REHABILITATE THE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED
There is no disease like debt,
There is no charity greater than feeding the hungry,
There are no greater gods than parents,
There is no greater Dharma than compassion,
There is no greater gain than the company of the good,
There is no enemy greater than anger,
There is no wealth greater than good reputation,
Bad reputation is death itself,
There is no ornament better than the chanting of Gods Name.
Embodiments of Love!
THE BODY may be handicapped but the Atma does not suffer from any disability. The Atma is changeless, pure and eternal. One who is physically challenged need not worry that he does not have a particular limb and that some calamity has befallen him. Even if you suffer from a handicap due to loss or deformity of a particular limb, you must discharge your duties as far as possible. In this way, you can teach a lesson to those whose limbs function normally, yet they spend their time in idleness. What work are such people doing? They join bad company and engage themselves in evil deeds. On the other hand, there is no scope at all for you to engage yourself in bad company, bad behaviour and evil deeds. In fact, you must be grateful to God for having been given such a physical condition that you engage yourself in continuous prayer to Almighty God. There is not much difference between those who are physically challenged and those whose limbs are perfectly normal. The physically challenged may not be able to engage themselves in certain beneficial activities to society. But the question arises as to how far the people with normal limbs are undertaking such beneficial activities. Practically nothing. Do not be under the impression that possessing a normal body with all the limbs functioning perfectly invests you with any greatness. In fact, those who are having a normal body are committing more sins than the physically challenged. In spite of enjoying perfect health and all conveniences, they create problems for themselves as well as for others due to their carelessness and arrogance.
Temporary Charity is of Little Use
I am happy that the teachers and the former and present students of Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions are doing some useful service to the physically challenged. However, it is not enough if you undertake such service as a short-term activity limited to one or two days. I am observing that several of our students are undertaking some beneficial service activities to society. They are supplying some useful items like callipers, crutches, tricycles, etc., to the physically challenged, so that they may be able to attend to their daily routine. Along with this, it is also necessary to ensure that these implements continue to function efficiently and be of use to the beneficiaries since their entire life is dependent on them. For this purpose, it is necessary to get them serviced and repaired periodically. Only then will they be of use to the persons concerned. It may not be possible for you to come and seek My help every now and then. I, therefore, propose to establish a permanent fund of ten lakh rupees for this purpose, (loud applause) With this fund, you will be able to serve the physically challenged on a continuous basis and thus set an example to others in society.
The parents of the physically challenged may feel "Alas! Our children are not able to lead a normal life like others; they are not married; who will marry them?" I wish that you undertake service activities which will relieve the mental agony of such parents. You must provide peace and comfort to them by rendering service to their physically challenged children. Most people have normal limbs. But, of what use are they? For example, the hands. With these hands, we can undertake good as well as bad actions. The eyes can be used to see good as well as bad things. The mind can be filled with good as well as bad thoughts. Therefore, do not be under the impression that those whose body, mind and intellect function perfectly normal are all that great. In spite of their high intellectual abilities, there are several people among them who misuse their capabilities. I wish that you, who are physically challenged, should lead your lives in constant contemplation of God, thus setting an ideal to others.
Serve the Physically Challenged on a Continuous Basis
The teachers of our Anantapur College have, of course, been undertaking such useful service activities now and then. But that is not enough. The implements we supply to the physically challenged ' may require repairs sometimes. You should not rest content with the mere distribution of these implements. You should also check up periodically whether they are in good condition; if not, you should get them repaired immediately. This is your responsibility. I wish that you should visit these physically challenged people-periodically on Sundays and holidays and enquire whether the implements are in working condition and whether they are leading purposeful lives. You should also counsel the parents of the physically challenged children and provide them comfort and solace.
Some of the physically challenged persons may be homeless. Hence, they may be roaming about in the streets and market places and begging for alms. They may even go to the extent of selling away the implements we supply them, and in a few days come back to square one. I am of the opinion that whatever service we do must be of lasting benefit. I am, therefore, prepared to arrange for the construction of houses for such people. You teachers and students should constantly monitor the progress of these physically challenged children. There are several people in the world who perform acts of charity which meet the immediate needs of the beneficiaries. But that is not enough. All these activities give only temporary benefit to the recipients. Unlike these people, you should undertake service activities which benefit the physically challenged children throughout their life.
Provide Opportunities for the Education of the Physically Challenged
There may be some among these 'children who are very enthusiastic to pursue higher education but they may be lacking the means to do so. You should encourage such children and provide them necessary help. I will also provide necessary assistance to them. You ask Me whatever is needed. I will provide. But one point is to be remembered in this context. Today several people in the academic field think that they are highly educated. So, they become egoistic. Bangaru! You should acquire good education and make good use of it. You should not develop ego. Only then will your education serve the desired purpose.
In spite of his education and intelligence, a foolish man will not know his true Self and a mean-minded person will not give up his evil qualities. (Telugu Poem)
Modern education leads only to argumentation, not to total wisdom. What is the use of acquiring education which cannot lead you to immortality? Acquire the knowledge that will make you immortal. (Telugu Poem)
Today people are not able to derive the real benefit from education because they indulge in endless argumentation and reasoning. You should not give scope to such argumentation. Some of the physically challenged children present here told Me today that they could not continue their studies after 8th or 9th Class due to lack of opportunities. If they are enthusiastic to pursue higher education, I will provide the necessary means. Do not worry. In fact, education is the real property. It will last forever. Money can be misused or may be stolen. But education can never let you down. Therefore, pursue education up to whatever stage you wish to. Make good use of your education by taking up small jobs in your own village and be helpful to your parents. Become self-reliant and self-supporting and thereby provide comfort and solace to your parents. Serve your parents. If you do so, our purpose behind this endeavour will be served.Your own life will also become purposeful.
!t is true that you undergo some suffering on account of your physical handicap. I know your suffering. Some of these handicaps may be for a temporary period and some may be lifelong. Some may also be due to your recklessness and arrogance. I am seeing several highly educated persons misusing their education and indulging in evil deeds. I wish you should not go their way. Whatever education you are able to acquire make proper use of it by imparting it to the less privileged and those younger to you. If you wish to take up a job, certainly you may do so. There is nothing wrong in it.
Contemplate on God Constantly
Bharat is a great country. It is a sacred land. People born in this country are really fortunate. But, of what use is all this greatness? Today nobody cares for the suffering people in this country. There are several rich people in India but they do not help the suffering people. To tell the truth, people with virtues are better than people with wealth. My advice to all of you is that you make proper use of your limbs and help others. You are really fortunate, my dear ones! Be constantly in the contemplation of God. It is only God who can come to your rescue. Without God's help and grace, no one can perform even a small job. Pray to God both morning and evening "Oh God! May you help us in sanctifying our bodies by undertaking good activities." If you pray to Him thus, He will certainly help you. In fact, the very purpose of God's existence is for helping such noble souls. He readily responds to the prayers of sincere devotees. He is the sole refuge of the suffering and forlorn. God is your sole refuge wherever you may be, be it in a forest or in the sky or in a city or in a village or on the top of a mountain or in the middle of a deep sea. (Telugu Poem)
After the day's work, before you go to sleep, pray to God, "Swami! Today I have been able to perform this small Seva with Your grace. Sanctify this small Seva." Thus, dedicate all your effort to God and then go to sleep. Similarly, as soon as you get up from your bed pray again to God, "Oh God! Having given this body to me, please help me in undertaking activities that would sanctify this body." If you pray to God thus, He will be pleased and will grant you all the necessary strength to undertake service activities. Therefore, do not forget God under any circumstances. He will always be with you and protect you. Do not ever revile God. Whenever you are in difficulties, you may condemn your fate out of frustration but never condemn God. Love God. God is love and love is God. Today love for God has declined. That is why people are undergoing difficulties in ever so many ways; you must cultivate love for God and show compassion towards the poor. If you can cultivate both love and compassion, there cannot be a more fortunate person than you. One may be a millionaire. One might have built great mansions. Of what use are they without God's grace? Hence, pray for God's grace and carry on the service activities to the extent possible.
There is no Greater Service than Helping the Physically Challenged
I wish that Jayamma, Warden of the Anantapur College, the teachers and students undertake more and more such service activities in future and help the physically challenged lead a normal life in society. In fact, the purpose of all your education is to serve the poor and destitute. There is nothing greater and nobler than such service. Service is the greatest Dharma. It is only service to the poor and needy that will take you near God. The best way to love God is to love all and serve all. Hence, love all and serve all. That is what is ordained for a human being. There is no use merely doing Japa, Thapa and Namasankirtan. Your life will be sanctified only by undertaking service to the poor and forlorn. There cannot be a greater service than this, Bangaru! You are all fortunate that all your limbs are functioning normally. Therefore, I ordain you to undertake service to the physically challenged and relieve them of their frustration and despair. If you really wish to undertake service, you must undertake such type of service. What is the use of your serving those who are perfectly healthy and whose limbs are functioning normally? You have Sundays and holidays. Instead of sitting idle in the house and spending time in gossiping, you may visit the villages and give some help to the physically challenged. If you talk to them lovingly, it will boost their morale. Serve those people and derive happiness out of your service.
Bangaru! You all know I have taken up a project by name "Deenajanodharana Pathakam" to help the children who lost their parents. Under this project, we have given shelter to 65 such children. We provide them food, shelter and clothing. Not only that, we provide them education to become self-reliant and self-supporting. For this purpose, we have made a fixed deposit of one lakh rupees in the name of each of these 65 children. When they grow up and set up independent family, they can utilise this amount. Thus, whatever help you wish to render to somebody must be on a permanent basis. You should not dole out temporary charity. One must be provided with food, shelter and clothing. I wish that you should undertake such service lovingly to the poor and forlorn, and encourage them to become self-reliant. I conclude My Discourse with blessings to all of you. The beneficiaries of this service activity may go to the canteen, have sumptuous lunch and then go back to their places happily.
From Bhagavan's Address to the Physically Challenged in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam on 12th November 2003.
Sourced from Sanathan Sarathi December 2003 Page Nos 373-379