On August 14-15, 2009, Bhagavan Baba’s residence witnessed a special series of talks for the benefit of the alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai University currently serving in the various institutions in Prashanthi Nilayam and Brindavan.
This session, which was conducted at the divine direction of Bhagavan Baba was exclusively meant for the former men students who have chosen to stay close to their alma mater and align their professional and spiritual aspirations as a mark of their gratitude and love for Bhagavan Baba.
All of these former students are currently associated with either Bhagavan’s University, School, Hospitals or the Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust. This convention was also attended by the Tyagajeevis, the group of inspired individuals who are married only to Bhagavan’s mission and splendidly run the Sai Schools in Alike and Muddanahalli.
The path that all the people above have chosen is one of discipline, devotion and dedication, and the recent talks offered them a special dose of motivation to pursue their mission with heightened determination.
Heart2Heart now presents excerpts from the insightful presentation of the first speaker, Mr. Sanjay Sahani.
Mr. Sanjay Sahani joined the Sri Sathya Sai University in 1983 for his Bachelors in Commerce. He received a gold medal in this degree and later pursued his Masters in Commerce in the same University. He was again awarded gold medal on his post graduation. Subsequently, he joined the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of his alma mater as a lecturer and in 1992, became the warden of the Sri Sathya Sai Boys’ Hostel in the same campus. Later, he moved to the Brindavan campus and is currently the Principal of this campus of His University. He is reputed for his excellent oratory skills.
I offer my loving pranaams at Bhagavan’s Lotus Feet, at whose call, on this most auspicious, wonderful occasion, of India’s Independence Day, we the Sai brotherhood, have assembled under the umbrella of Swami, in His own residence!
Our esteemed Vice-Chancellor, in His speech in the morning to the students in the College, was recalling the immense challenges that the country is facing today. The answer to all those challenges is this assembly, which is seated here. We need many more such assemblies in our country and the world over.
Before I commence, let me express first of all, my gratitude to my parents, who encouraged me and supported me to follow this sacred path. And as I remember them, I pray to Bhagavan that He may shower His choicest blessings on the parents of all our Brahmacharis (celibates) and Tyagajeevis assembled here for the support and encouragement that we have received from people who are grihastha’s (householders) no doubt, but who understood the Divine call of Swami and showed us the way.
‘Who Comes for Me?’ - Baba
Years ago, in the mid 90’s, one day, Swami was speaking to the students in Brindavan. And that day, He struck a very different note. He said:
“Many people come to Me. Students come seeking education, they receive education from Me and they go away. Youngsters come, seeking a job; I bless them. They feel happy that their prayers are answered, and they go away. Parents of children come, seeking alliances for their children, I give them My blessings, they feel happy and they go away. Businessmen come, seeking profits in their business, I bless them, and they go away. Who is there, who comes for Me? Who is there who comes for Swami? Is there anyone who comes for Swami?”
That is a sentiment, which Swami expressed that was extremely precious to all of us assembled. What does Swami mean when He says: “Who is there who cares for Me? Who is there who comes for Me?”
One day, a few students and teachers were with Bhagavan and Swami was addressing them. He said:
“Do you know why I give you this chance to be
with Me? Is it because your parents are very
wealthy and they have a lot of property? Is it
because of your intelligence that I am giving
you this chance? No! This opportunity is not
given to you because of all these reasons. I am
giving this to you because all the time My
vision is focused on Loka Kalyanam –
the welfare of the whole world. It is because of
that reason, I am giving you this opportunity to
sit at My Lotus Feet and be with Me! So, if you
all become good, the whole world will stand to
When Swami says:
“Who cares for Me?” It is not for His physical
body; He does not need anything for Himself!
When He says: “Who cares for Me?” He means to
say: “Who cares for My Mission?” The
Avatar has come down for uplifting humanity to a
level of Divine Consciousness from human
“Is there anyone who is concerned about that Mission for which I have come?” It is the responsibility for each one of us here, to say to Swami: “Yes Swami! We are here! You don’t have to be worried about anything! We are here Swami, for You and Your Mission!” If Swami wants, in one sankalpa (Divine Will), He can finish His Mission! Sankalpa (mere Will) is enough!
Swami said: “My students will do whatever I tell them. For those who have the seed, I Myself ask them to get married. For those who don’t have the seed, I will not compel them.”
One day, we were in Ooty, sitting with Swami and there was a devotee there, who was working in the Water Works Department from Tamil Nadu. Swami was enquiring ‘How is your work progressing?’ And the devotee said: “Swami, if Your sankalpa is there, everything will go well.” Swami said: “It is not a question of My sankalpa! If it were just a question of God’s sankalpa, Rama would have said: ‘Ravana, you die! Sita, you come!’ and the Ramayana would not have been necessary! Why was the entire drama of Ramayana enacted? It was done to show to the world the devotion of Hanuman. By nature, physically a monkey, but because of his devotion and dedication, because of his attachment to Sri Rama and the Lord’s Mission, today he is worshipped all over the country!”
When He comes down as an Avatar Swami wants to show to humanity - here are the salt of the earth who will do anything for Me!
The Profundity of Brahmacharya
The topic that is assigned to me is ‘The Essence of Brahmacharya’. What is Brahmacharya? Yesterday, we celebrated Gokulashtami, and I was reminded of a small Chinna Katha of Swami. One day, Sage Durvasa visited Mathura. And Lord Krishna, who is Rishi manasa sanchari (who resides in the minds of the sages), wanted to extend hospitality to the great sage. So He called Rukmini (His consort) and said: “Rukmini, Sage Durvasa is residing on the other side of Yamuna and you must cook food for him and extend our warm hospitality.” Rukmini was ready with the meal but Yamuna was in spate and she didn’t know how to cross the river. So she came to Krishna and said: “Krishna, the Yamuna is in spate, how do I cross it?”
He said: “It’s so simple! You go to Yamuna and say: “Nitya Brahmachari (a confirmed celibate for life) Krishna has told me to take this food and give it to Durvasa, and see what happens!” So, Rukmini had total trust in Krishna’s words and went to Yamuna and said: “Nitya Brahmachari Krishna has asked me to go and give this food to Durvasa, and lo and behold, the Yamuna waters parted! She easily crossed the river, went to the other side, met Durvasa, and served him food. After his meal, she had to now return.
So now, she asked Durvasa: “Durvasa, the river is in spate, how do I get back home? Can you give me a clue?” Durvasa said: “Amma, it is so simple! Go to Yamuna and say: ‘Nitya Upavasi (ever on fast) Durvasa has asked me to return home after serving him.’ And see what happens!” So she went and told that to Yamuna, and lo and behold, the waters parted!
When she reached home, she was very perplexed! So she asked Krishna: “Krishna! What is this! You are a gruhastha (householder) and say that ‘I am a Nitya Brahmachari’ and the Yamuna parts. And right in front of me, Durvasa has had a stomach full of meal, and he asks me to say: ‘I am a Nitya Upavasi!’ and the Yamuna parts! How can the Yamuna not recognize the untruth of these statements!”
To be God-centered is – whenever you get an opportunity of choice, your first preference is Swami; everything else comes later. And therefore, to have God also in your life, and to be God-centered is a very different proposition.
Krishna says: “Rukmini! You are looking only at the superficial meaning! You are not going to the inner secret of the words! Nitya Brahmachari. Who is a Brahmachari? Brahmacharyatiti brahamchari - ‘He who roams always in the domain of Brahman’; Divinity, that is what I am! Whether the world recognized it or not, Yamuna knows! And who is Durvasa? He may have had a stomach full of meal; but that is not the meaning of upavasa! Upa means near and vaasa means to reside. He who resides near somebody, and that somebody is Divinity. The mind of a sage is always near the Divine. And that is why when he said: I am Nitya Upavasi, the Yamuna recognized the truth of that statement.
To be a brahmachari, is to be living in Bhagavan. And in that sense, to be a brahmachari is an aspiration; it is not the journey’s end! We have not reached it yet, when we reach it, we will be Bhagavan Himself! It is an aspiration for life and maybe for lifetimes! It is an opportunity for us to be here because to be a brahmachari, is to be God-centered and not world-centered! Why do I say that it is important to be God-centered? What do I mean by that?
There are so many people outside who would love to be in this hall, which is so cool, so peaceful, so calm. But everybody did not get this opportunity! There are two facets to our relationship with God. God is also in your life and God is the center of your life. They are not two same things.
Living for God Vs. Living Also for God
It was Bhagavan’s 70th Birthday. And one of our visiting faculty members, the Board of Studies member, Academic Council member, was personally invited by Swami to attend His 70th Birthday celebration. Swami said: “Come! You will get Vishwa Roopa Darshan! And call all your relations.” He went and told everybody and you know how things happen in the families. Suddenly, it so happened that two marriages got fixed amongst his very close relations. And it was a big dharma sankata (moral doubt)! Should they come to Prashanti Nilayam or attend the marriages! He himself was in a big dilemma!
One night, Swami came in his dream and said: “You know, your heart is like a mansion with several rooms! In one room, are your children and your wife. In another room of your mansion, are your conferences, which you attend all over the country. In the third room of your mansion, are your properties, your possessions. In the fourth room, you have place for Swami. If this is how your house is, Swami may once in a while come and stay in your house, but He will not install Himself in your heart!”
Immediately he recognized what Swami was saying and gave up all the family bonds and said: “I must be at Prashanti Nilayam to have Bhagavan’s Vishva Roopa Darshan!” To be God-centered is – whenever you get an opportunity of choice, your first preference is Swami; everything else comes later. And therefore, to have God also in your life, and to be God-centered is a very different proposition. This is an assembly of God lovers and that is what has entitled us to be in this hall. Though at a very basic sense, brahmacharya also deals with marriage.
The Highest Principles of Life
What is Swami’s view on marriage? Who can speak about it except Swami Himself? So let me share something, which happened many years ago. We have two green rooms in the Poornachandra Auditorium, and Swami used to accommodate visiting VIP’s there.
So the Chief
Minister and the Governor of Andhra Pradesh had
come and Swami had called two of our research
scholars to serve them. And you know Swami; the
mischievous Swami! For Him, if there is an
occasion, He will not waste it!
The Governor and the Chief Minister were sitting in Swami’s presence, and Swami started pulling the leg of one of the research scholars: “How is the girl in your native place?” And the boy said: “No Swami! Nobody is there!”
This was going on in the middle of them. Suddenly, in the midst of the conversation, out of turn, the Chief Minister butted in! He said: “Swami! Your students don’t marry?” There was a stunned silence! Nobody knew how to respond!
Only Swami could answer that question. And this is what He said: “My students will do whatever I tell them. For those who have the seed, I Myself ask them to get married. For those who don’t have the seed, I will not compel them.”
In God’s Creation, the urge to have a replica of ourselves is very strong. If He had not made that urge so strong, the whole creation would have come to a stand still. And that is why, in our tradition and culture, when we divide a man’s life, there are four stages for his life. And one of the very important stages is gruhastha. It is not that a gruhastha should not follow a brahmacharya; there is a brahmacharya principle for a gruhastha too. Since it is not relevant here, I will not talk about it. Because in His Vahinis Swami has said, irrespective of which pathway to God you chose to take, you must have two things: yama and niyama. And among the five principles of yama, which Patanjali has referred to on his treatise of mind control - one of the five important principles he has enunciated, is brahmacharya.
Swami says yama and niyama should be followed by every spiritual aspirant. How do we know that we are eligible for it? How do we know that we have the qualification for it? In my humble opinion, there are three qualifications required: first, aspiration, coupled with the second quality of determination.