by William Song
Whenever we are going to do some great good karma, it is best to be prepared for certain things. God automatically will filter. You will feel that God is taking away your bliss, taking some of your happiness, taking something you are really attached to. Why is he taking it away from you? Don’t think that. Whenever you are going up, you drop certain things. Whenever you become crystal clear detached, no more attachments to anything, then you are eligible to receive and experience certain things in the Creation... When you’re planting a seed, you think you are losing the seed. You don’t know if that seed will grow or how many fruits it will give back to you. You’re only seeing it from a temporary perspective. How much will come out later on, you have to wait and see. ~ Sri Kaleshwar
His Call to Me
The title of the Shivaratri (2016) program, The Miracle of Sai, is truth to me. My relationship with Shirdi Sai Baba arises from the pure miracle energy that he used to draw me close, that he surrounded me with in my first visit to Shirdi, culminating in him coming to me and cradling me in his arms in an experience of such high ecstasy that I was sobbing uncontrollably with the soul bliss of knowing my origin and his love. At the time I was traveling between Shirdi and Penukonda to visit Sri Kaleshwar in India after his Samadhi, in effect retracing the bridge that Sri Kaleshwar had created for us to Sai Baba. The miracle energy continued to surround me at the Ashram, where Sai Baba emerged out of his marble murti in the Mandir Temple and reached out to me.
When I reflect back on the last 13 years, my experiences with the Divine have had an unfoldment that I previously would have considered impossible as human experiences, but that in retrospect seem to reflect an intricate choreography. And as Sri Kaleshwar references above, in entering spirituality we may feel that God is taking away what we are really attached to, yet the very feeling of loss is an illusion of our temporary perspectives since thoughts cannot comprehend Spirit.
As for me, 13 years ago I was deeply immersed in the professional demands of a legal career, a commitment burdened with unrelenting stress and increasingly complex analytics. A lawyer is expected to control outcomes and situations in adversarial contexts. This prompts obsessive, hyperactive thinking – fertile ground for hubris and anxiety. Yet I was attached to the life as an identity. When the time though is right, Shirdi Sai Baba calls a person from far off - and even across the seven seas - like a sparrow with a string tied to its feet. And as I can now see, that call comes with the full force of sacred miracle energy.
The first radical call of the sacred was a few years before hearing of Sri Kaleshwar or Shirdi Sai Baba, but it led inexorably to that trip to Shirdi nine years later. During meditation, deep pulsing vibrations spontaneously began flowing low in my torso and then rose up my spine and body in stages, rising in frequency as if base notes were shifting increasingly higher. Pure bliss, the vibrative sensations intensified and swept through my body, until I felt compacted by energy. It was ecstatic, the vibrations seeming to heighten as if pushing up, then piercing through to a higher level, continuously. At one point I was conscious of my body being surrounded by radiating light, then an expansion, vibrations so intense and vast that they seemed as deep as the universe, resonances from the heart of creation. It is as if my very being has become harmonic waves or currents of divine vibrations, transformed by an immaculate and unknowable bliss that I know is not human. I am filled with joy, rapture; it feels like each cell in my body and the spaces between the cells are vibrating in ecstasy. The accelerating vibrations become more etheric, delicate, impossibly fine, as if in more subtle planes or dimensions, rising higher, rising, rising, into impossibly pure spirit – and then - physical reality, time and space disappear, totally dispersed into light, there is an incredible feeling of transcendence, no body, no mass, no vibration, no senses or thought, I am no longer localized in form but atomized, there is only purest light, infinite, beyond measure, luminous, immanent. And the light is pure consciousness and my consciousness is the light. There is no me but a consciousness that is so vast that I am everywhere in eternity, a consciousness that is purest awareness, purest stillness, purest freedom, peace and love.
When I first came out of the experience, I felt birthed anew, irrevocably changed, but I did not know what had happened to me or what it signified. Everything that had occurred before in my entire life seemed but mere shadows, unreal in the face of such pure truth and sacredness. I had experienced Spirit, the illusion of form and the known mind, but did not know how to be in form any longer, how to be human going forward. There was no time for me to try to integrate what had occurred. Afterwards I was thrust back into the stress of legal deadlines, including complex federal court litigation, requiring sustained mental concentration.
What followed, however, were several extreme years where the three primary areas of human identity that Sri Kaleshwar identified – relationships, health and finances – all collapsed in my life. As I now realize, the energy that flooded through me that day was so pure that a way of living that was no longer true could no longer co-exist, and radical changes were involuntarily set into motion by forces so strong that it was as if a hurricane swept through me and the life of my family. It forced me to recognize I was not in control. Much of what I was attached to was taken away. Incredibly frightening, yet something deep in me intuited that this was a sacred process, a distillation of me to get to what was essential. It was a profound dissolution process that yet set in motion a series of transforming experiences.
A few years later, having heard at this point of Sri Kaleshwar and Shirdi Sai Baba, I was doing the Five Elements water mantra in a mountain lake in morning sunlight. Vibrations again arose in me, rays of light from the sun cohered into solid divine presence and I experienced merging with the consciousness of Jesus on the cross. A few more years later, Sri Kaleshwar, with the unveiled power of his eyes, led me past all vibratory states to experience deepest stillness of universal consciousness, the force and sole reality of unconditional love in that union so intense it was as if I were at the core of a billion suns. In 2012, I went to Shirdi and experienced the miracle of Sai noted earlier. Before that trip, despite repeated attempts, I had not been able to read beyond the first few chapters of the Sri Sai Satcharitra on various websites. Afterwards, I treasured that book, and knew my life was in his hands.
These experiences share a beautiful symmetry. Each experience when it happened seemed so absolute and complete that nothing else mattered, but with the passage of years they now feel like an orchestrated progression inextricably linked. Each experience affirmed the truth of sacred Spirit beyond our physical senses, the sacred universal consciousness shared by Jesus, Sai Baba and Sri Kaleshwar. Each experience was followed by a profound glimpse in vision of a past life experience I had with each Master. Yet each experience in turn left me returning to the binding energy of individualized human consciousness, the personal identities I still remained attached to, at times struggling to make sense of how to walk the unexpected path I was finding before me, that I had never expected to be on.
The first call of sacred consciousness related above was a miracle experience into pure divinity beyond all form. It was a transcendence that shattered all perceptions I had of reality, truth and my being, but it also was followed by years of extreme difficulty integrating back into the necessities of daily living and responsibilities in our culture. On reflection, the subsequent experiences of expanded consciousness with Jesus, Sri Kaleshwar and Sai Baba were to show me how to begin to live in this world. Each subsequent experience, expressed through the love of a being who had manifested into this world to reveal the truth of Spirit, appears to have been a way to show me what unity consciousness is in the context of relationships. I needed grounding. And in 2012, Sai Baba showed me what it feels like to be cradled in his love as a child by the Mother, the Father. I have been a slow student at times in the face of this divine teaching, given trained tendencies of my mind, but even that grows more aware of the miracle nature of our lives.
Planting Seeds and Burning Karma
During the first years of the extreme dissolution mentioned above, I did not have the benefit of specific sacred knowledge to understand its context. I now know that I am in a process purifying my soul and opening awareness of soul consciousness. This knowledge is priceless, since it allows me to have acceptance, even though sometimes that takes time, in situations where instinct or habit only raises fear and anxiety and their resulting stories. Sri Kaleshwar reminds us not to interpret sacred energy from our temporary perspective, in effect, our ordinary thinking mind. Human nature being what it is though, it is a continual challenge to avoid being caught in temporary perspectives. I therefore re-read Sri Kaleshwar’s book about his beloved Master, Shirdi Sai Baba: The Universal Master. Though I had read it before and subsequently revisited it a number of times, re-reading it now brought new awareness of its significance. Sri Kaleshwar’s book is actually a guide for each of us, filled with specific instructions on ways our personal consciousness can begin to relate to Baba’s consciousness. In this way, we learn how to begin living with soul consciousness in our lives, the step to transforming human into divine consciousness.
Sri Kaleshwar’s book is a beautiful offering – showing us how to approach Sai Baba, how to talk to him, what to ask for and what not to ask for, how to get his attention so that Baba has no choice but to come and hold you in his purest tenderness and love. Sri Kaleshwar as our teacher knew that through our temporary perspectives we would at times struggle to understand our relationship with divinity, that we might question and doubt the challenges that occur in our lives as we invoke Baba’s presence. Through Sai Baba, the anxiety of being the “doer” started to ease. But mental patterns are deeply engrained, and I need constant reminders of the choreographed wholeness of the process I am in. Though it may seem to us that God is taking away some of our bliss or happiness, taking something we are really attached to, Sri Kaleshwar says, “Don’t think that.” Each attachment ties us to the illusions of our individual sense mind and an identity of separation.
The close way in which Sai Baba uses our minds and desires in a purification process is highlighted by Sai Baba’s own personal relationships in form. Mhalsapati was one of Sai Baba’s closest devotees, the person who named him “Sai,” the person who tended Baba’s dhuni fire and for years was his constant helper. Yet Sri Kaleshwar reveals that during those years, Sai Baba criticized Mhalsapati and gave him a hard time. Mhalsapati as a priest never had enough money, which caused extreme difficulties. But Sai Baba never gave him money while donating bowls of it to others. Mhalsapati even complained that in years of serving Sai Baba, Baba had never given anything, that all Baba said to him was to “wait” and he was tired of waiting. Subsequently, Mhalsapati in tears and upset, complained why Sai Baba never showed warmth and close familiarity toward him as Baba did toward others. The explanation is fascinating - Sai Baba’s actions were not due to being uncaring, but an act of deep love. His behavior was to intensely burn away karma from Mhalsapati, who was receiving through Baba’s washings not his personal friendliness, but the far more divine benefit of soul liberation.
Similarly, Tatya served Sai Baba daily from when he was eight years old. He was one of Sai Baba’s closest and dearest friends. While Tatya cared for Baba diligently and would have died for him, he was at the same time not that loyal to Baba - he had attachments and was a big romantic character who also had his own fun when people came to see Baba. Sai Baba screamed at Tatya a lot because of his bad habits, but Tatya ignored it. So Sai Baba kept him waiting, waiting, waiting. Then when Tatya got sick, for twelve years Sai Baba did not come to see Tatya. All the people of Shirdi experienced great doubt and confusion over this. Yet in the end, Sai Baba transferred his energy to Tatya and cured him of his fatal illness, having used his seeming neglect toward Tatya as a process to purify Tatya’s soul.
Sai Baba also burned karma with his stick, both verbal and physical. Given Sai Baba’s avadhut nature, he would throw rocks and his stick and would scream at people to release the negativity of many lifetimes of karma very quickly. His soul was screaming at them very strongly as he worked on their souls, “Wake up! Get stronger!”
Sri Kaleshwar relates how once Sai Baba hit Mhalsapati with his stick when Mhalsapati would not discontinue doing his chores even though they were interrupting Baba’s meditation. Although the blow hurt Mhalsapati, a few days later the back pain that Mhalsapati had had for many years was gone. Reading this gave me a great sense of peace. Who would not want to be hit by Sai Baba’s stick? But to really understand this, I have to keep remembering that Sai Baba now throws rocks and sticks through the life experiences we have. My wife, Patricia, and I sometimes make each other upset. Recently, after a conflict, we realized we were just being Baba’s stick to each other and in saying that out loud, the tension was gone and we shared a wonderful laugh. It was not possible to personalize and blame in that moment. Through Baba’s grace, the acts or words of others upon us are like Baba’s rocks or sticks or shouts, and we in turn without our knowing act as his stick and shouts upon others. To truly assimilate this knowledge is hard, but doing so is to live in a state of peace knowing that God is everywhere.
Sai Baba’s Treasures
For me, there is a deep teaching in the stories of how Sai Baba treated Mhalsapati and Tatya. It puts my life into perspective. Our personal minds have bundles of expectations, but to leave them at Baba’s feet for his determination with the understanding that those not met may well be more important to us than those met is a powerful understanding. As Sri Kaleshwar said, “Simply, when having an expectation, give it very gently to Baba for Baba’s decision.” And it also informs what we should request from Baba. Sai Baba talked about his own life by saying that his Master says, “’Take, take,’ but everyone comes to me and says, ‘Give, give.’ Nobody listens carefully to the meaning of what I am saying. My Master’s treasury (spiritual wealth) is full; it is overflowing. I say, ‘Dig out and take away this wealth in carloads, the blessed son of a true mother should fill himself with this wealth. ‘”
Baba recognizes that rather than absorbing his true teachings to receive the spiritual treasure he offers, people tend to come to him preoccupied with their own expectations, asking, “Give, give.” What is requested are the things our sense minds tend to be preoccupied with, typically relationship, health and finance concerns. Sai Baba grants such requests with a parent’s loving tenderness, but such requests do not necessarily tap the deep gifts to our souls that Baba is truly here to bestow.
The stories of Sai Baba teach me that our live are a divine sacred experience even if our individual consciousness is not aware of that fact. The profound significance of this is to begin to grasp that every experience in my life is a sacred experience washing me. My mind creates illusory classifications of desirable and undesirable experiences, unable to comprehend the total reality of sacred energy, but my soul knows the truth. While my initial miracle experience was a divine sacred experience, so too was the devastating physical illness that followed it; so too was the painful collapse of security structures in my life; so too the conflicts and unmet expectations – each experience I have is there under the guidance of divine consciousness to help the process of self-healing and awakening.
Looking to Sai Baba is to experience being taken care of, in his timing, through many spontaneous alignments. These experiences resurrect an enchantment toward life that we have as young children. I will close with a recent experience. A friend in Vermont proposed an art exhibition entitled “Healing Art and the Art of Healing” with proceeds used in part to fund volunteer work he was doing in his town community for at-risk youths and war veterans. He asked me to send back a number of paintings and attend the opening. Painting had become essential in my life, a meditative process of releasing control and self – that a resonance of sacred consciousness can manifest cleanly into form as a cohesive field of light and vibration. Through grace, this opened the discovery of self-healing through love that has been core to my recovery. The exhibition came together quickly. As I was shipping paintings shortly before Christmas, concerned about the expenses I was incurring for the project, a neighbor came by and wanted to purchase a painting. Initially intending to buy one painting, she could not choose between two and purchased both. The payment for the two paintings ended up exactly covering the shipping and travel costs for my participation in the exhibition.
As part of my participation, I led a healing meditation where I gave attendees a healing by applying a combination of sandalwood paste from Sri Kaleshwar and ash from Sai Baba’s dhuni in Shirdi. The sandalwood paste had been made in a special process in India, in which during an all-night session in a tent, we rubbed blocks of sandalwood against stones. In the middle of the night, there was suddenly a terrific storm with drenching rain, lightning and thunder. The beating rain, the blazing glow from lightening and the crash of thunder were breathtaking within the tent, as if we were in a cocoon within the elements.
The Vermont healing session went smoothly, taking over an hour. In ending the healing, I recited the closing Sai teachings mantra for the session and just as I finished with a moment of silence, the stillness was broken by sudden heavy, torrential rain that seemed to come from nowhere. We were on the top floor of a two-story building with a row of windows along the length of the room, and the drumming of rain on the windows and roof overhead was deafening. Then close flashes of lightning and tremendous thunder burst around us. I immediately knew the elements were connecting us to the sacred process in which the sandalwood was ground into paste, and the presence of the Masters now in the room was immediate, palpable, an affirmation of the power of the healings through their sacred divine grace. As I listened closely, the rain soon eased and by the time people were leaving, it was dry again.
is a practicing lawyer, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. William began studying with Sri Kaleshwar in 2006 and has been teaching the sacred meditation channels for several years. Visiting the Samadhi temple of Shirdi Sai Baba in India altered his life profoundly. He and his wife, Patricia, have been sharing the ancient knowledge, and conducting new and full moon outdoor fire pujas each month at their home in Seattle, WA. William’s focus now is as a painter to bring healing energy to the world through his art. Contact him at www.william-song.com