Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Speech by Dr. Michael Goldstein on 30th May 2004




DATE: 30TH MAY 2004



I dedicate our meeting to Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I submit to you that every man and every woman, all of us, are spiritual seekers. We are all consciously or unconsciously seeking in our lives, identity and purpose. Who am I, and who are you? These are the questions.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba teaches and demonstrates that mankind is unique among all of God’s creation. We are capable of turning inward deeply and intensely, and finding the divine source and essence of our lives. Our spiritual heart, our inner voice, our conscience, our soul are all names for our true spiritual identity. That is who we really are, and that is what we are seeking to realise in our lives. The truth is that we are manifestations of the Omnipresent Divinity.

It is an illusion that has plagued us since time began that we are less than divine. It is an illusion that we are merely a conglomeration of flesh and bone, instinct and sensation, thought and emotion. It is an illusion that we are limited to these small individual identities, these frail human bodies, and these fickle faulty minds. Not so. We are much more.

Human life is bestowed by divinity; human life is imbued with divinity. The divine essence of human life is imminent in all of us, waiting to be realised and experienced. Thus, man has a special station in creation.

Throughout the ages, men and women whose wisdom and nobility are universally acknowledged have shed light on the plight of mankind. These noble great ones lived during different ages, among different cultures, speaking different languages. Nevertheless, they have all brought us the same fundamental message. Divinity is omnipresent. He has created all that is and He is manifested in all of His creation. Humanity has a special place in creation; we have a capacity to recognise that we are inherently divine, and act as an instrument of that divinity while we live in this world. Because divinity is manifested in all of creation, because we are essentially divine, we must selflessly love and serve one another.

All the saints and sages have given us this message. The source of spiritual illumination who now walks among us, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, has taught and lived this message all of his life. Should we not give credence to the greatest and noblest men and women, past and present, who have walked among us? All of whom are giving us essentially the same message with regards to the divine nature of human life. All are telling us that we have the capacity to realise our own true real lasting divine nature, and give up this temporary masquerade even as we live here on earth.

Faith and divinity are essential. Nevertheless, most of us remain oblivious to our glorious role in creation. We think and act as if these minds and bodies will persist forever. We place our faith in the transient and the evanescent to which we mistakenly attribute immortality. We become engrossed and seduced by the familiar and comfortable pursuits of this world and in so doing our lives become mechanical and reactive. We preclude the profound inner awareness of our innate divinity, our true self. We fail to discern the divine purpose of this human life.

Divinity seems distant and incomprehensible to many of us. We cannot perceive divinity with our senses or define it with words or formulae or equations; why should we have faith in divinity? I am using reason to advocate faith in divinity but it is useless. How can you describe or demonstrate faith with logical argument? Only that which speaks to the heart can effectively advocate the need and importance of faith. Only the moving example of noble deeds, only the inspiration conferred by selfless love can effectively inspire faith in divinity.

Consider if you will, faith is like pure water. Water is the elixir of life for the body of man. Faith is the elixir of life for the spirit of man. Without water, the organs of the body are reduced to non-functional cells which in turn are degraded into lifeless chemicals. Without faith, the spiritual principles given by God to man are not served. When they are not served, chaos ensues among men. And this chaos demoralises men and demeans society. This lack of faith is prevalent in the world right now. For that reason, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, by word and deed, is restoring faith and spiritual awareness among all people everywhere.

Faith is like pure water. Without action or movement of water, no work is done. Stagnation occurs and the water becomes impure. In the same manner, action is required for the spirit of God to be manifest in this world. Love and wisdom are the currents that move the water of faith. The flow of love and wisdom is manifested as selfless love and selfless service. Great care must be taken that we do not permit selfish desire to stifle and destruct the flow of love and wisdom.

Without faith and divinity, life becomes a meaningless series of disjointed adventures which end when the mind-body machine ceases to function. With faith and divinity our lives have noble purpose and meaning and we become selfless. Spirituality is living selflessly.

What is the meaning of selfless? Love is selfless when it is free of desire and there is no need for possession, reciprocation or recognition. Service is selfless when there is no separation between the server and the served one. We are selfless when there is no separation between us and God. When you serve the needy selflessly you have perfect empathy with the served one. Perfect empathy is complete identification. Complete identification is selfless love. Selfless love is the nature of the all pervasive consciousness that is God.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba has said and I quote "Love is selflessness; self is lovelessness. Love lives by giving and forgiving; self lives by getting and forgetting." End of quote.

Spiritual practices, like meditation, prayer, singing devotional songs, studying scriptures, religious rituals, prepare us, but they are not the end result that we seek. For faith and divinity to be able to be manifested in the world, we must act in the world. We must practice spirituality, not merely engage in spiritual practices. Spiritual practices prepare us for life as it should be led; practising spirituality is living according to the divine principles. These principles are eternal, unchanging and inherent in all of the world’s religions. They are experienced in our lives as selfless love and wisdom.

According to the teaching of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, these divine principles are demonstrated in our lives by the universal human values of a noble character, whose attributes are truth, right action, peace, love and non-violence. These divine principles and attributes are accessed in our lives by looking inwards and seeking the counsel of our conscience. Spiritual self confidence is essential for spiritual progress. Spiritual self confidence is the determination to always seek and follow the dictates of our conscience in all things, at all times, in all places.

Spiritual practices prepare us to do God’s will. Spirituality is acting, actually living and doing God’s will. Spiritual practices may give you a glimpse of heaven; practising spirituality enables you to experience heaven on earth.

Human life is in transition from having just animal qualities to becoming divine. This transition is the culmination of spirituality. However, too often, we permit the world to divert us from our destiny. We permit our human lives, our precious, divine human lives, to be misused as playthings and bemused by the world. Spirituality means overcoming the animal qualities within us, then the humanity transforms into divinity. This does not mean that we all become ascetics and forsake all worldly pleasure. It means we must be true to ourselves and follow our conscience which reflects the light of divinity which resides in our spiritual hearts.

Consider if you will, the difference between the thinker and the knower. The thinker uses his mind, his reason, his memory; he accumulates knowledge. The knower experiences the spiritual truth through his spiritual heart and his being assimilates the knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is intellectually acquired by the thinker; he becomes the theologian. Spiritual knowledge is inspirationally experienced by the knower; he becomes the saint. Now, most if not all of us have not yet experienced who we are and why we are here? Not yet, but soon I pray. Still the divine plan for us, our spiritual identity and purpose elude us, but we will find what we are seeking. It is only a matter of time. Even though we have not yet experienced this and merely cognitised it intellectually, nevertheless, many of us strive to take practical action. And as we strive to act, that is to serve selflessly; we close the gap between intellectually acquired knowledge and spiritually experienced knowledge. When this gap is entirely closed, then we are spontaneous, wise, loving and divine. We are literally in Heaven on earth.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba speaks eternal truth spontaneously. When he speaks, scripture is created. To the extent that we are receptive, we become the knower, not the thinker. The knower experiences spiritual knowledge; the thinker deliberates, contemplates, correlates and stores knowledge in his memory. But the thinker does not experience the knowledge. The thinker uses the mind tool given by the Lord to teach us, in order that we might navigate through these worldly lives. The knower uses his spiritual heart from whence the flow of love and wisdom never ceases if we are receptive.

What determines our receptivity to experiencing spiritual knowledge instead of merely mentally cognitising the information? How do we know if we are experiencing this knowledge; how do we determine if we are thinkers or knowers?

Swami has enumerated four factors that determine when we will realise our innate divinity. In other words, when we will know the eternal truth by experience, and when will we know that we know?

These factors also determine our receptivity to experiencing the divine message of the Lord. These factors are faith in divinity, loving God and yearning for experience of him, the results of our past action called Karma; we reap what we have sow. Our streams of thought are tainted by dreams of past lives. Finally and most importantly, the Grace of God. Faith, Love, Karma, Grace.

Consider if you will in a spiritual sense, are we thinkers or knowers, and if we are knowers, what is it that we should know? We must know who we really are and how to fulfil the purpose of our lives. That’s everything. Are we content with our world and life without contemplating a deeper meaning and purpose to life? Do we think about who we are, above and beyond the personality and relationships with others created for us in this world? Do we know from experience the divine nature of human life and live accordingly? To know is to realise who we really are and how to fulfil the purpose of our lives.

Consider if you will the spectrum and quality of knowing. There are foolish ones. There are those people who do not know spiritual truth and they do not know that there is something important to know. They live by their impulses and instincts. There are dangerous ones. They are those who do not know spiritual truth and know that they do not know what is important, but they do not care. They are unscrupulous. Then there is goodness. There are those who know that they do not know but are striving to know. They are spiritual aspirants. They are on the spiritual path even though they might not have consciously applied themselves to seeking spiritual knowledge and experience. I believe most of us are in this category. Then there is goodness and beauty. There are those who know but do not know that they know. They are the beautiful, innocent, saintly ones. They spiritually uplift others without being conscious of it. They know, but they do not know that they know. Then there is truth, goodness and beauty, Sathyam Shivam Sundaram. There are those who know, through experience, spiritual truth, and they know that they know. They consciously apply themselves to giving to their fellow man what he really needs. They know that they are spiritually realised and they know how to spiritually uplift their brothers and sisters but they do not claim credit for their good works themselves because they know that all is done by the Lord who is within themselves, and within everyone and everywhere.

Each of us must look within and ask ourselves, who are we and where are we?

We can strengthen our faith and our love and our yearning for God and as a result we can become knowers instead of merely thinkers.

Consider if you will the nature of heaven. Self realisation or identification with your innate divinity is heaven. Heaven is just a frame of mind away. Everyday we see the sun rise and shine; it provides us with light and warmth. Everyday we look into our own hearts with reverence and intensity and we will know that heaven is ever so near; it is just a frame of mind away. Remove the self imposed worldly frame of mind and the mind expands beyond the confines of mundane identity, physical individuality and the context of your relationships and memories. Remove this worldly frame and the smallest of your worldly definitions expands to the infinity of all creation. Heaven is just a frame of mind away. Sathya Sai Baba has said, and I quote him, "Heaven is not a super-terrestrial region of perpetual spring. It is an inner experience, a state of supreme bliss."

Consider if you will inner and outer view, the spiritual heart within and the world outside. Man is God, God is One, therefore Man is One. God is within and the world is without. Now there is chaos in the world because there is chaos within all men and women. This chaos is caused by our fascination, even obsession, with the glitter of the external world and the litter created by our selfishness and desires.

The physical indweller’s animal qualities and the mental indweller’s ego prevail in us while the divine indweller, our conscience, observes our transgressions. We have forgotten that we are divine instruments in the symphony of His creation. The divine indweller, our true identity, propels through the perils of this physical world. The divine indweller impels us to seek lasting bliss not transient pleasure. Ultimately, the divine indweller compels us to seek realisation of He who we really are, manifestations of the omnipresent consciousness that is God.

Consider if you will the concept of divine omnipresence and universality. It is taught by all religions that the Lord is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Omnipotence and Omniscience are powers that deal with creation. Omnipresence is a quality; it means being everywhere in time as well as place; everywhere temporally as well as geographically. The secret of universality lies in the omnipresence of divinity. The Lord always was, is and will be One. Various divine incarnations have been born on earth in different times during the course of human civilization. The world’s religions took birth in their advent. The apparent differences in their messages are superficial, not genuine. The differences in the world’s religions are a matter of emphasis, not essence. Divinity emphasised those teachings that were required for the salvation of Man in the context of the culture and problems of that era. Hence the different religions appear to be distinct. Foolishly and perversely, we use these differences as a rationale to divide ourselves. If we seriously embrace the concept of omnipresent Lord, omnipresence in time as well as place, then we should be able to see that the universality of all religions and the universality of all people would follow. We should see that we are truly brothers and sisters, in fact, closer than brothers and sisters because we are all manifestations of one God. Omnipresence of God implies universality and decries the spurious separation of people into different races, religions, nationalities, castes and creeds.

Consider if you will the nature of humanity. We are not this body. Not the skeleton, tissue, organs and fluids that comprise it. We are not this mind, not the perceptions, sensations, thoughts or emotions that characterise it. Then who are we? We are divinity encased in human form. We are the eternal encased in an ephemeral shroud of worldly illusion. Human life is like a candle. With faith, the light and warmth of the candle of human life will be brilliant and incandescent. It will mediate the emergence of wisdom and generate selfless love. Doubts and lack of faith render the light of the candle of human life like a flickering flame. It will give neither constant illumination nor sustained warmth. The flickering flame of a light without faith brings us no joy and it does not help others. It is a human life wasted.

Human life should not be regarded as a state of becoming; it should become a state of being. We are here now, this instant; we are not becoming this or that, then or whenever. Becoming is changing from one state to another over time. Being does not require a gradual progression of events over time. Self realisation is merely a frame of mind away. It requires no time consuming process to experience it. These are the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Now, this instant, through our faith, each of us has the power to look deeply within ourselves, with intensity, and complete conviction, and experience self realisation. Now, this instant, each of us has the potential of infinite knowledge and power. Now, this instant, each of us has the capacity to become an inspiring conduit for the flow of divine love. All of this is a function of our faith. Did not the Lord Jesus Christ say "Oh yea of little faith, if yea but had the faith, yea could tell the mountains to move and they would move."

There is a disease that is pandemic in the hearts and minds of men. That disease is ignorance of our innate divinity, of who and what we really are, of why we are here and what we should do with our human lives. We must come to know that we are not merely mind-body complexes, complicated beings that result from an interaction of the biological messages inherent in genetic chemicals and the habits and propensities resulting from a complicated series of learning and conditioning experiences in our worldly lives.

We are more than products of nature and nurture. Are we not phenomenal examples of divine creativity, the most beautiful and magnificent among creation? We have these attributes of nature by virtue of being part of creation, but uniquely man is imbued with the divinity that created him. In fact, our sole purpose is to realise that inherent divinity and uplift our fellow men and women to do the same. In this manner, the divine who made himself into many becomes one when the unity in diversity of creation is restored. We are indeed immortal. The creator and the created are one; the divine inner light that illuminates the heart and life of each one of us cannot be extinguished. The glory of God will never be finished or diminished. To the extent that we are receptive to divinity and transcend the impediments of our illusions and obsessions with the material world, we are all able to experience the great flow of love and wisdom. Faith is essential. Time, also is important.

Consider if you will time. Time is the only resource that we cannot replace. Nor can we determine how much we have left. The seasons pass by and a year is over; years go by and a lifetime is over. When the moon revolves around the earth then a month has transpired; when the earth revolves around the sun then a year has transpired; and when we revolve around our illusory preoccupation and worldly attachments then a lifetime would have transpired. We need knowledge of our identity; we need purpose in our lives; we cannot waste time looking outside ourselves as the transient things, the passing clouds, when the eternal truth beckons to us from within.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba has demonstrated that human life has certain rights, responsibilities and rewards. What are these rights? Sri Sathya Sai Baba has demonstrated by his example that men and women have a right to have shelter, nourishment, healthcare, education and whatever protection society can afford them from the dangers in the world.

What are these responsibilities? It is our responsibility to seek purpose and identity during these human lifetimes and thereby experience our divine nature. Then upon realisation of who we really are, we strive to uplift our brothers and sisters in need so that they also will come to realise their divine heritage.

What are these rewards? The reward that accrues to that human life that surrenders to the Lord with is Bliss, never ending. Spiritual surrender is not a concession that we have to make; we do not give up anything. Actually we acquire more than we ever dream of. Spiritual surrender is not a concession; it is an accession. We access our divine nature, and thereby become the divinity that we really are. Sri Sathya Sai Baba has addressed the basic needs of man through his great humanitarian works which are astronomic in magnitude and scope. He has established an educational system from primary school to accredited universities, the Sri Sathya Sai Institutes of Higher Learning. The university has multiple campuses offering undergraduate and advanced degrees. The examinations of performances of the students are among the best in India.

The salient features that distinguish this educational system are very important precedents. Education at all levels emphasises that true education results in the development of nobility of character, together with acquisition of skills and knowledge.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba teaches us that real education is for properly living human life, not merely for earning a living. Education is offered in all Sai institutions completely free of charge to all students.

By virtue of these precedents, the institution of education is truly ennobled.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba has established a healthcare delivery system which includes multiple general hospitals and highly specialised super-speciality hospitals – the Sri Sathya Sai Institutes of Higher Medical Sciences. The mortality rates, length of stay and infection rate statistics of the Sri Sathya Sai Institutes of Higher Medical Sciences ranks them among the best hospitals in Asia.

The salient features that distinguish this healthcare system are very important precedents.

All healthcare, including hospitalisation, surgery, physician services and medication are given free of charge. Sathya Sai Baba has made advanced medical services such as open heart surgery available to the local population who have neither the economic means nor the knowledge to obtain this type of sophisticated healthcare elsewhere.

All healthcare must be delivered by healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses and others, with compassion and love, as well as knowledge and confidence. This brings about the well being of the whole patient.

In this manner, the institution of medicine is truly ennobled.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba has made it clear that governments and politicians in all countries must serve their constituency. Their office, and their power and their resources exist only to serve the people.

In the state of Andra Pradesh, India, there are drought ridden areas where water is very scarce and often contaminated with toxic levels of fluoride, and arsenic. Sri Sathya Sai Baba developed a water project consisting of extensive networks of wells, tanks, pipes, pumps and reservoirs that bring water, pure and plentiful, to more than one million thirsty people. Furthermore the water project has been extended by request of the government of India.

Sathya Sai Baba has demonstrated that the government must serve the needs of the people. What is the most fundamental need for the preservation of human life? Water is the primary component of these human bodies and must be constantly replenished. The state government has requested that Sathya Sai Baba extend this great non-profit work to thousands of additional residents. This great water project is being emulated in other areas in India.

In this manner, the institution of government is truly ennobled.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba has lent his name to an organisation of people of goodwill. It is really a spiritual movement, comprised of men and women all over the world in many countries of all the continents of the earth who have been moved and motivated to establish Sri Sathya Sai Baba Organisations in their own countries. Most of these people, of strong faith and good will, have never had the opportunity to visit India, and see the remarkable Ashram, or be in the presence of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Yet, they are inspired to engage in good works in the context of their own societies. Their programmes are very simple, yet rendered powerful by virtue of their dedication and sincerity. They pray, meditate, sing devotional songs compatible with all religions, study the writings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the scriptures of all religions. They embark on programmes of service to the downtrodden and needy in their respective societies. The propagate and practise a values-education programme called Sri Sathya Sai Education in Human Values among their own organisations, communities and schools. The values are fundamental to all faiths, truth, right action, peace, love and non-violence.

The Sai Organisation is a spiritual movement. The Sai Organisation is not a business; there are no fees, dues, compulsory purchases of books or materials. The Sai Organisation is not a cult. Sri Sathya Sai Baba has said, and I quote "I am not guru. Your conscience is your master and your guru. Follow your conscience." End of quote.

The Sri Sathya Sai Organisation is not a religion. Sri Sathya Sai Baba tells us that there is only one religion, the religion of love, and that the underlying principle of all religions is the principle of spiritual love. People of all faiths find the programmes of the organisation to be compatible with their own religious heritage.

Prasanthi Nilayam, which means the "abode of supreme peace" is the ashram of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in southern India. It is a veritable wonder of the world. The ashram is an oasis of spiritual learning and uplifting. That in the midst of the wilderness of India there should be such a place as this defies the imagination, but it is not a mirage. There are schools, primary to university levels. There are hospitals, general and highly specialised surgical facilities. There are places of worship, dormitories for spiritual pilgrims to reside and other infrastructure necessary to accommodate the multitude of spiritual pilgrims that assemble to be in his presence. Most importantly, there is a serene atmosphere of reverence and love, kindness and compassion. It is deeply moving.

This ashram, far from city and civilization is truly a wonder of the world. In fact, it is not of this world. In this unusual place, this spiritual oasis, that there should be such a one as Sri Sathya Sai Baba defies reason and is the pinnacle of improbability. The greatest story teller of all time could never conceive a haven like this, or a being such as Him.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the pre-eminent world teacher. He is an extraordinary humanitarian who uplifts and transforms individuals and the fundamental institutions of society in a unique and monumental way. He brings much needed illumination into this world of disharmony and chaos that we have created by our lack of faith, goodwill and common sense.

The light of his wisdom and love bring together people from everywhere regardless of nationality, race or religion. All people of good will who yearn for truth are drawn to the light of his wisdom and love. He has said that his mission is to light the lamp of love in the heart of humanity. It has been my experience over many years that the qualities of His love are purity and selflessness. And the powers of his love are redemption and transformation.

Consider if you will the nature of a man who has done all the things that I have just described. Consider if you will, the nature of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

My dear ladies and gentlemen, I conclude by appealing to all of you and myself; let us all rise above the duplicity of our minds and come to know the purity of our hearts.

Let us all rise to the occasion; the occasion is human life.

Thank you. Jai Sai Ram.

Michael Goldstein


Prashanthi Council

30th May 2004

Extracted from Report of the Sai Convention held in Singapore from 29th May to 30th May 2004
Proceedings day 2 - http://www.saiaustralia.org.au/release/217_attachment3.pdf

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