Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Hands That Serve

M. S. Verma, 03 December 2007, Monday
Baba is the greatest humanitarian. He inspires people to render selfless service through love. Baba has an establishment that takes care of total needs of the suffering humanity, illiterate, hungry, uncared-for, orphaned as Mother Teresa’s sisters of charity

“HANDS THAT serve are holier than the lips that pray,” says Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, an erstwhile hamlet comprising a few houses, now an international centre of spirituality in districtAnantapur, Andhra Pradesh, India. The name of the organisation that he has established for the service of humanity at large is Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation. It is an international organisation with its branches known as seva samitis or Sai centres in more than 170 countries of the world. In all these centres, selfless service is rendered to the needy without any distinction on the basis of caste, creed, colour, religion, province, nationality or any other consideration. The Sai sevaks, known as members of Seva Dal, seek the needy people out and selflessly serve them with body, mind and money from their own resources. No donations are collected by anybody in the organisation.

Baba (we shall address him as such now on in this article) has an establishment that takes care of total needs of the suffering humanity, illiterate, hungry, uncared for, orphaned as Mother Teresa’s sisters of charity did. He has started two super specialty hospitals, one in Puttaparthi and the other in White Field Bangalore, India. The poor and the needy or whoever needs medical care are treated free of cost. Heart transplant, kidney transplant, eyes operations and all major diseases are treated here and a team of committed and dedicated specialists in their fields, serve here round the clock without caring for their physical comfort or rest. Sometimes the doctors work for 16 to 20 hours at a stretch. There have been cases when well known doctors have flown in from other hospitals in India when their services were required, without any charges of course.

There are schools, colleges and a university known as The Institute of Higher Learning at Puttaparthi. Education is free in all these institutions. Baba is the chancellor of the university. The alumni of these teaching institutions are par excellence. Besides being highly motivated professionals, the students who graduate from Baba’s institutions are trained in spirituality and scriptures. They have a sterling character. They radiate a shining countenance with inner peace. They are models of modesty and spread love and light wherever they go and work. Baba used to say, “My life is my message.” But now he has started saying, “Your life is my message.” If the devotees display a good conduct, they are the true representatives of Baba. In Kaliyuga, service of humanity supersedes ‘japa’, ‘dhyana’ and recitation of holy name or of deities. The students apart, the people who are followers of Baba are ideal specimen of human beings. They represent Baba’s message through their service to the people around them. Baba says:

There is only one caste and it is the caste of humanity.
There is only one religion and it is the religion of love.
There is only one language and it is the language of the heart.
There is only one God and He is omnipresent.

About love Baba says

“Love is God. Live in love.” And further, “Start the day with love.Fill the day with love and end the day with love. That is the way to God. If the world followed ‘sathya, dharma, shanti, prema and ahimsa’ (truth, righteousness, peace, love and nonviolence) there won’t be any conflicts in the world. Wars will become unnecessary and peace will reign supreme in the world.”

Baba also teaches us to shed our desires. If you travel with light, your journey will be comfortable and easy. The same is true of our journey of life without desires. Baba advises all to pursue their faith sincerely. There is no need to change your faith. If a Christian, be a true Christian, if a Muslim, be a good Muslim, if a Sikh, be a good Sikh, if a Hindu, be a good Hindu and so on. The result is that people from all faiths come to have Baba’s darshan from all over the world and return home bubbling with peace and joy. Baba promotes equality of religions. Occasionally Baba invites people to his interview room. He tells them everything of their past, present and future. He materialises rings, medallions and ‘vibhuti’ (sacred ash) and gives it to them. These small acts of love make people shed tears of joy. Most of the Presidents of India have been to have Baba’s darshan. I was a witness when Dr Neelam Sanjva Reddy, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, R Venkataraman and BD Jatti came to Baba. When Baba was in Delhi, Atal Behari Vajpayee met Baba. All high or low are welcome at Prasanthi Nilayam. But Baba doesn’t believe in giving any mantra or the so-called initiation.

Baba’s miracles

Baba often performs miracles. He can materialise anything he wants to, from nowhere with just a wave of his hand before the unbelieving onlookers. Baba’s personality has two aspects

  • As a human being
  • As supernatural human being

As a human being, Baba is vulnerable to accidents like ordinary beings. His hipbone can crack in an accident; he can have a paralysis attack and so on. But as a super human being he can cure with his will deadly diseases such as restoring normal physique to an adult polio victim, brings the dead to life after hours of death and can cure patients of cancer. Similarly with a circular movement of his hand he can materialise any thing. Hundreds of miles away from his physical presence, sacred vibhuti or rice appear on his pictures. He can stop rain, light up dark rooms without any lamp. He can appear physically at hundreds of places simultaneously and people where he appears confirm this phenomenon. He has proved through his actions that he is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, like a divine being or ‘avtar’. But he says, “My miracles are instructions not exhibition. Even a sanyasi can perform these miracles through sadhna but Baba’s power to perform these miracles is inborn. He never did any sadhna.

The agnostics won’t believe in reference to Baba’s power of performing of miracles. There are two ways to convince them of this. (1) They themselves experience this phenomenon and (2) They are told of the belief of the prominent people who have experienced this and make honest confessions in this regard. I would like to refer to a book edited by Prof Prem Luthra. It contains a compilation of the admissions of such people. The book contains articles by 65 eminent persons includingJR Jayewardene, former Sri Lankan President, Shivraj Patil, home minister of India, Sunil Gavaskar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Justice PN Bhagawati, Dr John Hislop, Indira Devi (an American lady who converted and changed her name) Swami Maheswaranada and many others. The following books too are very illuminating

  • Conversations with Bhagwan by John Hislop
  • Finding God by Charles Penn
  • A series of books by Joy Thomas
  • Purifying the Heart by John Goldthwait, Ph.D.
  • Sai Baba, The Holy Man and Psychiatrist by Dr. Samuel H. Sandweiss
  • To My Father by Justice Padma Kastgir
  • God Lives in India by Karanjia (of Blitz)

There are hundreds of books that stand testimony to Baba’s divinity. All these books are available from The Convener, Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publication Trust, Prashanthi Nilayam, Anantpur District, Andhra Pradesh, India, 515134.

Baba was born on 23 November 1926. His 82nd birthday was celebrated globally, mainly by rendering service to suffering humanity in numerous ways. Baba in his previous incarnation was the Sai Baba of Shirdhi, a place in Maharashtra. Shirdhi Baba left the world on Vijayadashami in 1918. Earlier, he had predicted that he would reincarnate after eight years and left certain signs so that his devotees could recognise him. Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi was born eight years later. He has proved by certain signs of his being the Shirdhi Baba in his previous birth. In 1980, Baba materialised a ring and gave it to John Hislop, an American follower. It bore the side pose of the face of Baba’s third incarnation. The third incarnation will be known as Prema Sai. The picture was initially vague but with passage of time it kept on becoming more distinct. When asked, Baba said that the third incarnation was in the making. That is why the picture was miraculously developing and becoming clearer, though on a metallic ring. The next incarnation will occur in village Guna Parthy, district Mandya, Karnataka. Baba will leave the present body in 2022 when he is 96 year old and the third incarnation will take place six year later in 2028. Baba says that in the war at Kurukshetra in Dwaparyuga, Sri Krishna cleansed Bharat bhumi by killing the tainted humanity. But in Kaliyuga, most of the people are tainted. He can’t cleanse the world as Krishna did. Now reforming humanity through love is the most appropriate way. This he does by teaching love to all, respect for all religions and goodness to all. In this context, we can recall SwamiRamakrishna Paramhansa’s quote, “In a reservoir you approach the water from any direction, the water is the same. So is God, you can call Him God, Ishwara, Allah, Wahe Guru or by any other sweet name, He is one. All prayer reaches Him irrespective of language or mode of prayer.”

Sri Sathya Sai Baba is transforming humanity slowly and steadily. He was once asked why he didn’t do so in one go, he said that such a shortcut treatment is never permanent. The human nature needs a permanent change. Hence slow transformation was necessary. On another occasion, he was asked why he didn’t convert the water in the ocean into petrol so that the energy shortage would end. Baba said that he certainly could do this, but then the world was full of unscrupulous people. What if someone put a match to it? Thus Baba is a great humanitarian whose mission is to transform humanity from danavas to devas, through love, forgiveness, service, instruction and direction. He tells all to observe human values and be good human beings. All should remember to believe in the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man.



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