Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Teachings


 (Indweller of Hearts)
By Bombai Srinivasan

Chapter 27
The Seva sadhana

In one of the group interviews, in which I had the chance to be in, Swami beautifully analyzed the theory of papam & punyam, the sin and the merit.

God has bestowed on the humanity, three special faculties which is not given to any other living beings. They are, the power of thinking, the power of speech, and the power of performing. These three faculties are called “Thri karna” in Sanskrit language. The thought, word and deed, all these three should function in unison in ones life. : Manas Ekam,. Vachasyekam, Karmanyekam is called THRI KARANA SUDHI’. Swami always advises that one should say only what he thinks and do only what he says. Then the life will be blissful without any blemish and will attract divine grace. We should use these special faculties bestowed on us, used by us with utmost care and to the best use of the society, wherever we live.

Now what is sin (Papam)? If we cause any harm to any body, by using any one of these special powers of Thrikarana then it is a sin. We should not even think bad about others, or utter anything which may cause unhappiness to others and act in the way which causes harm to others, as such bad thoughts, unpleasant words and harmful acts corrupt the Thri Karna Sudhi.

Contrarily by the use of these three faculties, if some benefit could result to others, other than you or your relatives, then it becomes a merit (Punyam) It earns you the Grace of Lord.

We are suffering in life because of accumulated Papas (Sins) committed either earlier in this life or in our previous births. It is always carried forward, life after life unless and until the accumulations are liquidated. Likewise some enjoy the fruit of their good acts earned during this life and also the previous lives. One goes on enjoying its fruit till the accumulated punya is in balance. This also gets consumed gradually.

We often say that we are suffering because of bad Karmas Suffering Is Karma bound the result of bad action ( i.e. sins) are known as bad karma. Nobody can escape from such bad actions and we have to endure the effects. There is only one way to come out of the bad karma which is like a negative mark earned by us. It is always in minus. We have to earn enough plus marks by practicing Sath Karma (pious deeds) and gradually reduce the minus mark. A constant practice of Sath Karma, helps to bring down the negative (i.e. the minus) marks slowly to a level of O (zero) and then the further continuing efforts (sadhana) put you on the positive side of plus marks. This has to be a constant endeavor. When you think good for somebody, or give benefits to somebody at least by your words, or your action, then plus mark accrues. Even if we curse somebody or think evil of somebody there is a minus accrual. Therefore, we have to be careful and cautious in our thought, word, and deed.

When we find somebody, known or unknown, friend or foe, undergoing suffering, we should not feel unconcerned about it. On the contrary if you pray for him, think good of him, it would earn plus points. Likewise, we can also attempt to do some good to others by our mere spoken words. For example, you find somebody remaining unemployed for a very long period and he is in distress. By our mere "spoken” words, we can recommend him to someone known to us and help him to get a job and thereby his earning. This also gets you merits.

We can, by our action, engage ourselves constantly in selfless service to the society which is the highest level of Seva. Sadhana Paving the way for your good virtue. We may have our own problems in our house. We may be busy in our work places. But still it is desirable to allot a few hours for seva every week. Sri Sathya Sat Seva Organizations helps the devotees to canalize their energy and work together in offering seva.

"Recognize the divinity in all living beings and offer seva. And this seva becomes holier than the worship of the Lord. When service is offered, blended with spiritual practices, it becomes the highest form of yoga- the seva yoga, which is higher than any other yoga and it bestows the Grace and leads you to liberation". Says Baba

In performing seva, the spiritual practices also become important, according to Swami. There are various organizations, offering service to society, and they may do it on a much large scale. But what is missing in their effort is the spiritual base in the thought, word and deed. We can undertake seva even in a small way, within our capacity, but backed by spiritual practices, with the underlying feeling that the seva we are doing is an attempt to please the Lord. Then we do not look for the fruit of seva. Your only intention is to please Lord, and this feeling in turn takes you step by step towards liberation.

Swami further explained by another beautiful example, as to how spiritualism and seva are to be blended. Swami said. "We wash our clothes to remove the dirt from it. What do we do? We mix the detergent in the water and then use the solution for washing. You can consider the detergent as seva and the water as spirituality. In case you try to wash the cloths only in the water i.e.. Spirituality, it will nor derive the desired result. Likewise, a dry soap or detergent powder cannot be used for removing: the dirt. We need both water and detergent to achieve the result. So when you expect the grace of God and a way for liberation, we have to undertake seva backed up with spiritual practices"

This is the basic philosophy of Sai, He urges us to do seva, but first step is to evolve ourselves into spiritual beings. Even in the 9-point code of conduct, the very first step insisted by Swami is to do pooja, prayers and meditation every day morning. Next we should attend Bhajans, Nagar Sankeertans etc arranged by the Organization. It is also necessary that all family members should join together and conduct Bhajan in our own homes. Other rules are also mentioned such as Narayana Seva, i.e. feeding the poor, attention to our character building and so on. We have to show our earnestness and while we initiate the first few spiritual practices, then Swami will take further steps towards us to make us fully eligible for Divine Grace. . Sathsang and reading of Sai literature will also help to imbibe spiritual knowledge and practice. With such a spiritual back up, if we offer any service, however small it may be, it becomes the highest form of Yoga and worship.

There is a risk of EGO rearing its monstrous head, when you are constantly engaged in service activities: We have to be very watchful and alert. We should feel very humble when we are engaged in activity. We have only duties; and we have no rights and certainly no rights for fruits of action. Swami does not accept it if we 'talk' about the service we offer. Without expecting the fruits of action, we should only perform and move on.

We can see, the devotees singing Bhajans whenever they are engaged in group activities. We should follow thus practice and engage in nama smarana even while we are busy with domestic work. Remember the name always and do your sadhana. Swami has declared what will please Him the most He says that when other people in general are happy by your service, Swami will also be happy. As such we should try to make other people happy by our devoted seva and then Swami is happy. The Divine Grace flows unto you automatically.

I wish to recall a petty event to illustrate how we can bring happiness to a fellow citizen. Some years ago, I was trying to cross the Mount Road, in Madras, just opposite "The Hindu" news paper office to reach the Government Estate. On this point, the road takes a steep rise approaching a bridge. I noticed an old cart man who was pulling a hand cart. His legs were slipping, unable to move the cart due to heavy load and gradient. Impulsively, I moved over and started pushing the cart from behind. The cart man felt the relief in pulling the load over the gradient road. He was surprised and looked back His eyes were sparkling with gratitude. After helping him out to reach the steep road, I walked off. He stopped and was looking back to spot me, apparently to thank me. I did not give him that chance. I saw the smile on his face and I believed that was the best reward.

During the years of Sai seva, I had tried to follow the above principles, and the guidance provided by Swami Himself several times. At times, nay many times, there could be many hurdles in the way while attending to the assignments given to us. But when we surrender everything to Him and then engage in seva, He is there to remove all the hurdles and we can experience the signs of His Grace. Very often, the most difficult jobs, which make us think, that we are up against a blank wall, are tackled beyond our expectation and the ananda (bliss) we derive out of it is beyond all expressions. We come to know very well that but for His grace and intervention the job could not have been accomplished. By this way we experience Swami through and through, and this realization brings us more and more joy. This has been my personal experience several times.

Swami has referred to three types of methods and attitudes, which characterize one's performance of duty: "Duty with Love is desirable. Duty without Love is deplorable; "Love without Duty is Divine. " Swami has very often, stressed the importance of performing selfless seva, it is
sheer love, without duty, which is supreme.

We should understand that it is not for the sake of Swami that we are engaging ourselves in seva. We should not give shelter to the feeling that by our seva somebody is getting the benefit. Swami says that the devotee engaged in seva, is himself benefited by this act. We should cheerfully undertake seva without any selfish or other motives and prompting. Seva is done out of our own inner urge and having done it, we should leave the matter at that. Grace will accrue on its own.

It was illustrated with a beautiful and imaginary example.

Suppose that we are proceeding to Prashanthi Nilayam by a bus. On the way, all the passengers alight in front of a hotel for having lunch. After finishing the lunch, you are making payment at cash counter and notice a beggar sitting outside. You pay some extra money to the cashier and ask him to give food to that beggar and go to the bus and occupy your seat. In case you had told the beggar that you had paid enough money to the cashier and that he would give you food, the net benefit out of this charity is lost. Since you did not utter a word about this to the beggar, the message of your action is moving upwards to God. At this time, you should forget the whole episode of your charity and carry on with your travel. Sooner the Lord will take note of it. Suppose you could not contain your mind. A fellow devotee is sitting next to your seat. You open your mouth and tell him that you had just asked the cashier to feed the beggar and had paid for it. You felt that you had done a great charity that day. But the moment you uttered these words to your friend, the message comes down and does not reach God and you do not get any benefit out of your charity. More than doing a seva, it is important to keep the action within ourselves and offer the same to Lord, instead of speaking about it. This is the true Service without Duty.

It is not a question of how big a seva you have done. God is only looking for the quality, not only in the work, but also in the mind when you engage yourselves in service. When we get the chance to do the individual seva, we should keep it within ourselves. When we are given a chance to work in the organization, we should understand that we are only a tool and that we should feel happy to know that we got the chance. Our only duty is to engage in the activity to the best of our ability as per instruction of the leaders. Another important factor, which we should remember is that, we should subject ourselves to the discipline of the organization. "Devotion, Duty & Discipline" These three are basic norms emphasized very-often by Bhagavan.

If only we could follow the dictums and engage ourselves in selfless service, God’s Grace wiII
automatically come to us.

Author's statement in:

Many of you may be aware that I had authored a book with the title "Sri Sathya Sai Hrudaya Nivasi (Indweller of Hearts). This book had seen the third reprint, and is being sold in Bhagavan's Bookstall at Prashanthi Nilayam. Many of you would have purchased and many would not have got chance to go to Parthi and get the book. After the third edition, this may not go to print again. As such I wish to bring the contents of this book to each and every one of you.

Starting from today I shall post one chapter every week or if possible twice a week, depending upon the response I get from you all. I would request you to kindly read it and then re-circulate it to your other friends in the Sai Family.

The text could be transferred to your hard disk, and if possible print outs taken out.

Utilize the contents, as much as you like.

With Lots of Love and regards
Bombay Srinivasan


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