August 1st, 2004
Aim of Life”
OM… OM… OM…
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
I am glad to be here once again. I have been going through Sai literature for quite some time. Recently, I came across certain statements made by Bhagavan which I thought I should share with you.
I present the information in a format to facilitate easy communication and to arouse interest. Having been a teacher for over forty years, I have put the information in some sort of order.
Let us spend some time pondering the following question: What is the aim of life? This is the first and foremost question that has entered every mind since time immemorial.
The aim of life may not be very, very clear to people from different walks of life, who are in the process of following pursuits in life, via their own humble endeavours and attempts. The question of the aim of life may seem to be quite impertinent or irrelevant to such people. Yet there is some depth to it.+
Politically, what is your aim in
life? Any legislator or parliamentarian would say that he would like to become a
chief minister or prime minister. So, someone’s political aim is very clear. We
don’t have to question that.
What is your aim on the economic front? That is very clear also. "I want to be a millionaire, or even a billionaire. I want to own the whole city of New York, if possible, and then purchase Chicago." (Laughter) Thus, financial, economic or commercial aims are also very, very clear.
Similarly, in the field of
education and academia, aims are very clear. "I want to earn a Ph. D., D.Sc. D.
Lit." The aim is for some recognition in the academic field. That also is very
So then, what should be one’s aim in the spiritual field? What is your spiritual aim in life? Swami has given the answer.
My friends, I am not tired of repeating time and again that these comments are from Sai literature only. I don’t believe in giving personal interpretations. They are nothing but perversions and deviations, modifications of the original. I sincerely believe that we are not competent to do so.
Vedanta is the truth one reaches after a prolonged period of spiritual discipline – after a prolonged period of penance and austerities. It is not given to you simply to be interpreted. Being an academic, I just collect data which I pass on to you. That’s all.
What is the spiritual aim of life?
Bhagavan’s answer is as follows: We often think that pradakshina or
circumambulation around Ganesha 108 times is sufficient. Some of us think that
going around the Gayathri temple 108 times is our aim in life.
Or writing Bhagavan’s Name one
crore times is the aim. Or, "My aim is that I get an interview, or at least that
I handover a letter or get a ring or chain." These seem to be our aims.
Perhaps one aims for some recognition from everybody that he is a great man, a well-known man, an intellectual, an ardent devotee of long standing…. All this is nonsense! Spiritually speaking, such aims have no relevance at all. (Laughter)
There is nothing like seniority, juniority, or intellectuality in the spiritual field.
Equality is spirituality.
Equality is scholarship.
Equality is scholarship. Equality is spirituality. There is nothing like cadre or class in the spiritual field unless one chooses to be spiritually ignorant. Bhagavan says that going on a pilgrimage is not a spiritual aim. Undertaking austerities cannot be a spiritual aim. Then what is a spiritual aim?
Our mind is an extrovert. The mind
is always extroverted. If anyone says that he can turn his mind inward, he has
got to be investigated. It’s not such an easy thing to turn the mind inward.
The mind is not only a monkey, it
is a mad monkey. Not only is it mad, but it is intoxicated as well, with its
tail on fire. The tail of the monkey has caught fire! It is intoxicated and mad!
This is the state of the modern mind.
It is not so easy to handle, or
tackle the mind. As the mind is extroverted, it always seeks to dominate. It is
always egoistic. It always wants special, preferential treatment, a sense of
uniqueness and achievement. These are all the evil trends or ways of the mind.
The mind behaves like that. If it didn’t behave like that, we would be very
peaceful and happy. We are not peaceful and happy.
This claim for extraordinary speciality, super-speciality, is the game of the mind.
The spiritual aim, therefore, is
to turn the mind inward. Once the mind is turned inward, it is no longer
competitive. It is no longer comparative. It is no longer egoistic, and it is no
longer special or super-special. It will enjoy the spirit of ordinariness, of
commonality, of generality, of simplicity and modesty.
Once we keep our eyes open, we see
all. When we see all, we begin to judge. He is tall; he is short; he is fair; he
is dark. We go on judging. He is well-dressed, ill-dressed…… We go on judging
when we keep our eyes open.
Once we close our eyes, who are we
going to judge? Once you close your eyes, it is absolutely dark. There cannot be
darker or darkest. No, no, no. No comparative degree once you close your eyes.
This is the experience.
So, my friends, to turn your mind inward means to experience ordinariness. It is experiencing the One in the many. It is not about experiencing something extraordinary. That is only a circus act once again.
I feel at one with the many. I am
no way superior to anybody. I am a drop in the ocean. I am a grain of sand.
That’s all. That is the spirit and the hallmark of turning the mind inward.
If somebody says he is special because he has been meditating for the last four years, it is better to keep away from him. That is spiritual ego. The Gita clearly says that spiritual ego is more dangerous than worldly ego.
Worldly ego will be put down sometime or other because there will be a greater man by your side at some stage. If you are a Ph. D., he will be a D.Lit. If you are a D. Lit, the other fellow will come and say that he worked under a Nobel laureate.
There will always be somebody to check out whether you are egoistic or not. Even when seemingly humble, there can be hidden inside a Himalayan ego! Because spirituality encompasses duality, it is possible to maintain this double standard.
You greet each other with “Sai Ram,” “Sai Ram.” But how do you know what is inside a person? It is very difficult to judge whether one is spiritually egoistic or not.
From a worldly sense, we can
easily judge because a person will openly say where he comes from and that he is
the manager of such and such, and so on.
“I don’t want to know! Why do you want me to know? I am not interested in what you are.” But this man won’t keep quiet. He goes on speaking of his achievements.
The ego cannot be hidden. It will reveal itself. It cannot be hidden because it will find the slightest puncture through which to come out. The whole tyre need not burst. A simple pin or needle prick is enough. That’s all!
The ego is such a subtle thing,
and it is not so easy to detect either. Therefore, my friends, the spiritual aim
of life is not pilgrimage, not worship, nor observance of rituals. No. The
spiritual aim of life is to centre and focus on the heart, rather than the head.
It is a journey from the position of the head to the heart. The centre of attraction, the centre of activity, has always been the head until now. Therefore, people are dull-headed or pig-headed or headstrong. These are all the words given: headstrong, dumb, pig-headed, and so on. So, we travel deep down from the position of the head to the position of the heart.
Where is the heart? No heart
specialist can tell you the whereabouts of the spiritual heart. The heart
specialist can tell you where the physical heart is. He can detect heart
enlargement, or any other physical heart problem, but he cannot say where the
spiritual heart is.
The spiritual heart is the centre
in which God lives.So, where is God? God is in our heart. That’s why Bhagavan
says, “A pure heart is the temple of God.”
A pure heart is the temple of God.
Therefore, withdraw your mind so that you begin to feel. Concentrate and enjoy
the fellowship and communion with God in the heart. This is possible when the
mind is withdrawn, and not until then.
You can witness and experience the
drama, the actions and counteractions of the hero, heroine and the villain - the
different scenes in the drama - only when the curtain goes up.
Some people say, “Oh sir, I can see even though there is a curtain.”
"Something is wrong with you. May be you have x-ray vision, not ordinary eyes. (Laughter) Otherwise, it is not possible."
The curtain of the human mind, the
curtain of human personality, has to be lifted.
This iron curtain has to be raised and removed for us to experience God within the heart, and to experience oneness within.
So Bhagavan says that the aim of
life is withdrawal of the mind and the consequent experience of Divinity within
one’s own heart. This is the spiritual aim.
As long as I am in the mind, as long I associate myself with the mind, Divinity is out of the question. For the mind is ego. The mind acts for the personality. Once I get into the heart, I can experience God.
Compassion, truth, sacrifice, love
and peace are all qualities of the heart. Attachment, ego, avarice, jealousy,
desire, pomp and exhibitionism are all qualities of the head.
If you are given the address of
Buckingham Palace, you can go there and you will find the guards, the flag, and
a very beautiful building. That is Buckingham Palace. In the same way, we can be
given some signs which indicate where the mind is
How do you know there are flowers?
The fragrance will make you aware of the flowers. How do you know there is a
kitchen? We know where it is as a result of the smells which arise during the
food preparation. If the cooks have made bajjis or sambar, the
smell will be inviting. Come on, it is time to get up and go! You don’t need to
make enquiries. Similarly, fragrance is the proof of the existence of a flower.
Likewise, arrogance, ego, pride, and jealousy are all qualities of the head. Exhibitionism, publicity, domination, overriding, overpowering ways are qualities of the mind. Sacrifice, truth, righteousness, peace, love and compassion are qualities of the heart. Now, we can understand their location.
By functioning at the level of the mind, I earn a reputation. I get laurels. I get recognition, cheers, applause and a sense of being special. I know the benefits of functioning at the level of the mind.
But what is the benefit of functioning at the level of the heart? Bhagavan says, “The benefit is that you are one with God.” You and God are inseparable when you function at the level of the heart.
How do I know? That is the next
question. How do I know that I am one with God
Bhagavan says there are two signs - peace and wisdom. These are the two surest signs of identity with the Divine.
This is the highest advantage of working at the level of the heart, by withdrawing our mind. This is the spiritual aim, according to Bhagavan.
GOD IS IN YOUR HEART, NOT ON THE VERANDA
If I don’t function at the level
of the heart, what is going to happen
The answer is simple and straightforward. Bhagavan has said, “You think God is elsewhere. Where is God? In Tirupati? Where is God? In Mecca? Where is God? In the Vatican? Where is God? In the Mandir? In the dining hall?”
I have one friend here, a senior
within the faculty. One day, I was just joking with him.
“Arrey, look here! Where is
He said, “Don’t you see Him? He is
there on the veranda.”
I took the earliest advantage to crack a joke, “You have been here for the last 25 years only to say that Baba is on the veranda. Arrey, what a veranda-level fellow you are! (Laughter) I seem to be better than you. God is here in the heart. Baba is here, not on the veranda.” (Laughter)
DEATH IS INEVITABLE
At times, we also find people
cracking nice spiritual jokes. There is one elderly gentleman who sits on one of
the stone benches in Sai Kulwant Hall. I also go and sit there for sometime
every day because that will be my next promotion. (Laughter)
We can’t avoid anybody’s company because where I sit is never permanent. I am always cautious about it. I go and sit among the old people because that is the next promotion. The last promotion is to sit on the stone benches.
The final journey is along the
Chitravathi Road. (Laughter) There is no ambiguity here.
I HAVE COME HERE TO KNOW WHO I AM
So, this elderly person sits on one of the stone benches. One day, a person was called for an interview. The gentleman was quite elderly, and he was escorted by two other people as he walked slowly towards the interview room.
The man sitting on the stone bench
asked me, “Mr. Anil Kumar, who is he? Who is he?”
I thought this was a good time to
have a little fun. You should find some joy in spirituality also. Spirituality
does not mean tension, anxiety, seriousness, blood pressure and hypertension.
No. God is bliss, bliss is God. We must be happy.
I said to this gentleman, “You ask
me this question, ‘Who is he?’ (Laughingly) I have come here to know who
am I! How can I tell you who he is?” (Laughter)
He said, “Abba… enough. Enough for today!”
SWAMI IS EVERYWHERE
We had one deputy warden in
Bangalore. He has retired, and is no longer in service. His name is Balakrishna.
People usually telephoned to the hostel. They wanted to know whether Swami was
here in Puttaparthi or in Bangalore.
Some of the people who land at the
airport want to know so that they can decide whether to hire a taxi to go to
Puttaparthi. So they would phone the hostel. “Sir, where is Swami? This
gentleman, Balakrishna, would reply, “Swami is everywhere.” (Laughter)
THE MIND WILL ALWAYS SAY THAT GOD IS ELSEWHERE
So, the point is, the mind will always say that God is elsewhere, whereas the heart does not even need to ask where God is, because we experience Him there in the heart.
The mind expresses, while the heart experiences. The mind declares, whereas the heart derives. The mind claims, the heart denies. The mind questions, while the heart enquires. We think God is elsewhere, here and there, because of the mind.
The spiritual aim of life is to
turn inward and to function at the level of the heart so as to experience
oneness with the Divine.
BHAGAVAN HAS GIVEN US THE ART OF MEDITATION
The second question is - How to do
it? Good question. How to do it? How to live in the heart? What is the way?
Bhagavan has given us the
solution. He doesn’t leave you with questions. No! If we are left with a volley
of questions, we become confused. As we have our own questions, and Swami poses
some more questions, peace of mind is out of the question. (Laughter)
So, He comes forward with solutions also. What are they? One is the art of meditation. I could have simply said ‘meditation,’ so why did I say 'the art of meditation'? I deliberately used the phrase ‘art of meditation’ because today, meditation has become an extensive commercial project.
Bhagavan has given us the art of meditation. What is that art, that technique, that subtlety? Bhagavan makes it very clear.
THE ENDPOINT OF MEDITATION IS TO WATCH THE MIND
What happens in the process of meditation? If you ask this question, people come forward with several answers.
“During the process of meditation,” somebody says, “I enjoy peace.”
“Is that so? One bottle of Scotch
whisky may guarantee that peace!”
“No sir. I forget myself.”
“Take some sleeping tablets, and
you can forget yourself. If you swallow fifty tablets, you can forget yourself
for a lifetime.” (Laughter) Forgetfulness is not the ultimate in the
process of meditation. The so called peace which lasts for sometime is not the
ultimate, according to Baba.
What is the endpoint or end result of meditation? The end result of meditation is that I watch my mind. I am watchful of the flow of thoughts. I am aware of my mind. Just as I cognise my limbs, just as I see my legs, my hands, I see my own mind and the flow of thoughts.
DISTANCING ONESELF FROM THE MIND IS THE RESULT OF MEDITATION
In other words, by distancing myself from the mind, I am a watcher, a witness. Just as I see the ring here on my finger, I also see my mind as separate from me. Just as I see my leg, I also observe my mind, like any other part of the body.
So, distancing one’s own self from the mind is the result of perfect meditation. Being one with the mind is artificial meditation. It is synthetic, chemical, plastic meditation. (Laughter) That is not the reality.
BE THE OBSERVER, NOT THE OBSERVED
Just observe that you are
different from this. Be an observer, not the observed. Be a seer, not the seen.
Be the experiencer, not the experienced. This experiencer, this seer, this
witness is consciousness.
When I separate myself from my
mind, I observe it, as I would observe anybody. If I begin to observe myself as
a witness, that is the endpoint or the final result of meditation.
This is what Bhagavan says. Is that possible? Is there anyone who has experienced it? Can only one or two experience this or is it possible for everybody? This is the question put to Swami.
MOMENTS OF BEING ALONE WITH SWAMI ARE PRECIOUS
When we find Him alone, without
any officials or other people - just three or four of us around Him - we can
ask Him a number of questions and get answers from Him. The best opportunity,
the luckiest moments in life, are when you and Bhagavan are there together with
at the most three or four others.
But with officials and everybody, the matter ends. We just have to sit there and wait until we are asked to go. (Laughter) But when you have a special audience with Swami, those are the most precious moments of one’s life, because you can ask any number of questions.
EVERYONE EXPERIENCES BLISS IN DEEP SLEEP
This is the question I put to
Bhagavan. I asked Him to tell me what helps me to distance myself from my mind,
what helps me observe my mind, and makes me vigilant of the flow of thoughts. Is
it possible to witness my own mind? Is that possible for everybody?
“It is okay, Swami. You said that
it is the ultimate! That is the endpoint of meditation! But is it possible for
Swami said, “Everyone experiences
A simple example: In deep sleep,
when I don’t have any dreams, I get up next morning and tell everybody, “Aha!
First class sleep!” That’s why you find some people greeting each other, “How
did you sleep last night?” because they have been having sleepless nights over a
period of time.
“Oh, did you sleep well? Oh, so nice!”
What does ‘slept well’ mean? A dreamless sleep, a deep sleep. That is the state of being a witness. That is the experience of bliss.
So, none of us can say, “I don’t know what bliss is. I don’t know what peace is.”
Yes we know! How do you know? In deep sleep, you enjoy absolute peace. In deep sleep, you are there as a witness, not as the mind.
THE WITNESS WILL NEVER JUDGE
Where there is mind, there is
judgement. Where there is mind, there is evaluation. Where there is mind, there
is assessment. Where there is mind, there is duality.
When I ask you after you have had a deep, very good, dreamless sleep, “How did you sleep last night?” you answer, “Ah! Wonderful, sir!”
“How wonderful is it? Tell me. Is it very sweet or hot? Is it tall or short? Is it fair or dark?”
“No no! Keep quiet. What nonsensical questions are you asking? I can say that I enjoyed very good sleep, that’s all.” He was happy being the witness.
So, the witness, meaning the watcher, seer, experiencer, the consciousness, will never judge; it will never evaluate anything whatsoever. That is what we call 'peace'.
Bhagavan says that the finale of
meditation is the experience of peace in abundance, which is possible only when
the mind is withdrawn. This is possible only when the thought flow is
controlled. It only becomes a reality when I start functioning at the level of
RENUNCIATION IS THE FIRST QUALIFICATION FOR MEDITATION
"Oh, I see, Swami! How do I proceed now? I understand what you have said. How shall I go about it?"
Bhagavan has said that the first
qualification needed to start the spiritual journey is renunciation or
detachment. If that quality is not there, we are not able to achieve anything.
We are not able to experience anything as we lack the fundamental qualification.
THE FACE IS THE INDEX OF THE MIND
Suppose I do not have a degree in
medicine. If I start practising medicine, anyone who comes to me is sure to
travel straight to the other planet without purchasing a ticket! (Laughter)
I don’t have a medical degree or the required knowledge.
Similarly, we do not have peace. We do not have bliss even though we meditate.
“Sir, who said so?"
“Your face tells me.”
Nobody need say whether I have
peace or not. My face will tell you. I cannot say I am very, very peaceful. (Laughter)
The face will never lie, as it is the index of the mind. That’s how the proverb
So your face tells how peaceful
you are, how blissful you are. The moment you are agitated, disturbed, shouting,
disturbing others, your face tells the picture. Yes! You are enough of a
nuisance to yourself! (Laughter)
PRACTICE OF MEDITATION MUST NOT BE MECHANICAL
If we don’t have peace, even when
we practise meditation, it indicates that either we are following the wrong
path, or it is artificial, or only our imagination, or we have made it
It has become mechanical. There
are some people who say, “Sai Ram. Sai Ram. Sai Ram. Sir, Shall we go now? Time
for coffee! Sai Ram. Sai Ram. Sai Ram.”
“Is it pizza day today? Sai Ram.
Sai Ram. Sai Ram.” (Laughter)
This sort of repetition of the Lord’s Name has become lip service only, mechanical or computer-like, robot-like, programmed-like. If meditation becomes mechanical, there will be no taste of bliss at all.
When some people are coming to the mandir, if I say, “Arrey! Sai Ram! The music has started. Come on, go inside quickly.”
“Alright… I’ll go and sit there…”
What does this indicate? He takes
it very casually. It has become a routine affair. He takes it as a matter of
routine. He does not possess or feel the thrill, the excitement, at the time of
darshan. Therefore, he walks slowly. "I’ll just sit somewhere." It means
that the fellow has taken things for granted. It is not meditation!
RENUNCIATION IS POSSIBLE
If meditation is artificial, it can never give us end results. According to Bhagavan, the first thing that is required in order to take up the process of meditation is detachment or renunciation.
"Is that possible, Swami? Because
everything appears to be impossible at my level! The only possibility is to eat
enough and to sleep long." (Laughter) This is quite possible. So, we go
on asking Swami, “Is that possible?”
Swami says, “It is possible.”
“Swami, I have a family, property,
a job, and friends. Is it possible to renounce everything? Is it possible to
develop detachment from all my friends, from all my properties, from all the
paraphernalia? Is that possible?”
“Yes, it is possible.”
BE LIKE A BOAT IN WATER
“How Bhagavan? How?"
Bhagavan gives this analogy: On
the river, on the surface of water, is a boat. The boat is above the surface of
the water, and moving safely without the water getting into the boat. Is it not?
You have the lotus flower blooming above the surface of the water. Neither the
mud, nor the water touches the flower.
Similarly, I may be in this world. I may be in the midst of possessions, relations, friends, jobs, employments, vocations, avocations, provocations, professions, and what not! I may have any number of things. Yet, I can rise above it all like a lotus.
RENUNCIATION DOES NOT MEAN RUNNING AWAY
"Swami, that is a nice example! (Laughter)
I can understand the example as I have travelled in a boat a number of times. I
have seen sufficient number of lotus flowers. I worked with them as a botanist,
but how can I be a lotus flower? How can I be a boat? How can I be an example to
others? Is it possible to be a boat?”
Swami said, “Yes.”
“How? Swami, should I run away from home? Should I announce to everybody via the ‘wanted’ column, ‘Mr. Anil Kumar started detachment (Laughter) so he left home! Those who find him will be amply rewarded!‘"(Laughter)
I BELONG TO THEM BUT THEY DON’T BELONG TO ME
Bhagavan explains very, very clearly. You can be in it, yet you can be out of it.
The best example is, when we go
during the weekend to stay in a Holiday Inn, a five-star or seven-star hotel, we
never consider that hotel room as our permanent residence, do we? The room at
the Holiday Inn is quite comfortable, very costly, and excellent. Why not? Very
costly! If somebody is going to foot the bill, we can enjoy it even more, you
Very fine! Good! But, even in your dreams you don’t think that the hotel belongs to you, that you own the hotel. Do you? No!
You are an officer working with your colleagues. Do you think that you are going to die as an officer? No. After sometime you retire and you leave. You know pretty well that your job continues until the time of retirement.
That room belongs to you so long as you pay the bill. If you say '24 hours', the next morning you have to vacate. Though I am in the room, the room does not belong to me. Though I am in the office, the office does not belong to me.
ALL THINGS ARE LIKE PASSING CLOUDS
Similarly, if I have this feeling
towards my family, towards my friends and relatives - that I am one with them
but they are not with me, that I belong to them but they don’t belong to me,
then we can continue to live in this world, totally detached, for eternity.
If we go on hanging on to a person
individually, if the attachment becomes stronger and stronger, feeling happy
because of union, miserable because of separation, we experience enough pain for
a lifetime. Come what may, there should be neither pain nor gain.
To quote Bhagavan, “All things are like passing clouds.” They come and go. Not even one thing is permanent. That is the way to develop the spirit of detachment or renunciation according to our most beloved Bhagavan.
THE FIRST REQUIREMENT IS CONTINUOUS PRACTICE
“Swami, this is good. I think that
sometimes it is possible, but many times it is not possible. As long as I am in
Prasanthi Nilayam, in the Sai Kulwant Hall and I sit on the chair, every
spiritual discipline is very possible and very simple too. But the moment I
leave Sai Kulwant Hall, I feel like fighting with everybody (Laughter)
and I am back to my usual form. People see me in my true colours. What shall I
Baba said, “Two things are
required to continue the spirit of detachment.”
Two things are essential. What are
they? One is continuous practice, which we call sadhana. It is essential.
“Swami, how can I practice? I have
to drive thirty or forty miles to my office everyday. Unless I get up early in
the morning, I cannot reach it in time. How do you expect me to practice
everyday? No. I may lose my job! Please forget about it.”
BE LIKE A CAR DRIVER
But Baba says, “No! You learn everything such as reading, writing, walking, and talking by practice only. The driver drives the car. He converses with the people in the back. He will set the tape recorder while driving, with full concentration on the route, and the road, and taking every care that he does not meet with an accident.
"While putting the tape in the
recorder, listening to the conversation of those seated in the car, watching the
wall posters on either side, he remains mindful of the road. A driver can drive
whilst attending to other things. If a spiritual seeker cannot do so, he must be
less than car driver or a taxi driver.”
This is what Baba said. “A driver could do it. Can’t you do it?“ Therefore, my friends, this is possible with practice.
THE SECOND REQUIREMENT IS GOOD COMPANY
The second requirement is good company. What is good company?
If I sit by the side of a fellow
who is arrogant, egoistic, after publicity, possessive, and has a superiority
complex from top to bottom, I may not talk to him, and he may not talk to me,
but his vibrations will affect me. That’s why you feel uncomfortable when you
sit by the side of some undesirable elements. Even though you don’t talk, you
feel very uncomfortable. Vibrations, vibrations!
Therefore, good company is absolutely essential. Good company is people of the same temperament. If you are humble, join the company of humble people. If you are a devotee, be in the company of devotees.
Good company will keep this wick
burning because good company is like oil. The flame is the joy. The light is
the experience. The wick is detachment and the oil is good company.
To experience the benefits of meditation, we should keep enough oil, enough oil of good company. Keep the wick of renunciation burning, to shed the light of peace and bliss.
We will continue this theme next
week, but I have a few questions with me. Let us take them up this morning. You
are quite welcome to send your questions as before. I received these only now. I
will be reading these questions.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. I feel everybody should have at least one experience with Swami, to know He is God and to have faith in Him. Initially, when someone told me He is Shirdi Sai, how could I believe Him? There are so many God men in India who are claiming they are Shirdi Sai, etc. etc. How do we rule out the fake ones? How do we keep Swami above all these God men?
So, can you please
suggest to Swami to provide a few good experiences to people like me so that we
can have more faith? (Laughter) I do have one experience and a few others, but
it is not very concrete like some of your experiences.
A. This is one of the questions. Really, my friends please note that anything that you doubt cannot be an experience. Please note, if you doubt, it is not an experience. Then what is it? It is only imagination.
Some people come and tell me, “Anil Kumar, last night Swami appeared in my dream and wanted me to come here.” Yesterday one lady was telling me, “Anil Kumar, Swami appeared in my dream and wanted me to come here. What shall I do now?”
What answer would you give if you
are in my position? The answer is simple. Swami asks you to come in your dream.
So, again ask in the dream whether you should continue to stay for longer or
not. (Laughter) I have not asked you, how can I give a reply? Had I asked
you, it is my duty to provide you with accommodation and all that. He asked you
to come in a dream so, go back to your dream and ask Him. "Please excuse me.
Thank you," I said. (Laughter)
So my friends, anything that you doubt, is not an experience. It is only hallucination. It is only imagination. It is only psychological. But anything that is your own personal experience, which you do not doubt, is real. A real experience gives no scope for any doubt. Let us be doubtless and have doubtless experiences. This doubtlessness is an authentic evolution in the spiritual field. Spirituality will never entertain any sort of doubt.
My friends, when I pose a question
about the authenticity of a personal experience, it only means that I am
doubting my own experience. When you start doubting your experience, it becomes
Some say that Bhagavan is not Shirdi Sai, while others say that He is. That is our botheration. How does it concern us whether He is Shirdi Sai or not? Why are you bothered? You accept Him as you see Him now. Shirdi Sai is of the past. In your previous life, you may have been worshipping Shirdi Sai. Right now, you see Him here, and accept Him. You have faith and you attain the state of doubtlessness.
We cannot challenge Him, “Oh Baba, if you are Shirdi Sai, give me some experience.” Why this challenge? It’s not necessary. The same God has several Names. Today, you will ask Him to prove that He is Shirdi. Tomorrow you will say, “I challenge you to prove if you are Rama or not.” The next month you will say, “Come on, appear in front of me as Krishna!” (Laughter)
He will not oblige you. He is not accountable to you! It is your own problem. Friends, if anyone asks if He is Shirdi Sai, you just tell him, “Experience for yourself.” If anyone says, “I think He is not Shirdi Sai”, you can reply, “Thank you!” (Laughter)
It is for us to know. We don’t
have to bother about it. Let us see the reality as it is now. Right now, what is
happening in front of us? That will show us the correct path.
Q. Swami says, "I pass on My energy to you during darshan." Can’t we draw Swami’s energy doing bhajan alone at home? Millions of devotees are not able to come to Parthi to physically draw this energy. Please advise me. Is there a difference between being at Parthi or at home, filled with thoughts of Swami and prayers? I wish to make my home a temple so that I don’t miss Swami at any point of time.
A. A very good question. If I say that I draw energy only here, I am under the impression that it is a well, out of which I can draw water. It is a river where I can fetch a pot full of water. No. The very thought of Bhagavan, the very Name of Bhagavan, the very sight of Bhagavan, is enough to make you draw energy and make you feel energetic.
Here is a simple example. While
travelling, a few people are sitting seriously in silence. Suddenly, one
gentleman notices Swami’s picture in a chain locket.
He asks, “Are you a Sai devotee?”
“Yes! Are you?”
You just watch how nicely they talk. They don’t even notice that they have reached their destination. They go on talking throughout the night.
how is it that the fellows who are so serious and dull-headed become so active?
How is it they can talk throughout the night? The very thought of Bhagavan makes
you energetic. The very Name of Bhagavan makes you energetic.
Here is a simple example. There is
the neighbouring state of Orissa. It takes forty-eight hours, or two days, to
reach this place. Believe me or not, the devotees start singing bhajans
at Bhubaneswar, the starting point and state capital, and go on singing till
they reach Prasanthi Nilayam. (Laughter)
How is it possible? Come on, you do it! Impossible. The very thought of Bhagavan. The very Name is enough. If I think that I draw energy only here, I am mistaken. God is beyond time and space.
"But how am I to see Bhagavan here
One is an in-patient while the
other one is an out-patient. (Laughter) One is admitted to the hospital
while the other takes medicines at home. It doesn’t matter. Both are patients. (Laughter)
One is in the general ward, while the other is in the intensive care unit (ICU).
has said, “The bus drivers come everyday. They come for darshan. Do they
Ask them, “Do you get energy?”
“No, no sir. I get energy only
after eating, (Laughter) not now.”
“Oh, I see!”
Why does he not get it and how do
you get it? (Laughter) My friends, it is not simple nearness that makes
you energetic. It is one’s receptivity.
Suppose I close my eyes and I say that there is nobody in this room. "Which fool says there are so many people?" Nobody can speak to such a fool. (Laughter) Similarly, receptivity and sensitivity are very important. You feel His presence by the very utterance of His Name.
When people talk about Swami, it is very interesting. It is so nice to watch them. I watch them with joy.
When a person starts telling of
his experience, “You know what…. Swami is coming… Swami is … Hat.. Phat Phat…
Hah….” (Laughter) Aaaah!…Like a thousand watt bulb! The
face is so brilliant. Until then, it was castor oil face. The moment he starts
singing, the moment he starts speaking about his experience, there comes
excitement. How? The very thought of Swami energises. You don’t need a Bunsen
burner or a blast furnace. One matchstick is enough to burn down everything to
ashes. One matchstick is enough. A blast furnace or a whole steel plant is not
necessary. One matchstick is enough to kindle the light.
Similarly, my friends, to experience Bhagavan, a sincere prayer, a photograph, a conversation with a fellow devotee, participation in bhajan or in a service activity, or going through His literature is enough. Anything is enough.
your son settled abroad ten years ago, his dress, his table, his bookshelf, his
friends or his photograph will make you cry! Isn’t this true?
‘This is the dressing table of my
son. This is the dining table of my son. This is the bookshelf of my….’ Why all
that? Every article in the house will remind you of your son who settled abroad
some years ago. If any visitor comes, you say, “Come here! Have you seen my
“Arrey! It’s not the Taj
Mahal! Why should I look?” (Laughter)
Why should I look? There is no
excitement for me in looking at your son’s things.
Therefore, when I say 'I draw energy', it means I am receptive, I am sensitive. In fact, just hearing a bhajan is enough. Involvement in a service activity is enough.
Q. I always look upon
Swami as my spiritual guide and Divine friend. However, my personal experience
with Swami has been limited. He has been compassionate during the one or two
physical encounters I have had with Him. My question is this: Krishna was a
physical and spiritual friend to Arjuna. Why is it that God now chooses indirect
communion with His friend? This has been the biggest test of our true
My answer is straight. God never speaks to you indirectly. We interpret it as indirect. He is always direct. Because we resort to indirect means, we unfortunately rely upon other people. Bhagavan’s experiences and communications are straight and direct.
“I have just one or two
experiences. Why not more?” says this person. My friend, what did Baba say about
You go to the Marina Beach, Juhu Beach or to the seashore anywhere. You stand in front of the sea and want to taste the sea water. What do you do? Just put one drop of sea water on the tongue is enough to know whether it is saline or salty.
“No, no sir, I want a bucketful of
sea water to know its taste.” (Laughter)
When a drop cannot give you the
taste, a bucket cannot give it; not even barrels of water can give it. Something
is wrong with your tongue! (Laughter)
One experience is enough. One or two experiences are enough. That’s the example that Bhagavan has given for all of us. Let us not run after these experiences. One experience is given to us to know that He is God. How many times should He prove His Divinity?
There are some people who say,
“Oh, I know that He is God but….”
Uh huh… (Laughter) But…!
Such people want Baba to prove
everyday that He is God. Like the daily newspaper! (Laughter) How does it
help them? This is not a daily weather report!
Therefore, Swami says, “I am God. You are also God.” That solves the problem. Discover that you are God. Once you know that you are God, once you experience that you are God, you will know that I am God also - that you and I are one.
Therefore, my friends, let us not run after these experiences. Because there is no limit to these experiences.
Some person says, “Sir, I was coming in a lorry. Suddenly the brakes failed and the lorry left the road and fell into a valley. Everybody died, but I survived, thanks to Swami.” (Laughter)
How do you explain this miracle?
Everybody died, while this fellow survived. Shall I say those that perished are
atheists or goondas or what? That this fellow is a devotee, Class One! (Laughter)
How can I say that? And he wants such a thing to be repeated everyday - that he
is going to survive, whilst others are going to die? (Laughter) What is
that? Let it be repeated everyday? (Laughter) Himalayan foolishness! Oh
yes, fathomless depths of ignorance!
Baba has said, “Miracles are like
mosquitoes. Divinity is the size of an elephant. You want mosquitoes but not an
elephant. What can I do? ”
Further, He says, “My miracles are
just visiting cards. “
I want to see you in your office. I send a visiting card. We meet there for the first time. You have come to know me well. Should I introduce myself everyday? In the morning I meet you. (Laughter) In the evening, I again send you my card. Next morning again…. (Laughter) You will think that I am a mad fellow, and you will decide to avoid me. (Laughter) Would you like to be introduced everyday, every minute?
So, to know that Baba is God, how many experiences do you want? How many miracles do you want to experience? In fact, more experiences will not ensure gain at all.
The experiences you have had are something like breakfast or lunch. Everyday you have to eat. So, everyday I must experience! This kind of experience is to take you into the interior of the Divine mansion.
Baba further added that to make a child attend school, we give him chocolates and sweets. For the sake of the chocolates, the child goes to school. The second day also, he goes to the school for the sake of a chocolate, but on the third day, the child goes on its own.
“No, no, no. I want chocolates
everyday. I am in the tenth class. I need ten chocolates everyday.” (Laughter)
“I am in twelfth class. I need
twelve chocolates everyday.”
Your stomach will become a chocolate shop. (Laughter) That is not the purpose of giving the chocolates.
We give chocolates so that child will go to the school and learn. So, these miracles and experiences are like chocolates and peppermints which encourage your interest in Divinity. The miracle is only an entrance. This hall is Divinity.
Q. Swami says, “Love all, serve all”. In family life, it is not possible to love all and serve all, especially, when people around are jealous and political. (Oho!) So, should we distance ourselves from such family members or still continue to mingle with them?
I am a very reserved person (Good!) and I would like to be with people who talk about Swami or good things in general. I like to be alone and do my prayers and puja and do whatever service I can, individually.
I am scared to do
teamwork in service, as people might hurt me. I am scared sometimes. What should
I do? Is it wrong to stay aloof and keep to myself? I like to spend more time
praying, doing my household chores, duties and being alone. Is it ok?
A. It is too personal a question.
“Love all, serve all” does not mean that you go to them and live with them. "I
love you." That doesn’t mean I shift from my staff quarters and stay with you. (Laughter)
"I love you." It doesn’t mean I vacate my house and shift all my baggage to your
house. Do I do that? (Laughter)
So when you say, “Love all, serve
all”, it does not necessarily mean that you should leave your household and
move. You can be where you are and still love everybody. Why not? (Laughter)
How is it possible? When you don’t hate anybody, it automatically means that you love everybody. Let us not hate anybody. Let us not have enmity towards anybody. And let’s not think that love is a location. Love is not a location or a position. Love is not geographical. It is uniform. It is universal.
Your householder position does not interfere with the dictum “Love all, serve all”. How do I mingle with people who are jealous and political? Show me a place where such qualities are not present. They are present everywhere.
Supposing Swami talks to you, somebody will look at you enviously. What does he mean by that? He does not share your happiness; he is very jealous. Jealousy is a quality that we have brought with us over several past lives. It cannot be washed out all of a sudden. It has to be done slowly, through the experience of sharing. First, by sharing your joy.
“Oh, you got an interview?
Congratulations, my friend!”
“Swami looked at you? So nice!”
“Are you happy? Good!”
Let me share your blissful
moments. Let me share your happiness, then I will learn to share your agony as
well. I will be able to share your misery as well. By sharing, we can love all.
Let the whole world be peaceful. You pray for the world. Yes. Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. We pray for everybody. That is service. Out of love, you pray for that jealous man that he will be free from all struggle and strife. 'Serve all' does not necessarily involve physical labour.
You can tell a person who is
unhappy, “I am sorry for you. Don’t worry. Bhagavan will help you. I am so sorry
to hear this. I was in this position for a long time. But Swami, the
Compassionate Lord, helped me out of the problem. Similarly, a day will come.
Don’t worry. Hold on to Swami. He will have a solution. Just wait. All of us
went through this. Don’t worry.” Speaking soothing words is service.
A word of courage, a word of
strength, a word to boost the spirits of a depressed or frustrated man is
service. Service does not mean taking away the grass or giving some donation or
watering the plants or going to jails. Not necessary. I am not saying such
actions are wrong. No. But what I am saying is that every word, every gesture,
can be one of service.
Here’s a simple example: If you
are very much depressed, I make you smile. That is service. If a man is very
frustrated and serious, by talking with him, I will make him smile. That is
service. If I give you some hope, that is service. That’s how I understand it.
Q. We are drowned
by confusion. Please enlighten me by clarifying the following queries:
A. I am sorry, sir. You don’t have to seek Swami’s guidance everyday. No. It is not even possible for those who are near him to do so. You may not believe it, my friends, when I say that I wanted to give a wedding card to Bhagavan and had to wait for four days. Even though I was sitting very close to Him and translating His discourses every day, I could not hand over the wedding card and had to wait for four consecutive days. He would get up after the translation was over and would turn His head in the other direction. “Sit down.” (Laughter) For four days! So, don’t be under the impression that those who are here, and near to Him, have got easy access to Swami. No.
Please take me as the best example and a suitable example. No access at all. And if you try to grab access to Him, that marks the end of your career. (Laughter) He will not care to look at you at all. If you try to pressure Him, you will get instructions through somebody that you better take the tenth row seat, and not sit in the front. You will be shifted. It is a risky thing.
How to get clearance everyday from
Swami while being at such a long distance from Him?
Bhagavan has said, “Your conscience is God.” Follow the master - your conscience. Your conscience tells you whether you are right or wrong. The conscience is part of consciousness. That is God. So, go by your own conscience. Bhagavan Himself has said so.
Q. When somebody
curses out of anger or frustration, does it affect us, though we did not commit
Just as when anybody praises you,
nothing happens to you, similarly, when someone curses you, nothing will happen.
After all, anybody can say anything. People say that you are good when you
oblige them, and they say that you are bad when you don’t oblige them. Good and
bad depend upon mutual relationships at a certain point in time, mutual
obligation. When anyone praises you, nothing will happen. When anyone curses
you, nothing can ever happen. Let’s not be worried about it.
Q. Is it proper for a
mother to curse her own children just to vent her anger and ego?
It is not your business to judge your mother. Your mother must have been vexed with you and totally disgusted with you. She must have scolded you a number of times. She must have warned you repeatedly when you went astray. To set you right, she must have pretended to be angry with you.
No mother can ever be angry. There
may be a bad son, but there can never be a bad mother. If a mother appears
angry, it means that she is pretending to be angry. Why is she pretending? You
are not acting as per her wishes. What are her wishes? Her wishes are that you
should prosper, progress, and advance in your life. So, if a mother is angry, it
is only for your own good.
Swami is the Divine Mother. Sometimes, He pretends to be angry with you. Can God ever be angry? If God is angry, what hope is there for human beings? Swami tells us it is only action, a drama to correct you. So, take your mother’s anger in that way also, not in a negative sense.
Q. I openly disagree with what Meerabai did. (Oh!) She left her husband for God. Why did she marry then? Is she not violating the duty of a wife or a householder?
A. Meera is not available now, so that we could put this question to her! (Laughter) I wish that she was alive.
Q. If every woman
acted as Meerabai did, the family would be in utter chaos!
A. I see. Every woman is not a
Meera. Meera is a woman, but every woman is not a Meera. And to love God, she
need not give up her husband. It’s not necessary.
As Baba said, “When you look after
your own people lovingly, understand that you are serving God.”
Namaskaaram Keshavam Prathigacchathi.
Whoever you respect, whoever you
serve, whoever you love, it means you love God, you are respecting God. It
doesn’t mean when you love God, you should hate your husband. (Laughter)
When you love your husband, it
doesn’t mean that you should hate God. That equation won’t work here. If you
love God, you should love your husband more! When you love God, you should love
your people more because God is in them.
As Baba said, “If you disrespect
anybody, it means you are disrespecting God.”
Thiraskaaram Keshavam Prathigacchathi.
Whoever you deny, whoever you
neglect, you are neglecting God Himself. That’s what Baba has said.
Let us take Meera’s case. She had given priority to God. She developed distance from her husband not because she disliked him, but because he started interfering with her devotion. Therefore, let us not think that she hated him from our usual psychological point of view. It is not so.
Q. The gopikas
also did something similar. They were so immersed in Krishna, that they had no
time for their families.
A. No! They could see Krishna. A
daughter-in-law could see Krishna in her mother-in-law, which is usually
impossible. Mother-in-law, daughter-in-law will never go together. Like fire and
water. (Laughter) Impossible. Of course, with due apologies to
But here is a case where gopikas could see Krishna in the mother-in-law! They could see Krishna in their husbands! They could see Krishna in butter, in milk, in the pot! They could see Krishna in the neighbourhood. That is Krishna-consciousness. So, we can’t interpret this in mundane, worldly terms.
Q. I fully agree with King Janaka, as he did his duty and also merged in God.
A. Very good! Please follow King Janaka’s example.
Q. Characters like
Meera and the gopikas are misleading.
A. No. We are misled by our own thoughts. We are misled by our own understanding. It is not misleading. Their examples illustrate the feeling of non-dual experience.
As Baba has said, “Expansion of
love is life. Contraction of love is death.”
The example of the gopikas is expansion of love. The example of Meera is expansion of love. Let’s not understand it in a narrow sense.
Q. When we fall sick off and on, should we really go to the doctor every time? Is it not okay to take vibhuti in water and chant Swami’s Name, however big or small the ailment might be?
A. Oh, I see. If I say “Yes,” you
will ask why the super speciality hospital is here. If I say vibhuti is
enough, you may question why the general hospital and the super speciality
hospital are there. If I say hospitals are there, you may ask why vibhuti
is not a cure.
What is Baba’s answer to this
question? Let us go to the source. He has dealt with all these questions as we
are in Him, and He is in us. He knows all these questions. What did He say?
“Some people have faith in medicine. For them the hospital is there. Some people have faith in vibhuti. “
Some people want both. Well, take
vibhuti, and go to the hospital so that the medicine will work well. (Laughter)
Take it so that the doctor will have God’s grace, which will enable him to
prescribe the suitable medicine for you, instead of some other medicine that
makes the situation much worse than before. (Laughter)
Baba said that it all depends upon
our faith. Then, shall I pray for small ailments or big ones? No, no! We should
pray to be without ailments also. (Laughter) That is the answer I can
OK! These are the questions from Dubai. They are the questions for the day.
I am sorry for keeping you for more time than was scheduled. I am sorry. Thank
you very much! Sai Ram! (Applause)
Om Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji ki
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji ki
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji ki