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The Milestone Speech
Forty-Third Birthday Discourse, 23 November 1968.
(appears in Sai Baba - Holy Man and the Psychiatrist, by Samuel Sandweiss.)
[Editor's note. In this discourse, Swami speaks for almost the first time in a major discourse about his being the Avathar and proclaims his mission on earth: the establishment of righteousness.]  - glossary ( Hindi & Sanskrit words)

For the protection of the virtuous, for the destruction of evil-doers and for establishing righteousness on a firm footing, I incarnate from age to age. Whenever disharmony (asanthi) overwhelms the world, the Lord will incarnate in human form to establish the modes of earning peace (prasanthi) and to reeducate the human community in the paths of peace. At the present time, strife and discord have robbed peace and unity from the family, the school, the society, the religions, the cities, and the state.
The arrival of the Lord is also anxiously awaited by saints and sages. Spiritual aspirants (sadhus) prayed and I have come. My main tasks are fostering of the Vedas (Hindu scriptures) and fostering of the devotees. Your virtue, your self-control, your detachment, your faith, your steadfastness: these are the signs by which people read of my glory. You can lay claim to be a devotee only when you have placed yourself in my hands fully and completely with no trace of ego. You can enjoy the bliss through the experience the Avathar confers. The Avathar behaves in a human way so that mankind can feel kinship, but rises into his superhuman heights so that mankind can aspire to reach the heights, and through that aspiration actually reach him. Realizing the Lord within you as the motivator is the task for which he comes in human form.
Avathars like Rama and Krishna had to kill one or more individuals who could be identified as enemies of the righteous (dharmic) way of life, and thus restore the practice of virtue. But now there is no one fully good, so who deserves the protection of God? All are tainted by wickedness, so who will survive if the Avathar decides to uproot? Therefore, I have come to correct the intelligence (buddhi), by various means. I have to counsel, help, command, condemn and stand by as a friend and well-wisher to all, so that they may give up evil propensities and, recognizing the straight mark, tread it and reach the goal. I have to reveal to the people the worth of the Vedas, the Sastras and the spiritual texts which lay down the norms. If you will accept me and say "Yes," I too will respond and say, "Yes, yes, yes." If you deny and say "No," I also echo "No." Come, examine, experience, have faith. This is the method of utilizing me.
I do not mention Sai Baba in any of my discourses, but I bear the name as Avathar of Sai Baba. I do not appreciate in the least the distinction between the various appearances of God: Sai, Rama, Krishna, etc. I do not proclaim that this is more important or that is less important. Continue your worship of your chosen God along lines already familiar to you, then you will find that you are coming nearer to me. For all names are mine, and all forms are mine. There is no need to change your chosen God and adopt a new one when you have seen me and heard me.
Every step in the career of the Avathar is predetermined. Rama came to feed the roots truth (sathya) and righteousness dharma. Krishna came to foster peace shanti, and love prema. Now all these four are in danger of being dried up. That is why the present Avathar has come. The righteousness that has fled to the forests has to be brought back into the villages and towns. The anti-righteousness that is ruining the villages and towns must be driven back into the jungle.
I have come to give you the key of the treasure of bliss ananda, to teach you how to tap that spring, for you have forgotten the way to blessedness. If you waste this time of saving yourselves, it is just your fate. You have come to get from me tinsel and trash, the petty little cures and promotions, worldly joys and comforts. Very few of you desire to get from me the thing that I have come to give you: namely, liberation itself. Even among these few, those who stick to the path of spiritual practice (sadhana) and succeed are a handful.
Your worldly intelligence cannot fathom the ways of God. He cannot be recognized by mere cleverness of intelligence. You may benefit from God, but you cannot explain him. Your explanations are merely guesses, attempts to cloak your ignorance in pompous expressions. Bring something into your daily practice as evidence of your having known the secret of the higher life from me. Show that you have greater brotherliness. Speak with more sweetness and self-control. Bear defeat as well as victory with calm resignation, I am always aware of the future and the past as well as the present of every one of you, so I am not so moved by mercy. Since I know the past, the background, the reaction is different. It is your consequence of evil deliberately done in the previous birth, so I allow your suffering to continue, often modified by some little compensation. I do not cause either joy or grief. You are the designer of both these chains that bind you. I am the embodiment of bliss (Anandaswarupa). Come, take bliss (ananda) from me, dwell on that bliss, and be full of peace (shanti).
My acts are the foundations on which I am building my work, the task for which I have come. All the miraculous acts which you observe are to be interpreted so. The foundation for a dam requires a variety of materials. Without these it will not last and hold back the waters. An incarnation of the Lord has to be used in various ways by man for his uplift.
The Lord has no intention to publicize himself. I do not need publicity, nor does any other Avathar of the Lord. What are you daring to publicize? Me? What do you know about me? You speak one thing about me today and another tomorrow. Your faith has not become unshakable. You praise me when things go well and blame me when things go wrong. When you start publicity you descend to the level of those who compete in collecting plenty by decrying others and extolling themselves.
Where money is calculated, garnered or exhibited to demonstrate one's achievements, I will not be present. I come only where sincerity and faith and surrender are valued. Only inferior minds will revel in publicity and self-aggrandizement. These have no relevance in the case of Avathars. Avathars need no advertizement.
The establishment of righteousness (dharma): that is my aim. The teaching of dharma, the spread of dharma: that is my object. These miracles, as you call them, are just a means toward that end. Some of you remark that Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (an Indian saint) said that yogic powers (siddhis) are obstructions in the path of the spiritual aspirant (sadhaka) Yes, yogic powers may lead the spiritual aspirant astray. Without being involved in them he has to keep straight on. His ego will bring him down if he yields to the temptation of demonstrating his yogic powers. That is the correct advice which every aspirant should heed. But the mistake lies in equating me with a sadhaka, like the one whom Ramakrishna wanted to help, guide and warn. These yogic powers are just in the nature of the Avathar -- the creation of things with intent to protect and give joy is spontaneous and lasting. Creation, preservation, and dissolution can be accomplished only by the Almighty ... no one else can.
Cynics carp without knowledge. If they learn the Sastras or scriptures, or if they cultivate direct experience, they can understand me. Your innate laziness prevents you from the spiritual exercises necessary to discover the nature of God. This laziness should go. It has to be driven out of man's nature in whatever shape it appears. That is my mission. My task is not merely to cure and console and remove individual misery but is something far more important. The removal of misery and distress is incidental to my mission. My main task is the reestablishment of the Vedas and Sastras (spiritual scriptures), and revealing the knowledge about them to all people. This task will succeed. It will not be limited. It will not be slowed down. When the Lord decides and wills, his divine will cannot be hindered.
You must have heard people say that mine is all magic. But the manifestation of divine power must not be interpreted in terms of magic. Magicians play their tricks for earning their maintenance, worldly fame, and wealth. They are based on falsehood and they thrive on deceit, but this body could never stoop to such a low level. This body has come through the Lord's resolve to come. That resolve is intended to uphold truth (sathya). Divine resolve is always true resolve. Remember there is nothing that divine power cannot accomplish. It can transmute earth into sky and sky into earth. To doubt this is to prove that you are too weak to grasp great things, the grandeur of the universe.
I have come to instruct all in the essence of the Vedas, to shower on all this precious gift, to protect the ancient wisdom (sanathana dharma) and preserve it. My mission is to spread happiness, so I am always ready to come among you not once, but twice or thrice -- as often as you want me. Many of you probably think that since people from all parts of India, and even foreign countries outside India, come to Puttaparthi, they must be pouring their contributions into the coffers of the Nilayam (Prasanthi Nilayam: name of Sai Baba's ashram). But let me declare the truth. I do not take anything from anyone except their love and devotion. This has been my consistent practice for the last many years. People who come here are giving me just the wealth of faith, devotion, and love. That is all.
Many of you come to me with problems of health and mental worry of one sort or another. They are mere baits by which you have been brought here. But the main purpose is that you may have grace and strengthen your faith in the divine. Problems and worries are really to be welcomed, as they teach you the lessons of humility and reverence. Running after external things produces all this discontent. That type of desire has no end. Once you have become a slave to the senses, they will not leave hold until you are dead. It is an unquenchable thirst. But I call you to me and even grant worldly boons so that you may turn God-ward. No Avathar has done like this before, going among the masses, counseling them, guiding them, consoling them, uplifting them, and directing them along the path of truth, righteousness, peace and love (sathya, dharma, santhi and prema).
My activities and movements will never be altered, whoever may pass whatever opinion on them. I shall not modify my plans for the establishment of righteousness (dharmasthapana), my discourses, or my movements. I have stuck to this determination for many years and I am engaged in the task for which I have come: that is, to inculcate faith in the path of the highest spiritual peace (prasanthi). I shall not stop or retract a step.
Not even the biggest scientist can understand me by means of his laboratory knowledge. I am always full of bliss. Whatever may happen, nothing can come in the way of my smile. That is why I am able to impart joy to you and make your burden lighter. I never exult when I am extolled, nor shrink when I am reviled. Few have realized my purpose and significance, but I am not worried. When things that are not in me are attributed to me, why should I worry? When things that are in me are mentioned, why should I exult? For me it is always, "Yes, yes, yes." If you give all and surrender to the Lord, he will guard and guide you. The Lord has come for just this task. He is declaring that he will do so, and that it is the very task that has brought him here. I know the agitations of your heart and its aspirations, but you do not know my heart. I react to the pain that you undergo and to the joy that you feel, for I am in your heart. I am the dweller in the temple of every heart. Do not lose contact and company, for it is only when the coal is in contact with the live embers that it can also become live ember.
Cultivate a nearness with me in the heart and it will be rewarded. Then you too will acquire a fraction of that supreme love. This is a great chance. Be confident that you will all be liberated. Know that you are saved. Many hesitate to believe that things will improve, that life will be happy for all and full of joy, and that the golden age will recur. Let me assure you that this divine body (dharmaswarupa) has not come in vain. It will succeed in averting the crisis that has come upon humanity.


aachaara (achara). Precept, behaviour, rules of good conduct.
aachaara-dharma. Good behaviour.
aachaarya (acharya). Spiritual teacher, preceptor.
aachaaryopaasana. Reverential service to the preceptor.
aadhaara (adhara). Basis.
aadheya (adheya). Being based, contained, sustained.
aadhi-kavi (adhi-kavi). First among poets.
aadhithya (adithya). Sun.
aadhithya-varna (adhithya-varna). Complexion like the sun.
aagaami (agami). Action (karma) in which one is now engaged that is bound to affect the future; impending; future.
aahaara (ahara). Food.
aahavaneeya. Consecrated fire taken from the perpetual fire and prepared for receiving oblations, esp. the eastern one of the three fires burning at a sacrifice.
aakaasha (akasa). Sky, space, ether.
aalambana. Support, receptacle.
aalaya (alaya). House, dwelling.
aanandha (ananda). Supreme bliss, unending joy.
aanandha-loka. Region of heavenly bliss; also Brahma region.
aanandha-maya kosha. Body sheath of supreme bliss.
aanandha-nilaya. Abode of supreme bliss.
aanandha-praapthi. Attainment of spiritual bliss.
aanandha-svaruupa. The embodiment of supreme bliss.
aaranyakas. Religious or philosophical texts closely connected with the braahmanas, either composed in the forest or studied there.
Aarathi (arathi). Ritual worship in which lights are waved; also called Haarathi.
aartha. The distressed, suffering.
Aaryan (aryan). (a) Literally noble. (b) Follower of vedhik or spiritual path. (c) Ancient dwellers of India to whom the Vedhas were revealed.
aasana (asana). Sitting posture.
aashrama (ashram). (a) Hermitage or monastery; residence for saints and spiritual aspirants; ashram. (b) a stage of life: student, householder, hermit, and renunciate.
aashrama-vaasis. Residents of aashramas, hermitages, or monasteries.
aashraya. That on which anything depends; support; refuge.
aashritha. That on which anything depends; support; refuge.
aasthika (asthika). Believer, theist, God-revering person.
aasurik. Demonic.
aasuri-sampatthi. Demonic existence, tendencies.
Aathma (Atma). The real Self, one's divinity, God, the substance of everything, the unseen basis, the spark of God within. The Aathma is unchanging and immortal; It does not die.
Aathma-aanandha. Aathmik bliss, bliss of Self-realization.
aathma-anubhava. Aathmik experience.
Aathma-dharma. Aathmik duty, divine duty.
Aathma-dhroha. Self-tormenting, treason to the higher Self.
Aathma-jnaana. Knowledge of Self-realization.
Aathma-jnaani. Self-knower.
Aathma-linga. Oval stone that symbolizes the divine Aathma.
Aathma-raama. Eternal bliss.
Aathma-samyama. Perfect restraint of all senses; balance and repose.
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Aathma-shaanthi. Individual peace.
Aathma-sthithi. The characteristic of the Aathma; stage of permanent awareness of one's divinity.
Aathma-svaruupa. Embodiment of the all-pervading divine Self.
Aathma-thatthva. True nature of the Aathma, the Aathmik Principle.
Aathma-vidhya. Knowledge of supreme reality or Aathma.
Aathma-yajna. Self-sacrifice.
Aathmik. Of or pertaining to the Aathma.
aathreya (athreya). Classical Indian medical knowledge is called aayurvedha (science of health and long life), the two chief traditions being those of Aathreya and Dhanvanthari. Later presented by Charaka in the Charaka samhitha (text stressing diagnosis and prognosis).
aatta. Flour of rice or wheat.
aayah. Child's nurse.
aayurvedha (ayurveda). Classical Indian medical knowledge; science of health and long life.
abhedha. Integral; non-differentiating.
abhijith. Victory; eighth period of the day (about midday); an auspicious constellation of time.
abhimatha. Dearest and most pleasurable.
abhisheka. Ablution, bathing.
abhyaasa. Systematic, steady practice.
a-chara. Unmoving.
a-chethana. Non-intelligent, unconscious, inert.
a-dhambhithva. Absence of vanity; sincerity.
a-dharma. Evil.
adhi-aathma (adhi-atma). Pertaining to the individual soul, spirit, or manifestation of supreme Brahman.
adhi-aathmika. Pertaining to adhi-aathma.
adhi-bhauthika. Pertaining to the physical or material world.
adhi-bhuutha. Whole perishable creation; the primordial form of matter; everything that has name and form.
adhi-dhaiva. Divinity or fate, the spiritual substratum of the cosmos.
adhi-dhaivika. Pertaining to divinity or fate, e.g. natural disasters.
adhikaara-murthi. Manifestation of a person of authority.
adhikaari. Official, person of authority.
a-dhika-ari. Worst enemy.
adhi-yajna. Pertaining to sacrificial aspects.
a-dhvaitha (a-dwaitha). Nondualism or monism, the Vedhaanthik doctrine that everything is God.
adhvaitha-avastha. Abiding in Brahman.
adhvaitha-bhavana. Non-dual state.
adhvaitha-sthayi. Staying in Brahman.
a-dhvaithin. One who propounds nondualism (a-dhvaitha).
a-dhvaithopaasana. Worship of God as present in everything; spiritual effort to experience unity at all times.
adhya. Person receiving an offering, the offeree.
adhyaasa. Superimposition.
agneya-asthra. Raama's fire weapon.
agni. Fire element.
agni-asthra. Fire missile.
agnihothra. Ritual of offering oblations in the holy fireplace. Three kinds are: daily obligation, occasional obligation, and optional fire.
aham. I.
Aham Brahmaasmi. I am Brahman, or I am divine.
ahamkaara. Ego, self-love, selfish individuality.
ahimsa. Nonviolence.
aikshika-asthra. Shiva weapon, the unfailing weapon of the third-eye opening of Shiva.
aikya. Oneness with God, union of the individual soul (jeeva) with God.
ajara. Decline, diminution.
a-jnaana. Ignorance, stupidity.
a-jnaani. Ignorant person.
a-karma. Non-action; detached action whose consequences do not leave a binding impression.
a-kartha. Undesigned, no human agent.
a-keerthi-karam. Quality that causes disgrace or decline of reputation.
akhandaika-rasa. Unbroken uniflow of sweetness.
akhandha. Eternal, continuous.
a-kshara. Imperishable, indestructible.
a-kshaya. Undecaying.
alochana. Planning, considering.
a-maanithva. Humility, lack of vanity.
a-mritha. Divine nectar (literally, no death, or immortal).
a-mritha-puthra. Son of eternal divinity.
a-mrithathvam. Immortality.
amritha-vidhya. Education for immortality.
a-mrithopadhesha. Immortality-bestowing or nectarine teaching.
an-aachaara (an-achara). Improper behaviour or conduct.
an-aadhi. Without beginning.
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an-aahatha-dhvani. Unstruck, primeval sound; Om; mystic sound heard by yogis.
an-aarya-jushtham. Ignoble nature or behaviour.
an-aasakthi. Non-attachment, absence of yearning.
an-Aathma (an-Atma). Not Aathma, or not-Self.
an-ahamkaara. Absence of egotism.
an-antha. Eternal, unending, infinite.
an-anya-bhaava. Thinking only of Divinity and nothing else.
an-anya-bhakthi. One-pointed devotion, admitting no distraction.
an-anya-chinthaa. Undivided contemplation (of the Lord).
an-ashana. Fasting to death.
an-eka-bhakthi. Devotion to various things or states.
anga. Limb, part.
a-nithya. Impermanent, transient.
anna. Food.
anna-maya kosha. Sheath of the body composed of food.
anna-puurna. Bestower of food; goddess; a form of Dhurga (goddess of destruction of evil obstacles).
anor-aneeyaan. Subtler than the subtle.
anritha. Not true, false.
anritha-puthra. Son of falsehood; child of futility.
anthah-karana. Inner psycho-somatic fourfold instruments of mind, intellect, memory, and ego.
anthar. Inner.
anthar-jagath. Inner universe.
anthar-mukha. Inward focus.
anthar vimarsha. Inner quest.
antharyaamin. Inner ruler or Being that guides all creatures.
anubhava-jnaana. Self-experience; knowledge from personal experience.
anumaana. Inferential perception.
anuraaga. Affection.
anurakthi. Deep attachment to or affection for God.
anushaasitha. Independent master, one who directs.
a-nyaaya. Injustice.
apaana. The downward air, which goes out through the anus.
a-paraa. Lower, ordinary.
a-paraa-prakrith. Lower nature, world.
aparaa-vidhya. Secular science, western knowledge.
a-parigraha. Non-acceptance of gifts, renunciation.
a-paroksha-jnaana. Direct spiritual knowledge.
a-pourusheya. Non-personal, superhuman.
a-prameya. Unmeasurable.
apsaras. Wives of the Gandharvas, celestial nymphs.
a-puurna. Not full.
Archaka. worshiper.
archiraadhi-maarga. Path of Gods, beginning with fire or the Sun's rays, taken by spiritual souls after death.
ardhaanga. Half of the body.
arishadvarga. Six inner enemies of man, viz. lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride, and hate.
arjuna. Pure, unsullied, unblemished, white.
artha. Wealth, material object, thing, aim, purpose, desire.
artha-aarthi. One longing for wealth.
a-sahaja. Assumed, unnatural.
a-saktha. Absence of desire, detachment.
a-sanga. Non-attachment.
a-sath. False, unreal, non-existent, bad.
Asathyanaaraayana. Lord of untruth.
a-shaanthi (a-santhi). Lack of peace; agitated mind; restlesness.
ashoka tree. Tree of moderate size belonging to the leguminous class, with magnificent red flowers.
ashokavana. Grove of Ashoka trees.
ashtaanga-yoga. Eight-fold discipline of yoga to destroy ignorance and reach the state of communion with Self, as taught by Sage Pathaanjali.
ashvamedha. Horse sacrifice to absolve a king of all sins. A horse is marked with a victory card and allowed to roam about freely. If anyone stops the horse, the king should go and defeat him in battle and bring back the horse.
ashvattha (aswatta). Banyan tree, impermanent.
a-stheya. Non-stealing.
asthi. Being, existence; is-ness; synonym for sath.
asthika. Theist, believer in God.
asthra (astra). Missile, weapon, sword, bow.
asura. Demon; term arose when Dhithi's sons refused to drink the liquor (suraa) offered by Vaaruni, daughter of Varuna.
a-svargyam. Quality that destroys the divine in man.
athah. For this reason.
athha. Thereafter.
athibala. Super strength.
Aum. Om.
avadhaana. Concentration.
Avathaar (Avatar, Avathar). An incarnation of God, taking a form according to the age in which the incarnation occurs. Special manifestation of God on Earth.
Avathaarana. Descent of the Godhead on the earth; the process of descent or incarnation.
Avathaar-murthi. Form of the Avathaar.
a-vibhaktha. Undivided, non-separate.
a-vidhyaa. Ignorance.
avidhya-maaya. Ignorance-based illusion.
a-vyaktha. Unmanifest, imperceptible.
a-vyaya. Indestructible, unchanging.