An Amazing Appreciation Of A Basic Truth
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.
This Sunday, we would like to begin with a quote from an address delivered in 1961 by John F Kennedy, an amazing man who became the President of America at a fairly young age. This is what Kennedy said in part, during his inauguration as President.
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich…
With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.
Kennedy’s inaugural speech was studded with gems but the above quote is what would concern us today.
Let us examine closely the salient points that Kennedy makes. In our view, there are three and they are:
- In any Society where there is inequity, it is the duty of those who are better placed, to correct the imbalance.
- Such work must be considered God’s work, for Lord God the ever-compassionate One, always comes to the help of the forlorn.
- In serving God through service to mankind, one should not expect any material rewards. Satisfying the Conscience and bringing joy to it must be considered the only true reward.
One might argue that such sentiments are what one would expect from a person with a good Conscience and sensitive to the suffering of others. That certainly is true. But two things struck us as extra-ordinary.
- Unknown to him, Kennedy was echoing sentiments that Krishna expressed five thousand years and Swami is now telling us so very often; this in spite of the fact that Kennedy never heard of Swami and probably never heard of Krishna either.
- The inaugural speech that traditionally has in it a lot of political hype and such other slants, was used by Kennedy to stress, among other things, the importance of service, and that too in a country considered, at least then, the richest in the world.
A rich Society has innumerable opportunities to go astray. Kennedy understood this and wanted America to become absorbed in uplifting the less fortunate, not only in America itself, but indeed in the whole world. Thus it is that he famously declared:
And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Later, Kennedy went on to create the famous Peace Corps that drew thousands of young Americans to the path of idealism and spend their time in service to the community, sometimes in far off lands. Many Peace Corps volunteers came to India too.
All this is well known but what makes us feel amazed is that a leader in America, which at that time was engaged in an intense Cold War with the erstwhile Soviet Union, chose to stress in his inaugural address, great moral values, values that are lasting and apply to all people at all times. That only proves that Sathya Sai Baba the Indweller works in mysterious ways, often through people whom we would never consider as devotees.
Before we say more on Kennedy’s ideas, we would like to call attention to some famous words of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, popularly known as Honest Abe, said many profound things but presently for us, the following words are most relevant. Lincoln once said:
With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.
Compare this with what Krishna says in the twelfth chapter of the Gita. Krishna says, in slokas 12.13 & 14.
That one I love, who is incapable of hatred, and who returns love for hatred.
Living beyond the reach of “I” and “mine”, and of pleasure and pain; contented, self-controlled, firm in faith, with all his mind and heart given to Me, such a one is dear to Me.
Lincoln lived at least a hundred years before Sathya Sai Baba, and he, we are sure, never heard of Krishna. Yet he spoke of having malice towards none, of belief in Dharma, of healing the nation’s wounds and thereby engaging in compassionate work. Once again this highlights the fact that Sathya Sai Baba as the Indweller, does at various times, speak through His chosen ones to steer Society in the right direction.
It ought to be very clear from this that at all times, following the path of Dharma is a must; being true to one’s Conscience is a must; eschewing hatred in all that one does is a must; and serving mankind in God’s name and treating it verily as God’s work is also a must. Above all, everything must be done with a feeling of Love.
People tend to have short memories. When they are oppressed, the downtrodden feel passionately about the wrongs done to them but when the wheel of fortune turns and they become prosperous, very soon the erstwhile-oppressed often turn into oppressors themselves! How many times history has witnessed this!
A constant reminder of Eternal Values is thus a must and enlightened leaders like Lincoln, Kennedy, Gandhi of course and Nelson Mandela are sent by God to keep alive that spirit. And for us of course, Sathya Sai Baba is doing this all the time.
Every day, we in H2H, send you a Sai Inspires. It goes to you and thousands others like you, all over the world. Devotees eagerly look forward to their mail to see what Swami has to say to them that morning. They read, gaze at the wonderful picture that come along with the message, and move on to their daily work. Some feel specially happy because a particular worry or doubt of theirs has been set at rest or answered.
Fine, but dear reader, please do take a minute off to reflect on the deeper significance of Sathya Sai Baba’s message, what specific lesson it has for us in terms of change and Inner Transformation.
The world today faces several grave crises, each of many dimensions. The dimensions of a crisis may be many, but invariably, all problems spring from one root cause – jettisoning of basic moral values. And if this imbalance has to be corrected, then clearly there has to be a big change in the world. Here comes a problem: The world is huge and its problems are even bigger. They seem insurmountable. How are they to be fixed? Can they ever be fixed? Here Gandhi shows us the way. He says that if we want change in the world, then that change has to first appear within us! Gandhi said that because Swami spoke to him that way, even as He did to Kennedy and Lincoln .
What this means is that even as we ponder over Sathya Sai Baba’s words, we should also try and look for case histories, that is to say examples of people who have been inspired by the Inner Spirit to translate values into practical action that benefits humanity. There have always been such people, in all lands and in all times – Socrates, Adi Shankara, Emperor Ashoka, St. Francis, Sufi Rumi, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Mother Teresa, Gandhi and so on. In short, Sai Inspires must also take us to the many who have been inspired by Sai!
Think about it! Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,
Filed under: Adi Shankara, Emperor Ashoka, John F Kennedy, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Sai Baba, sathya sai baba, St Francis, Sufi Rumi | Tagged: Faith, Gita, God, History, Krishna, Love, Nelson Mandela, Peace Corps, philosophy, Religion, Socrates, Spirituality, Truth, Wisdom | 3 Comments »