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O July 23rd, 2006

“Question and Answers”


Sai Ram

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Questions and Answers
I would like to answer the questions received by email within the stipulated time. If any time is left at the end, we shall commence the next topic of the day. As these people may be expecting answers to their questions, we cannot keep them waiting too long. To save time, I will just read out the summary of the question, not the entire question.

MIND, ego and body Consciousness

The first question relates to the mind and the ego, and there is a supplementary question about the different aspects of body consciousness. Three points are raised in this question regarding mind, ego, and body consciousness. Let me answer the question this way.

Consciousness operates at three levels. I am conscious of my body—that is body consciousness. When an ant moves on my body, I feel it. When anyone touches me, I feel it. Let me not say that the body can feel it—no! Because a dead body will never be able to feel anything. A dead body can neither see nor hear. A dead body is not aware of the sense of touch.

It is only a body with life that sees, hears, and is aware of the sense of touch. The five senses are operative only when there is life in the body. The life consciousness operating at the physical level is known as body consciousness, or dehatma. Dehatma is Atma, or consciousness, in tune with, in connection with, and in combination with the body, and this makes us experience the five senses that are operational and functional in this world.

The second point is that consciousness also operates in combination with the mind. Therefore, I feel: “I am so and so; I am angry; I am emotional; I am passionate; I am ambitious; I am peaceful; I am blissful; I am envious; I am jealous; I am that; I am this. . .” This I-ness is nothing but consciousness in combination with the mind. This is called ego. Ego is nothing but I-ness.

“Who are you?”

“I am so and so.” That is ego.

“What are you?”

“I am. . .” That is also ego.

“I have done this. Do you know who I am?”—again ego!

Therefore, this I-ness is the ego. This is the expression of consciousness in combination with the mind. It establishes identity, recognition, identification, and speciality. It claims uniqueness, and strives to be extraordinary—something special—something super—something above others! This is what is called ego, or jeevatma. So, dehatma is consciousness in combination with the body; jeevatma is consciousness in combination with the mind.

The third point is consciousness above the body and the mind, which is beyond the senses, and the ego, and which makes these two manifest, either physically or mentally. But it is beyond these two. That is what you call super-consciousness or Paramatma.

Paramatma is super-consciousness, which is formless and has no attributes. It is a witness, and when it comes down to the level of the mind, it is called jeevatma. Jeevatma is what we call the ego—full of sentiments, capable of thinking, reacting, and responding.

The two concepts are thus clear: That ego which operates at the level of the mind in terms of responses and thoughts is jeevatma, whereas that ego which is at the operational or functional level of the body is dehatma. So, I think I have clearly answered the question.

Prema Sai Reincarnation
This topic is one that is often in the minds of many people. Bhagavan has said that He would reincarnate as Prema Sai, eight years after He leaves His present body. But a recent email mentions that the reincarnation would take place one year after Swami leaves this present body.

My friend, let us not bother ourselves with this question. Let us not think of the future, be it after one year, after seven years, and so on. We are not sure of what will happen tomorrow. We are not sure of the next hour. So, my friends, there is only one answer, in the shape of two questions: What is life? Who is God? The questions are two, but there is only one answer.

Life is in the present. God is in the present. God is in the present, and life is in the present. Live in existence, in the now. That’s all.

Where is God? God is in the present.

Where is life? Life is in the present. Life is not in the past. If life was in the past, we should have gone by now. If life is in the future, we are not sure. If God is of the past, we don’t want him. If God is in the future, we are not sure of Him. God is in the present.

In that context, let us not entertain this question. Whether He would incarnate as Prema Sai one year or eight years after is not important. In fact, why should it be important? Why should you feel anxious about what is going to happen? You only relate to the present as long as you exist. Once you are not there, what is there to bother about? What is the guarantee that you will be there for the next hour or the next year?

Swami tells one small anecdote. A beggar came to the palace of Emperor Dharmaja in the Mahabharat. King Dharmaja said, “No time, come tomorrow.”

His brother Bheema heard this. That same night, when King Dharmaja (the eldest of the five Pandava brothers) went to bed, Bheema ordered the whole city to be decorated. All the houses were to be decorated, and banners, buntings, and celebrations were to be put in place for the next morning.

The next day, Dharmaja got up, and he saw these celebrations. There was music and dance everywhere. He called Bheema and asked, “What is wrong with you? What is all this celebration for?”

Bheema said, “Brother, I am celebrating because yesterday you told that beggar you would be alive today. Therefore, I am celebrating. I am not sure of my life tomorrow, while you are so sure of your life tomorrow! So I am celebrating.” Then only Dharmaja understood his mistake.

Therefore, my friends let us not think of tomorrow. If anyone says to Swami, “Tomorrow”, His answer is this: “Tomorrow? Maaro!”

In the Hindi language, the word “maaro” means “kill”. So maaro tomorrow! Kill the very thought of tomorrow, because today—this moment—is life.

the Lady and the three candles
Swami had materialised three candles for a lady devotee, representing peace, harmony and healing. We were wondering if you could give us more information. Do you know more about this story?

I had not heard about this story till now. But I don’t dismiss, deny, or condemn it, for the simple reason that I do not know anything about it. So I cannot say that it is false.

With Swami anything is possible. With Swami, anything—any day—with anybody—anywhere—it is possible! It is possible; it might have happened. However, I cannot comment on whether it happened or not.

And assuming that these candles were indeed materialised by Swami and given to that lady, who am I to comment? And regarding the three candles representing harmony, peace and healing, what is there to comment? Where there is peace, there is harmony; they go together. When both of them are there, there will be healing. Why not?

Therefore, it is a positive thing! It is not a diabolical statement. It is not a paradoxical statement. It is not anything to debate or contradict. We appreciate it, and congratulate that lady who received these three candles from Swami, which represent the three values that may be put into practice.

Stealing energy

It seems some people say, “Don’t go there, don’t go there.” A spiritual man should not meet anybody, should not go anywhere, should not meet everybody, because some people will steal his energy.

Steal his energy? The point is this, when you say that others can steal your energy, I don’t think you are talking about energy. They can steal your money; they can steal your pen; they can steal your property; they can steal your possessions. But how can they steal your energy? I don’t know. If that was possible, all of us would have become weak by now. After all, many people are ready to steal. If energy can be stolen so easily, some of us would be finished by now, and the population problem would have been settled long ago!

My friends, it is not so. Energy cannot be stolen. The kinetic theory of energy says, “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.”

But why do people say that you should not meet everybody?

Let us take a simple example. When you are a believer of Sathya Sai Baba, how can you talk to a person, or meet a person, who criticises Him, and who does not accept Him? How can you meet such a person? It is not possible.

You are a religious man. How can you be friendly with an irreligious man? With an atheist? You are a man of discipline. How can you be friendly with an undisciplined fellow? It is not possible, unless we are on the same wavelength! That is why there is an English proverb that says, “Birds of the same feather flock together.”

So those of us who have the same ideology, temperament, and attitude can communicate and move together. That is what satsang is. Satsang means good company, the company of like-minded people. We are in the company of those who think and act in the same way we do.

Therefore, don’t meet those who are against your ideas. After all, our faith is so little. Our faith is not gigantic; it is not so strong like a pillar. Our faith is like a grass blade. It is so thin, like a silk sari; as thin as an x-ray film that can be blown away easily by the slightest touch of the wind. Our faith is like that!

If everything is positive, then our faith is very strong. If there is a little shake in the family, if there is a little shake in the office, we immediately ask, “Is Baba God?”

In the morning, you said, “He is God,” so why do you ask, “Is He God” now?

That is morning, this is evening! So our faith is oscillating and vacillating. We are not so strong. At this stage, if we talk to an atheist or an irreligious fellow, what will happen to the little faith we are holding on to?

Keep a candle in front of you, light it, and blow on it—fattah! (Anil Kumar makes the noise of blowing out a candle)—the light is gone, extinguished! Thus we lose our existing faith when in the company of a faithless man. That is why we should be choosy in selecting people—deserving people—with whom we can mingle, and not mingle with every Tom, Dick, and Harry.

There is also another point here, what we call vibrations. In the company of a good man, you will receive his vibrations. In the company of Baba, you receive Divine vibrations. That’s why when we go for darshan, we go with question mark faces. Question mark faces, worried faces with wrinkles, exclamatory faces--so weak, so complaining, so disturbed. But when we see Swami, we exclaim in bliss, “Hari Om!” Our faces become so calm, so peaceful, so blissful, and so beautiful. Why? Divine vibrations!

It is dark the whole night. But the next morning when the sun rises, there is light everywhere. With that light, there is delight in our minds! Similarly, with Baba’s darshan, we receive Divine vibrations. Listening to Swami’s discourses, you receive Divine vibrations. With Swami’s touch, you receive Divine vibrations.

When Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa touched the head of Vivekananda, the Divine vibrations awakened his intellect, awakened his consciousness, to the highest state, such that he lost his body consciousness. When Ramana Maharshi looked deeply into one’s eyes, the Divine vibrations awakened the intellect, dispelling all doubts.

Therefore, bhajans are very important. When we all sing bhajans together, there are Divine vibrations. The same kind of vibrations happen with group meditation, Divine darshan, satsang, and seva. We should not mistake vibrations for energy. In this way, spiritual aspirants should be careful and choosy with regard to the company they keep.

Kodaikanal with Swami

Next question: Have you ever gone to Kodaikanal with Swami? You must know many students who have gone to Kodaikanal with Swami. Can you email some of your experiences?

Yes, I have gone to Kodaikanal with Swami. I have written a book by the name of “Divine Directions”. The book contains all my experiences with Swami in Kodaikanal. I have also written two volumes of the book Sathyopanishad (Volumes One and Two), full of questions and answers--the questions I have put to Swami and the answers that He has mercifully given. So what other experiences can I tell you about? Kindly go through those books, as there are lots of experiences in them.

When was Rama born?

In what year was Rama born? Hari Om! In what year was He born?

My friends, there are two views here. One is the historical perspective; the second is the philosophical dimension, a sort of spiritual perspective. This question is asked from the historical perspective: “When was Rama born?”

People who are interested can give you a rough date, which will be controversial. Some say “yes”, many say “no.” But all will agree that He was born in the yuga known as Tretha Yuga, but nobody can give the calendar year, nor the date, nor the precise time—be it BC, AD, AM or PM! I don’t think anyone can give the precise time. But some may give a time by looking into the almanac, or going into some of the ancient texts. Some may do that. I cannot deny that.

I am highly respectful to them. What we do not know, we should accept, instead of saying “no” to everything, like a fool.

I pay my respects to those who can speculate, who can determine, and who can declare the date of birth of Rama. But I don’t verify whether it is true or not, because I am not interested in the date of birth of Rama. I am not interested to know.

I am interested in the second dimension of Rama, the spiritual dimension of Rama, the philosophical dimension of Rama, who has conveyed an invaluable message to the whole world­—then, now, and forever. The message of Rama is Truth, Sathya. The message of Rama is Dharma, righteousness.

The spiritual dimension of Rama is this: Rama is born at the time when you think of Him. Rama is born in the mind, not at a place. Rama is never born in a particular country. Rama is born in your own heart. The birth of Rama takes place in one’s own heart, not in a particular land like any one of us. Here, please take note that I am giving you the spiritual dimension of Rama.

As and when you think of Him, Rama is born. Rama is already there in you, and you will meet Him when you think of Him. Rama is already there inside, waiting for you will look there for Him. Rama is there within, talking to you while you try to listen to His words, what we refer to as the “inner voice.” That Rama is Atma Rama. “Atma Rama” means “Rama, the Self.” That is the spiritual dimension, which I believe is what is important, and which Baba describes quite often in His discourses.

When you condition Jesus Christ to a limited historical event, it will never help you to advance in life. It is true that Christ’s birth is a historical event; but it is also a spiritual awakening taking place every moment all over the world. The birth of a paramahamsa is a historical event, yet it inspires everybody for years and centuries afterwards.

Similarly with Rama’s birth, let us not simply take it as a historical event, even if it were so. Instead let us transcend and go beyond into the spiritual arena. Let us be aware of the philosophical depth so as to see Him within, talk to Him within, and contemplate and meditate upon Him within. That’s what I can say about this.

Dreams of Swami

Now people are telling me that they dream of Swami, and they have messages from Swami. They want me to comment upon the dreams they have and the messages they receive from Swami.

How can I comment upon your dream? If you are comfortable with dreams, continue to dream! (Laughter)

Some people live in a dreamland! I have one or two friends whom I cannot avoid, as they are my colleagues. Out of the two, one goes on boring me constantly with his dreams. He tells me that last night in his dream, Swami took him in his car. Then I feel within myself, “Why does he not drop you there?” (Laughter)

And then he tells me that Swami invited him for lunch or that Swami invited him to the Poornachandra Hall, and so he goes on and on. I try to avoid him, but sometimes it is not possible. At least, while signing the attendance register, I cannot run away.

Dreams, they are so funny! One gentleman said, “Swami told me in my dream not to go to that place.” How to explain to this man? Then I told him, “Swami told me in my dream to avoid you, not to meet you again.” (Laughter)

My friends, please stop dreaming! Think of the dreamer. The dream is not important; it is the dreamer that is important. The dreamer goes on dreaming, but the dreams are different. The dreamer is one. Yesterday’s dreamer is the same as today’s dreamer. Today’s dreamer is going to be the same as tomorrow’s dreamer.

It is something like this: I saw one film yesterday. Today, I will see another movie and tomorrow another. But I am the same. The movies, the TV serials, and the TV channels are different; however I, as the viewer, am one and the same.

Similarly, my friends, don’t go by the dreams. They are different; they are dual; they are ironical; they are paradoxical; they are controversial; they are doubtful; they are momentary.

Here is a simple example. Last night, let us suppose that I had a beautiful dream where I was dining at the same table as President George Bush, sitting by his side. Why not? Why should I dream of a third-rate fellow? (Laughter) So I dream of none less than the President.

If I sit by his side, and if that dream is permanent, when I wake up in the morning, the White House should also be there.

However, if there is no Washington DC, no White House, no Bush, and only somebody to push me (Laughter) out of the house—no Bush only push—and then I come to the Mandir, where the seva dals push, I still wonder to myself: “Where is Bush?”


So, what you dream, if it is permanent, should continue here also. At present, I can see you here. You talk to me; you give me a nice smile, fine. I smile at you. However, when I go to sleep, I don’t see you there. So this is a daydream, while that is a night dream, and you are the dreamer, both day and night.

Why? This daydream is not there in the night, nor is the night dream there in the day. But the dreamer is there both day and night. This is what Baba has said. We will come to that.

Therefore, think of the dreamer, think of the experiencer—that is consciousness, that is the spirit, Atma. Don’t get worried about the dreams.

But what about Baba telling you things in your dreams? What about Baba telling you that it is He who has indeed appeared in your dreams?

I was going through an email about a miracle that a devotee sent to me from Canada. It seems that Swami appeared in her dream and manifested and materialised a lot of vibhuthi for her (in the dream). The next day, she had an acute dental problem that led to hospitalisation and required surgery.

Later, she was suffering from terrific pain, and she was given some painkillers, and she was to be hospitalised once again. All the members of the family were insisting that she should go to the hospital again immediately for treatment. Then this lady recollected the dream of Swami materialising vibhuthi for her. So immediately, she started taking vibhuthi and told all her friends, “Don’t disturb me. Tomorrow morning I will go to the hospital.”

When she started taking the vibhuthi, she had a total cure, and she came to Puttaparthi along with other members of the organisation from Canada. Swami gave her an interview, looked at her and asked, “Do you remember that Swami appeared in your dream?”

She said, “Yes.” But she doubted as to which dream He was referring to because she dreamt of Him almost every day. She wasn’t sure which dream Swami was asking about, and in what context it had occurred.

Baba immediately said, “When I gave you vibhuthi plentifully.” Then she recollected at once!

Shall I say this is false? Shall I say that is not genuine? No! I am not a fool. Nor am I mad—till now! (Laughter)

The name of this lady devotee is Aphrodite. She is the Secretary of Sathya Sai Organisation, Canada. This is a miracle she had. I am giving you all this information so that it can be subject to verification. I don’t believe in just creating some stories. I don’t believe in exaggerating things. I go by the letter and spirit.

My friends, here is one clarification. I spoke on this subject of “Dreams or Visions” sometime back. Please browse on your computer, www.saiwisdom.com, where you have all the speeches generously fed into the computer by Brother Lakhi and his team, available to Internet users in six foreign languages.

When Swami appears in your dream—what you think is a dream—it is not a dream. It is a vision. Visions are different from dreams.

Though it is a repetition, it doesn’t matter. We teachers are always guilty of repetition. And students are meritorious in not remembering, even though things are often repeated. My students are meritorious because they forget. I am guilty because I repeat. So both of us are great: We are each unique in our own style, in not changing our habits!

What you think of repeatedly appears in your dream. This is psychological.

My boss goes on blaming me; he goes on harassing me; he goes on teasing me; my boss is waiting for an opportunity to fire me out of the office. And then I dream of that office, and of my boss. In the dream, I beat him completely. In fact, I even kill him because I cannot face him here in his office. Unfulfilled desires appear in our dreams.

Those thoughts which are mentally engaging—whether of an activity, a person, or an object—appear in dreams. Unfulfilled tasks and half-finished programmes also appear in our dreams.

When you don’t think of anybody, when you are so busy with your office, totally busy with your family, when you have almost forgotten, and Swami appears, can I say it is just a dream?

When you want to go to New York and get a job there, when you have done everything for it, and everything is ready for you to go, and then Swami appears and says, “Don’t go”, can I say it is a dream?

Usually in a dream, you dream of what you want to do. Or you dream of what you are afraid of, of what threatens you, of what frightens you—it is psychological. A psychoanalyst can speak more on this topic.

But here, a vision is a directive from Swami. A vision is Swami’s command. A vision is the guidance of Swami to a devotee. So, do not confuse the two. This is what I want to give you as an answer.

Duality and Non Duality

Next question: Nothing happens without the will of God. We are the doers. Do you think we are the doers? What about attachment, identification of the body, and all these things. Do you think they are just concepts?

Everything happens according to the will of God. The attachments and all these things, are they mere concepts? If attachment is a concept, how do you get yourself attached? You can speak on attachment, but you cannot be attached. A concept is different from an experience.

I can speak on advaita, non-duality, which is the “God is One” concept. Have you experienced Anil Kumar? Wait and see. The concept is different. People are experts in concepts and precepts, but very poor in practice. They are impoverished in practice, but they are scholars in concepts and precepts.

Attachment is not a concept if you are attached. Identification of the body is not a concept, but a reality. Believe that you are the doer. Yes, it is happening; I think I am doing it. I think this is my body. I am attached to my family. I am attached to my job. These are things going on. Everything happens according to the will of God. This is a point we have to understand here.

Where there is attachment, the very word “attachment” has a meaning when there is detachment. When there is nothing like detachment, the meaning of the word “attachment” is gone. There is day because there is night; when there is no night, the word “day” has no meaning. So attachment has meaning because there is detachment, or else it will lose its meaning.

To believe that “I am the doer” is ego. And with regard to identification of the body, if I feel identified, it means that there is scope for non-identification. When I say that I am identified, it means I can also dis-identify. You can also get yourself dis-identified. So where there is attachment, there is a possibility for detachment. Where there is body identification, there is a possibility for body non-identification.

Where there is a feeling of doership, there can be non-doership also. This is all duality. However, the reality is beyond it. The reality is non-dual.

Therefore, my friends, the will of God is non-dual. The will of God is beyond duality. That duality, that Divinity, at the operational level, is, on one side, attachment, and, on the other side, detachment. Like the same coin with two sides, both attachment and detachment are present.

Is it attachment or detachment? It is both, and it is neither of the two. Both are present, and yet how can both be present at the same time? It is something like this.

Therefore, my friends, reality is non-dual. However, at the functional level, it acts in duality. I cannot say, “Day-and-night-l is non-dual; night and day are the same to me.” If I speak like this, you will say, “There is a mental hospital nearby. I know the doctor, so see that he is treated. Swami gives medical treatment to everybody totally free of charge.”

Day and night are dual; that is correct. But truly speaking, they are non-dual. The sun does not rise, nor does it set. There is nothing like sunrise and sunset. When the Earth turns to that side, it is day. When it turns to the other side, it is night. We still say sunrise and sunset.

If I step down at the end of the talk and tell everyone that there is no sunrise and no sunset, people will say, “Half an hour ago, Anil Kumar, you were alright. We never thought people would turn mad after half an hour!” Half an hour is not necessary—five minutes is enough! We have seen people of that type! (Laughter)

Therefore, functionally you are dual; but truly speaking, you are non-dual. Please understand that concept.

overseas programme
Somebody wants to know my overseas programme.

As of now, the overseas program is over. Let us wait for summer.

Vegetarians and fertilised EggS
Did Swami say, or did He ever make any statement in the past, that vegetarians could eat unfertilised eggs?

What a global question this is! (Laughter) What a universal question this is! (Laughter) This has only one meaning, which is that I want to eat egg in some way or another. Therefore, I want to find some excuse for it. If it’s a fertilised egg, it is vegetarian. If it’s an unfertilised egg, it is non-vegetarian. So I can eat a non-fertilised egg.

You want to be eggarian—vegetarian, non-vegetarian, eggarian!

My friends, if you really want to eat egg, let that not be an obsession, please eat it! Don’t make it an obsession. Because if I limit my mind to hypothesise over which is a fertilised egg, and which is an unfertilised egg, I might become an egg in my next life. (Laughter) Next life, Mr Anil Kumar is going to be born as an egg—whether fertilised or unfertilised, I don’t know! (Laughter) The Creator must have already decided.

The scripture says, “As you think, so you become.” As you think of an egg, so you become an egg. Therefore, let us not make an issue of the fertilised egg or the unfertilised egg.

But I can say one thing. Please go to the bakery and ask them. Of course, I am not giving any propaganda or publicity, nor do I have any commercial dealing or commission with them. It would be good if I had such an arrangement, but unfortunately there is none yet. (Laughter)

Nothing is prepared from egg here. Nothing! Fertilised or unfertilised, an egg is an egg. Therefore, since no preparation is made from egg here, let us not venture to take it. But if it is an obsession, get out of it slowly. But it is not a spiritual problem, no!

Karmic effect on Education
It seems a gentleman could not complete his PhD degree. His question is on that. According to him, there is a bad karmic effect is on his education, which is Saraswathi. He says, “I am asking Baba to help me in finishing my education and standing on my two feet.” Okay, his question is this: Why is there a karmic effect on my education?

I am studying but I think that there is a karmic effect on my studies.

What you are doing is different from what it is. Education is different from the process of being educated. “I am studying.” That is the study. Studies are different from the process of studying. Am I clear?

Studies, education, Saraswathi, are all the same—correct? Karma cannot affect studies or education. But “I am studying,” “I am being educated,” these are actions. The process of studying, the process of knowing, the process of learning, and the process of being educated, these are all actions. And action is bound by karma. Therefore, neither studies nor education are affected.

Supposing I say that I am poor. And the question is this: “Why should Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, suffer from karma?” Lakshmi is not suffering from karma. It is I who am suffering from karma, because I don’t have Her. I am suffering from karma because She is away from me. If She is with me, fine; but She is away from me, and therefore I am poor.”

Am I clear? Saraswathi, the Goddess of learning, is not affected by karma. It is that I am unable to attain Her. That is my karma. Do you understand that? That is the answer to this question.

What I can do here for the Yagna?
There is a big yagna that is going to take place there in Prashanti Nilayam (in August). What can we do here while there is a yagna happening there?

When you are eating there, what should I do here? I should also eat. You are eating there in the North Indian canteen. What should I do? I should eat in the South Indian canteen. You are eating in the South Indian canteen. What should I do? I should go to the Western canteen. So whosoever feels hungry should go to the canteen and eat!

So when the yagna is going on here, do some yagna there, wherever you are! What is yagna? Clearly, the Bhagavad Gita says, “Every sacred activity is yagna. Every selfless activity is yagna. Every loving activity is yagna. Every pure activity is yagna.” So you can do this anywhere, wherever you are.

Then what is going on here? A symbolic, spiritual yagna is going to happen here. This can be enjoyed psychologically anywhere, and we can be benefited anywhere. Even if you see it here and yet don’t take it in psychologically, you are the loser--even if you here.

Here is a simple example. While bhajan is going on, I am reading some book. Am I benefited? No!

Swami is there in front of me, and I am thinking of something else. I am thinking of Washington DC, or Bombay, or Hyderabad. Swami is there at darshan time. Am I benefited? No.

So you may be here physically; but if you are mentally absent, then you do not benefit. You may be elsewhere; but if you are mentally engaged, you benefit. So, my friends, let’s not localise it.

This slipped my mind: I received all the details of the yagna. Some friends, the chief organisers, sent me an email. I forgot to bring that paper. They have given so many particulars, which I think I can share with you next week. I will get a printout and just read it out, quote it, that’s all.

I cannot officially say that it is one hundred percent correct. I cannot officially say that it is an official bulletin. I can only read out what details I received by email from one of the persons responsible. Next week, I shall do it.

So far as the yagna is concerned, let us take it as a selfless activity.

how can i earn swami’s grace?
In what way can we earn the grace of Swami? What way? Shall I fast? Please don’t do that, please! How many times should I chant the name of God? How long should I serve? Shall I chant or serve, or do both? These are the questions. Oh good, my friend, I have got to answer this, “Shall I chant or serve? What should I do?”

I will give you a simple anecdote. When the Super Speciality Hospital was under construction, I was there with a batch of our students doing some seva.

Swami happened to visit that place and He stopped the car and called me. “What are you doing here?”

I said, “Swami, the students are doing seva. I am just here co-ordinating.”

Baba said, “I can employ labour. I can employ workers to get the work done. Why are you given this chance to serve? What is expected of you? In what way are these boys are different from regular labour or workers? Can’t you ask them to sing bhajans as they work? Let them do bhajans and engage themselves in work.”

Let us work and sing the glory of the God. Dil mein Ram, hath mein kaam—work in our hands, God in our hearts. Let both things happen.

That’s why you find at several places here that they do some japa, “Om Sri Sai Ram, Om Sri Sai Ram,” and work at the same time. In some places, they do bhajans and work. In certain places where we cannot sing loudly, we can do so silently. I cannot sing loudly in my office, or I may be dismissed by the evening, because I could be a nuisance to the next man! However, I can sing silently; I can do it mentally. Is it possible? Why not? You are doing it!

My students may look at me and lend me their ears, but still they can think of something else and go to sleep. In the office sometimes we think of something else. Are we not doing it? Can you say, “No sir, I have got one hundred per cent concentration, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year?” If you say so, I say you are bogus—hypocrite number one! It is impossible.

Therefore, the mind runs away. The mind wavers. It is the nature of the mind. If the mind can be kept steady just like that, all of us would be rishis or saints by now. I am just a manishi, a human, not a rishi, not a saint. Manishi has to become rishi. But he is not rishi by birth. He can become a rishi by krishi, that is to say, by effort. So a manishi, human, by krishi, effort, can become rishi, a saint!

What is saintliness? Saintliness lies in thinking of God: While at work, offering one’s work to God, discharging duty as God, doing work as worship, is saintliness. So chanting His name, and work or service are not opposites. They can go hand–in-hand. That is the answer I can give you.

Prayer for a friend
Have you heard Swami speaking about asking for, or begging for, something many times? A dear friend is ill, and I beg Baba that she gets better and heals. Is it enough to ask once? Does it disturb Ηim listening again and again?

My friends, praying for others is not begging at all. Prayer is not begging. Please understand that. Because whom are you begging? Why should you beg?

A beggar always feels inferior. A beggar, who is inferior, begs and stands in front of the person who is greater and higher than him. I beg, and that rich man may refuse. I beg, and the higher man may not oblige. The one who prays is not a beggar. I think I am clear.

I go to my mother and ask her to give me something. Am I a beggar? No.

I go to my father and say, “Dad, I want this.” Am I a beggar? No!

When my mother says “no,” does it mean she is treating me like a beggar? No!

When my father says “no,” does it mean that he has reduced to me to a level of a beggar? No!

By saying “no,” do my parents become superior to me? No!

By asking for or requesting something from them when I am obliged to do so, do I think that I am successful in begging? Do I think that I am a professional beggar? An ideal beggar? That other beggars can follow me? That everybody can become the best of beggars by imitating me?

It is not begging. It is loving. Substitute the word “love” for the word “beg”.

When I pray for some of my friends, it is love that prompts me to pray. And I pray to God because of my love for Him. Love for Him makes me pray. It is due to love for God. It is only love, no begging here.

In begging, there is expectation; in prayer, there is no expectation.

In begging, there is frustration, when the beggar does not receive what is expected. In prayer, there is no expectation; there is acceptance. If you give, fine! If you don’t give, doubly fine! “You may think it’s not the right time to give; after all, You know what is best for me.” So, in prayer, there is acceptance, there is preparedness; whereas in begging, there is expectation. It is conditional.

In begging, there is frustration; but in prayer, there is contentment.

Begging is futuristic: You beg and you expect something from him at one time or the other. It is a futuristic expectation. Prayer is instantaneous, immediate, parallel. If you pray today, the result is not going to be tomorrow. If you turn on the switch, you are not going to get lights tomorrow. The response to prayer is immediate—whether positive or negative!

Please understand that He knows what is in your best interest. It may be negative or positive to you. To Him, what is good is best for you. Am I clear?

Here is a simple example. One big officer’s son was suffering from terrific pain in the stomach. That officer is a revenue officer and a Shirdi Baba devotee. So he started giving vibhuthi to his son.

His friend came and said, “Vibhuthi?”

“Yes, I am giving vibhuthi.”

“When do you expect the cure? You are giving vibhuthi now. Your son is struggling hard. It is very painful. When do you expect that he’ll be free from the pain?”

This officer said, “By this evening. If not, tomorrow.”

That afternoon, this officer had a sumptuous lunch, and naturally, at a certain age, people feel like having a nap after lunch.

During that nap, Shirdi Baba appeared in a dream. He sat on his chest and went on thumping him, slapping him.

The man started shouting, “What is this beating, Swami?”

Shirdi Baba said, “Why did you say that your son will be cured ‘by this evening, if not tomorrow’? Why didn’t you say ‘immediately’? You idiot! Do you mean to say that I need until evening? Do you mean to say that I need until tomorrow morning to cure your son? Stupid! You do not know me!” Shirdi Baba believed in ‘man-handling’. (Laughter)

Sathya Sai Baba gives the treatment of a prolonged period of silence. Silence! But at times, we feel that beating would be preferable to silence because once you are beaten, it is the end of the chapter. Silence is infinite and indefinite. This can be more difficult to bear.

Anyway, the point is that prayer is immediate, whereas with begging, well, you can say, “Come back tomorrow.” When one begs, you can say, “Next month we shall meet.” But prayer is different.

Therefore, how many times should you pray?

How many times should you talk to your son? How many times should you talk to your daughter? How many times should you talk to your wife? How many times should you talk to your beloved people? So long as you love them. So long as you love them.

How many times should you breathe? So long as you are alive! How many times should you eat? Until your hunger is appeased! How much water should you drink? Until your thirst is quenched!

So how many times should you do that prayer? Until you are satisfied.

There is no satisfaction or saturation for love, please understand. I can eat two idlis. Full. Three, one more is fine. Four? Sambar is good, fine! Five, I am sorry. If I still force it, the other four will come out! (Laughter)

I like cinema. One movie, good! Second movie, better. Third movie, best. Fourth movie, a little headache. . . Fifth movie, stop it! There is a limit. My friends, there is a limit for any physical experience. There is a limit for any mental process.

But spiritual experience is endless, it is infinite. Prayer should be infinite. Prayer, which is spiritual, which is love, should be from the womb to the tomb, and, if possible, beyond. Therefore, let us not count prayer in terms of the number of times, like a cricket score board or a soccer game.

As the time is up, we will take up the new topic next week. Thank you very much for being here. Thank you for your time. May Bhagavan bless you. Sai Ram.


Asato Maa Sad Gamaya

Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya

Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti


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