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,
“Heart2Heart”
RadioSai’s e-Journal Team,
In Sathya Sai Baba Seva

How Much Salary Does A Man Really Need?

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


How Much Salary Does A Man Really Need?

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. The title of this week’s letter is inspired by a famous story of Tolstoy entitled, HOW MUCH LAND DOES A MAN NEED? And the motivation for the theme? Read on to find out!

This is the time of the year when our newspapers and TV channels are full of news about graduates of our Brand Business Schools, who get fabulous offers from overseas, with annual salaries touching as high as $200,000. The Public is just floored by this phenomenon – fresh graduates getting this kind of fat salaries. Understandably, these young men and women instantly become heroes and heroines and their pictures are flashed everywhere. The Directors of the Business Schools beam from ear to ear, Professors who taught these graduates are full of pride, and hundreds of young people look admiringly, hoping soon it would be their turn to reach El Dorado.

Recently, we asked some of the students of the Business School here in Swami’s University what they thought of it all. We had a long discussion, starting with the curriculum and teaching, and then went on to discuss various related factors. In this letter, we would like to share with you some of what we heard and learnt from our students. This in essence is what they said:

  • In academic terms, there is really no substantial difference between the Business School in our Institute and these so-called Brand Institutes. The syllabus is more or less the same, and we too study the same books.
  • There are differences though. For one thing, in the Brand Business Schools, the students get more exposure to many practical details of today’s business world. We on the other hand get an entirely different orientation, which has its own value.
  • Learning about some of the intricacies of today’s business world does give some tactical advantages to the graduates in terms of entry into high-profile corporations. On the other hand, we learn, especially in a very practical way, more about humans, the way they behave, their aspirations and so on. In the long run, this experience is invaluable in its own way. After all, in the ultimate analysis, business is always done with human beings and Society is the real market place. Thus, when it comes to matters like really dealing with customers, and having a good appreciation of what it is that the public wants, we are much better equipped.
  • For the students of the Brand Schools, the horizon often is the Corporation they are in. For them, the shareholders are very important. For us, Society is everything, and the stakeholders, meaning the public at large are very important.
  • In the Brand Institutes, the bulk of the training is in the classrooms. For us, however, the bulk of the training is really outside the classroom.
  • To start with, our Hostel is where we learn most of our lessons, because it is truly a microcosm of Society.
  • In the Hostel, we are about ten or twelve to a room. Compared to other colleges, this might sound horrible. On the other hand, once one gets used to this, the experience is like living in a commune and teaches many valuable lessons.
  • The Hostel authorities make sure that in every room, we have a good mix of students from different regions, speaking different languages, studying different subjects and from different strata in life. Living in the same room, sleeping on the floor, and working with our brothers all the time on all matters relating to the Hostel and the College teaches us how to be austere, how to adjust, how to co-operate instead of aggressively competing, how to help each other, and so on. It shapes our personality in a subtle but very significant manner, for the better, we believe.
  • Another important thing about our Hostel. Compared to other Hostels elsewhere, our Hostel has very few service staff and as a result, the students literally run most of the activities in the Hostel. For example, all minor electrical repairs and plumbing repairs are done by the students themselves. When a boy is sick, other boys prepare special food for the sick boy, as prescribed by the doctor.
  • In effect, all labour is shared. The boys serve in the dining hall, they take care of the Hostel library and computer centre, they take care of the intercom, the audio system, they stitch costumes needed for plays and the Institute Dramas, they have a music group which takes care of the Bhajans and special music needed so often for various occasions, they take care of decorations when required, and so on.
  • These multiple skills come to the fore during the Annual Sports and Festival Meet, when very complex structures are designed and created by the boys, entirely on their own. This calls for skills such as welding, papier-mâché work, a bit of automation and so on.
  • Indeed, our Annual Sports and Cultural Festival, offers the best commentary on the training that we receive in the Hostel. It is absolutely unique, the like of which cannot be seen in any University in India, because where else do students get such training? It is only those who have actually witnessed the event who would able to appreciate what an all-round training we receive in terms of character development, self-reliance, working in harmony with others and so on.
  • Elsewhere in the world, Business Schools operate so as to throw up some stars and a large number of ‘lesser’ mortals. In our Institute we have a unique system in operation in the Hostel. The principle is that everyone has some talent in high measure and that person must therefore be encouraged to make use of that talent for common good.
  • Thus, one boy may be very good in sports and be the Institute Sports Captain. Here he is the leader and others follow him. But this same Captain might be in the Bhajan group, which has its own leader. This happens across the board, so much so everyone learns simultaneously to lead from the front, as also to follow. This is a very unique kind of leadership training that teaches everyone to lead and also to follow by listening to others.
  • Hostel is not everything, and we must not forget Sathya Sai Baba, who is the One that really shapes us, in so many different ways too. Take, for example, our daily visits to the Mandir for Darshan. You know, it takes a lot of discipline to sit quietly on the ground for hours, without fidgeting. That is a special training in itself; it teaches patience.
  • When we are in the Mandir, what we eagerly look forward to is at least a glance from Swami, and those fleeting glances do come. Others might not notice them but we never miss. Sometimes, it is a stern glance to a boy whose monkey mind is up to no good. At other times, it is a glance of immense love and compassion, assuring the receiver that He is there to help in tiding over the looming crisis. On other occasions, the glance is wrapped up in that matchless smile of Grace that everyone yearns for. Over the years, all these things add up in a most effective and miraculous way and that cannot be lightly dismissed.
  • We must also not forget how Swami gives us so many chances, like singing Bhajans, or distributing Prasaadam or presenting skits, opportunities to speak in His Divine presence, sing songs on festival mornings and so on.
  • When Prime Ministers and Presidents come here for ceremonial occasions, who is it that is in charge of hospitality services? Students of Bhagavan, both old [now serving as teachers] and new! And how meticulously Sathya Sai Baba instructs those in charge of service! Does this happen elsewhere?
  • In every possible way, we here get trained for life in such a manner that it enables us to fit in wherever we go. An important part of the training is the Annual Grama Seva or Village Service. Where else do you see the entire faculty and students working for ten to twelve days at a stretch, cooking food, packing the food, and carrying the food, sweets and clothes to over a hundred villages, visiting every house in every village and hamlet, and distributing all this with love and compassion.This exposure gives us a deep feeling for rural India, without which urban India would be nowhere. Indeed, it has changed the outlook of many students who wanted to go abroad, inducing them to stay back and serve the country.
  • Above all, what we learn every single minute is the importance of character and integrity in life.
  • People ask: ‘Does Truth work in the dog-eat-dog business world’? It does because, increasingly, Corporations prefer transparency, and integrity in professional work. In this respect, we actually have an enormous advantage over the graduates of the Brand Institutes.
  • People ask: ‘Why does not your Institute have placement service’? The answer is simple. Firstly, placement deflects the attention of students from studies to money. Swami is very clear that students must study for leading a proper life and not for making money. Secondly, stripped of the glamour attached, placement is like an auction! We value knowledge and education, and do not think knowledge should be degraded in this manner. This is quite contrary to the noble traditions of this country.
  • People ask: ‘Look, the graduates of the Brand Institutes are grabbed by the big corporations paying huge sums. What about you fellows? Do you get jobs with such fat salaries’? Our answer is simple. First of all, it must be noted that barring half a dozen ‘top stars’, the bulk of students elsewhere get the same kind of jobs and salaries as our boys do. In fact, over the years, big companies in India have come to learn that Sai students 1) are not attracted by salaries, but by the desire to learn through experience; 2) easily adjust to the work assigned instead of bargaining for work they like; 3) are loyal to the employer and do not jump jobs simply because someone offers a slightly higher salary; 4) are very good team players instead of being temperamental prima donnas. 5) Finally, Sai students actually improve the corporation they serve by making it a better corporate citizen. Thus, Sai students have their own ‘market value’.
  • This is not all. Sathya Sai Baba says, ‘You are what you are because of Society. So, when you go out into the world, make sure you serve Society.’ Thus, for Sai Baba’s students, serving Society is the main goal in life, and this they do in many ways. Firstly, wherever they are, they work for their employer in the true sprit of Karma Yoga. Next, they use every spare moment to go out into Society and assist those in need of help. Some go the villages during weekend and do all kinds of Seva. Some run medical camps, and so on.
  • Mind you, all this goes on throughout the year, very quietly, without any prompting from anyone. Do you know, for example, one of Swami’s students who is in Nigeria, works in a Leper Camp during his free time, actually dressing the diseased limbs of lepers. Can you find one such example from students who have graduated from all the famous institutions in the world.

The above is only a small sampling of what our students told us. In quoting all this, we do not want to give the impression that our students are vain and look down upon others. Far from it; we asked a question concerning this matter, and they simply said, ‘Other Business Schools train students to play a certain role in life, whereas Swami trains us for something different.’ And to drive home the point that they do not pose as being holier than others they added:

  1. In God’s Universe, everything has a purpose, and every individual plays his or her own assigned role in the never-ending Cosmic Drama. Thus, we do not criticise or condemn the graduates who have studied elsewhere. If some of them are offered big and attractive salaries, so be it for that also is what the Good Lord has willed. For us, that same Good Lord has given other instructions, and over here, we are trained to follow those instructions when we go out into the world.
  2. We have no right to condemn others even as we have no right to praise ourselves. God has given every one a role to play; others play their roles and we play ours. In the ultimate analysis, who is to say which is better? But this much we do know: If we live with integrity and offer everything to God, there can be nothing better. This is possible for both the king and the pauper. The good thing about our Institute is that we are constantly reminded of this truth, and that is what makes us different. And we are mighty happy to be different, for this is a difference money cannot buy. So, why should we complain?!

Well, we were quite amazed to have this incisive analysis of the nature of Sathya Sai Baba’s University and the Business School of the University in particular. What do you say? Do you agree or is there something our boys have missed? Do write and tell us please; we would welcome your comments!

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart”
RadioSai’s e-Journal Team,
In Sai Service

Sathya Sai Baba Inspires Love

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Sathya Sai Baba Inspires Love

Do not restrict your service within certain limits. Be alert to the call everywhere, at all times; be ready with a smile, a kind word, a useful suggestion, some knowledgeable care, a pleasant reply. Look for chances to relieve, rescue or resuscitate. Train yourselves so that you may render help quickly and well. Service is the most rewarding form of spiritual discipline, the most satisfying and the most pleasurable. It springs out of love, and it scatters love in profusion. Plant a seed on stone with love, and the seed will discover love inside the stone and draw sustenance therefrom. – Divine Discourse, 18th May 1969

Love is Selflessness. – Sathya Sai Baba

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.

Swami says that His Love is present everywhere and that life without Love is impossible. We all nod our heads when we hear this but do we spend even one moment to reflect on what exactly Swami means?

Let us start with a newborn baby and compare it with, say, a newborn calf. The calf may be an infant but almost immediately after it is born, it manages to struggle to its feet and drink milk from its mother. The human baby, on the other hand, has to be picked up by the mother and fed; if the mother fails to do this, then the baby has to starve. One might ask what has all this got to do with Divine Love? Everything. God it is who gives the gift of life; and amongst all living beings, human life is the most precious, as Baba reminds us ever so often. And human life gets off to a start with a wonderful taste of Divine Love. How? Well, it is like this: Divine Love is present in everything in Creation, and this includes every insect, bird and animal. Thus it is, for example, the tigress protects fiercely its cubs.

And, as Shirdi Baba reminds us, little tortoises feel highly reassured by the mere glance of the mother tortoise. But in the case of humans, Divine Love works at a much higher level. For months when the baby is in the womb, the mother thinks fondly about the baby to be born. When the child makes its appearance, the mother takes care ever so sweetly throughout the childhood period, and in so many ways too.

Swami says that while we might think all this to be natural, what is really happening is that that the Divine Love embedded in the mother is resonating with the Divine Love embedded in the child. Remember what Baba tells us about Creation? He says, ‘I separated Myself from Myself so that I could love Myself.’ What precisely does this mean? It means that God is latent in the diversity found in Creation. It is to stress this that Swami often quotes the Gita where Krishna declares that He is the Atma and this Atma is present everywhere, including in all beings, human or otherwise. Thus, the love a mother shows for her child is Divine Love at play that is to say it is a case of ‘Myself loving Myself’, as Swami puts it.

Innumerable are the ways in which God promotes such love. While the love feast between a mother and child is associated entirely with happy circumstances, there are occasions when tragedy triggers Divine Love into glorious action.

Some years ago, a musician in England contracted flu and unfortunately for him, the flu virus caused some brain damage. As a result, this man lost a good bit of his memory. For example, he did not remember who he was. His wife, who used to be with him in the hospital, was frustrated. But then one day when the friends of this musician came to visit him in the hospital, he spontaneously began to conduct them, as if they were an orchestra. The wife was puzzled and asked the doctor how he could remember music but not what was happening currently. The doctor said that music was in a part of the brain that had escaped damage, whereas the part that had been infected leading to partial loss of memory was different.

One fine day this man was discharged and went home with his wife. For her, it was an agonising period. The man did not even know how to dress. He would sit in front of the piano and play pieces he had learnt a long time ago but when he turned the stool to face her, he would not even remember that a moment ago he was playing music.

For months the woman stayed with him and nursed him as best as she could, but it was proving to be a huge strain. She then arranged for this man to be in a home for the disabled and went off to America. Her aim was to divorce this man, forget him and start a new life. She stayed separated for several months; she was physically free but mentally tormented. All the time she worried: ‘How is he getting along?’ She then decided to come back because love dragged her, she said. It was back to a tough life and called for plenty of sacrifice but she did not mind. She said that she realised that true love meant sacrifice.

From England, let us move to America. A young man lies there, totally paralysed by an injury he suffered while on military duty in Iraq. He is 23 but absolutely helpless, more than a newborn baby; he cannot even turn in the bed. His mother has left her job so that she could attend to her son 24 hours a day. The father too is there to help as much as he can, even as he struggles to earn more to pay for the unanticipated expenses.

Recently, this young man was able to move his facial muscles just a bit and to the parents that looked like a smile. How thrilled they were! Yes, there are millions of people all over the world who are taking care of mentally retarded children, spastics, polio victims, people paralysed by accidents and so on.

For every one of them, life is a perpetual and harrowing struggle; yet, they all do not mind the struggle because it enables their loved ones to live. Few of us understand the intimate connection between true love and sacrifice. We all talk enthusiastically about Swami’s Love; yet, how many of us know about the sacrifice that Swami is making? Just consider. From 20th October 1940 when Swami dedicated Himself to the service of mankind, has Swami taken one day off in 65 long years, one single day? Has He had a single day of vacation? Remember on Sports Day in 1999, He took upon Himself a grievous injury to save boys who were doing a stunt from disaster? If all that is not sacrifice then what exactly is it? Yes, whether we like it or not,

Pure Love and Sacrifice always go together. Love without sacrifice is meaningless while Sacrifice without Love is impossible.

Think about it! Jai Sai Ram.

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart”