Interview to group of
Journalists from Mumbai
An interview as published in
The Times of India on 12 March 1999
Sri Sathya Sai Baba is easily one of the most popular
spiritual leaders of contemporary India. He has attracted a
following which runs into crores cutting across barriers of caste,
language, region and nation. He shot into fame because of the
miracles performed by him, specifically his ability to materialise
the holy ash and other material things from out of thin air. The
rationalists consistently targeted him. But, Baba, as he is
referred to both of reverence and affection by his devotees, only
emerged stronger from these controversies. Today, the 74-year-old
Baba is known for working out miracles of a different kind.
Miracles in the form of a super speciality hospital where free
treatment is given or a massive drinking water scheme in the
parched hinterland of Andhra Pradesh or a massive educational
complex. The high and the mighty of the land touch his feet and
seek his blessings, so do ordinary people from all walks of life.
Baba gives them all the same message of love. He has never given
an interview to a journalist in the past 25 years. But, recently,
he spoke to S Balakrishnan and a group of journalists from
Mumbai in a small room at his ashram in Puttaparthi in Andhra
How do you relate yourself to Sai Baba of Shirdi?
This body has not seen him.
Indians are increasingly turning to godmen and godwomen.
Is this a sign of growing insecurity within them? Or is it
This is basically a search for God. The divine is there within
each person . The search is for this divinity. God realisation
cannot be seen as a sign of insecurity. It is a positive
aspiration to be one with God. It is a good sign.
Even as mankind is relentlessly searching for god, he
finds himself engulfed by more and more misery. What is the reason
for this state of affairs?
Attachment to the body is the root cause of all suffering and
misery. Once this attachment ends, then one can experience divine
bliss. There is no doubt about that. Since God does not have any
bodily attachment, he does not attach any importance to the
suffering of His body.
What is the best way to serve God?
Serve the poor, the weak, the downtrodden and the
underprivileged. There is divinity in each of us, hence love and
serve fellow human beings selflessly. Give those around you pure
love. Religion can be best pursued through the axiom "Dil mein
Ram, Haath mein Kaam." There is only one religion -- the religion
of love; one caste -- the caste of humanity; one language -- the
language of the heart; one law -- the law of Karma and there is
only one God -- He is omnipresent. All of us should remember these
simple yet profound truths. These truths lead us to God.
Is there no escape from human misery?
It is all karma. The need is to adopt the path of righteousness.
One should surrender oneself to the Almighty.
Why do you perform miracles like materialising a ring, a
medallion, a necklace, vibhuti and other objects? What are you
trying to prove by performing these miracles?
Chamatkaar or miracle is a cheap word for what I do. A magician
performs his tricks to earn a livelihood and worldly fame. But, I
materialise these talismans as my visiting cards, as evidence that
divinity can transform earth into the sky and vice versa. To doubt
this is to betray an inability to grasp the grandeur of the
universe. I get lot of satisfaction while gifting these talismans
to my devotees.
The suffering millions flock to you. They want to pass on
their problems and suffering to you. How much of these suffering
can you take on?
I am only performing a divine mission.
How do you spend your day?
My day begins with granting darshan to my devotees, interviews
to people, bhajans, attending to all projects taken up for human
welfare. Same cycle is repeated from post noon till evening.
Although I know the contents of all letters which I receive, I
read all of them for the trupti or satisfaction of my devotees.
I avoid milk, green fruits, dry fruits, sweets, ghee, butter,
tea, coffee, etc. I take a skimpy meal of ragi and green grams.
For the past 60 years my weight has remained unchanged at 108
pounds. When the world sleeps, I go to my devotees, give them my
vision, comfort them, console them and solve their problems. I
willingly take on the sufferings of my devotees on myself.
Have you gone abroad any time?
Yes, only once -- to East Africa, that too because of the pure
love of a devotee, who is no more now. I did not go at the
invitation of the government.
Do you have any plans to visit foreign nations and spread
No. Where there is sugar, the ants come there; the sugar does
not go chasing after the ants. My first task is to clean up our
own country first, then go to other countries.
You wield enormous influence over the top politicians of
the country. Why don't you impress on them the need to inculcate
values in public life? If this is done, India will be a much
Politicians have a choice to pursue good or bad governance;
they do covet power with a frenzy. But I tell them that politics
without principles, science without humanity, education without
character and commerce without morality are not only useless but
can prove to be positively dangerous and harm people at large.
Do you read newspapers?
I never read them. Even though I do not read any newspaper, I
am aware about everything that is happening round the globe. What
is necessary today is that the newspapers should be more careful
and responsible in their reporting. Publishing of sensational and
baseless news must be avoided. No negative and baseless reporting,
specially of those at the helm of affairs of the country, should
be done since it has lot of repercussions abroad. If there are any
doubts, then they should be cleared after free and frank
discussions with the persons concerned. Truth should not be
compromised under any circumstance.
You are the chancellor of the Sathya Sai University and
you attach tremendous importance to education. Why do you think
that education in India has now become a mechanical exercise?
This is because that education has been divorced from values.
Education bereft of values is meaningless. The need is to restore
values to education.
What are your views on different political parties in
All parties do good work as well as bad; the problem lies with
ourselves. We should insist on principles.
Who will lead the Sathya Sai movement after you?
My devotees. God will continue to guide them.