Every cloud, they say, has a silver lining. In the world today, we see countless ominous clouds hovering over the human race causing tremendous physical unrest and mental turmoil. If one mass of humanity is trying to come to grips with a financial debacle, the severity of which history had never seen before; in another region, a war between two groups never seems to cease, and has now turned even more gruesome and pathetic. Even before modern science successfully creates a vaccine for a hitherto incurable disease, there is a new malady marooning lives by millions. Return on investment maximization has become the sole goal of virtually every business enterprise, with little concern to society’s physical health, the damage of its moral fibre, or the irreparable violation of the environment. Educational institutions, which historically had the goal of building a generation with strong character and skills, still have those objectives now, but only on paper; in practice, they run like commercial organizations. Reputed business concerns, which were the pride of nations, have, overnight turned into icons of ignominy. In spite of all human ingenuity over centuries, millions are without jobs, and one out of every six in the world today does not earn enough to eat two square meals a day.
With such downcast clouds, where is the silver lining, one might sarcastically ask? There is one. In fact, there is a golden lining, if only we care to observe, understand and assimilate. In a time when professional education has become highly expensive and obtaining degrees from reputed universities is generally beyond the reach of the lower middle class, there is a University in South India that is rated as “A++” by the country’s University Grants Commission, and for more than a quarter of a century has offered not only quality education to facilitate a great career, but also has conferred on its students a sound character. Read the stories “From the Joy of Symphony to the Bliss of Sai” and “Powerful Reminiscences of His Presence” to get a feel of how this unique educational system creates enlightened souls out of ordinary individuals.
Similarly, in the present healthcare system, to fall seriously sick with no health insurance is as catastrophic as committing a cardinal sin, and only divine providence can save the person whether one is in the developed or developing world. There are unique medical institutions which, for years together, have offered the most advanced tertiary care to the poorest of the poor, unconditionally, incessantly, and at absolutely no cost to the patients. When you read the story of Gayatri and Rajendra Kumar Kar in the Healing Touch section, you will get a glimpse of how miracles can manifest everyday in the sphere of Medicare if there is a pure intention and passionate zeal to help the suffering and downtrodden.
Ask any corporate executive today, “Are you strictly following your conscience and conforming to moral values in your dealings everyday?” More often than not, you will get an evasive or diplomatic reply. To compromise on principles - to rise up the organizational ladder or to make a fast buck - is a necessary evil. And as most executives would privately opine: 'Besides, values are nice and good in theory, but are not practical in a competitive world.' At the same time, there are thousands today who maintain harmony between their thoughts, words and deeds; they lead a life which has truth and integrity as its basis. One fantastic example of this is the story “The ‘Value’d Investment” in the Harnessing the Heart section. You will be thrilled to know how a determined individual has been able to ride the crest on Wall Street when everybody else is drowning, not because of his sound business sense, but due to a strong moral compass.
Such streaks of golden light in the landscape of gloom and doom are actually many, and that is because they emanate from the Sun of a Brilliant Being – Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It is He who has set up these golden institutions of Educare, Medicare and Sociocare, which have redefined the very concept of Social Responsibility. He has done this not by mobilizing resources or hiring intelligent minds, but by creating hearts of gold; by demonstrating through His own Life how Love, not money or power, is the greatest force in this world - potent enough to achieve the impossible.
When His 83rd birthday arrived in the month of November 2008, devotees longed and prayed that He ride on a golden chariot. They wanted to make the occasion really special, and acceding to their requests, He lovingly yielded. And that is how November 17, 2008 has become a historic day for humanity. This spectacle was actually the culmination of the grand event - Sahasra Poorna Chandra Darshanam Mahotsavam, an elaborate sacrifice with a lofty objective. Generally, this ritual is performed to pray for an elder who has had the opportunity to witness a thousand full moons in his life’s sojourn, which happens when one reaches the age of 83. But in the divine presence of Bhagavan Baba, this ritual attained a completely new dimension, and it was unprecedented in a number of ways. How was it unique? What was the real intention behind this mega sacrifice? How appropriate was it to perform on His Birthday, when we adore Bhagavan Baba as the timeless One? And curiously, what prayers do we offer for He who is the One everybody prays to? In our cover story “The Scintillating Story of His Splendour” you will find answers to all these and many more questions.
You will know that the event was actually not for Him, but for all of us. A South African who was present in the stadium during the event said, “I felt all my vices and evil tendencies are being burnt away in this holy sacrifice, I feel cleansed; I am transformed.” To another, a Croatian, it was, “definitely the harbinger of the golden age; Baba, in the yellow robe on the Golden chariot, was verily Lord Krishna come again”. Whenever devotees wish Him “Happy Birthday”, Baba often says, “I am always happy, you be happy!” In fact, ethereal heights of happiness, is what every devotee experienced, when Baba glided into the Vidyagiri stadium on the golden vehicle on that momentous day.
Truly, the only activity Baba has been engaged in, right from the day of His advent on November 23, 1926, is to fill others’ hearts with love and bliss. And He has been able to do this because, as He Himself has revealed, there is no trace of selfishness in Him from “top to toe”. Love is selflessness. He has demonstrated to us how glorious our “self” can be, if only we practiced unconditional love sincerely and relentlessly.
Whether we realize it or not, in spite of so many critical challenges facing the planet which are like “passing clouds”, the present times are actually the most magnificent: The permanent Sun of Swami is now available for us all to bask in His light and glory. Man may have conquered the Moon and in the future may land on Mars, but what splendour indeed, for God is now walking on the Earth! These are golden moments, undoubtedly. Let us make the best use of it; let us “make hay” by helping all and hurting none, while the Sun of Sai’s physical presence shines upon our planet during our lifetime!
Let goodness envelope all beings and transmute us into proficient instruments in His Hands.