Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

    Home  Thought for the Day  |  Sai Inspires 

    Articles | Avatar | Bhajans | Experiences | Messages | Miracles | Prayers | Quotes | Stories | Service | Teachings


Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Questions and Answers
Speaker Dr. Michael Goldstein




DATE: 29TH MAY 2004




Question: 1

How do we love God?

Answer: 1

With all your heart. Your love must be selfless. We are enchanted by Swami’s divine form. Is this not love? Yes, it is, but is not enough. We are deeply inspired by Swami’s Divine Message and heroic unbelievable humanitarian works, and we desire to emulate him. To love Swami, we must see that Swami represents the highest, noblest and purest form of love. Loving God is finding God within your own hearts. There are no intermediaries between you and God. No officer in a Sai organization is a spiritual leader. We have administrative posts, hopefully we are worthy of these posts, but we are not spiritual guides or advisors.

Question: 2

Can devotees pray for a special darshan at Puttaparthi for Buddha purnima and Chinese New Year?

Answer: 2

Yes you may, and yes, we do celebrate these festivals at Puttaparthi. You may pray that Swami will fulfill the aspirations of His devotees to celebrate those functions in His Divine presence.

Question: 3

If in a family one person is a devotee whilst the others are not, how are we to convince the rest of the family?

Answer: 3

Swami is in your heart. You don’t need to convince others of your belief; it is also not your duty to do so. Fulfill your dharma in your family and profession. Your primary duty as a human being is to realize the Lord who resides in your heart.

Question: 4

These are questions about ladies attire.

Answer: 4

Once I told Swami that newcomers were coming to Sai Centers in Western Countries. They saw people, wearing no shoes, sitting on the floor, with men and women sitting separately, and all singing songs in a strange language. The new people were repelled because they did not understand and would leave and not return. Swami said shoes are not important, they may wear shoes, they can sit on chairs. But separation of men and women is not Indian culture; that is spiritual. Modesty must prevail when our purpose is spiritual. We are here to transcend our attachment to our physical bodies. Women and men should dress modestly and not bring attention to themselves.

Question: 5

Study circles are not as popular as bhajans.

Answer: 5

All are facets of a diamond and necessary to enhance the lustre of the whole. Study circles reflect the coming together of different views on a particular topic and help to better understand Swami’s teachings. They are both important but service is the most important of all. Practicing is getting up in the morning, opening your eyes and seemingly beauty and good, spending every conscious moment focusing on who and what we really, and projecting love into the world. These are practices that help you to achieve a virtuosity of life. For example, a concert musician must practise for hours so that his fingers are nimble so that he can perform a virtuoso concert. In the same manner, we must also practice in our lives so that our whole lives are a virtual concerto.

Question: 6

Should centers modify practices so as to be culturally sensitive?
In Australia, we are regarded by many as a cult.

Answer: 6

We are not a cult. Let me tell you a story. Last Ugadi at a function at Whitefield, Swami had a Trayee session, where Swami came to sit amongst a fortunate few of us. Swami was quiet for a long time and then he pointed to the boys and said, "These bhajan boys are very bad." Then he explained. "We just celebrated a function. Many people have come from different countries and many religions are here, but you are only singing Sai bhajans. You are not understanding that Swami is universal." Need I say more? The organization will never impose quotas as to how many French, Chinese, English bhajans etc. have to be sung. That’s up to the devotees who need to understand and reflect the universality of Swami’s message. Baba plants his seed in all the lands of the world, so that the divine tree will grow into the context of every culture. Know that Swami came for humanity and not for any religion, ethnic or social group.

Question: 7

This is about vegetarianism. Can we have office bearers who eat meat?

Answer: 7

No. Swami said "don’t eat meat, don’t smoke, don’t drink." Make no mistake about that. Office bearers provide administrative leadership, and are highly visible. They should therefore be exemplary.

Question: 8

Can we go to different gurus?

Answer: 8

People who are office bearers should not. They should have a single minded focus on Swami’s name and form. By accepting leadership they are accepting Swami’s divinity. You should not be flitting here and there and setting a bad example.

Question: 9

Can the youth be run under separate groups instead of under one umbrella of the Sai organisation?

Answer: 9

No. We must create an environment that makes the youth feel loved, respected, welcomed and acknowledged. There cannot be autonomous groups of youth; the youth is a wing of the Sai organization and not separate from the organisation. But the age definition of youth is not uniform yet. In some countries, it’s 18 to 35 years, in other countries it varies slightly. This is not conducive to young adults because you can have a 16 year old student with a 34 year old PhD with 3 kids. We are addressing this issue.

Question: 10

Can devotees work jointly with humanitarian organizations (e.g. the Red Cross) on projects?

Answer: 10

Swami has said "No"". But if you are working in a reputed humanitarian organization does this mean that you leave them in a lurch? No. You should act responsibly and withdraw gradually as our own service activities grow. Work towards a selfless service. Perfect empathy leads to perfect identification which in turn brings selfless love. These types of services are subtle, but they are not spiritual services.

Question: 11

Is it appropriate to have many rituals carried out in Sai centers?

Answer: 11


Question: 12

What should we do with respect to office bearers whose conduct goes against the charter?

Answer: 12

The Sai organization has a hierarchy of recourse. Conflict need two hands to clap. We must remember that the primary purpose of spirituality is to contain and resolve conflict peacefully amongst yourselves. Keep it small, don’t give it power.

Question: 13

Can we receive donations from certain organizations or agencies like tobacco companies?

Answer: 13

We do not solicit donations ever. Tobacco companies are totally inappropriate.

Question: 14

Can there be standard guidelines with regards to various practices of the Sai organization?

Answer: 14

There will be standard guidelines on various practices to reflect the spiritual nature of the Sai organization.

Question: 15

What are the basic dos and don’ts of devotees especially when a center is full of politicking?

Answer: 15

This means that the center is not functioning properly. Talk to the Centre President. And if this fails, seek recourse from a person higher up in the Sai organizational hierarchy. Positions of office bearers must come about through a selection process not an election. Ideally, we should all come together to decide who can fulfill the responsibilities of the position. Differences of opinions must be resolved lovingly, peacefully and harmoniously. If there is a difference, I ask the will of the people to nominate the office bearers. Then I seek the elders’ opinions. More than often the elders and the will of the people are congruent. In addition, I interview prospective new officers and do whatever I can to make sure that the devotees are best served. This is selection. Election is a contest of personalities and our spiritual objective is to transcend our personalities.

Question: 16

Should Sai Youth Camps be open to the adults?

Answer: 16

Yes. After all adult camps are also open to the youth. Not only should they be open, but there should be adult youth advisors present. Obviously whatever you do must be opened to everyone.

Question: 17

Can we avoid the use of "Sai" whenever we go into public schools?

Answer: 17

There is a task force in which Dr Pal Dhall and Prof Venkataraman are working to define and make uniform the understanding on these issues.

Question: 18

How can bad karma be removed?

Answer: 18

Act properly now and don’t worry about the past ! The circumstances of your birth, your parents, your race, religion and situation or context of your life is the most conducive for you to atone for past transgression and to grow spiritually. Don’t worry about the past, be here now so that you can progress spiritually and that is what you must focus on.

Question: 19

Can young adults, male and female, be and work together?

Answer: 19

No. Separation of men and women is not Indian culture. It is spirituality. The Sai Organization is a spiritual movement not a social organization. We must conduct ourselves accordingly.

Question: 20

How do you instill God’s consciousness in others?

Answer: 20

Be an exemplar. We should be engaged in service. Quality first, quantity second. Quality is everything. We are here to demonstrate and be living examples of the divine teachings of Swami in the context of service. Don’t become grandiose and lose sight of the teachings of Swami.

Question: 21

Can the Sai organization set up a business arm to finance its projects?

Answer: 21

No. Do not exceed your own resources in time, money, equipment, or resources of any kind. The means is everything, the end is in God’s hands. It is ludicrous to solicit money to finance spiritual service.

Question: 22

Is it worthwhile to bring in a code of conduct for office bearers?

Answer: 22

Yes, it is imperative. All this is forthcoming. Certainly, the World Charter and guidelines will be revised and issued by Swami’s 80th birthday.

Question: 23

Have past recommendations / decisions in previous world conferences be implemented?

Answer: 23

No. There is no uniform application of the prior recommendations / decisions. The past recommendations will be reviewed and new guidelines will be given for all that are clear and appropriate.

Question: 24

What is the term of an office bearer? Can they stay in office for longer than four years?

Answer: 24

The two year term, with a possibility of one extension for two years, is the general rule. However, there can be exceptions to the rule. We don’t want to create vacuum. The rule is not rigid.

Question: 25

How do we avoid speaking ill of others?

Answer: 25

Don’t do it. Keep Quiet !

Question: 26

In some Sai centers, Hindu religious festivals are celebrated through rituals like Yagnas and Abishegams; these drive people of other faiths away. Please advise on how the situation may be improved.

Answer: 26

There is only one religion and that is the religion of love. And there is only one God who is omnipresent. Religions were formed in different times of human civilization; they differ in emphasis, not in essence. The Lord took human form to save man at different times. This is a spiritual, not a religious movement. If a center is predominantly Hindu devotees, then go to a mandhir to do your rituals to practice Hinduism; Muslims may go to mosques, Christians to churches and so on. But in Sai centers, all are one. Understand that Sai incorporates all religions; don’t confine centers to only a litany of rituals and bhajans that are reflective of one religion. Start being more broadminded. There is however one caveat to this. Bhajans are expressions of adorations for God. If you are unable to sing other bhajans and songs, then don’t change; you are not ready to change. Don’t change abruptly in a way that causes trauma. But strive to have a broader perspective and to understand Swami’s spiritual message and ultimately to see God in all his forms.

Question: 27

Youth activities are seen to be deteriorating into social activity.

Answer: 27

Youth is part of the Sai organization. Activities must be spiritual not social.

Question: 28

Reiki, chakra healing - can these be spiritual activities in realizing God?

Answer: 28

I can only comment on these activities in the context of the Sai organization. These activities are not part of Sai organization. I am not qualified to comment on whether these activities are constructive or not. On one occasion, a person in the USA who was practicing Reiki, was using Swami’s name on his programmes. I asked him to remove Swami’s name. His sincere response was that his Reiki teacher had asked and received Swami’s blessings. To determine the veracity of the claim, I presented this to Swami. Swami said "No, these activities are not part of the Sai organization; tell him to remove my Name from the literature etc." Do not associate Swami’s Name with these activities.

Question: 29

Are we required to spread Swami’s message? Is it right for Sai organizations to move towards this end?

Answer: 29

We have just had public meetings in Rome, London, Argentina. Does Swami want to be famous? Swami seeks no fame nor name. By having these meetings, we benefit spiritually. We stand up and bear witness to the Truth with dignity, thereby strengthening our own faith and self confidence. We are not asking anything from anybody; hopefully we are giving something of spiritual value to everyone.

Question: 30

How relevant are ritualistic practices in the Sai organisation?

Answer: 30

They have some place but this is diminutive. They are contraindicated if they are confined to one religion to the detriment of others. Universality should not be compromised or subordinated by particular practices of any one religion; there are religious houses in each religion in which those rituals may be pursued. But Sai centers are spiritual and not religious organizations.

Question: 31

How is it that the salutation "Sri" is still being used in Sai centers?

Answer: 31

The term "Sri" denotes respect and acknowledgement of one’s stature. There is no harm in using the term "Sri". It is not against the rules of the Sai organization.

Question: 32

Sai World Charter and Funds Management

Answer: 32

The rules regarding the Sai World Charter will be revised. Regarding funds management, we never had any solicitation of funds. Many years ago, Jack Hislop asked Swami what is the most important consideration in a Sai organization and Swami replied that we should have as little to do with money as possible.

Extracted from Report of the Sai Convention held in Singapore from 29th May to 30th May 2004
Proceedings day 1 - http://www.saiaustralia.org.au/release/217_attachment2.pdf

©Sathya Sai Baba Organisation of Australia and PNG

Best Resolution 1024x768 -- Copyright © 2004-2015 SAIBABA.WS. All rights reserved. Please read Disclaimer.