- Published on 19 July 2014
Since this question has come up from time to time, been put forth by different devotees, I decided to provide my humble views in this article. To answer this question, I would like to split it into two parts.
1. Will Swami be back?
Well, I have no doubt and my faith knows no two ways about it!
2. In the same body?
My faith is that He will be back in the same “form” that we know as Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The question of whether it will be in the same body does not even arise!
Let me explain. If you look at this question from a certain perspective, the expression “same body” itself would seem paradoxical. Probably the reference here is to the body that we saw being laid to rest in His Mahasamadhi. However, assuming that body would have already been consumed by the elements, even if He reconstructs that one, it cannot be called the same body anyway!
When people raise the question of whether He will be back in the same body, I have been consistently tempted to lovingly respond with another question: “Which body are we talking about?” For the Avatar who has already used multiple bodies in His Avataric career, this question seems to be preposterous. Swami once asked a devotee “You are surprised that I can be in two bodies at the same time”.-(Sathyam Sivam Sundaram Part 4, Page 194). Many instances have been documented in His Avataric career where Swami had been in multiple bodies at the same time. The point is that even while Swami was in His body, He was not restricted to one physical body alone. Why would there be any restrictions even now after He just left one of them?
The Mahasakthi (Divine Energy) puts on the cloak of Mayasakthi (illusory energy and its forms) in order to fulfill the purpose of contacting and protecting mankind. (Sathya Sai Speaks Volume 1 Chapter 30)
An Avatar's birth is voluntary through His Yoga Maya (illusory energy). Human body is 'mrinmayam' or made up of natural elements but the Avatar's body is 'chinmayam', embodiment of pure consciousness. Avatars operate at a different level of physical existence. Bhagavad Gita provides ample clues that the body of Krishna was merely a cloak that He put on to make Himself visible to this world. Swami too hints at a similar attribute of His body when He says:
Do not equate this body with human bodies. It is only the appearance of a form for the sake of the devotees…This body is just an appearance of form. (Conversations with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba by John.S.Hislop)
“Appearance of the form” is the key here. The bodies can be many for one Avataric form and name. The name evokes the form and vice versa. Hence the correct way to put it is, “He will back in the same form”.
There is an episode from Swami’s late teen years described by Prof. Kasturi in his book “Easwaramma - The Chosen Mother”, which I feel throws another intriguing twist on the already mysterious phenomenon that is Swami’s body.
Swami was just out of His teens and at Bangalore when He did fall ill just as Easwaramma had feared. His hosts, Raja Setty and Sakamma, called in the doctors. But no one could diagnose the trouble. How could they, for Swami announced, “I have willed the illness!” He quoted precedents, from the lives of Rama and Shirdi Baba to show that they too had had an apathetic distaste for food and fun for some years during their teenage. This ‘illness’ was therefore indispensable for Him, Swami said, spending hours trying to reassure His devotees.
At last, besieged by insistent questioning, Swami confessed that He was in the process of remoulding His physical frame so that it might withstand the Divine Energy stirring within, for He had to embark on His Avataric Tasks. Such incomprehensible words, such tremendous mysterious happenings …whoever had the experience of anything like this? Men and women stood around Him dumb and distraught. (http://www.theprasanthireporter.org/2014/07/anthaa-swami-daya/)
As Prof.Kasturi himself acknowledges, it is not easy to comprehend such mysterious actions of the Avatar. However, one thing is certain. The moiety of the Divine mission yet to unfold in the Sathya Sai Avatar, going by Swami’s own words, is by any standard gargantuan compared to the tasks fulfilled before His disappearance. Perhaps the intensity of the Divine energy needed to accomplish that necessitates a completely new physical frame? Well, we mortals can only keep speculating!