THE VISION OF THE JAGADGURU
Speech by Mr. Sanjay Sahani
on May 4, 2011 (Aradhana Mahotsavam Day) in Sai Kulwant Hall
On the morning of May 4, 2011, a special Aradhana Mahatsovam – a ceremony of Prayer beseeching Lord Sai to incarnate again was conducted in the Sai Kulwant Hall; it was the 11th day since Bhagawan Baba had shed His mortal coil. In the evening of the same day there was a special congregation of devotees again in the Sai Kulwant Hall and four distinguished elders of the Sai family addressed the gathering.
The second speaker that evening was Mr. Sanjay Sahani who was introduced to the audience by Mr. G. S. Srirangarajan. Presented below is the transcript of this talk along with the introduction.
An alumni of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Mr. Sanjay Sahani was a student of the first batch of the 5-year integrated Commerce Program from 1982 to 1987. He won the gold medal for academic excellence both for his Bachelors of Commerce as well as Masters of Commerce programmes. Subsequently Bhagawan Baba blessed him to join as a Faculty Member in the Department of Commerce in 1987 at the Prashanti Nilayam Campus.
So confident was Bhagawan of his capabilities that within three years he was blessed to be the Warden of the Senior Boys Campus at Prashanti Nilayam in 1990, a position he held until 1993. He then moved on to the Brindavan Campus of the Institute to teach at the Department of Commerce. He is a very inspiring teacher and students often flock to hear him sharing his experiences with Bhagawan. In 2002, Swami again blessed him to assume further responsibilities by making him the Principal of the Brindavan Campus, a position he holds till date.
I offer my humble salutations at the lotus feet of our beloved Bhagawan, who gave us the understanding that He is our constant companion in our life, the eternal companion of our soul.
Revered elders, sisters and brothers,
When the divine decides to make His advent on earth, two beautiful things happen. Mankind gets an opportunity to see God’s love for man and we also get an opportunity to see man’s love for God, which the Avatar intensifies. Today I propose to share some thoughts on man’s love for God.
Mr. Sanjay Sahani addressing the congregation of devotees in Sai Kulwant Hall on the evening of May 4, 2011.
Sai - The Teacher of the World
The editor of Christian Health was once asked, “Do you know God?” And he replied, “I know very little of Him, but whatever little I know, transformed my life”. Living with Bhagawan is verily an education - the true education. And on behalf of thousands of students who were the privileged beneficiaries of Bhagawan’s unique and glorious educational system and philosophy, in Sai educational institutions and also in the Balavikas and EHV programmes, I offer this as our Shraddaanjali (homage) at Bhagawan’s lotus feet.
It was the year 1983, Dassara was fast approaching and a few students had been selected to deliver talks during the ‘Prasanthi Vidwan Maha Sabha’ deliberations held every evening. Bhagawan had summoned us to His presence and among other things, very lovingly He was enquiring of each student, what his topic for the talk was. When He came to me, I said, “Swami! I would like to speak on ‘Sai – Our Sadguru’”. Like a good teacher who wants his pupil to have clear concepts, Bhagawan asked me, “Who is a Guru?” I know He was not looking for a translation of the word ‘Guru’ and so I kept quiet. He explained, "‘Gu’ stands for the darkness of ignorance and ‘Ru’ is the one who removes it. ‘Guru’ is one who removes the darkness of ignorance."
Bhagawan gave us not merely a life but also a way of life. He gave us a goal, a meaning and a direction to our lives, to walk on the path shown to find fulfillment of our life. He then asked, “Who is the Sadguru?” I said, “Bhagawan, Sadguru is one who takes the individual beyond the ocean of samsara, the cycle of birth and death.” He seemed to be satisfied with the answer. And then came the revelation: He said, “Sai is not the Guru or Sadguru (Teacher of Truth); He is Jagadguru (Teacher of the World)”.
God to be God must rule the heart and transform it, said Mahatma Gandhi, and if there is one miracle of Swami that is every devotee's experience it is - transformation of his/her heart.
He is not merely Vyaktinath (Lord of people) but Loknath (The Lord of the World) and that vision I had on the day of Bhagawan’s Maha Samadhi, when lakhs of devotees from all over the world flocked to Prasanthi Nilayam. On one hand we had the royalty, some of the most powerful men and women in India, assembling here to offer their homage to Bhagawan; and on the other hand, the layman on the street, unmindful of all the inconveniences, walking barefoot in the scorching sun just to have the glimpse of the Divine body.
Struck with grief, thousands rushed to Prasanthi Nilayam between April 24-27 to watch the physical form of their Beloved.
Their unbearable sorrow and pain...
The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh paying his homage to Bhagawan.
This was the anguish of every soul who came to have His darshan during those final moments...
Love for Love’s Sake
Even before that we were witness to beautiful scenes; shall I tell you of how our teachers in the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School along with few students, ever since Bhagawan was admitted to the Hospital took up the task of Akhand Naam Jap – 24 hours day-after-day?
One day a teacher was an eye witness to a beautiful incident. One of the students had finished his chanting at 2.30 a.m. and retired to his room. This teacher finished his chanting at 3.30 a.m. and was going to his room when he heard some chanting coming out from the student’s room. So he went into the room and, lo and behold, what does he find? The student is fast asleep. But even in his sleep, he is chanting the name of Bhagawan!
Shall I tell you of the villagers of Puttaparthi, who every evening, men, women and children took out a candlelit procession, chanting the name of the Lord and praying for Bhagawan to come back to us soon. Even far away from Puttaparthi, the scenes were very touching. In the district of Kanker, Chattisgarh State in India, when the message reached them that Bhagawan has taken Maha Samadhi, the men folk of the village, shaved off their heads as if each one of them had lost personally one of their family members.
This happened at the place in South India, in the border of Andhra and Tamil Nadu, where the water project ‘Sai Ganga’ that Swami has initiated enters Tamil Nadu. One day when the District President of Sathya Sai Organisations, Tamil Nadu, was in his shop, about 15-20 villagers entered his premises. He thought that he was in trouble; it was election time. What were the villagers up to? They said, “Sir, we came to know that Ayya (Father) is not well (They used to refer to Swami as Ayya in Tamil). He is admitted to the Hospital and we are not well to do people. This is what we all can do. We have mobilized Rs. 2000; can you please send it to Puttaparthi and see that Ayya is treated well in the Hospital?” When those villagers were leaving, one of them went up to the devotee and said, “I belong to a very low caste. I don’t know whether I can say it but I feel like saying it. It seems Ayya’s organs are not functioning well. Can you please send word to them that I am willing to offer the organs of my body so that Ayya may become well?”
Bhagawan has said, "There is only one caste, the caste of humanity; there is only one religion, the religion of love; there is only one language, the language of the heart; there is only one God, He is Omnipresent!
Look at the feelings and sentiments that He has evoked in the heart of one and all! That was the vision that I had.
Where is Swami?
I reached Prasanthi Nilayam on April 1 after completing my official duties at Brindavan. Ever since then, every day we would look forward to some trickle of news which would give us hope that soon Swami would be amidst us. As I reflected, I thought to myself, if Swami wanted He could have left the body in a second but we would have not been able to take it. He allowed us time to reconcile to it. In that process, Swami, the Master Stroke Player that He is, never throws a shot without multiple objectives. Though He is an embodiment of bliss, He used that one month period to take the sins of humanity on His physical body and washed them away.
In 2003, when Swami had a fall at Brindavan, one day elders were sitting at His lotus feet. One of them asked, “Why this Swami?” Bhagawan said, “You cannot understand”. And then another elder said, “Swami, You are taking over the sins of humanity on Your body”. Swami said, “I have come for that very purpose, isn’t it?” Even in His last act, He was always thinking of us! Always thinking of taking over our burdens!
Bhagawan gave Himself away completely to the students and the devotees. As He Himself revealed on many occasions: "Top to toe I am completely selfless.'
Where is Swami? Where is He not? One of the beautiful trainings He had given us is that He is always with us.
One day, I was sharing with the students this incident quoting His padhyam (poem). As Prof. Anil Kumar a few minutes ago was referring, Swami used to say: “I am in you, around you, above you, below you, in front you, behind you…” and when I completed it, Swami corrected me and completed the statement; He said, “I am with you…I am with you”.
In this context, let me share with you the experience of one of the staff members in Brindavan. When he got the message that Swami had taken Samadhi, he was very distraught. He said that early in the morning at 5 a.m. he was praying, “Swami, we have become orphans!” Swami always used to tell us, "Never call yourself ‘Anaath' (an orphan). There is nobody who is Anaath, why? Because you have Swami as Naatha (Lord) for you. There is only one person who can take the title (of Anaath) and that is God Himself because He has no Naatha.”
When he was praying in this manner that morning at 5.30 a.m. his sister who was asleep in her home at Chennai gets this dream. She is in her brother’s home at Whitefield, Bangalore and is equally distraught; she is praying, “Swami! Why have you left us?” Then she sees that Swami manifests in that home and He comes up to her and tells, “Where have I gone? I am there with you.”
She says, “No Swami”. Swami says, “Take namaskar" (the blessing of touching the holy feet) and persuades her to take namaskar. As she was doing this, Swami threw akshathas (sanctified yellow rice grains) on her. When she got up in the morning, her whole bed was full of akshathas!
“I am with you” – that is Bhagawan’s assurance to all of us. Swami once said, “You may forget Me, I will never ever forget you… I will never forget you.”
His ever-protective Grace always envelopes us wherever we are whoever we are.
What Should We Do Next?
The question arises, what next? One of our research scholars in his meditation was praying to Swami with this very question: "What next?" Swami said, “The next stage is Saaroopyam.” We had Saalokyam – we were in the same Kingdom of the Lord; we had Saameepyam – we enjoyed His proximity. The next stage is Saaroopyam. So what is Saaroopyam? To become like the Lord. From the stage of being like a watchman at the Lord’s gate, you become a prince. You look alike to the Lord, the King Himself.
Swami gives the example of Bharatha. When Bharatha returned from the forest, he agreed to rule the kingdom in the name of Rama. Rama is the true emperor. So he left the palace and took up his residence in the village Nandigram, which was in the outskirts. He dressed like Sri Rama; ate the food that Rama would be eating in the forest; put his hair in matted locks just like Rama and was constantly thinking of Rama – Yad Bhavam Tat Bhavati; Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati (you become what you think; one who thinks of Brahman becomes Brahman).
When Rama returns after 14 years, he meets Bharatha and together they enter the city of Ayodhya. They both look alike; the people of Ayodhya are not able to distinguish between the two. They rush to Bharatha to garland him. Understanding their predicament, he says, “Here is Sri Rama, here is Sri Rama…please garland Him, please welcome Him”.
Saroopyam is to become the Message of the Lord. Swami’s whole life was a life of selfless love; and now it is our turn to live that kind of life.
The Goal of Every Sai Devotee
I would like to conclude with a small experience; I thought it was a personal experience but I think it was a message for all especially for those who are associated with Swami’s Institutions and Swami’s Organisations.
Few months ago, during February, the final year students at Brindavan had planned a day long celebration – a farewell day. There were activities throughout the day. The next day they asked me, “Sir, please tell us how you liked our day?” I said, “Each one enjoys in their own way”. “But we want to know how you enjoyed,” one of the students asked. “If you want to know, then I will share with you,” I said.
In the evening, they had organized a fair in the hostel quadrangle. There were so many stalls and when I entered, a student came and said, “Sir, there is a fortune-teller, please come there” and when I looked, there was a huge queue as so many students were keen to know their fortune. I said I will come in the end; let everybody know their fortune first. So towards the end, I went up to the stall. There was a student who said, “Sir, will you please pick up a slip?” I picked and it was a blank slip of paper. I was little perplexed; I thought there would be a message but it was an empty slip of paper. The boy took the slip and dipped in a bowl of water; then he took out the paper and started drying it. I knew he is a chemist and is doing some chemical reaction, so I asked him about the chemical being used and he mentioned it.
Immediately my mind was transported to the summer of 1972. There was a student, here at Prasanthi Nilayam, sitting at the lotus feet of Swami. Bhagawan asked him, “What is the most cherished desire of your life?” The boy was perplexed; he didn’t know how to answer. Swami said, “Get a tumbler of water and a sheet of paper.” Swami took the paper, rolled it up like a pencil and dipped it into the tumbler, and the sheet became wet. He then put it into the boy’s left shirt pocket. After a few minutes as it dried, Swami asked him to read. The white sheet of paper now had a message. And, what was it?
“Swami! Give me the strength to love you with all my heart”
I was reminded of that episode when that boy was drying that slip of paper and I was wondering what I was in store for and slowly the letters emerged. Brothers and sisters, this is not a message for me; it’s a message for all of us, who have come forward to participate in the Divine mission of Bhagawan Baba. The message read:
“Bangaru (Golden one)! You are doing My work. I love you! – Baba”
Lord Narayana said: Math Bhakthah, Yathra Gayathi, thathra thistaami Naradha
Meaning, “Wherever My name is sung, I install Myself.”
But Bhagawan has said, “Wherever My work is done, I manifest Myself.”
It is the greatest fortune of our life that He gave us an opportunity to dedicate our lives to His mission. With courage, confidence, enthusiasm and with full realization that the Force behind us is the Divine Himself and we are only His instruments (‘Nimitthamaathram Bhavya Savyasaachi” – 'You are only an instrument', says Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita), let us carry forward the little spark of love that He had lit in our hearts; let us preserve that spark and transmit it to whomsoever we meet in our life and the golden age is sure to come.
Jai Sai Ram!
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