Introduction - April's Experience
“God Lives In India” is not only the title of a song from our upcoming
recording, but it is also our family’s sincere belief. Many people may
wonder how an African American family who were raised Christians would
come to this conclusion.
believe that God has the ability to do anything, including appear on
earth, as a human being, for the purpose of guiding and uplifting
However, how do we discern the
difference between fact and fiction, truth and fraud, sincerity and
hypocrisy? This becomes an extremely important task, since so many
people have been fooled, in the past, by “holy men”; who have turned out
to be no more than power and money hungry charlatans. The bible
teaches that we must have faith, that God will make the truth known to
us. One might ask why do we have faith in Sai Baba and how has he shown
us His divinity.
Each member of our family has
experienced Sai Baba’s divinity individually and collectively. Each of
us will describe how we came to know and believe in Sai Baba.
Chronologically our sister Audrey was the first to become aware of Sai
Baba. However, I , April Bailey, was the first member of our family to
make the divine sojourn to Prashanti Nilayam. I’ve subsequently, made
many trips and have had a number of wonderful and divine experiences
with our Lord Sai. One however, stands out in my mind. It is an
experience which demonstrated, to me, Sai Baba’s omniscience (knowledge
of everything), omnipresence (being present everywhere), and His
omnipotence (unlimited power).
Baba blessed our family with an
interview in the summer of 1989. He, then called me in separately the
following day. During the course of the interview He, with a wave of
His hand, produced an absolutely exquisite pair of earrings replete with
diamonds, pearls, and a beautiful green gem. Although, I was, and still
am, enormously grateful for my blessed gift, the earrings were so
beautiful that I was unable to wear them many places. Therefore, during
the remainder of the year, I longed, at times, for a gift from Sai that
I could wear at all times. A gift that would be a sign of His love,
protection, and presence with me at all times.
the next summer, of 1990, we returned to Prashanti Nilayam and were
assigned to stay in the family shed. For those who are unaware, this
shed resembles a long barracks. Many families were also assigned to the
same shed. One day while in the restroom area, I discovered a lovely
ring adorned with an enamel picture of Baba. My first thoughts were of
stories about Sai, and the miracles He performs even at distances. I
was ecstatic at the thought that Swami had answered my prayer by
materializing a ring for me. I tried to put it on my right ring finger
and it wouldn’t fit. I then placed it on the ring finger of my left
hand, where it fit though very tightly. However, I was startled out of
my joyous state by a thought that suddenly crossed my mind. The thought
that interrupted my flight of fancy was one that would’ve occurred to me
immediately, in another place, and under different circumstances.
However, in Prashanti Nilayam, we tend to, always, expect that a miracle
can and will occur at any moment. In any event, the thought that began
to reverberate through my mind was: “This ring was probably left here by
another lady and it must be returned”. I even began to consider the
fact that Swami may have materialized the ring and the owner must be in
anguish over its loss. I then set out on a mission to find the rightful
owner. I made announcements to my “shed mates” and waited for a
response. After some time I decided to continue my search for another 3
days. However, in my continued hope for a miracle, I determined that if
the owner had not come forth in that time, it may mean that the ring was
intended for me.
On the third day, the rightful owner
approached me and thanked me profusely. She had been desperate to find
the ring, as Swami had blessed it for her. Her joy rushed into me and I
was, sincerely, happy that Swami had used me for this task.
I soon forgot about the incident and
continued with our daily schedule. In a few days, to our amazement,
Baba called us in for an interview. When we were invited into the inner
room, I started to pray that Baba would give something to my young
nephew Christopher. However, as soon as the thought went through my
mind, Baba turned to look at me. This was done as if he’d heard me
speak the prayer, which I did not do. When He turned to me, He said
“Let’s see what did I give you last time?” I said, “earrings Baba”.
He gave me a penetrating look,
waved His hand, and created a ring with a picture of His face on the
enamel front. I was shocked, because I had just prayed for Him to
create something for someone else.
I took the ring, as Baba continued His
piercing stare. I attempted to put it on the ring finger of my right
hand, and it was too small. I glanced up at Sai, unable to understand
why it didn’t fit. I had always heard that when Baba materializes
jewelry, it is a perfect fit. However, when my eyes met His, I only
saw that same strange stare. So, I determined that it must be on the
I then, took the ring and attempted to
place it on the ring finger of my left hand. It went on though very
tightly. Again, I looked up at Baba and found Him still looking at me
in the same way. He then, said: “it is very tight”. I agreed, but made
no move to take it off. At that point, I didn’t care if my finger
turned blue, I was determined to keep this precious and blessed gift.
Despite my intention, Baba softly told
me: “take it off, it is too tight”. Left with no alternative, and still
a bit confused by the whole episode, I began to tug at the ring. Baba,
quickly, and sweetly said: “be gentle, be gentle”. So, I immediately,
seized upon an opportunity for which I had longed; the chance to hold
His hand. Since, Baba did not like the way I was removing the ring, I
asked would He remove it for me. He complied, by taking my hand and
gently easing the ring off, as He conversed with others in the room.
Before we left the inner room, He said:
“take it (the ring) in the other room, and I will change it for you”.
He, also, mentioned that I was a Christian. I replied, “Yes Baba, I
pray to you both,” not realizing, at the time, that Sai Baba and Jesus
Christ are one.
Another strange, episode occurred in the
outer interview room. However, for the sake of brevity, I will just say
that, Baba simply held the ring between His two fingers, blew on it, and
it changed. It was transformed, right before our eyes, into a beautiful
silver-colored ring with a golden cross on front, and the Sarva Dharma
Stupha on each side.
The true significance behind the entire
ring incident did not become clear to me until my departure from the
interview room. As I reflected on the event and Baba’s strange look, I
realized that our Lord was demonstrating His omniscience to me. He was
reenacting the moment when I found the lady’s ring. He was letting me
know that He knows everything, even incidents that we forget.
It was a wonderful reminder that, He
knows everything because He is present in all places at all times. His
penetrating looks were meant to jog my memory of the event. His ability
to change the ring exhibited His power to do whatever He wills. I not
only witnessed a display of Sai Baba’s divine qualities, but I also,
learned that every action of the Lord is meant to teach us powerful
This experience let me know that I am
never alone. I am always in the presence of our Lord Sai.
has made his presence known to me many times and in many ways. The one
instance that stands out most prominently, in my mind, is when I was
faced with the ultimate test of my faith, the death of my son
Bailey. The occurrences that, immediately, followed his death, remain a
constant reminder of Baba’s divine love for me.
has said that from the moment we enter the world we are on a road to
death. He compares birth and death to a ride on a train. “When you
purchase your ticket and begin your journey (birth) you may take many
detours but no matter how you take the ride your destination is death.
He tells us, it is how you take the journey, not the destination which
begin with, I believe that every parent has prayed, from time to time,
to precede his or her children on the journey of life to death.
However, when you lose a child there is a pain so great, that it seems
to stay with you until your dying day. My son Christopher was the son
most parents pray to have. Despite the usual boyish pranks, Christopher
was a very spiritual youngster. For example, at the age of five, when
our family lived in West Hartford, Conn., we constantly found him
disappearing from our backyard. Instead of going to the neighboring
yard with other youngsters his age, we found him in the Large Catholic
Church, which bordered our home on the other side. When we attempted to
apologize to the Priest for his intrusion, the Priest told us that Chris
was a welcome little visitor.
asking Chris what he was doing in the church alone, he replied “I’m
talking to him” and pointed to a statue of the baby Jesus. It was not
surprising when years later, he asked to go with my sister, brother and
me to see Baba, rather than stay with his older brother, in California,
with whom he had previously wanted to spend the summer.
were blessed with an interview with Baba on this trip. When we returned
to the U.S.A. he secretly built an altar to Baba, which he kept hidden
in his computer cabinet. The altar was replete with a picture of Baba,
Jesus and Ganesha and generously supplied with the sacred ash, Vibuthi.
February 5,1992 just after his 18th birthday, Christopher was
shot to death in a case of mistaken identity, his assailant admitted.
chain of events that followed showed me, that Baba’s divine hand was
pulling all the strings. Although we were grief stricken, this
traumatic drama heightened when we began to have a difficult time
finding a church in which to hold his funeral. This was because since
coming to Baba, in 1986, our family no longer attended the traditional
church home, which our parents attended. We attended Baba center
meetings and went each summer to see Baba.
when I asked to have his funeral held at my Parent's church, I was told,
since we were not active members, we would have to pay an exorbitant
rate for the use of the church. Moreover, the Ministers fee would be an
was at the greatest depths of despair, and I silently asked Baba to help
me. I spoke to a fellow devotee, Michael McCarty who resided in
California about Christopher’s death and the problems I was having. He
contacted his friend, Rev. Pipes, who in turn got in touch with Isaac
Tigrett. Within two hours, every detail of Christopher’s funeral had
been taken care of and all expenses had been paid.
funeral plans called for the use of The Cathedral Church of St. John the
Divine, in New York City, the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world. His
funeral service had the participation of Christians, Moslems, Jews, and
one might ask how I was so sure that it was Baba who performed this
great service. The confirmation came for me in the form of a story
related by one of Chris’ friends.
the hustle and bustle of making funeral arrangements I kept getting
telephone calls from one of Christopher’s friends who had moved up to
Albany, New York. I kept missing his calls, but when I finally did speak
to him, he said he had just heard of Christopher’s death and ironically
had a dream about him the night he was killed. He said that in his
dream he saw Chris in a beautiful garden with a person in an orange robe
and a big Afro hair style.
young man had never heard of, nor seen a picture of Sai Baba, and he had
the dream before he knew of Christopher’s demise.
shed tears of joy because at that moment I knew beyond any doubt that my
baby was with our lord Sathya Sai Baba.
is the year 2005 AD, My name is Warren E. Bailey and I will be
fifty-seven years old this November. I was born on a hot day in August
1988. If this sounds a bit contradictory its because I was given a new
Life in 1988, while visiting the abode of the highest peace.
that time, although my parents and family had spared no efforts to
expose me to a life of high morals and disciplined industry, I had
chosen a life that took me to the gutters of our society. This was the
year I came to meet Sathya Sai Baba. The story of how I came to meet
Sathya Sai and the transformation that happened, subsequently, was truly
begin with, I had lived close to my two sisters, Audrey and April
Bailey, as well as Audrey’s two sons Tony and Christopher, since the
demise of our parents.
sister Audrey took on the added responsibility of raising our younger
sister April, who was only ten years old when our mother died. This was
an arduous task because she was already raising one son, and expecting
the birth of another. Her husband was not up to the task and abandoned
I attempted to help her as often and as much as, I could. We had been
able to work interdependently to overcome myriad economic and social
crisis’, that threatened our ability to prosper, or even survive in
twentieth century America.
seemed, at times as if, we were destined to spend our lives on the
economic and social periphery of society, endlessly struggling to live
the American dream we saw on our television screens day and night.
conditions prevailed despite the fact that I was, continuously,
employed. This employment however did not pay enough to meet the
families needs. In fact, I found myself underemployed and
undereducated, in a society that demanded increased education. I
unfortunately began to take a spiral downward into severe depression.
depression was magnified by my father’s death in
1967, and then intensified further after my mother’s death in 1973.
By this time, I was in such despair that it was impossible for me to
even feel the inspiration to get on my feet again and embrace what I NOW
know to be the gift of each brand new day. I just didn't want to do
paradox, however, that developed, was seeing others in my family that
needed financial help and emotional support, even more so than I. So
gradually, out of sheer guilt of not doing anything in my life for
myself, I decided to help my family. And through this service, I was
able to get more active while my depression was inevitably put on the
much as I tried to help my family, however, it was just an overwhelming
difficult time and my depression mixed with the frustration of not
finding employment just brewed constant rage in my soul.
1988, however, we were able to secure employment that would allow us to
turn our economic conditions around. My sister Audrey secured a job
teaching school, and my sister April and I worked at Cable Television.
We were, finally, in a position to shape our own economic destinies.
sisters wanted to travel to India to meet a guru they had been reading
about, for some time. I was not thrilled with the idea of traveling to
India during the only vacation period we had.
relented and agreed to go only because I feared for their safety on such
a long journey. The lines at the passport office in New York City were
horrendous. My sisters had each spent over five hours waiting to be
was having none of that, I waited until the last day to get a passport
for the trip, half hoping my trip would be blocked and I would not be
able to go. When I arrived at the passport office there were no lines
and I was processed in less than half an hour.
we arrived in India I was quite disturbed by the third world poverty, in
which I was forced to live. I
resented going to Darshan, twice a day, only to sit and worship at the
feet of a man who I saw as a charlatan.
the second day of Darshan, while sitting, in the dirt and dust, in the
midst of a crowd of thousands Sai Baba called me for an interview. I
must admit that at the time he called me I had been thinking that I
should hit and beat him, and expose him for the charlatan I knew him to
I approached Baba at his beckoning, he looked at me and said, “ you have
many evil thoughts”. Suddenly the anger in my heart began to melt.
the interview, he spoke to me of facts, in my life, that only I knew
about. I witnessed his creation of rings and watches, apparently, out
of thin air. I secretly wanted one of these gifts, as evidence of what
I had been witness to. He did not give me any physical gifts.
I returned from, the interview I learned that, my sister had uttered a
silent prayer to Baba asking him to see me if he did not call them. It
was at the instant of her prayer that I was called.
miracle performed that day only became apparent years later. From the
time I met Sathya Sai Baba I have been able to instantly dismiss
feelings of depression and rage that I know are only the temptations of
the evil forces of this world, trying to hold be back from being the
beautiful person I can be. This miracle was not a cure but rather a resurrection. I
had been spiritually dead for years and he breathed life back into my
have, since that time, been able to positively impact the lives of
thousands of young people, through my Karate school and while teaching
for the New York City Board of Education.
have truly learned the importance of starting, filling, and living each
day with love.