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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
July 18, 1999

This is the Sunday Satsang held on the first floor of the North Indian Canteen on 18-7-99, given by Anil Kumar.

Topics: Fasting, Truth, Dharma, Secular, Friendship, Science & Spirituality, Work is Worship, Miracles and healing stories.

Sai Ram.

Every conversation with Swami is a blessing. Every meeting is a benediction. Every talk is an opportunity for all of us to gather the pearls of wisdom and knowledge from time to time. It is in this connection that I want to draw your attention to certain questions put to Bhagavan. As you know, spiritual topics are unending as spirituality deals with abstract subjects. We cannot limit spirituality to any particular point. We have got to know in detail and try to expand our understanding.

On one such occasion recently, just not even four days back, we had an occasion to put this question to Bhagavan regarding this most important value, Dharma. Most of you must have already heard of this word Dharma. Dharma is the Sanskrit word which, when literally translated, happens to mean righteousness or righteous conduct. But that is only literal. But it does not convey the depth that is meant in the original Sanskrit word. Very often I stand corrected by Bhagavan for wrong translation because there is no exact equivalent in the English language for this word Dharma. We usually understand Dharma to mean righteousness and righteous conduct. But this is not really true or complete, as this definition does not convey its meaning in depth.

This was the question put to Bhagavan. We often hear of, and most of the Indians may know this word Satyagraha. Satyagraha means people fast in the name of righteous anger. For example, if the government is not prepared to oblige me, I fast. That is called Satyagraha. We do not take food, we do not take any nutritive stuff, until the government comes down and accepts our demands. This Satyagraha has been in practice in this land. It so happened I could put forth this question: Bhagavan, what are Your views on Satyagraha? What do You say? Satyagraha means that people fast until the government meets with their demands.

Swami answered in this way: "Satya and agraha, truth and anger, do not go together. Truth knows no anger. Therefore, Satyagraha is wrong usage. Where there is anger, there is no truth." Satyagraha is a convenient method or way of expressing one's own resentment or disagreement over an issue, particularly in India. When there is a price hike, we go on Satyagraha. When the idly prices go up, we go on Satyagraha. It is a convenient method. And it has become an awful act of mockery sometimes. For example, we also have something called relay fasting. One person will sit in the morning at eight o'clock, and leave at twelve o’clock when another batch will come. This new batch will also have taken tiffin items in three rounds earlier at breakfast time: idly, dosa and puri! Everything! Sumptuous! One person sits there till twelve o'clock lunchtime. Up until then he does not eat anything. He will be there. Then the next fellow will have his lunch at twelve o’clock and come and sit there till seven o'clock in the evening. Then another girl first has her dinner, and afterwards she will sit there till the next morning. She will also sleep there. Instead of staying back at home, these people will sit under a tent or an especially raised structure in the name of Satyagraha. This is how things have been going on here.

So Bhagavan says that Satyagraha is ridiculous and awful. It has no meaning at all. Satya has no agraha, no anger. But the man who is angry is utterly false. His life is full of falsehood and he wants only to defend. He wants to justify his wrong action. He wants to prove all his wrong deeds as though he is correct, and therefore he is always angry. Those that shout are always wrong. Those that loose their temper are always wrong. To those who justify, who portray themselves as though they are on the right side, this anger always comes on the scene. So, where there is truth, there is no anger. "Satyagraha is wrong," He said.

Then I asked another question. There is one saying in Veda, Satya nasti paro dharma. Satya nasti paro dharma means that there is no other higher code of conduct other than or beyond Truth. Truth is the highest code of conduct. Satya nasti paro dharma. There is no other value higher than Truth. What does it mean? The highest form of Dharma is Satya. Satya nasti paro dharma. Swami, what does it mean?

Swami said this. I have not heard this interpretation before. Though we have been used to reading books regularly, listening to scholars in our temples (which is an age-old practice in this land), yet I have not come across this kind of interpretation before. What does Swami say? Satya nasti paro dharma. There is no other righteousness, there is no other Dharma higher than Truth. That is the usual meaning. But Swami says that that is wrong. Yes, what we all have been thinking is wrong.

To give a new interpretation, to give new dimensions, to throw a new light on the established notions, in order to interpret these old notions in new terms for the space age or computer age or electronic age we live in, Bhagavan comes and gives us new interpretations. That is a most attractive thing in the present Avatar. He draws people from all over the world for this reason. He gives new interpretations, novel interpretations. What does He say?

Satya nasti paro dharma means Satya or Truth is the foundation over which the mansion of Dharma is built. The building of Dharma or the mansion of righteousness is built on the foundation of Satya or Truth. So here Satya nasti paro dharma means there cannot be Dharma without the Truth, the foundation. Fantastic explanation!

Then there is another Vedic saying, Vedo khilam dharma mulam. What does Dharma mean in that context? What is Dharma? The word Dharma is most confusing and very often used. We give the same meaning for Dharma to everything. That is why Dharma appeals to the youngsters. If we call youngsters modern educated people and tell them that I want to talk to you about Dharma, they say, "Enough is enough!" They do not want to hear because we give them the same old interpretation. The purpose of the present incarnation is to interpret in a new way, not all together contradictory, in a new situation, in the present circumstances, in the present day and times and technology.

Bhagavan, what does He say now? Vedo khilam dharma mulam. What does it mean? Bhagavan said, "There are two words: Veda and Dharma." Veda is a word most often used by people. People say Vedas are standard. Vedas are exemplary. Vedas are great, though they may not know a single word contained therein. Vedas are more praised then ever read. They are more exhorted than ever cared for. They are observed more in breach than in observance. So, we like to praise more than to practice. The same is the case with Dharma also.

So, Vedo khilam dharma mulam means what? Bhagavan said, "Veda is the text that speaks of spiritual or religious rituals, spiritual practices like yagnas and yagas." All spiritual rituals, for example, what we are supposed to do, what religious people are expected to do, what they offer in the name of religion, that is all Veda, the holy text. Now the Veda speaks of certain practices that we are supposed to adopt as theists, as believers. That is Dharma. To follow these spiritual practices is Dharma. Vedo khilam dharma mulam means we should follow certain spiritual practices and observe certain rituals as contained in the text Veda. That is what is meant by Vedo khilam dharma mulam. Hitherto, we were under the impression that Veda is full of Dharma. Veda is nothing but Dharma. So Swami tells, "It is your duty to follow what Veda says."

In other words, it is your duty to follow what the Holy Bible says. The Ten Commandments have got to be practised. The Sermon on the Mount has got to be repeated. Therefore, the Holy text, the Holy Bible, speaks of the Ten Commandments and The Sermon on the Mount by Moses. These are the principles we have to adhere to, which have to be practised in our daily lives to experience peace at the individual level and to establish peace at the level of the community as well. As you know, the Ten Commandments want the individual to practise at the individual level, whereas the Sermon on the Mount is an article about social discipline. In other words, if only we follow these two, that is, when there is peace at the individual level and peace at the social level, social order is established. So Veda speaks of these things: the individual as well as the collective. So these principles, these practices, these disciplines, as set down in the Holy Scriptures have got to be followed. That is what Vedo khilam dharma mulam means.

Then Bhagavan, I have another quote: Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha. What does it mean? Dharma is referred to in another context: Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha. It means if you protect Dharma, you in turn will be protected. Then what is this Dharma there? Bhagavan tells this: If you protect Dharma means if you carry out your obligations, your family responsibilities, your professional obligations, your duties as a householder, and your duties as an employee, Dharma will protect you. For example, as an employee if you discharge your duty well, your job is well protected. If you do not perform your duty or job well, then you find your place elsewhere other than at your work spot, in the name of suspension or dismissal! Impossible! Therefore, the point is that following your professional or vocational obligation is what is called Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha, the professional excellence. If you do not follow that, actually you loose your job. Like this, my dear friends, Dharma means all these aspects: 1) individual obligations; 2) social responsibilities; 3) professional duties; 4) religious or spiritual practices as expected of us. Like this, Bhagavan started explaining about Dharma to our utter surprise because we had not heard this interpretation before.

Then we got another opportunity and dared to put forward this question: India or any other democratic country is a democratic, sovereign, republic, and secular state. These are the words that we very often use. Ours is a secular state. All newspapers say this. One party charges the other party of being non-secular. This being the season of elections, people are busy making mutual accusations, allegations, charges, and counter-charges, full of abuses, using the most filthy language ever possible. That is what we find in the newspapers that engage our attention throughout the day. (Though far from representing the truth, I like to read the papers for myself because it is also some kind of a change. Therefore, I do read the newspapers.)

So when I asked this question, what is meant by secular state? Bhagavan said, "What do you mean by that? First you tell me what you understand." He said this because He wants to take the least opportunity to say I am wrong. Very good! Well, in fact, I often seize an opportunity to be corrected. Very good! How wrong I am. How weak, how foolish I am. Very good! Like that, instead of being called a fool by others, better to be called a fool by Bhagavan Himself, the Creator! Because when the Creator is so busy creating foolish people, why not? He cannot stop! It does not matter if He calls me foolish. It is good!

"Well, what do you mean by secular state?" He said. "Bhagavan, I understand secular state means that which has got nothing to do with religion." As is common, as happens all the time, He replied, "You are wrong!" (Anil:) "Oh, I see. Then what is secular state?" My friends please listen to this. This is novel. We have not heard this before. Bhagavan said, "Secular state does not mean that which is irreligious. No. Secular state is not that which is atheistic, that which denies God. No. So secular state means you have got every freedom to practice your own religion. You have got freedom to propagate your own religion. The practice and the propagation of one's own faith in the religion is secular state, is secularism. But it also demands that you are not to criticise any other religion." We are not supposed to criticise other religions. I am free to practice and propagate my own religion. This is what it meant according to Swami.

Professor Gokak has described Bhagavan saying, "Baba is all-ancient in modernity". He is all tradition in modernity. All the ancient wisdom present in the modern style is the quintessence of the message of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. So now, see how He explains the same idea, the same theme. Kindly listen to this. In Bhagavad Gita, there is one stanza: Swakarmey nidhana shreyaha. Paradharma bhayavaha. This is a simple statement that Bhagavan often repeats.

My friends, I do not dare to repeat these Sanskrit quotations in front of you for the purpose of exhibiting my scholarship. In fact, I am not a scholar in Sanskrit. That is a fact. But those of the statements that Swami repeats quite often, I have become familiar with them as a professional, being a translator. I should not fumble on the dais. At least I should get myself familiar with these oft-repeated quotes. This is what He says. What does it mean? Swadharmey nidhana shreyaha. Paradharma bhayavaha. What does it mean?

Swami said, swadharmey: your own religion, your own faith, your own way of life; nidhana shreyaha: it ensures all welfare. It guarantees advancement. It is a path to progress. Yes. Your own way of life, your own path of life, your own belief, yes, it ensures all advancement and progress; Paradharma: the other paths, the other prescribed ways; bhayavaha: are not so convenient to follow and to adopt. I have due respect for Islam, the faith of the Muslims. That does not mean I am prepared to follow right now. It is not so easy. I may have to try it next life. Because I have not been successful at this religion into which I am born already, what is the fun of adopting something else? I have not understood my present religion in full in this life itself. What is the fun of adopting something new? So, swadharmey nidhana shreyaha means follow your own religion. Paradharma bhayavaha means the other religions may not be so free or so easy to adopt, to adhere to and to follow. This, Swami said, the secular concept, is not the idea of this age. It has been there over the ages. It was there recorded in the Bhagavad Gita itself. That is what Bhagavan said. I do not know. I thought that it was the experts of the Indian Constitution who included this word "secular" and called themselves great, the experts of the Constitution. No. The Super Consciousness Expert happened to be Lord Krishna, who told like this in the Bhagavad Gita.

There was another question put to Bhagavan. Through questions and answers we learn many things. When we go through a talk or a discourse, we find so many things meant for so many people, covering various aspects of human life and endeavour. Whereas questions and answers will limit, will narrow down, the scope of the subject so that the point made will go straight into our heart. That is the purpose.

The question is this: There is one character, Lakshmana, in the Ramayana. Lakshmana is the brother of Rama. This is the question I asked: Is Lakshmana after money and gold? You see, I want to provoke Swami spiritually so that I will have enough of a banging. Yes, is Lakshmana after money? Is he after gold? Bhagavan said disapprovingly, "No, why do you ask that question? Why do you ask that question? You are after money. You are after gold. Therefore, you say Laksmana is also like that! Everything is a reaction, reflection and resound. It is all only a reflection of the inner being. Chi! Chi! Laksmana is not like that!"

I was prepared for all this. I have got my own strategy. "OK, Swami, here is why I said this: After killing Ravana, Rama was about to return back to Ayodhya, to his own native land. After a moment, Lakshmana said, ‘Oh Brother, why don't we settle here in Lanka? Why go to Ayodhya? Lanka is more beautiful and full of gold. (Like Sai Kurwant Hall now! Golden!) Full of gold, so beautiful! Why Ayodhya now? And not only this, all these years during the period of our absence, ever since we left, Bharata has been taking care of the country. Let him continue to take care of it because he must have got used to that. And also the people must have become used to his style of functioning and administration. Well, why don't we settle here because Lanka is full of gold, beautiful mansions, multi-storeyed buildings. Why don't we stay here?’ Why should Lakshmana speak like that unless he has love for money, buildings and gold?" I asked Bhagavan.

Our God, the greatest defender of the scriptures, the highest champion of ethics, what did He say? "No, no. Lakshmana asked that question so that all the leaders will have an opportunity to listen to Rama’s teaching to the world by way of his response to this question. Laksmana has put this question so that Rama would answer. Through Rama’s answer we will know His message." (Oh ho, I see. So foolish questions have also got some message behind them! In that way, I am not wrong then. I was not wrong in asking thus. Oh God, please encourage me, prompt me to make some more questions of this nature, if it means something positive will come from it.)

So what is the response of Lord Rama now? Lakshmana pleaded with Him to settle over there, to stay there in Lanka for all times. What did Rama say to that? He said, "Look here, brother. Lanka is not our motherland. It is not our native country. For the simple reason that the other woman is so beautiful, you will not like to call her your mother. No. No matter however beautiful she might be. Your mother, your own mother, may be awful or very ugly. That does not mean you are going to deny her. Beauty is not the criterion to say whether she is your mother or not. She may be ugly, but yet she is your mother. The other one is so beautiful, but you cannot call her Mother. Impossible. Likewise, My Ayodhya, our ancient country, our native land, may not be very rich, may not be full of gold. No. Yet, it is My motherland. And this golden land, like Lanka, is not My own country. Janani janma bhoomi is the declaration of Ramachandra there in the holy scripture Ramayana. Janani janma bhoomischa. Janani is the mother. Janma bhoomi is the motherland. Swarga means equal to paradise or is the very heaven. Our mother and motherland are the very heaven. That is what Ramachandra said. So, Laksmana asked this question so that we would have the benefit of listening to the divine command, the divine teaching in this way. It is not that Laksmana is in favour of gold." Oh, I see.

After that Bhagavan added, "Lakshmana followed Ramachandra, though it was not necessary for him to do so. In fact, it was Rama who had to go. But Laksmana chose to follow Him. Had he wanted a kingdom, he could have stayed back. It was nowhere stipulated. It was not any condition. It was not ordained in any way. But he simply followed on his own because of his love for Ramachandra, not because of any love for gold or for kingdom either." Oh. In that way, He started explaining these things which are really unbelievable and which we have not ever heard.

Then I asked another point: Is Laksmana a man of temper? Is he a disturbed man? Is he an emotional man? Rama is known for His balanced state of mind, equanimity, tranquillity, and composure. Does not His brother have a little temper and emotion?" "No, no, no!" Swami said. He does not want anything bad to be said about these characters. And then He asked, "Why do you say that?" Of course, I should have some justification. Then I said, "When Rama left Ayodhya, along with Laksmana and Sita, when they reached the mountain top, they suddenly noticed from a long distance that dust and more dust was coming everywhere. Dust. Sand. Just blowing. Dust. The wind was full of dust and there was sand all over, coming from a long distance they noticed. Immediately Laksmana climbed up a tree, and spied an army, battalions, cavalry, infantry, horses, and elephants coming closer and closer. Laksmana got down the tree and started talking to Ramachandra. ‘Brother, look. Bharata is not satisfied sending us into exile. They are not satisfied by driving us out of Ayodhya. Bharata is coming with his battalion of army to kill us right now!’ Are these not words of temper? Are they not words of emotion? Does it not suggest that his balance was lost on the spur of that moment?" That is what I said to Swami.

What was Swami's answer? "No, no! Bharata would have come alone. Why should battalions and battalions of army follow him for a simple request? If you want to ask somebody something, you need not be followed by thousands of people. So it is the mistake of Bharata to come like that. It is not the mistake of Laksmana to misunderstand like that."I see, very good. Then I still could not get the point. Ah, so, Bharata has committed a mistake. Bharata is wrong. So Bharata is wrong now! Here! Here! I wanted Swami at one point or another to say that one is wrong or the other. But He went on defending every role in the epic story. So Bharata is wrong because he should have come all alone to request Ramachandra to return. Why should he be followed by the chief-in-command like that. He is definitely wrong, I concluded in Swami’s presence.

"No, no," He said. "I see, and why not?" I asked. Swami said, "The army people also wanted to have darshan of Ramachandra. So they followed Bharata. They were helpless. They simply followed unasked and unsolicited. That is all. Because they are also devotees of Rama." Oh, I see. So Bharata is also not wrong.

My friends, this is the secret of this Incarnation. This is the mystery of the gospel of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Every role is exalted. Every personality is promptly brought to great heights, from the depths to the very heights. You can never bring them down. You can never demean a role of the standards of any character in our holy epic scriptures. That is the reason why one has to go through and study Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba´s interpretation of the holy scriptures in order to know the real truth and meaning behind these epic stories.

I am also happy to bring your attention certain other points that were brought to our attention there. I am sure that you will be interested to know these things. There are some people that challenge unnecessarily. They challenge anybody. They challenge God also at times because they find nobody else since they have challenged everybody else and miserably failed. Let them challenge the unseen God who is not prepared to reply. OK. Who will challenge? Come on let us do it. When people challenge, how should I take it spiritually? Physically, I should fight with him. Resolve: boxing! Intellectually, we should appear for an examination and see who gets more marks. Scientifically, we should come forward with inventions, discoveries and read such papers and dissertations that would prove our excellence over the other person, who is challenging us all the while. So, what should be my attitude towards those people who challenge me for nothing? This was a question put to Bhagavan.

He said, "Remember, you will need to reply to a person who challenges you, if he is your equal." The kindergarten boy cannot come and challenge you, "Do you know the study of Botany?" What answer can I tell him? A little boy! What if he says, "Sir, you do not know any Botany at all!" Then what shall I say? "What do you know, Sir, teaching for the last thirty-seven years!" If a small boy comes and says, "You do not know botany," shall I say anything else or prepare to accept the challenge? The only thing to do is to kiss him and say, "Thank you!" Or, if some undergraduate fellow says, "Sir, you know something; but you need to know something more!" Shall I tell him: "You know this much. Therefore, you could only estimate me that much. That is all." So, I cannot accept the challenge of all people: any Tom, Dick, or Harry. No! But we should be prepared to accept the challenge and we should respond if the other person is our equal.

Now He added three things. Should you fight, you should fight with an equal, not with everybody. I cannot with the schoolboy. I cannot fight because he is a very young boy. People will then say, "You are a madcap, why do you fight with that fellow?" We said that with equals you should fight.

The second point is about alliances, matrimonial alliances among equals. You cannot expect an illiterate man to marry a PhD graduate. The person who cannot put his thumb impression cannot marry a PhD girl. Impossible! Matrimonial alliances should be among equals, boy given in marriage to the girl of equal status. Then what does He say about friendship. Friendship should also be among equals. A scholar cannot be a friend of a big thief. Impossible! A worldly man cannot be a friend of a spiritual man. And then what about a serious man? He can never be a friend of a fellow-jovial type. Impossible! Instead, he can have Shakespeare as his friend, someone with equal seriousness, to count each other’s blood pressure from time to time! So, the point is in regards to the fights, in regards to matrimony or alliances, and in regards to friendship, all should be among equals not with just anybody.

Then I draw your attention to another question put to Swami: What is the difference between science and spirituality? I think this could be of interest to everybody. One may not be a student of science to know these answers. It is enough if we are scientific in our thinking. Learning of science will never make a man scientific. Scientific living is different from being a student of science. Students of Arts may not be artistic. They get a degree, Master of Arts. She may be shabby, without any involvement in arts. So, I am speaking of scientific temperament. So, "what is the difference between science and spirituality", is the question put to Bhagavan.

How nicely He answers! These things, I am sure you might not have heard anywhere. What He did say? First: Science speaks of this. Spirituality speaks of That. Spirituality talks of That. Science speaks of this. In Sanskrit words, science speaks of Twam. Spirituality talks about Tat. Spirituality talks about Tat, That. Science refers to this, Twam. That is the first difference.

The second difference: Science could visualise. Science conducts experiments. Science elaborates and explains that which is near, whereas spirituality sees through. It has got the vision, even to look at distant things. So, spirituality thinks of distant things, distant vision, fortitude, sees through, whereas science speaks of that which is so near. That is the second point.

And third, science speaks of matter, inert, non-living stuff, all the five elements. That is all. But no matter whether in the United States or Soviet Russia or Germany or Japan or wherever it may be, science anywhere and everywhere, in all periods of time during its development and study and research, is just limited to the five elements. That is all. In the United States there is a sixth element. Please, we are interested to go and see. They do this experiment there in the United States. There will be a sixth sense, not the sixth element. The number of elements is five: space, earth, wind, fire, and water, the five basic essential elements. So, science is limited to matter or the five elements, while spirituality speaks of the spirit within. So, science speaks of the elements, the matter outside, while spirituality emphasises the spirit that is within, the spirit of matter, the spirit of the world. That is spiritual. So, spiritual, the spirit of it that lies within, is the next difference.

Next point, science is conditioned, is limited to the senses. Senses refers to that which you can see, that which you can hear and that which you can touch. So, science is limited to the study and observation of everything by these five senses, the senses of perception. Spirituality is an experience beyond and above the five senses. So, spirituality is above senses, while science is below senses. See, they wrote a beautiful thing here! Science is an experiment; spirituality is an experience. Spirituality is an experience, while science is just an experiment. Science is physical, while spirituality is metaphysical. Spirituality is metaphysics, while science is just physics.

Science starts at one point and ends at another point like the letter C, with hollowness or something shallow there. It is not full. That is the reason why science goes on contradicting its own discoveries and its own theories from time to time. What was truth then, is not truth now. Dalton’s atomic theory, that the atom is indivisible and indestructible, was the truth at one time. Now it is not so. Or Berzelious’ hypothesis that equal portions of gases and equal conditions of temperature and pressure contain equal number of atoms, or something like that. (Anil mentions the proper name of this hypothesis, adding that some more laws might have come since then.)

So science speaks of facts not of truth. Let us understand this. Fact is different from truth. Fact is that which is changeable. Fact is that which depends upon certain conditions prevailing at that time. Conditions like temperature, pressure, Ph, and other conditions, physical conditions like ambience, that which exists surrounding our environment. Spirituality speaks of Truth, which is changeless. Truth is changeless. Fact changes depending upon the time, the subtle distinctions and subtle differences. Bhagavan emphasises that. To make it a little clearer, Bhagavan said, "Today you are wearing a shirt. It is a fact. Yesterday you wore a suit. This is also a fact. But you are the same yesterday and today. This is Truth. So, you, the same person yesterday, the same man today, symbolises Truth, whereas your dress which happened to be a woollen suit yesterday (Raymonds or Park Avenue suiting), and today happens to be a shirt and pants, is a fact because it changes.

So, in that way, Bhagavan explains the difference between science and spirituality. While science is the letter C, starting at one point, and ending at the other side, with all hollowness and shallowness in the centre, spirituality is like the letter O, zero and full. It is like the letter O. It starts at one point and ends over there full: Purnamada purnamidam. So, That is full. Comprehensive knowledge, universal application, all comprehensive and universal, total experience are spirituality. It is holistic. It is not partial. It is total and complete and absolute. Spirituality is not relative. That is how Bhagavan brought out the differences between the sciences and spirituality.

Further, science is there in the head. That is why people are arrogant and egoistic. A person that goes by the head, the degrees and the status, the knowledge, the position, and all that of the world, is something like a puffed-up balloon. They fly high because of their head. That is why people say headstrong, headstrong, and full-of-ego-strong. So, science is the product of the head, meaning external knowledge, meaning prakrithi. Prakrithi means external knowledge, that which is external, that which is outward, that which is worldly, that which is physical, that which is momentary, that which is fleeting, that which is ever-changing, is what is called science. Science is outward only, whereas spirituality is inward. It is the heart that stands for spirituality. The heart feels; the heart responds; the heart is sensitive. That is why people say, "Wholeheartedly, I say that." No one says, "Wholeheadly." Is there any person who says this? Head, headstrong; heart, wholeheartedly. This is the correct usage and idiom, from the little English I know.

So, wholeheartedly means absolute surrender. I mean it. When I mean it wholeheartedly I feel it. So spirituality is something out of one’s own heart. Total involvement, total involvement. Absolute conviction. Total feeling. Whereas science is something in the head that goes by the convenient changing circumstances. And further, spirituality, the heart, is like the tank, while science is like the tap. The tap is inferior to the tank. If the tap is superior, you do not get water. Tank should be at a higher level. Tap should be at a lower level in order to draw water. So, spirituality is like a water tank, whereas science is something like the tap, where you draw water, and only part of the water. The whole water is there in the tank, which is nothing but spirituality, as Bhagavan said. Like this Swami responded to several of the questions.

At the same time I am also happy to let you know how simple things are made in the present day. We cannot spare all the time because we are very, very busy. And we are very, very busy because we have to travel long distances to reach our work spot. Then we have to travel long distances to reach back home again. So, it is not possible to devote hours and hours in the name of religion and spirituality. Impossible! If I am to tell you, "If you are really a spiritual man, spend three hours in meditation, three hours in bhajans, three hours in scriptural reading!" Then one of you will ask me, "Should I be unemployed? What do you want? That I should be fed on grass? Or, the empty stomach remain an empty stomach due to fasting?" It is not so!

What does Bhagavan say? Spirituality is not a thing different from other work. It is not mechanical. It is not a routine. What all that we do can be made spiritual. Is that so? Business can be spiritual? Teaching, can it be made spiritual? Medical profession, can that be spiritual? Engineering skills, can they be spiritual? Why not! Bhagavan tells, when once we offer our work, our skills to God, they become spiritual. "Oh Bhagavan! I offer the fruits of my labour. I offer the results and the rewards of my endeavour and all my pursuits. Let them be pleasing unto You! Let them be acceptable to You." When once you offer the fruits, when once you offer the reward of your pursuits and endeavour and attempts, work is transformed into worship. Work is transformed into worship, when once we offer all this. What is our offering? My work is not a plate of breakfast to be offered. If on my plate I have some puris, I know how to offer. But how do I offer my work?

Bhagavan often says how to offer our work. Express clearly what you feel. "Make me speak what is good; let me not speak what is evil. Let me think what is good; let me not think what is evil." So, by thinking, talking and doing all that is good and by avoiding all that is evil, that itself is spirituality. Spirituality does not mean repeating God's name throughout the day. With the head full of manly jealousy, hatred, monopoly and manipulation, nonsense! Nonsense! Polluted heads and diluted heads are unfit for spirituality. Any number of times one may repeat "Sai Ram". "Oh, Sir, I repeat Sai Ram ten thousand times." I may respond, "Please repeat one lakh times! You remain the same jerk! That's all." Unless the head is pure, unless the head is empty with the spirit of total surrender, we cannot call it spirituality.

So, now, coming back to the point, Bhagavan says, "All selfless actions are spiritual. All selfless and pure actions are spiritual." What an easy thing it is! You may be a computer expert. You may be a lecturer. You may be a doctor, or whatever it may be. If you are pure and selfless, whatever you do in your profession, your job, your vocation and your avocation, all that gets transformed into the spiritual. If, on the other hand, you think, "This is my job," it becomes a ritual. Ritual and spiritual are different. It becomes a ritual if it is mechanical. There are some people you know, who say: "Ah! Puja time! Five-thirty to six. Please wait! Puja time!" Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta. (Anil imitates their puja gestures.) They take some flowers from the neighbours’ house, go on throwing at the deities in the photograph. After puja, "Ram, Ram, Ram…" Oh! For two minutes! Ah! Oh, finished then!" Cha! Cha! Cha! (Anil gives this expression of disapproval) It is all ritual, I say. It is all ritual because you are in a hurry to complete your worship. "Oh, just five minutes please. Nobody disturb…please tell me, please call me…sorry to keep you waiting for five more minutes. Hari, Hari!" Cha! Cha! The charm of it is lost. The purpose of it is lost. So, ritual is that which is mechanical, that which is routine, that which is meaningless, that which has lost its grandeur, that which has lost its freshness, that which has lost its fragrance. So, the spiritual is built up when we are really sincere. When once all our actions are offered to God, they become spiritual. On the other hand, if you do it in a mechanical way, that is merely a ritual.

And further Bhagavan said, "Duty is God. Work is worship." Work is worship. Duty is God. There is nothing spiritual in ritual. Spiritual is something different from this. So what is yagna? Yagna means a selfless action. We think yagna is a ritual. Yagna is the ritual for which we require so many priests and so many of tins of ghee. Huge yagnas are staged the size of the Poornachandra Auditorium! It is not necessary. Every selfless action is a yagna. Every pure thought is yagna. Everything that is applied to God, anything that is surrendered to God is yagna.

That is why our God, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba makes spirituality so simple, so practical, in our day-to-day life. It is for this reason that people are after Him. People run after Him. They want to listen to His interpretation from time to time repeatedly for this purpose. And all the miracles are directed in this direction, to take us to the goal along the spiritual path. A simple example: In Bhagavad Gita, it is said, "My dear fellow, if you see Me in everyone and all in Me, remember that you will never escape My attention." I repeat: "If you see Me in everyone, if you see all as embodiments of the divine, if you see divinity in everybody and secondly, if you see all is in Me, if you understand the whole world is in Me, that the creation is Mine and that I, being the Creator, am in all and all is in Me, remember then that you will never escape My attention. This is what is said in the Bhagavad Gita. That is exactly what Bhagavan said now.

There is a simple example. There was one devotee from Italy. He came to Swami and said, "Bhagavan, I met You last year. But I do not know why I could not forget You all this year. Throughout this year, I could not forget You! I was remembering You all the time. Why? Why?" That is his problem! Our problem is, "Why do I forget You?" Of course, that is also a problem. What is it? Swami, why have I forgotten You?" This is my problem. The problem of the Italian devotee is, "Why I have not forgotten you?" That was the problem! And do you know what Swami said? "He has not forgotten Me throughout the last year. Why? The reason is simple. I am in you. Since I am in you, how do you forget Me? Impossible!" This is the indirect communication, the indirect experience, the indirect explanation of this Bhagavad Gita saying, "I am everywhere. I am in you. All are in Me."

And to Hilda Carlton, Swami said another thing to that great lady. It was the experience of that author. Bhagavan told her, "Remember!" (To Hilda Carlton He said it. It is on record.) And Swami told her, "Remember! Whomsoever that you meet, to whomsoever you talk, whatever objects or material you see, understand that I am there. You may talk to anybody. Know that I listen to that conversation. You may find any object, you may meet with anything, see anything, see any object, anything for that matter, know that I am there! This only means in Bhagavad Gita that I am everywhere." Swami's utterances and sayings may look simple. It is rather most unfortunate if we think that we know these things already. No! No! They have a scriptural basis. They have got the scriptural sanction, which has got to be realised in our experience. Therefore, they are repeated.

There is another devotee from Japan. I get their magazine regularly from Japan. "Kansailight" is the name of that magazine. There one devotee writes like this. "Everyday in the morning, I find a cat visiting our house. Every morning." I see. Of course, a cat visits me also, but I have not viewed it that way. Here is the experience of the devotee from Japan. "A cat visits our house every morning." OK. So what! So what! Is it that important? Is a cat an international issue? Well, how does the devotee explain it? There is a place (Anil gives the Japanese name.) very close to Osaka in Japan. What does this devotee say? "That cat from up there comes here daily at an appointed time." Oh ho! I see. And the story does not stop there. "That cat comes close to me now and then, and it touches my skin occasionally. Whenever it touches, whenever it goes round my feet, believe me, my body pains are gone! Believe me, my blood pressure comes down. Believe me, my sugar is always under control." Oh! I see! The cat controls your sugar? Then doctors are not necessary? Why not! And then he writes, "I believe that Baba comes to me in the form of that cat. I am fully convinced that whenever I feel body pains or the body aches beyond control, unbearably, that that cat comes and touches my body. Every day it does not touch. It just visits, takes its milk and goes off. But when it does come to me, it means something is wrong with me."

As Swami comes in a human form to help us, in this case He comes in the form of that cat. Can we deny that? It conveys what Bhagavad Gita tells you, that all forms are Mine! Viswaroopa Sandarshana Yoga. I am the cosmic form. I am present in all the beings. I am present in all the creatures. Remember! Understand! Everyone is important to Sai. That is what is said in Bhagavad Gita. Everyone is very close. Swami indicates that everyone is essentially divine. That is what is said in Bhagavad Gita. See what a fantastic thing that experience is! Bhagavan may come in any form at any point of time.

I will also share with you one experience of a devotee. A couple had a child who had been dumb all through life. She was speechless. The child could not speak right from the beginning. That had been a constant worry for the parents. However, a greater curse would be more than that you can imagine. She was dumb as well as speechless. Well, someone told the husband, "See, Baba is coming there. He is visiting Punjab. Why don't you go?" And as a last resort that man came. Swami was on a visit to those parts. Long back this had happened, long back. The man came there with his wife while his daughter was staying at home, a few hundred miles away from there. The parents were very much worried. "Dear Swami, people say You are a man of miracles! People say that Sai Baba makes things possible which are absolutely impossible. Sai Baba relieves quite easily whomsoever is oppressed. Oh, Swami let us try our chance." So they came all alone while their daughter, who is totally dumb, stayed at home.

Our God naturally tests us when we most need him! They were there but Swami conveniently ignored them on the first day. They were left with no other option other than to cry at the top of their voices. The second day He looked but did not come anywhere near them. So that day they could also only cry at the top of their voices. (He wants us to cry, but He does not want us to cry forever. Unless we cry, He will not come close. When we start crying, He says, "Why do you cry? Why fear when I am here?" This has been the Divine Romance going on for the last 74 years. He wants you to cry, but then He comes close, "Why do you cry? After all, you are not sure what I mean. You cry because you are not sure of My presence.") So, the parents have been praying ceaselessly, fervently, "Oh God, You save our daughter who is dumb now, completely speechless. She is growing. What are we to do?"

It was afternoon time and Bhagavan was to speak in the evening at 5 o'clock. The couple could not go home because they lived in a far-off place. They were just partaking some lunch at that time. A little boy came, unsolicited and unasked. They thought the boy was a beggar. That boy came asking, "Give me one or two chapatis." Because they were in difficulties, deeper difficulties, they were more spiritual as we know. (If they were without difficulties, they would have said, "Get out immediately!") Because these were challenging, troubling times, they were spiritual and quite compassionate, charitable, considerate and kind at that moment. They could understand this boy was very hungry. And just as they were about to give, just when they were about to give, this boy kept his hand there and picked up the chapati all by himself and started running. Just a little boy! So they started shouting, "Hey, boy! Boy! Boy! Stop! Stop!" But the boy vanished.

Then they wanted to convey to their daughter at home that they would be returning that night after listening to Baba’s discourse. They just wanted to inform her. To their utter surprise, (This is on record, my friends!) to their utter surprise, they listened to the voice of their daughter talking to them on the phone, the girl who had been dumb throughout her life! "It is I who am talking! Oh, Dad, I am your daughter, don't you know!" (Father:)"Ayo! You are talking?" (Daughter:)"Yes! It is your daughter talking, not the devil!" (Father:)"Oh, you talk?" (Daughter:)"Yes! Why not?" (Father:)"Since when?" (Daughter:) "Since right now!" (Father:)"I see!"

Now we can imagine what happened in the situation where here the boy runs and there the daughter talks! Who is that boy now? It was none other than Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba! Through any message, any form, any photograph, anything from anywhere, let us understand, Bhagavan communicates. Bhagavan wants to convey something through these different agencies. So, let us not consider them rather cheap. Let us not dismiss them.

I should also tell you another example. I do not know whether I said it long back. It does not matter. You can repeat it time and again. It was Paduka Festival some time back. Most of you know about Paduka Festival. The silver sandals are worshipped and it is a very big function, a three-day function. People come here with silver sandals and they do a lot of worship for three days. Every year it takes place here. There was a couple and they lived about eight hundred miles away from this place. (By Indian standards, it is about a 17-hour drive to get there from here! In the meantime, people can reach London, have their breakfast and return!) And so the point is that there lived a couple and the husband suffered from paralysis. He was quite a young man. He could not move after suffering from a severe attack. After that, he was always lying like a vegetable on the bed and demanding service from his young wife. That man could not move anywhere. To serve a person, however dear one might be, for a short period is quite good. But for a long period of time it is a difficult scene. He had been in the hospital. The lady, quite a young lady, was feeling so badly because her husband was always lying on the bed like a vegetable, completely helpless. She was praying to God in various ways, and doing whatever He would tell her.

One day somebody came and said, "We are going to Puttaparti. You follow us. Bhagavan will help the situation. Swami will cure your husband!" "All right! As a last resort, I should try," she thought. Some good sense prevailed upon her. (Some people are not fortunate enough. They do not pay heed to these words. Still they have to be paralytic for some more time. We cannot help a paralytic sense or cancerous mind.) So somehow she paid heed to those words. Now there at her residence, in the bedroom there, this man lay on the bed completely helpless all the twenty-four hours of the day. There was a drawing room where on one side they had a phone. And this lady employed a maidservant to look after her husband during the period of her absence for two days or three days (or whatever it might be) once she arrived here. So the maidservant was simply cleaning the halls, sweeping everything, and attending to that man there on the bed.

The wife came to Puttaparti with a pair of silver sandals or padukas. But here it was so sad. It was a three-day festival, as you know. First day Swami did not come that side at all. It was her first visit! "What am I to do with these silver sandals if He does not come here? Shall I take them home, or present them to somebody? I cannot present silver sandals! If they were wooden, I could give to somebody. But silver I cannot! And I cannot take them back because I brought them and He did not care nor He did not bother to come this way at all! What am I to do now?" That was her question. To be or not to be. She is very worried about that man.

The second day Swami just smiled and left. "I came with sandals, not for Your smile! I want You to put Your feet here! So then I will take these sandals and pray, keeping these sandals there at the altar and offering service. Why do You smile? I do not want You to smile. I want Your feet which are more important than Your latest smile!"

And on the third day, when she was desperate, when she was helpless, when she was prepared to go, in inordinate despair, frustration, and depression, with the determination not to come again, she cried in her heart, "Oh God, I do not want to come again, OK?" That is what she said to herself within. And she sat. It was 9:30 in the morning and bhajans was over. Baba was simply going towards the Poornachandra Auditorium, slowly, gently, smiling mischievously, holding the red robe in one hand with a bunch of letters in the other, as if to say, "I have no third hand to pick up one more letter. How can I receive any more? I am helpless!" This is the divine cosmic dance. But then He notices, here is a challenge, or is it a curse? "If You do not step into my sandals, well then I am not going to come ever again!" (As if Swami is going to lose anything!)

But Bhagavan is both personal and impersonal: Everyone is important! Please be convinced of this! Bhagavan is like the father who always feels the absence of one child: if a father has four children, but there are only three here now, in other words, if the fourth one is missing, the father feels that missing child. So God is personal. He wants every one of us personally. If it were collective, so many would not have been here. Every one of us considers ourselves very important to Swami, very important to Swami, which is true! That is true! Yes!

So Baba comes slowly, smiling mischievously, standing in front of her, looking in the opposite direction! "Swami, You want to look there or look at me! Better You go into Your home because I am not able to decide whether You want me or not! You are standing for the past two days. First day, You did not pass through this line. On the second day, You simply smiled. And now the third day, You stand here and look to the other side! What is to be my conclusion?" His response, "I am God, you see." And that is all. A kind of wonder to all of us, but His usual style of functioning! What did He do next? He put both of His feet there on the silver sandals! He had put both His feet there. She was very happy and exclaimed, "Om Sai Ram!" But He was looking in the other direction. She caught both His feet tight now and fell at His feet. Answered our Swami, "Hey, don't sleep! Get up! Get up! Get up! Get up!" She said, "OK, Swami, all right."

Please believe me, my friends, the addresses, the door numbers and everything can all be seen. I know this because I was in those places for a long time previously and they are really some of my friends of those days. Therefore I come with statistics and data. But what happened next? She was so happy when Swami put both of His feet into the silver padukas. The next moment she wanted to call her husband. She went there immediately to phone. Someone answered, "Hi! How are you?" Eight hundred miles away. Nine thirty-five in the morning. What a surprise! She finds her husband talking to her, "Hi! How are you?" (Wife:)"What the hell have you done? I kept the phone there in the drawing room. During the period of my absence have you shifted that phone to your bedroom? Why have you done like that? May I know who is talking?" He said, "Are you mad? I am your husband, you know. Can't you recognise my voice? I’m not talking from the bedroom. No, I am right in the drawing room where the telephone is installed!" She said, "Drawing room? A vegetable just rolling? Is that possible?" He answered, "Yes…no, dear. Please understand me: I could walk the distance!" "You walked?" "Yes!" "You walked from the bedroom to the drawing room and picked up the phone receiver and are talking to me here?" "Why not!" "Oh! Since when?" "Since 9:30!" Believe me!

At 9:30 Baba placed His feet into the silver sandals-padukas here in Puttaparti. At that same time, eight hundred miles away from here, the husband rises from the bed. That is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba! The ISD, the STD. the courier services or fax or e-mail, they are all slow when compared to Sai Baba. Sai’s Will runs faster than all these latest electronic gadgets and Concord Airways because Sai functions instantaneously. Sai responds immediately. May we grow more and more in faith, all in Bhagavan.

Sai Ram

© Anil Kumar Kamaraju 2004 - Here reproduced for personal use of the devotees for the purpose of seva.
Anil Kumar website: http://www.internety.com/anilkhome/ - http://www.internety.com/saipearls/


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