Thank You…God!

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sri Sathya Sai Baba


Thank You…God!

A few days ago one of our readers from the US wrote to us sharing a sad story about his daughter’s response to his loving concern. He had been saving considerable amounts of money for his daughter right from her childhood and now when he sent the accumulated sum to his daughter, he received not even a ‘thank you’ from her. Understandably, this tore his heart and we felt prompted to write this Sunday’s article on the theme of gratitude. Gratitude is a quality which Sathya Sai Baba has emphasized in almost every discourse he gave to the students. Here are some reflections on this very important virtue by a former student of Swami’s Institute, Sri Y Arvind.

I was a guest in the tea estates of one of my friends in the Coorg District. They had a huge bungalow with a beautiful garden. Manicured lawns private enclaves, arbors…their garden had it all. The bungalow was colonial style and was designed so that each bedroom had its own balcony and being on top a hillock every room was a room with a view. The vista of the dark green spread out like a patchwork quilt and down the hill. My room faced the east and I had the pleasure of watching the sun rise through the mist and rain…when the clouds permitted.

One morning I woke with a feeling that today would be different. For some strange inexplicable reason I was feeling at peace with myself…I wanted to be alone…left alone…I wanted to savor every moment in its entirety. It had rained the whole of the previous night and the gentle whisper of the drizzle had ebbed into the sounds of dawn. It was still dark and the aroma of wet earth wafted in through the French windows. Sitting up in bed I felt different…a strange sense of humility enveloped me. The servants of the house had already woken – I just had to ring a bell and tea was delivered to my room.

With a mug of freshly brewed aromatic hot tea in my hand, I sat under the awning that stretched all over the balcony letting the warmth of the rich brown liquid seep into my palms. The haze that hung over the misty hills from behind which would emerge the sun, were tinted pink, yellow and orange. Even as I watched I saw them melt and reveal the lord of the day…suddenly there was a lump on my throat. My eyes blurred with tears and I was floating like a twig on waves of emotions. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude to God; that I could see, hear, touch, feel and experience all that He had created…in its totality. My head bowed with tears trickling down my cheeks I thanked God…from the bottom of my heart. Thank you God! For the gift of Life! Thank you for allowing me to be part of this moment and above all thank you for awakening in me this sense of Gratitude.

The words of Earl Musselman ring true when he says:

“The sun was shining in my eyes, and I could barely see
To do the necessary task that was allotted me.
Resentment of the vivid glow, I started to complain —
When all at once upon the air I heard the blind man’s cane.”

Every time we are faced with a situation in life where we have to adjust or accommodate someone or somebody or something….we crib and quail that things are not going the way we planned them. We blame destiny when we have a flat tyre and curse fate if the gate is closed when we reach a railroad crossing. We fight with the cabdriver who crosses lanes and roar at the truck driver who overtakes us…life is so full of deadlines and commitments that we never find a single moment to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Above all how much time do we spare for God who has given us this beautiful world? Time and again we are reminded that we are all children of immortality dressed differently. All the differences are physical and ephemeral but deep down we are all the same. Having said that…were we to really feel it, what prevents us from expressing gratitude to the God in our fellow man?

Cicero, a consul of Rome during the reign of Julius Caesar concurred when he said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” And mentioning parents…. how much are we indebted to our mother and father? Having given us this body with which we enjoy the world and perform our duties, they should be the primary recipients of our gratitude. Swami says ‘Mother is God’ and ‘Father is God’; He in fact deifies them as Living Gods. Punning on the word ‘parent’ as ‘pay-rent’, Sathya Sai Baba says, having received so much from our parents, the least we can do is to offer them Gratitude. The advantage of developing this wonderful virtue of Gratitude is that Gratitude does not come alone. Sacrifice, honesty, love, forbearance, understanding, tolerance, forgiveness…all of them arise as one develops the wonderful virtue of gratitude.

The power of Gratitude is eloquently expressed by Melodie Beattie, author of many inspirational books.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Gratitude makes us content with what we have and not crave for more. We learn to accept the Will of God in our lives and not fight every circumstance. We learn to discern with clarity and find order within ourselves – it helps foster discipline. Problems we face in our lives are actually lessons we learn in the school of life. They are custom-made to our level of understanding and evolution by the Teacher. They become ‘gifts’ only if you learn from them so that you won’t have to pay the next time you face one… Learn again from failures making them stepping stones to success.

Coincidences will cease to be so once we recognise the Divine Design. Every moment of life becomes a miracle were we to perceive His Grand Play. The past is a history of what we have done – and it will continue to repeat itself as long as we don’t learn from it. As one wise man said, “You can either learn from the past or run from it…” More often than not, in retrospect, we find some past experiences which were bitter then to have made now sweeter. Mistakes happen – don’t dwell on them . Take the essence, absorb it and then look ahead. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power. Swami says “Past is dead, future is a dream, present is all you have. Present is omnipresent”.

Thankfulness is limited to words but Gratitude reflects itself in action and is therefore far superior. What better example of this do we find than Sathya Sai Babaji? Late Professor Kasturi once found Swami patting and blessing a buffalo(!) thanking it for the effort it had taken to carry water up the hill everyday – while none else had bothered. Yet again on another visit, the watchman of a guesthouse where Sathya SaiBaba had rested had the privilege of a personal photograph taken with the Lord. Just the watchman and God… but the poor man did not receive a copy and was miserable. On His next visit a year later Swami, sent for him and personally gave the photo.

Whether we are aware of it or not, He remembers every single act done for Him and returns it a million-fold. Draupadi, the consort of the Pandavas, bound the bleeding finger of Krishna with a strip of cloth torn from her own sari. The Lord returned this small action, multiplied a thousand-fold when she was being dishonoured in the court of the Kauravas. One can go on and on in this vein… When God does not mind saying “Thank you” in His myriad own mysterious ways…shouldn’t we do the same to our fellowmen?

Times change, people change, but let the change be for the better. Let our days begin and end with gratitude to the Lord for this wonderful opportunity of being alive. To be alive is a miracle and to be able to be of use to others is a greater gift. And finally, life finds fulfilment only when it is of use to others…Gratitude teaches us that!.

Jai Sai Ram.

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart” Team

A True Offering To Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


A True Offering To Sathya Sai Baba

A few years ago at the time when preparations were being made to begin the construction of the Super Speciality Hospital, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba seemingly had less time to devote to the students. Day and night He was busy with matters relating to the new hospital. Every evening immediately after darshan Bhagawan would call a group of doctors for an interview and He would discuss with them matters relating to the new hospital, even the most minute details, as this was to be a model hospital. Bhagawan would come out of the interview room only after the evening bhajans had commenced and thus the students did not have much of an opportunity to interact with Bhagawan during this period. Previously after the evening interview Bhagawan would come out and speak to the students and guide them, but this wasn’t possible at that time as Bhagawan was extremely busy. There was one very young student of Bhagawan who could no longer bear the pangs of separation from his mother Sai. He wrote a letter to Bhagawan one day and took it during evening darshan but unfortunately he was sitting a few rows back. When Bhagawan came to his side this boy got up and offered his letter to Bhagawan. Bhagawan stopped, leaned over and made a special effort to take this young boy’s letter.

To say the least this boy was ecstatic. Then the darshan continued and as usual Bhagawan called a group of doctors for an interview. All the students were depressed as they felt they had been deprived of the love of their mother Sai yet another day. Then, after about five minutes, to everyone’s utter amazement, the interview room door flew open and Bhagawan emerged in all His glory holding a small letter in His hand, the letter of the young boy. Bhagawan called that young boy to come near and asked him, “Boy, should I read aloud what you have written to me in this letter, so that everyone may listen.” The innocent boy replied. “Whatever you think or wish, Bhagawan” Bhagawan himself read the letter aloud so that all could hear. The letter was as follows:

Dear Bhagawan,

You have given so much to me and to every one here. You have provided free education for me and all my brothers and now I hear that you are constructing a BIG Hospital that will provide the most modern health care facilities to every section of the society totally free of cost. Bhagawan! I also want to be a part of your glorious mission but I am just a small boy and I don’t know how I can contribute. Bhagawan, my parents are extremely poor but in spite of that they send me a little extra pocket money every month. I know it’s due to their love and concern for me.

Bhagawan! For the last three months I have not given my clothes to the dhobi. While all other boys were sleeping in the night I washed my clothes and thus I managed to save a little money. Bhagawan! I have also resisted the temptation of toffees, chocolates and all other things and thus managed to save a little money. Bhagawan! I offer this 100 rupee note to you. I feel ashamed and small to give you so little but even if this money can be used to buy a small brick for the foundation of the new hospital, I will be the happiest child in the world.

Your loving Son.

You know the twinkle in the eye of a mother when her son does something that makes her feel extremely proud. Well, that twinkle was there in Bhagawan’s eye. Holding the 100 rupee note in His hand, Bhagawan said to that young boy. “My dear son, this is not just 100 rupees, this note is worth millions and millions of rupees for Me.”

What do we learn from this? In God’s kingdom power, wealth, position and status are of no importance whatsoever. God only looks to see whether our heart is pure. For, had God looked at the magnitude of one’s sacrifice, would Lord Rama accept the jungle fruits from the hands of Sabari and relish them, would Lord Krishna accept the banana peels instead of the bananas from the hands of Vidura and feast on them and would Bhagawan leave aside a group of highly educated doctors in the interview room and come and spend the time with this young boy? God only searches for our love and devotion.

Just before the war Arjuna was full of doubt but after receiving the message of Lord Krishna all his doubts vanished, his delusion was removed, he regained his memory and he told LORD KRISHNA: “KARISHYE VACHANAM TAVA” “I will do as you tell me”. The same principle holds good for our sports meet as well. Bhagawan guides us, inspires us, and mentions to us how the sports meet should be conducted. From then onwards all the students, right from primary to P.G. level, spare no efforts in fulfilling Bhagawan’s wish, even if it means foregoing sleep, food and comfort. The students don’t mind at all. The work done is thus transformed into worship because in everyone’s mind there is only one thought and that is to please Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Reference

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”