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 SANKALAP SIDDHA         Additional resource: excerpts from the "BABA " by Arnold Schulman

Sankalpa Siddha - Sai is Sankalpa Siddha, i.e., His willing is fulfilling. Once He wrote to a devotee 'Sai Sankalpa is Vajrasankalpa (The Will of Sai is irresistible like the thunderbolt)'. It can never miss its aim. The story of Schulman is a revealing example.

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!

Excerpts from the "BABA " by Arnold Schulman

{Click on the picture right or below to download "Sai Sankalpa" wallpaper 1024x800 -800x600}

"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.

"Come in," he said. "Come in."

The writer stepped into the room and bowed slightly, both palms together on his chest just under his chin.

"So," Baba said. He paused to look directly into the writer's eyes. "So, you have seen enough."

"Too much. I don't understand anything I've seen."

Baba laughed.

"Appearance is not different from emptiness," Baba said struggling for the words in English."Yet within emptiness there is no appearance."

The writer felt he should smile or nod or indicate in some way that he understood what Baba had said, but he did not understand and he resisted the temptation to pretend that he did.



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 leave."

He looked up again into the writer's eyes.

"The kind of belief in me I ask of people is more, much more than most people think is faith or love," Baba said.

"That's why many people who come just to see the miracles stop loving me the minute I stop entertaining them and giving them presents. No. What I ask you to do is give me everything. Not fruits or flowers or money or land, but you, all of you with nothing held back. Your mind. Your heart. Your soul... " He stopped and paused, then nodded to himself. "But those are just words."

They were silent for a time.

The writer stood behind the couch and waited. There was nothing he could say. A kind of warmth and closeness he had never known before was spreading through his consciousness and it frightened him. He felt in danger of being smothered by it, but it wasn't just the intensity of the feeling that disturbed him. It was the sudden realization that this feeling of loveŚhe thought it was loveŚwas different from any other kind of love he had felt or heard about or read of before. It may have been this inability to define what he felt that caused him suddenly to panic. In less than a minute he had become a displaced person, emotionally, isolated in the dark unknown, and to cope with this puzzling anxiety the only defense he could find was to turn it off.

Baba watched him for a time with intensity.

"You cannot run away from me," Baba said. "As I told you, no one can come to Puttaparthi, however accidental it might seem, without my calling him. I bring only those people here who are ready to see me, and nobody else, nobody, can find his way here. When I say 'ready' there are different levels of readiness, you understand."

Baba laughed. "You wonder why I called you here instead of millions of other people because you don't like the way you feel for me. Isn't it? And it makes you worry why I called you."

The writer laughed, his tension broken, and Baba laughed with him.

"It worries me," the writer said. "When you ask me to give myself to you completely. I can't do that. I spent too long getting control of my life to just blindly become somebody's slave, even if you're God, or not God, just a man with superhuman powers of yoga. I don't trust anybody that much."

"Do you trust yourself?" Baba asked.

The writer smiled, "Not much."

"I know your past and I know your future so I know why you suffer and how you can escape suffering and when you finally will."

"When I die?" The writer was being half-facetious.

"Yes, I know," Baba said. "In all your past lives too, you were always afraid of death."

"I'm not afraid of death."

"That's all you are afraid of," Baba said. "You think death is something bad, but death is neither bad nor good. Death is death."

"What purpose does it serve?"

"Why does a person die?" Baba took a moment to reflect. He looked at his finger. "So he won't die again. He is born so he won't be born again."

"I don't understand," the writer said.

"Life is only relatively real," Baba said. "Until death it only appears to be real. And, after all, the only part that dies is the body, not the person who lives in the body. When a cat or a dog dies he leaves the world the same as before he lived in it, but a man should leave the world a better place then when he came into it. For no other reason was he born, for no other reason does he die."

"Are you God?" The writer heard himself say. He had not planned to go into that subject at all.

"Why do you waste your time and energy trying to explain me?" Baba said, with a trace of irritation. "Can a fish measure the sky? If I had come as Narayana with four arms they would have put me in a circus, charging money for people to see me. If I had come only as a man, like every other man, who would listen to me? So I had to come in this human form, but with no more than human powers and..." he groped for the word, "wisdom."

"Then you are God. Is that what you are saying?"

"First you have to understand yourself. I told you that. And then you will understand me. I'm not a man, I'm not a woman. I'm not old. I'm not young. I'm all of these."

The writer laughed, without quite knowing why. He was embarrassed for having asked the question and unnerved by the answer. Here was a human being, or what looked like one, curled up on a studio couch, his legs tucked beneath him like a teen-age girl, and there was nothing the writer could think of that would allow him to accept the idea that this person with the Afro-hairdo and the orange dress could actually, literally, be God.

"Some people think it's a beautiful thing," Baba said, "for the Lord to be on the earth in human for, but if you were in my place you would not feel it's so beautiful. I know everything that happened to everybody in the past, present, and future, so I'm not so quick to give people the mercy they beg me for. I know why a person has to suffer in this life and what will happen to him the next time he is born because of that suffering this time, so I can't act the way people want me to. They call me cold-hearted one time, soft-hearted the next. Why don't I do this? Why don't I do that? Why don't I stop all wars forever and get rid of all disease and suffering? What they don't know is I'm not responsible for suffering. I don't cause suffering any more than I cause happiness and joy. People make their own palaces and their own chains and their own prisons."

"Can I write about that in my book?" the writer asked.

"What do you know about me?" Baba asked. "Do you believe in me the way I said you had to believe in me?"

"Not yet."

"Then how can you write about me? You're like a child. When I give you what you want or make you laugh, you love me, but the next minute when I'm too busy and can't see you the minute you want me to, you want to kill me. Isn't it? You listen to me with respect, but then in private you laugh at me. What kind of book can you possibly write about Me?"

"That kind of book. Exactly."

"For what purpose? Publicity? I don't need publicity. I'm not your Mahesh Yogi, don't forget, on television with the singers."

"What are you telling me? I can't write the book?"

Baba laughed. "Write it. Write your book. That's your duty, dharma. But write the truth. Only what you saw here. Only the truth. How you laughed at me, hated me, that's part of it; and if you want to, how you loved me, the few times you let yourself love me."

Baba took both of his hands and rubbed them as hard as he could on the writer's chest, massaging it vigorously as if to stimulate the writer's spiritual circulation.

"I'm always with you," Baba said. "Even when you don't believe in me, even when you try to forget me. Even when you laugh at me or hate me. Even when I seem to be on the opposite side of the earth. But you need material things to remind you, isn't it?"

He pushed up his sleeves and rotated his open palm as he closed his fingers. When he opened them he was holding a gold ring with his picture painted on a porcelain in the center, surrounded by sixteen stones which seemed to be diamonds. He put the ring on the writer's finger. It fit perfectly.

The writer laughed. "How can I ever get this through customs?"

"Don't worry," Baba said. "I'll take care of it."

He touched the ring with his fingertips.

"I am in you," Baba said, "You are in me. Don't forget that. We cannot be separated."


Acknowledgement- Source: Book - "Baba" by Arnold Schulman /  /