Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at
July 27, 2003
The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar
“Questions from America” - Part II
July 27th, 2003
OM… OM… OM…
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have been discussing the questions that have been put to me
during my recent trip to the USA. As I told you already, the
questions have been categorised under four headings: personal,
organizational, social, and spiritual.
Last week we completed two of the aspects - personal and
organizational. The social and spiritual topics remain. The
following are the next questions and answers.
“How Can a Wife Develop Self-Confidence?”
These days we hear about the women's liberation movement. Women
are trying to claim equal rights with men. The Indian government
is also attempting to increase the percentage of seats in the
Parliament and in the legislature for women. There is nothing
wrong with it. There's an awareness among women. They will fight
for their rights to be given as much salary as men get. There is
no question of discrimination on grounds of gender.
Along this line, a question was asked: “How can a wife develop
self-confidence if she has to be submissive to her husband?”
It is a sensitive question indeed. However, there are two aspects
here. One is that of self-confidence; the other is about the
submissive nature, submission and submissiveness. You have to
clearly understand what both points stand for. Self-confidence has
to do with individual character. Self-confidence relates to the
individual, while submissiveness deals with an inter-relationship:
I am submissive to you, or you are submissive to me. This sort of
submissiveness has to do with an inter-relationship, whereas
self-confidence is an individual characteristic. They are never
How can an individual character contradict an inter-relationship?
It's not possible. Both work in different channels. A simple
example: I have total self-confidence that I will be able to
discharge my duties to the best of my ability. That does not mean
that I am, that I cannot be or that I should not be submissive to
my boss. I think I am clear.
Before the vice-chancellor, I am submissive. In front of the
principal, I am submissive. The submissive nature goes along with
obedience, which is a code of conduct, which is a disciplined way
of behaviour on the part of an employee towards an employer. But
self-confidence is based on one's own ability, one's own capacity,
one's own skills and competence.
Submissiveness will make you very humble. It will make you better.
It will improve your inter-relationships: the boss will be pleased
with you. Your self-confidence will help you to be more competent,
more efficient, and more proficient. Therefore, a housewife can be
both self-confident and submissive.
A self-confident person need not be arrogant. A self-confident
person need not be headstrong. A self-confident person need not be
rebellious. A self-confident person need not be a revolutionary.
No. Self-confidence will improve your own personal ability.
Submissiveness is an expression of your humility.
That is the answer I gave to this question.
Advice From Swami When Wife And Husband Disagree
“What advice does Swami give to couples when the wife and the
husband disagree?” (Laughter)
A husband and wife relationship means that there will be
disagreements! (Laughter) As long as they are friends, there will
be total agreement. From the day that friends turn into a couple,
disagreements start. Disagreement is everywhere. There is an
agreement and a disagreement. We should agree to disagree. If
there is agreement always, there is no charm in life. (Laughter)
There should be disagreement. This happens everywhere. There are
I remember a joke shared with us by Sadhu Vaswani of Pune:
“A couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Everybody
attended their wedding anniversary function and congratulated the
couple. They were successfully linked together for 60 years,
without wanting any change. People told them, ‘You are really
great. What is the secret of your success?’”
The question was asked of the husband. The husband gave this
answer: '”We have been very successful so far. We are able to
celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary because I take all the
major decisions. (Laughter) She makes all minor decisions.
(Laughter) However, as yet, I have not made a major decision! I
have yet to make a major decision.’” (Laughter)
Therefore, my friends, disagreement is everywhere. Bhagavan gave
an example of Lord Shiva Himself. Lord Shiva's dwelling place is a
burial ground. His consort Parvathi lives in a paradise, Kailash.
Shiva is almost naked, while Parvathi is full of jewellery. They
are opposites: Shiva is for total renunciation and detachment,
while Parvathi is full of affluence, plenty and prosperity. Yet,
they continue to be an ideal couple. This sort of idealism lies in
establishing harmony between the two.
Yes, the two wires - negative and positive -- unless the positive
and negative wires are there, the current won't flow. If you have
only positive wires, then there won’t be any current. Positive and
negative are a law of life.
Bhagavan gave one example. Where there is understanding, there
will be adjustment. Yet, we go in the reverse direction. We want
adjustment, then understanding. That's why we are successful
failures. (Laughter) We must understand first -- then adjustment
Bhagavan gave an illustration: A newly married couple started
their life in a metropolitan city. The wife was very understanding
of her husband because she knew that he was highly qualified and
she was fully confident that he deserved a promotion. Yes – a
double promotion if possible! He worked very hard. She knew it
very well. Therefore, when the husband returned home late in the
evening she wouldn’t mind. The office closed at 5 o'clock. Even If
her husband returned at 7 o’clock, she didn’t mind. She would be
waiting at the gate.
She would say, “I understand that you are very tired. I know how
busy you are. I know you are very efficient. You never shirk your
responsibility. Would you like to have hot coffee now? Would you
like to have coffee, or would you like to have it along with
tiffin?” She would continue talking like that. This man will
forget that he was tired and begin to have a broad smile on his
But suppose someone tells her that this man is having an affair
with somebody! Then, if he is late by five minutes, she will be
waiting at the gate, no doubt as before, (Laughter) but this time
not with a cup of coffee! If possible, with sticks especially
made! (Laughter) She will ask for an explanation.
“What happened to you? When the office closed at five o‘clock, why
the half-hour delay? What happened to you? I suspect something is
wrong; something is fishy.”
This sort of suspicion comes due to lack of understanding. As long
as there is perfect understanding, there is no suspicion. When
there is misunderstanding, there is no adjustment. According to
Bhagavan, couples should understand this: they need to understand
each other. Thereafter, there would be 100% adjustment. It should
not be in the reverse direction of ‘adjust now and understand
tomorrow’. No! Then they will end up in a divorce. So, understand
first and then adjust.
Here is another instance that Bhagavan mentioned. A husband should
know how to treat his wife. His wife has left her parents, her
relations, and her kith and kin, and has gone to live with him. He
should be sympathetic. He should be tolerant. He should be
understanding. He should be forgiving. She sacrificed everything
for her husband.
The wife should also be understanding of her husband. This man is
returning from hectic activity, having been so busy at the office.
This is not the time to come forward with demands or requests.
Living together, they should come to know each other - like two
eyes with a single object of vision. ‘I look at you and see only
one person not two.’ Though there are two eyes, you have only a
single object or vision. Similarly, there may be two, husband and
wife, but when they are together in absolute understanding and
total adjustment, they can be together in perfect harmony. That's
“Whose Prayers Will Be Obliged?”
Next question: “When parents and their son are discussing a
particular issue, but see it from different perspectives, whom
will Swami oblige?”
This was a question raised by a young adult. Both sides continue
to pray to Swami. (Laughter) The boy is praying to Swami; his
parents are also praying to Swami. Both need Swami, but their
temperaments disagree. What the boy wants, the parents don't want
him to have. The parents don't approve of his requests. Still,
this fellow wants it. When their desires are contradictory, when
their plans are opposite, when they continue to pray to Swami,
whom does He oblige? This is a very good question. (Laughter) Whom
does He respond to?
The answer is simple. Baba said that it is absolutely necessary
for the son to follow the command of his parents. His parents know
his interests much better than he does. The mother, who has given
birth and brought up the child, and the father, who has sacrificed
everything to bring up his son, will naturally be very much
interested in the future of their son.
So, the son has to necessarily follow the parents. There is no
question of ‘I have this idea and you have that idea; so let’s
pray together and see who will win?’ (Laughter) Prayer is not a
matter of competition. There is nothing like ‘higher’ prayer and
‘lower’ prayer. Prayer is prayer. “I will pray more than you!”
There is nothing like that. There is nothing like parameters,
nothing like a measure for the intensity of prayer. A prayer is a
The Iraq And America War
Next question: “What has Swami said about the war between America
and Iraq, and the present conflict between America and the Middle
What sort of answer could I give to the Americans, since I was
staying with them? (Laughter) I cannot say they are wrong; I
cannot say they are right. I was in a very embarrassing position.
(Laughter) But Swami helped me to get beyond this.
Swami's message cannot be limited to America and Iraq, American
and Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. No, no, no! Bhagavan's
message is universal. Bhagavan's message is meant for everybody,
at all times, for all countries. You cannot localise an issue. His
message is based on Love. Bhagavan does not approve of bloodshed.
He is for non-violence. He is for open discussion, not for war. He
always believes in empathy, sympathy, friendship and
understanding. I was happy that they were satisfied with the
answer. That way I did not have to blame anybody. (Laughter)
While talking with Swami about this, I said, "Swami, I faced a
very inconvenient question."
He said, "What? What?"
"Swami, people wanted to know whom You support - the Americans or
the Iraqis?” (Laughter)
Swami asked me to repeat my answer. (Laughter)
I knew that some ‘music’ (some reaction from Swami) would be
waiting for me to follow. If anything went wrong, I would be
beheaded (Anil Kumar is speaking jokingly here) without even a
month's notice! (Laughter)
“Swami, this is what I said: ‘I cannot bring down Bhagavan’s
message to the problem prevailing in America and Iraq. No! His
message is universal. It may be Palestine and Israel. It may be
Iran and Iraq. It may be a conflict between any other two
countries. But Bhagavan’s message is based on Love and
“The correct answer!“ He said. Therefore, I continued on a good
footing with Swami, as He approved of the answer given.
The next question was: “After being here (this question was asked
by an Indian in the USA), we face ‘culture shock’. What does Baba
want us to do about culture shock?” So, for your shock, He has to
suggest something! (Laughter)
We have to clearly understand that culture is not geographical.
One may be here in India, yet leading a Western life. If you go to
cities like Delhi, Calcutta or Bombay, I don't think that you will
see much Indian culture there. It is India, but you don't see any
Indian culture. So Indian culture need not necessarily be
practiced in India alone. No! So I can show you a thousand
examples in India where Indian culture is not followed.
Therefore, Indian culture is a way of life. It is an attitude. It
is a sort of interaction between an individual and the community.
It speaks of the objectives of life. It speaks of the purpose of
life. It speaks of the nature of the Divine and several other
Therefore, if you say that you are facing ‘culture shock’, it only
means that you have forgotten your own native culture. You are
still not able to imbibe the ‘alien’ culture, the new culture in
the land where you are now. You are not able to adopt that, yet
you have forgotten your own culture. You are in-between.
Therefore, there is this ‘shock’.
So, culture shock is not the mistake of the culture. It is the
mistake of the individual. If you are really convinced of the
validity of your own culture, then wherever you are, you will
Don't misunderstand me. I see many people. I know many people here
-- the Westerners working in the canteen, the bookstall and so
many places. How do they do it? With a smile on their face! They
are very active. The culture of the West is work-focused, with a
spirit of excellence. Wherever you put them, they are excellent
workers. They want to be ‘number one’ at work. That spirit has
been imbibed. Therefore, every culture has its own uniqueness.
Suppose my work culture (say, an Indian working in the USA) wants
me to be number one in the world, but my native (Indian) culture
does not want me to take any credit! The Indian culture wants us
to work with the spirit that this work is an opportunity, a gift
from God. It is not to dominate, not to be number one. Our culture
views it as an opportunity, as God's gift for excellence. Don’t
get me wrong -- I am not rooting out excellence all together. You
are supposed to be excellent; there is no doubt about it. But in
this culture, this opportunity for excellence is viewed as a gift
Therefore, ‘culture shock’ is of your own making. If you are
really aware of what culture is – a way of life -- there will be
no shock anywhere. You will never be confused. Eternal values,
even in a changing society, lay much emphasis on the culture (the
way of life) that has to be adopted, despite worldly changes all
around. What changes is the civilisation. What does not change is
the culture. We should not get confused with that. Culture does
not change; it is eternal. Culture has continuity with eternity
whereas, from time to time, civilisation changes because it is
based on conveniences, comforts and luxury. Culture stands for and
represents values. When you have perfect understanding about this,
you will never get this ‘culture shock’.
“Are Comparison And Competition To Be Avoided?”
The next question: “Mr. Anil Kumar, you say that comparison and
competition should be avoided.”
“Yes, I always say this. It is not an allegation. It is truth.
“How do you relate to schools, which are highly competitive? In
schools and colleges, there is very keen competition. Mr. Anil
Kumar, you say that there should not be competition and
comparison. How do you explain this?”
A very good question! What I mean is that there should not be
competition and comparison once you settle in life. Once you
settle in life, whatever lot you have, be contented. Whatever
thing you have, be happy. Don't compete, thereby denying yourself
Here’s a simple example: Assume that God has given me a small car.
God has given you a bigger car, the latest model! If I go on
thinking of you, I miss the pleasure of driving in my own car.
Therefore, competition and comparison will deny me any pleasure,
right at that moment.
But, as long as you are a student, you should be highly
competitive. In scholarship, one has to compete. In grades, one
must compete. Pardhaya Vardhathe Vidya. Pardhaya means
‘competition’. Vidya means ‘education’ and vardhathe means
‘improve’. Out of competition, one will certainly improve and
advance in studies. Later in life, we want contentment and
satisfaction. So, you cannot quote me when you are at the student
stage! But what you do as a student should not be brought forward
once you settle in life.
Here is another simple example: As a young boy, you can play with
marbles. It is very nice. Later, why can't you play with marbles
in your office? (Laughter) It is childish. What is good at one
stage is not good later. Use competition and comparison as a
student; but once you are settled in life, experience contentment
and contemplate on self-inquiry. Be on a search -- a quest for
peace and bliss. At this later stage, the objectives or targets
change. A retired person cannot compete with a boy due to his age.
(Laughter) If he does, something is wrong with him. If a person
goes on competing, after retirement, with a boy of twenty, well
what do you say? Something is wrong with him. If a college student
goes on saying, ‘Let me be content with 30% marks; let me be
satisfied with failure’, that would be wrong. Therefore, what I
said applies to settled life, not to a student.
Now for the next question: “When there is no co-operation within
the family, can we still attain liberation?”
This is a question perhaps based on the political system!
(Laughter) Unless there is co-operation, you cannot win in an
election. Unless there is co-operation, you cannot run your
office. Unless there is co-operation, you cannot run your family.
At the family level, at the provincial level, at the national
level, co-operation is necessary.
But, in respect to spirituality, we stand all alone. We stand all
alone! If I am going to hell, I cannot say, ”All of you join me --
let us proceed.” (Laughter) There is nothing like that. Liberation
is obtained all alone. A son may be deserving, but the father may
be undeserving. A husband may be undeserving, and the housewife
may be the better-half. (Laughter) We cannot question it. In
spirituality, we stand all alone. There are no blood
After all, Bhagavan has said, "Children are not from the parents.
They are through the parents." Let us be very clear – ‘through the
parents, not from the parents’. What does it mean? Parents are
merely channels, that’s all. Parents have allowed life to manifest
through them as channels, that's all. They cannot claim that the
child is their product. Perhaps that son will be a rebel later.
Therefore, the parents have no claim except to act as a channel.
‘Through the parents’ is the more appropriate description.
Therefore, the answer is this: When you want co-operation from the
family, it is a political problem. It is a social problem. All the
family wants to go somewhere. All of them want to attend a
wedding. They need co-operation. The son cannot say, “Daddy, I am
sorry. I have some other appointment.”
When the mother is cooking a certain dish for the evening meal,
the daughter cannot say, “Sorry, mother. I want something
different.” Anything social, anything that has to do with the
business, anything political, requires co-operation.
Today, unfortunately, there is no co-operation. To quote Baba:
“There is no co-operation. There is only operation.” That's the
reason why systems fail from time-to-time. From the spiritual
point of view, we stand all alone: Udhare Atma Atmanam. We should
work for our own liberation. Nobody can help you.
To quote Swami: “Even with co-operation, even with intense love
among brothers, the elder brother cannot say to his younger
brother, ‘Brother, you sustained a fracture. I know it is highly
painful. So to save you from this pain, I would like to have the
bandage.’ (Laughter) The elder brother cannot take the fracture
from the younger brother. If the older brother is suffering from a
fever, the younger brother cannot say, ‘Brother, I know you are
suffering from a fever. So I will take the medicine on your
behalf.’ (Laughter) You cannot do it.”
One has to eat for one’s own hunger. One has to drink for one’s
own thirst. One has to work for one’s own liberation. There is
nothing like co-operation. It is an accident that we are in a
family. It is an accident that one is a son to the father. It
doesn't mean that it is a life-long bondage.
Next question: “Is it necessary that one should face
dissatisfaction to be spiritual? I am OK with the world. So, why
pursue God then? I am fine in this world.” This is a question from
a young adult.
I told him, “Boy, you are OK in this world now. But just wait for
sometime. (Laughter) You say, ‘Everything is fine.’ Wait for some
more time. Not all days are Sunday. There will be Monday, then
Tuesday, and so on. Life is a cycle, filled with ups and downs.
Life is a cycle, filled with bumps and jumps. Life is not a
straight line. One has to necessarily face both situations. It is
like a pendulum that oscillates from one end to the other. Life is
like a pendulum that moves between a tear and a smile. Therefore,
you cannot always say that you are very much satisfied in this
I told that young adult an example that Baba had given. It seems
that one boy could not get his degree. He appeared for the
examination a number of times. The university was fed up with him.
This fellow could not manage to get through. But he was fortunate
to get a girl, a double graduate, as his wife. The poor chap could
not get a better one. Somehow, she agreed to marry him. She was a
double graduate, while this fellow had no degree. He was very
happy that his wife was a double graduate, aha!
On the day of his wedding, in front of everybody, he said, “I am
the luckiest man in this world. Although I have no degree, my wife
has two degrees!” (Laughter) On the wedding day, this fellow kept
looking at her, forgetting the large audience, because he was so
happy -- Himalayan bliss. (Laughter) Naturally, this life was OK
with him, so why pursue God? This is what he thought at that time!
After the wedding, his wife joined him. This fellow was relaxing,
sitting in the easy chair. He called her, “Come on! Get me a hot
cup of coffee, OK?” (Laughter)
She said, “I am sorry. You go prepare a cup, and one for me also.”
Then he said loudly, “I am the most miserable man on earth.”
Fifteen days earlier he had said, “I am the most fortunate man.”
Both are true. At that time, what he said was correct, and today
what he said is also correct.
Therefore, life has its ups and downs. Let us know that life is
whole: W–H–O–L-E. Life is total. If you lead a choiceless life,
you will be successful. But if you say, “I want only success and
more success,” it is impossible. You will be successful as a
patient, that's all. (Laughter)
You cannot always say, “I am a failure and I am miserable”, unless
you are a pessimist, unless you are a sadist. Then you should be
sent to a psychoanalyst. You should consult a psychiatrist. If you
want only the positive, you are impractical. If you think
negatively too much, you are a pessimist. Life is total -- both
positive and negative. You cannot say, “I want only daytime with
sunlight.” If you said, “Oh sun, be there throughout the day. I
want daylight all the time”, then people will want to avoid you.
You cannot have darkness all the twenty-four hours. Neither can
you have light all the twenty-four hours. A day means both light
So, life also means both success and failure. Life means profit
and gain. Life means celebration; it also means humiliation. Life
means praise and blame. Life means health and sickness. Therefore,
if you view life in totality, there will be no question of
disappointment. Then you understand what life is.
Busy Work And God
The next question: “In the midst of busy work, how do I link
myself with God? Some people have to drive hours and hours to
reach their work spot. At the end of the workday, they return
completely tired after driving more hours. In this busy life, how
am I to establish a link with God?”
This has been a problem. Yet, the answer is simple when I say, “O
God, I am only an instrument. You make me do what I am supposed
I am only an instrument. It may be my office work; it may be that
I am driving my car. Yes, right there at the steering wheel, say
to yourself, “O God, I am driving as per Your will.”
“O God, I am working with my computer as per Your direction.” Or,
“I am a doctor, so I am Your instrument.”
With a spirit of surrender when you work, you are not simply
linking with God. No. You are in God, not just ‘linked up’ with
God. ‘Linking’ is different from ‘being in God’. Where there is a
link, there is also ‘de-link’ -- linking and de-linking,
connecting and disconnecting. But when you are in God, nobody can
take you out, because God is everywhere.
Therefore, my friends, it is quite possible to live in God, with
constant remembrance of His Name. This is what Swami calls
‘Constant Integrated Awareness’. That's what it is -- Constant
Integrated Awareness -- remembering His matchless glory, His Name.
So then you are always established in God, in full awareness.
“Do Good To All”
“God says to do good to all. Where do I draw a line, say, if I
have done the best of my ability, and yet another man hurts me?”
This is the next question. You are doing your best because Baba
has said to do good. Still, the other man is hurting you. Where do
you draw a line? This means, “When do I stop helping the other
man? I keep on helping the man and he is not reciprocating. So, at
what point should I stop helping him?” That’s what the questioner
I will give you an example from Sai literature. It seems a wise
man was having his morning bath in a river. In the river, he saw a
scorpion struggling. This wise man picked up the scorpion with his
hand. The scorpion bit the man, so immediately the man dropped it
in the water. The scorpion went on struggling.
Out of compassion, the man picked it up again. The scorpion
started biting again. Then this wise man thought, ‘Oh scorpion,
you have not given up your bad nature. Although you have not given
up your bad nature, why should I give up my nature of helping? I
will continue to help you because this is the lesson that I
learned from you. Just because you have not given up your nature,
why should I give up my nature?’
Therefore, when another man hurts you, he is behaving like a
scorpion. Because that person hurts you, it doesn't mean that you
should stop helping him. You should continue your own nature. It
is something like the sun. “O sun, you are giving me light. Thank
you!” None of us says that. Still, the sun goes on shedding light.
None of us would say, “O thank you, wind god, because you supply
me with oxygen.” I breathe oxygen as if it were my father-in-law’s
property! (Laughter) Of course, the in-law won’t allow even that.
The point is that we take things for granted. This should not be
the situation. Whatever the other person may say, we should
continue with our nature.
Gandhiji was highly respectful to Winston Churchill in spite of
the fact that they were at loggerheads with each other. Because of
his nature, he was very courteous to Churchill. Likewise,
helpfulness should be your nature, should be second nature to you.
The thought of helpfulness should not be only a Sunday affair. The
thought of service should not be only for a service activity. It
should be your nature. You and service should go together. You and
help are one and the same. It is not that help will only dawn on
Monday. “I am very humble on Sunday, serviceable on Tuesday and
helpful on Wednesday.” No. Life is not a timetable. Life is not a
schedule. Helpfulness should be your nature – second nature,
in-built character -- so that you are not mindful of anything
At this hour, I am reminded of a great missionary, a great
Christian missionary, by the name of Wolf. He was staying in a big
bungalow. A few robbers and thieves entered his house. They had
stolen everything and they were leaving his bungalow.
At that moment, Reverend Wolf got up from his bed and noticed the
thieves leaving. He shouted, “Oh young men, stop there. It is dark
all over. There are many thorny bushes. This place is known for
snakes and scorpions. I will give you a lamp, my dear sons. Take
the lamp and go slowly. I don't want you to die.” That is a
I also remember a story from Tolstoy literature. A vagabond -- a
gangster and a man of vices -- lost all his property. Finally, it
happened that his fiancée wanted his mother’s golden chain. This
fellow went fully drunk, killed his mother and snatched away her
gold chain. He was leaving the house to present this gold chain to
Then the man heard a voice: "Sonny, be careful! Watch your step.
You are fully drunk, my dear child. You may fall. So carry the
gold chain carefully."
The fellow looked back. What did he see? He saw the heart of his
mother on the ground. The heart started speaking like that.
“Sonny, be careful! You may fall. Take hold of this chain. Be
careful.” That is Love.
“I will help you if you help me” -- that is business, which is
political. “I will continue to help you even if you hurt me” --
that is the true spirit of help.
“Can Baba Find A Cure FOR SARS?”
“Can Baba find medicine for SARS?” (Laughter)
SARS was a health problem in Singapore and Canada and few other
areas. I said, “Well, I have not brought up this topic with Swami.
Why ask just for SARS? For all diseases, I know of only one
medicine: Paramam Pavitram Baba Vibhutim – Baba’s vibhuthi. That
is the only antibiotic that I know. I am not aware of other
“What To Do With Criticism?”
Next question: “If anyone criticises me, I feel badly. I have not
gotten beyond that feeling. What do I do? How do I take the
criticism? I have still have a reaction. What am I to do?”
Baba has given a very good answer to this. If anyone criticises
you for a reason that is genuine, be thankful to the critic. If
you are really wrong, be thankful to him: “My brother, you have
pointed out my mistake. Thank you very much.”
Suppose that you are criticised or charged with doing something
that you have not committed. In other words, you are not guilty.
Then don’t worry at all! As you have not done anything, so your
heart is clear. When you are clear, when the accusations are
false, don't bother. Pay a deaf ear. When they are genuine,
correct yourself and be thankful for the awareness.
Baba gave Himself as an example: Baba said, “If you say, ‘Baba,
You are bald’, I am not offended because I have a lot of hair. I
am not bald. Whatever you say, why should I feel offended? Suppose
someone says, ‘Baba, You have a mop of hair -- so much hair’, then
I am not offended because it is true (Laughter)!”
When truth is said to your face, you don't have to feel guilty.
You don't have to feel sorry. When a false accusation is made, you
don't have to feel badly either. Criticism helps you to correct
yourself when you do commit a mistake. Therefore, feeling hurt
should not arise at any point in time.
Whether you praise God or not, He will always be happy. Someone
might say, “O God, You are really loving.” God does not think, ‘O
My son, I am happy with your compliments.’
Or if you say, “God, You are unkind because nowadays You are not
giving me interviews”, He is not displeased.
Spirituality is transcendence. Spirituality is not indulgence;
spirituality is not avoidance. Spirituality is transcendence. You
should transcend criticism as well as praise and admiration. You
should go beyond the two. That is true spirituality.
Right Balance Between Worldly Success And Spiritual Growth
Another question: “Particularly in America, how do we, as Sai
devotees, find the right balance between worldly success and
spiritual growth towards Swami's Lotus Feet?”
This is a good question. Where is the balance between worldly
success and spiritual growth? Where do you strike the balance
towards Swami's Lotus Feet? My friends, worldly success and
spiritual growth are not opposite. Why should you think that a
spiritual man is a failure in the world? Why should you think that
a spiritual man is incompetent or inefficient? No! Worldly success
and spiritual growth go hand-in-hand.
You may ask me, “Why not spiritual growth alone? Why should there
be spiritual success?”
My friends, ‘spiritual growth’ is a false term, a false word, the
wrong usage. There are some people who say, “I noticed spiritual
growth in myself.”
Oh, I see. (Laughter) You must have noticed ‘undergrowth’
yesterday. You may find ‘overgrowth’ tomorrow. Spirituality has
nothing to do with growth! No. You cannot say, “I am spiritually
growing.” Has your thermometer helped you to measure? Or have your
scales (for weight) helped you? Or, on your morning jog, has it
been revealed to you?
My friends, ‘spiritual growth’ are the wrong words. It is better
that you remember ‘spiritual awareness’. It is not spiritual
growth, but spiritual awareness. Awareness means realisation.
Realisation means an understanding of what you already are,
whereas spiritual growth gives a misunderstanding of what you are
not: “I have not grown today.”
‘I have grown’ means from undergrowth you have moved towards
growth. But, spirituality is nothing like undergrowth, growth and
overgrowth. No! Spirituality is constant. Spirituality is constant
because it has been there since existence. Spirituality is
existence. There is nothing like extra growth, undergrowth,
hypertrophy -- it’s not like that. Therefore, spiritual awareness
will naturally help you to be successful in the world as well.
Worldly success is assured. In the world, there is success and
failure. But in spirituality, there is nothing like success and
failure. Spirituality is beyond duality. Only the world is dual.
So how do you establish a sort of balance between the two? One is
the realisation; the other is the achievement. Spiritual awareness
is realisation. Worldly success is an achievement. How can I
measure liquid and solid in the same way? One has to be measured
in litres and the other one has to be measured in kilos. I cannot
say that the distance from here to the Mandir is fifty degrees.
Can you say that? “What is the weight of this? Two litres!” Do you
This kind of measure is not applicable in the spiritual realms. In
the spiritual realms, it is realisation and awareness of that
which is non-dual. In the world, which is dual, the parameters of
success and failure, or profit and loss, are always dual.
Therefore, how to strike a balance? The balance is this: Worldly
duality can be viewed through the undercurrent of spiritual
awareness. Spiritual awareness is the understanding; spiritual
awareness is the backdrop. Worldly success is the projection. When
worldly success is projected on the screen of spiritual awareness,
yes, you are a seeker, you are an aspirant, you are spiritual, or
you are a saint. The curtain is spiritual awareness; the
projection is worldly success. They are not opposite. One is the
corollary to the other. One is the screen; the other is the
I gave that answer.
My friends, I will take the last few minutes to address the topic
of spiritual questions.
“How Do You Develop, Protect And Improve Faith?”
First question: “How do you develop, protect and improve faith?”
This question came from the Milwaukee Center in the State of
Wisconsin. How to develop, protect and improve faith? Three
aspects - develop, protect and improve.
My answer is simple. Faith is natural. You don't have to develop
it. You were born with faith. A child has total faith in the
mother. A child is not taught how to develop faith towards the
mother. “My dear child, she is your mother. So have total faith in
she who is teaching you.” You are born with faith. Faith is not
cultivated. Faith is not imported, exported or manufactured. You
are born with faith.
Furthermore, Baba goes on to say that you have total faith in a
barber. You go to the salon and bend your head. Whether this
fellow is going to put the knife on your head or your neck, you
don't have any doubt. You have total faith in a barber. You give
your costly dress to the washerman. You never think that he may
run away someday with your costly clothes. You have total faith in
a washerman and total faith in a barber. Then you have total faith
in a doctor. You lie down on the operation table. He will
transport you to the other planet and bring you back safely to
earth -- you don't doubt it at all. You have total faith in a
doctor. Faith is a natural quality. You are born with faith.
The question might be, “Why, then, is faith sometimes lost?”
Rather than ask how to develop faith, the question is: “Why has
faith gone? Why is faith lost?” This question is in respect only
to God! You have faith in everybody else. There are a number of
instances where I have heard this at a railway platform or in an
airport. Someone will ask his or her neighbour, “Sir, here is my
luggage. Please take care of it. I will go to the restroom and
By the time you come back, the other person and your baggage may
be elsewhere! (Laughter) In total faith, you give your baggage to
that man. In total faith, he has run away with it. We have faith
in everybody, except in God. So, instead of saying, “How do I
develop faith?” let us ask the question, “Why have I lost faith?”
Then, “How to protect faith?” Yes, you have to take every
precaution. You have to take every measure to protect faith. Why?
Now that you have developed a sort of attachment to Swami, you
have faith in Swami. If you start arguing with people, if you
start interpreting Swami’s sayings, you are sure to lose the
faith. Let us not interpret Bhagavan.
There are many people who say, “You know why Swami has not looked
at you? I will tell you.” (Laughter)
“Who are you to tell me why He has not looked at me? Who are you?
That's my problem.”
Then some says, “You know what Baba meant when He said this to
you? He meant that….”
“Oh ho, who are you to tell me? Bhagavan will tell me directly
what He wants me to know. Why should you interpret? You are
already mad and turning me double mad. Why?”
So, let us not interpret. To grow strong in faith, we should stop
interpreting. We should learn total acceptance, not negation.
Unconditional acceptance, without any interpretation, is strong
Then, so long as faith is tender, you need to be careful about
those who are against your faith. You believe in Baba, but suppose
you talk to people who have no faith in Him. You will lose it.
Baba gave this simple example: When a sapling is planted, it needs
a fence to protect it. When this same plant grows into a huge
tree, it will give shelter to cows and sheep. At a tender age, a
sapling stands the risk of being eaten away. When it grows into a
huge tree, it gives shelter to the same animals that may have
harmed it earlier.
So, until your faith is strong enough to encourage others to
proceed in the same direction, you have to be careful. That's why
it is important to be in good company. Cheje durjana samsargam:
Run away from bad company. Bhaja saadhu samagamam: Join good
company. Then you will be well protected. Then, how to improve
faith? As there is more and more love, you can improve your faith
That's all for the today. In all probability, we will complete the
rest of the questions this next week. Yes, there are not many
more. Thank you very much for your patient listening. (Applause)
OM… OM… OM…
Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji Ki Jai!