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Prof. Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang:- Text Resource


March 13th, 2005  Questions and Answers

Sai Ram

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I have a few questions that have been sent to me via email that have been waiting to be addressed for a couple of weeks, and I thought I might answer them here today to whatever extent I am able. We have a website through which you can send your questions to me and I will then answer them to whatever extent possible. For those questions to which I do not have answers, I shall pray to Bhagavan, seek His Guidance, and then respond.


What does Baba say about yagna?

In his letter, this friend also mentions the methods they follow in his country and the mantras they chant.

I have nothing to say about the procedures they use. I have no authority to change the mantras that they have been reciting, nor comments to make about the offerings they are making in yagna like wood, ghee, milk, honey, etc. But this friend wanted to know what points Baba makes with regards to yagna. I will try to be brief in addressing this, as I have so many questions with me awaiting answers.

The answer to this question is simple and straightforward. Yagna does not necessarily mean our offering sugar cane juice, ghee, and sandalwood. Yagna does not necessarily mean the chanting of mantras. Yagna does not necessarily mean the inclusion of sacrificial fire and its paraphernalia in ceremonies. No.

According to Bhagavan, any act which is purely selfless and born out of love as an offering to God is yagna. All the rest are rituals. That which is spiritual in its content requires and demands selflessness, purity of heart, and a spirit of surrender. That’s all. That’s what Bhagavan has said.

If the work that I do in my office is offered to God in this true and pure spirit, then my work itself is yagna. The business I do, as an engineer or as a doctor, when done in a spirit of dedication to God, is yagna. That’s why Bhagavan Baba said, “Once you offer it to God, it becomes yagna. Work is then transformed into worship.”


This friend writes to me that he receives blessings every time he visits Puttaparti, but that unfortunately he rarely receives blessings from Swami Himself when he is be here. This friend fails to understand why.

My friend, our concept of a blessing should be broadened and widened. When a sacred thought arises, it is a blessing of God. When the spirit of service finds a place in our heart, it is enough proof of His blessing. When I am encouraged to do good deeds, this is proof of a blessing bestowed upon me.

So blessing does not mean standing face-to-face with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, which is neither possible every time nor even necessary. All that is good is godly. All that is selfless is Divine. All that is pure is spiritual. The very fact that you could make a trip to this place is enough of a blessing. Do not feel that a blessing means standing in front of Swami. I do not subscribe to that view. And remember that all blessings are His.

Becoming a True Devotee OF SWAMI

How does one fully concentrate on Swami in order to become a true devotee?

First, chant His Name, “Sai Ram,” as many times as possible in silence. This can be done in stages. To begin with, we may say it loudly. Later, we may simply move our lips. In the third stage, we may think of His Name continually. Finally, we may start repeating a name of our choice, any name. Please remember to consider Baba as universal. Do not limit Him. All forms are His. All names are His. Therefore, if you repeat God’s Name in your mind, you will be in constant integrated awareness of the Divine.

Secondly, when you listen to his bhajans, you establish contact with Him.

Finally, there are many people who have Swami’s picture on their office table or in their car. Why? They do this to remind themselves of Bhagavan’s form and name and to remember that every act is His. Every person you meet, you meet according to God’s design. If we consider Swami as something separate from our daily activity, we create a problem of misperception. Whomsoever I meet, whatsoever I do, whatever happens in the day, all is as per Baba’s will and design. If I remember this, I am concentrating on Swami.

liberation is beyond comprehension

What is liberation is like?

Our good friend may be thinking that liberation is something like a Sprite or a Coca-Cola, or a donut or a pie or a pizza. He wants to know what liberation is like.

My friend, I can only say, liberation cannot be compared with any other thing because liberation is unique and without anything like it. If I ask how you are, you can say that you are like him. What is this like? This is like that. All things in the world can be compared to other things. All things in the world are relative. You can compare them with other things. But liberation has nothing to do with the worldly relativity or with worldly comparison because it is one to which nothing can be compared, for which there is nothing to compare to it. There is nothing to compare to it with because liberation is non-dual. Liberation is beyond expression. Liberation is beyond comprehension. Liberation exists only within the framework of experience. Liberation is bliss. How can you compare that with anything?

So, “what is liberation like?” is the question. My answer is this: It is like nothing else, because it is the only thing beyond compare, so we cannot compare it with anything.


What is wrong if you are reborn time and again?

This is a very nice question. There is nothing wrong with being reborn. And when we are reborn, we won’t remember what we have done today. So I can do anything today! After all, the next time around, I will take care of it.

So, rebirth can be a very convenient mechanism that allows us our freedom here — freedom of action and freedom of movement. But my friend, we must understand that life is bondage. Life is limited. Life is dual. Life is painful.

A newborn baby does not start life with a smile. He starts life in tears. If the newborn baby does not cry, nurses in the hospital will make the baby cry (Laughter) because, when the baby cries, that indicates that there is life within the baby. So, the first sign of life is a good cry.

Now, do you want to cry until death? I don’t know. (Laughter) Maybe you do. And remember that, as the parents and nurses make the child cry, they celebrate. (Laughter) So because I am crying, others are celebrating. That is the way of the world, my friends. (These are not my ideas. All of this is taken from Swami’s discourses.)

Life is just a continuous stream or flow of dual experiences, and our journey should eventually end with the non-dual experience of birthlessness and deathlessness. Once you experience that, once you have travelled from this shore of birth and have reached that other shore of birthlessness, you have completed the spiritual journey.

“What is the harm in being born again?” There is no harm as long as I am prepared to pass through the pain of incarnation time and again. Pleasure, as Baba puts it, is just the interval between two pains. Pain is there in the beginning, and pain is there in the end; pleasure lies in-between.

Life is a chance to attain liberation. Life is an opportunity. Life is a blessing to work for the better, to journey from birth to birthlessness, from death to deathlessness, from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, and from mortality to immortality. That is what life is for.

Kriya yoga

May I incorporate Sai teachings and also practice kriya yoga, or do these conflict?

The answer is simple: All paths are His. All names are His. All forms are His. Paths are many, but the goal is one. Flowers are many, but worship is one. Jewels are many, but gold is one. That’s what Bhagavan says repeatedly. Therefore, you can certainly follow your own kriya yoga without any problem. If you want to mix this with Sai teachings, Sai teachings permit you to do so. Sai teachings will encourage every person to proceed in his own chosen path and to travel along in his own way. You are not to be deviated; you are not to be diverted.

Kriya yoga, or any other yoga, is complementary to Sai teachings. The Bible, the Koran and Dharmapada are all complementary to Sai teachings. None of them are contradictory, because Sai’s teaching calls for synthesis. Sai is for combining and integrating. Sai is holistic. Sai is wholistic — that is w-h-o-l-i-s-t-i-c. Sai represents existential reality. Sai is a comprehensive, composite reality. Therefore, nothing is contradictory. You can happily proceed in your way without worry about your path conflicting with your adoption and integration of Sai’s teachings.


I attend the Sai centre regularly and follow Swami’s teachings, but one weakness I have is that I lack interest in my studies. Please give me some tips on how to love my studies.

I would like to devote some time to that boy now, if he happens to be here, because the answer is not applicable to everybody, nor will it prove interesting to everyone; but I will try to answer in a way that it is applicable to all of us.

Suppose I say, “I am not interested in my job, but I follow Swami’s teachings (Laughter). I am a teacher. I am not interested to teach, but I follow Swami’s teachings. I am a doctor. I am not interested in the hospital, but I follow Swami’s teachings.”

What one is saying here is all nonsense, my dears. This is all nonsense because the best path to reach God is to discharge your duty in the best way possible, using all your ability, talent, and skill. For a student to say, “I am not interested in my studies,” is irreligious, non-spiritual and totally foolish.

So, whatever is given to us by God to do, do it with spirit, with a sense of commitment, and with a dedication which is yogic. Yoga. Yogum karthavyam muchate. Karthavya is duty. Yoga is spiritual exercise. Yogum karthavyam muchate means discharging duty is yoga, a spiritual exercise. So tell this boy to love his studies because for a student to study is a religious activity.

You are in paradise and heaven

Regarding Pathala Bhubaneswar, another devotee told me, “That place was used by Jesus. It is a place where Bhagavan intends to build an ashram.” Can you please provide me with confirmation and information about this?

My friends, I have no authority to confirm or inform. In fact, I don’t want you to think of Pathala Bhubaneswar. Pathala means ‘underworld’. Bhubaneswar. Why? When there is paradise here, why do you think of pathala? You are here in swarga, paradise and heaven.

“Baba intends to build an ashram there.” Not to my knowledge.

Did Jesus use the place? I don’t think Christians would agree that He did. We would create controversy in asserting that He did. It is better to avoid the issue altogether.

God is a witness

Swami sometimes says that He is only a witness, that He is not responsible for our actions. On other occasions, He also says that nothing happens unless He wills it. Can you please explain this a little further?

I can tell you, my friends, two important points that relate to these ideas. ‘God is a witness’ means you cannot blame Him for your mistakes. You cannot blame Him for your failures. He cannot be credited for your success, nor can He be discredited for your failures, because He is a witness.

It is like when we look at a cinema screen. On the screen, perhaps we project a film where people dance. I cannot say, “Oh screen, I congratulate you because I see dancers.” The screen will look back at me as if I am a fool.

Now, in the next film we project onto the screen, the hero is crying. I cannot beat the screen until it stops showing this. The screen is helpless. It will reflect all that the film contains.

So, to witness means to observe, not to disturb. He lets you exercise your will, make your choices, and take your actions, all within the movie you project as the world and life in which you live. ‘Baba is a witness’ means He is beyond your experiences.

That having been said, nothing happens unless He wills it. This is the second aspect of what He has said. If you think everything happens as per His will, you will never be proud of your achievements. If you think everything happens as per His will, you will never be frustrated or depressed, and you will never blame anybody else. If you understand this, you will be stable.

Therefore, we have to accept that things happen as per His will, so that we never become egoistic or arrogant when positive things happen in our lives, and so that we do not become frustrated or depressed during moments in our lives when we experience things that we may see as negative, at the time.

We have to understand that He is Master, and that He wills all that happens, and that He is the eternal witness, in that He is not responsible for the pleasure and pain that we experience in life. Those experiences are all our mental projections, our imagination, or our psychological reactions. That is how we have to understand it.


We have two Avatars. Can you explain how two Avatars can exist at the same time?

My friends, this is not politics we are discussing here; so why two avatars? According to Swami, everyone is an avatar because everyone has got that spark of Divinity within him. But Avatar in its totality, as a whole, embodies the totality of Divinity and concerns itself with only that true reality; whereas we humans embody a part of the Divinity, a spark of Divinity, while the rest of our attention is drawn toward concerns of the mundane world. We humans have three gunas —the sathwic, rajasic, and thamasic. Divinity, when the three gunas are added, is man. Man minus his three gunas is God.

Therefore, why two avatars? Because all are avatars. Minus our gunas, we are all are purely Divine. That is the best answer that I can give you today.

Spirituality is not a burden

Can you please advise me if it is okay to continue my practice of pranayama, the breathing exercise? I attended your talk (she means my talk here) and you said that pranayama breathing exercises are dangerous. Shall I continue with these exercises?

When I said it is dangerous, how could I then encourage you to continue unless I felt that you are my enemy? (Laughter) As of now we are not enemies, as far as I know.

This idea that it is dangerous is not simply my opinion. Please go through Prashanti Vahini in which Bhagavan stated clearly that pranayama requires constant expert guidance and supervision. Experts who guide you on how to do pranayama, a guru, a teacher or an expert in the field, should supervise you as you do pranayama. If you do it as you like, Swami has cautioned clearly that you will develop nervous problems, digestive problems, breathing problems – that ultimately there will be no more problems, in other words. (Laughter)

Therefore, my friends, the easiest and safest sadhana today is to sing His glory. Come on! Sing wherever you go. Do bhajans. Repeat His glorified Name for ever and ever. This is always safe. But we don’t want to do this. We want to do pranayama.

Someone asked me, “Anil Kumar, how do I awaken kundalini?” (Laughter)

I said to this fellow, “Please consult those people who introduced this kundalini to you. I have no way to activate kundalini.” I am not interested in where it lies. (Laughter) I am not denying its existence. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not underestimating it. When there are easy ways of doing things, however, why do we want to take up tough and dangerous things? Why?

I will give you a simple example. A few youngsters, about 50 of them, once reached Prashanti Nilayam by walking one thousand kilometres to get here. They thought that they were doing a great spiritual exercise. By foot, they reached this place from one thousand kilometres away and Baba gave them an interview and asked, “Why did you take the trouble? You could have purchased tickets and boarded a train. When trains are available, why do you want to walk? Why is this necessary?”

Somebody told Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, “Oh Swami, I did penance for a long time. I did sadhana, intensive sadhana.”

Paramahamsa then asked him, “What have you achieve?”

The answer the man gave was this: “Oh Swami, I can now light a fire anywhere. Without doing anything, I can make fire arise there.”

Paramahamsa laughed. “When matchboxes are available, why do you need to put yourself through ten years of penance? (Laughter) You have wasted ten years of sadhana!” (Laughter)

Therefore my friends, in spiritual sadhana, we don’t need to exert or overstrain ourselves because spiritual practice is not a burden. Religion is not strenuous. Divinity is not difficult; rather it is that which is joyful and ecstatic; that which is like music and dance, full of laughter.

That is why I keep myself at a respectable distance from such serious fellows, so that I will not be contaminated or infected by their seriousness. (Laughter) Seriousness is a disease. It is not spirituality.

Therefore, when others want to do tough things such as awakening kundalini through yoga, I just say, “All right, please do it if you wish.”

If they say, “I want to walk to Delhi,” I ask them why they wish to do this, when we have flights and trains. Taking these would be far preferable to walking there.

Therefore my friends, the easiest path is Hare Nama Hare Nama Hare Namaiva Kevalam, Kevalam meaning the ‘only thing’. Kevalam Hare Nama: that is, God’s Name is the only thing we need. Just sing bhajans — repeat His Name in this Age of Kali. There is no other way to liberation and there is no other way to salvation other than singing His glory, other than chanting His Name. There is no need for anything else!

“No, no sir, I want kundalini!”

“Please do it if you wish.” (Laughter)

“I want to do pranayama.”

“All right, have some breathing problem later on, if you wish.” (Laughter)

Why do you want to do such strenuous things? I am not condemning these things. Great are those who do them. Greater are those who practice these. Greatest are those that realise the objective of it. My humble salutations to the holy feet of such great people.

For most of us, however, it is far more convenient to do bhajans, because our breakfast, lunch, and dinner do not interfere with it. (Laughter) My office work, my job, my socialising…none of these will not interfere with it. I can go on singing wherever I am and whatever I am doing. Why not? Why not? I can go on thinking of Him regardless of what else I must attend to. I can go on repeating His Name wherever I am.

That’s why we say, “Sai Ram, Sai Ram.” We don’t say ‘good morning’. We say, “Sai Ram.” Why do we say this? We say it because it represents an opportunity and an occasion to chant and utter His Name. This is an opportunity and an occasion to think of Him.

Therefore my friends, isn’t it better that we don’t resort to such tough techniques as kundalini yoga when we have these easy, simple methods available to us? When we have calculators and computers, if you still want to total figures by hand, who cares? Please do it! With calculators, however, our calculations can be done much faster and more easily. In our stores, old ladies use calculators to assess our bill. They press a few buttons and give me the bill without delay. How they manage to do this so quickly, I don’t know. (Laughter)

Anyway, sometimes our mind wants to do tough things. Our mind wants to take risks. Why? Our mind wants to have the satisfaction of achievement.

Bhajans? Everyone does it. Pranayama? I don’t do it. (Laughter) I have no need. Bhajans are very simple, and everyone does it. Pranayama? You may be doing it. You may be doing kundalini yoga. I’m not. (Laughter)

The mind always wants to achieve. The mind always wants to be special. The mind always wants to be unique. It is the mind playing havoc. When simpler tools are available, it doesn’t want to adopt them because nobody will then consider it special.

If you say, “May I present Mr. Anil Kumar, expert in Kundalini yoga,” the whole street will stop in awe. Some may even offer me money! (Laughter)

Or what about putting a sign outside my office: “The Principles and Practice of Pranayama. Consult expert Anil Kumar. $250 per hour. By appointment only.” (Laughter)

These are all crazy things, my friends. These are all worldly things. It is not yoga that it is important. It is the intensity of the feeling we have for God that matters. It is the depth of the feeling. It is the sincerity of the feeling. It is the depth of our yearning, our pining, and our longing for God.

When young couples are separated -- when the husband has to go on foreign assignment and the wife has to remain back at home -- no yoga is necessary to help her think of her husband. No yoga is necessary then. She feels that pain of separation from her husband without yoga.

When a calf is separated from the mother cow, the cow does not need to be taught any yoga to love the calf better. (Laughter) The calf does not need to do any pranayama to love the mother cow with all its heart. (Laughter) A natural path exists, but we want to employ unnatural things, artificial things.

When we do this, life becomes artificial. Artificial flowers, plastic flowers, plastic fruits, and artificial light, all yield artificial results. That is why, when we use artificial methods, we don’t get satisfaction.

Therefore, if we want to take on tough things, understand that it is the mischief of our mind. It is simply the mischief of the mind. The mind wants to claim superiority. It wants to dominate other people. It wants to be special. But if you want to remain ordinary, these things won’t get in your way. That is all I can say on this matter.


How doe one live life, knowing that one is living in an illusion? How do we live in this world, knowing that it is all an illusion?

Wah! Sankaracharya!” (Laughter) The question is: “How should one live, knowing that everything is unreal?” I don’t need to quote Sanskrit slokas here to answer. I don’t need to quote any book.

We all know that all of this is unreal, yet we think it is real. We all know this is unreal, but we think this is real. How does this happen?

We see many people die every day. “That fellow died four days back. This fellow died yesterday. Another fellow is going to die today.”

But if you ask anybody what will become of them, they will answer, “They might have died, but I’m sure to live forever. I won’t die. That fellow died due to lack of medical care. That chap died because an oxygen cylinder was not available when he was hospitalised. That bloke died due to malnutrition. That fellow died because the medicines he needed were not available, whereas I have all drugs I need available to me, and all the doctors are at my beck-and-call.”

We know life is unreal. We know life is temporary. We know people are dying, but no one thinks that they will die: “I am permanent.”

That is why in Chicago, immediately after a discourse by Swami Vivekananda, somebody got up and said, “Swami, I have a question.”

Vivekananda was a man of fire, a spiritual servant. He was not a slow coach. Spirituality was not passive to him; spirituality was not dullness; spirituality was not inertia. Spirituality is dynamism and enthusiasm, and he knew this well.

Somebody asked Swami Vivekananda, “Swami, I have a question.”

He said, “Why not? Welcome! What is your question?”

“What is it that we should remember throughout our life?”

Somebody thought Swami Vivekananda would say God or wisdom. But to their utter surprise, Vivekananda gave this answer.

I repeat the question: “What is to be remembered throughout life?”

The answer of Vivekananda was just this: “Death.”

What we should remember throughout life is death. Why?

I should remember this so that my actions will not be unrighteous; so that whatever I speak will be full of truth; so that I will love people more; so that I will understand that life is transient, that life is constantly changing. Nothing is worth dominating others for; nothing is worth cheating others for. It is not worth being egotistic about anything. Nothing is worth anything when nothing follows me at the end of my life. Therefore, it is a constant reminder of death that will make everyone simple and humble in the present, the now.

Therefore, I can only say that in this world that is unreal, where we are not permanent, we think we are permanent. That is the paradox of life here.

Everyone in the office, including the officer, thinks that he is permanent. But he knows that he should retire at the age of 58. In India, it is 58. You will have to retire some day; but so long as you are on the chair, you think you are permanent.

Somebody said in Prashanti Nilayam, “Anil Kumar, I want you to see me.”

I said, “Why not? Certainly, sir! I will see you. Where can I see you?”

He said, “See me in my office.”

I said, “Thank you, sir.” When he left, I laughed and laughed.

Somebody then asked me, “Why are you laughing? He said he wants to see you in his office. Why do you laugh at that? Where is the joke in that?”

I said, “How can you say that it is his office? I saw many people working in there before him.” (Laughter) I may not see him in his office this afternoon. He may be out by then. The poor fellow is claiming that it is his office; therefore, I had to laugh.

There is nothing permanent. My office, my government, my…this ‘my, my, my, my’ is maya. Swami Himself has said it. “My…my…my.” If you repeat it again and again, it is maya — an illusion. So knowing full well that I will be retiring, I consider my post as an officer to be permanent. Seeing everyone leaving this world, I think I am permanent. This is a fallacy. This is the paradox of life.

So we can continue to live in this world, knowing the reality -- that this is unreal. The reality is that this is unreal because you are not permanent.

All that changes is unreal. The whole of creation changes. It is not summer throughout the year. It is not winter throughout the year. No. There are seasons. Trees have their own time -- a time for flowering, a time to fruit, and a time to germinate again.

You and I do not remain the same throughout our lives. I was first a newborn baby, then an infant, then a boy, a youngster, a man, a father, and finally I am a grandfather. So I change, but all that changes is unreal. That which is changeless is real.

Someone asked Ramana Maharishi, “Swami, shall I believe my dreams? Swami, how about my past lives? How about my previous lives?”

Ramana Maharishi is known for his Himalayan silence. But, this man went on pestering him until he answered.

Finally, Ramana said to this fellow, “You want to know about your previous lives? Understand that in any number of lives you must have had and in this present life, you are the same. Understand that. Understand that you were the same in the past lives as you are in this present life. This ‘you’ is Divine. Lives go on changing, but the constant ‘you’ is changeless. That ‘you’, that Divine, is changeless.

“Then about the dreams, you want to know if the dream is true?” Swami (Ramana Maharishi) said, “Think of the dreamer, not the dream. Think of the dreamer. Who is dreaming?”

“Swami, I am dreaming.”

“So know that ‘I.’” That’s all! Who is dreaming? ‘I’ am dreaming. Know who ‘you’ are, then everything else will be understood.

an organisation is only a means to an end

Though I am not registered with any centre, can I become a certified Bal Vikas teacher? And please tell me how to be extra patient and loving.

A registered Bal Vikas teacher! Those things that are registered lose their value because, once you are registered, you think you are safe and stop growing.

Suppose I say, “You are a confirmed devotee.” (Laughter) A confirmed devotee! An established devotee! A senior devotee!

There cannot be a ‘senior’ devotee or a ‘junior’ devotee. There cannot be ‘certified’ devotees and ‘uncertified’ devotees, ‘registered’ devotees and ‘unregistered’ devotees. My friends, this problem relates to the organisational procedures.

In order to ensure that nothing untoward happens, that nothing goes against the organisation and its principles, registration becomes relevant; but in truth, it is the spirit that is important. All those dedicated teachers, whether they are registered or not, are Bal Vikas gurus. All those people who share Sai’s message with all their love and joy, with all their heart, mind and soul, whether they are ‘registered’ or not, are convenors of satsangs and study circles.

So registration is an organisational matter; but spirituality is beyond these things. I say once again, my friends, with thirty years of my life spent in this organisation, that the organisation is only a means to an end, but not an end itself.

If you want to go back to London, you can catch a flight; but you get off the plane at Heathrow Airport, and you reach home in some other way. You don’t go by helicopter or flight to your home, do you? No. Any car, any train, any bus, anything convenient that is meant for conveyance, that’s all you need. Once you reach your destination, you don’t need anything. Once you go there, you don’t need anything.

You get into a boat here to reach the other shore there. Once you are on the far shore, you don’t carry the boat further with you, do you? You go to your college on your cycle. You don’t then carry your cycle to your classroom, do you?

Similarly, an organisation is only a means to an end, but not an end itself.

He also asks how to have extra patience in his note. Extra love. How do you measure patience?

I have two kilos of patience, but I want two more kilos of patience? (Laughter) I have one ton of love, yet I need ten more tons of love?

My friends, nothing extra or additional is needed. Love, patience, and sacrifice are immeasurable -- apramana. These cannot be measured. You cannot count these. As you start loving, you will love more and more. As you are patient now, you will become more and more patient. To be on the path is the best way to grow on the path. If love were available in stores, we would buy a few more kilos or a few more packets; but it’s not that way. You can grow in love only by loving. You can grow more patience only by being patient. That is the only way.

Good Souls and Bad Souls

What happens to the good souls after death?

The same thing will happen to good souls as happens to bad souls after death. Bad souls and good souls will be reborn after death. Good and bad are relative. Good and bad are psychological perceptions. Good and bad are related to the time in which they manifest. That which is good now, may not be good later.

A woollen blanket is a punishment in summer, while it is most welcome in winter. Now, is it good or bad? It is a question of timing. During a fever, eating sweets is bad. When one’s health is good, sweets are good, so enjoy them. So, what is good and what is bad? That which is good now may be bad later.

As a youngster, stylish clothes and whistling are quite good. At this age, if I behave like that, I am quite awkward! (Laughter) As a youngster, if I wear a good t-shirt and knickers or shorts — “Wow! He looks great!” If I try that at my age, you will suddenly think it is time for me to be carried off to the lunatic asylum. “Something must be very wrong with him!”

Therefore my friends, that which is good at one time may not be good later. Therefore, you cannot say that something is absolutely good or bad.

Good action and thoughts will yield a good birth later. This is clearly stated in the Bhagavad Gita. Bad action will lead to a bad birth later. But if you grow beyond, if you transcend good and bad, you will not be born again. So transcendence is what is important, more than either good or bad.

Everything is happening according to god’s will

If everything happens due to God’s will, then whatever one does is not one’s own fault because God has already determined it. So how can one be responsible for one’s own karma?

Aha! A very good question!

When He is doing everything, when everything happens as per God’s will, how am I responsible for these things?

Good question. Good logic.

Regarding this question, let me share with you a little story.

It seems one fellow once committed a murder. He killed another fellow in the street. He was then hauled off to prison and after taken to the court to stand before the judge.

The judge asked him, “Are you the fellow who murdered so-and-so?”

“Yes, your honour, I killed him.”

“Are you guilty of this crime?”

“Yes, your honour, I am guilty.”

“Do you have anything to say further?”

“Your honour, please know one thing. You know only the Indian penal code, and the IPC law books; but I am a philosopher. I think we have to ask a deeper question here, and that is to ask, ‘Who is the killer?’ Who is the killer? And who can kill whom? Who can kill whom! The killer and the killed are both Divine. I am God, as is he. You think I have killed him? He is also God. How can I be guilty? Who is the killer? Who is killed? Who can kill whom?”

In this way, he kept on giving a discourse on the Bhagavad Gita. (Laughter)

The judge, however, was equally intelligent. He listened to the criminal patiently and then said, “Look here, who is the culprit? Who punishes whom? You are to be hanged. That’s all. Who can punish anybody? (Laughter) “Who can punish whom?” I am not punishing you. You are not to be punished, but you will be hanged. (Laughter) So you have not killed anybody. Just as no one was killed, no one is punishing anybody. This all results in a perfect balance of spirituality.”

Therefore, when we consider that everything is done as per God’s will, how can you act unrighteously? How can you be agitated? How can you utter anything false? How can you be restless?

You say everything happens according to God’s will. Then leave it to Him!

“I am very worried.”

“Why? God will take care of everything. If He will take care of everything, why are you worried?”

So all this is just talk.

A simple example was given by Baba. It seems a passenger on a train was carrying his luggage on his head. The train that he was riding in was moving at a very high speed; but he was carrying his luggage on his head.

Somebody approached him and asked, “What nonsense are you doing?”

“Sir, you are all heartless fellows. You have no consideration at all for this train. You are stupid. The poor train is carrying so many people’s luggage. It must find this very difficult, so in order not to overstrain the engine or the train, I am carrying my own luggage.” (Laughter)

So when you are sure that everything is happening according to God’s will, why are you worried? Why are you agitated? What is all this?

So what is ‘free will’ then? Is ‘free will’ really ‘free’ or is it just an illusion? It is just an illusion if you think you are free.

Somebody once asked Swami, “Swami, is there free will?”

Baba replied, “Only one has free will, no one else. Who is that? It is God Himself.” Only God has free will. This is what Baba said.

“Oh no, Swami, I have free will.” But if you are not free, how can you have will?

“Am I not free?”


You are not able to control you senses. You are not able to control your mind. You see all that you are not supposed to see. You hear all the nonsense which you are not supposed to hear. You do all that which you are not supposed to.

Somebody once said, “So many thoughts come to our minds. Come and write down all your thoughts on paper.”

We would dare not show that paper to anyone. (Laughter) Most of the thoughts we have are horrible, terrible and negative. Nobody will think good of us if all our thoughts are shown to someone else.

So when the mind is not under my control, when I am not able to arrest my thoughts, when I am not able to control my mind and keep it in stillness, when I am not able to control my sight and hearing, when I am not free, how can I have free will?

God is free because He is not affected by the senses. He is not affected by the mind. Why? He is not affected because He is not an individual. He is a witness.

A screen does not smile when there is a dancing film projected onto it. The screen does not cry when the heroine is persecuted in the film shown upon it. The screen just remains what it is, a screen.

Similarly, when you are a witness, unaffected by the duality of the world, when you are a witness, unaffected by the happenings in the world, you are a silent spectator. If you are in a position to see your own drama of life, your own movie of life, as a spectator, and be unaffected by what you see, then yes, you have got free will. But we become involved. We get involved with everything that we see and do, and with everyone we meet.

We get attached. No attachment is comfortable; no attachment will ever help you to be free. Attachment is bondage. Attachment, in the beginning, may be a honeymoon; however, later attachment is no moon at all, but rather a dark night (Laughter), because attachment is conditional. Attachment has expectations. Therefore, we people who are attached to every silly thing, to objects, to those which are animate, inanimate, human and otherwise, we are not free. So what is the sense of claiming we have free will? It is nonsense.

Some are attached to their pets, their dogs and birds. They are so attached that when the cat falls sick, they also fall sick. When the dog falls sick, his keeper is admitted to hospital before the dog! (Laughter) So, when we fellows are attached to these things, how can we say that we are free? And if we are not free, how can we say we have free will?


Many of our brothers and sisters extol the virtues of Indian music because Indian music has become cool. I know Swami says very often that the Indian and Vedic traditions of music are very spiritual in their essence. Does He say anything about the inner power and meaning of western and classical non-Indian music and its traditions?

My friends, Baba is neither eastern nor western. Music is neither eastern nor western. Music is music. You cannot say that this is Indian music or Western music. Music is not geographical. There are non-Indian people who can actually sing classical Indian music much better than Indians themselves!

Telugu is a local language; but an Englishman, Robert Brown, wrote the dictionary of the Telugu language, and he wrote it in England. Who is a more Telugu man? Anil Kumar is not a Telugu man; Robert Brown is a proper Telugu man.

Max Muller wrote an interpretation of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Who is more Indian? Max Muller is Indian, but not me.

Please understand this. Vedic literature, music, the Bible, the Koran, the Zorasthra, they are all universal. The Bible - can you say the Bible is western? No. It is like the air. Is there western air and eastern air? Is there western fire or eastern fire? No. That is all narrow-mindedness. So western music is Divine and eastern music is Divine. Classical music is Divine. Do not classify these things. They are Divine and beyond such classification.

Wine may be eastern or western. Scotch whisky! Scotch whisky and wine may be eastern or western, but that which is Divine is universal. Fine arts are universal. Therefore, please understand that all music is the same. Don’t you see Swami enjoying western music here?

One time there was an international music concert here. I was sitting by Swami’s side. Many Italians were playing their violins. I was just listening. Swami was enjoying the beat. Suddenly, He looked at me and said, “I know you don’t follow this.”

I should have said, “Yes Swami, I don’t follow,” but unfortunately for me, I said, “Swami, in our country, things are different.”

Swami immediately looked at me and said, “What? Repeat that sentence.” (Laughter)

“In our country, things are different.”

Then Swami said, “Why do you include Me? (Laughter) Why do you include Me?! I don’t belong to any country. All countries belong to Me!” (Laughter and applause) Therefore my friends, let us not categorise music like that.

bhajans are the best cure for evil spirits

How can I avoid evil spirits?

There are no evil spirits, strictly speaking. Whenever there is an evil thought, there is evil spirit. But if we put any belief in ‘evil spirits’, which is strictly psychological, we can drive them out by singing Baba’s bhajans. Once you light the candle, the darkness is dispelled.

Bhajans are the best cure for the presence of evil spirits. They will run away. Shirdi Baba, Shirdi Bhagavan, Sathya Sai Baba…When a few people who were possessed by evil sprits have been brought to their presence, once they are in front of Swami, they return to normal again because evil spirits dare not stand in front of the Divine.

God and His name are one and the same. Please understand this. Sathya Sai Baba’s name is no different from the form. His form has a name -- Sathya Sai Baba. His name has a form, which we see.

So when we say, “Sai Ram,” the evil spirit is gone! If we say it and the spirit is still there, then understand that we are the evil spirit. (Laughter) If it is another evil spirit, it will run away. If you are the evil spirit, it is your job to get free from that.

Chant. That’s all. Sathya Sai Baba’s bhajans are like medicine. Sathya Sai Baba’s bhajans are the latest medicines, more powerful than intravenous drips, more powerful than laser equipment, and faster than courier service and even email. Therefore, this is the best cure that I can suggest to you.

There are more questions, but it is already 11:15, and I should not detain you further. There is just one small question I want to share with you before I leave you.

the light of truth

What is it that gets in the way of knowing the Truth? Why don’t I see the light of Truth? Why don’t I see the flame of Truth? What is it that is keeping me in the darkness of untruth? Why don’t I see the light of Truth?

Every religion speaks of light. Baba has done so many times in simple terms.

The greatness and uniqueness of Sathya Sai Baba is that He puts the most complex things in the simplest way possible. Swami makes complex things very simple, whereas we make simple things complicated! What does He say about seeing the light of truth?

We are not able to see the light of Truth for three reasons. First, we think we know everything, when actually we know nothing. This is the first point.

Secondly, we think that we are fine when we are not fine. What is ‘being fine’? What keeps us from being fine? When we are with God, we are fine. When we don’t think of Him, when we forget Him, we are not fine.

Thirdly, when you think that you do not need any transformation, the light of truth is blocked. “He needs transformation; I am perfect.” This is another obstacle to our seeing the light of Truth.

So, these are the obstacles of the mind to seeing the light of Truth: considering that things are normal when they are not; thinking that you are fine when you are not; and thinking that you do not need to transform. Because of these, you do not see the light of Truth.

Why? Such a mind will not be able to see its own mistakes and defects. I don’t then see my own weaknesses, pitfalls, and mistakes because my mind thinks that I am perfect. Therefore, there is every need to correct myself in order to clear the way to seeing the light of Truth.

As we end on this note, what should we do now, my friends, to see the light of Truth? It requires continuous effort. People will say, “I will think of God during this coming weekend.” We should always think of God. We should do it now, this weekend, and at all times in between.

Somebody asked me when I was in the United States, “Will Baba visit America?”

I said, “If Baba is prepared to visit America, you will say, ‘Swami, we want you to be with us during the weekend because we are busy during the week. We will keep for you the weekend, but not the rest of the week because we are busy working then.’”

But to tell you honestly, to have the light of Truth, we must make a constant effort. Secondly, there should be sincerity in our effort.

Finally, we should be yearning and pining for God. I must have intensity in my feelings for God and a sincerity of purpose. I should have total Love for Him. These are absolutely necessary to attain that vision of Truth, that light of Truth.

May Bhagavan help us be in the light of Truth, bask in the light of Truth, and be truthful unto our own Self. Thank you for your patient listening. (Applause)


Asato Maa Sad Gamaya

Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya

Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Shanti Shanti Shanti