Biographical Sketch and Early Days with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Swami Adi Narayan Ji Maharajh
Biographical Sketch and Early Days with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Born August 4, 1972 in Trinidad of the West Indies, Swami Adi Narayan Ji Maharajh (Swami Ji) arrived in Canada with his parents just shy of his fourth birthday. Settling and growing up in Toronto, Swami Ji was a soft and gentle child, tender and loving in his approach with everyone. Upon completing his primary, junior and high school education, he attended the University of Toronto where he earned a B.Sc. Honours in Psychology.
The Lord Appears to His Devotee
About to embark upon a regular Western lifestyle, his life arrived at a pivotal turning point when at the age of twenty-one he had his first spiritual encounter with his Guru. It took place in the early morning of 4:00am through a dream on Christmas morning 1993. As Swami Ji recalls, the dream was of a small Indian holy man wearing a white robe standing in a barren reddish-brown dirt landscape with nothing around him. The holy man had large afro-styled hair, and the distance between them felt as if it was about fifty feet. The holy man was glowing before him, and in an instant Swami Ji was being filled with sensations of deep love and bliss. The whole of the dream was pulsating with a love that he had never felt or experienced before. Shortly thereafter he woke up.
Being with the activity of Christmas Day and the family gathering, he recalls his relatives expressing how differently he was acting, as usually he was more sociable. However, on this day he recalls he was somehow “out of himself.” That evening, Swami Ji’s mother asked him if anything was wrong, and why he seemed to be acting so differently today. He told her about his dream with the holy man. His mother then immediately got her purse and pulled out a small picture asking him if this was the holy man he dreamt; Swami Ji said yes. To both their astonishment, the picture was of the living Indian Master, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
From that day onwards, the relationship between Bhagavan and Swami Ji became a continuous unceasing breath of inner communion. Over the next four-month period, Bhagavan would visit Swami Ji in the early hours of the morning through his dreams, three to four times a week. During these dreams Bhagavan would sit with him, and speak with him about many spiritual things. He would teach him how to meditate. Often times they would go for walks and sit in silence together. In these dreams, Bhagavan would often manifest many gifts for Swami Ji including rings and necklaces. He even gifted him with a puppy, which in his real-life Swami Ji had always longed to have but his parents would not allow. Both Bhagavan and Swami Ji would play together and simply go for walks together with this puppy. It was during these early days that their friendship grew from best friends, to father and son, to devotee and the Lord himself.
At The Feet of the Master
In April of 1994, Swami Ji made his first trip to South India to meet and have the physical darshan of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. On their very first meeting, amongst the assembly of thousands and thousands of devotees, Bhagavan began to walk directly towards Swami Ji. He approached with a quickened step and his face glowed of such familiarity towards him. With a smile of such welcome Bhagavan looked at Swami Ji and whispered, “I have been waiting for you.”
With a wave of his hand, Bhagavan materialized vibhuti (sacred ash) and placed it in Swami Ji’s hands. Swami Ji was now in absolute awe and shock. Sobbing tears in this moment, this most profound first meeting was acknowledgement and recognition of their preceding months of inner dialogue, companionship, and kinship.
For the next three months, the inner relationship that took place in the months prior to in the dream world, continued to express in the physical presence of Bhagavan. A day would not pass whereby Bhagavan would not come and take letters from Swami Ji, bless his sweet offerings, allow him to touch his feet, and kiss his feet countless times during that first trip. The relationship between them was so pronounced that the ashram workers recognized and asked Swami Ji to help in the rolling out of the red carpet for Bhagavan’s darshan, and help to arrange his seat and foot cushion on the altar.
Memorably, the first day Swami Ji was asked to help with the altar preparation, he was given Bhagavan’s foot cushion to place on the altar. Swami Ji felt that this chance may never come again, and so before placing the foot cushion on the altar, he embraced it upon his chest and held it there. The next thing he knew, his arms were being pried open by five or six other people and he was jolted back into consciousness. The people around him said that he had gone into a trance while holding Bhagavan’s cushion to his chest and they could not wake him out of his unconscious state. Before going into trance, Swami Ji says the last thing he remembers was the thought to hug Bhagavan’s foot cushion. From that time until they woke him up, he had no recollection of where he went. To say the least, the people around him were a bit upset. Swami Ji went back to his seat as Bhagavan was about to make his entrance into the darshan hall.
As Bhagavan sat down, the thought emerged from Swami Ji, ‘Baba I have filled that foot cushion with all of my love for you. Can you feel my love in it?’ At that moment, Bhagavan raised his head, he looked directly at Swami Ji and began to rub his feet in circular motions on the cushion. He raised his hands, closed his eyes and went deeply into himself. Swami Ji’s question was answered.
This trip was the first of what would become multiple visits to India. For the next six years, Swami Ji made over a dozen trips to be in the physical presence of Bhagavan. He permanently moved to the ashram in the year 2000.
During this period from 1994 to 2000, Swami Ji continued to grow and have many enlightening experiences. One of which took place in the year 1995 when he travelled to his birth country of Trinidad in the West Indies. On one excursion to a mountaintop overlooking the beautiful landscape and ocean, overcome by the beauty before him, Swami Ji explained the following: “I entered into a spiritual state, feeling an absolute oneness with everything: the sea, hills, trees, birds, ants, grass, and the ground that is common to us all.” He heard the Maha Mantra (Hare Krishna Hare Rama) being sung in every atom from every physical and non-physical, living and non-living thing of the world around him. Even his own body was merged and sub-merged in this absolute state of unity. Swami Ji later referred to this as his First Experience of the Self.
Union With God
Swami Ji’s spirituality blossomed during his time with Bhagavan in India. One day he was meditating in front of a photo of Bhagavan and he was feeling a deep pain of separation and longing for his Beloved. In a moment of exhaustive longing of not having the chance to sit in a one-on-one interview or private meeting with his Master till this point, a moment of absolute surrender broke through. It was as if, for the first time, his Master was seeing into him and he was seeing back into his Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
It all began in one moment, one deep piercing glance, into Bhagavan’s eyes. My eyes to his eyes. Locked.
I saw his eyes filled in the photo with tears. A watery sea of love had appeared before me and in an instant locked in an inner embrace. And then, something opened. It was if I had become an open door, of which the Lord had now stepped into.
It began by feelings of gentle waves, of deep love, happiness, joy. And slowly and rapidly, both at the same time, increasing in joy, happiness, love, endlessness,
joy, happiness, love,
bliss, love, bliss, love,
bliss, bliss, bliss, bliss,
love, love, love.
The entirety of my being began as a stream, then turned into a river, then became a raging flood as vast as the ocean’s itself; pouring down into and through this body. Absolute, indescribable, bliss, Satchitananda.
This experience continued for over six hours. I had not known exactly what time it began. Only that it had happened sometime before mid-day. And when I opened my eyes, and became aware of myself and the world again, it was somewhere around evening that same day.
That was the day I achieved union with the Lord.
What began as a gentle rainfall, continued into a shower, a thunderstorm, which made a stream, which turned into a river, a Ganga, then the ocean itself pouring into me and through me.
Indescribable, bliss, love, joy; pure continuous love.
A love that encompassed everything, that was everything, that made everything, was all about everything, and everything was also it. Totality of the whole universe was that feeling of that immensity of that love. That love was absolutely everything that ever was, everything that ever is, everything that ever will be, and that was, God.
This was one of Swami Ji’s deepest samadhi states, wherein more than six hours had elapsed in a seeming instant. “Time exists only in the presence of mind,” says Swami Ji.
The next day, to Swami Ji’s surprise, Bhagavan arranged an interview (private meeting) with him where he talked to him amongst a small group of devotees about his experience.
Bhagavan asked Swami Ji, “Boy, are you happy?” To which Swami Ji ecstatically replied, “Yes Swami, very very happy.” Bhagavan further asked, “Where are you happy?” Swami Ji joyfully said, “Happiness is everywhere.” Then Bhagavan turned his hand towards his heart and as he touched his chest he responded, “No, happiness is only inside. You have experienced union with God. Union with God is the greatest happiness there is.”
At that point, Swami Ji had no words or previous understanding of what had happened to him the day before. His Guru, his Lord, had waited precisely for this moment to arise in the life of Swami Ji: the attainment of union with God, and called him on the most auspicious calendar day, 10-10-01 (October 10, 2001).
As the interview continued, referring to union with God, Bhagavan said to Swami Ji, “It will come again, and again, and again.” And it has.
To mark the occasion of Swami Ji’s union with God, Bhagavan materialized a white diamond ring and placed it on Swami Ji’s left ring finger, consecrating their union.
The next day, Bhagavan called Swami Ji yet for another interview. He asked him again, “Boy, are you happy?” To this Swami Ji gleefully replied, “Yes Swami very very happy.” Bhagavan asked, “Where are you happy?” Remembering Bhagavan’s words from the day before, Swami Ji this time took his hands to his heart and said, “Happiness is inside.” Then in a grand gesture of Bhagavan waving his hands in front of his chest, Bhagavan exclaimed, “No, no, no, happiness is everywhere, everywhere.” Both of them erupted into blissful laughter together.
In this second interview, Bhagavan asked Swami Ji for the ring that he had materialized for him the day before. Bhagavan held up the ring in front of everyone, blew on it three times, and instantly it turned into a green tsavorite garnet in a lotus setting. He told Swami Ji, “You are the jewel, and I am the many clasps of the lotus setting. I will never let you go, life, after life, after life.”
Bhagavan further said to Swami Ji, “Who found you in this life?” To which Swami Ji said, “Swami you found me.” Bhagavan lovingly replied, “Yes I found you. And I will find you again, and again and again!”
One month later, Bhagavan called Swami Ji for the third of what would become seven total interviews over a six-month period. In this interview, Bhagavan spoke to him about the path of meditation, and took him into a private room. With just the two of them present, there Swami Ji sat as Bhagavan put him into a state of samadhi for forty-five minutes. The meditation ended, they both opened their eyes, and tears gently began to stream down Swami Ji’s cheeks. Swami Ji said, “For not a word had been spoken between us, but everything had been shared between us. That day was my initiation by the Lord into the depths and heights of meditation.”
After several interviews with his Master, Bhagavan instructed Swami Ji in 2004 to return to Canada and begin teaching: “Speak about union with God.” Bhagavan said to Swami Ji, “To love me is to serve me, and to serve me is to leave me. Go do satsang, satsang, satsang, satsang, satsang, satsang, satsang.”
Upon returning to Canada, Swami Ji began holding satsangs in the form of spiritual talks and kirtans, by his first initiated name Swami Sai Premananda. Meanwhile, his transformation continued.
Since 2004, Swami Ji was entering states of bhava samadhi. During this period, the realization of the multifold dance of form and formlessness became apparent and illumined in the mind of Swami Ji. All this led to the understanding of our innate oneness. As he explains, “Non-duality holds that the fundamental quality imbuing every thing derives from a single undivided universal consciousness. Objects, animals, people and plants differ in form and function. At least, that is how we perceive them. But their nature and ours derive from the same underlying source, the oneness of universal consciousness. This single, non-dual oneness of being makes itself manifest in an infinite number of forms. We experience them as a myriad of objects and beings. But our seemingly separate and distinct human minds and egos derive from this oneness, too.”
Swami Ji comments: “In the one is all, and in the all is one. We can attune ourselves to oneness by letting go of the past and future, and by releasing dependencies on surface mind, and its creature, the intrusive egoic self.”
Reflection. Transmission. Absorption.
Today, Swami Ji lives a very reclusive life. He is sought by people all over the world, and with very limited public connection, people are called to find him. While sitting in his prayer room and being oceans apart, recipients connect with him through his offerings of prayers and blessings for them. Through a process of his ascension into the Divine Light, all whom are in contact with him during that time of prayer and blessing receive answers, clarity, healing and the spiritual light that they are yearning for.
Swami Ji says his embodiment is used as a bringer of Light upon the earth in three ways: the first is the reflection of the holy personage amidst humanity. The second is the transmission of Light as it moves through him to all those who are sincere in their contact with him and the Lord. And the third is the absorption of that Light in the transmutation of their mind, body, and soul into purer and lighter beings.
In the end, when man is at peace, the universe will be at peace.
Peace within oneself.
Peace within the family.
Peace within society.
Peace within the world.
Peace within the universe.
May peace prevail.
“Practice love until you remember that you are love.”
– Swami Adi Narayan Ji Maharajh