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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  See also:
Spiritual Testament of Mario Mazzoleni

A Chatolic Priest Meets Sai Baba

Table of Contents

Foreword
The Search Begins
From the Paranormal to the Supernatural
In Search of Saints and Masters
The First Steps Toward the Avatar
Another Religion or a Single Faith? Sai Baba and Jesus
The Work of Sai Baba
Man is God
The First and Final Reality
Religion: Devotion to the One God
Schools and Education
Doubt and Inquiry
Anguish and Ecstasy
Epilogue
Afterword
Bibliography

Source: http://www.geocities.com/priyasai108/cd/catholic.htm

Foreword

Many of my friends were alarmed when they learned of my intention to write a book about Sai Baba. They were aware of my convictions about this being who is human only in body. With brotherly concern, they variously advised, begged or beseeched me to publish it under pseudonym, imagining the unhappy consequences I might encounter from the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

I asked myself that I should have no fear in saying what my own eyes have seen. Why should I be afraid to make known what this poor heart of mine experiences before an extraordinary presence? Should I feel guilty for what I have discovered during these years, and be afraid to announce it? Certainly not! On the contrary, I feel quite fortunate. Necessitas enim mihi incumbit: it is not possible to resist the impulse of Truth, and woe to me if I should remain silent!

I write this book dedicating it above all to the Church preciously because I could not let pass, without pointing out to Her who is my Mother, a piece of news which can no longer remain unknown, hidden by indifference, fear, or by general confusion. This work is an undertaking which has made use of me, I would say, only as hired manual labour: I consider its contents the work of Another. It has been written above all for my bishop, Pope; and then for all my fellow bretheren, for my superiors, and for all those who throughout the centuries try to work in the services of, and in the search for, Truth.

Contrary to what those friends of mine fear, I hope - and my heart is certain of it - that these reflections will sound like a call and a warning for a greater spiritual re-awakening.

This era - the era of Sathya, the era of truth - is, in my opinion, a unique moment, which will change the historical and religious order of nations. Certainly the most extraordinary characteristics of this study, in an age in which there is so much talk about sects and religious factions, is that in all the things I have discovered these years, I have found nothing which would prompt an aversion to our religion, nothing which would obstruct our faith. On the contrary! Everything I have meditated on has brought me that much closer to the mysteries I had been celebrating, often without knowing them thoroughly. And it is precisely to Sathya Sai Baba that I owe the renewal of my life as a priest!

In short, my hope is this: that the same thing might happen for many of my fellow bretheren, whom I have found tired, strained and disappointed.

I am grateful to all those who have offered me precious suggestions, in particular to Professor Pierantonio Di Coste, who encouraged and supported the drafting of this book.

I place this book at the feet of Him who inspired it - the only begotten son of yesterday, of today, and of always, the immutable Truth - in the hope that this fruit which He alone has the right to gather will be pleasing to Him and that He will accept it as an offering for His greater glory.

November 23, 1990

Don Mario Mazzoleni

The author would now like to narrate some of the incidents from the book :

Don Mario writes in his book: "It happened a few months after my return to the area Bergamo. It was 1980. An acquaintance told me that a great Guru by the name of Sai Baba was coming to Italy. With the hunger I had for masters, that seemed like a golden opportunity.

Sai Baba : Who was that? The name meant nothing to me, but I managed right away to get my hands on a little book which was supposed to be the brief biography of this personage. It was a book written by an American, a certain Shulman, who was recounting his personal experiences of being close to Sai Baba in India. I read it lazily at first, then ever more avidly. The things I was reading were so unheard of that it made me think that perhaps the writer had just dreamed up this wild fantasy just to reawaken the appetite in the reader who were tired of being astonished.

Not long after, I discovered that there was another book in the market by another author, Howard Murphet, that dealt with the same subject. It was called 'Sai Baba, Man of Miracles'. I bought it and read it with the same voracity as before - except that this time, I could no longer doubt the authenticity of this individual, for it was highly unlike that two authors, one Australian and the other an American, could be coming up with the same lies or inventions. In addition, all of the phenomena and explanations they discussed were amply supported by the studies I have been pursuing.

I read many more books and was looking for a sign from Him or a call from Him. The moment my eyes rested on His words, I felt an instant thrill which transported me mysteriously into a divine atmosphere.

"I am yours, whether you like it or not; you are Mine, even if you hate Me. I am in you, you are in Me. There is no distance and no distinction. You have come home. This is your house. My house is your heart. Why fear, when I am here? Put all your faith in me. I shall guide and guard you."

Forgetting that I was sick, I rushed to a travel agency to book a flight to India. Final destination; Puttaparthi, the place where even now Sai Baba spends most of the year.

If what I had understood was true, I could not afford to reach the end of my life without having seen at least in the flesh. 'Him who called Himself' the mother and father of the whole human race.

The moment of the close counter was drawing near, I was full of misgivings because I had read that it is not easy to meet Him, and some times even to see Him. The books I was reading said that often, when seekers get there He is some place else and seems to elude them.

No. This could not happen. It was not I who was going to see Him: it was He coming to me to draw me to Himself.

"You did not choose Me, No, I chose you."

The best thing to do, after discovering Sai Baba, is to study Him. Nothing in my life has given me as much joy and filled me with so much bliss as studying this person. This in itself is extraordinary. When in school I was forced to study such personages as Napoleon, Cavour, Mazzini, the emperors of ancient Rome, or the Popes throughout history. All I got out of it was an overwhelming boredom and a fervent desire for the end of class. But when I devote myself to the study of Sai Baba, His work, and His teaching, I never get tired of it, even when studying things that I already know (or think I know). In fact I always benefit from it: it is always uplifting and refreshing.

For me, to study Sai Baba meant, first of all to see Him, then to investigate His activities and third to understand His thought, His message. Although I expected to take these steps one at a time, I soon discovered that they are not separable. Sai Baba began to be a message from the moment I first saw Him. Because of this, someone who sees Him has already an enormous gift. I don't say this rhetorically, because the things you understand upon meeting Him may be enough to revolutionize your life, but they still are only an infinitesimal part of what you did not understand at that time and will gradually discover in the course of subsequent events.

Just as in the case of Jesus, His identification as the Messiah did not come simply from His declarations, but mostly from His work of salvation. In the same way Sai Baba does not worry about making everybody know who He is right away, but He works in the hearts of men, redeeming them.

In the same way there are many people who charge Sai Baba with indifference to the sorrow that weighs upon the world, and they ask themselves, "If He is so powerful, why doesn't He eliminate all suffering there is in this world?"  These people would like to change the mission of the divine incarnation. Jesus Christ did not change the sorrowful state of the world either, neither in His own time, nor afterwards. Everything that had to happen: bloody revolutions, wars, destruction, prosecutions, poverty, epidemics, etc., it all happened to schedule.

Even at His birth all the children under two years of age were slaughtered, by the insane command of a criminal king who was afraid he would loose his kingdom. The same kind of thing had already happened at the time of Krishna: Kamsa had all his sister's children killed, because she had been told that her eighth son would suppress - his wicked uncle.

It is never the task of the Redeemer to resolve human errors with a magic wand. Doing so would ensure that the errors would continue to be committed. It is not the mission of an elementary school teacher or of a parent to do the student's home work. If that were to happen laziness would triumph, diplomas would be given unjustly and degrees would soon prove deleterious to the whole society. No one amongst us would willingly go to a doctor who had received his certificate by buying all his degrees: The project to perfect society is based on understanding one's own errors and on the efforts we make to avoid them.

No human being has the authority to declare that God can only incarnate a certain way, or that He cannot choose to spread His message as He wills, not only through prophets, but also incarnating as the Christ, that is, as Avatars. It would be unforgivable theological and philosophical absurdity to deny the Divine Power the right to take a human form in other epochs, among other nations, and in other physical forms. On this point there can be no contrary dogma, because this truth is self-evident, and even a child can understand it: God cannot be limited by anything; much less by a human mind. If we want to have some mental concept of God, the first attribute we must give Him is all possible freedom.

Artong Jumsai is a person of high intellectual and moral stature. In the course of a lecture he gave at Odense, he asserted: "In all my years of research, I have never found a programme as complete and effective as the Sathya Sai Education in Human Values. It is a programme which offers real results in transforming children. The person who created or invented this programme must really be a genius".

Don Mario Mazzoleni, was fully convinced about Baba's divinity and he came out with the book 'A Catholic Priest Meets Sai Baba'. After the publication of the book, he writes in his own words.

One certainly did not have to be a seer to predict that when this book was published, there would be a reaction on the part of the Church hierarchy. The author's aim was in fact to awaken some interest, of whatever kind, in a great voice from the East, which is announcing a time of redemption for our ailing human race. To tell the truth, I did not imagine that the Church would have recourse to such anachronistic measures. Those measures led me to wonder seriously (in other words, it was not pure fantasy) what my reaction would be if, instead of an excommunication delivered by express registered mail, guards had come to my door, with orders to burn me at the stake in the public square…

Don Mario was given an appointment with the Bishop on 16th March, 1992, to have a dialogue with him. In the end of the conversation Mario told Bishop, "I would like to tell you (and I meant in the plural) one last thing, before we end this conversation; this conversation which demonstrates how that divides is always how the truth is interpreted, not the truth itself, which is pure. Why don't you take into consideration the fact that many people who have gone to Sai Baba have felt an impulse to renew their own Catholic religions faith, which is what Sai Baba himself  suggests.

Bishop : "I will make a comparison which, of course, is perhaps inappropriate for your position: even an assassin can be the instrument of salvation for someone. This does not make him any less an assassin."

Mario: "To be honest, your example seems to me ill-chosen"

On 24th May Don Mario received a registered letter by express mail from the Vicariate of Rome. The contents of the letter are as follows :

The Bishop of Bergamo has informed the Vicariate of Rome, in a note of December 17,1991, that the writings, the public declarations and the - to say the least - disconcerting ideas upheld by the Priest Don Mario Mazzoleni in regard to the Indian teacher Sai Baba, whose convinced follower he declares himself to be, excite significant astonishment and scandal among the faithful;

The Priest, on November 23, 1990, dedicated the book entitled 'A Catholic Priest Meets Sai Baba' to the Catholic Church, a book which, though it begins with the praiseworthy intent of seeking the action of the spirit of God in every man and in every religious experience, ends up disowing the truths of the Catholic faith;

An attentive reading of the book reveals that the author has lost his Catholic faith in the holy trinity and in Christ as the only saviour, and, specially in the letters addressed to a friend (pp. 210-213 & 216-217), the unicity of Christ the saviour is expressly denied;

The assertions more ever that accept Sai Baba's claim to be a divine incarnation, that defends his works, miracles, sayings, doctrines, are grave affirmation against the faith;

The public declarations of  Don Mario Mazzoleni have caused confusion and scandal because of the fact that they come from a priest who continues to exercise his ministry in the name of the Catholic Church;

Since the good faith of the writer shows clearly from the tenor of the book's dedication, it is all the more necessary to call the priest back from error with an urgent request to cease causing scandal and to return to the doctrine of the Church.

 INVITES

The Priest Mario Mazzoleni to retreat from his heritical doctrinal positions, to cease causing scandal and to explicitly retract his error within the suitable time of 3 months; with the warning that if the retraction is not forthcoming the cardinal will have to proceed to declare excommunication latae sententiae (in the broad sense) for heresay according to Canon Law 1364, and subsequently to bar the priest from the exercise of the power of his office, until he returns to the Catholic doctrine.

He further invites the same priest to a personal interview on the subject, in his office at the Vicariate of Rome on the day June 3, 1992 at 10 a.m. or else on June 6, 1992 at 12 noon.

Camillo Card Ruini

Vicar General

Don Mario Mazzoleni replies:

Most revered Eminence,

In the present letter, I intend to entrust to writing what perhaps will come out less clearly in our meeting.

First of all I would like to express my gratitude for the attention that has been bestowed on me, and for allowing me to clarify in person the reasons for what I have done. One might say that I was anxiously awaiting this call, because regardless of the decisions that my superiors may make in my case, I wish to communicate to them an experience which continues to leave a beneficial mark in every day life.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba's message is based on an unlimited ecumenism, where ecumenism does not mean the suppression of the different religions in order to make one chaotic hodge-podge religion, but rather the constant search for the points that different religions have in common. The goal of this search, as the greatest Master says, that there be only one religion, the religion of love.

When one studies Sai Baba's teachings, as I have been doing for 12 years, one constantly sees that his goal is not to find another religion, but rather to elevate the level of human consciousness. He does this by directing everyone who comes to him toward a life full of truth, righteousness, peace, love and non-violence. He tells the devotees who come to his Ashram to put into practice intensely the fundamental principles of their respective religions. Often the people who have turned to him are not practicing any religion, or else they have strayed away from their own church. The real miracle that I see constantly repeated, is the desire those people experience is to return to practicing their faith.

I beg you, Eminence,  let us not shut the door on these people: they are living rather through  a delicate moment, and for our Church it would surely be a gesture of noble outreachy, as well as practical evangelism, to include them in our fold. Sai Baba does not want new churches, He wants to fill the ones that already exist.

I know that the Church is seriously worried about the formation of new sects. But I can unconditionally  guarantee that Sai Baba has given clear directives that new religious communities should not be created in oppositions to the official ones. If groups of devotees gather in centres, this is to be only in order to carry out charitable works and to study sacred scriptures. Let me point out that Hare Krishna or Jehovah's Witness or the Seventh Day Adventist will never set foot in a Catholic church to participate in Sunday worship, but I assure you that there are many devotees of Sai Baba who are praying in our Parish churches with renewed fervour, and that they take communion with a mystical zeal rarely found among normal Christians. Sai Baba's devotees gather once a week in order to pray and sing, but their worship is directed towards the same God that is worshipped in the Churches.

I am acquainted with all the Sathya Sai Baba centres in Italy. Many times I have exhorted there members to simplify their exterior rituals, which derive from their sympathy for the exotic world of India, and to ask their parish priests for permission to meet in the parish church to pray and sing the praises of the Lord. Unfortunately, misunderstandings and prejudices keep them away, nevertheless there are now many priests who contact me in order to find out more about Sai Baba and his teachings. In these last months I have received innumerable letters of appreciations, most of them from Catholics. The dissenting voices (which as always, are the noisiest) make up a tiny minority.

What grieves me most in this whole experience that I am going through, is to see the extreme superficiality with which Sai Baba and his message are being addressed by the Church. Meanwhile millions of people of every nation, race and religion are continually overwhelmed by his astounding greatness, and I see the most erudite and intellectual people surrender one after the other to what they have seen with their eyes and felt in their hearts.

Eminence, I do not want to get involved in defending the theological positions I have expressed in my book. I realise that they are open to discussion, and that they may be "disconcerting". Believe me, it was not at all my intention to create scandal. If this has happened, it is due to my ingenious zeal, I shall try to make amends. I promise that if I am allowed to continue my ministry as a priest I shall hold no more public lectures, nor will I give  interviews to the media about Sai Baba. In all these years I have never contaminated my ministry with any theories foreign to our doctrine.

Given that the only thing that really matters to me is that our church come to know Sai Baba in a serious way, without divisions, I declare myself available to take part in any committee that might be set up to study Sai Baba thoroughly. I am willing also to take part in any trips to visit Him, as long as they are undertaken with a scientific attitude without prejudices. It may be useful to say that I am in contact with doctors, physicists and scientists who have been studying the Sai Baba "phenomenon" for years.

Whatever measures are taken in my regard, I declare that I shall always be happy to serve the Church in any other way through consultations or studies, because I shall always feel that I am united with Her.

Devotedly, in the Lord,

Sd : Don Mario Mazzoleni,

Rome, June 3, 1992

Don Mario writes, "When I spoke to the cardinal about Sai Baba and His mission of ecumenism, He interrupted me, almost worried, in order to say. There can be no ecumenism, because the whole truth has been revealed only in Catholicism".

These words wounded me more than the threat of excommunication.

Don Mario further expresses, "As the author of the book in question, I reaffirm that I have not lost my Catholic faith. On the contrary, after my encounter with the great 'Indian Master' Sri Sathya Sai Baba, I feel that I live it with greater intensity, in a spirit of real communion with all other religions. These all share the one goal of reaching the same God, who transcends all changing names and forms.

Between the two alternatives I am offered, either being exiled from the institution of Church, or else being exiled from my conscience, I cannot and will not select the latter. Institutions do not accompany anyone beyond the grave. While the only reality that one can present to God is one's conscience. The Lord who 'examines the heart' is our judge: if in my case I have committed or am about to commit an error (by refusing to retreat), I beg His forgiveness and the light to rectify it; if I am acting in accordance with truth, may He forgive those who condemn me".

Eternal praise be to the Christ, to Him "who was born from the father before all ages," Him who outlives all the good and wicked actions of man and who will never die.

On Thursday September 24, 1992 the fateful letter arrived. This time it was fully formal decree of excommunication.

The final words of Don Mario Mazzoleni :-

"Here we have come to the end of my history as a priest. This is the chapter of my life which will now be filed away. I felt that I owed this explanation to the reader, even though the affair is of no longer of any concern to me: to be suspended from certain ceremonies, said to be divine, certainly does not preclude access to the Divine. I can no longer go to Mass, no longer lose myself in the warm atmosphere of a midnight Mass, to be moved by the sweetness of Christmas Carols, but I can always speak heart-to-heart with the Lord, pray to Him, love Him, meet Him. Everyone can, because of this, even 'atheists' know how to pray. This is the real consolation, which no one will ever be able to take from me; there is not a single person in the whole world who can pry you away from God.

To belong to a religious institutions does not automatically mean that one belongs to God. To be in harmony with the Divine, one must respect the conscience of every person and listen to one's own. At that point one can say: if God is with us who shall be against us? "Why fear when I am here?"

Mario Mazzoleni

(Entire matter has been taken from the book 'A Catholic Priest Meets Sai Baba' by Don Mario Mazzoleni).


Book Review

http://beaskund.helloyou.ws/netnews/bookstore/mazzoleni.html

«Why on earth would a priest, who has been taught so many well-packaged and inviolable truths, need to be a seeker? Are there any existential questions which a priest has not answered? and - you might ask - what does a man of the church, who should already have perfected his education and knowledge, still need to investigate?... Well, then, yes!

In nature, everything undergoes change, and our reason is part of nature. The fundamental truth might not change, but the human approach to these truths does, and this amounts to admitting that it is necessary to review and correct the way sacred truths have been formulated in the past. The level of consciousness of a people gradually expands, and a formulation which seemed right centuries ago today appears honestly outdated. It is not the underlying truth which goes out of date, but the way in which it is expressed. The clothes change, but not the body dressed in them.»

- Don Mario Mazzoleni, page 2

«One of the quotations, which has made Sathya Sai Baba's mission famous throughout the world is the following:

There is only one religion: the religion of love.
There is only one language: the language of the heart.
There is only one caste: the caste of humanity.
There is only one God, and He is omnipresent.

Some detractors think that this slogan implies a desire to unite all religions into one, making just one religion... Sai Baba has absolutely no intention of founding a new religion. He himself has said that there are plenty of religions already, indeed too many. The sacred task He has assumed is to lead all religions back to the one Truth which is God and Love. Any religion that fights or dismisses other religions in order to defend itself is not a true religion, because it is against Love, which is to be against God!»

- Don Mario Mazzoleni, pages 177, 178

This era - the era of Sathya, the era of Truth - is, in my opinion, a unique moment, which will change the historical and religious order of nations. Certainly the most extraordinary characteristic of this study, in an age in which there is so much talk about sects and religious factions, is that in all the things I have discovered in these years, I have found nothing which would prompt an aversion to our religion, nothing which would obstruct our faith. On the contrary! Everything I have meditated on has brought me that much closer to the mysteries I had been celebrating, often without knowing them thoroughly.»

- Don Mario Mazzoleni, Introduction

Don Mario Mazzoleni has a degree in Moral Theology from the Higher Institute of Theological Sciences of the Alphonsian Academy in Rome. In the 1970's he was associated with the Vatican Radio and the newspaper L'Avvenire. He was particularly concerned with the relationship of the mass media to spiritual instruction.
 

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