A Special Talk Given by Prof. Anil Kumar in Orlando, Florida, USA
“Talk for the Youth”
March 21st, 2009
Sainath Baba Maharaj Ki Jai!
With Humble Pranams at the Lotus Feet of our most Beloved Bhagavan,
Professor Anil Kumar begins his talk by singing “Jaya Ho, Jaya Ho Narayana.”
It gives me immense pleasure to be amongst you this afternoon with the Divine Grace of our Lord Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It is quite unbelievable that I am here, at this hour, while examinations are on at Prashanti Nilayam. This must be an exceptional coincidence as it hasn’t happened since the inception of the University.
I had a personal programme for devotees in Texas, so I made a simple request to Bhagavan to go, and He said, “By all means, go.”
Apart from this personal obligation, I feel that it is all your collective prayers and my own deeper yearning to be amongst you that made this a reality. I can only thank Swami again and again for this opportunity!
Well, although I am quite conscious of the fact that there are only a few of you here, I do not consider that important. It is quite possible that the few are representing the many -- that is how it is in a democracy. So it could be that each one of you is representing the many who could not find it convenient to be with us on this pleasant afternoon.
My friends, Bhagavan has very high hopes for you. Seventy five percent of Bhagavan’s time is spent on students, youngsters, the youth, and especially the Youth Wing which has been started world-wide in Sri Sathya Sai Organisations. Also, we find youngsters occupying very high positions in the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations today.
I personally believe that the trend of the Organisation should be in tune with the times that we live in. We cannot afford to be archaic, outdated or antique. We should be modern, and ultra modern, if it is necessary. If there is anyone who is modern and up-to-date, it is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
You need not be surprised if I tell you Swami speaks about electro-magnetic waves, quantum theory, quantum mechanics, and the theory of relativity. Gone are the days when He told little stories and poems. Now it is theory, science and technology! We should complement such an up-to-date God. We should match Him! We cannot be outdated.
It is in this context that I am extremely happy to be amongst you. Because I work with students in the Sathya Sai University I will let you know how the boys and girls serve all and interpret Swami’s message. They also create some good jokes from the messages! Of course, the students will only know the depth and profundity of His messages as the days go by. But right now they appreciate the humour in a literal interpretation!
To give you an example: It so happened that one day in the hostel, the warden and the other teachers were distributing two chapattis per head. The chapattis were all set out in a line . . . two . . . two . . . two!
A computer science student in M. Tech, said “Sir, I need three”.
They said, “Why? We decided on two chapattis for every student; why should it be three?”
“Sirs, what did Baba say? ‘You are not one, but three. The one you think you are, the one others think you are, and the one you really are. You are not one, but three.’ So I need three chapattis.”
(Anil Kumar laughs) It is a joke, but at the same time, I liked it. Boys remember Swami’s quotes this way; they will experience the gist of what is there much later.
I also remember another incident while I was in Bangalore as Principal of the campus.
Two students came to my office and one boy said, “Sir, there is an error in the office records; please correct it.”
“Sir, I am only nineteen, but the records put my age as twenty years.”
“Oh! Good, I understand. I will tell the clerk to correct it, don’t worry.”
He was accompanied by another friend. Both the friends were talking in front of me.
The other fellow said,” What? How old are you?”
“Oh, oh! Nineteen is your body’s age, but you are not the body -- you are the spirit! The spirit has no age, so how can you say that you are nineteen?!”
So they understand the ageless spirit, but they joke around like that. I really enjoyed that joke also.
Here is another one. One day, a boy in the hostel remained in the bathroom. There was a long queue of boys who had to get to the college on time, and there was this fellow who was holding them up.
One fellow knocked on the door and asked, “Who is there? “
You know what that boy said? “I am ‘I’”. (Laughter)
See that! Boys are boys after all, wherever they are. I really enjoy their company. There is nothing greater than the company of youngsters and working with them.
What are the requirements of youth? What does Swami expect the youth to possess?
Sadgunnambulu, Sadbuddhi, Sathyanirathi, Bhakthi, Kramashikshana, Kartavyapalanamboo
The first thing Swami wants the youngsters to cultivate is virtues. Virtues!
Sadgunnambulu: good qualities, noble qualities, generous qualities.
Sadbuddhi:-.good mind, good intellect, a good sense of discrimination as to what is right and what is wrong, what is true, what is untrue.
Sathyanirathi: adherence to Truth, follow the path of Truth.
These are the six qualities that youngsters should have, as Baba said in one of His discourses.
Please excuse me! It is my habit as a translator to repeat what He says in Telugu and then render it into English, although I know you do not understand even a letter of Telugu (the language of Andhra Pradesh).
On another occasion He said:
Viswa Shanthi Chekoorpu Vidhamunerpi
What does it mean?
We should have that kind of approach, that kind of behaviour, that sort of relationship, as to contribute to universal peace. We should not make anybody restless or agitated or disturbed for any reason. Wherever we are, the whole ambiance should be at peace. We should be at peace within ourselves and we should also see that there is peace all around.
Sankuchita Bhavamulanella Samayachesi
Dispel narrow-mindedness and narrow parochial feelings based on region, religion, nation, gender, or whatever. One cannot be narrow-minded, lopsided, or prejudiced. No! Broadmindedness! Equanimity! That’s what is required.
Aikyamatyamu, Sahajeevanadhikamu, Samata
Unity, co-operation, equality, equanimity and broadmindedness are the qualities that youth should develop. Bhagavan mentions these in His talk.
During morning darshan, Swami comes and looks at the boys. If He sees a gloomy face, He always says, “Hmm! Why such a sour face? Why don’t you smile?”
Youngsters should be able to smile. It is not that we cannot afford to smile . . . and whether we want to smile or not is immaterial. You should smile. If you are not able to smile at this age, the smiles will be miles and miles away when you are older. One should be able to smile. Swami wants people with smiling faces and bubbling enthusiasm.
Once He was talking to hostel students in a casual, informal way. You know what Baba said? “See, so many foreigners come to Me and those foreigners are very happy looking at Me. They smile . . . aahh, whereas you fellows have miserable faces. You are not at all happy. What’s wrong with you?” He says to them, “Why don’t you smile?”
Therefore my friends, Bhagavan wants us to be happy, for that is the ultimate pursuit or endeavour in life, to be happy. If you have the whole world and you are not happy, it is worthless. Happiness is the goal of life. Happiness is the purpose of life.
What does Baba want from young people? He wants us to make the best use of time. We cannot afford to waste time. Swami says: “Time waste is life waste.”
He will just look at the boys and say, “Hmm . . . array, boy! What were you doing last night?”
“Last night? Swami, I did not go anywhere!”
“No, no! I know what you were doing last night!”
“I went nowhere!”
“Aay! I know you went to this room, and that room, like a cat and a rat! (Laughter) You are just like a cat and a rat. Why do you do things like that?”
This is a lesson for everybody to mind their own business and not to move about aimlessly like a rat and a cat. So, while cutting a joke, there is a lesson behind it.
On another occasion, when the Super Specialty Hospital at Bangalore was under construction, I was with the college boys, encouraging them to do a little bit of service. College boys were enthusiastically serving, lifting the cement bags, sand bags and bricks.
Suddenly, Swami stopped His car by my side and said, “Come here!” I went.
“What is wrong with you?” He said.
“Nothing is wrong with me, Swami. The boys are working and I am supervising.”
“Can’t they sing and do their work? Can’t they sing bhajans (songs of devotion) and do their work? If the work is important, I can as well employ casual labour. Anyone of them can do this work. Those professional experts can do a better job than you have been doing. Why have I given you all this opportunity? It is so that you will do your work while singing in praise of God.”
Namasmarana – singing in praise of God while doing seva (voluntary service) at the same time.
Namasmarana is bhakthi yoga or the path of devotion. Karma is doing work or the path of action. When karma or action and bhakthi or singing the praises of God go together, that gives jnana, the experience of real wisdom.
We are mistaken if we think that jnana or wisdom is academic. Is it textual information? No! Jnana is not textual information or book knowledge. It is not recitation, and it is not the monotony of repeating a stanza day and night, disturbing others. It is not that. Those who recite spiritual texts do not know their meaning. Therefore, what is jnana if it is not recitation? Oh, no, no, an audio computer disc can do that much better than you or I, faultlessly and tirelessly.
Jnana or wisdom is the experience of mixing karma (actions) with bhakthi (singing in praise of God). So singing in praise of God plus action is equal to jnana or wisdom. That is the definition given by Bhagavan Baba.
So now you know why He said, “Why don’t you ask them to sing?”
And the moment I told the boys that, oh . . . the whole campus echoed with bhajans because they are experts in singing. Swami likes the boys and girls to sing bhajans very much.
He also wants some top well-known singers to know about the students and their talents.
If M. S. Subbalakshmi, Padmavibhushan, or Pundit Ravishankar come to Prashanti Nilayam, He will say to them, “Ah! Good, good!” He gives them some clothes and drinks and asks them to sit down.
Then He says “Boys, come on and sit, too! (Laughter) Now, where is Ravishankar, and where are the chokras (students)? Are they still coming?”
Afterwards He asks Ravishankar, “How are my boys? (Laughter) How do they sing?”
He will say, “Wah, wah!” naturally, in front of Swami.
“Oh! I see! You know that boy is M.Sc.; the one playing on the tabla is a PhD boy; the one on the harmonium is a MBA boy. In my college, all the students are very, very good singers and achieve good ranks in their education, too.”
He is so proud of His children, I tell you. He is so proud.
He wants to show them off to the general public, and also to the artists. This is because in ordinary life, those who are academic are very poor in music; those who are academic are very poor in sports, or those who are top in sports do poorly in academic subjects. But Bhagavan wants an integrated, total personality development, wholesome and complete. That is what Swami expects.
And in the body, one should be quite strong. He does not want boys to bend or slump. If any fellow sits like that, array! “Grandmother, sit straight!” He wants them to sit up straight. He does not want anybody to bend.
He commented many times, “Anil Kumar, why do you bend like that?”
I said, “Out of humility, Swami.” (Laughter)
Also, He does not want people to eat too much and look like Malvolio, or Feste, the jester, as in the William Shakespeare plays. These are characters in Shakespearean comedies where roles such as Falstaff (who played a very fat man) were quite popular.
Swami is really, I tell you, Krishna Himself, most mischievous. Krishna Himself! There was an army gentleman, a VIP, who was walking along the verandah to where the boys were seated. Swami looked at him as he passed by.
“Array, look at him – his body! That man is not only simply going – he sails! His size must be a question mark! (Laughter) Yah! Psch, psch, psch! Pah! Too much eating! (Laughter)
There is a very tall boy. Aey, he is like a coconut tree! (Laughter)
Swami will say “Where is ‘coconut tree’? Is he here?” (Laughter)
Or there is a very short boy, three mangoes in size. Array!
Swami asks “Where’s ‘three mangoes’?”
That is the way He keeps the boys quite active and alert. Yes! They love Him more than their own parents. There are many students who want to spend their vacation with Swami, in His company. They don’t want to go home.
How can one calculate the kind of love that He showers upon them? To be so endearing, so close, more so than one’s own parents, is only given to Swami.
In the examination season, He will suddenly look at some fellow and say, “Array, what is wrong with you”?
“Swami . . .”
But we don’t want to talk of our weaknesses in front of everybody.
That fellow opens his mouth and Swami looks at him and says, “You are poor in mathematics. I know you are poor in mathematics, don’t worry. Swami will take care. Don’t worry.”
And at the end of the examination, the next day, He will ask, “Array, boy, how badly did you fail?”
“Swami, I did well.”
“Aey! Four problems wrong! Why do you say that you did well? You know I wrote it for you. You will get ninety percent, you will see.”
And that fellow gets ninety percent! He knows their problems. He comes to their rescue.
Or He will look at another fellow and say, “Array! Are you sick?”
“What do the doctors say?”
“The doctor may be having isnophilia, not you. (Laughter) It is only a Malaria nana. Psch, psch! Come on . . . Vibhuthi (sacred healing ash) will act against it. Finished!”
That fellow is active again.
You see, the physical, mental, and intellectual needs of the students are taken care of by Swami, and the future is guaranteed.
We do not have such a wide cover of life insurance in this world. It only covers the life span; and the money is given to the people left behind after this man takes off with a marching band to the other planet.
But Swami’s Divine life insurance cover assures; it insures our body, mind and intellect, and the future career.
I would also like to add one more point. He follows the life of every person who surrenders to Him. Even if you want to commit a mistake, He will not allow you to do it. Please take it from me - He will see to it that you will not be able to do it. Some obstacle, something or the other will occur so that you do not make that mistake.
Particularly in relationships, He is very cautious. He sees to it that following that, there will be a total failure for you.
There is another important point. There will be never be a time that He drops you - even if you forget, He will not forget you. “I shall not forsake you even if you forsake Me,” said Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
I know the instance of a person who came to Swami after a gap of twenty-five years. Swami comes to him and says, “You have forgotten Swami, but Swami has not forgotten you.” And He reminds him of what He knew about his family who met Him twenty-five years ago.
This certainly shows us that we are registered, that we cannot get away from Sai’s magnetic field. We have to revolve around that centre in safety. Safe and well, fine, nothing wrong! Everything is guaranteed.
My children, I would be happy to answer some of your questions within the time left from now on. I do abide by your timing and your discipline, because left to me, I would speak until the bell rings, as professors do. I shall not do that, so kindly tell me when this session should come to an end.
Now the floor is open to you. Please feel free. Kindly ask any question under the sun. No problem!
A question is asked . . .
Thank you for that question which will be taken up in the meeting to follow. This session is for youth, you know – youth-connected problems, youth activities, the vision of youth, the purpose of youth, and their role in the organisation. I will certainly come back to you. Thank you very much.
Yes! Will you please give him the hand-mike?
Array, were you the boy who led the team on that day and made some announcements in front of Swami? Hmm! I remember you. Good! How are you doing? Good! God bless you!
Sai Ram, my question is this: We all have so many things happening -- job, career, school, and Sai activities on top of that. Priority-wise, how do we set everything up into our time? What should we say ‘No’ to, and what should we say ‘Yes’ to, and how do we judge?
Why don’t you give him a big hand for putting out a question which applies to everybody? (Applause) Some may feel shy to ask that question. He is a frank man. Good! I appreciate you. God bless you.
His question is this: There is a growing demand made on your time. On one side, you have to be at the work place on a regular basis; and on the other side, you have service activities. How to match both? The time factor, the time constraint, that is your question. Am I right? Good. This question was put to Bhagavan by one of the students.
Recently, there was a meeting in the Poornachandra Auditorium attended by six hundred alumni or former students of the University. Swami was very kind enough to ask them, “Come on, anybody can ask questions.”
One boy put this question:
Swami, how are we to participate in service activities? It is very hard to fulfil our professional obligation in this competitive society, in this rat race. We are under so much tension. And because of our work, we do not have sufficient time to participate in service activities. What are we to do?
This applies to everybody, friends. This is the Divine reply I quote. Swami said two points here:
The first point: When you truly have no time to participate in service activities (like a doctor who is always on call), then Baba said, “Think of God and do your duty - that becomes worship. Duty is God, work is worship. You think of Me and proceed with your duty. You do not have to do anything else. Whatever you do is service.” That is what Baba said.
But if you do your duty minus God’s name, you are winning your bread, you are working. You are a robot, a computer, and you are programmed. But if we submit, if we surrender and do anything in His name, then that becomes service. That is what Baba said.
The second point: You have time to chat, to go to the club, to read the newspaper and watch T.V., but you have no time to serve. You have time to go on a holiday trip, you have time for week-ends off, but you have no time for God. It is silly.
Further He said, if there is some professional incentive, a rise in your pay packet, will you say that you have no time? No, no!
“I can do even more. (Laughter) I can do it!”
So we are more materialistic. Where there is love, we will never say,” I have no time.”
That is the other point from Baba. Is that okay? Thank you for your good question.
Any other questions, please?
The question is regarding decision-making. What is Swami’s advice about making decisions that have life-altering consequences like, the young adults getting married or starting a family? In general, what does He say about decision-making?
Either with regard to family life or professional decisions or whatever it is, decision-making is really taking a decision, which is a very important component of our life.
Swami gave two points. I will tell you point by point, because I am a professor; what am I to do? Old habits die hard!
The first point is this. Don’t act upon the decision that strikes your mind immediately. If you feel like doing something, do not do it immediately. Take some time.
Why? Haste makes waste. Waste makes worry. So do not be in a hurry. Worry creates problems in life.
That is what Bhagavan says. Therefore, do not immediately act upon the decision that comes to your mind. Take time.
The second point is: just pray for a little while. We do not have to pray loudly or say some Sanskrit slokas (verses) or go to a priest. It is not necessary.
Just pray silently, pray within, think of His name, say His name and see His form, and you will get the right direction. That is what Bhagavan said: “Look up to Me.”
We follow the mind, but we do not follow the Master. The Master is our conscience, our inner voice and our spirit. The Master is Bhagavan Himself. Look to Him, follow the Master, and do not follow the mind. That is what Bhagavan says. Then decision-making will be perfect.
Am I clear? Thank you! Good question, very good question. It will apply to everybody. Yes!
Do you want seniors to put questions on your behalf? There are lots of questions! Life itself has become a matter of question! Anybody?
Since God created everything, and everything that God created is good, how did bad thoughts, words and deeds come about?
Good! Are you a computer student? (Laughter) Where everything is programmed, wireless and everything . . . (Laughter) No? I understand. Okay!
Now, everything that is created by God is good and perfect. There is no doubt about it. Then, how do things go wrong? Why are there mistakes, sins, lapses and failures? Why do reverses happen in life, contrary to the original Divine design in which we are made? Am I clear?
The thing is this: When selfishness dominates in our interaction with people and in our relationships, we naturally commit mistakes. When self-centeredness dominates, we become highly selfish. So, selfishness - the element of pride, the tendency to be egoistic - is the main reason. These crop up in our interrelationships in the community, leading to failures. But, originally, all is totally Divine. Am I clear?
I will be very happy if you say that you are not satisfied with my answer. After being a professor for forty-five years, I am used to it if someone says, “Well, I do not agree with you.” Yes! We can agree to disagree at times.
Yes, any more, please?
If you are supposed to make decisions using your conscience, and to live through conscience, then where does planning and goal-setting come in?
Aah! The questioner is asking about the answer to the previous query on decision-making. That’s it. (Applause) Better late than never! (Anil Kumar laughs.)
Okay! A simple example. There is a thermal station with a main switch, and other switches and lights. If I turn on the main switch, does it mean that the other switches have no function? No, they have their function after the main switch is turned on. Likewise, once you use the conscience (the main switch) to tell you something, the mind will fall in line.
On the other hand, if you are subject to the control of the mind, it goes jumping here and there because it is the nature of the mind to waver. That is why what Swami says, “Mind is a monkey mind.” The mind is like a mad monkey.
So if certain kinds of decision are given to the mind, it goes on jumping and shifting, it goes on arguing. Thought – counter thought, argument – counter argument, and you are left in confusion. Then you need to consult a psychiatrist!
On the other hand, if you look to the conscience, it will be very clear. “Do this!” There ends the matter.
The voice of the conscience, what is called the inner voice or the voice of God, is so clear that there is no ambiguity. No more clarity is needed; it is straightforward. Am I clear?
So when thoughts are tossing, oscillating, and vacillating, it is psychological, only the mind. When it is straightforward and direct, that is the conscience. Yes.
Anymore questions, please? (Applause) Yes!
Can the conscience be taught? Do we have to develop the conscience?
See that! What a quality question! Give her a big hand! (Applause) Wah, wah! Good! I will answer that question. This is the last question, but the best question of the day. Yes!
Here is the answer: Conscience is not to be taught. Conscience is not to be exported, imported, manufactured, generated or created. You are born with conscience: you are born with consciousness. That consciousness or conscience has to be awakened. That is what we are supposed to do.
The balvikas (spiritual education program for children) children are taught right from childhood the process of silent sitting. Silent sitting at a young age – and later meditation - are the processes and techniques to awaken, kindle and unfold the hidden conscience, or consciousness, with which we are born.
Thank you for your question. (Applause)
Right! How are you? Why are you so serious? What is wrong with you? (Laughter)
I met a large number of Americans from different states and this is my fifth visit or so. Everywhere I find smiling, smiling faces.
I do not know . . . are spiritual faces serious or what? Or do you think that in a spiritual meeting you have to be serious? I do not know.
Professor Anil Kumar finished his talk by singing “Jaya Ho, Jaya Ho Narayana.”
© Copyright Prof.Anil Kumar Kamaraju - Puttaparthi All rights reserved.