The Mystery Of Karma

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

The Mystery Of Karma

Once a Student who had joined the College a Few days back asked Sathya Sai Baba as to why God does not prevent cruelties in the world and why people should suffer so much.

To which Sri Sathya Sai Baba said wonderfully:

God is only Sakshibhoota (witness) for everything that happens, God never acts. Every single person acts according to what his intellect says to him and he himself suffers the consequences of his actions. Never ever think at anytime that there is anything like good or bad for God. A knife is used differently by a murderer, cook, and a surgeon. But if a magnet is placed near all the knives that all these people use, it attracts them equally, not according to the tasks that each of them perform.

God is exactly like the magnet. Every knife like every person in this world are the same to him, there is no difference between one person and the other, but the hands that operate the knives have to bear the consequences of their actions, dependent on right and wrong.

So also Sathya Sai Baba wonderfully said suffering is not based on God but on our own actions.

Om Sai Ram

You Have Come To The Wrong Address

Sathya Sai Baba Olden Golden Days

Sathya Sai Baba Olden Golden Days

You Have Come To The Wrong Address

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam, the ashram of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Today, we are giving you little stories sent to us by a kind reader. We thought they were great stories with profound meaning. We hope you would think so too.

A Rabbi was delivering his lectures on the Torah, the sacred Hebrew scripture, to a few young Jewish students. One day in the course of their studies, they came across a line which said, ‘The truly evolved person is only he, who continues to smile in the midst of the greatest of difficulties.’

The young students had a problem in accepting this statement at its face value. ‘If we are truly in difficulty, how is it possible for us to smile under such conditions?’ they asked the Rabbi.

The Rabbi took off his spectacles and looked at his young pupils thoughtfully. ‘To be perfectly honest with you,’ he said, ‘I myself cannot answer that question. The truth is that I, too, cannot smile when I am in the midst of difficulties. At such moments, I seem to forget how to smile.’

Silence prevailed in the class as the teacher and the students pondered over the issue. The Rabbi continued after a pause, ‘However, I believe there is someone who can give you the answer.’ He proceeded to tell his students of an old man who lived in their city, not far from the synagogue. He had been an abandoned child – an orphan. When he grew up, both his legs were paralyzed in an accident. His life had been a series of struggles, a saga of pain and suffering. ‘And yet,’ concluded the rabbi, ‘he always wears a lovely smile! He is a wonderful human being. You must go to him and ask him to answer our question.’

The students were amazed to hear of this brave man. In a group, they went and knocked at his door. The door was opened by the man himself moving briskly on a wheel-chair. He welcomed the young students cordially, and asked them the purpose of their visit.

‘Sir, It’s this text we are discussing in the class,’ said one of them hesitantly. ‘It’s all about how one must continue to smile amidst the greatest of difficulties in life. The Rabbi told us that you were the best person to talk to.’ ‘Tell us please, sir,’ added another. ‘How do you continue to smile amidst so much pain and suffering’.

‘I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong address!’ replied the old man, with genuine surprise. ‘I am 73 years old, and in all these years I have never had to face any difficulty! The Lord has always been good to me, and protected me in His mercy. How can I teach you how to smile in the midst of difficulties’. This was indeed a man who lived in close proximity with God!

In times of difficulties, don’t ever say, ‘God, I have a big problem!’ Instead say, ‘Hey problem, I have a big God!’ and everything will be all right.

Box Of Kisses
The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his three-year old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, ‘This is for you, Daddy.’ He was embarrassed by his earlier over reaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty. He yelled at her, ‘Don’t you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside it’.

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, ‘Oh, Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you.’ The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he asked for her forgiveness. It is told that the man kept that gold box by his bed for years and whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us as humans have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, friends, family or God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

Aren’t they nice stories?

Jai Sai Ram

With Love and Regards,
RadioSai’s e-Journal Team,
In Sathya Sai Baba Seva

God And Sensitivity

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

God And Sensitivity

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.

Last week, there was a lot of media-hype here in India about a certain type of so-called sporting event. It had to do with a young boy named Budhia Singh of Orissa, age four, yes, four years only. And what was it that Budhia do that attracted so much attention? He walked non-stop for seven hours, in hot blazing sun – in May, the sun can be damn hot in India – covering a distance of sixty-five kilometres. Budhia walked from the sacred town Puri to Bhuvaneshwar, the State Capital.

Why on earth did Budhia do such a thing, instead of staying home, playing or watching TV or whatever? Because his father wanted his young son to become famous and have his name entered in the book of records. The foolish father was egged on by many, including a coach and a local establishment that compiles records – they and many others, obligingly supported the marathon walk. For the Media of course this was a welcome break, a ‘great’ human interest story, and a chance to lay off, at least for some time, from the seedy and sleazy news they usually keep themselves busy with. Oh yes, there were some rumblings from about half a dozen ‘human right activists,’ but on the whole, the Media and a good section of the public seemed to have enjoyed the ‘show’. To be up to date, we must mention that the National Human Rights Commission has just started enquiring into the whole affair. A panel of doctors have examined the child and expressed grave concern. They say young Budhia is undernourished, he is showing signs of stress, he may develop early rheumatism and also suffer renal failure.

Let us stand back and reflect on the whole affair. Did the boy gain anything? Absolutely not, except extreme exhaustion – what else can one expect when a small kid, a mere four years old, is made to walk non-stop for seven hours, a distance of 65 km, and that too in the hot sun? And you know what? We see from the photo that appeared in the newspaper showing Budhia approaching Bhuvaneshwar, that the child was not even wearing a cap!

Did the father gain anything? Perhaps he thought he did, but we wonder! The reason we mention all this is to focus on the rapid diminishing of human sensitivity. We do not wish to imply that sensitivity has altogether vanished from the human race; no, it has not. We just have to recall what happened at the time of the Tsunami, for example. Millions came forward to help, as also various social organisations and Governments. Mercifully, great calamities still produce a touching response in terms of aid and support. By God’s Grace, the spirit of the Good Samaritan is still alive, to a substantial extent. However, when it comes to so-called ‘routine and normal’ daily life, sensitivity often seems to take a back seat. Why is this so, and is it desirable? That is the question we now wish to consider.

Few realise that sensitivity has everything to do with God and Divine feelings. We often use the word compassion. Do we realise that if a person is insensitive, that person cannot feel compassion? Here it is necessary to refer to an incident, hardly known, that happened during the last days of October 2000. One afternoon, Sathya Sai Baba suddenly called all the teachers into the Bhajan Hall of the Mandir and started speaking to them. He said that he had recently read in the newspaper that a woman, unable to bear poverty and the fact that she could not feed her children, threw them all into a well and then committed suicide. When Swami was referring to this incident, His voice became chocked and He almost broke down. This was a totally new experience for many of those present, although they had been with Swami for years and years. For them it raised many questions like: ‘Swami often talks to us about equanimity, and yet here He is, breaking down! What does that mean’? Let us examine this question a bit.

Yes, God in human form HAS taught that man should treat pleasure and pain with composure, equanimity, etc., and remain unaffected by them. And yet here was God in human form, appearing to break down as ordinary mortals do. Was He not contradicting His own teachings? Superficially, it might seem so but let us consider another of His teachings ‘My Life is My Message’! So what’s the Message Sathya Sai Baba was giving on this occasion? He was saying effectively, ‘O man, is you Heart soft like butter and does it melt when you encounter suffering either by directly witnessing it or by hearing’. Or is your Heart hard like stone? Can you call yourself a human and let others cry in anguish? Is it not your duty to go to the help of people in distress? Was that not the lesson that Jesus taught through the famous parable of the Good Samaritan? On another occasion, Sri Sathya Sai Baba said: ‘If you do not feel the call of service at the sight of human distress, disease or injustice, how can you muster the determination and dedication needed to serve the Unseen, Inscrutable, and Mysterious God’?

If we take all these things together, then the message is loud and clear. We cannot claim to truly love God, if we fail to see Him in all living beings, and that includes of course fellow human beings. If we see God in others, especially those who are in distress, then we would not remain quiet; we would try and do at least something to relieve their pain. That really is what sensitivity is all about.

The question arises: ‘Why on earth are so many of us so insensitive’? Well, if you want the answer in a nutshell, it is our intense preoccupation with ourselves, our ambitions, our greed, our family, our this and our that. We do concede that some amount of attachment is inevitable for humans, but an excess of it.

Sensitivity is not always all about poverty, misery etc; there are many dimensions to it. Sensitivity also concerns how we relate to blind and handicapped people, how unwilling we are to hurt other people, how worried we are about exploitation and cruelty, not only to humans but indeed to all living beings; the list is long. When we look at the issue in a broader perspective, we find that both individuals and the societies they live in are constantly torn between two opposite forces. One force evokes goodness from within, while the other force urges indifference and indeed even selfishness. Thus, no one individual is completely heartless or totally selfish; the same applies to communities, nations and societies. The issue before us is: ‘On the average, what is the current index of sensitivity? Does it portend good for the future or bad?’ Different people would naturally have different perceptions, and we would like to place before you, our view of things.

If you take a crowded country like India, generally speaking, we tend to be quite indifferent to many of the problems that the underprivileged experience. For example, we do not seem to be bothered too much about the difficulties blind people face. In fact, some years ago, there was a most disgraceful incident when, during a rally of blind people in a big city, the rally was called to highlight many of the problems the blind face and the police carried out a lathi charge or a baton charge as they would say in the West. Imagine that! Police beating blind people, who had come out to highlight their problems and to protest!!

One can go on and on, but to be fair, it must be said that there are many, many concerned people also. For example, some years ago, there was the heart-warming story of a person who was working with spastic children, in Bangalore we believe. All these children were confined to the wheel chair. Yet, in spite of that handicap, they were motivated by this man to stage a play, the Ramayana; and the wonder of it was, that the man who produced the play was a Muslim. There are many such public-spirited people in this country who are quite vigorous in championing the cause of the slum dweller, tribals displaced by the construction of huge dams, and so on. But at the end of the day, what matters most is what the average person feels, and how sensitive the societies in which the person lives are.

In Japan, for example, the roads and even railway stations are so well laid out that blind and handicapped people can move fairly easily on sidewalks, get into trains etc., without anybody’s help. In America, there are any number of social groups that concern themselves very seriously with problems of suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, obesity etc., and go all out to help such people. Not only that; they are very pro-active in highlighting the issues involved and eliciting strong public support. And when there is strong public support, the government of the day has to respond by enacting laws that help handicapped and other people in substantial ways. Thus, if we are talking about the ‘average index of sensitivity’ in a community, it depends to a large extent on what the ordinary people feel about matters that ought to be of concern. By and large, it would seem that in the ‘advanced countries,’ there is greater social awareness about social problems and issues. In turn this is reflected in the way those societies deal with such matters.

OK, all this is fine; but what has it got to do with Sathya SaiBaba, His teachings etc? That is what we would like to consider next. There are two things we would like to mention as a preliminary. First is the line from the Gita that Swami often quotes. In that quote, Krishna says, “My Divinity pervades all and everything, and an aspect of My Divinity is to be found in all living beings.” In practical terms, it means that Swami is in all. Next, Swami says that recognising this immanent and latent Divinity within us, each of us must see the world and deal with it, being fully conscious of the Omnipresence of God. Let us examine what this means.

Let us start with a simple matter like greetings. When we greet a person, do we recall what Swami has said about it? He says, if you offer respect to a person, you are actually offering obeisance to the God within. Do we ever bother to recall that? If we did, we would never dare to abuse another person or speak rudely. For Swami has said that every abuse hurled at another ‘person/body’ ends up reaching God. Do we want to do that?

So the first lesson is that when relating to ‘others’, be it through feelings, thoughts, word or action, we must always remember that the ultimate destination of all these is really the Omnipresent God.

In other words, we must constantly feel that we are always dealing with God, though in worldly terms we might be dealing with Mr. X or Ms. Y. Once one is saturated with this feeling always, many things would instantly change, often without anybody spending one cent.

Just to highlight how important this matter is, let us take the issue of prisoners. Every country has laws and those who violate laws are thrown into prison. People seem to imagine that having laws, police, courts, and prisons, takes care of the problem of law and order. Does it? Active work by socially-conscious people has shown that it does not .

In Britain, for example, an expert Committee was alarmed to find that a huge number of young people get imprisoned under the present system. In the prison, these juveniles are often forced to live along with hardened criminals, and that changes their entire outlook. Thus, when they come out, they soon join the category of hardened criminals. The Committee asked: Is this good? Can we afford to make hardened criminals of young people? Should not Society do something to use the prison term to steer these young people so that when they come out, they live as good citizens and contribute to Society? Even from a monetary point of view, which is better for Society? To have more criminals and therefore more jails, security systems, etc., or better citizens?

What we have mentioned is but the tip of the iceberg. In today’s complex Society, there are millions of problems. However, if we think carefully, almost every one of them can be solved through Love, Compassion and Sensitivity. That is what Swami is telling us all the time, but are we listening? That is the question we want to leave you with this Sunday!

See you again next week. Till then, may Swami be with you and take care of you every single second.

Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards
“Heart2Heart” Team

Built In Terminator

Sri Sathya Sai

Sri Sathya Sai

Built In Terminator

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. While creating the Universe, God, in His infinite Wisdom, has ensured that nothing is permanent. This applies both to inanimate as well as animate entities. Stars are born, but they also die. Incidentally, you may surprised to know that the atoms in our bodies have all come from a star that had an explosive death before our Sun came into existence. As for animate entities, Shakespeare said beautifully that all that lives must die and go from here to eternity.

It is not only individual living beings that have a birth and a death; species too go through the same sort of cycle. A species comes into existence, exists for several million years and then one day becomes extinct, like the dinosaurs, for example. What we wish to discuss in this “Sunday Special” is that coming under the spell of constant change, socio-economic forces, including those that harm Society, also appear to have a termination, at least to some extent. Unfortunately, however, while one evil phenomenon becomes extinct, others, often more virulent, take their place. Thus, it is rather like what happens in a garden. Weeds appear and through the use of pesticides etc., the weed is exterminated; but other weeds appear, and the cycle goes on.

The question before us is the following: “Placed as we are in a Society that is becoming increasingly crowded, and where money power is slowly appearing to become absolute, how are we to protect ourselves?” Before we try to address this question, we would like to cite some examples of such transient phenomenon. In the business world, for example, success is not eternal. Take, for instance, the automobile industry. Time there was when America literally dominated the scene. In fact, so powerful was General Motors and so important was it to America that it used to be said: “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.” Presently, however, the American auto industry that once held such a powerful position is in the red. A similar eclipse is being forecast in the Television industry. For decades, three TV channels in America ruled the airways. They were true giants. But with the emergence of cable technology, internet streaming, etc., these once powerful institutions are worrying about what they must do to stay alive.

Let us turn next to powerful empires. Barely seventy years ago, it used to be said that the Sun never sets on the British Empire. Where is it now? After the Second World War, the Soviet Empire seemed invincible, the Berlin Wall being its symbol of might and authority. Yet, how quickly the Soviet Empire crumbled, almost overnight as it were! Much before this, there were the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Czarist Empire, the Ottoman Empire , the Moghul Empire, and so on. Every one of them has vanished into the dustbin of history. What we are trying to drive at is that any social or economic system based on social imbalance and inequity, has a built-in factor that one day leads to the extinction of that system. In that sense, this built-in “Terminator Factor,” in so far as it applies to evil forces, is good news. However, though a particular form of evil might become extinct, if the overall climate for evil to flourish does not change, then evil would always reappear in some other form.

Diseases provide an example of how one problem is often replaced with another. Till about seventy years ago, small pox and plague used to kill in thousands if not hundreds of thousands. They were very much feared but today, they are extinct. Polio, likewise, claimed its victims in millions but today, it has almost disappeared, except in a few countries. But even as these deadly diseases have taken their bow as it were, others have appeared in their place, the most notable and feared of them being AIDS. Believe it or not, till 1980 AIDS simply did not exist, but today, it is killing five thousand people every single day; and for your reference, that number is roughly one and a half times the number of people who were killed in the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, on September 11, 2001.

This brings us to our main point. Yes, specific forms of evils do have a life span, and one day may become extinct. But where humanity as a whole is concerned, it does not quite get off the hook. These “local extinctions” might benefit some people, but suffering and misery continue; while some who suffered earlier might later prosper, others who had it good earlier might now suffer. To make matters worse, the number of people suffering might even increase. So, if one looks at humanity as a whole, the “Gross Misery Index” tends to increase, despite the “Terminator Factor”.

The question arises: “In that case, what’s the big deal about the so-called Terminator Factor in relation to evil? Why talk about it at all, when it really does not matter much where overall suffering is concerned?” There is a reason and we now wish to focus on that. Let us start by asking: “We earlier considered ‘Local Terminator Factors’. Is there any ‘Global Terminator Factor,’ that can take care of the whole bunch of evil?” Our answer is: “Yes, there is one.” Want to know more about it? Read on!

Let us go back to the diseases example. How did humanity get rid of the dreaded smallpox? Essentially by eliminating the virus all over the globe. What this tells us is that if we are looking for some kind of a ‘Global Terminator Factor,’ then the first thing we have to ensure is that evil has no place to hide anywhere. This raises the question: “Where exactly does evil normally hide? What is its home? And where is this home?” The answer is straightforward: “Evil hides in the Minds of humans.” So, if evil has to be eliminated globally, then all Minds must be spiritually disinfected.

You might wonder whether at all this is possible. When we are facing so much difficulty in fighting AIDS and getting rid of it, can we ever “disinfect” Minds everywhere, spiritually that is? We are not suggesting that this is going to be easy but we do believe that humanity must give this a serious try. Swami says if you see a deadly snake, you would do everything to avoid getting bitten by it. We must have the same attitude here.

Let us look at this issue in some greater detail. Today, there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of rich and upper-middle class people who are well off, but there are also billions of people who are suffering in innumerable ways. Even the rich are not happy. They might be loaded with money, but few of them are relaxed. To make money, one has to compete fiercely and that sort of aggressive life brings its own quote of problems. All this is well known and so we shall not go into those details. But we have to mention that the great divide of humanity into the haves and the have-nots is the source of conflict in many societies. As one intellectual put it, the conflicts we often see boil down to a confrontation, sometimes violent, between raw money power and equally raw people power. The distinguished Harvard Professor J. K. Galbraith who died recently – J.K.G was, during the Kennedy administration, America ’s Ambassador to India , a post he adorned with great distinction – once said, “Wealth does not understand.” What he meant was that wealthy people simply do not understand that the under-privileged have serious life and death problems, most of them caused by the huge disparity in income. When those who do not have problems do not understand the suffering of those who are beset with innumerable problems – they may be financial, connected with health, mental retardation, physical disability like blindness, etc., – then there will always be friction, sometimes violent.

You might say, “All that is old hat. What exactly is the point being made?” Our answer is the following:

First and foremost, if evil is to be removed, ALL must make a commitment towards it. For example, small pox got eliminated when everyone got vaccinated.

Next, EVERY ONE must accept that the Mind gets disinfected best by following Swami’s teachings in full faith.

In particular, CEILING ON DESIRES is a must for every one, both the rich and the poor, each in their own way.

Sathya Sai Baba says that there must be LOVE FOR GOD, and also FEAR OF SIN. What exactly is sin? Sin is any act that God would not be pleased with. God would not like acts that pander to the senses; God would not like anything that harms others; God would not like greed, and so on. So, fearing sin really means being afraid to hurt God!

Since we have gone through all this many times earlier, we presume we do not have to elaborate on this topic. But we would like to discuss briefly why all this is important.

You see, the world of today is so interconnected that what happens in one part of the world affects a lot of people even far away. Heavy disturbance to the environment in Mongolia and China , has led to desert sand from China being blown all the way to America . The Chernobyl nuclear accident took place in Ukraine but it affected people all over Europe . Poverty in the less-developed countries has resulted in massive immigration into the rich countries, often illegal immigration. The rich countries that once welcomed immigrants are now not so enthusiastic about it because all kinds of problems have surfaced. Rich people in wealthy countries want good wooden furniture and they encourage people in poor countries to cut their forests. In turn, this causes devastation to the topsoil, leads to flooding when there is heavy rain etc. The list goes on.

In short, man today has too much power, too much technology, too many desires and too little wisdom. May be not every one of the six and odd billion humans on planet home have money, power, etc. But when there is a huge disparity as there is at present, it can create all kinds of problems, all over the place, even if the number of rich is only few millions. The time has come to move away from the money-power versus people-power type of confrontation. We should all regard ourselves as children of One Loving and Compassionate God, and share with as well as care for each other by abandoning selfishness, to which all are addicted, both the rich and the poor.

Is selfishness all that easy to get rid off? Not easy we admit, but it IS possible, if we truly Love Swami, as we invariably claim to.

You know something? True Love is immensely powerful and is the ONLY effective Terminator available to us. Swami loves us so much and gives us so much. Can we not, by way of expressing gratitude, set apart every single day, wherever we are, just two minutes in the morning and two in the evening, when we contemplate quietly and say to Swami:

“Lord, when I see You in Your Cosmic Macro Form, I see that You are suffering through millions of human forms and millions more of other forms like the whale, the baby seal, and so on. Swami, I realise that all this suffering is caused by us humans. And the reason for this is because I have not allowed You who are my Indweller to express Yourself through this body and Mind of mine.

Forgive me please, and let me at least now say with true feelings of Love and Compassion: LOKA SAMASTHAA SUKHINO BHAVANTU. I know that I routinely chant this Mantra at the end of every Bhajan session but this time, I assure You it is truly from the Heart.

They say that prayer is God’s only weakness. I believe in that. So Swami, I earnestly pray that You do not suffer through all those millions and billions of living forms. Please help all of us not to thoughtlessly put You to such suffering.

Trapped as we are in stupid delusion, we cannot end the evils of the world, for which we are really to blame. We plead guilty but please Swami, we do not want to be stuck with it! And there is only one Global Terminator for all the current problems, Your Love!

Baba! Please help us so that that Infinite Love of Yours can arise and swell in our Hearts and sweep away at one stoke like a Huge Divine Tsunami, all the evil on earth!”.

You know something? If each one of us really prays in this manner every single day, then there is sure to be a change. The Heart, which is the seat of God, holds infinite power that can do wonders. Suppose we go one step further and pray in this manner, intensely, at the end of each Bhajan session, the results would be even greater. Suppose all the Bhajan groups in a city decide to do this at a particular time of a particular day, every single week, even greater Moral cleansing can be expected.

A carbon dioxide laser is essentially made up of trillions of very tiny molecules. Yet, when the molecules cohere, the radiation from the laser can drill and cut through five centimetres of steel! This is not any new-fangled technology but has been there for twenty-five years, and is extensively used in many industries. If tiny inanimate molecules can do so much by coming together, how much more humans can do when they come together!

We now ask you to sit back and reflect on all that we have tried to say; after that, reflect on why Swami asks us to do Akhand Bhajans at least once a year.

Jai Sai Ram.

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart” Team

Can Money Alone Bring Happiness And Security?

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Can Money Alone Bring Happiness And Security?

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.

This week, we would like to briefly take you in a direction that you might not at all consider spiritual, namely economics, markets and all that. Having taken you on that detour, it shall then be our endeavour to convince you that wealth generation and the proper use of wealth cannot be divorced from Spirituality.

In a sense, economics and wealth dynamics are all about money. True, the concept of wealth goes back to the time when there was no currency and only barter. The advent of coins enabled wealth to be moved around more easily than moving bartered goods, and that was a major step forward. Let us say that five thousand years ago, two people do a barter exchanging a goat for some firewood. The man who receives the firewood has to carry it all the way back home. These days, however, when a villager sells a goat he gets cash, which he takes home; later he uses that cash to buy whatever he needs from the place where it is available. Money being “fluid”, it makes business easier than old style barter. In this age of electronic communications, new dimensions have been added to financial transaction. As someone remarked, money is no longer coins or even currency notes; it is a set of binary numbers in electronic code.

We are conscious that you are aware of all this but even so, this preamble would set the stage for what follows. Science and Technology have immensely aided manufacture, which in turn has spurred everything from trade and business to transportation and communication. For example, recent statistics show that the O’Hare Air Port in Chicago is the busiest in America, with roughly 500,000 plane landings and takeoffs in a six-month period! It is just amazing.

So what has all this got to do with Spirituality? Everything, because in one way or the other, it is all connected with money! Money is a great magnet, and few can resist its attraction. Sadhus might say they are not attracted to money, but it requires money to keep even Sadhus alive – someone has to give them charity! And the powerful attractor that money is, it tends to draw people out very much into the world in quest of money. Having drawn people into the world and got them hooked, money keeps the attention of such people rooted very much to the world. A man who has made a million starts thinking, “I am a millionaire now but how can I become a billionaire?” On the other hand, there might be a man who has borrowed heavily for some reason or the other, and he is all the time worried about how he is going to raise money to pay off his debts. With all this preoccupation with money, people lose sight of God and often with it, the quality of goodness. Of course there are others who, while worshipping money, have not entirely forgotten God, but for selfish reasons. They want God to be the Great Provider by giving them more money and still more money. This is nothing new and five thousand years ago, Krishna declared that this is one type of devotee, who unfailingly comes to Him!

Why is man attracted to money? It is all due to the Mind! As Swami says, the Mind of man can either make him look towards the world or inwards. If it looks outwards, then it easily succumbs to the attractions that the world provides in plenty. Man is then deluded into thinking that money is the royal road to all happiness. The connection to Spirituality is rooted in precisely this delusion that traps man; more about that later.

Money being at the heart of manufacture, trade, business, commerce, etc., is necessarily the engine of every conceivable economic system. For almost everyone today, being wealthy simply means having a lot of money. For about three hundred years or so, great thinkers have tried to formulate the basic principles of wealth generation, social well-being etc., and as a result, many theories of economics have come into existence. For some, well-being starts with opportunities for individual enterprise, making lots of money, minimal interference from the State, etc. This has led to the Capitalist system of economics, which, in recent times, has soared to the concept of absolute free-market economy cum globalisation. At the other end, we had, until recently, Communism that many countries went for, and “Scientific Socialism” which India opted for. As far as Communism as an economic philosophy is concerned, despite its strong ideological appeal at one time , it has now become more or less extinct, though there are still countries that are “Communist” as far as the political system of government is concerned. Scientific Socialism too is all but dead, despite some loyalists continuing to pay lip sympathy to it. Currently, the free-market philosophy with the “icing” of globalisation added to it is the dominant survivor, actively peddled by those who stand to gain much by it.

Today there is a lot of hype about the glory of globalisation and the free-market economy, but are they really the roaring successes they are claimed to be? It all depends on whom you ask. Those who have benefited from it would undoubtedly hail it in the most flattering terms. But if you ask the millions and millions who have been left out, nay sacrificed, it is a different story.

The free market philosophy is focussed almost entirely on wealth generation for a few, the shareholders. If others benefit by the process, that is purely incidental. Though many may be involved in the market processes as employees of various sorts, when it comes to brass tacks, it is a few that determine the fate of many. Throughout history, it has often been this way, but the power of modern technology has enormously magnified the impact factor.

In the last couple of decades, high power technology and high power business have affected people all over the world in many ways, creating in general a huge gap between the haves and the have-nots in all countries with big economies. Even in America , once the dreamland where the poor could become rich by working hard, they now say that if you are poor, you had better get out of America . If that is what is happening in America , the situation in the “newly emerging economies” like China and India is even worse. One might say, “Sorry that is inevitable in a free-market economy; that’s the way the cookie crumbles.” Maybe, but when hundreds of millions suffer, Society as a whole pays a price, and a big one too, that inevitably would one day impact those in the comfort zone also.

What we are driving at is that it is no longer enough to talk in terms of “costs”, “efficiency”, “profitability”, etc., as calculated by accountants and finance experts in big Corporations. Costs and profits may mean a lot to shareholders, but Corporations exist in the midst of Society and what happens to Society eventually makes an impact on everyone, including industry, business and finance. Thus, the business sector cannot clinically exclude from its considerations, the public who are STAKEHOLDERS. If it does, then while it may enjoy short-term gains, in the long run it too would have to pay, and heavily too. As someone said, one cannot have an island of prosperity in an ocean of misery.

Where the human race is concerned, everyone is a stakeholder. This important point has been consistently ignored in the past, but it no longer can be, especially in this age of high technology and fast communications. These days, when smoke clouds are produced by the burning of huge forests in one country they choke people in another country. Excessive fishing by the big fishing corporations of one country can ruin the poor fishermen of another country. Massive emission by hundreds of millions of vehicles in one or more rich countries now threatens the climate of the entire planet. So on the examples go. In every case, there is a price to pay and that price is paid by Society. In some cases, the price is paid by people in the same country where the problem originates, while in other cases it is people elsewhere that pay the price. And in some cases, everyone pays the price, no matter where.

We cannot go into all the details here but the essential point is that when there are huge imbalances, there will necessarily be conflict, violence, large-scale suffering, etc. Violence, cruelty and exploitation have no doubt been always present in mankind, but what makes the current situation frightening is the scale.

Which brings us to our central point: It is time to move away from socio-economic philosophies that focus on profits for a few to a philosophy that is wedded to the well-being of all. Currently, there is too much importance given to individual and corporate enterprise, and very little, if at all, to Society. This precisely is where Swami’s teachings come strongly into the picture. Swami says that without self-control, and we stress the prefix self, the human Mind would inevitably tend to seek self-advantage and focus entirely on the short term. This may appear to be very rewarding but the advantages that seem to accrue are illusory. As Swami says [this was in a recent Sai Inspires Message], “Human existence is enveloped in infatuation,” often with money we might add.

So what is the alternative? Sathya Sai Baba says that the starting point of how one views oneself ought not to be the lower self [which is the one that wants profit in a hurry etc.,] but the Higher Self or God. Next, one must realise that God the Creator brought Creation/Nature into existence. Society is a part of this Creation and the individual is a limb of Society. So there is this Cosmic Hierarchy: God, Nature, Society and the individual, which should never be lost sight of.

The individual must conduct himself/herself in such a manner that is not harmful to Society, does not disturb Nature and is in harmony with God; that is to say, one must always act in full consonance with one’s intrinsic Divine nature. If a person does this, the person would not be in the business of selling fast food and soft drinks, however profitable they might be; why? Because fast foods and soft drinks harm people and thus Society. When a high percentage of the population becomes obese, when a large number of children develop diabetes at a young age, etc., Society ends up paying a very high price. The companies may make profit but if Society as a whole loses, is that good?

In today’s Society, it is dangerous to delink money-making from its consequences to Society. Economic theories can no longer afford to start from notions of unfettered freedom for the market. One must instead move away from the hitherto sacred principle that the individual has the right to make money to the principle that the individual has responsibilities to discharge to both Society and to Nature. In other words, economic philosophy must start from basic moral and human values and duties that arise thereof rather than rights that the individual might think he or she is entitled to. If we start with value-based economics, then we would have value-based trade and commerce, which in turn would ensure fair distribution of wealth, minimisation of exploitation, well-being for all in some reasonable measure. The present system is based on competition. On the face of it, competition might look like a good thing but soon it gets contaminated by all the evil tendencies lurking within humans, at which point it leads to painful consequences.

History has shown that Society moves forward through harmonious co-operation, which is why the Vedas extol co-operation. And that also is why Swami talks to us often about Unity, Purity and Divinity. Humanity must shine with humanness and NOT with meanness. That will happen only when we stop dreaming all the time about profits, and turn instead to using money for common good. We can never prosper in isolation. The dynamics of Society are such that money gotten by unfair and evil means would always produce its own unpleasant reflection via the problems in Society.

There is much that we can say on this subject, but we shall not. Instead, we bring to you a small extract from a Divine Discourse that Swami gave in Bombay on 12 th March, 1999 at a reception given to Him in the Cooperage ground by the elite of Bombay (now Mumbai).. Many who spoke before Bhagavan expressed grave concern about the rising crime in Bombay . Responding to those fears, this is what Sathya Sai Baba said:

Is Bombay in a healthy state today? No! Hundreds of thousands of people are living in slums. Tens of thousand children receive no schooling at all. They roam the streets and take to evil paths. Any number of people are sick and they are left to their fate. In this same city, there are many rich and well-to-do people also. They also are a part of the same Society. They have become rich on account of this very Society; all their wealth has come from the people. But what is it that they are doing with their money? Are they using even a fraction of it for the general good of the public? Are they doing any service? Are they helping the poor in any way? Are they bothered? Are they concerned at all? Do they at least think of them and their misery? Do they feel compassion for them?

What this quote reveals is that money is the starting point of many of the problems of Bombay that Swami alluded to. What applies to Bombay applies to many other parts of the world as well. Values and NOT money should be the starting point of economic philosophy. When one starts with values, one knows how to deal with money properly; money would then not be an end in itself, but the means to alleviate the suffering of the poor and the dispossessed. However, if values are abandoned right at start, then there can be only disaster. We might in passing also draw attention to yet another of the recent Sai Inspires Message that says, “It is only when you experience other’s suffering as your own, that human value is manifested.”

We took up this topic of extreme economic asymmetry just to stress that Swami’s teachings are extra-ordinarily profound and touch all aspects of life. They are of immense value to humanity, especially in the present critical juncture. Will humanity realise that? Will the world wake up? We leave you to speculate about those issues!

Jai Sai Ram .

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart” Team

This NGO Has Brought ‘Ek Ummeed’ To Many Underprivileged

This NGO Has Brought ‘Ek Ummeed’ To Many Underprivileged
Anupam Bhagria
Posted: Mar 01, 2009 at 0422 hrs IST

Ludhiana Apart from providing free medicines at the Civil Hospital, Nikhil Singal Noble Trust delivers drugs at the doorstep of needy and sick.

Though Ludhiana is called the Manchester of Punjab with people having lavish lifestyles and deep pockets, yet there is no dearth of poor and needy in the city.

With little or no help from the state government, NGOs work relentlessly to help the needy.

One such organisation, Nikhil Singal Noble Trust, provides free medicines to the needy and sick at their doorstep. This is the first NGO in the city to provide anti-rabies injections and medicines at the Civil Hospital.

Established in 2008 in the memory of Nikhil Singal, a young boy who died on May 18, 2007, the trust is also imparting free education to 5,000 underprivileged children. Eastman Impex Group patronises the trust under the chairmanship of Jagdeep Singal (paternal uncle of Nikhil Singal).

Inspired by city industrialists Satish Gupta and Sunder Dass Dhamija, the NGO started serving patients at the Civil Hospital from February 7 this year.

Sunder Dass Dhamija said, “Patients with no or little means reach the Civil Hospital, so we suggested the NGO to open ‘Ek Ummeed’ a medicine centre for the underprivileged.”

Satish Gupta said, “The NGO has appointed Dr J S Sidhu as the doctor who provides medicines to the needy at the Civil Hospital.”

“We get 15-20 patients with dog-bite cases at the Civil Hospital every day. We provide five injections to each patient costing Rs 2,500. For avoiding misuse, I always take back the empty injection bottles from patients,” said the doctor.

The anti-rabies injections are given to a patient on the prescription of the doctor on the first, third, seventh, fourteenth and 28th day of the dog bite.

The NGO also helps needy patients admitted in the emergency ward.

Satiram, father of a sick child, said, “My child fell down from the roof yesterday. We are too poor to buy medicines. We filled a form here and got free medicine for my 8-year-old son.”

Dr Sidhu said, “We have distributed medicines worth Rs 70,000 (other than anti-rabies injections) to the needy.”

Expressing his satisfaction over the working of the NGO, Civil Hospital Senior Medical Officer Dr Harvinder Singh said, “Two NGOs Sewa Path and Sri Sathya Sai Sewa Organisation also provide medicines to poor patients. But this is the first time that an NGO is providing anti-rabies injections.”

It was Chander Khanna, one of the office-bearers of Sewa Path who said, “Earlier, we have been distributing free medicines on the behalf of Sewa Path. We are happy that another NGO has come forward to serve the cause of humanity.”

Express India Reference

Know The Secret Of Happiness That The Gopis Knew

Know The Secret Of Happiness That The Gopis Knew

Gopis were very unique, as devotees. They had no consciousness of the body at all; they were all the while attached only to the principle that is embodied in It. They were eager to know the `other’, not to experience ‘this’. As a matter of fact, it is the identification with the gross body that lies at the root of all the cruelty, injustice, greed, violence and falsehood that parade all over the world. It is this that breeds desire, that multiplies wants, that makes man ride on the waves of whim and fancy. When he is not able to catch up with his ambition, man becomes a prey to disappointment and grief, hate and avarice.

If you ask God to fulfil your wishes, your worship is degraded into an act of bargaining; your reverence is equated with what you receive; you are selling homage for so much of satisfaction. You become a paid servant, a hired labourer, insisting on wages and calculating how much is got for the work done. Be on the other hand, a member of the family, feel that you are the Lord’s own, do every task as `my work’ `my task’ without any idea of the return therefore; then the work does not tire, it is done well. When this attitude is taken up by you, you feel not clamour for wages at all. The Master will maintain you and your people as He feels you deserve. This secret of happiness the Gopis knew; you must also live out your lives on these lines.

(Sri Sathya Sai Baba – extracted from Divine Discourse on 19th August 1965)