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Holy Ramadan: Eid Mubarak

“God is One; there are not many Gods, one for each tribe among men! Love is One; it transcends caste, colour and creed, if it has to be genuine. Truth is One; there cannot be two. For, two can only be One, occurring twice. The Goal is One; for, all roads must lead to the One God. Why then should men quarrel and fight over the Eternal and the Absolute?” - Sathya Sai Baba (Divine Discourse 12th October 1983

Throughout the past 4 weeks, Muslims world-wide have been observing the holy month of Ramadan (also called Ramzan) which is spent in prayer and fasting. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and represents the Five Spiritual Pillars of Islam, namely Shahadah which relates to Truth; Salah which relates to Peace; Zakat which relates to Right Conduct, Sawm which relates to Non –Violence and Haji which relates to Love. Beloved Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba tells us that these five spiritual pillars, the five human values, are the very bases of the inner and outer worlds!

Beloved Bhagawan has very wonderfully elaborated on the meanings of Muslim and Islam.

“All founders of religions have heard this impersonal Voice of God revealing the Aathma that activates the entire Creation. Just as the Vedhas (revealed sacred scriptures) were ’heard’ and propagated as ‘heard’ (Shruthi), the Quran too was ‘heard’ by Hazrath Muhammad. The Quran has Salat and Zakat as the two eyes. Salat means prayer; Zakat means charity. Those who consider charity as a high duty and elevate their consciousness through prayers and continuous meditation on God are Muslims. Islam is a word which denotes not a particular religion but a state of mind, the state of total surrender to the Will of God. Islam means dedication, surrender, peace, tranquillity.

Islam denotes the social community whose members have achieved supreme peace through surrender to the All-Merciful, All-Powerful God and who have vowed to live in peace with their fellowmen. Later, it came to be applied to communities that considered themselves separate and different and so hostile to the rest. Islam taught something higher. It directed attention to the One in the Many, the Unity in Diversity and led people to the Reality named God.” ssspeaks/volume16/sss16-14

Like the followers of other major religions of the world, many devout Muslims too have been drawn to Bhagawan Baba’s divine love, compassion and the resonance in his teachings with Islam. Here are a few excerpts from Radiosai Heart to Heart Journal for our study and contemplation on this holy occasion. http://media.radiosai.org/journals/Vol_06/01MAR08/03-coverstory.htm

Professor Abdul Razak Baburao Korbu merged in the Lord on May 27, 2000 at his residence at Jaisingpur, Maharasthra , India . Prof. Abdul’s wife is a very devout and orthodox Muslim and had great difficulty believing in the reality of Sai Baba. Below is a story of how the All Compassionate, All Merciful Sai dissolved her fears and brought her to the realization of the Islamic Truth: God is One.

The Divine Invitation

Beloved Sai Baba had invited me to bring my wife to Puttaparthi. My wife blatantly refused this request. I pleaded with her so many times using many persuasions: I am not forcing you to go to any temple at Puttaparthi, or to do namaskar to Sai Baba or to bow at His Feet. You will just accompany me. Is it not said that the wife should see the husband as a spiritual head?"

My wife retorted sharply: "Don‘t quote the scriptures for your advantage. Why are you forcing me to go there?" "I am not forcing you", I said. "It is Sai Baba Himself who has called you." Then, to my greatest relief she said, “Alright, I will come on the condition that I will not do namaskar in front of anyone and I will not bow down to anyone‘s feet."

On the second day of our arrival Sai Baba called us for an interview. My wife entered the interview room with a taciturn face. She did not do namaskar or bow down at Swami‘s Feet. However, on Swami’s Face was a celestial smile. I tried to apologize to Swami saying: "Baba, Please forgive her." And Swami said: "Keep quiet. You talk too much." My wife gave me a strong look of disapproval.

God is the Doctor of Doctors

Below is an English translation of the brief conversation between Baba and my wife in Hindi.

Baba: "How are you, my bachhi (child)?"
My wife did not feel like answering, but the word ’Bachhi’ made her open up. Looking at the floor, she answered.
Baba: "How many children do you have?"
Naseem: "Four. Three sons and a daughter."
Baba: "What do they do?"
Naseem: "Two are practicing law. Two are studying. Daughter is doing medicine."
Baba: "Very good. I am very happy."
After this my wife felt better, but I was uneasy. Then Baba turned towards me and enquired about my teaching at the college.
Baba: "Abdul, tell me if you desire anything from Me."
Abdul: "Nothing Baba. But ....."
Before I could complete the sentence, Baba indicated by His Hand to stop talking. Although Baba told me to ask, I was not in an appropriate state of mind to do so. Naseem was sitting in the meditative position of Namaaz, with face looking down and both hands folded on her knees.
To my wife, Baba said again "Meri bachhi" (My child). It was very touching when Baba called her "Meri bachhi!" Naseem became slightly relaxed and for the first time raised her head to look at Baba. In a very casual manner, Baba asked her, "Don’t you want your own son?"

His Love Pulls us Beyond the Barriers of Religion

Now I became completely relaxed. With this question, Baba gazed into Naseem’s eyes without batting His eyelids. Naseem was transfixed with her eyes looking at Baba only. This Divine communion went on for a short time. Then suddenly, as if pulled by some invisible force, she fell at Baba’s Feet and plaintively murmured, "Oh! Mere Baba" (Oh! My Baba).

Her whole body was trembling. She was profusely weeping and washing Baba’s feet with her tears! I was about to go near her and help, but Baba signaled me to sit quiet. Baba picked up His handkerchief, wiped His face and lips, and sat at ease. Except for the sound of Naseem’s sobbing, there was pin-drop silence.

After a few minutes, Baba said “Utho mere bachhi” (get up my child). Naseem managed to get up and sat up. In her hand she held a corner of Baba’s robe which was hanging on the floor.

And Allah Says, "Be" and It is

Baba looked at me, kept His hand on my left shoulder and told me to sit next to my wife, who was still sobbing. Continuing to look at me, Swami said, "This lady is pregnant from this moment. She will deliver a very intelligent son on a nationally important day. She will deliver one more son on another important day."

Oh! My jaw dropped and I was amazed. Slowly speaking, I said, "Baba, the doctors confirmed that.........." Cutting off my sentence, Baba said, "What doctors? Doctors – I am the Doctor of doctors!" Naseem and I both understood, and both of us fell at His Feet again. In this manner, Naseem did ’Sai Namaz’ prayers twice.

As a prologue to this Divine Drama, I have to narrate that I married my second wife, Naseem, about eight years back. She did not bear any child for a long time so we consulted gynaecologists at Kolhapur who declared that it is not possible for her to conceive due to blockages of tubes, O-Rh-negative blood, etc. But Naseem loved my first wife and her four children without any reservations. And the children too loved her very much. That was the reason why when Baba asked, “How many children?” She gave a firm answer, “four”.

After returning form Puttaparthi, on the second day I went to Dr. (Mrs.) Meenatai, and told her that Naseem is pregnant and will deliver a son and later on a second son. Meenatai looked at me doubtfully as she had thoroughly checked Naseem just prior to our leaving for Puttaparthi.

Then I narrated to Meenatai all that had happened at Prasanthi Nilayam. She and her Bhadre family members were devotees of Sai Baba of Shirdi. She was suspicious of Sathya Sai Baba. However, she said, "I do agree that this is possible only with the Divine Omni Will.”

On the appointed date, I took Naseem to the clinic. After carrying out necessary medical examination they reported "the pregnancy has been clinically confirmed."

In this manner, as per Baba’s Divine Will, Naseem gave birth to her first son on October 2, 1993 coinciding with the birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi – a nationally important day! Swami Himself performed the naming ceremony and gave him the name ’Sai Baksh’ which means “Sai’s Gift”.

Naseem gave birth to her second child, a boy, on November 19, 1994 . This day is the birth date of Indira Gandhi! The naming ceremony was done at our home and the boy was named ’Sai Kalam’ as per Baba’s wish. The sacred verses of Quran are called ’Aayat’ and the second line of ’Aayat’ is called ’Kalam’.

Professor Korbu narrates another incident

Say He is Allah Who Holds the Heavens and Earth in One Finger and Who says ‘Be’ and It Is

Sai Baba called me for an interview. Within the interview room, Beloved Swami put a question to me which captured me fully:

Baba: "I know that you have faith in Me, but you do not believe in My Power with which I create articles. Is it not so?"
I could not think of anything to say. In a way, I was happy that finally this topic has surfaced as I was still not fully satisfied on this account. I wanted to see and experience it myself. During the past five years, I spoke of Baba and about Baba to scientists, doctors and other learned persons.
I could not answer their questions on creation of objects from sheer Will. I felt it maybe because I did not experience it or I had no adequate knowledge about it due to my half-hearted efforts.
Abdul: "Forgive me, Baba. It is so."
Baba: "Your absence of belief in My Power of Creation is genuine and inquisitive also. I like your frankness and love you. It is very good that you do not take anything for granted. Your faith in Me is not blind; very good. Now I am telling you to ask Me for anything and I shall give it to you here and now. Take your time and ask for anything you desire."
Now I had a break. I had seen a number of objects created by Baba and handled them also. I was convinced about the genuineness of the articles, but I was not sure whether Baba Himself created them. After thinking for a while, knowing very well that there were very few Muslims among Baba’s devotees, I decided to ask for an impossible article no one has seen so far!
Abdul: "Baba, please give me such a thing which embodies in it the entire Universe and only my own religion is shown on it."
Baba: (With a sweet smile) "Abdul, do you really think that you have put an impossible request before Me?" Without a reply, I kept on staring at Baba.
Baba: "Look at My Palm. Do you see anything in it? Nothing is in My palm or behind it. You can verify it." Baba turned His Palm upside down, His cape was above the elbow. I could not dare to hold His Hand. Then Baba caught my wrist forcefully and moved my palm from around His palm to His elbow.
Baba: "Now, go on looking at the centre of My palm for some time."

Within seven to eight seconds, the skin in the centre of His palm opened up and I saw a round large sized object coming out of it, soon the skin became normal as before and there was a beautiful luminous ring there.
Baba: (In Hindi) "You pick it up and give it in My hand. Before that have a careful look at it."
As ordered by Baba, I picked up the ring and inspected it very carefully. It had a crescent moon and a star engraved in gold. I put it back in Baba’s palm.
Abdul: "Baba, I cannot understand anything about this ring. Please explain."
Baba: "You are only born as a Muslim. You do not understand anything about Islam."
That was the truth. I am not a religious person in the true sense.
Baba: "I have made this gold ring in Asta konas (Octangular), embedded Nava-ratnas (nine gems), both represent the Universe, and in the middle of the navaratnas I have put the Islamic symbol of the star and crescent in emeralds (green gem stones.)"
Abdul: "Baba, where is the Muslim religion on this ring?"
Baba: "Look at these green stones. That is your religion. Now I will put this ring on the fourth finger of your left hand as your right hand finger is disfigured."
With this talk, Baba put the heavy ring on the said finger. Ah! It fitted perfectly. I bowed down again at His feet, now with plenty of tears. After a few minutes, I followed Baba to the outer chamber. Baba told the nine foreigners, who were waiting in there, about the ring and described me as "My naughty devotee?" I came to the outer veranda. The fourth finger of my left hand became heavy with the ring which had a heavy sparkling beauty.
Prof. Kasturi’s attention was drawn to it at first. He raised my palm, examined the ring minutely and exclaimed, "I have never seen such a beautiful creation by Swami so far! These are navaratnas (The Nine Universes). But what is this in the middle green portion of the ring? Is it Aum?"
Dr. V. K. Gokak, who also examined it, said, "It is not Aum certainly. Whatever it may be, this ring is an exquisite beauty. I am also witnessing such a creation by Swami for the first time." A few other devotees also saw this ring and touched it to their foreheads and eyes.
I had almost lost my speech, finding it difficult to utter even a single word. As I came into the Darshan hall, a very large number of devotees surrounded me, amongst them were many foreigners.
One of them was a bearded American devotee. He came near me saw the ring closely, took my hand with the ring, put it on his chest and said, "All Hum do Allah!” (Oh! God, your pastime is fathomless).
I was astonished by this and asked him to tell me more. He answered, "I am a Muslim. The ring reveals that you too are a Muslim." I asked him again, "How did you make this out?". He said, "Can you read Arabic?" When I answered in the negative, he clarified, "It is inscribed in the middle all in green." I further asked, "What is the meaning of the inscription?" He answered: "It is ‘Allah’ in Arabic."
At that time I came to know that Baba has inscribed the word "Allah" in the centre of the green emerald stone. I had asked Baba for my religion, and Baba blessed me in this wonderful manner! Who else but Allah that can Say, ‘Be’ and It is! To Him we bow down in worship.

Below is an account by Dr. Zeba Basheeruddin

Dr. Zeba Basheeruddin, a Professor of English from Hyderabad who served for many years in Sri Sathya Sai University, initially thought the ’I am’ in the inscription referred to the physical body of Sai Baba, but changed her opinion later when Sai Baba revealed His Omnipresence to her. When Sathya Sai Baba says “I” He does not refer to His physical body but to the Universal Eternal Consciousness; the ‘I AM THAT I AM’. (Exodus 3:14)

‘Say He is Allah, the Omnipresent’

"I had once engaged my three children in a difficult task, as I was unable to attend to it myself. Many hours had gone by; but the children had not returned. I was worried about their safety. With emotions of fear mingled with hope, I sat at the doorstep scanning the street. Sensing my tension, my mother calmly started chanting ’AyatuI Kursi’ [Lines in Koran ensuring safety and security]. After some time, she closed her eyes and remained silent. Minutes ticked by; but there was no sign of the children coming. The silence aggravated my tension. Why did mother stop praying? What could have happened? After a seemingly long spell of fifteen minutes, mother opened her eyes and asked, "Does your Baba have large eyes?"

"Yes, He has." I replied.
The next query was, "Has He got thick hair neatly set around His head?" The third one threw more light on the identity. "Does He wear a long Kurta reaching down to His Feet?" Definitely the description was that of Baba. What she told me after that was extremely important as far as I was concerned. She revealed, "As I was chanting the prayers from Qur’an, I had the vision of your three children in my inner eye. Baba was also with them." Oh God! Oh my God! What a relief! What a fool I was to be worried! I informed mother that Baba had promised to protect the children right from their birth. My mother, who firmly believed in the Formless Allah, was not a Sai devotee. She explained that Sai Baba’s promise was not referring to His Physical Form, but to the Power of His Omnipresence. Sai is Al Hafiz [The Protector]. The children were back safe and sound, within an hour." [Sai Baba – Mercy to the Worlds P. 19, 20.]

Bhagawan has wonderfully articulated the inner meaning behind fasting and drawing parallels from the practises of the other religions. He has said,

The Ramzan month is set apart for the holy task of bringing into memory and practice the teachings that Hazrath Muhammad conveyed and attaining that stage of unity and purity which is truly Divine. Islam gives importance to the Moon which regulates the months. Hindhus consider the Moon as the deity presiding over the mind. With the dharshan of the New Moon, the Ramzan fast begins and when the New Moon is seen again, the fast ends. ’Fast’ does not consist in merely desisting from food and drink. The fast starts at sunrise and is broken’ only after sunset and is observed most rigourously.

The Quran lays down that all men should cultivate the sense of unity, of interdependence, of selfless love and of the immanence of Divinity. Generally, all men take food of some kind or other for the body five times a day: an early cup of coffee in bed, breakfast two hours later, a heavy lunch at noon, tea at four and a fat dinner at nine. Islam prescribes food for the spiritual nature of man and directs that it be taken five times a day, as prayer. For the arousal of the Aathmic consciousness, for earning spiritual joy and for promoting the manifestation of Aathmic illumination, prayer is prescribed as many as five times a day.” ssspeaks/volume16/sss16-14

Another excerpt from an excellent article by Revered Professor G. Venkataraman

At this point, I would like to narrate an incident that took place many years ago, when I was the Vice Chancellor. One afternoon, after thedarshan and the Interview sessions were over, Swami called me in as usual. After I was asked to be seated, Swami asked me, “Do you know what happened this morning?” I replied, “No Swami” as I was busy in the University. Swami then continued: “This morning, I called a group from Iran for Interview”. Here I must mention that from time to time, Iranians do come here in groups and they have been doing so for years. A good many of them have had amazing experiences and in fact, some years ago, a whole series of discourses were translated into Persian by Iranian devotees and broadcast over Radio Sai. But that is not what I wish to discuss now, and so let me get back to what Swami told me. He said, “Inside the Interview room, some Iranian devotees said to Me: ‘Swami, please perform the Upanayanam of this boy and initiate him into the Gayathri.’ And do you know what I did?” Naturally, I replied, “No Swami.” He then said, “I shall tell you. I asked them, ‘Why do you want this boy to chant Vedic Mantras when he should be chanting verses from the Koran? All religions sing hymns to praise the same God. It is better for your boy to learn to be a better Muslim than to learn new verses from some other religion.’ The Iranians were surprised. I then spoke to them at length about the Glory of Islam, and repeatedly advised them that they should all be good Muslims!” This was not all; Swami told me that one reason why He was very insistent was that the Iranian devotees did not really understand the dangers they would face if back home they started chanting hymns from other religions. Since there was a strong streak of fundamentalism in their native land, they would be exposing their lives to danger; it was to prevent them from coming to harm that they were dissuaded, Swami explained. If that is not compassion, then what it is?

Full Article at http://media.radiosai.org/journals/Vol_06/01NOV08/muslim-4.htm

“I have not come to speak on behalf of any particular religion. I have not come on any mission of publicity for any sect or creed or cause; nor have I come to collect followers for any doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into My fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this Universal unitary faith, this Atmic principle (principle of the Oneness), this path of love, this Dharma of Prema (nature of love), this duty of love, this obligation to love.” – Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Dear brothers and sisters, let us join our Muslim brothers and sisters in Ramadan prayers for peace and happiness in the lives of all beings in the world. Let us join them in singing the Glory of God, our common Divine Source. Allah Hu Akbar!

Editorial Team,
Love and Light