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Loving Hand Turns Burning Sand To Water

                ___            ___
               (__  _   *     |__ )   _
             (_ __)(_|_ |_    |   \__(_|_ |\/|_

             A human being is a part of the whole,
             called by us `Universe-, a part limited
             in time and space. He experiences
             himself, his thoughts and feelings as
             something separated from the rest- a
             kind of optical delusion of his
             consciousness. This delusion is a kind
             of prison, restricting us to our
             personal desires and to affection for a
             few persons nearest to us. Our task
             must be to free ourselves from this prison
             by widening our circle of compassion to
             embrace all living creatures and the
             whole of nature in its beauty.
                                    -Albert Einstein

Dear One,

This details a recently given discourse in Geneva by Ryuko Hira on the


R. Hira Speaks:

Sisters and Brothers!

In the preparation for Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's 70th birthday I have
been given much work and little time.  That's Baba's way!  The lesson from
this is that "in other's welfare lies our gain".  The title of this
project, the Sathya Sai Divine Grace Water Project, was given by a poet
from Thailand who has written poems on Baba in Thai and in English.  Here
is one example:

   "Sai Baba has set the norm
    For worship at its highest form.
    To remove the misery of others
    And to treat all beings as brothers."

Water for 700 villages

The area called Rayalaseema, in which Puttaparthi is located, lies in the
State of Andhra Pradesh.  Although this area is the birthplace of Sri
Sathya Sai Baba Himself, it has year after year been stricken by drought,
with continuous serious shortages of water.  This scarcity has caused
unbearable suffering to many people who are our sisters and brothers
living there.  With their children they walk barefooted in the hot sun, an
average of 4.6 km every day, carrying heavy pots of water on their heads.
There is also a high arsenic content in the wells due to contamination
from the soil, and this has produced serious lesions on the feet and hands
of the people.  The Central Government of India and the State Government
have been trying their best to alleviate this water shortage, which
affects not only India but other countries also in Asia. The United
Nations has said that water will be the world's most critical resource by
the year 2000.  Recently the Far Eastern Economic Review had a special
article on water shortage.

Baba has come for the whole universe but He will answer first those who
pray sincerely.  To remove the suffering and the sickness of these people
He announced on 23 November 1994 that within one year He will supply
potable drinking-water to 700 villages with a total population of about
1.3 million (500-3000 in each village).  On 23 November 1995 we shall
celebrate Baba's 70th birthday and all these 700 villages, because of His
Divine Will, will receive water.  There are many more needy villages
which, hopefully, the Sai Organisation will be encouraged to take up in a
second and third phase.
                   *A chance to serve*

We refer to ourselves as the Sai family and we say we love Baba
as our mother and father.  As He is feeling the pain and
suffering of the people in the villages, we cannot say they are
suffering alone.  Baba's heart is with the poor and with the
needy. His heart is with the people who are thirsty wherever they
are. If we accept Him as our mother and father we are part of the
family.  We cannot be selfish in our relationship with Baba.  We
have to make a choice in this 70th year:  are we really a Sai
family or do we only name ourselves as Sai family?  Repeatedly
Baba says, "I and We are one, You and I are one". This is a
chance He has given to us--- to become a part of His mission.  On
25th February this year, shortly before Mahashivarathri, large
crowds were sitting waiting for Baba's darshan but He did not
appear. What was He doing?  He was talking about the great
spiritual significance of this water project to 600 students in
the Poornachandra Hall, which I shall summarize below.  And He
came out for darshan at 8 o'clock instead of 6:45!

There are five methods by which water could be supplied.  (1) To sink
wells in the dry river beds.  (2) To establish canals from the existing
irrigation canals.  (3) To construct summer storage reservoirs (to prevent
evaporation of the water due to the intense heat).  (4) To sink bore-wells
wherever there is a resource of water in the ground itself.  (5) To
provide overhead storage tanks with capacities of about 150,000 litres of

The total cost of this project is estimated at US$ 70 million,
approximately twice the budget we had for constructing the hospital, or
about $ 100,000 per village. These estimates include the cost of surveys
of water availability and quality, supplies and equipment, the boring and
drilling, the pump installations, and so forth.  Baba's projects are so
holy and sacred that every person involved ---whether non-devotee or
devotee--- does the best possible.  Some 2000 km of the main pipeline are
now being installed using appropriate materials. When Baba does something
it is permanent and the pipes will ---like the hospital--- last a thousand
years.  This seva we are undertaking will live beyond our physical bodies.
Thus, Baba has given us a chance in this body to gain the merit of a
thousand years.

               *Spiritual Significance*

Why has Baba undertaken this project in this 70th birthday year?  What is
its spiritual significance?  What is the gift we can give Him for His 70th
birthday?  What does He want from us?  Among the answers are that He wants
our love and devotion, or wants us to be good, but I should like to
mention a rather special answer, which arises from the following questions
posed by Baba.
(1) Who rules the universe?  The answer usually is God, the Creator or
Bhagavan Himself.  (2) Who rules God?  God is ruled by Truth.  (3) Who
rules Truth?  Baba said the noble souls rule Truth.  The only gift Baba
wants is that we should become noble.  We should become noble and be
happy.  The spiritual significance of this water programme is that,
through this process, He has given us a chance in this 70th birthday year
to make ourselves noble and happy.

In His talk to the students Baba said that two-thirds of our
planet is water, which is the life source.  One can manage to
live without food but not without water.  Water is the symbol of
purity. And as purity is divinity, water is God.  But why is
water the symbol of purity?  Baba gave three explanations.

   (1) Water originates in the form of God from the head of
Shiva, as the Ganges river, which is symbolic to the Indians.
   (2) What is the role of the ocean?  It is to clean the
universe. Through the evaporation process we have rain which
cleans every plant, every road and everything else that has to
be cleaned.
   (3) Now who cleans the ocean?  It is the duty of the fish to
purify the ocean.  The very strong odour in fish is related to
all the dirt they have collected.  So, water is a purifier and
its job is to purify.  Purity is Divinity, water is God! 

In a letter to a student, which was published in the book called
Premadhara, Baba asks, "How will you know that I am near to you?"  The
answer is, "When your mouth is parched and you can hardly speak, in the
first sip of cool water you take I am soothing you. So, think of Me for I
am the water."  In the Gita, Lord Krishna has said, "I am the taste of

This precious water is often wasted.  If one drop of water leaks every
second from a tap, in one day this amounts to 50 gallons (227 litres) of
water lost.  Washing the car with a hose wastes a lot of water, so use a
bucket. In toilet flushes in our homes much water is being used up.  When
washing dishes or brushing our teeth the water is allowed to run.  Water
is sacred. To give water is to give God.  God is Love. To give Love is to
give water.  The service of giving water is the highest form of worship.
In religious ceremonies, e.g., Christian baptism, water represents a
spiritual element.  The significance of this particular seva is to
recognise God in man, seeing the oneness in all humanity.  Baba has taken
up this project in order to raise every devotee who participates, through
Advaita or non- dualism, to see the oneness as we cross national or
geographical borders.  For example, when offering your heart to those
thirsty people--- whether in China or in India, you are crossing German,
Swiss and other frontiers to serve the one "caste" of humanity.  By
sharing the pain and by lightening the burden of those who suffer in
famines, earthquakes and other calamities, we should not think that we are
helping God because there is nothing that man can do for God.  We are only
practising what Baba has said, thereby helping ourselves to become noble.

We all know that, by Baba's Will, simply raising His hand He could start a
hundred rivers of water to flow.  But the Master of nature follows the law
of Truth, the law of nature.  Therefore this is Baba's leela (divine play)
and we must not be deceived by the illusion.  This is not a project for
which any money has to be raised.  It is the consciousness that has to be

                *How can I serve?*

How can _I_ serve in this project?   There are five ways.

   (1) The seva of prayer.  One day Baba was in His car and, pointing to a
beggar, He told the person seated next to Him, "Yes, it is good to give
money to a beggar, but it will last only a day.  The prayer you offer will
change the life of that person. The prayer will reach God and it will
bring a transformation of that person."  We say a prayer before we eat,
but for 30 seconds in this particular year of the 70th birthday--- before
you drink any fluids--- you must think of the pain, the suffering and
problems of the people who have nothing, not even a glass of water.
   (2) The seva of the intellect.   Architects, engineers, and
geologists, and others engaged in water supply and related
fields, who can and want to help, are welcome to speak to their
[local Sai Seva] Coordinators.
   (3) Physical labour by volunteers was planned originally, as
was the case during construction of the hospital, but there are
major problems.  For example, the villages are scattered in the
interior of the State with no proper living accommodation and
other facilities.  Moreover, for each foreign devotee we would
require two Indians to help him!  For your information, 13,000
people are now working two shifts a day to finish this project
in time.  One truck load can carry only two pipes, so you can
imagine how great a task it is to lay down 2000 km.
   (4) Supply of materials such as pumps, pipes, tanks and other
construction materials.  Please note that all the materials must
meet the required local specifications.
   (5)  Monetary resources.  You already know that Bhagavan Baba,
the Central Trust and the Sathya Sai Organisation never solicit
any donations. This project is not open for donations, it is open
for sadhana.  It is open for sacrifice, to take us to nobler
heights.  If God was for sale, people would try to "buy" Him.
We receive everything from God totally free and it is our duty,
it is our Dharma to volunteer and participate wholeheartedly in
every seva project that Baba announces.

As active members in the Sai family we must open our eyes and raise our
consciousness to become a part of Baba's mission.  This project is looking
for earnest, wholehearted people who want to do seva.  Baba says, "My life
is My message".  But what is the message in this 70th birthday year? There
are different views and interpretations of His message, but to me the 70th
birthday and the divine water project can mean only one thing, which He
has repeated in every discourse this year: sacrifice, sacrifice,
sacrifice!  When Baba said, "Expansion is My life", what did He mean by
expansion?  You must expand your heart. Do not restrict it to your temple
or house, your centre or your region.  Baba is universal. We are part of
His family, so we are universal.

                 *In the service of God*

Recently in China I was asked, "Why should the Chinese Sai organisation
donate money for water in India?" I should therefore like to clear any
doubts some of you may have. When God created the universe He did not name
any country, nor did He draw any boundary lines---you are in China and I
am in England.  It is one universe! It is one humanity!  Since Baba is the
Avatar, He knows which particular region of this universe needs immediate
help, which needs intermediate help, and which needs secondary help.  We
cannot determine the actions of the Avatar. We can only follow. So if He
decides that He is going to serve a particular district in China, America
or India, those who are in the Sai family must join with Him all the way
through.  This is expansion of my life, expansion of my consciousness to
realise that the whole of humanity is one.  The seva that Baba is doing
comes first and must be given top priority.  His projects are selfless and
to participate in them is the purest seva.

In Puttaparthi, on the Vidyagiri hill there are five statues of the Great
Masters---Lord Krishna, Lord Christ, Lord Buddha, Zoroaster and Lord
Shiva.  But above them is a huge statue of Hanuman. Why is this statue of
Hanuman bigger than Shiva?  Why is it higher?  There is great significance
in whatever Baba does. Hanuman is the symbol of courage and devotion.  He
was a servant of Lord Rama, but reached the divine heights by serving.
This is what Lord Hanuman has taught us.  When you serve God in man, that
servant becomes God.  Baba has given us a chance in this 70th birthday
year to follow the quickest way from being a servant, or a devotee, to go
to that higher level like Hanuman.

This project is a mammoth task.  If you think it is impossible, it will
become impossible.  The first thing therefore is to think that it is
possible and we are going to do it.  Why?  Shortly before Lord Rama was to
be crowned as king, he was ordered to leave the palace and go into exile
for 14 years in the forest.  His mother Kausalya, his wife Sita, and his
younger brother Lakshmana all wanted to go with him to the forest. The
citizens of Ayodhya, the capital of his kingdom, also walked all the way
to the boundary of the forest to take leave of him.  Even the birds and
the monkeys under Hanuman supported him.  Why was everybody helping Rama?
Because Rama's mission was Dharma.
When our mission is to serve the Avatar to serve humanity, this is Dharma
and nothing will stand in our way. We may have no resources with us, no
financial resources or technical resources, but the greatest resource we
have is our own will coinciding with the Divine Will. If we have that
will, all the resources will follow.  Baba says in all His discourses that
Dharma protects Dharma.  If we keep this in mind and follow the path of
Dharma, nothing will come in our way.

         *Ceiling on desires*

How do we raise the money?  This is possible through the practice of
ceiling on desires (COD), while always keeping in mind that this whole
project is an exercise in sadhana to help make us "noble".  The spiritual
discipline of COD teaches us to limit our personal desires, starting with
simple daily needs like several cups of coffee or tea, soft drinks,
cigarettes, alcohol, snacks, cosmetics, etc.  Another example is when for
my birthday or wedding anniversary, I feel I should buy new shoes or new
clothes.  But at what cost, the suffering of the people who have no water?
Unless our consciousness has expanded through the COD programme, we shall
not know the true benefits.  So we must constantly be aware of and always
practise ceiling on desires. Phyllis Krystal and others have described
very well how to implement this programme.  These texts could be
translated and discussed widely to facilitate implementation.

The actual amount of money saved is secondary. If one person practices COD
as an expression of his or her love for Baba and for all humanity, he or
she might save 2 or 3 dollars in a day.  From 1st June to 22nd November,
we have about 170 days, so the savings can amount to a few hundred
dollars.  When several people are involved in the COD programme, a huge
pool of money can be realised to support the project.  What is important
is to participate wholeheartedly in this sadhana.

In the Sanathana Sarathi (February 1995) is described a story about a boy
in Baba's school in Puttaparthi who practised ceiling on desires. A few
years ago when the Super Specialty hospital was being built, Baba was very
busy with the doctors and architects, and He had very little time for the
students who felt deeply this separation from their Sai mother. One of
these students one day offered Baba a letter which He took.  Baba then
returned to the interview room with the doctors.  Normally He would not
come out for an hour or so, but on this occasion He came out after a few
minutes with the letter still in His hand.  He called the boy to Him and,
with his permission, read out the letter to all who were in the verandah:
      `Dear Bhagavan!

      `You have given so much to me and to everyone here.  You have
       provided free education for me and all my brothers, and now I
       hear that you are constructing a BIG Hospital that will provide
       the most modern health care facilities to every section of the
       society totally free of cost.  Bhagavan!  I also want to be a
       part of your glorious mission but I am just a small boy and I
       don't know how I can contribute.  My parents are extremely poor
       but, in spite of that, they send me a little extra pocket money
       every month.  I know it's due to their love and concern for me.

      `Bhagavan!  For the last three months I have not given my clothes
       to the dhobi (washerman).  While all the other boys were sleeping
       in the night I washed my clothes and thus I managed to save a
       little money.  I have also resisted the temptation of toffees,
       chocolates and all other things and thus managed to save a little
       money.  Bhagavan! I offer this 100-rupee note to you.  I feel
       ashamed and small to give you so little, but even if this money
       can be used to buy a small brick for the foundation of the new
       hospital, I will be the happiest child in the world.

                                   Your loving Son'

Baba said that these 100 rupees are worth millions of rupees to Him
because that "brick" is not made of mud, but of love and sacrifice and was
given with a pure heart. This is what He wants from us all!

Sisters and Brothers, Baba will never ask you to do something.  We have to
open ourselves to see what we can do.  Look at His example--- using one
bucket of water for His bath, or putting on and off the lights each time
He enters or leaves the interview room, thereby saving energy.  If you
want to benefit, if you want to be noble, if you want to walk hand in hand
with Baba, He has shown us how to do it.  If you arrive in the station one
minute after the train has left, you have missed it.  November 22nd is the
last day for 700 villages to celebrate this Divine Grace Water Project.
Those of you who would like to join must take steps and establish a Water
Coordinator in each centre and see what kind of seva you would like to do.
This project is extremely urgent and demands top priority.  Sai Ram!

------- End of Transcription-----------------------------

                   Please note than the number of villages, which was
initially 700, has been revised upwards to 900, as confirmed directly
by Justice Bhagawati.

                   The talk by Ryuko Hira was given in the context of a
two day meeting; the idea to celebrate it came from Indulal Shah and
Justice Bhagwati and was approved by Swami, who sent a special message
for the occasion; other speakers were the above mentioned, Art Om
Jumsai and a few more. [We are transcribing the interventions]. Indulal
Shah explicitly told the transcribing devotee to give an account of
what was said `to those who could not attend.' Thus this discourse
comes to you as Sai Seva through the grace of that transcriber, Ester
DelaFuente, to whom I offer grateful pranams.



Whatever a fine person does, so will others do; people effect behaviour
by example.                                         -Bhagavad Gita 3:21

The above message appeared in an online forum

Subject: Loving Hand Turns Burning Sand To Water
From: aq974@lafn.org (Bon Giovanni)
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 21:01:42 GMT
Apparently-To: alt-hindu@relay1.uu.net
Source: http://www.hindunet.org/alt_hindu/1995_Jul_2/msg00120.htm

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