Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
December 28, 2003

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

“Happy New Year”

December 28th, 2003


Sai Ram

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

New Year

Let me begin this morning’s talk with a word of greeting to all of you, as we step into the new year. Let me wish you all a “Happy New Year!” We are meeting here for the last time in the year 2003. We will be meeting next in the year 2004. I would like to share with you a couple of thoughts in this connection – ideas Bhagavan has mentioned previously on the eve of Christmas and the New Year. What does Swami want us to know when we welcome the new year? When we bid farewell to the bygone year, as we welcome the new year, there are certain things that Swami wants us to know and learn. Let me share with you some thoughts within the time allotted.

Human life is a sort of evolution. All scriptures, undoubtedly and in unequivocal terms, declare that the human being is the rarest of all the creatures in this universe. Having been given this human life, we are to understand that this an eternal journey. Human life is an eternal journey. It is a pilgrimage. Man represents the process of evolution with all the possibilities in existence. The Holy Bible declares that God has created everything for man. The mineral world, the plant world, the animal world, all the creatures, all facilities -- in fact the whole of nature is available, at the disposal of man, for his pleasure. So man is the crown of creation. Man represents the zenith and the climax of creation. In that sense, we may have to understand that human life is a process of evolution, having all the possibilities that existence can offer to us for our own development and progress.

We may have to understand, my friends, from the beginning, that each one of us here is a drop in an ocean. God is the mighty ocean, while every one of us here is a tiny little drop. But at the same time, the drop is as much as the ocean. The qualities of the ocean are very much there in the drop. Therefore, every one of us represents a miniature existence -- the universe in miniature; the cosmos in miniature. Therefore, human life is not as simple as we view it. Everyone here, as Bhagavan states repeatedly, is a spark of the Divine: the embodiment of Love, the embodiment of Truth, Peace and Bliss. We are not simply a mass of flesh and a collection of bones that make everyone move about in this life sojourn. We are something beyond. That is the first thing that I would like to draw to your attention.


The second point is that life is an opportunity. Most of us consider that life is an accident. It is really unfortunate if we think that way. Life is never an accident. Life is a privilege. Life is a blessing. Life is beatitude. Life is benediction. Life is an opportunity.

Why do I say that? What do I mean? It is an opportunity to find creativity within us, to enjoy and experience the Divinity within us. It is an opportunity to dive into the depths and enjoy the precious gems of Divinity present within every one of us. In that sense, life is an opportunity. No fool on earth would ever wish to lose such an opportunity. Every one would jump at such an opportunity. Having been given this opportunity, we should not lose it. Success depends upon how best we make use of this opportunity of life.

Become Aware of consciousness

The third point I want to bring to your attention is this. Man is really proud of his achievements up until now. Man says that he can reach the moon, and that he is trying to reach Mars. Man is happy that he does not need anybody’s assistance because of robot pathology or robot discovery. There are machines to cook for him. There are machines to serve him. There are machines to calculate, to plan, to read, in fact, to do everything. So man is really proud that he has created something that can come to his rescue, something that can come to his timely help, whenever it is required.

However, it is not so great. It is not so. It is all our hope, our dream, and our imagination. The fact is this: There is nothing great in reaching the moon. There is nothing great in climbing the peaks of Everest. Nothing great about it! There is nothing spectacular about it. Greatness lies in reaching the peaks of one’s own consciousness. Greatness lies in reaching one’s own being. That is the greatest achievement of man.

So spirituality has different parameters, different measures altogether. Oh man! You are given this precious life, and you are to climb up and reach the peaks of your own being, of your own consciousness. If I am not aware of my consciousness, if I am not aware of my being, the whole body is in no way better than debris or garbage. Pardon me if I say that! The real value of life lies in finding out the latent Divinity. That is the value of human life. A dog cannot do it. A tree cannot attempt it. Man is gifted with this consciousness and is supposed to know and enjoy it. That is the third point that I want to bring to your attention.

It is important that you know that all these ideas are collections from Bhagavan’s discourses, which I have gathered for your information.


Most of us like to think of the past and the future. Those that live in the past are dead and gone. There is nothing to glorify, nothing to publicise, nothing to feel proud about the past, because the past is already gone. Many of us feel happy whilst hoping for the future. Hope is a promise. Hope is a thought. Hope is future. Hope is planning. Hope is always for the better. But, a mature man will never think like that. “I hope to be better.” “I hope to reach the goal.” “I hope to be near Swami.” Where is the guarantee? “I hope to be here next year.” How can you say that? Hope is just an expectation. Hope is futuristic. Hope is postponement! “I want to do it from next year.” Okay! It seems that you can afford to postpone. So never live in hope or in the future.

Therefore, my friends, as we step into the new year, let us forget the past, because past is history. Let us not think of the future, as it is mystery. The future is yet to be unravelled. There is no guarantee of our future as the future is uncertain.

What we have to decide today, while welcoming the year 2004, is to live in the moment, to live in the present, to live in existence. This is the real life. Past is past, and future is a dream. I cannot afford to live in a dream forever. If one goes on dreaming and dreaming, it is best to take him to a psychiatrist (Laughter)! If one thinks of the past, let us avoid him as we are not interested in the past. So what is life? Life is here now. If I am to define life, we can define life this way: Life is here now.

Where is God? What is God?

I cannot say God is in the past. I would not say God is future. If God is past or future, He is like any other ordinary human being. What is God? God is here now. Why? Divinity is right here now. If I try to live here now, I will be establishing a sort of contact, a sort of rapport with God who is here now. That’s what the Divine Romance is. The Divine Romance consists in establishing rapport here and now. When you live here now, you are Divine. God is here now. God is Divine. Connection is heart-to-heart, love-to-love. That is the object of spiritual life.

I pray that the year 2004 should help us to live in the present, to live in the moment, so that we are Divine, with the Divine. That’s the message of Bhagavan. That was the message of Bhagavan on Christmas Day, when He mentioned, “I am I.” He never said, “I was I.” He never said, “I will be I.” He said, “I am I.” The present tense. In spirituality, past tense and future tense should be removed. Spirituality has nothing to do with the past or future. Spirituality is the present. To put it in the words of Bhagavan, “What kind of present is this? It is omnipresent." Because present is the result of the past, and present is the seed for the future. The present is the fruit of the past. Out of the present, the future comes. Therefore, the present represents the combination of the past as well as the future.

Therefore, my friends, this sort of an idea that I am the present, that I am life, that God is the present, that new consciousness and new awareness we have got to develop as we step into the new year, 2004. Some people plan ahead: “In the year 2005, I want to get into more sadhana.” And, “In the year 2004, I wish to visit Prashanti Nilayam one more time. That is what I really want to do.” This is all nonsense.

It is all the game of the mind. It is all the trick of the mind. It is all the joke of the mind. It is all the ridiculous nature and expression of the mind. The mind wants to take time. The mind is time; time is the mind.

Mind always wants to postpone. ‘Oh God! Let me meditate from today.’

The mind will say, ‘Why not from tomorrow?’ (Laughter)

‘Oh God! Let me wait to take breakfast until after I have Your darshan.’

Mind will say, ‘Have you forgotten you are hungry?’ (Laughter) And mind will promptly add, ‘You are more hungry today than yesterday.’ (Laughter)

And it’s the audacity of the mind that will say, “I will feed you today so that tomorrow you will not have appetite. That way you can sit for darshan tomorrow.’

This is all the game of the mind. The mind that wants to postpone, the mind that wants to detain, the mind that wants to neglect, the mind that want to deny, is the worst of our enemies. The enemy is not outside, my friends. The enemy is within the mind. You should think like this: ‘God is here now – so let me do this now.’

‘I want to meditate in the early hours of the morning tomorrow, so today let me sleep.’ No!

Meditation has no time-bound program. Meditation is not time-bound. Time management is the job of the mind. Meditation is a ‘no mind’ state, not ‘never mind’. ‘No mind’ state is meditation. Therefore, when we go beyond the mind, forgetting the factors of time and space, that is the best meditation, wherever you are. You may be on a railway platform, on a flight, on a bicycle, in the office, or jogging. That is the time for meditation, because meditation is here now.

Meditation is a process of establishing contact with the Beloved. When do you think of your wife who is away from you? In the early hours of morning or when you go to bed? (Laughter) You may do so, but don’t tell your wife (Laughter) because you have to face the music the next day. Right? (Laughter) She wants you to think of her all the time, though you prefer to think of her once a week. (Laughter)

So my friends, you think of your beloved throughout, all the time. When you go to your dining table, naturally you think of her, because she serves you food. She cooks for you with love. Similarly, think of the Divine Beloved anytime; there is no specific time. Postponement is the mischief of the mind. Delay is the game of the mind.

So this happy New Year should help us to do things as and when they come to us, calling for immediate action. Action that is spiritual, action that is positive, action that is religious, action that is Divine, calls for immediate involvement. It calls for the path to be followed immediately. Let that be our decision for the new year -- a decision for immediate implementation, because the past and the future are no longer relevant as they have become part of our dream - only a part of our dream!


Baba says, “Life is a dream -- realize it.” People think, ‘It is a golden dream; let me realize it. I dream to be the President of the United States; let me realize it.’ The best possibility for him is the mental hospital. (Laughter) ‘Life is a dream, realize it’ does not mean that you are going to acquire a multi-storied building or win an election. Certainly not! ‘Life is a dream’ means that nothing is permanent.

Nothing is permanent. The moment I go to sleep, I start dreaming. In my dreams, I can be a Hollywood start or a Bollywood star, or a Tollywood star, or a superstar, or a film star, or a star in the sky. (Laughter) By the time I wake up, the night dream is gone. People will say, “You are not a star; you are just dust under the feet. Come down, my man. Be realistic. Walk with your two feet on the ground. Never live in your imagination.”

However, my friends, the waking state is also a dream. All that you do now, all that you have been doing, the gala time that we have now, is also a dream. Therefore Bhagavan says, “One is a daydream; the other is a night dream. Life is a dreamland.” That’s all. This is the daydream; that is the night dream. Both are dreams. Understand this! “Life is a dream -- realize it.” Once I go to sleep, day becomes the dream. Once I wake up, night becomes the dream. That dream is lost now; this dream will be lost later. That’s all.

That is the reason why Bhagavan says, “Dreaming is lost in becoming, and becoming is lost in being.” Dreaming is lost in becoming, and becoming is lost in being! So the night dream is gone when the daydream starts. The daydream ends when the night dream begins. It is all just a dream. Once you understand that it is just a dream, you don’t get attached to it. “I dreamt last night that I acquired five flats in Puttaparthi.” I cannot say in the morning, “Where are my flats? I would like to occupy them.” People would start pitying me: “He was all right untill last evening. What has gone wrong with him this morning?” (Laughter) Have nothing to do with the dream of the mind. Similarly, have nothing to do with the dream of the day.

Then what is the reality? The dreamer! The experiencer! The experiencer is the reality because you dreamt then and you dream now. Then and now is the reality. The real you remained. You are the reality. The experiencer is the reality, whereas the experience is the dream. All that I experience in the night is a dream; all I experience in the day is a dream. But ‘I’, the experiencer, am the reality. I think I am clear.

Therefore, I pray that this new year 2004 should help us to know the reality -- not the dream, but the dreamer; not the experience, but the experiencer; not the scene, but the seer, the real ‘I’. That is the real purpose for which we are born. That is the course of evolution that one has to go through along the spiritual path. This is the reason why life is given as an opportunity.


Life is given as an opportunity, to realize that the experiencer is the reality, while experience is the dream. Bhagavan repeatedly tells us that there are so many clouds all around, but not even one cloud is permanent. All clouds come and pass on. Similarly, all dreams come and go, but you, the real ‘I’, remain. That is what is meant by “I am I.” “I am I” refers to the dreamer, the experiencer, the true self, the awareness, the consciousness. That is the reality. Our life should be spent in quest of this reality. If you are carried away by the experience, you are ruffled; you become crazy, puzzled, confused; and then the rock-n-roll dance begins. (Laughter) We do not know where the experience takes us. Certain experiences are happy. Some experiences are heavenly. Certain experiences are tragic. Once I pass into the tragic experience, it becomes a suicidal experience. I want to have the heavenly experience, the paradise experience all the time. So this dual experience of happiness and unhappiness, of profit and loss, of victory and defeat is the dream.

Once I understand that I am the reality beyond the dreams, the experiencer, I am no longer carried away. I am unruffled. I become like a screen on which the film is projected. The screen does not cry when the hero on the film starts crying. (Laughter) The screen does not dance, when the hero and heroine start dancing in ecstasy. The screen remains impartial. The year 2004 should be spent in quest of the Self, in quest of the experiencer, the truth of truth, the consciousness. That’s what I would like to draw to your attention.


What is the greatest achievement in human consciousness? The greatest achievement in human consciousness is this, my friends: the experience of witnessing. Witnessing!

This means that I witness all that is going on. I witness all that has been taking place right in front of me, and remain unaffected. It’s something like this: the light is there. Under the powerful light, a drama is going on. People start clapping because they appreciate the scene enacted there, but the light does not clap. During the drama, as the hero goes on pestering the heroine, she starts crying; but the bulb above never diminishes. It is still as vibrant as before, as radiant and as brilliant as before. The light is unaffected by the scenes on the stage. Whatever the scene -- be it a crucifixion, a dance, or Michael Jackson on the stage -- the light remains the light. That’s all. That is what we call ‘witnessing’. You just witness, remaining unruffled, undisturbed, unperturbed. You remain balanced and equanimious.

This state of equanimity, this state of balanced mind, this idea of non-duality is possible within the process of witnessing. Bhagavan’s main mission is to make everyone of us pass through this process of witnessing. “Let me witness my own life; let me not be a participant.” If you are a participant, you naturally respond, react, reflect. You are bound to react and reflect if you are a participant.

A simple example: I start acting in a drama. I have to cry and make you cry too. As an actor, I have to laugh and make you also laugh. So as an actor, as a participant, I have to respond, react and reflect. But the light, the stage, the screen and the mike are all witnesses. I may shout; the mike just amplifies. I may whisper; the mike only amplifies. I don’t speak; the mike simply watches. Therefore, my friends, the mike is a witness to my silence and sound. The mike is a witness to my shouting and also to my whispering. But the mike is not happy when I shout, nor will it cry when I whisper. It responds in the same way, whether I shout, cry or whisper. Similarly, the process of witnessing is the highest of achievements in human consciousness. It is that for which all of us have got to strive during the year 2004.


Next I would like to say few words about prayer. The year 2004 should give a new flavour and fragrance to our prayers. In the year 2004, our prayers should be more meaningful, more purposeful, and more in-depth. What do I mean by that? When I speak about the prayers that we have been doing till today, I am not criticising anybody. Whatever I say, I am included amongst those whom I address. Perhaps these words are meant for me, first and foremost. I do not put myself on a pedestal. I am fully conscious that all are certainly greater sadhaks than I. So I am not speaking as a higher authority. I am just sharing our experience. Together we study, together we explore, and together we investigate. That is the purpose of satsang. In the satsang that we have here each time, there is no person of higher achievement or higher calibre. No! We are all one - a stream. That’s all. We are flowing together. We are marching together. We are walking together, hand-in-hand towards the Divine. That’s all. We are all fellow pilgrims. So now a few words about our prayer. How are our prayers?


Our prayers are mechanical. Our prayers are dull. Our prayers are insipid. Our prayers are programmed. Our prayers are computerised. I met one person who said, “We had a wonderful Akhanda bhajan in our Sai Centre.”

I said, “Congratulations. How could you afford to have Akhanda bhajan in such a small Sai Centre?”

“We have many cassettes -- we played them all! (Laughter)

Oh! Good. Cassettes played one after one make an Akhanda bhajan! A CD or a video is a spiritual activity. That is our prayer! There are some who say that we will put on the tape recorder -- that is our prayer! That is all a mechanical, computerised, programmed, ritualised, monotonous routine way of prayer. That is meaningless. That is useless. It would be better if we spend our time in a superior way than that.

My friends, what is real prayer? I received some questions from some of our friends asking, “Anil Kumar, what is a real prayer? How to pray? How to make God happy? What kind of prayer would you deem appropriate?”

My friends, no prayer is ever prescribed. No prayer is ever planned. No prayer is ever scheduled. Because, a prayer that is scheduled loses its taste. A simple example: You are in a very sad mood. Everyone passes through such melancholic, tragic moments of life. Sometimes we feel frustrated. Sometimes we feel depressed. Sometimes we are lost. Sometimes we are disappointed. In those moments, what kind of prayer would you like to do? If I come along and tell you, “Come on! This is the song you can do it.”

Gopikamala Hari Pyaari - Maayi Meera Mana Vihari
Madana Mohana Murali Dhaari – Krishna Jai!

“That is the song of ecstasic dance. I am melancholic and my mood is more horrible now. (Laughter) My mood is more horrible now! I am upset. I am frustrated. You have given me the song of dance. You have given me the song of melody. But my mood is not that way. Well, as per my mood, my prayer is all together different.”

Devaki Tanaya Daya Nidhe
Daya Nidhe Kripaa Nidhe,
Devaki Tanaya Daya Nidhe.

When a person is in a gala mood, if you ask him to sing:

Deena Naatha, Sai Naatha – Devaki Tanaya Daya Nidhe.

That’s not the song for that mood (Laughter). Each mood requires a particular situation. In this case, the mood requires an altogether different frequency. Suppose one person arranges a nice bhajan at his residence on the house warming day, “Gruha-Pravesha,” or on the wedding day. If you go there and sing:

Iha Samsare, Bahu Dusthare (Laughter)
Kripaya Pare Pahi Murare (Laughter)
Govindam Baja Mudamate (Laughter)
Baja Govindam.

Arrey! (Laughter) Wedding Anniversary! (Laughter)

Punarapi Jananam, Punarapi Maranam (Laughter)
Punarapi Janani, Jatare Shayanam. (Laughter)

That is the Birthday. (Applause) Is that the song?

Stupidity. Utter stupidity. Ignorance. We don’t understand the occasion. That fellow is celebrating his birthday (Laughter) with the cake, everything ready. (Laughter)

Kripaya Pare, Pahi Murare. (Laughter)

Stupidity. What is this? (Laughter)

So, my friends, prayer is never programmed. Prayer is never scheduled. Prayer is the expression, the spontaneous outburst, of human sentiments. It is outpouring of the heart. It is an expression of our mood at that time. Most of our prayers are not answered, not responded to, and not listened to by Bhagavan because our mood does not correspond to the prayer that we offer.

Let us say that I am totally discontented within me. I have got so many complaints against God. ‘Swami, You have not looked at me.’ ‘Swami, You have not picked up my letter.’ ‘Swami, I am not fortunate enough to have Your smile.’ ‘Oh Lord! I have been here for the last one month.’

The heart is full of complaints, but I go on saying words of rapture; I go on singing in rapture. It means that prayer is artificial. Prayer is artificial. We are not supposed to do that. I may smile and sing bhajan, but God will look into the complaint in my heart, not the smile on my face. I am a successful hypocrite, but God is not fooled. (Laughter). Therefore, let us be fully aware of the fact that God sees your view, your feeling, your sentiment, despite the rhythm and the beat of your song. Therefore, prayer has got to be natural. Prayer has got to be an outpouring of the human heart and thoughts at that moment of life.

“I am angry with God. Yes, I am very angry because I have been sitting and sitting, and He never cares. He even prefers to cancel darshan (Laughter). I am very angry.” My friends, that anger is prayer. That anger is prayer! Why are you angry with God? To have His darshan, not to pick-pocket Him (Laughter), not to sit on His chair, not to dominate anybody, not for money, not for wealth, not for position, not for promotion or increment, nothing like that. I am angry because He has not looked at me. I am disturbed because I didn’t have this morning’s darshan. That very anger is prayer. That very anger is prayer. How is that? Anything that is directed towards God becomes a prayer. Anger is prayer.

I am very sad now. I am very sad because I don’t have any response from Swami. I don’t have any response from my friend; no one cares about me. Nobody! No one to care for me. I am very sad. I am very upset about my family position, about my job or business. Well, so I turn to God. Sadness is prayer. Sadness is prayer! Anger is prayer!

“Oh, why do you run after His car?” “I love Swami.” Love is prayer! Any kind of feeling for God is prayer. Yes, you are marching towards God. That becomes a prayer. Then the prayer is meaningful. Let me cry tears, yes. Tears are also a sort of a prayer. Well! I don’t have any feeling now. I am neither happy nor unhappy. When I am neither in a merry state or worried, then what is my prayer? Silence is prayer.

Silence is prayer. Gratitude is prayer. Thankfulness is prayer. Wishing good for everybody is prayer. Service is prayer. My friends, prayer has not anything to do with a few sentences or a few mantras. No! That is all ritualistic. A ritual becomes spiritual when the spirit goes into our bone marrow, not till then. The spirit of the prayer lies in the feeling and the sentiments. Let that be our true prayer in the year 2004.


I also would like to draw your attention to certain other points that Bhagavan has said. My friends, we all have different mentalities, different abilities, different capacities, and different talents. All can’t be alike.

Meditation will awaken the talent in you. Please understand this. Any talent that becomes meditation becomes universal. A dancer goes on dancing in meditation; a singer goes on singing in meditation. So let us understand that meditation or singing or dance, whatever may come out of that Divine consciousness, is prompted by God. That is the reason why the best singers of the world are those who sing in praise of God. Who are the best of the dancers? The best dancer is the one who kept in his or her view the celestial Dancer, Nataraj, the cosmic Dancer, God Himself.

So meditation finds its expression in different ways. A singer wants to sing. That singing is meditation! A dancer wants to dance. That is meditation! A painter feels like painting. That is meditation!

No, you cannot say, “Sit straight and bolt your door - that is meditation.” No! That may be, at the most, a circus (Laughter) but not a meditation. Meditation is an expression of the latent talents. Whatever you do, that is meditation. That is a new dimension to be given to our lives, in our spiritual endeavours, in the year 2004.

Then another idea I want to share with you is this: We have a temperament that causes us to be disturbed by every silly thing. If one man simply pushes me, I am very much annoyed. I feel like killing him right there and then! (Laughter) If anyone is given a chance to speak, being a speaker myself by right, I feel highly jealous -- Himalayan jealousy! Yes, jealousy! ‘Why not I? Why should he speak when I am here?’

We react to every simple silly thing. We do not consider that everybody should be given a chance. We do not consider for a moment that everyone has got his own day, his own chance. Today, Swami may speak to you. That doesn’t mean that Swami should speak to you everyday, as if you are so important. (Laughter) And furthermore, let me tell you, if He goes on speaking with you everyday, morning and night, you are going to be a spoiled child. You are going to be a spoiled child, because you do not understand the value of it. You will take it as just a mechanical, automatic, and routine affair.

This morning somebody said to a friend of mine, “So nice that Swami talks to you everyday.”

That man replied, “Yes, Swami talks to me.”

The other man was so inquisitive. He wanted to know more. “What did He speak about with you this morning?” (Laughter)

“He said, ‘Good morning. Hello.’ That’s all,” he said (Laughter)

The other man said, “Is Swami’s talk, is Swami’s conversation, really such a routine? ‘Good morning. Hello.’

Arrey rey rey! ‘Your life is hellish,’ I thought. ‘It is not ‘hello’ -- you are in ‘hell’. Understand this.’ (Laughter)

I called my friend aside and said, “Well, you are throwing pearls in front of this swine! You have not understood Divinity. It may be that you have done something good in the past and you are getting the results now; so you are encashing all the merit of the past. You are going to be bankrupt very soon. It is time you deposit something into your account, so that you will enjoy that eternity, that peace and bliss, continuously life-after-life. By just neglecting your account this way, you are exhausting it.”

So my friends, being affected by our surroundings, being affected by the people around us, is our fundamental basic weakness. It is our basic weakness.


Some come and say, “Sir, how is that the people here are so rude, rough and tough?” (Laughter)

What answer shall I give them? If I say ‘yes’, I am also included in the list (Laughter). If I say ‘no’, it is a convenient exemption, evasion, or escape from that embarrassing question. Bhagavan came to my rescue. What I said is this: “Everything is a reflection of the inner being. That’s what Swami says.”

How do you know he is rough, unless you are rough within? (Laughter) How do you know he is tough, unless you are tough within? It is reflection of the inner being. All that you encounter in life is governed by three “R’s” - reaction, reflection and resound. Nothing goes beyond these three stipulated governing principles. “So-and-so is bad.” How do you know he is bad? Because that which is bad in you will direct you to that badness, which is outside.

Therefore, on this occasion, as we welcome the new year 2004, let us not be bothered by anybody. ‘I have come all alone, as a cosmic visitor. Let me go back all alone. Nobody is prepared to follow me when I say goodbye to this planet earth. Nobody was with me when I visited this earth for the first time.’ After all, we come to this earth for the first time during birth, and when we say good-bye, it is death.

Birth and death are non-existent. There is neither birth nor death. Please take it from me. Don’t take me as mental or psychotic. (Laughter) Life is eternal. Life is continuous. You are immortal. Yes! How can you be immortal if you die? Bhagavan says you are the spark of the Divine. How can the Divine end His life? When Bhagavan says that you are the sons of Immortality, how is it that you have got death? Impossible!

Taking life in the five elements in a concretised form, in that which we call ‘the body’, is birth. When the life gets out of this body, when the essence of this body, the substance of the body, the elements of the body, the components of the body, the constituents of the body, when they merge, when they go back to the five elements of nature, the disappearance of the body is called ‘death’. That’s all. Appearance of the body is birth, disappearance of the body is death; but you and I will never die, because we were never born. So we are neither born nor do we ever die, because life is a continuous endless stream. It is eternal.

Therefore, when life is continuous, when the body is so ephemeral and fast changing, why should I be affected by anybody around me? Let people say a thousand things about you, because some people’s job is merely to spread rumours and to generate gossip. Why should you be affected? Some person may praise you. After all, it is his temperament to praise everybody. A sycophant! Why should you be affected by a critic? Because God has given him a critical life?

A mosquito is happy sucking blood. (Laughter). A leach is happy sucking blood. The honeybee is happy sucking honey. So, there are mosquitoes and there are honeybees. Why should I be affected? Should I tell the honeybee, “No, No! There is no taste in honey any longer; go taste human blood.” (Laughter). Likewise, I cannot tell the mosquito, “Oh mosquito! What is there in the human blood. No, it is disgusting! There is honey. Go there.” They will say, “We are designed this way, to do this only.” (Laughter)

So, the society is a mixture of bed bugs and mosquitoes. People say thousands of things. I am not condemning anybody. No, no, no. This variety is the spice of life. The bitter gourd has got its own taste. The mango has got its own taste. We cannot condemn anything at all. We are all affirming life.


The life-affirmative nature is religion. A negative attitude to life is irreligious. There are some people who say, “I am disgusted with life.” They are non-spiritual; they are irreligious. Affirm life, because it cannot be made in the laboratory. Life is God’s gift. Life is God’s making. It is not of your own making.

TRUE MASTERy lies in being unafffected
Therefore, the year 2004 should turn us all into masters who are unaffected by their surroundings, including other people. Be unaffected, because true mastery lies in being unaffected by surroundings and other people. If you are elated, if you are bloated by praise, and if you are frustrated by blame, you are a slave, not a master. The year 2004 should turn everyone of us into a master, unaffected by the surroundings and the people as well.


Bhagavan said at one time that it is not the path that you follow which is important. Some people say, “I follow the path of service.” Some people say, “I follow the path of singing bhajans.” Some people say that they follow the path of wisdom (jnana) or meditation (dhyana).

But Baba said, “Path is not important.”

I see. “Oh Swami, I thought You would give me one path. You say that path is not important. What is Your message to me? When You say path is not important, then what should I follow?”

Baba says, “Path is not important. Surrender is most important.”

Surrender is most important, not the path. Coffee is most important, not the cup. If you say the cup is important, swallow it if you can! (Laughter) The food served is more important than the plate it is on. You don’t eat the plate. You eat only the items. Am I right? So, food is more important than the plate. Coffee is more important than the cup. Surrender is more important than the path.

Therefore, let the year 2004 inspire us to take this most important quintessence, the essence of all paths, surrender. Let us learn to surrender. There is comfort in surrendering. The child surrenders, and in so doing, is comfortable. The child sleeps happily on the lap of the mother. The child is happy sitting on the lap of the father, or leaning on the shoulder of the father, because the child is totally in the hands of the parents. He has faith in them. But adults are not like that. Let us say that I just ask you to take care of my belongings: “My friend, here are my belongings. I will go to the restroom and come back.” As I walk towards the restroom, I doubt you and I think that you may walk away with my baggage! (Laughter) It means that there is no surrender, no faith. So, faith and surrender are lost as we grow up. But in spirituality, we have to surrender to the will of God.


What is surrender? Surrender is acceptance. ‘Oh God, whatever You give me, I accept.’ Total, unconditional acceptance is surrender. ‘I surrender unto You, God, provided You give me an interview.’ This is not surrender (Laughter). ‘Oh God, I surrender to You, if You give me a green card, not this H1 visa.’ (Laughter) That is not surrender. Surrender is total. It is never partial. Therefore, let this year 2004 inspire everybody, every one of us, including myself, to cultivate this unconditional acceptance, this total surrender to His Lotus Feet.

Be it the enlightened path of wisdom, or the path of devotion, it doesn’t matter. Along the path of devotion, you enjoy the play of the Lord, and you become the one of wisdom later. The play of God, the leela of God, the will of God, will give you the experience of what you call jnana or wisdom. Whereas the jnani, the one of wisdom, enjoys the play of God with his jnana or wisdom. Am I clear? So, the play of God will make you wise, or your wisdom will make you enjoy the play of God. Both are same. A to B — B to A. So whether it is a path of bhakti or jnana, whatever it may be, you become enlightened at the same time, enjoying the play of God, the will of God, the leela of God, by totally surrendering to His Lotus Feet. Ready acceptance. That’s our aim in spiritual life.

I can also tell you, let this year 2004 bring a new kind of awareness to our lives. What do I mean by ‘new’ awareness? Can there will be old awareness, new awareness, modern awareness, archaic awareness, antique awareness, instant awareness, readymade awareness, stocked awareness, stored awareness, imported awareness, exported awareness? Can there be so many varieties? No!

What I would like to bring to your attention is this. We have so many desires in our lives. Desire after desire -- there is no end to these desires. I want all of us to be awake to our desires. Let us be conscious of our desires. When I am conscious of my desire, it gets 50% diluted. When I am even more aware of my desire, it disappears. Desire grows more and more in the unconscious state. Desire becomes strengthened because of ego. Desire has got its route - the mind. So mind is the cause for desire. Ego is for strengthening desire, and unawareness is its fruition. Once you are aware, desire is nipped in the bud. We have so many desires. We are not able to control our desires, because we are not aware of our desires. We are not alert. We are not conscious of our desires. Therefore, desires go on multiplying. Once I am conscious and aware of my desire, I will understand the futility of my desire, the uselessness of my desire. I will understand how insubstantial it is; how useless it is. The desires can go, only if we are alert and conscious, not otherwise. Once I am conscious of my desire, it travels upwards. Let me explain.

Desire is prompted by energy

Desire is prompted by energy. Desire is a thought. Every thought has got energy. So, once you are conscious of this thought energy that you call desire, it travels upwards. Once the energy of desire, the thought energy travels upwards, it reaches the heart and gets transformed into prayer. Desire gets transformed into prayer by this ‘constant integrated awareness’, by this consciousness, by being more conscious, more wakeful, more alert. This desire, this energy will continue to flow upward until it reaches the top energy centre, Sahasrara. When it reaches Sahasrara, the thought energy transforms into Love. So, desire basically in the realm of the heart becomes a prayer, whilst in the realm of Sahasrara, it becomes Love. So we are not anti-desire. No! Once we are conscious of the desire, it becomes sublime. It becomes sublime. That which is terrestrial is transformed into a celestial experience. Let that be our goal in the year 2004.


I would also like to share with you, a timely caution, my friends. Be more and know less. Be more – know less. But we are knowing more and, in reality, we are being less and less. We think spirituality is scholarship. We think religion is reading. We think prayer is quoting the scriptures. No!

Be more and know less. Know less and be more. We have known more than what we are. We have known more than what we can. But, we are not enjoying the spirit of it because we are not in the being, we are only in the process of knowing. The process of knowing will never quench your thirst. The process of knowing will never appease your hunger. The process of being is the satiation of your hunger; the process of quenching your thirst. Therefore, may this year 2004 help us to be more and know less.


The next thing is this. When can we have a rapport with God? There are some people who say, “Sir, where are the books available? Are the the Veda books sold in the stores?”

“Why do you want them?”

“Because the boys chant the Vedas, I want them. Are the cassettes available? I want them.”

Tomorrow Swami will start classical music recitals. Go and purchase those cassettes also. (Laughter) And then Swami will be attending drama rehearsals for one full month during convocation. “All right! Where is the drama? Let me act.”

My friends, we are not a mob. You will never evolve as long as you think you are a part of a mob. We will never advance so long we entertain the feeling that we are a mob. No! Everyone is an individual. Everyone is a concretised piece of consciousness. Everyone is Divine. Everyone is unique. Everyone is special. No one is a carbon copy of anybody. Swami makes you sing everyday, but if I try to sing, the whole Prashanti Nilayam would be empty. (Laughter) I am not fit for singing. If you ask a singer to give a lecture, then it would be making the worst joke of that talent, of the very spirit of oration or communication skills.

So, one person is designed to do one thing. Yes! You cannot expect a priest to be a farmer and a farmer to be a priest. It is not possible. God has given you some job. That’s what we call the ‘mission of life’. Let us carry on our ‘mission of life’, backed by the message of Baba. Let the message of Baba be the backbone, whilst the mission of life be the aim and the sojourn of our life.

My friends, what is the best way -- singing, Veda cassettes, or books that are available? Anything that makes you feel near to Him. Anything that will make you lose yourself. Anything that will make you shed tears at the very thought of Him. Anything that makes you forget yourself and hear His voice within. Anything that makes you go beyond the body and the mind. Anything that makes you feel that spell of eternity, that moment of Immortality. That is the best path. There is no prescribed path.

My friends, that path which establishes rapport with God, which instils Love, taking one to the Feet of God, is the best path. There is no stereotyped, carbon copied or Xeroxed path of spirituality. This is one thing that I really want to tell you, as we enter the year 2004.


There are people who start so many practices. We have got bhajan singing classes. We have meditation classes. We have Balvikas classes. We have all sorts of classes, including yoga classes. Yes! We are not short of classes as people want to have special skills and special capacities. The year 2004 calls for a special capacity.


Let us rise in our capacity to seek and search. Not to seek the mundane gimmicks, the mundane worldly arts. Let us search within, yet seek him everywhere. Let me seek Him everywhere, and also let me search for Him within. This year 2004 should help us to rise in our capacities to seek and search for Truth, so that we may dissolve and disappear into the oceanic Divinity in order to get merged in that mighty ocean of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s consciousness - the Divine consciousness. Let us merge, melt and disappear. That should be our goal.

LET US NOT imitate

Let us not imitate. There are people who imitate others. Imitation is human; creation is Divine. As I told you earlier, no one can copy anybody, because life is not a process of copying or xeroxing. No. Life is original. You are special to God. Please understand! Everyone is special.

If anyone says, “Anil Kumar, you are close to God,” I feel ashamed of myself. How can I be close to God? Who is distant from Him? All are close to Him. Everyone is close to Him. Yes! No one is special. I may be close to Him only for certain special purposes -- to translate or to carry out some other special duties. But all of us, my friends -- please believe me -- all of us have a place in the heart of Sai. (Applause)

Anil Kumar may have a place on the lips of Sai. (Applause) But it is not that important to have a place on the lips of Sai. On the lips of Sai, there are only commands. That’s all. It is in the heart of Sai, where there is His garden of Love -- the fragrance of His smile, the aroma of His benediction, the life of cooperation and the blossoming of that alchemical Divine Romance that has been there for all time. So, who is close to Swami? Everyone who is alive is close to Swami. That should be our consciousness in this year 2004.


Let us close the doors to our old prejudices and problems. Let us resolve all our conflicts so that we live in Love hereafter. There should be no differences whatsoever, as a real man is one of intelligence, not just an intellectual. I repeat: The real man is not an intellectual; a real man is intelligent.

There is a difference between intelligent and intellectual. Intellectual is worldly; intelligence is Pragnana -- that with which you are born. Awareness is intelligence, while intellectual is of the brain, like a computer. So a real man is never an intellectual, but is one of intelligence. An intelligent man knows that nothing is permanent in this world. An intelligent man knows how to be in this world -- how to be equanimous. That should be our aim and objective.

Finally, last but not least, I shall tell you, my friends, the highlight of the day. Let us keep it as a torch, as a candle, burning throughout the year 2004. What is it?

Bliss increases more and more as we are nearer and nearer, and dearer and dearer to God. Agony and anguish increase when we are away, far away, from God. So, where is bliss? Near God. Where is anguish? That lies in being away from God. So, when you start feeling happy, know that you are near God, whether here in India, Australia, Canada or America. When you smile, know that you are near God. When you are blissful, understand that you are with God. God is in you. When you are sad, understand you have gone away from Him. You have strayed from Him.

May this year 2004 keep us forever and ever at His Lotus Feet, so that our lives are perfectly green with all the flowers blossoming -- a blissful life forever and ever. May Bhagavan be with you forever and ever. May He bless your families -- those who are here, those who are away from your family members and those family members who are at your native places, waiting for you to join them. May Bhagavan bless everybody here, there and everywhere!

Happy New Year! God bless you! (Applause)

(Anil Kumar closed his talk with a rather unusual bhajan, “Sai, Sai, Saianare”.)

Sai Sai Saianare (Hari Hari)
Sarvamu Brahmamu Mayamanare (Hari Hari)

Baba Baba Babanare (Hari Hari)
Bhakthito Bhajanalo Palgonare (Hari Hari)

Jai Rama Rama Ramanare (Hari Hari)
Rakshasa Gunamulu Pommanare (Hari Hari)

Krishna Krishna Krishnanare (Hari Hari)
Kashtamulanu Pommanare (Hari Hari)

Shiva Shiva Shiva Shivayanare (Hari Hari)
Shivakesavulanu Samamanare (Hari Hari)

Jai Hari Hari Hari Harianare (Hari Hari)
Atma Ramuni Madianare (Hari Hari)

Jai Om Sainatha Jai, Sri Sainatha Jai (10)
Hari Hari (Louder, Louder)

Jai Puttaparthi Vasa Jai, Sathya Sai Baba Jai (10)
Jai Sathya Sai Baba Jai
Samartha Sadguru Sainath Baba Maharaj Ku Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!

May God Bless You! Happy New Year!


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

May Bhagavan Bless You and your family!

Jai Sai Ram!

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