WILL ALWAYS TRIUMPH
From time to time, many listeners and readers write to us
and say: “There is so much negative propaganda about
Swami. Why don’t you use the Radio, H2H etc., to rebut
this nonsense?” The latest occasion for such remarks
happens to be a TV program that has apparently been aired
in Australia, which, not unexpectedly, made many devotees
there extremely agitated, to say the least. I would now like
to break our silence and comment on why we refuse to waste
our time on pointless rebuttals.
you would understand our attitude better if I were to start
by telling you that our attitude to such matters is always
conditioned by what Swami has said and continues to say. To
give you a better idea of what I mean, let me take you way
back to the year 1947. I wonder how many of the present devotees
were born then. In that year, Swami wrote a letter, to be
precise on 25th May. That letter is a landmark and we reproduce
it below, but before presenting the letter, I must give you
You will recall that it was in 1940 that
Swami truly revealed Himself. Till then, He was just Sathya
Narayana Raju, son of Pedda Venkama Raju and Easwaramma and
the grandson of Kondama Raju. But on 20th October, 1940, the
world realised that Raju was none other than the reincarnation
of Shirdi Baba, and thereafter, He came to be known as Sri
Sathya Sai Baba. As many would know, this happened in the
small town of Uravakonda. Shortly after that Swami returned
to Puttaparthi to make it His permanent home. In those days,
He stayed in a tin shed, now known as Paatha
Mandiram. The Mandiram
still exists, though in a different form.
You may be surprised and even shocked to
know that in those days, there was no direct road to Puttaparthi,
as there is now. One had to first come to Bukkapatnam, and
from there travel by bullock cart to Karnataka Nagepalli,
a small village on the eastern side of Chitravathi. Thereafter,
one had to cross the river on foot before reaching Puttaparthi.
Altogether, it was an arduous trip but believe it or not,
many came in spite of the hassle involved. How come? Well,
that is what Divine Magnetism is all about! By the way, though
a road of sorts came into existence a few years later, as
late as 1968, Puttaparthi continued to remain quite backward.
In fact Hollywood Director Schulman who came to Puttaparthi
in 1968 wrote: “Puttaparthi is 160 km from Bangalore
and ten minutes past the Stone Age!”
Be that as it may, people began to come to Baba in increasing
numbers, and that included many Princes and their families.
For example, the Maharani of Mysore used to come to have Baba’s
Darshan. She was a Maharani but she too had to get down from
her car in Karnataka Nagepalli and walk the rest of the distance.
But such was the hunger of devotees that they started coming,
first from nearby places and soon from much greater distance.
That is what Spiritual hunger does to the true seeker, making
him or her forget all the problems.
Now in those far-off days, not many accepted Swami as an
incarnation and understandably, there was a lot of bad-mouthing
as they say. This happened in Bukkapatnam, and indeed even
in Puttaparthi itself, as some of you would recall from one
of my Musings Talk, in which I described an extra-ordinary
incident once reported by the Rajah of Venkatagiri. But I
shall not go into all that here. What I want to say is that
the Press too started to make unfavourable noises, and that
really hurt the elder brother of Swami’s body, namely,
Seshama Raju. At that time, Seshama was not yet quite able
to appreciate Swami’s true Avataric nature, and in a
purely brotherly fashion, wrote a letter of advice, warning
“young” Sai Baba of the cunning ways of the world
on the one hand, and his various deep concerns on the other.
In brief, Seshsma was worried about the impact of the attention
that his younger brother was receiving. Would this adoration
go to the head of young Sathya? Would He fall a victim to
various temptations? Such were the thoughts expressed by Seshama
On 25th May, 1947, Baba wrote a reply. Though
Baba’s letter was intended for Seshama Raju, it was
in fact addressed to ‘all who are devoted to Me’.
That letter is a powerful declaration of the purpose of the
Sai Avatar. In that letter, Baba
My dear One!
I received all the
communication that you sent. I found in it the surging floods
of your devotion and affection, with the undercurrents of
doubts and anxiety. Let Me tell you that it is impossible
to plumb the hearts and discover the nature of Jnanis [Wise
men], Yogis, ascetics, saints, sages, and the like. People
are endowed with a variety of characteristics and mental attitudes;
so, each one judges according to his own angle, talks and
argues in the light of his own nature. But we have to stick
to our own path, our own wisdom, and our own resolution, without
getting affected by popular appraisal. As the proverb says,
it is only the fruit-laden tree that receives the shower of
stone from the passers by. The good always provoke the bad
into calumny; the bad always provoke the good into doing more
good; this is the nature of the world. One must be surprised
if such things do not happen.
too have to be pitied rather than condemned. They do not know.
They have no patience to judge right. They are too full of
lust, anger, and conceit to see clearly and know fully. So,
they write all sorts of things. If only they know, they would
refrain from writing or talking like that. We should not attach
any value to such comments and take them to heart, as you
seem to do. Truth will certainly triumph some day. Untruth
can never win. Untruth might appear to over-power Truth, but
its victory would fade away and Truth would establish itself.
It is not the way of
the great to swell when people offer worship and shrink when
people cool off. As a matter of fact, no sacred text lays
down rules to regulate the lives of the great, prescribing
habits and attitudes they must adopt. They themselves know
the path they must take. Their wisdom regulates and makes
their acts holy. Self-reliance and beneficial activity –
these two are their special marks. They may also be engaged
in the promotion of the welfare of devotees and in giving
them the fruits of their actions. Why should you be affected
by doubt and worry, so long as I am adhering to these two?
After all, praise and blame do not touch the Atma; they can
touch only the outer frame.
I have a Task: To foster
all mankind, and ensure for all people lives full of Ananda
I have a Vow: To lead
all who stray away from the straight path, again into goodness
and save them.
I am attached to a
‘Work’ that I love: To remove the suffering of
the poor and grant them what they lack.
I have a ‘reason
to be proud’: for, I rescue all who worship and adore
I have a definition
of ‘devotion’: I expect that those devoted to
Me treat joy and grief, gain and loss, with equal fortitude.
I will never give up
those who attach themselves to Me. When I am thus engaged
in My beneficial task, how can My Name be ever tarnished,
as you apprehend? I would advise you not to heed to such absurd
talk. Mahatmas do not acquire greatness through someone calling
them so; they do not become small just because some calls
them small. Only those low ones who revel in opium but claim
to be unexcelled Yogis, only those who quote scriptural texts
to justify their gourmandary and pride, only those who are
dry-as-dust scholars exulting in their argumentative skill,
are moved by praise and blame.
You must have read
the life-stories of Saints and Divine personages. In those
books, you must have read also of horrible falsehood and heinous
imputations cast against them. This is the lot of Mahatmas,
everywhere, and at all times. Why then do you take these things
so much to heart? Have you not heard of dogs that howl at
the stars? How long can they go on? Authenticity will soon
I will not give up
My Mission nor My determination. I SHALL
carry them out. I treat with equanimity, the honour or dishonour
that may result. Internally, I am totally unconcerned. I act,
but solely in the outer world. If I talk and move about, it
is entirely for the sake of the outer world, and for making
the people realise the advent of Divinity. Other than this,
I have no concern with anything.
I do not belong to
any place. I am not attached to any name. I have no ‘Mine’
or ‘Thine’. I respond to whatever name you might
use. I go wherever I am needed or called.
For Me, the world is
something afar and apart. I act and move only for the sake
No one can comprehend
My Glory, whosoever it may be, whatever be the method of enquiry,
and no matter how long the attempt.
You will yourself see
the full Glory unfolding in the coming years. Devotees must
have patience and forbearance.
I am not concerned,
nor am I anxious that these facts should be made known. I
have no need to write these words. I wrote them because I
felt that you would be pained if I do not reply.
Thus, yours, Baba.
Please read the above letter carefully. Note two things:
The good will carry on with their work regardless of obstacles,
and AUTHENTICITY WILL WIN. Swami gives the analogy of the
tree and in fact, He has expanded on this many a time in His
Divine Discourses. He says, man throws stones at a tree but
comes to the same tree for shelter when the Sun is scorching
at mid day. Not only that; in the end, the tree gives its
entire self up as wood, to be used by man.
Well, if that be Swami’s Kshama
[forbearance], then how can we use the facilities He has given
us for spreading His Message, for taking on all and sundry
who have no better work than to raise muck? By the way, I
was told that in the TV program shown in Australia recently,
many of the people who made allegations about Swami had their
backs turned to the camera! Imagine that!! These people want
to throw mud but do not have the guts to show their face!
Do we dignify such people by condescending to “reply”
Perhaps I should also mention this. Once a devotee complained:
“Swami, how can we really keep quiet when so much abuse
is being hurled at You? Why don’t You understand the
pain we feel?” You know what Bhagavan replied? He said:
“Bangaru, the man who is flinging abuse is in the gutter.
If you want to fight him, you too have to get into the gutter?
Do you think Your Mother would like to see Her dear child
get into the gutter?”
It is these facts that made us to withhold
from impulsive and intemperate responses to irresponsible
utterances by foolish people. At the same time, when there
is misstatement in high quarters, we do
make a quiet effort to set the record straight. Let me give
two examples. A couple of years ago, the London Times
wrote something nasty about Swami. Now the Times
is not only the leading newspaper in Britain but one of the
leading newspapers of the world, that is held in high esteem
everywhere. Clearly if it writes or publishes something incorrect
and inappropriate, we have a duty to place the correct facts
before it so that its readers do not get wrong ideas. In fact,
this is the right of reply that the Press is supposed to offer.
So many of us wrote letters to the Times
but believe it or not, the Times
to publish any one of our letters. In fact, Air Chief Marshall
[Retd.] Nirmal Suri, an ardent devotee, was in London at that
time and he personally went to the office of the Times
and tried to talk to them; but they did not even bother to
meet him. So much for a decent and free press!
Another event and that really is what I wanted
to write about – all the above is just a long preamble
so that you
would get the background. Some years ago there was a big conference
in Prashanti Nilayam on Educare. It was an international meet
with delegates from many countries and started off as a joint
venture with UNESCO [United Nations Scientific, Educational
and Cultural Organisation]. I remember the event very well.
And do you know what happened on the morning of that conference?
The newspapers reported that the UNESCO Office in Delhi had
issued a statement withdrawing from the conference because
of allegations about the Sai Organisation! The muck-rakers
had managed to poison the mind of the powers that be in the
UNESCO, and the Head Office in Paris immediately sent a message
to its Delhi branch to withdraw and issue a press release.
We were all shocked. How could a responsible body like the
UNESCO pull out just like that and that too without bothering
to verify? If they wanted they could have pulled out in a
polite fashion but the statement issued was far from polite.
And that too from Delhi!
In the years that followed, I tried in vain to tell the brass
that came regularly from Delhi for Swami’s Darshan,
“Listen! You all know how much Swami has done and is
continuing to do for the people of India in a thousand different
ways. You also know how false and malicious the content of
this statement is. Is not Swami respected all over the country?
Is not an insult to Swami a slap on the face of the country?
India is a member of the UNESCO. Why don’t you officially
write and take objection? You have every right to and also
the authority to. Can you keep quiet when a UN body is casting
aspersions on one of the most respected citizens of the country,
one who has and is doing so much for the people?”
My passionate appeal did not work. I was totally disappointed
but then God works in His own silent way and according to
His own timetable. Recently, an Official of UN Habitat was
here for Darshan and he complained how his initiative on Human
Values in Water Education programme based on Swami’s
Principles, was being thwarted by trouble makers, who were
trying to influence the UN Secretary General, quoting the
UNESCO Press Release, which was still on the UNESCO website.
By the way, the programme that UN Habitat was working on is
a sequel to Kanu’s successful project on Human Values
in Water education in Africa, based of course on Swami’s
I had a long talk with this Official of UN Habitat, and he
subsequently went to Delhi where he managed to meet the Foreign
Minister directly. By the way, the Foreign Minister is a devotee
and has come here many times. In addition to this, I personally
had a long meeting with a top diplomat, another devotee of
thirty years or so. This other person had earlier been the
Ambassador for India in Paris and also India’s representative
in the UNESCO. Both the Foreign Minister and this diplomat
were terribly upset that nothing had been done this far, and
now, all of a sudden the wheel began to crank.
First, the Indian Rep
to the UNESCO wrote [in part]:
The media Advisory
dated September 15th 2000 and viewable at the address: www.unesco.org/education/highlights/media_advisory
is posted to explain UNESCO’s inability to participate
in a Conference organised by the Institute of Sathya Sai Education
[Thailand]. In doing so, it attempts to gravely tarnish the
reputation Sathya Sai movement by casting aspersion on the
personal integrity and character of its leader, based on hearsay,
and unconfirmed press reports.
Shri Sathya Sai Baba
is a highly respected spiritual leader and publics figure
in India and abroad. It is well known that the life and message
of Shri Sathya Sai Baba has been devoted to promoting peace,
non-violence social harmony and is a moving force behind numerous
philanthropic social projects. In this context, it is pertinent
to mention that the UN Human Settlements Project [UN-HABITAT]
launched a major education initiative three years ago, using
human values approach propounded by Shri Sathya Sai Baba,
to introduce a value-based water education programme through
the national curriculum in Africa.. The initiative has been
widely accepted at high political levels and among educationists
in Africa and is now being replicated by the UN-HABITAT and
the Asian Development Bank in Asia and the Pacific. You will
agree that issuance of a casual and negligent press release
by UNESCO cannot but do disservice to such valuable projects.
Government of India
considers Shri Sathya Sai Baba and his movement a national
asset and takes strong exception to UNESCO press release,
which spreads wholly unfounded and unsubstantiated allegation
against Shri Sathya Sai Baba.
I would therefore request
you to take immediate steps to remove the objectionable press
advisory from the UNESCO website. I would also appreciate
an expression of regret for the damage caused to one of India’s
revered public figures, without first verifying the facts
and any consultation with Indian authorities.
Well, that is the letter from India’s permanent representative
to the UNESCO. Strong letter, is it not? Naturally, the UNESCO
hurried to give a reply. Here it is, in part. The letter is
from Assistant Director General of UNESCO.
I do appreciate this
concern and wish to inform you that following your personal
intervention, the media advisory in question was immediately
withdrawn from the archives of the UNESCO’s web site
I should also like
to take this opportunity to say how much the Organisation
regrets this unfortunate incident and to reiterate to you,
on behalf of the Director General, that the Organisation attaches
the greatest importance to the varied forms of fruitful collaboration
that we have enjoyed with your country for many years.
I hope this letter
will set your mind at rest and dispel any misunderstanding.
So, there it is. As Swami said long ago, authenticity will
always win. I do hope you will share this expression of regret
by an important UN body with others whom you know and that
slowly the word would spread so that negative propaganda would
be laid to rest once and for all, as it indeed must be.
The moral of it all is that we must be patient,
without giving up our efforts to overwhelm negativity with
positivity. That really is the important point. We can never
win by fighting slander with counter slander. It is only the
misguided who place their faith in the “eye for an eye”
philosophy. As a wise man once remarked, if we followed that
philosophy, then pretty soon the world would have only blind
What do you think? Let us know, and all you
have to do is to write to:
All the best. Jai Sai Ram.