Medium for the Master
Bakhtiar K. Dadabhoy
March 21, 2011

In The Fakir, Ruzbeh Bharucha explained complex issues like karma, life after death, spirit communication, faith, power of prayer and above all being constantly attuned to a Master who in this case is Sai Baba of Shirdi. In part a thinly veiled roman clef, The Fakir went on reportedly to become a best seller with the millions of Sai Baba devotees throughout the world. In it, the protagonist, Rudra, picks up an old man lying in a pool of blood on the road. The old man resembles Sai Baba of Shirdi and Rudra starts calling him Baba. The book is a series of conversations between Rudra and Baba.

Salvation it is said can only be achieved with the help of a guru, a realized Master. Positive surrender (as opposed to bitter resignation) to God and the Master (both are in fact the same), will help us accept calmly and gracefully all trials and tribulations which come our way. As Bharucha says, "The more you lose yourself, the more you connect with your Master." The more you fill yourself up with your Master's name and thought the more you get filled with his energy and automatically become a medium for the Master. The guru is omniscient and knows how fast the karmic cleaning should be. When you pray the most important thing to ask for is strength and wisdom, love and compassion, to accept whatever God/Master/Destiny has in store with grace. Work and live to annihilate your petty ego and ultimately merge with the divine.

In the sequel The Fakir: The Journey Continues Bharucha continues in the same vein, only in this book Rudra has passed on but is still very much under the guidance and protection of his Master Sai Baba of Shirdi. Bharucha uses Sai Baba as the guru to guide Rudra through the higher realms of the spirit world and tells us that it is the Master who will help us navigate the turbulent waters of karma before we finally merge with pure consciousness.

Baba tells Rudra about the law of free will, the great power of human thought and the choices and intent that shape our lives in both the physical and the astral worlds. The book talks of earthbound souls who refuse to believe they are dead because of great earthly attachment or often because of the terrible grief of loved ones. Therefore it is the interest of the departed soul to accept one's loss gracefully and with positive surrender. Grief, guilt, ignorance, anger, lust and possessiveness all build heavy vibrations and do not allow the departed soul to more towards the light and prevent the Master's energy from merging with the individual or the spirit.

The author says that there is no such thing as death. What we call death is merely exchanging one physical body for another just as one changes into new clothes when the old ones are tattered and torn. Life never ceases to exist. Transformation and transition is the only reality since nothing dies, only the form changes. The soul either finds itself in a new body to work out its karma or tries to progress in the spirit world itself.

In the afterlife, as in this life, it is free will which is of paramount importance. The author says that if 90 percent of one's life has been decided by past karma one still has 10 percent as free will in one's control and it is through this free will that one can prove one's love and dedication to the Master. One's destiny may already be charted but it is free will that will shape future karma and destiny.

As Bharucha says, "So don't ask for miracles." Make yourself the miracle of acceptance, courage, joy and calmness. To move towards the creator is the only thing worth living for. And how is this to be achieved? According to the author this is achieved through selfless love for the Master. This is the leitmotif of Bharucha's first book and is also the thread which runs through the pages of the sequel. Why does suffering differ in both degree and kind among people? According to Bharucha each individual soul agrees upon the kind and quantum of suffering that it will undergo when planning his/her new life on earth to clear as much karmic debt as possible to enable the soul to progress spiritually. Nature wants us to work on ourselves so that we are as understanding about other people's flaws as our own. We are all here to learn lessons, undergo experiences which will help our spiritual growth and it is the sum of all these lessons and experiences which will decide the soul purpose of this present lifetime. We are all caught up with past life conditioning which we have brought into this life and need to work on or else experience it in a more aggravated form in future lifetimes till the lesson is learnt. Sometimes an entire lifetime is devoted to an experience and overcoming a particular weakness. Also, people are advised not to crave or desire something so strongly that they have to be reborn repeatedly to experience it and suffer greatly from its lack till such time it is achieved.

Bharucha uses stories of various people to illustrate the points he wants to make. There is Caiz and his young son Jehan (who dies, albeit, in the dream world) because it was a test for the father to experience his son's death with grace and detachment. Similarly, Ethan a friend of Rudra's helps another friend's mother recover from a heart ailment while he himself is in the astral world during a dream state. In another episode Rudra meets his children in the astral world. Time does not exist in the spirit world. What has happened is still happening in some dimension and what has to happen has already taken place eons ago. What has already taken place is stored as energy in the cosmos. We tap into that energy circuit and relive it as the now.

Talking about prayers Baba tells Rudra that prayers are nourishment for the soul. If you are destined to experience poverty nothing will change that, since handling poverty gracefully is probably the lesson you have to learn, but prayer will make you stronger and wiser to experience poverty with grace, calmness and without resentment (which can create further bad karma). Each one who is born must experience the fruits of his past karma. The real prayer is that which asks for God's love and grace. And the power of prayer can only be realized in a state of acceptance, gratitude and complete love.

Bharucha's lucid and simple prose is a great asset in explaining some very complex issues. A second book rarely has all the supremacies of the first but The Fakir: The Journey Continues is a worthy sequel - an appealing continuation for those who have read The Fakir, and a good introduction for the new reader. That said this book is a heady brew for the uninitiated, and downright fantastic for those who do not believe in karma, the transmigration of the soul and the spirit world.

It is said that when the disciple is ready the Master will appear. In both Bharucha's book, written as fiction, but dealing with the verities of this life (and the next), the Master is Sai Baba of Shirdi and in the ultimate analysis they are about complete surrender to the Master who will look after the devotee's temporal and spiritual needs. This inspirational book will reinforce the faith of many and hopefully open a window for many others. The last line of the blurb sums up the essence and message of the book. "Death is a myth. Life never ends. Ignorance does."

Copyright 2010 Ruzbeh N. Bharucha.