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The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar  

“Happy Birthday”  

November 16th, 2003



OM…OM…OM…

Sai Ram

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,  

swami’s birthday

I welcome you all to this morning’s study circle class. Let me first greet you with “Happy Birthday”, because Birthday celebrations start from the 17th onwards. This date is the beginning of week-long celebrations for Bhagavan’s Birthday.

On the 17th, we have Rathotsavam, when the deities and idols of the local temples go around the village in a chariot. Then on the 19th, there are presentations for the Ladies Day celebrations. The 22nd is Convocation Day. I understand that the Vice President of India, Shekhawat, will be the chief guest on the 22nd and will be delivering the Convocation address. After the awarding of degrees and gold medals to the outstanding academic students, there is a students’ presentation of a drama directed, produced and inspired by Bhagavan Himself. He takes a personal interest in the drama and in training the students, and He changes the dialogues every time.

Then the 23rd happens to be the Birthday celebrations. Briefly, those are the coming events. As usual, we will have to do some homework, acquiring some knowledge in order to really enjoy, appreciate and participate in these celebrations.

WHAT IS THE REAL MEANING OF BHAGAVAN’S BIRTHDAY?

What is the real meaning of Bhagavan’s Birthday? How can we understand it? Strictly speaking, Bhagavan has come with neither a beginning nor an end. His Advent is one of continuity. It is one of eternity. Then, why have the fun of a Birthday celebration? God, who has no beginning, who has no end, is now having a Birthday celebration. What does it mean?  

My friends, this Birthday celebration has nothing to do with the customary way we celebrate our birthdays. The day when you think of God is your birthday. The day when we feel the nearness with God is our birthday. The day when we find Oneness with the Divine is our birthday. The day when we follow His teachings is our birthday.

So these Birthday celebrations call for our determination to identify ourselves with the Divine, to follow His teachings, so as to bring a transformation in our lives, to find a purpose for our lives, and to lead a meaningful life hereafter. That is the message of Bhagavan’s Birthday celebrations.

It’s not merely a celebration of festivity, gaiety, and cake-cutting. It is not simply that which goes with the celebration, the paraphernalia, the extravaganza, and the activities. All these celebrations and music, that’s all symbolic. The underlying spirit is everlasting. All the rest is a sort of ritual, a sort of fun, and a sort of ‘enlightenment’ for the time being.

What should continue from then on is a celebration in depth. What has to be borne in the mind is the significance of the Birthday celebration. It is in this context that I want to share with you a couple of thoughts gathered from the discourses that Bhagavan gives on these occasions.

My friends, our attempt in regard to every study circle class (these Sunday morning meetings from 10 AM to 11 AM) is to have sufficient information to ponder over until we meet next time. It is for this purpose that I always come beforehand to do a chart, this being the quality of a teacher.

SWAMI RADIATED HIS HAPPINESS

I welcome the group from Malaysia. I am so happy to find you with your scarves, and see that you are seated in the front row. Swami asked these questions a couple of days ago: “Who are they? Where do they come from?“  

Then, on being told that the group was from Malaysia, Swami radiated happiness. Let me congratulate you and greet you on this occasion. 

WHY DOES GOD DESCEND?

Why does God descend? Well, my friends, God descends for a purpose. The descent of God is for the ascent of man. God descends to establish closeness with humanity, and to share all the qualities that He stands for and represents. The reason why God descends is to be easily accessible to mankind. 

The concept of the descent of God on earth in human form for the uplift of mankind is called Avatara. The meaning of Avatar is ‘God, descending on earth’. The Avatar has a definite purpose. It has the totality of Divine energy. It is an expression of the Divine manifestation. We are so happy that we are contemporaries of the Avatar.

In fact, He has many ways of fulfilling His purpose. Saints, sages, seers, prophets, teachers -- they are all different agencies. They are all different instruments through which God works. For instance, in an operating theatre, if the patient is about to collapse, the doctors strive to save his life. But when the doctors on duty find that none of their methods will help the patient, they then call for the assistance of the hospital chief, the top doctor, the super-specialist, to come and help them save the patient. The doctors on duty have done the best they could. But the situation is so serious that the patient is about to depart from this world. The patient’s life has to be saved. Having no other alternative, the doctors want the chief surgeon, the chief physician, the super-specialist to come to their rescue.

Naturally, the teachers, the saints, sages, seers and prophets have all done their job excellently. Each one contributed to the advancement of humanity to a great extent. We are safe and secure up to this point, because of them. We owe everything to their contributions. We are eternally grateful to all these prophets and teachers. But for them, we would not have been in this happy state.

THE STANDARD OF LIFE

But there is a deteriorating standard in our life. People have been living for the standard of living, but with no thought of the standard of life. A standard of living is different from a standard of life. The desired standard of living is one of comfort and conveniences. But a standard of life is much more important. The standard of life is based on the adherence to, and the practice of the human values. The standard of life represents the quality of life, which is beyond all the evil propensities, all the evil tendencies and temperament. Therefore, we have to improve the standard of life. Everywhere people are too engrossed with the standard of living.

We also care for proficiency. Everyone seems to be proficient in his field. But my friends, more than proficiency, efficiency is important. You have to be ‘efficient’ more than being ‘proficient’. You can be proficient with complete insight into the subject. You can certainly have the depths of proficiency in the field of your own specialisation. But mere proficiency will not help you.

It is something like a person who knows all the ingredients of a recipe. But the knowledge of the recipe will not make a pudding, will not make a biscuit, will not make a pie, and will not make a doughnut. Am I not right? So, unless one includes the process of preparing, the mere knowledge of a recipe is, after all, useless.

Therefore, my friends, we are proficient, not efficient. Proficiency calls for knowledge; efficiency calls for action. Today there is no action. Therefore we are inefficient, but very proficient! Everyone has enough knowledge. We find speeches galore on the dais. We find so many books. We find so many people who are involved in the active work of the propagation of religion -- religious leaders, yes, missionaries everywhere.  But when efficiency is lacking, we do not improve.

The situation is deteriorating. We are afraid to watch TV because every morning there is a special bulletin: “A thousand people killed this morning because of heavy bombing -- fifty are missing. The whereabouts of some hundred people is unknown.”

There is a sort of hatred, violence, and hypocrisy. People may praise us to our face, but they do not mean what they say. There is no love in the family unit. There is no brotherhood in society.  Faith in God is being lost moment-to-moment. Man seems to be all authority, dictatorial, dull-headed.

The situation is so bad.  All doctors have failed. All teachers, saints, seers have failed. So they all have prayed to God: “O God, the Chief Surgeon, the Chief Physician, the Master of masters, please come down and help us in our mission to repair humanity. Please help us to restore humanity back to the normalcy of peaceful life.”

In response to the prayer of the earnest, in response to the prayers of pious people, in response to prayers of all those who have spent their lives in penance, worship, deep study, contemplation and meditation, God is prepared to come down Himself. 

FOR THE DESCENT OF god, TWO CONDITIONS ARE RESPONSIBLE

So, for the descent of God, two conditions are responsible. On one side, there is increasing brutality, increasing wickedness, increasing treachery, increasing hypocrisy, increasing violence and increasing bloodshed. On the other side, fervent appeals for peace, sincere prayers of devotees, unwavering faith of devotees, the single-pointedness of devotees, the continuous process of meditation by aspirants -- these are all responsible for the Advent of God in a human form, what we call ‘Avatar’. 

Unless there are two wires, the positive and negative together, electricity cannot flow. Similarly, wickedness on one side and prayers on the other side, the positive and the negative, will allow the flow of the current of Divinity. So, we have the light of Love in the form of the Avatar, which is the delight for us all. 

THE meaning of the name ‘sai’

The point is quite simple. ‘Sai’ is the name we call God today. Sai has so many meanings. We had occasion to think of the meaning of this matchless name of God, ‘SAI’, earlier.  

One name is this: Sesha Sai. Sesha is the serpent. Sai is the One who reclines on the serpent. On the coils of the serpent, the Lord rests. The very idea of a serpent will have us all run away. As if there is nothing worthwhile in this world, God chooses to rest on a serpent. (Laughter) We have enough available mattresses. We don’t know why God wants this serpent. Is that a comfortable bed?

My friends, it is symbolic. The serpent represents poison; the serpent represents desire; the serpent represents attachment; the serpent is a threat to life. So, the serpent is a threat to life, as it symbolises sensual pleasure. The serpent, once it coils around your body as worldly attachment, shall never leave you. And God chose to recline on that kind of the serpent. Why? You are affected by being close to the serpent. I am affected if I am near a serpent. But God is not affected by the poison of the serpent, by the attachment of the serpent, by sensual desires and the objective desires of the world. God is beyond. This is the meaning. And God descends to demonstrate this to us.

God descends to set an ideal. God descends to show us proof. God descends to let us know the possibility of such a life. Sesha Sai, God reclines on the serpent; so, why not you and I? It is quite possible, because one can rise above attachment, and one can rise above the sense of desire. One can remain unaffected by the poison emitted by the hood of the serpent. It is quite possible to remain unaffected. How?

“O God, let You recline on my heart. Let You rest there. Let my heart be Thy bed. The whole world is like a serpent. Make me unaffected. Help me to be unaffected. Just as You are unaffected, may I be also unaffected.” Sesha Sai: Sesha, the serpent; Sai, the One who reclines.

The second name is: Sathya Sai. Sathya is Truth. Sai, the One who reclines on Truth, nothing but Truth. That is why Swami says repeatedly, “God is Truth. Truth is God. Live in Truth.”

Truth is the foundation. Truth is His name. Truth is His way. Truth is His breath. Truth is His life. Truth is His message. There is no other message of God, of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, more than that of the message of Truth. Sathya Sai, He reclines on the bed of Truth. That is the second Name.

The third Name: Siva-Shakthi. Shakthi represents the feminine aspect. Siva represents the masculine aspect. Siva represents matter; Shakthi represents energy. They go together. Mere matter cannot exist without energy. Matter un-manifest is energy. Energy manifest is matter. Energy manifests in the form of matter. When the matter is un-manifest, it is the same energy. Likewise, energy and matter go together. They are inseparable. You cannot have energy as it is. You cannot have matter separate from energy. They coexist. That is what is stated in the latest science or physics. Matter and energy are one and the same -- inseparable. Siva-Shakthi represent matter and energy.

The fourth name: Sai. We say Sai is the name of Sai Baba, whom we see, whom we pray to, whom we adore, whom we worship. What does Baba say? He does not say that Sai is a name. No. Then who is Sai?

My friends, I’m sorry if I repeat this: All these things that I share with my friends every Sunday are collected from Sai Baba lectures. Nothing is my imagination. Nothing is my interpretation. I don’t want to do that sort of thing. We have enough ‘literature’.

Baba Himself said that Sai is not the name of an individual. ‘Sai’ means ‘the Indweller in your heart’. Sai is the Indweller in your heart, not simply the name of a person. That is what Bhagavan said. ‘S’ – ‘A’ – ‘I’ is the spelling of Sai. He elaborated on that to a great extent and explained it in a myriad ways. Good things need to be contemplated; good things need to be repeated; good things need to be recapitulated and brought back to memory from time-to-time, as many times as possible. 

‘s’EE - ‘A’LWAYS - ‘I’NSIDE

What does He say about ‘SAI’? ‘S’ee - ‘A’lways - ‘I’nside. “See always inside” = SAI. Why should He say that? We know nothing about an ‘inside’ because all our activities are outward; all our activities are in the external world. We have no idea of the ‘inside’. Why don’t we go inside? Why don’t we turn inside? My friends, spirituality is an ‘in-sight’. Spirituality is an insight. And all that we have to do to go inside is to practise meditation. 

Meditation is a process of turning inward. Work is a process; work is a result of turning outward. But we are very active, because even if we close our eyes, we think of the outer world. I close my eyes, but I think of my friends there. I picture my classroom over there. I picture those whom I love when my eyes are closed. What for? Better we open our eyes (Laughter)! What is the result of keeping our eyes closed? Why should you close your eyes? After all, God has given us eyes to open. Yes, why should I close them, unless it is bedtime? (Laughter) Why?

The answer is very simple. My friends, we go to a temple. Yes. We stand in front of the statue. We stand in front of the idol. Yes, and what do you do there? Close your eyes!

We buy a ticket to a pilgrim centre, stand in the queue, being pushed around by everybody, sweat, and allow ourselves to be bitten by mosquitoes everywhere. We don’t have enough time for breakfast, and we wait there for hours and hours! What for? So we can close our eyes? (Laughter) Just close our eyes? Well, I could have done that just as well at home. I don’t have to travel. I don’t have to make reservations and spend money. I can close my eyes at home. Why not?

No, you cannot do it. Just try. The moment I decide to close my eyes, the more will be the urge to open them. It is something like the forbidden fruit in paradise lost.

“My son, don’t eat that fruit,” said God.

“Why shouldn’t I eat that fruit?” said our ancestor, Adam.

So, close your eyes? NO! I open my eyes with a vengeance. Why? What happens?

My friends, all of us have created our own personality. All of us, fortunately or unfortunately, have developed our own identity. Everyone has an identity. Everyone has a personality. Everyone has a record of achievements. Everyone wants to be known that way. So when I open my eyes, it is to know how many people are looking at me. I can know how many people are aware of my presence. By opening my eyes, I will know how many are listening to my talk. With my eyes open, I am safe and comfortable with my ego, with my personality, which I have developed over a period of time.

Once I close my eyes, I am nobody.  Nobody says, “Sai Ram, Anil Kumar.” Nobody is there to say, “When are you going to give a talk?” Nobody says, “Your talks are nice.” Nobody is there to say, “Hi, how are you?” I feel insecure. I feel restless. I am fear-stricken. I feel that I am nobody. Ah no, I must open my eyes!

Man does not want to give up his identity. Man does not want to lose his personality. Man is not prepared to give up his ego, because he has developed it over years and years.

Just watch yourself. You come across a friend, a friend known for many years. If that friend doesn’t smile at you and if that friend does not greet you, how do you feel? Well, if I had a machine to record your sentiments and feelings, it would tell the whole story. You are deeply hurt. ‘Why has this man has not said Sai Ram to me? Is there something wrong with me? Have I lost form? Am I ugly now? Have I lost all my prestige and status? Am I nobody to him?’ You go on thinking about him throughout the day.

Why? The ego is affected. Why? Because it has become stronger day-by-day. All my mental energy, all my physical strength, all my intellectual power, all have gone into the making up of the ego, the pseudo-personality. Once that pseudo-personality, that ego, is affected in any way, well, I feel dejected, frustrated, depressed, repressed and suppressed! (Laughter). So, all that I do is only to nourish, to nurture, to fertilise my ego. That’s all. I water my ego, I nourish my ego, and I nurture my ego, developing it further and further. When the ego is thus affected, how can I live in this world?

Therefore my friends, spirituality wants us to turn within. Even at the cost of your ego, even if you sacrifice your ego, this does not matter. In fact, sacrificing your ego is the beginning of spirituality. With ego, one may read all the books in the library. One may do many spiritual practices. They are all useless as long as there is ego.

A friend of mine was talking to me yesterday. He said, “Mr. Anil Kumar, I have grown beyond body and mind.”

“Oh, very good. (Laughter) You have grown beyond mind and body, very good. Please help me to do likewise (Laughter). I am not able to grow beyond the mind.” Then I said, “How do you know?”

He said, “Wait.” He said that he has grown beyond the body and mind. When I asked him how to do that, he said, “Please wait.” I see. Then I put another question.

“How do you know that you have grown beyond the body and mind? Who is it that has grown beyond the mind and body in you? Who is the one who has grown beyond? Who was the one with them until now? Who is the one who has grown beyond the body and mind hereafter, as you have said, which is bogus, as I know! Why do you say that? When you say, ‘I have grown beyond the body and mind’, it means that you have not even made a beginning.”

Because ‘I’ is the name of the ego when you say, “I have grown.” You have not grown; you have under-grown! (Laughter). That’s it. This ‘I’ is nothing but ego.

So my friends, unless we say goodbye to the ego, there’s nothing like ‘grown beyond mind and body’. If you rule and accomplish, the whole world may praise you; but unless the ego is given up, we have not made a beginning on the spiritual journey. So, Sai, ‘S’ – ‘A’ – ‘I’ = ‘See Always Inside’. That is one interpretation, according to Swami. 

 ‘S’ERVICE - ‘A’DORATION - ‘I’LLUMINATION

The second SAI: ‘S’ervice - ‘A’doration - ‘I’llumination. S - Service is action or karma.  A -Adoration is devotion or bhakthi. I - Illumination is spiritual wisdom or jnana. Karma, bhakthi and jnana:  Action, devotion and wisdom - the trinity, the harmony of the three, the unity of the three - thought, word and deed. SAI: the three-in-one is Sai’s Name. So, the one who speaks of Sai’s Name, the one who utters Sai’s Name and the one who glorifies Sai’s Name should have in him the combination of service, adoration and illumination.

‘S’PIRITUAL CHANGE - ‘A’SSOCATIONAL CHANGE - ‘I’NDIVIDUAL CHANGE

Another time, Bhagavan gave another interpretation, another meaning:   ‘S’ - Spiritual change: After all, life should begin with that. There are many changes in the outside world. Social change: We are feed up with social change. The social changes are responsible for the loss of human values today. The human values are totally lost today because of repeated social changes, all in the name of civilisation. People neglect their parents, all in the name of civilisation. People neglect their obligations to society. People forget their responsibilities to the country, all in the name of civilisation. Therefore, unless there is spiritual change, human values are lost.

Spiritual change, what does it mean? Spirituality is not a ritual. Spirituality is not a process of repeating God’s Name repeatedly, or sitting up straight. No, I am sorry. Spirituality is not a time-bound program. Spirituality is not a weekend pastime either.

I was talking to my friends from the U.S.A. One person, one of my friends from the United States, asked me, “Anil Kumar, do you think Baba will come to America?”

I said, “He is prepared to come, but you want Him to visit you during the weekend, because you are busy on the week days (Laughter). So, unless you put an end to that line of thinking, you cannot expect Him to come.”

Similarly, ‘spiritual change’ is needed. ‘Spiritual change’ means we go beyond the mechanical process of doing things. “Sai Ram, Sai Ram, Sai Ram.” I don’t know why you should say it so fast. Maybe it’s because you are fixed on doing it 108 times? And so, (Anil Kumar repeats this very quickly) “Sai Ram Sai Ram Sai Ram.” (Laughter) They are very busy and want to finish the number of 108, poor fellows. Something like cricket runs. Who is bothered about it?

We also find people running round Ganesh statue. (Laughter) We see a tense face, because he wants to finish his three rounds. Why? Is it because Ganesh wants to get rid of him? “Why should I see his unpleasant face? C’mon, go!” (Laughter) God is tired of such faces.

My friends, we are capable of making anything worldly. We are capable of making any beautiful thing mechanical. We are capable of making any unique thing a routine. That is a human failure. Therefore, we do not find any charm in life. We don’t find any creativity in our life. We don’t find any beauty in our life because we made it mechanical, a routine and a programmed life. Unless we go beyond, we cannot experience the thrill of life, the excitement of life, the glamour of life, the music of life and the rhythm of life.

Therefore, my friends, spiritual change will take you to the heights, where you can enjoy every moment of life. Every moment of life is God’s gift. Every moment of life is one of bliss. Every moment of life is given to experience peace and love. This moment is His precious gift. Therefore, spiritual change will give you a new direction, a new dimension to life in general.

There are some people who ask, “How are you?” The others say, “Pulling on, going on.” You are not a bullock cart that pulls (Laughter). Some people say, “I am already old. I am going on ‘countdown’.” Who said this? Who is young and who is old? No one is young and no one is old. All are eternally young; understand that -- eternally young. Why? Because the spirit in you is ever fresh, the spirit in you is ever new.  The spirit in you is something most precious, shining and radiating with all its brilliance. So the spirit is ageless; the spirit is timeless. It is only the body that is time-bound.

This attitude to life is spiritual change: “Whatever I do, O God, be it pleasing unto You.  Whatever I say, O God, be it a reference to Your life. Whatever I think, O God, may it be contemplative.” That is spiritual change. 

‘A’ - Association change: Association change means that we can’t allow ourselves to mix with every Tom, Dick or Harry. You should be a good influence on your associates. All your friends must follow your example. You should not become one with others. Others should become one with you. You should be leading others. You should be a guide, because you are a Sai devotee. You should be a role model – that is association change.

‘I’ – Individual change: As society changes, naturally there will be a total change in you - individual change. As an individual, so far you have been thinking that you are separate. As an individual, so far you have been thinking that you are an entity. But individual change gives you the knowledge that you are a drop in the ocean. That you are one with the Infinite, that you are vast, that you are not separate. Therefore, my friends, ‘SAI’ = ‘spiritual change, association change and individual change’. 

Why Bhagavan took Human Form

“Bhagavan, why should You take the trouble of having a body and move in our midst? What is the secret behind Your descent? Why?” 

The answer is simple. All of us know that God is everywhere. All of us have read that from our childhood. All of us learned that from the stories of our grandmothers, right from our days of our swinging in a swing. But we have not experienced that God is everywhere. We have not experienced the omniscience of God. We have not experienced the omnipresence of God. Omnipresence and omniscience have become more or less textual and academic.

So, all that is textual and academic, all that is confined to scriptures, has been brought into our daily experience. The experience of every one of us, through the form of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, is that God chooses to come down in human form in order for all of us to experience the omniscience and the omnipresence of the Divinity. This is the purpose of the Advent.

By His compassion, He will help us to be compassionate. “O God, You are the One of compassion.” All right, how does it help me? I can understand that You are the One of compassion. Therefore, I am here. I am not worthy of You, but You are the One of compassion. So what am I to do now? I should be compassionate in my turn. God’s compassion should make His children compassionate.

God confers grace so that when you worship Him, when you are close to Him, you will experience that grace, God’s grace. What is grace? Grace is nothing but unconditional infinite Love showered upon you. This is not found in the world. ‘I love you as long you are favourable towards me. I love you as long as you behave in the way I expect from you.’ This is conditional love. But God loves beyond these considerations, whatever they may be. With all our lapses and weaknesses and falls, still He continues to love us.

And that’s what grace is. “O God, You confer all grace on me so that I may be full of grace. I was grace-less till now, but I am now grace-full. By giving and forgiving, by loving all, by serving all, I can be grace-full too.” So the Lord of compassion, the Lord of grace, wants us to be compassionate and full of grace. That is the purpose behind the Advent of God. 

THE Purpose of Bhagavan’s Advent

There are three parts in the life of the present Avatar (as Bhagavan declared Himself). In the first period of life, His childhood was full of fun, play, frolic and pranks. These are what we call leelas. The second part of His life was full of mahima, the manifestation of His Divine power. And the third stage is spreading the message, correcting erring humanity, directing humanity by his bodha or teaching. So these are the three levels of functioning by which God has endeared Himself with all devotees, and has set a model in different periods of time for everybody.

“Bhagavan, could You please tell me in one sentence the purpose of Your Advent? What is the purpose of Your Avatarhood?”

He said in one sentence, “To repair the ancient highway.”

The highway is totally damaged today. There is no other way other than the way to the hospital (Laughter), as there are guaranteed accidents. The way is spoiled; the road is awful. The ancient highway must be repaired. The ancient highway must be made fit enough for the automobile of human life to run along a repaired and modern highway, in safety and security. So the purpose is to repair the human highway, because the human highway is damaged by inhuman values. Through brutality, through wickedness, by all sorts of malpractices, the highway has become the ‘low’ way or ‘no’ way. (Laughter) It has to be made the ‘best’ way possible now. That is the purpose of the Advent of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. 

the spiritual journey has come to an end

The second aspect I want to draw your attention to is this: There are very sincere Christians who come here and say, “Bhagavan, I have known the depths of the Bible since coming to You.” There are many Christians who have said, “Bhagavan, we have seen Christ in You.” There are many orthodox Christians who say, “Bhagavan, You are the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.” There are many that believe that they are better Christians now, after coming to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Therefore, our journey comes to an end after coming to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. No more journeys. Yes, it is a full stop. 

We have traveled enough. We have searched enough. We have meditated enough. We have enquired enough. The journey, our spiritual journey, has come to an end by being here with Swami.

How can I express it? The biography of a great man tells this story:

He wanted to receive some kind of upadesha (spiritual instruction), a command, a process, to be given a spiritual manthra, so that he could repeat it.

“Swami, please give me some upadesha, a manthra”.

Baba said, “Okay, I will give it to you later.” Six months passed.

“Swami, please let me know the manthra. “

“Wait.”

Six months passed, because Swami’s timetable is different. (Laughter) We may have to change our watch time whenever we change flights from this corner of the globe to the other corner. But with Swami, you have to change years also! (Laughter) Swami’s time is not as simple as ours. His calendar is different. So the man waited and waited.

After waiting two years: “Swami, I want a manthra.”

Swami said: “Please come along. It is time to tell you. What were you before? “

“I was in the Ramakrishna Mission, Swami. “

“Ramakrishna Mission. What were you doing? ”

“I was serving as the secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission. “

“What was your work?”

“I participated in service activities. I was spreading the message of Sri Ramakrishna Parahamsa.”

“I see. Why did you do all that?”

“To earn God’s grace.”

“And what else?”

“To see God.”

“Yes, because of that grace you are here. Because of that work, you see God here. Why a manthra now?”

“Why a manthra now?” (Applause) So my friends, having come a long way on this tiresome, testing journey, passing through challenging periods of time, yes, life is coming to a close. How long should we continue to travel like this? Understand this. All our travel so far has come to an end by being here. We have come to a state of fulfilment by seeing Him now, as Bhagavan Baba Himself said.

“wipe out your past Karma”

Swami Himself tells us this story, which happened during His previous Incarnation -- that of Shirdi Sai. Shirdi Sai started shedding tears on hearing of the passing away of Shyama, a close devotee. 

Somebody asked Him, “Swami, we have never seen You shed tears before. Why do You shed tears now?” People asked, “When You also shed tears, what about mortals like us?”

Shirdi Sai said, “By being with Me, by singing My Glory, all Shyama’s sins are forgiven. The remaining small amount of karma is totally wiped out with these tears - wiped out! He has a clean sheet.

So, my friends, when we are with Baba, when we sing His bhajans, all past karmas are totally wiped out. There is no doubt about it. “Sir, there has been a total fire, but everything has remained intact.” It is a foolish thing to say. Where there is fire, everything would be burnt to ashes, is it not? If nothing is burned, it can’t be fire; it must be ice. Similarly, Bhagavan said, “By coming to Me, all your past karmas are wiped out.” Yes, only He can do it, no one else. How lucky we are!

That is why Baba said, “You do not know your own fortune. You do not know your own good luck. Understand I am here to wipe out your karmic effects.” That is what Baba said.

Further, Swami said, “Understand that you are not different from Me. You are all the limbs of My Body.” Yes, what identification it is! We are all parts of Divinity. We are all parts of God. That is why, when you are happy, Baba is happy. When you are unhappy, Baba is unhappy. Why? You and He are One. He openly declared that He is not different from you, that you are part of Him. That is what Baba said. 

What is the Sai religion?

 “Swami, what is Your religion? What is the ‘Sai religion’?”  

 Baba said, “There is no separate religion like a ‘Sai religion’.” Please understand. Let us not be fundamentalists. Let us not be dogmatic. Let us not be fanatic. Let us not be lunatic. (Laughter) There is nothing like a ‘Sai religion’.

Baba said, “If you really insist on it, if you really want it, if a religion exists by the name of ‘Sai religion’, then it is nothing but the essence of all religions.” The essence of all religions is the Sai religion. The fellowship of faith, the congregation of worship, is the Sai religion, as Bhagavan declared. 

Birthday Gift for Swami

“Swami, what shall I give You on this Birthday? There is no donation box over there. There are no receipt books to give a donation. There is no place to receive our offerings. What shall I give You, Bhagavan, now that I have come here?  

I shall not mention the name of the person because he is VVVVIP. If I mention his name, I will be taking a great risk, so I shall not do it. But I shall tell you the gist of it. Because everyone knows that anything that comes to my notice becomes a BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation. (Laughter) This is ABC - Anil Kumar Broadcasting Corporation. ABC and BBC, yes, why not? Let me spread Sai’s message everywhere. Let anything happen to me, after all what do I care? Yes, it should be publicised.

So what happened? This is a very, very, very important, prominent person.

Bhagavan said, “I give you My Toyota car.“

Car! He could not believe it. Swami is suddenly telling you that He is giving you a car. First, we would have a shock.

Then He said, “I am giving it to you in your individual name, but not to your position. This car is registered in your name, but not by virtue of your position.”

HA! Further shock! The man’s heart was quite strong enough. It continued to pump and beat (Laughter). And this gentleman felt so nervous and embarrassed. Then he wrote out a cheque. (I do not know the amount.) He kept it in a cover, and gave it to Swami. Our mischievous God took that also, along with the letters.

Surprisingly, Baba then went over to the college to look for the man (because being a VVVIP, he has to report there). He was there.

“Come along.” And Baba put the cheque in its cover into the VVVIP’s pocket.

“I don’t want it. I have come to give and not to receive,” said Baba.

That is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. See that. How am I to understand? How am I to reconcile? The giving hand is Bhagavan’s. What does He desire? What is it that you can give? When He does not accept your cheque, when he does not accept your garland or a single flower, what is that He desires from you?

Swami said, ”What I want from you is this. What I desire from you is this.” What He desires from you is service. What He desires from you is the spirit of selflessness. He desires the cultivation of virtues. He desires discipline. He desires humility. These are the things that Sai desires from us: the flower of service, the offering of selflessness, the currency of virtue, the donation of discipline and the contribution of humility. That is what Baba desires from all of us. 

“I am like an Aeroplane”

 “Swami, is it not enough if we pray to You? Why should You torture Yourself by taking on the human body? Why?”  

“If I don’t come and mingle amongst you with this human body, it is not possible to communicate with you. It is not possible to establish contact with you. It is not possible to talk to you. It is not possible to mingle as one amongst you. To be accessible to you, to be close to you, I have taken this human body.” That is what Bhagavan tells us.

“Swami, You are everywhere. You have come down in a human form. Is it a fall or a rise? Why have you fallen down for my sake? So vast, so infinite, so immeasurable and countless, You have come down to the finite and limited. Why? What fall is this, God?" 

Swami says it this way: “I have not fallen, no. An aeroplane moves across the sky. But the plane has to come down and landed at the airport for passengers to get in so that it can take off and fly back. But just because an aeroplane comes down for us to get in, that doesn’t mean you use it like a cycle, bicycle or a car. The aeroplane has not just come down, no. It has come down in order to take you up.” Therefore, Sri Sathya Sai Avatar is ‘Sri Sathya Sai Universal Intercontinental Airlines’. (Laughter).

In this ‘Sai Universal’, the number of seats is unlimited. And you don’t have to have a fare or be on concession rate, no. There is no fare at all. But you need a passport. You need a visa. What is the passport? The passport of devotion. And what is the visa? The visa of service, the visa of faith. So, the visa of faith and the passport of devotion is enough to board the Sri Sathya Sai Cosmic Airlines, Sathya Sai Universal Airlines. There will be no kidnapping. There will be no hijacking. There will no problem. There is nothing like five hostages, being held at the rear of the aircraft. It is Sathya Sai Airlines, a straight single aircraft, that’s all.

So when the aircraft comes down, understand that it is not coming down. It is not losing its value. It comes down in order to take you up. That is what the Sri Sathya Sai Avatar is, in the words of Bhagavan. 

Shirdi Sai, Sathya Sai and Prema Sai

“Swami, You said that You will take Sai’s form thrice. You were there in Shirdi. You are here now in Parthi (Puttaparthi). You also said You will come down again as Prema Sai. So, Shirdi Sai, Sathya Sai and Prema Sai. Why?“

Bhagavan said, “While I was in Shirdi, I was like a mother, doing the cooking.” When the mother is in the kitchen, she doesn’t want to be disturbed. If the children play there, and the husband disrupts her, there will be spiritual curfew there in the kitchen. Yes, she will fire at you. She doesn’t want to be disturbed since she is so busy in the kitchen.

That is why Shirdi Sai was known for His anger. He used to manhandle people. If you didn’t follow Him – finished! One or two blows, that side and this side, because that was the serious cooking stage.

And this now is the Parthi stage. Parthi Sai is full of Love. He is serving food. One has to serve food with smiles. The housewife also needs to serve with smiles and happiness. If she is so serious, with her face all wrinkled up, the fellow will not feel to eat at all, except to have a glass of water. So as you serve, you need to smile. Then the other person will be encouraged to eat more and more.

So here Swami smiles in order that we will eat the pudding of His sweetness. We can eat the sweets of His Grace. We can eat the sweets of His message. We can eat the sweets of His Divine discourse. That’s why He smiles.

But when He is annoyed with us, when He is upset with us, He won’t beat us; but He won’t talk to us either, which is worse than a beating. If He would beat, there ends the matter. But as He does not beat, it is brought forward to the next year, as in accounting. Sathya Sai observes silence. He doesn’t talk to you when He is upset.

“Swami, why don’t you talk to us?”

Swami said, “When automobiles go at a very high speed on the road, there suddenly appears a notice: ‘Road Under Repair - Take Detour’. Although you are seated there in darshan, I go this way because that road is under repair, so I take a detour. Until the repair is over, I will not be passing by that road.” Until we repair ourselves, Sai will not go by the highway of our lives. So Parthi is the mother, serving with smiles.

 Next will be Prema Sai, when we will enjoy the food. It is not enough if the food is served; one has to enjoy the food. That is next.

“I have come to serve”

Bhagavan said, “I am the servant.” Sai said He is the servant, whereas you and I say, “We are the conveners - do you understand that? I am the president - do you know that? I am a first-class officer - do you know that? There are fifty people who serve me.”  

Oh, I see. They will take you off to the final journey also! (Laughter) So it is not that.  Baba said, “I am the servant”.

“Swami, You are the servant?”

“Yes.”

“Where are You?”

“I am at the gate. I am at the entrance of your puja (worship) room. I am at the entrance of your hall. I am at the entrance of your room where you offer your prayer; ready to obey your command. Ready to do whatever you want. Why don’t you avail yourself of My services?”

Baba says, “I don’t want your services. Allow Me to serve you.”

That is what Jesus Christ has said, “I have come to serve and not to be served. Allow Me to serve you”.

Furthermore Bhagavan said, “I thank you for allowing Me to serve you. I thank you. I am very happy about it. I feel happy in serving you.”

In addition Baba said, ”You are not coming to me. I am coming to you, moving in your midst. I am happy in serving you. I take delight in service”. That is what Baba has said.

Swami teaches Inner Acceptance

Moreover, whatever we say to Swami, He says, “Yes, Yes, Yes.” 

“Swami, I had a fracture in my leg.”

“Yes, so what?”

“Swami, my grandmother died.”

“Fine.”

“Today is my birthday.”

“Yes.”

“Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary.”

“Yes.” Whether it is an obituary or an anniversary, He says, “Yes, yes.”

What does this ‘yes’ mean?  Baba Himself said that this ‘Yes’ means inner acceptance, inner acceptance of whatever may be, good or bad, whatever it may be, as God’s gift. Every experience has got its own message. Every experience is a gift of God. That is what this ‘Yes’ means, according to Swami.

“No one can be here unless I want them to be here”

Then Baba said -- those coming from long distances, those coming from overseas, please note this point -- what did Baba say? “No one can be here unless I want them to be here.” We are all here because He wants us to be here. How lucky are we! Not that we wanted to be here. Some may say no. But He wants us to be here. Yes.  

When does He want us to be here? “I want you to be here when you are ready.” You should be ready - mentally ready, intellectually ready, and ready to respond to His call. “You are here because of Me,” said Bhagavan Baba.

‘Badha’, Pain, is ‘BODHA’, A Teaching

My friends, we see Swami today. Some of us feel sorry for Him; some of us pray to Him. Some of us look forward to the day when He will walk amidst us as before. In fact, I also received some letters about this. My friends, I am telling you this from the bottom of my heart.  

Baba Himself said, “I have no suffering whatsoever. All the so-called suffering is because of the suffering of My devotees that I have taken upon Myself. Devotees who have surrendered, devotees with total devotion, as they cannot bear their suffering, I take it upon Myself. Actually, I have no suffering.”

 So, my friends, Bhagavan Baba or any Incarnation, has a message that badha, the pain, is bodha, a teaching for all of us. Look at His face: His face is bubbling with joy. Look at His hands: Always a blessing hand, a comforting hand. But what does it mean? He has gone beyond all this apparent and so-called imaginary, illusive pain. What is the lesson that we have to learn from Him?

Whatever may happen in our lives, we have to continue to smile. Whatever might happen, we should continue to do our work. Whatever might happen, we should not be affected by it. In other words, Bhagavan Baba is forcing each and every one of us to grow and go beyond the body. We are in the body, but we are not the body. However, we are drowned in this body feeling. He wants us to rise above that, so He sets an example. That is the message that we have to get today. 

Assurance of Bhagavan

Bhagavan said made a wonderful statement - nobody else will say this. There are parents who tell us, ‘Sonny, you become like that.’ When we do not, they give up hope. They will disown us. But here is Baba who said

“I shall not rest. I shall not rest until I reform you, until I transform you.

Until I change you, I shall not rest.”  

Aha! What a statement this is! So Bhagavan is always vigilant, waiting to bring a transformation. Please remember this point. As a teacher I repeat, “This is important.” Yes, old habits die-hard.  

What more does He say? Swami said, “My powers are limitless; they will never diminish. They will increase day-by-day.” The radiance of the sun, the light of the sun, shall never diminish, come what may. So this is the power of Sai. Sai is Love, Love that will clear from us the clouds of hypocrisy, conceit and defeat.

Further, here is Bhagavan who said, “Why do you worry? I am here. I am with you, in you, above you, below you, around you. Why fear when I am here?”

What an assurance it is! “Why fear when I am here” is an assurance given to all of us. Don’t doubt it for a moment. The total cosmic energy has come down with a human form and with the name of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is total universal energy and Love, walking amidst us on two feet.

Bhagavan has been doing so many things for the last 78 years. In fact, society does not know, nor is there any record of what He has been doing all along, as Sathya Sai instigates a silent spiritual revolution within man, without any propaganda.

Swami has said, “Yes, see Me in yourself. See Me as your Self. That is meditation.”

Meditation is nothing but experiencing God within one’s own self. That was the message of Bhagavan during one of his Birthday discourses to the devotees.

Swami said (my friends, do not disbelieve me -- every statement is His): “More than the miracles, more than the experiences that you speak about, more than all these miracles, My Love is the Miracle of miracles. It is the most valuable. My other miracles (like manifestations) are like mosquitoes, but the size of My Love is like the size of an elephant.” That is what Bhagavan has said.

“Swami, now what shall I offer you?” What are the offerings? We have to share our knowledge with others. We have to set an example for others. And we should experience the spirit of Oneness with all the vast mankind. That is the best offering that ever could be made to Bhagavan.

Creation, Sustenance, Destruction

Swami has the same body as me. He has the five senses of perception, the five senses of actions, the four inner senses of intellect, of discrimination. He has the same senses as I have. He has the same body as I have. But He is different; He is unique. How? 

He is capable of three things: srishthi – integration; He is capable of sthithi – preservation; He is capable of laya - disintegration. Creation, sustenance, destruction, or integration, preservation, and disintegration - these are the special capacities of Bhagavan’s physical frame. He has that supreme compassion for humanity and the ability to confer grace on whomsoever prays to Him.

Our prayer to Swami

On this happy occasion of the Advent of the Avatar of the Golden Age, on the happy occasion of Bhagavan’s Birthday, which is fast approaching, let’s all pray this way: 

“O Swami, let not anything that we see, let not anyone whom we meet, disturb our faith.

O Bhagavan, help us to grow stronger and stronger, day-by-day, in faith.

Bhagavan, help me to be nearer and nearer to You.

Bhagavan, help me to know Your message.

Bhagavan, help me to know the spirit and the message of Your Avatar.

Swami, help me to practice all the principles that You teach us.

Swami, let me not be cut off from You; let me not be away from You.

 Let not the world take me away from You; let not my attachments come between You and me. Let not anyone be between You and me, Swami.

Let me experience in true spirit that You and I are One.”

 

May Bhagavan bless you! Sai Ram.  

OM…OM…OM…

Asato Maa Sad Gamaya

Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya

Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi