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  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
September 9, 2001

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

"Be an Emperor" September 9th, 2001

Be in Service, Not a Servant

I am so glad to be back again this week for this morning’s session. The topic for this morning is "Be an Emperor". Everybody would like to be an emperor. Nobody would choose to be a beggar. Everybody would like to be rich. Nobody would like to be poor. The questions that come to mind are - Who is an emperor? How can one be an emperor? Why are we not emperors? I will answer these questions one-by-one.

The most important thing in order to be really independent, in order to be an emperor is to be in service and to never be a servant. What do I mean by that? What is the difference between the two? Jesus Christ said, "I have come to serve and not to be served." Sometime back, someone said to Swami, "Bhagavan, we would like to serve You." Swami answered, "I don’t need your services. You should serve everybody. Service to man is service to God."

Service is most important. It brings one closer to Divinity much more easily than other spiritual paths. One should be in service because there is beauty in service. I think you will agree that to be a servant is very ugly. This is because a servant serves as part of their duty, as an obligation, and on the pretence of salary. All those working in the ashram of Prashanti Nilayam are in service. They are not servants. I am bringing this point before this eminent assembly so that you may kindly make that distinction.

Service is spontaneous, and there is beauty in that. It is not time-bound and it is not kept on a regular pay scale. It responds to the need of the moment. It is not anything conjured. It is never manipulated, awaited, or maneuvered. On the other hand, a servant will force his service upon you. He will see that you are served because of the salary he gets. A servant makes you feel that his services are necessary. But a man of service will never force anybody to receive his services.

To be an emperor, one has to serve. It is very clear that servants don’t serve. Only a master serves. Most of you who have servants at home will probably agree with me! They don’t serve and particularly, they don’t come when we need them badly. (Laughter) They even abscond on festival days!

Bhagavan says, "You can learn from Me how to serve." Bhagavan sets before us the example of ideal service. Sometime back I was very much surprised to see Bhagavan granting an interview to a tribe of Lambadis, who are pure nomads. They don’t have a permanent place of residence and they just go on moving from place to place. When I observed them, it seemed to me that they had not taken a bath for at least a week. (Laughter) They were walking in front of me and it was hard to bear! Bhagavan called them. Though I was here and looked quite presentable, I was not called for interview!

At the end of the interview, my ego slipped out. Surprised, I said, "Bhagavan! Lambadis for interview?" He felt very much offended! He said, "Why not?" I said, "Bhagavan! What do they understand?" He immediately answered, "They understand as much as you understand. (Laughter) Their pure love, born of innocence, made Me call them for an interview."

I didn’t want to stop the conversation at that stage. They were all carrying some bags. I looked at Bhagavan and further said, "What are they carrying?" He said, "Why are you interested?" (Laughter) I said, "It isn't that I want anything. I just want to know what it is." Bhagavan looked at me and said, "They are carrying clothes and cash that I gave them. Some were fortunate to have received precious jewels also. Real service is providing that which is essential."

Real service is providing that which is absolutely needed and essential at that time. Yet servants don’t serve like that. Servants do what they’re expected to do. Servants do what is convenient for them and what is agreed upon. They will ask for extra payment if we want them to do more than agreed upon. So my friends, service should be spontaneous. It has nothing to do with obligation. An emperor and a master serve, but a servant never serves. Masters like that include Jesus Christ, Gautama Buddha, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Saint Teresa, and the Divine Master, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Himself today.

God Can Be Directly Approached

The second point, which I want to impress upon you, is that God can be approached directly. This is an essential quality of an emperor. It is not the sign of a true monarch or emperor to need the paraphernalia of bureaucracy or a top man or PA (personal assistant) in the government in order to recommend himself. Whenever we try to have the help of some other agency around Bhagavan, we fail miserably. This is because Swami will immediately say, "Is that a recommendation?" Then we have to bow down our head in shame. We are not free to recommend anybody because we don’t even know where we ourselves stand or what we need. We cannot stand between a devotee and a deity. No one has that authority or right. The connection between a deity and a devotee is a direct contact from heart-to-heart, love-to-love, without anyone else in-between.

Bhagavan says, "God is in you, above you, below you, and around you." As God is direct, so close to you, why do you want anybody to interfere as a mediator or middleman? It is not necessary. It is the quality of a superior man to go within and have direct contact with God. Only an inferior man who lacks understanding would look to a middleman.

Something that is very important in the present Incarnation of Bhagavan Sir Sathya Sai Baba is that there should be a direct and individual approach to God. Bhagavan may say to 'X', "This is the way." He may say something different to 'Y' and 'Z'. If I told you, "Swami told me this," another man might come and say, "No, I'm sorry. He told me something different." Therefore, spirituality has to fit into the mold of our temperament. It has to appeal to the cultural framework of our psychological domain and into the very fabric of our psyche. An individual approach to reality guarantees and insures safety, security, and success.

Facts and Truth

The third point is regarding facts and Truth. We should be more interested in Truth instead of just facts and figures. Truth is most essential, but facts are not that important. One simple example: Have you ever seen a Buddha statue with wrinkles on His face or a picture of Krishna in His old age? No! We think of Krishna as ever young, ever smiling, and never failing. Do you think that Krishna or Buddha never aged? History tells us that Buddha lived for 82 years. Forty of those years were after he attained the state of Enlightenment. However, in all the statues that we see of Him, He is quite robust, well built, and youthful. Is it because nobody cares to create a statue depicting Buddha as an old man? No! Fact is different from Truth. Youth relates to the Spirit and not to the body. Youth refers to something young, fresh, effulgent, and attractive in you, coming out. That’s the reason why one has to go by Truth, which is simple, and not by facts.

The next point that I want to bring your attention to this morning is the following. All pictures and statues convey one important message – the geometry of life. Geometry of life is not simply the symmetry or personality of life. The geometry of life refers to the energy and dynamism, the intensity of attraction, which allows one to remain youthful throughout. Kindly bear in mind that one can also be youthful at the age of 80! The stage of youth refers to the Spirit and has nothing to do with the body.

Bheeshma was 112 years old when he was the army general, fighting on behalf of the Kauravas in the Mahabharata War. Can you say that he was old? No. It is the Spirit, the principle and philosophy behind a man, his dynamism and leadership that makes an emperor. A monarch has to be valiant and dynamic all through his life. He cannot afford to be relaxed or even tensed. He has to act and react dynamically and spontaneously, even if he may be quite old in age. That is the point that we have to understand.

The Western Mind and the Eastern Mind

At this juncture, it is worth knowing another point. The modern philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists have divided the human mind into two categories - the eastern mind and the western mind. It is not that one is superior to the other. There is no favoritism. All are equal. They have mentioned this only for academic interest, and as a matter of study and curiosity.

Facts are most essential to the western mind. It is impossible to impress it with imagination, mere creativity, or by breaking through into any unknown area. It is scientific and technological in its approach. The western mind is responsible for us having all kinds of conveniences and omforts. It has even taken us to the moon.

The eastern mind, on the other hand, is existential. It does not merely think in terms of facts and figures. It thinks in terms of the very Existence, the state of Being. In Sanskrit, it is referred to as Sath, which means the feeling of Existence.

Since the western mind goes by facts, over time it has built up history. History relates not only to empires and emperors, but also to every field of science. Through their specialization, scientists of the past and present have contributed to history through their research, explanation, discoveries, and inventions. However, the eastern mind, which is based on the very Existence, has built up mythology.

What is a myth? Myth is a mystery. It is strange, peculiar, and cannot be understood. Mythology delves into realms of the unknown. Inexplicable content is the very spirit of mythology. So, mythology is a product of the existential mind, while history is the product of a factual mind. Mythology, the mystery of life, will tell you that you are independent. To be an emperor, one cannot depend on anybody. One has to be independent. To think more of the Existence makes you feel that you are independent.

There is one more point to which I want to draw to the attention of this noble assembly. The western mind gives the factual observation of what you are and how you are. The eastern mind teaches you how you should be. That is the difference between the two.

The Difference Between an Emperor and a Beggar

So my friends, the fourth point is really interesting. This world is a rat race of competition, comparison, relativity, conflict, power struggles, and ego trips. 'Ego trip' is a beautiful word! Even in spirituality, we are happy to go on 'ego-trips'. We boast of nonsensical things like what kind of a devotee we are and how long we have been coming here!

An important point that has been bothering everybody should be considered right now. It is regarding 'having'. We speak in terms of 'having' – what you are having and what you are not having. "I have the latest car and you do not have that latest car!" "I have a '5-star hotel', a big mansion with ten-bathrooms, which you do not have." Actually, it is only a beggar, a poor man, who calculates in terms of 'having'. Please, let us be very clear. 'Having' is a psychological feeling and a mental satisfaction. "I have, I have!" If you 'kick the bucket' (die) in the next moment, you will only have a fistful of ash! That’s all. (Laughter) This feeling, this kind of possessive instinct, is the characteristic of a beggar.

On the other hand, the feeling of being in the Self is a sign of an emperor. Possession is not important because there is no limit to desires. Even if you give someone the whole world, he will not say, "Thank you." If you give him Mars, he will ask for the moon. If he is given the moon, he will demand the sun (where he will get burnt up)! (Laughter)

So, ‘having’ never has any limits. It takes you from one place to another place, higher and higher, until you are totally lost. So my friends', 'having' is the sign of a beggar. This possessive instinct of 'having' is an endless pursuit of the body, creating a meaningless life, and leading to a 'catch-22' situation. You have to worry about anything that belongs to you, which is a highly painful state of mind. Meanwhile, acquisition of anything more, which you could also want, will add to your vanity. However, in the state of being, one feels complacent, gratified, contented, satisfied, and full.

My friends! Many times Bhagavan said, "I have no bank account in My name. I don’t own anything." Actually He only has three or four changes of clothes. That’s all. There is nothing in His Name. He has no property whatsoever. All the buildings (institutions) and every project that He has created are in the name of Sri Sathya Sai Trust. Even the new dress that He wears on His Birthday is presented by His beloved students.

Yet He makes the statement, "I'm the richest of all." Having nothing, how can He be the richest? Bhagavan has made the famous quotation, "Nothing is everything and everything is nothing." How paradoxical and extreme it is! We should let this statement permeate into our heads. What does it mean? Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Himself explains, "What is My property? My only property is the Love of My devotees.

Therefore, I'm the richest."

Love has no revised rates of interest. Love has not 13% or 14% interest, but 100% interest. There’s nothing like a slump, inflation, or devaluation with Love. Bhagavan brings 100% interest on the principle amount of Love. Therefore, He’s the richest man in the world today, though He has nothing of His own. The one of ‘being’ is an emperor. That is Bhagavan. The one interested in ‘having’ is a mortal. That is the feeling of a mundane and worldly man.

Bhagavan does not want us to stretch out our hand in front of anybody. Let’s not beg or ask anybody for anything. If necessary, let us go to Bhagavan and ask Him. It is a sign of a beggar to ask for any pittance. On the other hand, to feel the hand of 'being' is Awareness. This feeling of 'being' makes you feel that you are an emperor. This is the difference between how you are (in the western mind) and how you should be – in 'being' (as in the eastern mind).

You Are All

It is also necessary to develop the feeling that you are the world. You are all. Minus you, there is no world. This statement may seem foolish and totally mad, but it is not so. You are able to see the whole world because you exist. If you did not exist, what would you see, hear, or interact with? All the people around are actually your own reflections and images.

Bhagavan gives an example of being in the center of a room surrounded by mirrors, all showing your own reflection. This is Ekoham Bavushyam: "The one manifests into the many." ‘Being’ is linked to multiplicity and plurality, as 'being' is the One who called for the many. When you are everything, you are the most powerful. No one is different from you and hence, no one is either superior or inferior. After all, the other man is you only.

Bhagavan gives a beautiful example. What do you find if you look into the eyes of someone in front of you? You find your own reflection! Therefore, the other man is actually your own Self. The Holy Bible states that ‘God made man in His own image.’ When you are made in the image of God, are you not an emperor? God is an emperor, and it is therefore impossible for Him to make the image of a beggar. The feeling of ‘being’ makes you feel very happy and mighty. You can never consider yourself weak at any point of time.

The next point is: What is to be done now to know that we are the Self, so strong, very powerful, and mighty? This is quite simple. We have to give up certain undesirable traits. When we do this, it will make room for certain other desirable characteristics. This will in turn help us to realize the Self, the state of ‘being.’

Greed Must be Given Up

I will now give a few points in this direction. The first thing we have to do is drop certain things. Then we will be free from that burden and heaviness. We can then enjoy our own Self, the being or Reality. First, to begin with, let us drop greed. Greed is possessiveness, the constant acquisition of things and objects. Collecting things is a sign of old age! We don’t want to let go of even useless things! That’s why houses are full of baggage and luggage, 90% of which is unneeded stuff. We would never care if we were to lose these things, but still we don't want to dispose of them. For example, a broom used 25 years ago is still preserved. It is as if every house has become a museum! (Laughter) Certain utensils and vessels, which are full of holes and which no one would take even if they were thrown on the street, are preserved carefully for unknown reasons. It is a sign of greed to keep unnecessary things at home.

While I was at Bangalore, Bhagavan happened to visit a particular apartment of an aged resident, who did not happen to be there at that time. Baba opened the door. What did He find? It was 98% filled with useless stuff like torn pillows, half-torn books, and a worn-out bed. (Laughter) Bhagavan said, "Instruct this owner to vacate!" I was standing there and I said, "Bhagavan, why do You want him to vacate?" Bhagavan answered (jokingly), "This person has a possessive instinct! Very good! Let all these things be burnt along with the body, and let him carry it all, even the broomsticks, to the other world!"

Greed does not mean only to 'have', no! You are greedy, miserly, and possessive even when you are not ready to part with something. It is not greed if one has what one really needs and uses. My friends! Let us unload and unburden ourselves, so that sharing will come in place of greed. You cannot share unless you give up greed. A greedy man never shares.

Let us recall Bhagavan’s actions. Once someone came and brought a suitcase full of Japanese-made cameras, costing not less than 10,000 rupees each. What did He do? He did not allow it to be taken inside. He said, "Open it here, in front of everybody." Naturally we looked at them! He immediately started distributing them to everybody who was present at that moment, including policemen, cooks, and servant-maids. They all had the chance of receiving costly cameras! If you or I would be in that situation, what would we do? We would make a list of the most important people to give these cameras to, expecting and anticipating from this list of people a double favor! (Laughter) We would not just give freely like that, as we are only ready to receive.

For that reason, Bhagavan says, "God gives and forgives." God goes on giving endlessly and ceaselessly. His hands continually bend (reach) to give, as if they do not have any bones! However, our hand is very stiff, because we go on getting and forgetting. That is the quality of most of us. Giving and forgiving is the quality of Bhagavan. Why? He’s not greedy. Not only that. He will even announce a project worth 300 crores when there is no money left in the Central Trust account! When Central Trust people go to Him and say, "Swami, there is no money in the Trust," He says, "Leave it to Me." Suddenly someone will donate a large amount and 300 or even 400 crores will start flying into the account. (Laughter)

Acquiring, amassing, and accumulating unneeded stuff is a sign of greed. One has to give up that greed. When greed is given up, the quality of sharing develops. Bhagavan shares everything, whether it is ample or simple. That is the quality of a rich man.

Give Up Anger

We also have to drop anger. I am angry because I don’t have more, or I have the fear of losing what I have. Anger is a quality that develops because of fear or suspicion. Swami says, "I have no ambition, no desire, no plan. I just do everything spontaneously." Bhagavan’s actions are spontaneous. He doesn’t pre-plan or indicate beforehand to whom He will give vibhuthi. (Laughter) He doesn’t say anything like: "The following people will receive rings on Sunday, between 7 and 8 o’clock in the morning."

Anger is also the result of worrying about the future or regretting the emptiness of the past. Getting rid of anger will give place for compassion. At one time Swami said, "We have fashion but no compassion. (Laughter) "Fashionable is 'fashion-of-bull'. Since you are a bull wanting fashion, you are 'fashionable'." (Laughter) Words dance on the Divine tongue! They take on a different connotation and meaning altogether. So, let us not be after fashion. Let us have compassion.

Give Up Jealousy

Bad qualities are like the burden of extra, heavy luggage. This is the reason we find people with long, heavy faces, always under tension. They are not able to smile and we wonder whether they are psychologically disturbed. Upon investigation and inquiry, we learn that they are fine in all material respects. They don’t need anything because God has given them enough money and good health. They have long faces only because they are full of greed, anger, and jealousy.

We also have to drop jealousy, which is another of the diseases that we are carrying with us. "It doesn’t matter if Bhagavan does not look at me. I will only be happy if He avoids you." This is jealousy. At one time Bhagavan said, "There is medicine for any disease, but jealousy is incurable. It is worse than cancer." We are not able to experience our true Self or the state of bliss for long. This is due to the three bad qualities ruining our lives: anger, greed, and jealousy. They affect us more than blood pressure, hypertension, or diabetes, which can be kept under control with medication. Jealousy, anger, and greed are uncontrollable and go on multiplying day by day. If they are given up, sharing, compassion, and love, which are the basic qualities of the Self, will take their place.

What is the Self? What is Spirit, Being, Conscience, Consciousness? What is Divinity and who is God? The questions are many, but the answer is simple. The true Self is a triangle of sharing, compassion, and Love. I'm not able to see and experience my true Self, which is full of Love, sharing and compassion, because bad qualities are covering it. Greed covers the noble quality of sharing. Anger is like a sheet or blanket over compassion. And Love is hidden and covered by jealousy.

(All of these points are taken from Bhagavan’s discourses. I always like to inform my listeners that Anil Kumar’s Talk is not original, and that Anil Kumar is not capable of interpreting. I'm only capable of reporting and reproducing what I have heard and gathered from the infinite expanse of Sai literature. I'm not concocting, no! Everything I say is only taken from Bhagavan’s messages.)

There is one more statement that I want to convey to all of you. When you are fully unaware of the Self, you are a beggar. When you are in full awareness of the Self, you are an emperor. The Self is sharing, compassion, and Love. We cannot be fully aware of the Self because of the bad qualities that cover us.

Actions Based on the Past

All our actions are based on the past. That’s the reason why we are not able to know the Self. If you said "Sai Ram" to me yesterday, that is recorded in the computer-brain and today I will say to you, "Sai Ram. How are you?" If you ignore me and didn’t care to look at me yesterday, I register it. Today even if you say "Sai Ram," I will not answer. (Laughter) The Self is eternal. It transcends time and space. It has not been

experienced because all our actions are based on the past. They are not spontaneous and therefore we are unaware of the Self. You will be aware when you brush aside the past.

Here is an example within the context of Bhagavan: Last year, you got an interview. Now you are here today. When Swami looks at you or smiles at you or when He stands close to you, you are not thrilled or ecstatic, excited or in awesome wonder. You will be thinking that to have an interview is primary and that Swami standing close by to you is secondary. This is because you calculate everything based on last year's experience. You think, 'I want not only an interview this year, but also some gifts of love.' Anything less than last year will not make you happy. Even being called for an interview is a repetition. It will make you happy only if He at least gives you a chain!

So, our expectations and reactions are based on the past. You should instead forget about it! Last year He gave an interview, and there the matter should end. You are not in the last year. You are here in this year. This year cannot be last year. It is impossible! The past is dead, gone, and buried. The one who lives in the past is dead and gone. If I go on narrating to you what happened twenty years ago, please note that it’s

time to avoid me. It’s not important. Our actions should be spontaneous. This is lacking now. When you live in the present without looking at the past, even looking at Swami will be a fountain of bliss. So live in the present now.

There are some people who say, "In the earlier years, Swami was close to everybody. Swami used to visit every one." Is this the solution? Shall I cry today because it is no longer happening like that now? (Laughter) Should I cry because last year He gave me an interview and this year He only smiled at me? Why? If we do this, spontaneity and freshness is gone. My friends! Actions based on the past will entertain hope, which will end up in hopelessness. So, let us be realistic and live in the moment. Let us live in the present, so that our actions will be spontaneous. The reason for unawareness is actions based on the past.

For awareness, one should respond to or be receptive to the Reality. What do I mean by this? In every talk Bhagavan tells us that nothing will be with us at the last moment.

Govindam Bhaja Mudha Mate,
Samprapti Sanhihite Kaale,
Nahi Nahi Rakshati Dukhrun Karane.
Eha Samsare Bhahu Dusare,
Kripaye Pare, Pahe Murare,

Repeat the Name of God, oh fool!
When the hour of death draws near,
The rules of grammar will not protect.
This worldly life is terrible sorrow,
Give Grace, Protect, oh Lord!

When the end approaches, we will not be able to carry anything with us. After all, nothing belongs to us. Only the Self is with me all along and will continue to be with me. Non-responsiveness to this reality is the cause for unawareness.

Categorization of the Mind

Another point is the categorization of the mind. The mind always wants to categorize. It thinks, ‘This person is fortunate. That one is unfortunate.' Or, 'He is blessed. That one is not blessed.' Or, 'He is lucky. The next one is unlucky.' 'I will be very happy in this state, but I will be unhappy in that state.' Why should the mind categorize at all?

The categorization of the mind is responsible for unawareness. Actions based on the past are another cause for this unawareness. Also, a lack of responsiveness to Reality is yet another cause for this unawareness. When the mind is blinded by categorization, it thinks, ‘I want this. I want that.’ The mind is either choosy or preferential, and this also makes us unaware.

So my friends, now the time is up. I would like to draw your attention once again to an overview. With Awareness, you are an emperor. With unawareness, you are a beggar. Awareness of the Self is nothing but the acquisition of the qualities of sharing, compassion, and Love. These are totally hidden from our knowledge and experience because we have been over-burdened by the bad qualities of greed, anger, and jealousy. Actually, every one of us here is an emperor unto himself because there is only the One-without-a-second. This is the substance in this morning's talk.

Ekameva Dwetiyam Brahma.

Only One exists.

There is no second.


You are God,

You are an emperor,

And you are the world.

May Bhagavan be with you forever and ever.


(Anil Kumar closed his satsang by leading the bhajan,

"Ksherabdhi Sayana Narayana...")

© 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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