Taken from “Kodaikanal Trip plus Questions and Answers by Baba”, June 27, 1999
When we reached there, Bhagavan was received by a tumultuous welcome, a grand reception over there. Swami moved all over the aircraft, that end and this end, talking to everybody. At one point, Bhagavan stepped into the cockpit where the pilot and co-pilot were seated. Thanks to Swami, they did not leave their places. Had they also followed the other members of the aircraft, leaving the engines to their fate, well, really we would have enjoyed the manifestation of the Divine in the space! Such a thing did not happen. Bhagavan Himself went to the cockpit there. We could peep in as we were occupying the rear end seat there. He kept one of His Hands on the shoulder of the pilot and the other Hand on the shoulder of the co-pilot, and He started talking to both of them for at least ten minutes or even more .
Well, how envious most of us were is beyond our estimation because they were seated while Bhagavan was standing all the time, speaking to them for so long a time. Towards the end, He materialized a diamond ring for each one of them, that is, for both of them. While He was returning, it so happened that He stood in front of me for some time. As you know me, I rarely keep quiet, sometimes even take Divine risks. And so somehow I ventured, picked up some courage and said, “Bhagavan, it is rather very strange, mysterious, and wonderful! I have seen regular interviews, interviews or conversations along the darshan lines, interview on the verandah, and interviews in the interview room. But this is unique: to watch ‘space interview’. Space interview. And I also saw you materializing so many things everywhere. This is ‘space materialization’, materialization of the diamond rings for the pilot and co-pilot. What a fantastic thing it is!”
I should also bring to your notice the beautiful sight for gods: travelling with God by flight all the way itself is an exciting experience, a lifetime opportunity. Usually, as all of us experience, as the flight takes off, Air India, Lufthansa or whatever it may be, they give you some announcements: "Welcome onboard Indian Airlines. Thank you for flying with us." They also tell you the temperature, the pressure and the altitude at which you are travelling. But what kind of announcement we had there in Indian Airlines this time? They said, "Welcome aboard Sai Charter…Sai Charter! Indian Airlines is highly grateful to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and His devotees for flying with us." What a beautiful announcement it was! Usually in the airlines we also listen to music: instrumental music, in particular on Indian Airlines, classical instrumental music. But this time we could hear Sai bhajans! This time there were Sai bhajans!
As you also know, as we fly by any aircraft, they supply certain things, whether we relish it or not, which are conventional, which are traditional. They follow this procedure and give you some kind of juices or some peppermints or something like that, some snacks. But this time we had idly and dosa which are special South Indian preparations. This was quite totally against the norms, quite new. And then the air hostess and the members of the crew started competing with the devotees in catching hold of the Divine Lotus Feet! They, too, wanted to have padnamascars. Being the members of the crew, they could win over all the devotees seated there who were not supposed to get up. Had it been left to our muscle power, we would have made our own attempt. But there was no chance like that. So they had padnamascars repeatedly. The boys did not count how many. But each crew member must have had more than fifty padnamascars, during that brief flight, which lasted about a half-an-hour or so. So nice. It was at that time that everyone must have felt that had they had a chance like this, being a member of the crew, how fortunate they would have been. The lucky ones.
The second fantastic thing happened to be that all of us have gone by flight all the way. The first stop happened to be at Madurai where Bhagavan inaugurated the Community Hall, built by the Chettiars. Here one point which I want to bring to your attention is this: Bhagavan made a promise to Madurai Chettiar that He would inaugurate the Community Hall there at Madurai on 22nd of April and He did it exactly on the dot of the appointed time, as promised earlier. By the time we went, we came to know that Chettiar had passed away by then and that not even ten days had passed. The elderly man, about eighty, had passed away. But Bhagavan said to everybody who gathered there, "I made a promise that I would be here on the 22nd, the Inauguration Day, and I kept up My promise. I am here on that day, on that dot of time." That is Bhagavan, who never fails, but fulfills His promise. He keeps up to the word given. He would never break His promise.
Taken from “Laziness, Ego, Yagnas, Suffering, Science and Spirituality, Personal Family Stories”, July 4th 1999
Bhagavan gives two examples: We have the Pandavas on the one side, and then the Kauravas on the other side in The Mahabharata, the sacred epic of this land. The wicked fellows are the Kauravas. The noble, pious, and virtuous people are the Pandavas. Virtuous, noble people give first place to God. First priority goes to God; next, to everybody else. They keep themselves in the last. God first, others next, and “I”, the last! That is the priority which noble people, pious people, seekers and aspirants will have. On the other hand, the wicked fellow will keep “I” first, others next, and God in the last. A wicked fellow, in the order of priority, keeps God in the last place. Here Swami says that if you keep God in the last, you are lost, l-o-s-t. You are lost (1-o-s-t), you are gone because, in order of priority, you have given the last place to God, l-a-s-t. So happiness depends upon the priorities in life. We are sad because of wrong priorities. That is what Bhagavan has said.
So Swami, what shall I do now? All right, I have wrong priorities now. Ok, I understand I am wrong in giving top priority to myself. I am sorry. So what shall I do now? Bhagavan gave a simple example, saying, “You don't have to do anything else. Only understand yourself.” Swami, what is it? “Here is a glass of water. At the bottom is sugar.” A glass of water, at the bottom of which there is sugar. Alright, now taste the water at the top -tasteless. Taste the water in the middle -tasteless.” Oh, I see. “Where is sugar?” It is at the bottom. “So what should you do now? Take a spoon. Keep it there. Stir it up. Mix the sugar completely, so that it gets dissolved totally. Now you taste the water on the top. Is it sweet enough? You taste the water in the middle. Is it sweet enough? You taste the water at the bottom. It is very sweet, yes? Why? That is because sugar got mixed into it and dissolved totally. So, body is the glass. Water is the life. Sugar is the Divinity. Spoon is the intellect. Body is the cup. Water is life. Sugar is Divinity. What you have to do is, with the spoon of the intellect, stir it well, and mix it well. That is sadhana. This process of stirring up, this process of mixing is called sadhana or spiritual practice.”
Taken from “Laziness, Ego, Yagnas, Suffering, Science and Spirituality, Personal Family Stories”, July 4th 1999
Swami gave a simple example: The rituals like yagnas and yagas, the spiritual rituals, the Vedic rituals, are not useless. They are not ridiculous. They are never outdated. They are very important. And then He gave an example: One highly educated man with his PhD in computer science, went to some village. It is his first visit to a village. He never saw a village before because he belongs to a metropolitan city of air pollution. So he went there into the village. There he saw a farmer, an agriculturist. The farmer was holding paddy grains and then he started throwing all the paddy grains everywhere all over the field. This educated fellow saw this and thought, “This fellow seems to be a madcap! How is it that he is simply throwing paddy grains like that? That is why India is poor! That is why there is no food here in this country! People don't know how to make use of the paddy grains. They simply throw it there!” He went to the farmer and said, “Hari Ramu, you are a fool! Why do you throw them like that?! That is food, don’t you know that?” The farmer said, “Sir, I am not simply throwing it like that. One bag of paddy grain today will yield fifty bags tomorrow. You do not know. You think I am simply throwing like that. But they are being first sown in this way. Then the field is watered and, in course of time, the seeds sprout and we have the harvest of the crop. Fifty bags will come from one bag of paddy. We will have fifty bags of paddy tomorrow.” Then this educated, latest man, with his PhD in computer science, could understand that he has a PhD in foolishness also. Not only in his field of specialisation, but also in foolishness!
Like that Bhagavan said that in yagna, near the sacrificial fire, very valuable items are kept there, including tins and tins of ghee. It is not a waste of money because out of this yagna and yaga, smoke comes. It gets mixed with the atmosphere and air pollution is gone. Air pollution is reduced. So the only solution to air pollution is yagna and yaga. Most people today suffer from lung problems and heart problems. Why? Environmental pollution. So, as yagnas and yagas, as these spiritual rites are undertaken, as spiritual rituals are performed from time to time, the air pollution could be brought under check or control. That is what Bhagavan has said. So, in the name of modernity, let us not call these things nonsensical, ridiculous or meaningless.
In the same context, He narrated a story from our epics. I do not want to go into the details but, in short, the story is this: One demon prayed to God, “Oh God, let me be powerful. So powerful that, on whomsoever I lay my hand on his head, he should be burned to ashes!” Appa! Lovely desire this is! “So, if I keep my hand on anybody, that fellow most be reduced to ashes!” That was his desire, a rather demonic desire. “OK, God?” God responds, “Yes, boy, carry on.” So this fellow started running hither and thither, putting his hand on everybody and people got burned- finished, brought down to ashes.
Ultimately, this fellow wanted to test God. “If I keep my hand on God’s head, what will happen?” So he went to Kailas straight away. “Oh Shiva, You granted me this boon. Let me test it on You now!' And God acted frightened. He started running. This fellow started chasing Him. So God and this fellow started running and running and running. In the meantime, the whole thing was noticed by Lakshmi. Vishnu is the Sustainer. Brahma is the Creator. Vishnu is the Sustainer. Shiva is the Annihilator. So this is the desire or boon granted by Shiva. Then Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, noticed what was happening. She thought, “This fellow will keep his hand on Shiva. Next it will be my husband's turn! He, too, may be burned like that!” Therefore, she wanted to take enough precautions. Immediately she called her husband: “Look here, Vishnu, that fellow is coming now. Be ready! Shiva will be finished very soon and then he will come to you. Be careful!”
Then Vishnu thought over the whole thing and understood what he had to do. He has taken on the role of a beautiful dancer, Mohini. This devil's name was Bhasmasura. Bhasmasura started dancing and Mohini started dancing. Bhasmasura was very much pleased with the dancing of Mohini, the most beautiful star, and he started to imitate her, with all the movements of his hands, gestures and postures, so that he would equal her in performance. But then Mohini, while dancing with all the postures and movements, kept her hand on her own head. She kept her hand on her own head! This Bhasmasura noticed it. “Oh,” he said, “what a beautiful posture!” And he kept his hand on his own head. (Anil claps his hands!) Burnt to ashes!