Do you know God?

Do you know God?
Thomas Chillikulam, TOI Crest,
Apr 17, 2010, 01.07pm IST

Divine understanding …

Religious fundamentalism runs on the engine of arrogance. A religious fundamentalist claims to possess absolute knowledge and truth about God. The basic teachings of religions regarding God prove such claims to be false because all religions perceive God as an inexhaustible and indescribable mystery that cannot be grasped fully. The Bible affirms that the ineffable mystery of God eludes understanding – “Can you penetrate the designs of God? It is higher than the heavens; what can you know?” (Book of Job 11:78). St Augustine, an early Christian thinker, warned those who hold absolutist claims: “If you know God,it is not God”. For St Thomas Aquinas, Christian theologian of all times, the greatest of all knowledge about God is: “To know that one does not know God”.

Upanishadic sages were aware of the incomprehensibility of the divine mystery. The mystery of God is so ineffable that, “The eye does not reach it, or speech, or the mind. It is not understood by those who understand it; it is understood by those who do not understand it,” says the Kena Upanishad (1.3.4).The Absolute is anirvachaniyam or indescribable. Hence, after every description of God, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (3.9.26) adds “neti, neti”“not so, not so”. Sufi Muslim saint Sarafudddin Maneri acknowledges: “A hundred thousand intellects cannot comprehend Thee, O, You who lie hidden from the gaze of eye and soul”. Khwaja Abu Sa’id, another Sufi saint, declares: “No one knows the full story, hold your tongue, hold your tongue”.

Historical experiences and cultural expressions of being gripped by God give rise to particular religions. Religions are existentially manifold, yet at the inner level of spirituality there is an essential unity because the core experience of being gripped by God is the same. Nonetheless, diversity and plurality of religions have contributed positively to the spiritual evolution of humanity. Each religion is the expression of a unique interplay of the divine spirit and the creative human spirit in and through diverse cultures and symbols. Therefore, it is important to respect the diversity of religions and at the same time recognise the basic unity of religions.

God is beyond all religions and no religion can claim to possess absolute truth or make the claim of being the norm for all the others. Truly religious persons cannot be exclusive. They can discern the presence of God in every religion.

Ramakrishna and Sri Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi did not find any contradiction in practising different religions. They exemplify the ideal of finding God in all religions and respecting the faith, symbols and practices of other religions. It is untenable to hold on to a position that God’s revelation occurs only in a particular country or culture. God has no “chosen people” for all are God’s people. A person with a deep experience of God and rooted in his own faith will not be threatened by other religions, but rather would rejoice in the diversity of religious experiences.

Harmonious relationship between religions is possible when followers of all religions realise that the infinite mystery of God cannot be exhaustively grasped. The truth present in one’s own religion is part of the infinite horizon of divine truth in which people of various cultures and religions are equal participants. In this way, religions need not be competitive but are complementary. We are co-pilgrims on a journey towards fuller life and communion with God. In such a common journey every faith is part of a festive delight.

The writer is a professor at Gyanodya Regional Theology Centre, Patna.

Times Of India Reference

Why should we serve society?

Why should we serve society?
Sai Reflections
Published: 17 Mar 2010

Love is equally present in all. You make use of this love for selfishness, self-interest and for service.

Unfortunately, in the present day world, selfishness and self-interest predominate. Everything is done now with an attitude of “my people and for me.” If there is no society, where do you and your people stand? You get education out of society and earn money from it. Even the position and reputation you hold come from the society. Having received so much from society, what help are you rendering in return? While receiving the benefits from it you still keep harming the society! Over the years, Sri Sathya Sai Baba has placed great emphasis on the value of selfless service by saying, “Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray.” When we are engaged in any kind of activity, our mind is focused on the task at hand. The mind has a free run and takes us along its whimsical path only when the body is not engaged in any activity. The adage, “an idle mind is a devil’s workshop” is so true. In these times of fast communication and bombardment by the media, our lives are made stressful and peace of mind seems so far off. An idle mind can also trigger by itself all pent up negative feelings and imaginary fears. That is why Satya Sai Baba also defines rest thus: “Change of work is rest… otherwise it becomes rust!” The mind, which is a bundle of desires, is constantly fed by fleeting thoughts and hence it is virtually impossible to still the mind. We are mere expressions of our thoughts. Even prayers, meditation or singing the praises of the Lord cannot give quick results.

However, when the body is engaged in activity, the mind has a better chance to be focused away from useless and negative thoughts. Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “Bend the body, mend the senses and end the mind.” Therefore, whenever we are engaged in good deeds, like selflessly serving others, we are not only purifying our senses but also filling our minds with positive and Godly thoughts. Bending the body signifies humility, an essential quality for a true spiritual seeker. To please God, to please our conscience, we have an inescapable duty to perform—ie, to give something back to the world that has and still is sustaining us. What is service? Every activity is service, as long as there is no selfishness or ego. We offer the fruits of our labour to the Lord without any reward. It is up to Him if He gives us something in return—greater than our input, lesser than our input or even nothing at all. The manifest world is God’s kingdom, our Father’s kingdom and we, as His children, have rightfully inherited everything in the world to enjoy, but not exploit and destroy.

We cannot enjoy anything unless we do our part to care and share. After all, no one enjoys a great meal without sharing it with another! All the resources of the world and the benefits which society has to offer for our happiness are not just for ourselves alone. There are others around us who are less fortunate. We have an obligation to make the world a better place for future generations to inherit. Service is not confined to helping the sick and the disadvantaged alone. It also involves avoiding unnecessary waste and destruction of resources. Desires have a voracious appetite to consume far beyond our needs and breed selfishness. By learning to manage well all the God given resources—money, food, time and energy—we improve not only the quality of our own life, but also become privileged to share the surplus resources with those who are less fortunate. This is true spirituality and expansion of love in a practical way. When we wake up every morning, our prayers need not be in quantity, but improved in quality. We can ask ourselves: “What can I do today that will please God?” What is Sai Baba’s clarion call? Love! Love!! Love!!! And, what is love in action? Service! Service!! Service!!! Remember: “Love All Serve All”.

Guardian TT Reference

Sri Sathya Sai – Love Is What We Seek

Sri Sathya Sai – Love Is What We Seek

EDEN Creative Studio’s musical Love Is What We Seek will be staged on Sept 19 and 20 at Pentas 1, KLPac in KL. The musical centres on a young photographer who is distraught with life after a series of disheartening events and much hardship.

The story follows his quest to trace the whereabouts of his long lost sister due to the separation of his parents and his ongoing conflict with his mother, whom he blames for the severance.

This musical revolves around love, the essential value in our lives, as advocated by spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba.

It is produced in collaboration with the Seputih Choir under the baton of Stanley Cheong. Cheong has performed numerous times in India and was awarded a silver medal in the Songs For Religion Category and a bronze medal in the Mixed Choir category in the 1st Asian Choir Games in Jakarta in 2007.

Tickets are priced at RM20, RM50 and RM100. For details, call 03-4047 9000 or browse klpac.org.

The Star Reference

Sathya Sai Baba - Love Is What We Seek

Sathya Sai Baba - Love Is What We Seek

Love is What We Seek centres on a young photographer who was distraught with life after a series of disheartening events and much hardship. The story traces him on his quest to trace the whereabouts of his long lost sister due to the separation of his parents and his ongoing conflict with his mother whom he blamed for the severance.

This musical revolves around love, which is the essential value / ingredient in our lives as advocated by the great guru – Sathya Sai Baba – and will be brought to life by a group of enthusiastic performers.

Love is What We Seek aspires to put across this message – love begets love; life is love experienced” and hopes that this musical drama portrays Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings.

Produced in collaboration with the Seputih Choir, Love is What We Seek features many original music composed to express the purest human value of all – love.

The Seputih Choir under the baton of Stanley Cheong has performed in numerous performances in India and was awarded Silver Medal in the Songs for Religion Category and Bronze Medal in the Mixed Choir category during the 1st Asian Choir Games in Jakarta in 2007.

We welcome you to enjoy this musical drama as it will fill your heart with love…(KLPAC Reference)

Divinity And Mundane Life

Young Sathya Sai Baba

Young Sathya Sai Baba


Divinity And Mundane Life

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.

Everyday, each and everyone of you [over 15,000 in fact], receives a picture post card from us, the Sai Inspires Card. Many have written to us about how wonderful these messages of Sathya Sai Baba are, how they were faced with a particular problem and the message that they got that morning sorted it all out almost instantly, etc. We are happy to learn all this but we wonder nevertheless how many reflect on the profundity of the messages. For example, the Sai Inspires message of 23 rd September 2006 said the following:

Today, people think that Spirituality has no relation to mundane life and vice versa. This is a big mistake. True Divinity is a combination of Spirituality and social obligations. National unity and social harmony are founded upon Spirituality. It is the Divine that links Spirituality and social existence. The Creator and Prakriti are inextricably associated with each other. Hence, God should not be regarded as separate from Creation. See God in the Cosmos.

If we have to see God in the Cosmos, then we must actively cultivate what Swami refers to as Vishaala Bhavam or broadmindedness. This Sunday, we want to touch upon the topic of Divinity, social obligations and mundane life, because they too are connected with Vishaala Bhavam. We shall try to explain the linkage by first bringing to your notice a heart-warming story of a young man born into poverty, his struggle to come up, and how when he finally turned the corner, he began to serve Society even though there was a lot to be done at home.

The young man in question is Sarat Babu, born in a slum in Madras/Chennai into a family of five children, who were solely dependent on their mother, the sole breadwinner. Sarat Babu has two sisters elder to him and two brothers younger to him. His mother, who had studied up to the tenth standard, was able to get a small job in a Government school connected with the Government Mid-day Meal Scheme. Her salary was thirty rupees a month – believe it or not that is less than a dollar for an entire month! And she had to support all her children and herself on that! So she had to earn extra money and that she did by making idlis at home and selling them. Even that was not enough and so in the evenings she participated in an adult-education programme that fetched a little bit more; thus three different jobs, and still the earning was far from sufficient – that is what poverty is all about.

Sarat Babu felt deep anguish to see his mother struggle so hard and firmly resolved to do all he could to come up in life and lift his family out of dire poverty. He studied hard, got good grades and worked his way up to the tenth standard. There were two more years of school but for studying in those classes, he had to pay a special fee of two thousand rupees. Imagine that! His mother was making just thirty rupees a month in her main job and had to take on two more jobs to feed her five children. Where was this young boy going to produce two thousand rupees from?

This is where firm determination comes into the picture. Sarat Babu was determined, come hell or high water, to pull himself and his family out of the rut. So during the summer vacation he did book-binding work and managed to earn some money. In fact, at times business was good and he was able to employ 20 other kids and give them employment too! As he now says, “That was my first real job as an entrepreneur.”

Hard work always pays, and Sarat Babu was not only able to complete school but come out as a topper. He now began to set his sight higher. A classmate told him about an Engineering University named Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani in the State of Rajasthan in North India. BITS is a well-known institute and entry is tough even as the fees are high. Thanks to his high marks, Sarat Babu managed to get into BITS but fees? The tuition fee alone was Rs. 28,000/- per year; added to that was the hostel and other fees. In all it came to Rs. 40,000 /- an astronomical sum really, for a boy, whose mother’s main income came through the sale of idlis.

But nothing would stop Sarat Babu. He applied for a Government scholarship, which he secured, and that helped some. However, it was not enough. His sister pitched in by pawning some of her jewels [in India , even poor families manage to invest in jewels; it is a kind of bank!]. Sarat Babu felt very bad about it but he needed money; and since what his sister gave was not enough, he borrowed heavily at a high rate of interest.

Money was one part of the problem; living and studying amidst fellow students who were all from either rich or well-off middle class families was another. To make matters worse, Sarat Babu was not good in English when he entered the University. But Sarat Babu kept on, propelled by his unquenchable determination. His subject was Chemical Engineering but in his spare time, Babu worked as a welder and metal cutter. This fetched some money and in fact he was even able to pay some of his debt and redeem the pawned jewels of his sister.

Engineering work was tough but it had its rewards. Firstly, people began to respect him for his hard work. Next, he began to get experience in teamwork and leadership as well. After four years, Babu was an Engineering graduate, and his mother was dreaming that her problems would soon be over. However, friends who admired his management and entrepreneurial talents said, “Listen, you should do MBA. That is what you are destined for. And you must do it in one of the best Management Institutes in the country.” Babu too felt that was his calling and not a mere job.

Getting into a brand Management Institute is not easy. It requires hard work, intense study and concentrated preparation. At the same time, there were urgent family obligations. So Sarat Babu took a job in a software company, earned some money, paid off some debts and at the same time prepared as best as he could for the national competitive exam that selects candidates for the six prestigious Management Schools in the country. Babu’s mother was not too happy about what her son was doing; she wanted him to quickly earn as much money as possible, and improve the family’s finances. However, Babu’s mind was made up. He did not clear the entrance exam in his first two tries but he persisted. Third time he was successful and he studied Business Administration in the country’s top Management School in Ahmedabad.

In Business School, Babu served as the Mess Secretary and this not only gave him managerial experience but also taught him how to feed a large number of people. Even before he graduated, Babu received many attractive employment offers – one employer even offered Rs. 800,000 as annual salary – but he rejected them all. He was set on becoming an entrepreneur; his mother was not happy but she had to yield. Recalling that his mother made idlis and sold them to educate him, Sarat Babu decided he too would run a kitchen that prepared food and distributed to clients.

He started on a very small scale but hard work paid off. Today he is rapidly expanding his business and soon expects to have a chain all over the country. He even hopes to have franchises overseas. Why this obsession to be an entrepreneur? Babu says that comes from the fact an entrepreneur creates jobs for others and thus serves Society. He has always admired big industrialists and in the next five years, he wants to create 15,000 jobs!

At last, Babu is tasting success. He still has a few debts to pay back but he is definitely round the corner. Has success gone to his head? This is what he says and you can judge for yourself. “Luxuries like a car or a bungalow do not matter to me. Even money does not matter to me. I feel bad if I have to have food in a five-star hotel. I feel guilty. I have no ambition but I do want to give a house and a car to my mother.”

One cannot help recalling the glorious example set decades back by our beloved Sathya Sai Baba. When He was young, Sathya Narayana Raju as He was known as a boy was super brilliant in school. The entire family pinned its hope on Him; no surprise in that because the Raju family was very poor. And Sathya sure could have got a good Government job , and climbed to the very top; no question about that. But what did young Raju do? At the age of fourteen, He quit school and started serving Society.

Just look around Puttaparthi today. Sathya Sai Baba did not personally turn into an entrepreneur, but there cannot be any question that He is literally a “one-man industry,” as a professor in our Institute once described Him. Not only is Bhagavan making the entire economy of Puttaparthi tick but, thanks to Him, airlines are getting tens of thousands of passengers every year, tour operators round the world are getting business, taxi drivers are getting business, hotels in Bangalore and Bombay are getting business and so on! So Satya SaiBaba is literally a very efficient engine of economy and He has become one simply by investing Love and the Spirit of Service! And don’t forget the massive projects He has done, all of which have brought employment to so many in so many places.

We are here reminded of a story involving Mother Teresa, a story recorded by late J. R. D Tata, a doyen of Indian Industry. Once, Mother was invited to Jamshedpur where there is a big steel plant established by the Tatas. Mother had gone there on JRD’s invitation. After the function, JRD and Mother travelled in the Company aircraft to Calcutta where Mother lived. It was evening and as the aircraft rose in the air, Mother took out her rosary and started praying. Down below were the slums of Jamshedpur. Looking at them JRD turned to Mother and said, “Mother, while you are praying, please tell God to do something about all these poor people.” Mother looked at JRD and sternly replied, “Mr. Tata, God knows His business and we do not have to tell Him what to do. On the other hand you would be serving God if you concentrate on creating employment and help these poor people to earn some money.”

So you see, creating jobs need not be regarded merely as an economic activity. It might appear a “mundane” and worldly activity but as Swami points out if the intentions are noble, even the mundane can be raised to the level of the Divine. That is how Work is elevated to Worship.

The Gita, it is said, is essentially three Yogas telescoped into each other, the Karma Yoga, the Bhakti Yoga and the Jnana Yoga. What Swami is telling us is: “Start with ordinary Karma . Do it with sincerity and without any selfishness. Then good work becomes God’s work. That is the essence of Bhakti. And in due course, Bhakti would help you to become one with God and experience Ananda, and that is the end point of Jnana.” In other words, discharging social obligations is a path to God, and one recommended by Sathya Sai Baba.

That makes sense, does it not? And it is not very difficult to understand either. Sarat Babu and many others like him may not have heard of Bhagavan Baba or read the Gita, but they intuitively know what it contains, and that is all that matters. This young man remembers his humble origin and now simply wants to help others. Isn’t that what Sathya SaiBaba tells us: HELP EVER?

Once again, every message of Swami that comes via Sai Inspires is very deep, if only we think about it for a few minutes.

Jai Sai Ram.

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart” Team

Dr. Bose’s Death In Swami’s Presence

Swami Sathya Sai Baba

Swami Sathya Sai Baba


Dr. Bose’s death in Swami’s Presence

Brig S.K. Bose and his story how Sathya Sai Baba saved him while a discourse was in session.

Let me share with you one fascinating story of Brigadier S.K. Bose, who after retirement from service as commandant of the college of military engineering Pune dedicated himself wholly to serve Sri Sathya Sai Baba and humanity in general.

Even at the age of 80 years, he remained busy in constructions works of educational interest under Saibaba in the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning – deemed University. I had good fortune of meeting Dr. Bose on the veranda and he invited me to visit his room.

He gave me his recently published book and I wish to share with you, his story when he died in the presence of Swami during a discourse and how Swami saved him.

One day Sai Baba returned from Brindavan ten days before the commencement of the Navaratri festival. Dr Bose describe that on the morning of Dams day, he got fever continuously but on morning of Dams day, the fever disappeared, and he could feel the strength to go to Poorn Chandra hall to witness the ceremony…

As he was seated on a chair next to the dias on which Purna Ahuti was offered by SaiBaba, casting sacred things and jewels to the fire of the homa, Swami started his divine discourse on Vijay Dasami. Dr Bose his eyes & ears were listening to His discourse. Suddenly Dr Bose felt UN-easy and felt complete lifelessness.

Swami saw this as what happened to him… He stopped his discourse and made several gestures by both hands in the air, as if He were driving away something hovering in the air above him. In my dead body I could see, my body lying there and some thing Hovering in the air. Then I saw huge bird floating over me, some six feet high from my level. The majestic bird was golden brown with a white streak at the neck. It was looking at me kindly and I too looked at this huge bird in the midst of dussera celebration and why he had come???

Suddenly the bird disappeared and I could see what was happening to my life-less life, body removed from the chair (where I had been seated) by two seva dal volunteers who placed the body on the aisle between the front row of chairs and first row of devotees sitting on the floor. Among them was Mr. Richards an American devotee permanently settled at Prashanti Nilayam.

He said he could see Dr. Chari the head of Sai hospital and Dr. Patel an old devotee rushing to the body and examining it meticulously. Meanwhile Swami had switched off the mike on the podium, where he had just begun His divine discourse on Vijaya Dasami.

I Saw Dr. Patel signal to Swami and there was not a trace of life in the body. Swami moved in trice from the stage to the body in the aisle. His right fist was closed. I was not aware of Swami’s actions. I report from what Mr. Richards later told me. The Subtle body which had come out, was what probably Swami held in His right fist and His free left hand He raised the shoulder of the life-less body some 2 feet high and gave a trust at the back of the skull. Then with His right hand inserted the subtle body into it. I at once opened my eyes and beamed, My first reaction…

On this auspicious Vijay Day, Swami standing close to me, I tried to lift my right hand to take padnaskar. Swami said Bose get up. I obeyed and sat with folded hands full of joy. The Swami made another thrust with His right hand on my shoulder charging me with energy (Shakti). He said stand up which immediately did. As He left the aisle for the podium on the stage to continue his Dussera discourse. He said, go up the steps of the stage and sit near the window. Without any aid I crossed the 25 feet of the aisle and climbed 5 large wooden steps to reach the stage. My wife and daughter were on the ladies side and were unaware of this high drama.

Dr Bose concluded he had felt no agony or pain in dying so peacefully on Dussera day 1988. Swami had brought me back to life. After the completion of His discourse. Dr Bose could return home at south Prasanti SA safe and healthy.

However high a bird may soar, it has sooner or later to perch on a tree top, to enjoy quiet. So too a day will come when even the most haughty, the most willful, the most unbelieving , even those who assert that there is no joy or peace in the contemplation of the Highest self, will have to pray “God grant me peace, grant me consolation, strength and joy”.

JAI SAI RAM.

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

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