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The Transformation of a Heart



by Al Drucker





That was my first exposure to Swami's non-dualist teachings of Vedanta. From that point on, Swami was firmly established on the map of my consciousness, and I must admit to you that this subject of the omnipresent indwelling Divinity that Swami spoke of in that talk, and has been stressing in every one of his recent speeches, has seeped into my very blood. The yearning for unity-consciousness has come to dominate my thoughts and now I find myself shying away from every encounter that involves any kind of feeling of separation.

But, let me get back to that initial impact of reading Swami's words, when I first discovered this force of incalculable power in the form of a holy man in far-off India. I had to find out more about Him. At that time, I still had no idea what he looked like (all the pictures had been removed from the book), nor did I have any real notion of how to go about seeking him out. But the Divinity has its own time-table, and will reel you in when the right time comes.

A number of months after that first exposure to Swami, I had a harrowing aircraft incident, which I later wrote about in the 1980 Golden Age publication. I was piloting a small aircraft and got caught up and lost in a major winter storm over the rugged mountains and wilderness area of northern Nevada; then practically at the last possible moment, with the fuel running out, with my passenger either unconscious or dead and the aircraft beginning to come apart, when both my energy and my hope had drained away to nothingness, a mysterious voice came on the radio and during a momentary break in the storm, guided me into a safe landing on a snow-covered field. In that impossible situation, I had remembered God for the first time in 30-odd years. I prayed fervently to him to save me... and most dramatically, he did.

A few days later, escaping from that stormy wintry scene, I found myself in Mexico, coming into a Yoga academy in the evening, just as the group of students assembled there were singing the arathi and waving a light in front of Swami's vibhuti-covered picture. When I looked into the eyes of that image, I choked up with tears. Suddenly something stirred most powerfully in my dry heart. I didn't know who the picture was of and why they left it covered with a heap of dust, but inwardly I knew, unmistakably, that there was some powerful connection between the voice that came on the radio in that storm over the Nevada desert and the holy man whose picture this was. Soon I was told lots of wonderous stories of Baba and I told them, "O yes, I know all about him. He is the one who threw the Chinese out of India on his birthday."

From that day on, I read everything of Baba that I could lay my hands on, I went to Sai Centers and talked to devotees, and I prepared myself in many ways to come into his presence. Thus it was, about a year later, that I made my first pilgrimage to Baba, reaching Prashanti Nilayam during the Mahashivaratri festival.


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