Posted on April 5, 2011

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By Prof. G. Venkataraman



By Prof. G. Venkataraman


Posted on April 04, 2011 at 9.30 p.m. (IST)

At the outset, I would like to offer my humble Pranaams at the Lotus Feet of our Dear Lord Sai.

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.

Today is Ugadi, the Telugu New Year’s Day. It is also celebrated as New Year’s Day by many other communities in India. Normally, Ugadi is celebrated with great gusto, the morning celebrations culminating in a Divine Discourse. For the first time, at least in my memory, Swami was not physically present on this day to give Darshan. Consequently, instead of the customary festivities, there was a non-stop Bhajan program from 9 in the morning to 6.15 in the evening. I am sure everyone in the audience was doing his or her own recall of earlier Ugadis with Swami being present on the stage. I shall also do a recall by quoting a piece from what Bhagawan said in the course of His Discourse delivered on Ugadi day in 2002. Here it is:



True Ugadi (New Year Day) is the day when man gives up bad qualities, fills his heart with love and takes to the path of sacrifice. Do not limit the celebration of Ugadi to merely putting on new clothes and partaking of delicious items. Today you may wear a new shirt, but how long will it remain new? Tomorrow it becomes old. Today's newspaper becomes a waste paper tomorrow. Our life is like a newspaper. Once you have finished reading a newspaper, you do not like to read it again and again. You have been given this birth which is like a newspaper, and have gone through varied experiences of pleasure and pain. Enough is enough. You should pray, "Oh God! You have given me this 'newspaper' and I have gone through the experiences of this life. I don't want to have another birth."


Allow me now to reflect a bit on this quote. As Swami has said during many celebrations of New Year Days, be it the New Year Day according to the calendar we all follow or the Tamil New Year Day or the Malayalam New Year Day [also called Vishu] or even the Chinese New Year Day, the day is simply a time marker in the circular motion of planet earth around the Sun. More important than the day itself is Time. In this context, I recall a scene in the famous movie Gone With the Wind, where the young heroine, Scarlett O’ Hara if I remember the name correctly, walks to the entrance of a big ranch named Thousand Oaks, I believe. And there at the entrance is nailed a board with the words: TIME IS THE STUFF LIFE IS MADE OF. Scarlett reads those words slowly, so as to have them registered permanently in her mind. If you think about it, those words are extremely significant, and indeed, you can easily link them to the quote I just read out.

Just think. Life is the most precious gift that God gives us, and time is the same thing as life, which also is why Swami says: ‘Time waste is life waste’. If we waste time, we waste life and it becomes worthless after life is gone. At least an old newspaper can be used for wrapping up something. What can one do with a lifeless body? Nothing, and Swami has pointed that out in so many of His Discourses.

Let us now go to the last sentence of the quote I offered earlier. For your convenience I repeat it again:


You should pray, "Oh God! You have given me this 'newspaper' and I have gone through the experiences of this life. I don't want to have another birth."


The key point here is that our prayers must be for not being born again. How does one achieve liberation from repeated cycles of birth and death? Adi Shankara gave the answer in His famous Bhaja Govindam that Swami has referred to so many times. Lord Sri Krishna gave the answer via the Bhagavad Gita, which, by the way, He taught only once. As for Swami, if you thumb through the print outs of His Discourses, you find that He has taught us that lesson not once but zillions of times.


You know something, Radio Sai has a 24 hours streaming channel that offers only Discourses and nothing else. You can get it anywhere in the world if you have a net connection or even an iphone. In fact, we have been running this for some years now. But alas, even though Radio Sai has been in existence for nearly ten years now, I am amazed how many thousands of devotees are simply unaware of its existence.

I am pained of course but not surprised. As Swami has explained we remember something or look for something only if we attach some importance to it in some way or the other. Often it is trivia that we give importance to. In the process we forget that the most important thing in our life is time itself. Do we spend any time at all thinking about the importance of life, why it is given to us, and how we are expected to spend it? Maybe we do not know, but then Swami has explained precisely that so many times.

Dear readers, all of us, wherever we are, must pause and ask ourselves some hard questions at this point of time. Whether we are aware of it or not, from the moment He appeared on earth with a human form, Swami has been in some manner or the other working only for others; sometimes, it was to save or help specific individuals. At other times, it was for the whole of humanity. That is His nature. Here is a typical example, and I am here quoting from the preface of the book entitled TYAGARAJA, Life and Lyrics, written by Prof. William J. Jackson of Purdue University, who came in the seventies to India as a Harvard scholar. One of his early stops was Puttaparthi. He did not know anything about Swami at that time, but that visit made him learn Telugu, become interested in music and do his Ph.D thesis on Tyagaraja’s music all of which was in adoration of Lord Sri Rama. About Swami, Prof. Jackson says in his preface:


My spiritual guide, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a great singer who has a unique far-reaching voice and who is the real raja of tyaga – exemplar of renunciation – helped me find the confidence to reach for new possibilities and the patience to work until reaching completion.

Allow me to say that at this juncture, we should all, each in our own way, reach out to Swami with Heart-felt prayers and we must not stop until those prayers are heard and responded to by Swami. In His presence we normally say: “We love You Swami.” Now we must say:

Swami, we not only Love You but also desperately need You. So, Dearest Lord, please get well soon, and fill us with Bliss by giving us Darshan once more as You used to. All along, we took it a bit too much for granted. Now we realise how invaluable it is and how we simply cannot do without it. In fact, Bhagawan, the world and indeed the five elements and the Universe itself needs You, for are You not the One who sustains them all?

Someone once said that Prayer is God’s only weakness. That statement might sound a bit blasphemous, but, on the other hand, it expresses the profound Truth that for the devotee, God would do anything, only the devotee must want it desperately. Now then is the time to make it known to Swami that He MUST get well as quickly as possible and be back filling the whole Universe with Joy and Bliss.

With those humble and prayerful thoughts and appeal, I seek your permission to stop. But remember we need to pray every moment from now on to ask Swami to get well soon, to come back, give us all darshan and fill us with bliss, for not only you and I need Him but so do the five elements and so does the universe itself.

Thank you and Jai Sai Ram.

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source: radiosai.org






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