosely of holy subjects. One thing I may tell you now: “There is no one in this world who does not belong to Me; all are Mine. They may not call out My Name or any Name, but still they are Mine.” You are seeing for yourself how thirsty souls are gathering in numbers every day at Puttaparthi. I have told you often that in a matter of a year or two the multitude will be so large that you may not get much chance to approach Me with your spiritual problems and difficulties. So, hurry to Me with them, even now. While in other places, I speak generally on the need for devotion, etc.; here at Puttaparthi I emphasise the practical discipline of everyday life, because this is the HQ of an army under training. So, cultivate Truth and Love and make yourselves examples for all who might contact you.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Mahashivaratri Day, February 14, 1961
* This article is published as part of 2023 Aradhana Mahotsavam celebrations.