Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
December 21, 2003


“Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

December 21st, 2003


Sai Ram

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I welcome you all to this morning session. Let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I know that this month is the Christmas season, and I also know that there will be grand gala celebrations with festive functions everywhere.

I am reminded of my happy days on the faculty in the Christian College, where for over 25 years there were so many Christmas celebrations: students’ Christmas, parents’ Christmas, children’s Christmas, staff Christmas, Christmas…Christmas, everywhere. Very exciting. Naturally, I bubble with joy when I hear the Christmas carols that remind me of those happy days.

The universality of Jesus Christ

After coming to Bhagavan, I understood better the depth of the Bible and its meaning, more so than in the days of my stay at the Christian College. This morning I would like to draw your special attention to certain important points, most of which I am sure might not have come to your notice. This is because we have been exposed to certain selected interpretations and explanations. We have not been exposed to the universality of Jesus Christ, and the universality of His Divine message. It is in this direction that I want to share with you a few thoughts, purely based on selections from the Holy Bible. So as to make my talk more authentic and credible, I have chosen to quote from the Bible extensively, so that these points will go straight into our head.

Jesus and Sathya Sai Baba

I am reminded of the great man, Rev. Robert E. Pikes, a bishop from the United States of America. He wrote two books “Jesus and Sathya Sai Baba”, establishing similarities between the two Incarnations and their message and mission. So this talk is based on these two books.

Let me say first what Pikes said in his book. He said, “It is because of my intense devotion, it is because of my long period of penance, it is because of my loyalty and absolute faith in Jesus Christ, that has made me deserving of the darshan of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I could come to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba because of the blessings of Jesus Christ.“ There he mentions, as I did earlier on, “After coming to Sathya Sai Baba, I understand the Bible more thoroughly than before, its applications and the new interpretations. For this, I thank Bhagavan.”

Another interesting point which he mentioned is this: ”As all of you know, Christianity is based on the Trinity: Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. Christianity believes that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God. Christianity says that one can reach God, the Father, only through the begotten Son, Jesus Christ.” But Robert Pike puts it in another interesting way: “The Bible says that the Son will take you to the Father; but my experience tells me that the Father has taken me to the Son. The Father, God, has taken to me to the Son, Jesus Christ.”

In other words, the unity of the Father and the Son, the unity of the individual soul with the Cosmic Self, is clearly established in his introductory note.

Christmas is an occasion to practise the teachings

Bhagavan, on every important occasion, lays much stress on the practice of the teachings of the prophets and the Avatars, and not merely on the celebrations. Usually we end up with celebrations, festivities, new clothes, the preparation of extra dishes for dinner, decorating the house, and making it all more or less a social function.

But a religious ceremony is holy; a religious spiritual celebration is sacred. How then do you differentiate the celebration of a spiritual occasion from that of a social celebration? A social celebration is an occasion to meet; it is an occasion to exchange greetings. Whereas a spiritual ceremony, a spiritual celebration, warns us to practice what the prophet says. While scripture is a religion, living the scripture is religiousness. The Bible is the religion of Christians; the Bhagavad-Gita is the religion of Hindus. The scripture is a religion. But living the scripture is religiousness. Practicing the religion is religiousness.

Therefore Bhagavan lays much emphasis on the practice and principle of religion. Religion is not simply confined to the scripture. It is not simply academic; it is not simply a sermon delivered from the pedestal or the pulpit. It is much deeper than that.

Christmas is an occasion to practice the teachings of Bhagavan Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, no doubt, is Bhagavan, the Divine Incarnate. We worship Him only when we practise His teachings in our daily life. That has been the clarion call of Bhagavan on past Christmas celebrations.

No one dies because life is eternal

Christ believed in the unity of Divinity. Christ always expressed His total faith in the Divinity of everyone. He did not visualise any person as a mass of flesh and a collection of bones. No one is just a collection of flesh and bones. No! You and I are beyond that. We are much more than that.

When Christ refers to the wine and the bread shared with the closest of the disciples at the Last Supper, Christ indirectly conveys that the bread is the body and the wine is life. The last message of Jesus Christ was to convince us that we are basically Divine. The flesh of Jesus Christ is very much the same as in every body. The blood of Jesus Christ is very much the same as in every body. Jesus Christ declares that the blood flows through the Divine will. This is enough for us to realise that we are basically Divine. That is what Bhagavan rings in our ears, day and night.

We consider ourselves poor mortals; we consider ourselves transient, ephemeral, and ever changing. But at the same time, we are Divine. The body may change, but the spirit continues. As I said some time ago, there is nothing like death. There is nothing like death because there is no birth either. It may seem strange when I make this statement.

But just observe this: Stand in front of the sea; go to the mighty ocean and watch. You see many waves surging up, one wave after another. Put this question, “O wave, when were you born? O ripples, when are you going to die?” The ripples and waves surge automatically, sequentially, one after the other. They are neither born, nor will they ever die. The waves belong to the ocean. Because of the effect of the wind, the ocean forms a wave temporarily. It goes back into the ocean and again comes forth in the form of a wave. Just as a wave has no birth and death, we too do not have birth and death. We are eternal.

Then what is death? Death is just the disappearance of the body. What is birth? The appearance of the body. But actually you don’t die and I don’t die. The word ‘death’ is a misnomer. No one dies because life is eternal. It is only the body that changes. That’s all. Life is eternal. It is changeless. It is Divine. That is the reason why the Holy Bible says: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” When the Bible says, “I am the Way, I am the Truth, I am the Life”, it is very clear that life is not of your making. It is not your invention nor your discovery. You can neither generate life, nor can you remove life. When you kill a person, you are killing the body, not his life. That’s all. It is the body that disappears.

A question was put to Ramana Maharshi. Somebody said, “Oh Swami! You are going?” when he was on his deathbed and about to leave his body.

Ramana Maharshi gave this answer: “Go where? You tell me. You say I am going. Tell me, going where?”

So when Ramana Maharishi said, “Go where?” he meant that it is all one and the same. The place where you have come from is the very place you go to. It is one and the same.

Bhagavan Baba always quotes these words from Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ was on the Cross, with a crown of thorns on His head, He suddenly heard an ethereal voice. The voice said, “All life is One, My dear Son. Be alike to everyone.” It means that this life, this vitality, this dynamism and this metabolism is God’s gift, and it is not of human making. That is the message of Jesus Christ to all humanity.

Not only that. Jesus, in His last moment, made a statement to which Bhagavan often refers during discourses of this nature. What did Jesus Christ say? Before the spirit left the body, before the body was left on the Cross, Jesus consoled His mother, Mary, who was by His side. She was His mother, after all, and she cried watching her son on the Cross in this agonising moment.

He didn’t want her to cry and He told her, “Death is the dress of life.” I change my dress. I put on a new dress. It is not a moment to cry. When one changes a dress, it is always for the better. It is always for the good, to look a little smarter. That’s all. When I look a little more smart, neither you nor I need to cry. So therefore, when I change my body, it is a change of dress - perhaps a better dress, more modern, more attractive, ultra modern, the latest, to draw the attention of the crowds. It is an occasion of jubilation. It is an occasion of happiness. Jesus Christ’s experience is this: that death is the dress of life. The same thing is declared in the Bhagavad-Gita.

Vasami jirnami yatha vihaya.

Just as we change the dress, similarly the individual soul will be changing the dress -- that is, the body, from birth to birth.

Giving and forgiving is divinity

I am also happy to let you know what Baba said on one of these occasions: “Jesus Christ is the best example to emulate, from whom to learn”. The Avatar comes down on earth and moves amidst us, to show the path, to give us the direction, to set before us an ideal. We follow Jesus Christ, the best ideal that humanity ever faced. Jesus Christ is an apostle. Jesus Christ is an aspirant. Jesus Christ is a seeker. Jesus Christ is Divine.

It is unbearable to think of Jesus Christ on the Cross, with all the pain and agony, and at the last minute, He is praying for those who have crucified Him: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He is seeking the pardon of the Almighty for those people who have forsaken Him, who have persecuted Him, who have crucified Him. That is the zenith and climax of forgiveness in human history.

This forgiveness is unthinkable at an ordinary human level. If someone has said some bad words about you, you wait for an opportunity to pay him back. (Laughter) He didn’t directly say anything to you; it is only hearsay that somebody passes on. That is enough to shoot the blood pressure up. (Laughter)

So, we cannot control our emotions. We cannot control our anger. Just think of Jesus Christ to whom the worst punishment was given. He was praying for those persecutors, praying for those who put Him on the Cross. He was praying that they should be forgiven. He is not angry with them. That is the height of forgiveness: Giving and forgiving is Divinity.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s life demonstrated again for humanity the translation of this beautiful sentence into a reality walking on two Feet – the reality of His giving and forgiving.

Somebody asked, “Baba! I know some people criticise You. I know many that deny You, who decry You, who defame You. What shall I do?”

Do you know what Baba said?

“All those that praise Me, all those that sing My Glory, are on one side of the mountain. All those that criticise Me, attack Me, decry Me, defame Me, deny Me, are on the other side of the mountain. I am between both sides, blessing both.”

It is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who declared, “I am not elated by your praise. I am not depressed by your blame. Truth does not require any proof. The light is the very proof of the sun. Love is the proof of My Divinity.“ (Applause)

Love is the proof of the Divinity of Bhagavan Baba! What more we want? During this season of Holy Christmas, we should always remind ourselves that: “Love is My form, Truth is My breath, Bliss is My food.”

“Love is My form!” Yes! His is the lovely form -- Love walking on two Feet.

What a transformation!

Somebody said, “Swami, in the past, I criticised You. I wrote so many articles against You. These were published in newspapers. Today, I am here in front of You, ashamed. I am not able to face You, because of what I wrote against You then. Naturally it hurts me now, as I have known the reality. Pardon me, Bhagavan!”

This happened in the life of R.K. Karanjia, the famous editor of the magazine, Blitz, which is very well known in this country. I used to read R.K. Karanjia’s articles before coming to Baba, and after coming to Baba, too. (Laughter)

Karanjia wrote against Swami for ten years. Every sentence was poetic and full of energy. Every sentence was thoroughly convincing, defaming Baba. I used to memorise them and repeat them in the classroom, though I am not a lecturer in English. (Laughter) But I have loved the English language from childhood. I loved Karanjia’s poetry. I loved his prose, because prose in the hands of Karanjia transforms into poetry, unlike some who will make poetry prosaic! (Laughter) Yes, all his logic sounded like love. It was like a lullaby, when you went through the articles of Karanjia in those days.

But the same Karanjia came here to Swami. In the early hours of the morning, he listened to the sounds of birds, perching on the branches of the tree at the Ganesha gate. In those early hours, people started lining up for nagarsankirtan. There he wrote these sentences:

Puttaparthi, Prashanti Nilayam, the Divine valley,

Is full of devotees in the early hours of the morning,

With fog or mist still around,

When things are not clear.

They start moving and singing, and that melody

Is orchestrated by the singing birds of Puttaparthi.

“It is orchestrated by the singing birds of Puttaparthi.” Wah, Wah! What a transformation! And then he says:

All the devotees there start repeating ‘Omkar’,

I feel the whole Divine valley echoing ‘Omkar’ all over.

The mountains echo, the trees echo,

The rocks and the stones and the pebbles,

The living and the nonliving start echoing the primal sound ‘Omkar’.

That’s what Karanjia said. And furthermore he writes, “I sit there in the darshan line, and watch Swami. He does not walk; He does not run; He floats. He floats over the surface of the ground. First, He looked at those who were needy and poor. Later, He looked at those to whom He had to give certain instructions. He looked at me last!” (Laughter) “Bhagavan, what a crime I committed! What shame! I wrote against you for ten years. Now, I repent.”

My friends! The text of the whole thing is available. You feel like reading it again and again. What else does Karanjia write? “Swami! As I begin to scribble a few lines on paper, I can’t read the letters because of the tears rolling down my cheeks. I cannot write, Bhagavan. I cannot read the letters,” he said. The tears of regret and repentance, the tears seeking forgiveness, the tears shed out of a sense of shame for the past nasty articles, made him publicly declare in the next article of the Blitz magazine, “God is Indian!” (Applause)

Earlier he wrote an article, “God is a fraud.” (Laughter) After coming here and having the direct experience of Swami, he then writes, “God is Indian!” My friends, he has received very long, marathon interviews with Swami, and published a series of articles. But my intent is not to speak on Karanjia, this being Christmas. (Laughter)

My intention is to let you know that the seeker of Truth will know the Truth one day or another. A man of prejudice, a man of bias, a man with foregone conclusions, will never arrive at the Truth. We have to come to Prashanti Nilayam totally and absolutely open-minded. If you want to project your ideas or feelings, if you want to view Swami through the lens of pre-conceived notions and ideologies, you will not arrive at the Truth. Let us be open-minded.

I also remember another leading journalist from the Current magazine coming to Baba for His darshan. I used to read newspapers a lot then. I don’t say I don’t read them now, but I have reduced the reading by 50 % -- for want of time, not that I have become a saint. Certainly not! Due to lack of enough time. (Laughter)

Thakur is the editor’s name. It seems he came here, and he sat in the front line. The first time he saw and watched Swami, he was wonderstruck. He wrote the following in an article: “He looks like a beautiful film actor. (Laughter) I haven’t seen anyone more handsome than this person. Wouldn’t He make a good Hollywood film star? (Laughter) Aha! The mop of hair, the Afro-style!” (Laughter) What a wonderful smile He has – but is that hair real?” (Laughter) That’s what he was thinking.

Walking gently, majestically, slowly, holding the red robe with His one Hand, waving the other Hand into the empty air, with a mischievous smile on His face, step-by-step, Bhagavan came and stood in front of him. (Laughter)

“Do I look like a film actor, boy?” (Roars of laughter and Applause)

Not only that! He picked up the editor’s hand, “Would you like to test my hair?” (Roars of laughter)

Then the man said, “Sorry, Swami. I am very sorry. I am ashamed of my thoughts. Please forgive me.”

Bhagavan said, “It doesn’t matter. You are a seeker of the Truth. Parva nahi, bangaru. Parva nahi. “ That is forgiveness. God is ready to be scrutinised, and God is ready to be examined.

Materialisation from the divine hand

Some space scientists from California came to visit Prashanti Nilayam. Among them were physicists and specialists. They were all in the space research programme. While talking to them, Swami looked at a person who was thinking, ‘The rings - where do they come from? The watches - how do they get here? We scientists know the properties of matter, and the dynamics of life.’ (Laughter) He wanted to see materialisation from the Divine hand.

Suddenly, Swami stood directly in front of him, so that he couldn’t have any doubt about what he saw for hundreds of lives to come -- not just for now! (Laughter) Swami then pulled up His sleeves and materialised vibhutti (sacred ash). This fellow must have had some different ideas after that. All his doubts must have been resolved. That is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. “I’m ready! Come on! You can test.”

There was also a time when thirteen doctors, most of them from US, Australia and England, were at Prashanti Nilayam for the International Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon’s Conference. All the thirteen doctors were given an interview. Just by one wave, thirteen watches materialised at the same time. You couldn’t hold them with two hands! (Laughter)

They were all wonderstruck, because those things are natural, effortless and spontaneous. Those things are immediate. They are instantaneous. We cannot explain it. Those things, which are beyond our explanation, are of the nature of the Divine. That which comes under the purview of our knowledge, under the limitations of our thought, bound by our explanations, can be spoken of. That which is beyond our thought and ability to express is Divine. That is how it has been with many people, and most of you would have experienced Swami doing it.

Jesus said, “All My miracles are intended to instill faith in you.” They are to make you convinced of the Divinity, not for any propaganda or publicity.

Bhagavan said, “My miracles are My visiting cards.” They are a visiting card, so that you might know that the ‘Cosmic Visitor’ right now is the Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who wants to see you.

“Knock! The door shall be opened. Ask! Thou shall be given.” Sathya Sai Baba goes a step further. “You don’t need to knock. I am ready to come in. You don’t need to ask, I am already there.” That really is a kind of revelation to all of us.

Love is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Bbaba

I can also let you know that we learn how to love. We learn the experience of love from the very embodiment of Love, in the personality of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. If anybody asks you, “Who is Baba?” don’t tell him the first answer that comes to mind. If you are asked, tell him, “Love, Love and Love alone!” He may be a man of any religion, from any region, but within him is love, undoubtedly. And that Love is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Bhagavan Baba is a reformer like Jesus Christ

Christ was a reformer. It was a belief in those days that no one should do anything on the Sabbath day, Sunday, which is a holiday. But Christ said that Sunday is not a holiday, because any moment there can come a call for service; any moment there can be a call to express service and love. It doesn’t matter if it is on Sunday or any other day; all days are sacred.

Jesus Christ did not allow any violence in the church grounds during His lifetime. He did not permit the sale of doves in the temple.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is against violence, and has given a new interpretation. Violence does not mean killing a person. No. Hurting a person with your words is violence; looks that make a person feel humiliated are violent. Your wish to see the other person’s downfall is violence. Your actions that ruin the other man is violence. So, it is on this higher level that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba explains violence. Baba is similarly a reformer, like Jesus Christ.

For centuries in this country, it has been a tradition that women were prohibited from reciting the Gayatri (a manthra that removes ignorance and illumines the intellect) and the Veda (Hindu scriptures.) I do not defend this now or anytime for that matter.

Now women are permitted to do so, which is only made possible by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He is a social reformer. He said, “Every woman may recite the Gayatri. Who said that women should not chant this manthra?” And He made fun of the prohibitive tradition, because ‘Gayatri’ is the name of a goddess, and thus sufficiently suited to the feminine. (Laughter) All the girls of Anantapur campus, 1000 of them, can recite the Veda as eloquently as, or even better than, the boys.

Why were women denied this right? After all, Gayatri is a woman. Why should they not call on her for rescue? The Gayatri manthra invokes three goddesses: Savitri, Gayatri and Sarasvati. Gayatri is to take care of your body; Savitri to take care of your life; Sarasvati to take care of your soul, or the spirit. They are all feminine names. No man is called ‘Gayatri’. We would not address a man as ‘Savitri’. He would feel offended. (Laughter) So when the names are feminine, how can one say that women are forbidden to chant this manthra?

Bhagavan Baba is a reformer, like Jesus Christ. He does not approve of the caste system. Bhagavan speaks of caste with reference to the attributes of a person, not by the accident of birth into that caste. One may be a Brahmin by an accident of birth; but by behavior and temperament, he may be worse than a beast. The classification of society, the caste system, is more or less based on guna, karma, vibhagashaha. Guna means the qualities; karma means the action; vibhagashaha is the classification.

Catur-varnyam maya srstam.

“The four castes are of My Creation: Brahamana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. I created them, not to fight with each other, not to establish the supremacy of one caste over the other. No. The classification guna, karma, vibhagashaha is based on the quality and action of the person, and not by the accident of birth.”

This morning in the Veda chanting, He asked one of the boys to explain it clearly. The explanation given must have been sufficiently clear to everybody: Veda declares that all castes are one and the same part of the Cosmic Body.

God is the cosmic body

God is the Cosmic Body. Brahmins (those who foster spiritual, moral and progressive living; who help others to visualise the Reality of their nature) are from His head. Kshatriyas (those who fight against unrighteousness; who protect the country’s welfare; who punish the wicked; who come to the rescue of the weak) are from His shoulders. Vaisyas, (those who produce and supply the needs for a healthy mind and body; who establish commerce and communication) are from His thighs. Sudras (those who provide service and manual labour) are from His feet.

Who will say, “I want my feet amputated. I can manage without them”? Who will say, “I want my head amputated. I can manage without my head”? Who will say, “Why have hands? After all, I don’t need them”? So, the human body requires all of the limbs to work in perfect harmony and unison for the daily functioning of our life. Thus, similarly the Cosmic Body of God is all four castes and communities. We should not be divided and fight because of an accident of birth. That is the reason He says:

There is only one caste -- the caste of humanity.
There is only one religion -- the religion of Love.

He does not speak of any segmentation, or of any narrow boundaries. Bhagavan’s explanation, His vision of humanity, is so vast. We have to live for its fulfillment.

we are all sparks of the divine

Jesus said, “I look on all of you as Divine souls.” That was the feeling of Jesus. And Bhagavan says in all of His discourses, “Divyatmaswaroopulara, Embodiments of the Divine.” He does not say, “Ladies and Gentlemen”. He will never say, “Brothers and Sisters”. He always addresses everybody as, “Sparks of the Divine, Embodiments of Love”. That is the highest Cosmic view of life. Why?

Swami said once when talking to the boys, “You have no faith in Me, but I have total faith in you. Why? I know that I am in you and you do not know that. So I have faith in Myself. And because you do not know, you have lost faith in Me, and so you have lost faith in yourself.”

Therefore the point is quite clear that we are all sparks of the Divine, and not merely of material matter. Certainly not!


I can also give you another example. Bhagavan Baba explains the three levels of consciousness in our spiritual path, in a beautiful way. All these, the life of a prophet, the life of an Avatar, the gospel of a Saint, the doctrine of a seer, a school of philosophy, or an ideal ideology, give us a practical approach towards Self-realisation. The principles are not merely to be read.

Jesus started His spiritual journey as an individual, where He felt the presence of the Divine. He accepted the existence of God. Then He was ready to carry out the will of God. That is the first level of awareness or consciousness.

Most of us come here, knowing that Baba is God. Most of us come here wanting to serve Him. Most of us come here after having had an experience with Him. The experience and faith brought us here. Love brought us here, and we all decided to serve Him. This is the first level of consciousness. It is the same as Jesus Christ, where I refer to Him as a seeker, as an aspirant, as a devotee, as an ideal. He is the spark of the Divine for everyone to emulate and copy. The first level of consciousness is to feel God’s existence, and to feel loyal towards that existence. This is what made Jesus declare, “I am the messenger of God.”

“I am the messenger of God.” Yes! That’s why many boys say in their speeches, “Baba, You said, ‘My life is My message.’ We pray that our life will be your message. Let us lead our life in accordance with Your message. That is our prayer.” You must have heard them say this on the dais.

In a similar way, we find happiness in being with Him, and in loving and serving Him. This is the first level of awareness of Divinity. First there is the level of experience where God is revealed to our consciousness. We become ‘the messenger of God’. We speak about Swami everywhere after our first exposure to Him. The one who comes here for the first time, or the one who comes here for the second or third time, or the one who comes now and then, all go on speaking about Swami, solicited or unsolicited: how he makes a trip here, how he has come here, how special he is, this is because…. And he goes on talking also, “You know what Swami said?……… That’s what Swami said.”

Arrey! Why do you say this? Swami has said it already. Why do you say it? (Laughter) It is because we assume the role of the messenger of God. That’s why it is: “Swami said…”, “Swami said…”.

“Oh, I see. Swami said? But I can get the answers from books straightaway. I don’t need you as an interpreter.”

“But I can’t help it! I am intoxicated with the Divine message. I am drunk with His message. I am lost beyond time and space when I share His message. It is not that you do not know or that the books are unavailable in the bookstall. It is because I am fully charged with the Divine message. My heart is full of the message, which is over spilling. I can’t help it! I can’t help it!” (Applause) And then you have to pardon him, since it is the emotion which drives him.

It is my total identification with the message that makes me run forth. It is the Divine vitality and the dynamism that makes me speak. I don’t care whether you are interested or not. I am not at all bothered whether you listen to me, or not. It is my activity; it is my taste, that’s all.

Suppose you ask a cuckoo or a nightingale, “Oh cuckoo, Oh nightingale, why do you sing like that in the early hours of the morning? Nobody is clapping. No one is saying, ‘Once more!’ Still you sing. Why?” The bird will say, “Shut up! I like my music, ok?” (Laughter, applause) If you ask the flower, the sunflower, the rose, the fragrant jasmine, “O flowers! How beautiful you are. How nice it is to see you blossom. Why do you do it? There is no one to thank you, no one to appreciate you.” The flowers will say, “You dunce! I do it for my own pleasure.” (Laughter)

Similarly, singing the Name of God is not for the rhythm or tune of it, nor is it for the cheers and applause; it is for my pleasure. Is that clear? (Laughter) So also sharing the message of Baba with everybody is not for the bustle and commotion, or for the publicity. It is the opening out of one’s own joy - the thrill, the excitement, and the ecstasy. That’s all. ‘The messenger of God’ is the first level of consciousness, where we begin to share God’s message with everybody.


Then we go to the second stage of the Divine experience of Jesus Christ. As the messenger, He draws closer and closer to the Divine. People speak of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. I am sorry, but Baba said in His discourse: “Not merely on the cross, but He sacrificed throughout His life. He sacrificed His pleasures and comforts. He sacrificed His happiness in serving the poor and the needy. He was always found in the company of the poor and the downtrodden.” He chose the path of Love, He chose the path of sacrifice, He chose the path of service, to be closer and closer to God.

We should not merely be satisfied to remain at the level of a messenger, a broadcasting centre. (Laughter) It should not be that. It should be translated into action. “Yes, I believe Baba. I believe His message. I am happy to quote and to repeat to others His teachings.” But this is not enough. A tape-recorder can do much better! (Laughter) This is the day of videos; any videocassette will show Him to me. You don’t have to be acting as the ‘teacher’.

Then going on from that stage of messenger, I can serve Him in my own humble capacity. I am ready to sacrifice what little I have for my Lord.

“You have given me this portion, my God,
which I am ready to sacrifice.
This life, my Lord, is Your gift.
This strength, my God, is Your Grace.
The talent, my God, is Your gift.
I offer them back to You.”

“This life is not mine. These talents are not mine. This strength is not mine. All are Yours. Let me offer them all back to You, my Lord.” This is the second stage of coming closer to God. It is this second level of consciousness, the awareness of Divinity that Jesus Christ experienced, which made Him declare, “I am the Son of God.” The Son is different from the messenger. It is only the son who can claim father’s property, not the messenger. If the postman says, “Sir, when are you going to give me my property?” you will say, “Give me my letter! Now go on.” (Laughter) He has no claim on your property. So, the son can lay claim on the father’s property.

“O Lord! I serve you. I make claim on Your Grace. O Lord! I am thinking of You, none else. I lay claim on Your mercy. O God! I am claiming Your benediction, beatitude and blessing, because I think of You all the time, my Lord.” That is the second level of consciousness, when you say, “I am the son of God.”


Then the third level of awareness or consciousness is when we are lost in the melody as we sing bhajans. Of course, there may be a few thinking about the singers, but most don’t think about the singers. As Baba always says, “Are they singers or sinners?” So we don’t think about the singers.

The singer may think about himself: ‘Is my song going to be good? I want my song to be the best. Let me be better than the other singer. Don’t let the next singer be better than me.’ So, the singer may be conscious of himself. But a listener should never be conscious of the singer. The listener is the song.

So, do not think of the singer. Be a song unto yourself. Do not think of the dancer; be the dance. “I do not know who is singing, but that song has taken me into the other world! I am not bothered about who has sung. Instead the song is an aircraft, which has taken me into altogether another place.” So be the song, be the melody, be the dance, forgetting the singer and the dancer. You become one with the feeling, you become one with the concept, and you are lost.

Sometimes, when we sit with our eyes closed, concentrating at the centre between the two eyebrows, we are thinking of Bhagavan. We think of His smiling face, His gestures, His movements, the way He adjusts His hair, the beautiful way He smiles -- He alone can smile that way -- and you are lost! You forget yourself until somebody says, “Come on! Get up. It is time to go to the canteen for breakfast.”

You are lost in bhajans. You are lost in meditation. You are not there. The body is there, that’s all. The real you, the Self, is one with God already. You and God are melted together. This is the climax of the Divine Romance -- being one with the cosmos, the drop being one with the ocean, the wave being one with the ocean, the ray being one with the light -- all together in oneness, where individuality no longer exists. The ego is long ago forgotten. You are lost. You are the vastness; you are the cosmos; you are the universe.

That statement of consciousness, the ultimate, was made by Jesus Christ when He said, “I and My Father in heaven are One.” So my friends, these are the three levels of consciousness.

Holy Bible clearly stated Christ would come again

I know time is limited, but present circumstances are special, demanding, and challenging. The sharing of certain important statements from the Holy Bible is needed to be convinced that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the Second Coming of Christ, as said in the Holy Bible. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the Cosmic Christ. The Holy Bible clearly stated that Christ would come again, but this is difficult to recognise. (Applause) Christ has come again in human form, the Second Coming, for which all Christians have been waiting.

There was a Roman Catholic doctor from Italy who was staying in one of the Round buildings of Prashanti Nilayam. Roman Catholics are highly orthodox people. They never, at any cost, give up their daily prayers. He was saying his prayers, eyes closed, at 6 pm. The door of his room was bolted from the inside because he didn’t want to be disturbed. Suddenly he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. He looked back. It was Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!

Baba said, “You have been praying to Me all these years. I have come to see you, my dear child. Go on with your prayer.” The doctor himself narrated this experience in front of Bhagavan. I have the date, the time, and the address of the doctor, so that I would have enough material to convince any doubting Thomas! (Laughter)

Baba was standing so close that He was touching the doctor’s shoulder as he spoke. The doctor clearly said in his talk, “As a Catholic, I am taking a risk. My reputation as a Catholic doctor is now at risk. Yet I declare, at the cost of my name and reputation, that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.” He was deeply convinced of it. That’s what he said. Baba is the return of Christ; He is the embodiment of Love, the personification of sacrifice, moving amidst us.

Where is heaven?

The Bible declares that everyone is God, (as I said in the beginning). Let us not say, “O God! Thou art in heaven.” Where is heaven? We are in the oven! How can we think of heaven? (Laughter)

But my friends, I can tell you where heaven is. Heaven is Prashanti Nilayam itself. It is nowhere else! (Applause) The place where God lives, the place where God dwells, the place where God moves about is the very heaven. When you think of God in your heart, it is heaven; the pure heart is the temple of God. It was John Wilson who declared, “It is the human mind that makes heaven out of hell, and hell out of heaven.” So where is heaven? It is said that it is in the human heart.

I have included some quotations from the Bible to authenticate my talk, as mentioned before. You are essentially Divine, as is said in the book of Psalms. “I say you are gods, you are sons of God most high.” (Psalms 82, Verse 6) The Psalmist never said Andhrites are Indians and therefore exempt! (Laughter) No, “all of you”. “Nevertheless, you shall die like all people must die. You will die the same as all the other leaders.” (Verse 7) One might die like any man, but what is it that dies? It is the body that disappears. You are eternal and life is eternal. Life is a never-ending, continuous flow. Therefore, you are Divine, according to the Holy Bible.

God is beyond the name

Heaven is not the exclusive destination for Christians. No! You may be a Christian, but God is not in the least a Christian. (Laughter) You may be a Hindu, but God is not a Hindu. You may be a Muslim; God is not a Muslim. Being a Muslim, a Christian, or a Hindu is a label one has - a trademark, a copyright – that’s all. But God is beyond the label; God is beyond the name and here it is clearly said, “Don’t think that it is only your privilege as a Christian to talk to God. Don’t think it is your privilege as a Hindu to chant Veda.” No.

This morning you must have seen the little American boy chanting the Veda. I had to hide my head in shame because I can’t do that. (Laughter) He is a better Hindu than me, who is born here! (Laughter) It is, after all, a matter of shame that we can’t do that. That little white American boy,…tak..tak…tak…he just did it like that!

I am praying that Swami doesn’t ask me, “Do you know the Veda?” (Laughter) Swami is amused when I say that I don’t know it. (Laughter)

He says, “Do you know the Veda?”

“I do not know it, Swami”. Then He gives me a broad smile.

Next day again, “Do you know the Veda?”

“I do not know it, Swami.”

Next day. “Do you know Veda?”

“I don’t know.” So, when I do not know, Swami, You are happy. OK, let me continue to be ignorant! (Laughter)

But that boy could do it. It is a blow to pride, I tell you. There are many boys from overseas who are quite alien to this land and culture, who can chant the Veda. They are real Hindus in practice. Therefore, it is not your exclusive privilege as a Christian to serve God or to have Holy Communion with God. Certainly not! Any devotee can establish communion with God.

(Isaiah: Chapter 55 verses 8 and 9:) “My thoughts are not like your thoughts, neither are your ways like My ways,” said the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

You may estimate God in your own way. You may say God is like such-and-such. I will give you an example. Some people say that Swami will be coming at 7 am, but He chooses to be there at 6:30 am. (Laughter) Somebody will say that because Swami came yesterday at ten minutes to seven, let us be there by 6:30 am. And He comes at 7:30 am! (Laughter) Who are you to impose your time frame? Your duty is to be there at 6:30. Swami can come at 7 or 7:30 or 8:00. ‘All right, it is Your Will, my Lord. Having come all this way, let me work out my duty. It is that I should wait for You, my Lord. There should not ever be a situation where You wait for me. That would be a matter of humiliation. I am ready because it is my duty to be there as a devotee. I wait for You, because that waiting is prayer, that waiting is meditation, that waiting is religion itself.’ (Applause)

If I wait for the next aircraft, bus, or train to go to Bangalore, it is a vexing, worrying, drawn-out and miserable experience; but waiting for the Lord is a sweet experience. Waiting for the Lord is a yearning, a meditation and a penance -- and it is God’s gift. That is why He makes us wait and wait and wait. (Applause) We continue to wait, as there is a thrill and joy in waiting. There is a pleasure in waiting that is like lightning, with an electrifying, energizing effect. This could not be attained by an immediate appearance of the Lord. So, it is not that we should be in readiness at the time we think it should be. We shouldn’t try to predict.

All religions are acceptable paths to God

The Bible is not the only book of scriptures. Many people say that only the Holy Bible can take one to heaven. But it hasn’t the copyright! How can you say that? Can you then say that the Koran will take me to hell? The Muslims would finish me off within a couple of seconds! Yes, the Christians may pray for me, but the Muslims would finish me off. (Laugher) The Hindus are tolerant, because even an atheist can be a Hindu. You can deny God and yet continue to be a Hindu. Did you know that? Hinduism is so vast that believers, non-believers, the useful and the useless, all can be accommodated! (Laughter) It is so vast, you know. It is like a mighty ocean -- all kinds of people can plunge in. Or it is like a very big platform -- everybody can meet on it.

My point here is this: Let us not think that the Bible is the only scripture that will take us to heaven, no. The Lord clearly said (Timothy 2, Chapter 3, verse 16), “All scriptures are given by inspiration of God.” The Bible, the Brahmasutra, the Yogavashishta, Narada Bhakthi Sutra, the Koran, Purnasutham, Sri Sutham, whatever Veda it may be, it is all uttered because of Divine inspiration. “It is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (Timothy) It is the scripture that corrects; it is the scripture that transforms; it is the scripture that guides and directs because any scripture is a revelation prompted by Divine inspiration. This is not the exclusive right of the Bible alone, according to the Bible itself.

Next point: Let us not think that Christianity is the only religion to salvation. No! All religions are acceptable paths to God. All religions!

There is only one religion, the religion of Love

As I made it clear in the beginning, religion is a banner, while religiousness is a manner. Religion is the heart or root, while to live the religion is religiousness. Ritual is religion; spirituality is religiousness. Tradition is religion; significance is religiousness. Principle constitutes a religion; practice is religiousness.

I am not playing with words, my friends. I am not a student of English literature. I have repeatedly told you, I use so many words in order to make at least one clear to you. At least one! That is all.

So the point is, all religions are acceptable paths to God. It is clearly written in the Bible that all people who walk in the Name of his God (not your God and my God), whomsoever he believes in, is his God. “And we will walk in the Name of the Lord our God, for ever and ever.” This is any God, in whom you have faith.

Somebody said, “Swami, shall I change my God?” Ho! The height of madness!

The question was put to Shirdi Bhagavan, “Shall I change my God?”

Shirdi Bhagavan said, “I do not understand what you mean. Ask again and be clear.”

The person said, “I have been believing in ‘so-and-so’. Now, I will believe in you.”

Immediately, Shirdi Baba, who was a taskmaster, a well-built (strong) person, got up and gave him two blows, one on this side and another on that side. (Laughter) Then He asked, “Are you going to change your father?” (Laughter)

Why do you want to change? True religion is not conversion. It is transformation. After all, conversion is easy -- a change of name, a change of dress. But transformation is a change of heart. Transformation is change of behavior and attitude. Transformation is change of the very thought itself. By contrast, conversion is so simple.

Therefore, here it is clearly told, “You do not have to convert. You can believe in any religion.” Baba says, “You may call water ‘pani’ in Hindi, ‘neelu’ in Telugu, and ‘var’ in Sanskrit. It is all H2O, all water. The composition doesn’t change.”

Bhagavan also says you may call God by any name: Christians may call Him ‘Christ’, Muslims may say ‘Allah’, Saivaites may call Him ‘Shambo’, Vaishnavites may call Him ‘Vishnu’, but the One who blesses everybody is the God Almighty, the only One.

Sahasra Deersha Purushaha Sahasraksh Sahasrapaat.

All Names are His, all forms are His.

Just beneath us, there is the North Indian canteen, very famous for sweets. Not that I am their agent, don’t think that! (Laughter) I do not get any commission from them. (Laughter) No deal until now, anyway. (Laughter) The point is, there may be many sweets there, but the same sugar is used in all these sweets. There is not one sugar for laddu, one sugar for gulab jamun. It is the same sugar, though certainly not brown sugar. (Laughter) Am I clear? Thus the same sugar is used to prepare so many sweets.

So, sweet God has several Names. The sugar is God. The names are laddu, gulab jamun, basundhi and jaggery, whatever the name. Allah, Shambo, Vaishno, Vishnu are all God, whatever the Name. That is what is said clearly. So then, all religions are acceptable.

Bhagavan says you don’t need a mediator

The next point is that Bhagavan clearly says that you don’t need a mediator or a priest to interpret the scriptures. You can read any scripture and Bhagavan will talk to you. The role of a priest is only to conduct a ritual, but the message you will get by yourself. ‘What is this festival?’ ‘What is the message of God?’ You will know this by yourself.

Somebody asked Swami, “What is the Gita? What is the Bhagavad-Gita?

Swami said, “The Bhagavad-Gita is a Divine Song totally meant for you.” (Laughter)

“Meant for me totally?”


“How, Swami?”

“Your body is the chariot; the hands and legs are the horses; your attachment is the reins; at the place, the altar where the charioteer sits, is God Himself.”

He has a special Bhagavad-Gita designed for you. Everyone has a Gita specially designed for him. We don’t need any other interpreter or middleman, no contractors and no tenders. You can get the message directly. So the role of clergy as a profession will become obsolete, according to John 1, Chapter 1, verses 2 and 27.

What a wonderful statement from Bishop Pikes of the USA. His statement is this: “Christ is the Way. Christ is the Life for you to emulate and follow. Become God again as Jesus did.” “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Mathew: Chapter 6: verse 21)

Everything is the reflection of the inner being

Here are a few points before I leave. Jesus said, “Judge not, lest thou shall be judged.” We go on judging people, we go on evaluating people, and we go on assessing people. Baba clearly said, “Judge not, lest thou shall be judged.” If you judge today, tomorrow you will be judged. If you condemn anyone today, tomorrow you are going to be condemned many more times than what you have done. Baba puts it this way, “To criticise anybody, to point out another’s mistake, is the worst of crimes.”

And furthermore He said, “First, find out your own mistakes and faults; and then the merits of others.” Jesus said, ”You point out the splinter (‘mote’) in the eye of others, without taking notice of the beam (of timber) in your own eye.”

Jesus never cared for money. Baba never cares for money. Swami has a lot of money. All right, He can handle it for He is above money. He said, “Money comes and goes. Morality comes and grows.” He is not for money. That is why the Holy Bible says that it is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than to get into the gates of heaven. It is not possible for the rich man to pass through the gates of heaven; therefore we should rise above money.

Again, we should not judge anybody, for the Bible says, “If you call so-and-so bad, that is the bad in you reflected in the other man.” Baba says, “Everything is the reflection of the inner being.” He summed this up in the three R’s: reaction, reflection and resound. So, nothing is outside. Everything is your own reaction. That is what Baba says.

“I applied in my heart to know, and to seek the wisdom and reason for things.” The heart is the seat of God, not the mind. The mind is the seat of doubt and the devil. The heart is the seat of God. Do you want the devil or God? We have to decide, because the mind is the hell, while the heart is the heaven. The heart directs without any ambiguity or confusion, whereas the mind is for what is convenient.

So on this auspicious occasion of the Christmas season:

Let us all learn to praise God.
Let us all learn to sacrifice.
Let us all learn to love.
Let us all learn to rise to the level of Jesus Christ,
to pray for those who persecute us,
to invite Jesus Christ into our lives,
identifying Baba as the Second Coming of Christ, the Cosmic Christ.

May the Lord be with you forever and ever.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Om Asato Maa, Sad Gamaya,Tamaso Maa, Jyothir Gamaya,
Mrythyormaa 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 Babaji Ki!

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