January 7th, 2007
“The Value of Life”
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
I would like to share with you a few of the thoughts collected from Sai literature. Perhaps these may act as a guideline to all of us in the coming year.
Life has to be valued
The first and foremost thing which I would like to make clear is the value of life, its preciousness and uniqueness. What I want to impress upon you is that life is not to be taken for granted. It is not to be viewed negatively or denied. Of all life given to creatures in this universe, human life is the most noble of all. It should be regarded as the most precious gift of God to each of us. This life which is so valuable, unique and precious is to be enjoyed. God created the whole of creation for man to enjoy — not for us to abhor it or feel it is a burden.
We should be grateful to nature
The first point: Let us be grateful and respectful to this world in which we live. If we are not grateful, we tend to go down the path of exploitation. When we exploit Nature, it reacts and retaliates. The anger of Creation is expressed by floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and so on. We have to revere Nature and be thankful for its gifts. The best way of expressing our thanks is the performance of yagna (fire sacrifice – symbolic sacrifice of earthly riches and heavenly aspirations) and yaga (sacrificial rites).
Bhagavan has undertaken yagna and yaga in Prashanti Nilayam and will very soon commence the yagna in Chennai. It is said that other towns like Delhi and Bombay are also planning to perform yagna. Why? Yagna is a reminder to all of us that we should be respectful and grateful towards Nature.
let us not postpone loving
The second point is this: Because we were born into human life, we were gifted with a very valuable quality — that is, the ability to love. If we cannot love anybody and if we cannot love ourselves, then it is not life; it is death. Love is life and life is love. The loveless life is death.
Therefore, my friends, let us take every opportunity, let us catch hold of every moment, to love. Let us not postpone loving. We sometimes decide, “I will start loving tomorrow or next month. I will give up hatred next calendar year.” It’s all absurd. Let us love from now on, because tomorrow is uncertain.
let us not postpone doing good
The third point I would like to draw your attention to is this: Don’t postpone doing what is beautiful until a later date. For instance, “I’ll practise meditation from the 1st of March, and l’ll practice bhajans from the 1st of April, the next income tax year. (Laughter) I will begin reading the Holy Scripture at Sivarathri.” No. Let us not postpone doing anything that is good or beautiful.
live in the moment
The fourth point: As we watch Bhagavan carefully, you will all agree with me when I say that He identifies Himself totally with the particular task at hand. Here is a simple example: The sports season is now on, so Swami’s concentration is on sports. You must have seen how He rushes to the stadium, though none of us are there! (Laughter) We will have to wait and see what is in store for us this afternoon. (Laughter) He goes again to the stadium in the evening, tomorrow morning, tomorrow evening… His full concentration is on sports.
This is what we have to learn from Him — to live totally in the moment. Live here now! Totally! Intensely! Because what we normally do is either live in the past or live in the future; we don’t live in the present. As we think of the past, we feel so sad. As we think of the future, we feel worried. We drop the beauty of the present and lose the taste of the present. Therefore, live totally and intensely in the moment, in the present; have nothing to do with the past or the future. That’s the correct way of life.
Paradise is a myth
The fifth very important point is this: In the name of religion, people live for the future, because religion speaks about heaven awaiting us, hell, and so forth.
“Why do you do Nagarsankirtan?”
“I will be guaranteed a place in heaven. “
“Why do you do bhajans regularly?”
“I am sure to go to paradise.”
“Oh ho, fine.”
My friends! That paradise is futuristic. It is mythological and imaginary. There is no hell; there is no paradise. Please understand this. They are myths. Some people look forward to paradise in order to do what they can’t do here. They cannot drink heavily here, but in heaven, amrita (Divine nectar) drinks – barrels and barrels of drink are available! One can drink continuously! (Laughter) So what is not here, they can have there. However, this is nothing but imagination.
PAradise is within you
So, where is paradise? Should I be religious today for a future paradise? No, my friends. Paradise or heaven is a space within you; it is a blissful or joyful moment. Paradise is contentment or satisfaction, a moment of dance or music. When you start singing, it is paradise; when you start dancing, it is the very heaven. Therefore, paradise or heaven is not some place to experience after death. It is right here in this moment.
truth is a lived experience
A sixth point is this: We think that what we read is the truth. I read the Bhagavad Gita. (‘Song of God’ - an important Indian scripture). It is truth. As a Christian, I read the Bible. It is truth. We feel that what is read is truth, what is heard is truth, what is seen is truth. No, my friends.
Every truth is a lived experience. Until then, it is only a fact. Once a truth is a lived experience, you hang on to it. You don’t drop it; you don’t move from it. Though we know the truth from books, we are not truthful. Why? The truth has not yet become a lived experience. May the year 2007 help us to experience truth as a lived or living experience.
life is an expression
The way of life has three important constituents. The first is ‘Expression’. Life is something more than what we feel, more than what we consider it to be. Life has a higher level. If life is just living, then birds and animals live as well, and more comfortably and peacefully than all of us. They don’t have interviews or competitions, lay-offs or income tax, a caste system, or the threat of nuclear bombs. They are very comfortable.
So life does not mean mere living. No, life is an expression. I should express my experience. By expression, I don’t mean a platform lecture. Expression is nothing but the sharing of experience. That’s why in the holy Bible it is said, “If you deny God today, you’ll be denied tomorrow.” If today you say, “I don’t know You”, tomorrow you’ll hear, “I don’t know you.” Therefore, not to deny but to share your spiritual experience is important. Whenever a few devotees meet, they share their experiences.
Sharing Baba’s Miracles is the best expression
Yesterday, in the afternoon, a couple came to me. I took their details, the door number, everything, because I am answerable to the many people who address me. The couple fell at my feet and the lady started crying.
Well, I made them sit comfortably and asked, “What’s the matter?”
They told me, “We were looking for you as we wanted to meet you and share our experience.”
I’m quite inquisitive, as you all know. The most pleasant job I have on earth is only to share expressions, to share Baba’s message and leelas (Divine acts) with everybody.
The lady started telling me her story. They come from the district of Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh, India. Her husband is a mason, a daily wage earner and a very poor man. They have two children.
The husband became totally paralysed from a spinal problem. He lay in bed helpless and in excruciating pain. The doctor said, “The chances of recovery are remote. He is totally paralysed and may not regain his health or survive.” That was the last word from the doctor.
For two months, the lady spent sleepless nights, crying for her husband. Everything the lady said is on record. It seems Baba appeared in her dream one night and in the dream she saw Baba applying vibhuti (sacred ash) to her husband’s back.
Baba spoke to her, saying, “Do not worry, I’ll take care of him. I promise that he’ll be normal. An operation is not necessary.” Then Baba went around the house and touched her feet. This was what happened in her dream. Finally Swami came out of the residence and said, “Goodbye.”
After a while, maybe at sunrise, she opened her eyes and got up. To her utter surprise, she saw her husband walking around in front of her! (Applause)
The couple are right here now. I’ll show you them. They are from the poorer classes and don’t have to concoct stories. They don’t want any kind of publicity or recognition. With hearts lifted up in gratitude, they came and shared their experience. I am very anxious to get it published in Sanathana Sarathi as soon as possible.
When I hear about an experience like that, it has to come out — thada! Until then I cannot rest! So, what to do? (Laughter) I have to share the accounts with as many as possible, and even more so after due verification. Yes.
Miracles strengthen our faith in god
I also met a boy, Prasanna, yesterday evening. He hails from the Kolar District, in the State of Karnataka. I have seen the boy around during the last couple of months. I joked with him too: “Have you stopped going to school? No studies?”
Because I love children, I like spending time with college boys and children. That is the way to look young and to be young (Laughter). That’s the secret, I’m telling you. Yes. I don’t charge you for it, anyway. (Laughter) Because when you talk to youngsters, it’s fun and humorous. When you talk to adults, it’s complex. They are sad and make you mad. It’s not worth it. Talking to children, you are energised.
So I used to joke with that boy and play with him now and then. Then the other day he said, “Uncle, I’ll tell you something.”
Now, I’m giving you the latest miracles, right from the ‘hot oven’. (Laughter) They are not out of the fridge! No. Hot from the baker’s shop! (Laughter)
His father told the story, saying, “Sir, you have been talking to my son. Every day I see that. I am so happy about it. I’ll tell you why we are here.”
It seems something happened to the boy. He was becoming weaker and weaker day-by-day, and he almost turned mad. He was speaking in a strange way and losing weight. He could not go to school. At that stage, they came here. After seeing Bhagavan Baba for three to four days at darshan, the boy became perfectly alright and recovered his health. (Applause)
My friends! It is right and proper that philosophy includes meditation; spirituality demands daily practice or sadhana; religion asks for the spirit of enquiry in depth, the answer to ‘Koham, who are you?’ But at the same time, an experience like this encourages a person to cling to God more and more.
Matthew’s gospel in the holy Bible is full of the miracles of Jesus Christ. Bhagavatham (the story of God) is full of miracles of Lord Krishna. It was Bhagavan who said, “Narada (a great sage), having read so many books and scriptures and having composed so many himself, did not find comfort, solace or happiness until he composed the Narada Bhakti Sutra, the principles of devotion.”
Therefore, we cannot underrate or underestimate the stories of miracles. No, no, no! They reaffirm, they confirm, they strengthen and deepen our faith in God more and more, day-by-day. Therefore, my friends, expression means sharing one’s own experiences.
expansion is to unconditionally accept things as they are
The second constituent is ‘Expansion’. What do I mean by that? Usually, unknowingly and unconsciously, we seek contraction, not expansion. We do not know that we become contracted, day-by-day. When I am on edge about your opinions, when I don’t respect your views or your way of life, when I demand that you should act the way I want, that is nothing but contraction. Contraction is sinful. Contraction is military regimentation. It is a computerised, programmed way of life. Contraction robs you of your freedom.
Expansion means accepting things as they are, unconditionally. Expansion is broadmindedness, accommodation, and ‘I love you as you are’. Expansion is to accept a person just as he is, as Jesus accepted His disciples just as they were, as Baba accepts us just as we are. If Baba laid down conditions, we wouldn’t be here. All accommodations would be empty. In fact, there wouldn’t be any need for an accommodation counter at all, never mind the canteens! (Laughter)
God accepts us as we are. But unfortunately man is not prepared to accept his fellowmen. This is the tragedy: ‘I want my God to forgive me, but I don’t want to forgive my fellowman. I want God to accept me as I am, with all my pitfalls and weaknesses, but I don’t tolerate those things in my neighbour.’
We should be ready to declare our divinity
The third constituent in life is ‘Declaration’. From expression, we should travel to the state of expansion. Having reached the state of expansion, we should be ready for declaration. Expression, expansion and declaration are the natural way of life.
What is the declaration? “I am a human being, a true human being.”
But, in all honesty, we cannot declare ourselves as humans. Why? Revenge is a trait belonging to a snake. Anger is characteristic of a dog. Gluttony is a feature of beasts. So how can we make the declaration that we are true human beings? Well, as we progress along the spiritual path through evolution, and by the Grace of God, it will be possible to honestly declare that we are essentially Divine.
May this year 2007 help us to come forward, and openly and courageously make this declaration.
let us not lose the freedom god has given us
I can also say, “Let us not lose anything God has given us.” God has given us freedom. Let us not lose it at any cost. No! In the name of religion, we are inclined to behave like slaves. Slavery is not religion, I tell you. By this, I mean that a prescribed or dictated way of religious procedure will never allow you to be free.
The Sathya Sai way of life gives you ample freedom. You can follow your own way of spiritual practice. If you want to serve people, come on and do it. If you want to meditate, why not? Do it. If you want to do bhajans and forget yourself in total identification with the glory of God, yes, do it by all means!
The offering of a variety of ways for your satisfaction, for your own bliss or liberation, is freedom. This kind of freedom is given to us. Let us not be ruled by fear; let us not imitate anybody. We each have our own temperament.
Some feel like doing bhajans. I can’t force that on everybody. Some feel like doing meditation. I cannot say, “This is the only way.” Some people like to do service. I cannot say, “Stop it. Meditate!” There are so many channels for television; why not for human life? A lifeless object like a television has many channels, but is a living human being to have only a single channel (path or way)? (Laughter)
There are so many channels: the channel of singing or keertanam, the channel of listening or sravanam, the channel of service or dasyam, the channel of friendship or sneham, the channel of worship or archanam, the channel of salutation or vandanam, the channel of surrender or Atmanivedanam. There are nine channels (also, namasmaranam and padasevanam), but we want to have only one channel. What a tragedy it is! It is not necessary to think this way.
Therefore, my friends, the God-given gift of freedom should not be mortgaged or compromised. It should never be given in exchange for anything, not even paradise. A paradise or heaven forced upon you is not a paradise; it is a hell. Anything that is forced upon you is a hell. That’s the reason why it is said, “Better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven.” That very freedom itself is enough heaven. Let us hold fast to that.
Being religious is more important than being a man of religion
In this year of 2007, we should also know a very important thing: As you study contemporary philosophy, as you listen to contemporaneous noble souls, the seers and seekers, and as you critically go through Swami’s talks over the last ten years, you’ll all agree with me when I say that the emphasis is more on the inner significance, the inner implication and wider ramifications of all spiritual rituals. We have so many rituals, we have so many practices; but the emphasis is on their inner significance.
There is a story that Baba related in one of His talks. You know, there is this ritual called vratas (code of ritual conduct). (Some of you would have seen the ladies’ Varalakshmi Vrata some time back.)
There is a puja or worship specially offered to Sathyanarayana. Swami called it Sathyanarayana Swami Vrata. There was a priest in the village who used to perform that particular worship. He was quite aged and he died. His son, who was trained, took over the puja.
One day the boy was called upon to perform the puja. He was asked to give the list of the required materials to the master of the house.
He did this, and immediately the master said, “You don’t seem to know how to perform this puja.”
The boy was surprised. He said “I do know, sir.”
“No, you don’t know.”
“Why do you say that?”
The master of the house said, “In the list of needed items, you have not mentioned two things.”
“What are they?” the boy enquired.
The master replied, “A cat and a basket.” (Laughter)
The boy didn’t understand. Why a cat for worship? Why a basket? He didn’t understand.
He returned home and asked his mother, “Why are a cat and a basket needed for puja?”
The mother said, “Your father included those two things in the list because of the milk, curd and honey needed for the puja. A cat is attracted to those foods. Therefore, the cat must be kept under a basket, so that the milk will be safe.” (Laughter)
So this poor lady and the master considered that the cat and the basket were part and parcel of the puja ritual performance. See that! Over time, the standard request for the householder to put the cat under a basket prior to the puja becomes part of the list of needed items for the ritual. That’s how we can end up, at that level of understanding.
Therefore, Bhagavan says that the understanding and awareness of what we do is more important than slavishly following a ritual. Without that, it is ridiculous. Therefore, my friends, if I follow the essentials of religion, I can be religious.
To be religious is more important than being a man of religion. A man of religion is always ritualistic. The practice of religion makes you religious. The practice of religion is adherence to truth, following the path of righteousness, enjoying peace, and being the personification of bliss. These are all features of being religious. The ‘cat and basket’ practice is ritual.
My friends, I am not condemning rituals. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not that foolish yet. We can follow rituals; but at the same time, we should know the inner significance of every ritual. Only then is it meaningful. Let us try to be religious, not merely men and women of religion. The practice of religion and its values will commit us to religion. That commitment to religion is being religious. That should be a guiding force for all of us in this year, 2007.
Baba wants us to become god, not merely worship god
I will also give you another point. It is Bhagavan Baba who always informs you that you are Divine. In fact, He begins His discourse with ‘Embodiments of the Divine’. Yes, but we are not even good, so how can we be God? (Laughter)
Are we really embodiments of Divine? I don’t know. Though I translate Baba’s discourses, I don’t know because I have yet to experience it. Merely translating or quoting the statement does not mean that I have experienced or realised Divinity. No, no, no! I am not from the lunatic asylum; I know where I stand. I know how far I am away from Reality, how long I have yet to travel along the path.
So Baba wants us to become God, not merely worship God — let us be clear about it.
Worshipping God is so simple. You can take flowers from the neighbour’s house (Laughter) or pick flowers from plants in the temple yard for worship at the altar. Most people do that. They collect flowers from the trees of the temple premises, giving back God’s property to God! There is some logic there. (Laughter) There is method in their madness. So worship is so simple. You can calculate the cost involved and cut the budget accordingly, and plan when to worship at your convenience. Hence, to worship God, we need a few flowers, a priest to officiate, and some money — that’s enough, thank you! (Laughter)
But to become God takes effort and determination. To become God needs realisation. To become God requires the cultivation of godly features — sathya (truth), dharma (right conduct), shanthi (peace), prema (love), ahimsa (non-violence), sahana (tolerance, forbearance), and kshama (forgiveness, purity). All these qualities we need to cultivate to become God. Therefore, may this year of 2007 help us to become God and not be satisfied with just the worship of God.
Let us have faith in ourselves first
A very essential thing in life is faith. We seem to lose faith in people. Then we lose faith in ourselves. When we lose faith in ourselves, we cannot expect to have faith in God.
Somebody said to Swami, “Swami, I have no faith in You.”
Baba was not insulted. He said, “Have faith in yourself first. If you have faith in yourself, it is enough. Faith in yourself is faith in God.”
So first let us develop faith in ourselves. Unfortunately we have lost it. I said ‘lost’ meaning we are born with faith, but in the course of time, we lose it.
If I ask a person, “Why have you lost faith?”
He will give me the answer, “Such-and-such a fellow cheated me. That fellow deceived me. So-and-so betrayed me. Another one acted against my expectation. So I lost faith in them.”
You should then put a question to him: “There are billions of people in the world’s population. Just because four fellows cheated you, you cannot lose faith in the whole of humanity. How can you lose faith in everybody just because a few people cheated you? What a hopeless fellow you are!” (Laughter) “Trees have not cheated you. Birds have not cheated you. Flowers have not cheated you. Stars have not cheated you. Rivers have not cheated you. Children have not cheated you. Because one or two fellows cheated you, you lose your faith in humanity.”
That is the tragedy. It is the worst of ill luck that could ever happen to us. Let us not lose faith, my friends.
trust IS a QUALITY UNAFFECTED BY relationship.
Faith that becomes steady, faith that is firm, deep-rooted and unshakable, is called trust. So let us reach that state of trust, which is so deep and changeless that it will not leave us. When can I have that trust?
I can have that trust when I have it as a quality, not dependent on relationships. If a relationship is based on, “I want you to act up to my expected standards; I want you to speak as I say” — then trust vanishes. Trust, influenced by relationship, will not survive. Trust, as a quality, will sustain and maintain us. Trust, as a quality, will remain forever and ever with us.
Therefore, my friends, let us have this quality of trust. Let us learn from Bhagavan. He has been speaking over and over to us. We have about one hundred volumes of His discourses. We may not have practised even one teaching, but He has not lost trust in us. Still He talks to us and gives us His darshan. He still collects letters from us. He still showers His Grace on all of us. Why? Because Baba has the quality of trust, unaffected by relationship. So what we need is this quality of trust, following the example of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Enlightenment is a happening
There are some people who say that so-and-so is a realised man. About four years ago, a lady came to me and said, “I am enlightened.” (Laughter)
I said, “If that is so, I prefer to be in the dark. If this ‘enlightenment’ has led to your statement, let me not have that enlightenment. Let me have electric lights; they give enough light.”
What is enlightenment? Is enlightenment a gospel? A way of life? Where is enlightenment? When will it happen?
My friends! Enlightenment is not anything coming from ‘above’. It is not something imposed upon us. It is not gifted, transported, or transferred. No! I can give my watch. I can give my glasses. I cannot give enlightenment. Enlightenment is not an object, a thing.
Enlightenment is not something ‘done’. Coffee is ‘done’, rice is cooked. Enlightenment is not something kept ready on the stove to be dished out. No! Enlightenment is a happening within you and not anything happening outside for you.
“Sir, enlightenment takes place here at 4 o’clock in Kulwant Hall.”
Nothing doing! Therefore, my friends let us be aware that enlightenment is a happening within us — and that it happens all of a sudden.
How? A simple example: I search for my pen all along the corridors, everywhere. I ask everybody, including the maid servant, “Where is my pen?” I harangue my children and all at home because I can not find my pen. It becomes a very important international issue! (Laughter) So I keep on searching for my pen. Then finally, I just forget about it.
Suddenly, reading a newspaper, or looking into empty air, I recall where I left my pen. Am I not right? Suddenly you recall where you left your pen or your keychain. Suddenly you remember where you kept the torch. When you search for them, you can’t find them. When you ask people, they can’t help you either. When you stop thinking about it, suddenly you get a flash. Am I not right? Similarly, enlightenment happens. It is not something scheduled to happen, like a departure time for a plane at 7 hours 22 minutes. (Laughter)
Therefore, enlightenment is a happening . . . provided we make a beginning. When the river starts flowing, it will merge into the ocean. The beginning is the end. That’s all. You don’t have to look for the end. When you begin, it leads to the end itself.
For instance, you have the ingredients to make coffee – milk, sugar, hot water, and coffee. When all is there, it is the beginning of the preparation of coffee. When they are mixed, it is the end of the preparation of coffee. (Because I love coffee, I’m giving that as an example. Old habits die hard, you know.) (Laughter)
Therefore my friends, when we begin moving towards enlightenment, it is also indicating the end, the obtaining of it. It is leading to the end, to the ‘happening’. That’s how we have to understand enlightenment, how it happens.
Enlightenment is every individual’s birthright
There are some people say, “Oh sir! Why do you speak of these things? They belong to a higher level of spirituality.”
Some will say, “I am at a higher level.” (People of that level, please understand: There are no ‘levels’ in spirituality.) Oh ho! Perhaps you’ve got a ‘high’ sofa or a ‘high’ bed because of the height of the legs! (Laughter)
But in religion and spirituality, in the kingdom of God, all are one. There is nothing such as one being higher and the other being lower. Therefore, let us not say that enlightenment is for those at a higher level. No, no, no! Enlightenment is the birthright of every individual.
You cannot decree, “Only that seed can grow into a tree.”
The other seed will say, “Shut up! I, too, can grow.”
The third seed will say, “See me as I grow!”
Another seed will say, “What a fool you are! We all can germinate and sprout.”
You cannot say, “Only seeds of Russia can germinate, or seeds of America are fit enough to germinate.” Every seed can germinate or sprout up into a sapling, and grow into a mighty tree. A seed has all the power and all the potential to grow into a tree – every seed. Every seed anywhere can geminate.
Similarly, anyone can experience the happening of enlightenment. It is not anybody’s copyright. Fortunately, you cannot patent enlightenment. Some people are patenting everything. They have not patented air, so far! Therefore, enlightenment is the birthright of everybody. Everyone has the potential to attain enlightenment through realisation. May that stimulate those of us on the spiritual path to progress more this new year!
innocence takes us closer to god
I also appeal to you, adding this important statement. Bhagavan always values primary school children, much to the embarrassment of all of us. Come Sports Day, He starts declaring, “The primary school is the best.” He loves children so much because a child has an air of fresh innocence.
We are ignorant, but we are not innocent. An ignorant man is a fool; he is to be censured. An ignorant person should be informed of the facts. I study for degrees to remove my ignorance, in order to be knowledgeable, respectable, esteemed. My dignity, prestige and status in society are then well-established. Nobody wants to be ignorant throughout his life. But innocence is not like that. It is spiritual, and takes us closer and closer to God. Innocence is Divine.
Equanimity is a sign of innocence
How do you identify innocence? We know ignorance. Ignorance needs no elucidation. When I say something false, my ignorance is revealed. (Laughter) As one talks, the ignorance becomes Himalayan. Let’s say, some shine by silence! (Laughter)
How then to identify innocence? Innocence is a state of bliss, irrespective of whatever happens. That means equanimity, a balanced state of mind, chittapragnya. These are words collected from books; but the actual experience is the state of being unruffled, of being undisturbed . . . the continuous state of bliss, irrespective of all that happens around. Let the year 2007 make us more and more innocent, less and less ignorant.
Innocence is also courage. You ask a child to try something; the child will immediately say, “I will do that, I will do that.”
“Arre, how can you do it?”
“I will!” (Laughter)
An ignorant fellow is a coward. “Arre, can you do it?”
“Let me think about it and let you know.”
Or, “Would you do this?”
“I’m not sure.” (Laughter)
So the ignorant person is cowardly, while the innocent person is courageous. The innocent person will have natural qualities. The innocent child plays with you. The innocent child loves you. But the ignorant person will love you, prompted by fear.
You might tell him, “Unless you do this or that – unless you ‘Love All, Serve All’, you will be removed from office at the Sathya Sai Centre!”
“Oh ho, I see.” (Laughter)
“Very good. Unless you attend Nagarsankirtan, you cannot be a member of the Sai Centre” and so on. It’s all foolishness; it’s all ridiculous. It is not religion at all!
Therefore my friends, the ignorant man acts out of compulsion and he responds out of fear; whereas, the innocent person acts because of his courage, because of his natural quality of unconditional love.
life is cash to be enjoyed now, not a promissory note
We may also realise, as we go into this year of 2007, that life is cash. You may be wondering why I am speaking about cash when we want ash . . . vibhuthi. (Laughter) People are used to all kinds of trash — useless talk. I’m not talking about ash or trash, but cash.
Life is cash and not a promissory note. A promissory note or a fixed deposit is useful in the future. Insurance policies are useful after your death. (Laughter) But cash can be used right now in a coffee stall, in the South Indian canteen, in the North Indian canteen, for pizza or pie or cake.
Therefore, my friends, life is cash, not a promissory note. Enjoy it now! Cash it. Be happy now – not, “I will enjoy life in six years’ time” (meanwhile chanting “Hari Om, Hari Om”, as life passes you by)! (Laughter, applause) So the message for 2007 is that life is cash to be enjoyed, to be used right now. A very good discovery! (Laughter)
let us travel within to experience him
The Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin landed on the moon. Then Neil Armstrong from America travelled in outer space, as have other astronauts and cosmonauts. They all said, “We went around the earth, but God was not found anywhere.”
You don’t even have to go into outer space to say that; you can say it here. Why waste the money? All those who travelled in space unanimously declared that there is no God to be seen, no height nor weight nor identification marks.
We also search for God in outer space, and therefore are not able to find Him. God can be known only in the inner space travel, and not in the outer space travel.
“I am seeking God, I am searching for God.” Nonsense! How long is that going to continue?
Some people say, “Mr. Anil Kumar, we’ll do it after this next stage, at a higher stage.”
I say, “A higher stage?! We might have reached the lower stage because of our age! What is the next stage? You can’t walk briskly because of arthritis, but you want to become a Sai Centre Convenor? You want to live for one hundred or more years? People are waiting for you now to quit so that they may get the chance to become a Convenor!” (Laughter) So, where is the guarantee?
It’s not like that, my friends. What is required is this: We should travel within to experience and enjoy Him. God is not an object to be found. God is the subject. It is in the subjectivity that you can enjoy Divinity. That is the beauty of life.
Life should be full of smiles and joy. Life is a miraculous, magical dance festival. Yes, life is a festival of dance. We cannot reduce such a life to a mobile phone or a matchbox. We cannot make it little, tiny, and simple. No. We should know how to experience life, how to enjoy life.
Individuality is more important than personality
This year should help us to grow more at the level of the heart, not the mind. At the level of the heart, we feel love. At the level of the mind, we feel ego. So individuality is the heart, while personality is the mind. Let us care more for individuality, because personality will not remain.
If I look at my photograph taken twenty years ago, I don’t want to see myself in the mirror now! (Laughter) No, no! I beg all photographers not to take my photo, because at one time — BC — I was handsome. (Laughter)
So personality is not important. It’s individuality that is more important. Personality is our worldly civilisation; but individuality represents our culture. The heart represents culture and values. May the year 2007 help us to develop that heart.
Spiritual life is a travel from eternity to eternity
Then, let us also know that there is no hurry.
Some people say, “See! He has done so much! Let me do as well.”
No, no! He has done so much, but he is only that much. It’s not a question of weighing or degrees of success.
“Sir, he has done so much.”
“OK, let him continue to do so.” (Laughter)
Don’t worry. Life is not a rat race. Life is not about competition. Spiritual life is a travel from eternity to eternity, over any number of lives. Yes, there is no hurry. As leisurely as the river flows by, touched by the wind, with its up-surging waves on the surface, we see that life is beautiful. Life is magical, life is rhythmic. It has a rhythm, a beat. Let’s not miss the beat. That’s most important.
a power hungry person suffers from inferiority complex
Let’s not run after power. Some people want rank or position as soon as possible. The one who runs after power is psychologically sick. He has an inferiority complex. Unless he has power, he thinks that nobody will take notice of him. Out of the love of power, people will annihilate you.
Therefore, let us be aware that I, as an individual, am more important than I, as so-and-so, in charge of such-and-such. When you don’t discharge your duty, what is the point of being in charge of that duty? A power-hungry person is a sickly person, a psychological pervert. Let’s not be like that.
Creation is the sport of god
Let us also understand that we need to take life playfully, joyfully, not seriously. If you take life seriously, there is a Super-Specialty Hospital ready for you! (Laughter) (Baba did not establish the Super-Specialty Hospital in order to admit His devotees there. No!)
Let us all be joyful. Let us all be blissful. Let us all be happy, because this is all the sport or leela of God. The whole of Creation is a leela of God, everything happening according to His Will or sankalpa.
Well, with these words, wishing you all the best and Godspeed in this year of 2007, I take leave from you. Thank you very much.
Anil Kumar concludes with the following bhajan,
“Bhaja Mana Narayana Narayana Narayana”.
God bless you. Thank you very much!
Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti