The Importance of Miracles
Within the pages of The Gallery of Miracles, you will see visual examples
of extraordinary miracles. While these miracles are amazing and fill one
with awe, they are relatively unimportant compared with Sai Baba's grander
miracles. To quote Sai Baba,
"Do not exaggerate the importance of my powers and miracles; the most significant power is my love. All the ostensible miracles are only droplets of that Ocean of Love. Do not be dazzled by the droplets. Recognize the ocean and come to dip yourselves therein."
"I give rings, rosaries, etcetera to signalize the bond between me and the receiver. When calamity befalls, the article comes to me in a flash and returns with my grace of protection. The grace is available to all who call on me in any name or form, not merely to those who wear the gifts."
"My miracles are just a few means toward my end of teaching dharma (moral conduct)."
"These so-called miracles are like a mosquito on the back of an elephant, the elephant being the miracle of love." (paraphrased).
Let me put this in terms now that are easier to understand. I am a person who was dazzled by the miracles, and the sole intent on my first trip to India in 1978 to see Sathya Sai Baba was to see if the miracles were real. By the fourth day, Sai Baba had shown me so many miracles I could not take any more and I left on the fifth day. Here is one of those miracles that can never be photographed:
One morning as I was awaiting darshan (sight of a holy man), Sai Baba came out of the Mandir (temple), and as he walked toward me, he grew so bright that my eyes watered as if I were looking right into the sun.
The greatest miracles I have witnessed are the transformation of character, myself included. This is usually a slow process. I have seen people who appeared to have hearts of stone who became more like Mother Theresa. Sai Baba's message is not new, and in fact, resonantes throughout all of the world's great religions, namely that we must strive to see the unity in the apparent diversity, that we must learn to love not only our friends and family, but also our enemies.
Sai Baba teaches through the "little" miracles, as well as through decades of discourses, which people can read through, choosing spiritual disciplines that best suit them. Sai Baba asks nothing in return other than our love, and that love can be directed toward our fellow men and women as well as toward the form of God we worship, whether it be Jesus, Buddha, Zoroaster, Rama, or Sai Baba.
In The Gallery of Miracles, there will be a written story next to each photograph. Through those stories, you will see that each miracle has a specific purpose of uplifting the individual, helping him or her to develop more peace of mind, more love, more faith, an urge to serve humanity. It is important to note that money is never associated with Sai Baba. A collection is never passed at any Sai Baba Center in the world. Sai Baba has said, "Where money is present, you will not find me." However, if one wishes to contribute funds toward a service project, Sai Baba must accept that gift. If the gift does not come from a pure heart, he will return the money.
I mention this last item about money in order to begin to explore three of the grandest miracles in the Avatarhood of Sai Baba, namely the creation of a new system of education called "Sathya Sai Education in Human Values," the SuperSpecialty Hospital, and lastly, the "Water Project."
The goal of Sathya Sai EHV (Education in Human Values) is transformation, rather than information. Information is always taught in a way that illustrates and inculcates one of the five core human values, which are: Truth, Right Action, Peace, Love, and Non-Violence. This educational system is offered in India from grade school through post-graduate, and the graduates of these programs score at the very top of India's schools. There is no financial charge to be in these schools. All are equally welcome, depending on their ability and capacity for dedication to study.
Major Miracle 1
EHV is not only flourishing in India, but also in many countries around the world. Entire countries have gone to this system. Hawaii is the first state in America to begin to integrate EHV. It is clear that without transformation of the educational system, all nations will begin to decay.
A small story about EHV. Dr. Victor Kanu and his wife Genevieve wanted to set up an EHV school in Zambia. For eight years, Genevieve went to India asking Sai Baba if she could do this. For eight years, he said, "Wait." During their ninth visit regarding this quest, Sai Baba said, "Begin planning now. Start school in one year."
And so the Kanu's began their school. They only accepted students who had completely failed in the standard classroom settings. Likewise they selected teachers who were dropouts or had done poorly in their jobs. Within four years, the students at the Zambia EHV school were scoring in the highest percentile in the country. The President of Zambia heard of this news, visited the school, and began to refer to this school as "The Miracle School." The school's graduates now have a very high acceptance and attendance rate in college. More importantly, the character of these rebellious students has been transformed so that they are now peaceful, loving, honest, moral, and dedicated to respecting their parents and teachers, and committed to serving society.
Major Miracle 2
The second of the major "external" miracles is The SuperSpecialty Hospital. In the early 1990's Sai Baba decided to build a unique hospital, providing free care for all, and providing all levels of health care - from immunization through open heart surgery. British architect, Keith Critchlow, one of the world's leading architects of spiritual works, was asked to design and implement the hospital, along with Isaac Tigrett, founder of the Hard Rock Cafe who provided most of the funds for the project.
When Mr. Critchlow was told by Sai Baba that the construction would take seven months, he was astounded and replied that even in a modern Western culture, it would take more like seven years! Mind you, the poor parts of India do not have paved interstate highways with heavy earth-moving equipment and all the niceties we are used to when starting a massive construction project. The British newspaper "The Independent," London, ran this article April 15, 1992.
" . . . Even more miraculous is his ability to have raised a hospital to prolong life in the slow vastness of the Indian interior. Even if our NHS (National Health Service) was pumped full of public money, it woudl be hard pressed to build this well, this quickly."
Seven months, to the day, from ground-breaking the hospital opened, and four open-heart surgeries were performed that afternoon. Truly a miraculous task. I have visited this hospital and feel it is the most beautiful hospital I have ever seen. It looks like a temple, and the atmosphere is reverential. I've never felt a sense of spirituality and reverence in any other hospital I've seen or entered. Yet, when I met with the medical director, what was unique was the sparceness of his office, the metal folding chairs. There were none of the acutraments of an American hospital's medical director's office, with a desk alone worth thousands of dollars. As for the hospital staffing, everyone works at no charge. Teams of cardiac surgeons fly in from India and the Far East, working for about one week, then returning to their home town. Heads of state and dignitaries have been visiting the SuperSpecialty Hospital since its inception, as it is a model for healthcare that is lacking everywhere else in the world.
Major Miracle 3
The most recent of these miracles was "The Water Project" completed in 1995, in which Sai Baba directed a massive infusion of water to 700 villages in India that lacked water. The project included thousands of miles of pipes, dams, and local facilities in each of the 700 villages.
These three major miracles deal with three of humankind's most essential needs, namely "water," "medical care," and "education."
It is impossible to give an overview of Sai Baba's miracles, or even why he performs them, in such a small space. However, I hope this provides the reader with a basic introduction. The stories that go with each miracle will greatly clarify the fact that each miracle inspires awe, love, reverence . . .all the human values. Each miracle helps us identify parts of our psyche that are jealous, envious, angry, or greedy. Once we are able to clearly see these faults, we can begin to let go of them, and replace them with Love.
- Dennis Gersten