Please note that the address at the bottom of the letter from the Pope is
an old address. If you wish to contact the Gersten Institute, please look
for the address and e-mail on the home page.
In the early 1980's Sai Baba said that the Sai Baba Centers around the world needed to be singing some bhajans (devotional songs) in the language of a given country. More specifically, for the United States he said that the mix of English to Indian language bhajans should be at least 50:50, but preferably 80 percent in English.
Like many physicians, I am a musician, specifically a classically-trained guitarist. After hearing of Sai Baba's recommendation, I began to write English devotional songs, and when I had ten good ones, I began recording them and called the album "Giving and Forgiving". The recording project started in December, 1984 and was completed in 1985, after 80 hours in a recording studio.
The final step in recording is what is called, "mixing." Mixing a single song can take hours. The night before my final day of mixing, Sai Baba came to me in a dream and said to me, "Send your music to the Pope." He also said something else in the dream that, to this day, I have not yet figured out, namely, "I know how much you want a house."
When I woke up, I knew exactly why Sai Baba had asked me to send this tape to the Pope, and how to send it. A little known fact about Pope John Paul II is that he plays classical guitar and loves good classical guitar music. The "Giving and Forgiving" tape is an East-West fusion tape orchestrated with classical guitar along with East Indian instruments, such as tabla and sitar.
Upon rising, I called a good friend, Pepe Romero, world-renowned classical and flamenco guitarist and one fourth of the Romero Guitar Quartet. I told Pepe my dream and he replied, "Your timing is perfect! We just got back from playing for the Pope in Vatican Square in front of a crowd of 100,000. Father Hans from the Vatican will be visiting Del Mar (California) in a couple of months, so you can give him the tape and he will carry it back to the Pope."
A couple of months came and went, and the tape was still not ready, as it was now being "mastered." However, when it was done, I called Pepe again and found that Father Hans had returned to Rome, but I could mail the tape directly to him.
The tape was mailed to Rome along with a letter addressed to the Pope explaining the dream and the audiocassette. Six weeks later, the letter you see on this page was in my hands. Opening and reading this letter from the Pope sent a divine jolt through me and brought me to tears. Having been raised Jewish, being brought to tears by a letter from the Pope had a special impact.
Sai Baba in his infinite compassion and wisdom left no detail unturned, for the date of this letter, November 8, 1985, was highly significant to me. I had very much wanted to return to India in 1985 and had purchased airline tickets dated November 8, 1985. However, there were several issues that potentially stood in the way of that trip, and in the end, I had to cancel the trip. So, the Pope's letter, along with the special date, were a powerful miracle. I knew that Sai Baba had orchestrated everything, starting with the dream (and long before that . . . but that's another story). Sai Baba knew how disappointed I was to be unable to go to India on November 8th. The letter from the Pope was confirmation, once again, that Sai Baba is always with me, always with anyone and everyone. All disappointment about cancelling the trip vanished. What further miracle did I need or could I need? None!"
Note: The "Giving and Forgiving" audiocassette can be ordered through the Sri Sathya Sai Book and Information Centre of Canada
290 Merton St.