Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
October 27, 2002

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

My Own Personal Experiences

27th October 2002


Sai Ram.

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.

My Grandfathers

I 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 Higher Education.

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 days.

My College Days

I 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.” (Laughter)

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 Puttaparthi?” (Laughter)

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 you?” (Laughter)

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 all.”

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 them.

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 sit?”

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 then.

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 I experienced.

"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 feeling.

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 place.

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 literature.

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 student career.

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 elocution.

They would say, “Unless you get first class, we won't send you to compete.”

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 not apply!

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 this profession.

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 this.”

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 change it.

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 vacuum.

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 like this?”

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 immediately.”

‘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.

Anantapur Campus

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 Baba.”

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, great scholars.

“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 name.’ (Laughter)

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 my speech.

‘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)

Accommodation Inside

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 staying?”

“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,” Baba said.

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

One day 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 said. (Laughter)

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 You!’

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 go.”

“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 come!’

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 right?”

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 that.

“Swami, silk dhotis! Why for me? No, no, no! They’re given to pundits.”

“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 come. (Applause)

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 Trinity?”

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 reach Me.”

“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?” Very good!

“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 understand karma.

"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

We 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 voice’?

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 mind.

“If you drink, don’t come to Puttaparthi.” That is the inner voice. (Laughter)

“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 the answer.

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 death whatsoever.

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!

Thank you!


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!

Thank You!

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