Forty Years to Find God - By Lucas Ralli

Sometimes disaster proves to be a stepping stone in life and so it proved with me when I broke by neck in the summer of 1949. Throughout the 1950s, I suffered periodic spells of intense pain, due to a slipped disc in my neck resulting from the original injury. Medical treatment was of no avail, but in 1958, a friend told me to go and see a famous spiritual healer called Ted Fricker. I went there in great pain, hardly able to move my head, but a few minutes later I was able to turn my head virtually back to front, and for good measure, I bent forwards to touch my toes. On any basis, it was a miracle and showed me that there was more in the world than I realised. More important, Ted Fricker asked me if I realised-that I had the same healing gift and told me to get started! A month later, a clairvoyant whom I met at a party told me exactly the same thing, so I started my healing work, with very interesting results. I joined the National Federation of Spiritual Healers who published a monthly magazine. But, as the years went by, I seldom opened it, realising that there was nothing to learn, except that I was a channel and God was the healer. 

Years later, in November 1979, the magazine dropped through my letter box and I opened it at random. My eyes were immediately drawn to some indented words in the middle of the page. 
There is only one God, He is omnipresent 
There is only one religion, the religion of love 
There is only one caste, the caste of humanity 
There is only one language, the language of the heart 

The article was entitled LOVE WALKING ON TWO FEET and was about our beloved Bhagavan Baba. I knew at that precise moment that I had found God, even before I read the article. And I had been searching for God since 1940. 

After my awakening in November 1979, I quickly read all the books I could find about Bhagavan Baba and His teachings. I found immediate confirmation of so much that I had worked out the hard way during the previous forty years and, of course, much more. The truth was at last revealed. What a revelation. I read in one book that Bhagavan had said: 
"I am like a radio set, anyone can call me up." This fascinated me as I had been a radio ham since 1938 and the idea of communication always interested me. So I called up Bhagavan during my meditation and was not unduly surprised when I seemed to receive a reply instantly. I assumed everyone else, all His devotees, were doing the same thing. Early communication was short and simple. However, this early experience of the omnipresence of God gave me the urge to dash out to India to find this extraordinary holy man, apparently God incarnate. But when I meditated on it, I received such a clear response… "not now, later." That was early in 1980, and during the summer of that year when I was on holiday in Greece, I received another message which said… "I will speak to you in Bombay.' The date was 13th August. 
Sri Sathya Sai Darshan at Prasanthi Nilayam
It was not until January 1981 that I made my first pilgrimage to find Bhagavan, although by this time I was in daily contact with Him in meditation and through the messages. We spent two and a half weeks in Bangalore as Bhagavan was at Brindavan, and we attended darshan there twice a day. I was longing for an interview, but although Bhagavan looked at me and right through me on several occasions, there was no interview. Then Bhagavan left for Madras and was due to go on to Bombay. In a message, He told me to go and wait for Him in Bombay which is what we did. Then He arrived and we had the most wonderful darshans at the Dharmakshetra. Again Bhagavan looked at me and right through me. And on the last morning, just before He left Bombay, He called our little group of four people for an interview. Once inside the interview room, time became timeless and it seemed as though Bhagavan enjoyed playing with us, His children, and would give us anything we wanted. The whole atmosphere was utterly divine. 

We returned to London but knew that we would be back in India before the end of the year. And in October 1981, we arrived at Puttaparthi just in time for the Dasara festival. What an incredible experience it was. Once again Bhagavan looked at me, sometimes looking right into me or right through me, and at other times giving me that divine smile which melts the heart. Then one day, without warning, I discovered that I was in the "repair shop”! Bhagavan totally ignored me, and did it in such a way that there could not be any doubt about what was happening. One day when I was in the front row, Bhagavan came out of the Mandir and walked very slowly straight towards me. He seemed to be looking straight at me and I thought I was in for some wonderful experience. So I was! He stopped right in front of me and then called in for interview everyone round me. But I was ignored and found myself sitting in a sort of void. What a message! 
Dasara Celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam - 1980s
When I got back to the room, somewhat shattered to say the least, I sat down and decided to meditate and try to find out what was wrong. In an instant, I got the answer, just one word, “SURRENDER.” However, I had no idea how to surrender or even what it really meant. Years later, I came across some words of Bhagavan which seemed very relevant... "How can you surrender when you do not know what you are surrendering?" Yes, that is so true and even today I am still struggling to surrender. Fortunately, I have received some lovely messages from Bhagavan which throw light on the meaning of surrender, but in the end we have to make our own effort and find our own way. 

Early this morning, before I had given any thought to writing this article, I asked Bhagavan to give me a message for the day. This was the message: Sacrifice and Surrender. What is the meaning of sacrifice? Sacrifice is a stepping stone towards a better future, an essential step on the spiritual path. What is the most important sacrifice in life? It is to give up desire, and in particular, desires for your own personal pleasure, comfort, satisfaction and gain. Desire is the biggest challenge that man can experience. Inevitably all desires are related to selfishness and act as a brake on spiritual progress. How can a man progress spiritually if he spends his whole life thinking about himself, his body and its many desires? Desires of the senses, which can become unlimited unless strictly controlled. And yet these same senses are there for a purpose, and if used correctly, fulfil that purpose. Everything depends on balance, and that is in your own hands. 

When you surrender to God, you do everything for Him. At that point, a perfect balance is established and your own life is transformed. It is like stepping out of the darkness into the sunshine where you can see everything as it really is, the real and the unreal, the permanent and the transient. Everything is revealed in its true state and the divine hand can be seen everywhere. Sacrifice is indeed a stepping stone to enlightenment and to the realisation of your own divinity. 
Sathya Sai Darshans at Prasanthi Nilayam in 1980s
Every visit to India is a new experience, and a new learning opportunity. Will I ever learn? Will I ever put all the divine teachings into practice in my daily life? These are questions which I ask myself as each year passes. Am I making the most of this unique opportunity, when I am here on earth at the same time as our Lord, and with the chance to be so close to Him on all my visits to India? I think everyone should ponder this question for they are not here at this time by accident. 

I have been doubly blessed as the recipient of so many divine messages, direct from Bhagavan. And it was some years before I had the courage to ask Him whether they were genuine and directly from Him. I will always remember His simple reply ... "Yes, yes, where do you think they come from, the sky?” He then told me to put the messages together and publish them in a book so that everyone could share the teachings. Today there are two books, SAI MESSAGES FOR YOU & ME and the third book should be ready for the 65th Birthday. The first book has already been translated and published in seven foreign languages so that Bhagavan's teachings have reached many different parts of the world in this way. 
If I have learnt one thing about Bhagavan, it is that God is inscrutable! He Himself tells us so. And when we look out into the universe, at the Milky Way and beyond, it is not difficult to understand why we are puzzled. Light from the nearest star takes four years to reach us, travelling at 186,000 miles a second. The universe is so vast that no human mind can begin to understand how it all began. And yet our beloved Bhagavan holds the whole world and indeed the entire universe in His Divine hand. 

Sometimes I wonder how we can reconcile Bhagavan Baba, God the Ultimate, with the divine playful Baba that we meet in the interview room. At that time, He is our Mother and we witness such love and sweetness. I have come to the conclusion, long ago, that we will never understand Him. He is indeed inscrutable. But we can experience Him, and equally important study His teachings and put those teachings into practice in our daily lives. We learn to see God in everyone, and eventually we treat them as though they are God. In this way, we also transform our own lives and become aware of the presence of God everywhere. 

Bhagavan also teaches us to live in the present, often by creating so much uncertainty. For Him, time is timeless; past, present and future are all one. For us, we try to understand that the moment is now. Every moment is now and we must live in that moment and take action now. Only when we do this and concentrate our minds on the divine teachings can we hope to progress along the spiritual path and return to our source, God Himself.

What source of energy can we use for such an incredible journey? Love, and love alone can propel us forward. Love is the divine energy that created the world, the whole universe, and everything within it. Love is that unlimited source of energy that is there for everyone, there for the world. Love can move mountains, cure the sick, purify the mind. God is love. It is God's gift to the world and in truth He has given Himself to the world, for there is nothing in the world other than God. 

About the author:
Lucas Ralli with Sri Sathya Sai
Mr. Lucas Ralli, born in London in 1920, educated in Eton and Oxford, served as Major, Royal Signals, during World War II; and subsequently as Company Director and Chairman of various Companies. Since 1979 he was a Sai devotee; President of Sathya Sai UK Council (1982-89), in 1988 he was appointed Central Co-ordinator for Europe. He has authored MESSAGES FOR YOU AND ME - Volumes I to V. He merged at the Lotus Feet in 2003.

Source: Sai Vandana 1990 (65th Birthday Offering)

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