STKC interviews Waris J Faridi
Waris J Faridi was born and brought up in Pakistan in a pure Islamic upbringing. He learnt about Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in his late teens in Pakistan but did not get actively involved in learning about Bhagawan and His teachings until 1985, after moving to USA. He presently lives in San Antonio, Texas where he gives talks on a wide variety of spiritual subjects including Meditation, Advaita, Esoteric Buddhism, Vedic philosophies, Theosophy and Sufism. He is also active in the Sai Organization.
In this interview, Waris Faridi talks about how he came into Bhagawan's fold. He also explains in detail why he believes in the Reappearance of Bhagawan in the Sathya Sai form, touching upon certain incredible prophecies about Bhagawan and His Reappearance mentioned in Islamic Scriptures.
This interview was recorded on March 22nd, 2014 in Dayton, New Jersey, USA.
Sreejith Narayan: SaiRam brother Waris.
Waris J Faridi: SaiRam Sreejith, how are you?
Sreejith Narayan: Oh Swami's Grace..doing great. It’s a great joy to be here in you company as I have experienced in the past day or so... you are in full of love and bliss all the time.
Can you please tell us a little about your background? I know that you are originally from Pakistan and you had a pure Islamic upbringing... For the sake of viewers could you please throw a little more light on your early life, your childhood?
Waris J Faridi: As you said, I was born in Islamic, very pure Islamic upbringing. And my parents followed very pure Islamic principles and it was an Islamic household. But also, very early, I came to understand other religions and studied other religions, especially got introduced to Theosophy and the Theosophical society in Karachi, Pakistan and they had a library with all kinds of books from every mystical tradition, so that became part of my upbringing in my early life.
Sreejith Narayan: Very good! So, you were open to other religions and other ideas I guess.
Waris J Faridi: I had an impulse to study other Religions, Philosophy, Mystical Traditions, very early in life like from around the age 14 or so.
Sreejith Narayan: Did your surroundings - like your parents, your relatives, were they okay with this, because I heard when you are being brought up in a pure Islamic background, it’s very difficult to go outside of that and explore other areas. Is that true?
Waris J Faridi: That is true, but I was very fortunate that.. in my family, specially my mother had a very deep acceptance of the way I was and my spirituality. So she was more concerned with my heart and my spirituality then what I believed.
Sreejith Narayan: And when... at what point of life, you came to know about Bhagawan? Can you share that story with us?
Waris J Faridi: Yes! its..its early, I was still a teenager, and I had already been introduced to Theosophy and the teachings of J. Krishnamoorthy and I was very actively involved and trying to understand his teachings.
And at that point somebody introduced me to a friend who had some tapes of Swami and he was giving to me. And through those tapes I encountered Swami and His incredible divine energy.
Sreejith Narayan: And at that time were you still in Pakistan?
Waris J Faridi: I was still in Pakistan and I was a teenager...at that point.
Sreejith Narayan: And this friend of yours was he into Swami?
Waris J Faridi: He was into Theosophy and he was also a Universalist, he had a very open approach to religions and he was actually one of the managing committee members of the Theosophical Library in Karachi, Pakistan.
Sreejith Narayan: See I find your story really incredible, you know why? – because, first of all I have not met anyone other than you who is a Sai-Devotee from Pakistan. That too an Islamic person who is a Sai-Devotee from Pakistan. Secondly, people hear Swami's voice, you know, in different ways. They don't get inspired to believe that Swami is God. But you tell me that you just heard Swami's voice in a tape and then you already realized that He is divine?
Waris J Faridi: Right. You know this is all past Karma and Dharma with God. And I don't know what lies in background as far as past life, we don't know what we are bringing from our past. And I am sure that in my past there are happenings that have led to this perception and understanding and this extraordinary grace of being able to recognize Him instantly even without knowing very much about Him.
Sreejith Narayan: Wow!....What do you do now? I know you live in San Antonio, Texas. Tell me a little bit about what you do these days?
Waris J Faridi: I wasn't doing actively very much spiritually, except by chance I gave a couple of talks about few years ago, three - four years ago and after my first spiritual talk that same night Swami came in a dream and blessed me in a very clear way giving a sign I should continue to talk about His teachings, spiritual subjects and they didn't have to be in reference directly with His name and, you know, the form they have come to us in books, but to speak of truth and of the essential teachings of 'Sanathana Dharma', in whatever form that people can understand.
Sreejith Narayan: So you combine Swami's teachings, and definitely you include Swami's teachings in your talks.
Waris J Faridi: Definitely! Definitely! I mean, but sometimes the words may be different. I'll give you an example, If I am talking about the four stages of the path, if they are coming..if I am talking to people with a Theosophical background, I may talk to them as the four initiations.
And if people who are coming from a Vedic (background), I may talk about the four kinds of seekers - Aarthi, Arthathi, Jignyasu and Sanyasi. Basically it’s the same thing. Those four stages exist no matter what path you follow. These four stages will still come in and Swami has shown us that those stages are there in a reality.
Sreejith Narayan: Coming from, again, from your earlier roots, from Islamic religion, do you find any conflicts after you came to Bhagawan and started knowing about Bhagawan’s teachings and also you give lectures on 'Vedanta' and 'Vedantic concepts', do you find any clashes or conflicts between these different faiths and different spiritual concepts?
Waris J Faridi: Of course not! I mean, Swami is very clear about that and all great teachers are very clear about that these are the same truths, but only if your understanding is superficial and only attached to the external form of its manifestations then there are likely to be any conflicts. But if you go into a deeper understanding of these truths then all these teachings point to the same thing.
Sreejith Narayan: ..And also, little bit I want to know about your personal life, and for the sake of viewers also. Your family?
Waris J Faridi: I am not married, I have sisters and brothers and my relatives in Pakistan. And I have a brother in America, but I am not married and I just live a single life.
Sreejith Narayan: So, you chose this life for a spiritual reason?
Waris J Faridi: That's just how it came about, I did not plan it in this way, but I guess my attention and my, you know, being consumed by the whole path and, you know, the growth was so important that I never got a chance to give any attention to anything else.
Sreejith Narayan: Very good. Now one of the things that I wanted to ask you, when Swami left this physical frame, on 24th of April, 2011, how did that news reach you and what was your reaction to that news?...How did you react to that?
Waris J Faridi: You know all of us, are both ..no matter how deep your understanding of truth or how much, how deep your connection with the divine, if you are living in a physical form, there is a three - dimensional aspect to your life and so of course there was definitely a sadness that the form will not be here and I will not be able to see it but over whole period of lifetime also a perception of his true being and meditation of his true being has been so powerful and so strong that, you know, very soon, it again prevailed. And He had been there in dreams in all kind of responses that He had to my call, For instance, you know, if I have a question I hold in my head, and I ask Swami, He will immediately give an answer.
So all those things remain, so His presence in the way that I had experienced it from childhood, that always was and still is and will continue to be for the rest of my life. So, really... that's the most important thing.
However, the presence of the Avatar in the body is an extraordinary happening. And if you know, Swami talked about those Rishis who knew that 'Rama' was going to come in two hundred years and it had been their time to leave the body and so they did special penance and exercises to prolong their body for two hundred years so they could just look at 'Rama' once. So there is that part of connection to his form also, it is an extraordinary blessing to have seen and realize God in a human form.
Sreejith Narayan: Have you been to Puttaparthi many times?
Waris J Faridi: Yes. Many times.
Sreejith Narayan: Have you got any interviews or any ... did Swami talk to you?
Waris J Faridi: I never got an interview, but I did have some very strong and powerful dreams. Especially there was a period of time between '88 and '90 that I had the most dreams of Him and they were all very powerful dreams.
Sreejith Narayan: And this is when?... during the time that you were coming into Swami's fold, is that correct?
Waris J Faridi: Yes. I had known and recognized Him like I said when I was still in Pakistan. But after coming to America, I very soon discovered ways to connect with him and start going to the Tustin center and became actively involved in the Sai Organization.
Sreejith Narayan: Which year was this when you moved to America?
Waris J Faridi: I came to America in 1983.
Sreejith Narayan: 1983, oh that's a long time ago.
Waris J Faridi: That has been thirty years.
Sreejith Narayan: Thirty years. And you were involved in Sai Organization work?
Waris J Faridi: In the sense that I worked as a volunteer, a regular volunteer at that Darshan Book Center for more than two years.
Sreejith Narayan: I see, very good. You talked a little bit about your experience when Swami left his body, yes that sadness was... has to be there.
Waris J Faridi: Has to be there. Of course.
Sreejith Narayan: ...has to be there, you know even though you could be highly spiritually advanced and things like that, you could be one with Swami, but still when the physical form of the Avatar leaves this Earth there has to be a certain sadness.
Waris J Faridi: Because you are in a three - dimensional form also and its part of your reality and so that sadness will be there.
Sreejith Narayan: Did the thought occur to you at any point of time that He may come back in His same form that we had been Him before as Sathya Sai Baba? Did that thought occur to you at all at some point of time? Because I am a great believer in Swami going to come back in the same physical in form to fulfill His words. And His mission has not yet been completed. Did that thought occur to you at all?
Waris J Faridi: Well, because He left earlier than His, you know, declared stay on Earth, so all kinds of things were being said and all kinds of things were coming to mind and, you know, the mind was trying to understand, you know, to resolve all these issues.
And from the beginning there were some kinds of talks from some devotees like Vasantha Sai Amma had said and I had known about that He might come back or He will come back. And so that had been there in the back of my mind, but I had not given it a ...it all did not come together until much later.
Sreejith Narayan: Okay. So what was the trigger for that?
Waris J Faridi: That was reading about your book. As when a friend of mine sent me a pdf file of that book. And we both agreed that all the prophecies about Swami and everything falls into place and the book does make incredible sense and it would be the fulfillment of every prophecy if He would come back.
And one of the very powerful things in my mind, One of the most powerful things, is the perception and the thought that in the days that He was in the Hospital, the amount of prayers that had been done for Him to heal Himself, that was such an incredible amount of prayer that was done worldwide.
And that's a call gone to the Lord, and the Lord never fails the call of a devotee. I mean to me, it’s law, it’s not speculation, its law. Its call on the Lord from your heart, He has to respond.
Now I ask all the devotees to think about that. Where is all that energy going to go? Swami has to respond in some way to the calls that were made in a way that satisfied the heart of all the devotees, and what could that way and how would that manifest?
Sreejith Narayan: So this calling of these devotees that Swami cannot ignore those, that’s what your belief is?
Waris J Faridi: It’s not, Swami will never do, that is the highest impulse that the Avatar acts on. That's how He comes into the world, that's how everything He does is out of that call. And this is too powerful of a thing for God to ignore. Everything else will fail if He fails in that.
That is Him. The Avatar is the Avatar because He has come on our call. The Avatar does not come by on His own because He will be violating the law of Karma and destiny if He came on His own, He comes because He is called.
Sreejith Narayan: Wow! I have heard your talks in YouTube, there are a few videos about your talks. Before even I met you I listened to those videos and they all talk about very highly advanced spiritual concepts and being one with divine and going beyond the form, you know, fourth initiation, seven rays, these are really advanced Vedantic concepts (Right).
And this talks about mainly… like how to go beyond Swami's form and…You don't refer to Swami directly in your talks but that's the sense that I got from these talks. But, on the same token, I talked to many prominent devotees and they keep telling me, "Why are you still after Swami's form, Swami's form is gone. Don't worry about the form again, go beyond the form.", but to me its not about my spiritual sadhana, my own sadhana going beyond, that is my spiritual journey, that doesn't change no matter what. Even when Swami comes back it doesn't change. Do you hold that same thought? Do you feel any conflict with your spiritual journey and the idea of Swami coming back. And thinking about the form coming back again, do you find any difference there?
Waris J Faridi: For me it’s not any kind of wishful thinking or a projection of my mind, it’s what all the sign seen from a very discerning mind are pointing to, and a fulfillment of the divine plan. And that's how I perceive it and in His coming back, if that becomes the spur that finally brings the Golden Age which He's pointed to and we are all looking forward to that time. The Golden Age, we want, we all want that time, we're all calling for that time and it seems like that would be the final happening that will move the whole world into the Golden Age.
Sreejith Narayan: So the Golden Age is a reality.
Waris J Faridi: The Golden Age is definitely a reality, it’s going to come, its many sensitive people and psychics are already feelings it coming, its determined, its just waiting to descend.
Sreejith Narayan: And do you feel that its Swami's return, such a powerful event that is going to happen... is that what is going to trigger the Golden Age? Is that what you believe in?
Waris J Faridi: I believe that Swami's coming will be such an extraordinary happening that , that will... Before I answer that I want to say that, you know, Swami said that in 2009 that " It’s very close. ", I was there when He said it…In eighteen years it will have already happened completely. Now where we are, you know, with a lot of things that are not good and greed and competitiveness and ego rampant in the world something has to happen very big to bring about that Golden Age in a very short period of time.
Sreejith Narayan: And Swami has spoken extra ordinary things about the Golden Age in His discourses and interviews...
Waris J Faridi: He has said extraordinary things. For instance one of the things He has said, somebody asked Him, 'Swami what is the hall mark of that age? The principle thing that distinguishes it from this time?'
And Swami said that in that time your only real worth in this world will be your spiritual worth, nothing else will matter, you money, your capabilities, your youth, nothing else will be important in this world anymore.
But we are not there, it seems, I mean if we just create in our mind a progression from this world as far as evolution goes, it may take hundreds of years to come to that point, so something has got to happen which is...which represents a quantum leap to come to that and so something of the nature of Swami's return or something as powerful as that has to happen, for this world to change to a degree where our spiritual worth becomes the most important thing in our lives.
Sreejith Narayan: Wow! So wonderful explanation, Thank-you.
There was one more thing that I noted down, that I wanted to ask you so that I would not forget. When I was being interviewed by the Souljourns, brother Ted, I told him that I wanted to speak a little bit about the Bihar Ul Anwar and Islamic prophecies about Bhagawan's coming back. But then our discussion diverted into some other things and I did not remember to bring that up again in the interview. And some devotees , they were e-mailing me and asking, " what did you really wanted to talk about? We are eager to know." And I promised, if Swami gives me a chance again, I will talk about it. But now I believe that it's much more apt that it should come from a person like you who has firsthand experience with the Islamic Prophecies. Can you throw some light on the Islamic Prophecies concerning Bhagawan? And also Bihar Ul Anwar in particular, because that's some incredible Prophecies I have seen in that book regarding Swami and His disappearance in first place and eventual reappearance.
Waris J Faridi: Right, let me talk a little bit about the time that Bihar Ul Anwar was written and came into this world, it was around the eleventh century which was an extraordinary revival of the Islamic energy in this world. There was the time that 95% of the Sufis, the greatest Sufis that we know came into this world.
That was the time when Arabs were at the zenith of their power and in every field, and in spiritual field, in astronomy, in mathematics, in fact present day sciences is based on their discoveries, a lot of what became present day science, I mean their math, algebra came into that. So it was a wave of some kind of energy that was in this world and.... so it was a tremendous, tremendous flow of energy coming through that form, divine energy coming through that form and Bihar Ul Anwar came into this world on the same wave in other words written by, Allama Majlisi and it is one of the most noted books of Shia religious literature, next to only to Quran and Hadith it's very highly respected Shia work.
Now the prophecies specific to Swami … probably of all the prophecies, these are the prophecies that so accurately describe Swami and His return and also His coming back which you know, you pointed out. You have brought out and reintroduced to the world. So Bihar Ul Anwar is unique in the sense that it is so specific, there are other prophecies about the Mahdi and they could generally be attributed to Swami's return, but the Bihar Ul Anwar is the most specific of all these prophecies which is in detail, very accurate about the description of Swami.
Sreejith Narayan: So can you tell us a little bit more about what are the prophecies like? How do they relate to Bhagawan's return?...I know you may not be remembering all the exact specific...
Waris J Faridi: Like, one for instance ... there are specific passages about Him disappearing for a period of time and returning again (wow). So, and I think that in Bihar Ul Anwar is unique, in that only other thing that I can think that you might refer to is, the Nadis you know. The Nadis talk about such a happening but, outside that of spiritual literature of more recent times is the Bihar Ul Anwar that talks about the Mahdi disappearing and coming back. And of course when it talks about Mahdi originally, the description is so uncanny, it is Swami, it cannot be any other being. You know from the crown of the hair, to the mole, to the orange robe, and all the details we are familiar with are given in great detail in the Bihar Ul Anwar.
Sreejith Narayan: Wow!... and what does the word Mahdi stand for? What does it mean?
Waris J Faridi: The Mahdi means, one of the meanings of the Mahdi is the promised one.
Sreejith Narayan: Promised one.
Waris J Faridi: Yes!
Sreejith Narayan: And is promised one, whose promise? Is it God's promise?
Waris J Faridi: God's promise.
Sreejith Narayan: I see. Bihar Ul Anwar originally came out as discussion between Prophet and his disciples, is that.... my understanding is correct on that?
Waris J Faridi: I think it is that. I think it is also a commentary on certain chosen Hadith, Hadith is the sayings of the Prophet (and) Quran being direct revelation of God.
Sreejith Narayan: What point in history did this book come out? Is it much after Prophet?
Waris J Faridi: Yes it is about five or six hundred years later. So it's about time that this revival of Islam and the extraordinary wave of Sufi energy came around the eleventh century.
Sreejith Narayan: You don't have any doubt in your mind that Swami is going to, to come back in the same physical form?
Waris J Faridi: Everything is just very powerfully pointed to that and so it will be more a question of great surprise if it does not happen. I would have no surprise on His coming back, to me it would be a most expected thing.
Sreejith Narayan: Wow, you really re-energized and re-vitalized...I mean I am sure that, I was really what you call, elated, just by talking to you.
Now, just want to request you, before we finish this interview, I would like to request you…There are many devotees right now, many Sai devotees they sternly believe that Bhagawan is going to come back, what is your message to them? And what is your message in general to everybody...spiritually and you know… how to go about welcoming this golden age?
Waris J Faridi: First of all for anybody who might have any kind of slight negative thought about this whole thing, how can dwelling on God and expecting him to come have any kind of negativity? You are just dwelling on God. You know in all my talks I come back to this mystic aphorism, energy follows thought. Whatever you dwell on, you create and you become. So if we dwell on God, coming back, where we are calling that energy in our life and, you know, that will happen! Regardless, that energy will come into you.
Those who are dwelling on His coming back, most of these people that I have talked to are very discerning, and have meditative minds, and have pure lives, and they are not some people that I know to be easily deluded and they have come to this perception after deliberation, much thought and understanding. So, I think it's all in order, it's all moving as Swami willed it.
Sreejith Narayan: And generally that, the idea, that hold, earth shaking miracles that are going to happen. And it was already there in Swami's words, much before He left his body, and it's already lying there hidden for those who really wanted to see it. That's the way I see it, I perceive it. What do you think about that? You think the same way too?
Waris J Faridi: Yes and amongst these people who have had these dreams, some of them are my friends, my closest friends that I know to be the purest souls and some of them, he may not have, he may not point out that he is coming back but he might say extraordinary change is coming, great glory is coming, great light is coming, and...
Sreejith Narayan: These are not Sai devotees? I mean are you talking about Sai devotees?
Waris J Faridi: I am talking about Sai devotees, who have had dreams about some extraordinary happenings, imminent happening in the world, great change coming in this world.
Sreejith Narayan: And this, such a great change can come only with... something has to trigger this change (right) and this great event, whatever it is that's going to come. It is going to...
Waris J Faridi: Is going to be as big as His return in physical form.
Sreejith Narayan: ... change the entire world as we see it today.
Waris J Faridi: That's correct.
Sreejith Narayan: Thank you so much brother Waris, it was real pleasure talking to you today. Jai Sai Ram.
Waris J Faridi: Thank you for letting me share. SaiRam.
Sreejith Narayan: SaiRam.
[STKC is grateful to Aanchal Sharma and Sneha Sharma for the transcription]