Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
October 28, 2001

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

"Where Am I?"

October 28th, 2001


Sai Ram to Everybody!


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 goal.

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, immobile, achaitanya.

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 to here.

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 than that.

Student, Disciple, Devotee: the Three Stages


      I Student i) Teacher-Direction-Guide
ii) Borrowed - Information
iii) Mind minded - Recapitulation - Reproduction
iv) Time bound
v) External-Verbal-Vocal
vi) Inquisitive-Receptive-Competitive-Experimental
vii) Changeable- Institution- Aptitude - Teacher
     II DISCIPLE i) Master-Realized Soul
ii) Original-Personal
iii) Heart-Speechless
iv) Life long
v) Internal
vi) Practice
vii) Unchangeable 
vii) Maximum Time
     III DEVOTEE 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.

Student Stage

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 program.

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 clear.

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 own experience.

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 may be.

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 Vahini!

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 practice.

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 Sai Baba.

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 master.

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 blissful.

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 important.

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!

Sai Ram!

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!

Thank You!

© 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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