Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 21
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We know that we should cultivate good qualities right from our childhood. But, now, at this hour, how are we to cultivate them?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: First of all, you should fully realize the need to acquire good qualities and cultivate them sincerely. You should also know to what exalted heights of nobility they would take you. Then you should find out your own faults. The day you shed your bad qualities, you can fill your life with good qualities, just as you fill a tumbler with milk after emptying the water inside it. Otherwise, if the tumbler still retains water inside it, it will not be possible to fill it with milk. So, always remember that the removal of immortality is immortality. First, begin the process by correcting yourself.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Many people emphasise theimportance of character. But, they interpret character in many different ways. So, what exactly is character? Let us know from you.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Character is the most important thing. Life without character is like a pot full of holes. Water can never be retained in a pot with holes. So, the essential human quality will never be retained in the life of a person without character. This is what Prahlada too remarked. One day he saw a beautiful lady leaving his palace. He asked her, “Who are you?” She said, “I am your kingdom”. He kept quiet. After some time, he saw another very beautiful woman coming out of his royal palace. He asked her, “Who are you?” She said, “I am your wealth”. Again, he kept quiet. After some time, he saw an angel coming out of his palace. He asked her, “Who are you”? She responded saying, “I am your reputation.” He kept quiet. This time, he saw a woman with a brilliant face and with heavenly effulgence all around her, the like of whom he had never seen before, leaving his palace. He asked her, “Who are you?” She said, “I am your character”. Immediately Prahlada fell at her feet and repeatedly pleaded with her not to leave his palace. She obliged him and went back. The others (reputation, wealth and kingdom) immediately followed her. Therefore, where there is character, the rest will follow automatically. So, I often tell our students:
Politics without Principles
Science without Humanity
Commerce without Morality, and
Education without Character
Are not only useless but also dangerous
I repeatedly tell you:
The end of Education is Character,
The end of Culture is Perfection,
The end of Knowledge is Love,
The end of Wisdom is Freedom.
What is character? Perfect harmony in thought, word, and deed is character: manasyekam vacasyekam karmanyekam mahatmanam. Whatever you think, say it and do it. Your thought, word and deed must be one and the same. This is character. Manassanyat vacassanyat karman anyat duratmanam, it is only the wicked that think, say and act differently. This was very well demonstrated by Hanuman in the Ramayana. Rama commanded him to go in search of Sita, crossing the mighty sea. He did so with His infinite blessings. Given this divine assignment, Hanuman said, “Yes” and immediately jumped from the top of that Mahendra Mountain.
Here three points are to be noted. Hanuman decided to do his Lord’s bidding. This decision is the first thing. Then he declared on the mountain top of Mahendra that he was proceeding on His mission. This declaration is the second thing. Thereafter, immediately he started his journey flying across the sky over the sea. Action followed the declaration. This is the third thing. In Hanuman, we find these three, ‘decision / thought’, ‘declaration / word’ and ‘action / deed’ or the three “H’s”: Head, Heart and Hand in perfect harmony and integration. This is Character.
There is another important thing you should always keep in mind to guard your character. I give you ‘Watch’ as the ‘watch-word’. Here every letter has a message and an instruction. ‘Watch’ is a word with five letters. The first letter ‘W’ stands for the ‘words’ that we use. So, ‘Watch your words’. The words should be filled with truth. You speak truth. So, watch that your words express truth. The second letter is ‘A’ which stands for ‘action’. ‘Watch your actions’. They should be dharmic. The third letter is ‘T’ and represents ‘thoughts’. ‘Watch you thoughts’. They should be calm, never disturbing and agitating. So, let your thoughts be of santi. The fourth letter is ‘C’, ‘Watch your character’. Throughout your life, your character should be perfect. This is possible if you have pure prema. Love will make you achieve everything in this world. Human character is based on selfless, pure and divine love. The fifth letter is ‘H’. It represents ‘Heart’. ‘Watch you Heart’. ‘Heart’ in Sanskrit is hrdaya. This is hrt together with daya. ‘Daya’ is compassion. The one with ‘daya’ is hrdaya. Where there is violence, there is no daya, compassion. You should not be violent in your words, thoughts, or deeds. You should not harm people by your looks, words, thoughts and actions. You can watch your Heart with full understanding of your thoughts, words, and deeds so that your Heart is full of ahimsa. Ahimsa can be achieved by understanding.
So the five letters of this word ‘watch’ represent Satya (w-words), Dharma (A-actions), santi (T-thoughts), Prema (C-character) and Ahimsa (H-heart). These values constitute ‘Character’. It is character that takes humanity to Divinity. Without character, a man falls to the level of a beast. In certain respects, even animals are much better than human beings as they have a season and a reason for their behaviour.
We can view character from two angles. One is Individual character and the other is National character. Individual character emphasises the code of conduct. The second is National character. Everyone is to act in the national interest. Today, we have leaders with neither of the two, or both missing. This is the cause of the present sad plight of the country. When students have these two, they will mould themselves into ideal citizens of the country. Nitiye jati, adi vadilitivo koti kante hinudavu:
A true nation should have character. Without that, you are worse than a monkey. So character is most essential and prevails when there is total unity and harmony in the 3H’s, as I often say for our EHV. (Education in Human Values) programme, ‘Head / word’, ‘Heart / thought’ and ‘Hand / action’.
Question) Anil Kumar: Bhagawan! We are indeed very grateful to you for telling us so clearly and vividly the way we should view life in general. What are those essential qualities you wish we develop?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Unless the foundation is strong, a building cannot stand firm and last long. So, the foundation is very important. You can construct any number of floors basing on a firm foundation. Self confidence is the foundation. These days many do not have self confidence. They do not even attempt to do anything worthwhile as they have no confidence in themselves. How do you expect them to be successful? If a person has no confidence in himself, what can be done for his progress? On the foundation of self confidence are erected the walls of self-satisfaction. A man with self confidence alone can have selfsatisfaction. A man without confidence can never have satisfaction in his lifetime. So, the walls of self-satisfaction rest on the foundation of self confidence. Then the roof must be laid. Self-sacrifice is the roof. Gaining satisfaction out of confidence, one prepares oneself for sacrifice. You cannot live in a building without a roof. The roof rests on walls, and the walls, in their turn, stand on the foundation. Then, we live in the house. Life in such a house is self-realisation. So, everyone must develop these four “S’s”: Self-confidence, Self-satisfaction, Self-sacrifice and Self-realisation.
You need to cultivate three “D’s” also. You must know that a VIP, like the Rashtrapati, the President of India will always be followed by two bodyguards one on either side. The first ‘D’ is duty that stands for Rashtrapati. He is accompanied by two D’ s one on each side, ‘discipline’ and ‘devotion’. To discharge duty ably, discipline is very essential. Without discipline, you will never be successful.
Normal body temperature is 98.4. One’s normal blood pressure is 120/80. If there is deviation from the normal rate, you are sick. Changes in blood pressure lead to heart complaints also. So, our body is a limited company with all the systems working in strict discipline. The eye can see the intensity of light only up to a certain limit. If it crosses the limit, the retina of the eye gets burnt. Similarly, the ear also can hear sound to a certain extent, and if it is exceeded, the eardrum breaks. This is the lesson in discipline that the body teaches.
The second thing that is required for performing one’s duty is devotion. Devotion is Love.
Duty with Love is Desirable,
Duty without Love is Deplorable,
Love without Devotion is Demonic,
Love without Duty is Divine.
Everybody must be devoted to duty with discipline.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We have to work for our own moksha. But, how can we develop spiritually the basic human quality? Will spiritual awareness help us to be more human and ultimately experience the divine?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Today, everyone appears to be a human being by virtue of having a human body. But, it is by virtue of your behaviour and nature that you are a human being. You should be a human being. You seem to have forgotten the value of human life. Kaya, the body, kala, time, karma, the action, kartavya, duties, and karana, the purpose of life are all either misused or misdirected or wasted. Though there is considerable progress in science and technology, the basic human values are lost. Everywhere there is the atmosphere of fear, anxiety, tension or insecurity or agitation and restlessness.
To cultivate human values two qualities yama, restraint and niyama, regulation and the five principles ahimsa / nonviolence, satyam / truth, asteyam / not coveting others’ property, aparigraham / not accepting or expecting anything from anybody and brahmacaryam / celibacy are essential.
Ahimsa does not merely mean refraining from killing or hurting anybody. By thought, word, or deed, no one should be hurt or pained. This is true ahimsa or nonviolence. If you are harsh to anybody, it is violence. If you harbour evil thoughts towards anybody, it is violence. If you cast bad looks on anyone, it is violence. Therefore, non-violence means not causing harm to anyone and not hurting anybody either by thought, word or deed.
Then, the second principle is satyam, truth. In the ordinary sense, you think that truth is telling exactly what you see, hear, and know. This is worldly truth. Even scientific laws are not constant. They change from time to time with new inventions, discoveries, observations and experiments. They may be called scientific truths, or material truths. Newspapers convey facts and not truth. Then what is truth? That which is permanent, eternal and changeless is satyam, truth. Truth is God. You should speak truth in an acceptable and pleasing way.
The third principle is asteyam, you shall not covet others’ property. You shall not steal. Asteyam in the true sense means not entertaining any thought to own or possess others’ property or that which doesn’t belong to you.
The fourth one is aparigraha. Don’t expect anything from anybody. Don’t accept anything from anybody. But, you can accept things from your parents, Guru and God. You should not bother or pester your parents with demands they cannot afford to meet. You should accept wisdom and grace from your preceptor. But from God you must accept anything He gives you. Therefore, you are not permitted to receive anything from anyone. You should not be become rnagrasta / indebted to anybody. Give, but don’t receive.
The fifth principle is brahmacarya, celibacy. Brahmacarya doesn’t mean remaining unmarried. A brahmacari is one who treads the brahmamarga. Cariyuncuta (Telugu) of Brahman is brahmacari or a celibate. Harmony in thought, word and deed is brahmacarya.
Then, there are five niyamas. They are tapas / penance, saucam / cleanliness, santosam / contentment, svadhyayam / scriptural reading, and isvara pranidhanam / dedicating all deeds to God.
Saucam includes both outer and inner cleanliness. It is not enough if you are clean outwardly, taking bath everyday and wearing ironed clothes. You should be clean inwardly also. Attachment and hatred usually pollute your mind. You should see that the mind is not polluted by these two evils. Therefore, both outer purity and inner purity are necessary.
The second niyama is tapas, penance. Tapas does not mean that you should run away from home leaving behind your property. It doesn’t mean that you should break your family ties and go to a forest or stand upside down with your head on the ground and the legs up above. No, true penance means saying what you think and doing it accordingly. In other words, the three H’s “Head, Heart and Hand” should be integrated by thought, word and deed. Giving up bad thoughts and deeds is penance. Pining for God or yearning for God is penance. Purging your heart with sacred thoughts is penance.
The third niyama is santosam. You are under the impression that by fulfilling your desires, you will be satisfied and happy, No. Contentment lies in putting a ceiling on your desires. Too many desires make your life miserable. You may offer any number of objects and any amount of material to fire. It will burn them all to ashes. Fire never says “no” or “enough” at any time. Like that, desires also have no limit.
The fourth niyama is svadhyaya or study of the Holy Scriptures. You should read everyday one Holy Scripture. This is called parayana, worshipful reading of a religious book everyday. This cleanses your mind to some extent.
The fifth one is isvara pranidhanam. God is in you in the form of your conscience. You should satisfy your conscience. This is most important.
Thus the five yamas and the five niyamas will help you achieve the objectives or goals of life purusarthas and sustain your human values making you a true human being.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Our ancients gave top priority to satya, truth. It is not so now. Is satya so very important?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is remarked that of all the values of life satya, truth is the highest, Satyannasti paro dharmah. All have truth as the basis. God is truth. The entire creation came into existence from that truth and will ultimately merge in truth.
So, understand that God is truth and that truth is God. So, live in truth. Truth is the foundation of righteous conduct and the route to peace, which will make your life one of love.
Why is the history of Harischandra remembered till this day? Because he adhered to truth at any cost even sacrificing his wife, son and kingdom.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We do not have a precise idea of what dharma is and we are not able to conduct ourselves according to the little knowledge we have. Scholars expound dharma in a variety of ways. They designate one thing as dharma in one context and quite another in a different context. This adds to our confusion. Kindly explain dharma to us.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: What our elders and scholars had taught about dharma needs to be understood correctly. You should not hastily conclude that their views are contradictory. Take for example the dictum, satyannasti paro dharmah. What is to be chiefly noted here? The dictum means, ‘There is no dharma higher than satyam,’ and more too. The deeper meaning is, ‘the foundation of dharma is satyam.’ Now consider another dictum, ahimsa paramo dharmah. What does this mean? Earlier it is satyam which is said to be the foundation of dharma. Now, ahimsa, absence from violence, is called the highest dharma. Now ahimsa does not mean only refraining from violence. Harming none through word, deed or thought is true ahimsa. Here, it is seen that satyam has been touched upon obliquely. Satyam knows neither fear nor wrath. Satyagraha is not a hapy compound word. Where there is satyam, wrath does not exist. Satyam does not inflict pain. One, who is rooted in satyam, cannot undertake violence. Rather he considers ahimsa as his dharma. It is also said, vedokhilo dharmamulam. Veda which desribes yajnas, yagas and other rituals treats their performance as dharma. It is our duty to perform the deeds enjoined on us by Veda. Here, you have to consider dharma from the perspective of duty. You have to perform your duty, fulfil your obligations. Therefore, it is said, kartavyam yoga ucyate. In the verse from Gita, svadharme nidhanam sreyah, paradharmo bhayavahah, you have to realise that “svadharme” refers to atmadharma. On the other hand, the dharmas of the four castes and of the four stages, of life are matters of birth. The population of the world is a mixture of black, white, yellow, and brown hues and these are to be found in all countries. The dharmas of the four stages of life brahmacarya, garhastya, vanaprastha, and sanyasa are to be viewed as four kinds of steps, four processes of sadhana to reach Brahman, after performing the deeds enjoined as one’s duty. Thus, dharma is very subtle. The life force of satyam resides in utterance as does that of dharma in practice or action.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Transformation of Man, how does this come about?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Actually transformation of man is transformation of mind. You wrongly tend to call it transformation of the heart. The heart is not the physical heart located in the left side of the chest. The spiritual heart is quite different and is all-pervasive. This is existence of awareness, and is not subject to change. Transformation of the mind is truly important, for only the one endowed with mind is to be called Man. An individual passes away, but his mind survives. That is why it is said, mana eva manus yanam, karanam bandhamoksayoh. The mind alone is the cause of bondage or release of men. When the mind reaches out, as it does in the Pravrttimarga, it gets saturated with desires, ideas, and worldly concerns. But when it is withdrawn in the nivrttimarga, all these are subdued. This state is called amanaskam, disinterestedness, and facilitates the experience of peace and joy. This is what is meant by transformation of the mind. Then alone is transformation of men possible.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How are we to comprehend the three-fold path, karma, bhakti and jnana?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You study your own wrist watches. Every watch has three hands the second, minute and hour, hasn’t it? The second hand should go round sixty times for the minute hand to move one place. Then the minute hand should go round sixty times for the hour hand to move to the next place. Here the second hand is karma marga, path of selfless action. The minute hand is bhakti marga, path of devotion, while the hour hand is jnana marga, path of wisdom.
I will give you another example. Most of you travel by train as you go home for vacation. You have three ways of reaching your destination. You can board a train, an express train that takes you to your place straight. You can also get into a train where the coach in which you are seated will be connected to another train at a railway junction. It is a through carriage and so you do not have to get down anywhere in between and change. Then there is another way. You catch a train and travel some distance, get down at a junction, and board another train to reach your place. This is a passenger train.
These three ways of journey hold good in the spiritual path as well. The path of selfless service, karma marga is travel by a passenger train. The path of devotion, bhakti marga is travel by a through carriage where the carriage will be connected without your having to get down, to another train. Finally, the path of wisdom, jnana marga, is an express train that takes you straight to your destination.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! It is said that we cannot escape from the consequences of our actions. It means we are responsible for both the good and the bad we experience. The fruits of our actions, thus, are inescapable. Then, how does devotion to God help us? Why should we be devoted to God at all?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: God created the whole world and gave it to man to be happy and to utilise it freely. But, however, he gave it on one condition. “Oh Man! You do whatever you want, but be prepared to face the fruits of your actions. You cannot escape from the consequences of your actions. In full knowledge of this, from now, you can enjoy and do whatever you wish to in this world.”
So, for both good and bad, your actions are responsible. Then why should you be devoted to God? How does it help you? You may decide to raise onions or jasmines in your field according to your own liking, but you must pay the tax for utilising the land accordingly. Similarly the tax of the result of your actions is inescapable.
However you note one thing here. You pay income tax. You have to pay it proportionate to your income. There is no way out. But there is a provision for exemption. Be sure it is not definitely tax evasion. If you have paid some amount as premium to the Life Insurance Corporation, if you have paid some amount towards Provident Fund, you are eligible for some exemption out of the total tax payable by you. So, your taxable amount is reduced. Similarly, spiritual practices like daily prayer, service activity, meditation, worship, help you to reduce the intensity and magnitude of the consequences of your past actions which you face, karmaphala. They give you the courage and forbearance needed to endure the suffering.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! God is omnipresent. There is no place or object or person without divinity. All names as you have said are His. You have also said that all forms are His. In such a case how are we to comprehend, visualise and experience God.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Atmavat sarvabutani, eko vasl sarvabhutantaratma. Our scriptures say that God is the only one without a second. He has manifested Himself as many according to His will. ‘ekoham bahu syam,’ the one becoming many, everything is divine. The plurality or multiplicity or diversity is due to name and form.
You will notice that ‘jnani,’ the one who inquires, ‘jneya’, the one to be known and ‘jnana’ knowledge are one and the same. This is called ‘triputi’, trinity. Everything is out of that primordial principle of atma or consciousness.
The gross body, sthula, the subtle body, suksma, and the causal body, karana, of everyone are out of the atma only. You know the tamarind fruit. Its outer green covering, (physical, gross, sthula ), the middle soft pulp (subtle body, suksma), and the inner hard stone like seed (astral body, karana) are formed out of the original seed only. It is the seed that forms another seed in the times ahead. So, all the three are only atma.
I tell my students often, ‘You are not one, but three: the one you think you are (physical body), the one others think you are (individual mind), and the one you really are atma, conscience.’ You are born with a question, koham ? (Who am I?) If the reply is aham dehosmi , I am the body, it represents the first step, the one you think you are. To the same question koham, if the answer is aham, I am an individual jiva, it represents the second step, the one others think you are. But to the question koham, if the answer is aham brahmasmi, I am God, it conveys the real truth, the third step, the one you really are. This is your real nature.
It is the same atma that exists in all the three stages, jagrata, waking, svapna, dreaming and the susupti deep sleep. Atmavaisvanara plays all the three roles. Atmavaisvanara in the waking state operates in association with the body, the mind and the intellect. Atma functioning in the waking state may be called visva. Atmavaisvanara, functioning in a dream state, monitors the mind only. There is no body in the dreaming state as it lies on the bed. The entire thing is the creation of your mind only and the mind creates you when you pass through dream experiences. This atma of the dreaming state is known as taijasa. The third stage of deep sleep susupti also has the very same atma as in the previous two. In susupti the body, mind and intellect do not exist. Atma remains as an experiencer called prajna. So Atmavaisvanara left to itself is a pure, unsullied, unpolluted, eternal and immortal truth in the state of the ultimate turiya , expressed in the three levels of consciousness. In the waking state it is visva, in the dreaming it is taijasa while in deep sleep it is prajna. These are merely names given to the same atma in these three states, just as you know an actor playing three different roles. An actor by name Mallaya (equal to Atmavaisvanara, turiya state) plays the role of Dharmaja in one scene, visva, waking state, Arjuna in another scene, taijasa, dream state, and Bhima in still another scene, prajna , deep sleep state, while Mallaya (atma) remains the same basically.
So. in this universe everything is essentially atma. The five elements, the five senses of perception, the five senses of action, the five life breaths, the five life sheaths and the body constitute one wide area or realm called bhutakasa. The impact, influence, and effects of all these components of the sphere of bhutakasa (drawn from the outer world) are contained in or imprinted on a small sphere or field called chittakasa , viz. the mind, citta. But then there is atma which monitors and operates through the body, mind, intellect, the sense of ego (I-ness) known as cidakasa. These three are equivalent to the gross (sthula bhutakasa), the subtle (chittakasa- suksma) and the casual (cidakasa-karana) forms.
This is what Christ also said in his first statement, “I am the messenger of God”. This is dualism, dvaita. The next statement of Jesus was, “I am the son of God.: This is qualified non-dualism (visistadvaita).
Finally on the cross, Jesus said, “I and my Father in Heaven are one”. This is non dualism. In the Persian language too it is first said, “I am in the light”, which is the state of dvaita, dualism. Later it is said, “The light is in me”, which is qualified visistadvaita , nondualism and finally, it is stated, “I am the light”, which is advaita, nondualism. We can find in all these states unity in diversity. If you identify yourself with the body (aham dehosmi ), it is the one you think you are or, what Jesus said, ‘I am the messenger of God’ or it is bhutakasa which is dualism, dvaita. If you think you are an individual, jivi, the one others think you are or aham jivosmi, it yields the same meaning as in Jesus’ statement, “I am the son of God,” or the Persian declaration, “The light is in me” or chittakasa, qualified nondualism. But the final experience lies in knowing what you really are, aham brahmasmi, the same as what Christ said “I and my Father in Heaven are one” or the Persian declaration, “I am the light”, or cidakasa which is nondualism.
This is the one to be known and experienced. Hanuman said the same thing to Rama, “Oh! Rama! If I think I am the body, I am your servant; if I think I am an individual soul, jivi, you are my God, and if I think ‘I am atma’, you and I are one.” This is the path of enquiry that leads to the discovery of one’s true svarupa.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! God’s creation is absolutely good. Then, from where do we get anything bad in life? When there is nothing bad in your creation how can there be bad actions at all? Or do you say that there are both good and bad in your creation? Kindly clarify this doubt.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Creation is absolutely pure and good. There is no trace and scope for the bad to exist in God’s creation. It is only the factor of time that makes you take things as good or bad. You eat today a phalam, good fruit. Tomorrow, the very good fruit that you have eaten today transforms itself into malam, faeces. Is it not the same fruit? Is it not time that has brought about the change? Therefore, good and bad are present from your point of view. But to the divine both are the same as he is nondual.
God created everything for you to enjoy. It is in use that good and bad arise. For example, you brought all the necessary provisions from the market and kept them in the kitchen. It is now left for you to cook properly with these provisions. The taste depends on the way you cook, how and in what proportions you mix the provisions: You have the needed utensils and the material. Now it is up to you to cook your food properly and make it a delicacy. Similarly, God has given you everything. Good and bad depend on the way you use the material given to you.
Upanishad means the “inner” or “mystic teaching”. The term Upanishad is derived from “upa” (near), “ni” (down) and “shad” (to sit), i.e., sitting down near. Groups of pupils sit near the teacher to learn from him/her the secret doctrine. In the quietude of the forest hermitages the Upanishadic thinkers pondered on the problems of deepest concerns and communicated their knowledge to fit pupils near them. The most well known Upanishads are: Aitareya, Brihadaranyaka, Taittiriya, Chandogya, Kena, Isa, Svetasvatara, Katha, Mundaka, Mandukya, Prasna, Kausitaki, Maitrayani, Muktika and Shakta. The Satyopanishad is the Upanishad of Truth (Sathya) but more specifically the Truth as revealed by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Anil Kumar questions the illustrious Guru and provides us with Sathya Sai Baba’s answers to ponder, ruminate and derive ananda.
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