“Continuous Integrated Awareness”
I was immensely lucky recently in seeing the wonderful Professor Anil Kumar speak at an event in Portishead near Bristol. I’d seen him speak before on two occasions during visits to Prashanthi Nilayam. For the uninitiated, the good professor was Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s personal translator for 20 years before Baba took Mahasamadhi on 24 April 2011. He travels the world giving talks and discourses in his amazingly funny and animated style, touching the hearts of millions in the process. It was indeed an incredible blessing to have Anil Kumar in the UK, and having been unable to attend other events that he participated in, I was not going to miss out on the Portishead “gig”. He is a very humble man and always displays the most incredible humility, but to put things in context, if it had been a Christian event it would have been the equivalent of having John The Baptist as guest speaker.
The theme of the talk was what the professor referred to as CIA or Continuous Integrated Awareness; meaning always being in touch with the inner Divinity. In other words living our lives in the world without actually being a part of the worldly illusion (transcending the physical whilst acting out the game of life). He spoke of how Swami was consistently (constantly) in this state of being, and raised a chuckle when he stated that the average spiritual aspirant was either inconsistently constant or constantly inconsistent. He spoke of the times when Baba’s human form suffered broken bones (the professor pointed to both hips and an arm), but even with broken bones Baba always had a smile on his face; never complaining, because he was in a state of continuous integrated awareness. Of course those whose lives Sai Baba has embraced will be aware that whenever Swami “suffered” any physical illness or defect it was usually because he took on the karma of his devotees and not because he himself was ill or injured. One thing I know from experience is that once Divine Mother Sai comes into your life he is there for ever, and it is no surprise to me that he would give grace to those who earned it by taking on their karma..
As expected, during the question and answer session people wanted to know about the professor’s personal experiences with Swami; especially those involving his wit and tricks. The audience was not disappointed as the professor shared a number of hilarious anecdotes with them. But the one that stood out for me, and one that I will share here, not only illustrates Baba’s amazing humour, but once again it demonstrates how he really did, and still does, know literally everything. Now before I start I will just say that I do not remember all the minute detail, so some of the finer points may be slightly inaccurate. However, I do remember the gist of the story and I’m sure you will find it crystal clear.
It concerns a time when Professor Kumar was working at Baba’s Brindavan Campus at Whitefield near Bangalore. Because, by his own admission, the professor’s cooking skills do not extend beyond instant coffee, his wife had given him a pressure cooker to take with him; she had also written some instructions that she put inside the cooker. Baba had been visiting the campus, but on this particular day he was due to return to Prashanthi Nilayam. As Swami’s bags were being packed and other members of staff and students were making ready to bid him farewell, the professor decided to prepare a quick meal in the pressure cooker before joining them. he took out the instructions and read “put vegetables and dhal in cooker, close lid and wait for 15 minutes until you hear the whistle” (or similar words to that effect). He waited 15 minutes and there was no whistle. Half an hour passed; no whistle. 45 minutes passed and still there was no whistle. The professor was starting to panic now because he was in danger of missing Swami, so he abandoned his cooking plans and raced over to where Baba was with the other staff and students. When he arrived, looking decidedly flustered, Baba said to him “how’s your cooking”? Before the embarrassed professor could stutter out an answer Baba said “waiting for the whistle were we”? By now the professor was cringing, but just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse Baba said “it always helps if you put water in the pot”!
Don’t you just love him!