An Amazing Appreciation Of A Basic Truth

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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,
“Heart2Heart” Team

Gandhi on Gandhi

Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen

Rajmohan Gandhi, a professor and the grand son of Mahatma Gandhi, will be speaking at the Museum of Civilization today. Photograph by : Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen

Gandhi on Gandhi
Scholar speaks on Hinduism, grandfather
Jennifer Green, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mahatma Gandhi was not only a hero, but a committed Hindu and complex human who blundered, sorrowed, and even fell in love, says his grandson and biographer.

Rajmohan Gandhi, author of Gandhi: The Man, His People and The Empire, will talk in Ottawa today on Gandhi and the Hindu Tradition.

“Current Hindu extremism is a grave reality,” Mr. Gandhi said in an interview yesterday. “These attacks on nuns and priests, it’s most disturbing.”

Mr. Gandhi teaches at the University of Illinois, specializing in Southeast East Asia and Middle Eastern studies. He believes comfortable elites incite the lowest in Indian society, the Dalits or untouchables, and the tribal groups.

“They have succeeded in deflecting the anger against high castes, and redirected it to Muslims and Christians. They are told that they will be in the lead defending Hindu society. The elevated position being offered, it feels empowering. Meanwhile, the forces behind the riots and violence stay safe in their homes.

They themselves will not be caught by the arms of the law.”

Although the professor will lecture on Hinduism, the 73-year-old descendent of the Mahatma knows people really want to hear about his grandfather.

“Every person who meets me wants me to relate personal memories. On the other hand, most people have warm feelings about Gandhi and that translates into a cordial feeling towards me.

A brother of mine he used to say if we did something good or even courageous, everyone said, ‘so what, you’re a Gandhi,’ but if you did something bad, it was, ‘how dare you!”’

The professor has spent many years researching his grandfather’s life.

“He was a slave to his conscience … as a result I think he made a remarkable new version of Hinduism. To many Hindus, their religion is just a matter of following certain rules but Gandhi brought the ethical to the foreground.

He liberated Hinduism from mere ritual.”

Still, he was not always as kind to his family as he was to the rest of the world. To his great sorrow, he was estranged from his eldest son after refusing to pay for higher education. He criticized another son who tried to help this estranged brother, dismissing him as “weak.”

Despite his well-known celibacy, when he was about 45 he developed a romantic passion for an accomplished but married woman who was also active with social issues. Various family members intervened and the affair of the heart came to an end.

Mr. Gandhi speaks at 2 p.m. today at the Museum of Civilization 100 Laurier St., in Gatineau. Admission is free.


India Independence Day – Celebrations & News Around The World

India Independence Day

India Independence Day

India Independence Day – Celebrations & News Around The World

Today, August 15, 2008, is the 62th anniversary of India’s independence from the British Empire. President Bush sent a Indian Independence Day message of that stated this anniversary is a reminder of the close ties the United States has with India.

At midnight on August 15, 1947, the Indian people became a democratic self-governing country. Mahatma Gandhi led the people in non-violent protests that culminated in what Bush called a great story of “liberty overcoming oppression”. He also noted the significant contribution that Indian-Americans have made to our great country.

One of the most famous Independence Day quotes came from then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his speech, Tryst with Destiny:

At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance ….. We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again.

So on this day, as the Indian people celebrate their independence, we wish you the best!! Have a joyous day. (Ref)

Washington, Aug 15 (PTI) Greeting India on its 62nd Independence Day, President George W Bush said that the occasion reminds America of the “close ties” it shares with India.

“I send greetings to those celebrating the 61st anniversary of India’s Independence,” Bush said in a statement to the Indian-American community released through his Office of Public Liaison.

Terming India’s path to independence a great story of “liberty overcoming oppression”, the president said “led by Mahatma Gandhi the Indian people engaged in non-violent protests and campaigns in the pursuit of freedom.” “On August 15, 1947 they achieved their goal, gained their independence and became a democratic nation. This accomplishment demonstrates that though freedom can be delayed, it cannot be denied,” he said.

Lauding the contributions of Indian Americans in America’s progress, Bush said “it is also a time to remember the rich contributions that the Indian-Americans have made to our country and reminds us of the close ties that our Nation shares with India.” “Laura and I send our best wishes on the occasion,” he added. PTI (Ref)

New York, Aug 15 (PTI) Indian tricolour fluttered in the backdrop, as Neelam Deo, the country’s consul general here rung the closing bell at the world’s largest stock exchange NASDAQ, which celebrated India’s 62nd independence day today.

This was the first time that a consul general has rung the closing bell at the stock market in a prestigious ceremony, which marks the recognition of a fast growing Indian economy.

Outside the exchange, the huge electronic board, which overlooks the historic Times Square and displays quotations during the day was also lighted in saffron, white and green colours, with the words “India Independence Day”.

With approximately 3,200 companies, NASDAQ lists more companies and has more trading volume per day than any other stock exchange in the world.

It lists six Indian companies with a combined market cap of almost USD 35 billion. These include Ex1Service, Rediff.Com, Sify Technologies, Syntel Inc, Cognizant Technology Solutions and Infosys Technologies.

Infosys and Cognizant are members of the NASDAQ 100 Index, which is one of the most prestigious and widely followed indices in the world.

Additionally, Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), India’s first power exchange for trading of electricity, regulated by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), uses NASDAQ OMX and the FTIL as the primary contractors for the new exchange’s energy trading solution. PTI (Ref)

NEW DELHI, Aug 15 (Reuters) – India rolled out a security clampdown on Friday ahead of annual Independence Day celebrations following recent bomb attacks on some of its cities and violent protests in its northern region of Kashmir.

Snipers will keep a close watch from high-rise buildings as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unfurls the national flag from the ramparts of Delhi’s historic Red Fort to a 21-gun salute before addressing the nation.

But as India celebrates the 61st anniversary of independence from British colonial rule, security forces will be on alert across the country to prevent attacks from separatist militants or Maoist rebels.

“We have geared up resources and will have anti-air attack systems in place in the capital. Some areas have been declared no-fly zones,” said Rajan Bhagat, a Delhi police spokesman.

In Kashmir, at least 27 people have been killed since June in some of the biggest protests since a revolt against Indian rule broke out in 1989.

The trouble began when the government promised to give forest land to a trust that runs Amarnath, a cave shrine visited by Hindu pilgrims. After huge protests by Muslims, it backtracked, in turn angering Hindus in the Jammu region of the state.

The disputed region’s main separatist alliance has called a general strike for Friday.

“We appeal to people to observe August 15 as a black day and stay away from Indian functions,” the All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference said in a statement.

In New Delhi, barricades have been put up on roads and police were frisking people in malls and checking bags.

On Thursday, the government sweetened the celebrations for five million of its workers, agreeing to hefty pay rises.

Singh’s ruling coalition has had a tough time of late, struggling to contain inflation while being pilloried by the opposition for failing to prevent or solve a series of deadly bombings in some of the country’s cities.

The attacks have killed more than a 100 people since May.

In forests in central and eastern areas, Maoist rebels are becoming increasingly assertive and have told people not to celebrate.

In the remote northeast, four powerful separatist groups, including the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), have also called a boycott and a general strike.

On Thursday, security forces gunned down four ULFA rebels, but the militants have vowed to strike back.

“Militants are planning disruptive activities in a big way in the region,” a senior intelligence official told Reuters. (Ref)

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) — Pakistan released 34 detained Indian prisoners as a goodwill gesture while celebrating its Independence Day on Thursday.

The 34 fishermen, aging from 18 to 34, were freed from the Karachi Central Jail on the occasion of Independence Day, private Geo TV reported.

The prisoners will be handed over to Indian officials on Friday at the eastern Wagha border between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan and India won their independence from Britain in 1947,and they mark their independence day on Aug. 14 and Aug. 15 respectively. The two countries have exchanged their prisoners in recent years as part of goodwill gesture. (Ref)

Indian missions and expatriate Indian organisations across the Gulf are making elaborate preparations to mark the 61st anniversary of India’s Independence this Friday.

In Abu Dhabi, Indian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Talmiz Ahmad will hoist the tricolour Friday morning and read out extracts from President Pratibha Patil’s speech.

In Dubai, Indian Consul General Venu Rajamony will hoist the flag at the Indian High School and this will be followed by a programme of patriotic songs and dances.

In the evening, the Indian Professional and Business Council (IBPC), Dubai, will hold a cultural programme at a five star hotel in Dubai.

The highlight of the evening will be a performance of the classical ballet ‘Parampara’ by Bollywood actress and Rajya Sabha member Hema Malini and her daughters Esha Deol and Ahana Deol.

In Oman, the Independence Day celebrations already started on Wednesday with a musical evening at the Indian embassy auditorium.

India’s Ambassador to Oman Anil Wadhwa will hoist the tricolour at the Indian School Darsait Friday morning, which will be followed by a tree-planting ceremony by volunteers of the Art of Living foundation.

A cultural programme will also be held at the embassy auditorium Friday afternoon, which will be coordinated by Oman-based Odissi dancer Shubharna Bose.

Oman TV will telecast a half-hour documentary titled ‘A Day in the Life of India’.

In the evening, the embassy lawns will resonate to the fusion tunes of ghazal and jazz in a unique programme called Gazaala. Bollywood singer Roop Kumar Rathod and Fazal Quereshi will be accompanied by other fusion musicians in the programme.

The Indian embassy in Oman is also organising an India-Oman art exhibition at the Omani Society of Fine Arts in Muscat.

The exhibition, titled ‘Mixture’, will run September 16-21, and will feature works of Indian figurative artist Neelam Dhar and well-known Omani artists Abdullah Al Riyami and Saleem Sakhi.

India’s Ambassador to Bahrain Balkrishna Shetty will be the chief guest at the main function to mark Independence Day at the Indian School, Isa Town.

Over 200 schoolchildren will present a cultural programme called ‘India on the Move’ featuring India’s freedom struggle, the post-independence developments and the country’s cultural heritage.

There will also be an Odissi recital by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) artiste Jyoti Srivastava.

Kannada Sangha Bahrain will also celebrate the 61st anniversary of India’s independence in a mega cultural event Friday at the Indian Club, Manama.

The programme will pay tribute to India’s freedom fighters and will feature patriotic songs, dances and dance dramas, all focusing on India and the nation’s freedom movement.

In Doha, India’s Ambassador to Qatar George Joseph will hoist the tricolour at the Indian Cultural Centre and read out excerpts from the President’s speech.

This will be followed by a programme of patriotic songs by schoolchildren.

In Kuwait, Indian Ambassador M. Ganapathi will hoist the flag. This will be followed by a cultural programme in which schoolchildren will give various performances.

India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia M.O.H. Farooq will hoist the flag in Riyadh. In the evening, the Indian mission will host a reception at the Indian International School.

In Jeddah, newly appointed Indian Consul General Sayeed Ahmed Baba will hoist the flag at the official function in that Red Sea coast city.

Apart from these programmes, major newspapers in the region are also bringing out special supplements to mark the occasion.

There are over 4.8 million expatriate Indians across the six Gulf nations. (Ref)

Children Celebrate India Independence Day

Children Celebrate India Independence Day

India’s Independence Day is celebrated on August 15 to commemorate its independence from the British rule and its birth as a sovereign nation on that day in 1947. The day is a national holiday in India. It is celebrated all over the country through flag-hoisting ceremony . The main celebration takes place in New Delhi, where the Prime Minister hoists the National Flag at the Red Fort and delivers a nationally televised speech from its ramparts. In his speech, he highlights the achievements of his government during the past year, raises important issues and gives a call for further development. The Prime Minister also pays his tribute to leaders of the freedom struggle.

On 3 June 1947, Viscount Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last British Governor-General of India, announced the partitioning of the British Indian Empire into India and Pakistan, under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947. At the stroke of midnight, on 15 August 1947, India became an independent nation.

Prime Minister Nehru and Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel invited Lord Mountbatten to continue as Governor General of India. He was replaced in June 1948 by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari. Patel took on the responsibility of unifying 565 princely states, steering efforts by his “iron fist in a velvet glove” policies, exemplified by the use of military force to integrate Junagadh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Hyderabad state into India. J&K became a part of India when Pakistan laid siege and the then king Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession with India to save J&K from Pakistan. India responded on behalf of J&K by sending in its armed forces to counteract the Pakistani attack. Later PM Nehru went to UN and a cease fire was declared. Pakistan has not withdrawn its military forces from the occupied Kashmir, and the territory termed as POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) has ever since been a cause of contention between India and Pakistan.

The Constituent Assembly completed the work of drafting the constitution on 26 November 1949; on 26 January 1950 the Republic of India was officially proclaimed. The Constituent Assembly elected Dr. Rajendra Prasad as the first President of India, taking over from Governor General Rajgopalachari. Subsequently, a free and sovereign India absorbed two other territories: Goa (liberated from Portuguese control in 1961) and Pondicherry (which the French ceded in 1954). In 1952, India held its first general elections, with a voter turnout exceeding 62%; in practice, this made India the world’s largest democratic country in the history of the modern and ancient world.

Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs take place in all the state capitals. 15th August is a National holiday of India. In the capital New Delhi In the cities around the country the Flag Hoisting Ceremony is done by politicians belonging to that constituency. In various private organisations the Flag Hoisting Ceremony is carried out by a Senior officer of that organisation. Schools and colleges around the country organise flag hoisting ceremony and various cultural activities within their respective premises. Families and friends get together for lunch or dinner, or for an outing. Housing colonies, cultural centres, clubs and societies hold entertainment programmes and competitions, usually based on the freedom theme. (Ref)

India Independence Day Celebration

India Independence Day Celebration