It was only a couple of weeks ago, on August 15, when the world’s largest democracy, India, was reveling in music and gaiety. The country was celebrating her 60th year of independence. For the more-than-a-billion people of this nation, whose civilization is more than 5,000 years old, it was truly a moment of pride and festivity. The nation in the last one and half decades has crossed many critical, and hitherto insurmountable, thresholds. Today, it is the world’s second fastest growing major economy. Her prowess in Information Technology and other high-value services has raised her stature to a level in the global arena where no nation can afford to ignore her. But the fact still remains that even after six decades of popular governance, more than 6 out of every 10 Indians are illiterate. The infant mortality rate is an appalling 60 deaths per 1000 live births and 45 percent of Indian children under five are malnourished. Other social problems like naxalism, communalism, unemployment, etc. make the picture only gloomier.
And this is the case not only with India. Take the case of the world’s most developed nation. One survey has showed that the wealth of the US millionaires at US$30 trillion is more than the GDPs (Gross Domestic Product) of China, Japan, Brazil, Russia and the European Union combined! But at the same time, 36 million people in this country still live below poverty line. And with Vice-Admiral (retd) John Scott Redd, the Head of the National Counter Terrorism Center, saying recently “Another attack on America (by the same perpetrators of 9/11) is inevitable”, there is only fear and insecurity in the air. Why are the people of the most powerful country in this world not so free to pursue their dream of ‘life, liberty and pursuit of happiness’?
According to figures released by UNICEF, in the world today, 11 million children die before their fifth birthday and 800 million people go to bed hungry everyday going by the World Health Report. And what is sadder, every minute a woman with no medical care dies in pregnancy or childbirth, and one billion people in the world have no access to clean drinking water. The problems seem so overwhelming. But why is the world in such a sorry state in spite of mind-boggling advancements in various disciplines from science and medicine to communication technology and psychology? Does the answer lie in generating and allocating more resources through elaborate programmes? Can increasing our defense budget and placing spy satellites free us from the fear of terror? We now know that, at best, these measures can only tackle the surface of the problem, but never address the root of the malaise. If not more resources and advanced technology, what can really solve the problem? Is there a magic formula which can eradicate all poverty, global warming, terrorism and conflicts?
We say, “Yes, there is one prescription which truly can solve all the ills of the world.” And it is simple, in fact, very natural to man – Love. Many may dismiss this as totally impractical in the modern world, but what if we show live examples of how this has really made a phenomenal difference to millions and accomplished what successive popular governments for sixty years in India, or the United Nations could not achieve.
But mind you, this is not the ‘love’ how the world generally understands it. “I love my family, I love my children,” one may say. But that is only an iota and, in fact, a tainted picture of what true love is. Love gives by giving and forgiving. “Expansion is love,” Bhagavan Baba says. But how do we expand this love so that it really transforms the world? That is what the grand exhibition “Prema Jyothi” staged in the Poornachandra auditorium during the Guru Poornima celebrations was all about. Visitors were so touched with this presentation that two out of three said, “You must have this in different states of India and move it to all countries of the world.” Well, that is what we are doing in this issue. Now it is available online for anybody anywhere to see it.
When you read the cover story, you will know what tremendous triumphs Love, in its purest form, can bring about. Can you imagine one person from a rural hamlet single-handedly providing drinking water to one million poor and neglected people, absolutely free? Think about offering treatment to ten lakh people – including complicated surgeries for many - with no charge. In the Healing Touch section of this issue, you can read how a small government worker from Orissa, who had lost all hope and happiness in life because of the exorbitant amount his son’s cardiac ailment would need, found a new lease of life and joy when he arrived at the Super Specialty Hospital in Whitefield. He now says, “It is unbelievable. It is a miracle we received such wonderful treatment at no cost.”
But this love is not about providing free food, water or healthcare. That is only a small part of the whole equation. What is more important is what it does to individuals. Few people know that most of the patients and their relatives who have visited Swami’s Hospitals are so touched that they long to come to this ‘Temple of Healing’ to serve voluntarily. Many take up service activities in their region. It is the same with every Sai service project.
In the Sai Seva section of this issue, you can see how the Sai Youth of Andhra Pradesh have reached out to the unlettered and downtrodden fishing community of Giripuram, a forgotten village in coastal Andhra Pradesh, and have replaced their ‘school’ under the shade of the trees with a fine and compact building, and also brought to the homes of these villagers sweet drinking water who, till a few months ago, had only salt water to bathe, cook with, or grow their crops. And this is the most beautiful part of pure love.
If we look at Swami’s Life in the last eight decades, it is only a saga of Pure Love. It fills us with great optimism and confidence. It unravels to us the magnificent potential of this simple virtue. Today man knows how to unleash the power of the atom, but sadly does not try to understand or rely upon the Power that has powered the protons and electrons inside the atom. The problems of today’s world cannot be solved with the grand United Nations Millennium Development Goals; it can be solved, as Swami says, by Unity and Purity, the basis of which is Pure Love, which is nothing but Divine.
Mr. Stephen Post, a Bioethicist from the Case Western Reserve University states, “It is abundantly clear people who live generous lives also live happier lives. Giving is the most potent force on the planet ... and will protect you your whole life.” And this giving, he says, must be heartfelt, and not mechanical, for only then does it ‘light up’ the area of the brain which will keep us healthy.
Whether we look at it scientifically, philosophically, economically or politically, the only sustainable solution for mankind today is not tracking and taxing carbon footprints, or developing innovative technologies to handle global war against terror or poverty; it is making every man realize that he is a spark of the Divine sustained by Love. Only when we visualize this light of love in our hearts, this “Prema Jyothi”, and share it with all, will we be at peace, within and without - just like a lamp which placed at the door illumines the interior as well as the exterior of the house.
Let’s shine with love and share it with every being around. Let’s make this Earth reverberate with Divine love. We would then have achieved prosperity along with abundant tranquility.