Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at
December 8, 2002
The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar
My Personal Experiences
December 8th, 2002
OM… OM… OM…
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Sharing Some More Experiences
Today I’ll divide my talk into two sections. In the first section,
due to the request of some friends, I’ll share with you more of my
experiences. In the second part, we’ll have questions and answers.
It was back on the 25th of October that I shared with you Part One
of my personal experiences. I thought that was the end of the
matter. But I have received a series of letters and demands, (Laughter)
saying that you want to know more of my personal experiences.
Really, I love to do it, except for the simple fact that I'm
afraid that people may mistake this as some sort of advertisement
or publicity-seeking, which I'm totally against. But because of
the spiritual pestering from my friends, I’ll share certain
experiences with you this morning.
As I said in my last lecture on October 25th , I was in a period
of ‘exile’, receiving total silence from Bhagavan, without any
recognition of this human being by the name of Anil Kumar (Laughter).
For seven to eight long years, I was non-existent, a non-entity,
and almost in a vacuum wherever I sat. It went on for a very long
period - from seven to eight years. Later in the talk on October
25th, I mentioned how things went following this long period of
Very Busy Teaching Students
During that long period of waiting, certain things happened
mysteriously, which were not understandable, beyond all
explanation and expectation. It was the year 1975 when I was very,
very busy during the summer teaching. I was preparing students for
the medical entrance examination, which is an annual feature.
During this period, we make some money too – unaccounted for, so
it is all the more welcomed! (Laughter)
I was extremely busy preparing students until 10 o’clock at night.
The program commenced at 6:30 in the morning, and went on until 10
PM. It depended upon the star value of the person, the magnitude
of attraction and presentation, to the taste of the students.
Depending upon the demand, you would be given as much workload as
possible. There were times when I taught for 13 hours a day
because the star value was such.
An Interview Conducted By Rotary International
Here it was the last hour, around 9.45 PM or so. Suddenly, I
received a message from some of my friends, asking me to appear
for an interview at 10 o’clock in the night. What interview I did
not know. I said, “I shall meet you afterwards.”
But they all went and met the Principal, C.V.N. Dhun, of a reputed
college by the name of Ravi Tutor College at Guntur.
The Principal himself came and said, “I could not risk my
reputation when your friends came here. Better you cancel this
class and oblige them.”
Then I asked my friends, “What is it that you want of me?”
They said, “An interview is going on. You should appear for that
”What interview? What am I supposed to do?”
They did not tell me. They pushed me into a big building very
close to this college. Finally I found out that it was an
interview conducted by Rotary International, which selects a team
of five every year to go abroad to study the social and
educational aspects of that country. The visiting team is called
the Group Study Exchange program, GSE. Under the GSE program, five
are selected every year -- one representing agriculture, one
representing engineering, one representing medicine, one
representing education, and so on -- one from each walk of life.
Except for the condition that you cannot be related to members of
the Rotary Club, it is an open competition.
Well, I didn’t have face powder; I had chalk powder instead,
having taught until 10 o’clock that night. You can imagine me - my
personality - at 10 PM: totally tired, after having taught 13
hours that day. As I could not say ‘no’ to my friends, somehow I
went inside. My turn was last, as interviews had started at 8 o’clock.
Good! I could say ‘goodbye’ to them and run away from there!
Well, when I went in there, the President, who happened to be a
doctor, a secretary, and a senior lawyer said, “We don’t have to
ask you any questions.”
“Then why did you call me for an interview?” (Laughter)
They said, “It is just a formality. Our children are your students,
so you were selected at the regional level.”
I simply laughed at them, “Oh, things go like that? Okay!”
The next morning, they sent me an application form to fill out --
selection first, application next -- just the reverse order. (Laughter)
That’s how Sai started working in His own way.
Going To The Final Interview At Hyderabad
Then I was to appear for the final interview in Hyderabad at the
Riggs Hotel, one of the prestigious hotels in those days. Later,
many other costly hotels were built. But in those days, Riggs was
Somehow I was tempted to attend the final interview that included
contestants from three states. The interview spread over five days.
Many people attended. Somehow I simply decided to attend the
interview. But I had no time to prepare or read anything because
of my tight schedule, teaching botany to my students and preparing
them for the medical entrance examination. The number of seats
that my students would get would decide my fate for the next year.
(Laughter) Therefore, I had to be very, very careful, and highly
As I sat in the train, which was speeding up towards Hyderabad, I
saw many youngsters preparing for the interview. I found out that
I was the only married man with four children, while many of the
others were eligible bachelors. Anyway, I was just relaxing
because there was no investment. There was neither profit nor loss.
Since I had not prepared for anything, there was nothing to lose!
Having just come into the Sai fold, being in that fresh period, I
was humming Sai bhajans, as most of us do. I never realised that I
would be disturbing some of these people who were preparing for
the examination. (Laughter) One or two got down from their berths
and gave me some books to prepare with. (Laughter) They did not
ask me not to sing. In a polite, refined, cultured way, they
wanted me to read instead of sing. (Laughter) Maybe it was for two
reasons: my voice was not that good, and they could not
Then I realised my mistake and said, “What are the books you are
giving me?” The title of one book was “India, Who is Who?” That
book is published every year. It covers all the latest
developments in the country, plus national and international
coverage of personalities figuring in the newspapers, particularly
on the front page. Expecting that questions would be asked on this,
some people were preparing. As one chap completed reading that, he
passed it on to me. Another man gave me “Manorama”, which also
covers all the latest developments.
Because I was sufficiently matured, I told these gentlemen, “I
understand your problem. I am disturbing you. Don’t worry. I have
nothing to read because I have never read anything along these
lines to prepare for an interview. So why should I read them now?
Either “India Today” (a popular national magazine), India
yesterday or India tomorrow, India is India. I have no time to
read. Please leave me alone,” I said. (Laughter) They were happy
with my silence.
Anyhow, a cardio-paediatric surgeon, a doctor by the name of
Balakrishna Murthi, who deals with the heart ailments of children,
was sitting just opposite me along with his daughter. His daughter
was staring at me, I didn’t know why. I told her and her father,
“I'm not a mad person. (Laughter) I'm not going to bite you. After
all, I'm just humming some Sai bhajans. Don’t be afraid of me.”
They just laughed
Little did she realize that after three or four years, she would
become my student. Now she’s happily married and settled in the
USA. Even to this day, whenever they happen to see me, they laugh
wholeheartedly recalling my comments that I was not a madcap. So,
that was the situation.
Nothing To Lose Or Gain
Another gentleman, an elderly man, very well known to me, came and
said, “What is it you are doing? Why don’t you read? I appeared
for this interview last year and the year before last. I was not
selected. It calls for preparation. Then why are you doing like
I told him, “My sister lives in Hyderabad. They sent an invitation,
asking me to attend their house-warming function, which I could
not attend because of a busy medical entrance coaching program.
Now, in the name of this interview, as a plea, I’ll go and have
nothing to lose or gain. Sir, please busy yourself, I pray that
you be selected.” And thus I silenced him.
Then I got ready to appear for the interview. My wedding suit was
still so nice in those days (Laughter). I picked up that dark
blue-coloured suit with an orange-coloured shirt, a dark blue tie
with stars on it, and well-polished shoes with spray applied. I
then went to Hotel Riggs, where I was to appear for the interview.
The Questions Put To Them
Many youngsters, after completing their interview, were talking
among themselves about the questions they were asked. Because of
curiosity, I wanted to know the questions, though I had no answers
for any of them.
It was the year when India launched a space research project
called “Arya Bhatta”, which landed a space satellite. People were
asked some questions relating to “Arya Bhatta” -- about the
launching of this satellite by Indian scientists. I was wondering,
“If that question was asked of me, what answer would I give?” A
nice big zero! (Laughter)
Some other gentleman was asked a question about a treaty between
India and the Soviet Union. This was a time when India and the
Soviet Union had entered into an agreement. “India, being a
non-aligned country, how was it that it could enter into a treaty
with the USSR?” That was the question. I didn’t know that there
was an agreement at all, let alone justifying it! (Laughter)
It was also a time when a very big person, a big black marketer,
was arrested. There had been a thorough search all over the
country. Ultimately, the government succeeded in arresting him.
Some questions were asked about that. I didn’t know such a gunda (bandit)
existed, nor did I know about the subsequent arrest of that person.
It was also the time of a national emergency declared by Indra
Gandhi, who happened to be the Prime Minister. There were some
questions on this. “India, being a secular, sovereign, democratic
republic, how could a state of emergency (which is not a
democratic act) be declared in this country?” Well, emergency or
non-emergency, I wasn’t bothered because I just did my duty. I'm
the least affected, being a teacher, by emergencies. Maybe those
in the field of politics are affected by an emergency. But most of
us are employees. We are not at all affected. So there’s nothing
to worry about. But I had no answer, if the same question were
asked of me.
I prayed a silent prayer to Baba: “Swami, see that I'm not exposed
to such questions.” (Laughter)
“Swami, Save me From Insult!”
My second prayer was this: “Let them not ask certain questions of
general knowledge such as, ‘What is the capital of Norway, of
Sweden, of Denmark, of Guatemala, or of Argentina?’ (Laughter) I
may not have immediate answers.”
“Once they know that I am a student of biology, don’t have them
ask, ‘Name a frog without a tail. Name the frog with a tail, with
a head, and without a head.’ Finally, lifting their eyebrows, I'm
afraid they may say, ‘What kind of teacher are you if you do not
know these things?’ My job would be in disrepute. I would be
defamed, and I’d feel personally insulted if such questions were
asked of me.”
“Swami, save me from that insult and save my job as a professor,
so that we will not be a laughing-stalk in the sight of the
public, particularly the members of the interview board.”
Anyway I went and sat relaxed, cross-legged, with my arm on the
chair behind, totally free, because I had nothing to lose and
nothing to gain. (Laughter) I was fully aware that I was speaking
in the Divine Presence of Baba, not only there, but here in your
hearts, too. And everything is subject to verification at any
moment because Bhagavan is a silent listener to every one of our
conversations. I have had many bitter experiences too, in this
regard. (Laughter) He gives no scope for any exaggeration or
under-estimation, but only statements based on facts and not
All Questions Centred Around Sai Literature Only
So, in full understanding of this, I'm telling you -- believe me
or not – all the questions were centred only on Sai literature! (Exclamations
of “Oh!” from the audience, and applause) That’s all! In my
bio-data, there was no mention of Sathya Sai Baba -- nothing
whatsoever! Yet all the questions were on Sai literature.
That period I was fresh to the Sai movement, and was very familiar
with Sai literature. Going around to every village (in Andhra
Pradesh state) in those years, I was quite conversant with the
teachings of Sai. So I could answer every question. I think you’ll
be interested to know some of those questions. They will be of
interest to every one of you.
There were 12 members of the Rotary International -- past district
governors, who asked these questions, one-by-one. It was something
like Abhimanya surrounded by so many people in Padmavyuha (a
formidable military formation) – such was the interview hall.
“God Is One And The Same”
The first question asked was this: “India is thickly populated,
not only with people, but also with many gods. How do you justify
the number of gods and the number of people there are in your
country?” That was the first question.
The answer was quickly available from Sai literature, which
Bhagavan prompted from within. What did Bhagavan say in this
direction? “There may be many different names and forms of
Divinity, based on our likes and dislikes and on our whims and
fancies; based on our intensity of devotion and on our
concentration. The names and forms may be varied, but Divinity is
One and the same. You may give Him any name, but God is One and
the same. You may think of any form, but He’s the same.” That’s
what I said, just as I also quoted Bhagavan’s famous poem:
Flowers are many, but worship is one.
Forms are many, but God is One.
Cows are many, but milk is one.
Jewels are many, but gold is one.
Paths are many, but goal is one.
I repeated the famous quotation, and they seemed to have been
“It All Depends On You”
Then came the second question: “If God is the same, why is one God
so tall, like Rama, while one god is so short, like Ganesha? (Laughter)
Why should there be differences in the height of the gods, if all
are the same God?”
The answer was also available from Sai teachings. I remembered
very well Bhagavan saying that you get your dress stitched
according to your measurements. You don’t wear the same shirt as
the one worn by King Kong! (Laughter) No! Or you don’t give your
shirt to that boxer man. A shirt for a thin man cannot be given to
a fat man. You cannot wear a shirt stitched for a fat man because
three of you could fit into it! So, a garment or a dress is made
as per your measurements.
Similarly, depending upon your choice, depending upon your
temperament, depending upon your background, your level of
comprehension, understanding and experience, the deity is designed
in that form. Some can easily concentrate on Rama. Some can
concentrate on Krishna. So it all depends on you. That was the
“You May Give Any Name Or Form”
Then came the third question: “If that’s so, why should there be
so many names? How can there be Siva? How can there be Rama, or
Krishna, or Durga, or Lakshmi? Why so many names? Why?” That was
the third question.
Bhagavan had given an example: It seems on one day, a hotel-keeper
and a medical shop owner both got headaches on the same day. The
medical shop fellow went to the hotel for a cup of coffee. The
hotel-keeper went to the medical shop for a pill or a tablet. So
he had faith in the tablet. This other man had faith in the cup of
coffee. Both of them had a total cure of their headaches.
Similarly, you may give any name or any form to God. Water is
called neeru in Telugu. In Sanskrit, you may call it vaari; in
Hindi, paani; in Tamil, tanni; but the water, H2O, continues to be
That’s the example given by Baba, which I could also give because
of His Divine Grace.
Vast Spiritual Literature
Then there was a question like this: “India, being the land of
rich spiritual cultural heritage, how is it there is illiteracy?
How is it there’s poverty? How is it there is corruption? Why?
What answer can you give?”
There was an answer, which I thought of at that moment. What did
Baba say? “Where do you find the doctor? You find the doctor where
there are patients. So, you get what you really seek. There are
several countries that have sought physical comforts -- countries
that want a daily life full of comfort and conveniences, luxury
and extravagancy. But Bharath has always been in search of God.
This country has always been in search of the experience of
Divinity. There has been a constant search for this by sages and
saints, seers, aspirants and seekers.”
“There is so much spiritual knowledge today. In addition to four
Vedas, you have 108 Upanishads, 18 epics, Brahma Sutras and Yoga
Vasishta. So much vast spiritual literature has grown in this
country because of the selfless service and the penance undertaken
by sages in those days for the welfare of mankind. They prayed for
the progress of mankind without any trace of selfishness. So,
spirituality has grown here, not the electronic gadgets, not the
physical, mundane comforts and requirements.” That answer seemed
to have satisfied those people.
Then came a final question, which was really amazing -- nay,
unbelievable! “Who is the Prime Minister of Israel?” (Laughter)
This question had nothing to do with the questions asked before.
Well, I had to put on a blank face. I fully realised at that
moment that Bhagavan was telling me from within, “All these
questions I made them ask you. Now you tell how much you know! (Laughter)
Come out of your emptiness and nothingness. I am exposing you now.”
“Swami, it is a serious test! I am not such a fool to think that
it is for my glory. I'm not so stupid to think that I am a wise
man. No! I know every second that You have been prompting me.”
Then immediately I said, “Sir, I know Goldameir has been the Prime
Minister of Israel until now. Now she is out of power. A man has
come in her place whose name I do not remember.” (Laughter) Then
one of the persons said, “50% answered. You can go.” (Laughter)
My situation was like a child in elementary school, who runs out
of school hearing the final bell, carrying his bag of books,
running happily! I was so happy and gay, dancing, coming out of
the interview hall because nothing had happened to me. Nothing
happened to my prestige whatsoever. Then I returned home happily,
not expecting anything.
There was some pressure from my friends, who were asking me to
find out the results. I was afraid to find out the results because
I was not prepared to accept failure. Success I didn’t expect.
There were no expectations at all. I thought to myself, ‘Let
things come in their own time, but let me not advance it.’
I said, “I'm not going to find out. No!”
Why? Because I had made no preparation, no investment and no
“Leave me alone,” I said.
I Stood First!
After a month, the results were announced. I stood first on the
list of people selected to go to Southern Indiana in the United
States that year. I have been to a lot of places in the United
States: (in Indiana) Brazil, Corydon, Alora, Columbus,
Indianapolis, New Albany, and Terrehaute. All those places I have
visited under the courtesy of the Rotary International.
After my return home, I received a letter stating: “You are to
attend a meeting where you will be given some training before you
go to the United States. We will give you some training on how to
answer questions, how to meet people, and on certain requirements.”
Suddenly, on the day of the training, the college where I was
working was to have the College Annual Day Celebration. I went to
the Principal, Dr. Isaac, at that time, and told him, “Sir, kindly
grant me leave on that day, so that I can attend the training
before I go abroad.”
That man immediately said, “Who are they to give you training? I
will give you training here!” (Laughter)
“Sir, when they are spending their money, how can you give me
He said, “Nothing doing. It happens to be the College Anniversary
Day. Therefore, I cannot grant you leave.”
I said, “The College Anniversary is not based on me, Sir. The
college has 5,000 students and 300 faculty members . I don’t think
that anything would happen if I go on leave.”
He said, “Nothing doing!”
Then I returned home and prayed to Baba, looking at His picture:
“Baba, You are really fantastic. You made me stand first in the
list, and now I am the last to go. Whether I can go or not, I do
not know. But anyway, it is a question of Your prestige and Your
Name -- nothing to do with me, please remember! (Laughter) Because
You selected me, alright, You take the credit or discredit. The
whole world knows that I had not made any preparation. So what do
I care about it?”
College Anniversary Is Postponed
The invitations for the College Anniversary were ready and sent.
Refreshments were also ready. Students were given badges. All the
preparations for the College Annual Celebration were ready.
Collector Chandrayya, an IAS officer, was to be the chief guest.
Please believe me. This is subject to verification because I'm
giving the date and also the names of the people involved. I'm not
here to concoct or fabricate or imagine. I'm against such silly
things. I'm giving you all the details, being a student of science.
Just 24 hours before the Annual College Day, the Principal, Dr.
Isaac, came to me and said, “Anil Kumar, please leave this place
I said, “Sir, why do you want me, to go? You said you wouldn’t
grant me personal time-off. You didn’t want to give me personal
time-off! Why do you want me to go?”
He said, “The College Anniversary is postponed.”
It was a college of 100 years standing. Now it must be 130 years
-- one of the oldest premier institutions in the State of Andhra
Pradesh, managed and monitored by the Lutheran Church of America.
It is a very big college. The College Anniversary had never been
postponed in all of its history.
Our Baba is an excellent manager and a manipulator! (Laughter) He
had just got the Anniversary postponed for one bloke by the name
of Anil Kumar!
The Five Of Us
So, I went there, attended the meeting, and everything was checked
for my travel to the United Sates. I met my other colleagues, who
were eligible bachelors, quite handsome, occupying very high
positions, coming from medicine and engineering fields. I was the
only non-gazetted government officer with four children. So, what
was to be done?
They were talking among themselves about what they would do in the
United States. Finally, one of them ventured to ask me, “Anil
Kumar, would you like to have a sip of alcohol?”
I said I would like to have any number of sips of coffee, but not
Everybody laughed at me and said, “Five of us are going, but only
four will be returning.”
They thought that once I was over there, I’d be finished (Laughter)
They said, “Do you eat meat or anything like that?”
“No, no, no, I'm a total vegetarian.”
Just like that, I became an untouchable among the five of us! (Laughter)
A Godforsaken creature! Nobody was prepared to talk to me or
exchange any views because there was nothing in common.
Once we were there, oh! There were so many things that were served
to us! But there was nothing for me to eat. Though I mentioned
that I was a vegetarian, what is it that they brought for me to
eat ? Boiled potatoes made into chutney, like a paste. (No doubt
Anil Kumar means mashed potatoes.)
They said, “This is vegetarian. Why don’t you eat it?”
Ah-re! Potato is no doubt vegetarian, but I don’t eat it that way,
made into a paste or gum like that! So I didn’t relish it, but
courtesy made me silent. I wore a broad smile on my face, “Fine,
fine, this much is enough.”
But smart people they are, the Rotarians! The USA is a great
country of hospitality. The United States of America is a country
where there is the synthesis of religions. They are ready to
invite new ideologies. It is a country of friendship, where the
people are full of smiling faces.
They could understand my diet problem, and at the next session, I
had a number of things like peanuts, cashew nuts, ice crèmes,
cakes, biscuits, and so many such things! While the
non-vegetarians had only one or two dishes, I had so many. (Laughter).
I was more energetic than all of them, even without eating rice.
Pets Were Pestering Me
All right, I was quite fine. But here’s another thing that I
should also share with you, though it is quite embarrassing. I'm
not used to pets, like dogs and cats -- no. At the residence of
every American, to my surprise, I noticed these pets, these dogs
and cats, everywhere. I used to check to see if my room were
dog-free or cat-free. (Laughter) Only then would I go into the
Unfortunately, at 11 o’clock in the night, I heard some sound --
“Purr, purr” -- like that. (Laughter) What happened? Immediately I
got up. I noticed one cat under my cot. (Laughter) I shouted to my
American friend. He came in immediately. “Anil Kumar, what
“Ah-re, what is this cat? Please take it out!”
“No, no, Anil Kumar! It is a Burmese cat -- so sweet!”
I said, “No! Burmese or Chinese, I don’t want it here! (Laughter)
Please take it out. I can't sleep!”
That was the only problem I had.
I also remember in New Albany something happened. A gentleman
introduced me to his sons. “Oh, Mr. Anil Kumar, here is David and
Nelson.” All that was fine. Finally he said, “Caesar, come along!”
I thought Caesar was a third son. Caesar was the name of their
dog, and he was my size (Laughter) and ready to climb up on me
like an expert in mountaineering! I am not Mount Everest -- to be
climbed upon! I was very much afraid.
This man said, “Say hello, Anil Kumar! Caesar is very friendly!”
“Sir, I'm not friendly. Please!” (Laughter)
As my legs were trembling, well, the dog came closer and closer,
and then started touching me.
“Sir, would you like me alive or not? Please take it away!”
That was my problem, and I didn’t know what to do. I was about to
move to the next place -- some other residence. Instead of being
curious about the family with whom I was supposed to live, I was
curious about the pets there (Laughter) because the pets were
pestering me! Well, I had no alternative.
So, helplessly I told the gentleman, “This is my problem.”
Then they started taking care of their pets and made me quite
comfortable -- such kind, nice people.
Singing Baba’s Bhajans
Then one day, while speeding along in the car, I was just singing
Baba’s bhajans and the American thought something was happening to
me. He said, “What’s wrong with you?” (Laughter)
Well, I said, “Nothing is wrong with me. I'm quite hale and
healthy, and I hope to live for a couple more years! But the thing
is, I'm humming Indian bhajan songs -- Indian hymns or prayer
The American said, “Would you do it at my residence this evening?”
I had been waiting for that opportunity! I said that I would be
happy to and would also give them the English translation to the
songs. But only on one condition -- they should invite their
friends also. They should not restrict this to only their family.”
He said, “OK. Why not?”
Every day they invited their family and friends in the
neighbourhood to come. The result was that 30 or 40 attended the
Rotary meetings and 300 or 400 attended my evening bhajan programs!
(Laughter) Since that day, I became more and more popular. I was
the ‘most wanted’ person – ‘most wanted’ in a desirable way.
Interviewed by The TV People
The TV people and news reporters also interviewed us. My other
Indian friends were in search of good cameras and other things. I
did not have any kind of desire like that. I had a deep feeling
that Swami had sent me and that I should speak about Him
everywhere. That was my only mission. I had no other desire.
“How Is It You Don’t Eat Beef In India?”
Some questions were put to us like this: “Why is it that you don’t
eat beef in India?”
Well, I could not answer straightaway because there were five of
us seated in the television studio. One man said, “We don’t eat
beef. Cows are sacred.”
Then they asked another man, “Why are you eating beef here?” (Laughter)
They were all very intelligent fellows. The third fellow said,
“Indian cows are sacred, not other cows!” (Laughter)
Then I raised my hand and said, “Sir, I’ll give you the answer.
That was just a kind of joke -- that American cows are not sacred,
no. Cows are sacred, revered like a mother. There are many we
revere like a mother. One is the Motherland, Desha Matha. Another
is Mother Earth, Bhu Matha. The third one is Go Matha, the cow, as
mother. A fourth is the Scripture, Veda Matha. These four are
respected, adored and worshipped like the mother. That’s all.”
“Oh, that seems to be sensible,” someone said.
“How Is It There Aren’t divorces In India?”
Then they asked another question: “How is it that there are no
divorces in India? How is it that you live with the same person
throughout your lifetime, even though you don’t agree?”
One man, by the name of Raj Kumar, was newly married. He was
working in the Union Corporation. He gave the answer: “Why marry a
number of times? You have to sit in front of a fire and smoke for
long hours! (Laughter) We don’t want that tedious process to
happen again and again!” (Laughter)
Another man said, “Marriage is an expensive process. Why pay for
it more than once? We don’t want to.”
They all enjoyed these jokes. I said, “Sir, there is an answer.
Marriage is only an institution. Marriage is only a vehicle.
Marriage is only a transport to move from one end to the other
end, to move from one shore to the other -- the shore of life on
earth to the shore of life thereafter. I travel by car, but I don’t
live in the car. I go across the bridge, but I don’t stay there on
the bridge my whole life. So, marriage is an institution -- like a
bridge, like a boat, like a ship -- taking you from the shore of
this life to the life thereafter, to Eternity and Immortality.”
That seemed to have been satisfactory to them.
“How Is It there Is A God Who Wants Human Hair?”
There was another question, “How is it that there is a god in your
country who wants human hair?” They meant Lord Venkateswara of
Another person laughed and said, “God can grow hair by Himself!
Why does He want your hair?”
A very pertinent question! Bhagavan spoke about this a long time
ago. The answer is simple and straight.
Bhagavan said, “Hair symbolizes animality or the bestial
temperament, the thamasic quality, the darkness of ignorance. When
you remove your hair, when you offer your hair, you make an
attempt to be free from the thamasic quality of dullness, of
ignorance, of darkness, or ignorance of the Self. That’s why the
hair is offered.”
“Secondly, if anyone stands in front of the mirror just combing
his hair, everyone thinks that he is a film star -- most handsome,
though the next person tells him, ‘You are not.’ It is very
different if one is ugly when standing in front of the mirror. So
once you offer your hair, there is no more decoration, no more
attempt to look handsome. ‘I disfigure myself.’ This is
self-effacement. There is nothing like projection. This is the
symbolic expression of offering hair to God.”
This made some sense to them. Somehow we came out of that
television program and all of them seemed to have been satisfied
with the answers. So, we began to disperse back to our
A Bag Of Pickles
The others, being rich, wanted to stop on the way back and visit
London, Amsterdam, and other places with the extra money in their
pockets. Since I was a teacher, I did not carry anything at that
I was to visit a close relation there. My father-in-law gave me a
big bag of Andhra pickles, hot stuff, to be handed over to her. (Laughter)
I was carrying this bag for one month -- a horrible burden! The
American brothers were good to me. The sisters over there didn’t
allow me to carry anything. They carried all the things for me. It
must have been a headache for them to carry this big package of
Andhra pickles, such hot stuff. It will help you to land on the
moon straightaway -- straightaway, with no expenditure! (Laughter)
One mango pickle, one piece is enough -- you can try this
afternoon! (Laughter) Of course, you should write your will in
So, I was carrying these pickles all along. But how was I to reach
my relatives? When all my friends had dispersed, the Rotary
governor, someone named Clark who lived in New Albany, came and
said, “Anil Kumar, what are your plans now?”
I said, “I have no plans except to go home.”
He said, “What is this bag?”
“That bag is full of pickles, which I have to hand over to my
“Where are they?”
I gave their address.
“How do you plan to go?”
International Sai Service
Should I say that I didn’t have enough dollars to get there? Or
should I tell them, ‘You fund my trip’? I didn’t say anything.
“I don’t think I have sufficient time to go there. I’ll just bring
the pickles back.”
Then he said, “No, no, your tickets and visa will enable you to
stay here for some more time. Why do you want to leave like that?
No! We’ll see that you get to see your relations there.”
They were staying in Hamden, Virginia. Immediately they made all
the flight reservations. My other friends were traveling by the
Greyhound bus service. Being sent by Sai International,
Inter-continental Sai service, I could fly all the way on
Northwest Airlines, without a single paisa (penny) in my pocket,
through the courtesy of Rotary International, unasked and
They also telephoned my relations and told them that Anil Kumar
had taught them many things about India, Indian philosophy and
culture, and that they wanted to visit that country some day. They
said that it had been an honour to have me there. They asked my
relations to please be there at the airport half an hour before my
arrival time to receive me. Then they put down the receiver. (Laughter)
By the time I landed there, my relations were waiting for me as if
they were receiving Clinton or Bush! (Laughter) That is the
dignity and the position one has with Sai’s Grace, which has
impressed me very much.
The College Declared A Holiday
That is how my trip went. After my return, I was obligated to go
around to different Rotary clubs in India and share my experiences.
Many people don’t do that because they don’t travel everywhere
here. But I wanted to go everywhere because that gave me an
opportunity to share the Grace Bhagavan Baba showered upon me with
everybody, along with spreading Sai’s message everywhere.
It so happened that I was invited to speak by the Rotary Club in
Nagpur. Eduljee was the Rotary governor. I addressed Nagpur
University and the official Rotary Club and shared my experiences.
I began my return journey. I was traveling by Dakshin Express,
which was to connect with another express. Due to my bad luck,
Dakshin Express was running late. I could not report to the
college in time -- that was the magnitude of the emergency.
The Principal had been very angry with me because I had gone
against his wishes. I was expecting that he would be ready with a
dismissal letter. I was thinking and praying to Swami, “You have
sent me on this trip, so You cannot kick me out of the college,
which is my only means of livelihood.”
Having arrived back home, I heard that the college had declared a
holiday that day because our students had won the state-level
cricket match. I congratulated the students, not for their
performance, but for getting the day declared a holiday! (Laughter)
I wanted all the players of the college to play like that and win
many times so that I could have a holiday -- so I could go on my
trips like this, sharing the message of Sai Baba with as many
people as possible.
Within the time left, let me cover some questions given to me, as
those who have asked questions will be anxious about the answers.
I shall try to deal with some of the questions to the best of my
ability within the rest of the time.
“What Is The Origin Of The Mind?”
One question sent to me is this: “What is the origin of the mind?
The answer is simple. There is no mind, so there is no origin! If
there is a mind, you have to trace out its origin. The mind is
non-existent. The mind is only a bundle of thoughts. The mind is
only a bundle of desires. In the deep sleep state, there is no
mind at all. The mind is there in the dreaming state; the mind is
there in the waking state. But the mind is non-existent in the
When thoughts are withdrawn, when desires are given up, there is
no mind. Withdrawal of the mind or annihilation of the mind is
called amanaska or manolaya. So, the question of the origin of the
mind does not arise at all.
“What is The Significance Of New Moon And Full Moon?”
Another question: “What is the significance of the new moon and
Whether it is a new moon, a blue moon, or a full moon, a moon is a
moon. (Laughter) The answer is: The moon is the presiding deity of
the human mind. That’s the reason why on a full moon day, mad
people are full of activity! (Laughter) On the dark night, they
will also full of activity. They may even resort to violence. So,
the moon controls the mind. The mind and the moon go together.
But spiritually speaking, there is another interpretation. The
full moon stands for wisdom, knowledge and awakening. It was on
the full moon day that Buddha was born. It was on the full moon
day that Buddha was enlightened. It was on the full moon day that
Mahaveer was enlightened. Purnima is the full moon day, which is
the day of enlightenment. Moonlight is like the awakening of the
inner Self. The full moon represents the knowledge of the Self.
That is the meaning.
“Has Not My Karma Been Cleared?”
Another question asked of me is this: “You said,” (he meant me)
“the very Darshan of Bhagavan will clear you of your karma. But I'm
still suffering from my karma. Has not my karma been cleared?” (Laughter)
That is the question. The answer is this: One will be cleared of
karmic effects if there is deservedness, if there is eligibility.
When I look at Bhagavan -- when all of us look at Bhagavan, all of
us will not have the same feelings. There are many people who tell
me that when Bhagavan passes by, they receive some vibrations.
There are many people who tell me that they are charged with
energy. There are many people who tell me that they feel a cool
breeze when Bhagavan passes by. So, experiences differ based on
the nature of the individual, their devotion or path and the
intensity of their sadhana.
Therefore, I may not be cleared of karma because I'm not ready. I
have not done enough work. Though the teacher is excellent, when
the student is not able to follow the lesson, it only means that
the student has not done enough homework. The student has not the
required foundation to receive and appreciate the knowledge given
to him in the classroom, even though the teacher is an expert. In
order to be cleared of karmic effects, we should do some homework.
What is that homework? Intense devotion, total faith, complete
surrender and the sadhana of service -- these four are sufficient
physical practices on the spiritual path. Doing (practicing) these
four is sufficient homework for us to get ourselves ready and
prepared, so that we can be free from the karmic effects.
“Are Countries Also Bound By Karma?”
Then I received some more questions: “Karma, is it individual? Are
countries also bound by karma?”
Perhaps like ‘wholesale’ and ‘retail’? This gentleman must have
been a top businessman! (Laughter) Very good!
Kind friends, do not misunderstand me -- I'm just joking. I don’t
mean any disrespect to those who have asked these questions. I
really bow down in all humility to the people who have asked these
questions because they are all spiritual seekers. They are
exemplary. They are noble and role models for me in particular
because these questions help me to go into detail, into the depth.
So, I thank them very much.
The question is this: Are countries bound by karma? In the Holy
Bible, there is a mention of two cities -- Sodom and Gomorrah. The
inhabitants of these two cities mentioned in the Holy Bible were
drowned. The inhabitants were totally punished by God. That’s what
the Holy Bible says. When people are unrighteous, naturally the
whole place is condemned.
A country is not only a geographical location. A country is not
only dust, mud and sand. A country is a collection of people. When
the people are unrighteous…For example, just think of Afghanistan,
where ancient Buddha statues of 200 or 300 feet in height were
bombed and totally demolished by dynamite. So many Buddha statues
were demolished there in Afghanistan. What later happened to
Afghanistan? You all know that. When people are unrighteous,
naturally they will have to face the reaction. That’s the answer I
can give you.
“What Shall I Do To Dine With Bhagavan?”
The next question: “What shall I do to dine with Bhagavan? To
sleep in the room very close to His bedroom? (Laughter) To go with
Him in His car? To have a peaceful end of life, like His mother
and grandfather had? “
These are the questions put to me. Here is the answer, brother.
Going in His car, dining with Him or sleeping in the room next to
Him are all physical activities. You have the driver also in the
car. I don’t think the driver is a saint or a sage. There in the
dining room, you also find cooks and servers. I don’t think they
are saints and sages. I don’t think so. In the building, there is
the watchman. I don’t want to bow down to his feet.
So, these are all physical acts of Grace. They are privileges.
They are grand, golden opportunities. I don’t underestimate them.
But if they lead to pride, if they make you egoistic, if they are
acts of publicity or advertisement, they will really take you to
doom. No! If these help you to be more spiritual, if these help
you to do sadhana with higher, greater or deeper intensity, then
that is a boon. But if it turns you into an egoistic man, then
that is a curse. These physical acts should take you to a
psychological (mental/emotional) level of togetherness with
Bhagavan all through your life, wherever you may go.
If you feel that the next man is Baba, it is living with Him. If
you offer prayer to God and start eating, it is dining with Him.
If you listen to Baba bhajans as you travel in your car, you are
traveling with Him. Baba said, “Wherever My glory is sung, I
install Myself.” Whenever we sing bhajans, we are with Him.
Whenever we think of Him, we are by His side. Whenever we offer
food, we are dining with Him. That is the spiritual, psychological,
metaphysical, mystical experience one should have or one should
crave for. (Applause)
“The Wife Is An Obstacle -- What Should the Husband Do?”
Another question: “The husband is very much interested in Baba,
but the wife is not. The wife is an obstacle. So, what should the
husband do?” He also has given three alternatives: (Laughter) “One
-- should he get divorced from his wife? Number two -- should he
continue along the spiritual path? Number three -- should he give
up the spiritual path? (Laughter) These are the alternatives –
maybe it is like a multiple-choice question. (Laughter)
My friend, this is an exceptional case! A husband finding his wife
a problem along the spiritual path is an exception. Usually the
husband is the problem for every wife! (Laughter) 90% of Sai
devotees are here because of their wives. Let all husbands be
ashamed to declare it in public. This humble self (Anil Kumar
refers to himself) is also one and the foremost. So, this case is
not a matter to be ashamed of. It is a matter to feel proud of.
If the wife is an engine, very good -- the family will be very
fine, peaceful and there’ll be no problem. But here is an
exceptional case where the wife seems to be the problem. Wife or
husband -- one of the two partners will not totally agree with the
other. So, what is to be done?
My friend, the answer is simple. If one is totally worldly and if
the other is totally spiritual, we’ll be nowhere. But in
co-existence, one takes care of the family, while the other takes
care of the spiritual end. The wife taking care of the family is
the root. The husband thinking of God is the fruit of the same
‘family tree’. The one (wife and mother) thinking of the family is
the root, while the other (husband and father) thinking of God is
the fruit of that same tree of life. So, let us not consider the
life partner as an opposition party leader! (Laughter) Certainly
not! Certainly not!
To give you my own tale -- for 25 years, I went around the whole
state of Andhra Pradesh. I visited thousands of Sai centres -- at
least thrice on the average -- spread over those 25 years. My wife
stayed back at home, taking care of the children, my in-laws and
my parents, ours being a joint-family (an extended family, all
living under one roof together). Suppose that she had also become
a competitor. What if she had said, “If you go towards the north,
I’ll go towards the south! (Laughter) If you go and start
addressing people in the east, I’ll have audiences in the west.”
Then the children would be on the streets!
Therefore, it is the pure and logical dynamics of life that one
will be at the ‘grass roots’ while the other will be ‘in the air’.
It happens like that. Nowhere do the husband and wife agree 100%.
They may agree before TV news reporters. (Laughter) They may agree
for the television reporters, but not in reality. The family
‘Korean War’ certainly happens once in a blue moon, without which
there is no melody in life at all.
Let us not worry if the wife is not sailing along with the husband,
or if the husband is not sailing with the wife. The husband will
make the wife follow him one day. Just as husbands are following
their wives, in such cases as this one, the wives will also follow
the husbands someday. It all depends upon one’s own life example.
For example, in a crisis, if the husband is peaceful, the wife
will learn from him. If the wife is peaceful in the worst moments
of life, the husband will learn from her. By our example, we can
certainly carry on with the other life-partner without any sense
of opposition or critical attack.
“Are All The People I See False?”
Another question: “I am a teacher of yoga. I know God is One. But
do you think all the people I see are false? Do you think it’s all
maya, illusion? Do you think they don’t exist? Do you say it is
all a dream?”
The answer is simple: Yoga is a connecting link with God. The
meaning of ‘yoga’ is ‘connecting or uniting with God’. So when you
are connected with God, you experience Oneness. You experience
unity. You’ll see God everywhere -- in the animals, in plants, in
mineral matter. Everywhere you will experience God.
It will be just as Jesus Christ said, when He saw a dead, stinking
dog on the street. Everyone said, “Burn it! Take it away!” Jesus
smiled and said, “How bright the white teeth are! How bright are
the white teeth of that dead dog.”
It means you’ll see the best in the worst. If it is the true path
of yoga, you’ll see unity in diversity. Yoga should give you unity.
But that does not mean in practical life we can be untidy, no! In
our practical life, diversity is there.
Suppose a student comes to me and says, “Sir, please teach me.”
I cannot tell him, “You are God, I am God. So, there’ll be no
class today!” (Laughter)
Suppose a patient comes to a doctor and says, “Sir, I am suffering
from excruciating pain.”
Will the doctor say, “You are not a patient and I am not a doctor.
You are God and I am God. So there is no question of surgery!”
It is all nonsense! From a practical point-of-view, there is
diversity. From an ideological point-of-view, there is unity.
Ideologically, let us experience unity. Spiritually, let us
experience unity. Physically, let us operate at the level of
diversity. It is necessary to be practical, to be fundamental, to
be realistic. That is the best answer I can give.
“Can I See Baba In Different Forms?”
There is another question from Canada: “Can I see Baba in
Why not? Baba appeared in the form of a postman. Baba appeared in
the form of a watchman. Baba appeared in the form of a monkey to
His sister. Baba appeared in the form of a cat. Baba appeared in
the form of a bird. Baba can appear in any form. Why do we go to
that extent? All forms are Baba’s only. We should pray and try for
that experience -- for the awareness of that experience.
Why should He appear in a separate form? All forms are His -- it
only appears to be many. It is something like a person in the
midst of several mirrors all around. That experience of seeing the
One in the many (forms) is the culmination of spirituality.
“What Are The Steps To Merge In Him?”
Next question: “What are the steps that I should take to merge in
There are not many steps. No! The steps are of our own making. The
steps are created in our own imagination. Merger happens at once.
What are the steps that you should take to mix sugar into a glass
of water? How many steps are there? No, no! One spoon and stir it
– you get immediate results!
Similarly, for an aspirant to merge with God, there are not many
steps. Use a spoon of viveka or discrimination, plus a spoon of
vairagya or renunciation – totally stir this, which is the process
of sadhana. That is enough for total merger. There are no steps.
“How many lives are required? How many years are required?” No,
no, no, no! Merger is immediate, all of a sudden, instantaneous,
spontaneous and natural. It happens in a moment!
Merging is our original state. We only got ourselves separated. In
fact, we were all One, but we became separated. Example: here is
fire. Out of this fire, many sparks and pieces come. The pieces at
a distance turn black and become coal. So, originally it was fire.
But at a distance, it becomes coal.
Similarly, originally we were One, but later we got separated. To
know that we are One (though appearing in different forms) is
called realisation. Realisation is nothing but thinking of our
original Oneness -- getting back to that original Oneness or unity
with God. The reason that we separated from that Oneness is only
due to having taken a name and form. That is the secret of merger
I should not detain you further. I beg your pardon for keeping you
for extra time this morning because of the tempting questions. I
hope you enjoyed those questions too!
May God bless you!
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!