HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH IN SAI?
I have come across quite a number of Sai-bandhus telling me wistfully, ''Oh, I wish I had your faith". In my case, I find it hard to be patient with these people who just sit around and wish. Wishing alone would not do it. If you want to learn driving or to swim, you do not just sit in your chair and wish, do you? You join a Driving School and slowly learn to steer your way. You get into the water, even if you are not sure it will hold you up. You experiment until you acquire some skill. The same rule applies if you want Sai Baba to play a stronger part in your life.
In the first place, try exposing yourself to Sai Baba in every moment of your life. Faith is contagious, but you won't catch it if you stay away from the Sai-shrine, from the Sai Satcharitra, from visiting Shirdi. But visiting Shirdi alone is not enough either. Success depends on a conscious effort to be open to the stream of Sai-power. There is no use going where it is if you won't let it in. You might as well try to take a shower wearing a raincoat and rubber boots. What is more, it is essential to believe Sai-'However oppressed and troubled one may be, as soon as he steps in the Masjid, he is on the pathway to happiness The Fakhir here is very kind and he will cure the disease and protect all with love and kindness.'
If you say "Oh, I could never have anything like that" you are blocking the flow of 'Sai-grace* just as definitely as when you shut off a stream of water by twisting the tap. Also keep remembering yourself that Sainath wants you in contact with Himself. Sai has assured : 'I always think of him who remembers me.' And Sainath will help you if you really think of Him and are fully honest with Him about yourself, and hope and pray and try to believe.
If you are not satisfied with your 'Sradda' in Sai, I suggest you try taking this long, honest look at yourself and see if anything inside you is holding you back. Anger, hatred, jealousy, resentment of other people, fear and guilt. It is important to surrender these little luxuries. And of course, when you make a sincere effort to do that, you find that you can't let go of them without letting go of yourself. That is why Sai advised :'A true. Ramadasi should have no Mamatha but have Samatha towards all.' If you do look honestly at yourself, you may be a little discouraged - or even appalled - by what you see. But you can be sure of this: Lord Sainath's interest in us is a lot more steadfast and trustworthy than our interest in Him.
'You look to me; I look to you'. These are prophetic words. Sainath will get through to us if we give Him any sort of chance'. And the channel He uses is precisely the thing I am talking about: Faith, All of us have the capacity for it, but we must learn to use it.
Let Sai Baba's assurance be ringing in your ears like a melodious tone : "Believe Me, though I pass away, my bones in my tomb will give you hope and confidence. Not only myself but my tomb would be speaking, moving and communicating with those who would surrender themselves wholeheartedly to Me.' Believe these words one hundred percent. This is not self-deception. It is a valid and wothwhile spiritual experiment. And it may well have surprising results. Science must experiment by beginning with a hypothesis - acting as if it were true-and finding out by trail whether it is or not.
I, myself, have seen it work, over and over again. That is why I tell the doubters and the shaky ones to try the way of believing as against the way of not believing. If they do try honestly, and stick to it, more and more they will find themselves being swept along by a current not of their own making, Their level of faith will begin to rise, because the faculty of faith grows stronger with use, and, by acting as if, they will , have been using it.
It was the great psychologist, William James, who said : 'Religion is either a dull habit or an acute fever'. That is what Sai-bandhus need: Devotees who are burning with the knowledge and love and wonder of Lord Sainath. There is nothing like it. Try it and see.
MKS. SEETHA VIJAYAKUMAR KIL-KOTAGIRI ESTATE KIL-KOTAGIRi 643216 NILGIRIS (SOURCE SAIPRABHA JULY 1987)