Warehouse E

Sai Ma

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Experiencing The Touch Of A Contemporary Saint

By James Donahue


My wife, Doris and I traveled with our daughters Susan and Jennifer to Sacramento June 29 to attend an “empowerment” gathering of followers of Her Holiness Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi, an Indian saint and spiritual teacher, and get a sense of what this movement is all about.

This old news reporter and natural skeptic, who has been on various spiritual journeys ranging from Christianity to Gnosticism and most recently Aaron C. Donahue’s radical Luciferianism, entered that gathering as an observer, without great expectation.

While the set-up was promoted and even portrayed with all the pomp and pageantry one might expect of the appearance of royalty, or perhaps the Second Coming of a messiah, we were pleasantly surprised when we actually saw this amazing woman, listened to what she had to say and experienced her power.

It was not surprising when nearly everyone in the room . . . mostly women . . . greeted her with folded hands, as if in prayerful reverence, with heads bowed, as Sai Ma entered the room. While Sai Ma does not promote the idea, it is obvious that her followers worship her. For many of them, because they do not understand or listen closely to what she teaches, she has become a form of a religion.

Perhaps that was the desired effect. After all, the very appearance of Sai Ma couldn't have been better prepared by the late P. T. Barnum, the master of showmanship.

The entrance occurred after a morning of mantra, of testimony and having everyone line up to receive “diksha,” a transformation of healing energy and light from a bank of trained “teachers” on this woman’s staff. Diksha involves the laying on of hands at the top of the head as the “giver” receives the power (described as light) from Sai Ma and a line of ascended masters and allows it to flow through the body of the receiver. I received my dose of the light from a big burly-appearing man who I sensed might have been a police officer. I found out later he was a member of Sai Ma’s special security team that travels with her where ever she goes. Needless to say, I felt the force of that blast of energy from the top of my head right down to my toes.

By the time Sai Ma entered the gathering, which was held in the Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Sacramento, all 200-300 of the people in attendance were primed for what was to follow.

We were instructed to close our eyes and remain silent in meditation until given the signal to turn and face the back of the sanctuary. When we turned, her appearance was not what we expected. There, on the main isle, was this frail little woman, in the bright silk and jeweled garb of India, her face shielded by a wide straw hat, looking in all the world like she had just come from her garden, or a stroll in the park. She slowly made her way toward the front of the room, her eyes constantly moving through the crowd, her hands raised in greeting, a gentle smile on her face. There was nothing there for anyone to fear.

Awaiting this woman at the front of the sanctuary was no less than a throne. It was a raised but soft seat, covered in a white fabric, a large white pillow where she would place her feet. Behind the chair was another stretched fabric garlanded with flowers and tiny white lights. Small tables, obviously connected to technical equipment and the buttons needed to use it, and decorated with crystals and lighted candles were located on the sides. There was a large screen set up on her right. An alter with candles and images of Sai Ma and ascended masters she has been connected with, was later set up on her left.

Once she reached her seat, Sai Ma wasted little time getting to work. The meeting was promoted as a mystical journey of energy healing, transformation and spiritual awakening. Those who paid the price to attend were promised instruction on how to “unleash your inner perfection in the expanded consciousness of energy healing, be a Master of the vibration, energy and information within your body and aura” and to “live the Freedom and Power of life.”

When you think about it, that was a tall order. Could this tiny woman deliver so much to so many in such a short amount of time? The skepticism in me reared back, but only for a few moments.

Sai Ma soon had us opening our shaktis, or internal spiritual energies, to receive the power of light from above, thus awakening the “I Am” presence, or god within. She teaches that we are all one, and that the god we seek is in us in the form of the soul. She also teaches that we have always had the power to heal ourselves and overcome all troubles through the power of love and light but have forgotten who we are and how to use this natural power. We went through an exercise of reaching up and “grabbing” the light, obviously a symbolic gesture designed to give us a sense that we were having some kind of energy enter our bodies.

Next, she taught us to turn our hands into powerful auras or daggers of light energy and use them to heal ourselves or the people around us. We were then paired off to practice the technique on one another. Doris and I were partners in this exercise. We worked on each other, both of us feeling sensations of tingling as we pointed our closed hands at various points of the body. Were we healed? I hobbled into the meeting with the help of a cane, and I hobbled back out again that evening. Yet we definitely had the sense that something within us had changed.

That afternoon with Sai Ma was an intense work session. Not only were we taught the power of healing, but she also instructed us in using these same powers to transform ourselves from the old, tired vessels we once were, filled with doubts, fears and anger, to new creatures filled with light and the power of love. The information came at us with so much speed, and with such power that it was difficult to absorb it all. Yet we were assured that the subconscious mind was taking it all in, and that we would not forget.

We took a brief lunch break at 3 p.m. and returned within an hour for a round of private sessions with Sai Ma. When she learned that we came as four members of the same family, she arranged for us to all go in together, which was something beyond expectations. Each experience with Sai Ma was unique and private, so I will not go into this. All that I can say is that she touched us in a personal and unique way that has made us better and perhaps more understanding members of the human race.

We returned home in the wee hours on Sunday morning, and spent all that day crashed out in our beds, fixing brief meals, and resting. That worn-out sensation lingers even today. Susan, who had been to events with Sai Ma before, says it always takes her about three days to recover from them.

All I know is that after we came in contact with her during those private sessions, we didn’t just get up afterwards and walk away. We were escorted into a recovery room and put in bed for a while until we regained enough strength to stand up and walk out of the room without falling to the floor.

I will have more to say about this experience after I have time to get what happened to us more sorted out in my head.