Volume 5 - Issue 12
CONVERSATIONS WITH SAI
(Continued from the previous issue)
The Spiritual Direction of the Sai Organisation
H (Hislop): Ten years ago when Swami formed the American Sai Organization, He gave what He said was the single most important rule for American Sathya Sai Baba Centers. For the next ten years, what is the single most important rule for our Centers?
SAI: What is your idea?
H: Swami's first rule - have as little as possible to do with money - it seems to me, it must continue.
SAI: Yes, that is correct. The rule cannot be changed. It must continue unchanged through the next ten years.
H: Then what shall be the particular emphasis for American devotees for the next ten years?
SAI: The emphasis must be on the Sadhana of Purity and Sacrifice. Purity is Divinity. Through sacrifice there is purity of mind and heart. By purity, Divinity is realized. Sacrifice is an offering, a giving up to the Lord, a dedication to the Lord. What is to be sacrificed to the Lord is the sense of ego, of "mine". Once all sense of ego is sacrificed to the Lord, given up to the Lord, heart and mind are purified of ego-attributes and Divinity can then be realized.
H: During the course of the next ten years is the American Sai Organization to remain a Spiritual Organization, or is it to change its mode of life so as to become primarily a Seva Organization?
SAI: The Organization is to continue to be a Spiritual Organization with some changes, but not major changes. Devotion to God: the purifying of mind and heart, by sacrificing to God all ego tendencies, is to be the purpose and the practice of the Sai devotees in the American Sai Organization.
H: Swami, for the past several years my neck has been painful and doctors can do nothing. What should I do for it?
SAI: (rubbing the neck with His hand) Don't do anything. Swami will take care of it.
H: I have some questions I do not know how to answer. About living in the moment, what is meant?
SAI: Those are general questions. Ask Kasturi to be here tomorrow morning and I will answer those questions.
H: Baba, may I make a donation to the Whitefield Hospital?
H: Well, my operation was there.
SAI: No. Not necessary. It is our Hospital, all is ours.
H: Swami, as I travel the nation, I am asked questions. I do not know the answers to some of them. One question which always comes up is free will. One has the free will to choose God or the world. But on the other hand, Baba in one glance sees past, present, and future. So how can there be free will?
SAI: From that viewpoint, from the Divine, there is no free will, for all is God. But from the ego viewpoint of the individual, there is free will. There is general law, and then the individual and society. The individual acts in society according to his free will, but all conform to the general law. The individual must act, and his action is a function of his mind. There are thoughts.
Thoughts are seeds. They sprout and become actions. The actions then appear to be free will to the concerned individual. Everyone has been given skills and talents such as intelligence, reason, energy; and they must be put to use in life through action.
(After discussing the interview with Mr. Kasturi the next day, it seems to me that for the individual person it boils down to this: The individual acts according to his talents and capacity at any particular moment. If he is ignorant of Vedanta and has never listened to Baba, the individual feels he or she is acting freely according to his inclinations and his will. On the contrary, if the individual has reached a conviction that everything is absent except God, the individual then feels that everything he is doing is being prompted by God, and thus the question of free will does not bother him).
Living in the Moment
H: Swami, perhaps I will be able to understand it and explain it. Swami said that the mind would fix itself, if one would live in the moment. What does Swami mean by living in the moment? How does one live in the moment?
SAI: Past is gone, future is not here, there is only the moment. Live fully now without worry about the future.
H: But, Swami, one has to look forward to judge the consequences of the action.
SAI: Why? Live now. Act according to your best feelings and thoughts and do not worry.
H: But Swami said that Krishna chose Arjuna because Arjuna had foresight and looked ahead to the consequences.
SAI: Don't think about Arjuna. He was worried about his relatives.
H: But Swami, when I make some move in respect to the American Council, I have to consider what the consequences will be before I go ahead. That does not square with living in the moment.
SAI: But that is duty. In duty you must look into the future and weigh the consequences.
Who is the Doer?
H: Oh! That is what is meant. Now I understand it. Another question which arises is: do actions come about because of Baba, or by Baba? That is, action takes place because of the sunlight but the sun is not regarded as the doer, whereas it is said that Swami is the doer in respect to our actions.
SAI: The Sun gives light - but the Sun also does work. It makes changes in plant life, for example.
H: Does that mean that Swami is the actor, the actual doer in our lives?
SAI: Consider that you are an instrument and Sai acts by using you as His instrument for action.
H: That implies that it is foolish to think that we act, for the fact is that the action is the result of a prompting by God?
SAI: Yes, the action is prompted by God.
H: But Swami, it is not clear in practice. I forgot to bring the check I wanted to donate to the hospital. Then, after reaching the veranda here, I remembered it and felt I should go back to the room and get it. That action of returning to our room had to be a prompting by Baba. But then, after Baba prompted me to get the check, Baba refused to accept the check! The principle in practice is not clear.
SAI: Only in that way was there an occasion to teach you how Swami regards such matters. Had you given the check from love, perhaps Swami could have accepted. But you were giving in return for the operation. But you are family and there is no payment in family. For work outside the family, there may be some employment and some payment.
H: But it was Swami prompting me that sent me for the check?
SAI: Yes, it was Swami prompting you.
H: Swami, the lesson of the check is learned. It is a very clear case of payment for services instead of the family feeling! Now I take it to be the case that whatever is done by me is being prompted by Baba.
SAI: That is the correct attitude. That is the correct way.
H: But could not a person then say that he had no volition and therefore would sit and do nothing unless Swami moved him? Can a man choose to be lazy?
SAI: Yes, he could be lazy.
H: By the prompting of Sai?
H: Is it the waking ‘I’ who dreams, or does the dream state create its own ‘I’?
SAI: It is one ‘I’ only in waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states.
All Life Flows Towards God
H: For life in this world, Swami, the goal is reunion with God. What is the purpose of life in the rest of this vast universe?
SAI: All life may flow toward God; even frogs in a pond and insects.
H: But Swami, that is life in this world. I mean life elsewhere in the universe.
SAI: In this world, there is duality and therefore striving. But, even here, insects and small creatures may live in a pond feeling everything is all right and feeling happiness. The question about life in the universe arises because you project your own particular circumstances. You feel that other ways of life would be intolerable because such ways would be intolerable for you. In the hot blazing Sun, for instance, beings are living. This life exists in circumstances considered to be intolerable by you. Elsewhere in the universe, life feels it is Divinity, is one with Divinity, and is quite happy, and feeling all is right.
H: Then this world is a very peculiar place!
SAI: Yes, this small planet Earth is very special. It is unique in the universe. This is a very important topic. It is of very great significance. One who can understand the mystery of the Earth is great indeed. He is infinite.
H: Is the Earth mystery unveiled in Baba's divine teachings?
SAI: Swami can reveal this mystery. (In talking with Mr. Kasturi next day, he believes the mystery of planet Earth, which Swami refers to, is the extraordinary configurations of the five elements - Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth - which makes the Earth unique throughout the vast cosmos. Next time, I will try for a chance to ask Swami to elaborate on what He means by the mystery of planet Earth).
Going Beyond the mind
H: Everybody is self-conscious; conscious that he is, conscious of his being. Is this consciousness the base, or is there something prior to this?
SAI: That consciousness is second. First is God-consciousness. God-consciousness is the base.
H: A source of confusion is about everything being a creation of the mind. Creation of whose mind?
SAI: Yes, it is the mind.
H: But Swami, how could that be? Is my mind creating war and all its horrors? I do not find such actions in myself.
SAI: When you think of the world, it exists for you. When you do not think of it, for you it does not exist.
H: When I do not think of the world it is not in my consciousness! Does the war exist only according to my consciousness of it? But there was a beginning to the war. How could that beginning be due only to my mind?
SAI: At your stage it will not be possible for you to grasp this. As long as the mind exists, it is not possible to comprehend the mind and its activity clearly. When thought ceases, there will be no mind. Mind is a bundle of thoughts. Do not follow the thoughts. Then the world will not develop for you. Now your thoughts have gone to America, to problems there. But these are just thoughts. If you now follow these thoughts and go to America, they will bring about the world for you.
H: Does Swami mean that one should just be a witness to the thoughts going through one's mind and not do anything about them?
SAI: Exactly. When the mind is destroyed, then the coming into being of the world will be clear to you. There is only God, God only. Hold onto Him. Hold closely to Him and the matter of the mind will be resolved.
H: Swami! I do hold to God! My thought is always on Swami. I am always regarding Swami as being in my heart, not someplace else. But my mind is not destroyed.
SAI: It will come. To have that strong confidence is important.
H: I have no trouble seeing that my mind creates my personal world - that is, Mr. Kasturi and Swami are known to me only because of the senses relaying messages to the mind, which then forms concepts and externalizes Mr. Kasturi and Swami. But the creation of something big outside, like the war, I cannot comprehend.
SAI: When the mind is destroyed and the world goes, God also has no existence.
(Now the evening Bhajans start and the interview is over, with many questions still unasked. Hopefully, Swami will grant some time again at the next visit).
(To be continued...)
Vol 5 Issue 12 - DECEMBER 2007
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