Swami Stories Taken From Sunday Talks Given by
Taken from “Sri Anil Kumar Speaks to Southern California Young Adults,” April 23rd, 2000
But, above all, in the name of friendship, never get into bad company. If you don’t find good company, then live by yourself. You may be good; but if you are in bad company, sooner or later you also will become bad.
Here is a simple example: When sand is in the company of air, it goes up. But when it is in the company of water, it goes down. Similarly, when you are in the company of good, you are noble. In the company of bad people, you turn wicked and cruel. So avoid bad company.
Bhaja Saadhu Samaagamam: Always be in good company. Tyaja Durjana Samsargam: Run away from bad company. Smara Nithyam Ahoraathram: Think of the Divine, day in and day out. That is what Baba tells us. Kuru Punyam Ahoraathram: Do good service, day in and day out. Nithyaanithya Vasthu Viveka: Discriminate between what is permanent and what is not. Who is your real friend? Not David, not Daniel, not Nelson or Mandela! (Laughter)
Who is your real friend? God is your real friend. Why? He will not disown you; He will not disappoint you; He will not give you up at any point of time. He cares, He consoles, He cajoles. He has every concern. Who is your friend? The correct answer is, “God is my friend,” not so-and-so. Am I clear?
Young Adult: How important is the involvement of everyone in the young adult group, and also what does Swami say should be the focus of the young adult group?
Community service! There are so many service programs. You just sang bhajans. That is service. Those who are strong should serve the community. Those who can sing should sing bhajans. Service is the one thing that brings everyone together. Do service to the old people at the home for the aged, or you can visit hospitals. Help people. Not only that. Give a word of solace, a word of compassion, a word of forgiveness, a kind word, a good gesture, a word of appreciation: "Ah my boy, do well. It doesn’t matter, you're smart enough!” That is service.
Service is not necessarily distributing food to thousands of people, who are not even hungry! (Laughter) Service does not mean distributing sweets to diabetic patients! (Laughter) A kind word, a compassionate look, an attitude of forgiving, an attitude of giving, yes, that is service. These are the things that we should cultivate.
At the individual level, suppose we find a person who is depressed. Depression and frustration are common among youth everywhere – there in India and also here in America. Depression, frustration, and disappointment! Well, if we go and tell them, “Don’t be depressed. Don’t be frustrated. Baba cares for you. Baba will look after you because He has declared, 'Why fear when I am here.' Yes, have more faith in Him. He is God, the Lord Himself. He will never allow this boat of life to sink. No! You will sail and you’ll never sink. You will flourish! You’ll never perish." That is service. If a person is in depression, speak some encouraging words to him. In times of failure, stand by him.
Young Adult: The mind is often troubled by guilt and sadness at not having lived up to Swami’s expectations. How does one treat such feelings?
Very good. Let me repeat the question for the benefit of those who might not have heard what he just said. When we fail to follow Swami’s teachings, there is a sense of guilt in our minds. We feel very sad and grief-stricken. At these moments, what should we do?
Now the answer is so simple. If I really repent from the bottom of my heart for all my trespasses, for all my failures, then I will not repeat the mistakes again. Once I feel very badly about what I have done, when I feel very sorry and pray for forgiveness, then the Lord is there as “Kshamaa Murthi Sai Baba”, meaning “Sai, the Embodiment of Forgiveness”.
So once we pray for His forgiveness, the Lord is there because He is giving and forgiving. So, naturally He will forgive us. If He didn’t forgive, then He would be a dictator. But God is not a dictator. Does your mother not forgive you? Then why wouldn’t the Divine Mother, Mother Sai?
The sense of guilt is a negative attitude. Give up this sense of guilt. Even if you have committed a mistake…finished! There ends the matter. The sense of guilt will affect your competence; the sense of guilt will affect your efficiency. The sense of guilt will make you meek and weak in life. Give that up! Be free!
Above all, be cheerful! Keep smiling. That is very important. Never make your face so serious like that. (Prof. Anil Kumar makes a very serious face.) That is most ungodly and irreligious, I tell you. It is better we keep away from those people whose faces are so serious. Consider them as ‘untouchables’ -- because God always smiles. Woe unto those who are cut off by miles and miles from smiles. Let us smile!
In the latest discourse, Bhagavan said, "Under all circumstances, at all points of time, no matter what it is, keep on smiling. Keep smiling." You know, in this land of America, everyone smiles. I need not especially speak about this here. I have not met any Americans with long faces. They smile, and they make others smile too.
Young Adult: How do we feel close to Swami? How can we maintain that closeness? What can we do that will make Swami very happy?
Very good! Very good question! My friends, I am not given to flattery. I am telling you very honestly. At all the centres that I visited here -- Houston, San Antonio, and Los Angeles, I have seen many devotees listening to Swami’s bhajans as they drive their cars.
Bhajan is the point of contact between the devotee and Swami. That is His ‘cell phone’: "Hi Swami!" (Laughter) Bhajan is the cell phone contact you can have that will make you feel the nearness of Swami. Am I clear?
Bhajan is very important. You may be in Prashanthi Nilayam, but if you don’t sing bhajans, then I don’t think you have that inner ‘phone’ contact -- only physical contact during darshan. But if you sing, He is always by your side.
He said so long ago: Madh Bhaktha Yathra Gaayanthi Tathra Thishthaami Naradha.
Naradha, the great singer, asked the Lord, “Lord what is your address? I have heard it is Kailash; I have heard it is paradise; I have heard it is heaven.”
The Lord said, “No, no. These are my branch addresses, my branch offices.”
Naradha said, “Oh Lord, then what is Your real address?”
The Lord said, “My real address is this: Madh Bhaktha (Where my devotee) Yathra Gaayanthi (sings My glory,) Tathra Thisthaami Naradha (there I install Myself.). I install Myself wherever My glory is sung.”
So bhajan is the best contact. It is most essential. I don’t know whether I sing well or not. If anyone says, “Anil Kumar, your voice is not good”, then I will tell them, “I’m sorry, it is not meant for you. It is for my happiness. If you are disturbed, please step out. You have no business to complain. I sing for my happiness. I am not an artist nor am I a professional, and I am not singing for your compliments. No!” (Laughter)