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  Dr. Harvey and Dr. Goldstein
Region 5 Visit - Feb. 20, 2000

Visit to North Central Region by Dr. Harvey and Dr. Goldstein, Chicago, Illinois, 2/20/2000

What an auspicious date, 2/20/2000! Although we had some heavy snow on Friday, the highways were dry and clear by Saturday so our young adults could safely travel to Chicago for their retreat, which was held in conjunction with the visits of Dr. Michael Goldstein, our world zonal coordinator, and Dr. William Harvey, our United States coordinator. Sunday was warm, sunny, and full of Sai-spiration.

We extend special thanks and appreciation from the region to the Metro Chicago Center for hosting these two wonderful Sai Organization leaders and providing a delicious and nutritious lunch, with lovely table settings, for us all. The Young Adults led a rousing and inspirational devotional singing program in the morning with many new bhajans and many bhajans sung half in English and half in Hindi, which is an excellent way to introduce English into center bhajans. The Southeast Chicago Center was so kind to provide sack lunches for out of town travelers to take home with them. The Milwaukee Center spearheaded a child care effort that was very much appreciated by the families with younger children. Most of all, thank you to everyone who took the time from their very busy lives to come to Chicago to hear these two wonderful Sai Organization leaders and to represent their centers.

First hand experience is best and my notes may be lacking in places, so I hope you will be understanding. I know in a region as spread out as ours, many who would have liked to attend could not due to distance or other commitments. I will highlight the main points of these talks from my notes (we were not allowed to audio tape). If anyone would like to add to these points or if I made any errors, please correct or add anything as appropriate. I hope this at least gives a flavor of this fine day.

Dr. William Harvey lives in St. Louis and has been Coordinator of the United States for well over ten years. We are very fortunate to have him close at hand. He is usually the first one I turn to with questions and concerns and as do many others, too, I suspect. He is unfailingly cheerful, upbeat and gives wise counsel.

Dr. Harvey began his talk by discussing how the Sathya Sai Organization is a significant presence in over 150 countries. The purpose for our birth and the reason we are all here is to recognize the Divinity within us. We need to boost our stamina on our spiritual journey and not fall into the trap of being distracted by worldly events like the news, rumors, or squabbles at work, etc. That is all back drop. We should take just a few minutes three times each day to contemplate our good fortune in knowing Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in this lifetime.

The Young Adult Program's unfoldment is more glorious as we flow along. Embrace the young adults as they are the leaders of tomorrow. Involve them in the planning and implementation of projects. They are part and parcel of the Sai Organization and not separate from it. Each region has a Young Adult Male and Female representative and advisor. Phyllis Crystal, Hal Honig and Dr. Harvey are the United States Coordinators. At the 2nd World Youth Conference, Swami gave several discourses and His main focus was that we need faith and courage. Faith and courage are the two wings that can carry us the rest of the way. Society can shake us up, depress us, and make us nervous, at the very least, but Swami is there personally for each of us.

He has a way of making us aware He is aware of us. We can never get too far from that personal heart to heart contact with the Lord.

We need faith and courage. We should pray to Swami to give us more and more courage to do what we have to do. Our tendency to worry and try to figure things out is dangerous. Too much thinking is not good for us. Worrying doesn't help. We must contain and curb the Monkey Mind. As we are digging the well deeper and deeper, we are piling up a mound of dirt, that gets higher and higher. Some people focus on the pile of dirt when they should be focusing on the well.

Remember, Faith and Courage are Extremely Important!

Dr. Michael Goldstein was introduced by Dr. Harvey. (Dr. Goldstein was Swami's Chief Guest on the occasion of the 18th Convocation of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and Swami had many kind things to say about him in His discourse given in Sai Kulwant Hall on 22nd November 1999: "Since he is a familiar figure here, do not take him for granted.

He is not ordinary person....Goldstein does not bother about grandness or greatness, he is concerned only with goodness....Goldstein does everything according to the commands of Bhagavan. He is a good, devoted and disciplined worker. As a loyal member of the Sai Organization, he has the three sacred qualities--duty, discipline, and devotion. Emulate him and follow these three qualities and become ideal models in your lives.")

The themes of Dr. Goldstein's talk were the importance of time, the nature of God and man, our purpose and plan, and time, time, time. He urged us to transcend beyond the illusions of Maya (this reality of day to day life) to the realization of our innate Divinity.

Dr. Goldstein shared an incident he experienced at Prashanthi. Swami usually preselects those who speak prior to Him. One day, Swami said, without warning, to Goldstein, "Will you be speaking?" Goldstein replied "If You wish me to speak, I will speak." Swami then asked, "Are you ready?" and Goldstein replied "If it is Your Will, I will be ready." All the while, Goldstein was feeling perturbed and disturbed inside and experiencing inner conflict. Once more Swami asked, "Are you ready?" and this time Goldstein replied, "I am ready." Swami responded, "Ready is a state of inner being." We cannot speak about love and peace when we are not experiencing love and peace within us. That day Goldstein did not speak. We want spiritual experience not expedience.

What about God?

When God permits Himself to be known, it is for us to discover our own Divinity. I is a game of hide and seek. The knowledge of God is immanent in all human experience. In order to recognize our true humanity we need to demonstrate the five human values of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: love, truth, peace, right action, and non-violence. Goldstein said, "Behold and rejoice the Lion and Lamb are here with us." Beloved Swami is all knowing and present everywhere. He is sweetness and accessibility. He is unconstrained by the laws of time and nature. He knows our thoughts and is always giving and forgiving. He speaks the truth spontaneously and with complete authority. Swami says only a fool goes looking for God, because He is inside our hearts. He is the mirror and measure of mankind. His works inspire us.

The Nature of God and Man?

Time is the body of God. The hour hand represents the changes in the world we can't see. The minute hand represents the changes in us we can't see. The second hand represents Swami and His interactions with us that changes our lives. Right now, we need to comprehend that time is life. None of us knows what lies ahead. Only Swami knows. God is with us now in the human form of Swami. Of all the creatures, only man procrastinates. Only we put off what should be done today. The significance of the millennium is that so many people in so many places focused on time, time, time. Knowing is not enough, we must apply what we know. Willing is not enough, we must accomplish the tasks given to us. Conscience gives us consciousness. Love is God. Love All and Serve All. Say, I am a man, not an animal. Will we ride through life as divine passengers or as beasts of burden? Conscience removes the dam and the damned. Lust, greed, pride, attachment go under. Brothers and sister in the family of humanity, life is a journey from Humanity to Divinity. See the map within you. See the Divine Love. Live lives with planful purpose. Our Swami is the Light of the Lord, the Light of Divine Consciousness. We journey from creation, reaping what we sow, to civilization with self inquiry where character determines rank and the kind, sincere, and selfless are free and noble and the insincere and selfish are enslaved and ignoble, to self realization where we become one with innate divinity.

Self realization is the purpose of our human lives. We become the Light of God. We become constantly aware of Divine Consciousness. Heaven or Hell--the choice is ours. Heaven is a state of mind--selflessness. Experience and live 'So-Hum'--the 'I am That.' state of bliss that never ending. We can live in heaven now. We need only seek within ourselves. Hell is also a state of mind that is characterized by incessant desires, giving rise to disappointment, frustration and pain. Spiritual transformation is the awakening of our latent divinity. The nature of consciousness is selfless love. Differences and diversity are superficial. We all must obey and follow the immutable Law of Divinity.

Dr. Goldstein's Plan:

Dr. Goldstein stressed the importance of having a spiritual plan, one that fits your needs and life. He shared his own Nine Point Plan with us. The first three points deal with outlook, the next three points deal with attitude, and the last three deal with actions.

1. Don't worry about the past. Learn from the past but don't be preoccupied by it. Swami say, "Forget the past." Let yourself experience redemption. (As someone with a sometimes less than stellar past, I was even further comforted by the daily quote the next day, 2/21/00, on sai@k...: "There are some gurus who advise you to keep a daily dairy, where you note down every item of evil that you did; they ask you to read it as a spiritual exercise and resolve to correct yourself. Well, reading it and writing it only tend to impress it more in the mind. It is better to substitute good thoughts for the bad and cleanse the mind of all evil by dwelling on righteous deeds and holy thoughts. Forget the things that you do not want to remember. Bring to memory only those things that are worth remembering that is the way to achieve spiritual progress.")

2. Don't worry about the future. Dr. Goldstein told about a man with cancer who Swami had given twelve more years of life to, but who spent the entire twelve years worrying about his cancer and death instead of enjoying his boon of life. We don't know how much time we have and every conscious moment should be replete with Divinity.

3. Don't worry about what other people think or external events. We are three people, the person we think we are, the person others think we are, and the person we really are--Divine. Govern yourself from the divinity within.

4. Be loving--in all relationships there are lessons for us to learn how to love.

5. Be happy. This is contagious. Shine light into the hearts and minds of the people with you. Happiness is contagious.

6. Be quiet and serene. Be peaceful--enjoy the absence of turbulent emotion and preserve the inner temple of silence.

7. Discard unworthy thoughts. The mind is like fly paper and the bugs of thoughts stick to it. Don't permit them to land. Remove the sticky quality of the paper. Dr. Goldstein shared a time when he tried to rid his mind of unworthy thoughts by shaking his head and other men on the verandah must have wondered if he had developed some strange new affliction.

8. Follow your conscience. Act without procrastination. Look into your heart and ask yourself, "Is is good or is it bad?" Have complete confidence in the conscience as the conscience represents God within ourselves.

9. Focus on Swami/God/ Godliness/Goodness. His name and form or any name and form or attribute of Divinity. We MUST focus. This is real. This is the purpose of our lives. Swami is Divine Consciousness--He is Omnipresence in time. This focus on the Divine will preclude all feelings of racial, religious, and cultural separations.

Dr. Goldstein concluded his talk by sharing some thoughts about the Sai Organization and the 7th World Conference. He said the Sai Organization has no life without being immersed in conscience and selfless love. Swami has lent His Name so that all of our hearts and minds will be uplifted. We must be a source, not a force. The members and officers of the organization must be servants of the people. Swami is omnipresent, He is all names and forms. He is for ALL religions and peoples. The 7th World Conference will be a great spiritual experience that will lead to better understanding of Swami's message and purpose in our lives. If we are effective and diligent, the goal will be reached and our lives will become His message. Each region will have a regional pre conference and produce input for one consensual document reflecting the experience of the Sai Organization.What do devotees need? How can we uplift society? These results will be the agenda for the World Conference. There are now over 2,000 Sai Centers in 130 countries. We are all different races, forms, religions, but this is only apparel. Under our costumes, we are all One
Divine Consciousness and Divine Love.

Questions and Answers:

Q: How can we displace improper thoughts?

A: Fill your thoughts with God.

Q: How can our centers be more welcoming in general and to Americans in particular?
A: Welcome people with REAL love. Our centers must reflect the culture and society they exist in. We are not advocates of any religion. We need to reflect that fundamental premise and truth. If there is no love, then the center is a dry and barren place. The spirit of love is the most important thing. We need to learn to love one another. As this deepens, we will make changes that are appropriate and good. In addition to love, there must be understanding. Changes must be evolutionary, not revolutionary. There must be understanding, then adjustment. (I would like to discuss this entire issue more in depth in my next email to all of you. I had a talk with Dr. Goldstein and he approved and recommended the implementation of a strategy I believe might help us be more welcoming. I am sure that there are other ideas and strategies our centers are using. We need to pool our collective wisdom and each center take what might work for them.)

Q: Will there be a need for service at the World Conference?
A: There will be ample opportunity and need. Each center will have the opportunity to send one delegate, the president of the center or one person representing the center. In addition, the coordinating council members may attend as delegates. Pick representatives who will uplift the quality of the conference. We want this conference to be conducive to the emergence of something useful. There will be consideration of reviewing the world charter and the national guidelines.

Q: What about the current talk of Swami traveling?
A: The last time He was asked in November, Swami said, "Get ready. I'm coming." He will be coming sooner rather than later. When Swami went to Delhi, someone said "First Delhi, then USA?" Swami said, "Yes, I'm coming, make arrangements." Then, He said, "No, not now. I'm coming soon." In Delhi, Swami told the politicians that if they did not serve the people, they would not remain in office. He told the wealthy, if you don't help the poor, your wealth will not last long. Swami will come to the USA. It will be soon. He will come to America.

Q: Is it OK to use Sai devotees or a survey to analyze the impact of religion on health and behavior?
A: No. This is frivolous. The Sai organization is not a religion, it is a spiritual movement. This is unacceptable to Swami.

Q: Is there a definite plan for a Sri Sathya Sai Baba School in America?
A: Yes. We are taking a proposal to Swami in March. There is a plan for a school in a city on the East Coast in an underprivileged area. It will have a local board and be connected to the SSEHV Foundation. This plan looks good, but the specifics will not be given until Swami approves.

Q: How will the Young Adults be involved in the World Conference?
A: I will let Bill speak to that. Plans are essential, although they do not preclude spontaneity. We must make plans to render service and to conduct our activities with dignity and confidence. In bhajan also, the most important is the feeling of selfless love, but the aesthetic aspect is very important.

Q: What about Sathya Sai Education in Human Values in the public schools?
A: There is a SSEHV Foundation and Board of Advisors. They are republishing the SSEHV Manual and producing a new Community SSEHV Manual. SSEHV may be used more extensively, retaining the name of the program. We do not retain the name (Sathya Sai) to promote Swami. The name preserves the sanctity and ensures the spiritual authenticity of the program.

Q: What about the language/appearance of bhajans?
A: The struggle. These things will resolve naturally as our understanding deepens. Our centers must be beacons of light for people in this society and culture. We need to inform people and inform them with love. Explain with love and help them feel welcome with love.

Q: Should we avoid cake with eggs in it?
A: Swami does not want us to eat eggs, but eating cake with eggs is not a sin that will burn you in hell. Dr. Goldstein told about a time when he ate chicken one night when he was alone in his hotel room in Bangalore. Later, he was sitting with Swami as Swami read letters and Swami asked him, "What did you have for dinner last night?" Goldstein replied vegetables and rice.

Swami asked, "What did you eat the night before?" Goldstein told Swami. Then Swami asked, "What about the night before that?" Goldstein was forced to reply, "Ch, ch, chicken, Swami."

So, dear brothers and sisters, I leave you with one final thought from our Beloved Lord Sai:
"Everyone is eager to be happy. Everyone thinks that wanting more and working less to earn the things wanted is the quickest way to be happy. No one tries the other method, wanting less and working more."

Hope you enjoyed this little recap of the visit of Dr. Harvey and Dr. Goldstein as much as we in attendance enjoyed them.

In the Service of Sai,

Source: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/saisruthi/message/145

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