Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
August 3, 2003

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

“Questions from America” - Part III

August 3rd, 2003


Sai Ram

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This is the third section in the series, if I remember rightly, covering questions put to me on a variety of topics. We started on the spiritual aspects last week. One question was dealt with then. Now I shall proceed with the rest.

For those who are here for the first time, we are dealing with questions put to me in the United States during my recent visit. I classified them under different headings - individual, social, organizational and spiritual. The final ones are the spiritual aspects, which I started answering last week.

We shall continue from there. The first question I covered last week, for your information, was “How to develop, protect and improve faith?”

“My Faith wavers - What should I do?”

“Sometimes my faith wavers. How can I make it steady? What should I do to make it firm?” A genuine question indeed!

Faith is a gift from God. Faith is not cultivated by man. Faith is a Divine quality. By constantly looking forward, by regularly praying to Him, by the process of meditation, and by the constant repetition of His Holy Name, we strengthen our faith. The source of faith is God Himself. When the source is God, when we pray to Him, naturally He will help in its sustenance and maintenance. That’s one thing.

The second point is this: Do not mix with those who do not agree with our principles and ideals.

I don’t brand them as bad company; I dare not. From their viewpoint, we are the bad company. So, let’s not brand anybody as good or bad. “Judge not, lest ye shall be judged.” Let us not judge anybody.

Let us not mix with people who do not agree with our views and principles. I believe in Swami. There is no point in mixing with a person who denies Him. I believe in Sai philosophy. It’s practically useless to move with people who negate those principles. So, avoiding company that does not have a belief in Sai philosophy is one way of strengthening our faith.

Thirdly, in our chosen path, having developed a strong faith in Swami, we should gather more and more strength. When we read more and more of His literature, when we join satsang - good spiritual company like this, study circles like this - we will be strengthening our faith. It will not waver.

Wavering is the first threat to our faith, a starting problem. Once faith is strengthened, we can relax. During the initial period, we have to be careful, trying to avoid bad company and choosing company in which our faith shall never waver.

Bhagavan has A myriad ways of blessing

“Although we know God is Omnipresent and we feel that we are sincere devotees, we are still disappointed if vibuthi does not materialize on our altars, or if we are not granted interviews. Does this mean that we have not done enough sadhana or spiritual practice to receive God's Grace?” It’s a genuine question, indeed.

These days we find wide publicity of miracles. Miracles, or experiences of miracles, are of two types: one - the absolutely personal, and two - the miracles that convey a message, a lesson to learn, to share with others.

When we keep on advertising personal miracles, it leads to questions of this kind: “Why doesn’t this happen in my case? Why there only?” “Vibhuthi falls there; why not at my residence?”

Vibhuthi is not necessary! For instance, Bhagavan thinks it is necessary there; therefore, He materialises vibhuthi there. Here, He thinks it is not necessary. Therefore, He does not materialise it here. Both situations are equally good. Why not? Why should we think that one place is a chosen place and this is a forsaken place? It is absolute, total ignorance.

My friends, Bhagavan has a myriad ways of blessing. He is multi-dimensional. In fact, the procedure or the way that He confers a blessing on one person never corresponds with another.

He gives a ring to one devotee. He gives a chain to another devotee. Vibhuthi is given to another. To still another devotee, He appears in a dream. He talks through His photo to another devotee. He sends a friend or a messenger to another, and through that person, a message is conveyed.

And He answers your prayers in His own mysterious, non-understandable, inexplicable way. By the time you return home, your problem is solved. By the time you go, the problem is solved. That is what is important.

All worldly things have a formula. Water is H2O all over the world - in Russia, America, Pakistan or Iraq. Water, H2O - that is its formula. All worldly material has a formula and a definite process. But spiritual experiences and spiritual manifestations are beyond our comprehension. They are above explanation. They are above our head. So let us not worry about it.

“Why this, and why not that?” That’s material. ‘Why’ and ‘why not’ are questions to be put where worldly things are concerned. But in spiritual experiences, in the spiritual realm, the only thing that we have to learn is total unconditional surrender or submission: “O God, Let Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

‘I am happy with what I am. I am blessed this way, very good, thank You.’ That kind of a feeling should arise. The question of the presence of vibhuthi and the granting of interviews has arisen because of competition. This question has arisen because of comparison. Once you get out of the madness of comparison, you will be free. You will be happy with the blessing conferred upon you. That’s my answer.

Message of Bhagavan in one sentence

“What is the Divine Message of Bhagavan? Convey it in one sentence.” (Laughter).

We teachers set up question papers. But the questions that are put to me, see! (Laughter). OK, what is the main message of Bhagavan? Put it in one sentence.

I said, “Why a sentence? I will put it in one word - LOVE. (Laughter) That’s all - LOVE! Why one sentence? A sentence is superfluous. (Laughter) One word is enough.” That's what I said. (Laughter)

Mukthi, Moksha, Nirvana explained

“Explain Mukthi, Moksha, Nirvana briefly.” (Laughter)

This is a very good question. We are living in the computer age - instant food, instant coffee, instant Moksha or liberation. Instant, instant! I can understand. We don't want to lose time. We want to know things straightaway, fast. We want prompt, ready-made garments.

Now, the question is to explain Mukthi or Nirvana. My friends, Mukthi or liberation or Nirvana, heaven or paradise, are not located at a different place. It is your own mind that makes heaven out of a hell, or hell out of a heaven. Liberation is not a different world. Nirvana, Mukthi or Moksha are not a different place. Liberation is not limited to time and space. No!

Liberation - what is true liberation? It is liberation from body attachment, liberation from attachment to the individual soul, liberation from desire and liberation from ignorance. That is Moksha or liberation, Mukthi or Nirvana.

What is the way to light? The way to light is to get out of darkness. That's all. Once you get out of darkness, there is light. Similarly, when you are liberated from this desire, when you are liberated from this attachment, when you are liberated from all these wants, from the body attachments and from the individual soul, that itself is a paradise. That is what you call Mukthi or Moksha.

“How to overcome my ego?”

“How do I get over my anger? What does Swami say about this? How to overcome my ego?”

A two-in-one question - OK! (Laughter)

Well, how do I get over my anger? How do I get over ego? These are the two questions. Well, the thing is this: the very discovery of anger within one’s own self is enough of an achievement. The very identification of ego in one's self is enough of a success, because people identify themselves through ego.

When I identify with my ego, well, there is no chance of redemption for one hundred lives to come. So, the very understanding that I am not the ego is enough of a success. Once I decide to give up my anger, that is enough of an achievement.

The next step is: How do I give it up? How do I overcome it?

Why am I angry? I am angry because of the ego. Ego and anger are very close relations: cousins, brothers, or you could say, twins. Ego and anger go together. An egoistic man is always angry. Therefore, the root of the problem of frustration, depression, jealousy, or hatred, the base or the source of all these evil traits happens to be the ego. So, let us know how to give up this ego.

To give up the ego is quite possible just by measuring ourselves, by measuring what we are in this vast universe or cosmos. The Bhagavad Gita has explained this very clearly. Those who have gone through the Bhagavad Gita will agree with me.

In this vast universe of the planets, the solar system, the lunar system, what are you, after all? Earth is the smallest planet. In this planet, minus the water, what is size of the land, after all? Very small. And in this land, out of so many countries, what is India? It is the size of an ant. And in India, what is Andhra Pradesh? The eye of an ant! In Andhra Pradesh, what is the Anantapur District? A speck in the eye of an ant! Then Puttaparthi is a speck-in-the-speck! (Laughter)

Then where are you? You do not know! (Laughter) Therefore, when you compare yourself with the vast expanse of this Universe, when you think of this manifestation of the Divinity, you understand you are negligible and I am negligible.

If this glass of water, in its simplicity, thinks it is very great, I just laugh at it. When I take this glass of water to the ocean, this water will understand it is only a drop. So, a drop will lose its ego when it is close to the ocean. When the drop is dropped into the ocean, the ego is gone. The ego is present because of identity. The drop feels it is something special and great. (Laughter) So with the identity, once it is gone, ego is lost totally. To drop the ego, the drop has to be dropped in the ocean. I think I am clear.

Similarly, if this ego is to go, the only solution is to think of God, to think of this Universe, to think of this Creation, to think of the Creator. ‘What am I after all? What am I?’ This is not self-denial. This is not self-condemnation. It is understanding the true identity of one's own nature. ‘I am, after all, nothing in this vast world.’

This kind of separateness of name and form is the cause for the presence of ego. Once this separateness goes, identification is gone. When you understand that you are a part of the whole, the ego naturally goes. Therefore, the best way to lose the ego is to understand the entire Creation, to think of the vast expanse of this universe, to think of God and His Creation. Then we know how small we are. That is the best way to give up our ego.


I often tell our boys this, because boys are boys. When big boys don’t understand, we can have sympathy for small boys. When Swami suddenly talks to a boy, a student, well, he will think he is very special. (Laughter) Because he is a special creature, he puts on a serious face. (Laughter) Swami has spoken to him. Therefore, he must be someone out of the ordinary. (Laughter)

I give him some time because all these flights fly high. Yet, he has to come down someday for refueling. (Laughter) So, let us allow those flights, OK.

Then comes a time when our good Lord will allow him to undergo another test. He starts ignoring him. The fellow who enjoyed earlier…ah, now it is winter! It always comes after summer.

So, he comes to me and asks, “Sir, nowadays Swami is not talking to me. What shall I do?”

“Oh, don't do anything. There is nothing to be done. You forgot the fact that the season of winter will certainly follow that of summer. It is your mistake. All days are not Sundays. There is a test period. Certainly. One necessarily has to go through that. The whole day includes both night and day. Both are there. Summer and winter make a year. Don't you think so? The day - daytime and nighttime - make up twenty-four hours. Don't you think so? Similarly, you cannot have the time you choose all the time. No! Life is a matter of cycles. A cycle, that’s all. Because you were egoistic then, you are frustrated now. Because you felt very proud then, you are depressed now. Had you been calm, had you been composed, had you been equanimous, had you maintained a balanced state of mind, then you would not be depressed now.”

Therefore, my friends, we have to be careful when times are favourable. We have to be more careful when we are successful. We have to be more careful when we are the recipients of Bhagavan's blessings, so that we don't lose them. We have to treasure them by being more humble, more serving, non-egoistic, non-jealous, non-competitive, friendlier and more loving with everybody. Otherwise, on the day of test, you will be left with people pitying you. If you are egoistic today, when you are in the test period, it will be a cause of celebration for others, at your cost. Why? It's not worth it.

This question of Swami ignoring the student has arisen because of an ego problem. An egoistic man is not able to move freely with everybody. An egoistic man is not able to share with everybody. An egoistic man is not able to care for others - no caring, no sharing and no concern.

“How do you know there is ego?”

One boy asked me, “Sir, how do you know that there is ego?”

Very simple. There is ego, which can be easily detected, because you want to show yourself as superior before everybody. You think that you are greater than everybody. That is ego. To feel that I am one among many, that I am the least of all, that I am nobody - that is the absence of ego or being egoless. Once ego is gone, all the problems of this world will be absolutely, totally solved.

“How to remove bad thoughts?”

“How do we remove bad thoughts?”

Bhagavan gave a very simple example: I am holding a rope. I think that I am holding a rope. It is evening time, twilight time. There is not much light, so I think that this is a rope. Somebody comes up and immediately switches on his torch. He says, “Poor fool! You are holding a snake, not a rope!”

“Is that so?” Immediately, I will drop it, won't I? Yes! Finding that I am holding a snake and not a rope, what will I do? Since I know fully well that snakes are poisonous and dangerous, I will drop it immediately. Therefore, once you know that these thoughts are really bad thoughts, you will not entertain them.

If the idea of how to give up bad thoughts does not arise, it is because we are comfortable with the bad thoughts. So then giving up bad thoughts is a problem. When we do not know how dangerous they are, or what sort of an obstacle they are towards realising the Divine, then giving them up is a big problem. But once we understand that they are dangerous, that they are not to be entertained, then once and for all, we will immediately put a full stop to those things. That's one point.

The second point is this: We should not fight our bad thoughts. After all, we are humans. My friends, I always tell my audience each time that I am nobody; that I am in no way superior to anybody, not in the least. I know that in the audience there are many, many people far, far superior to me. I am fully aware of that.

The point is this: Do not dwell on the fact that there are bad thoughts in us. “These are bad thoughts! How do I remove them?” When I think too much along these lines, then I fight the bad thoughts and I become worse! A simple example given by Baba: One fellow is bad. If you want to defeat him, you have to become worse than him! (Laughter) How else can you defeat a bad man? It's not possible.

Therefore, instead of brooding over the bad thoughts, instead of thinking too much along this line of continually fighting with the mind, let us take a positive approach. Entertain good thoughts. Spend more time in good thoughts and good company, so that bad thoughts slowly diminish. With the sunrise, darkness gets dispelled on its own. With more and more good thoughts coming and appearing, the bad thoughts start disappearing. That's my answer.

A Few words on Ahimsa

“Please say a few words on Ahimsa, non-violence.”

There are many acts of ahimsa. There are many expressions of ahimsa also. But himsa, violence, is rampant today. Himsa means violence. It is rampant. Today, violence is everywhere. You hear it the moment you switch on your radio, the moment you switch on your TV. You read it the moment you sit at the breakfast table and open the newspaper. The whole front page speaks of violence somewhere or the other - this group fighting with that group, or this man murdering so many people. Violence! Violence!

Bhagavan's concept of violence is different from the ordinary connotations. The concept of violence that we understand is hurting or harming somebody. Bhagavan has gone a step beyond: You can be violent by how you look at another. Some people look at us in such a way that we feel very much embarrassed. ‘Why is that man looking like that? Why? What happened to him? (Laughter) He seems to be some wild animal. Why? There is no friendship in his looks. There is no love in his looks. Something is wrong with this man.’ So, you can hurt, you can be violent through your looks.

By using words, you can be violent. I can give you numerous examples because we are surrounded by acts of verbal violence, verbal acts!

“Sir, where can I sit?”

"SIT THERE!" Violence! (Laughter)

“Sir, I want to give a letter to Swami. So can I sit in the front?”

"NO, SIT, SIT!" (Laughter) Violence!

“Sir, I want another spoon of Sambar.”

"NOTHING DOING!" (Laughter) Violence!

“Sir, is this book available?"


“Sir, when is darshan time?”


So, you can be violent verbally. You can also be violent through your looks. Then you can be violent by your thoughts. If we are always thinking of the fall of the other man, waiting for the failure of the other man or waiting for the other man’s defeat, that is also violence.

So, violence does not necessarily mean only killing. One can be violent by word, thought and deed. Therefore, ahimsa, non-violence, means refraining from hurting anybody by thought, word and deed. That's the answer.

“Why am I crying during Bhajans?”

“I really do not know why I start crying while singing bhajans. Can you please tell me why this is happening?”

This is happening to the questioner and I have to give a solution. Well, I am glad about one thing. The question is put to me this way: “Why am I crying during bhajans?” Good. If you cry at home over something else, I have no answer. (Laughter) Those answers are purely private and personal, but this crying during bhajans is a welcome feature. It's positive. Don't say crying. No! They are tears of joy, Ananda, bliss. In fact, everyone should cry while singing. Yes! This shedding of tears of joy is not the shedding of tears of grief. They are not the tears of sadness. They are tears of joy in singing the glory of God. This is a welcome feature. You can't help it once you become absorbed in the singing.

Usually, when bhajans are going on, your thoughts will be on the singer: ‘Who is singing?’ (Laughter) Why are you interested in the singer? When you are interested in the singer, there won’t be tears of joy. Some people are interested in the instruments. ‘How nice! Who is playing?’ (Laughter) ‘The tabla is nice’, as if the harmonium is awful! (Laughter) Or, ‘The harmonium is nice’, as if the tabla is bad! So, when you concentrate on the singer, when you think of the instruments, when you think about that sort of song…No!

When you think of the song, singer or instrument, naturally you cannot identify with the bhajan. You should be the song. You should transform yourself into the song, such that you are the song. The song is not different from you. You are the rhythm, you are the beat, you are the melody and you are the bhajan. Bhajan is not separate from you.

Once you identify yourself with that process of bhajan, tears of joy start rolling unnoticed. You think of Lord Krishna: ‘Giridhar Gopala, Giridhar Gopala, O Lord Krishna!’ You think of Him, so naturally tears of joy will start. But if you think of the singer, the instrument or the song, the joy is gone.

Think of the content; think of the meaning. Be a song onto yourself. Be a melody to yourself. Be the music. Then you can identify. Then you will understand what bliss is during a bhajan session. We don't experience bliss during bhajan because we are separate from the bhajan. I am separate from my bhajan because I am watching who is sitting around me. I am watching my group or some other group. But I have not come here for groupism! (Laughter)

Some people say, “Sir, we don't allow them because they don't belong to our group.” I want to know to which second-rate group you belong! (Laughter) So, you belong to that group of second-rate fellows. Let’s not concentrate on the groups. Chi! Unity is Divinity. Groupism is not worth it at all.

Sitting for bhajans, I am conscious of my environment. I am aware of the people around. I watch and others are watching me. So where is the question of tears of joy? (Laughter) Close your eyes and understand. Get into the meaning of the song, the melody. Picture yourself with all the content and the meaning of the bhajan. Then you become the song itself. You become the music itself. Then the tears of joy come. That's the answer.

“How is the spiritual heart connected with the mind in the body?”

“How is the spiritual heart connected with the mind in the body, in terms of feeling, thinking and action? How do I connect them for a better life?”

“The mind and heart, how are they to be linked?” Swami gave the answer a long time ago.

We should know the distinction between the mind and the heart. The memory, the intelligence, knowledge, recapitulation, and all secular knowledge, all the information of the outer world, all this is in our head. The head is the seat of learning. The head is the seat of knowledge. The head is the centre of worldly information.

The heart is the seat of wisdom. The heart is the centre of intuition, not intelligence. The heart is the centre of awareness. The heart is the birthplace for human values in life, like truth, sacrifice, peace and compassion. They all arise in our heart. The memory, intelligence, statistics, data, computer - that is the head; whereas compassion, love and peace, these are found in our heart.

So, the heart and the head - I have told you the difference between the two. Now, how to link them? It is quite simple.

When the heart prompts, when the heart dictates, the mind executes. When the mind executes, when the mind acts on the dictation, acts on the command of the heart, the life is in perfect harmony, in perfect unison, in perfect unity, in perfect co-ordination, in complete integration.

If the mind does not agree with the heart (consciousness or awareness), if the mind declares independence, “Let me act in my own way! (Laughter) I am quite independent. Keep quiet, heart!”… when the mind goes on acting in its own way, what happens? Accidents.

If we act according to the mind, completely neglecting the heart, it means that we are giving expression to our ego. The mind is the ego, individual consciousness or individual identification. On the other hand, the heart is cosmic; the heart is universal; the heart is spiritual. If the mind acts without the background of the heart, the mind naturally diverts, deviates, digresses and misdirects. This digression, this misdirection, this wrong perversion is responsible for all the chaos in our lives. When we are directed by the mind, our life is full of chaos and confusion.

On the other hand, if the heart commands, and the mind acts according to the command of the heart, life will be peaceful. Life will be spiritual. That’s why Baba says, "The body is a water bubble. Don't follow the body. The mind is a mad monkey. Don't follow the mind. Follow your conscience!" That is what your heart is. That is what the heart is. That is the answer to the question.

Harmony in thought, word and deed

“Explain harmony in thought, word and deed in terms of its inner meaning.”

In terms of its inner meaning - thought, word and deed, yes! The words that I speak and spell out, those acts are visible. The thought is entertained in the mind. The thought will find its expression by word and action. I cannot speak without thought. If thought does not produce the word, I am a mad man. We say that he doesn't know what he is saying. What does it mean? When there is no thought behind it, one is mental, psychotic. If there are no thoughts behind an action, the actions are going to be foolish. The actions will land you in total failure. Thought is the promoter of word and action.

Then, what is the source of thought? The source of thought is the Self, the Atma. The source of thought is Self, Consciousness. Awareness is the source of thought. Once we are aware of the Awareness, the thought comes out of it. This thought produces speech. This thought directs, reflects, manifests, by way of action.

Because we are not aware of it, because we do not know the source of thought, we are confused. When we speak, we are not conscious of our speech. When we act, we are not sure of our actions. Sometimes, our motives are questionable. Once we know that the source of thought is the Self, these things are neatly solved.

Then, no thought or thoughtlessness is Divinity. Thoughtlessness is Divine. Withdrawal of thought is Amanaska, ‘no mind’. The withdrawal of thought, mano laya, merging of the mind in the Absolute, this annihilation is Divinity.

From that no-thought state, we come to the individual self. After all, there are two states: one, the Cosmic Self, and the other, the individual self. The Cosmic Self is no thought. The individual self is the seed of thought. Then the thought expresses in word or action. I think I am clear. The Cosmic Self is something like a thermal power station. The individual self is like a transformer. The mind is like a meter. The body is like an electric light bulb. The electricity is the action.

Therefore my friends, the source is the Cosmic Self, which is thoughtless, which manifests and proceeds into this world in the form of individual self, out of which thought is born. This expresses itself by way of word and deed. Therefore, the unity from within can be established by being aware of the Cosmic Self, the Paramatman - the Universal Soul, the Parabrahman - God.

“All good people suffer - why?”

“All good people suffer - why?” (Laughter)

First, why should you think that you are good? (Laughter) You cannot declare yourself to be good. There should be someone else to say that you are good. You cannot say, “I am so good; why am I suffering?” Oho! (Laughter) Maybe I should ask by what standards you declare yourself to be good?

So, all good people suffer. Why? Last year, this question was put to Bhagavan.

(By the way, for the benefit of English-speaking people, I may say that by the time of His Birthday, I would like to have all these questions published in book form as well as those things spoken about by Bhagavan on the verandah. For your benefit, I am in the process of getting them translated into English.)

This question was put to Bhagavan: “All good people suffer. Why?”

Bhagavan said, "You think that they are suffering. But they don't feel they are suffering."

Understand this point: You think that they are suffering, but they never feel suffering. They don't think they are suffering at all. But they appear to be suffering. As you know, Jesus Christ was on the cross, at the moment of tests and turmoil, at a time of challenge, and heavily bleeding. He prayed, “God, O God, O Father in Heaven, they know not what they do. Forgive them!”

He prayed for their pardon! “Let these people be excused. They do not know what they do.” Is it possible for an ordinary man to pray for his executers, to pray for those people who nailed Him on the cross? Is it possible? We think He was suffering, but He was not suffering.

Gandhiji, a man who used non-violent means to bring about India’s independence, was jailed. We think Gandhiji, the father of the Nation, was suffering, but he never felt he was suffering. No, he never felt so.

We thought that Prahlada, the saintly son of the king of the three worlds, was suffering. Actually, he was laughing and singing. If there were any suffering there, perhaps it was for God, as He had to rescue him everywhere. God had to save Prahlada.

If there is anybody suffering, it can only be God, because He has to save us all the time. We commit so many mistakes. He has to excuse us, and He has to save us from all possible threats and dangers. So we don't need to suffer, because He is there to take care of us.

Therefore, when you say that all good people suffer, it is only your imagination. Their goodness lies in bearing that suffering. Their goodness lies in resisting that suffering. Their goodness lies in still holding on to their principles and convictions very firmly, even at the time of suffering. That is their greatness.

“What is good company And what is bad company?”

“What is good company and what is bad company? Can't we change the bad into good?” (Laughter)

Whether we will be able to change the bad into good or not, let us be careful that we don't change ourselves! (Laughter) First, we have to be very careful that we are not changing ourselves.

Secondly, what is good and what is bad, is known by all. We don’t need to say that this is good company…that this is bad company. We don’t need to tell anybody. Everyone knows! In fact, good and bad are not outside. Let us go a little deeper into the topic.

Bhagavan said…Abba! Really, I tell you that I forget myself when I think of certain statements of Bhagavan. We should go into the depth of His statements, and then we can forget ourselves. We are lost in the fathomless depths of the content and the intensity of His expression, of His dicta, of His sayings, or whatever we call His teachings.

Bhagavan said: "Bad and good are not outside. They are within you. Good and bad are within you. When you entertain good thoughts within you, you are in good company. When there are bad thoughts in you, you are in bad company."

I think I am clear. That’s why Baba said, “Everything is the reflection of the inner being.”

“I say that you are a bad man because…” How do I know that you are bad? The bad quality in me identified the similar bad quality in you, and therefore I say that you are bad. So, both of us are equally bad. (Laughter) Am I clear?

I say that you are a good person. Why? The goodness in me helped me to identify the goodness in you. Therefore I say that you are good. Both of us are equally good.

So, the good and bad are in me, and when I find this reflection externally, I start branding; I start judging; I start classifying; I start fragmenting; I start dividing. It’s all the expression of the inner being. So my friends, the meaning of good and bad company is to be good for the sake of yourself.

My friends, after all, I am not prepared to mix with bad people simply because I refuse to accept that bad which is within me. I am not able to excuse myself. I am not able to bear myself. I don’t excuse myself. I don’t love myself. Therefore I say, “They are bad, they are bad, they are bad!” First, I should learn to excuse myself. I should learn to respect myself. I should learn to love myself. Then I can accept everybody, good and bad. That is the answer.

“How do you distinguish between THE true inner voice and THE mind's whisper?”

“How do you distinguish between the true inner voice and the mind's whisper?” Very good.

The true inner voice! I am glad that you have accepted the existence of the inner voice. I am also glad that you know there is a mind's whisper separate from the inner voice. How to distinguish them? Very simple.

When can we hear the inner voice? The inner voice can be heard when the outer noise stops. The outer noise should cease for the inner voice to be heard. Just as there is an undercurrent of water, all the boulders must be removed, the pebbles must be removed, the sand must be removed to touch the flow of water beneath. Similarly, when all the outer noise is gone, when all the outer actions are withdrawn, when one turns inwards, one is able to listen to the inner voice.

Next, how do you separate it from the mind's whisper? The mind's whisper is always for your convenience. ‘Why can't I go now?’ Mind's whisper.

‘Don’t go! Stay until the lecture is over.’ That’s the inner voice. (Laughter) Clear.

‘I went there this morning, but Swami did not come this way. Why not sit some place outside for an extra half hour, and then come for darshan, and come for bhajan when it suits me.’ That’s mind's whisper.

‘Keep quiet! Be there by 2:30. Swami may come anytime. You can have His darshan at least. You can see Him.’ That’s the inner voice.

‘It’s not possible to see Him again and again. You have come all this way. Why don’t you go visit some other place?’ Mind’s whisper.

‘Keep quiet. Be there by 3 o’ clock.’ OK? Inner voice.

The mind's whisper: ‘You can sleep tonight. Why not stay on for half an hour more?’ (Laughter)

So, the mind's whisper is always for your convenience. The inner voice is conviction. The mind's whisper is dual, giving you a choice: to be or not to be; to go or to stay back; to do or not to do. The mind's whisper gives you a choice.

The inner voice is choicelessness. Choicelessness.

‘Speak the truth.’ The inner voice.

The mind's whisper: ‘Not everybody speaks the truth.’ (Laughter)

‘Why should I speak the truth, after all? Not necessary.’ The mind's whisper. I think I am clear.

‘Love everybody.’ The inner voice.

‘How can you love everybody when those fellows hate you? (Laughter) When those fellows are harming you, how can you love everybody?’ Mind's whisper.

‘Remain in peace.’ The inner voice.

The mind's whisper, ‘What will happen to my salary next month? What will happen to my promotion next month? How will my business prosper next week?’

So, the mind's whisper is worldly. The inner voice is spiritual. The mind's whisper provides choice; the inner voice is choiceless. The mind's whisper is for convenience, whereas the inner voice is conviction. That’s how you can certainly distinguish and differentiate. The inner voice stands for values, whereas the mind’s whisper is always for personal gain. The mind's whisper is egoistic. The inner voice is without ego.


“What explanation would you give to a person who does not believe in past life, and who is as good as one can be, in regard to the pain and suffering he goes through?”

It seems a person is going through pain and suffering. He doesn’t believe in past life. What explanation can be given to him?

I can give him only one explanation - continue to suffer. (Laughter) Continue to suffer.

If you see that the suffering is from a past life and for one’s own transformation, then you won’t feel the pain of suffering. Seeing this, the pain of suffering can become less and less, negligible if possible.

The talk about a past life will be kind of a solace. It will be sort of a comfort. It will give sort of an explanation. That’s the reason why, in this country, in India, there is no demand for psychiatrists. (Laughter) There is no demand for psychoanalysts. There is no demand for the treatment of mental illnesses or ailments. No, nothing! No demand. No one turns mad as in many of the other countries.

Why? We have accepted the suffering. ‘I am suffering. All right, I accept it, come what may. This suffering is because of a past life. OK. That keeps me sane and comfortable, at least conversant, at least amicable and friendly with others.

Suppose I don’t believe that, and I am suffering. ‘My suffering should be cause for the whole world to suffer, OK?’ (Laughter) ‘My suffering is an international problem, you understand?’ ‘The kind of suffering I am going through, no one else has ever gone through.’ Your suffering is world suffering. Ultimately, you go on suffering so much, you are fighting within yourself so much, that you are unable to keep yourself in one piece. Ultimately, you turn mad, and then pay money to a doctor for treatment, and finally become normal again. (Laughter) Why all that?

Moreover, suffering can be taken as a lesson. Let us take this period of suffering as a period of meditation. Let this suffering turn into prayer. We cannot turn pleasure into prayer. No, because pleasure, I think, is my own making. Pleasure is my own doing. So, pleasure makes me egoistic.

In fact, both pleasure and pain can be turned into prayer. When pleasure is turned into prayer, it is gratitude. When pain is turned into prayer, it is meditation. Why not? Therefore, my friends, pleasure and pain can be transformed into prayer. Suffering is for one’s own elevation, for one’s own transformation, for one’s own advancement, and not a matter of punishment - certainly not! That's what I say.

"I am not satisfied with MY spiritual progress"

“I am not satisfied with my spiritual progress. Why? How to be satisfied?”

My friends, satisfaction and dissatisfaction are two states. I am satisfied with this blue file made in the USA. Good. (Laughter) Aha, when I don’t have this, I am dissatisfied. Satisfaction and dissatisfaction are two states of experience. When I possess, I am happy. When I do not have, I am unhappy.

In spirituality, there is no question of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. There is no question of happiness and unhappiness, because you are already that (Divinity)! You are not getting anything more in the spiritual field. You are not going to get any extra. You already know what you are. You think you are only the body; you think you are only the mind; you think you are the individual. No. You are God! You are Divine!

In spirituality, the word satisfaction can be defined as the true realisation of the Self. Dissatisfaction means the non-realisation or ignorance of the Self. Ignorance of the Self is dissatisfaction. Awareness of the Self is supreme satisfaction. I think that is the way we have to take it. Spiritual progress means awareness of the Self. Spiritual failure means non-awareness of the Self. That is the answer given on that day.

“How to earn His grace?”

“How to earn His grace?”

A simple thing: the sun is shining here, yes! If you go in the opposite direction, there will be a shadow in front of you, right? Turn towards the sun and walk towards it; the shadow will be behind you. When you turn away from the sun, the shadow is in front of you. When you walk towards the sun, the shadow is behind you.

Similarly, when you think of God, you are earning His Grace. When you are walking towards the world, you are denied His Grace. That’s all. Sun is God! Walk towards Him. That is Grace - more and more light. If you turn against or away from Him, you have to follow your own shadow. This shadow is the illusion, delusion, mistaken identity, super imposition, Maya or whatever you may call it.

“What is surrender?”

“What is surrender?”

This question is asked because surrender has not been achieved. A simple example: Here is a glass of water. I mix one spoon of sugar into it completely. Where is the sugar? The sugar has dissolved in the water. There is no sugar now. Even if you ask, “Oh sugar, please let me see you! I want to see you,” it will say, “Sir, stop asking. I am one with the water. I am dissolved in the water.”

Similarly, once you have surrendered, you don't ask, “What is surrender?” The sugar will not say, “Where am I?” because it has become one with the water. So, the one surrendered will not ask this question, “What is surrender?”

He is going towards surrender. He is in the process of surrender. Surrender means accepting His Will unconditionally. Surrender means forgetting the individual self. It means being One with the Supreme Self, the Cosmic Self, being One with Brahman (the Universal Absolute). That is true surrender.

Devotion is dual - Surrender is non-dual

Feeling separateness is not surrender. Separateness is devotion. Being One with the Divine is surrender. Surrender is superior to devotion. In devotion, there is the devotee and there is God. When the devotee becomes God, when the devotee is One with God, it is surrender. So, devotion is dual. Surrender is non-dual. I think I am clear. That is the answer.

“Should We women follow Sita or Urmila?”

“We women, whom should we follow? Should it be Sita, the wife of Rama, who accompanied her husband into exile, or should it be Urmila, the wife of a brother of Rama, who remained at home?”

We know the story of Sita and also that of Urmila in the Ramayana, the story of Rama. One went along with her husband, Rama, while the other one allowed her husband to follow Rama. (Laughter) Whom should we follow, Sita or Urmila? Should we follow our husbands like Sita, or be like Urmila, allowing them to go and remaining behind?

Urmila and Sita are two characters representing two different situations. There may be an occasion where you have to act like Sita. There are times when you have to act like Urmila.

Here is a simple example involving the same person. The husband is working in the army. He is an army general. In times of war, the husband, being an army general, has to go to the front. He has to go to the battlefield. Then the wife would not say, like Sita, “I will follow you.” (Laughter) She has to be like Urmila - stay behind and encourage her husband to go and fight.

Later the husband becomes a government employee and he is transferred to another place. That place is in a remote corner of the jungle. The poor fellow has to manage on his own. Then the wife would follow him and say, “Don't worry. I am here. Never think that you are alone. It may be a new place. It may be a forest area, but as long as we are together, the place is like a garden to us. It’s no longer a wild forest, no. I am here by your side.”

When your husband needs your support, you act like Sita. When the husband is duty-bound, you are Urmila. Urmila and Sita represent two different situations. You have to identify the actual situation. Then you will know whether you should follow your husband or stay back.

You should not say, “My husband is a surgeon. He is in the operating theatre. I will be like Sita. I will follow him!” (Laughter) No, no, no! You have to stay back.

“My husband is sick. He has been admitted to the hospital. I will be like Urmila and stay at home.” No, no! (Laughter) You should then be Sita. You should follow him. You should go to the hospital. We must use our sense of discrimination.

“What are your views on dreams?”

“What are your views on dreams?”

Let me be very honest. I do not dream much, and the dreams I have are not worth mentioning. They are not worth sharing. This life itself is enough torture! Why dream as well? (Laughter) Why more dreams?

But I do not deny nor do I reject dreams concerning Swami. Swami appears in our dreams when He decides to appear. In that case, those dreams are true. However, some people make their own psychological projection and interpretation of the dream.

I am ashamed to give you an example of a person who went to a lady and said, “Swami appeared in my dream and wanted me to marry you.” Oho. (Laughter) That fool.

That lady said to me, “Sir, Swami appeared in my dream and wanted me to marry this man.” Oho. She had a dream and that fellow had a dream.

Both of them came to me and said, “Sir, in the dream it appeared that we should marry.”

“I don’t deny what you say. Yes, Swami told you. Where? In your dreams. So please get married there, in Dreamland. (Laughter) Get married in Dreamland, not on this land. Understand?”

Therefore, my friends, psychological projections are different from Bhagavan appearing in our dreams. The unfulfilled desires project themselves through the dream and we think they are real. No, no, no!

Bhagavan appears at a time when you don’t think of Him at all. Bhagavan appears at a time to give you direction when you badly need it. Bhagavan gives you kind of a support, kind of an anchor when you are lost in the waves, in the tossing of the ocean’s waves. When you are there in the turbulent ocean, when the ship is tossing, Bhagavan appears: “My dear child, don’t worry. I am by your side.”

When you are helpless, when you are forsaken, when you are given up by everybody, Bhagavan appears and tells you, “My dear child, I am by your side. Why fear when I am here?” That is a Baba dream and not just a psychological projection.

“Is God on vacation?”

“I am suffering. How is it that Bhagavan is not able to respond to my prayers? What's wrong with Him? Is He on vacation?” That is the question put to me.

“How is one supposed to pray to Swami when everything goes wrong? How come nowadays every Sai devotee I meet is going through a hard time? Is Swami on vacation? (Laughter) Is Bhagavan on vacation?” Very good! Because we have a vacation, let us try to give Him a vacation. But the problem is, when He is on vacation, we will have problems!

The answer is simple: When everything is going wrong, I should be thinking that there might be a mistake in my approach. There may be some mistake in my procedure. There may be some mistake in my intention. There may be some mistake in my motives. Perhaps I may not be deserving of what I want. I may be undeserving; I am simply desiring. Perhaps I should find out know whether I am deserving or not? It may be because of my mistake; it might be because of wrong procedures; it could be because of my bad motives or because of my undeservedness.

Above all, let me learn a lesson that when I am wrong every time, that it is a lesson for me. Let me look to God's guidance. Let me see what Bhagavan is telling me. Let me pray to Him. What intuitive feeling does He give me? How is He awakening my intellect and asking me to proceed in the direction of success?

Instead of complaining that I am going wrong, let me inquire within, ‘Why am I wrong?’ If one is always wrong, there must be something wrong somewhere. I must enquire in depth. Outwardly, I should be more competent; I should be more talented; I should be more skillful. Inwardly, I should be more investigative. I should enquire more and more from within, and pray for God's help, so that I will be successful. God is never on vacation!

Bhagavan always said, “At least you have Sundays as holidays. I don't have any Sundays.” Our good Lord has more work on holidays, more work on Sundays. He has no holiday. He is never on vacation.

“Is there anything wrong in praying to Swami for our wants?”

“Is there anything wrong in praying to Swami for our wants, for our needs?”

There is nothing wrong with it. We have no other to ask. We have none to fall back on other than God. The Bhagavad Gita also gives this sanction: Artho Jignasu Artharthi. Artho - the one who yearns for His Grace, Artharthi – the one who wants money, Jingnasu - the inquirer, Jnani - the one of wisdom.

From all directions, you can reach for His Grace. British Airways, Indian Airlines or Lufthansa - all these different airlines take you to JFK Airport in New York. Similarly, you can pray to God for anything. ‘O God, I want this… I want this’, but with the preparedness to accept whatever He gives. With preparedness, ‘O God, whatever You give is my good luck.’

Once Swami said, “Debbalu Kottina nee Manchike.” “Even if God hits you, beats you, it’s for your good. Even if He denies you, even if He does not grant you your desire, it is for your good.” That’s what Bhagavan has said.


“Swami repeatedly says, ‘My life is My message.’ Could you please share your thoughts on its basis for the benefit of the devotees in the Bay Area?” (The questioner was from San Jose, California.)

“My life is My message” refers to the life of Love, the life of sacrifice, the life of truth, the life of righteousness. That should be enough guidance for everyone. That’s how the devotees will benefit. The life of Swami in itself is His Divine message.

“IN A FAMILY, How is it one or two are devotees, while the rest are not devotees?”

“In a family, how is it that one or two are devotees, while the rest are not Sai devotees? Why?”

What can I say? (Laughter) There are three people in the family. One person gets a university degree. The next one gets through the University examination. The last one successfully fails! (Laughter)

How am I to answer? In respect to spirituality, it depends upon one’s own fate, one’s own destiny. After all, life is just a moment. That’s all. Out of a series of lives, the present life is a just a moment. The present is a speck. Everyone passes through a number of lives. Life is a continuous journey to eternity. This life is just a moment; it’s just an incident.

Actually there is no death whatsoever. Death is a useless word. Death is a meaningless word. Death actually refers to the disappearance of the body. The appearance of the body is birth. The disappearance of the body is death. There is neither birth nor death. I am not mad. I am not making you mad either! (Laughter) Actually, there’s neither birth nor death. We are eternal. We are immortal. When we think of life in that way, we can certainly understand. Some people have this awareness and some do not have it.

So, why is it that some are devotees and others are not? It only means that God has chosen you. God’s Grace makes you devoted. God's Grace makes you more faithful. Those who are denied His Grace…well, they will get it slowly. If not this flight, they can catch the next flight. All are sure to reach the destination. Some people miss the flight, but they make arrangements with the airlines to go on the next flight!

So, if not now, then the next life. Coming next to the Sai family is the communist. (Laughter) A communist is not an atheist; a communist is not a non-believer. He comes next, so ‘come you next’ = communist. Therefore, some children are devoted and others are not devoted, because ‘come you next’. That’s the answer I can give!

“What is the difference between surrender and merger?”

“What is the difference between surrender and merger?”

Surrender or merger is one and the same. Merger is said to be at the physical level. Surrender is the spiritual, technical term for the merger.

“would you explain a little more about the Three r’s”

“Would you please explain a little bit more about the three R's - reaction, reflection, resound?”

When man is Divine, what is the problem then? When man is Divine, what is the fun of reaction, reflection, resound? Because I do not know that I am Divine, I think in terms of reaction, reflection and resound. Once I know that I am God, there is no question of reaction, reflection and resound.

A simple example: I am in front of the mirror, and therefore, I see my reflection. When there is no mirror, there is no reflection. Because I feel that that I am a person, because I feel that I have a body, because I feel that I am an individual, there comes the problem of reaction, reflection and resound. Once I am convinced that I am Divine, there is nothing to be seen of the three R's.

“I don’t get TO sleep - what should I do?”

“I don't get to sleep every night due to fear. My mind bugs me with problems. What should I do? Should I say take a tablet, a sleeping pill?” (Laughter)

I said, “No, no, no! A nice Sai bhajan will give you sleep. Or read a spiritual text and then you will go to sleep because you won’t understand it! (Laughter)

“My family does not accept Baba”

“I am from Lebanon and I am a Jordanian Christian. My people accept all that is related to Christianity, but not Baba. What should I do?”

Don’t force them. Let the Christian follow the Christian faith. Let the Muslim follow the Muslim faith. To proceed in your own faith is the nearest and surest way to reach Baba. To follow your own faith is the easiest path to reach Baba. Baba will never accept any conversion, nothing whatsoever. That's the answer I gave.

“When I have to suffer My own Karma, What sort of help does Baba extend to Me?”

When I have to suffer my own karma, what sort of help does Baba extend?”

Very logical: When I have to suffer my own karma, why should I come here? Karma cannot be avoided. (Laughter) Why waste money on reservations, inconveniences and mosquito bites? (Laughter) Why all this? A very reasonable question.

You have to suffer your karma. There is no way out of it. However, coming to Baba, you will have the courage to bear the suffering. When the anesthetic is given, you don’t feel the pain. Although there is suffering, you don’t feel the pinch because of coming to Baba. You are not escaping the karma, but you don’t feel the pinch. That is the advantage of coming here.

“Why should one desire liberation?”

Now to the last question: “Why should one desire liberation when he has no idea of it?” (Laughter) Very good question.

Some people say, “Sir, I want Moksha…but why?” He does not know why. (Laughter) It is neither sweet nor hot. It is neither whiskey nor beer. Why? Why do you want Moksha? Why do you need liberation?

People think that it is something elsewhere. No! The place is non-dualism: that is the place where there is no pain or pleasure, the place where there is neither suffering nor ecstasy. It is place where you are in a blissful, non-dual state. It is beyond want and beyond desire. It is a place or a situation where there is an attitude of equanimity, a balanced state of mind - that is called liberation.

Why do I want it? So that I don’t have to suffer. Why do I want it? So that I don’t have to face the pain. Why do I want it? So that I don’t have to pass through the chain of duality. To be non-dual, to rise above, for my own comfort. My friends, that was the answer given.

I thank you very much for being here and for the extra time. It took longer because I wanted to complete the whole thing. With this third talk, I have completed all the questions put to me in the United States by the devotees, which I really wanted to share with everybody.

I thank Swami for having given me this golden opportunity. Moreover, I thank you very much for being with us this morning, and for next week. Thank you very much.

Sai Ram.


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

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