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Thread: New book on Sai Baba, Lord of the Dance

  1. #1

    New book on Sai Baba, Lord of the Dance

    Dear friends,

    I should like to tell you about my newly published book on Sai Baba called Lord of the Dance.



    Here are some reviews:

    "The best book on Sai Baba since Howard Murphet's Man of Miracles in the 1960s." Carole Alderman, head of BISSE.


    "Lord of the Dance by Gill Harley is a book written in an easy to read style that cannot fail to impress you. It relates how love for anything other than a love for the divine can be so empty, that it can never be completely fulfilling, that only eternal divine love can be enough. An entrancing moment of a dance with the Lord Krishna started a desperate search for pure love which led her to seeing Sathya Sai Baba at Kodaikanal. When she first saw Him she writes “He looked so beautiful, so tiny, His soft orange robe swinging in the breeze”. She describes the ecstasy of receiving His glance in darshan.

    "This book contains the briefest of histories about Swami, as we call Him, and a description of the energies to be sensed in Prashanti Nilayam and how through these positive and negative feelings her ego was finally crushed and brought her to the feet of Swami. Her joy, her purpose, is described here and the realisation of the love that Swami has for everyone. Some of her lessons were at the orphanage school with the help of some very interesting people.

    "Read this delightful account of one person's dance to Sathya Sai Baba’s tune." Roy Creek, for the UK Sathya Sai Book Centre.


    "Lord of the Dance made for very accessible reading. The world of Sai Baba has always seemed shrouded in mystery for me, but this book shared some of the amazing and practical insights. I realised how this path is available for anyone at anytime and the only qualification required is an open mind.

    "Above all else, however, it was a very human insight into a personal journey and you learn to love and root for Gill and all her hopes, dreams and frustrations. It is as honest, open and engaging as any autobiographical writing can be." Cassie Raine, UK actress.


    "Loved the book, I felt like it spoke to me somehow. The first chapter was like reading my own life! I ended up with a queue of friends waiting to read it after I raved about it!

    "Mainly as result of reading this book, I am definitely intending to visit India some time soon and replace my imagination with reality. Thanks for being brave enough to put your experiences to paper, Gill - can't wait for the next book!" Lauren Jones.


    If you have any questions about Lord of the Dance that aren't covered in the reviews here, I'd be more than happy to answer them.

    Or you may like to buy it online. If so, for those outside the UK, it's best to order it here: http://www.lulu.com/content/360402

    For those within the UK, please order it here: http://www.srisathyasaibookcentre.org.uk/

    Many thanks for listening, and my good wishes to all.
    Gill

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    Re: New book on Sai Baba, Lord of the Dance

    Congratulations Gill.

    May we have some extracts here, if it is not a problem?

    Regards
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

  3. #3

    Re: New book on Sai Baba, Lord of the Dance

    My dear good Sir

    Namaste! Many thanks for your kind congratulations on my book, and your request for an extract although this initially presented me with something of a dilemma, and I shall explain why:

    My book has been directed at young adult Westerners who are just at the very beginning of the spiritual path, and who are just starting to ask questions about the great Vedic tradition and various high profile teachers of it, such as Sai Baba. Now I can tell from your photograph that you do not fit into that category and, judging from your gentle expression, could probably teach me a thing or two.

    Secondly, the story of Lord of the Dance is of a journey - both a physical and spiritual journey that I took in the late 1990s, and which changed my life. How then, I thought, can I plunge you into the middle of journey? Will it make sense to you?

    Anyway, I sent up a little prayer, and then took my (now dog-eared) copy of Lord of the Dance and opened it, and the book fell open at Chapter 8. So I am trusting in the Powers That Be that this is the extract that is best suited for you to read, and I very much hope you enjoy it!

    Here it is:

    CHAPTER 8
    THE LOTUS FEET OF THE LORD


    Once, when we were still in Kodaikanal, Swami had padded
    barefoot past us, and my young daughter Miranda had leaned over
    to me and innocently whispered:

    “Doesn’t he have lovely feet?”

    I’d burst out laughing. She probably didn’t realise it at the
    time, but countless poems and songs have been written about the
    beautiful feet of the Lord. To lay their head on them is the
    highest aspiration of any devotee. The milkmaids, for example, so
    adored the feet of Lord Krishna, that they sung their praises thus:

    “O dear Lord Krishna, even the Goddess of Wealth
    considers it a divine privilege to touch the soles of Your Lotus
    Feet. You are very precious to those who live in the forest, and
    so we would also love to stroke those Lotus Feet. After that,
    we will have no interest in any other man, for we will have
    been totally fulfilled by You.

    “Even your consort, whose attention is craved by the gods,
    and who has attained the unique position of always remaining
    on your chest—even she constantly longs for the dust of your
    Lotus Feet, despite having to share it with many of your other
    devotees. In the same way, we humbly ask you to allow us to
    live under the dust of Your Holy Lotus Feet.”

    But adoration of the Lord’s feet is not just an ancient, Vedic
    phenomenon. I’d discovered from Sai Baba’s biography
    that there was a modern-day story of equal significance:

    One day, when Sai Baba was just 17 years old, he went to
    visit some devotees in Bangalore. Shortly after he arrived at the
    house, a visitor turned up, a certain Krishnamurthy (pronounced
    ‘Krishna-murtee’) who was a clerk at the Mysore Secretariat.
    And over a period of several hours, Krishnamurthy gradually
    became quite fascinated by Sai Baba. So he started to join
    enthusiastically in the singing of the bhajans.

    This went on for a few days. Krishnamurthy would come
    to the house and join in the bhajans. But the whole time, he
    would also be closely watching Sai Baba. After a while, he
    seemed to be getting quite agitated. Then one day, he arrived at
    five in the morning and excitedly confronted Sai Baba with:

    “I know You are God. Show me Your real form!”
    Sai Baba tried to avoid him, but he couldn’t. So he told
    Krishnamurthy to go to the inner room and to sit quietly and
    to meditate, while he left the house to give darshan to some
    devotees in another part of the city.

    The clock was just striking midday when Sai Baba
    returned. He had barely crossed the threshold when he heard a
    loud noise from the inner room. He found Krishnamurthy
    who, deep in meditation, had let out this huge cry of joy before
    fainting with ecstasy and collapsing on to the floor.

    When Krishnamurthy came to, he was shivering and
    shaking and breathing heavily. But, keeping his eyes tightly
    closed, he insisted on following Sai Baba from room to room,
    all the while asking, sometimes plaintively, sometimes
    authoritatively,

    “Give me your Pada (Feet)! Let me touch your Feet!”
    He was locating Sai Baba by his sense of smell. Not being
    able to see exactly where Sai Baba was, he was sniffing his way
    towards him. But Sai Baba would either gently push him away,
    or he would hide himself or keep his feet firmly under him.

    The others would ask Krishnamurthy to open his eyes, but he
    refused, saying that he did not want to cast his eyes on
    anything else. He wanted only to touch and see Sai Baba’s feet.
    His excitement and joy continued unabated for days. But
    Sai Baba said that if he touched his feet while in that ecstatic
    mood, his frail body would be unable to stand the ecstasy of it
    and he would die. So he refused to let Krishnamurthy
    anywhere near his feet.

    But eventually Krishnamurthy was quietly persuaded to
    return to his home with the promise that he would receive
    darshan there. Then Sai Baba went to stay with some other
    devotees who had a house in the Civil Station.

    However, Krishanmurthy could not contain himself. He
    couldn’t bear to wait patiently for Sai Baba’s visit. So, with his
    eyes still closed, he somehow managed to sniff his way on to a
    horse drawn cart and he directed the driver to the Civil Station.
    On arrival, he slid down from the cart, ran into the compound
    and by sniffing around, managed to find the building where Sai
    Baba was staying and began to bang at the very window of his
    room.

    But Sai Baba was still very concerned about the danger to
    Krishnamurthy’s life. He said that his human body would not
    be able to contain the overpowering joy of his experience.
    Then, after a while, Krishnamurthy’s relatives turned up and
    they managed to drag him back home.

    But Krishnamurthy was
    still keeping his eyes closed and praying for Sai Baba’s feet. So
    intent was Krishnamurthy by now on his heart’s desire that he
    gave up all food and water. He eventually became so weak that
    he had to be taken to the hospital. Sai Baba, on hearing this
    news, sent him a little water that had touched his feet, and
    when Krishnamurthy drank it, he quickly became fit enough to
    be taken home.

    Once home, he asked everyone to sing bhajans while he laid
    himself on the bed in the same room. But when the singing
    was over, Krishnamurthy did not rise. The body was
    completely still. He had touched the feet of the Lord; the river
    had merged into the sea and the thousands of lives that had
    culminated in that of the clerk Krishnamurthy had reached
    their fruition. He wouldn’t be coming this way again.

    So Miranda was right. Sai Baba did have lovely feet. Each day,
    the women would spread jasmine blossoms on the ground to
    soften his path into the hall. After he had passed, I would collect
    up handfuls of them, take them back to my room and infuse
    them with boiling water to make jasmine tea, which I would then
    drink with my mango breakfast.

    I was also praying that the upcoming Guru Poornima festival
    would bring me into even greater proximity to these feet.
    Guru Poornima was said to be the most important festival of
    the year for spiritual adepts. It was traditionally the time when the
    spiritual teacher accepted the devotee as his own. So I was
    hoping against hope that Sai Baba would signal his acceptance of
    me as his devotee by granting me padnamaskar, or
    touching or kissing the feet.

    It wasn’t looking very likely, though. Sai Baba usually only
    seemed to grant interviews and padnamaskar to official groups
    who had formed in their own home country and travelled there
    together. How to get into one of these groups was a complete
    mystery to me. However, I did try to join one.

    This particular group was from Tunbridge Wells in Kent.
    They’d only just arrived, all looking quite smart and respectable,
    as if they’d just got off the 8.22 to Cannon Street. My hair, on the
    other hand, hadn’t seen a hair drier in months and because I’d
    been working in the kitchens, cleaning the stoves, my face and
    arms were smeared with black grease and Ajax. So it was
    probably that—as well as the wild woman love glint in my eye—
    that caused them not to believe me when I told them that I was
    from Sevenoaks. They politely but firmly declined to let me join
    them.

    In the end, they weren’t granted an interview. But one group
    that was were the Russians. In fact, it seemed as if every day, the
    Russians would be called into the interview room—sometimes,
    twice a day. We all used to get quite annoyed and jealous,
    wondering what they’d done to warrant such exclusive attention.
    We didn’t know it then, though. But at that very moment, their
    country’s economy was collapsing, their banks were foreclosing
    and they were losing just about every rouble they’d ever owned.
    Sai Baba appeared to have known it, though, which might have
    been why he was showering so much of his love and attention on
    them.

    As the days flew by, though, I began to realise that I no
    longer cared about getting an interview. Even I was starting to
    see that Sai Baba was so much more than just his physical body.
    It wasn’t necessary to be in a room with him to have contact.
    Eventually, all I really wanted was to touch Sai Baba’s feet and I
    used to pray to him regularly to that effect:

    “Sai Baba, please would you give me padnamaskar? I know it’s
    not easy. I know I’m not part of a group. But, Lord, you are
    all-powerful, so you can do anything. So please, could you find your
    way clear? If you would just grant me this one thing, I’ll never ask
    for anything else ever again. I promise, Lord. I’ll shut up after
    that, and stay out of your way.”

    I was as bad as Krishnamurthy, really. I just kept banging on
    and on at Sai Baba about it. I was like a dog with a bone. Sai
    Baba, however, was oblivious. He would glide into the hall every
    day, go straight past me without so much as a glance in my
    direction, and then beam widely and have a great time with
    everyone else. I could have been invisible, as far as he was
    concerned, and I was quite used to this way of things. So I
    thought, anyway, until one fateful day.....
    Last edited by Gill Harley; 18 February 2007 at 10:45 AM.
    Gill

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    Re: New book on Sai Baba, Lord of the Dance

    Quote Originally Posted by Gill Harley View Post
    My book has been directed at young adult Westerners who are just at the very beginning of the spiritual path, and who are just starting to ask questions about the great Vedic tradition and various high profile teachers of it, such as Sai Baba.
    Namaste Gill,

    Congratulations on your book, and thank you for the extract. I found the story quite moving. I think all of us can benefit from reading your book, not just young adult westerners. Carry on with the good work.

    Regards,
    A.
    In whom the Adityas, Rudras and Vasus are held together; in whom are set firm the worlds; that which was and that which shall be tell me of that Support who may He be? (Atharvaveda Samhita X.7.22)


  5. #5

    Re: New book on Sai Baba, Lord of the Dance

    Namaste and many thanks, Agnideva.

    The best and cheapest way to buy Lord of the Dance at the moment is to go to its page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lord-Dance-G...e=UTF8&s=books

    ..and then go to Used and New. None of the copies being offered by the book repositories on Used and New will be actually be used, as its only been out a few weeks. They are just selling brand new copies at a cheaper price than Amazon which, by the way, has put a horrendous mark up on it.

    All best wishes

    Gill

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    Re: New book on Sai Baba, Lord of the Dance

    Namaste everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gill Harley
    Anyway, I sent up a little prayer, and then took my (now dog-eared) copy of Lord of the Dance and opened it, and the book fell open at Chapter 8. So I am trusting in the Powers That Be that this is the extract that is best suited for you to read, and I very much hope you enjoy it!
    This seemingly random technique is used by many Sai devotees for communication with Bhagavan. A devotee who considers Bhagavan as a member of his/her family and behaves accordingly, will surely get answers. Since a firm prayer or a request for an answer takes place on the mental place where communication is instant, Bhagavan knows about it and responds in the way desired. Common techniques of communication include:

    1. Opening a book at random and looking for guidance on the pages that show up.

    2. Looking for a word in a book, either in a random page or a chapter.

    3. Looking for a desired number sequence or single-digit sum on the number plates of vehicles that the devotee comes across during the set time.

    These kinds of techniques, in my opinion, may be used with any sage/God of the devotee's preference. It is only the intensity of bhakti rather than the kind of sage/God that matters.

    Advanced devotees might prefer direct communication/guidance on the subtler planes by meditation. Reports indicate that there are devotees who are on a conversational communication with Bhagavan, though generally they keep them personal or private among a few. Bhagavan also communicates with his devotees in the puja room by several manifestations that range from the flow of vibhuti, vermilion, nectar, oil, etc. from portraits of Gods (plain, framed, laminated or otherwise preserved) through consumption of food or drink offered as nivedanam to manifestation of handwritten slips of paper giving apperciation, criticism or guidance. He also appears in a devotee's dreams when the time is right enough.

    Paramahansa Yogananda is reported to have said of Sai Baba, "This body will speak on this question only once; don't ask again. Sathya Sai Baba is the most powerful incarnation of God ever to come to the Earth. And there won't be another at His level for another sixty centuries." (http://www.saibaba-aclearview.com/)

    Mankind is really blessed to have a pUrNAvatar in its midst that works for its progress in myriad mystic ways. It does not require that a faithful should be its devotee, but just remain faithful with spiritual inclinations.

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    Re: New book on Sai Baba, Lord of the Dance

    Quote Originally Posted by Gill Harley View Post
    My dear good Sir

    -----My book has been directed at young adult Westerners who are just at the very beginning of the spiritual path, and who are just starting to ask questions about the great Vedic tradition and various high profile teachers of it, such as Sai Baba. Now I can tell from your photograph that you do not fit into that category and, judging from your gentle expression, could probably teach me a thing or two.

    -----..
    Namaste,

    I am sorry. That is not my photograph. But it is picture which stays in my heart. This picture is of Ramana Maharshi. But this gives me an opportunity to remove the picture as it may be a source of confusion and since what I write is not many times approved by Him.


    Thank you for the post and I echo Agnideva.

    Thanks and regards,

    Atanu

    Om Namah Shivayya
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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