Sai Baba's U-Turn on Padanamaskar
From: Sanjay Dadlani
Document date: Mon Mar 22, 2004 4:59 pm
Subject: Sai Baba's U-Turn on Padanamaskar
"The idea behind bowing one's head at the feet of Bhagavan is that thereby sacred thoughts enter the devotee's mind. This means that when one comes in contact with Bhagavan's feet, the sacred impulses from them flow to the devotee. When the devotee's head touches the Lord's feet, the Lord's divine energy flows towards him. This implies you should keep contact with only pure objects and keep away from impure objects."
"You are affected by whatever you touch. For instance, if you touch fire, it scalds. Fire can burn even iron. It is so potent. But when the fire is extinguished, the residue is mere charcoal, your hand becomes black. Thus, in either case, the contact is not beneficial. But, what happens when you come into contact with divine fire? All your bad thoughts and bad actions are reduced to ashes. This is the sanctity attached to the performance of padanamaskar (prostrating at the feet of the Lord."
...'Sparsanam karmovimochanam.' The touch of the Divine liberates you from all karmic bonds." - March 15, 1992.
The above quote provides these major points:
- By virtue of padanamaskar, sacred thoughts enter the mind.
- By virtue of padanamaskar, divine energy flows into the devotee.
- By virtue of padanamaskar, karmic bonds are destroyed.
- And these are all accomplished by virtue of *touch*.
Now please consider what Sai Baba says nine years later:
"I want to tell you one more point. You may feel pained by what I am going to tell you now, but I am happy about it. From today onwards, I am not going to give Padanamaskar to anybody because I and you are one.. Understand this truth. From today onwards, I have resolved not to give Namaskars to anybody. You may do Namaskar to your parents as they and you are not aware of the truth that God is present in all.
Since I know the truth, I shall follow it. The same Atma is present in you, Me and everybody else. So, no one needs to do Namaskars toanybody for that matter."
"If you still want to do Namaskar, do it mentally. Bring your palms together and say, 'Swami, I offer my ten senses to You.' That is enough. You don't need to touch My feet to do Namaskar.. If somebody is given Namaskar, others are feeling jealous. I am stopping this practice of giving Namaskars only to see that such feelings of jealousy do not sprout in you. Wherever you are, offer your Namaskar mentally. That gives Me happiness. I have told you this many times, but you have not put it into practice. Touching Swami's feet and extolling Him are wrong practices." - 5th July, 2001.
Well, what happened? Must we come to the conclusion that SB's refusal to grant padanamaskars implies that no more does he wish to bestow divine energy, sacred thoughts, or release his devotees from the karmic bonds?
What then is his role as guru or god?
Nine years earlier he was adamant that the beneficial results of padanamaskar are accomplished by the virtue of touch, so it is even more fascinating how he now declares, "You don't need to touch My feet to do Namaskar," and "Touching Swami's feet.. are wrong practices."
Faithful devotees may object that it has long been the custom not to 'take' padanamaskars from SB without his permission, as that does not grant benefits. But that is beside the point which is that SB no longer grants padanamaskars at all, with or without permission.
It is upto the devotees to reconcile all of these obvious contradictions.