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Prof. Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang:- Text Resource
April 17th, 2005 “Sri Rama Navami Celebration”
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
SRI RAMA NAVAMI – BIRTH OF RAMA
Tomorrow we will be celebrating ‘Sri Rama Navami’, an important festival. ‘Sri Rama Navami’ is the celebration of the birthday of Sri Rama, God incarnate. Sri Rama has an important place in this country and you won’t find any village or town without Rama’s temple.
The whole history and story of Rama is contained in an epic called the ‘Ramayana’, composed by a sage named Valmiki.
I don’t think that it is possible to deal with the various aspects of Ramayana in an hour. But as a preparation for tomorrow’s celebration, I would like to draw your attention to certain important features of the story so that we can enjoy the function.
WHAT IS ‘RAMA RAJYA’?
First, for the benefit of the English people, I will write the meaning of the Sanskrit names on the board. Being a teacher, I do not find any difficulty in writing!
Rama: Rama is the name of God incarnate, in the period of history called the Threta Yuga (the second age, after Sathya Yuga, and before Dwapara Yuga and Kali Yuga). He was a king, an ideal king, and the time in which He reigned was called ‘Rama Rajya’.
Rama Rajya: Rajya is a kingdom. Rama Rajya is the administration or reign of Sri Rama during the period of the Threta Yuga.
Here I want to make some important points before we go on to the other details. Rama Rajya is not simply a name or a figment of the imagination. It was a reality. People hope and dream that Rama Rajya will return one day.
Why is Rama Rajya ideal? What is special about it? My friends, needless to say, these points are collected only from Swami’s discourses. I do not take credit for anything.
In one of the discourses, Bhagavan mentioned that in Rama Rajya, the women were very, very comfortable. None of them were widows. Every woman could live happily in the company of her husband. There were no widows in Rama Rajya, as Bhagavan Himself explained.
NO PREMATURE DEATH IN RAMA RAJYA
There was no premature death; that is, people dying before their time. Unless the fruit is ripe when it falls to the ground, it cannot be sweet. If the fruit falls to the ground at an early stage, it is sour or astringent. Therefore, one should say good-bye to Mother Planet at the appropriate time – fully ripe and completely mature. But we find this has not been the case in later times. We come across many premature deaths; but in Rama Rajya, there was nothing like a premature death, as Swami explained.
People in Rama Rajya never faced any epidemics or pandemics. There was no suffering from severe diseases or infections. Nothing! The people were hale and healthy.
Rama Rajya never knew poverty! The word ‘beggar’ was unknown. Poverty had no place during the time of Rama Rajya. People lived happily.
There was nothing like drought. There were timely rains, with the result that they could have good harvests. Thus grain was available for the people. There was no famine during Rama Rajya. There was no shortage of food.
NO social disturbances
Baba said that in Rama Rajya, there was no unrest, agitation or disturbances. Actually speaking, an analysis of today’s social disturbances (which have become more or less an order of the day), will reveal that it is poverty behind these agitations. It is poverty behind the violence all over the world.
KINGS WERE GUIDED BY SAGES AND SAINTS
Therefore, my friends, (as Baba said), in the Threta Yuga, the Rama Rajya people never faced poverty; so they led a happy and peaceful life. They were all very happy and extremely peaceful.
And Bhagavan said this was possible. Why is it possible that Rama Rajya could be a time of plenty and prosperity? Why was it that Rama Rajya was so peaceful, with no poverty? What are the reasons?
Bhagavan said Rama Rajya had rulers with the quality of Rama. The ruler was ideal. The king was ideal, an exemplary role model. That was why Rama Rajya was so fine.
Bhagavan also said that it is not enough if you have an ideal king. It is necessary to have good ministers as well. During the time of Rama Rajya, there were ministers like Sumantra, who gave good advice to the king, unlike the modern ministers, who wait for the downfall of the prime minister so that they can take his position. But that was not the situation in those days. Instead there were ideal ministers who always wished that the king should live long, that he should be happy and healthy, and that the people should prosper. Ministers like Sumantra were always ready at the beck and call of the king.
The king was not simply elected by Tom, Dick and Harry. He was guided by great sages, people with vision, people of penance, with spiritual discipline, awareness, and scholarship. The kings were guided by sages and saints such as Vasishta and Viswamitra, who could think of the future, who had knowledge of the past, present and the future. Therefore, Rama Rajya was ideal, as Baba said.
KING’S FAMILY SHOULD BE IDEAL
Rama had three ideal brothers: Lakshmana, Bharata, and Satrughna. The brothers of the king’s family also should be ideal. We find today many responsible people are defamed and acquire a bad reputation because of family members. The son makes money because his father happens to be the minister, or the brother-in-law will contemplate all sorts of corruption, because the minister is a family member. The king’s family should also be ideal; it is not enough if the king is ideal. So Rama is ideal and his brothers are equally ideal.
Bhagavan said that in Rama Rajya, the people never indulged in mutual recrimination, criticism, mud-slinging, or character assassination. It is quite unbelievable, but whenever two people meet, they will speak about a third person. (Laughter) It is particularly unfortunate when they happily say something bad about the third person, whether he is bad or not. So gossiping, the vain thought, is now common. But people in those far-off days were so highly disciplined that they never criticised each other. They lived in harmony, friendship and brotherhood. Those were the kind of people that lived in Rama Rajya.
EVERY CITIZEN HAD GRATITUDE IN RAMA RAJYA
And Bhagavan also mentioned that in Rama Rajya, every citizen was full of gratitude for the king’s ideal administration, for all the things He provided. This kind of gratefulness or gratitude was of a very high standard among the people in those days. Then Bhagavan also said that they were not only grateful, but they were also ready to help others with all compassion in their hearts. Those were the kind of people who lived in those days.
In two sentences, Swami summed all this up:
As is the ruler, so are the ministers.
As are the administrators, so are the common people.
Bhagavan also said those at the helm kept two important principles in sight: Sathya and Dharma, Truth and Righteousness. They never compromised at any cost. They wanted truth to be always upheld, and righteous conduct adopted in daily lives. No compromise. They did not budge even an inch in this respect. That was the integrity of rulers or ministers in Rama Rajya.
KING’S Family was always interested in the welfare of the public
Bhagavan also gave another point. The king’s brothers, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna, the members of the family, used to go around the whole kingdom to find out the needs of the people, how comfortable they were, what they wanted, were they happy, finding out what was their situation. So the members of the family were always interested in the welfare of the people and brought any problems to the notice of the king, so that defects in the administration could be easily corrected and rectified. That was the job of the ministers in those days, as Bhagavan said.
Bhagavan also said in one sentence: “Rama is happy because His people are happy.”
You’ll find Swami is always telling you, “Your bliss is My food; your happiness is My food.”
It is not like God being happy all by Himself. If you and I are happy, God is happy. That is the height of Divinity.
sri Rama was an ideal leader
Then Swami said Rama was an ideal leader. He was ready to suffer. He was ready to face all life’s challenges in order to uphold certain values for an ideal society. Therefore, Bhagavan said, a leader should have values and principles.
In this context, let me recall what Bhagavan stated long ago about the present condition of society:
What is it today?
Politics without principles,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Education without character.
These are the four things that we find today.
No principles in politics, only the question of convenience, not conviction.
So, Bhagavan said in Rama Rajya, rulers were expected to practise values in their lives.
He also said that the king never had pride or ego. Rama was never egoistic. He was never proud. He had friendship with menials. He could mingle freely with monkeys and enjoy the company of birds.
He had the common touch. He was very, very simple; He never stood on royal dignity or anything like that. He never felt that He should keep His distance from the general public.
He identified Himself with all creation, with the organic whole that is the totality of existence. That is Sri Ramachandra. Sri Ramachandra saw His own reflection in the entire kingdom. Therefore He was very much loved by everybody, as Swami stated in His discourses.
Bhagavan also mentioned that Rama was an ideal leader because He could sacrifice personal comfort. This demonstrated to the people that norms, principles, codes and values are more important than one’s personal life.
He could sacrifice His kingdom. He could leave the palace and all His comforts, and simply go to the forest and spend time in exile in adherence to His father’s command. This is the kind of ideal He set for the entire country. He has risen above the (ego) self.
So, these are the points or background to which I draw your attention in the beginning itself, before I go into other aspects. So far, we have discussed Rama Rajya, its qualities and features; and how the king, Rama, ruled the kingdom, all as explained by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in His discourses.
BHAGAVAN PROVED HIMSELF THAT HE IS SRI RAMA
Before I go into the other details, my friends, there have been a number of instances where Swami clearly proved that He is the very same Rama.
Sitting right here now, we have a member from the royal family. In their palace, they experienced the unity of Bhagavan with Ramachandra. Swami gave the vision; Swami gave the manifestation of Rama Himself. Baba appeared as Sri Ramachandra in those days, to those people. I will not mention names because I don’t want to embarrass that gentleman who is in our midst now. There is also proof that Swami materialised idols of Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita, and presented them to the king. So this is clear evidence where Bhagavan proved that He is Rama. That was one clear demonstration.
I can also give you another instance. Swami was narrating the life of Ramachandra where He said that He was very stubborn and very firm in matters of principles. He was not prepared to compromise. But He was also soft and tender, melting like butter, because He could not bear any suffering.
And Swami said, “Just like Me, just like Me.”
How true this is when He (Bhagavan) chooses to be rough and tough! Those who have gone through this period will certainly agree with me about just how strong He is. There is no accommodation or recommendation; nothing whatsoever!
Long ago, a student sent a message to Swami that he was prepared to commit suicide if Swami would not talk to him. A threat indeed! (Laughter)
And what Baba said was, ”Let him finish his life; I will give him a new body in the next life!”
It did not matter, even if he committed suicide. When He wishes to be strong, none can shake Him. Impossible! Impossible! Very, very firm, particularly in regard to the things in which He strongly believes.
When He says, “It will be done”, yes, it will be done, come what may!
ANIL KUMAR’s KODAIKANAL EXPERIENCES
I happily recall what Baba said a few years ago in Kodaikanal. I had the privilege of following Swami to Kodaikanal six times, staying there one month each time. But I didn’t keep all the benefit to myself, because as a teacher, I consider it is my responsibility to share with devotees all our experiences. If you keep it to yourself, you will be spiritually profiteering. Well, I don’t do that. It is our responsibility to share. Bhagavan knows pretty well that I go on ‘blowing the trumpet’ -- of course, not my own! So I draw great delight in sharing Swami’s message and His miracles with as many groups of devotees, as many people, as often as possible.
MIRACLE OF SWAMI
One day in Kodaikanal, Swami spoke of those good old days. How nostalgic! Well, He was speaking about the construction of the new Mandir here in Puttaparthi. Huge beams had to be brought from a place called Penukonda. They were very heavy and very long. Well, there were no transport facilities in those days. No proper roads, no transport, plus the people could not lift those heavy concrete beams without risking their lives. So, how to transport them to Puttaparthi? Baba narrated all this, my friends!
It seems it was war time and there was a shortage of kerosene oil. Because of that, people with cranes were on the main highway, searching for a source of oil.
Somebody said, “Let us go to Puttaparthi and find out if they can spare some oil.” They came to Puttaparthi.
Immediately the people said, “Take the oil, but we want your cranes to transport some beams from Penukonda to here.” So, with the help of the cranes and other machinery, the beams were transported to this place.
Well, the concrete beams were here, but the cranes had gone. How could they be lifted? It’s easy to buy an elephant; but how to maintain it? Impossible! (Laughter) Well, how to lift these beams?
Baba said, in His own words, my friends, “I wanted the Seva Dal (service volunteers) members to stand on either side of the beams. As I walked on the beams, they were able to lift them easily. (Applause) The beams became weightless. (Applause) They could just lift them. The roof could be laid.”
My friends, in the time of Rama, a bridge was built from India to the island of Lanka by monkeys. Big boulders were used in the construction. How was it possible for the monkeys to do this? Each monkey went to the front of a very heavy boulder, caught hold of it, and said, “Ram.” It became as light as a cotton ball and could be lifted. With these boulders, a bridge could be constructed.
But how could these stones be kept in place with no cement? As Baba said, a monkey laid its hand on one stone, its other hand on another stone, and said, “Ram.” Both stones became joined together.
You see! Rama Nama (the name of Rama) made those boulders light in weight; and Rama Nama made the stones stick together, as if they were strongly cemented. That’s what Swami says about the construction of buildings in those days.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN SRI RAMA AND BABA
Swami also narrated an episode during the Ramayana days. When Rama left Ayodhya (the capitol of the kingdom) for exile in the forest, many people ran after Him. They never said, “Good-bye! See you later.” They ran after His chariot, because they could not bear to leave their beloved king. They were all running -- men, women, and children.
And please note this: Swami said, “Rama could see that the ladies were running too, just as ladies run after Swami’s car today!” (Laughter)
Rama decided to rest in a temple that night. The ladies and gents and children also reached the temple, and all fell fast asleep (because running was a physical strain).
Baba said, “Seeing that all were fast asleep, in the early hours of the morning, Rama left softly, without anybody noticing, just as I leave Prashanti Nilayam! (Laughter) Rama did the same in those days, just as I do now.” These are all things explained by Bhagavan.
In particular, the Kodaikanal trips are so interesting. He goes back to His earlier period, how He behaved as Rama, or how He conducted Himself as Krishna. It is an ‘action replay’ where we find all the drama re-enacted in front of us. The unity of the two incarnations is very clearly established and explained by Bhagavan repeatedly.
HERMITAGE EPISODE FROM RAMAYANA
Bhagavan told about the time when Rama, accompanied by Sita (His wife) and Lakshmana, went to an ashram, a hermitage. They were not wearing princely clothes. No! Not the dress of a royal family, but the same dress as those of the sages and saints who lived in the forest. So they went to a saint’s hermitage and sat among the others.
Please note this point, my friends. When Swami speaks in Kodaikanal, He has three purposes in His mind, as far as I can guess. There may be even more.
One point is to let everybody know His Divinity through materialisations. He has materialised diamonds of this size (Anil Kumar showing the big size of the diamonds), rings, the gold rings of Rama, and also the chain of Sita. Wow! The materialisation is a proof of His Divinity; and is one of the things that we enjoy during our stay in Kodaikanal.
The second point is Bhagavan identifies with the earlier incarnation. As the story unfolds, He brings to our notice the parallels - what is happening now and what happened then – His identification with the earlier incarnation.
The third point is giving lessons to the youth. He takes with Him at least thirty to forty boys. They can be boys who live in His institutions, or the grown-up boys. They can draw lessons from His discourses. That is the third purpose.
See, a simple example is given in the story of the visit to the ashram by Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. Rama and Lakshmana sat with the men, while Sita sat with the women.
As Swami says, “In those days, the same system is followed: men on one side and ladies on the other side. There is no mixing and no ‘hello, hello, hello’. No, it is not like that. Segregation was practised then also.”
He means, “Hey boys, understand! You cannot sit anywhere you like.” This is one lesson that He conveyed to them.
LESSON TO THE MODERN YOUTH
Then, ladies are naturally curious. The ladies around Sita enquired, “Who are you? What is your name? We see you here for the first time. You are so beautiful. Are you going to stay with us for a while? Is your husband also here?”
Sita said, “Yes.”
Those ladies didn’t keep quiet. They pointed out some gentleman. “Is he your husband?”
“Is he your husband?”
“Is he your husband?”
Finally, they pointed to Rama. “Is he your husband?”
Please note this point. Sita remained silent and bowed down her head. Here Swami mentioned two points.
First, a worldly lesson for the youngsters: When they said, “Is he your husband?”, unlike a modern lady, she didn’t say, “Hi Ram! How are you?” She didn’t say that. (Laughter) She was so modest. She was so simple and humble. She kept quiet. That is decency. That is culture. That is a lesson to everybody.
And then, the philosophy behind her response to the questions, ”Is he your husband?”…“No.” “Is he your husband?”… “No.”
There was a response to every question; but when the question of the reality came (when the ladies pointed to Ramachandra) asking, “Is he your husband?”, only silence prevailed.
It means until you see the reality, until you encounter the reality, until you experience the Divinity, you go on speaking, blah...blah...blah, as I do. The moment you experience, you remain silent.
SILENCE IS ELOQUENCE
Silence is the ‘eloquence of the realised soul’. This is called the ‘theory of negation’ or ‘neti, neti’, meaning, “No, it is not this.” So Sita demonstrated by her negative responses that ‘No, this is not the reality.’ When Rama was pointed out, she maintained silence.
Therefore, when Baba says, “It is only in the depth of silence, the voice of God is heard”, that silence is the eloquence of the realised soul. It is wordless speech, soundless sound; it is the sharp pause between two sentences. It is unwritten. It is the beat of the heart and the breath of life. It is not spelt out or spoken. That’s what reality is, as Bhagavan explained.
Swami sat on the chair in Kodaikanal. He said, “You know, Rama sits like this.” (Laughter)
“Oh, I see.”
Then immediately He said to the boys, “Oh, you sit straight, too! (Laughter) Why? If you don’t sit straight now, tomorrow you will have a back like Mandhara (the hunchback maid of the wife of Rama’s father), totally bent like a bow. So sit straight. Rama always sat like this.”
So He was giving lessons like that to the boys.
EPISODE FROM RAMAYANA – EXEMPLARY CHARACTER OF LAKSHMANA
Then I recall this instance where Swam gave another lesson. I presume you all know the story of Sita and her jewels. Those whom do not, I beg your pardon.
It was when Ravana (the king of Lanka) kidnapped Mother Sita. The bundle of jewellery held by Sita when she was abducted fell on to a mountaintop, as she was carried through the air. This story you know. Later, the jewellery was recovered and in Rama’s hands.
This is the interesting conversation that ensued between Rama and Lakshmana. The elder brother, Rama, asked, “Lakshmana, here are jewels. Can you identify them as belonging to Sita, your sister-in-law?“
This is the answer of Lakshmana. “No, brother, no. I have not seen Sita’s earrings, her chain, or her bangles. So I do not know whether those jewels belong to her or not. But I know her toe rings because every morning I do padanamaskar (bowing to the feet of Sita) before I start work. So I can recognise the toe rings – they belong to Sita.”
Baba says, “That was the exemplary character of Lakshmana. He did not look at Sita because of his respect for her as the wife of his brother.”
Then Lakshmana asked Rama, “Brother, do You think the rest of the jewels belong to Sita?”
How the husband reacts! “I do not know. They may or they may not.”
Now, Swami conveys the lesson here. Rama was not like the modern bridegrooms and husbands of today. They want to know the wife’s documentation of the jewels she has, and have a copy in their files (or at least in the computer) for verification and evaluation. (Laughter) Rama never knew what jewels Sita wore, because He was not mindful of material matters like that.
These are the sort of situations that Swami brought to the attention of everybody.
Spiritual significance of ‘talambralu’ in the holy wedding
You know, towards the close of the Hindu wedding, there is a very interesting thing that happens. It is called the talambralu, where the bride and bridegroom sit opposite each other. On a plate there is sacrificial rice with kum-kum (red powder), turmeric and all that. The bridegroom and bride place a handful of the rice on each other’s heads. Those here who are married will be interested in thinking back to those days; and the young ones will be interested because they have that to come! (Laughter)
Swami started explaining about the talambralu, the putting of sacrificial rice on the head. You would have noticed it during the Bhimaratha Shanthi festival here (the spiritual marriage of elderly couples).
Baba said, “Pearls were used instead of rice.”
Pearls? We dared not ask – but our faces asked the question. Pearls? (Laughter)
Swami said, “Yes, pearls, not rice. Dasaratha was an emperor and Sita was the daughter of Janaka Maharaj, also an emperor. They can afford pearls. So why use rice?”
“Oh! I see Swami. A royal family. Good.”
“Sri Ramachandra wore a white shining turban.”
“Abbah! I see.”
“And then Sita wore a red sari, dark red.”
“They sat facing each other. The bridegroom Ramachandra then collected pearls in both hands to put on the head of the bride, Sita.” Swami said that because of the white turban, all the pearls were shining, as the white colour was reflected in the pearls. They were shining like diamonds, a flood of lights. Gently, slowly, smilingly, Rama placed those pearls on the head of Sita.
Next it was Sita’s turn to gather the pearls. Now, when she did? What happened? Swami described it like this: “Her palms were the colour of rose petals, and that rose colour was reflected in the pearls; so they looked red in colour. She placed them on Rama’s head. In the process, a few pearls fell on the ground. Those on the ground looked black in colour because of the earth reflection.”
So the pearls are of three colours: White in the hands of Rama, red in the hands of Sita, and black on the ground. How Swami surprises! How Swami spiritualises the whole episode for your information! Those who seek God, Purusha (the Creator) will have the sathwic (pious) quality. Piousness is indicated by the colour white.
Mother Sita carried red pearls. Sita symbolises the world, Prakrithi (Creation). This creation is full of ambition, desire, emotion, and sentiments. It is the rajoguna (emotional) quality. So rajoguna is indicated by the colour red.
So those who approach the Creator will be pious; those who are worldly will be emotional; and those who are neither are black like the pearls that fell on the ground. The colour black symbolises the thamasic (dullness, inertia, laziness) quality. That is how Swami spiritualised the whole episode of Sita Kalyana (the holy wedding of Sita-Rama).
Then Swami was explaining…my friends, we have forgotten where we were! Has He transported all of us to Mithila (the kingdom of Sita’s father, King Janaka)? How interesting it is, particularly when Swami explains the stories.
SWAMI MATERIALISES RINGS OF SRI RAMA
The father of Sita, Janaka, has another name, Videha, which has the meaning of ‘no body attachment’. Sita never returned to her parents’ house after she left there. And her father never wanted to know why, because he was so sure that she would be quite happy in the company of Rama.
My friends, in Kodaikanal, Swami gave explanations for these happenings.
I also well remember Swami materialising a ring, a very big ring. It was wrist size. (Laughter) It had a green stone, shining like anything. Well, I was very curious and Swami made sure everybody saw it. Ultimately it was my turn. Also, I would be returning it to Him since I was close by.
Swami said, “Give it to Me, give it to Me.”
“No, Swami, let me look at it for a while longer.” (Laughter) I looked to my heart’s content and then gave it back to Swami.
Then I said, “Bhagavan, a small doubt.”
“What? You always have doubts! What is that doubt?” (Laughter)
I said, “Swami, such a big ring, two or three fingers would fit in it.” (Laughter)
Then Swami said, “Rama was not of your size. (Laughter) He was gigantic -- very, very tall. So He would have a ring of that size.”
“Oh!” Seeing that Swami’s mood was okay; I picked up little more courage. (Laughter)
I said, “Who gave the ring to Rama? Who presented it to Him?”
Baba said, “It was presented to Him by his father-in-law, the emperor, Janaka. It was a wedding gift from His father-in-law.
Then I laughed.
Swami said, “Why do you laugh?”
“Swami, did Rama also expect something from His father-in-law? (Laughter) It is quite natural if I expect something; we all expect a gift. But for Rama to expect gifts from a father-in-law! (Laughter) So this means we bridegrooms are not at fault to expect a gift for ourselves? (Laughter) That is correct?” (Applause)
Swami said, “Nonsense! Chi! Keep quiet! (Laughter) No, no, no! Rama’s father, Dasaratha, was not a miser!”
Now it is a question of Lord Rama’s prestige! (Laughter)
So, this time Swami materialised another ring of the same size, with a white stone.
“This was given by Rama’s father. This (the green stone) was given by His father-in-law. Is that okay with you, now?” asked Swami. (Laughter)
“Now I understand.” (Applause)
That is how there were the moments when I could provoke Him, or rather provoke romantic anger - because there is anger in romance also, and naturally so when linked to family prestige.
“Come on, why do you talk like that?” (Laughter) Oh! Very good. I could see both the rings.
SWAMI MATERIALISES RAVANA’S CHAIN
I think it was on one trip when I asked, “Swami, there is no problem with Rama; but people say Ravana is a great man. But Swami, it is not me saying that; it is the people.” (Laughter) (If I say that Ravana is great, I may be asked to pack up and go. (Laughter) I don’t want to run into that Divine risk.) (Laughter)
So I said, “Swami, Ravana is a great king and also a very rich man. The epic says that Lanka is full of gold, golden palaces, and all that. What did he wear? Show me what he wore.”
I have no right to ask this. Nevertheless I did say, “I have seen the chain and ring belonging to Rama. I would like to see something belonging to Ravana also. He is a good fellow; so let us see what he wore.”
Swami replied, “Chi! Shut your mouth!” (Laughter)
I said, “Swami, I will shut my mouth. But let me see what he wore.”
“Aah! Keep quiet!” (Laughter)
Then, I signalled to the other boys, “You also ask Swami.” (Laughter)
Then Swami said, “Oh! He is a bad leader for your group!” (Laughter)
So I said, “Okay, let us postpone it for the next day.”
On the next day, when Swami sat, I started the dialogue. (Why I say ‘I’ is not because I am egoistic or one for publicity; please do not misunderstand. It is because I am the only teacher in that group who is quite senior. Therefore, Swami gives me a number of chances to ask these questions on behalf of everybody. I am nothing special. No, no. I don’t consider myself privileged or special, not in a lifetime. You can take it from me.)
The next day, the session started like this: “Swami, Ravana is a very bad fellow. (Laughter) Yesterday when I said ‘great’, there was no response from You. (Laughter) So let us approach it this way. (Laughter) He’s a very bad fellow! ”
Swami said, “Why do you say that?”
“Swami, Ravana abducted Mother Sita. What could be more treacherous than this?“
“No, no! Don’t say that. Ravana was a great scholar, a great devotee. Though he abducted Sita, he never touched her. It was only to provoke Ramachandra, to make Him furious and very angry. Then He would fight him – and Ravana prayed to die at His hands.”
“But Rama is not a simple man to fight about simple issues such as water or border disputes. (Laughter) Unless there was a threat to Dharma (righteousness), He would not interfere. So the Sita kidnapping provoked Him to come and wage war. Thus He killed Ravana. This was a man who wanted to die at the hands of Rama. So why say, ‘He is a bad man’?”
“Oh! I see. But what did he wear, Swami?” (Laughter)
“Hmmm! So, you are not letting Me go,” He said. (Laughter) “Come then, see.”
He materialised a big chain, up to here. You can imagine the size of Ravana’s neck. Woo! A King Demon, you could say.
Most of you have seen a Shivalinga, an oval-shaped stone that symbolises the merging of the form with the formless. (Anil Kumar draws a picture of the Shivalingam on the board). Clear? I am a biologist. We draw diagrams.
Swami materialised a big chain with 365 gold lingas because Ravanasura was a great devotee of Shiva (the God of destruction and transformation, one of the Hindu Trinity). The 365 gold lingas were shining brightly. At the centre, were three more big lingas. One was dark blue in colour, one dark yellow, and one dark red. Three. They looked similar to crystals, huge ones. It took sometime for Him to materialise.
“This is the thing he wore,” He said.
“Wow! Swami, 365 lingas! Why not 565? Why only 365?”
“There are 365 days in a year; therefore, 365 lingas.”
The three lingas at the centre, ah! How beautiful! We could not take our eyes off that chain. If Ravanasura had happened to be alive there, we would have run after him just to see the chain, if not Ravana! (Laughter) It was so beautiful, I tell you. And Swami materialised it so that we could all see it.
Please believe me, brothers and sisters, it is because we know that Swami is leaving for Kodaikanal soon that I am recalling those days from the past.
One episode from the Ramayana was given by Swami every day. He chooses one theme to speak on for each visit to Kodaikanal. That year, He was speaking on all these things, so we could see what Rama wore, and we could see what Ravana had. But how could we see what Mother Sita wore? We should also see what Mother Sita had, but how and when to ask? I had already had two turns, which were over. (Laughter)
Suddenly, He asked me to sit by His side in the car. He had been invited by a devotee for dinner in Kodaikanal and we were on the way to the house there.
There are many devotees of Bhagavan in Kodaikanal and they invite Swami and the students for lunch and dinner. Whomsoever Swami picks and blesses will have the pleasure of hosting us. So we were going in a car.
Slowly I said, “Swami, I want to see the jewels of Sita.” (Laughter)
“You are always after jewels. Chi! Keep quiet! (Laughter) It is good that at least you asked in the car, and not in front of the students. Keep quiet.” (Laughter)
“Okay, Swami.” (Laughter) “I won’t speak.”
We went to the house. The owner is here now; he came this morning…maybe to make an ‘advance reservation’ for Bhagavan’s visit to his house? (Laughter) (“Swami, I asked before and You said ‘yes’. Then please come – an advance reservation, okay?”) I saw him this morning; he was greeting Swami.
DINNER AT DEVOTEE’S PLACE IN KODAIKANAL
Then we went there. What a banquet! When you attend a breakfast or lunch or dinner or tea or snack or whatever with Swami, what can you say? There are at least 20 to 25 dishes, and you cannot leave anything! (Laughter) Meanwhile, He eats nothing! (Laughter) He eats nothing and you must eat everything - and under strict Divine supervision! (Laughter) He moves about checking on what are you eating and what you are not eating. (Laughter) Abbah! Very difficult. (Laughter)
Their house is a very big one on the mountaintop. In Kodaikanal, you see the mist and the clouds. It’s all beautiful, like Kailash. We were all enjoying it. There was a big hall like this, where they kept a joola (swing) for Swami, full of flowers, jasmine and roses; the mukkumal (silk) cloth, the cushion of the swing, how beautiful! And a flower bed in front of that. How grand it was! The whole hall was wonderfully decorated, all floral decorations; so you can imagine the fragrance! Ah! It was matchless. So we all were there and we did full justice to all the items served to us. (Laughter)
Then Swami called me, “Come here. Sit here.”
I sat by His side. Maybe He was suspecting some mischief from me or something like that.
There is an interesting feature of Tamil Nadu culture. All the people know classical music and maintain the Indian culture 100%, with no compromise. The traditions and rituals are followed. There were a few elderly ladies from Tamil Nadu at that visit.
Swami knew them well. He asked them to sing. They sung Thygaraja songs, the classical music. Ah! Swami was in ecstasy, very happy.
Then He looked at me, “Are you enjoying it?”
“Swami, I want to see Sita’s jewels.” (Laughter and Applause)
Because it was the right time and it may not come again. The ladies were singing the song,
Seetamma Maa Amma,
Sita is my mother,
Sri Ramudu Maaku Thandri.
Sri Rama is my father.
They were singing like that. Aah! ‘Seetamma Ma Amma’ and He was feeling very happy.
“Swami, about Sita’s jewels?” (Laughter)
sWAMI MATERIALISES sITA’S CHAIN
The moment the song was over, Swami said, “Come on!”
He materialised the chain of Mother Sita; we all saw it. It was a beautiful chain with a medallion at the centre and diamonds in circles -- so many diamonds. At the centre, there were three stones with the same three colours -- green, yellow and red. The chain of Sita was all diamonds Aah! How beautiful it was!
And then Swami said, “Ultimately, you had your wish fulfilled. Are you satisfied?” (Laughter)
“For the time being, Swami, for the time being. “(Laughter)
In regard to Ramayana, we all saw how Sri Ramachandra lived in the past, all the things He had, and the jewels that Mother Sita had -- all these things we saw. Swami materialised them all for us. That was the year on Ramayana. He spoke on the Ramayana and how the brothers loved each other, the kind of brotherhood they had, and the ideal son Rama was. He spoke, episode after episode, every day.
HIS Call to PROFESSOR ANIL kumar to serve in the institute
Now let me tell you of one personal note. I am sure that you won’t misunderstand me since you know me for the last couple of years.
I was drawn to Swami’s institution in the year 1989. Before I was working elsewhere, for 26 years, in a Christian college as a professor of botany.
Suddenly, Swami picked me up and wanted me to join the Brindavan campus as the principal. How did it happen? I was serving as the State president of the Sathya Sai organisation, Andhra Pradesh. When I came for the New Year celebration in 1989, Swami walked simply by and said “Come to Kodaikanal with Me.”
I never knew that Swami went to Kodaikanal every year. I never knew that Swami would ask people to follow Him. I never dreamt that I would be asked to follow Him. Not even in a dream, I tell you! I tell you this is the truth, from the bottom of my heart.
All right! Being invited by Him, I was given a nice car and all that, a Benz car. Aah! Myself, I own a bicycle. (Laughter) That is my status. But, when you follow Swami, a Benz car! Why not? People at His beck and call, whatever you want! (Laughter) Well, I followed Him there, had a separate room and heater and all that. We will think of the other details later, all the royal treatment.
He used to stay there a full month in those days. After 15 days, He suddenly said, “Come to Bangalore and serve in my college as the principal.”
I missed a heartbeat. (Laughter) I didn’t say ‘yes’, I didn’t say ‘no’. I was not happy, I didn’t jump for joy - I was in shock.
It was a shock. I knew that to work in Swami’s colleges and hospitals and to live with Swami is living with fire. It is like walking on a razor’s edge. It is not an easy thing. To come and go on a visitor’s visa is nice. But to stay here…? Those at the helm know it pretty well, the responsibility. It is a very tough job. I knew that.
So after lunch, I was tossing on the bed. “Why have I come to Kodaikanal? (Laughter) Why has He asked me to join His institution? Why didn’t I say, “Swami, please I need more time before I join You. Why didn’t I say that?”
I was feeling very badly because I know that I am not quite eligible to be in His system, not by virtue of qualification. I am an extrovert, a social man. I want to talk to people, to meet them; I cannot lead an isolated, lonely life. My temperament is different. I know that I am a misfit and unfit. Well, what was this turn of events? I was feeling very badly.
In the evening, Swami started giving a discourse. I was doing the translation. (I started translating His discourses from April 1989, during the summer.)
another episode from ramayana as explained by swami
Swami started speaking about Ramayana, because that was the year of Ramayana. Swami said that it was a battlefield. The whole army was ready to fight; the battalion of monkeys were ready, and all the people were ready.
At that moment, Rama asked one-by-one, “Would you go to Lanka to find Sita?”
He asked one senior man, “Jambhavan, are you ready to go?”
He said, “Swami, I am an old fellow now, (Laughter) on superannuation. (Laughter) Had you put this question in my younger days, I do not know what my answer would have been. Today, I am unfit -- arthritis, pneumonia, spondilitis. (Laughter) I am sorry Swami, I am not sure of my strength. I am old now, retired, one foot in the grave. Please spare me.”
Then He asked another man. “Nala, are you ready to go?”
He said, “Swami, it is estimated that the sea between here and Lanka is about 100 kilometres. I don’t think that I can get there. At the most, I may be able to do a small high jump and long jump, (Laughter) but not that long jump.“ So each one started talking like that.
Suddenly, it was Hanuman’s turn. “Hanuman, are you ready to jump across this ocean and go to Lanka in search of Sita?”
And Hanuman said, “Yes, Swami! I am ready to go.”
Please pay attention. This is the punch line. Hanuman had never crossed the ocean before. He knew nothing of the difficulties. He had never seen Sita, and now he is going in search of her.
If you had never met me, how could you identify me in a crowd? So Hanuman had never seen her and yet he is going there to identify her. And He doesn’t know where Lanka is, or the dangers there! Yet he said, “Yes!”
Then Ramachandra asked, “Hanuman, have you been there before?”
“Have you seen Sita?”
“Why did you say that you would go there? What courage do you have to say that you are ready to go?”
Then Hanuman said, “Swami, You asked me, You commanded me, so I am sure that You will give me the needed skills, strength and abilities to cross the ocean and fulfil the task entrusted to me.” (Applause)
It is the same with Swami when He says that He will give you the necessary strength and skills to get the task done.
He looked at me, (Laughter) because I was doubtful, ‘To be or not to be.’ He gave me the indirect message, “I will see to your success, don’t worry. Come and join.”
That was the message. I got it. Nobody else knew, only Swami and me. It was like the dramatic irony of William Shakespeare, being known to only two characters. Swami, aahah! You are greater than Shakespeare in this dramatic irony! (Laughter) You could have told me straightaway, “Come on and join.” Why this whole episode?
So, Swami conveys these things in a certain way, reminding us our responsibilities and obligations. I could go on like this for any length of time.
There was a day in Kodaikanal when Swami arranged dinner for everybody, for all devotees, all the students, everybody. Then Swami said, “Today is Sita Kalyana, the holy wedding. Therefore, I want everybody to participate.”
So, as I think of those days, I thought of sharing those episodes with you. I wish you a nice vacation, a fruitful, enjoyable time. Hopefully, prayerfully, we meet again in the month of June.
May Bhagavan shower His choicest blessings on each and every one of you! Sai Ram. Thank you very much. (Applause)
OM OM OM
Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!