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Transcript of a recent interview of Bethesda Center  devotees with Swami
Sai Baba sketch
South Bethesda Devotees meeting with Swami - May 9, 2003.
Transcript of spiritual and general topics
Devotee : "How can I merge with you Swami?"
Baba : "You want to merge with me?" Spread open His arms and said "Take me. I'm ready." We all laughed.
Baba : "Where is God?"
Devotee : "In my mind and eyes."
Baba: "That is wrong."
Devotee! : "God is everywhere"
Baba: (Puts a handkerchief in His hand, closed His hand, said "Handkerchief in the hand, so hand is bigger than handkerchief. If God is in you that means you are bigger than God and that is wrong.    God is not inside you, you are in God. Everything is God. You are all [blinded]. God is everywhere"
Devotee:: "How do we attain God realization in this life?"
Baba: "Self confidence leads to self satisfaction, self satisfaction leads to self sacrifice, self sacrifice leads to self realization."
Devotee : "How do I control anger?"
Baba: "Anger is an animal quality. When you get angry think 'I am a man not a dog'
[Baba repeated this several times]. Lust, anger, greed, jealousy, hate, ego - all these are animal qualities. Handkerchief is like mind. Strings are  desires. Remove all strings - cloth is gone."
Devotee: "How can we serve you better Swami?"
Baba: "I don't want your service, just love, love, love. Where there is love, there peace. Where there is peace, there is harmony. Where there is harmony, there is bliss. Where there is bliss, there is God."

Devotee: "How do I destroy my mind?"
Baba: "Mind is difficult to control. All worldly thoughts are negative.  Spiritual thoughts are positive. Fill your mind with spiritual thoughts "
Devotee: "How can I awaken spiritual heart?"
Baba: "You don't have two hearts only one heart. No worldly heart  just spiritual heart."
Devotee: "Do you like the way we're running the Center?"
Baba: "What is there?"
Devotee: "The three branches."
Baba: "Do you teach the children?"
Devotee: "Oh yes, we have many children."
Devotee: "How do we raise our children in the U.S.? It's a difficult life."
Baba: "Family is important. Raising children is important. If parents are good then raising kids is simple. Parent education."
Devotee: "Why can't we become like you?"
Baba: "God is in a higher state than man."

Devotee: "Are you happy with our Center?"
Baba: " There are problems- school, rent, public view¦. Unity is very important. If (showing his handkerchief and demonstrating removal of threads) you remove threads from this kerchief it looses strength and there will be no more kerchief. Unity leads to devotion, devotion leads to Divinity."

(** The below discussion that took place at two different occasions in the interview was about the service project done by 4S Foundation - a charitable organization to help destitute women to build new lives. 

Devotee: "Are you happy with the vocational training project?"
Baba: "Happy"!!!?
Baba then materialized an exquisite pendant of gold and diamonds with a picture of Lakshmi for Aunty. Baba went to put it on her neck, Aunty bent forward and put her head in Swami's lap 

Devotee "Should we have our own building for the Center?"
Baba: "First money, money, money" [while wiggling Hand] "then misunderstandings. Everyone will want to contribute very little and say something."
Devotee: "Then should I get the building?"
Baba: "No!" (very emphatically)
Devotee: "Swami, don't you want a place in the U.S.?
Baba [curled His brow]: "No. ! Cultures are different. Americans won't understand. Until what is in our hearts matches our actions - it doesn't match, there are too many misunderstandings."
Devotee: "Should we have our own building for the vocational training project?"
Devotee: "Here in Bangalore."
Baba: "Yes." Baba stood up, tapped His chest and said, "I WILL GIVE YOU THE BUILDING."
Devotee "Here in Bangalore."
Baba: "Keep it small (showing with his hand). Only 200."
Devotee: "Are you happy with the vocational training project?"
Baba: "Yes, very happy. Develop a plan and stick to it."
Devotee: "OK."
Baba: "Do one or two things. Don't go here and there."
Devotee: "I had the same thought."
(Within couple of hours after the interview, there was a meeting between Aunty et al. and high ranking state government officials about the prospects of a building for vocational training. The meeting was unexpected and based on a request from the state government to meet with the 4S founder)
Baba: To a devotees question about some difficulty "Life is a game,  beat it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a game, play it."

Devotee motioned for Ayi to come closer to Swami (she was sitting back on the couch).

Ayi: "Can I sit here [at Baba's feet]?"
Baba: "Yes, and you can sit here, and you can sit here [indicating a spot next to him in the large chair he was sitting]."
Ayi: "I don't know what to say, how to say it or what to ask. All I know is how to love."
Baba: "Continue to love. Through love all the work can be done. Love is the  most important thing."
Ayi: [tears in her eyes] "Not of sadness but out of happiness that I'm crying."
Baba: "I know."
Ayi: "Oh my God, I see You as my mother, my father and God."
Baba: "Yes, that is exactly how it should be."
Ayi: "Can I do Padnamskar but I'll do it from the distance."
Baba: "Why? Do it here." Baba put His feet together, raised His robe "Do it."
Ramesh: "She sews a lot." Baba nodded His head.
Ayi: "If you give me the strength I can sew."
Baba: "You have strength. Poor people are here and poor people are  there. You sew all these clothes and give to Padmanabhan. Why do you bring it here? Why give it here? Give it there."
Ayi: "If you give me the energy I can continue to stitch."
Baba: "Why? You have so much energy."
(The way Swami expressed his affection to Ayi cannot be explained  in writing)
Inside the Inner Interview room

Devotee: "I have all these problems - how do I deal with them?"
Baba: "Problems come and go and you've got to get on with life. Worry comes from fear, you worry too much."
Devotee: "Swami, I come here and I get a lot of peace. How can I retain that peace when I get home?"
Baba: "Peace is a product of the mind. [He said more..]
After that Baba led the group out of the inner interview room, Baba asked "Who's going to Kodai?" Everybody in the outer room raised their hands.
Baba: "It's expensive. I'll give you a house."
Devotee: "Baba we know but we want to be with you."
Baba: "Come."
Baba indicated the interview was over. He asked Devotee to hold the vibhuti bag for distribution. Devotee did not understand how He wanted her to hold it so He smilingly showed her. She held the bag out for Baba to pass vibhuti out to everyone and then requested Baba to give her some. Baba smilingly gave packets of vibhuti to her.

Devotee asked for additional vibhuti for the Center. Baba said "Center!!?" and put packets in her hand and slapped her hand. Then Devotee said "retreat".  Swami said "I know".

More Interviews: A B C D E