Sri Sathya Sai Message To Chairpersons of Overseas Sai Centers

Tuesday, November 24, 1998


Sri Sathya Sai Speaks

The valedictory function of the Convention of the Chairpersons of overseas centres was held in Sai Kulwant Hall on 24th afternoon. Bhagavan granted Darshan 2.15 pm and went around blessing the devotees in the hall. The function commenced with Vedic chants. Select seniors from the International Sai Organization spoke about the impact of Bhagavan’s value education. Bhagavan then delivered His Valedictory Address in which he answered questions that had been asked earlier by the members of the convention. Some of the excerpts from the question and answer session are included below:

“I have received letters from delegates to this conference seeking clarification of their doubts. What is the root cause of doubt? It is the absence of total faith. Jesus had a disciple, Thomas, who doubted everything he came across and was appropriately called “doubting Thomas”. In the path of spirituality, doubts do arise at times, even though one may have faith in God. One of the doubts is this:

Did Jesus really declare that He was the Truth, the Path, and that none was superior to Him?

Jesus Christ
Enquire into the truth yourself. Jesus was never egotistic at any point of time and never made any such declarations. There was a tax collector who recorded the conversation between Jesus and the fishermen. It was during one of those conversations that Jesus assured them that He would take care of them, but at no point of time did he mention with a sense of ego that He was the only One and the ultimate One to protect them. He did this only with a view to increase their confidence and enthuse them into action.

Three Wise Men visit Baby Jesus
At the time of Divine birth, three wise men visited Jesus in the manger. One of them, looking at child Jesus, remarked; He looks as though he was a “Messenger of God”. The second wise man exclaimed that the child looked as though he was the “Son of God”. The third wise man disagreed with both and concluded that He and God were one and the same. These three statements have been interpreted in varied ways. 

Jesus had no trace of ego in Him. He was filled with compassion at the sight of the meek and the afflicted. Paul opposed Jesus in all matters from the very outset. Once Jesus appeared in the dream of Paul and questioned him, ”What harm have I done to you? Why do you criticise Me so?” This caused Paul to ponder and realise that his ignorance and ego blinded him to reality. Thereafter he became an ardent disciple of Jesus. 

In every age, every noble soul had to put up with criticism. People always have mistaken notions about good and bad. If only we understand the truth in the Bible, we will come to the conclusion that there was no fault in Jesus at all. Jesus always aspired to put people in God consciousness. At the time of crucifixion, Jesus prayed: “O Father! What sin have I committed? Why am I put to suffering thus?” When Mother Mary stood crying at the foot of the Cross, an ethereal voice was heard. “All are one, My dear Son; be alike to everyone.”

The Krishna-Arjuna Dialogue
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna declared, “Chaaturvarnyam Mayasrishtam (All the people of four varnas were created by Me).” What is varna? Varna means colour, but it has been misunderstood to be caste. Therefore, do not make any distinction based on colour. The four colours are: black, yellow, white, and red. The Negroes and the Bharatiyas (Indians) are black in complexion. The Japanese and the British are white in complexion, while the Chinese are yellow and the Russians are red.

What God has declared is broad in nature and not narrow. Do not give room for any constriction of thoughts. You may be a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, or a Zoroastrian, but you must consider yourself to be a child of God. Jesus said that He was “persona”, meaning that He was the spark of the Divine. This Roman word has been translated by the British as “Person”. “Persona” originated from the Roman language. “Persona” means that which is sacred. Since man has Divinity inherent in him, he is called a person. 

In Hindu scriptures, e.g., the Puranas, the Vedas, the Shastras, and the Itihasa, this has been declared as Purusha. Yallabdhwa Puman Ichharamo Bhavati Trupto Bhavati Matto Bhavati Atma Ramo Bhavati (After attaining That, man gets total satisfaction, fulfillment, ecstasy and bliss). It means God is in everyone. We should visualise this unity in diversity and try to experience it. Consider this as the chief goal of Sathya Sai Organisations. You should not give rise to differences or hatred of any sort. There is only One that is present in all. If you realise this Truth, that in itself would be spirituality in practice. Practice is more important than publicity.

There are two mikes in front of Me. There is one mike in front of the translator. The words that emanate from the mikes may differ, but the underlying sound principle is the same. Similarly, we must experience the divinity in various names and forms. Words that emerge from the heart constitute expansion talk. Some people speak only from lips in order to suit the situation. Such words constitute contraction talk. Such contraction talk is equivalent to death. People who indulge in such contraction talk have no connection between their speech and heart. When all that which is in the heart finds expression in speech, that is termed as expansion talk.

Those who speak from the heart speak the truth; others, whose speech does not come from the heart, speak untruth to suit the occasion. Your words should emanate from the heart. This is possible only when there is complete confidence in the Self. One with total conviction does not give room for doubts. 

The enquiry into the fact whether that which is applicable to others is applicable to individual self also constitutes a search for Truth (Satyanveshana). One may ask why there should be a search for Truth, when Truth is all-pervasive. In each human there is the dual aspect of truth - untruth; righteousness - unrighteousness; and nonviolence - violence. There is an example to illustrate this. Suppose you have pure 24 carat gold with you. After some time, you add copper to it. Later you add silver to it, and then aluminium and brass. As and when new metals are added to the gold, its true nature undergoes a change and it loses its value.

Today man is undergoing such a change. When he is a child, he is pure. As he associates himself with others, he acquires violence and non violence, righteousness and unrighteousness, truth and untruth. This is the root cause for the cycle of birth and death. When you are one with the Self, there is no scope for birth and death. Body attachment, educational and monetary attachment reduce the Self to the present state of man. Man thus forgets his true nature. Man has to be cleansed by the process of Samskara (refinement) to get rid of all the bad qualities and regain his resplendent pristine purity.
Man has been acquiring evil qualities such as jealousy, hatred, and ego. Due to such a tendency, man destroys his very human nature. Do not let it be debased by evil tendencies. We have to foster our faith firmly. Only pure gold should be mixed with pure gold and truth should be mixed with truth. Similarly, one should join good company and run away from the bad company, which is harmful. Some may appear very pious through their words and deeds, but if you observe their behaviour, it is demonic in reality. Do not have faith in such people, and do not lose your purity. Impure gold of this nature is increasing. You must become pure gold. Even a small quantity of pure gold is better than a mound of debased gold. Quality should be preferred over quantity. Half an acre of fertile land is better than ten acres of barren land, so that you can grow crops on it. 

Man today is proceeding on the wrong path. You need not follow anybody. You should follow your conscience, which is your master. Since you respect and follow the words of those who have disharmony in their thought, word, and deed, you tend to forget your Swami, your true Self. This situation is of your own making. Follow your conscience. I never force anybody to do anything. What is the reason? The reason is that one has to follow the dictates of one’s source, conscience. Force connotes external imposition. Source relates to the Atma, which is verily love. So, cultivate love.

This is the answer to the first question about Jesus. Jesus said, all are the embodiments of truth and purity, all are children of God. His teachings were based on such broad-minded feelings. He emphasised the need for refraining from hurting others…

The third question:
Everyone is undertaking spiritual practices, but I am unable to do so for lack of time. Due to my preoccupation with my business and profession, I am unable to think of Swami and participate in service activities.

It is a big mistake to think on these lines. There is no need for a specific time and place to think of Swami. Discharge your duties sincerely with the conviction that everything is Swami’s work. “Work is worship, duty is God.” You do not need to sit and chant “Sai Ram” repeatedly. Sarva Karma Bhagavad Preetyartham (do all acts with the feeling that they are for pleasing God.) That is the greatest Sadhana. Suppose on a Sunday, you sat for meditation. But could you concentrate even for a minute? So, instead of wasting your time in meditation devoid of concentration, it is better to attend to your household work. Karmanubandheeni Manushya Loke (human society is bound by Karma (action).)

What is Karma and what is its inner significance? Karma does not mean sweeping the roads and serving the sick. Vibration is Karma. Even your breathing process, batting your eyelids, eating, sleeping, reading can be termed Karma. Life without Karma is impossible even for a moment. Life will be sanctified only when you do all Karma to please God. Do not make any distinction between God and yourself, His work and your work. Work with the conviction that you and God are one. Then even a small work will assume magnificence.
Greatness lies in small things. No doubt, sweeping the roads and visiting hospitals are good deeds but they in themselves do not constitute service. Discharging one’s duty properly is true Sadhana. In the name of Sadhana or spiritual practices, if you neglect your office work and if your work is not commensurate with the salary you draw, then it would amount to cheating the government. True service lies in discharging one’s duty properly. Hence, service can be done even in office. Any work undertaken without discriminating it to be a personal work or God’s work would become service. Suppose you work in office for eight hours and you need six hours for sleep. Then what do you do in the rest of the time? Never give an excuse of lack of time.

There is a small story. A devotee wanted to know his life span so that he could set aside sufficient time for spiritual practices. He prayed to God to let him know his life span. God replied that he was given 80 years. The devotee felt happy, but he continued, “Out of 80 years allocated to me, 20-25 years will be spent in studying and playing. The next 25 years are required for family and household activities. The next 25 years are needed for planning my future and for the well-being of my children. So, I am left with practically no time for spiritual practices. Therefore, O Lord! Grant me 20 more years so that I may think of You and attain You.” 

God laughed and said, “O mad man! Do you need 20 years to attain Me? Even two seconds are enough. How long does it take to put on the switch to get light? Not even a second! Granted that you need 20 years to think of Me wholeheartedly, what is the guarantee that you will not use it for other activities?” 

It is nothing but laziness. Slow and steady wins the race. Even a second spent in contemplation of Me with a steady mind is enough to draw you to Me. Do not waste time; Time is God, time waste is life waste. Proper utilisation of time is true spiritual practice. Consider time as the very form of God and your life will be sanctified. Some people lament saying that they do not have enough time to contemplate on the Lord. Whoever has raised this point is lazy by nature. Once you give up laziness, you can easily tread the path of sacredness. Laziness is rust and dust; realisation is best and rest… 

The fifth question:
How are we to clear the debts of the consequences of our actions?

In order to be free from the consequences of your karmas, you have to use the medicine of Love. There is nothing greater than Love. Love God wholeheartedly. All the effects of your action will be nullified. All your diseases will be cured. If it does not happen so, you should not think otherwise. But, if you pray wholeheartedly, it would come to pass.

Some people sit for prayer in the puja room chanting “Sai Ram.” Suddenly their mind wanders toward the washerman, and they enquire if he has brought the clothes. If you are really chanting the Lord’s name wholeheartedly, why should the mind go to the washerman? Some others sit in meditation but are easily distracted by the smell from the kitchen. If this is the nature of your spiritual pursuit, how can it be termed as a prayer to the Lord? All your spiritual practices are done with a wavering mind. Do them with a steady mind. You are bound to reap the fruits. 
You may undertake any type of spiritual pursuit, but love wholeheartedly. Love can eradicate any type of disease and act as a panacea for all afflictions. You must, in the first instance, develop love. This can be possible if you believe that God is the embodiment of Love. How can you develop love when you do not believe that God is the embodiment of Love? Love is the perfect medicine. If you were to put a plant in a tin and water it, the plant would die in due course of time; but if you were to plant the same in the soil and water it, the plant would grow into a fine tree. Similarly, God’s name and form should be implanted in the soil of your heart and nurtured with water of love. This will ensure good results. If one cultivates love, one need not undertake any other spiritual pursuits. 

The sixth question is very strange:
In our Puja room, we have photographs of Rama, Krishna, Shiva, and Jesus. We also keep Swami’s photograph amidst them. Is it right or wrong?

Once you are convinced that all forms are of one God, why should you fear to keep any particular photograph? You may worship Rama, Eswara, Jesus, Allah, Zarathustra, or Sai! Develop the feeling that all are one. I often give a small example. In Bharat, there are various types of sweets, viz., halwa, badam kheer, gulab jamoon, jilebi, laddu, mysore pak. Though their names and forms are different, the sugar in all of them is the same. You may worship Rama, Eswara, Vishnu, Allah, Jesus, or Sai. But, you should realise that the undercurrent of Divinity is the same in one and all. Then the difference of name and form will not affect you in any manner.
If you do not like other Gods, you can remove their photographs and replace them with those that you like. If you do not like Sai Baba’s or Rama’s photograph, you may remove the same. But this will not serve any purpose. What is essential is recognising unity in Divinity.

Here is a small story. A student was to appear in an examination. He was weak in mathematics. Since the exam was the next day, he worshipped Swami and went for the exam. He failed in mathematics. With the result he removed Swami’s photo in the altar and placed it in a cupboard. The second day, he had Mathematics Paper Part II. That day he worshipped Rama’s photograph. He fared even worse. The third day, he was to go for the accounts examination. Thinking that Mother Goddess would be more benevolent compared to other gods, he brought Devi’s photograph and did Puja. That day, he could not even understand the questions in the examination. He came back and put this photograph also in the cupboard. Fourth day was Accounts Paper, Part II. Realising that Vinayaka is the remover of all obstacles, he brought incense sticks and coconut and garlanded the idol. When he lit the incense sticks, the smoke began to waft toward the cupboard in which the discarded photos were placed. Then he thought, “I brought incense sticks for Vinayaka; why should I let the benefit of the fragrance be experienced by these gods—Rama, Sai Baba, and Devi, who have betrayed me?” He went into the house and brought a piece of cloth to tie the nose of Sai Baba, Rama and Devi. Having assured himself that the fragrance would not reach them, he sat down for prayer.

At that very moment, Sai Baba, Rama, and Devi appeared. He was amazed and questioned the deities: How is it that you did not appear when I worshipped you and now that I have punished you, you have appeared before me? Sai Baba replied, “Son, till this day you had limited Me to a picture. Today you have got the feeling that this photo is a living entity, so you tied a cloth around the nose to prevent the fragrance from reaching Me. The photographs will not help you. Picture will remain a picture. You may worship picture as God, but not God as a picture. Today, you have begun to believe the picture as God Himself and tied the cloth. So, I have appeared before you.”
Nowadays, we worship God as a picture. It is only when we take picture as God in form that our desires will be fulfilled. It does not matter what form you worship or what name you chant. Realise that all names and forms are His. Nothing is wrong with any name. All are the forms of the same Godhead. You may even worship your own parents. In such a case, how can you have doubt about various forms of God? At no point of time, you should entertain doubts regarding God. God is God. Never comment or criticise the names or forms of God. Have any photograph and chant any name. God is one; Truth is one. “Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti (Truth is one, but scholars refer to it by many names).” Do not go about changing photographs. Have the photograph of your choice and worship. Do unto others what you do unto yourself

The seventh question:
In the worldly path, which spiritual practice will satisfy Swami? I am ready to do the Sadhana that pleases Swami. 

There is only one answer to that. I do not advocate any specific Sadhana. Consider all people to be the forms of Divinity. Have faith that God is in all. That pleases Me the most. Refrain from doing that which causes grief to others even if it were to give you happiness. Do unto others as you would like to be done by. “Help ever; Hurt never.” Help everybody. Do not harm or hurt anyone. Do not develop ill feelings toward anybody. Even if people were to hurt you or curse you, do not refrain from loving them. This is the main point of Swami’s teachings. That is what Swami expects of you. 

There are people, who do not worship Swami. Some worship and some others criticise. I remain unaffected by both. I do not take note of any of these. I continue to love all. Each one has to bear the consequences of their actions. If you do good deeds, you would reap good results, and bad results if you have done bad deeds. Realise this in the first instance and act accordingly. I do not hate anybody. I do not doubt anyone. I love even those who do not believe in Me. That is My nature. Some tend to doubt My power because I repose faith in them, though they themselves do not have faith in Me. That is a mistaken notion. My Love is the same for all. I desire that all be blissful. 

Water is colourless, but it assumes the colour of the bottle in which it is poured. Good or bad are within you and not in Me, and they shall never be in Me. I am always for the maxim, “Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu (May the whole world be happy).” Even If you were to hate Me, I shall love you. That is My nature. That is the Divine quality. You may worship Me today and censure Me tomorrow, and vice-versa. When drunk, one talks in a certain manner, while when sober, in another. When you are deeply drunk with worldly desires, the mind oscillates from one side to another. But one who is filled with wholesome and unsullied love remains the same under all circumstances.
You may forget Me, but I will never forget you. I am always with you, in you, around you, and above you. People who are in divine proximity are extremely fortunate. It is a culmination of the merit acquired in various births. It has not come in this birth. Therefore, do not waste your energy brooding over what pleases Swami and what displeases Him. Do not entertain such doubts. I am pleased with whatever you undertake with purity of heart I desire only the purity of your heart. With pure love in your heart, you may undertake any type of service. Have total faith in Swami’s words, implicitly obey His commands…”

That evening, the overseas devotees presented another cultural programme in the Divine Presence in Poornachandra Auditorium. The famous Italian singer Antonella Ruggiero sang a few songs. The Russian Folk group presented a grand musical performance. The function concluded with a prayer song for the world peace by all the members.


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