Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at
October 27, 2002
The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar
My Own Personal Experiences
27th October 2002
OM… OM… OM…
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
The Completion of Sixty Years
There have been repeated requests from friends -- in fact they
have been demands, so I can't just say requests -- asking me to
share my personal experiences with devotees, which I have not done
so far. (Applause) I feel that it amounts to self-praise and I am
hesitant that it may not help others. My experiences may not help
others and it may also exhibit my vanity or ego. These have been
my misgivings or misapprehensions regarding the subject of sharing
my personal experiences.
There is one milestone in each individual life. It is clearly
stated that one has to totally dedicate himself to his own
liberation, for his own salvation. One lives for a job; one
struggles hard for money; one strives very much to settle his
children; but after sixty, completing sixty, the scriptures
clearly say, “My dear boy, it is time to retire. You can no longer
involve yourself in avenues of income, and it’s not proper to
think of professional promotions. It is absolutely foolish to
think of your name, fame and esteem because after sixty, the time
you have left is to live for yourself. You are no longer going to
live for your family; you are not going to be interested in wealth
or name, dignity or prestige - nothing! It is time for you to
meditate, to reflect, to go within, to turn inward.”
The completion of sixty years in our scriptures is called ‘Shasthi
Poorti’. ‘Shashti’ means ‘sixty’ and ‘poorti’ means ‘completed’.
As I have completed Shasthi Poorti, I take this opportunity today
to share my experiences in all humility and in all reverence.
First, let me express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart. I
really mean 100% of what I say. I'm grateful to every one of you
for all the encouragement that you have given me, for all the
support you have extended to me, for all the rapt attention with
which you have heard my talks. You have made me go through Sai
literature in depth. You have helped me to just reach across the
shores of Sai literature. You have helped me to go into the depth
of Sai philosophy. Therefore kindly accept my grateful thanks each
and every one of you.
Had there not been this satsang, this assembly of noble souls, it
would not have been possible for me to come out with these topics
of immense interest. Because there have been continuous requests,
even demands, from friends, this morning I seek your permission to
speak on a personal note. I'm sure that you must know me by now,
that you’ll never misunderstand me. In all humility, I submit to
you my own experiences.
came to the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan in the year 1970, thirty-two
years ago. To tell you honestly, I belonged to a family of Brahmo
Samaj. Brahmo Samaj happens to be an improvement, if I am to say,
or the modern presentation of Hindu faith. Raja Rammohan Roy
founded Brahmo Samaj. He was very much interested in woman’s
emancipation and very much interested in a classless society.
Brahmo Samaj doesn’t believe in idolatry; it does not accept
worship. Brahmo Samaj’s emphasis is on meditation, on God who is
attributeless and formless, who has neither a beginning nor an
end. Brahmo Samaj believes in the fellowship of faiths, the
equality of all religions. It does not accept yagnas, yagas,
worship or pictures or incarnations - nothing whatsoever.
I belong to the third generation of Bramo faith. My maternal
grandfather and my paternal grandfather, who were classmates,
later became related. Both of them were Brahmo Samaj missionaries
for sixty years.
My maternal grandfather served as editor of one magazine, a
spiritual magazine, with all the details of philosophy, by name
‘Darshan Sadhani’, which means ‘The Spiritual Path along the Path
of Dharma’. For forty-five years, he was editor of that magazine.
My paternal grandfather served for fifty years as editor of
another magazine, ‘Dharma Jyoti’ -- ‘The Light of Righteousness’.
Both of them were married by Sri Kandakuri Veresharam Pantulu, a
great reformer from the state of Andhra Pradesh. Both of them
happened to be Brahmo Samaj missionaries.
In our homes, we did not have any pictures of Rama, Krishna -
nothing whatsoever - no formal worship, no ritual, nothing except
prayers and meditation. I belonged to that kind of family.
My Mother and Father
A matter of personal note I should also tell you: My father, late
Sri K. Bappayya did his MA in English literature, MSc honours in
physics, BEd diploma in library science. He was an outstanding
student and a gold medallist. He retired as the Deputy Director of
Then there is my mother: I want to tell you two points in this
connection. In those days, it was a matter of sin for a girl to go
to school or to college. No woman had any higher education - none.
Every girl got married below the age of eight. That was the
horrible situation of the society here in this country.
My grandfather, being a Brahmo Samaj reformer and missionary, had
my mother educated up to the post-graduate degree, MA English
literature from Queen Mary’s College, Madras. She was the gold
medallist in English literature in the former Madras State.
When my mother used to go off to college, it seems that most of
the people came out of their houses and watched her proceed into
the college. They condemned my grandfather, as he was the man who
sent a daughter off like this. That was the condition then. The
fact is that she was the first lady graduate from the state of
Andhra Pradesh. (Applause) She retired as the District Education
Officer. My father is no more, but my mother is eighty-six, still
hale and healthy, a very honest officer. (Applause)
Naturally, there are very few Brahmo Samaj families today. We are
three brothers and a sister, so it was difficult to get us married
to those belonging to the Brahmo Samaj. It was not easy because we
do not have enough Brahmo families. However, there was some
attraction because the Brahmo Samaj does not accept or approve of
any dowry. That was a matter of attraction for perspective brides
to visit us. (Laughter) So there was no dowry and only a few
people there to offer their daughters in marriage to all three of
the brothers. Some of that was the only incentive for them, and
somehow, by God's Grace, we got married. (Laughter) Or else it
would not have been possible!
It really is a matter of surprise when I look at my only three
wedding photos. I see my mother-in-law with a long face and my
father-in-law with no cheer on his face. They look very worried
about their daughter. This girl would be stepping into a family
where there is no worship, where there is no puja, no Rama or
Krishna pictures. ‘Is she going to live or not? What are these
fellows going to do?’ I read that expression on their faces. Even
today, I amuse myself by looking at the photographs taken in those
My College Days
very well remember my college days. One day I attended a thread
ceremony, upanayanam, of one of my classmates. It was lunchtime
and suddenly word was sent to me, “You’ll be served food on the
veranda.” (Laughter) Everyone else could fit inside. The only
reason for this was that I happened to be the son and grandson of
Brahmo Samaj followers, who don’t believe in idolatry, who don’t
have a thread ceremony, who don’t observe the caste system, who
believed in reforms, who believed in woman’s emancipation. So they
said, “You’ll have your food on the veranda.”
I was studying SLC at that time, in 1957. Immediately I said,
“Don’t take the trouble of serving the food on the veranda. I’ll
have my food at home.” That’s one thing I very much remember.
Since then, I have never visited their home.
I also remember another incident of one of my classmates who
celebrated Sita Rama Kalyana, the holy wedding of Rama and Sita.
It is performed annually by some of the families. I went there.
When they served special sweets and other items, they asked me to
go on the veranda, saying they were serving food to me outside the
house. I said, “Please keep it for yourself, thank you very much.”
I left the house.
Then I started to imagine the face of my parents. If that was the
situation in the 1950’s, you can imagine the position in the
1930’s. Both grandfathers were not allowed by their parents to be
with them because they did not approve of idolatry of anything
whatsoever. That was my position in those days. Somehow things
went on like that.
My Wife’s Operation and Temple Visits
To cut the story short, in the year 1970, we had a problem. I have
four children. They are all happily married and well settled, but
in those days, in 1970, the eldest was seven years old, while the
youngest was a few months old. My wife had a problem. People said
that she had developed an ulcer on the uterus. I consulted about
seven doctors all over Guntur, some of who were returning from
foreign countries. I spent a lot of money to have a second
opinion, a third opinion -- like that, repeated opinions. Everyone
said that she must be operated upon immediately because the ulcer
might turn into cancer. That’s what they said. Even professors of
gynecology said the same thing.
It was a hot summer. Left with no option, I got her operated on
and it was a success. Later she was psychologically upset. She
felt that something was wrong with her; and she could not eat
anything, but only drink buttermilk, that’s all. She said that she
felt a burning sensation. Therefore, I took her to about thirteen
doctors, all over Guntur. Today whenever I meet a doctor, he says,
“How is your wife?” I feel very much embarrassed. I wish that I
could avoid all these doctors because in those days, that
situation had become the talk of the town.
All of them said, “She’s fine. Nothing is wrong with her.” We
became a laughing stalk to our own parents. “When doctors say
nothing’s wrong with her, why is she complaining of burning
sensation and why is she unable to eat anything?”
At that time someone said, “Why don’t you take her to a temple?”
As Brahmo Samaj’s do not visit temples, what could we do? Then I
told her, “Since you come from a traditional orthodox Brahmin
family, and as I am a democrat, I don’t mind taking you to the
temple.” (Laughter) So everyday we used to visit a temple,
accompanied by our four children
There was one condition -- I would always remain outside the
temple. She would go inside. I didn’t want to be transformed or
converted! (Laughter) I wanted to stick to my own guns. She was
quite happy that she was going to the temple everyday. I made my
children play there and I played with them. That was my part
during that time.
"Why Don’t We Go To Puttaparthi?"
Finally, one day when we were returning, we heard some bhajans
somewhere. My wife said, “Why don’t we go there?” Immediately we
went there and heard bhajans. For the first time, I saw Bhagavan
Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s photo. I had not seen His picture before. I
had only heard about Him.
In college I used to speak -- not positively -- about Bhagavan. In
fact, one day a girl was wearing a locket with Bhagavan’s picture,
so I sent her out of class!
“You have no business having Baba’s picture in my class.”
And, when a student wore a ring, I asked him to get out of the
classroom, I used to say, “Don’t ask me important questions for
the examination because I'm not Sathya Sai Baba.”
In addition, if anybody came with a mop of hair, I used to joke,
“Would you like to imitate Sai Baba?” (Laughter)
In those days, that was my pitiable, shameful, meaningless
prejudice and bias, an inexcusable, unpardonable frame of mind.
After attending the bhajan, my wife said, “Why don’t we go to
The family that does not approve of Rama, Krishna or Venkateswara,
now we are to go to Puttaparthi! It was something like the boon
that Kaika asked from Dasaratha, which eventually lead to
Dasaratha’s death. (Laughter)
I said, “You have been so good until now. I don’t know why you
have become Kaika. How can I take you to Puttaparthi? Impossible!
My parents won't approve.”
I came from a joint family, where parents and grandparents all
live together. “They won’t approve. “
She said, “Would you like me to survive or not? Can you give me a
guarantee that you will take care of these four children, thank
Then I started shivering in my shoes.
I said, “All right, I’ll take you, but on two conditions. The
first is that you do not ask me to go into Prashanti Nilayam. The
other is that you don’t ask me to do namaskaar to Baba. (Laughter)
Point one, don’t force me to go into Prashanti Nilayam; point two,
never ask me to do namaskaar to Baba.”
Another situation was that I taught at a Christian college, where
it was very difficult to get personal leave. The Lutheran Church
in America sponsors the college, where I had served for twenty-six
long years. They were a very strict and very disciplined
institution. It was impossible to get personal leave.
So I made another condition. I told her, “I can only give you four
days. Beyond that, I'm not going to stay. Better you stay, that’s
Somehow we came to an agreement. There is only a gap of one year
between us, so she understood that I was just compromising to find
a solution. That was the situation.
So we came here! Really, I did not step into Prashanti Nilayam
during all those days. I stayed away, that’s all, making the
children play. That was my condition. I did not want to displease
my parents and grandparents. They were staunch followers of the
Brahmo faith and they had sacrificed their lives. Their parents
and society had forsaken them. I was their son; I could not betray
At lunchtime, my wife and I would have heated arguments, as in the
Parliament. She always used to say, “What is wrong if you come and
I said, “You said ‘Yes’ at home. (Laughter) Why don’t you keep the
promise you gave me? Don’t do this!” (Laughter)
“No, no, you can sit!”
“No, no, I won't sit.”
This was the heated discussion, morning and evening, everyday.
I Did Namaskaar to Him
On the final day, I was to leave here to go home. I was standing
with our four kids near the Gopuram gate, which is now closed. In
those days, the Gopuram gate was always kept open. I was standing
with the children at the gate. It was bhajan time. Swami was
seated in a chair in the bhajan hall. Suddenly He left His chair
and walked towards me, the whole way. (Laughter) He stood in front
of me. I felt like running away! (Laughter)
I stared and, praying to the formless, attributeless God, asked
that He make Swami leave -- that was my silent prayer. However,
Swami stood in front of me and just looked at me from top to
bottom, “Hmm,” Swami said, and then left. I did not do any
namaskaar at all. (Laughter) Good! That was the agreement -- we
can't break the agreement!
Swami went back and sat. While bhajans were going on, I kept
standing in the same spot. Again, Swami came down and walked
towards me, all the distance, which does not usually happen. He
stood in front of me and did not leave until I did namaskaar.
(Laughter and applause) He did not leave that place at all. What
was I to do? Hopelessly, with hands shivering and folded most
unwillingly -- but out of fear, nothing to do with love or
devotion -- it just happened like that! Or I should say, Bhagavan
saw to it that I did namaskaar to Him. He did not leave until
As He was walking away, suddenly a plate appeared in His hands
with laddus. Ay-ree! I saw Him just walking like that.
I was wondering, “Where did the plate come from? Who gave Him the
plate with laddus?”
Then He started distributing those laddus to some of the laborers
working there. It was during the construction of the Poornachandra
Auditorium and He distributed laddus to everybody.
Then I thought, “More than You, Your laddus will be helpful to my
children. (Laughter) They would like them very much.”
Well, I didn’t have any faith in Him, but let me see, I had total
faith in laddus! (Laughter) I knew the taste of them. So, along
with the children, I went there. But when the last laddu was given
to the last worker, the plate vanished. That was the first miracle
"Why Don’t You Call Me?"
The next morning around 10:30 AM, I went to catch the bus. I was
sitting by the station. A man, whom I had never met before, by the
name of Naidu, introduced himself. He said, “I am the Headmaster
of Easwaramma High School.”
I said to myself, ‘So what if you are the Headmaster or Director!
How am I concerned? I'm waiting for my bus. I must go.’
I was also feeling within myself, “Oh God, You have been picking
out people for an interview. Why don’t You call me? Why not? I am
in no way a rowdy. I'm not a bank robber. I'm not a reactionary.
I'm not a Naxalite - I'm not a man of violence. Besides, my
parents and grandparents are very great. I'm trying to live up to
their expectations, though I am sure I can never equal and excel
them for a lifetime. But, I know this -- I should not bring a bad
name to them. That is enough. Why don’t You call me?” That was my
Then this man said, “Anil Kumar, are you feeling sad that Swami is
not calling you?” I did not tell him anything. (Laughter)
Then I thought, ‘Prashanti Nilayam as a place is sufficiently
dangerous, and fellows like this are much more dangerous.
(Laughter) Better I leave this place!’ That’s what I thought.
Then the man said slowly, “Please don’t go. Sit down; sit down.
Don’t feel sorry for not being called for an interview. Swami
calls many people. Some Naxalites, men of violence, from Calcutta
were given an interview. Why an interview is given is best known
to Him. One patient is just asked to go home and another patient
is operated on. It does not mean that the doctor loves only the
fellow on whom he operates. No, no, no! One patient requires an
operation, while another patient just requires some liquid, some
mixture. That’s all. Baba knows what is best. Don’t worry.” That’s
what he said.
I also suspected that he might come out with some other statements
because my brain was full of dirt and dust, which should not be
shared with anybody. So, “Thank you, sir,” I said and I left that
After leaving him, I began looking at a Swami book, Sathya Sai
Speaks, Volume V. While I was reading two talks, I became very
much interested. Immediately, I purchased the whole set of books
that were available at that time. I think there was up to Sathya
Sai Speaks, Volume XII then. After I returned home.
Back home, believe me, my wife’s health picked up. She was
perfect, hale and healthy - no complaints thereafter. It took just
a mere visit to Prashanti, that’s all. (Applause) No interview, no
smile, no conversation, nothing -- and with her husband, this
bloke, totally negative! (Laughter) Totally negative, that was my
position. Anyway, she was all right and I started reading Sai
I Was Just a First Class Student
Here I should tell you that I never got less than 60% in my
subjects throughout my student career. I took care to see that
they would not be less than 60, and they have taken care to see
they would not exceed 70! (Laughter) So I was always between 60
and 70, that’s all. I never stood first in the class. I never got
any gold medal - no, no, no, I was not an outstanding student,
just a first class student - 65, 68, that’s all. That was my
But right from childhood through high school level, college level
and university level, I always stood first in inter-collegiate,
inter-university elocution competitions --debating competitions. I
always stood first there, but in study -- only first class, that’s
all. Otherwise my parents wouldn’t allow me to participate in
They would say, “Unless you get first class, we won't send you to
So, I did it only for that fulfilment. I was very much interested
in public speaking right from childhood. That was my condition.
Later, after completing my MSc degree, my mother wanted me to be a
class one IAS officer, but I did not apply. I did not fill out the
application. My mother wanted me to at least be a radio announcer.
I did not do that! She wanted me to become a bank officer. I did
I told her, “Mother, I want to be a teacher.”
She said, “I don’t want you to be a teacher because your parents
and grandparents, all of us are teachers. We want to have some
officer now. I don’t want you to do that.”
But I said, “I want to be teacher.” So she could not help it.
I Became a Teacher
When my mother went to some place on inspection and my father was
also out-of-station, I got the job and began immediately. I did
not want to face them and have them say ‘no’ to me. By the time
they returned from their camps, they saw me getting ready to go to
the college. It was too late and somehow they compromised.
But my friends, I tell you that I have no regrets for having
become a teacher. Given a chance, in the next life I also want to
become a teacher. (Applause) The reason is that the ‘bank account’
is the heart of my student. The ‘entries in my passbook’ are the
feelings of love and affection that my students have towards me. I
have completed forty years as a teacher. I have no regrets. I love
Just for a change, my younger brother became a doctor and my
mother was happy. But then that fellow became a professor of
pathology and principal of a medical college. (Laughter)
Then my mother wanted at least the son-in-law of the family to be
an engineer from an institute of technology. But he became a
professor of mechanical engineering at an engineering institute of
technology. So what is destined, no one can change. The entire
family had the genes for teaching, that’s all. We cannot help it.
When my grandfather wanted me to become a Brahmo Samaj missionary,
my mother said, “Nothing doing. He should be a normal householder.
We have seen you suffer from this. Please leave our son like
But no one can say what is in store for us. I became a Sathya Sai
Samaj missionary right from 1972. (Applause) Who can stop it?
Later my mother wrote an article in a magazine: “What I never
wanted happened in this fellow’s case.” That is destiny. We cannot
I Was a Non-Entity for Eight Years
As things went on, (I'm telling you my friends, please believe me)
for eight years Bhagavan never looked at me - no smiles, no
padanamaskar and no interview. I was miles away from Him. I always
got in row thirty through thirty-five! (Laughter)
Because of my speaking ability -- I should say speaking -- which
was a virtue at one time, later became a vice. Even then (as now),
I went on speaking a lot and some of the office-bearers became
acquainted with me. Then, when I had just managed to sit in the
front row or third row by maneuvering, manipulating and managing
the people there because of my familiarity and acquaintance with
them, Bhagavan used to completely cancel darshan towards that
wing! (Laughter) Other times, if I managed to sit where He came,
He would see everybody except me.
“Get up, get up,” He would say to others. It was as if I was in a
I was a non-entity, a non-existence - not even the size of a
mosquito or an ant! (Laughter) He used to call everybody. This
type of ‘Divine Romance’ went on for eight long years, I tell you!
In those days, many people used to ask me, “When Swami does not
look at you, when He does not talk to you, why do you keep coming
I said, “We are teachers. If a fellow fails in a March
examination, he will appear for a supplementary September
examination. (Laughter) He’ll get through then. So, He may not
talk to me now. But what if next life we will meet?”
All through that time, this is what I was feeling.
After eight long years, during Dasara a sudden message was sent
that Swami wanted me. “Anil Kumar should come to the Auditorium
‘Why?’ Well, I have my own luggage. I have my own worth, not
anyone else’s. ‘There is no reason to call me all of a sudden. How
does He know me? Baba, how do You know me? First, is it this Anil
Kumar or somebody else?’ (Laughter)
So I went there and the Seva Dal told me to sit in the front row.
Swami came! He looked at everybody except me! (Laughter) I see!
Okay, as usual, eight years! “Once bitten, twice shy.” Okay,
that’s how I felt. Then I went to Kasturi’s house to seek his
clarification, “Sir, is it true that I was wanted here?”
He said, “Yes.”
“How is it that Bhagavan did not look at me?”
“I do not know.”
Either he must be bluffing, or I must be under misapprehension, or
my destiny must have been like that.
Somehow, utterly disappointed, telling myself, ‘Anyway, it doesn’t
matter’, I just returned and participated in a Ramayana seminar in
Hindupur, very close to this district. After participating in
Hindupur, I wanted Bhagavan’s darshan, so I came to Puttaparthi.
Suddenly, as I was coming on the bus, I saw Swami’s car going in
the opposite direction.
The driver said, “Sir, Swami is leaving for Anantapur.”
‘Oh-ho! Swami, so far You have avoided me. Now You are avoiding
Puttaparthi also. (Laughter) I'm so great as to make You move and
shift, very good!’ (Laughter) I see. Then I thought, ‘I should
also go to Anantapur.’
I got off this bus and got on another bus. I requested this driver
to stop the bus near the Anantapur Campus College gate. I had no
idea about Swami’s institutions and Swami’s discipline. I had no
idea at all.
I got out there and the gateman said, “Who are you?”
What am I to say? I have no answer. I simply said, “I want to see
He said, “Impossible.”
“This is a girls’ college.” (Laughter)
“Ah, so what? I have not come here to see girls. I have come to
see Swami! (Laughter) So there are girls! It doesn’t matter. I
want to see Swami. I teach at a Christian college, where we have
two thousands girls. I can see them there. It is not necessary to
come here. Why?” (Laughter) What he said made me conclude that the
Anantapur Girls’ College would not permit even a male mosquito to
get in, (Laughter) let alone a man! That’s what I understood.
Then the gateman said that somehow his heart melted watching my
pitiable face. Perhaps, he was sympathetic. He said, “Put your
luggage there and stand here. If you move even an inch, I’ll throw
you out.” (Laughter) This much was good. I was standing there. By
that time, Bhagavan had completed the governing body meeting at
the Anantapur campus. The members of the governing body happened
to be V.K. Gokak, Mr. Craxi (a well-known Italian devotee), the
late Dr. Bhagavantham, and S. Naidu - great people in those days,
“Anil Kumar, Come Here!”
Swami came along with all the people, proceeding towards the
dining hall. He stood there on the veranda and shouted, “Anil
Kumar, come here!” (Laughter) It was the first time, and after
eight (long) years.
Then I thought, ‘It must be the name of the watchman and not my
So I asked the man next to me, “Hey, is your name ‘Anil Kumar’?”
“Oh no, sir. No, I'm not ‘Anil Kumar’.”
Then I didn’t want to take the chance. So I kept quiet.
Then Swami shouted, “Oh professor, come here! Come here, Anil
Kumar!” There was not another person there, and the guard was not
a professor, I was sure. (Laughter) ‘Swami must be meaning me!’
So, I went running all the way.
Bhagavan introduced me to everybody. “He’s a professor in botany
from a Christian college. Last night he gave a lecture in Hindupur
and many people participated. His talk was very well received by
everybody - men, women and children.” He went on giving details of
‘What happened to You, Swami, all these eight years?’ (Laughter)
When You can repeat verbatim the highlights, the important points,
from my talk, why did You not look at me earlier?’ I could not
reconcile that feeling - it was so bad. Immediately He
materialized vibhuthi, gave it to me and said, “Give it to your
wife. She’ll be all right. She brought you here.” (Applause)
Then He said, “Come and attend Dasara.”
I had never wanted to attend Dasara. I was not sure of
accommodation. I didn’t know what to say.
So I said, “Dasara, Swami?”
“Yes, Dasara,” He said.
So, I attended the Dasara festival. Because I could not get
accommodation inside, I stayed in a room outside the Mandir. In
those years, the rooms outside had no doors and no windows
(Laughter). They were all collapsible, replaceable doors
(Laughter) -- everything was like an open-air university system.
(Laughter) Open air, that’s all. So, oh, I see. One had to sleep
in tune to the lullaby -- the music -- of the mosquitoes. Plus
there were no fans there. Then at 4:30 in the morning, for
twenty-five paisa, they would supply hot water. Then that was the
rate. Somehow, I went on like that.
After three days, Bhagavan came close and said, “Where are you
“I'm staying outside.”
“Why? Stay inside.”
“Inside where? Who will give me an accommodation? Where, Swami?”
“Inside! Don’t you understand Me?”
‘Inside? Inside the Mandir or what?’ I had no idea.
Then I said, “Swami, I paid in advance to that man.” (Laughter)
“No, No, No! You go to that man and ask him to return the advance.
He’ll give it to you. Don’t worry. You say My name, that’s all,”
I didn’t know about these things then. “Oh Swami, will he return
the money? In this Kali Yuga, who will return money?” (Laughter)
“No, No, No! They will give it to you. Go and tell them,” He said.
“It’s all right.”
“Ah, Swami, You said, ‘inside.’ Where is inside?”
Then Swami called Kutumba Rao, who was there at that time, and
said, “Kutumba Rao, give him accommodation immediately. I am
telling you that whenever he comes here, give him accommodation
totally free-of-cost.” (Applause) Since then, I have never paid
money for my accommodation. That was a permanent agreement between
the Divine and me. (Laughter) I love it!
Give a Talk
it was Durgashtami. Swami called me and said, “You give a talk.”
I see. “When?” He told me in the morning.
As I was about to get up, “No, No, not now! In the evening,” He
Oh, I see! In the evening, I went there and stood. Two of Swami’s
students spoke ahead of me and then I gave a talk. Somehow, it was
to my satisfaction.
Next morning Swami came and said, “It was a very nice talk.
Everybody liked it. I’ll give you another chance on Vijayadasami.
This time you speak in Telugu,” He said.
“Okay Swami, by Your Grace.”
On Vijayadasami Day, again He asked me to speak in Telugu. It also
went well and Swami said to everybody, “This boy has learnt
Swami’s literature and he can speak in English and in Telugu
fluently.” He was speaking to them about me.
‘Swami, why can't You tell me directly? (Laughter) When I'm here,
I don’t feel happy. Wouldn’t I feel happy if You talked to me?
What is all this ‘romance’? There should be a limit to it!’ But He
was talking to them about me. All the while, He didn’t look at me.
See the romance? This is how it happened! ‘All right,’ I thought.
‘This is the procedure of this God. We have to fit in, reconcile
and adjust. He won't adjust according to my demands. OK, thank
The next morning, I was about to leave this place. Suddenly some
men said to me, “No, no, no! You should inform Swami before you
“Inform Swami and then go? No, no, that’s not possible because I'm
sure to lose my job. For eight years, I never informed Him. He
never looked at me. Don’t force me to do that now. I have no
property. Please let me go.”
“No, no, you should inform Swami,” one man said.
“Oh, where do I inform, where?”
He said, “You go sit on the veranda.”
‘Veranda! That heaven - that’s unthinkable! (Laughter) Not in this
lifetime, no, no, no! Or, onto the road with you! That’s all
impossible. Then too, the Delhi Seva Dal are in charge of the
whole thing.’ (Delhi people, you know, have well-built bodies --
they eat wheat and all that. They are unlike Southern people, who
eat sambhar and rice. Not that, no! The North people are strong
people because of the wheat -- they are well-built.) ‘Who will
allow me to go there? What do I do?’
They were holding their arms like this. (Anil Kumar demonstrates
by placing his arms across his chest). While they were like this,
what did I do? I just ran! Whoooooosh! (Laughter) I ran there and
sat on the veranda. ‘They can't pull me out now because this is a
safe zone. (Laughter) It is a Divine, protected area - nobody can
You Are a Pundit
When Swami came, He called me into the interview room and gave me
an envelope. I put it in my pocket. I didn’t know what it was.
Then He said, “Get a new dress for the Birthday,”
I said, “Swami, my birthday is October 25th.”
Swami said, “Not your birthday! (Laughter) MY Birthday!”
Then I said, “Swami, why should I get a new dress for YOUR
Birthday? (Laughter) Why?”
“Chi, chi, chi! You don’t know anything!”
“I see! All right!”
“In that envelope, there is enough money to have two dresses - one
for your birthday and one for My Birthday. (Laughter) All the
money is there. It is enough for the stitching charges; is it all
Oh, I see. Now I understand. So I returned.
During the next year’s Dasara, again Swami asked me to give a
talk. At the end of the talk, He called me upstairs in the Mandir.
Upstairs! In those days, there were winding steps, so I climbed
them and waited for Swami. Suddenly He called me and gave me a
silk dhoti as pundits wear. I don’t wear dhotis or anything like
“Swami, silk dhotis! Why for me? No, no, no! They’re given to
“Since you are a pundit, I want to honour you.”
“Since when?” (Laughter)
“Since you gave a talk here, you are now a pundit.”
“Oh, I see Swami.” Then He gave me a shawl. “Shawl, Swami, why?
No, No, No, a shawl is given to scholars.” Oh, I see.
He said, “You don’t understand anything.”
Then He gave me a safari suit. “This is the dress for a special
occasion,” He went on explaining.
Propagate the Message of Sai
Then my friends, with a great sense of satisfaction, gratitude and
thankfulness, I tell you this: He kept both of His Hands on my
head and said: “Go all over the State of Andhra Pradesh and
propagate the message of Sai -- talk to the devotees.” That was
the blessing He gave me. (Applause)
Since then, I never spent any Sunday, any festival day or any
vacation at home. I toured to about a thousand Sai centers all
over Andhra Pradesh. On the average, I must have visited every
center at least thrice, spreading over a period of twenty years. I
went all over the State. During that time, I never purchased any
provision with these hands and I never took care of my children. I
did nothing because I was the ‘Minister of Sai External Affairs’.
That’s all. (Applause)
I'm really grateful to Bhagavan: He has given me enough strength
and courage through my wife, who could manage the children and
could serve my parents and grandparents. The credit for the
family’s success is entirely, totally, wholly, purely and
religiously hers. I have acclaimed the platform performance,
whereas the home affairs, that goes to her.
Let me honestly confess that this has been my life since then.
Swami has given me a number of chances to talk in the
Poornachandra Auditorium every year, twice or thrice.
In the year 1989, Swami suddenly sent a message that I should come
to Bangalore, Whitefield College to serve as the Principal. I
stayed in Bangalore, Whitefield College as the Principal for six
years. Then, during His 70th Birthday Celebration in 1995,
Bhagavan transferred me to Prashanti Nilayam. I have been spending
all these days here since. I'm very grateful to Bhagavan for all
the wonderful experiences that He has given me because that will
go on and on for any length of time.
In brief, this is how I came to Bhagavan. Before I pass on to Part
Two of this morning’s talk, I again want to thank you for your
patient listening. I thank Bhagavan for having brought me to His
Lotus Feet. My only prayer is that some day, when I am to leave
this body, I should leave speaking like this and not on a bed, no!
(Applause) I want to leave this body while talking to people,
while sharing the joy of Sai’s message, that’s all. That is my
only prayer, nothing more!
I pray for Bhagavan to bless me. I pray that all of you bless me,
so that I’ll have many more occasions of sharing the Divine
message, His mission and leelas with everybody in the years to
Not to Put Personal Questions
I shall not break my promise to answer some of the questions that
I received, some of the questions that were sent to me. A formal
request has been made to our friends not to ask personal
questions. Questions which are of general use, questions which are
of common interest, questions which would help us to grow
spiritually are welcome, but not personal questions.
I received some personal questions: “We want to go to Canada. Will
Swami permit us or not? Please find out from Him.” (Laughter)
Nobody can find this out for you from Swami!
Then somebody said, “We want to settle in Australia, but my wife
says ‘no’. My son says ‘yes’. What does Swami want me to do? Find
out from Bhagavan.” (Laughter) We don’t need to find out from
Bhagavan! All of you need to meet and settle the matter between
yourselves and Swami.
I request you again not to ask personal questions. I have no
solution to my own personal problems. (Laughter) How can I give
you a solution to your problems? Impossible! Here everyone has a
head-load of problems. Who am I to give a solution to you? I am
not competent enough to give you any solution to your problems and
I would not take the Divine risk of bringing these problems to
Swami’s notice. That would be the last and final day. Well, that I
don’t want to happen. (Laughter) Kindly bear with me and do not
ask such questions. No personal questions!
"Are Baba and Jesus the Same?"
Here is one question: “I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Are Baba
and Jesus the same? Or is this form the Christian concept of the
The answer is simple. Bhagavan said, “All names are Mine. All
forms are Mine. I respond to your prayers that are offered to Me
in any name, in any form. I’ll answer your prayers. Let the
prayers be said to the God of your choice; they will reach Me. You
may pray to Rama, Krishna, Jesus or Allah - all those prayers will
“Swami, how? When I say Rama, how does it reach You?”
Swami gave this example: “You may write a letter to somebody in
England or USA or Delhi or Hyderabad. When the letter is put in
the letterbox or post box, it will reach the addressee. Similarly
all your prayers come to Me. Don’t worry, because I am in all
forms. All forms are Mine. All names are Mine,” said Bhagavan.
Jesus is no exception.
I’ll give you one instance. A doctor from Rome came here as a
participant and delegate for the International Cardiac Conference
held in Prashanti Nilayam. Catholicism is very rigid, very strict.
He was doing his daily prayer to Jesus and going through the
scriptures. He was given accommodation in the North buildings. One
day before dinner, while he was reading the scripture and
meditating on Jesus Christ, suddenly he noticed a hand lying on
his shoulder. He looked back and saw Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Now he says, “Baba and Christ are one and the same. This I declare
at the cost of my reputation, at the cost of my Catholic faith. My
relatives and friends may forsake me, but I declare that Baba and
Christ are one and the same.”
Baba is the Cosmic Christ. Bhagavan is everyone for that matter,
Sarva Devata Swarupa. He represents all deities, all gods -- that
is the answer I can give you.
"Why Should I Suffer Now From Previous Karma?"
Then I received another question. “It is said that, due to one’s
karma carried from previous births, he or she suffers in the
present birth. Because of our past karma, we are suffering in the
present life. In my humble belief, to suffer one should know what
he or she has done. Why not suffer in the present birth for the
current karma instead of it being put off till the next birth?”
“Why should I suffer my karma now from a previous lifetime?”
What did Bhagavan say? My friends, these answers are picked from
Sai literature only. They are not based on my imagination because
I'm not capable of it. I'm supported by Sai literature. If I run
short of answers, I’ll seek your forgiveness on the matter. I
don’t bluff, no!
What does Swami say about this karma aspect? He said, “Some
actions give immediate results.” Suppose there is a cut here. (He
shows his finger.) When you are sharpening your pencil and the
blade cuts your skin by mistake, what happens? It bleeds
immediately. It is a reaction - a result of the action then and
there! You drink milk and you don’t feel hungry anymore - for an
hour anyway. When you take food, you don’t feel hungry for four
hours. For hunger to return, it requires four hours. So, some
actions cause immediate results, while some actions call for an
hour or four hours.
If you sow the seed now, you can have mango fruits next year. Why
next year? That’s all. For the seed to germinate, for the seed to
sprout, for the tree to grow, for the seed to bear fruit, it will
take a long time. Similarly, some actions give immediate results.
Some actions give result leisurely, slowly. That is how we have to
"What Is ‘Bad Company’?"
There’s another question put to me. “What about the company we
keep? What is ‘good company’? What is ‘bad company’? What if I am
fooling myself?” Good, we often do that!
They want a definition. What is ‘good company’ and what is ‘bad
company’? It is a very clear question. To Sai devotees, let us be
sure of the answer. What is good company? Good company is the kind
that will keep us holding onto His Lotus Feet. Good company is
that which will strengthen our faith. Good company is that which
will encourage us to do service. Good company is that which will
draw us closer to His mission. Good company is that which will
help us to withstand the bumps and jumps in life. Good company is
that which will help us not to have too much attachment to money
and family. That is good company.
The company which will help you to run away from here, the company
which will cause you to lose your faith, the company which will
make you go to anybody, anywhere, anytime for any reason, the
company which will make you depressed and frustrated, the company
which will turn you into being an atheist, a non-believer, is
horrible, terrible, bad company.
Being in good company, we find satsang. ‘Satsang’ means good
company. Bhagavan gave a few examples. The sand in the company of
air will go up. The sand in the company of water will go down.
Similarly, in the company of noble people, we come up in life --
our paths are noble. In bad company, our thoughts are negative.
That is bad company. Beware of bad company. Baba said, “Run away
from bad company.”
Tyaja Durjana Samsargam.
Bhaja Sadhu Samagamam.
Be in good company. Run away from bad company.
Smara Nityam Anityatham
Think of what is temporary, what is permanent.
Kuru Karma Ahorathram
Do good deeds day-in and day-out.
These are the dictates of Bhagavan. These are the teachings of
Swami. The people who will help us to proceed in this direction
constitute good company.
The Inner Voice
have another question: “How does a person know if the voice inside
is God?” A very good question! How do you know if it is the ‘inner
Point one is that the inner voice is independent; whereas the
voice of psychology - the reflection of psychology, meaning the
preferences and choices, the likes and dislikes of the mind, are
never independent. The psychology - the reflection of psychology,
the preferences and the choices, the likes and the dislikes of the
mind - all of these are never independent.
Here is a simple example: “I want to go to a cinema to see a
picture.” That is from the mind.
“Don’t go to the picture.” That is the inner voice. Am I clear?
Suppose I want to have a bottle of Scotch whiskey. That is the
“If you drink, don’t come to Puttaparthi.” That is the inner
“I want to enjoy the weekend in Miami Beach, why not! In a Holiday
Inn, we can enjoy ourselves.” That is the mind
“Don’t go there! Go to a Sai Centre.” That is the inner voice.
The inner voice is not ambiguous -- it gives no scope for doubt.
It is straight. It has nothing to do with your preferences, your
likes or choices. It is always direct. It doesn’t give you an
option like, “Do this or that.” “Shall I go to this place or
that?” “No, No! Stop and be here, that’s all.”
So, the inner voice is very clear. It gives you no scope for
choice. The inner voice is instructive. The inner voice is
affirmative. The inner voice is not ambiguous. The inner voice is
independent. The inner voice comes from the Love centre. The inner
voice is Truth-based. The inner voice is peace-directed. The inner
voice is non-violent. The inner voice is based on all these
values. The inner voice is Divine. The inner voice is spiritual.
The inner voice is the conscience, nothing less than that. That is
How does a person know what is right action? What is right action?
To quote Bhagavan:
See what is good. Don’t see what is bad.
Hear what is good. Hear no evil.
Do no evil. Do what is good.
Think no evil. Think what is good.
See no evil. See what is good.
This is right action. This is the way to God. So right action is
service; right action is selfless; right action is holy; right
action is Divine. Right action should be our life goal. That is
the answer to this question.
"Why Is a Person Born and Born Again?"
Here is another question: “Why does a person die and die again?
Then he’s born and born again. Why does this happen?”
The answer is simple. There is a simple meaning from Sai
literature. Individually, it is impossible for us to answer. We
are reborn again and again - why? We aren’t able to come out of
the cycle of birth and death - why? Why birth? Why death?
Birth and death are due to thoughts or sankalpa. Thoughts and
counter-thoughts are responsible for our birth and rebirth. When
we are thoughtless, when the mind is withdrawn, when the ego is
totally gone, when there is no thinking process, when we turn
inward, when we experience the soul, the spirit, the
consciousness, we are not born again.
Because we don’t experience the ‘conscience’, we don’t experience
the ‘consciousness’. We are attached to our thought. We are
attached to our body. We are attached to our ego. Therefore, we
are reborn again and again. I think I'm clear.
Another point is that, truly speaking, there is no birth and no
death. There is no birth; there is no death. The one born is the
body; the one dying is the body. But the ‘I’ is still there.
A simple example: I remove this bulb here. Does this mean there is
no current? There is still a current, but the bulb gave an
expression to the current by shedding light. Once the bulb is
taken out, there still is a current!
Similarly, you and I exist as current. The body is the bulb.
Whether the body is there or not, the current is still there.
Similarly, there is no birth; there is no death. It is only
changing the dress, the nightgown, the evening gown, the swimsuit,
or the golf dress, that’s all, right? Therefore, we change our
dress, but the ‘I’ remains the same. Truly there’s no birth and no
Examples of Reaction, Reflection, and Resound
My friends, I'm happy to receive all these questions. There is one
last question today. “Can you give some examples of reaction,
reflection, and resound?”
We have any number of examples. Stand in front of the mirror -- it
is reflection. If I stand in front of the mirror, I see my own
reflection. But there is philosophy behind it. The object is God;
the mirror is nature. The reflection is the individual, the main
object is Divine. The mirror is the world; the mirror is nature.
That is the example for reflection.
Second, reaction: Because of good thoughts, a positive mind, we
have positive results. Swami was telling us the other day, “If you
love everyone, God will love you. If you serve everyone, you will
be served. See the reaction! If you hate everyone, everyone will
hate you. If you love all, everyone will love you.” So this is
reaction. As is the action, so is the reaction.
Then, resound: If I am here and shout, “Sai, Sai!” I get the same
sound, “Sai Sai.”
“Sai, Sai,” I get the same resound.
That’s what Baba said. If you say ‘yes’, Baba will say ‘yes’. If
you say ‘no’, you’ll get the answer ‘no’. ‘Yes’, ‘no’, belong to
you; but Swami says, ‘Yes, Yes!’
“Swami, I want to die now.”
“Yes, Yes!” (Laughter)
“Swami, I got my leg fractured.”
“Yes, Yes, very good!” (Laughter)
“Swami, my grandmother died.”
“Nice, Yes, Yes, Yes!”
“I want to get married.”
“Yes, Yes, Yes!”
“I don’t want to marry.”
“Yes, Yes, Yes!” (Laughter) This is resound.
These are all examples of reaction, reflection and resound.
Thank you very much for being with us this morning!
May Bhagavan be with you forever and ever!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
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!