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Sai Baba's miracle and 
a new encounter with Maitreya
by Patricia Pitchon

Journalist Pitchon relates her personal experiences of seeing the World Teacher, Maitreya, in a variety of guises and settings, and subsequently watching a friend produce vibhuti after asking famed Guru, Sai Baba, for help.  

It has been said often enough that recognition of who Maitreya is cannot be merely a matter of recognizing His physical features as He appeared, for example, in Nairobi, because much more is required to enrich people's understanding: it is a matter of studying, evaluating and finding ways of applying His teachings in a useful manner, as well as an inner and individual recognition of His particular qualities. Interpretation of who He is will necessarily relate to the cultural context of the perceiver and thus we will have a range of descriptions. There is much evidence that this is already happening. In this context, much the same can be said of Sai Baba.

I have read in Share International with growing surprise of the variety of guises in which Maitreya has appeared, with increasing frequency, to individuals in many different countries. On each occasion, the individual concerned has noted something very unusual in the appearance and expression of the person in question, however ordinary on the surface. This could almost be a type of training in discernment of the inner, spiritual qualities of the person, regardless of the physical appearance, as well as a way of accustoming people to the idea that Masters, or Teachers of this calibre, can appear, at will, in a range of disguises and yet be recognized.

These are particularly interesting tests for those who may have seen photographs of Maitreya taken in Nairobi (the only photographs we have seen so far) before recognizing Him in a different physical appearance. This has indeed been happening, and adds evidence to the claim that many will recognize Maitreya inwardly (qualitatively).

Some readers will know that initially I came into contact with the Maitreya story through a – for me – dramatic vision I had of Him the first time I went to one of Mr. Creme's lectures at Friends' House, Euston Road, London, in April 1982. The vision lasted for about 20 minutes and occurred as soon as Mr. Creme announced that "we will now receive the blessing of Maitreya". I was able to examine His features thoroughly. Power, purity and immense love emanated from the extraordinary Being I saw, and it remains an unforgettable experience. About two years later I began to meet regularly in Brick Lane, London, with small groups of journalists I had begun to contact, in the hope of meeting Maitreya in the area He apparently resided in at the time. This phase of enquiry lasted from 14 May 1984 to 31 July 1985, when a large international meeting of 22 journalists met at a venue in Brick Lane, in the hope of meeting Maitreya.

One night in late October 1984 when I was dining with a journalist from Visnews in Brick Lane, Maitreya did appear in person. I had chanced to glance up at a very tall man dressed entirely in white who appeared to be gazing at me through the restaurant window. Initially I was blasted by a marvelous golden light as I tried to look at Him. I thought for a few moments that, inexplicably, I had gone blind, because my eyes were wide open, yet I could see nothing Ă«out there'. Instead, I saw the interior of my head bathed in luminous gold! Immediately afterwards, when this unusual phenomenon had passed, I found myself staring at the exact same man I had seen in the vision in 1982, only this time I was seeing Him in person. His eyes were dark and luminous, His smile full of tenderness. Despite the warmth, there was an air of majesty about Him, and I immediately recognized Maitreya. The experience was so shocking to me that I had the sensation I was jumping out of my skin. I was quite mute and unable to indicate to my dining companion what was happening. Maitreya lowered His eyes, turned, and slowly walked past the restaurant.

In April 1988 I had a dream about Maitreya: in the dream I was with a group of journalists and He approached us, addressing each one in his own language. As He was walking away (in the dream) I hurriedly approached Him to ask an important question, and as I did so I became aware that I had somehow entered His aura. My heart felt as if it had been pierced by a thousand arrows and I realized that I was registering, as terrible pain, the immense love – a love that does not choose – which flows from His heart. One week after this dream, I had an unusual telephone call. An Asian spokesman for Maitreya whom I had known since 1984, but who usually tried to avoid contact with journalists, explained that Maitreya had been teaching a group of Swamis in London, that he (the Asian spokesman) was present at these meetings, and that Maitreya had asked him to contact me. I was welcome to visit his house and ask any questions I liked about Maitreya's views on world events and His on-going teaching, and I was also welcome to bring other journalists if I wished. Thus began a third phase which lasted several years, where much teaching and fascinating forecasts of world trends as Maitreya sees them were given out, then disseminated by Share International staff through press releases to media world-wide, and regular publication in this magazine. I should add here that of the seven journalists whom I invited to the Asian spokesman's house, none came. The only one who would have come lived outside London. This was Brian James, who subsequently was asked independently to take part in this on-going dissemination of Maitreya's teachings, forecasts and views.

In terms of physical features, there is a close relationship between the vision of Maitreya in 1982, His personal appearance in Brick Lane in 1984 and the dream in April 1988, and between these three quite distinct modes and the photographs of Maitreya's appearance in Nairobi alongside the healer Mary Akatsa in June 1988. Not long ago, as I was musing on these matters, I wondered whether, if Maitreya were to appear to me in another guise, I would recognize Him.

Having forgotten all about these thoughts, one afternoon in the first week of October this year, I was waiting for a bus in my neighborhood when I suddenly became aware of an extremely tall, dark slim woman of indeterminate age (perhaps 40) who seem to be walking directly towards me, approaching the bus stop. I thought at first she might be African, but I noticed her hair was very straight; it was combed in an elegant yet simple way, away from her face. Perhaps she might be Indian, I thought, but there was something about her which made it very difficult to establish an origin. She was looking at me all the while as she approached, with slow, measured steps, and her eyes were incredible. They were large, dark and full of light. She smiled at me with immense tenderness for what seemed a long time, as if she had known me for ever, with the sweet gaze of a mother for her beloved child. I felt as if I were losing myself in that gaze; I felt a kind of wonder, a gentle happiness, and I found myself returning her smile. She was wearing a long, straight, dark skirt, a pale shirt and a long, grayish sweater. Her clothes were humble, impeccable yet very plain. But her bearing was so regal despite this simple appearance that I wondered why this august personage was wandering about in my neighborhood, trailing a shopping cart behind her. These plain details of ordinary, everyday life did not fit with the tremendous depth of expression in those eyes, nor with the majesty of her presence. I realized then through the incongruity of these details, and above all through what was conveyed in that unforgettable gaze, that I had seen those eyes, that look, that I had known that depth and sweetness before. I realized it was Maitreya, but my reason clung to a sort of cool, objective observation of her way of walking, the bearing and the clothing. At the same time I wanted desperately to go up to her and ask something like: "Do you know me? You seem to look at me as if you have always known me." But there was something so imposing about the demeanor of this person that I felt a strange reticence and could not ask her anything. This exalted person walked slowly past the bus-stop and I found I had to force myself to turn around and observe certain details again: the incongruous shopping cart, the austere, flat, black shoes, the extraordinary height, and so on. What I really wanted to do was to withdraw into myself to mull things over. I was at the same time amazed that such a person could pass by so serenely, unnoticed by others who were standing and chatting by the bus-stop while I tried to cope with my surprise.

I felt awkward about telling anyone, but the visage would not go away, and I felt incredibly sustained inwardly – that mixture of deep consolation and quiet inner happiness I had experienced before. Finally, about a week later, I told my long-suffering husband that, although he definitely was going to think I was crazy, I had seen Maitreya in another guise a week earlier, near our local bus-stop, walking in that unmistakable way (simple, seemingly casual, yet deliberate and purposeful). It could have been no one else. I knew those eyes, I knew the depth of their expression.

Sai Baba's miracle

The next day I left for Madrid to stay with some old friends for a few days. I took with me a videotape of the documentary on Maitreya and Sai Baba broadcast on Nippon TV (Japan TV) in Japan on 15 June this year. On Sunday, 16 October, the day after my friends (CMP and her husband R) had seen it, as we rose from the dining table in the company of her six-year-old daughter and her nanny, my friend CMP, who was upset because the nanny was leaving but had not yet found another place of work, mentally addressed God and asked for help for this woman, whose name is Lydia. 

CMP was thinking, as she told me later, of the documentary we had seen the night before, and she also asked Sai Baba for help.  At that moment she recalled how Sai Baba extends His hand and with small circular motions produces vibhuti (holy ash) from His hands. I saw her looking up rather theatrically (my friend is an actress and a singer) and, as she later explained, she thought rather defiantly at that moment: "Well, why not?" and extended her hand. Perhaps because she is an actress, the small, circular motions of her hand exactly imitated Sai Baba's motions and I was amused, thinking: "How she loves to act!" Suddenly, a white powder with a silver sheen issued from her hand. She sprinkled it into Lydia's cupped hands. R was dazed and seemed not to believe his eyes. I was shocked and kept thinking that this must be a trick. CMP's little daughter kept asking what this was. There was some consternation and confusion. I felt people should not be alarmed by this, so I said in a casual voice: "Oh, this is a powder I brought back from India." (At that moment, still trying to find a different explanation, I thought there was a chance I had given CMP some vibhuti when I returned from India after having visited Sai Baba's ashram in January this year. Then I realized that I had not done so.)

CMP added humorously: "Yes! Magic Powder!" but she was trembling. Her daughter immediately asked for some, and her mother gave her most of the rest of it. But a lot of it still clung to her palm and fingers and she thrust her upturned palm near my face saying: "Smell this!" The delicate, flowery scent of the vibhuti was unmistakable. It was certainly not white like ordinary talcum powder, because it had that silvery sheen that is visible when Sai Baba produces vibhuti from His own hand. Lydia, unsure of what was happening, but sensing this must be something very special, accepted this miracle humbly although she did not know its origin. She smoothed the vibhuti over her neck and forehead in a very natural manner. CMP, meanwhile, started to shake visibly, and not wanting to make a spectacle of herself she retired to her bedroom. I followed her. She lay on her bed with a drink, and the ice cubes shook in the glass. CMP simply could not get over it. When she had recovered somewhat she looked up again and said aloud: "Sai Baba, don't do this to me again! I can't absorb things like this!" Then she said: "Goodness, look at this!" There was still some vibhuti underneath her ring.

From the December 1994 issue of Share International

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005