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Dattatreya Siva Baba, the YouTube Guru, predicts a new age of enlightenment starting on this month's full moon

San Francisco Chronicle, USA ~Jul 14, 2008

Dattatreya Siva Baba has a vision that the human race will transform itself by the light of the full moon.

You could say that he's a dreamer or even hopelessly naive, and you could be right. But what does it hurt to dream?

Baba, 60, an Indian mystic and teacher who counts among his students the best-selling author Wayne Dyer, is known to many followers as the "YouTube Guru" because of his frequent video transmissions on everything from yogic meditation practices to quantum mechanics.

Lately he's been talking online about something he calls "The Grace Light," a divine light that he believes will usher in a new era of compassion and enlightenment for the human race, starting with this month's full moon. He is holding a series of ceremonies in 20 cities to welcome the light, beginning at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral on July 17, coinciding with a traditional Vedic celebration called the "Full Moon of the Guru."

The bookish, white-bearded man, whose given name is Baskaran Pillai, belongs to the Tamil Siddha tradition of Southern India, an esoteric order whose origins can be traced to the eighth century. I interviewed him last week in San Diego, where he lives for half the year when he's not India.

Tell me about the "Full Moon of the Guru." What is it all about?

The moon is associated with consciousness, particularly with the right brain. Each phase of the moon carries its own special energy. The full moon represents enlightenment, which is the full flowering of consciousness.

On the Vedic calendar, Guru Purnima, or the "Full Moon of the Guru," is the full moon that falls near the summer solstice, the month of greatest light. This full moon is important because it is the time when all divine teachers shower blessings on the earth providing increased energy for our spiritual awakening. It represents spiritual renewal of the planet. Guru Purnima is celebrated not just in my tradition, but in all traditions that follow the Vedic calendar.

And you believe this upcoming full moon is particularly significant. Why is that?

This year, called Sarvadari, is the year of enlightenment that repeats itself every 60 years. Every time this cycle comes, there is potential for the world to receive greater intelligence. This is the year of enlightenment, and the special full moon of Guru Purnima signifies the beginning of a new age of enlightenment on the earth.

The divine guidance that I've received through meditation and the insights of Vedic astrology suggest that this Sarvadari is the beginning of the transition to a new age that will last not just 60 years, but for a thousand years or more. The exact beginning will be December 2012, but the transition period is happening now. Changes will be felt all over the globe on both an individual and collective level.

What will happen? More light will be available to humanity to achieve higher states of consciousness. My lineage calls this Grace Light. Grace Light is the incredibly radiant light of the Divine within us -- compassionate, intelligent and almighty. Grace Light will open our hearts and minds into love.

Is this light that people can see?

It's more like an energy or an aura.

You've said the full moon will bring a new era of enlightenment and compassion, and that there will be an opportunity to solve many of the world's most vexing problems. That would be a miracle, to say the least. What makes you so certain that will happen now?

The potential exists because of the prevailing energies of this time. It is a cosmological phenomenon, rather than a sociopolitical statement.

You mentioned 2012 as being the time when the Grace Light comes out most strongly. Is this tied in with predictions that some people have made -- others have disputed -- about the end of the Mayan calendar? Why this focus on 2012?

Everything in the universe is cyclical. The Hindus believe that time periods or epochs rotate in what they call "Yugas." We are coming to the end of one Yuga (the Kali Yuga or "age of darkness"), and beginning of another (the Satya Yuga or "age of truth"). The Mayans believed the world would end in 2012, but that should be considered metaphorically. It is the end of a certain era of human evolution, and the beginning of another. All the values and the assumptions of the previous world age will expire and a new phase of human growth will begin. The Greeks and Egyptians also believed in the shifting of the ages is an astronomical phenomenon. There are many traditions recognizing 2012 as a major transition point between the last cycle and a new one.

Some religious leaders take the opposite view. They say the human race won't survive. What do you think about the visions of apocalypse or "end times" predicted by Christians, for example?

There will certainly be natural and man-made calamities prior to the dawning of this new era of enlightenment, or the Golden Age. Between now and 2012, there will certainly be seemingly apocalyptic happenings. The world will not be destroyed, but it will be cleansed of negativity, ignorance, hatred and conflict. The calamities will draw people to find answers in spirituality and metaphysics. This will be a return to God from an age that has relied exclusively on reasoning. Human values, like caring for our fellow beings and extending compassion to those living in poverty, will return to the forefront.

Many spiritual teachers, such as yourself, talk about the interconnectedness of all things. Yet people seem as self-obsessed as ever. What hope is there that this will change in our lifetime?

For the past 200 years, we have made phenomenal progress on the material dimension. Science and technology have given us more physical comforts and greater longevity. But at the same time, the annihilation of our civilization through nuclear war or other man-made threats is a dismal possibility. Einstein foresaw this very clearly when the nuclear program was started.

We are at a crossroad. Either we can destroy our civilization or create a new world order through Love. We can choose to live in peace and cooperation. It's certainly not a good idea to fight and die. It is prudent to love and live. This is not a great philosophy but a simple, practical truth. The necessary changes will occur because of Grace Light. As more and more people begin to receive and share this Grace Light there will be gradual change toward peace, security and prosperity.

After hearing you describe your vision, I feel compelled to ask: Why should anyone believe what you are saying? It seems like you're asking people to trust you on faith.

I have a nonreligious definition of faith. Faith is utter positivity. Currently, we operate on doubt and cynicism. We doubt we can find a fulfilling relationship, we doubt our finances will improve, we doubt our health will recover. What good is there to continue this negative mode based on doubt? Has it gotten us anywhere? Faith means holding a positive possibility and wishing good for oneself, others and for the entire world.

What happens if you're wrong? Couldn't that be damaging to give people false hope?

It is better to be positive than negative. In all of life, those who stay open and receptive to positive happenings will live in hope instead of despair.

You are holding public ceremonies in 20 cities, including San Francisco, to "transmit the Grace Light for physical and emotional healing." What exactly will you be doing?

There are two components to these public blessings. First, I explain the phenomenon of Grace Light. Grace Light is the light of God. It is higher intelligence. It is unconditional love. The second part is the practical aspect -- awakening Grace Light within the subtle body. The subtle body carries power centers called chakras. On July 17, I will lead people through a guided meditation to awaken the navel, heart and third-eye chakras. Participants will pair up and both "give" and "receive" Grace Light, repeating the process several times to firmly establish Grace Light in the subtle body. The only thing required is for people to be in a receptive mode.

I have incarnated innumerable times as a saint or sage in nearly every religion to be a conduit for Grace Light to relieve the suffering of humanity. Even so, I am only one conduit to receive and spread the light. Who is going to transmit it? Every single person who receives it will also be capable of transmitting it. Grace Light is the most intelligent light and will provide everyone with exactly what they need. It is providence answering one's prayers.

You belong to the Tamil Siddha tradition of Southern India. What are its main tenets, if you can sum them up briefly?

The Tamil Siddhas' primary focus is on human evolution. Currently our body-mind lives in ignorance. The body picks up diseases because it doesn't know a state of perfect health. Similarly, the mind is unable to live our full mental potential. The Tamil Siddhas have a comprehensive approach to perfect our body-mind through their sciences. The Siddha sciences include meditation, astrology and herbal medicine.

Did you grow up in a religious family? How did you become a spiritual teacher for others?

Yes, I was born into a religious family in a holy city called Rameswaram, which is a major pilgrimage center for the Hindus in Southern India. Right from childhood I have always known my mission was to bring spirituality to the world. I was fascinated by science, but also knew its limitations. I spent much of my boyhood at the temple and, even when I was young, I was attracted to the miracles performed by the Siddhas, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad and others.

Who were your teachers? Are you part of a particular lineage?

I have had many teachers belonging to different schools within the rich traditions of India. Although I was born in the Tamil Siddha lineage, I have often been eclectic in my approach. In my opinion, every religion and its prophets have something to teach us. It is better to learn from them rather than to ignore or reject them. I have been a student of comparative religion all my life. It has only enriched my intellectual understanding as well as my spiritual experience. I studied under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in my early years, and then was initiated by a powerful but lesser-known guru into the deep and esoteric tradition of the Goddess.

You have written that the "purpose of life is God realization." What does that mean to you?

The term "God realization" should be understood properly. The problem starts with the English word "God." In my tradition, God is denoted by several terms like "Deva," "Brahmin," "Paramatman," "Ishvara." These terms denote higher states of consciousness. God symbolizes the awakening into a higher form of life. Currently, we have compromised ourselves to live the human reality of limited consciousness, pain, disease and death. God realization means evolving to a higher state of consciousness that is latent within every human being. Most of us simply do not realize that we are gods. When we know that we are God, when we experience the state of fully awakened consciousness, then we are God-realized.

You are known as the "YouTube Guru." What gave you the idea to start posting your videos online?

I have always been a very practical teacher. I'm also interested in new technology. YouTube's motto is "broadcast yourself." I like the idea of delivering free teachings to as many people as possible who may be suffering and in need of help.

People have been sending me e-mails from Egypt, Qatar, South Africa, Europe, all parts of the world. I have been able to share the Grace Light message with tens of thousands of people within a matter weeks. All this has become possible because of the interconnectedness of our technologies.

I noticed that you studied English literature as an undergraduate in India. What drew you to that area of study? What's your favorite English-language book and why? What are you reading lately?

As a matter of fact, I have two master's degrees in English literature. Maybe the Divine prepared me to learn the language well so that I could use it as a primary mode of my teaching. I've always had a special love of Shakespeare's works -- "Othello" is my favorite play. I also have interest in American literature and enjoy Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying," as it reveals the human agenda. These days, however, I am most interested in preparing humanity to receive the Grace Light.

Dattatreya Siva Baba will be at Grace Cathedral at 7 p.m. on July 17.


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