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Spirituality is generally considered to be an abstruse subject, and rather divorced from everyday life. But, Bhagawan who is the fountainhead of all knowledge and wisdom has presented the profound knowledge enshrined in the scriptures of the world in simple and easily comprehensible terms that can be grasped and practiced by anyone irrespective of age, gender, faith and nationality
|. Ever since He declared His Divine Identity and Mission at the tender age of 14, Bhagawan has tirelessly been engaged in teaching and transforming an erring humanity. Though Bhagawan’s teachings are primarily concerned with spirituality, it also extends to other spheres of human knowledge and activity. These teachings of Bhagawan, primarily in the form of His Divine Discourses delivered to varied groups of audiences in various places over the past several decades since 1953, have been compiled in several volumes of ‘Sathya Sai Speaks’. Apart from this, Bhagawan had also written series of articles for the magazine ‘Sanathana Sarathi’ that were compiled and published as the ‘Vahini’ series. The undercurrent of all of Bhagawan’s teachings is the principle of love. He has often stated that the essence of all His teachings is contained in the simple yet powerful canons – “Love All, Serve All. Help Ever, Hurt Never”.|
Some excerpts from His writings and discourses have been presented below under the following topics:
Unity of Faiths
Love and Service
Man’s Reality: Inherent Divinity
Five Human Values
Bharath: Culture and Tradition
Role of women
Unity of Faiths
“There is only one religion; the religion of Love
There is only one language; the language of the Heart
There is only caste; the caste of Humanity
There is only one God, He is Omnipresent."
In a significant discourse delivered by Bhagawan in Nairobi (Kenya, East Africa) on the 4th of July in 1968, Baba said,
“I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added luster. I have come to tell you of this universal, unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of love, this duty of love, this obligation to love.
All religions teach one basic discipline - the removal of the blemish of egoism from the mind, and of running after trivial joys. Every religion teaches man to fill his being with the Glory of God, and evict the pettiness of conceit. It trains him in methods of detachment and discrimination, so that he may aim high and attain liberation. Believe that all hearts are motivated by the one God; that all faiths glorify Him alone; that all names in all languages and all forms man can conceive denote the one Supreme Being; His adoration is best done by means of love.
Cultivate that Eka-bhava (attitude of Oneness), between men of all creeds, all countries and all continents. That is the message of love, I bring. That is the message I wish you to take to heart.”
Symbols of Religions: Quotes from Sathya Sai Baba
On 22nd November 1975 Bhagawan inaugurated the Sarva Dharma Stupa, a pillar in the shape a lotus bud, on which the symbols of some of the major religions of the world have been inscribed. The significance of these sacred symbols have explained by Bhagawan so that we can understand the truth that all religions lead man on the path to God.
"Listen to the primeval Pranava ‘AUM’ resounding in your heart as well as in the heart of the universe."
"Cut the ‘I’ feeling clean across and let your ego die on the cross, to endow on you eternity."
"Remember the wheel of cause and consequence, of deed and destiny and the wheel of Dharma that guides them all."
"Be like the star which never wavers from the crescent, but is fixed in steady faith."
"Offer all bitterness in the sacred fire and emerge grand, great and godly."
Baba does not try to mould men in the crucible of any cult. He does not prescribe any single spiritual exercise or peddle any patented panacea to cure the ills of men. On 4th July 1968, to a large gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, He said,
“I have not come to speak on behalf of any particular Dharma (religion), like the Hindu Dharma (Hindu religion). I have not come on any mission of publicity for any sect or creed or cause; nor have I come to collect followers for any doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into My fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this Universal unitary faith, this Atmic principle (principle of the spirit), this path of love, this Dharma of Prema (nature of love), this duty of love, this obligation to love.”
“Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish; let the glory of God be sung in all languages in a variety of tunes. That should be the ideal. Respect the differences between the faiths and recognize them as valid so far as they do not extinguish the flame of unity,” Baba says.
Religion is of immense help...
“Religion is of immense help in fostering the integral development of the human personality. It underlines the unity in diversity. True religion is the attainment of the purity of mind and heart. Every religion has its own precepts and principles. But no religion preaches hatred, untruth or unrighteousness. 'Speak the truth', 'Practice righteousness' enjoin the Upanishads (Indian ancient scriptures). Similar sacred injunctions are to be found in all the other religions too. Thus, all religions emphasize the human values and serve as beacons for the uplift of mankind. They all facilitate the manifestation of the divinity inherent in man.
On the Christmas Day in 1986, Baba said, “When God occupies the mind, the objective world or nature, which is only a product of the mind, loses its validity and man, the wave on the ocean, lapses in to his source. The individual self merges in the Absolute. Every religion seeks to present this basic truth about God, Nature and Man. Every creed is, in essence, highlighting this fact and the path of Love as the means of merger. So, one must respect all creeds and faiths. They are beacons of light guiding pilgrims along the many paths to the Universal Absolute.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks” – Vol. XIX, Chapter-28.
Religion does not preach difference
In the month of December, 1966, in a message, Baba said,
“All religions, all faiths are but phases or facets of the same Universal Faith and Discipline. It is like the story where seven blind men who examined the elephant and described it to others. The man who held the tail in his hand said it was a snake; the man who felt the leg said it was a pillar; the man who examined only the ear swore that the elephant was like a winnowing basket. This story has a deep inner meaning. The Atma (spirit) is one, but, each one sees a fraction of it and judges it differently, while it is the integrated sum of each of these facets that constitute Reality.
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks” – Vol. VI, Chapter-44
The Supreme quality of man is love
To the huge gathering in Prasanthi Nilayam in the Poornachandra Auditorium, on 20th Oct 1988, Baba said,
“Embodiments of the Divine! Having come here, there is only one thing which is most vital for all of you to recognise and understand. Forgetting all differences of race, religion, caste and creed, disregarding considerations of class and community, you must feel that all of you are children of one God.
When you recognise this oneness, eschew all differences and fill your hearts with love, you will be able to redeem your lives by constantly chanting the name of the Lord. That name will help you accomplish anything. It will fill your life with peace and happiness. It will enable you to rid yourself of likes and dislikes. The supreme quality of man is love. Develop love so that you may get rid of attachments and aversions. Thereby, you will be sanctifying your lives!”
The Essential Truth is One
Here are a few excerpts from Bhagawan Baba’s discourses emphasizing the essential commonality of teachings of various religions:
All religions have emphasized the same truths in their basic teachings, but very few people try to understand the inner significance of religions. Out of a narrow feeling that one's own religion is superior and the other faiths are inferior, members of different religions are developing hatred towards members of other faiths and acting like demons. Such narrow attitude should be given up completely. All should develop the awareness that though Names and Forms may differ, the essential truth is one in all religions.
“The truth proclaimed by all religions is one and the same. All have a common ultimate goal. All religions aim at promoting righteous conduct by transforming the attitude of man, thereby bringing about harmony. The foundation of all religions is morality. Morality is equated with selfless love. Religions were thus instituted to foster the welfare of society through the promotion of love for all beings. All religions advocate their votaries to seek eternal peace or shanthi within oneself. No religion approves the use of violence. Every religion recommends the cultivation of tolerance and respect for other religions, thus paving the way for ahimsa (non-violence).”
“Should each person live the ideals propounded by the founders of his religion, unaffected by greed or hate, the world will be a happy and peaceful habitation for man. In spiritual terms, all of mankind belongs to one and the same class, race, and religion.”
“The followers of each religion call upon the One God who is omnipresent and who listens to their prayers, be they from any race or whatever language they speak; but it is the same God who confers happiness on all of mankind. No religion has a separate God showering grace only on those who profess to abide by that faith.”
Love and Service
Bhagawan Baba’s principal message is love. He is the embodiment of selfless love and His life is a saga of selfless love for the humanity. Talking about the nature of Love, He says,
"Love lives by giving and forgiving; self lives by getting and forgetting. Love can never entertain the idea of revenge, for it sees all others as oneself. When the teeth hurt the tongue, do you seek vengeance against the wrongdoer? No, for they both belong to you and are integral parts of your body. So too, when someone insults you or inflicts pain, allow your wisdom to guide you.”
“Selfless love is the source of happiness, truth, peace, sacrifice, endurance and all the higher values of life. There is no security and safety without 'Prema', the absolute, unalloyed form of love. Love is the most fundamental moral value.”
Love is the common denominator
Delivering a discourse in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on the 21st of Jan 1985, Baba said,
“When your thoughts emanate from a mind purified by love, they will result in Right Action, which is Dharma, When Love becomes part of your experience, thought and action you get Shanthi (Peace). When we comprehend Love clearly, Ahimsa or non-violence will result automatically. So, Love is the unseen undercurrent binding all the four values. It can be summarised thus: Love in thoughts is Sathya (Truth); Love in feelings is Shanthi (Peace); Love in action is Dharma (Righteousness) and Love in understanding is Ahimsa (Non-Violence). Love is the common denominator for all these values. It is the form of God, for God is love. One who gives Love is a man and one who fails to nourish this love is a beast. Love, or absence of Love makes one an animal, man or God.
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks” – Vol. XVIII, Chapter-2
The Royal Way to God
Here are a few excerpts of Baba’s discourses where He has emphasized the principle and practice of love:
The Grace of God cannot be won, through the gymnastics of reason, the contortions of yoga or the denials of asceticism. Love alone can win it. Love that needs no requital, love that knows no bargaining, love that is paid gladly, as tribute to the All-loving, love that is unwavering, love alone can overcome obstacles, however many and mighty. There is no strength more effective than purity, no bliss more satisfying than love, no joy more restoring than Bhakthi (devotion to God), and no triumph more praiseworthy than surrender.
Never Give Up Love
“Love should not be rationed based on caste, creed, economic status or intellectual attainment of the recipient. It should flow fully and freely, regardless of consequence, for, it is one's nature to love, to seek out the dry dreary wastes that love can water and make fertile.”
“When love is directed towards things that cater to the senses or bodily happiness, it will dry up when they fail or disappoint. When profit is loved, loss will undermine it. Discontent will sap its springs, when you love with the motive of worldly contentment. Even when ten million disappointments continue to distress you, never give up love; fix it on the source of love, the spring of love, the supreme goal of love, namely God. Whatever the handicap, however you are tempted to loosen the grip, hold on to God.”
“Love saturates all activities with joy and peace. Love enables the least and the lowest. Love yourself for the God that it embodies; Love others for the sake of God enshrined in them, who speaks and acts through them.”
“Love knows no fear, no untruth, no anxiety, and no grief. I am Love; I shower love; I share love; I am pleased with love; I bless you that you cultivate love towards all beings. Love is God. God is Love.”
Prema: The Highest sadhana (Spiritual Practice)
“Cultivate Prema (Love) towards all. That will destroy envy, anger and hatred. Rama (God) and Kama (lust, desire) cannot co-exist in the same heart. Trust begets trust; Love begets Love. When I am talking to you with so much Prema, you cannot develop any Dwesha or hatred towards Me! Prema binds the whole world as one family. It is the greatest instrument of concord.”
“The farmer plants the seedling and watches over it with great care; he waters them as and when necessary, removes the weeds, destroys the pests, spreads manure and waits for the day when he can reap the harvest and fill his granary. So too, you must nourish Prema and pluck out the weeds of hatred and envy. If you wear red glasses, everything appears red; wear the glasses of Prema and all will appear loveable and good. The eye of Prema will see all as embodiments of God.”
“Love is God, God is Love. Where there is love, there, God is certainly evident. Love more and more people; love them more and more intensely; transform the love into service; transform the service into worship… that is the highest sadhana. There is no living being without that spark of love; even a mad man loves something or somebody intensely. You must recognise this love as but a reflection of the Premaswaroopa that is your reality, of the God who is residing in your heart. Without that spring of love that bubbles in your heart, you will not be prompted to love at all.
“My Instrument and My Merchandise”
Once, when Baba was asked about His 'methodology', He said, "I have no methodology or machinery or strategy in the accepted organizational sense. My methodology is a simple one, based on transformation through love, and the machinery is one of human co-operation and brotherhood. Love is My instrument and My merchandise."
"I can transform the earth into sky and the sky into earth. But that is not my greatest power; My true power is Love," declares Bhagawan Baba, “Only true Love can touch and transform the human heart."
"You may call me Premaswaroopa (Embodiment of Love)! Prema is the wealth I have and which I share among the miserable and afflicted. I have no other riches. The Grace of the Lord is always flowing like the electric current through the wire. Fix a bulb, and the current, according to the wattage of the bulb, will illumine your home. The bulb is the Sadhana (spiritual practise) you perform; the home is your heart.
Come to Me gladly; dive into the sea and discover its depth; there is no use dallying near the shore and swearing that the sea is shallow and has no pearls. Dive deep and you will secure your desire."
"The Best way to Love God is to Love All and Serve All"
Baba always exhorts people to take to the path of selfless service, He says, “Hands that help are holier than the lips that pray”.
Serve for Purity
Here are a few extracts from Baba’s message on the importance of service:
“The trees yield fruits for the benefit of others. It is for others that rivers carry water. Cow generously gives its milk to humans. Man also, without considering his own personal interests, should use his body for the benefit of others. Neither by penance, nor by taking holy dips in sacred rivers, nor by the study of scriptures, nor by japa (chanting the lord’s name) can the ocean of worldly existence be crossed. It can be achieved only by rendering service to good people. After having written the eighteen Puranas (scriptures), Sage Vyasa condensed the essence of its teachings in a simple phrase, “Help Ever, Hurt Never.”
“The main aim of all the activities in which you are now engaged and which you will take up in the future is cleansing of the mind. Be it meditation, listening to a spiritual discourse, singing Bhajans (devotional songs), undertaking charitable activities or performing religious rituals, the objective is to cleanse the mind of egoism, greed, hatred, malice, lust, and envy, and fill it with love. That is the sign of a true devotee.”
Men are born to serve, not to dominate
On the occasion of Fifth World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations on 20th October 1990, Baba said,
“Seva brings out all that is great in man. It broadens the heart and widens one's vision. It fills one with joy. It promotes unity. It proclaims the truth of the Spirit. It drives out all the evil qualities in a man. It must be regarded as a great spiritual discipline. You are born to serve, not to dominate. Everyone in the world is a servant and not a master. All relationships – between husband and wife, mother and child, the employer and employee are based on mutual service. The world is progressing because of such acts of service. If not for the principle of Seva, the world would come to a halt.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks” – Vol. XXIII, Chapter-31
Service - The Highest Spiritual Discipline
Baba always places selfless service at the highest level in the hierarchy of spiritual disciplines. During the Summer course in Indian Culture and Spirituality in 1979, He said,
“Selfless service is a more exalted means of attaining spiritual progress than other means such as meditation, bhajan and yoga. This is so because when we undertake meditation, Japa (repetition of the name of God), or yoga, we do so exclusively for our own benefit and not for the good of others. These are aimed at fulfilling one’s individual desires and securing happiness for oneself. However, what we should aspire for is the attainment of the good of others without any desire for personal gain”.
The spirit of service eradicates egoism
One should not feel proud about the position one occupies. The strength derived from wealth or position is unreliable. Morality and purity of mind alone can confer real strength. To develop these qualities, one has to take up selfless service. The spirit of service eradicates egoism and selfishness. In the process, not only is your life sublimated, but the nation also gains through the example of a dedicated servant of the public.”
Ref: Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. XXII, Chapter-23.
Service to man is service to God
In an inspiring discourse on the 5th of December, 1964, Baba said,
“Service to man will help your divinity to blossom, for, it will gladden your heart and make you feel that life has been worthwhile. Service to man is service to God, for He is in every man and living being, in every stone and stump.”
Ref: Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. IV, Chapter-43.
“If you do not serve your fellowmen who are your kith and kin who have similar feelings, impulses and instincts as you whom you see before your eyes alive and gladly accepting with a smile of gratitude, then how can you serve God who is so far above and beyond you, so different and distant, so powerful and mysterious? Train yourselves to serve God by serving men, in whose hearts God is installed.”
“Service to any being amounts to serving Me, for I am in all,” Bhagawan says. “The relief and joy that you give to the sick and the sorrowing reach Me, for I am in their hearts, and I am the One whom they call out to. God has no need of your service. Try to serve the godly; become the servants of the servants of the Lord. The service of man is the only means by which you can serve God.”
Sanctify every act
Baba has remarked that one must undertake every activity as an offering to God and thereby transform it into worship. Here a few excerpts from His discourses elaborating on this idea:
“Discharging one’s duties in a righteous and diligent manner is, in itself, a service. If a person works conscientiously every minute of the day, doing the job that he is hired to do, that is an act service to the society, for, whose money is all this? It belongs to the society. Therefore, dereliction of one’s duties amounts to cheating society, which is a grievous sin.”
Service and its spiritual benefits
Baba always says that the people who render Seva are benefited more than the recipients of service, in terms of spiritual progress. In a discourse on the 29th of March, 1967 in Mumbai, He said,
“Do not believe that you can by means of Seva reform or reshape the world. You may or may not, that does not matter. The real value of Seva, its most visible result, is that it reforms you, reshapes you. Do Seva as a sadhana (spiritual exercise); then you will be happy.”
“Little acts of service can confer on you great spiritual benefits,” Baba says, “Firstly, it will destroy your egoism and develop in you the quality of humility. Humility will then enable you to work in happy unison with others.”
“Service is worship; each act of service is a flower placed at the Feet of the Lord, and if the act is tainted with ego, it is as if the flower is infested with slimy insects or worms! Who would desecrate the Feet with such foul offering? Have no egoism while you serve the people.”
“Seva is the best sadhana”, Baba says, “for eliminating the nefarious pull of the mind towards desire.”
Social service is service to God
“You can please Sai only by performing your duties to the fullest, serving society whenever and wherever you get the opportunity. Service is not limited to serving individuals. Any action that benefits the country is service. One should experience Divinity through the service rendered. There is no distinction between acts of service. It is immaterial whether you are serving the poor or the rich. You should be able to serve anyone, at any place, and under any circumstances.”
On the occasion of Guru Poornima on the 18th of July in 1989, in the Poorna Chandra Auditorium, Baba said,
“The body has been given to man for the performance of right action. Every person has to discharge his duties in life. It is a sin to ignore one's duties. When everyone performs his duties, the nation will prosper. Perform your duties regardless of what others may say or do.
Engage yourselves in selfless service. Consider social service as service to God. This is the easiest way to earn the love of God. The best way to love God is to love all and serve all. Your entire life will be sanctified thereby.”
Ref: Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. XXII, Chapter-23.
Motivation for service
“God will not ask you, “When and where did you do service?” He will ask, “With what motive did you do it? What was the intention that prompted you?” But God seeks quality, the purity of the mind, the nobility of the motive.”
In the opening remarks of a discourse when Baba was in Mumbai on 29th of March, 1967, He said,
“Seva is the very essence of Bhakthi (devotion), the very breath of a Bhaktha (devotee), his very nature. It springs from the conviction and experience that all beings are God's children, that all bodies are altars where God is installed, that He resides in all places.”
Ref: Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. VII, Chapter-14.
The example of Hanuman
Bhagawan Baba often gives the example of Hanuman from the epic of Ramayana to demonstrate the ideals of service. Here is what Baba said in a discourse addressed to the Seva Dal volunteers at a workshop on Health and Hygiene at Abbotsbury, Chennai on 25th Jan 1985:
“Seva is a small word, but it is filled with immense spiritual significance. Hanuman is the supreme exemplar of the ideal of service. When the Rakshasas (demons) asked Hanuman, during his search for Sita in Lanka, who he was, he replied simply: "Daasoham Kosalendrasya." He was content to describe himself as the humble servant of Lord Rama. Though he was strong, learned, and virtuous, he had no trace of pride. That is a fine example of uprooting of the ego, which service must bring about in us. No one can serve another while one’s ego is rampant. The attitudes of mutual help and selfless service develop the "humanness" of man and help manifest the Divinity latent in him.
Seva must be viewed as the highest form of sadhana. Serving the poor is the best form of sadhana. God's grace will flow when Seva is done without any expectation of reward or recognition. Whenever Ahamkaram (ego) and Abhimanam (attachment) raise their heads while performing Seva, they should be eliminated altogether.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks” – Vol. XVIII, Chapter-2
Man’s Reality: Inherent Divinity
From the earliest of times, man has sought to find out his true identity and the true meaning of life. But the ultimate answer has eluded most of men most of the time. While the goal is inside, man always tends to search for it outside. Baba explained this concept very clearly when He said,
“You are not the body, the mind, the intellect or the diminutive ego. You are the Infinite Universal Absolute. You have to establish yourselves firmly, unshakably in this awareness; that is your destiny, your duty to yourself.”
“Your reality is the Atma, which is a wave in the sea called Paramatma (God). The sole object of human existence is to visualize that reality and the relationship between the wave and the sea. All other activities are trivial; you share them with birds and beasts. But, this is the unique privilege of man. He has clambered through all the steps in the ladder of evolution in order to inherit this high destiny. If all the years between birth and death are frittered away in seeking food and shelter, comfort and pleasure as animals do, man is condemning himself to a further life-sentence,” Baba says.
During the Summer Course on Indian Culture and Spirituality in 1977, Baba said,
“There cannot be anything more useful than knowledge of one’s own self. What do we mean by knowledge about one’s own self? It is the knowledge of the Atma, your inner divinity. To know one’s own self is the most important and useful aspect of one’s learning.”
Baba always insists that the Atma is immanent in everyone. It is the spark of divinity, which gives every man light, love and joy.
In a beautiful discourse on the 11th of May, 1971, Baba said,
“The Divine Principle is the very core of man. Becoming aware of this Truth is the goal of life; it is the source of strength which is unfailing and irresistible. Close your eyes; you feel there is no one else here though there are thousands. If you suffer from cataract or worse still, if you are blind, you cannot realize this truth. So too, the Divine is here; before you, behind you, inside you, outside you and with you, and through intelligence you can recognize it. But you are either blind or diseased with defective vision or worse still, willfully inclined to close your eyes.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks” – Vol. XI, Chapter-22
Since Divinity is inherent in all, Baba always says that all have an opportunity for God-realization irrespective of gender, age or status. He says,
“There may be differences among men in physical strength, financial status, intellectual acumen, but all are equal in the eyes of God; all have the right and the potentiality to achieve the goal of merging in him. Note that everyone from the beggar to the billionaire is prompted by the urge to achieve Ananda, supreme bliss, based on inner peace, that is unaffected by ups and downs. Every activity is directed towards this objective.”
Stressing the importance of body in realizing the Divine, Baba says “The body is the temple of God. In every body, God is installed, whether the owner of the body recognizes it or not. It is God that inspires you to do good acts and warns you against the bad. Listen to that voice. Obey that voice and you will not come to any harm.”
Baba always exhorts His devotees not to follow the body and the mind and follow the conscience. “Your conscience,” He says, “knows the real source of joy; it will prod you towards the right path. Your business is to take it as a “guide” and not disobey it every time it contradicts your fancy”.
The Indivisible One
“You and the Universal are one; you and the Absolute are One; you and the Eternal are One. You are not the individual, the particular, the temporary. Feel This. Know this. Act in conformity with this,” He says.
“The greatest defect today is the absence of Atmavichara, the inquiry into the nature of the Atma (spirit). That is the cause of all this Ashanti (restlessness). Just like how all pots are made up of mud, all ornaments of gold, all clothes of yarn, everyone is made up of one basic substance; that is Brahman; that is the Atma. Once you enter the depths of the sea, it is all calm, it is all peace. Agitation, noise, confusion all are only on the outer layers. So also, in the innermost recesses of your heart, there is a reservoir of Shanti (peace). Therefore, “See Always Inside” – SAI.”
That’s how Bhagawan beautifully explains the concept of the spirit and peace.
The Five Human Values
Bhagawan Baba’s teachings are based on the five most important human values of Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Right Conduct), Shanti (Peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). These form the very essence of Bhagawan’s teachings and the guiding principle of all His service projects and the functioning of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations worldwide.
“Truth is that which is not modified by time, space or guna (attribute). It is the same forever, unaffected and unchanging; it is never proved false by some subsequent event or knowledge.”
Baba says that the material world is subject to constant changes and God alone is the Pure, Immutable, Ultimate Truth. This Truth can be experienced only in the purified consciousness of one’s heart and cannot be found in the ephemeral appearances of the world wrought by Maya or illusion. Elaborating on this, in a Divine Discourse on 20th November 2001, Bhagawan said, “There are three levels of truth: Nijam (fact), Sathyam (truth) and Ritam (absolute truth). To speak according to what one has seen is to merely state a fact. Suppose I see you wearing a white dress and say "you are wearing a white dress", this becomes a statement of a fact. Later, at home, you may wear a blue dress. Then what I had said earlier will not hold good anymore. Thus, a fact is subject to change. Truth on the other hand does not change with time. A person may change any number of dresses. But, the person, as such, remains the same. Thus, truth is the same at all times. Ritam, however, relates to the Atma (self) which is changeless and eternal, unlike the body or mind that are subject to change. It transcends both good and evil. It is described as attributeless, pure, eternal, permanent and unsullied.”
In a discourse in Rajahmundry on 1st of Sep 1958, Baba said,
“There is in everyone a spark of truth; no one can live without that spark. There is in everyone a flame of love; life becomes a dark void without it. That spark, that flame is God, for, He is the source of all truth and all love. Man seeks truth. He seeks to know the reality because his very nature is derived from God, who is truth. He seeks love, to give it and share it, for his nature is of God, and God is love.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks” – Vol. I, Chapter-13.
“The chief duty of man is investigation into truth. Truth can be won only through dedication and devotion, and they are dependent on the grace of God, which is showered only on hearts saturated with love.”
“The experience of Truth alone can foster love, for truth is all-embracing and integrating, and sees no distinctions. Truth is the current and love is the bulb it illumines. Through truth, you can experience love; through love, you can visualize truth. ”
Speak the truth; speak it in a palatable manner
Baba always emphasizes on speaking the truth and speaking it politely and pleasantly. He says, “If you cannot oblige, you can at least speak obligingly.”
Baba explained the value of truthfulness very clearly in a discourse in Kerala on the 20th of December 1967. He said,
“If you want to know the way in which you have to observe Sathya or truth in speech, look into the Bhagavad Gita (‘The Celestial Song’ from the Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’). It tells you that the best form of speech is "anudvegakaram vaakyam" (speech that does not create pain, anger or grief to others). The Shasthras (ancient scriptures) also say, "Sathyam bruyaath, priyam bruyaath na bruyaath Sathyam apriyam" (Speak the truth; speak the truth pleasingly; never speak truth which is unpalatable). Simply because a statement will please the listener, don't speak it out to win the person’s approval; if speaking truth will cause grief or pain, then maintain silence." This is the vow of truth in ordinary daily life.
Don't have hypocrisy or crookedness in your speech. Both unpleasant truth and pleasant untruth have to be avoided. Sathya (or Truth) is God Himself.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks” – Vol. VII, Chapter-46
“Have faith that truth will save you in the long run. Stick to it regardless of what might befall.” This has been the call of Bhagawan Baba to mankind.
Dharma (Right Conduct)
Bhagawan Baba explains Dharma thus:
“Every profession, every stage of life, each gender, each period of life as fixed by age - childhood, boyhood, adolescence, youth, middle age, old age - has duties and obligations, which set the norm and guide the individual to benefit himself and society.”
“Dharma is characterized by holiness, peace, truth, and fortitude. Dharma is yoga (union or merger with God); it is Sathya (truth), its attributes are justice, sense control, love, dignity, goodness, meditation, sympathy and nonviolence. It leads one to universal love and unity.”
“Practicing what you preach, doing as you say it has to be done, and keeping practice in line with precept. Earn virtuously; yearn piously; live in the reverence of God, live for attaining God; that is Dharma.”
Act out your role well
“Perform your work as actors would in a play, keeping your identity separate and not getting too attached to your role. Remember that the whole thing is just a play and the Lord has assigned you a part. Act well your part; there all your duty ends. He designed the play and He enjoys it.”
Who is on the path of Dharma?
In the ‘Dharma Vahini’, Baba’s treatise on Dharma, He says,
“Whoever subdues his egoism, conquers his selfish desires, destroys his bestial feelings and impulses, and gives up the natural tendency to regard the body as self, he is surely on the path of Dharma. He knows that the goal of Dharma is the merger of the wave in the Sea, the merging of the self in the Over-self.”
“See no evil - see what is good.
Hear no evil - hear what is good.
Speak no evil - speak what is good.
Think no evil - think what is good.
Do no evil - do what is good.
This is the way to God.”
Dharma is like Mother
During the Summer Course in Indian Culture and Spirituality held in 1974, Baba said,
“Dharma is like a mother. One can choose a wife, but no one can choose a mother. Dharma is in the same position as one’s mother is. We have no choice (but to follow it) and we cannot modify Dharma.”
“What exactly is peace? It is the stage in which the senses are mastered and held in balance.”
To experience peace, we must overcome our excessive desires and unreasonable expectations. Agitation usually results from unfulfilled desires, not from external conditions.
“When man thinks, speaks, and acts along virtuous lines, his conscience will be clean and he will have inner peace. Knowledge is power, it is said; but virtue is peace.”
Faith results in a peaceful outlook. When we realize the divine basis of creation, we cease to be upset by changing circumstances. Faith in God and faith in oneself is the key to achieving mental peace.
“Real Shanti is to be had only in the depths of the spirit, in the discipline of the mind, in faith in the one base of all this seeming multiplicity. When that is secured, it is like having gold: you can have any variety of ornaments made from it.”
The secret of peace
“You cannot easily detach yourself from activity; the mind clings to something or the other. Make it cling to God, let it do all things for God and leave the results thereof, be it success or failure, loss or profit, to God. Then you will have Shanti and contentment.”
“The essential attitude that one should cultivate is to engage in all activities that are a part of one's duty without getting attached to them. Just as the sky's clear blue is not affected by the clouds or rainstorms, lightning or thunder, but remains the same in spite of those temporary disturbances, the mind of man too must be clear and clean, in spite of all the storms and stress of life.”
Ref: Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. VI, Chapter – 27.
The formula given by Bhagawan Baba for attaining world peace is:
"If there is righteousness in the heart,
There will be beauty in character.
If there is beauty in character,
There will be harmony in the home.
When there is harmony in the home,
There will be order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world."
On the 1st of April, 1973 in Rajkot (Gujarat), Baba said,
“I must tell you of the paramount importance of love. Love is God; live in love. God is the embodiment of perfect love. He can be known and realized, reached and won, only through love. You can see the moon only with the help of moonlight; you can see God only through the rays of love.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – XII, Chapter - 11
“Love is the word that indicates the striving to realize the falsity of the diversity and the reality of the One. Love transposes the self on to another and the two begin to think, speak, and act as one. When love takes in more and more into its fold, more and more entities are unified as one. When you love me, you love all, for you begin to feel, know and experience that I am in all,” says Bhagawan Baba.
On New Year Day in 1971 in Mumbai, Baba said,
“The earth is a huge enterprise, a busy factory, where the product is love. By means of sadhana (spiritual practice), it is possible to produce love and export it to millions and millions of people in need of it. The more it is shared, the deeper it grows, the sweeter its taste, and the greater the joy. By means of love, one can approach God and stay in his presence, for God is love, and when one lives in love he is living in God.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – XI, Chapter - 1
The distance between you and Me
“When you live with the consciousness of the omnipresent Atma, you live in love, love flowing and flooding in and through you to everyone else. Cultivate love towards all, that is the way to gain nearness to Me. I do not measure distance in terms of meters or miles; the intensity of love decides the distance between you and me,” Baba said on the 18th of August 1968 to the assembly of devotees in Prasanthi Nilayam.
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – VIII, Chapter - 28
Love – my distinctive characteristic
Baba declares, “Prema (love) is my distinctive characteristic, not the creation of material objects or of conferring good health and happiness by sheer exercise of My will. You might consider what you call miracles as the surest sign of divinity, but the Prema that welcomes you all, that blesses all, that makes me rush to the presence of the seekers, the suffering and the distressed wherever they are; that is the real sign!”
“Ahimsa (non-violence) does not mean merely not injuring a living being physically. You should not cause harm even by a word, a look or a gesture. Tolerance, fortitude, equanimity - these help you to practice ahimsa steadily.”
“Ahimsa is another facet of Sathya (Truth). When once you are aware of the kinship of all the beings, the fundamental Atmic unity and their oneness with God, you will not knowingly cause pain or distress to another.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – VII, Chapter – 46.
During the Summer Course on Indian Culture and Spirituality in 1978, Baba said,
“We generally think that ahimsa means not causing harm to any living being. Himsa is not merely causing physical harm, even looking at debasing things, listening to evil or wrongful words and speaking harshly amounts to Himsa (violence).”
It all depends on one’s intention
“If thugs attack you and chop off your hand, it is Himsa (violence). But, if the doctor amputates your hand in a surgery, he does it to save your life, and hence, it is Ahimsa (nonviolence).” Non-Violence, therefore, is a matter of intention and attitude, directed from the heart.”
Perpetrating violence on others is ultimately committing violence to oneself. We will definitely reap the consequences of our actions, whether in the present or future. Though the result may not be always apparent, every action evokes an inevitable reaction, Baba warns us.
Therefore, the best policy is to avoid harming others at all. As the biblical saying goes, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Swami, in his inimitable style, says, “Help ever, hurt never”.
Bharat: Culture and Tradition
Guru of Nations
Baba always refers to Bharat as a holy land of sacrifice and merit. He refers to Bharat as the engine, which will steer the destiny of other nations which are like bogies of a train. In His birthday message on the 23rd of November, 1990, Baba elaborated on this subject in a great detail. Here are a few excerpts from that discourse-
"Bharat" denotes the entire human family.
“When we refer to Bharat, the term is not related to any particular individual, country or circumstance. Although many different derivative meanings have been given to the term by different authorities, these are only their individual interpretations…
‘Bharathi’ denotes Goddess Saraswathi who is the Vaakdevata (Goddess of Speech). Hence every man born with the gift of speech is a Bharatiya. The name is not associated with any particular individual or country. The term ‘Bharatiya’ is applicable to the entire human family. "Bha" refers to the Principle represented by Divine Knowledge. "Self-knowledge" is "Bha." "Bharatiyas" are those who take delight in Self-knowledge. Hence everyone who shines by his own self luminous power is a Bharatiya.
Bharatiya (Indian) is one who acquired divine strength by Atmabalam (the power of the Spirit). So, whoever one may be, whatever one's country, he has to acquire this strength of the Spirit.”
Foundation of Indian Culture
On the 6th of January, 1975, in Mumbai, Baba explained the basis of Indian Culture when He said,
“When one lamp lights many lamps, all shine with equal brilliance. The Param jyothi (the Supreme Effulgence-God) is the origin and source of all the Jeevan jyothis (light of all the lamps-individuals); it is only 'ONE', without a second. The same wind is referred to as breeze, whirlwind, storm, typhoon, hurricane, etc. the same God is referred to by different Names. This is the very foundation of our culture. So, your duty is to emphasize the One, to experience the One in all that you do and speak. Do not give any importance to differences in religion, sect, status or colour. Have the feeling of Oneness permeating every act of yours.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol.-XIII, Chapter-2.
Land of sages and saints
“Bharat has produced many great sages and saints who have taught profound truths. It is a land of heroes who fought for the freedom of the country. It has been the leader in the knowledge of various arts and sciences, in music and literature. It is most unfortunate that many born in this sacred land are unaware of its unique greatness. Love for the mother is a sweet virtue. What a pity that today, love for the Motherland should have declined!
You must love your Motherland. Resolve to dedicate your lives in her service. Unity is the primary requisite. People celebrate the birthdays of our great ones, but few care to follow their teachings. There is nothing great about celebrating birthdays. Every effort must be made to understand their teachings and act unto them.”
Fill your hearts with the heritage of Bharat
“Embodiments of Divine Atma! Esteeming love as the essence of divinity, you have to engage yourselves in loving service to society. You have to restore the glory of Bharat. Bharat has been in the past the preceptor of all nations. All other people are coming to acquire peace and enlightenment. In this situation, it is a great misfortune that Bharatiyas (Indians) themselves are not conscious of their greatness. Bharatiya history reflects the achievements of Bharat in the realms of the physical, the mental, the spiritual and all other aspects of life; we have to fill our hearts with this heritage.”
Bharat is a land of plenty
“It is high time you realised what a sacred country Bharat is. In this holy land, nothing is lacking. ‘What cannot be found in Bharat cannot be found elsewhere’ is an ancient saying. In spite of these multifarious endowments, this country is being regarded as poor and backward. This is ignorance born of delusion. Only when we free ourselves from this delusion, we can experience Atmic bliss. We can experience Brahman (divinity) only when we can get rid of bhrama (delusion).”
Promote the glory of Bharat
“When everything is available within Bharat, why go begging to other countries? Everything has originated from Bharat. Hence, having taken birth in Bharat, strive to promote the glory of Bharat. Every devotee should take a pledge to protect and promote the greatness of Bharat. Like an elephant that does not know its own strength, Bharatiyas are unaware of their power. Despite their myriad capacities, they are behaving as weaklings, like an elephant before its mahout. You have to get rid of this weakness.”
“Strive to make India strong and happy so that it may not be dependent on other countries, or become vulnerable. She was once the guru of humanity; let her assume that role again. Lead a life in such a manner that you are respected and revered as a child of Bharath, a life that will be an example and inspiration for all.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol.-XXIII, Chapter-34.
Bhagawan Baba has often emphasized that the purpose of education is to inculcate virtues and character in every individual. He says, "The end of education is character."
Right mark of good education
“Students should have in their hands the future of this country. Wherever they gather they should see that there is calm and peace, and that they earn respect of the community. The place where students gather should become a haven of peace and happiness. This is the mark of good education.”
Education should confer humility
“Education is for life not for mere living. There are crores of people who are not educated in this country and who are still living a good life. Education should enable you to be an ideal example. Education should enable you to distinguish between right and wrong. It should promote humility in you and enable you to serve your parents and your country selflessly.”
Education must broaden the vision
“Education must instill the fundamental human values; it must broaden the vision to include the welfare of the entire world. Education must equip man to live happily without making others unhappy, to evaluate everything correctly and without prejudice, and to keep one's attention fixed ever on the most precious and the highest achievement of all, self-realization. The spiritual stream must flow from the heart as the source and spring of all endeavour.”
Science without character, brings disaster
“Education is being confused with the acquisition of scholarship. This is wrong. Education has to open the doors of the mind. Many describe science today as a powerful acquisition, but science holds before mankind a great opportunity, that is all. If it is devoid of character, it brings disaster. It can then cause evil and wickedness. Intelligence can be found to be very high among clever thieves. So too, scientific knowledge can be misused for destructive purposes.”
Two important characteristics of education
“Education has two important characteristics. One is exposition of facts relating to any subject. The other is the unfolding of the individual's personality. The first is concerned with matter. The second is with divine energy. Education is a combination of the two. It is a combination of worldly and spiritual knowledge. Education cannot be confined to stuffing the head. It has to melt the heart, refine it and turn it towards God. Man has to be transformed into an ideal human being with a compassionate heart. Every effort should be made to utilize education for the purpose of divinizing man.”
Role of women
Role of Mother
“The Mother is held as the object of affectionate reverence in Indian Culture. She is the home-maker, the first teacher of the child, the person who lovingly transmits the culture of this ancient land to its heirs in their most formative years. The mother and the father are the first examples in social behavior that the child sees and learns to imitate. They should teach Bhakthi and Prapatthi (adoration of God and surrender to the Highest); they should be embodiments of Shanti and Prema (equanimity and love). Thus, they should aid in the spiritual awakening of the child.
Nation and Mothers
“Everyone has a mother as the source of his life and body. So the mother has to be strong in mind and body, steeped in culture and good character, sanctified by holy thoughts and full of love and dedication. Good mothers make a good nation. They have to be repositories of Thyaga, Yoga and Bhakthi (Detachment, Discipline and Devotion). Every activity of theirs must be prompted by these three cardinals,” Baba says.
“If you want to know how advanced a nation is, study its mothers; are they free from fear and anxiety, are they full of love towards all, are they trained in fortitude and virtue.” This has been the message of Baba.
The art of making a home
Once, in His discourse to the girl-students of His College, Baba said,
“Woman has been extolled in ancient scriptures as well as classical poetry as Grihalakshmi, the Goddess who brings prosperity to the home. She is the Dharmapathni, who accompanies the husband in the fulfillment of the duties and rights of householder’s life. In addition to keeping the home happy, healthy and harmonious, you also have to learn how to steer clear of hatred, malice, greed, anger, anxiety, pride and other obstacles that come in the way of inner peace. It is not enough if the home budget is balanced; the wife must learn the art of having a balanced view of life, which will not be affected by triumphs and troubles, gains or losses, victory or defeat. This balance can be got only by placing one’s faith in the in-dwelling God.”
Duty of the mother
Baba counsels, “The mother herself should look after the children during the early years instead of placing the child in the custody and care of baby sitters and servants. The mother must set the example in making the shrine the heart of the household. She must enforce discipline over the children in personal cleanliness, in humility and hospitality, in good manners and acts of service. She must persuade the children by example and precept to revere elders and to allot some time both in the morning and evening for prayer and silent meditation.
The ideal for women
“Women should live up to the ideal of a faithful wife and a loving mother. According to the Indian belief and ideals of marriage, husband and wife form the right and left halves of the same body respectively; they are complementary parts of the same unit.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – VI, Chapter – 12
“Woman is neither meant to surpass man, nor to be trampled under his foot. She should stand as his equal, his companion in his joys and sorrows of life,” Baba says.
The gentle art of sacrifice and service
Speaking at the Maharani's Women's College, Mysore, on 12th of Sep 1963, Baba exhorted the girl students thus:
“Learn to adjust your likes and dislikes to those of others, learn the gentle art of sacrifice and service. Try to appreciate the view points of elders. They have greater experience and greater sense of responsibility; they may have greater forethought and know more about people and things than you, who are fresh entrants in their household.
The family of the husband which you enter after marriage is a good training ground; it is a Sadhana-kshethra (field of spiritual practice). When people find fault with you, do not fly into a rage. Examine your own conduct and discover the faults in you; self-examination is the first step to self-improvement and peace. Do not exaggerate the faults of others; on the other hand, magnify your faults and strive to get rid of them fast. Consider all faultfinders as your friends and well-wishers, for they give you warning-signals in time.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. - III, Chapter – 24.
Mother – man’s primary wealth
Giving the Inaugural Discourse at the symposium on "The Role of Women in Social Change" organised by the former girl students of the Anantapur campus of the Institute, September, 1983, Baba said,
“The mother's lap is the first school for every child. It is his first temple; mother is his foremost God. Mother is every man's primary wealth. It is the duty of every person to recognize this truth. Everyone should cherish their parents as embodiments of the Divine. The father and the mother are inseparable like the word and its meaning. The mother and father may be physically separate, but spiritually, they are one.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – XVI, Chapter - 24
Women and the Community
Stressing on the role of women in the building of the society and the nation, Baba says,
“Women have a very crucial role in individual and social uplift. They are the makers of the home, the nation and the world. They are the mothers who shape the generation to come. So, they must enshrine in their hearts the spiritual urge towards Light and love, wisdom and bliss.”
Women and Education
Speaking to the girl students of the Sathya Sai College in Jaipur on the 10th of April, 1975, Baba said,
“To save at least the next generation, women have to be educated in a well planned manner and endowed with the wisdom, fortitude and faith that can equip them for the great responsibility that rests upon them…
Girls who are studying in this college today will become mothers tomorrow. It is therefore necessary that they should equip themselves with the culture, learning and wisdom that they will need in the future. In India, we assign a special place to women. It is therefore all the more important that the girls who are studying here should train themselves in such a way that they can live up to the ideals and aspirations of an Indian woman.
We consider women as Grihalakshmi, Dharmapathni and so on. A woman has to maintain her house. She is not only the housewife, but on her depends the glory or otherwise of the whole country. That is why we say this is our motherland. It is in this spirit that we refer to our country as Bharatmatha. We also find that women are given the first position when they are associated with their consort as in Sita-Rama, Lakshmi-Narayana, Radha-Krishna and Parvathi-Parameshwara. It is only to establish this prominence given to women in our country and to train our young girls on these lines that we took up the task of opening such colleges.
I expect the young girls studying in this college to cultivate such good qualities that bring name and fame to their families. The girls of the Sathya Sai College should maintain the ideals of the institution and keep the prestige of their homes, their society and their culture. It is only then that the purpose of establishing this college can be served.
Women students and teachers have to be ever vigilant that they do not adopt fashions that outrage the traditions and conventions of this country and its culture. Do not bring dishonour to your parents or disappoint them by acting contrary to their aspirations.”
Women must emerge from this college armed with deep rooted virtue and firm faith in the ideals of womanhood laid down in our sacred texts. Then only can they, as mothers, mould their children as bright, beautiful, virtuous and strong citizens of the world.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. XIII, Chapter – 10.
Illustrious Mothers of India
“The Puranas and Shastras (Indian scriptures) stress the role of women as mothers and extol the mothers who instilled high ideals in the minds of the children of the land. The Vedas speak of Maitreyi and Gargi as great scholars and spiritual heroines. Gargi was well revered in the assembly of Vedic pundits for her mastery over abstruse problems of the spirituality. In recent history, we have the mother of Chatrapathi Shivaji who raised him on the epics and Puranas, and brought him up as a brave representative of the best of Hindu Culture,” Baba says.
Many a time Baba recalls many illustrious women of India’s history to emphasize the importance and the character of women. Speaking at the College of Home Science, in Bangalore on 26th of July, 1969, Baba said,
“Women have proved throughout the centuries in Indian History that they have the courage, the vision, and the intelligence needed to dive into the depths of spiritual science and discipline. Maithreyi, Meera, Gargi, Sulabha, Choodala, Mahadevi, Aandal are shining examples of mighty heroines in the spiritual realms.”
Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. IX, Chapter – 13.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba while placing the Sai movement throughout the world on a firm footing with established Universal principles such as Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-violence, has also proclaimed as guiding lights for every devotee's spiritual and personal development, the Nine Point Code of Conduct and the Ten Principles.
I. Nine Point Code of Conduct
1. Daily meditation and prayer
2. Group devotional singing or prayer with family members at least once a week.
3. Participation in Sai Spiritual Education by children of the family.
4. Participation in community service work and other programs of the organization.
5. Regular attendance at the meetings in Sai Centres.
6. Regular study of Sathya Sai Baba literature.
7. Speaking softly and lovingly with everyone.
8. Not speaking ill of others, especially in their absence.
9. Placing a ceiling on desires - consciously and continuously striving to eliminate the tendency to waste time, money, food, and energy - and utilizing the savings in service of mankind.
II. Ten Principles
1. Treat as sacred the land in