One of my evening students isn’t really a “student”: I help him with business e-mails, etc. I kinda like playing secretary, especially to him – he’s one of my favourite people ( rational and highly intelligent, the serene, paternal sort that never gets upset but that will sometimes throw in a dry comment like “If only we could be doing this in the middle of a golf green”). Because he’s an adult, and therefore doesn’t have to do homework or be in bed by 8:30, he’s usually my last student. It’s a very pleasant, calm way to end the day.
This client is a follower of Sathya Sai Baba. Sometimes we translate religious readings into English… rather, he does the translating and I do the polishing. Interesting stuff. Most of the time it’s very logical. Even when it’s something that I consider to be way out there, I can usually come up with a situation where the reading would be useful.
The client has also invited me to attend some of the religious ceremonies. I went to see the play which the local Sai school did in honour of Sai Baba’s 85th birthday. It was wonderfully done, and the kids had a ball (why can’t Christians dress up like monkeys, turn blue, and shoot things with arrows?)
Sathya Sai Baba has been in hospital for several weeks; being 85 years old and in rather ill health for many years, this is cause for concern. In fact, despite the Hindu teachings about reincarnation, etc., etc., He has been on a ventilator the whole time. And He’s having daily dialysis.
I know what this means, especially in an 85-year-old body.
My client doesn’t. He says he doesn’t understand why Swami doesn’t just heal Himself. After all, Bhagawan has healed thousands and thousands of other people.
I confess to sitting with my chin in my hands, just shrugging my shoulders and shaking my head. I can’t answer his question. My god/prophet is already quite dead, so I can’t even pretend to understand what it’s like to have one die. Especially if it is believed He has the power to do otherwise.
The blog which gives twice-daily updates on Sai Baba’s health has been staunchly optimistic since the beginning of April. Today, it’s quite obvious they’re starting to prepare Sai’s followers for the inevitable.
I’m not sure what’s expected of me when Sai is removed from the ventilator. It’s fine to say that His followers will wait for His next incarnation, but I’m worried about the immediate impact on an old man who likes it when things go smoothly. I suppose, as with everything else, the spirit will move across the face of the waters at the appropriate time. If there’s something I can do to help, I’ll figure it out – or someone will tell me what to do.
Until then, I wish Sathya Sai Baba the same peace and happiness I’d wish for anyone else in the world.