God Is Love And Compassion

By Sri B N Narasimha Murthy

I offer my humble salutations at Swami’s Divine Lotus Feet. It has been a fulfilling trip down the memory lane. I hope you all are enjoying it as much as I am.

Two words – love and compassion – are the closest that words come to describe our Lord. When the work for installing the solar power project was underway in Muddenahalli, Bhagawan went out to see what was happening. I recollect an incident that touched me. I was sitting with Him in His car. A couple brought their eleven-day old baby for His blessings. Swami stopped the car, lowered the window pane and fondled the child. The child’s father gently prayed to Swami as to what name the child should have. Swami said, “I have given you this child and he was born because of the power of the sun; and now there is a Sathya Sai solar power project. Call him Adithya Sai.” A 11-day old baby on the 89th birthday of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was named by Him on the road! What love and compassion! But it did not stop there. Swami beckoned the mother of the child. As she came forward, Swami gave her a ring and said, “This is My child. Bring him up for my sake. That is why I am giving you this ring.”

Reams have been written about Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I have also written a few volumes of His biography. But even today, if someone asked me what do you know about Sri Sathya Sai Baba and my reply would be nothing! I know Him only as love and compassion and nothing beyond.

I am reminded of another incident that provoked my thoughts. After inaugurating the Sri Sathya Sai Solar project, Swami said that this was the future energy of the world. “Transmitting conventional electric power over long distances leads to dissipation of energy. It is better to produce solar power in villages. Sun is so gracious that it gives us abundant energy to produce and feed a village.” Swami was extremely happy with the work done by those who worked in this project and said, “This is your first project and in every one of My campuses I am going to setup this solar power project.”

Even from a materialistic perspective, look at how Swami has always been a visionary and has always planned ahead for the future while living in the present. It is possible because He is ever living in the moment and thinks about things that are always eternal.

Hridayanivasi Sai

Dr Rachana is a certified Ayurvedic doctor from Government Ayurvedic College, Tripunithura, Kerala. She was drawn to Bhagawan just as an iron filing gets attracted to the magnet. She firmly believes that Swami is her Mother, who responds to her prayerful longing. She is a dedicated member of the transcription team at Sai Hridayam, Dubai.

Her husband Sri Jeevanresh is a MBA graduate working for a multinational company in Dubai. From a young age, he was drawn to the matters of the Spirit. He is a keen and active participant in the seva activities undertaken by Sai Hridayam, Dubai, and is highly interested in the varied Indian scriptures.

Read on to know how this devotee couple together have transformed their lives and work as a worship to Swami.

Swami only knows when and how to draw a person towards Him. Not by luck or coincidence, but only through His infinite grace and pure love does a soul get beckoned.  

I was 20 years old when I first visited Puttaparthi in 2000, with a large group of family members. I had limited knowledge about Swami and the austere schedule that was followed at Prashanthi Nilayam. It was a Shivarathri night, the night of bhajans and Shiva-nama, when we entered the Sai Kulwant Hall. All through the endless bhajan-singing, I only thought of my fast-approaching annual exams, and decided to utilize the time by going through a Shakespearian novel, which was one of my subjects! However, I was stopped by one of the sevadals. I still remember how infuriated I felt at the sevadal’s intervention, least knowing that I would be taking on the same role very soon.

After sitting inside for a few hours, we came out, little aware that Swami would bring forth the Hiranyagarbha lingam on that auspicious day. I remember how I craned and jumped just to get a glimpse of Swami through the grills of the Kulwant hall. That was my first darshan of Bhagawan, which left a deep impact in my heart.

On my return, I started going to the nearest Samithi. This Samithi – the Chalappuram Samithi in Kozhikode district of Kerala – was the second only Samithi to be blessed by Swami’s physical visit in 1974. As I became more regular to the Samithi, I started getting to know more about Swami. My life slowly changed.

From my childhood, I was very fascinated and drawn to stories from the Puranas. I am grateful to my father who laid the foundations of this interest, and to my balavihar teacher in Chinmaya Vidyalaya (where I did my schooling) who kept the spark alive. The stories about Swami, therefore, considerably ignited my inner spirit. I began to get the conviction that it was just Swami planning and unveiling a different world of Love and Service for me. I put all my efforts into becoming an active member of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, and participated in every activity – Bhajans, Bal Vikas classes, festival celebrations, social service activities etc. The circle of relationships started expanding to all Sai brothers and sisters, each of whom carried a special touch and message of Swami. Every meeting with the Sai family members, thus, verily became Satsang.

In the year 2003, I was fortunate to attend the first youth camp, ever arranged for a state. The theme of this camp was “All are Invited, but a Few are Selected”. Yes, how apt and relevant was the theme! The gates of Prashanthi Nilayam are, indeed, open to one and all. Yet, how many of us stay worthy of the Divine proximity is truly a matter of introspection.  

Meanwhile, the elders in my family discouraged me from following the spiritual path and encouraged me to take up a job that was arranged for me in Dubai. Hence with a heavy heart, as my parent’s wished, I had to take up the job and in a way my travel temporarily declared the triumph of the advisory board of elders. Years passed by and I got really punctured a lot as the situation was very adverse, but I still tried my level best to retain my inner sadhana.

In those days, Rachana, my better half now, was also an active member of the Samithi. She too had much difficulty and convincing to come to Sai Samithi, as she was the only Sai devotee in her family. At that point in time, we did not, in the least, reckon Swami’s plan which would bring us together as life partners.

Rachana’s journey with Swami started from a letter she wrote to Swami in the year 2002, on the advice of her hostel warden who was a Sai devotee. It was during those tough times of her medical entrance coaching that she wrote this letter, not knowing that Swami is the very same incarnation of Sri Krishna, whom she worshipped so ardently since her childhood. As Swami says, “If you take one step towards Me, I take hundred steps towards you,” Rachana also felt the tremendous pull from Swami. She had several dreams of Swami in the years that followed, after she wrote her first letter to Swami. In one such dream, Swami assured her that He is always with her. True to His promise, Swami iterated His constant presence with her.

Once, in 2003, when Rachana was still pursuing her studies, she forgot to take vibhuti from her warden while changing her hostel. When she realised her omission, Rachana was struck with remorse and anguish. She felt all her communication with Swami was lost as she didn’t have His vibhuti with her. Meanwhile, another student came to share the room with her. After she settled down, she came to Rachana in the evening, opened a box and asked her, “This is the vibhuti of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Would you like to have it?” One can imagine Rachana’s joy as she basked in the pure love of Bhagawan! Once again, He assured her that when earnest prayers go up, blessings come down.  

Later that year, Rachana visited Puttaparthi with her friend’s family, who were ardent devotees of Swami. That was her very first Darshan. Those magical moments are still fresh in her memories.

Another remarkable incident happened in Rachana’s life in 2004, when she was pursuing her higher secondary education. She was having a great deal of trouble with Mathematics. She couldn’t cope up with the pressure and ended up failing in the model exams. As days closed towards the annual exam, Rachana’s dejection and tension grew to an extent to which she started to convince herself of writing the supplementary exam. There was no one to help her and she could only pray to Swami earnestly seeking His help.

With only four days to go for the exam, Rachana sought Swami’s guidance in desperation. The voice of God can be heard in the depths of silence. While silently praying to Swami, Rachana felt an inner voice, as if Swami was prompting her. She immediately rushed and started to revise the sample question-and-answers given at the end of each chapter. Praying to Swami through the day, Rachana went through every sample exercise in the entire textbook. What happened in the exam reveals how Swami reaches out to help someone who has sought refuge in Him solely. As Divine Will would have it, all the questions for the final exam came from the sample exercises which she had practised! Rachana couldn’t believe her eyes as all the questions were just what she had studied in those four days. She could feel Swami writing through her throughout her exam, and her heart was filled with gratitude. When the results came, Rachana had not only passed the exam but also secured high marks.

Rachana’s only ambition was to become a doctor. She worked rigorously and succeeded, in her second attempt, in earning a seat in the Government Ayurveda College, Tripunithura, Kerala.  Rachana visited her grandmother after enrolling for college. Her grandmother then revealed a beautiful dream in which she saw Swami walking out of Yajur mandir holding Rachana’s right hand. She also saw that her granddaughter was dressed in her doctor’s white coat, holding a stethoscope in her left hand. This dream occurred almost a year before she got her medical admission. Thus, Swami had communicated His divine plan to her grandmother that her granddaughter was destined to become a doctor because Swami had willed it so.

Later in 2009, Rachana got an opportunity to be a sevadal in the General Hospital at Puttaparthi. She cherishes her experiences there, for they left solid imprints in her heart. Thereafter, Swami’s teachings on selflessness became her beacon in life.

The transition from the form to formless

On 24th April, 2011, we sank in anguish on hearing that Swami had left His mortal coil. We prayed and wept, firmly believing that Swami will resurrect Himself, but it did not happen. Slowly we tried getting accustomed to His physical absence, by placing our belief in what Swami has always been emphasising – to see Him in everybody and in everything.

Rachana and I got married on 27th August, 2012. She joined me in Dubai on 22nd November 2012. The next day was our beloved Swami’s 87th birthday. We were very happy to have our house warming ceremony on that day, and felt that it was Swami’s divine plan. During the function, as I lit the lamp in the altar of our pooja room, my phone beeped. When I checked my phone later, I was surprised to receive a message from one of my dear friends.  It contained a message of our dearest Swami, assuring that He is always with us. We felt very happy to know that Swami was still blessing us incessantly.  

Dreams related to Swami are not mere fanciful visions; they unfold in a different dimension. Swami has also ascertained that He can interact with us on any plane of existence whenever He wills. I have been blessed with several dreams of Swami, but one dream which I got after Bhagawan left His physical body has much relevance. This happened in the middle of the year 2014.  In the dream, I found myself as a member of a group interview, where Swami was talking to all, one by one. All the time, I wondered, “How come Swami is back in His body? Is it not true that Swami left His physical body?”  Suddenly Swami turned towards me and said, “My body is not mrinmaya (mortal). It is Chinmaya (immortal)”. I woke up from the dream feeling very happy once again to be with Swami. I shared my experience with my wife and my mother. They were very excited, and we all felt blessed to hear this assuring statement from Swami Himself.

In January 2015, my friend, who was also a student of Swami, called me up to say that he had something to share with me. In the next fifteen minutes, he went on to explain about the subtle appearance of Swami in Muddenahalli. I knew then and there that it was none other than Swami Himself who has come back. I shared this with my wife, and she too believed it completely. We felt like our prayers were answered. Indeed, His methods and ways are unfathomable.  We are very grateful to Swami who provided us with needed intelligence and firm conviction to understand things in a divine perspective.

The very night after I heard about Swami, I pondered the turn of events in wonderment. Meanwhile, I felt a Presence on the right side of the bed. As my attention drifted there, I heard a sound. Two pages of Swami’s calendar hanging to my right side had fallen. I got up from my bed, went and picked up the pages that had fallen.  The wordings of Swami on those pages were – ‘God is not confined to a particular place. He is with you, in you, around you, above you, below you.’ The second one read – ‘Forget all the harm done to you by others and the help you have done to others.’ Wasn’t Swami revealing His presence? The incident really struck me deep in my heart, and the urge to experience Swami in His subtle form grew.

In March 2015, when we went to India for our annual vacation, we visited Muddenahalli for the first time. Here I would like to share the story which led us to Muddenahalli. Initially, we planned our trip to join a meditation program of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at Bangalore. We stayed with our friend and his family in Bangalore. That night at his home, we began talking about Swami and the subtle phenomenon.  My wife and I shared our viewpoints and understanding of the subtle form of Swami, hearing which my friend and his family members too felt the desire to learn more. Finally, we decided to visit Puttaparthi first and then Muddenahalli.

We reached Muddenahalli on a Sunday morning, where the welcome we received was beyond anything we had imagined. We were treated like special guests at the ashram. There were only a very few others in the ashram, as Swami had gone to visit the Alike campus. Even though we couldn’t directly witness the subtle form of Swami, our hearts were filled with gratitude and love for Swami, since it was in a special and unique way in which we had been treated. This visit remains fresh and ever memorable with us.

We came home ruminating on the experiences we had. The desire to witness the subtle form of Swami only grew within us. A week after, I got a call from the same friend, who told me that there was a Seva Vrinda meet to happen at Muddenahalli on March 30th and 31st, and he was going there as a volunteer. He urged me to join the meet. I was in a dilemma, as I had very few days to resume my work in Dubai. Moreover, it was not easy to convince my parents that I needed to travel again. I told my wife to stay back and informed others that I had an interview in Bangalore. Thus, I flew to Bangalore and, as though Swami was confirming His presence, the seat number I got was 18 and the seat next to me was vacant! I landed at Bangalore airport and rushed to get a taxi. The morning program had already begun and I was still travelling. My friend kept updating me of the proceedings through messages to my growing excitement.  

The First Interaction

At last, I reached the ashram. At that time, Swami was in Sai Anandam. The volunteer asked me to wait outside. After a while, I saw my friend and others heading towards Vidyadeep for lunch with Swami.  Anxiously, I joined the group, got into the hall and took my seat.  Shortly, a white Benz car pulled up outside the hall and I saw a young person getting out of the car, whom I later came to know as Brother Madhusudan. Brother Madhu opened the front door and stood as though waiting for someone to come out. I started concentrating hard, anticipating that Swami would become visible to me but nothing happened. Swami, accompanied with Brother Madhu, walked inside the hall and spoke to some people. After finishing a small round, Swami took His seat for lunch. We all started partaking lunch on a gesture from Swami. Swami finished His lunch within five minutes and again started walking through the rows distributing ice creams to everyone.

My heart started pounding and I wondered whether Swami would recognise me and talk to me.  When Swami reached the row where I was sitting, I got ready on my knees to pay my obeisance.  Swami was just three feet away from me when I couldn’t hold myself any further. I called out in a low tone “Swami”, but there was no response. When Swami came nearer to me, He wasn’t looking at me and I called again in a very low tone, “Swami”. Then suddenly Brother Madhu stopped and looked at me. I was filled with mixed feelings, and from Brother Madhu’s gesture I understood that Swami was waiting for me to tell something.

I prayed, “Swami, am I going on the right path? Will you pardon all my sins in this life and in all previous lives?” Swami replied, “Yes all your sins, this birth and all other births will be pardoned. You just do my seva. You have undergone sufferings a lot and now, no need to worry. I am with you and your family.”

Saying so, Swami held my folded palm, gave me an ice cream, and moved swiftly to the front. My joy knew no bounds hearing Swami’s assurance. I had always felt that my life should be of purpose, and that I should be useful in Swami’s mission. I shared my experience with my friend and others who were keen to know what Swami told me.  One of them was Brother Anand Kadali who, after learning that I was from Dubai, suggested that I meet sister Shobhana and gave me her contact details.

When I got back to Dubai, my wife and I joined the Satsang at Shobhanaji’s residence, lovingly named Sai Hridayam by our Swami. It was the most wonderful Satsang we had in a very long time. From then onwards, my wife and I began to participate in the seva activities and satsanghs along with the Sai Hridayam family.

In July 2015, the Dubai team decided to visit Muddenahalli as a group for the Gurupoornima celebrations. My wife and I were both fortunate to be a part of the trip, where my wife had her first experience with the subtle form of Swami.

Now, Rachana had a long standing desire to sing a bhajan before Swami, ever since the time she had been coming to the Sai Samithi. She was a lead singer in the Samithi, but she never got an opportunity to sing before Swami in Puttaparthi. From the day we joined the Dubai team, Rachana began to pray to Swami in our pooja room for a chance to sing in front of Him. And she would practise the bhajan, “Manasa Bhajara Guru Charanam”.

Swami says, “I am in your hearts. You are in mine.” Sai, who is the Indweller of all beings, answered Rachana’s prayer in a beautiful way. Rachana was given a chance to sing a bhajan. To her sheer joy and surprise, it was a guru bhajan! Rachana sang “Manasa Bhajara Guru Charanam”, the very same bhajan which she heartily practised before Swami in our puja room. At the end of the session, Swami presented watches to everyone. It was truly a special gift from Swami.  

The Omniscient Lord

On our return, we learnt of the Divine Visit to Dubai scheduled on 26th and 27th August, 2015. Our group met to plan the different programmes that we should offer to Swami. We decided to present a drama among other offerings. I joined the drama team, sceptical of my competence for the task. Each member of the group was asked to prepare a script, and the best one was to be selected for the skit. So I sat to write, totally clueless as to what to write or how to begin. With a prayer in my heart, I begged Swami to write the skit through me. Suddenly, I felt a rush of self-confidence and courage. Not wasting a single moment, I started working on the script. I typed continuously for almost three hours, and was wonderstruck to the shape it had taken, when only hours ago, there was not even a seed of an idea in place. I knew that only Swami could make this possible.

With a draft in place, we were now ready to edit and polish the script. During one of the editing sessions at our home, I narrated the script to my wife, the Sai Gayathri audio track playing in the background. When we reached the Bhakta Hanuman scene in the skit, to our utter surprise, the Sai Gayathri stopped and the audio player started to play a Hanuman bhajan! After the bhajan, we went through the music tracks, curious to see whether the Hanuman bhajan was, indeed, the track following Sai Gayathri. Much to our astonishment, there were at least twenty tracks between the Sai Gayathri audio and the Hanuman bhajan. We considered this as a positive affirmation from Swami that we could finalise the skit. We felt very blessed and once again at how Swami revealed His presence in a subtle way. The skit was performed before Swami when He visited Dubai.

During Swami’s visit, we were fortunate to be a part of a group interview. It was Aug 27th 2015, and we were celebrating our third marriage anniversary on the day of the interview. In the interview, Swami blessed my wife with a saree and commanded her to be in Dubai and to do His seva. Swami also assured her that she will be recognised in future as an Ayurvedic doctor. As the interview ended, Rachana prayed to Swami to bless us since it was a very special day. To which Swami lovingly replied, “Yes, I know. That’s why I gifted you the saree.” Indeed, Swami knows everything, and there is no need to remind Him of anything.

Now my wife is totally involved with her seva in the transcription team of Dubai. She believes that Swami is keeping her busy always. Rachana’s sadhana ensures that she remains engrossed in Swami’s thoughts for hours together. Every day, when I am back home from office, she shares with me Swami’s beautiful messages and the blissful experiences of many devotees around the globe, all of which she receives while doing the transcription work. We feel blessed to practise shravanam (listening) which, among the navavidha bhakthi, is the first and the easiest path to reach the Lord.

When we do Bhagawan’s work, He takes care of our lives in this world and in other worlds too, as He demonstrated to us in the following manner. Swami had invited my wife and I to Muddenahalli for the World Youth Meet scheduled in November 2015. Now we were in a dilemma since but I did not have any more holidays pending for that year. On top of it, we were financially tight as well. And yet how could we disregard Swami’s loving invitation?

Knowing not how to handle this situation, we prayed to Swami, “Swami, since You have invited us, please help us to overcome these hurdles.” As we discussed the matter, my wife and I even made a light-hearted remark, “If Swami has willed it, then let the means also come from Swami. Now it is not our issue anymore.”

As the saying goes, “When we do our half, God will do the other half.” Mustering courage, I requested the management to grant me 4 days off. My request was immediately approved, and the HR decided to deduct four days from my annual vacation next year! We were delighted and convinced that only Divine intervention could have got my leave sanctioned. Meanwhile, my company suddenly decided to transfer my visa to a different agency, for doing which the gratuity amount had to be paid off. To my utmost surprise, when I got the gratuity, it was double the amount I was entitled to have. Now who else other than Swami can play like this? He not only provided me money to meet the expenses of the whole trip, but even gave me additional money so that I could contribute a better amount for the float, which was meant for the 90th birthday celebration rally.

At last, we reached Muddenahalli to attend the World Youth Meet. It was the 18th of November 2015, a memorable day in the history of Muddenahalli as Bhagawan had inaugurated the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham Hall. We were seated inside the hall, when Swami came by. As He was passing, Bhagawan asked me “How is the hall?” I replied with a gesture “Excellent, Swami.” I felt very happy for the Divine acknowledgement. It was His assurance that He is with us always.

The next day, 19th November, was the inauguration of the World Youth Meet, the theme of which was Swami’s message – ‘All are One’. There were delegates from over 20 countries around the globe. Rachana and I along with few others represented the religion of Islam. We were attired in the traditional wear of the region, and presented Arabic prayers on the stage.

That evening, as part of the Women’s Day celebrations, a group of ladies were selected to chant Veda in Swami’s presence.  My wife was blessed with an opportunity to chant Durga Suktam in front of her beloved Sai Maa.

We participated in the World Youth Meet in all the ways we could, by cleaning, moving and setting the stage for the meet, and sleeping for bare minimal hours.  I can never forget the night, when we worked assiduously to put together the Dasaavataram ensemble on the Premamrutham stage. In the days to come, the photos will be an overwhelming reminder of the blissful time we spent with the Lord, basking in His supreme Love and care; memories that we will cherish for a lifetime. We remain indebted to Swami for all the opportunities He benevolently granted us out of His unconditional love.

Another instance where Swami proved His Omnipresence is worthy of mention.  Once, while dropping my cousin to the airport, I was driving in a hurry as we were late. Unfortunately, the traffic camera flashed due to my over- speeding. As there were no other vehicles on the road, I was certain that the camera flashed on my car. I felt extremely upset and infuriated at myself. Never ever did we want to spend unnecessary money, because we wanted to spare as much as possible for Swami’s mission. Back at home, I prayed to Swami, “Swami, please take care of this fine. If You really want me to pay this, then let it be. I leave this to You.” I did not get any fine. Swami simply erased it out of the traffic system. Verily, He takes care of even trivial affairs when we surrender ourselves at His Lotus Feet.

Acceptance and Surrender

In March 2016, Swami visited Dubai once again. This time, we were more composed and disciplined – physically, mentally and spiritually. We decided that we would not trouble Swami with our expectations. After all, Our Divine Mother knows what is best for us. The right method to approach Swami would be acceptance and surrender.

Needless to say, His infinite grace always flows like the Ganges, and gushes into the innermost core of our hearts. We were very fortunate to have a memorable experience this time too. Rachana was blessed with the priceless chance of serving food to the Lord and His entourage.

Here something happened which testified Swami’s presence in our altar at home. When Rachana was serving food to Swami, Swami enquired about me and remarked playfully that my anger is beyond control, and I normally burst out when I am angry. Brother Madhu’s expression when Swami made the statement above stays afresh in her memories. Swami further said that I had been controlling my anger of late and had become soft, since I would consciously think, “What will Swami will think of me?” before getting angry. Swami continued, “Lot of karmaphalas acquired from so many births, but I am there to wash, clean and polish; I want to change him. That’s My aim.”

When my wife shared this with me I was astonished since I had the habit of speaking to Swami now and then, facing the chair which we placed for Swami in our Pooja room. Those days, I was truly praying to Swami to get rid of my short tempered, and I always apologised to Him if ever I faltered from His expectations. When such an assurance came from the very same Supreme Consciousness, we felt so grateful and rejoiced wholeheartedly, for the Lord was affirming His abiding presence in our lives.

We pray to Swami to bestow upon us His infinite grace, so that we recognise the truth of Oneness and become Sai, who is the sole Indweller in all beings.

Divine Discourse - March 20, 2019 - Evening Satsang

What did Adi Sankaracharya sing? He said Ma kuru dhana jana yauvana garvam Harati nimishat kalat sarvam Mayamayam idam akhilam hitva Brahma padam tvam pravisha viditiva. He said, “Don’t be too proud and arrogant about your wealth, all the relationships, the network that you have, the youth – it means a healthy body- that you have. In moment, Time can take it all away without you realising that all this was there. Therefore, knowing that the entire thing is an illusion – this illusion of arrogance, pride – it is all illusion; it can be taken away in a moment. Knowing that, take refuge at the feet of God.” This is what Adi Sankaracharya said. Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam mudha mate. “O foolish man! Remember God because everything else will disappear in no time. Don’t be too proud and arrogant about all these accumulations because these all can be taken away by time within a moment.”

So that is the situation that the world has been brought to think about. How much ever it is told in a sweet, nice way, man has this typical arrogance of not paying attention to good things. But when a hard blow is dealt, then everybody sits up and listens. That is the situation that the world is finding itself in. Everybody knows what is right, what is wrong. But till the wrong becomes so overwhelming that it harms you, we don’t realise that we are doing wrong. So therefore, I just met a few devotees. They were all worried. And then I said, see, it is a cycle of life. And it will go on and on. As Narasimha Murthy just said, “Earth has been there for millions of years. Human beings appeared later. Human beings may disappear also.” The way we are living, we are actually disappearing fast now under some pretext or the other. Though today there is a virus that is the main issue, but people are disappearing because of bad food habits, blood pressure, cancer, or all kinds of other diseases. So there have been problems. And it is time to think how we are living. Are we living in the right way?

Again Adi Sankaracharya tells, how do we live in this world knowing that the world is illusory, knowing that this arrogance doesn’t help, knowing that all this can be taken away in a moment, you take refuge at the feet of God. But how do we live in this world when we take refuge? Tyaja durjana samsargam Bhaja sadhu samagamam Kuru punyam aho ratram Smara nityam anityatam. “Give up the company of bad people.” Bad people means those who do not follow the Dharmic path, the true right path. What is Dharma? To do good is Dharma. If you do good in life, you are following your Dharma. As human beings, you are supposed to be doing good. Paropakarartham idam shareeram. Body has not been given to eat and enjoy and ultimately die. It is given to do good. So when we do good, that is Kuru punyam ahoratram. Keep doing good day in, day out. Day and night keep doing good is what Adi Sankaracharya advises. Give up the company of the bad people – those who don’t follow Dharma – don’t go into their path. Join the company of the good, who are doing good to the world. Night and day do good deeds. Always be mindful, remind yourself of what is real and what is unreal, what is permanent and what is impermanent.

This is what is going to help us live as better human beings in this world. That is what will make us deserving of a place on this planet earth. So that is what the whole thing is being driven to. You learn it well when it is being told nicely or else you have to go through a hard lesson. Now we are going through a hard lesson.

So I heard that lot of positives have also come out. What is the positive? I was told that many people are contemplating vegetarianism. I have been shouting from the top of the mountain, vegetarianism is good. Gone are the days you lived in caves and hunted animals. But now we are living in air-conditioned apartments, no more hunting animals, why should animals be killed for our food? Everything has changed – the way we dress, we move around, we stay, we do our things has all changed. Then why animals should be killed for our food. There are better ways to have food. So why don’t we contemplate on some better means without harming anyone? Punyam that is. What did Vyasa say? Ashtadasha puraneshu Vyasasya vachanadvayam Paropakaraya punyaya papaya parapidanam. After 18 Puranas, Vyasa concluded that the only essence of all the 18 Puranas is to do good is Punyam, to hurt anybody is Papa. To help is Punyam – Paropakara ya punyaya papaya parapidanam, When you hurt anybody, it is not Punyam, it is Papam. That is what he says. It is wrong. It is not good. It is not Dharma. Then somebody may say, “But the tiger is hunting and eating. What about that?” That is tiger’s Dharma. That is how tiger has been created. You are not a tiger. Are you a tiger? Then I will inform the zoo people. They will catch you and put you in a cage. You are human; so behave like human. As he said, “Plants live like plants; they have not become animals. Animals have not become plants. But human being has become animal.” Only wild animals have to eat by killing. Others don’t have to. We don’t have to. It is not necessary. When it is not necessary to harm anyone for our own life, then why we should be harming anybody? So some thought is going in that may be this may not be the right way of living. May be there is another way of living. That is what we said. Live in a way that you don’t harm anyone in the process. Neither by your thought, nor by your word, nor by your deeds. Ahimsa paramo dharma. Greatest of all Dharma is Ahimsa means non-violent. Not even in thought we are hurting anyone, forget about deed.

I don’t know whether I should tell this or not but let Me tell you without telling people’s name. You don’t go and quote Me here and there. So I went to one Yajna. In that Yajna, the priest told Me, “Swamiji,” – they had Yajna going on. They had kept two dolls, two horses on the two ends of the Yajna. It is a very specific Yajna. Very few people only know about it. So two horses dolls were kept. I asked, “Why these horses are kept here? Doll horses.” He told, “Actually as per the original rule, we have to keep real horses on both ends – one white horse and one black horse. But because horses are very expensive – two lac rupees – so I have got these dolls and kept. And spiritually we are thinking that these are two horses which are as good as real horses.” I said, “Okay, that is a good thing. No problem. As long as in your heart of heart you believe that you really have…Spiritual aspect is more important than ritual, I always say. Okay. All right.” After the Yajnam got over, he called Me aside and said, “Swamiji, we have to sacrifice one goat also for this Yajnam. But I will do this after you leave because if You are here, people will misunderstand. So once You leave in the night we will sacrifice a goat.” Then I asked, “Why do you want to sacrifice a goat?” “That is a part of the rule that we have to sacrifice a goat.” Then I told, “You get a doll goat and sacrifice the doll goat. Why you want to sacrifice a real goat?” He started arguing with Me, “No, no, no. As per rules we have to sacrifice a real goat.” I told, “As per rules you didn’t get horses. Then as per rules, how can you sacrifice goat?” Anyway I did not win the argument. That is a different story but see how conveniently man leads his life. Right? Horses are expensive; forget, we will get a doll and manage. Goats are cheap. So I told, “The animal qualities should be sacrificed. Not animals have to be sacrificed.”

Once Buddha was going. I am talking about Buddha’s times you see when too much of ritual was going on even in Indian culture and they were forgetting the spiritual component of this whole thing. So when Buddha was going somebody was taking one animal to be sacrificed. So Gautam Buddha went to the village he used to go and asked, “What is going on?” They said, “We are going to sacrifice this animal.” So Buddha said, “Why do you want to sacrifice the animal?” “No, no. If you sacrifice the animal, the animal will go to heaven.” He said, “Oh! Then you should sacrifice yourself. You can go to heaven as well.” We don’t want to go to heaven. But animal has to go to heaven.

Your stomach is not a tomb of animals. It is a temple of God. Deham devalayam prokto jivo deva sanatanaha. Body is the temple of God and the indweller is God Himself. It is not a burial ground of animals. Not tomb of animals. So that is the idea of Ahimsa. For whatever reason, if it is was possible to avoid, let us avoid hurting anyone. Anybody, however small, just because somebody is weaker than us, that does not give us the authority to harm them. In fact, our strength is in protecting the weak not in harming the weak. The true strong person is the one who protects the weak, protects the meek, the mild because they cannot protect themselves. It is not about showing your strength on those and harming them to prove your supremacy or strength. That is not right. So I go on telling. This is not from now. From the beginning, don’t kill animal for food, don’t kill animal for food. What can I do? I can only tell. I can’t get into people’s homes and stop it. They have their own reasons. But them what happens? There is a power greater than all human power. What is the human…One day a devotee asked, “Swami, I have lot of ego. How to get rid of it?” I said, “Sit down for a moment and think.” Okay, now let us think. We are all sitting in this Premamrutham Hall. This hall Premamrutham is in Muddenahalli Grama. Muddenahalli is in Chikkaballapur town, Zilla. Chikkaballapur is in Karnataka. Karnataka is in the map of India, one state. India is one country in the whole of the world. Earth is but one planet in the whole of the solar system. Solar system is one system in the whole of the galaxies – Milky Way. Milky Way is one galaxy in the larger, supreme universe. You think of your size as a human being. What are you? You are nothing. Even a thought, a contemplation of this thought should help us get rid of all our arrogance.

So this virus has taught us a good lesson. It has crushed the arrogance of the mighty, the rich, the powerful, the knowledgeable. You see? Nobody is saved. I was telling the rich are more in trouble because the poor people did not travel to all parts of the world. They couldn’t afford flight tickets. They were happily living in their villages.  The rich are the ones who are travelling all around for business, commerce, for tourism, entertainment. They are the ones who are suffering. So in a way it is a wake-up call. Look at the positive side of things. Yes, the negative side is there. People are losing lives and we should feel sorry for that and we should pray for that, we cannot just say, “It is their Karma,” and then keep quiet, that is not right. Then that is our Karma that we did not pray for them. Let us pray that people understand how to deal with it. Let us pray that a medicine, a cure comes up quickly which helps those who are in need. But more importantly, let us pray that we all start living as human beings. Humanity – the compassion, the kindness should drive our lives. Kindness to everyone. Jiva karunya. Even for a small ant there should be compassion. And for our pleasure, let us not be causing harm to anyone. See, I would be very happy if this whole episode turns at least half the world into vegetarianism. I will be very very happy. I was told because I keep getting update from all the people who are so concerned about My health more than anybody’s health, “Swami, don’t go here. Don’t meet these people. Don’t go to any country.” I said, “All right.” They are telling Me that now there is a general governments are closing down such kind of places where animals are sold for food. It is a big business. It is being closed down because of the fear of this. I said, that is Mother Nature’s way of balancing itself. We all have read in science how balance of nature happens, how that ecology. When grass grows too much, then deer appear on the scene, they eat all the grass; when deer grow too much, the lions come and eat up the deer. Deer get over, lions starve and die, then grass grows again. So nature knows how to balance itself. So it will know how to balance itself. We are nothing in front of the force of nature. So Ma kuru dhana jana yauvana garvam that we can control. All our knowledge, all our wealth, all the stock markets, all the military equipment nothing could stand one small virus which is not even seen to the eye. Look at that. Look at the irony. It is not a huge military set up that we are fighting against. It is not some aliens that we are fighting against. It is not the highest technological warfare that is going on. It is one tiny virus unseen that has changed the perspective. All our wealth, all our knowledge, all our military might nothing is able to stand this. The only thing that will stand is if we change ourselves and become better human beings. That alone will save the human race. Otherwise we have to learn our lessons the hard way.

So this generation which has never seen a pandemic, this generation thinks life goes on and on and on. On Tabs and TVs. They don’t realise that there is the other side to life too. And for them it is a great great episode because some children are asking, “Why did the virus come?” And then somebody answered, “Because it has come from animals.” “Why did animal virus get into humans?” “Because we ate those animals.” “Oh. Why did we eat animals? It is not good to eat animals.” “Yes, it is not good to eat those animals.” A generation has learnt a new lesson. “Oh, we should not eat animals because we can get this virus.” At least out of fear, they have learnt that they have to remain clean, remain hygienic, you should be concerned about each other. Just because we are sitting on one end of the boat and the hole is on the other end, we cannot sit happy. ‘That is the other end of the boat.’ Hole is a hole in the boat. Everybody will sink. Today one country has suffered. Everybody is suffering. Isn’t it why our culture prayed, Samasta loka sukhino bhavantu? Because they knew, if I pray for my happiness alone, I cannot be happy. Only when the whole world is happy can I be happy. Today is that Sarve bhavantu sukhinaha sarve santu niramayaha when we pray. Let everybody be healthy. Why? Because everybody’s health is going to affect our health. If somebody is unhealthy in some country in some corner, today or tomorrow that thing will come to us too. That is why our culture prayed – Sarve bhavantu sukhinaha Sarve santu nirmaya Sarve bhadrani pashyantu Only if everybody leads happy lives, healthy lives and does what is good everywhere can there be Ma kaschid dukha mapnoyat. Nobody will have any sorrow. Sorrow of that little ant also is a sorrow.

In Mahabharata, Vyasa was in a very difficult situation because both sides were his family only. Kauravas were also his, Pandavas were also his. So the war was going to begin and he was rushing to sit and watch what is going to happen. And that time as he was passing a small insect was crawling and running very fast. And Vyasa stopped and asked that insect, “Why are you running so fast?” “Oh you don’t know? Arjuna’s chariot is going to pass this way. I may get crushed under the chariot.” And Vyasa laughed and said, “What if you die? How does it matter even if you die? Who is going to cry if you die?” And the insect got very angry. He told Vedavyasa, “You think you only have a family? You only have a wife and children? I also have my wife. I have children. They are waiting for me at home. How can you demean me like this?” Then Vyasa realised, “Ah, this is the Ahara nidra bhaya maithunam cha samanyametat pashu bhir naranam. These four things are common – to eat to your taste, to sleep restfully, fear of deaths, to reproduce. These are common between animals and men. They also have a family – wife, children. They need to eat, sleep. They are afraid of death and diseases and dangers. If that is all that human beings we are doing, we are no better than animals. Dharmo hi eko adhiko visheshaha dharmo vihinam pashubhir samanaha So those who follow Dharma alone are human beings. All others are not.” Today unfortunately everybody is following their Dharma. Even an insect in cow-dung also follows its Dharma of doing what it needs to do to further turn that cow-dung into manure. But we as human beings have forgotten our Dharma. And that is why Dharmo vihinam pashubhir samanaha also we should not say because that is an insult to the Pashus who are actually following more Dharma than us. We are not following our Dharma. And that is where we are suffering. There are many kinds of suffering. This is one kind that we are suffering. But this is a good wake-up call where we pray for everybody’s welfare. Definitely prayers have the power to change people’s minds, attitudes, to purify the place, to protect. So pray sincerely. Whoever it might be, whether they did right or wrong it is immaterial. They are suffering today. We must pray for their welfare. That should be our attitude, first.

Second thing, you be cautious. You don’t do things which will lead you to such kind of things. You be careful, you be cautious. What you eat, where you go, whom you meet, what you see, what you hear, taste, smell. Everything is food. Not just animals are food. What you hear is food. What you see is food. What you touch is food. What you smell is food. What you taste is food. So be careful about whatever goes inside you because this virus may be a physical, biological virus. There are so many other viruses that get inside through our ears by listening to the wrong thing, by listening to gossips, by listening to false rumours. That is also virus that destroys us. By seeing wrong, by touching wrong. All these are kind of diseases that get inside us. So we must protect ourselves from all those diseases also not just blame on the food that we eat through our mouths. So Tyaja durjana sansargam Bhaja sadhu samagamam Kuru punyam ahoratram Smara nityam anityatam. Don’t be too possessive about the things of this world. You can’t take one thing back with you. Alexander the Great when he left, he told, “Keep my both hands out of the coffin so that everybody sees that though I have conquered the world, I am going empty-handed.” So don’t harm anyone for the sake of your own greed. That is why I said, the worse virus than Corona virus is the greed virus which has spread so badly that people are not able to think. So much talk about this virus because it is hurting the rich. Hunger is hurting the poor. Thousands die every day because of hunger. For that, food is there. Corona virus does not have a medicine. But hunger has a medicine called food. What are we doing about it? Are we even talking about it? There are hundreds and thousands. Even when we visited the hospital, every year 250,000 children in India are born with congenital heart diseases. And the reason for it is largely anaemic mothers, malnutrition, poorly formed children in the womb. And we are doing something about it. That is definitely far more number than these 8,000 who have died or 150,000 people who have been diagnosed. It is far bigger number, isn’t it? If just one country like India 250,000 children are born every year, not even 25,000 get their treatment. The rest all are doomed to die today or tomorrow. And year and year this number gets piled up. Two-and-a-half lac, two-and-a-half lac. There are millions of children in India who are living with heart problems who cannot walk, who cannot talk, who cannot speak, who cannot go to school, who cannot do anything. And what have we done about it as governments, as society, as intellectuals, as individuals? How much have we paid attention to something like that? What I am saying is that there are many many more problems in the world because of our own doing, our own mistake of our greed, our selfishness has caused this problem in the world. Unfortunately, we don’t talk about them because they are poor people’s problem. And this Corona virus is whichever way you call, it is a rich people’s problem. Rich in the sense, this is not for those who are below poverty line. This is definitely for people who are above poverty line, who are going around, meeting people, doing what? Whatever they need to. So the world needs far bigger re-thinking. Every human must go back within. This is a good time to get into thinking where I am going right and wrong as a human, as a family, as a society, as a country and as the world, as humanity as a whole, where are we making our mistakes? Can we sit back, think about it and correct it? So it is only going to get better. I think it is definitely better. Somebody told Me, “Swami, there is no pollution. The pollution level of the world has come down drastically because everybody is at home.” The environment is becoming better because we are not harming anyone. The bush-fires in Australia have disappeared because the temperature has come down because no pollution for so many days. So all things are improving. See, there is a positive side to it also. And most important positive side is if we learn our lesson as human beings and not do wrong any more, for the sake of our pleasure, let us not harm anyone, however small that harm may be, it is a harm to them. And therefore, not harming nature, not harming animals, not harming other human beings, not harming the weak, the poor, the helpless for our own benefit should be the way of a human being. That is the Dharma and Dhara iti iti Dharma Only that which bears this whole earth is Dharma. And that Dharma when it goes, Dharmo rakshati rakshataha The one who protects Dharma is protected by Dharma. The one who harms Dharma, Dharma only will harm them. That is the rule of the universe. Nobody can change it. Not even God can change that rule.

So let us be conscious as human beings that we have far greater responsibility to lead a good life on this planet and help everyone and not harm anyone for our own sake. If we begin there, definitely a generation or two down the line, humanity will look much better than what it is today. Let us leave behind that kind of a legacy for the coming generations to lead a pure life, good life, a life full of non-violence, a life with compassion and kindness for every creature. Let that be the lesson from this. This is a part…Some people are very afraid. This is just a cycle. It will come, it will go up, it will go down. And thousands of such cycles have come and gone for the earth. So it is not going to change much of it. It may harm a few people’s interests. And that is sad. But we cannot help it because that is a lesson that has to be learnt. We all will learn this lesson together. That should be our way.

So once again praying for welfare of all Sarve bhavantu sukhinaha sarve santu niramayah Sarve bhadrani pashyantu Ma kaschid dukha mapnoyat. With this prayer, we should daily think this way, pray this way and I am sure these problems will disappear in no time. But definitely the lessons should remain with us forever.

Spiritual Life is FUN!

By Sister Anandra George

Frankly, it surprises me sometimes that many spiritual gatherings and ashrams are full of only those wise elders who already have a full head of grey hair.

Why don’t more young people choose the infinite abundance of the spiritual life, instead of the rat race of chasing after material things?

When I reflect on why I feel most at home in ashram life, though I’m only 40 years old and in the prime of my life, certainly it was only God’s grace that led me to the inward path. I was first commanded to come to Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram when I was 18 through a series of mystical inner events. It totally clarified the direction my life must take towards embodied enlightenment, and receiving the sight, the touch, and the words of my Sadguru sealed my fate to prioritize my spiritual path above all else. No matter how many experiences I’ve had in this big, glorious world – both exalting in service and rebelling in all of the typical ways of the aspirant on the journey – it’s clear that the inner infinite heart is my home, and all lovers of God anywhere, are my family.

Over the past 22 years I’ve lived in and observed many different spiritual communities around the world, and I’ve also had the opportunity to live through many rich experiences — from collaborating with Fortune 500 company executives, to solo trekking in the Montana wilderness, to sacred pilgrimage to the Great Pyramids in Egypt, to dancing all night on a beach in Hawaii under shooting stars, and more.

If I attempt to distill the lessons learned from these diverse experiences, it’s this:

I noticed a sense of endless grasping for temporary pleasures in the “normal” world, which turned me off. I also noticed a sense of endless grasping for external forms in “spiritual” communities, which also struck me as deeply discordant. Rarely did I find anyone who could model the integrity, balance, and radiance that I knew was possible.

So really, I had no choice but to look within, in order to fall in love with Love and live in abundant joy!

Keeping a balance between “worldly” and “spiritual” requires constant introspection with sharp discrimination. There are two things which I often remind myself of:

  1. There’s no difference between a worldly life and a spiritual life, except where you put your attention. (Ashram life can be just as distracting for the mind as worldly life; it can be just as full of politics, dramas and desires.)
  2. Actions motivated by celebration of the inner fullness and joy are very different from actions motivated by the desire to get inner fullness and joy from some external person, place, or thing (including a guru).

There’s no difference between a worldly life and a spiritual life, except where you put your attention.

When I really took to heart the message that; “My joy is God’s food”, I realized I had a sacred duty to follow my innermost heart, to follow it’s bliss. That inner voice has never led me astray. Whether I’m engaging in duties in the world or engaging in the ashram routines, my only regrets are when I act from my mind and not my heart.

To summarize, the spiritual life is FUN when I try to live my life simply from my heart! It’s a pleasure to be out of the box of religious, cultural, or organizational dogma and having a great time making my spiritual life my number one priority. The power of love is much, much too big to confine!

Now, a little love note about Mudennahalli…

The place has its share of every type of person, as all communities do, but there is a large pool of ignited souls that I feel true resonance with. Everyone has his/her own relationship with the drama being staged here, but personally that variety has always amused me rather than distracted me from the precious opportunity of being in satsang with soul family. We are all, in our own ways, transforming ourselves by diving deeper and deeper into doing the Divine work. The joy of service is palpable here, and it’s spreading like wildfire!

What I focus on is how deeply nourishing it is to be around a global community of changemakers who are surrendered to the subtle form that Love takes, however varied that expression might be. To me, this movement of Love as it expresses through each and every one of us, is nothing less than the dawn of the golden age.

Bring it on!

Divine Discourse - March 08, 2020 - Evening Satsang

Na tapansi na tirthanam na shastranam japan nahi samsara sagaroddhare sajjanam sevanam vina

It is said, “Neither by doing Tapas, nor by visiting holy places in pilgrimage, nor by reading scriptures, not even by chanting Lord’s name but to cross over this ocean of Samsara, one needs to do it by serving the humanity.”

Dear embodiments of love, students, teachers, and devotees, our honourable guests Upadhyayaji, Muniyappagaru,

Just now it was said, “Paropakarartham idam shariram.” This body has been given not to eat and enjoy life but to serve and thereby find fulfilment in one’s life. Why do you study? So that you can be of some use to society tomorrow. Why do you earn wealth? So that you can share it with those who need it, who need help. When you do anything in life it should be focused on one and only thought, ‘How it is going to help others who are in need?’ That is the purpose of all that we do in one’s life.

Unfortunately with the passage of time, this thought has been lost to the various desires and distractions of the modern world. And to bring back this noble thought into the lives of all the people, education is the best medium, best tool. So today when we went to Jana Seva Vidyakendra and there is Jana Seva PU College hostel which was inaugurated, I told them that I am very happy to come and inaugurate schools, not so happy to come and inaugurate temples. I am more happy to visit schools and inaugurate them because in temples we make man out of God, but in schools we make God out of man. God who is attributeless, nameless, formless we give Him a form and a name and put Him inside a temple and treat Him like a human. We have to put Him to sleep, we have to wake Him up, we have to serve Him all through the day just like humans for our own joy, for our own happiness. But in a school when we serve the children, when we wake them up, we feed them, we teach them, we put them to sleep, it is just the other way round. In Tirupati Devasthanam also, I was told that Lord Venkateshwara works quite hard. I asked, “What time they put him to sleep and what time they wake him up?” And the MLA told Me, “Depends on the devotees’ crowd. Sometimes they put him to sleep at 12 o’clock, 1 o’clock and they wake him up at 2 am. And again put him through the rigmarole of the whole day, he has to stand and bless devotees. And certain festival days it is so hard, he doesn’t even get one hour’s sleep and rest. The Pujaris keep changing by batches but the Lord is one and the same. He stands there and serves. But we have made a man out of God. Niranjanam niketanam sanatanam nitya shuddha buddha mukta nirmala svarupinam. God who is attributeless, formless, as humans, to relate to Him, we give Him a form, He also happily takes a form to become one amongst us, to teach us our own Divinity. That is all right. But the real service to God is when we transform human into Divine.

So when the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence was being inaugurated and the minister asked Me, “Swami, what is human excellence? What do You want to do here?” And I told him in one sentence, “In any other university – in a medical university, somebody joins, becomes a doctor; in an engineering university, somebody who joins, becomes an engineer. In Sathya Sai University of Human Excellence if somebody joins, he must become God and not less.” It does not mean he will have four hands, eight hands, five heads. Not that god with form. But the principle of Godhood which is love, pure love, kindness, compassion, service to others. When Tirupati Venkateshwara Swami stands 23 hours just to serve his devotees, there is no reason why devotees should not work 24 hours to serve the Lord who resides in all. Nara sevaye Narayana seva, Manava sevaye Madhava seva, Jana sevaye Janardhana seva. So that should be the way of our people.

And then I visited our hostel of university and I was talking to all the boys. And I asked them, “What is this place?” They said, “Swami, this is Tyagajivi Kendra.” I said, “Gone are the days when it was a Tyagajivi Kendra. Now it should become a Yogajivi Kendra.” There is a great difference between Tyaga and Yoga. We are born as Rogis. We eat; if we don’t let it out, we become Rogis; what we eat, we let it it out, we become Bhogis. People are there in the society who take a lot, don’t give anything back, they only are Rogis; they suffer with Bhava roga, the disease of the worldliness. The others are those who take only – whatever they take, that is all that they give back not more. They are the Bhogis. I call them Bhogajivis. Then Tyagajivis are there who give more than what they take. And the Yogajivis are those who don’t take anything but always give, give and give for others’ sake. So time has come for our institutions to rise not just with the idea of Tyaga, but to Yoga. Not just trying to be God but to become God is the ultimate purpose of life. When I see all the children in all these campuses, when I visit them, I feel so happy because I see every year that they are inching a little closer to their Divine selves. The way they come in sixth class and the way they are now in the university it is completely different. Our university students have developed so much of devotion, so much of sacrifice, such clarity in life at that age as to what is the purpose of their life which I don’t see anywhere. It gives Me great joy that our students are developing into such selfless students, so clear, so compassionate and so particular that they must attain the goal of life. Uttishta jagrata prapya varan nibodhata. That is the idea of this university.

We have Sri Upadhayaji here who is working with Benares Hindu University and also he is working very diligently – I had a discussion right now – doing research on the idea of Indian culture, Indian spirituality. And we are working with them, collaborating to come out with a method in which we can teach the modern students the way they will understand, in their way. And he is working very hard with our university to come up with some kind of a programme for which we are going to have a conference in the month of May in Delhi. And after that we will work on a very detailed programme of how step-by-step this idea of Sanatana Dharma can be taught to the college-going children. As I always say, only one cannot do all these things. Many have to come together. And power of many is much more than what one can imagine. Sanga shakti, they say. In Kaliyuga, the greatest power is Sanga shakti where everybody comes together, they can achieve a lot. And this coming together is a new chapter in Swami’s mission. There are many many people who think alike, who believe that their lives are meant for service to others, coming together to bring about this transformation in the society.

I do not want to take much time today because there are students who are all going for their exams.

Do you have exams tomorrow morning? Oh, then day after? Maybe not you; others have. Pre university. So many classes. Somebody’s exam will be going on some point in time. But I was telling them you should not be afraid of exams. You should enjoy. You should welcome exams as an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge. You should enjoy your exams. Do you enjoy your exams?

Students: Yes, Swami

Swami: I will get to know once your mark sheets come…But you should be happy. Challenges make us stronger. They tell us how much we know and how much more we have to grow. Assessment is a must. And therefore in a way they are assessing. But in the future, we will change the methodology of assessment as I have already spoken. And things will be in a different way. Like in Prachina gurukula system, assessment was by observation and that is how we will assess our children – how much they are learning and each teacher will be able to understand what is the need of that specific child and what that child needs to grow in the talent that God has gifted that child with. And all these changes are going to come very soon in our system and that makes Me very happy. And I feel very enthusiastic that we will be able to bring back the ancient Gurukula system not just in letter but in spirit, in every aspect of life and living in our Ashrams and campuses. The ancient Gurukula system of education will be established and every child will get his or her opportunity to achieve their highest potential in whatever field of interest they have. That is why I am travelling and explaining to all the children and teachers what is coming next, how they have to prepare for it, what is the way we will take it forward, how much time it will take.This is the effort. That is why I am going around.

So tomorrow morning again I am going out to few more campuses – Shimoga then Karwar, Jayapura – both boys and girls, Mysore and Mandya – then I will be back. After that I will be visiting Raipur hospital. A new operation theatre is ready. We inaugurate that. And then I will come back by 16th. Then I will see you on 17th.

I have to explain to them because I owe them all explanations. They will complain. They tell me, “You are busy doing too much work. You have no time for us.” But how to explain to them that I do all this only for them? I don’t do it for Myself.

Sri Krishna says, Nana avaptam, I have nothing that I have not attained nor I have anything that I have to attain. Vartayeva cha karmani Yet I perform my duty for the sake of the greater good of humanity. So you take inspiration from this that our lives are meant to serve others, to help others and while we live our lives, we should ensure that others too would get an opportunity to lead their lives in a happy way, in a contented way. And we are all depending on you children for a great future of this world. Much of it depends on what you become in your lives. So you have great responsibility on your shoulders. And I know that all of you will learn, will practise and will rise to shoulder these responsibilities which are coming your way. Consider them as great blessing that you are getting this opportunity and you will be the change agents, the transformation agents in the society tomorrow. That is a great boon, a blessing, a privilege and you must always be mindful of that.

With that, I will bring this programme to a conclusion to give you little more time to go and do your last minute revisions. I will see other students and I will come back and see you again.


How do Sankranti festivities encourage spirituality? - January 14, 2020

In this great ancient spiritual culture of Indian subcontinent, there is great spiritual wisdom that is behind the seemingly mundane traditions and activities. After all the hard work of sowing and growing the crop manifests itself as a harvest, the first thing we do is to take it to God and thank God that because of the sun, the rain, the soil, the air, water, all these that you have provided us, we are able to grow this food which will sustain us and therefore, the first offering goes to you. For Sri Krishna says, if we consume without offering to God, we are as good as thieves. This gratitude is the very foundation of Indian spirituality. Even before we go to express our gratitude to God,  we want to go pure and clean in our hearts So we celebrate the festival of Bhogi a day before in which we light a fire, collect all that which is old, unwanted in our homes and burn all the articles in the fire of Bhogi. The inner significance is to burn all that which is not Divine in us in this fire of wisdom and get rid of them once for all. It is only when Atman, the feeling of Atman, the Atmabhava rises in us, that is Sankranti, a good change, a better change. That is the inner meaning of celebrating the festival of Sankranti.

We worship the cows and the cattle that helped us to make a good crop harvest, the bulls, the cows, the calves, everybody is worshipped because they have also helped us earn our food. We worshipped animals, trees, rivers, everything that we saw around us. From Vyashti to Samashti to Srshti to Parameshti we were all connected together with one single bond of Divinity. The individual, the society, the nature and God Himself, we all are related to each other was the understanding that our ancients always had. They fly kites on Sankranti Day. There is a race for cattle race. There are wrestling matches. It is a festival where everybody gets an opportunity to come together, to bond together.

Children are leaving the beautiful creation of God – the sunlight, the water, the air, the fields and sitting on a couch and all day long busy playing games on their phones. They don’t understand what are human relations, what is the purpose of a society. These beautiful ideals which were celebrated through these festivals are being forgotten by most. Therefore, in our institutions, I said don’t give these mobiles and tablets and other things to the small children. The progress from human to Divine is through society. Therefore, human to society to Divinity, I to We to He is the process. I to He is very difficult but I to We to He is gradual and a very sure and easy process.

Why do youth experience depression? - January 11, 2020

The gift of our education is self-confidence. Where are they getting this self-confidence from? It is because they know Swami is with them; that is the source of their self-confidence. If you have that confidence, then wherever you go, you can live confidently. Whatever difficulties come, you will be able to live peacefully. Children should develop this confidence. And where should this confidence come from? From God. That God is with us. Therefore, we can be confident, come what may, God is always there. All the time, everywhere God exists. Therefore, if you depend on God more than anything else, we will never be disappointed. That confidence which comes out of this faith that God is with us is truly self-confidence. If children develop this confidence at this age, they will be able to do anything in life. That is the gift of education in our institution.

I have travelled to so many countries. There I find that young children have no self-confidence. At the slightest sign of failure, they are unable to handle, and they get into depression, some of them commit suicide. Today the biggest problem that the people of the world are facing especially the youngsters is depression. The thought that ‘I am useless, I can’t face the world, I would rather die,’ these kind of negative feelings are in them because they have everything but they do not have faith. In life you will always face ups and downs whether it is a king or a poor person. It is not possible to escape this duality of life. Our source of self-confidence is knowing that Swami is with us. Whatever happens, Swami is always with us, He will watch over us, He will take care of us. That feeling we should have.

As much faith you have, that much will be your experience. Develop faith that Swami is with us and you will experience Swami’s presence in some form. I know that children are experiencing because they believe that Swami is there, and Swami is with us all the time. That faith makes so many little children experience the presence of Swami in some way or the other. Once they get these experiences then their faith becomes stronger. When they face big difficulties in life, they will continue to have the faith. For grown-ups, even when a big difficulty comes, they remember that Swami showered His grace when we were young and so also, He is with us even today. That feeling will always be with them. So that feeling we should hold on to strongly. Develop such unwavering faith in Swami’s presence in your life and you will experience His presence, His grace at every step. If this subject of Bhakti you have understood, all other things in life will be taken care of. This is the most important lesson to be learnt in our institution.

How does Swami want us to attain moksha? - January 09, 2020

This is our mission. Small boy to the elder, everybody is serving children. This is our mission. In the Vedas it is said, “Don’t break this lineage. Don’t break this tradition,” is what the Guru advises the student. That is the idea which a Guru tells the Shishya, “What you have learnt you must continue. Don’t ever break this tradition.” See, in our institution we are seeing that Narayan Rao is here. They are the first batch of people who came here, started teaching. From there, Ramananda, Mahendranna, Shetty, they are all here. Look at all of them. What are they doing? They taught these children. Those children are teaching the next generation. Now this is the fourth generation of children who are getting educated in this institution. So, they are like great grandfathers. Bheeshma Pitamahas for this place. So, this is how this tradition, this lineage of education is continuing. And that is how it has to continue.

These people have all reached and crossed retirement age, but still they go to the campuses as Chairpersons and are looking after campuses. So, I tell, “With Swami, there is no retirement. There is only re-tirement.” I will keep giving you different tasks. Till one can serve society, they should continue to serve, they should live that long. That is what I am saying. There is no retirement in our institution. Till our last breath, we are here to serve. And from the class sixth boy to the college students to the teachers to the Chairpersons to all the Tyagajivis all are here serving every day in some way or the other. People make lot of efforts for their own Moksha – they go to the Himalayas, or they meditate, they do many Sadhanas. Swami’s method is not that. Loka Seva. While we are doing Jana Seva, we should get Moksha. Serving the society in one hand, and also striving for the self realisation on the other hand. These two should go together in Swami’s institution.

I have told all the teachers there is no need to do any other Sadhana. They should just look after the children sincerely and make them into Tyagajivis. If they can do that, that is their Sadhana. I feel so happy when I see all these little children from so many campuses. You may not know who they are. They themselves may not know who they are. But I know who they were, who they are and who they will be in the coming future. And I see the future of the world in them. The future of the world is them. And they will do what is required to set the world right. There is no other way. The Satya yuga that we talk about will come and it will be because of these children. I have the faith that our students will do that.

How will Swami’s mission of giving good education to every child in the world bloom? - January 08, 2020

Though we are born pure, we get all sorts of desires that corrupt us and make us poisonous and at the end, though we are born as nectarine, full of purity, we turn poisonous because of all kinds of desires that come inside us. But in our institution, the whole purpose of creating these institutions is to preserve that purity with which children are born. We don’t want our children to become impure. They are already pure, they are born pure, they should remain pure. I leave children in far off, remote campuses. Yet children go and live there, teachers go there, live with the children day in and day out and look after them. It is because I have such kind of teachers, chairpersons, staff that I have the confidence that we can go ahead and open more campuses.

Next year when I am opening five campuses, I was assessing is it possible for us, that too girls’ campuses, can we go ahead with this or should we reduce the number or two? But our CHE students, university graduates who have come forward, they said, “Swami, why do You fear?” I was telling, “Generally I tell the public, ‘Why fear? I am here.’ But My children tell Me, ‘Swami, why fear? We are here.'”  So we don’t have to fear. You don’t have to fear because I am here. I don’t have to fear because you are here. This should be the way. Imagine if you don’t start that girls’ campus tomorrow. One girls’ campus if we don’t start, at least 50 children’s fate will not be the same. Just by opening one campus if not more, at least 50 children are brought under the protection of the campus. The situation of poor girls not just in India but across the world is very sad.

You should use this opportunity well, use all the facilities, use your time well, develop confidence and become somebody who can be a reason for another 100 or 1000 people to smile, to live a better life. Swami only wants that you should help others. He doesn’t have any other expectations. (The students) will look after the institutions in the future. No fear. That is the mission. How this will bring about goodness in this world, you can’t even imagine. All that is required is your heart should remain pure. Don’t dirty, don’t pollute your heart with selfish feelings. Keep your hearts pure. You were born pure. Remain pure. That is all the effort should be. And till the last child on earth gets all these, till then our mission does not end. So this work is not for a year, ten years, fifty years, hundred years; this work is for centuries.

Divine Voyages

By Dr Ravi Pillay, Singapore

Traveling with Swami in the 1950’s and 60’s was a magical time of the mission. Both my wife and I had always longed to experience this ourselves and we are eternally grateful to our Divine Mother Sai for making it possible. In the Far East, our first spiritual adventure with Swami was to Tokyo.

Swami stopped over in Singapore in March 2015 for 2 days. Anthony and Karen Tan had gone ahead to Tokyo to prepare for Swami’s welcome. By His Grace, a suitable 3 bedroom  service apartment in the prime Ropongi area was leased for 3 days. This was unusual as the normal lease was a minimum one week. Swami’s Divine Grace was evident in not only this but also in the venue selection and all other arrangements.

The satsang was held the next day at Yokohama in a commercial building. Just before Swami went for the satsang, He spoke to a few of us and said the following; “when you build a building and don’t have a strong foundation and you have some doubt about the the strength of the foundation, you should not build the building. Likewise, you should not give scope for doubts in spirituality. You must clear all the doubts in the beginning. You can’t lead a spiritual life on the foundation of doubt. Therefore, in the olden days, neither will the Guru accept the disciple nor will the disciple accept the Guru very easily.”

Once a Guru has spoken a word, the disciple takes it as his life’s mission. Whatever happens, he does not give up the word of the Guru.

“First, they will work and live together, only after a certain number of years of living together only then, will the Guru give diksha. Till then the disciple just has to be a servant and follow whatever the Guru says. Nowadays, Gurus are different. Earlier they will put you through a lot of hardships. They will test you, your patience and perseverance. Once they accept you, they will see to it that you cross the ocean of samsara. You will attain the highest.

Once a Guru has spoken a word, the disciple takes it as his life’s mission. Whatever happens, he does not give up the word of the Guru. It is not the matter whether the Guru is powerful or not; but the faith in the Guru’s word is very powerful. Faith alone can take you across.”

So much I speak; not every word that I speak is followed by everyone. Like the farmer that throws the seeds, some of the seeds germinate and some don’t. It depends on the soil. Those which fall on the rock, they do not germinate. Those that fall on fertile land, they germinate and become the crop.

Likewise, all that I speak, it does not really make a difference to many people’s lives. Because many of them don’t follow. Following is like sprouting or germination of the seed and becoming a plant. If you don’t follow, the seed will remain a seed and after some time the seed will lose its potential and will not be able to become a plant. The way you feel, that is the way you become. If you believe, you will become what you believe.

Swami had explained to us that He was travelling the world to make sure all His devotees develop a strong foundation for their spiritual growth. The sweet Lord was searching for His beloved ones so that He could guide and cajole them. He wanted the divinity within them to germinate and grow and He was providing them the fertile soil of love.

The Japanese devotees were overjoyed that the Lord of the universe had travelled all the way to bless them. Nearly all of them did not speak a word of English, yet many were crying in the presence of their Lord. Everyone could feel the palpable Divine love between master and disciple that day.

Our next journey with Swami was to Macau in September 2015. A Chinese family from Macau had come to Singapore in June and Swami asked them lovingly; “will you all like to invite me to Macau?” They were all stunned and immediately said yes.

I was perplexed as Macau is the casino capital of the world but even here, there are devout God–loving devotees who yearn for him. I realized that Swami was teaching all His devotees that the whole of creation is His and that we should not judge anyone. He will travel to the ends of the world searching for His devotees.

“Just as the lift travels up and down, God travels down to earth to elevate man to the highest.”

— Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai

A simple but elegant satsang was organized for Swami and while travelling in the elevator, Swami remarked, “just as the lift travels up and down, God travels down to earth to elevate man to the highest.”

It has always been said by many Sai devotees when Swami was in the physical, that the ‘Latin devotion’ of Swami is an exquisite divine experience. It was with untold joy that Swami gave Shyamini and I permission to accompany Him on His first South American Sojourn.

Argentina has the largest Sai following in South America. Their devotion to Swami is legendary among the Sai fraternity. It was evident from the impeccable arrangements made for Swami’s guests and in all the functions that were organized; whether at Jorge Berra’s home, the public satsang in the city or at the home of one of the devotees, the Divine outpouring of love at each event touched all our hearts and we returned home drenched in His love.

Bariloche; on the shores of a pristine lake and overlooking the Andes mountains, was the setting of the country retreat after Buenos Aires. Mr. Gustavo had built Swami a breath-taking residence. Swami‘s room had a view of the Andes which we felt must have reminded Swami of the Himalayas. Again, the South Americans gave Swami endless pleasure in their total surrender and devotion to Him.

The last leg of the journey was to Rio De Janeiro. Arriving late at night and taking a small boat to an island was an experience in itself. The next 3 days, Swami spent showering His love on a small group of Brazilian devotees. It showed us that it was not the number of devotees that mattered to Swami but how much they yearned for Him.

We can never thank our dearest Mother Sai enough for allowing the both of us a glimpse of His glory in all corners of the world.

As Swami has said; “as much as devotees are happy in the presence of the Lord, the Lord is happy in the presence of His devotees. It is a mutual joy.”