BABA by Arnold Schulman


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Before coming in contact with Sat Baba, an Indian holy man with a following of millions, Mr. Schulman had progressed from a mild yen for Zen to a burning need for a ""superman Father without violating the sense of plausibility."" The reader's sense of plausibility will be challenged again and again, but in the course of the careful reportage of the interplay of Master and multitudes and the author's own spiritual discoveries, there emerges the uncanny sense that the spiritual (whether bestowed by Baba or his pilgrims' faith) can transform the temporal. Schulman met Baba on his first trip to India where the holy man materialized a ring and healing ashes (no one ""had reacted with surprise, delight or amazement...""). His second meeting followed weeks of frustrating pursuit when Baba was never where he was supposed to be. Waiting at Baba's compound in the dusty southern village of Puttaparthi, where 1000 to 100,000 mainly poor pilgrims came daily, the writer encounters that astonishing sea of faith and hears stories from individuals of miracle after miracle sought and accomplished. Baba himself is likable, very human (he doesn't hesitate to draw a bead on the Maharishi) and indulges in high atmospheric observations: ""Appearance is not different from emptiness. Yet within emptiness there is no appearance."" Withal, Baba's arrivals, words and actions produced a dynamic response, and the reader may be convinced by Mr. Schulman that one's perspective can be tilted away from time, place, and the importance of material miracles.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1971
Publisher: Viking