Sri Sathya Sai Baba: His Life is His Message - By Dr. Shashank Shah

Shashank Shah receiving the President of India Gold Medal from Sri Sathya Sai during the Institute Convocation - November 22, 2004

In the Dwapara Yuga, on the battle field of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna told His dear devotee Arjuna, 

“Na Me Parthasti Kartavyam, Trishu Lokeshu Kinchana”
‘Oh, My dear Arjuna, in all the three worlds, I am not bound to perform any action.’

While ours is the Karma Janma (birth due to Karma), His is the Leela Janma (birth for Divine Sport). He acts, only to set an example for the entire mankind to follow so that mankind may emulate His ideal.

Bhagavan has declared on a number of occasions ‘My Life is My Message’. Indeed, every aspect, every facet, every part and phase of Bhagavan’s Avataric sojourn on this planet, is a message for the entire humanity to benefit from.

Swami is my Hero. Every aspect of Swami’s life is worthy of emulation. Every facet of His life has a very important and potent message for each and every one of us. He says, ‘I act in a human way – I eat with you, talk to you, move about with you, joke and play with you so that you can develop kinship with Me. But at the same time, I give you glimpses of My Divinity so that you can aspire to attain those Divine Heights.’

An Ideal Son and an Ideal Student – A True All Rounder

Right from His childhood days, Swami has lived an ideal life. He would take great care of His grandfather – Sri Kondama Raju Garu when He was staying with him. He would cook the food and take care of all his needs – thus exemplifying the ideal of a good son – ‘Suputra’. At the same time, He would go to school and exemplify the ideal of a good student. He would participate in all the school programmes and activities and at the same time would excel in His studies. Thereby, Swami showed that one needs to do well in all facets of one’s life. Doing well in school does not exempt us from performing our duties at home. And, doing our duties at home, does not exempt us from being a true all-rounder in school.

True Selfless Service


Sri Sathya Sai Baba: His Life is His Message

While staying with His brother – Sri Seshama Raju at Uravakonda, Swami used to fill water from the well (which was at quite a distance from the house) twice a day. When the neighbours would question Him as to why He was straining Himself so much, He would say, “It is my duty to serve”. Even when the neighbours complained to His father – Sri Pedda Venkama Raju, Swami replied in a similar manner.

This was the same reply which Swami gave over a half century later, on the completion of the Sri Sathya Sai Water Supply Project for the Anantapur District. When some villagers came as representatives from the various villages which benefited from the project, to express their gratitude to Swami, Swami said, ‘You need not thank Me. In fact, I am grateful to you for giving Me this opportunity to serve you all.’ He also added, ‘In the future too, if there is any such opportunity for Me to serve you all, I will be very happy to do it.’

What greater example can we have of humility and of true service! True service is done without any expectation of return, for everyone – the one who serves, the one who is served and the act of service are all Sai Himself. This is for all of us to keep in mind when we undertake multifarious projects as students of Sai in our respective places of work. This is the feeling that Swami expects us to serve with.

The Promises Fulfilled – Message for all Humanity

The promise which Swami had given to His Mother - Smt. Easwaramma was kept up by Him both in letter and spirit. For, not only did He provide basic schooling, medical care and water supply to the village of Puttaparthi, but He also set up Institutions which are models of excellence, for the whole world to emulate and derive inspiration from. There were many occasions of apparent shortage of funds for the mammoth projects. But the Divine assurance was, ‘In this holy land of Bharat, if any individual undertakes a noble task selflessly, there will be no dearth of any resources – monetary or otherwise’. And true to His word, funds and all other kinds of help came flowing in from all over the world. A hospital (specialising in tertiary health care facilities) which could be the envy of any hospital in the developed world, was built in a record time. Treatment is rendered to all, irrespective of differences of any kind, absolutely free of cost (unheard of in any part of the globe!). The rest is history. 

A Water Supply Project hitherto unaccomplished elsewhere, was built in a record time. No other private trust anywhere else in the world has undertaken a social benefit project of this magnitude. What the government could not accomplish in over a century, Swami accomplished in a matter of 18 months. Through this Swami showed that where there is a will there is a way.


Sri Sathya Sai University and the Educational Complexes at Prasanthi Nilayam

The Institute of Higher Learning, which was earlier denied permission to start functioning (because according to the government authorities it was not possible to start a University in such a rural environment) has today become the cynosure of all eyes for it has been accredited with the A++ ranking by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) set up by the University Grants Commission. This is the highest ranking received by any University in India. Not only this, the Committee went on to place on record the following, ‘The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is the crest jewel of the University Education System in India and the model of education followed in this Institution is worthy of emulation by all other systems of higher education in the country and elsewhere.’ 

The True Purpose of the Divine Temples of Learning, Healing and Life


Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield

An Institute of Higher Learning, Institutes of Higher Medical Sciences and the Water Supply Projects are not the sole purpose of the Avataric Mission. These are in reality, not going to solve all the education, health and water related problems of the world. These are only role models for all of us; so that we may, in our own way, follow suit and undertake activities which will benefit all mankind. That is the purpose of these temples of learning, healing and life.

The Divine Mission

Many decades ago, in one of His Discourses Swami declared, ‘Mine is the Vajra Sankalpa – the diamond like resolution; whatever I Will, must come to fruition. Even if all the fourteen worlds were to come together against Me, the work and Mission which I have come to accomplish will not swerve by an inch.’ That is the kind of confidence which Swami expects each and every one of us to have. Anyone who is on the path of Sathya and Dharma is bound to succeed in all his endeavours for Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone Triumphs) and Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha (Dharma protects the one who follows it).

Sri Sathya Sai Baba: His Life is His Message

Action – The Most Powerful Medium of Communication

Swami has displayed through His life, that the best way to silence one’s critics is to answer their questions by one’s action. That is the best way to reply, for actions speak louder than words. Time and again Swami has reiterated this fact. If we have to be His representatives in His mission, we have to be the ideals and through our action and conduct, display to the world that we are the children of Sai. If there is anything that Swami has taught us through the last 80 years of His earthly sojourn, it is this. If we have been the recipients of His Infinite Love and Grace, of the title ‘My Property’ and the proximity which could be the envy of the Devas of the highest heavens (as He puts it), it is our duty that through our virtuous conduct and exemplary life, we should prove ourselves worthy of what we have received.

In Conclusion

Through this article, I have made a humble attempt to gather and highlight a few of the pearls from the vast ocean of the life of the Lord which are shining examples worthy of emulation in our very own day to day life. I would like to reiterate them as follows:
Through His childhood Swami has displayed that an ideal son excels not only in the performance of his duties at home but also shines forth as an ideal student in school; who, through his conduct and character proves to be a real ‘Suputra’.
True service is selflessly done without any expectation of reward. The doer, the receiver and the act of service are all in reality one and the same - Sai Himself. 
If any activity is done with a pure motive for the benefit of others, it is bound to succeed inspite of all adverse circumstances.
An individual must undertake acts of service in such a manner that not only are they models of excellence in themselves, but they are instruments of motivation for others to follow suit. 
The most powerful medium of communication is Action. The Mahavakya of Leadership says, ‘To Be, To Do, To See, To Tell’. Once one is and one does, the need to tell becomes superfluous. As Swami often says – ‘Acharanamlo Pettali’ (it is necessary to put into action). Our actions are the most powerful medium to silence our critics. Do all the good that you can to all the people you can and the multiplier effect of the benefit is bound to occur.
Above all, His mission is bound to succeed irrespective of the innumerable obstacles that may apparently appear to come in its way. In His 43rd Birthday Discourse on 23rd November, 1968, Bhagawan declared, ‘Few people believe that things will change and that the Golden Age of peace and harmony for all mankind will actually dawn. Be assured that this Dharmaswarupa – this Divine Body has not come in vain. It will accomplish the Mission which it has taken upon itself for the benefit of all mankind.’


Dr. Shashank Shah with Sri Sathya Sai on-board Paramount Airways flight from Chennai - January 31, 2007

What greater proof is required than this, of our greatest good fortune to have been blessed to witness and above all participate as His chosen instruments in His Divine Mission!

I offer my gratitude to Swami and pray that we may be those ideal children He always wanted us to be; to be sweet and fragrant flowers in His Heavenly Garden and shining stars in His Splendorous Sky.

- Dr. Shashank Shah
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus


1 comment:

  1. My sincere appreciation for a splendid article. Swami has inspired us by example, it remains for each of us to live up to and earnestly practise His teachings.

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