Text & photo source - copyrights: Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust - sssbpt.org  - Radiosai.org  Prasanthi Diary -  Sri Sathya Sai Media Foundation - h2hsai.org .  | Web layout - Photo graphic design : saibabaofindia.com  "SBOI" | - We gratefully acknowledge the publishers Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust &  Sri Sathya Sai Media Foundation
  source: radiosai.org


<< Previous update By Prof. G. Venkataraman



By Prof. G. Venkataraman



The Lord incarnated as Sri Rama thousands of years ago and along with His brother Lakshmana eliminated evil forces and established righteousness

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. On April 12 was Rama Navami, the day celebrated as marking the advent of the Lord as Sri Rama, way back in the Treta Yuga. At the time the Lord took birth as Rama, the eldest son of Emperor Dasaratha, all celestial beings, starting with Brahma the Creator down to all the devas knew about the event, because it was taking place at their specific request, as has been recorded in the Ramayana.


Yet, barring a handful of rishis of exceptional merit like Sage Vasishta, for example, few on earth knew about the incarnation of the Lord. Indeed, it was only from Lord Sri Krishna’s famous declaration on the battlefield in Kurukshetra that humanity became aware that from time to time, the Lord does descend on earth for the larger benefit of humankind. And in this the Kali Yuga, considered to be the age when adherence to Dharma is most difficult, the Lord has taken birth in human form as Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Swami to all of us, to guide us through the moral dilemmas we face.

As on Ugadi day that came exactly a week ago (April 4), on Rama Navami day too we missed Swami’s physical presence here in the Mandir; and everyone knows why. It just couldn’t get sadder. Those of you who saw the small video clip we posted recently showing a portion of Swami’s Discourse delivered on Gurupoornima Day in 2003, might have noted that Swami spoke of illnesses and injuries that come to His body in a natural course as compared to situations where He deliberately takes on the suffering someone else was destined to go through. Thus, occasionally Swami has had spells of cold and cough. And, due to indisposition or tiredness or both, He has, of late not appeared for Darshan during some sessions. That said, no one was prepared for what we are witnessing now.


At the same time, it is worth recalling a crucial remark that Swami made during the Discourse just referred to. Almost in passing, Swami said that for Him, the prayer of devotees was the best medicine. And how much we have seen of it during the last few days, indeed all over the world!



Swami speaks about His health on Guru Poornima 2003 with translation in Hindi

I would also, if I may, like to draw attention to one thing that Swami used to say in the past but hardly does these days, which is the following:

I give you what you want so that you would ask for what I have come to give.

That was the standard one-liner that Swami often used in the past. But here is a longer quote from a Discourse given in 1963, which adds depth to the above snappy remark. Swami says:


You have come, most of you, to get from Me tinsel and trash, petty little cures and promotions, joys and comforts; very few of you desire to get from Me the thing I have come to give, viz., Liberation itself. Even among these few, those who stick to the path of sadhana and succeed are just a handful.

You ask from Me a thousand things of the world, but rarely do you ask for "Me". That is why I seldom address you as bhakthas (devotees); I usually address you as Divyaathma swaruupulaara (embodiments of the Divine), for this Divyathwam (Divinity) is your real swaruupa (nature). Although you do not know it, it is a fact. Thus it is that I can address you so with confidence. I can even call you Divya-divya swaruupulaara. However, as for bhakthi, it is a quality that will make you desire the Lord and nothing else. I find that you cannot lay claim to it.


Those are pretty strong words, but back then once in a while Swami did speak His mind out, shall I say. Let us now spend a minute or two, reflecting on Swami’s remarks. The following points then stand out:


1. We often ask for many things from Bhagawan and, as the Loving Mother, He also gives, always, with much love and a big broad smile as well. We are happy and Swami also is happy.

2. However, having got what we wanted, we do not seriously ask of ourselves what would Swami really like from us. It is not as if people are insensitive. That is not so, but if you notice, I used the word seriously. There is a reason for it which, hopefully, would become clear.

3. It is common to say, “Swami, I love You,” or “Swami, we love You,” as the case may be. And invariably, Swami replies: “Swami also loves you.” But when we use the word ‘love’, do we mean the same thing that Swami means?


Bhagawan speaking at the Hill View Stadium during one of the Birthday functions

Let me now pick up from the above points and begin by recalling a birthday scene about fifteen years ago. Back them, birthday functions used to be invariably held in the Hill View Stadium, and during the course of His Discourse, I heard Swami saying, “I see before Me a vast crowd. But where are the devotees? I cannot see a single one anywhere!” Honestly, when I heard that, I was completely knocked out. I told myself, “Come on Swami, You can’t be serious! Here there are close to two hundred thousand people packed in this Stadium as the Sun above has begun beating down strongly upon us, and You are asking, ‘Where are the devotees?’”! It took me years to read between the lines and grasp, at least at the periphery, the profound Message Swami was giving us.

Basically, there are four dots here that need to be connected, they being: 1) Swami, 2) the individual, 3) Pure Love, and 4) Bhakti or real devotion. I have heard people say, “Oh, I have been a devotee for forty years whereas that other fellow there came just two years ago. And yet, look at the airs he is putting on!” This is actually a very common feeling and I am not mentioning it in any pejorative way. I am merely trying to draw attention to the fact that when we use the words devotee, Bhakti and love, we do so in a sense that is very different from what Swami means. How do I know? Well, for a starter, go to the quote I offered earlier and, to amplify that, let me now recall what Swami has said about devotion/Bhakti and love.

Real Bhakti, according to Swami is unfettered love for God without any qualifications whatsoever. Everyone would readily agree with that definition, but wait; there is some fine print to this, not made up by me but stated first by Lord Krishna, and most emphatically reiterated by Swami on many occasions, especially in a series of about thirty and odd Discourses that He gave on the Gita in 1984. Let us go back to the love for God business. For most of us, Swami is the undisputed God; no argument about that. But when we say Swami, do we mean just the form of Swami or something more? And that precisely is where the fine print enters the picture.

In His Discourses delivered in 1984, Swami makes it quite clear that the form of the Avatar is unquestionably a starting point. That is to say, loving and adoring the physical form of Swami, complete with His unmatchable and unbelievable smile HAS to be the starting point; that of course is pretty easy. However, and this is extremely important, the physical form of Swami is just the starting point, and one HAS to go beyond. What does that mean? Well, has not Swami said times without number, “I am in you, with you, above you, below you, in front of you, behind you?” That is far from a rhetorical remark, reflecting as it does a profound truth which Swami often captures with the observation, “There is only God and nothing except God.” This is the point we invariably tend to miss and therefore we had better pay careful attention to it.

What it all adds up to is that if we say Swami is God, and that of course we all firmly believe, then we must also take seriously Swami’s emphatic declaration that He is in all and in everything, from the smallest of the small to the largest of the large. Now comes the real essence of it all. If God is in all, clearly we have to be careful in dealing with other people, all living beings and indeed even so-called inanimate entities. In particular, we cannot give ourselves the license to be selective, show a lot of love to the form of Swami and at the same time allow ourselves to be rough and rude to some, especially those whom we regard as ‘inferior’ or whom we don’t like. Cautioning us against such selective attitude and prejudice, Swami repeatedly calls attention to Krishna’s famous admonition, “Adveshta sarava bhoothanam,” which means, don’t hate any being. It is sobering to recall at this point that we invariably end bhajans by saying, “Samastha lokha sukhino bhavantu.” What does that mean? It means, “May all beings in all the worlds created by God be happy.” So, how can we chant such a thing and be angry with, shout at or abuse fellow human beings? Not allowed, I am afraid.



Jesus puts it nicely; He says, “How can you say you love God whom you have not seen, when you cannot love your brother whom you have seen?” Swami says it another way, He says, “If you love this person, that person and so on, they all would love you. But when you love all without distinction, then God would love you.” Often times, when I point this out people say to me, “But listen, Swami told me that He loves me. Surely, He cannot be wrong, can He?” Of course not; but then there is also such a thing as Divine Grace; that does not come easy.

In the Gita, Lord Krishna says that in whatever way people approach Him, in that same way He would respond. Swami states that more crisply by saying that He holds a mirror to those who come to Him. If we restrict our love to His Form alone, no matter how abundant that might be, He would return that love in equal measure. But His Grace, which also is something that He alone can confer, would come to us only when we Love Him as the Omnipresent God. Yes, love for the Avatar also starts the same way as our love for those to whom we have bodily attachments. However, if our love for God is maintained at that level, it would be mere attachment. Clearly, our Love for God must be far more expansive. It is precisely to drive home that point that Lord Krishna revealed His Cosmic Form to Arjuna. In this Avatar, Swami has left that expansion of vision and love to us as an exercise although, out of infinite compassion, He has discoursed on it any number of times. Just thumb through Sathya Sai Speaks, for example, and you would know what I am talking about.

I am well aware that many people would brush aside all that I have said as high philosophy. It actually is not, and all I was doing was to reiterate what Swami has said to us on past occasions. At the same time, I would be failing in my duty if I did not point out that if there is real, unselfish love for Swami without expectations of any kind whatsoever, God would be most pleased and abundantly reward that love. Indeed, that is precisely what Tukaram’s life portrays. He once prayed, “Oh Krishna, this Tuka is a fool. How can he understand such high flown things as God being Infinite?” But such was the purity and intensity of Tuka’s devotion that his life was actually redeemed. So, for truly sincere people who cannot take in heavy stuff but are ready to give everything for God, there IS a special plan. It is keeping this in mind that Swami said in the video clip we recently aired, “Devotees’ prayer is Swami’s medicine!”

Recall what Krishna said, “I approach you in exactly the same way you approach me.” If we want it simple but keep it really pure, then God is ready to accept that also. Our Swami is infinitely compassionate, and is quite willing to let each of us have our own separate plan for attaining Him. Coming to think of it, what better deal can we get?

Thanks you for your time and Jai Sai Ram.

source: radiosai.org



<< Previous update By Prof. G. Venkataraman





Text & photo source - copyrights: Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust - sssbpt.org  - Radiosai.org  Prasanthi Diary -  Sri Sathya Sai Media Foundation - h2hsai.org .  | Web layout - Photo graphic design : saibabaofindia.com  "SBOI" | - We gratefully acknowledge the publishers Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust &  Sri Sathya Sai Media Foundation