Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at
October 28, 2001
The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar
"Where Am I?"
October 28th, 2001
OM… OM… OM…
Sai Ram to Everybody!
"WHERE AM I?"
Thanks to Bhagavan for making it possible for all of us to gather
again here at His Feet this morning to talk about certain aspects
of His Message. The title for this morning’s talk is "Where am I?"
I remember that I spoke earlier on the topic, "What am I?" Another
topic was "How am I?" And today’s talk is "Where am I?"
"What am I?" will tell me my composition and my nature. "How am
I?" will tell me the direction, the path, and the way. "Where am
I?" tells me the position, state, or stage to which I have arrived.
In what state am I? At what step am I? Where exactly do I stand is
indicated as an answer to this question, "Where am I?"
Before we go into the details of this morning’s talk, "Where am
I?" I want to share with you certain beautiful ideas that Bhagavan
has put forward during His seven Dasara discourses. These
discourses were very special and unique because they lay uniform
emphasis on the Self, stressing the Knowledge of the Self. The
Self and Knowledge of the Self were given top priority by Bhagavan
during the Dasara celebrations.
My friends! Reading of the scriptures at home, worshipping a deity
or God in a temple, meditating on the Divine at an appointed hour
early in the morning, or rendering seva whenever it is convenient
are all different methods suggested. But none of these methods are
the ‘be-all and end-all’. They should help us to know the Self and
attain the Knowledge of the Self.
"I have been serving here with the Sathya Sai Organization for
thirty years, but still I have no Knowledge of the Self." It only
means that it has all been a waste of time. "I have been
practicing meditation for a decade and a half under the guidance
of a qualified guru, but I've yet to know the Self!" It means that
your guru and you are both equally hopeless and useless! "I
worship every day, allotting half-an-hour in a busy schedule. But
still I have no idea of the Self or Knowledge of the Self!" That
has all been a vain attempt, time spent uselessly.
Therefore, my friends, from Bhagavan’s Divine Discourses we come
to the understanding that Self-realization or Knowledge of the
Self are the quintessence, the chief aim, and the main objective
of the spiritual path, no matter which path or religion we may
follow. Religion and the spiritual path are different. Each are
given for us to follow based upon our temperament, our aptitude,
our eligibility, and our preference. But the Knowledge of the
Self, the awareness of the Self, are of utmost importance. All the
rest of spiritual activities are just a means to an end and not an
end by themselves.
You may eat at the North Indian canteen, the Western canteen, or
the South Indian canteen so that your hunger will be appeased and
your belly made full. Otherwise, whether it is the Western, North
Indian, or South Indian canteen, the amount that you pay for the
items that you choose is immaterial. The main point is that your
hunger should be satisfied.
You might sleep on the floor on a U-foam bed, on a Dunlop bed, or
in a ‘Hamsa Tulika Talpa’, a bed in the shape of a swan! You may
lie down anywhere. But if you don’t get a good sleep, better that
all these beds are burned! Sleep is important, but not the bed or
the ground on which you lay. Likewise, whatever we eat does not
matter; only our hunger should be appeased. That is the final
Whether you read at home, in the college, in the garden, or at the
Feet of a Master is all immaterial. Whether you’ve really
understood, grasped, and assimilated all that you have heard and
read is important, not where you read it or what you read.
Knowledge and Awareness of the Self
So my friends, these illustrations will certainly clarify that
these paths lead to a particular goal or objective. The chief
purpose of spirituality is the awareness and Knowledge of the
Self. Awareness of the Self is an idea, a concept that will help
you to know what the Self is. Knowledge of the Self will give you
the experience of the Self. Experience of the Self is what is
called Knowledge of the Self. To be aware of the existence of the
Self is awareness of the Self. Experience of the Self is Knowledge
of the Self. Without Knowledge or experience of the Self, mere
awareness of the Self is useless.
I know how to read. However, if I don’t understand what I read, my
reading capability is useless. I know how to cook. But if I don’t
actually cook, the mere knowledge of cooking is useless. So, the
knowledge of cooking, the actual process of cooking, and being
benefited by the actual process of cooking is like the Knowledge
of the Self. The knowledge of the technique or how to do it is
like the awareness of the Self. I am benefited by this process of
cooking. This is like the Knowledge of the Self. So, one part is
the awareness of the Self, while the other part is the Knowledge
of the Self.
Bhagavan always puts forward this question as the ultimate
question: "Who am I?" We have been hearing quite a lot about this
question for a number of years, as this is a question that has to
be repeatedly asked. Constant thought, constant contemplation on
this question, "Who am I?" is what is called meditation.
Meditation is nothing but a constant search, a repeated
questioning, or contemplation on this inquiry.
Unfortunately, we think that meditation is a physical activity,
undertaken at a chosen time. At 4:30 to 5:30, you meditate. What
do you do during the rest of the time? Which 4:30 to 5:30? How do
you know it is 5:30? Do you go on looking at your watch, and when
it is 5:30 do you get up? You sit up there in meditation. How do
you know it is 5:30? Do you put a clock alarm on? Or do you ask
your wife to wake you up, or your son to shake your body? How do
you know when it is 5:30? If you aware of the time, you are not
meditating. Or if you are aware of the space you are in, you are
not meditating. If you were really meditating, you would never be
aware of that space, no matter where you were.
When Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was a child, on returning home
from school, he noticed some white birds flying across the sky
against the blue background. As he watched the birds flying in a
single line across the backdrop of the blue sky, he transcended
the body and the mind. That is meditation.
When Paramahamsa was in school, he was to act in a drama in the
role of Lord Siva. The Siva role is quite easy because it does not
require any make-up, as Siva is almost naked! Just a piece of
cloth is enough. So, it is a very easy costume for the role of
Siva. They had chosen Paramahamsa for that role. It was easy to
dress him up in his costume - simply they left him alone. That’s
all! (Laughter) So he was left like that, in his ‘birthday suit’,
as that was the role he was playing.
In the midst of the drama, he stopped talking and he stopped
acting. He was totally still. There was no movement of his body.
Not even his eyelids moved! He was just motionless, static,
Then the people came there. They thought, ‘This boy will act well
and the drama will be successful. This boy, being so handsome,
will have a brilliant career as an actor in the years to come.’
But the audience noticed that the boy spoke no dialogue, while the
other actors were busy speaking their parts. His parents and
friends came. They started crying. But still he was motionless.
So, people came close to his ear and were crying loudly. After
sometime, he came to his senses. That is meditation.
Whether you are meditating in a marketplace, walking along a
cultivated field, on a moving train, in a bullock cart, on a jumbo
jet of Air India or Trans-World Airlines, in the dining hall, or
in the drawing room, two things are necessary in order to call it
a ‘meditation’. What are these two? One should have awareness of
the Self and Knowledge of the Self. Secondly, there should be a
total forgetfulness of time and place. Only then can we call it ‘meditation’.
On what shall we meditate? We should be in quest of an answer to
the question, "Who am I?" That was the task of Ramana Maharshi
throughout his lifetime. Somebody asked him, "Swami, what should I
do? What should I do to attain Divinity, to become Divine? What
should I do?" Maharshi said, "Don’t do! (Laughter) ‘Don’t do’ is
the only thing to be done in order to know and realize God." "Why,
Swami? I thought I came all this way, spending a lot of money, so
that you could tell me exactly what to do. And surprisingly enough,
you are telling me, ‘Don’t do!’ What is this?"
Then Ramana Maharshi explained further. "Whatever is done, is done
by the mind. It is the mind that prompts you to do. It is the mind
that encourages you to experience, that determines what you do.
Mind has many ways, vagaries, whims, fantasies, expectations, and
hopes. So, the mind plans, devises, designates, expects, and hopes.
Hence, all that is done by the mind is not spiritual. It is
non-spiritual. It is not in any way meditation.
I go and collect flowers, telling everybody, "Rose flowers! They’re
so costly! I'm worshipping." That is ritual. It is not spiritual.
I bought an expensive book on Shirdi Sai, had it bound, complete
with a golden margin and I kept it on a pedestal, specially built
for it. That is also ritual and not spiritual because all that has
got to do with the mind. It was determined and planned by the mind.
Never mind it! It is all useless. This is not meditation at all.
That’s what I have understood from Bhagavan’s discourses. All
other things are non-spiritual.
Actual spirituality lies in awareness of the Self and Knowledge of
the Self. It is in this area that we have been asking certain
leading questions and trying to arrive at answers. The former
questions on which we deliberated are: "What am I?" and "How am
I?"' This morning’s question is "Where am I?" That is the topic
for this morning.
My friends! Any number of points can be added under each question.
I am not complete. I am not total. I am not a person of perfection.
There may be certain points that strike your mind or certain
experiences of which you yourselves are aware. If so, I suggest
that you add your points to those that I bring to your attention
Before I go into the details of this topic, I humbly submit once
again that I have no extra claim to knowledge. I have no extra
authority or competence when compared to my learned, experienced,
and matured audience. My audience is far, far beyond me,
exceedingly better than I am, of which I am fully and totally
aware. None can distract me from this. Mine is only the job of a
teacher, having spent four decades in the art of discrimination of
knowledge and in the policy of communication skills. Most
importantly, it has been the proximity of God, Bhagavan Baba that
has made me eligible to stand in front of you. It is nothing more
Student, Disciple, Devotee: the Three Stages
ii) Borrowed - Information
iii) Mind minded - Recapitulation - Reproduction
iv) Time bound
vii) Changeable- Institution- Aptitude - Teacher
i) Master-Realized Soul
iv) Life long
vii) Maximum Time
i) He is One with - Identification
ii) Awareness of Atma
iii) That Thou Art - Tat Twam Asi
iv) Transcendental time space
v) Aham Brahmasmi - I am God
vi) I am I
Now, let’s go! "Where am I?"
There are three positions. So let us determine which stage we are
in. Am I in the stage of a student? Or am I in the stage of a
disciple? Or am I a devotee? These are the three stages; these are
the three positions. As you travel, you may fly to Amsterdam and
catch the next flight to New York, Washington, or wherever else.
Or, you may have to get there via Frankfurt or through Singapore,
by catching the next flight out. Similarly, there are three points
or positions in our sojourn on our spiritual path. There are three
stages that we attempt to reach in our spiritual endeavor.
These are the three points. The first stage is that of a student.
"Where am I?" Am I in the state of a student? That is the question
we have to ask ourselves this morning. Am I a student?
Who is a student? Our usual idea of a student is someone who gets
admitted to a school, college, or university. A student is one who
pays his regular fees, listens to the teacher (if he cares to), or
goes on strike indefinitely! (Laughter) And our common
understanding is that such a student is a regular nuisance, his
name appearing on the front page of every day’s newspaper, as a
menace to the peace of society! I'm not referring to that type of
a student. I don’t have anything to do with such students now,
though I spent a quarter century with that type of student earlier.
So, I'm not referring to that type.
Here I mean, "Who is a student?" A student is one who sits there
in front of a teacher. The word ‘student’ has no meaning unless
there is a teacher. "No, sir. I have no teacher. I'm just, you
know… I have the benefit of ‘distance education’ or
‘correspondence education’. I'm a student of an open university. I
have no teacher, but I'm a student."
Some of you may say something like that. But, in that case, the
book that you follow is your teacher. The guide that you follow is
your teacher. The person who asks you to refer to that book and
this book is your teacher. Whosoever directs you is your teacher.
So as a student, one must necessarily have a teacher who provides
essential guidance and gives needed direction, who directs as to
the correct action and path to be adopted and followed. Hence, is
there a way without a teacher? There is a way without a teacher?
That way takes you to confusion! The teacher himself is enough to
confuse you! So, being without a real teacher, the confusion is
confounded! Therefore, a true teacher is necessary.
Here are a few examples that Bhagavan gave earlier. What are they?
I visit Bombay. When I go to Bombay, there must be some person to
take me to different places there. I cannot manage by myself.
Hailing from a rural area, from a town with a different language,
I cannot be at ease and I cannot feel free and comfortable there
in Bombay. So, I need some guide to take me around the city in
order to enjoy the streets and look at certain art pieces.
So, the guide who takes you around Bombay is your teacher. Without
this guide, you are a student who is directionless, who is
purposeless, who just moves about. That is just wandering and
laziness, which is the quality of a scamp, not that of an earnest
student. A student requires a teacher to show the direction.
Here is the second example that Bhagavan gave. For your
information, these are all examples from Sathya Sai literature. I
repeat once again, let us not interpret Swami. Let us not try to
explain in our own way. No, that is not necessary. If I try to do
that, it amounts to distortion, diversion, perversion,
intellectual gimmicks, and is a useless and harmful act. Let us
not do that. There are thirty-one volumes of "Sathya Sai Speaks"
in English. There are fifteen volumes of "Summer Showers" and
fifteen volumes of various "Vahinis". Still, if you find time to
interpret His literature on your own, either you must be a fool or
I must be a greater fool! So let us not be fools and fool others!
Sathya Sai literature will help us to understand Sathya Sai. Some
light will help us to see the sun. Moonlight will help us to watch
the moon. "Sathya Sai Speaks" will help us understand what Sathya
Sai speaks about. We don’t have to interpret or explain, no! That
amounts to mental pollution. Let us not do that, as it is not a
solution for a better life.
Now, one example that He gave was of a guide, who takes you around
to different interesting spots in a place that is foreign to you.
The second example that Bhagavan gave is this: suppose you are
looking at a map of India or America. With the Indian map, I say,
"Here is Bombay; here is Calcutta; there is Madras, and so on. It
will not give you the experience of the actual reality of the
facts of those cities. It will not give you the joy of having been
there or of having seen what is actually located there. You have
only seen the map.
Again, if you say, "This is New York; this is Washington; this is
Chicago; this is Boston, you know only the map, but not the thrill
and excitement of having visited those places. Similarly, a
student without a teacher is like a person looking at a map and
therefore claiming to have had the experience of a visit to that
place. So, the experience of an actual visit is totally different
from that of just looking at a map. That is the second example
that Bhagavan has given.
The third example shows that a teacher gives you only the
direction. He will never carry you. I teach the class, but I
cannot study on behalf of my students. I teach the class, but I
cannot write on behalf of my students in an examination. (On
certain occasions though, we do find certain strange students
appearing under daily columns of the newspapers, committing fraud
in the examinations.) So, a teacher is not supposed to write on
behalf of a student. A teacher is only a guide. A teacher only
gives you a sort of direction. That’s all.
Bhagavan gave us another example: that of a signpost. If you go
towards Anantapur, at one point there are four crossroads meeting.
There you will find signs indicating which way is Secunderabad,
which way is Hyderabad, which direction is Bangalore, and which
way is Puttaparthi. These are the signposts. You go according to
their directions. You cannot expect the post to lift you, hug you,
carry you in its arms, and take you there. Impossible! These signs
only indicate the direction and the way to travel. That’s all.
Similarly, a teacher directs and guides. There ends his role. If
we expect further, it is our foolishness and has nothing to do
with the teacher.
The second point is that the material available to a student is
second-hand information, borrowed information. No student has
information of his own. What the teacher says, he hears. That’s
all. The teacher himself passes on information from one generation
to another generation. Having been a teacher for thirty-nine years,
I can only say that I could pass on information to thirty-nine
batches of students committed to my care. None of this information
was my own, nothing was my own creativity, innovation, discovery,
or invention. It is all bookish knowledge, superficial knowledge.
It is only borrowed information. That’s the second thing a student
carries with him.
The third thing is that a student is considered to be a brilliant
student if he has got this memory power. If he can memorize,
recapitulate, and reproduce what he has memorized in the
examination, he gets a gold medal. So, the success of a student
depends entirely upon the faculty of recapitulation, the power of
memory, and the capacity to reproduce at the time of examination.
Hence, a student always deals with the mind.
The mind is a computer, as Bhagavan was saying recently. You
cannot blame the mind. The computer will give you the information
that it was fed earlier. It won't give any other information than
that which has been fed into it. That’s why Swami jokes like this:
"Stand in front of the computer and say, ‘Hey computer! You are so
great! So, where is my wife?’ It will not give the answer
regarding the whereabouts of your wife, no!" Man has given
priority to the computer and therefore he’s failing successfully
at every step. The computer is his own creation, but man is much
more than a computer. However, the computer has been given
priority over him. This is the present position of modern man.
So, a student relies on the mind: the memory, recapitulation
power, and the capacity to reproduce during an examination. At the
time of the examination, he is reproducing all that he was told
earlier in the classroom onto his paper, putting down the same
answers in his own handwriting. That is the level of the student.
He is aligned with the teacher in the sense that he is basing his
answers on the teacher’s borrowed information. Thus, the student
relies on his mind.
Fourth, a student is always different from a teacher. He is near
the teacher in the classroom. But outside the classroom, outside
the school period, outside the university working hours, both of
them may be found in a gambling hall, at the Holiday Inn, at the
Smithsonian Institute, or anywhere else like that. The
teacher-student relationship exists only within the classroom, not
outside of it. Things have come to that sad state. If that
relationship exists in the classroom, they say, "Enough is enough!"
The modern trend seems to be like this, different than in the past.
So, a student-teacher relationship is time-bound. A student cannot
be with the same teacher throughout his lifetime, no matter how
many times he may fail in the examination! The teacher will be
vexed, disgusted with him, and ask him to go to another teacher!
Hence, you cannot be a student for a lifetime. It is a time-bound
Moreover, the teacher remains outside of you, meaning the teacher
is external. He teaches. He may be sitting in front of you or he
may be standing in front of the blackboard, but he’s separate from
you. It is an external communication, a verbal communication, a
vocal communication, and an expression of words. These are the
acts of a teacher to a student, the teacher being on the outside.
So, the external teacher is outside of the student. I think I'm
Now let us look at most of the qualities that a student learns. He
should have inquisitiveness to learn. He should be inquisitive,
receptive, competitive, and also he should want to experiment. He
should be experimental or experimentive. All that the teacher says,
the student wants to experience all by himself. He doesn’t just
want to absorb all that the teacher has taught, without having his
Finally, a student can change from one teacher to another teacher
in whom he has more faith. If you think that I best offer a
subject, you’ll come to me. If you feel that another teacher has
better knowledge, you’ll go to him. So, it is a changeable
situation. You can change your institution; you can change your
aptitude; and you can change your optional subjects.
You can even change your own teacher. It doesn’t matter. "Sir, I
feel that another teacher is explaining this subject better than
you, so goodbye! Enough it enough! You have spoiled my career so
far (Laughter) as I haven’t gotten through an examination for the
last decade! My parents’ money has gone down the drain! Thank you,
but I leave you with some advice: Don’t further spoil the coming
generations!" (Laughter) So, he says goodbye.
So, my friends, these are the qualities and the points that go
along with the position of being a student. So, where am I? Am I a
student? Am I trying to learn about Baba by reading His books, "Sathyam
Sivam Sundaram"? Am I trying to know Baba through His speeches, by
listening to cassettes, or by watching videocassettes? If so, then
I'm a student. Then I am in the state of being a student.
Or, I may want to know Baba through another person. "I went there
to Puttaparthi. Can you spare some time for me? I will tell you
about it. Sit down. I got the first row, the first seat there." He
wants you to listen with your mouth wide-open, eyebrows lifted
helplessly (as you are supposed to do out of decency, etiquette,
and good manners). Therefore, if I want to know about Baba through
someone, I am still in the state of being a student. If I want to
know Baba through His works, literature, or discourses, I am a
student. If I always want someone else to tell me, I am a student.
If I want to know more and more about Swami, I am a student.
I am a student if I want to test the validity or credibility of
all that I have read by passing through such an experience or
feeling. This experiencing is the only touchstone of all the
knowledge that I have acquired. For example, I might say, "You
have said that Baba is everywhere, so let me experience it. You
have said that Baba knows everything, so let me know that." This
desire to experiment, to find out, and to investigate on one’s own
is the quality of a student.
"Last year I went to Sathya Sai Baba. This year I plan to go to
some other God." (Laughter) "This year I have come to Sathya Sai
Baba. Next December I will have another guru to go to." You can
change. Just as we change our dress, just as we change our menu,
just as we change so many things in life, including our
life-partner (!), we may also be willing to go for a change. This
quality of changeability, this mentality to change, is the quality
of a student.
So, if you ask, "Sir, what is the way, what is the journey that
will take me to another guru?" you are still a student. If you say,
"I want to read more and more. I want to know more and more. I
want to be a better devotee than you! When you have come at 4:30
in the morning for darshan, let me be there at 3:30! If you have
third row, let me get first row!" This means there is competition.
So, you are a student. One may be competitive, or one may change
the institution or the teachers. This all depends upon our mental,
psychological, or emotional balance or imbalance, whatever they
Also, always expecting somebody to guide, direct, or teach you is
only external. It is only the mind, gathering borrowed information.
There are some who say, "Will Swami agree with me if I go to the
UK for a job?" How is He bothered about your job? Is it necessary
that He should externally direct you? Or you may think to yourself,
‘Shall I eat pie, a donut, or some mushrooms? Or, should I have a
Sprite or 7-Up? Let Baba tell me!’ This is foolishness! So, this
kind of desire for external directions or any other outward
expectations of this type are the nature of a student.
So my friends, let us question ourselves with this, "Where am I?"
It is not that I'm in the North Indian canteen in Puttaparthi! No,
that’s the wrong answer. The question is, ‘Am I in the position of
a student? Who is a student?’ Having covered all these points, I
think I'm clear.
Now, we cannot remain a student forever. However much a dunce,
however stupid one might be, he won't continue to be a student
forever. Somebody asked Bhagavan, "Swami, You’re speaking certain
spiritual Truths. You’re referring to certain Vedantic Truths. You
are taking us to philosophical heights, about which we have no
Knowledge (experience). We are not able to follow You." Do you
know what Baba’s answer was? He said, "How long will you remain in
the first class? How long do you need to learn the alphabet? How
long do you want to remain at the nursery school level? You should
learn more and more." Learn the alphabet, pick up new words,
construct larger sentences, and read volumes. That is the journey’s
way in the process of learning. So, Bhagavan doesn’t want us to
remain a student for a lifetime!
Becoming a Disciple: Realizing the Master Within
"Where am I? I was a student." That is the reply of all of us.
From that point of being a student, we go to the next stage: I
have become a disciple. I'm not a student anymore. Why? A disciple
is at the feet of the master, not the teacher. No disciple would
say, "So-and-so is my teacher." (If he does, it only means that he
does not know who a disciple is.)
So, a disciple is under the loving care of a master. A master is a
realized soul, not someone with a Master’s degree! He is a
realized soul, who has achieved all by himself, who has
experienced all that he says, who has the experience and the
excitement and the ecstasy of all that He has been speaking about.
He is a true master.
Because Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was a perfect master, he could
have Vivekananda, who was a worthy student of this exemplary
Master. Jesus was a master, who had his own disciples. So, a
master is one of genuine experience, of divine ability, under
whose care a disciple is brought up.
The second point is that a disciple will not rely on borrowed
information. No. A disciple wants to have his own observation. He
wants to have his own personal experience. He wants to pass
through the experience, the thrill, and the joy of having known
all by himself. A disciple is one who craves to be original. He is
after personal experience, not simply borrowed information. This
is the second characteristic or quality of a disciple.
The third point is a disciple will never depend upon his mind, his
emotions, his passions, or on his recapitulation power or memory.
No! A disciple works at the level of his heart, not through his
mind. When the mind works, he can recapitulate. When the mind
operates, he can record. When the mind functions, he can express.
In contrast, the heart is speechless, in silence. The heart cannot
express, no! Heart only feels.
If somebody were to ask Vivekananda, "Swami, how is it that you
were with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa for so long a time? What made
you a disciple of Paramahamsa?" Vivekananda’s answer would be, "My
heart only knows; I cannot tell you." Then if you ask another, "Why
are you with this teacher?" He can say, "You know, my teacher was
so great! He received so many medals; he’s so reputed." He can
give you the cause, the reason, and the grounds on which he has
been staying in the company of that teacher. However, on the other
hand, a master influences you in such a way, he possesses you in
such a way that you cannot explain it. You can only experience it.
"Yes, Jesus is a master." "Why?" "I do not know." "Paramahamsa is
your master? Why?" "I cannot say." "Ramana Maharshi is your
master?" "Yes, I think so." "Why?" "Don’t ask me." Why? It is a
feeling in the heart, which is inexpressible, which cannot be
comprehended, which cannot be thought of, which cannot be
expressed, which cannot be estimated, as it is immeasurable and
beyond the mind. That is the third point.
Moreover, a disciple is a disciple forever. Forever! It is a life
long contract. It has nothing to do with a time-bound process. A
teacher-student relationship is time-bound, whereas a
master-disciple relationship is not time-bound. It is for the
whole life. "Who is your master?" "So-and-so." Next year when you
ask, "Who is your master?" the answer will still be: "The same."
You cannot say, "My master last year was..." Let us forget it. The
past tense is irrelevant with respect to the master-disciple
relationship. It is a relationship of continuity until eternity.
It is present and continuous. It is never past or over. I think I'm
clear. "My master is so-and-so, that’s all." We cannot say, "You
will be my master." No! There is no question of future. Nor can we
say, "You were my master." It is absurd! So, the past and the
future will not arise in the relationship between a master and a
disciple because it is a life long association, a life long bond
of Love, of continuous travel, and an incessant flow of Love.
A teacher needs a blackboard with a piece of white chalk, a few
interested students, and a classroom with benches. However, a
master does not necessarily teach, while remaining outside of a
student. He does not necessarily explain, while being away from
you, no! A master can communicate even from within you. A master
speaks within you, directs from inside you. He is not in any way
outside of you. A master prompts, wills, and encourages. So, a
master is not necessarily external; he’s basically internal.
. Bhagavan Baba, the Divine master, for whose darshan we go in the
morning and afternoon, is not only outside. He is also inside. The
master outside is also the master inside. But a teacher is only
outside; he’s never inside. If the teacher is inside, it is all
the more confusing. It is all the more disturbing because, as the
teacher is on the outside, his students will be waiting for the
bell to disperse! (Laughter)
Therefore, my friends, a master is within you. He prompts you,
directs you, encourages you, and cajoles you. He consoles and
talks to you from within. He prompts you. What makes people come
here? What makes people do so much service activity in the Sri
Sathya Sai Organization all over the world? What makes people
sacrifice? What makes people come here, loving everybody? It is
the teaching of the master from within.
I’ll give you one example: It’s best that I don’t give the details
on account of it being quite risky for the employees there, as
their credibility will be questioned. So I won’t give the details,
though they are readily available with me.
It so happened that a person, who was a regular customer of one of
the banks here, went to the bank to withdraw money. It happened
that the money she received was 10,000 rupees more than the figure
indicated on the check. It was the mistake of the cashier. He paid
her 10,000 rupees more than he should have paid. After the 2 o’clock
transaction, the bank people immediately verified their ledgers,
account books, and bank transactions for that day. Suddenly they
realized that 10,000 rupees were missing. They could also identify
that ‘so-and-so’ had taken the money, having been paid extra. As
this is the Kali Age, no one is likely to give it back. It is
enough if they don’t steal your money!
So, what was to be done now? Somehow three or four employees were
involved in this incident, as one receives the passbook, another
one passes the check, yet another one hands it over, and finally
the cashier pays the customer. So, all were responsible, not just
the cashier, as these other people had also affixed their
signatures. Hence, somehow they wanted to divide this misplaced
amount among themselves. They wanted to get this missing money
from somewhere and clear the account by five o’clock.
See the sequence: around two o’clock in the afternoon, one of the
employees went to that lady and said, "Look here, sister, by
mistake I realize that I paid you 10,000 rupees more than you
should have been paid." That lady said, "No, no! The money is safe
with me. The currency notes are brand new. I am sure that you
never paid me extra."
What to do? The employee returned and was already prepared to
share the loss with the others. And then what happened? In the
evening at five o’clock, that lady came to the bank. "I'm sorry,
sir! I said that I received the exact amount, but I did not care
to count it. I counted it again, and now I give back to you the
extra 10,000 rupees paid to me."
That manager with folded hands asked, "Mother, how is it that you’re
returning the money? Who made you return this money?" She replied,
"Baba has been telling me from inside, ‘GO! PAY IT BACK! Return
all of it immediately! Don’t come into the bhajan hall! I will not
allow you to step into the Mandir. Go, go! Pay it back!" (Laughter)
This is the action of the master. (Applause) This is the path of
the master, who speaks from within. He will not, he need not,
necessarily speak from the outside.
There is one gentleman sitting there on the verandah. He sits
there regularly. I don’t think it is necessary to mention his name,
unless you pull on my collar to know the facts and figures, which
I'm sure you won’t do! (Laughter) This gentleman, whom you will
find there right now, lost his wife ten years ago. He was left
with two to three children at that time. When his wife died, he
was completely frustrated and disappointed, so he decided to
commit suicide without telling anybody.
So, he was standing almost on the edge of a well. You must have
seen the Indian wells: if one jumps in, he may straight away die
or may not die at all, due to the state of that well. Some wells
are dry! (Laughter) If the well is full of water, one could be
very successful. But if the well is dry, he has to try again! The
point is that this gentleman was standing on the edge of the well
and about to jump into the well, thus committing suicide.
On the very same day, at the very same moment, Sai bhajan was
going on elsewhere. In the midst of the bhajans, one gentleman got
up and started running to this place shouting, "Don’t die! Stop
there! Get down!" The man on the well’s edge said, "Hey! How do
you know that I'm going to die? I did not tell anybody! So, how do
you know?" The interceptor said, "I'm sorry, but please first get
down and let’s go back. Then I will tell you."
He then took that gentleman to the local Sai center where the
bhajans had been going on. After arathi, everybody asked, "What
happened? Why did you get up just in the middle of the bhajans?
This is quite an indecent and undisciplined action! So why did you
do that?" The rescuer replied, "I'm sorry, sir. But Baba told me
from inside: ‘Get up from this bhajan! Go and save my devotee, who
is about to jump into the well. Save his life! He has got children
who need to be taken care of.’" (Applause)
This is the action of the master, who prompts from within, who
speaks from within. For a teacher, this is impossible for a
thousand lives to come! (Laughter) A disciple is not totally
inquisitive because he’s not after information. A man of
inquisitiveness is always after information. He wants to know more
and more and more, to satisfy his ego of having known many things.
"You know, you read only ten volumes? After all, I read thirty-one
volumes!" Oh-ho! Let the body be burned with all the thirty-one
volumes! "Have you not read any "Vahinis"? I have read all of them!"
All right, ‘Vahini’ means ‘a continuous flow’, one that will take
the body away! So, let your body be put on the surface of the
As one believes in scholarship and wants to be scholarly, as one
wants to be called a ‘scholar’, therefore one is inquisitive,
receptive, and interested in borrowed information. But a true
disciple is not inquisitive because he’s totally busy practicing
what he has learned. He’s so busy practicing what he has come to
know, practicing all the hypotheses he has been taught, all the
doctrines he has been given, all the gospel that he has heard, and
all the instructions given to him. So, a disciple is not after
knowledge or information, or running around after libraries and
books. A disciple always turns within. He wants to be practical;
he wants to experience, that’s all. Therefore, he wants to
Then comes the fact that you cannot change your master. He’s not
changeable; he’s unchangeable. A master is unchangeable. Those who
change have only changed the designation. When once you change,
you have changed your teacher, but not the master. A teacher may
be changed, but a master can never be changed because a master
will simply appear in another Form. There are instances in which
the disciples of Ramana Maharshi would see Baba in Ramana Maharshi.
There are disciples of Jesus Christ who could see Christ in Sathya
So, a master can take any number of Forms to rally you round, to
make you arrive at the goal. Finally he will show, "Hey fool! You
went there. But don’t you know that I'm the very Form to whom you
have gone?" (With our mentality, madness is totally exhibited!)
Therefore, a master is never changeable. Even if it appears that
he has changed, it is not so. Why? Because, if he decides, he can
simply change his Form in any way he wishes.
Then finally, I should also tell you that you require and need the
company of the master to the maximum extent possible. A student
cannot be in the constant company of a teacher. However, a
disciple spends the maximum time possible in the company of his
So, "Where am I?" Am I in the position of a student, just with a
visitor’s visa? Am I a student, here to read and memorize? Am I a
student, just going around to different places? Am I a student,
relying on borrowed information? Am I a student, learning all
based on hearsay or on written material? Am I a student?" I should
be that first.
Then from the student, I should grow to the state of being a
disciple: of realizing the master within. I should speak from the
heart level, keeping a lifelong contract with the heart. I should
turn within, practicing all that has been taught and spending
maximum time in the company of the master.
A Devotee: Reaching the Stage of Oneness
Now I will complete this discussion by mentioning the last stage,
that of being a devotee. The final journey, the final goal, is
that of being a devotee. As a student, you are separate. This you
can call a ‘dual’ relationship. As a disciple, you come closer to
the master. This is a ‘qualified non-dual’ relationship. The
relationship between a student and a teacher is dual. The
relationship between a disciple and a master is that of ‘qualified
non-dualism’. Then we come to the devotee and the relationship
between a devotee and God.
The relationship between a devotee and God is ‘non-dual’. In this
relationship, there is nothing like being with a master or being
with a teacher. The devotee is One with the master. Or you can say
he has total identification with the master. He and the master are
One and the same. Why? Constant thought and constant meditation on
the master will make him the master himself. Brahmavit Brahmaina
Bhavati: "The Knower of the Brahman becomes Brahman Himself." So,
by constantly contemplating on the master, a disciple becomes the
master. He even looks like his own master. Bharatha looked very
much like Ramachandra because he was constantly thinking of Him.
Similarly, my friends, the relationship of a devotee demands that
you should be like your master. Let his message be your life, just
as my master, Bhagavan Baba’s message, is my life: "Life is Love,"
so let my life be full of Love. My master, Bhagavan Baba, is Truth,
so let my life be one of Truth. Our Bhagavan is all peace, so let
me be peaceful unto myself. Bhagavan is blissful, so let me be
This practice, this kind of cultivation or developing of the
master’s features is necessary in order to become a master unto
yourself. Become a replica, a carbon copy of the master through
total identification with Him. This is what we call the ‘non-dual’
relationship, which is the final state.
Secondly, this is not like borrowed information from the original
information. It is called Prajnana Brahma, meaning the actual
awareness itself. You are that awareness now. What do we mean by
awareness? It is not the sight of the scene; you are the seer, the
one who sees. It is not listening to the sound; you are the
listener. It is not the tongue that tastes; you are the spirit
behind that. Just as it is not the mike or the light bulb, it is
the current running through them both. So, you are the seer behind
the eye, you are the listener behind the ear. You are the prompter,
the Indweller, the Self, or the spirit. Atma is felt. That is
awareness. Awareness of Atma, Spirit, or Soul is what is most
Thirdly, though the mind made you a student and the heart made you
a disciple, actually you are neither the mind nor the heart. You
are that awareness itself! "That Thou Art", Tat Twam Asi. It means
you are THAT. You will understand Tat Twam Asi: You are Divine.
You are not separate.
Then comes the fourth point: The student is a relationship that is
time-bound. A discipleship is life long. But how long do you
continue as a devotee? It has got nothing to do with this life or
the next life. We must have been with Shirdi Baba earlier. That
brought us here. None of us are here on our own. My friends,
please believe that. None of us are here on our own. We don’t go
anywhere without any motivation, without any profit. But we have
come here, not of our own accord. We are brought here. We are
willed by Bhagavan to be here.
Therefore, let us understand that this is neither time-bound nor
life-long. It is transcendental. It transcends the limitations of
time and space. It has no limits. I cannot say that this is only
life long. No! You’ll continue this in the next life. That’s the
reason why Bhagavan told one gentleman, "Look here! I have known
you for your last ten lives." When Ghantasala, a famous singer of
the film world, (whose name will remain so as long as the sun and
moon shine in Andhra Pradesh) was here, Bhagavan said, "I have
known you since ten lives. I’ll take you for many lives to come."
So we cannot say it is just ‘life long’. After all, this life we
don’t know! We may be lifeless tomorrow! So, it does not last only
life long, no, no! No time, no space. You and I are One. That’s
all. Hence, it is transcendental.
Finally, it happens that you start to feel that you are God. All
your words are Divine; all your actions are Divine, all your
thoughts are Divine. You experience ‘I am Brahman. I am God,’ the
state of Aham Brahmasmi.
The final word is this next point. Only Baba has said this. Please
kindly bear it in mind. Only Baba has said this. History has not
recorded anybody else declaring like this. The Vedic expression
used by the high level of sages, saints, seers, and men of vision
and fortitude, even at the level of Adi Shankara, stopped at this
level of ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ or ‘I am God’. That’s all. Baba has gone
beyond that because He’s the ultimate master. What did He say? He
only said this, my friends. I’ll be so happy if you just remember
this last sentence when you go. (It doesn’t matter if you forget
all the rest.)
‘You are God’ means that you and God are separate. (There is a
slight implication of separation because of the two different
names of ‘you’ and ‘God’.) So when I say, ‘I am Brahman’, the ‘I’
and the ‘Brahman’ are subtly separate. Hence, Baba says, "I am I."
That’s it! (Laughter and Applause) Nobody else has said it, my
friends, nor will they ever say this. "I am I." That’s all. That
is the ultimate statement and experience. If I say, ‘I am God,’ I
mean that I am here, God is there, and I am That (God who is there).
No, it is not that or this. "I am I." That’s all. "I am I." That
is the final state of a devotee.
So, before taking leave of you, ask again, "Where am I?" Am I in
the position of a student? Am I in the position of a disciple? Or
am I in the position of a devotee? "Where am I?" The answer is
left for one’s own self to find out.
This process is one of transformation, one of evolution. It is a
process of shifting, of jumping from one level to another level.
Remaining at the school, university, or doctorate level is
remaining at the level of the unripe fruit. But we want to
experience the ripe, sweet fruit of Self-realization. So,
naturally a bud should transform itself into a flower, which
should one day become a mature fruit. If it fails to do so, there
is no further development, no metamorphosis.
So my friends, let us not be dissatisfied being a student. Let us
not be frustrated being a disciple. One day both a student and a
disciple shall become a devotee. That shall be our good fortune!
Om Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
© Anil Kumar Kamaraju 2004 - Here
reproduced for personal use of the devotees for the purpose of
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