UNTIL I MET SAI BABA IN 1984, MY LIFE HAD BEEN CONFUSED–a situation I shared with many after the protests of 1968 against the establishment. My family was not particularly religious. My paternal grandmother attended church, but we never discussed spiritual matters or faith at home. So, I missed this dimension without being aware of it.

Thus, I had no strong religious affiliations during my childhood or adolescence. All my life, I had been looking for something. I did not know what it was. One day, I was attracted to the Church of Scientology. I also went to a session on transcendental meditation and paid 500 Danish Crowns (roughly 75 USD) for a mantra, but I felt nothing afterward.

The Discovery and First Experience of Sai Baba

One year, I was going on a winter vacation to the beautiful Canary Islands, which I had visited many times. Before leaving, I went to Strubes Bookstore and asked Mrs. Strube whether she could recommend some books to read during my vacation. She showed me a book about Sai Baba. My reaction was, “No thanks! India and gurus–that is not my cup of tea.” I thought India was a dirty, poor country very far away, and gurus were money–grabbers whose only intention was to cheat others, an ill-informed notion held by many. I once saw a guru who visited Denmark and sat on a throne. People gave him money, and I felt that it was all wrong. It did not appeal to me. I bought two other books and then impulsively said, “Give me that book too.” The book that Mrs. Strube had recommended was Sai Baba Avatar by Howard Murphet. I took it with me on my vacation. The weather was wonderful, and I lay on the beach and read it from cover to cover in just one day. Every time l turned a page, it was as if I recognized something appealing. I had come home!

I felt that everything I could not understand by using my brain was now becoming clear, and I knew instinctively, or somewhere in my subconsciousness or soul, that what I read was true. Instinctively, I knew that Sai Baba was true. I knew that what He stood for was true. Of course, He could perform miracles; otherwise, He would not be who He said He was. But the words He spoke, the philosophy He espoused, and the spirituality of His speeches enthralled me. It imbued me with the realization that divinity had descended on Earth and that this divinity was Sathya Sai Baba.

This naturally had a strong impact on me. The same evening, l went to the beach and thought about the miracle I had just experienced when suddenly Baba spoke to me telepathically! I did not see Him but recognized Him as He spoke to me. I asked Him questions, which He answered. The essence of our conversation was that Baba said that our Earth is one giant organism that breathes in and out–just like our lungs. He told me that the universe also breathes. It was not something I knew then, but I read later that scientific theory affirms the universe expands and contracts–as if it breathes! Baba went on to say that the Earth exhales into the universe. The Earth is part of the whole, an integral unit. Baba said the breath of the Earth is so polluted that it has a detrimental impact on the universe, and this must be changed. I, Steen–like many others–would participate in this work.

It was a vision, a revelation. It was a powerful experience for an ordinary human being like me. But that was how it was. I never doubted for a second that the experience was real and that I had talked with Sathya Sai Baba.

Back in Denmark, I called Mrs. Strube to get the address of the Sai Baba Center in Copenhagen. I visited it one day to get Baba’s address in India. I came too late for a meeting that had just ended; however, two people were still there. I told them my story and asked whether they wanted a ride, as I had my car outside. They declined my offer. One of them was a lady who later told me that someone like me, who had had so many supernatural experiences, was too far out. It was, in fact, so far out that she did not even want to have a ride!

Baba says, “If you take one step toward me, I will take a hundred toward you.” That is to say that if we start on the spiritual path, make a little effort, and take small steps toward the cosmic, higher, divine consciousness, we will get answers.

The Hidden Reality

It was 1984, and I was on my way to India. I happened to travel with a woman whom Baba healed from cancer while our group was there. Later, she presented an account of her healing in a program on Danish national TV called ‘The Hidden Reality.’ During her stay in the ashram, the lady, who suffered from a terminal illness, said that one night, a liquid flowed out of her nose. When she returned to Denmark and was examined, there was no sign of cancer.

Staying at the ashram was a fantastic experience for me. From the moment I stepped inside the gate, I felt very much at home. I knew that everything was as it should be. It was as if I recognized the power, energy, and spirituality in the air at Prasanthi Nilayam. It is a powerful energy, and I knew it to be true. The first two weeks felt like I was in heaven–almost floating. I was home. I do not think I have ever been so happy in my entire life. However, when I returned home, I was convinced that I would never go back to Prasanth Nilayam because I had experienced such pain at the end of my stay.

We all probably feel pain from experiences during our childhood and adolescence. I experienced much pain, which Baba made me focus on. Looking back, I can see that it was to help me deal with pain later on so that I could be at peace with myself, which I certainly was not able to do at that time. The spiritual part of me, the love aspect that we all have, was given such a boost that it influenced me greatly and has grown ever since.

I was again on a plane heading for India four months later. This time, Sai Baba called me in for an interview, along with a few others. I was sitting less than a foot away from Him, so close that I could touch His hand, which I did. While speaking to those present, Baba materialized vibhuti for the ladies and several rings. Approximately 20 minutes into the interview, He turned and, looking at me, asked, “Where is your wife?” I said with a wry smile that I was not married. Then Baba gave me a serious look and said, “Too much of one thing, too much of another,” and mentioned specifically what He referred to. “Why don’t you get married, have a wife, and have a family?” I giggled. That thought wasn’t on my mind at all. I was 38 years old and had never imagined getting married, but the moment Baba mentioned it, I knew it would become a reality.

I returned to Denmark and again met the girl at the Centre who refused to travel with me in the car! This girl was Inge. We became friends and started seeing each other. I knew she was the one; there was no doubt in my mind. I asked her one evening if she would marry me, and she said, “Yes! When will we get married?” I replied, “In a fortnight.”

We got married, and our honeymoon was, of course, a trip to see Baba. We traveled with about 20 Danes, headed by Thorbjorn Meyer, an ardent devotee of Sai Baba. At the ashram, we were called for an interview. Sai Baba smiled and asked Inge, “How are you, Sir?” Sai Baba often addresses women as Sir, perhaps because He sees the human being, not the gender. Thorbjorn Meyer responded, saying that Inge had just got married. Baba turned around 90 degrees and said, “I know.”

Then, looking directly at Inge, He said, “Don’t fight with him,” and pointed at me. I can say that the marriage that Baba ‘arranged’ for me is consistent with my free will, if free will exists. And while I think there is only God’s free will, it has been the best thing that has happened to me. I have the world’s loveliest wife and cannot thank Baba enough for the blessing–and Inge never fights with me! Thank God for that!

Practicing His Teachings Instead of Preaching

Baba says that we should not proselytize. We should not tell people about Him but, instead, be an exemplar of His teachings–which I certainly was not when I returned from my first visit to Prasanthi Nilayam. I used to be quite wild. I said what was on my mind. After my first visit to Baba, I started saying, “God is amongst us; He lives in India, and His name is Sai Baba.” I thought the whole world should know.

I’ll never forget the resistance I experienced. People looked at me as if I was crazy. I may have been half crazy in my joy and bliss at having met Swami, but you cannot convince other people to understand that Christ or Buddha is reborn and think they will believe it. I learned a great lesson from that experience.

After a year or so, I stopped trying to convince people to listen to me about Baba. Instead, I would do as Baba advised. When I stopped talking about Him and instead started living His message, people started asking, “Why do you go to India? What do you do there?” I have had the opportunity to make all the mistakes that can be made and met all the obstacles and pitfalls in the spiritual path. I appreciate these experiences because they have taught me a lot. If you haven’t tried it yourself, you cannot understand others who have made mistakes, empathize with them, and love them at their level, wherever they are.

Baba says, “If you take one step toward me, I will take a hundred toward you.” That is to say that if we start on the spiritual path, make a little effort, and take small steps toward the cosmic, higher, divine consciousness, we will get answers. The proof of God’s existence is that He answers your questions and prayers. He is in your life in every moment, every day, in many ways.

Mr. Steen Piculell  



Excerpt from the book “Journeys To Love” compiled by Ms. Kirsten Pruzan Mikkelsen


Mr. Steen Piculell was a long-time devotee of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He served in the Sri Sathya Sai International Organization (SSSIO) tirelessly for decades before merging with Swami in May 2013. He was the Chairman of Zone 8 of the SSSIO, serving Russia and adjoining countries. His exemplary leadership was of benefit to many Sai devotees in countries spanning Europe and Asia.


First published in Eternal Companion Vol. 3, Iss. 1