“Let all of us take this time to pray for Sathya Sai Baba,” His Divine Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda told us all in Satsang two days before the enigmatic incarnation dropped his mortal coils. “His presence on planet earth is a blessing to all of us, and even if we don’t see him physically, we are benefited by his powerful spiritual vibration. It’s avatars like Sai Baba who keep the Dharma Chakra spinning.”
As a Sangha, or spiritual community, we were all asked to spend our morning meditation that day in gratitude for Sai Baba, and to post messages of support and love to his disciples, as we knew they were surely grieving at the sight of their bedridden Guru.
In Nithyananda Sangha, the love, devotion and gratitude felt by our Swamiji towards Sai Baba is well known to all of us. We have all heard the beautiful story of how Sai Baba was the first to publicly recognize Paramahamsa Nithyananda as an incarnation when, on June 12, 2004, the president of the Sathya Sai Trust came to visit, along with a few devotees, to present Paramahamsa Nithyananda with Swarna Padukas, golden footwear emblazoned with the Shanka Chakra, divine symbols that are to be worn only on the feet of living incarnations. Humbled and filled with devotion, Paramahamsa Nithyananda sent the precious gift back, as he had not yet revealed his higher identity to his followers, but Sai Baba did not accept their return, and again sent the padukas back to Paramahamsa Nithyananda, along with a note that stated, “Wear these. I know who you are. You know who you are.”
It’s hard to imagine, as a human being, how it feels to see reality from the cosmic conscious perspective. In the last days before Sai Baba left the body, a rare glimpse into this lone and sometimes lonely world was afforded to us. As a disciple of Paramahamsa Nithyananda, that was the only time I’ve ever seen my Guru express grief. He told us that losing Sai Baba is a tragedy. On the day Sai Baba took mahasamadhi, (left the body) Paramahamsa Nithyananda told us all that now He is truly alone; there is nobody else alive and radiating his frequency. Immediately, he procured the grandest flower garland available, and made the journey to Puttaparthi.
This was a time when surely everyone was in a deep state of mourning, simultaneously celebrating the great life of a rare enlightened being, and also feeling the sadness of his loss. Nobody expected the somber occasion to be used as fodder for the attack against Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s character, but that is exactly how the scene was portrayed by paid media.
When Paramahamsa Nithyananda arrived in Puttaparthi, members of the press had already arrived. Every nuance was painstakingly twisted by the press, and portrayed as a character flaw. When Paramahamsa Nithyananda smiled, they called His smile fake; when He placed the garland on the glass casket of his beloved mentor, they called the loving gesture a drama; when he walked among the crowd of mourners, they described his body language as embarrassed. These shameless members of the press won’t even allow the target of their character assassination to attend a prayer service in peace.
One article dated 24th April 2011, published by NDTV, boasts the headline, “Cold Reception for Nithyananda at Puttaparthi,” and states that although Paramahamsa Nithyananda “did not stay for long, his brief visit became the most talked about incident for the rest of the day.”
The spin the media put on Sathya Sai Baba’s memorial service is disgraceful. In their perverse attempt to shame Paramahamsa Nithyananda, they have actually shamed only themselves. Any decent human being would have taken the time there to honor the life of the master who had so recently passed, and at the very least, kept quiet about the reverence shown to him even by an enemy. It is a ridiculous lie to claim that on the day when devotees were mourning their Guru, the most talked about incident was a visit from another religious leader. In reality, it’s doubtful that anyone there had even diverted their crying eyes from Sai Baba’s body, which was openly visible in a glass casket, long enough to see – let alone scrutinize – the body language and facial expressions of someone else paying him tribute.
While the paid press had a field day questioning Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s motives for visiting, insulting his appearance, ridiculing His gesture of respect and condemning Him for showing His face in public, all because they had attacked him years earlier with a morphed video, nobody once stopped to consider the very real relationship He and Sathya Sai Baba had shared. Sai Baba had taken Paramahamsa Nithyananda under his wing; knowing the sick mindset of the Hindu-bashing press, he always stood by and supported the younger master. Himself not a stranger to the lies and persecution of the presstitutes, it’s sadly ironic that the very vipers he had once cautioned Paramahamsa Nithyananda to avoid were there at his wake, ready to poison even this sorrowful event.
That Sathya Sai Baba loved Paramahamsa Nithyananda and vice versa is undeniable. Anyone who truly knows either of the two will tell you the same. When his dearly beloved predecessor moved from this life into the cosmos, the pain he felt expressed for all the world to see should have been held in a space beyond ridicule; the media’s attack on his fresh loss was cheap, pouring salt into the wounds of someone who was saying goodbye to one of the few who had supported him unconditionally.
“I am God. You are also God. The only difference is that I know this, you don’t.”
These words are the introduction Sathya Sai Baba gives for himself. When he blessed Paramahamsa Nithyananda with golden padukas and the message, “I know who you are. You know who you are,” it was not just acknowledgement that Nithyanandaji is an Avatar; it was a declaration of Oneness. To insult Paramahamsa Nithyananda is to insult Sathya Sai Baba. To laugh at One at the funeral of the Other is to desecrate the sanctity of Both, for there is truly no difference between Them.