Poem by N. Kasturi
presented to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai
on 16 October 1958.
is Truth by N. Kasturi
Kasturi received his name
of Professor Kasturi
a collection of
gathered by Kasturi
out of his book: "Loving God" - Eighty
five years under the Watchful Eye of The
with Mrs. Padma
daughter of S'rî N.
- The Life of Sri Sathya Sai Baba
'Truth, Happiness, Harmony' - The biography
of Bhagavân S'rî Sathya Sai
to Peace - As learnt at His Lotus
photo taken in
Kasturi M.A., B.L. (1897-1987) has been
Baba's biographer for many decades. Besides
he has also been the translator for Baba's
discourses and writings, editor of Sanathana
Sarathi and an elderly devotee at Prasanthi
Nilayam. He is the author of:
- The Life of Bhagavân S'rî
Sathya Sai Baba,
- Pathway to
This book was one of the publications offered
during the 60th Birthday.
- Easwaramma - The Chosen Mother. Directed by
Baba, N. Kasturi wrote Baba's biography from
birth to 1979. "Easwaramma, The Chosen
Mother" is the first in this series of five
books. "Sathya Sai Baba, Volumes I-IV" were
originally titles "Sathyam Sivam
- Kasturi's autobiography: Loving God -
Eighty-five years under the watchful eye of
- Sadhana, the Inward Path. These are
quotations from the Divine Discourses of
Bhagavân S'rî Sathya Sai
- Light of Love - An account of
Bhagavân's visit to East Africa from
June 30th to July 14th, 1968. It includes the
Divine Discourses given by Bhagavân
during the trip and the author's experiences
of his Divine journey.
- Garland of 108 Precious Gems - Commentary
on the 108 Names with which devotees of
S'rî Sathya Sai Baba offer homage to
- Siva Sakthi Swarupa. This question and
answer format book describes a divine miracle
which happened in 1963, and describes in
detail how Sai Baba is both the embodiment of
S'iva and Sakthi.
- Sathya Sai Baba - God in Action. A
compilation of talks given by professor
Kasturi to groups of foreign devotees in
- Sathya Sai Baba announces His Mission, and
Why the Avatar has come. A written narration;
this historical discourse was given on
November 23, 1968.
Poem for Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai
heard our Baba speak
At public meetings anywhere?
He never calls it speech;
Nor will you name it so!
He does not
raise His voice, harangue,
Or rouse the mob or rail or flail;
He does not hesitate,
He will not calculate,
Hum and haw and pause and ponder,
Making you wonder why you came!
He does not
Collecting thoughts, contriving notes;
He does not waste a moment, decorating
thoughts in showy lace and frills,
clothing borrowed texts in shimmering
He is no
Clamouring for claps, publicity-mad!
He will not circumambulate, declaim... or,
He is the
rain-cloud, bringing Life
To the parched ones here below!
He 'talks'... He 'talks', to you, and you,
and every single you that has gathered
To every single Arjuna, with heavy heart and
Afraid to fight the battle of Life on to
You feel He
has come for you, to you.
You see Him, silently looking around!
The searchlight eye full circle swings!
How lucky, you are there!
He wins you by that smile!
You scarce can take your eyes from off that
So alluring, so Divine!
You scarce can pull your heart from off His
is cool comfort!
The silence deepens...
Though thousands have been squatting,
For hours and hours...
Himalayan stillness; twilight
Hour has come!
Heaven's Gate ajar!
The voice is sweet as honey
Hived by Heavenly bees from Parijatha
His call is clarion clear!
thrilling, 'tis filling rapture in the
Flowing like the Ganga, freeing the
Yielding rich reaping, for just ploughing and
Welling and swelling like Gersoppa Falls,
Yielding vast power, for just wheeling and
His talk is
a cascade, so limpid and pure,
Teaching, never preaching, unraveling all
Stilling the questionings ere they emerge in
Defining, refining, consoling the
yea, demanding the bending of pride,
Sparing no one, be He ruling or
reprimanding the fool, and fanatic;
Joking and coaxing, poking fun at all
Quoting from what He said in the past
Detailing facts of his
poetry, spontaneous, sublime,
Painting pictures of transcendent Truth,
Parable, proverb, scintillating bright,
Tinkling, twinkling, tintinnabulating
a minute, every minute a second;
Every word a manthra, every phrase,
A Gayathri a sentence, Upanishath a
For He is
no well or tank or river!
His is the ocean of Wisdom Divine!
Oh! His words shower mercy, like morning
On every heart-bud awakening from
feeding your roots and speeding the sap,
Sprouting the buds, painting the petals,
Perfuming them well, inviting the bees,
Ripening the pods, with each word of
meaning of His word, a tiny seed
Drops on your rock-like heart! And wonder of
It germinates there!... sprouts and puts
The silken half-blind baby-roots do run
Tickling the stone, jabbing, pleading for
Succeeding at last, it grows; and, growing
into a tree,
Your rock is broken into clay!
you will find, is cooling, not freezing
Warming, not burning; raining, not
Healing the ailing and hearts bewailing;
Soothing, not searing; no toxin, but
Balming and calming; all fact and no
sentence spreads joy and scorches gloom,
Impelling attention, compelling assent,
Dispelling dejection, repelling sloth,
Attracting you nearer, detaching from
Infusing courage, and fusing creeds,
Imposing no doctrine, composing all
Informing (so charming!), never harming,
Sifting the responding, lifting the
on 'Doing, Behaving and Living',
Appealing for 'Feeling, Believing and
listening, to spurn imitating,
Vainly disputing, blind leading the
Knocking at Paradise through power and
Or boasting of branches of family tree,
And seeking for peace, in earning and
And wanting and panting and hoarding and
As you hear
Him talking, you quietly resolve
To take a step forward on the pilgrim
Unfold your wings and soar into the sky!
You feel you are a Lion, cheated into
A diamond, set in dirty lead!
no fray, enraging no foe,
He is welcoming all, who are thirsty or
Or limping, or blinking, or climbing and
Raising the stooping, embracing the
Assuaging pain, assuring His
us all of the road we have missed.
He describes the joy of the journey's
He opens our eyes; He strengthens our
He heartens the struggling, groping his
Awakening the sleeping, making the sitting
The standing to walk; the walking to
revealing, announcing to all
Asserting His coming for our burden
Redeeming the wayward, the downcast,
Underlining the Truth, undermining the
Ah! What is
this? What luck! What Grace!
Even as He talks, 'it' blossoms into
Oh! Captivating Song! He teaches us to
Tranquilising all the furious waves,
Steeling the nerves and strengthening the
Attuning our soul to Dharma! Sathya!
And when it
And you open your eyes,
You find them full of tears!
Your neighbour weeps like child for
But why? Look up and see; He has left the
you had the chance. From this moment, I
You are bound to be an ascending, attempting,
Arjuna, resuming arms for the fray
With Krishna leading the horses aright -
How lucky you heard Him talk!
is Truth by N. Kasturi
are a King, then?" said Pilate. Jesus
answered, " 'King' is your word. My task is
to bear witness to the Truth. For this was I
born; for this I came into the world, and all
who are not deaf to Truth listen to my
voice." Pilate said, "What is Truth?" And,
with those words, went out again to the
did not wait for an answer from Jesus. Alas!
The pity of it! Jesus knew himself as the
Way, the Truth and the Life. Instead of
learning from Jesus what he had come to
teach, Pilate went out again to the Jews who
were clamouring to have Jesus
we probe into the question posed by Pilate,
we are confronted by a battalion of 'buts'.
The person in the witness box swears with his
hand on a holy book or on his chest to speak
"the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but
the Truth." But the Truth, the authentic
stuff, is neither cognisable nor
communicable. Every one of the witnesses,
while professing to speak the 'whole' Truth
can indulge only in half truths, which are
often double lies! They give differing
versions of the incidents or actors, since
their responses are painted or polluted,
trimmed or transfigured by the desire for
vengeance or victory. The observation itself,
though from close quarters and by persons
watchful and intelligent, is mostly through
glasses coloured by conceit or prejudice,
servility or hatred. Seldom is truth spoken
unqualified, or unvarnished. It is treated as
a tool and not as an axiom. In every
argument, contest, or dispute, struggle,
strife or war it is the first on the casualty
too delights in the game of hide and seek. It
revels in camouflage and masquerade. The real
and the genuine challenge our faculties to
the utmost, for they appear only as we
desire, decorated, modified or moulded in
order to flatter our likes and dislikes. No
wonder, an aspirant for experiencing the
Truth bewailed, as the Veda records, "What
thing I am I do not know. I wander alone
burdened with my mind." The mind squirts its
ink of aversion or attachment, avarice or
anxiety on whatever he prefers as Truth.
Swami declares, "The knowledge of the
Truth is acquired by uninterrupted inquiry by
the clarified intellect and purified
senses gather such bits of information of the
objective world as can please the ego that is
their paymaster. "Our brains shuffle the bits
around, until they fall into some acceptable
pattern", says Lyall Watson. Arthur Koestler
says, "Between the retina and the higher
centres of the cortex, the innocence of
vision is irretrievably lost; it has
succumbed to the suggestions of hidden
persuaders." Some of these persuaders have
surprisingly filtered through even the subtle
genetic sieve from our previous sojourns on
is another equally deluding factoróthe
needs and beliefs of the others amidst whom
we have to grow. We are "cultured" into
accented and respected patterns of action and
reaction, analysis and synthesis, ideas and
ideals. We are conditioned so much by the
invi¨dious forces of social approval
that we imbibe and implement, customs and
conventions, frills and fashions, models and
maps, idioms and idols, do's and don'ts
bwhich are prescribed or proscribed by
experience is an airy something, seeking a
local habitation and a name. It can seldom
secure admission into the realm of awareness
except by means of words or linguistic
labels, or vocalised visas. It has to be
categorised and catalogued by the faculty of
reason, compared and confirmed, before being
registered. The richer one's vocabulary, the
more rewarding his experience becomes, for
himself and others. We have to be content
with blunt multipurpose vocables for
delineating the indefinite.
depends on the integrity of the person who
utters and on the intelligence of the
listener. But even when both are so equipped,
if they are yoked to a language in which
sublime spontaneous experiences are not
expressible through distinct words or through
prefixes and suffixes, prepositions and
paraphrases, it becomes difficult to have
them stamped on the memory for recapitulation
defect was noticed centuries ago by the sages
of the Upanishad texts. The Brihadarânyaka
while dilating on Sathya Vidya, the process
of meditating on Brahman (the Absolute) as
Sathyam (truth) reveals that the word Sathyam
is a tri-syllable. Sa thi yam - The
first and last syllables are truth; in the
middle is falsehood (anritham),
falsehood is embraced by truth; thereby, it
partakes of the nature of truth."
speaks of reality as 'observer created'.
Heisenberg writes, "The object we perceive is
inextricably connected with our subjective
consciousness. In fact, no one can observe
any object or individual without coloring it
with himself. There are no observers; there
are only participators."
has told us, "Whoever undertakes to set
himself up as judge in the field of truth is
shipwrecked in the laughter of the gods."
Vedic Hymn laments:
really knows? Who can presume to declare?
Whence was this born? Whence came this
Did the gods come after non being became
And being became this? How has this come to
That out of which creation has happened -
Whether That held it firm? or, not?
He who oversees it in the highest heaven
He really knows ... Or, maybe, He does
Pilate had questioned a hundred persons,
"What is truth?" and waited for answers from
them, he would have received a hundred
different replies - each one an unconfirmed
guess, a tentative hypothesis, a hesitant
approximation. Every person has his pet
definition. Truth is Power, Truth is what I
uphold, Truth is the conscience that pricks,
Truth is what the Book proclaims, Truth is
what survives the onslaught of centuries,
Truth is the child's lisp, the Flash of the
Sword, Truth is what the stars reveal to the
adept, the Oracle asserts, the lie-detector
reveals, Truth is the nugget that the
psychiatrist digs up, etc. etc., mostly
fictitious, fragile, fragmentary figments of
one's own imagination.
path to Truth is paved with discarded
certainties. The level of moral purity,
mental clarity, intellectual verity and
emotional stability decide the Truth we can
rely upon. When the horizon widens, the waves
subside and the storms are stilled, more
facets of Truth come within our
minds with their numberless preferences and
prejudices, desires and designs, befog the
Truth in order to please our passing fancies.
This diversionary strategy stunts our
intellect and stultifies our intuition. So,
we have to grope for Truth in the wilderness
of a vast "perhaps". Indeed, we have in India
an honest and honoured school of sceptic
metaphysics named Syad Vada, which
professes and propagates its view of Truth as
'may be', 'perchance', 'perhaps'!
Syad Vada appears as legitimate.
Therein, the innate incomprehensibility of
"the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but
the Truth" is demonstrated by seven steps of
an astonishing logic of possibilities, the
Saptha Bhangi Nyaya, which debunks the
idea of finality:
(1) Syad asthi (perhaps, it exists)
(2) Syad nasthi (perhaps, it does not
(3) Syad asthi cha, nasthi cha (perhaps, it
exists and does not exist);
(4) Syad avakthavyah (perhaps, it is
(5) Syad asthi cha avakthavyah (perhaps, it
exists though indescribable) ;
(6) Syad nasthi cha avakthavyah cha (perhaps,
it does not exist and is indescribable);
(7) Syad asthi cha, nasthi cha avakthavyah
cha (perhaps, it exists and does not exist
and is indescribable).
Sankara the most meticulous exponent
and protagonist of Advaita Darshan
which collates mystic awareness of truth
with logical validity and scriptural
revelation, is not enamoured of scepticism.
While commenting on the Saptha Bhangi
Nyaya he writes, "How can a teacher of
this school of philosophy, who has to be
assumed as an authority, impart instruction
when the means of knowledge, objects of
knowledge, the knower and knowledge remain
indefinite in nature? Also, how can those who
rely upon his views act upon his
spite of this indeterminism,
incomprehensibility and his own incompetence,
man is persistently urged by an inner hunger
for truth, an inner voice that prods him to
arise, awake and receive instruction from the
Masters. He pleads "Lead me from the unreal
to reality: lead me from darkness to light;
lead me from death to deathlessness." When
the hunger is tolerated, dismissed or
suppressed and when the voice within is
jammed or joked about, the Master, the Swami
presents Himself as Teacher to guide Man to
and God-ness, the role and the reality
co-exist inseparably in every one of you"
Swami told a gathering of students in 1974.
"They are the negative and the positive,
which, together produce the warmth of love,
of light, of wisdom. Once you establish
yourselves in the awareness of reality, you
can wander safe and free in the alleys of the
is the Truth
says, "God is the Truth of all beings and
things. Every wave and particle, every atom
and cell is filled with God and functions in
and through God. You may, out of perversity,
pride or poverty of intelligence reject this
truth, but life has been assigned to you
again so that you free yourselves from the
shackles of falsehood and reach the goal of
truth." Subjective defects and objective
distractions are the challenges one
confronts, but they are not as formidable as
they seem. "Ask; it shall be answered.
Knock; it shall be opened. March; you shall
reach," we are told.
numbers of pilgrims and pupils have
criss-crossed the earth, along its highways
and bye-ways, in search of truth, the truth
of themselves and of the scenario and
struggle into which they have been thrust.
The trek of patients in search of cures
towards the doors of the wise has continued
throughout history. Man can find no peace
until he understands the truth of whatever
arouses wonder, awe, sympathy, reverence,
curiosity and fear. He strives for unity and
coherence, harmony and beauty. He wants to
know things as they really are, not as they
seem to be or pretend to be.
there is a bright side to the story of man's
journey to truth. Prophets, sages and saints,
masters and messengers, have appeared among
all peoples and taught men by precept and
example the truth that can free them. The
cosmic consciousness itself, when it becomes
aware of its fragments getting fogged and
frustrated, wills to shape itself into a form
that can move among men and move them home
towards itself. Such a Form is known as an
Avatâr, a particularisation of
the Absolute. The Avatâr happens
in order to fulfill a felt need and so, it's
wisdom, love, power and compassion pour over
all who need them. All men, indeed all living
beings, are its concern. And, ' lifeless'
as Swami says, Sarvam Brahmamayam,
everything has emanated from Brahman,
the vast ocean which emanates ripples,
wavelets, waves, foam and flakes of snow and
icebergs. The atom is a replica of the cosmic
energy; cell is an echo of cosmic will.
"Vâsudeva is all," the
Gîtâ declares, without
exception. The Rig Veda proclaims,
"All this is Purusha himself, all that has
been and all that is going to be." This
is the truth. The Rudra Adhyaya of the
Yajur Veda commands man to adore 238
representative entities of God, illustrating
thereby that there is nothing except God.
(The Katha Upanishad condemns those
who see the cosmos as manifold and not as
basically Brahman; they have to plod through
life after life until they realise the
the name assigned to God, is described in the
Vedic texts as the motivator seated in
all hearts, as the provider, the saviour of
the universe which is His self assumed form.
He is identified with the chiefs, the
middlings and the lowly, the tall, the short
and the stout, the aged, the young and the
juvenile, the wise, the curious and the dull,
and the sleepy. He is stone, sand and dust,
slush, pollen and gravel, ripple, foam and
wave, river, stream, lake, and canal,
lightning, cloud, shower and rain, ocean,
island and shore. Rudra is the highway, the
road, the track. He is the sprout, the shoot,
the leaves, the pests, the birds with throats
blue and yellow, the tree and the timber. He
is the one engaged in trading or farming or
rearing cattle. He is the cow pen and the
crop, the food and the cook. He is the man
behind the plough on fertile land or barren.
He is the person who is brave and fearsome,
fighting from trenches and on open fields,
with missiles, arrows, spears and swords. He
is the warrior who revels in duels, who moves
forward in chariots with helmet and coat of
mail. He is the foot soldier, the horseman,
the leader of dogs and the led. He is the
scout, the messenger, the smith, the
carpenter, the hunter, the wily guerilla, the
cheat and the dacoit, the decoy and the
is in the form of the monk, the cave dweller
having a crown of matted hair, the one who
has mastered the steady pose, the sage who
has crossed over and who leads others across,
the elderly scholar, the dialectician
delighting in debates, the Vedic expert and
the master of rituals. He is the person who
is compassionate, sweet and
fact, God is the warp and woof, the cotton
and yarn, of the fabric, apparent to us as
the universe. That is the Truth which is
encased in every cell and star.
of Professor Kasturi.
Kasturi was born on Christmas Day 1897. Swami
jokingly called him 'the 97 model'. Naming
the year of production was the way antique
automobiles were identified. He passed away
on 14 August 1987 and was cremated on the
banks of Chitravathi on the 15th. He was 90.
He had made it easy for us to remember by
coming among us on a Christmas Day and
leaving us on India's Independence Day
anniversary (India attained Independence at
midnight on 14-15 August 1947). Kasturi
served Swami for 40 years and lived those 40
years in Independent India.
about Kasturi, I told V.K. Narasimhan
(Kasturi's deputy editor and later the editor
of Sanathana Sarathi) that Kasturi was
Swami's Hanuman. VKN corrected me, 'No. No.
You are wrong. Kasturi was Swami's
VKN told me that Swami asked him to write a
tribute on Kasturi in SS (see below) - a rare
expression of Swami's Grace. Apart from Swami
rushing to Kasturi's hospital bedside at the
time of his last moments and giving him
vibhuthi, another rare blessing was Swami
getting Kasturi to write his
and Swami launching it on Christmas Day 1982,
in his presence, on his 85th birthday, 5
years before his death . On that occasion,
without prior notice, Swami had asked VKN to
speak on Kasturi. VKN spoke for 5 minutes,
after that Swami had whispered into VKN's
ears, 'Very good, very good'. In that day's
Christmas discourse Swami said, "Whom does
God seek? He looks for a sincere, selfless,
steady devotee. Besides, He seeks an ideal
son who can be held before mankind as an
example and an inspiration. Such persons have
become extremely rare nowadays" (SSS vol. XV,
ch. 59). I like to think that Swami found
that 'rare person' in Kasturi.
is not only Kasturi's life story. It is the
story of God and jîva, guru and
sadhaka, the story of Swami making Kasturi an
exemplary instrument in His avataric mission,
an inspiration to humankind. It is a message
for all. That is probably why Swami got
Kasturi to write it.
my monologues with Swami, I thanked Him
several times for Kasturi's multi-facetted
seva, for Him and for us. Today again, I join
GR to think kindly of Kasturi. May he be well
and happy, at His Feet or wherever he is!
Samastha(s) Sukhino Bhavanthu! - May all the
beings in all the worlds be happy.
see his photo taken by GR and posted in the
files area of Sai Discourses. Swami also took
Kasturi's photo once. It is a very funny
story and one, as is usual with Swami, with a
very profound spiritual message. I leave you
to read it in Kasturi's own inimitable
and learn/re-learn the message that Swami
conveyed to us at
Before that see the appreciation written by
late V.K. Narasimhan (Editor) and published
in Sanathana Sarathi, September 1987, p.
Sai a Witness
is the denouement of the drama of life,"
wrote Prof. Kasturi in 1981. That denouement
came to him on August 14 at noon, a few
minutes after Bhagavân Baba saw him in
the Sathya Sai Hospital at Prasanthi Nilayam.
He was 90.
Baba, who was overseeing a students'
rehearsal in the College Auditorium, abruptly
stopped it at 11.30 a.m. and went straight to
the Hospital. Reaching the bedside of Prof.
Kasturi, Swami called him: "Kasturi!". Prof.
Kasturi opened his eyes for a moment and
looked at the Lord. Bhagavan materialized
vibhuti and placed it in Kasturi's mouth.
Kasturi closed his eyes and a serene peace
enveloped him. Swami told those at the
bedside to do Namasmarana. An hour later his
spirit merged in the Lotus Feet of the Lord.
Streams of devotees paid their last respects
to him at the hospital.
next morning his mortal remains were cremated
on the bed of the Chitravathi
over forty years he rendered devoted service
to Bhagavan as writer, editor, companion and
tireless propagator of Swami's life and
message. Millions of devotees all over the
world got acquainted with Bhagavan's life and
teachings through the four volumes of
(on the life of Bhagavan) and the 11 volumes
of "Sathya Sai Speaks", besides the
Kasturi was a witness to the innumerable
miracles of Swami and he could bear authentic
testimony to the glory and magnificence of
the Avatar as few others could. He had
traveled with Bhagavan all over India. Vivid
accounts of his intimate experiences with
Swami are given in his autobiography,
which was released by Swami on Christmas day
continued to work right upto his last
illness, giving of his best to "Sanathana
Sarathi," which Swami launched in 1957 with
Kasturi as Editor.
1982 Kasturi brought out two books, one on
the Lord's mother "Easwaramma," and the other
on the essence of Swami's message in a book
- Pathway to
could be truly said of Kasturi: "Of such is
the Kingdom of Heaven". - Editor.
14 to be understood as August 14,