R. Padmanaban (Author): The journey of my project commenced with the vision to craft a pictorial biography of Sathya Sai Baba, drawing inspiration from works like Bhagavan Sri Ramana - A Pictorial Biography, Swami Vivekananda - Pictorial, and Ramakrishna: A Biography in Pictures. The concept was to chronicle significant moments in His life in a series of photographs, each meticulously annotated with the date, location, and a narrative caption to bring the imagery to life.
This endeavour led me to travel and connect with devotees who had been followers since 1943 to gather these photographs. However, the task was not as straightforward as merely collecting images and returning.
Conversations with devotees invariably centred around Sathya Sai Baba, and I found myself engrossed in listening to their personal accounts and miraculous experiences with Sathya Sai Baba, which they shared with me spontaneously and with great enthusiasm.
After a year of enriching and enlightening exchanges, I came to a profound realization. The personal accounts and miraculous events that had been shared with me had never been recorded in any published works on Sathya Sai Baba. This revelation prompted me to shift my focus from the original concept of a pictorial biography to the creation of an in-depth biographical series titled Love Is My Form.
At the age of 21, Sri Sathya Sai Baba made what has become an historic reply to a letter of counsel that his brother had written to him. His brother's missive was sent out of general love and concern for the controversial phenomenon that the young Baba then was. It cautioned young Sathya against the wily ways of the world and the evils attendant to name and fame.
In this historic reply to His brother, Sri Sathya Sai Baba said: "I have a 'Task: to foster all mankind and ensure for all of them lives full of Ananda (bliss). I have a Vow: to lead all those who stray away from the straight path again into goodness and save them. I am attached to a Work that I love: to remove the sufferings of the poor and grant them what they lack."
In 1953, Sathya Sai Baba laid bare His intentions in a talk delivered on Vijaya Dasami Day in His ashram, Prasanthi Nilayam. He said, "The first sixteen years of my life were spent more in play and pranks; the next sixteen have seen, much more than in previous years, mahimas (signs and wonders) which arouse spiritual yearning and devotion to God and award delight. After the thirty-second year, I have resolved to grant mankind upadesa (lessons) on Truth, Morality, Equanimity and Love (Sathya, Dharma, Santhi and Prema)."
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