excerpts from the "BABA " by Arnold Schulman
Arnold Schulman, a Jew by birth and one of the top scriptwriters of the cinema world of Hollywood reached India in 1972, met Baba at Whitefield and returned to America. But 'one day' he later said, 'for no reason I could discover, I realised that I had somehow developed a compulsion of my own, which I could not suppress or shake off or overcome or rationalise; I wanted to write a book about Baba' The next thought that came to his mind was there 'would be anyone wanting to publish this book if written?' However, when he casually asked Macmillan Publishers they readily agreed. So he yielded to the pressure from his own mind. He wrote a detailed letter to Dr. Gokak asking for: - (1) A stay with Baba for at least one month so that he can observe Him from close angles (2) Permission to move with Baba wherever He went and (3) Permission to tape and photograph everything he wanted besides meeting Baba's close devotees and recording their statements. Dr. Gokak conveyed these demands to Baba and replied him accordingly also saying that Baba would be leaving for a weeklong tour of some villages and he could profitably join Him for the purpose.
Schulman made arrangements immediately. He got the visa just 2 hours before his start. He also had to cancel an agreement for writing a script for an attractive sum of 1,50,000 dollars. He travelled 10,000 miles in 35 hours to reach Bangalore. He met Dr. Gokak and he was supposed to be at Whitefield at 4 pm. for next day's journey with Baba. At dinnertime Dr. Gokak tried to impress upon him that Sri Sathya Sai Baba was God and many other wonderful stories about Him which Schulman could not digest. On the other hand he only wondered how a highly educated and cultured man of Gokak's stature could be so gullible.
In the night after reading the book 'Man of Miracles' by Howard Murphet given by Dr Gokak, Schulman retired to sleep. But at midnight he began to suffer from high temperature and an upset stomach. He had loose motions till 3 am. All the woollen blankets he had with him could not relieve him from shivering. He consumed a few tablets and other medicines with him but to no relief. While he was half asleep at 3am he saw Baba standing by his bedside. Baba stirred something in a glass of water and gave it to him. He drank that mixture and slept comfortably. When he woke up in the morning he was as fresh as ever without a trace of his last night's suffering. He thought it was all a dream possibly because of his reading Murphet's book. Moreover a completely locked room from inside could not have let in anyone. But he was startled to see the glass on the table - the same glass! He tried to forget this episode and prepare for the day's work.
As planned he alongwith Dr. Gokak reached Whitefield at 4 pm. only to learn that Baba had already left. Dr. Gokak pointed out that this was how Baba sometimes sported with His devotees (of course with purpose) to the utter disgust of Schulman. He controlled his anger and said 'It is for this farce that I came all the way from Hollywood after cancelling an offer to write a script for 1,50,000 dollars? Is it becoming of a man who claims He is God?' Dr. Gokak said that it was all His Sankalpa and the reason for this could be understood only later. Schulman returned to his hotel.
Baba returned to Whitefield after one week. Dr. Gokak and Schulman met Baba there. He asked Schulman about his illness and narrated the events that took place in the night - how He gave him medicine, etc. 'When you could not contain the food of a star hotel how could you have eaten the unfamiliar village food?' Baba asked. 'You would not have perhaps returned to America at all! So I deliberately avoided taking you with Me. You thought of going back to States. But without My Sankalpa you could not have done that. I brought you here for my work. You cannot go without completing it. Go to Puttaparthi. I shall be following you. There you can stay with Me for any number of days.'
This talk encouraged Schulman and he reached Puttaparthi. He got a room, which was bare - without any furnishing. The food was not at all agreeable. A question rose in his mind 'Am I not a big fool to have come all the way here against my own will? It is His divine power or magical power?' After two days Baba reached Prashanthi Nilayam and Schulman's food and living conditions were improved.
In the interview that followed Baba told him. 'I did not call you here to write a book for my publicity. I wanted you. I wanted to bring a change - a spiritual change in your life. It is not for nothing that I cured your wife's tumour and looked after your family till now', 'If it is so then please give me proof!' said Schulman.
'Very happy', said Baba. Then Baba created Vibhuti, opened his shirt and applied it on his chest. Schulman experienced an indescribable feeling. He was electrified.
'You write only what you have seen and got convinced', said Baba. Schulman stayed for three months attending all interviews and witnessing all wonders directly. He was convinced that Baba was an incarnation of Divinity.
Just before his departure Baba materialized for him a 16 precious stone studded ring with Baba's image in the centre. Schulman wondered how he could secure passage for this ring at the customs. 'I shall take care of it' assured Baba. At Los Angeles he told the customs officials that he was prepared to pay anything for the ring as it was a gift from a Mahatma of India. But after examination the Customs officials found it was a cheap ornament and returned without charging any duty. But when Schulman passed the ring to the hands of the famous jewellers of Commonwealth Appraiser Corporation they valued it at 125 dollars! Schulman remembered Baba's words that He would take care of it at the customs.
Baba's grace did not stop here. On return Schulman got immersed in his work. One day he lost an important file, which meant a loss of thousands of dollars. All efforts to trace it could not bear fruits. In utter disappointment he prayed to Baba. In the night he had a dream in which Baba showed the file in the thick of some written off files in the cabin. He woke up and when the cabinet was opened the file was there! He and his Secretary had earlier searched the same cabinet several times. A grateful Schulman published his book 'Baba'.
Even inanimate things respond to His Vajrasankalpa. Gayanapatu Saraswathi Bai, a well-known singer, arrived during the Dasara festival for a concert. The seventy-year-old lady enthralled the audience with her god-gifted talents. Baba presented her a Banares Saree when she was about to leave. But later He told Kasturiji and others present there that Saraswati Bai always wore 18 cubit long sarees as that alone suited the style of her wear and the one gifted by Baba was only 12 cubits. Baba pretending a bit of disappointment tried some other sarees, which were also of the same length. But a few days later Kasturiji received a letter written by the Musician from Madras expressing her amazement at a miracle that had happened. Since she found that the saree was 12 cubit long she decided to wear it only at the time of Pooja in her shrine, i.e., to say in privacy as it was a precious gift from Swami. But when she started actually wearing it the saree was 18 cubit long with a few extra inches! Baba had willed its growth to that size!
"Baba was on a
thin mattress supported by a simple frame and four wooden legs, which served
both as a studio couch during the day and his bed at night. He was leaning
against a few small pillows propped against the wall. Before he looked up to
note the writer's arrival he continued to go through his mail, looking at each
letter, still unopened and in its envelope, until a thought formed in his head,
then he put it on top of the stack of letters on the couch to the left of him
before reaching to take another letter from the stack on the couch to the right
of him. After a minute or two he looked up
and smiled at the writer.
Baba nodded. "Life is only the memory of a dream," he said. "It comes from no
visible rain. It falls into no recognizable sea. Some day, not for a while yet,
you will understand how meaningless it is to spend your whole life trying to
accumulate material things. I have no land, no property of my own where I can
grow my own food. Everything is registered in the name of someone else, but just
as those people in the village who have no land wait until the pond dries up so
they can scratch the land with a plow and quickly grow something before the pond
fills up again, I grow my food which is joy or love. To you the words have
different meanings, but to me both words are the same. But I have to do it
quickly, quickly in the hearts of those who come to see me, quickly before they
Acknowledgement- Source: Book - "Baba" by Arnold Schulman / www.saibabaofindia.com / www.sssbpt.org