The book With Love Man Is God is written by Samuel H. Sandweiss, M. D., Birth Day Publishing Company, San Diego, California, USA, 2004.
"A Word To The Reader
Sai Baba is referred to as Sathya Sai Baba, Sai Baba, Sai, Baba, and Swami. The Sanskrit word Sathya means absolute truth, Sai means divine mother, and Baba mean divine father. Swami is a name of respect and affection."
As Doctor Sandweiss does, most devotees, including me, use these names interchangeably.
page 141, "Swami then asked, 'Do you think I am God?' . . . . . Swami continued, 'Yes, I am God, and so are you! There is no difference.' Swami went on to say, 'I did not come here for you to worship me. Worship God in any form or in the formless, as you choose, but worship Him fully.' . . ."
This is one of the things that I love about Sathya Sai Baba. He doesn't insist that his way is the only way. He doesn't insist that he is God and we are below him. He says we are equals. The difference, as he points out, is that he remembers that he is God and we have forgotten. He wants us to remember. He knows that there is more than one path to God. He says whether we are Christian, Buddhist, Muslem, Mormon or members of any other religion doesn't matter. They are all paths to God. Somewhere I read that Swami says all religions lead to God. He tells us to take whatever path is necessary for us to reach God.
page 24, "I soon learned that in response to his devotees' many questions, he (Sathya Sai Baba) directs us to look inside ourselves for answers. To the most pressing question, 'Who are you?' he answers, 'How can you know who I am when you don't even know who you are? When you know who you are, you will know everything.' When asked if he is God, he gives an extraordinary answer, 'Yes, and so are you; you are also divine! The difference is that I know it and you do not. Look inside and find your divine nature.' "
Most of us do not know who we are. For me, that is the most important searching of my life, to find out who am I. It is an ongoing journey for me. I catch glimpses. On my first trip to India, I had my first three day migraine. Nothing I did or my friends did would make it go away. In desparation, I sat up in the early morning hours and started a conversation in my head with Swami. What he told me was that the headache would go away when he was ready and not before. (Illnesses are usually part of the healing process that goes on for devotees when they first arrive at the ashram. It is a way of releasing karma.) At that point, I stopped struggling and went with the flow. At one point, I asked if the conversation and the voices were just part of my imagination or was the conversation really happening. I am a bit of a sceptic. The voice said, "It does not matter. All voices are mine." All voices are those of God because we are all God. Later, that day the migraine went away. I believe it happened because I stopped resisting the process.
page 32, "In the history of mankind, there have been those glorious moments when God has responded to the prayers of the good and has granted peace and safety to the forlorn. An Avatar appears who protects and saves, as voiced by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita 5,000 years ago. 'Whenever disharmony overwhelms the world, the Lord will incarnate in human form to establish the modes of earning peace and to re-educate the human community in the paths of peace.' It has happened again."
My understanding of the word Avatar is that it means that God comes to earth in human form to remind us of who we are. Krishna, Rama and Sai Baba are all known as Avatars in India. My first experience of Krishna was during my first visit to India. We were at Kodaikanal, a mountain station south of Bangalore. Swami often goes there during the hottest days of the Indian summers. At the time, Swami did not have an ashram built in Kodaikanal. We sat outside of his residence for darshan twice a day. Usually you sit in line for one to three hours waiting for Swami to come out of his residence for darshan. I like to do two activities while I am waiting. I love to watch the women and children surrounding me. I have always been an avid people watcher.
The other activity is to meditate. During one of those meditations, this figure with a huge, swirling, black cape was suddenly surrounding me completely in his energy. I immediately decided that the dark energy must mean that doom and gloom were coming my way in the near future. I told Swami that with his help, I would handle whatever came my way. I didn't tell anyone about this disturbing meditation until a few days later.
We were blessed on this trip to have an older Indian friend with us on this trip. Ma, as she asked all of us to call her, had been a devotee of Krishna before she became a Sai devotee. As she shared her experiences with Krishna, she mentioned his black energy. That is when I told her about my meditation experience. She told me that I was also a Krishna devotee and that he was back in my life. After a sigh of relief (no doom and gloom), I was happy to be open to more experiences with Krishna. The next day, Swami even gave his approval. He was talking to a lady who had a black eye. She had been stung by a bee. Swami asks her, "Bee Black?" What I heard him say was "Be black." He was telling me, through his conversation with another woman that it was ok and not to be afraid to be open to the Krishna energy. Swami often has conversations like this one where he is talking to all who hear his words. We each get what we need out of the overheard conversations. This is part of his magic. He truly speaks to all of us if we would only listen.