In today’s analytically-focused generation living in a materialistic goal focus and also tackling the younger generation grown-up on scientific- technological appliances, cinema role-models, the following write-up will help devotees to worship Sri Sai better – whatever the dominant mindsets are at that time. Also parents can train children to respect Sri Sai and follow His teachings in their lives as they grow up by understanding and following any of the below given 2 approaches.
Understanding Sri Sai may be done in 2 ways –
a) DESCENT approach : As an Avatar (Divine Incarnation) – which is a Descent of God from Heaven downwards to earth taking on a human-sheath to carry out His ‘Dharma Samsthaapana’ purpose (reinstating righteousness). The Descent way suits the religiously-minded and emotionally-oriented – who having seen/read/experienced Sri Sai’s superhuman powers accept Him as an Avatar without question without debate once they are convinced. Thereafter their worship of Sai is just like that of the other Gods with appropriate rituals, etc.
In Sri Sai’s case, He manifested at a time when the country was subject to a thousand years of slavery and with belief decreased in God’s powers, and with the poor people suffering from various ‘Samsaric’ (worldly/temporal) sufferings, money debts and other oppression – amidst an influx of a mix of foreign traditions and new speculative ‘adharmic’ ideas. Sri Sai became an anchor in the whirlpool of Indian Kurukshetra (historical Indian battlefield) who steered His devotees towards the true goal of self-realization and God-realization.
Thus Sai became accepted as an Avatar who helped people even now after His fleshy-covering has passed away as per His assurance. Such a strong guarantee – as many say (e.g., Swami Sivananda Saraswati of Hrishikesh) can only be made and kept by an Avataar of a high level. After Lord Krishna, it is Sri Sai who had reinforced this faith that God will rush to protect the weak and suffering.
b) ASCENT approach: The second way is to understand Sri Sai as that of an ascent of a Yogi/Sanyasi from a ‘normal’ human to a superhuman state through various practices such as Brahmacharya (abstinence/continence, Tapas (Penance-austerities), simplicity, Yoga (mind-body-spirit control training), Dhaana (Charity), Eternal devotion to His Master/’Malik’ (Allah or Supreme God), Equality towards all, Supreme Love, and Self-reliance.
As the world has become more analytical day-by-day and established religious and cultural traditions getting rejected more and more, Sri Sai may not be as readily accepted as an Avataar as the previous generations did based on simple faith. For these analytically-minded who believe more on self-effort and science (rather than on Avatars or miracles, the Ascent approach would benefit more – as it is in reasonable alignment with modern self-improvement focus and individualistic temperament. Thus Sri Sai has shown us a clear example in modern times of what level humanity can improve themselves to in mind-body-spirit training and self-realization – so as to become nearer to spiritual beings (Tending towards God eventually), when they attempt to follow His teachings.
In this approach His powers are acquired and developed rather than inherently present. It is also clear that whatever Sri Sai achieved in His super-humanness may not be achievable by the average person – and that too in a single lifetime! So care needs to be taken if following Sri Sai’s path with Sri Sai’s ultimate super-humanness as final goal.
With Sri Sai’s blessings and our analytical reasoning, what limits the seekers achieve in this lifetime when following Sri Sai’s path of self-elevation as He recommended will become quite self-evident.
Sri Sai was an enigma who lived on a level beyond accepted societal borders and on an individual state that far exceeded ordinary human limitations. Humanity does not know the full extent of His powers yet and know only what He chose to reveal. He did not preach or reveal exactly how He achieved or maintained upkeep of such extraordinary powers – except saying that these came as a gift from His Guru – Venkusa.
The world today is fraught with temptations and dangers – especially for children growing up on an illusion-filled ‘godless’ world – without a good Sadhguru’s guidance for daily life – nor a comprehensive Gurukulam-type life-preparation education as was existent earlier.
It is the object of this write-up to reassure devotees that whatsoever new cultural challenges emerge or howsoever individual states of mind swing to – trying to view Sri Sai in one of the 2 above approaches will help to gather faith and maintain same respect for Sri Sai at all times, which will help merge all doubts. Once faith in Sai is restored in this new challenging scenario, then attempting to read and then surrendering to Sri Sai will result in a good solution.
Bharath Kumar K.
Aum Sai Sri Sai Jai Sai