On the eve of the ‘Year of the Krutagnyata Mahotsavam’ (Tribute Celebrations), it has become imperative for us to take a decisive relook at who Sri Sai Master was and why we want to show our gratitude to him. He conquered the hearts of even those who had only a chance meeting with him. Many more rue the fact that they could not get even a fleeting glimpse of him. Who was this mortal (?) who left such an indelible mark on people’s lives?
Acharya Sai Master (1938-1989), born in Bapatla on Oct 30, 1938 to the holy couple Sri Anantacharya and Smt. Buchamma, was an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya (the avatar of God-as-Guru). He was a rare and magnificent blend of a siddha and a gnani experiencing the non-dual and absolute in Himself. His omnipresence and omnipotence have been unmistakably experienced by countless devotees, and continue to do so even today. The immense peace and tranquillity that emanated from him drew thousands. His simple life style, humility, generosity and care towards every person captivated everyone’s heart. The spiritual seeker, the materialistic hoarder and the truly needy all came to him with equal eagerness for they knew that refuge would be readily given and their needs lovingly fulfilled.
Sri Sai Master explained in detail that a human beings needs and aspirations stem from his innate desire for peace and contentment in life. He stated that the only means of annihilating sorrow and attaining eternal peace and bliss is to live correctly. To be able to do so Sri Sai Master enumerated several paths which required simple changes in one’s thought process and life style- through his many discourses, books, articles and divine miracles.
Sri Sai Master was the personification of the sanatana dharma and embodied the ideals of brahmacharya and grihastashrama and the vedic way of living which is the hallmark of the Indian subcontinent. In the current society where the institutions of bachelorhood and married life have degenerated to abysmal levels, he came to resurrect, to re-define the sanctity and purpose of these stages in one’s life.
Sri Sai Master states in his book, Sri Sai Prabodhamrutham, “spiritualism should not be restricted to being an individualistic devotion, rather it has to be instituted as a distinct philosophy. There lies no room for an individuals personality however great a personage he might be. That is why Sanatana Dharma has no father figures. The Vedas and the Upanishads were revealed to the sages and are more important than the sages themselves.” Following in the same lines when Sri Sai Masters ideology and succinct explanations on religious and spiritual matters gained him respect the world over, True to this manifestation, Sri Sai Master humbly directed it towards his Vedic upbringing by his esteemed father and to his reverend Guru Sri Sai Baba.
Every moment of his was spent in the integration of the human spirit. He endeavoured to make people understand that all branches of knowledge converged at a single point. All the fine arts, the sciences, reasoning, religious and spiritual treatises all culminated at the concept of a single and Universal Consciousness. It is an irrefutable truth expressed by the worlds’ greatest physicists, the spiritual stalwarts and the greatest artists which he brought out in his various books through intensive empirical research. In his personal life he followed the same principle. In a society like the townships in the interior of Andhra Pradesh, the distinctions of caste and creed play an important part in the day to day lives of people. Yet, in Sri Sai Masters house all were welcomed warmly much to the disgust of the orthodox.
Sri Sai Master attributed the moral downfall, depravity, crime and fear in society to the absence of true love in homes. He advocated love towards children to be of paramount importance in the process of raising them to be strong, courageous, humane and wise members of the future society. He also pointed out that correct education was to instill in the child a sense of enquiry. Moral education should be imparted to children in the form of stories from our epics, the Ramayana, Bhagavatham, the Mahabharata, and the like. Education should be in the vernacular with indigenous examples. The inspiring lives of great saints like Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Vivekananda, our freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Rani Jhansi Lakshmi Bai, etc should be an integral part of their education. Along with modern scientific principles children should also be taught faith in God. Thereby the youth of the country would become self-reliant, independent and have minimum needs so as to be able to willingly extend help to the weak and destitute sections of the society. It was his desire that in course of this health care should become cheaper. Naturopathic and ayurvedic home remedies should be encouraged while homeopathy which requires lesser infrastructure and is financially less burdensome on the patient should be actively practiced. Sri Sai Master firmly believed that these and many more such social changes would bring about a society that would bring out the meaning in our Vedic saying, “Sarveh Janah Sukhino Bhavanthu”.
This is my humble and very brief understanding of this giant personality.
Kindly correct me if there is any misrepresentation.
Many, many pranaams to this unique and unimitable incarnation of Lord Dattatreya.