by Roy Creek
A devotee's book about the experiences of a group of pilgrims to Baba's ashram in 1988, serialised exclusively on this website.
Reflection is such a valuable tool, none better that when reliving
your personal experiences and examining the reasons for the actions
that have subsequently occurred, and if you happen to be one of a
group of pilgrims who have experienced a unique event, it becomes
all the more interesting to see how their reflections compare.
I had asked a friend who had previously been to Puttaparthi how it had affected him and he replied that he did not think that it had changed him at all. However his wife had remarked to him how changed he was since coming back home. He was calmer, more tolerant. More at peace might be a better description.
It was going to be interesting to see if others could recognise subtle or profound changes since their pilgrimage.
It was with this in mind that I wrote the following letter, not knowing the response, but firmly believing that a profound change would have taken place in that band of pilgrims of 1988.
We owed much to the guidance of Aimé and Sandra Levy on that trip. They had gathered us together, invited us to their home to instruct us and tell us what to expect and whilst in Puttaparthi had led us to behave in a manner that would be expected of pilgrims. This was not a holiday, it was a pilgrimage led with kindly, loving discipline. I believe their disciplines were instrumental in this group receiving an amazing three interviews.
The letter to Brothers and Sisters in Sai who went to Puttaparthi
in January 1988
12th June 1993
Dear Friend in Sai
The Class of '88
I was at a Satsang at Horsham recently and one of the devotees on the January 1988 trip came up to me and after the usual greetings said " I think that there was something special about our group". Not that we were better than others or that this trip was better than others, but there seemed to be a purpose in our being there together at that time. ( I hope that many others will say the same about their pilgrimage ).
1988 being my first trip, it was certainly special to me. It was certainly more physical than I had meant it to be ( as though it was going to be as I meant it to be anyway!!). That first time was to pay homage to Swami - as I saw it then. So when I went this Christmas 1992, I was determined that it was not going to be so physical - and it was, at least to my limited awareness. For who decides what it is going to be, but Swami? And who decides what has happened since then, but Swami.
A lot has happened to me in the intervening five years in that my thoughts are now directed more and more to Swami, yet not in the way I would expect, for I always try to respond to opportunities to do Seva, but now tend to shy away from group activity and other forms of spiritual activity that do not involve Sai Baba. My thoughts seem to be guided, in that, little droplets of inspiration drip ever so gently into my consciousness and I find that my recent line of spiritual thinking is echoed word for word, in the books that I am drawn to read at that time. There seems to be a steady, but calm progression towards increased awareness of all manner of subjects that have the common link of the Oneness of God. It is when one stands back and looks at oneself that the link becomes apparent and perhaps your answers may reflect something similar in yourselves and to the 1988 group.
I am sure that people will have said to you "Did you have to go to see Baba" and that your answer was an unequivocal "YES". For how can you pay homage otherwise? At home you can acknowledge and recognise His presence, and even seem closer to Him, but don't you think that the very act of going to Him had a greater significance than you realised then, or do realise even now, that this may have been an event predetermined lifetimes ago? And, that we are now receiving the benefits of Darshan (The sight of the Lord that destroys all sins), Sparshan (The touch of the Divine that liberates one from all karmic bonds) and Sambhashan (Conversing with the Lord destroys all grief) - with all the implications. And, that we have received the unbelievable benefit of experiencing God?
The purpose of this letter then, is to ask if you would kindly write back and tell me how you have been redirected or led, since that trip in '88. with possibly a little inward look at your self.
It may be good or not so good, it may be towards Swami or away, it may be that you really are a wave in the ocean and like the waves advance and recede, but I am sure that the tide is coming in and safely and surely we are being drawn to Baba. Perhaps you need help or are in a position to offer it, your interests may have widened to cover the Universe or narrowed to an intensity.
If you would care to share this with me and then if, as I suspect, there is a common theme flowing through the answers, I would like to publish them. If the thought of being published disturbs you, it may be that we can leave sections, or your name out, and use your initials, perhaps a nom de plume or town, anyway I am sure that we will sort it out.
It feels to me that it will turn out to be important that you all answer, for the reluctant ones may have experienced or been redirected in the way that has some meaning to this quest.
I look forward to your answers, please give your letter some thought, and if you know the address of someone in that group who has moved in the last five years, this may prove very useful
I do hope that this compilation will be an inspiration to those that may eventually read it. It may show that the hand of Swami is gently but surely guiding us all in the same direction. It may show aspects that were never suspected. Let us see!
You may also like to speculate on the future - progress - enlightenment?
In closing, I would say that writing this letter to you has been a thought provoking experience for me, I do hope that your answer will be stimulating to you and your readers.
Yours in love and light
The appendix contains the letters with the extracts numbered so that
you can see their context
One writer asked to remain anonymous and it was then my decision to remove the names and reference to all others by name.
These letters make wonderful reading for they show better than I ever could, the wonder and joy of these three weeks into the unknown of India. No mention is made of the basic accommodation or conditions or of personal problems.
They are a Journal of Joy - This joy that eternally reaches out through time. The joy of coming face to face with the Creator.
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