[Editor's note. Swami talks about God, the religion of Love, and his Avathar-hood. He explains why he materializes rings, etc., and gives them to people, and he explains what "Sai Baba" means.]
God is inscrutable. He cannot be realized in the outer objective world; He is in the very heart of every being. Gemstones have to be sought deep underground; they do not float in mid air. Seek God in the depths of your self, not in tantalizing, kaleidoscopic nature. The body is granted to you for this high purpose; but, you are now misusing it, like the person who cooked his daily food in the gem-studded gold vase that came into his hands as an heirloom.
Man extols God as omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, but, he ignores his Presence in himself! Of course, many venture to describe the attributes of God and proclaim Him to be such and such; but, these are but their own guesses and the reflections of their own predilections and preferences.
Who can affirm that God is this or thus? Who can affirm that God is not of this form or with this attribute? Each one can acquire from the vast expanse of the ocean only as much as can be contained in the vessel he carries to its shore. From that quantity, they can grasp but little of that immensity.
Each religion defines God within the limits it demarcates and then claims to have grasped Him. Like the seven blind men who spoke of the elephant as a pillar, a fan, a rope or a wall, because they contacted but a part and could not comprehend the entire animal, so too, religions speak of a part and assert that its vision is full and total.
Each religion forgets that God is all forms and all names, all attributes and all assertions. The religion of humanity is the sum and substance of all these partial faiths; for there is only one religion and that is the religion of Love. The various limbs of the elephant that seemed separate and distinct to the eye-less seekers of its truth were all fostered and activated by one single stream of blood; the various religions and faiths that feel separate and distinct are all fostered by a single stream of love.
The optical sense cannot visualize the truth. It gives only false and fogged information. For example, there are many who observe my actions and start declaring that my nature is such and such. They are unable to gauge the sanctity, the majesty, and the eternal reality that is me. The power of Sai is limitless; It manifests for ever. All forms of 'power' are resident in this Sai palm.
But those who profess to have understood me, the scholars, the yogis, the pundits, the jnanis, all of them are aware only of the least important, the casual external manifestation of an infinitesimal part of that power, namely, the "miracles"! They have not desired to contact the source of all power and all wisdom that is available here at Brindavan. They are satisfied when they secure a chance to exhibit their book-learning and parade their scholarship in vedic lore, not realizing that the person from whom the Vedas emanated is in the midst, for their sake. They even ask, in their pride, for a few more chances!
This has been the case in all ages. People may be very near (physically) to the Avathar, but they live out their lives unaware of their fortune; they exaggerate the role of miracles, which are as trivial, when compared to my glory and majesty, as a mosquito is in size and strength to the elephant upon which it squats. Therefore, when you speak about these 'miracles,' I laugh within myself out of pity that you allow yourself so easily to lose the precious awareness of my reality.
My power is immeasurable; My truth is inexplicable, unfathomable. I am announcing this about me, for the need has arisen. But what I am doing now is only the gift of a 'visiting card!' Let me tell you that emphatic declarations of the truth by Avathars were made so clearly and so unmistakably only by Krishna. In spite of the declaration, you will notice in the career of the same Krishna that he underwent defeat in his efforts and endeavors, on a few occasions; you must also note that those defeats too were part of the drama that he had planned and that he himself directed. For example, when many kings pleaded with him to avert the war with the Kauravas, he confessed that his mission to the Kaurava Court for ensuring peace had 'failed'! But, he had not willed that it should succeed! He had decided that war would be waged! His mission was intended to publish the greed and iniquity of the Kauravas and to condemn them before the whole world.
Now, I must tell you that, during this Sai Avathar, there is no place for even such 'drama' with scenes of failures and defeats! What I will, must take place; what I plan must succeed. I am Truth; and Truth has no need to hesitate, or fear, or bend.
'Willing' is superfluous for me. For my grace is ever available to devotees who have steady love and faith. Since I move freely among them, talking and singing, even intellectuals are unable to grasp my truth, my power, my glory, or my real task as Avathar. I can solve any problem however knotty. I am beyond the reach of the most intensive enquiry and the most meticulous measurement. Only those who have recognized my love and experienced that love can assert that they have glimpsed my reality. For the path of Love is the royal road that leads mankind to me.
Do not attempt to know me through the external eyes. When you go to a temple and stand before the image of God, you pray with closed eyes, don't you? Why? Because you feel that the inner eye of wisdom alone can reveal Him to you. Therefore, do not crave from me trivial material objects; but, crave for me, and you will be rewarded. Not that you should not receive whatever objects I give as sign of grace out of the fullness of Love.
I shall tell you why I give these rings, talismans, rosaries etc. It is to signalize the bond between me and those to whom they are given. When calamity befalls them, the article comes to me in a flash and returns in a flash taking from me the remedial grace of protection. That Grace is available to all who call on me in any name or form, not merely to those who wear these gifts. Love is the bond that wins grace.
Consider the meaning of the name Sai Baba. Sa means 'Divine'; ai or ayi means 'mother', and Baba means 'father'. The name indicates the divine mother and father, just as Sambasiva, which also means the divine mother and father. Your physical parents exhibit Love with a dose of selfishness; but, this Sai "mother and father" showers affection or reprimands only to lead you toward victory in the struggle for self-realization.
For this Sai has come in order to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire mankind, as one family through the bond of brotherhood, of affirming and illumining the Atmic reality of each being in order to reveal the Divine thatis the basis on which the entire cosmos rests, and of instructing all to recognize the common divine heritage that binds man to man, so that man can rid himself of the animal, and rise into the Divine, which is his goal.
I am the embodiment of divine love; love is my instrument. There is no creature without love; the lowest loves itself, at least. And its self is God. So there are no atheists, though some might dislike Him or refuse Him, as malarial patients dislike sweets or diabetic patients refuse to have anything to do with sweets! Those who preen themselves as atheists will one day, when their illness is gone, relish God and revere Him.
I had to tell you so much about my truth, for I desire that you should contemplate on this and derive joy therefrom, so that you may be inspired to observe the disciplines laid down by me and progress toward the goal of self-realization, the realization of the Sai that shines in your hearts.