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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
August 11, 2002

The Sunday Talk Given By Anil Kumar

Health Management (Part 2)

August 11th, 2002


Sai Ram.

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Sathwic Food

Last week we studied the subject of ‘Food and Dietary Habits’ to some extent. We will continue along these lines in this second talk regarding Health Management.

Under the title of ‘Food and Dietary Habits’, I talked about three types of food and their effect on the mind. If we eat sathwic - pure vegetarian food, we will have a sathwic mind. If we eat rajasic - inflammatory food, we will have a rajasic mind. If we eat thamasic - dull, inert food, we will have a thamasic mind. In other words, as is the food, so is the mind. The mind is tuned on the basis of the food that we consume. Therefore, spiritual seekers have to be extremely careful about their dietary habits. This includes the timing and the quality of meals as well.

Bhagavan was talking to a team of doctors from Bombay the other day. He said one has to be careful about the quality of food as well as the timing. You have to take your food at the exact same time, not 10 o’ clock one day, 12 o’clock another day, and so on. If you are not punctual and systematic in your food habits, it will lead to ill health. So food and diet regulation implies two points: One, the quality of food and two, the regular timing - the punctuality. That is what Bhagavan has said.

As is the mind, so is the thought. The thoughts will be pure when we eat sathwic food. The thoughts will be impure when we partake of tamasic food or what we call non-vegetarian food - alcohol and intoxicants. So, we have to be careful of the mind and the thoughts.

As is the thought, so is the action. As is the action, so is the result. The mind, thought, action and result are all based on food. From this we can understand how careful we should be. As is the food, so is the head. As is the head, so is God. What a beautiful sequential order it is! What a scientific development. What rational thinking based on reasoning! There cannot be a greater scientist than Bhagavan Baba Himself in developing the theme of this topic.

The cookware we use must be clean. This is paatra suddhi. We should make use of pure food. This is padaarda suddhi. The whole cooking process must be perfectly clean - what we call paka suddhi. Above all, the cook should maintain purity of thought. That is what we call bhaava suddhi. In other words, paatra suddhi, padaarda suddhi, paka suddhi and bhaava suddhi together constitute the perfect process of cooking - having sacred thoughts, using pure food and clean utensils. They all go together in the process of cooking. This is very important. We feel like eating more when our mother serves us food. We don’t feel like eating more in a Holiday Inn or wherever else we might be. We feel like eating more when mother serves food because pure thought and love go along with it.

Half of the Stomach Must Be Empty

Only one quarter of the stomach should be filled with food. Half of the stomach must be empty. The remaining quarter should be filled with water. Most of us eat in such a way that we not only fill the stomach, but put a strain on the neck as well! (Laughter) That shouldn’t be the process. Bhagavan has mentioned that underground tubers or root vegetables contain starch, so it is better to eat these sparingly.

For all South Indian people - they should be asked to eat chapattis, because they don’t relish wheat. So when they eat chapattis, they won’t want more than one! And all North Indian people should be asked to eat rice because they cannot. If you ask North Indians to eat rice, they say, “Enough is enough!” So when you eat like that, you won’t eat too much - that is regulated food. That is the reverse reaction!

Offer to God

Before we start eating, we must offer the food to God. Why? Any impurities relating to either the cook, the process of cooking or the food become pure and perfect once the food is offered to God. And you’ll be healthy. Why?

When Mirabai offered poison to God, it turned into nectar. Mira was to be poisoned by her husband because Mira, a great devotee, refused to live with him. She was enjoying the company of Lord Krishna. So her husband decided to poison her. He gave her a cup of poison. Mira did not know it was poison. Before drinking, she offered it to God.

Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva.
Praaninam Deham Asritah.

That is the prayer that we offer before we dine, before we start our dinner. So when Mira unknowingly offered that poison, the prayer meant, ”God You are inside. This poison will go to You. You will be affected, not me.” (Laughter) So God was highly conscious of it. He took care of it. The poison was transformed into amritha, or nectar. So that is the advantage in offering prayer before we eat!

Don’t Eat in a Hurry

We should never eat in a hurry. We should enjoy food, every bit of it. Take time to compliment your wife for making such nice food for you. Don’t go on swallowing like a frog that swallows insects with no expression on its face. If there is no expression on your face when you eat, you must have been a frog in a previous life. (Laughter) Your wife will feel sorry for having married a man who was a frog in his previous life. (Laughter) A good husband compliments his wife whenever she makes good cookies or delicacies.

So, don’t eat in a hurry. The dining table is not a railway platform. Enjoy it, tell jokes, eat slowly and never eat when you’re worried. If you eat when you’re full of worries about the office, the competition, a difference of opinion at work, the food turns into poison. Yes!

Bhagavan gave one example. A mother was feeding her child. At the same time, she shouted in anger at a man. After some time, her child was found dead. Why? All the milk she was feeding the child turned into poison because of her anger and tension. We should not eat with tension, worries or anxieties in our mind. Eat slowly, enjoying every bit of it.

Also, let’s not run for curries or food prepared with too much oil or fat. This food may taste very good. But, at the same time, it will lead to high cholesterol and the doctor! So, let’s be very careful about that.

What is sathwic food - what is pious food? It is food that is rasyah - savoury, sthirah - substantial, and hrudyah – agreeable.

These are words taken from the Bhagavad Githa. I do not believe in making a random speech, left to my imagination. I don’t believe in it because I don’t think I am that great of a scholar to speculate or imagine, much less interpret. The Sanathana Dharma - ancient sacred scripture - says that whatever we say should have a scriptural sanction. Without a scriptural sanction, whatever we say is utter nonsense. That is the scriptural dictum. Therefore, whatever I say has a scriptural sanction. And the highest and the best of the scriptures available to us is Bhagavan’s Divine teachings. Based on that, we gather here to learn on Sunday mornings.

Physical Fitness

With study of Food and Dietary Habits completed - the first aspect - it is now up to each individual to put those principals into practice. Now we go to the second aspect, ‘Physical Fitness and Leading a Disciplined Life’.

If I want a government job or a job in the army, a doctor will check whether I am physically fit. But we are not here merely for physical fitness. We should also know whether we are spiritually fit. Spiritual fitness is as important, or even more important, than mere physical fitness. Spiritual and physical fitness are both important.

To make the topic easy, I have made a tabular form (on a white board). You must have guessed by now that I'm basically a teacher. With thirty-nine years of experience as a teacher, I cannot give up the habit of teaching. Everything must be written and documented. Further, I also believe that you should have something to read back at home, something to carry along with you, rather than simply amusing yourself or taking this information in a lighter vein as entertainment. It is enlightenment, not entertainment! So that you can take some literature with you, I jotted down a few lines of importance on the board.

Spiritual Fitness

We understand the first point of physical fitness. Then what is spiritual fitness? The points are clear. For physical fitness, one should have a good diet, food with sufficient protein and nutrition. To be spiritually fit, it’s not the food that matters so much. You have to do good, see good and be good. That makes you spiritually fit.

If all our actions are wrong – if what we see is bad and we are in bad temperament - then by our behaviour, thought, word and deed, we are spiritually unfit. If I'm physically unfit, the army people will say, “Sorry, sir. This is not the place you should be. We are not going to appoint you because you’re physically unfit.” Similarly we’ll be spiritually unfit if we do not have these three behaviours. We are spiritually fit if we have these three. What are they?

Do good, see good, be good.

The second point: To be physically fit, we should do some exercise. These days doctors tell you that exercise is very necessary. With more and more electronic gadgets, even robots, we don’t have to even get up! We can continue to lie down on the bed and finally go to the grave! Life has become so mechanical that we don’t want to get up. We don’t want to climb the steps. Elevators and escalators will take us. That’s all. We don’t have to climb. We don’t have to grind - there are grinders. We don’t have to get up, just sit down!

A day may come very soon, in the next century, where we are served capsules or multi-vitamin tablets when we attend a dinner. You won’t have so many items. Just open your mouth, some water and a capsule. (Laughter) That is the dinner, thank you!

Life has become so mechanical, so computerized, that the body has no exertion. The body doesn’t strain and as a result, we have all sorts of problems like blood pressure, cholesterol and so on. Doctors say do some exercise - morning walks, evening walks. These are absolutely necessary for physical fitness. For spiritual fitness, it is not physical exercise. It is prayer, daily prayer, that will make us spiritually fit.

Point three: Avoid malnutrition. Avoid bad food. Food that is not nutritious, not fresh, food that does not have protein, food that is rotten, no, we should not partake of such food. That is what is called malnutrition. Avoid all bad food to be physically fit.

Avoid Negative Thinking

To be spiritually fit, avoid negative thinking. Is Swami going to look at me tomorrow or not? I'm sure He will not look at me! (Laughter) Why? I am sure that He will avoid the gent’s side. I am sure Swami will give only a ‘shortcut’ Darshan, not total Darshan. (Laughter) This is all negative thinking. Will He look at me or not? Will my desire be fulfilled or not? This sort of negative thinking will make us spiritually unfit.

So, brothers and sisters, just as we are very careful of physical fitness, we have to be doubly careful of spiritual fitness. To sum it up - to be spiritually fit, do good, see good, be good; never miss your daily prayer; and finally, avoid negative thinking.

How Do You Discipline Yourself?

Now I will move on to the next aspect of ‘Physical Fitness and a Disciplined Life’, under the title, ‘Self-discipline’. In spirituality, nobody will discipline us. In schools, teachers will discipline us, if they care to. In the army, superiors will discipline us. In the office, the boss will take care of us. But in spirituality, there is no boss, no schoolteacher with a ruler, no army captain with a gun or a pistol. Nobody will discipline us on the spiritual path. You have to discipline yourself. That’s what is called self-discipline. If I say I'm disciplined, it means that I discipline myself. There is no external agency, authority or boss over me. I discipline myself.

Now, how do we discipline ourselves? We have to be mindful of one important thing. What is it? That all our thoughts lead to actions. Bhagavan was speaking to some doctors from Bombay the other day. He said: “Be careful of your thoughts.”

We are human and sometimes bad thoughts do come to us. If anyone says, “I have only pure, good thoughts,” avoid him because he’s a number one hypocrite and I don’t know what to say about him. (Laughter) A bogus. Avoid him. Even saints and sages could not be free from this. So thoughts do come, good and bad.

Bhagavan said do not act upon your thought immediately. Take some time and discriminate. Is it a good thought or a bad thought? Will Swami approve of this or not? Then, if there is a bad thought, it will be transformed. It will be negated, nullified, cancelled. In its place, a new thought will come. Unfortunately we don’t take time. We act upon our thought instantaneously and get into trouble. Therefore, be careful of the thought and do not act upon the thought immediately.

Habits Form Your Character

Our actions constitute our habits. What are our habits? They are only a bundle of our actions. We have to be careful of our habits. Bhagavan said this to the Bombay doctors. “Be watchful of your habits.” ‘Habits’ mean our daily actions, our relationship with others and our own deeds. These need to be taken care of since our habits form our character.

Baba defines character in a simple sentence. Habits form our character. There are volumes and volumes on character and, as we start reading them, we may forget what character is! Bhagavan defined character in a simple way. What did He say? “The harmony or unity of thought, word and deed is character.” That’s all.

Furthermore, He said that our habits make our character. This character determines our destiny. Our destiny is based on our character. A man of bad character cannot have a good destiny. A man of strategy, manipulation, evil motivation, scheming, a man of utter selfishness with too much ambition can never have a good destiny. That is the second point I want to bring to your attention.

Loss Builds Character

The third point is this – a point that is very important for a disciplined life. I am fine when everything is fine in life. When there is some jolt, when there are some bumps and jumps, ups and downs in life, I get tossed; I get confused; my mind vacillates and life oscillates. Steadiness is gone and faith is shaken. What does Baba say about it? “A blow under God's Grace is a blessing. A blow in life is a blessing.”

One may fall sick -- that is a blow. But when it takes you towards God, when it makes you think of God, it is a blessing. Sickness is a blessing. Sickness is not a curse. Sickness makes you think of God. In times of well-being, we forget Him. So a blow under God's Grace is a blessing.

A loss in business will make us feel badly. But let’s understand that a loss in business builds our character. When we sustain a heavy loss, we will have a re-evaluation, a self-assessment, an introspection. Here I am! I should not do wrong things to make gains in business. I should not use evil methods to benefit in business. Well, we arrive at these ideas in times of loss. Profit and gain will always make us more evil-minded. It will make us more strategic and will make us use devious methods to make more profits.

The Trap of Corruption

It is a matter of shame how rich people fall into the trap of corruption, cheating, deceit and conceit. The other day, the newspaper came up with a news item that a person made two crores of money in the village of Puttaparthi. Can you believe it, two crores? I don’t know how he could get it. An inquiry is going on. Yes! So, we are capable of corrupting any sacred place. We are capable of corrupting any good man. This is to be avoided. Therefore, a loss in business is going to build our character.

Then there are obstacles: “Oh, this man stood in my way; this problem came in my way; this man spoiled all my chances.” We always blame people. We always think of obstacles. Well my friends, an obstacle is an opportunity. Man’s adversity is God's opportunity. An obstacle is an opportunity.

Finally we may say, “O God, I'm a total failure in life. I could not get a promotion. I was not very highly respected. I was not recognized.” These may be our regrets. But, understand that ‘every stopping-stone is a stepping-stone’. A man who denies you today will accept you tomorrow. A man who rejects you today will welcome you tomorrow. The man who criticizes you today will naturally appreciate you and compliment you tomorrow. The things that we consider ‘stopping-stones’ now will be ‘stepping-stones’ in the future.

Excess Baggage: To Grudge

Now I’ll move onto the fourth aspect: At the airport, if you have just a carry-on, you can immediately board the flight and go straightaway. However, if you have lots of luggage, you’ll have to check it in and shift to the next gate. It takes time. When we have to change our gates during our flights abroad, if we carry more and more baggage, it takes time. Sometimes we may miss the flight because of heavy baggage. But, if we simply have a carry-on, yes, on any number of flights it will be quick, quick! We can easily move on.

So my friends, when we have heavy baggage, heavy luggage with us, we are not able to move quickly along the path of life. What is that heavy baggage? I'm not referring to material baggage. I'm not referring to the number of suitcases you have to put your address tags on, no!

What I mean by ‘excess baggage’ is grudges against somebody. “Yesterday you did not wish me a good day, so I'm waiting for an opportunity to avoid you when you want to talk to me tomorrow.” See this grudge. “A few days back, you did not help me. I’ve waited years and years for you to come to me for help, so that I can teach you a lesson.” (Laughter) This sort of grudge is baggage, heavy luggage on our head, which we should not carry. A grudge is too heavy a load; it depresses our mind. Depression comes because of a grudge against another. Avoid excess baggage.

The Baggage of Guilt

Number two: the baggage of guilt. This is a very dangerous thing. “When Swami does not talk to me, I have the feeling something is wrong with me.” Some students start feeling, “Have we done something wrong? Why is Baba avoiding us?” A few staff members ask me, “Why is Baba not sitting on the chair as He did last year? Have we done something wrong?”

A guilty conscious…the sense of guilt is more dangerous than the guilt itself. Guilt - anything that causes guilt, anything that is sinful - once it is done, there ends the matter. But, the idea of guilt, the thought of guilt, the feeling of guilt brought forward will make us feel so badly that we suffer and it affects our performance. The sense of guilt is more dangerous than the guilt itself.

So when people ask me, “Why is Swami not coming to this side? Have we done something bad?” I tell them, “When Swami came to this side the other day, did you think that you were highly meritorious, a sage and a saint? (Laughter) Swami came a few days ago and sat there. Did you think that you are a saintly man - that you’re a noble man? Certainly not! You continue to be the same rogue then, today and forever.” (Laughter)

So, we should not compliment ourselves nor should we ever feel that we are saintly and holy because Swami spoke to us - or feel perfectly guilty, totally guilty, because He avoids us. That is nothing but reaction, reflection and resound of one’s own self. To estimate yourself too highly is as bad as considering yourself very low. If I think I am very high, it is very bad. If I consider myself very low, it is much worse. So to estimate oneself as very high or very low is equally bad.

There are people who say, “You do not know. In the past, I was a very bad fellow. I was a drunkard.” Why should I know? (Laughter) You yourself are ashamed of your behaviour. You yourself are bending your head because of your bad habits. Why do you want to repeat them? Why do you want to chant about it like a holy manthra, and tell me, “You do not know that I was a drunkard!” No, no, I don’t want to know. At least stop drinking from now on, and just leave me to myself. (Laughter)

So, the past that is bad should not be talked about, because we are ashamed of it. Why should we repeat it? This is what we call a guilty conscious. It is a psychological crisis. This sort of thing should be subjected to stress management, not health management. It is stress management. Therefore, guilt is very dangerous. Get rid of it.

Inner Conflict

Third: Sometimes it is quite possible to make a mistake because of too much work, because of too much brainwork. It may be quite possible that I could not oblige you because of too much tension. Suppose you want to talk to me. I may say, “I'm busy!” You’ll find many people speaking to you like that, “Grr!” Ready to jump. Bhagavan Himself said that some people are much worse than Alsatian dogs and Palmarians. It is on record. (Laughter) You should not blame me for saying this. It’s on record and published in Sanathana Sarathi also. Did Swami say this because He wants to popularise Alsatian dogs? Not so!

But we can be sympathetic towards those people. Why are they so angry? Why are they full of tension? Maybe because there are so many things that they are supposed to do. There may be inner conflict – “to be or not to be? Do this or don’t do this? Shall I say this or shall I not say this?” There is a conflict, an agitation inside. Inner conflict makes them look so angry.

One time I might have been discourteous to you. I might not have obliged you. Well, I might have actually been quite harsh towards you. That is luggage on my head. So what shall I do? I should take the earliest chance, the immediate chance to say, “I'm sorry.” Once I say, “I'm sorry”, the head load is taken away.

So my friends, a grudge is excess baggage. A sense of guilt is excess baggage. Not saying a word of apology also makes us feel so badly. That’s heavy luggage.

Change Yourself

Another interesting thing that I want to share with you this morning is “Change yourself”. Why do I want to share this with you? Bhagavan said on several occasions that everyone goes on complaining, “He’s like that; she’s like that; you know how he is; you know how she was; I know how they will be.” (Laughter) First, you should know yourself -- how you were, how you are and how you will be. You’re not supposed to be bothered by anybody else.

This was a question put to Ramana Maharshi - the sage Ramana. Somebody complained to him, “Oh Swami, what is it? There are some mischievous fellows around. What is it? There are some fellows full of tension. What is it? Some people do not know how to speak nicely. What shall I do with them?”

The answer that Bhagavan Ramana gave to those people equally applies to every one of us. What did he say? “You have come here to reform yourself, not to reform everybody. That is not your business. Leave that to me. I am here. If you are gong to transform everybody, well then, I have no business here - I have no job. (Laughter) So it’s better that you mind your own job. It’s better you think of your own business. Don’t think of others - change yourself.”

Some people say, “Well, I want things to be like this: The queue could be organized this way. Books could be organized this way. The whole premises could be maintained like this.” We go on recommending, suggesting and advising people unsolicited, unwanted. It only means that we want to change the conditions. The conditions are external. You may change the conditions, but your mind is conditioned. So there is no use in changing outer conditions without changing within - without bringing about a change inside you. It is not that important to change the outer conditions. Change yourself. That is most important.

Our Capital Is Time

What is our capital? When we start a business, people will ask, “What is your capital?” Our capital is time. We have so many minutes -- 10,080 minutes per week. That is our capital. We should make the utmost benefit of every minute. God gave us the greatest capital of ‘time’. We may get money or we may not. We may be in a position or we may not. But these things can be gained. These things can be acquired. These things can be obtained. Once time is gone, it is gone forever.

That is why Swami says, “Time waste is life waste. Laziness is rust and dust. Realisation is rest and best.” These are Swami’s teachings. “Lifetime waste is life waste.” Time is our capital.

Bhagavan mentioned this point when He was talking to the doctors: “Don’t waste your time because time is God. God is time. God is the Master of time. God transcends time. He is time and the Master of time. He’s beyond time. So, if you waste time, you are wasting Divinity. You are misusing Divinity. It is an abuse of Divinity.” We should not do this.

Ego Is the Only Barrier

Then we come to the next aspect - the great barrier in life. What is the great barrier in life? Is it the Seva Dal? No? (Laughter) It is the shopping stores? No? Is it the bookstall? No? Or, the tall man sitting in front of me such that I cannot see Swami. Is he the barrier? Or, the hefty person who is the size of three people sitting in front of me - Is he the barrier? What is the barrier? Who is the barrier between you and God? Just inquire within.

It is very clear. Ego is the ONLY barrier. We have to say, “O ego, I want you to go! You are giving me too much pain. You are the bottleneck. You are the stumbling block. O ego, as long as you are here, I cannot have glimpses of Divinity. I cannot experience God. I’ll be cut off from my relationships.”

I’ll have to stay away from people because the ego makes me egoistic. The ego is dangerous, more dangerous than pride. Once you identify pride, you can conquer it; you can win over it. Pride can be conquered. Pride can be gotten rid of; pride can be forsaken. But ego, the more you want to drive it out, the more it will come through the backdoor! It will take the dress of humility and raise its ugly hood.

You think that you are humble. I think that I'm very humble, but that is inner ego. So, ego appears in different forms, in different shapes. Even the slightest trace of ego is a barrier. So, how do we give it up? When ego cannot be conquered, when ego cannot be given up, what shall we do? What is the method to overcome ego? I have a few points to give you.

Do Not Push Forward

Point one: Do not push forward. When Swami is coming, we want to push forward, to get up and assist Him when it is not necessary, to accompany Him when we are not called to do so. Pushing forward may initially be tolerated. Later we have to pay heavily for it in public.

In the beginning, we want to push forward. Swami may give us a smile. The second time we push forward He may say, “Kurcho. Sit down.” The third time He will say, “First, go to the back.” So we have to pay heavily when we push forward. My experience with Bhagavan is this: The more we maintain a low profile, the nearer we will be, the dearer we will be. The more and more we push forward, the farther and farther we will be pushed back.

Then there is this kind of ‘ego raising its head’: Suppose Swami asks you a question. The nearby man gives the answer – this is Himalayan foolishness. (Laughter) When Swami gives you a bundle of letters, the same man will grab all those letters. It’s nothing but ego. So, what is the sign of ego? If we are trying to push forward, we will immediately understand, “O ego, yes, you are coming. Now I detect you. Get out first!” You can say that.

Refrain From Too Much Talk

The second point: Refrain from too much talk. Don’t talk more than absolutely necessary, particularly when it carries a personal note. If it is about Swami, fine. If it is on philosophy, that is very fine. But when it carries a personal note, you can be100% sure the ego will take over. The ego will certainly creep in when there is a personal note. So be careful and refrain from too much talk. See that there will never be a personal note.

When there is a personal note, we are prone to say how senior we are, how devoted we are, how many trips we have made, how many times Swami has spoken to us, and the number of gifts we have received. By listing all that, we come to the final result of a big zero. These are all gifts of Grace, not gifts for vanity or publicity. They are absolutely individual. They are not for community, no! When it is a matter of personal note, we have to be doubly careful.

Number three: Let us understand that our words will not matter much. If we have any concern for anybody, any sympathy for anybody, if we take pity upon anybody, let us know that words do not matter. What matters is our vibration. Our prayer counts more than our words. Vibration and prayer matter more, much more, than verbal, vocal, oral communication. Words will not matter.

How To Conquer Ego

Next: The Bhagavad Githa has put forth this idea on how to conquer ego. Then I shall also tell you what Baba has said. What does the Bhagavad Githa say? The Githa says, “Consider yourself as a tiny particle in the dust.” After all, what am I? I am the minutest - I am nobody. Once I consider that I'm somebody, there comes the problem. When I'm nobody, nothing can ever happen to me.

Some people ask me, “Sir, why do you sit behind?” I said, “Without being asked to sit behind, if I sit behind, there will be no problem. Instead of being asked, “Go there,” if I'm already there, what punishment can you give me? I'm at the back already (Laughter). So you don’t need to say, ‘Go back.’ I'm already in the back.”

Therefore the point is, consider yourself as so simple. After all, we are nobody in this world, in no way greater than anybody else, in any respect. When we consider ourselves and compare ourselves with the great Gokak, a former Vice-Chancellor and the recipient of Jnana Pitha award -- in front of Gokak, people like me are simply peacocks, that’s all -- just nobody.

In front of a great man like Kasturi, you may be a writer, you may be a speaker, but you are a decimal in front of Kasturi. His humour, his language and his contribution to Sai literature - we are minimal or a decimal in front of him.

When we consider people who contributed 150 crores (one crore is ten million), 200 crores – that’s a single person’s contribution, what are you and where am I? When the President of India, the first citizen of this country, falls at His Feet, what are you and what am I? With respect to position, money, or scholarship, we are nobody, nobody! This is possible once we look at the situation as it truly is.

Sometimes I ask myself, “Bhagavan, do I deserve this chance? Do I deserve Your gentle look? Do I deserve Your kind words? Do I deserve Your kind gesture? What am I, after all? I know that I don’t deserve this -- after all, what am I?” Because when I compare myself with all those who are around, there are people who work day and night for Bhagavan. Some people have left everything for Bhagavan. So what am I? I’ll just come here for a holiday trip - a holiday, a jolly day, a holy day and a nice change. But, what about those people who have given up everything? What about those people who have sacrificed everything? What am I in front of them? Anyway you look at it, you will understand how little you are. Then the ego will leave you. The ego will never stay.

Let’s not share our struggles, our achievements and our experiences with everybody. If we go on sharing, telling everybody our experiences, our struggles and our achievements, it is nothing but the very personification, the very precipice of one’s own ego. These are the ways to overcome ego. It is the eternal Self that matters, that really counts, and not the physical self.

A Five-Point Map: Childlike Trust

I will take leave of you by bringing to your kind attention the five-point map of life. We find today every government and every political party coming forward with a ten-point formula, a five-point formula or a three-point agenda. I have a five-point map of life for you this morning. What are these points?

Number one -- Let us have the first point in the map of life - a childlike trust, meaning, the trust that a child has. This means total trust, not partial trust, not conditional trust, not seasonal trust, not trust based on reasoning, not trust based on selfish grounds - a total trust, a surrender with no desires, a desireless trust. This is a trust that is beyond all desire, a trust that is beyond all hope and aspiration. This is a total trust.

A child has total trust in its mother. This is not in expectation of a dress to be presented next month. No, no! Not for extra pocket allotments either. A child’s trust is total and unconditional. That is the first point in the five-point map of life.

Do Your Best

The second -- Do your best. This means do not spare any efforts. Do not postpone. Start today. Some people start saying, “I plan to start meditation tomorrow.” That tomorrow may be postponed for a lifetime. Bhagavan says, “Tomorrow marro: Kill that tomorrow (‘marro’ is ‘to die’ in Indian languages).” If you want to do something, do it today, right now, this moment. Some people go by the calendar: “Next month is auspicious. There will be a planetary conjunction. I want to start then.” Maybe I will start in my next life!

So, do your best - take action right now. What is God? Who is God? Where is God? Only two words are important - here and now. You cannot say, “God is there. God will be there, God was there.” No, no, no, no, no! What is God? Here and now! The only two words are ‘here and now’! So, do your best, meaning do the best of your ability this moment, right now.

Help Others

The next point -- Help others! That’s what Swami says: “Help ever, hurt never.” Yet, they do just the opposite - help never, hurt ever. (Laughter) Well, we should not be that sort. Help others! When you help others, the broad smile that you see on their face, the feeling of gratitude that they express gives you a greater satisfaction than being selfish. Being selfish will not give you that kind of satisfaction. You may have a thousand things, but you’ll never be satisfied. Self-satisfaction cannot be achieved until and unless you help others. Until and unless you help others in some way or other, you cannot taste what Self-satisfaction is. That is the philosophy of service according to Bhagavan. That is the basic principle behind service.

Service is not helping others. Service is not something you do for another person. Service is to help yourself. When you help others, you are helping yourself. How can I help myself? By being happy! How can you be happy? By helping the other man. It is just a cycle. After all, when you help the other man, when you serve a morsel of food, you’ll be even more joyful than when you eat ten items of delicious food. Self-satisfaction will be at its maximum the more and more you help others. That is the third point in the five-point map of life.

Practise Silence

The fourth point -- Practice silence. Why? “It is only in silence that the Voice of God is heard. It is only in the depth of silence that the Voice of God is heard.” We have no time to listen to that Voice. I was going through a passage from Bhagavan’s literature. In silence what happens? I’ll tell you very briefly. Listen in silence. Hear the voiceless. When there is silence, how can you hear? When there is voicelessness, when there is no word, when there is no voice, how do you hear? You can just hear. Hear in silence; listen in the state of voicelessness. Sound in voicelessness, what is it? You may finally say, “Anil Kumar, you seem to be senseless!” I am not, my friends! I'm not yet, thank God. What is the sound in silence? How do we listen in silence? What is voicelessness? What is there to hear?

A simple example I will tell you very briefly. Say, “OM, OM, OM” loudly for some time. Next softly, “Om, Om, Om.” Third, mentally, ‘Om, Om, Om.’ Just mentally, ‘Om, Om, Om.’ Stop that also. Then you’ll listen to the Voice out of silence. In that state of silence, the Voice is heard. Without noticing, you will find ‘Om’ being repeated within. So many people must have experienced this. You find ‘Om’ repeated again and again, though you are not shouting, though there is no lip movement. Still ‘Om’ is chanted within. That is the inner Voice. That is the sound in silence.

When it is not shouted, when it is not said loudly, when it is not said using the lips, if there is some sound going on within, that is the sound in silence. We should practice this silence, so that we can listen to the inner Voice. That inner Voice will naturally tell us what to do. It will also come forward with certain directions, with certain guidelines. That is possible only in a state of silence. That’s the reason why Bhagavan is very particular about silence.

Further, we should be mindful that we are in front of God. God does not have to speak always, no, no, no! He can speak silently. He can make Himself understood in silence. He can make things clear to you in an utter state of silence, being speechless. That is possible when we experience the depth of silence.

His movement has a message for you. His gestures have a message for you. His looks have a message for you – wordless, but full of sound; voiceless, but filled with a message. We can understand His message. Some people say, “Swami told me this.”

“Told you? I noticed He did not come to your side. How can you say that?”

“No sir. I could understand His message by His gestures. I could understand by His gentle looks.”

So, to catch the glimpse of Divinity, to receive the message from Bhagavan through His looks or gesturers, by His gentle walk, though He does not speak, we have to practice silence. Silence has to be practiced to receive messages from Bhagavan in every possible way.

A Healthy Sense of Humour

The fifth point in the five-point map of life -- a healthy sense of humour. Unfortunately, many people consider seriousness as a religion. No! Seriousness is a sign of blood pressure. (Laughter) Seriousness is sickness. Seriousness is ambition. Seriousness is too many desires. Seriousness is the other name for ego.

An egotistical man cannot laugh. (Laughter) If he does, he suspects that you may take him for granted. He thinks that you’ll run over him. He will think that you’ll come to him for all your obligations. So, he maintains seriousness. This is inner sickness. Inner seriousness is the reflection in the form of outer seriousness. Inner sickness and outer seriousness go hand in hand.

You will never find Bhagavan serious. There are situations that I have witnessed. In one, He called two people. I happened to be one of them. The other one was a very important man. This person - his name and cadre are not that important - Swami wanted to ‘bang’ (chastise) him heavily. Swami went on telling him, “Useless fellow! Get out of that position! Resign, get out!” All the while, He was smiling at me. He was giving me a nice smile, while he was so serious with the other man.

Ah! Swami is the Divine actor. You are the Divine actor! You alone can do it. It only means that He is purposely serious. He is serious with a purpose. He is serious to correct. He is serious to rectify. He is serious to modify. He is serious to bring about a change. Otherwise, He is full of humour. He is full of joy. He is full of bliss. He is full of ecstasy. So, cultivate a sense of humour.

He makes so many jokes! Swami was speaking to the Bombay doctors. One doctor said, “Swami, shall I say ‘Hari Om’ or ‘Om Hari’?” (Laughter)

“Why do you ask that question?”

He said, “Swami, it is said that ‘Om’ should come first: (as in) ‘Om Nama Sivaya’. So ‘Om’ should come first. So, shall I say ‘Om Hari’?”

Swami said, “If you say wholeheartedly, both are equal.”

He did not keep quiet at that stage. While giving vibutti prasadam to all the doctors, while passing through the lines, He came across this same doctor and said, “Om Hari, take it!” (Laughter) And He gave another bundle and said, “Hari Om!” (Laughter)

And another doctor said, “Swami, You said we should not have desires. I understand. Is it a bad desire that my children should do well in life? To think, to desire that one’s own children should do well in life, is that a bad desire?”

Swami said, “It is not a desire. To think that your children should be good is your duty.” But He did not keep quiet because His is always the last word. “Mmm, you want your son to be good, but you should be a good father also.” (Laughter) That is a sense of humour, ah! That is the sense of humour of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

My dear friends, humour, laughter, bliss - these are Divine. Seriousness, tension, anxiety, ego, selfishness are sickly, cancerous, carcinogenic, pathogenic. For God’s sake, let us not have those symptoms of the worst diseases possible. Let us be joyful. If we are not joyful here, if we are not blissful here, where else can we be happy? Where else can we be blissful?

May Bhagavan bless you!

Thank you very much!

Om Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhaavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhaavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhaavantu

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!

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