By Mr. Bjørn Ribers,
Bjørn is a
social worker at the Red Cross. He qualified with an
M.A. in Psychology and Communication Studies. A member
of the Sai Youth Group, he was involved in the Centre's
Project for Homeless People and also visits homes for
the elderly and disabled. His wife Henriette Emilie is
an artist and has portrayed Baba in her paintings.
I first heard about Sri Sathya
Sai Baba in 1986, when I was 14 years of age. I come from a
Christian background, and it was a few months after my
confirmation. My Godmother had recently been to Prasanthi
Nilayam, and when she returned to Denmark she showed us
pictures from the Ashram. A specific photo made a particular
impression on me. It portrayed the big statue in front of
Swami's temple, with the lotus flower and the five world
religions, unifying spirituality and science. "Baba's
message," she told us, "is that all religions are aspects of
the same Truth, the same God, although they may call Him by
different names." At this moment I experienced contact with
a voice deep within me saying, "Yes, this is the Truth, this
is what I have always felt myself." The words were
accompanied by a sense of peace.
A few years later, my mother
went to Prasanthi Nilayam and brought back vibuthi,
literature on Baba and pictures of Him – as well as many
beautiful experiences, which she captured in the paintings "Darshan"
and "Morning Prayer".
In the family we often spoke about Baba, His teachings
and other spiritual issues. I had the life of an average
Danish young man, went to college, engaged in sports
activities and spent time with my friends and family,
but the longing for a more spiritual life increased over
the years. I prayed to the omnipresent God without name
and form to show me the spiritual guide that I was
destined to follow. The following night Baba appeared to
me in a dream and spoke to me in English, giving me
advice about several aspects of my life. These dreams
have been part of my inner life and contact with Him
In 1994, I was in Prasanthi
Nilayam with a group of Danish Sai devotees for Christmas. I
did not travel to India to find out who Baba was. For some
unknown reason it already seemed clear to me that He was the
reincarnation of Lord Krishna, the Creator of this Universe.
Nor did I come for healing, to be convinced about Baba's
ability to materialise, or to test His Divine powers. I went
there because I had a deep longing to see Him and feel His
Eyes of Endless Depth
Eyes...that encompassed eternity
One day during Darshan, He was
standing right in front of me. He did not speak to me, but
He looked into my eyes and smiled. His face was so
beautiful. An old saying states, "The eyes are the mirror of
the soul" and I often felt that when I looked into the eyes
of a person I would see a reflection of their soul's
But with Swami, there
seemed to be no individual soul. No beginning. No end.
Looking into His eyes was a view into Eternity, into the
Absolute Infinite Beingness – God. I was plunged into the
unfathomable, overwhelmed and deeply touched. He left me
awestruck, with tears in my eyes.
A few days later, on Christmas
day, an Indian Sai devotee shared with me the following
quote by Baba:
where you go, always know that I will be there, inside you,
guiding you every step of the way. In the years to come, you
will experience Me in My different manifestations of My
form. You are My very own, dearer than dear to Me. I will
protect you like the eyelids that protect the eyes."
Little did I know at that
time, how significant these words would be to me in the
years to come!
When I returned to Denmark my
life changed completely. If ever I were to be worthy of
looking into His eyes again I would have to put His
teachings into practice. What had He told me? That I should
see Him in His different manifestations of His form, and
that only through love and service to mankind could I serve
God and attain God's grace. On a spring day in 1995 the
following poem flowed easily into my mind.
Beloved One, Beloved One,
Let me be your sacred son.
I am Yours and You are mine
We are all in Love Divine.
Take my life and make me You;
Make me just as loving too.
You are God and I am too,
Let me work in love for you.
Lead me on the journey through
All the way back Home to You.
I am Yours and You are mine;
We are all in Love Divine.
Oh, My Lord I pray to Thee,
Make me humble on my knee.
I will serve the best I can;
See You Lord, in every man.
We are One;
Please make me Yours,
Vision of Sai
I titled it Beloved One
and the words defined the way I strived to live my life.
Yet, words alone are not sufficient; they must be followed
by practice. So I volunteered to become a visiting friend at
the nearest old people's home. Several days a week I would
go and spend time with the elders, talk to them, listen to
their life stories and learn about the difficulties they are
grappling with in the last days of their lives.
everywhere, at all times..."
I realised, that when they
viewed their lives in retrospect, the most valuable
experience had been the love of their families. These
moments of service were indeed rewarding for me. However, I
often longed for India, for Swami and for the nearness of my
Father, the Poorna Avathar.
It was on one such day, when I
was on my way to visit an elderly man at the old people's
home that I was longing for India and Swami. When I entered
the room where the old man lived, I saw him lying on his
bed. And as I went near and we started speaking, my thoughts
went back to India and for a few seconds I didn't focus on
the person in front of me, whom I had promised to serve.
When I looked up again
it was no longer the old man lying on the bed. It was Sri
Sathya Sai Baba, in His orange robe, with a crown of black
hair! Not like a vision or a dream, but in His physical
form. I was so awestruck that I almost fell on my knees. But
the moment I moved, the scene changed. Again it was the old
man lying in front of me.
"Serve man until you see God in all men,"
Baba tells us. I spent the rest of the day with my friend,
reflecting upon Baba's words. As humble as I would be
towards Swami, I should be to this man. As respectful as I
would be to Swami, I should be towards this man. All the
love I would have for Swami, I should have for this man.
"In the years to come, you
will see Me in My different manifestations of My form."
Baba had indeed kept His
promise. For five years I served several different people at
the old people's home and I spent almost every evening
there. I didn't see Swami in His familiar divine form again,
but I learned to see and experience His omnipresence and His
Love in His multiplicity of forms.