Humility Is The Hall Mark Of The Great And The False One Of The Escapist

Sathya Sai Baba And Humility

Sathya Sai Baba And Humility


Humility Is The Hall Mark Of The Great And The False One Of The Escapist

For this special article, we have a former student of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba‘s Institute, Sri Y Arvind, deliberating on the most important virtue – Humility.

In the words of John Adair:

“Greatness is a word that signifies a matter of degree, it can be applied separately or collectively to position and rank, knowledge and character, the three main strands of authority in leadership. In democracies there is a subdivision between great position, great rank, insofar as the highest born or the first in the social order, do not necessarily rule the country.”

People may be perceived to be great on the basis of their office or lineage. This may suffice for a period of time such as their term in office or perhaps their lifetime; but for a person to be truly great in the historical sense, there must have been a really significant achievement. More than this achievement, the personal traits matter. The character of the person with office and to an extent the lineage, give a measure of his or her greatness – or other wise.

The world as we perceive it today has returned in full to the time when it all began. The Stone Age – when man first learnt to think and live – not merely exist – he first realised that might is right and so attempted to be on the right side of the line that demarcated the ruler and the ruled. But history has always proved to be a story of great men and women, warriors, kings, monarchs, prophets…every one of them has a place in history. But why is it that few find a place in the true annals of time as great people? Why does the fact remain that even in a dynasty of rulers some receive greater attention and are termed ‘great’ while others receive only passing mention. Any historian would answer pointing to the special qualities of the stalwarts for only the great leave indelible footprints on the sands of time; only the noble perform deeds worth emulation; only the courageous inspire man to better his best and only the humble teach not by mere precept but by example that to be able to serve is a prerequisite to be served. Humility is indeed the hallmark of the great.

Humility, more often than not, is misinterpreted and misunderstood to be a synonym of meekness and servility. But humility is itself power. History gives testimony to the power, latent in a silent humble man – “beware the anger of the patient man” warned Confucius. From the Chinese Taoist Lao tzu to Mahatma Gandhi, from Lord Jesus to General Montgomery, their lives are an infallible vindication to this fact. Any action or venture that involves other people or developing a rapport with other members of society – demands first a patient ear and then a humble bearing, virtues of humility and reserved speech that call for greater attention, than pompous mien. The desiderata found in St Paul ’s church dating back to ages before the advent of modern philosophers, says, “give every man thy ear but few thy tongue; be on good terms with all but without surrender.” Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba simply says “you cannot always oblige but you can speak always obligingly”.

In Chinese philosophy water is attributed the quality of humility. In fact Lao tzu writes “How did the great rivers and the seas get their kingship over the hundred tiny streams? Through the merit of being lower than they; that was how they get their kingship.” Tomas A Kempis, a medieval Christian writer wrote, “No man can safely appear in public unless he himself feels that he would willingly remain in retirement. No man can safely speak who would not rather be silent. No man can with safety command who has not learnt to obey.” Such words though profound in wisdom – regretfully also have a less appealing implication – the modern politician.

The present day scenario in the political world, is a scene so disturbing that the less it is thought of the greater the peace. There could be no greater folly than such an attitude. Why did this situation arise? Unfortunately this far reaching hydra headed monster of the nexus between politics and criminals has its roots in the words of Tomas A Kempis. How? The answer is: beginning as a stooge – a minor antisocial element, a ruffian, a hired muscle, a man makes his way up. He obeys his master’s slightest wish, he serves humbly catering to his master’s whims. Then using this façade of humility inches his way up – callously eliminating any competition. He gains the favour of his master, becomes his right hand man, learns the trade and realizes the best market for a man like him and hey presto! – you have a politician.

Here in brief is the making of a great man…the great escapist. They don the mantle of responsibility bear the titles that proclaim authority and make a song and dance about their honesty. In all their attempts they could not have been more dishonest. Ripping apart the fabric of their country for their own selfish gains; these looters play with the lives of the very same populace that once fed them. The political arena has been used only as an example to portray the hollowness of an escapist’s mind. Their reach extends into all walks of life and so life today is not life but a struggle for existence. The very same noble qualities that have been the bench mark for the judgement of greatness have been undermined by these escapists.

Every leader is not granted the epithet of ‘great’. What makes him great? The philosophers give the answer. They envisaged a leader who practiced humility – being neither assertive nor talkative yet strong and capable. That is the spirit of a great man. John Ruskin wrote in his ‘modern painters’: “I believe that the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility dearth of his own power or hesitation in speaking out his opinions; but a right understanding of the relation between what he can do and say and the rest of the world’s sayings and doings.” The most important quality of great people is that not only do they know their business, they are also aware what exactly it is. They not only know how it is done but also how to do it. That makes them a class of their own apart from the losers. Every man has an idea of how a job is to be done, but few know how to do it exactly. Some feign the attitude of not being confident enough to do it – knowing fully well that they have absolutely no idea how it is to be done – the mark of the escapist. This attitude of humility leads to an impression on the observer that “oh yes! Here is a man who knows his limits.” Actually though the man knows nothing at all.

In the same vein ‘the great’ have a real estimate of their own capacities. They have no intention of feigning. For them a spade is a spade is a spade – nothing else. They do not live under the delusion that they are actually the ones performing the deeds. Instances are many where the ones whom history has recognised and honoured, have concluded that their achievements are of infinitesimal value in comparison to what remains unknown and unachieved. The people of Athens were surprised to hear the oracles verdict that the wisest man in Athens was Socrates. When questioned the philosopher, he replied “I know that I know not”. A simple answer which conveys in depth the attitude of the truly great. In a layman’s perception there is an ocean of wisdom and experience – but they are aware of the true extent of their knowledge and intellectual powers. Albert Einstein when questioned on the future work on his unified theory (QED) replied with an analogy which to this day acts as a driving force – a source of inspiration for scientific research. Einstein said he was a little boy playing with the least valuable pebbles and shells on the shore of a mighty ocean and now he had realised that the true value – the mighty ocean lay unfathomed and unexplained. This was said in true spirit – for, after all his research, Einstein’s dissatisfaction could be assuaged only when he came to accept this fact – that he was but limited in his intelligence and power, whereas creation had much more than he could master in a single life time.

It came not as a surprise, not even as a disappointment to a witness – of the world’s degradation into chaos. Disillusioned law makers – the honest ones have confessed that laws today are passed such that one may live at the expense of another. Ayn Rand explains it in her novel “Atlas Shrugged”. This leads to a deepening of the rift that separates the rich and the poor; dissatisfaction on one hand and selfishness on the other widen the gorge till a day will finally dawn when the chasm cannot be bridged – yet there is hope. There is hope in the heart of man. The Roman Consul Quintus Arrius is known to have said, “Hate keeps a man alive”. But no – it is not hate but faith and hope that keep a man alive.

“What the world needs today are men and women of good character”, said Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. They must have the capacity to work and the humility to serve. Lord Jesus said to his quarrelling disciples “…which is greater, one who sits at the table or the one who serves? It is not the one who sits at the table, but I am among you as one who serves.” The emphasis on humility in leading the world is unmistakable. In every sphere of life the ability to accept ones mistakes is paramount. The episode that involves Thomas Edison and the light bulb is well known. After many long hours of hard work an electric light bulb was manufactured and a young assistant was given the responsibility of carrying it to the inventor’s study. But on the way – despite cautions, the bulb slipped from his grasp and shattered against the floor. There was no admonition from Edison . Wearily the group returned to the work table and resumed their attempts – another bulb was made and Edison picked it up. Looking around he spotted the laboratory assistant and called him – the same boy as before. A gesture of faith and understanding.

Faith in others develops when one comes to grips with one own fallacies. And the fallibility of the human mind and system. Nothing is infallible. Yet nothing is impossible. It is to make this possible that one must strive to develop humility. “Greatness lies not in doing extraordinary things but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily”…for the escapist greatness lies in getting things done by others while himself taking the credit. It is akin to a system when if a particular project succeeds the person in charge gets the credit on the other hand if it fails; the men who actually worked on the project get their knuckles rapped. An escapist stacks the cards before he plays a game. And for sure he is to win. But when time finally weary of the game and in a swift moment lays bare the truth – the consequences are understandably unpalatable. Life will then reveal itself in its most bitter form to this man.

The world’s dictators are examples for this frame of mind. Hitler blamed his losses on the incompetence of his generals and subordinates. While as a leader it was expected of him to take the blame for the losses. The embezzlers, forgers and all other men of their like make us of the façade of silence and meekness to hide their nefarious activities. The country – India today has been rocked by the scandals. Not merely their proportion but also their number. There were no scapegoats this time but still the accused are not reprimanded seriously. Why such incompetence? It is said vice does not roam alone; it always has half a dozen of its sisters along with itself. When assailed by such a predicament as this what does the country do – sit silent? Live in the false assumption that everything will one day turn out fine? Malcom Forbes said, “When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could be worse – and when they are, we’ll find hope in the thought that things are so bad that they have to get better.” Whether the statement was made with sarcasm or in true spirit of optimism is uncertain but for certainty it applies here, in this context. Such decadence in temperament will add to further downfall of the global infrastructure.

True men are needed, men of valour and courage. People who dare to think and speak out their thoughts. Open minded people are those who have the broad mind to accept a view yet possess the discrimination to judge the right from wrong. Draw a line where it is to be drawn and not hesitate to take a heavy decision. Such people can exist in this world. They do, and still remain unseen and unheard. This is their true hall mark. Silent service; humble workers for the betterment of humanity. It is said, “an activist is not the man who complains that the river is dirty, an activist is the man who cleans it up.” Merely complaining and letting the issue rest at that is escapism. Taking up the cause, working for it and succeeding is genuine concern.

Greatness lies in being able to place oneself in the others shoes. To be able to look at an issue from all possible stand points and then come to a conclusion. John Stewart Mill says “There is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides of an argument”. Fairness and justice are sought by people today. But who are the ones to hand them their true claim? People will trust only those individuals who are able to bring themselves down to the level of the people. General Montgomery made it a point to know the names of all his officers – this endeared him to all of them and he was called ‘Monty’. General Slim who had the heart to send a private home since his mother was sick and dying won the hearts of all his men and they called him Uncle Bill. To be able to communicate on par with others requires humility. This is what people expect when they speak to a superior. Bosses are never liked leaders are; because a leader leads, but a boss merely show the way and follows behind the group. In fact life must be lived so that one may have no need to hide ones diary. An escapist may succeed, but he shall inevitably fall victim to his own ways of lies and deceit. The truly humble and tolerant man shall live not merely in the pages of history but in the hearts of men. In the eyes of generations to come, as an ideal, an example, a vindication to the fact that humility is indeed a hallmark of the great.

History shall – yet, in no way be partial; for it shall record the life of even the coward. The escapist – the con man. The man unwilling to face his own faults. The man who made virtue a front to cover his own deficiencies. The man who used the precepts and tenets of life as stepping stones to his own shadowy success. Yes! History shall also lay bare his story – it shall record too that ‘humility’ has been and is, a façade for the escapist. “Beware” it cautions, “humility is the hall mark of the great while being the false one of the escapist.”

Jai Sai Ram.

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart” Team.

Twin Towers Of Healing

Sathya Sai Baba And The Twin Towers Of Healing

Sathya Sai Baba And The Twin Towers Of Healing


Twin Towers Of Healing
by Dr. A.N. Safaya
Sanathana Sarathi Special Edition

Desire to have knowledge about the Divine and its manifestations including the phenomenon of life in the living has been in the human mind since the beginning of human intellectual evolution. Along side it, there has been the urge for the practice of the art of healing the afflictions and injuries of the human form. The two have been together since eternity. The Vedas, which present the most ancient documentation on spirituality, amply exemplify the togetherness of thoughts on Divinity and the art of healing.

The Principles of Arogya
It is therefore but natural that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba emphasised the importance of human body and mind remaining in a state of good health to achieve the desired results when He initiated the Sai Seva Mission for the service of mankind. Advocating the importance of the awareness of Divinity and the practice of the principles of spirituality, He emphasises the need for the prevention of bad health and avoiding unhealthy personal hygiene and unhealthy lifestyle. Every now and then, Bhagavan keeps on laying stress on the observance of good and healthy principles of personal hygiene, food, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle.

Bhagavan advocates the golden principles of Arogya (absence of ill health). Seva Dal volunteers of Sri Sathya Sai Samithis all over the country are spreading the awareness of these principles effectively and diligently. Under this programme of awareness, society is going on a steady march, at grass root level, towards a state of positive health for its members. This is how Sai Health Mission took its first step towards Arogya with the message that it was the foremost duty of man to keep his body healthy.

Sri Sathya Sai General Hospitals
The second step in the direction of treatment of disease, once it had occurred, was the establishment of two Sri Sathya Sai General Hospitals, one at Prasanthi Nilayam and other at Whitefield, Bangalore. These two general hospitals look after the patients of all general ailments, conduct tests, give treatment, drugs and do surgical interventions completely free of charge. Nearly one crore patients have been benefited by the services of these two hospitals since their inception years ago.

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthi Nilayam
The third step was to establish the twin towers of Sai Health Mission in the form of two Sri Sathya Sai Institutes of Higher Medical Sciences-one in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh and the other at Whitefield, Karnataka.

On the occasion of His Birthday on 23rd November 1990, Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba made a momentous declaration of establishing a Super Speciality Hospital in Puttaparthi for highly specialised treatment of diseases of heart, kidney and eyes. As a consequence of this Divine Sankalpa of Bhagavan, Institute of Higher Medical Sciences was conceptualised, planned and built in a record time of six months. It was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Sri P.V. Narasimha Rao on 22nd November 1991 and started functioning fully from that day. It has never looked back. Established in an architecturally and aesthetically beautiful building, which sits majestically in the centre of its sprawling lush green lawns, it lodges the specialities of cardiology, cardio-thoracic surgery, urology, ophthalmology, anaesthesiology, laboratory medicine, blood bank, bio-medical and general engineering services. The staff working in these departments is hand picked, well chosen with care and dedicated to the service of ailing patients. The equipment used in diagnosis and treatment of the patients is the latest and state of the art. All the parameters of functioning of the Super Speciality Hospital in all its branches are highly satisfactory and of international standard. It is highly popular, well renowned and well known all over the world, and is open for treatment to all, irrespective of the distinction of caste, creed, colour, religion or country. All the diagnostic investigations, laboratory tests and the treatment including surgery are done completely free of cost to one and all, rich and poor!

Service with Love and Humility
All this workload is shouldered by the hospital creditably and completely free of cost to the enormous number of patients it has served so far. All the treatment is given by the dedicated staff of doctors, nurses and technicians to each and every patient with humility and love, amidst spiritual environment, with the name of God on their lips. The hospital maintains very high standard of cleanliness, purity and discipline with the help of nearly 100 Seva Dal volunteers working round the clock.

Seva Dal volunteers are the dedicated devotees of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and come by turn from every State of the country under a laid down scheduled programme. They dedicate their Seva at the Divine Feet of Bhagavan Baba and work in the hospital in honorary capacity for varied intervals of time of few days to few weeks or months. This is an excellent example of community participation in the healthcare programme. Middle level management and the care of the equipment including its preventive maintenance is done by a group of Technical Officers who are highly skilled graduates and postgraduates from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, a deemed university. Their dedication and diligence is responsible for nearly 100 per cent uptime of all the equipment of the Institute. This Institute of excellence has developed within typical rural environment and has been functioning in a purely rurai setting since its inception. Of course, now an airport and a railway station have come up in close proximity, a great boon for the patients and their attendants. Patients of concerned specialities come from all over the country and are examined fully. Urgent cases are given prompt medical attention and those who can wait are put on waiting list and are called when their turn comes. Attendants of patients have a dormitory facility with a canteen attached.

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield
Bhagavan Sri Sathya SaiBaba’s infinite love and compassion for the suffering masses concretised in the establishment of yet another Super Speciality Hospital at Whitefield, Bangalore. It is, in fact, a second Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences. The Institute was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 19th January 2001. It is functional since then. The Institute is situated in a fully developed urban-cum-industrial setting, in fact, next door neighbour being the world famous International Technology Park. The palace-like architecture of the huge hospital building is breathtakingly impressive. This white brilliant jewel of a building sits pretty in the emerald green lawns surrounding it. It lodges the super specialities of cardiac sciences and neurosciences with all of their necessary support services. It has a bed strength of 333 which is looked after by highly dedicated, well qualified and experienced staff. Like the Institute of Higher Medical Sciences at Prasanthi Nilayam, this Institute also gives international standard treatment to its patients for the diseases of heart and brain completely free of charge. Patients are served by the staff, doctors, nurses and technicians with love, understanding and sympathy in keeping with Bhagavan’s principles of loving selfless service.

The hospital is equipped with latest, state-of-the-art equipment; some of the systems for diagnosis and treatment are made available to patients for the first time in the country. A bigger team of Technical Officers keeps the equipment of the hospital in a state of perfect functioning at all times with practically no down time. They are supported by the Biomedical and General Engineering Departments. Though not connected directly with the treatment of patients, the workers of the support departments have thorough technical experience and knowledge to keep the hospital infrastructure and support services in ideal state of functioning in a manner which should serve as a model to other hospitals of the country.

The data and the indices of patient care are comparable to the data available from any other hospital at international level.

Patient Counselling Service
A unique feature in the patient care process of the two Institutes is the Patient Counselling Service. This service has been introduced as a model project in Super Speciality Hospital at Whitefietd. The consultants of the treating department of the Institute keep the patient under health surveillance after he is discharged from the hospital with the help of the volunteers of Sai Organisation.

The counselling activities cover all the three phases of the hospital-patient contact period, that is, the pre-hospital phase, the hospital phase for which the patient is admitted for surgery or treatment and the post-hospital phase after discharge of the patient from the hospital. This arrangement ensures that the counselling continues at the locality of the patient’s residence also. Counselling to every patient also includes spiritual counseling and offering suggestions on issues like faith, prayer, meditation and control of emotional stress, etc. Such a comprehensive counselling care is not only disease and person specific but is also holistic, and amounts to almost emotional adoption of the patient with a firm promise of help for his ailment. This is a distinct feature of the functioning of Sai Health Mission. The system is in operation in the State of Karnataka at present and is in the process of being extended to all other States of the country.

Twin Towers
Our country has incomparably large population and has equally huge incidence of disease and ill health. We have no illusion that these Twin Towers of Healing will treat all the patients of the diseases of heart, brain, kidney and eyes and will wipe the tears of all suffering patient population. No, it will help only a few – a drop in a big ocean! But, these Twin Towers of Healing will serve as models for establishing such Institutes all over the country and all over the world. Such centres will provide state-of-the-art medical treatment through dedicated staff with love, understanding and compassion, free of cost and without any restriction of caste, creed, colour and country, like these two Institutes provide to every patient everyday.