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

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”

How To Build Character That Lasts

Swami Sathya Sai Baba

Swami Sathya Sai Baba


HOW TO BUILD CHARACTER THAT LASTS
By Mrs. Mallika Srinivasan

Mrs. Mallika Srinivasan is the CEO of TAFE [Tractors and Farm Equipment] and is one of the most successful women CEOs in India having transformed TAFE from a 80-crore company to a 2500-crore market leader. She was awarded the Business Woman of the Year Award by the BBC, UK in 1999 and the Economic Times Business Woman of the Year in 2006. Engaged in many social service activities, she is also an active participant in the Mother and Child Care programme undertaken by the Easwaramma Women’s Welfare Trust. This is the transcript of the talk she delivered to the delegates of the Sri Sathya Sai World Youth Conference during a workshop session in Prasanthi Nilayam on July 26, 2007.

Mallika Srinivasan: I offer my most loving and humble pranams at the lotus feet of our Beloved Bhagavan. Respected elders, Sai youth, brothers and sisters, Sairam to all of you.

“Watch, observe, obey, learn and apply”

Each one of us gathered here today is truly blessed, enjoying and basking as we do in Bhagavan’s Protection, Grace and Love. To my family, as to all of you, Sathya Sai Baba has been the very centre of existence – mother, father, guru and God. All of you as Sai Youth are exceptionally privileged.

For unlike people like myself, who went through a process that began with magnetic attraction, led to intellectual curiosity, and perhaps a degree of scepticism before the spark of devotion could be lit, leading to faith and finally to total surrender, you have been brought into Swami’s fold at a time when your heart is open to receive His love instantly. Youth take to Swami like fish to water.

It is the determination of Swami to sow in the minds of young people which are like rays of the rising sun, the seeds of desire for acquiring spiritual knowledge. These seeds have already been sown in the Sai Youth gathered here today. The distinguishing feature of Sai Youth is that material gains are not the sole goal of your lives. You seek to lead holistic lives, yearn to achieve a larger purpose and strive to be better human beings.

Living in the presence of Bhagavan offers us the very best opportunity to achieve this. Swami teaches us in a variety of ways through His compassion, through disciplining, through His interactions, through the formal teaching like we had this morning, and at times through direct advice: “Watch, observe, learn, obey and apply.” Then, we will begin to comprehend the essence of what is required for a successful life, i.e., the building of character. Devotion, Duty, Discipline, Determination and Discrimination are the pillars on which the robust house of character is built. These are the few things I would like to touch upon today.

The Charismatic Charioteer
Devotion to God is fundamental to leading a virtuous life. Swami, through His Divine Love and in His own inimitable way, evokes in each of our hearts, this devotion and builds our faith. I would like to share with you, one such instance, when Swami through a simple and appealing example captured the heart of a young boy in an instant, making him a devotee for life!

During an interview, Swami asked our young son to ask Him a question.

The boy said, “Swami, which is your favourite car?”

My heart sank and I thought to myself, “Is this the question to ask Swami? Time with Swami is so precious!”

Swami gave a lovely smile and answered, “Morris Minor” and went on to tell stories of how He used to drive to Madras and how He obtained a license.

“You used to drive it yourself Swami?” Exclaimed the boy, stars in His eyes!

Swami had woven a bit of magic and our son looked at Swami transfixed.

Swami went on to say, “I will give you a big car. Will you take it? You mustn’t say no!”

And the boy, a bit overawed by now, said, “OK!”

Swami then asked, “Will you give me your car?”

Prompt came the answer, “Sure Swami!”

“Shall I drive it?”

And the boy again said, “Sure, Swami.”

Swami then smilingly placed His hand on our son’s heart and said, “Your heart is the car and I am the driver.”

One of the most profound lessons in devotion had been taught by Swami in the simplest possible manner! Swami says, “Have faith in Him” and “Be free from fear, anxiety and agitation. Surrender to God; His Grace can save you. His wisdom can enlighten you. His power can overcome all obstacles. Faith and surrender are the manifestations of devotion.”

The Right Attitude
Duty without expectation of reward is the essence of the Bhagavad Gita. Let us cast a glimpse of what is actually happening around us in the world today, especially in the lives of younger people. There is, if you permit me to say, an obsession with being remunerated; with obtaining greater and greater power and authority. There is a constant measurement of work versus reward and a continuous comparison with other family members, friends, colleagues and peers. Opportunities and temptations abound in a growing economy and this is fuelling these trends.

Frequency of job change has reached new heights and as the search continues for something elusive, our inner peace is destroyed. If, on the other hand, we enjoy doing what we are doing, do our very best, excel at it, going beyond what is commonly termed “the call of duty,” do our tasks with devotion and love, without fear of failure, leaving the rewards to Swami, not only will we achieve inner peace, but we will exceed our own expectations of performance.

Surrender, the Best Strategy!
In our professional lives, we may have the illusion that we control outcomes. That it is only an illusion becomes quite clear, when we are faced with a personal crisis.

For example, let us take the illness of a loved one. My mother, a very healthy person, was recently diagnosed with having an ailment, for which the prognosis was indeed poor. Only God could save her. It is in situations like this, that faith and surrender make us witness Swami’s magic. His Grace fills us with a sense of calm. He directs and guides us to do our duty taking appropriate decisions and leaving the rest to Him.

It was raining heavily and the hospital room began to leak. And a fungus infection would be disastrous for my mother. The Hospital administration and doctors out of concern were urging me to move her immediately to another Hospital where the care would not be of the same order, but the room would not leak. We seemed to be moving her for all the wrong reasons. Couldn’t we move her to the smaller room or to the intensive care? A quiet prayer to Swami seeking His guidance and the answer was clear. “Do not move her.”

It is Bhagavan’s infinite grace that she is today completely well, truly Swami’s walking miracle. Faith enables us to carry out our duties calmly, even under extraordinarily extenuating circumstances, surrendering the problem at His feet. Our duty, however, extends beyond our jobs and serving our families to serving humanity at large.

Inspiring Examples
Speaking at the Harvard Commencement in June 2007, Bill Gates said:

“When you consider what those of us here have been given in talent, privilege and opportunity, there is almost no limit to what the world has a right to expect from us.”

We gathered here today, are even more privileged than those in Harvard. For, we have in our midst, Bhagavan, to teach and guide us as we strive to give back to society, what society has given to us! “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give,” said Winston Churchill.

While our ancient texts have laid down the way wealth should be distributed, a quarter for personal use, a quarter for charitable purposes, a quarter on other living beings, and a quarter in support of state, even in this materialistic world, there are a handful of the richest of men, who have set outstanding examples of giving back to serve the larger cause of humanity. Many of you would probably have read Warren Buffet’s recent announcement that he would donate 85% of his 44 billion dollar empire to charity to serve communities across the world and most importantly, without heed to religion, caste or community.

Inspired by such examples, Sai Youth, having imbibed Swami’s teachings of “Service to man is service to God” can play a prominent role in the establishment of a new world order. Participating actively in Swami’s Seva Organization and programs, be they providing water, food or medical care, gives Sai Youth a unique opportunity to serve with love under Divine Guidance.

How Can ‘I’ Start Service?
Opportunities to serve are everywhere; one does not have to search for them. They are in your neighbourhood and in your work place. As Swami says, you may not get a chance to participate in some gigantic scheme of service through which millions may be benefited, but you can lift a lame lamb over the side, or lead a blind child across a busy road. That too is an act of worship. If you look around you with love, service to others will come spontaneously and become an intrinsic part of our daily lives.

In the words of Bhagavan, the real value of seva and its most visible result is that it transforms and reshapes you. Devotion must be directed along the lines of duty and tested in the crucible of discipline, says Bhagavan.

Discipline – Indispensable for Success
“Why do we need discipline?” Swami’s analogy comparing life to a football game, gives us the answer. If any player can do anything with the ball, and there is neither foul nor out, neither offside nor goal, neither throw nor penalty, then it be a meaningless game incapable of giving joy. It is these rules and restrictions that give charm to the game of life. It is disciplined societies that emerge victorious.

Japan was decimated during World War II and Korea sank into poverty after the Korean War. It is discipline that has enabled the resurgence of both Japan and South Korea that has enabled both these countries and propelled them into being economic power houses. Discipline pervades every aspect of life in their society. Their daily routine, their work habits, their interaction with each other, and everything is done in a particular way at a particular time and with no deviations. In Japan, even the tea ceremony is a much disciplined affair. Quality, efficiency and excellence in everything they do are the hallmarks of these societies. It is individual discipline that translates into this kind of societal discipline and ensures success.

While discipline is a prerequisite in every endeavour, be it social, economic or material, it is even more vital for Sai youth aspiring to pursue the spiritual path. Swami expects the highest levels of discipline from his students and the youth, for it is this discipline that builds credibility, the foundation stone for leadership.

When a new employee joins a firm, both his seniors and his subordinates are watching him closely. Does he come to work on time? Does he do what he says he will? Does he deliver his assigned tasks on schedule? Is there unison in what he thinks, says and does? Is he willing to shoulder additional responsibilities? No one can succeed in his or her mission alone, and success depends upon the support we are able to garner from others and this support is garnered only through credibility established by the practice of personal discipline. People may not believe what you say. But they will surely believe what they see you do. Emerson, the American author had this to say. “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears that I cannot hear what you say.” It is character that communicates most eloquently.

Discrimination – The Most Vital Tenet
All of you gathered here are aspiring to be leaders in your own respective spheres of life. Besides demonstration by personal example, two key differentiators between leaders and others are determination and what Swami referred to this morning in His inaugural address as “The Power of Discrimination.”

Determination is widely acclaimed as the king of faculties and as the one that succeeds when everything else fails. Nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with great talent. Genius will not. Nothing is more common than unrewarded genius! It is now almost like a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

A distinction however may be made, between determination and obstinacy. An obstinate man is not open to suggestions and course corrections become impossible. In sharp contrast, a determined man has a flexible approach, keeps his eye on the goal post and freely takes inputs that help to further progress towards the goal. Obstinate people are filled with ego. Determination without a trace of ego or self-interest empowers the individual with a sharper sense of discrimination.

Discrimination is the ability to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, and take the correct decision, given a specific set of circumstances. What is right in one situation may not be right in another and leaders are often faced with difficult choices. But in every situation, discrimination implies applying the principle of dharma, the righteousness that upholds the universe.

A couple of examples. Each one of us has different roles that we play in life. The father at home is many times the boss at work, be it a small, medium, or large business. The factors that he takes when taking a decision vis-à-vis his son in his role as a father will be distinctively different from those that he uses when taking decisions at the work place. At the work place, he cannot take decisions based only on his son’s individual interest. For, these affect the larger good of the Organization. Therefore, necessarily, it has to be above self-interest. He needs to give up on mine and thine.

Hitler was a determined man. Why was he destroyed? His determination was filled with ego and megalomaniac tendencies. The larger good was not in sight. He lost his discrimination for his decisions were not based on the principles of Dharma.

While the Dharma for each person may be different, depending upon the role he plays, the basic principles of dharma, based on which discrimination is applied remain unchanged, namely, truth, love, fortitude and non-violence. These are the cornerstones of the practice of Dharma and upholding Dharma is the insignia of a true leader.

When there is Dharma, there is victory. And the protector of Dharma, will always be protected by Bhagavan. Devotion, Duty, Discipline, Determination and Discrimination are integral parts of the whole and need to come together in perfect balance to form the character of an ideal Sai Youth.

Each of these attributes cannot be viewed in isolation and when closely intertwined, make for a successful and holistic life. All of you, young delegates are filled with idealism, dreams and aspirations. In conclusion, I would like to share with you the words of Swami, that to me have been through the years, a joyous source of inspiration.

“Life is a Game, Play It! Life is a Challenge, Meet it! Life is Love, Enjoy it! Life is a Dream, Realize it!”

Jai Sri Sai Ram!

RadioSai Reference

How Sathya Sai Baba Suffered For A Devotee’s Sake

How Sathya Sai Baba Suffered For A Devotee’s Sake

In the December of 1970, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba travelled to Panaji, the capital city of Goa stopping enroute in the town of Dharwar in Karnataka. In Panaji, a strange and mysterious turn of events took place, which afforded His devotees another glimpse into His Divine nature. In fact, just prior to this incident, Prof. N. Kasturi, Bhagawan’s biographer, was to start for Sri Lanka, as Swami had blessed him earlier to address the Sai Centres there. But, all of a sudden, Bhagawan commanded him to cancel his visit and accompany Him to Goa instead.

For what happened next, over to Prof. Kasturi:

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


At noon the next day, I accompanied Baba on a circuitous journey to Goa. The three cars moved towards Jog Falls. As usual, while leaving Brindavan, devotees lined up on both sides of the road, anxious to get a glimpse of Baba and to see the Hand waving to them.

It was a Fiat 1500 in which Baba, Mr. N.D.M. Appah, Chairman, Mysore State Electricity Board, and myself were traveling. The road was stony and rough, so the drive was full of jerks and bumps – this caused Baba to reprimand the driver for not being circumspect enough. “You do not know how much pain I get in the abdomen when it bumps,” He said. We wondered why Baba who withstood worse roads better, was insisting on slow driving that day….

When the cars reached Goa, it was night. The stars came forth; they came with us, every yard of the road, keeping pace. When the border of Goa was reached, the Lt. Governor of Goa, Sri Nakul Sen, received Baba and let us into a rest house, where china gleamed in the shelves by the wall and geraniums glistened on the window sills. We had coffee; from then on Baba sat in the state car, with the head of the state.

Hurrying around the rambling roads, towards Panaji (the capital of Goa), the cars finally arrived at Raj Nivas, the Palace of the Governors-General of the “Portuguese Possessions in India and the Far East” for many centuries, but now, the official residence of the Lt. Governor. The time was 9.15 p.m. We had motored 385 miles, since morning, over good and bad roads, but Baba as fresh as a lily when He hastened up the red-carpeted flight of steps to the flower-decked apartments, set aside for His stay. Very soon, Baba presided over the dining table to which we were led by the Lt. Governor. He watched with amusement the contingent of waiters, and the beautiful chinaware, which the Portuguese had brought from Macao.

Though Mrs. Sen made bold to remind Him of His duty to Himself, He did not eat anything. He appeared to be anxious to send every one to bed. “Go, go! You are all very much exhausted,” He insisted. I protested that traveling with Him can never exhaust anyone, but He repeated that I was really in immediate need of rest. When we rose Mrs. Sen was informed by Baba that coffee be made ready for Him only at 8 a.m the next day! She knew that at Prasanthi Nilayam, He had His coffee at around 6 a.m., but despite appeals for revising the order, Baba gave instructions that it was to be brought only at 8 o’ clock.

Baba was alone in the suite reserved for Him. Nakul Sen pleaded for permission to be within call, but Baba sent Him away to his own room. We from Bangalore were in rooms on the ground floor.

About what occurred that night, Baba wrote later to Dr. S. Bhagavantham, in a letter I carried to him on the 12th December:

“On the night of the 7th, strange events happened. I could not lie in bed, I could not sit upon it, nor turn, from one side to another. Nor could I speak or call. I did not like to cause anxiety or trouble to anyone. So I kept silent, pretending that all was well with Me!”

Next morning when the Sens grew aware of the truth it became clear, why He had abstained from dinner, and postponed the coffee hour, wanting only to hurry away to bed! I too began to understand why He had come away from Dharwar, and why He had taken the driver to task. Obviously, He had been ‘ill’ when He started out from Dharwar!

Mrs. Sen felt that Raj Nivas was an ‘unlucky’ place since He had fallen ‘ill’ there, but Baba immediately corrected her. “No, it is a house of good luck! I brought the ‘illness’ with Me to Cabo, so that I could get rid of it here.”

By daybreak on the 8th, Baba appeared to be in great pain and Nakul Sen called in doctors from the Medical College at Goa, and some leading physicians of the City. Soon an imposing medical team surrounded the sick bed; their report read as follows, “history of pain in right lower quadrant of the abdomen since 3 p.m. on the 7th December. To begin with, the pain was all over the abdomen, progressive in intensity; towards the night, it localized in the umbilical region, and the right lower quadrant. Had difficulty in extending the right lower limb. Pain is exaggerated by movement. 8th December morning, had nausea and fever.” No one could be definite about the illness; there were too many experts and Baba was amused at the clash of their conclusions. The Sens were aghast at the turn of events for, among other reasons, the local Sathya Sai Seva Samithi had announced, that He would deliver a discourse at the large Maidan in the heart of the city, at 5 p.m. that evening.

Meanwhile, pain, nausea and fever kept Baba in bed all day. Information came that 20,000 people crowded the Maidan, awaiting Baba; and half the number had come from far off villages. Baba endeavoured to rise and don fresh clothes to keep the appointment, and not disappoint thousands of people. But Cabo Raj Nivas had no lift; for reaching the Maidan, Baba would have had to get down 28 steps and walk up some distance in order to give Darshan to the people. And then, climb the 28th steps back to His room!

Baba directed me to tell the assembly to disperse quietly, and to assure them that He will be addressing them in a few days at the same place. I was to tell them that He had taken over the illness of a devotee, for I had witnessed such instances of healing and saving in the past years.

At 8 o’clock that night, the doctors reported:

“Lying supine in bed, with legs drawn up. On examination, the right side of the abdomen not moving with respiration; abdomen tender on the right side, and the lower flank…, point of maximum tenderness in lower flank…, no rebound tenderness… guarding present over right lower quadrant, with rigidity of flank. Temperature 100o F; pulse 100 /m; respiration 16/m. Total blood count 22,000; neutrophils 88%. A diagnosis of acute paracolic appendicitis was made. Unwillingness for surgical intervention.”

Pressmen approached the doctors, anxious to report the reason for the postponement of the announced public meeting, alarmed at the news of the illness of the world-renowned personality. The doctors told them that Baba was suffering from an acute attack of appendicitis. This news was flashed all over India and spread through the early morning editions and the papers issued from Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Madurai.

Telegrams and telephone calls poured in from all over the country, praying and pleading, and denying – disbelieving, hoping, weeping and wailing. There were many offers to accept the ‘illness’ from Baba; some devotees said they would fast until Baba was free from the illness. Devotees having firm faith in His Divinity were convinced that just as the illness had been taken on miraculously, it would be thrown off miraculously, too.

The doctors told us Baba must be suffering excruciating pain, but He said, “I have taken it on upon Myself with Love and Love knows no pain!”

Ms. June Schuyler, a school teacher who was accompanying the party writes:

I had once asked Baba a question, and I now remembered His answer. ‘Baba, why did Jesus allow Himself to be crucified?’

‘Because the Great Ones never use spiritual power for themselves.’ Ah! Baba had not set the car right on Saturday night because it was not imperative for the good of someone other than Baba. “Baba! Baba!,” I exclaimed, “I adore you; I utterly love you. Imperfect as I am, I give my heart to you completely!”

Precisely at this very moment I became aware that Mr. Nakul Sen was motioning to Mrs. Rajagopalan, Indra Devi and myself to step inside the doorway of Baba’s room. I could not believe it was true. We crossed the threshold half expectant, fixing our eyes on the bedstead where the Master was suffering for His dear devotee. He was not there! He was standing before us, feeble and frail, with eyes full of love and mercy – charming in spite of it all.

He drew back the orange robe, and permitted us to touch those precious feet. The lovely feet were warm because of the fever. The beloved face was pale and etched with pain. The cheeks had been hollowed for want of sleep and refreshment. But He stood there for our sake. ‘Do not worry’, He said tenderly, in a soft, soothing voice, ‘It is a little upset, that is all,’ indicating the right side of the body.

‘Swami! accept what the doctors prescribe,’ we prayed. ‘What do the doctors know? What can they prescribe? I only want your Love’, He said, quietly, almost wistfully. He stepped out of the room into the adjacent drawing room where several others anxiously waited. He stood for a few minutes, looking languidly, lovingly, at them all, reassuring the timid and charging them with courage. Then He returned to the bed. None of us knew that the appendix was very near bursting point, and the doctors had said that He must not rise from his bed at any cost.

Later in Bombay, on Christmas Day, Baba referred to the “illness He had taken on at Goa” and the suffering it caused to many…

“The other day, a serious illness came upon this body in Goa. Many who are devoted to Me were plunged into anxiety and despair when they learnt of it. Illness can never afflict this Body. It cannot even approach it! If it should come sometime – believe this – it belongs to someone; not Myself. And it goes just as it came, of My free Will. I have no contact with it; I am not affected by it.”

On 9th December, the doctors decided to put tubes down the nose to relieve the hiccough, which was complicating matters, for taking the gas out of the stomach. They talked also of the urgent need that had arisen to puncture the lump and syringe off the pus from the abscess. It must indeed have given a terrible gash of pain for Baba, every time the hiccough pulled the muscle tight and affected the lump round the inflamed appendix! But eventually the doctors left the Raj Nivas with their tubes and bottles, as Baba refused to accept their proposals.

On the 10th, a Bhajan meeting had been announced at Government House, and word had gone round indicating that Baba would attend the meeting! Baba too said “Yes! Arrange it.” The doctors could not believe their ears. They did not foresee any possibility of a public appearance that day. There was doubt, wonder and amazement in the minds of various people, but a few of them were convinced that whatever He says will come to pass.

At tea time Mrs. Sen looked rather serious, as time was running out and already people were streaming towards the meeting place. Goa, which had been previously shocked by the news of the agonizing illness, was now jolted by the impact of such good news.

Baba’s condition may be described in His own words:

“The doctors were unanimous that an immediate operation was necessary, or they would not be held responsible for what might happen. They said the inflamed appendix had burst, and the pus had entered the blood – a situation that is fatal for all mortals!”

Baba had to move across His own room, across the drawing room, walk along the veranda, ascend a low step, get across to the doorstep of the hall which He had selected for Bhajan, traverse its length, reach the dais, climb two low steps – and finally sit upon the chair placed there. A total distance of 200 feet! A floral carpet stretched all this length.

Sri Nakul Sen spoke later during the Bhajan sessions.

“The doctors became panicky, and I could feel that they were absolutely against what Bhagawan had said to me. My sixth sense somehow assured me that Bhagawan was showing one of His Leelas in Goa and that through His Sankalpa (will) He would get rid of this trouble as quickly as He had assumed it.”

Dr. Varma, the chief of team of doctors came at about 4 p.m and finding a floral carpet covering a distance of 200 feet, protested that it was too long a walk. He suggested some short cuts through other doors and passages making the journey a distance of only 40 feet. He said, “The dais itself will have to go; let the chair be on the floor, for He cannot get up the steps however low they may be – and please, have the dais on the near side, not at the farthermost end of the hall.”

At 5 p.m. Baba was led into the bathroom, and twenty minutes later He came out of it, clean shaven, wearing a new robe! Fresh as a new blossomed rose.

When the doctors examined Him again, they could not locate any abscess, nor could they find any trace of big lump of flesh near it. The whole area of the appendix was as soft and as normal as it could be.

“Lo and behold!,” said Nakul Sen, in the speech he delivered as soon as Baba sat on the dais at 6 p.m., “Bhagawan walked from His bedroom to the dais, a distance of about 200 feet without any aid. He sat down erect on an office chair.”

Ms. June writes about that historic moment of ecstasy:

“Bhajan began, and my heart was pounding a joyous tune of expectancy. Love for Baba filled the hall. Ah! There He was, moving majestically down the hall, although He had required the assistance of two men all day. He now moved as if nothing had ever happened. His steps were as sure and graceful as ever. The cheeks which had been hollow when I last saw them were completely filled out. His Love flooded the hall. It was overpowering. He swung into the room, and when He saw someone leaning against the wall with a sick child beside him, the Hand began the familiar circular motion to create the cure.

Baba’s eyes which plumb the depths, His eyes which pour out love and compassion, His eyes which flash when he speaks of cruelty, falsehood, hypocrisy and injustice, eyes which can be full of quips, were as eloquent as ever. He took His place on the divan in front of the gathering and began keeping rhythm with the Bhajan being sung, with His head and hand. Mrs. Rajagopal whispered in my ear, “Look! Those eyes are more beautiful than ever. There is an ethereal expression, not of this world in them; a look of radiant joy and adoration.

Baba’s eyes caressed the gathering, which was watching Him without even a wink, apprehensive that the cure He had effected on Himself, might be only partial or temporary.”

Sri Nakul Sen was full of gratitude and wonder! While welcoming Baba, and introducing the gathering to Him as convention demanded, he said:

“Bhagawan lives in the inner recesses of the hearts of His devotees; there is nothing He would not do for them. He has simultaneously appeared in this Form at different places, to help His devotees in distress, or to save them from impending calamities, of which He alone has the precognition! Through His Sankalpa or Will, He has assumed the illness of His devotees and suffered it from them, because they would have succumbed to it, if left alone.

We have witnessed this now, a Leela which has greatly perplexed the medical experts of Goa. It leaves no doubt in our minds that there is nothing on this earth which is beyond Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. His Leela is Adbhut – unprecedented; it is Romancha Kari – exhilarating; it is Madhumaya – sweet in memory; Mangalamayi – promoting the happiness and welfare of mankind; Manoharini – overpowering the mind and turning it to truth, beauty and goodness. It gives Ananda – bliss!…”

Nakul Sen concluded his descriptions of the ancient glories of Goa and its sacred contacts with Shiva, Rama, Krishna, and Parasurama, the Divine Avatars, with these words:

“No wonder the Lord decided to visit this ancient and sacred land again, in the form which He has assumed now, with the name of Sathya Sai Baba; He has loved Goa in His previous incarnations and Goa continues to be dear to Him even now.”

Baba spoke for over forty minutes with His usual emphasis and élan. The gathering listened spellbound, for it was a message of triumph, benevolence, and benediction.

The illness that had vanished an hour ago was still uppermost in the minds of all, and so, Baba spoke of the significance of its ‘entrance and exit’ and its place in the scheme of the Avatar’s activities.

“There are many who doubt the existence of God or deny Him, or dismiss the idea of God as a silly outworn superstition. To make them discard their conceit, the Divine, out of Its Innate Grace, reveals its superhuman glory. The doubters receive the reply without asking, the door is opened without even a knock; for those who deny will not knock at all. The ‘superstition’ will be illumined into divine status by a concrete experience, an indisputable fact.

The human body generates diseases as a result of faulty food or frivolous habits, or foolish rashness or fanatic emotions. The illness that was witnessed by you during the last two days was quite different. That was an illness taken over by Me, voluntarily put on, in order to save a victim who could not have survived it! His continued existence, in good health is desirable for the task dear to Me. Pouring Grace on the devout is one of the functions of the Avatar. The appendix was inflamed, it turned into an abscess which the doctors could cure only by removal… He could not have survived it, I know. I have come with this Body in order to save ‘other bodies’ from pain. This Body is ever free from pain. Disease can never affect it.

I had to go to the rescue of a person who had surrendered to Me – even his judgment. I took over his illness and went through it. It shall not recur again in him. You refer to this incident as a miracle, but remember – every breath is a proof of the Providence of God. Every event is the consequence of Divine Omnipotence.

Wherever you find truth, beauty, goodness, justice, wisdom, compassion – God is present, and active. An atheist denies God, with the very breath that God has given him! He closes the eyes that God has opened in Him, and declares that there he could see no God. Therefore, such amazing events have to be accomplished and made known to man everywhere, so that mankind can be saved from over-fond involvement with the world, and lovingly drawn towards the Master of the World.”

Reference: “Sathyam Shivam Sundaram” Vol – III by Prof. N Kasturi. Page: 227-246. Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam.