February 8th, 2004
“Sai For You and Me”
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The topic for the day is “Sai For You and Me.” I would like to share with you a few thoughts in connection with this topic. Let me speak about Sai’s Love in His words, taken from Sai literature.
Sai’s Love is unique. Sai’s Love is Divine. Sai’s Love is unconditional and beyond time and space. It is beyond nationality, caste, community, gender, position and economic status. To quote Bhagavan’s words: “Sai’s Love is like moonlight, spreading coolness, whilst giving us all the joy and excitement of beautiful moonlight.”
So Sai’s Love can best be compared with the moonlight. Sai’s Love is nectarine. It is so sweet. We cannot compare it with any sweet that we have consumed up until now! Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is sweetness personified. He is embodied sweetness. He is the sum total of all sweetness. That is Love, as we experience it in Sai.
Bhagavan also said, “To realize this Love, to experience this Love, and to share this Love with others, is true education.”
Education, as we understand it, is only the acquisition of knowledge. It is merely the obtaining of a degree. It is only a means to obtaining a job in order to eke out our living. But Bhagavan’s concept of education is quite different from the way we understand it. Sai education is to experience Sai’s Love, and to share it with the people around us. Sai’s Love is the very reflection of Divinity. Just as you cannot separate your reflection from yourself, or be separate from your shadow; just as you cannot make the obverse and the reverse separate, Sai and Sai’s Love are one and the same. Where there is Love, there is Sai. Sai is Love, Love is Sai.
Further Swami says that Sai’s Love will help us to develop Shakti, that which we call energy. Sai’s Love is energetic. Human love weakens us. Human love will shorten our life. Human love is unreliable. Divine Love will make us more vibrant and energetic. Sai’s Love will also show us the pathway towards a successful life. Sai’s Love is directed towards achieving the very aim of life.
Shakti is energy. Yukthi is the way, or the path, leading to success. Sai’s Love will also help us follow this path most sincerely. Following Sai’s path is not a wayward journey. It is not a half-hearted affair. The spiritual path that we follow requires enormous discipline and one hundred percent sincerity. Sai’s Love will help us to have the sincerity required to follow His path. Rakthi is the sincerity.
Sai’s Love will also help us to develop detachment to worldly possessions and worldly properties. Attachment to the world is a sign of weakness. Attachment to God is our strength. Sai’s Love will help us to develop attachment to God, which is called, Anurakthi. Attachment to God is Anurakthi. Detachment from the world is Virakthi. We become detached from the world (Virakthi) and develop attachment to God (Anurakthi).
Sai’s Love is multidimensional. In a sentence: Sai’s Love helps us to develop Shakti – energy, Yukthi – the technique needed to be successful, Rakthi – sincerity towards the spiritual path, Virakthi – detachment from the world, and Anurakthi – attachment to God Himself. These are the different advantages or benefits that we get from experiencing Divine Love - Sai’s Love.
A doubt may arise: “In what way is it different from the mundane love, worldly love, or human love?” Our human love is based on physical relationships. The relationship that exists between the son and father, son and mother, brother and sister – these are all physical relationships, whereas Divine Love is beyond the physical. It has got nothing to do with the physical relationship.
In this context, I can tell you my own experience. Once Swami admonished the boys, as He does quite often, to correct them and to set them right. Naturally, all of them, including me -- or rather starting with me -- felt very sad. I got my due share of the admonishment. (Laughter)
Then He asked me to get up. “Why is that look on your face?”
I said, “I can’t help it, Swami! I am so sorry!”
Then He said, “Come on! Translate.” His words, on that day, will be of immense help to everybody.
He said, “You and I are not physically related. If you prosper in your life and progress physically, emotionally, economically, spiritually, morally and ethically, I am not going to gain anything. If you are going to be spoiled totally and ruin yourself, I do not lose anything either. I have no gain or loss. There is no blood relationship between you and Me. I am not going to get anything out of you. You do not contribute to My Name. Neither can you defame Me. Whatever I say is in your best interest only. I admonish you, condemn you and scold you only to correct you. I don’t have any prejudice or bias. You should congratulate yourself that you are here to be corrected. You should be so happy that you are here in order to evolve towards a higher state of consciousness. You don’t have to feel so bad about it!” Then He looked at me and said, “Including you.” (Laughter)
In this context, He said that all the worldly love that we find is Pravritti - outward, physical and mundane; whereas Sai’s Love is Nivritti - inward and spiritual.
Now I would like to bring to your attention certain instances that relate to this morning’s subject, “Sai For You and Me.”
Many people say, “Swami is not looking at me. Swami is not talking to me. Swami is refusing to take my letter. When I sit in the front row, He turns His head away from me. When I manage to be the first in the first row, His car moves in another direction (Laughter). When I get there at 2’o clock, He chooses to be there at 3:30. When I get there at 3:30, darshan will be over. (Laughter). What is all this? Why does it happen? Oh God! Why don’t You look at me? Oh Lord! Why don’t You say ‘hi’ to me? Why not? Why don’t You give me a smile? I came here, leaving everything in the world behind. I spent lots of money to reach You. I experience so much stress and tension. Oh Merciful Lord! Are You really merciful? (Laughter). Or are You merciless? (Laughter) What’s wrong with You, my Lord?”
This question naturally enters our minds. Some will have the guts to verbalise it, while others will repress it. (Laughter). But all are human, despite the fact that some deny having this human weakness.
You will find the answer to this question in the incident I am going to narrate now. A student of one of the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions was asked to make a speech. That boy stood by Swami’s side whilst he presented the speech. That’s the best time to speak and to ventilate your worries. (Laughter). ‘When He doesn’t talk to me, what shall I do? When He asks me to talk, I shall do it.’ (Laughter). Well, the boy said, “Oh God! You spoke to me three years ago! Since then You stopped looking at me. And today my father is also here. My father’s fate is similar. What have we done? Why don’t You look at us?”
He said this along with a few other points. Thereafter, Bhagavan got up and started His Divine Discourse. I shall now relate the answer He gave. “You heard just now the boy complaining that I have not been looking at him for the past three years, and that I ignored his father also.”
“Boys! Note this point. (Please note this point. It is very important for all of us). I may not be looking at you. I may not be talking to you. But yet, what is there that I have not done for you? What is there that I have not taken care of? This boy’s elder brother got a seat in the medical college because of My Grace. He himself is studying second-year medicine. They have not even made mention of that to Me. I have been taking care of you. I am looking after you. You are very fine. Why should you worry and bother that I am not looking at you, that I am not talking to you? You should understand that I am in you. You must try to see Me in you. Don’t simply go by externals, such as whether Swami is talking to you or not.”
I am sure this will help those of us who feel sorry for ourselves because Swami is not speaking to us. But Swami, being a Divine, mischievous God (Laughter) -- I would like to add ‘Divine’ because some may misunderstand me. His mischief is also Divine -- concluded this part of His discourse saying, “Yet, you should try hard to be spoken to. You should pray incessantly to be spoken to you. You should deserve Swami’s conversation. You should work for it.” With that note, Swami left that topic and moved on to other issues.
I would like to bring to you another point. A close relation of a boy belonging to this institute happened to be here in Prashanti Nilayam. He gave the boy some advice. We elders advise, but may not practice what we preach. We advise because we want at least, that others benefit from our experience. A wise man learns from others’ experience. We don’t want youngsters to commit the same mistakes we did. With all good intention, we advise the young.
This close relative of the boy advised him, “Look here, my boy! You are studying in Swami’s institution. Remember, you should always look at His Feet. This is very important because His Feet bear the entire weight of the universe. It is not easy to have His Feet. It is not easy to look at them. Concentrate on His Lotus Feet.”
The boy replied, “Thank you, uncle!” and sat there in the darshan line. When Swami passed along the line, this fellow went on looking at His Feet, with his head bent towards the ground. Swami thought, “Something is wrong with this fellow.” (Laughter). He came close to him and said, “What happened to you? What is it?”
This fellow said, “Swami! I am looking at Your Feet.” (Laughter)
“My relation told me to.” (Laughter)
Swami said, “He is a fool and you are a double fool.” (Laughter)
(Please note the reason Swami gave here, as it applies to everybody. I am taking advantage of such examples to enable us to learn lessons).
He said, “Every inch of this body, top to toe, is important.”
One has to look at Bhagavan’s cosmic form, from top to toe; from the top of His hair to His toenails, because Madhuraadhipathe Akhilam Madhuram - the head is sweet; the ears are sweet; the lips are sweet. Madhuraadhipathe Akhilam Madhuram. The whole of Bhagavan’s personality is nectarine. The reason for this is that Baba is the Poornavathaar –the Divine Incarnation in all its depth, fullness and profundity. Therefore Bhagavan instructed that boy, “No, don’t only look at the Feet. You have to look at the whole Form of God.” This, I am sure, will provide a guideline for all of us who may be entertaining such whimsical ideas.
Immediately this boy got an idea. “Maanasa Bhajare Guru Charanam – what does it mean, Swami? (Maanasa Bhajare Guru Charanam means, “Let the mind concentrate on the Feet of God.”) Why do You ask us to look at the whole form? Why?” (Laughter)
Bhagavan replied, “For darshan, you should see the whole body. For dhyaana, concentrate on the Feet.”
Maanasa Bhajare Guru Charanam – concentrate on the Feet of the Lord whilst in meditation or dhyaana. During darshan, let us enjoy the opportunity of seeing Bhagavan standing in front of us. Let us see Him from top to toe, He being the Poornavathaar.
I can also tell you of another instance. Bhagavan spoke to one devotee and moved on. That devotee started crying. Why? We don’t understand why others cry when Swami speaks to them because we cry when Swami is not talking to us. Maybe we are uniform in that we all cry. (Laughter) There is unanimity in crying, if not competition in crying! (Laughter)
So, this man is crying. I asked gently, “Why do you cry? What’s your name? Swami spoke to you. There is no reason to cry. Why do you cry?”
Then he said, “Sir! My name is Narayana Charanam. As you see, I am quite aged. My wife and I had been to Madras for an eye check-up. While returning from Madras, we had to change buses at Madanapalli in order to reach Puttaparthi. I requested that the conductor inform us when the bus reached the Ramakrishna Ashram at Madanapali, because we wanted to rest there that night and take the other bus to Puttaparthi the next day.
The bus was speeding ahead. The conductor suddenly said, ‘Sir! Get down.’ Well, both of us got down. It was 10 o’clock at night. While getting down, I asked somebody, ‘Where is the Ramakrishna Ashram?’
‘Twelve kilometres from here.’
And the bus left. As you know, near Madanapalli, there is a thick forest with wild trees. It is pitch dark. No lights. An old couple, left there to themselves, twelve kilometres from the ashram at 10 o’clock at night! This is not a holy night. There is no moonlight either. Then we noticed lightning and thunder. It started drizzling.
Having been left with no other option, I started crying and repeating God’s Name, ‘Sai Ram! Sai Ram!’ It is only in agony that true prayer arises. It is only in adversity that the depth of the prayer is revealed. It is only in challenging moments that a genuine prayer arises. Then the helping Hand extends spontaneously and instantaneously because God is ever living, ever loving, and always moving amongst us.
What happened when I shouted ‘Sai Ram’? We watched a car coming towards us with the headlights shining. The car stopped just where we were standing. I was afraid again. I thought, ‘That fellow, the conductor, dropped us off in the middle of the forest. Now this fellow will rob us of our belongings.’ We were very worried.
The car driver got out of the car and said, ‘Sir! I am driving alone. No one is in the car with me. What do you want? May I help you?’
I said, ‘We have to go back to the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, twelve kilometres from here. That is where we were supposed to get off the bus. It’s most unfortunate that we are here. It is due to the mistake of the conductor.’
The driver said, ‘No problem! I will take you, sir!’
He gave us a lift up to the Ramakrishna Mission. We were very happy when we got accommodation in the ashram. As we were settling down, we remembered the driver’s kindness. We wanted to pay him for his kindness. We came out of the room, wanting to pay him some money and to convey our thanks. He was not there and his car was also found to be missing. Neither the car nor the driver was there! The next day, we reached Puttaparthi.”
Swami looked at this old man and said, “Should you not be careful? Though you informed the conductor, it is your duty to be vigilant. Do I have to drive all the way to pick you up at midnight, to give you a lift? Useless fellow! Be careful, here after!” (Applause)
That is Bhagavan for you and me. In helpless moments, Bhagavan is always there. In certain unavoidable circumstances, as ill luck would have it, God never fails.
I should also tell you about another instance. One time, Bhagavan was talking to the college boys. He said, “Boys! Are you ready to do whatever I say?”
“Yes, Swami! Why not?” They all joined in chorus, “Why not? We will do whatever You say.”
Then Baba said, “Yes! Come on! There is a three-storey building there. You climb up to the top and jump from there.” (Laughter) And they started looking at each others’ faces!
Finally one boy got up and was just about to run. He started proceeding towards the building. Then Swami called him back, “Come back! Come back! Don’t go!”
The physical mother cannot bear it if there is just a simple cut of a blade on her child’s body. She cannot bear the sight of a drop of blood on the body of her child. Sai has the ‘Love of a thousand mothers’. “Can I watch you fall from the top of the third-storey building? Can I watch that? No, my child! Stay back. I am happy with you. This is only a test.”
Out of all the boys, who said ‘yes’? Only one started running towards the building. That boy did his schooling, graduation and post-graduation here in Puttaparthi. Then he was sent abroad for some time. He is presently working in the Super-Speciality Hospital as a technician.
What I want to bring to your notice is this: Bhagavan naturally wishes that we should face the challenges of life. But, He will see to it that we will emerge triumphant. He will see to it that we come out victorious. He will see to it that we win the game, provided we surrender to Him.
Here is another instance of “Sai For You and Me”: Usually we find Swami talking with the boys, ranging from primary school students to postgraduate students. What are His favourite questions during morning darshan?
“Boys! What did you have for the breakfast? What did you eat?”
One fellow says,” Two idlis, Swami.” Another fellow says, “Three idlis, Swami.”
And Swami will ask, “Only idlis?”
“No, Swami. Dosa also” (Laughter)
“I see. How many?”
“No, no, no. Two, Swami.”
“Only two? They were only very small – two inches diameter.”
Whatever they say, Swami wants them to eat more, because Swami likes everybody eating more and more, though He Himself does not eat. (Laughter) The reverse is true with us -- we eat more and want others to eat less. Bhagavan wants them to eat more because they are at an age where they are growing physically. In order to be energetic, they should eat more.
One boy thought, “Swami really wants me to eat more. Let me try to eat the maximum number of idlis and then present myself before Swami, so that He will be quite satisfied with my innings or score.” (Laughter).
With that intention, on the next Sunday at breakfast, he started eating idlis. One – fine. Two – nice. Three – difficult (Laughter). He found it difficult to complete the third idli. ‘But three is the normal number they serve. So, let me try to have a fourth idli also,’ he thought.
He started eating the fourth idli. He had such great difficulty eating the fourth one that he could not get up (Laughter)! And when he completed eating it, there was the danger that the other three might come out (Laughter)! But yet, somehow, he managed to eat the fourth one.
A few boys had to assist him to walk, because there was a quite a ‘parliamentary session’ going on in his abdomen (Laughter). (You know how parliamentary legislature is like a disturbed abdomen.) (Laughter) Somehow he managed to sit in the darshan lines.
Bhagavan came and talked with other boys, but not with this boy.
This boy thought, ‘Swami! You made me eat four idlis. (Laughter) In order to catch Your attention next week, should I try to eat four idlis again? This week, it has been difficult enough. How can I repeat this tough, physical exercise?’
Swami called a group for interview. The boy thought that his chance had passed. After sometime, Swami opened the door and slowly started walking towards this boy.
Then the boy said to himself, ‘Oh good! Next week I can be comfortable and eat only two idlis.’
Swami came towards him slowly and asked him to get up. “Come on! Speak now.” And he spoke. Baba said, “You ate four idlis. Why are you speaking so softly? Nobody is able hear your voice. You ate four idlis. Can’t you speak louder? What’s wrong with you?” (Laughter)
Instead of feeling bad, he was so happy that Swami knew he had eaten four idlis (Laughter). Sai is for you and me.
I would like to draw your attention to another instance of “Sai For You and Me”. A science graduate was asked to teach Sanskrit. Swami came to him and said, “You teach Sanskrit.” That man had no knowledge of Sanskrit. Quite the contrary, he was allergic to Sanskrit. He tried to keep away from learning Sanskrit. He found it very tough and altogether too difficult.
But Swami came to him and said, “Teach Sanskrit.”
Teaching without learning! This man started shaking, “What is to be done?”
Baba said, “Start with the lower classes. Don’t worry!”
This man started learning Sanskrit slowly, and Baba turned back and said, “Begin teaching from this Ganesh Chathurthi.”
That man struggled day and night. Somehow he managed to memorise a few verses by heart and started teaching the boys in the lower classes. He taught them Ganaanaamthwaa, the prayer of worship to Ganesh. The boys learned quickly. And thus, this gentleman started acquiring more and more knowledge of Sanskrit. Because he followed Swami’s instructions, he not only became efficient, but was also proficient. He taught all kinds of Sthothrams. Sthothrams are prayers of worship to God and the various deities. He learnt them by heart, and taught all the students.
That particular gentleman says, “I followed Swami’s instructions, and He did my work for me. If you follow Swami’s instructions, He will do your work for you. My life is a testimony. My life is an example. I do not think I taught the students. I don’t think that I acquired knowledge of Sanskrit. Swami taught me. Swami taught through me because I simply obeyed what He told me to do. ‘Karishye Vachanam Thava: I will act according to what You say, Oh God!’ And You said, ‘Karishye Kaaryam Thava: I will do your work.’ And therefore, here I am with all the knowledge, Buddhi, and its fulfilment, Siddhi.”
And that gentleman got his post-graduate degree in Sanskrit. Yes, he got his Ph.D. degree in Sanskrit. I can tell you that no one can ever equal him in reciting Sanskrit verses, not even professional temple priests. This man recites Sanskrit verses with perfect erudition, diction, accent, pronunciation, precision; and with all exactness and awareness of their meaning also. He is Dr. Vedanarayan of the Higher Secondary School. He leads all the boys, who join in chorus to recite Vedic verses in front of Bhagavan.
All the Vedas are sung in praise of God. The Vedic verses are learnt and memorised by heart, to attain the vision of God, to experience the manifestation of God. We are extremely lucky. We hear the praise of God by way of the recitation of the Vedas and see the manifestation of Divinity, God Himself, seated over there. Two birds at one shot!
We, the listeners, who see Bhagavan, are more fortunate than anybody else because we hear His praise and we see Him in physical form simultaneously. The Name and Form – a happy blend of both. That’s what we experience here!
Dr. Vedanarayan had some wonderful experiences with Swami. He was a student here. Don’t think that I am creating any propaganda. After all, he is not my relation. (Laughter)
This gentleman had a problem long back, whilst a student at Swami’s college. He suffered severe and excruciating abdominal pain. After two days or so, he admitted himself to the hospital. The doctor came and examined him and asked, “How long have you been suffering?”
He said, ”For the last three days, doctor.”
“What have you taken to ease your abdominal pain?”
He said, “Vibhuthi, doctor.”
The doctor had an enquiring look on his face and asked, “Vibhuthi?”
“Vibhuthi! Are you sure?”
That doctor went and reported to Swami. “Swami! Here is a fellow who is not taking medicines. He says that he has taken only vibhuthi to cure his abdominal pain. What shall I do with him?”
Swami said, “All right! You go and see him in the hospital now.”
The doctor again went to see this boy in the hospital, accompanied by the caretaker of the Mandir. In those days, the caretaker of the Mandir was a person called Kutumba Rao.
Kutumba Rao asked this boy, “How are you?”
“The pain is severe, sir!”
“What are you taking?”
Then Kutumba Rao said, “Look here, boy! Along with vibhuthi, you should take medicines also.”
This boy innocently asked, “Why medicine?”
Kutumba Rao answered, “You will have the exact medicine required. You better take the medicines with vibhuthi so that they can work properly.”
The boy simply listened to what Kutumba Rao said, but did not take any medicines. Both the men went back to Swami and reported, “Swami! That boy refuses to take medicines. He is only taking vibhuthi.” (Laughter)
Swami said, “Tell that useless fellow that he should take medicines also. Tell him!” (Laughter)
Bhagavan didn’t want to displease the doctor, who was a qualified professional expert. The doctor should not be humiliated in front of a boy, after all! So, He said, “Tell him this is not the way!” (Laughter)
Both of them came back and said, “Look here, boy! These are Swami’s instructions – that you should take medicines along with vibhuthi.”
But the pain persisted. One day, Bhagavan went to the hospital, looked at this boy and ignored him. This boy shouted, “Swami! Please!! I am suffering from severe pain.”
And Swami said, “You are not following My instructions. I won’t give you vibhuthi.” He simply passed by. But, out of compassion, He turned back, and gave prasadam to the boy. He looked at him with a mischievous smile. After that the boy’s health started to pick up and he was eventually discharged from the hospital.
Unfortunately, he had other problems –a kidney problem, a liver problem and what not!
All this is recorded, my dear friends. All this is recorded by the person who experienced it. It is first-hand, hot, hot information, passed on to you, fresh from the oven! I believe in serving hot, not old stuff. (Laughter)
Naturally, he was hospitalised again. This time, Bhagavan went to the hospital. This boy could not turn from side-to-side. There was a real possibility that the liver and kidney problems could affect the brain. Things come in battalions, rather than singly. The good and the bad in life come in battalions. This is true for every one of us.
Swami made Himself comfortable. He sat on the boy’s bed and applied vibhuthi to his abdomen. Until that moment, he had vomited whatever he had drunk or swallowed. Swami made him drink coconut water and applied vibhuthi, after which the boy suddenly sat up!
Swami looked at the doctor and said, “He is taking vibhuthi only; what to do?” and then left silently. (Laughter)
So, ultimately what is it that cured him? The latest antibiotic -- Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s inter-continental vibhuthi! (Laughter) That’s what is “Sai For You and Me”.
Usually when Bhagavan goes to Bangalore during summer, some of the residents of Prashanti Nilayam choose to go home, to their native places, to settle certain matters: to clear up their house taxes, land taxes, or water bills; or to say ‘hello’ to their near and dear. That’s the only free time the residents have to go. They request Swami’s permission and Swami obliges them.
One year, when Swami was about to leave, one resident came close to Swami and said, “Bhagavan! Shall I go?” He expected Swami to say, “You go!” and thought that He would give him vibhuthi also. (Laughter)
But Baba looked at him and said, “Don’t go. Be here.”
The man never expected this! It was a shock for him. What to do? He stayed back, even though he already had reserved the train tickets for his journey.
Nobody can ever guess when Swami will leave. People ask me, “When is Swami going?” What shall I say?
My standard answer is this: “He is not going.” I will tell everybody the same, because until His car moves out of the campus, nobody can say when He will leave. Anybody who says he knows when Swami is leaving is a No.1 fool. (Laughter)
Bhagavan will not tell anybody when He is going to leave. He always says, “Love My uncertainty.” So, nobody can say when He will go. We roughly estimate when He might leave. But it’s just a possibility!
So, this gentleman had made his ticket reservation, expecting Swami to leave on a certain date. Swami left the place, telling him not to go. What was to be done now? He stayed back.
One day, while he was passing by the canteen building where some construction work was going on, a brick fell on his head. He sustained an injury and went to the hospital, where he received some sutures and a bandage. He felt so bad. ‘Though Swami asked me to stay back, I should have gone. I should blame myself for having obeyed His command. I did not go, and now I have a head injury as a result of the brick falling on my head.’ That was his feeling.
Next day, he saw the newspaper. The train he was supposed to travel on had de-railed and 100 people died! He would have been amongst them. Then he thought, “This head injury is much better than total collapse!” (Laughter)
“Swami wanted me to stay back for my own good,” he thought.
After Swami returned to Parthi, He smiled at this man and said, “Oh! You are still alive? Good!” (Laughter). Sai for you and me.
Another instance is that of a Bal Vikas teacher from the State of Orissa. This teacher was looking after her aged mother, who was ailing for quite some time. Her situation was critical. In spite of medication and regular treatment, she was unable to recover.
One Sunday, this Bal Vikas teacher had to teach a class, but she could not leave her mother alone. She was very keen to take the class, but her mother was alone at home. What was to be done? She took care of all her mother’s requirements. She gave her mother all her medicines, and took care of her diet, gave her breakfast and everything else she needed. Then she went in search for someone to take care of her mother until she was to return from her regular weekly Bal Vikas class.
With great difficulty, she found somebody to assist her mother during the period of her absence. By the time she had organised everything, she was very late for her Bal Vikas class. Nevertheless, she went all the way to the school, where she was to teach her regular Bal Vikas classes. When she arrived, she saw all the children outside the classroom. She thought that they were about to leave, having waited so long. She was most apologetic that she could not be there on time.
As she approached the children, one boy came jumping towards her and said, “Teacher! When did you change your dress? You were teaching us in the classroom wearing a pink saree. Now I see you wearing a white saree. When did you change your dress? I saw you with a kumkum dot only; now I see vibhuthi also. When did you get it?”
She was in tears. Bhagavan came in her form and taught the Bal Vikas classes! Look at that!
Sai for you and me.
I can also give you the story of a revenue officer. He is a close friend of mine, who retired in the Kurnool district, where he settled. If you are keen to meet him, I shall introduce him to you. He was serving as a revenue office before retirement. While he was in service, he was the convenor of the local Sai centre. During that time, he made a trip to Prashanti Nilayam.
I am sure that all of you would agree with me when I say that we forget the date and the day, here in Prashanti Nilayam. Everyone fumbles, “Is it the fifth?”
“No, no, no! It’s the seventh!”
“No, no! Possibly it’s the eighth.” (Laughter)
“Is it Monday?”
“No, no, sir! Thursday.”
“Oh! Thursday? Fool! Today is Sunday!”
“Oho! Is that so?” (Laughter)
So, we forget the date and the day because Prashanti Nilayam is beyond time and space. Baba is beyond time and space. So, we will not have time consciousness, date consciousness or day awareness either, because we live within ourselves. The real Self is beyond time. The real Self is Bhagavan Himself. Therefore, we are not aware of time and space.
So, this revenue officer came here and stayed. He overstayed. He had applied for casual leave for a week, but stayed here for three weeks. No responsible fellow would ever do it. What was to be done? While passing by him, Swami said, “When are you going?”
This man thought, ‘I have been here for the past three weeks. You never cared to look at me until now, and today You ask me when I am going?’ Unknowingly he replied, “Now, Swami!”
Having said now, he had to go. He went straight to his office, thinking that he would face either dismissal or at least a suspension. He thought there would be some police complaint about a missing officer. He was expecting something like that. He went straight to his office and met his personal clerk there.
The clerk said, “Sir! You only left now. How is that you have come back again? Are there papers to be signed? Are there cheques to be signed? Why have you come back, sir? You should have given me a phone call. I would have come to your residence.
This man was wonderstruck. But not wishing to expose himself before his personal assistant, he said, “Yes, yes, yes! I didn’t have any feeling to stay at home, so I came back to the office.”
He went straight to the attendance register where he is supposed to sign everyday. He saw his own signature in the attendance register for the entire three weeks of his absence! What sort of situation is this!
Suddenly his camp clerk came. “Sir! Here is our monthly programme, which you signed yesterday. We are to leave tomorrow morning.”
He replied, “Yes, yes, yes! We will certainly go.” (Laughter)
He was yet to draw his monthly pay packet. All government officials know that if they don’t draw their salary within a couple of days after it reaches the office, the salary will be deposited back in the treasury. It cannot be kept in the office for long. This man was in dire need of money. What was to be done? He began talking to the cashier/accountant, who said, “Sir, I am yet to deposit your money back to the treasury. I have forgotten. Please excuse me, sir. I have not deposited your money because I am very busy with the accounts.”
This man said, “Yes, yes. I know. You can cash it and give it to me now.”
My dear friends! This is an instance where Baba did the job of the revenue officer! Earlier I related the case where Baba served as the Bal Vikas guru, in the role of a woman, dressed in a saree, with a kumkum dot. (Laughter)
Someone yesterday asked me a question, “How is it that Baba is not taking letters from ladies, these days?” I told them, “Sometime back, Swami’s car just moved around where the ladies were seated. It didn’t come towards the gents’ side at all. We never complained. So, our life is our message. Learn from us!” (Laughter)
So, those of us who feel that Swami is not going towards the women’s side should know that in fact, Swami has full concern for them. He is a woman among women. Someone asked Swami, “Why don’t You spend as much time with the girls from Anantapur campus as You spend with the boys of Brindavan and Prashanti Nilayam campus?”
Do you know the answer? He said, “Who needs a doctor? A patient needs a doctor, not a healthy man. Women are spiritually healthy; men are spiritually weak and sick. So, I have to give them treatment.” (Applause)
And He further said, “If you just see the university ranks, though I have not gone to Anantapur campus for the last twelve years, all of the girls passed in ‘O’ grade, above 80 percent. Though I am talking with these fellows, some get ‘B’ grade, some also fail. Therefore, they need more medication and treatment than the girls.” The third point He made was, “The girls have steadiness in their devotion. They have got strong faith. So, they don’t need the attention.” That’s what Bhagavan said.
I can give you another example of a devotee from Orissa, a lady. Unfortunately, whilst she was cooking, her saree caught fire. The whole saree was ablaze. Suddenly, she began shouting, “Sairam!” This incident is recorded, along with her name and address.
“I am a student of science, with plenty of common sense. Yet,“ she tells openly, “out of the picture of Bhagavan, Swami came walking towards me and put out the fire. My body does not have the slightest scar!” Sai for you and me.
Bhagavan saves people. I will give you an instance of two youngsters who worked in the World Trade Centre, New York. On September 11th, the Trade Centre was the scene of one of the worst tragedies in human history. The tragic incident was an example of human cruelty, brutality and the demonic nature of man. Humanity should feel ashamed about the bombing of the World Trade Centre. We feel very bad about it, very sad about it. Man cannot feel proud of himself for that treacherous act.
I want to bring to your attention, the experience of two boys who worked there. One boy worked throughout the night on his office files. He went to sleep at around 3 o’clock in the morning. By the time he woke up, it was 9 o’clock in the morning. When he rushed to the office, he saw that the multi-storeyed building had indeed collapsed. His delay saved his life. As a result of working throughout the night, he could not get up in time to report to the office. This saved his life. Sai for you and me.
What happened to the other boy? (These are the two students of Swami’s college. That’s why I am bringing these to your special attention.) There was a restaurant on the top of the World Trade Centre. This boy used to have his breakfast there, on the top of the building. But on that tragic day, he decided, ‘Why not, for a change, go elsewhere to have my breakfast?’ He left the building. By the time he finished breakfast, the Trade Centre had been attacked! “This is how Swami saved me,” reports that boy, a former student of this institute. Sai for you and for me.
I have a number of things to share with you. I would like to conclude this morning’s session with a note that Sai is for you and me, and for all – but He gives us the feeling that He is exclusively for each of us. (Laughter)
Let me tell you, we are a Sai family; there are no secrets between us. Particularly, in the life of Anil Kumar. I do not even know the spelling of ‘SECRET’ (Laughter). Until now it has not been in my life’s dictionary. I am sure it will not be in it in the future either, because I tell everybody everything. Whatever you tell me will be broadcasted and telecasted immediately (Laughter). ABC – Anil Kumar Broadcasting Corporation (Laughter). It is not BBC. Know that you are talking to ABC. Be more cautious.
I want to inform you, brothers and sisters, of another thing that happened. A close relation of mine started narrating her experiences to me. I was simply listening. Suddenly she said, “Your face has no expression. Are you not interested?”
I said, “I have been hearing all this, day in and day out. Many people have similar experiences.”
She got wild. “Why do you say that? Only I had the interview. Do you know that?”
“Oh, I see!”
“I am exclusively fortunate to hear these words from Swami. Do you realise that?”
What to do? She started bombarding me (Laughter). A close relation - I can’t ask her to go. I listened patiently and finally said, “This is the feeling of every devotee. Everyone says, ‘Swami spoke to me, not to you.’ Do you know that?”
“Oh, I see.”
“These are words especially meant for me. Not for anybody else.”
This is the mystery of Divinity. He is personal and yet impersonal. By making everybody feel that they are special, He is a personal God. By saving everybody, by appearing to everybody in their dreams, physically, and however else, He belongs to everybody. Baba is personal and also impersonal.
Bhagavan is sensitive to all creatures, not only human beings. One day in Brindavan, Swami was passing by some plants. There are so many plants in Brindavan. You must have seen their flowers. Bangalore is the city of gardens. There are beautiful flowers in Brindavan. But there was one plant which was dry and without flowers. Swami stopped there for a while and called the boys. “Can’t you water that plant? Why don’t you help that plant? The plant has got life just as you have.”
If the plant was fortunate enough to be able to speak, it would have said, “Swami saved my life! This happened uniquely for me, no one else.” (Laughter) So Swami cares for plants too.
You must have heard of Sai Geetha, Swami’s elephant. She is quite old now. In the years of her youth, when she was first presented to Swami, she used to be tied up to a post, very close to Swami’s building. She was quite uncontrollable then. Nobody could control her. So, once, the mahout started whipping her. Suddenly, Swami opened His window and admonished that mahout. He said, “I will send you away. Don’t whip the elephant. Don’t punish her.” Swami cares for animals.
In the old days, when people had to come all the way across the Chitravati sands during summer, they used to travel in bullock carts. After their arrival, Swami used to ask them, “Can’t you walk? Those bulls could not pull those carts across the sands. Couldn’t you walk and carry the luggage, which was in the cart? Can’t you walk?”
Swami is concerned because Swami is present: “Cheemalo, Brahmalo, Sivakesavaadulalo.” God is present in every microcosm, macrocosm and also in Brahman and the cosmos. Swami cares for everybody and everything.
One day Swami was proceeding to Ooty. In the old days, Swami used to visit Ooty, also called Ootacamund. There was one school there, which is no longer in existence. It was a beautiful school! I visited Ooty with Swami. One day, whilst Swami was proceeding to Ooty, He suddenly stopped His car. He saw a little child crying on the road, whilst its grandmother was a certain distance away, doing her work. She was just a casual labourer. She was working.
Baba stopped the car, got out and walked to her. He said, “Amma! Neeku Sai Baba telusaa?” (Do you know Sai Baba?)
And that lady said, “I know.”
Then Baba said,”Nenu telusaa?” (Do you know Me?)
“I don’t know.” (Laughter)
Then Baba said, “I am Sai Baba.” (Laughter)
That lady immediately got up and fell at His Feet.
Swami said, “Paapam! Your grandchild is crying there. Don’t make the child cry like that. Come on! Take it.”
He gave her a number of boxes of sweets, clothes, and money. He then moved on. This is Baba for you and me. His Love is universal. He loves everybody, but gives the feeling that it is exclusively for each one. He is both personal and impersonal.
He granted an interview sometime back to a group of devotees. Amongst them was one person who had not given up his habit of smoking. Swami didn’t want to hurt his feelings because he was a visitor coming for the first time. Yet He wished to correct him. If it had been a regular devotee, or a confirmed devotee, he would have received different treatment! (Laughter) But this man was on his first visit. He was on a ‘visitor’s visa’ (Laughter). He should not feel threatened, you see.
So, Swami said, “Mmmm…Dhoopam ayipoyindhana maata.”
Dhoop means what? After lighting incense sticks, we offer Dhoop – the fragrant smoke to God, during worship time. So, Dhoop means the smoke of the incense sticks, which we offer to God. But, what Baba meant here was the smoke of the cigar! (Laughter)
The man’s feelings were not hurt in front of the others, but he could get the meaning (Laughter).
“Oh! You have completed your Dhoop (last smoke or last puff of cigar)!”
Swami corrects everybody. And that was the last cigar he ever had in his life. He became a non-smoker thereafter. Sai for you and me.
One day, during Krishnashtami, there was a garland of white jasmine flowers. Swami started playing with those flowers and dropped a few flowers on the ground. All of us were watching. They were transformed into precious shining gems!
On another occasion, it was Paaduka Pooja. The Paaduka festival was proceeding in a big way. On the last day, many gold coins were placed in front of Him. What did He do? He collected a fistful of gold coins and threw them at the devotees, “Come on! Take it! Take it.”
Whether it is gold, a flower, a gem or a diamond, all are the same before God. God is One who loves all. “All are one, my dear son. Be alike to everyone.”
Sai Ram! Thank you very much.
Anil Kumar then concluded the satsang by singing, ”Bhajamana Narayana Narayana Narayana.”