the Divine Discourse delivered by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on 23th
November 2004 (79th Birthday Celebrations), at Prashanti Nilayam, Sai
All your education, all your positions of authority, all your acts of
charity and service have little value without the four virtues of
Sathya, Dharma, Prema and Santhi (truth, righteousness, love and peace).
Embodiments of Love!
You are all forgetting the purpose for which you have come into this
world. Wherever you are, you must remember three things, namely, Where
did we come from? Where are we at present? and what is the purpose of
your coming here? Supposing you are dropping an envelope or letter in a
post box, it should have the "From" address and "To" address written
thereon. If these two addresses are not written, where will the envelope
or letter go? It will go to the "dead letter office". Similarly, you are
in the world now without these two addresses. You can very well imagine
what will happen to such an individual. You must therefore find out
yourself an answer at least for one of the three questions. Otherwise,
your life itself will become a waste.
Here is a small story. The business people in the delta areas of East
and West Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh cross the river on boats.
Once, a businessman was travelling in a boat. There was no one else in
the boat except himself and the boatman. Usually, people would like to
engage themselves in conversation with somebody during travel in order
to forget the tedium of the journey. Therefore, he started a
conversation with the boatman to while away the time. He asked the
boatman, "Do you have a newspaper?" The boatman replied, "Sir! I don't
have a newspaper. I cannot read and write." To this, the businessman
commented, "Alas! If you cannot read and write, one quarter of your life
is consigned to the waters of Ganga." The boatman felt sorry for his
pitiable condition and kept quiet. After a few minutes, the businessman
enquired again, "My dear! Do you know the present prices of gold and
silver in the Bombay market?" The boatman replied, "Sir! I do not have
any experience in gold business. Hence, I do not know the prices of gold
and silver in the Bombay market." Then the businessman commented, "If
you do not know about gold business, half of your life is consigned to
the waters of Ganga*." The conversation continued. Observing the wrist
watch worn by the boatman, the businessman again enquired, "My dear!
What is the time now?" Though the poor boatman had a watch on his wrist,
he did not know how to read a watch. The businessman again asked, "Why
then did you wear a wrist watch?" The boatman replied, "Though one does
not know how to read a watch, it is a fashion nowadays to wear a wrist
watch. That is why I am wearing one." Then, the businessman commented,
"If you do not know even to tell the time from a wrist watch, then
three-fourths of your life is consigned to the Ganga." Meanwhile, a gale
started with great force raising high waves in the river. The boat
started tossing up and down and became unsteady. The boatman then asked
the businessman, "Sir! By the way do you know swimming?" The businessman
replied, "Alas! I do not know swimming." Now it was the turn of the
boatman to comment, "Then, your entire life is about to be consigned to
the waters of Ganga."
Today, we are all in the same situation and are tossed in the river of
this world. But, unfortunately we are not making any effort to know why
we are here, what have we to learn in this world, where do we have to go
and by knowing what we could reach there, etc. Thus, by being ignorant
of these aspects, our entire life is being consigned to the Ganga.
Therefore, we have to first try to find out answers to the queries of:
Why have we come here? What are we supposed to know? and Where do we go
from here? If we are not able to know the answer to at least one of
these queries, our life's journey will be without a purpose. It is only
when we are aware of the "From" address, "To" address and the "present
resident" address, our life will be meaningful and sanctified.
Dr. Michael Goldstein (Chairman, Prasanthi Council and a devotee of
Swami) and his wife visit Puttaparthi often. When I was going to the
college one day, he approached Me and requested, "Swami, if You kindly
permit me, I will accompany You to the college." I told him to come.
While we were travelling in the car, I asked Mr. Goldstein, "What is
your programme?" He replied, "Swami, I have to start my journey back
home today." Then I advised him not to leave on that day. He again told
Me, "Swami, I shall go today, but I shall take the next day's flight
from Bombay. "Thereupon I told him firmly, "You do not talk to Me about
all those things. If I say don't go, it is final." Goldstein could not
realise that his life itself would be in great danger if he decided to
start on the same day. At last I told him, "Okay, you can go, if you so
wish." Then he returned to his room, packed up his luggage for the
Bombay flight. Thereafter, he boarded the plane for USA. Soon after the
plane took off, it was realised that there were some hijackers in the
plane. The entire atmosphere in the aircraft was extremely tense. Two
hijackers stood guard at the entrance. Another two were roaming about in
the aircraft with fully loaded guns pointed at the passengers. It is
then that Goldstein realised why Swami wanted him not to board the
aircraft on that particular day. He could not do anything in the
situation and was praying to Swami as his sole refuge. His wife is a
great devotee of Swami. She started chanting Swami's Name, "Sai Ram, Sai
Ram, Sai Ram". When the aircraft gained some altitude, the hijackers
started shooting the passengers. The passengers were struck with terror
not knowing what to do. As the hijackers opened fire, the aircraft was
strewn with dead bodies. He and his wife were seated on the front
portion of the aircraft. The hijackers started shooting the passengers
around them. They thought it would be their turn next. Goldstein then
told his wife, "Swami advised me not to start on this day, but I did not
follow Swami's instruction completely and that is why we are in this
situation." Meanwhile, one hijacker set his eyes on the couple.
Goldstein's wife, however, had been chanting the Name of Swami
incessantly forgetting everything. The chanting of Swami's Name worked
wonders and Goldstein's wife was spared. Goldstein then got up and stood
at the entrance of the aircraft. The hijackers, however, could not
notice him even though he was such a hefty person. Thus, the life of
Goldstein was saved by Swami's grace. They remained on the plane as
hostages for a long time without food, water and sleep. They were very
much depressed. Goldstein's wife has intense devotion for Swami.
Normally women are more devoted than men. It is not that men do not have
devotion, but they do not show it outwardly. Goldstein's wife advised
him, "You do not worry, contemplate on Swami." At this point the
hijackers began to shoot men, women and children mercilessly. Goldstein
and his wife, however, continued to pray to Swami, "Sai Ram, Sai Ram,
Sai Ram". They silently prayed to Swami closing their eyes. In the
meantime, all the ammunition in the guns of the hijackers was exhausted.
The police caught the hijackers. Goldstein and his wife were released
and put on board on another aircraft bound for America. However, the
ordeal that they underwent continued to haunt them. After a few days,
the police came to enquire about the incident. Goldstein was offered
some compensation, but he did not accept it. After two or three months,
Goldstein again came to Puttaparthi and had Swami's Darshan. Now he
realised through his own experience that he need not fear anything under
any circumstances if he did Namasmarana (chanting of God's Name). After
he had Swami's Darshan, calmness was restored in him. From then on, when
Swami would enquire about his return journey he would leave it to the
Lord's Will. He realised that it would be better to leave the matter in
Swami's hands. From then on Goldstein developed unshakeable faith in the
words of Swami and stood firmly by them.
People today are unable to realise from where they came and where they
would go. It is only after people have undergone such experiences that
they realise the strength of faith. They have come into this world and
somehow spend their time. When someone questions them how they spend
their time, they reply that they have come into this world for enjoying
food and comfortable sleep. However, it should be understood that man
has taken birth in this world not merely for enjoying food and drink.
The same truth has been explained by Adi Sankara in his famous Bhaja
Govindam song thus:
Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam
Govindam Bhaja Moodha Mathe
Samprapthe Sannihithe Kale
Nahi Nahi Rakshati Dukrun Karane
(Oh foolish man, chant the name of Govinda; the rules of grammar will
not come to your rescue when the end approaches.)
When people are questioned why the human birth was given to them, most
of them would reply that it was for Khana (food), Peena (drink), Sona
(sleep) and Marna (death). This assumption is totally incorrect. There
are several things in life that one has to achieve. The purpose of a
human birth is not for enjoying food and comforts. It is not even for
pursuing education. The purpose of human birth is totally different and
the people have forgotten it. You have to fulfil your life and sanctify
your birth. The body comes, grows and dies, and finally undergoes decay.
Before the body dies, one has to fulfil the purpose for which he has
come into this world.
Embodiments of Love!
There will be several trials and tribulations in the journey of life.
One has to acquire the power by which he can courageously encounter
them. That is the power of spirituality. One should not become diffident
and withdraw from his effort in the middle. In this Bhavasagara (ocean
of life), there will of course be, turbulent waves which will toss your
boat up and down.
Punarapi Jananam Punarapi Maranam
Punarapi Janani Jathare Sayanam
Iha Samsare Bahu Dustare
Kripayapare Pahi Murare.
(Oh Lord! I am caught up in this cycle of birth and death; time and
again, I am experiencing the agony of staying in the mother's womb. It
is very difficult to cross this ocean of worldly life. Please take me
across this ocean and grant me liberation.)
The purpose of human birth is not to be born again and again from the
womb of the mother, spend the life aimlessly and finally depart from
this world. There is a specific purpose why one is born in this world.
Therefore, one has to realise the purpose and sanctify his life. Our
education, our work and the money we earn, all these must be spent in a
purposeful way. The students of the present-day are pursuing education
to make a living. They are acquiring degrees with the sole purpose of
earning money. What is so great about struggling for filling one's own
belly? Even dogs and foxes fill their bellies. You might have observed
in the circus that even the monkeys learn several types of feats and
display them. You, who are born as human beings should not behave like
dogs, foxes and monkeys. If you do so, of what use is your education?
The education you acquire must be put to proper use. Only then will it
become meaningful and will give strength to your personality. The
purpose of your life is not merely pursuing education and acquiring
degrees. Of course, you may study, but it is not enough if you simply
study for acquiring degrees.
Can you call all those who know how to read and write educated?
Can one be called educated merely by acquiring degrees?
Can you call it education which does not confer virtues?
It is only when you keep education for both life and for living as your
goal, your education will be meaningful. Therefore, every human being
must keep the purpose of life in view. Of what use is it, if you exult
in your success thinking, "I have passed MBA; I have acquired several
degrees." Those degrees must be put to proper use. Only a human being
has the power to realise the purpose of his life. If one is satisfied
thinking, "I am born, I am educated, I earned money, I have sufficient
bank balance, I have got my children educated and sent them for higher
education to foreign countries", that is not the sole purpose of life.
You should never forget the purpose why you were born in this world.
Unfortunately, today, you have forgotten the purpose of your life and
are indulging in futile activities. As long as you live you must
experience peace until your last breath. You should attain true and
Mahatma Gandhi went to London and was conferred with the degree of
Bar-at-Law. He wished to fulfil his life by utilising his education in
the service of society. Therefore, after his return to his motherland,
he joined the Indian National Congress. He sacrificed his entire life
for achieving Independence for the country. He started wearing a simple
dhoti and a piece of cloth to cover the upper portion of his body. He
underwent several difficulties in the north Indian States during the
freedom struggle. He was beaten by the police with lathis (baton) in
Lucknow. However, in spite of undergoing several difficulties and
physical torture at the hands of the police, he did not give up his
resolve to attain Independence for the country. He started practising
Law. Even then, his life did not go smoothly. He joined the Independence
movement on behalf of the Indian National Congress and underwent great
torture at the hands of the British. Nevertheless, he did not lose
heart. His wife Kasturba was a noble lady. She always served her husband
with great devotion, even when Gandhi was in jail. Simultaneously, she
was also engaged in service to the country. It is only her spirit of
service that protected her throughout. During the days of their
involvement in the Independence movement, there were occasions when the
husband and wife got separated. But Kasturba was reconciled to the
situation that whatever happened was for her good only. Thus, people who
serve others with a noble heart will always see good only. At last, the
country attained Independence and Jawaharlal Nehru became the first
Subhash Chandra Bose was another great leader of the freedom movement
who was good at heart and was a great patriot. It is only because of the
efforts of such men of sacrifice, the country could attain Independence.
However, it is not merely Swatantrya (Independence) that we have to wish
for. We must attain Swarajya. That is great. Swatantrya is a temporary
phenomenon of freedom from foreign rule while Swarajya is concerned with
and attained by the heart.
You must be prepared to sacrifice even your life for the country. You
are not the body. The body is only an instrument and a means for
achieving something higher and noble. The body has to be put to use for
achieving these higher and noble aims. The body is like the dress we
wear. One day or the other the dress is bound to decay. Till then the
body has to be maintained properly. It is only by sacrifice one can
attain Yoga. That is what the Veda has proclaimed, Na Karmana Na Prajaya
DhanenaThyagenaike Amrutatthwamanasu (immortality is not attained
through action, progeny or wealth; it is attained only by sacrifice).
Having been born as human beings we must dedicate our lives in the
service of God and in the constant contemplation of God. If you do so,
none of the physical ailments will trouble you.
A small example which I would like to narrate to you. When I was in
Bangalore sometime back, this body fell in the bathroom. There were two
students by name Satyajit and Achintya who used to attend to My needs.
They did great service to Me. I told them "I have no body attachment.
You may conduct an operation on this body, but I have nothing to do with
this body. I am not this body. As long as the body is there, I have to
do My work." The doctors wanted to put Me in bandage, but I did not
agree. They advised Me to undergo an operation so that the fracture
would be healed quickly. I placed this body in the hands of the doctors
and let them do whatever they wished to do with it. I continued to walk
which I am still doing. I have no pains or suffering. Several devotees
are anxious that Swami is walking with great difficulty and perhaps is
undergoing great pain. I would like to reiterate that I do not undergo
any pain or suffering. Till today, I did not undergo any body pain
whatsoever. If you thus sacrifice your Dehabhimana, you can achieve
anything in life. Whatever I do, I tell the same thing. One has to do
what he says and say what he does. That is what is meant by
ManasyekamVachasyekam Karmanyekam Mahatmanam
ManasyanyathVachasyanyath Karmanyanyath Duratmanam
(Those whose thoughts, words and deeds are in perfect harmony are noble
ones; those who lack harmony of these are wicked.)
That is the real Manavatva (human nature). I can stand for any length of
time though the doctors advised Me against it. Even now I have been
standing for a long time. I have no suffering at all. I don't take even
a single tablet. I don't put on any bandage. Mine is Atmabhava and
Atmabhava alone. I set an example by My own actions.
The body may undergo any amount of suffering. It is like a water bubble.
The mind is like a mad monkey. Therefore, we should not follow either
the body or the mind. We must follow our Antharatma (conscience). We
must develop Atmabhimana. If Atmabhimana is developed, no pain can
trouble us. It is only for teaching you about this Atmabhimana, I am
undergoing all this trouble. I don't feel any pain at all. I am telling
you the truth. I am not suppressing the facts. In fact, I don't know or
feel what pain is. We must face the difficulties courageously. It is
only to teach you this steadfastness and courage, I have taken upon
Myself this pain. You must follow My ideal. Do not ever give importance
to the suffering of the body. Give up Dehabhimana. However, engage the
body in proper activities. Engage the body in the service of God. Our
body is a gift of God. For what purpose has God given us this body? It
is only for dedicating it in the service of the Lord.
Embodiments of Love!
The body has been given to you for performing sacred Karmas (actions).
Several people wonder why Swami does not feel tired in spite of
undergoing so much physical suffering. Especially, the ladies can
observe the signs of weakness quickly. I want to assure you that I am
maintaining a constant body weight and good health throughout. Neither I
have put up weight nor become weak. I can walk swiftly, but I am
desisting from doing so only to satisfy the doctors. The doctors are
particularly pressurising Me not to walk swiftly. They advised Me,
"Swami, please do not walk fast. You always keep two students with You
to help You." It is only to please them and satisfy them that I am
keeping these two students with Me. I am not causing any inconvenience
to these boys. Both these boys, Arun and Prusty go to their offices and
work there besides attending to My needs. The moment I call Prusty, he
immediately rushes in. I ask him to get Me a glass of water and I drink
the water given by him. Similarly, both these boys constantly attend to
My needs. They are serving Me with great devotion and love. I do not
cause any inconvenience to anybody.
Embodiments of Love!
Today you are celebrating Swami's birthday. In fact, it is the body that
has a date of birth. This body has already passed 78 years and has
entered the 79th year. But do I look like a 79 year old man? No. No. Not
only now, even after 80 or 90 years of age, I will be like this only. I
will never depend on anybody. My eyes and teeth are in perfect
condition. Normally, by the time a person attains 79 years of age, all
his teeth will be lost. His eyesight will be affected by cataract. His
skin will have wrinkles, but I have no wrinkles at all. I will not have
old age. In fact, I have no old age. Similarly, you also develop such
courage and confidence. You will certainly feel good. Not only Myself,
all of you should be in sound health. But you are spoiling your own
health. You are misusing your physical strength in so many ways. If you
put your body to proper use, you can come up well by Swami's grace. You
can serve any number of people with a healthy body and a sound mind.
Therefore, you have to maintain your body in healthy condition in order
to serve others, not to show off your beauty. Even for Me, this body is
required for serving others. In the service to humanity, I am prepared
for anything, even to sacrifice My life. Similarly, you must also be
ever ready to serve others. Do not ever consider that the body is very
important. Neither, you fritter away the physical strength. You must
make proper use of the physical body. You must also gain enough mental
strength. You must come up well in your educational career and make your
life sanctified in the service to humanity. You must always be ready to
face any situation in life boldly. That is the real nature of humanity.
Whenever your services are required, you must respond immediately,
saying, "I am ready, I am ready, I am ready." Develop such a courage and
confidence and set an ideal to the world.
This body is a den of dirt and prone to diseases; it is subject to
change from time to time; it cannot cross the ocean of Samsara. It is
nothing but a structure of bones. Oh mind! Do not be under the delusion
that body is permanent. Instead take refuge at the Divine Lotus Feet.
You seek refuge in the lotus feet of the Lord. Do not mind any amount of
suffering of the physical body. You serve the country to the extent you
can. Utilise every small opportunity to serve the country and society.
Even a small help done to an old woman that you come across on the way
is service. Do not ever think, "What do I gain by helping this woman?"
There is great merit even in such a small service. Therefore, continue
to serve. There is no greater Sadhana than service to the fellow human
beings. Seva Bina Nirvan Nahi (there is no redemption without service).
You should not mind any inconvenience that you may undergo while serving
I have no intention of celebrating My birthday on a grand scale. My only
intention is that the body should be maintained in a proper condition
and through the body service should be rendered to others. You must
always be prepared to dedicate your life to serve society. That is the
(Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan, "Hari Bhajan Bina
Sukha Santhi Nahinů")