Volume 14 - Issue 07
July 2016
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Posted on: July 03, 2016


Guru Poornima Special Offering
(Daily Episode)

Part - 25

In 2006, eager to start a service which will help everyone to connect with Bhagawan's teachings on a daily basis, Radio Sai began 'Sai Inspires'. All who subscribed to this service, received an email from us which had a concise message of Baba accompanied with His image. This daily offering was received well, and soon the subscriptions grew. Today nearly 100,000 people from all corners of the world wait for this message to help them tide over their day with peace and ease. The power inherent in these discourse capsules is indeed tremendous. How much we benefit from it and how best we harness this energy depends purely on how seriously we ruminate over these words and how sincerely we put our learning into action. To help us in this noble and elevating exercise, Prof. G. Venkataraman has taken time out to elaborate on these messages. His reflections will not only give us a deeper understanding into what the Lord is communicating to us but also give us tips to translate them into our daily practical life with more ease.

The best way to value the Master is to master His values. As we prepare to celebrate Guru Poornima (July 19), when we pay our respects and obeisance to the Divine Master, let us work to offer Him the tribute that the Lord loves the most from us - to make our lives His message, to make His love and wisdom shine in us. To aid us in this endeavour we have this series where Prof. Venkataraman for the next 26 days from June 9, 2016 shares his insights on select Sai Inspires messages. We hope this will help us to understand His teachings better and bolster our determination to walk on the sacred path.

Sai Inspires Message


Many people imagine that they are caught up in the coils of Samsara (worldly life) and are the victims of worldly existence. This is a ridiculous idea. It is not family life that binds you. It has no arms to clasp you. It is you who are endowed with hands, eyes and ears. It is you who are holding on to worldly life and suffering the consequences. This is the truth in the false and the unreality in the Real. This accounts for the fact that in the world today the false is deemed true and the truth is considered as untrue.

- Divine Discourse, December 18, 1994.


Sai Ram. The above quote in essence is the answer that Swami gives to many people who say that they are too busy to do service. The one who gives the excuse may be rich or poor, young or old, educated or uneducated, but the standard argument often reduces to: “Listen, I am of this world and very much in this world. Life is a game of intense competition and survival and takes up all the time available. I have so many things to do and so many responsibilities. Where is the time for spirituality and that kind of stuff?”

That is the ready-made argument that people give. In private conversations, depending on the maturity of the person concerned, Swami would sometimes gently edge that person to change or simply leave it at that, allowing the person to mature. Nevertheless, in public discourses, Bhagawan often took the subject head-on, and the remark you heard at start is typical of what He would say. After pointing out that it is we who cling to the world and not the other way around, Swami would usually illustrate His point with a simple example. Holding a kerchief in His hand and stretching it out, He would say:

Here is the kerchief. Now who is holding whom? Is the kerchief holding Me or am I holding the kerchief? Obviously, it is the latter. If now I choose to let go, the kerchief drops from My hand, and I am not tied to it anymore. Now tell Me, if the kerchief was holding Me, would it have dropped so easily? Clearly not. It is I who was holding the kerchief, and it was I who let it go. The moment I let it go, it dropped.

I have seen this demo of the dropping kerchief any number of times, but I don’t think it ever made any impression on anyone, simply because few take the trouble to reflect deeply on the implications of what Swami is telling us.

You may say, “OK, mister wise-guy, now you tell us what Swami means?” I shall certainly do this, and via several examples, starting with Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Most people would know him mainly as India’s most dynamic President who made it almost a religion to be in constant touch with the young people of India and inspire them. I came to know him much earlier, way back in 1985, when I was on sabbatical from my lab and holding the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship to engage in academic study and research. I applied for this Fellowship because I was sick and tired of doing scientific administration for nearly fifteen years and wanted to get back to academia without management headaches; the Fellowship gave me that chance.

At that time, my good friend Dr. V. S. Arunachalam who was then the Scientific Advisor to the Indian Defence Minister, told me that there was a project that Dr. Kalam was doing - I should mention here that by that time, Dr. Kalam had moved over from Space to Defence Research, was working on major projects and reporting to Dr. Arunachalam. He wanted some help from me specifically, and would I be willing to take some time off, go to Hyderabad, and do the needful? At first, I was reluctant since it meant giving up precious research time and go back to organisation, even if for only small spells. Nevertheless, it was a national call and so I said yes. That’s how I came to know Kalam and realised what a truly Spartan life he led.

Cut now to the year 2002. I am here in Prasanthi, and Swami had decided that we must have Dr. Kalam as the Chief Guest for our Annual Convocation. Aware of the fact that I knew him, Swami sent me to Delhi to personally invite the President. All the official arrangements for the visit to Delhi were made and one fine morning, I was in the President’s Office, sitting before him, with a table separating us. There were many books on the table, mostly relating to constitutional laws, Supreme Court Judgements, Parliament Rulings and that kind of thing. That did not surprise me in the least; what surprised me was that sitting on top of all those tomes was a book on the Ramayana written by C.Rajagopalachari, or Rajaji as he was known, a celebrated freedom fighter of the old guard and who in fact served as India’s Governor General after Lord Mountbatten stepped down after ushering in Independence and presiding over the transfer of power from the British Crown to India.

Now anyone sitting where I was might not have noticed the Ramayana on the presidential table but I did, and it made a huge impact on me. Why? Because the Ramayana is all about giving up even a kingdom for the sake of Dharma. I was very happy, silently of course. Later, after our conversation was over, Dr. Kalam kindly said, “Why don’t you have lunch with me before going?” I readily agreed, and when it was time for lunch, he said, “Come, let me first show you where I live.” This building was huge, and meant to be THE symbol of power of the mighty British Empire. It was truly palatial in size, with huge and stately rooms, close to about 500 or six hundred of them - I tell you, it was an awesome experience, to walk through and past room after room. Dr. Kalam looked at me, smiled and said, “Now you would know what I mean by saying that for my morning walk I simply walk across this building from one end to the other!”

I am sure many of you must be wondering whether I have gone off the track, on to something that has nothing to do with the Sai Quote I am supposed to be discussing. Not at all. By way of reassuring you, let me first highlight the key points made by Swami. They are:

• It is you who are holding on to worldly life and suffering the consequences.

• This is the truth in the false and the unreality in the Real.

• This accounts for the fact that in the world today the false is deemed true and the truth is considered as untrue.

So what do they mean, and what has my digression into the story of my meeting with Kalam got to do with it? That’s what we shall now consider.

Take Dr. Kalam. As President, he lived in a grand palace built to glorify the British Empire; and yet he lived like a simple man, because that was always his style. I have known him earlier when he was Director of a Defence Lab in Hyderabad, and I too was holding a similar post. As Director, he was entitled to a bungalow with three bedrooms and all the rest, but he refused to occupy one saying, “I am a bachelor, and one unit of the Guest House with just two rooms, one bedroom and one living room would do for me.”

When he went to Delhi on promotion and joined the ranks of top civil servants, he still refused a bungalow and lived in the DRDO Guest House there, occupying just two rooms. Was it any surprise that he did the same when he became the First Citizen? The point is that he did not allow the world to capture him with his trappings. I must here not forget to call attention to Harry Truman, who succeeded the famous President Roosevelt or FDR right in the middle of WW II, and then served one more term from 1948 to 1952. After stepping down and handing over to WW II hero Eisenhower, the office of the Presidency, Harry Truman simply got into his car along with his wife, and personally drove more than a thousand miles to his home town in the state of Missouri, stopping over in ordinary hotels on the way and mingling with ordinary people. He could have gone back home as a great hero, riding in an official plane, and so on, but he said no. Again, a classic case of refusing to be affected by the trappings of the world.


Let’s jump back to Swami and examine what the tale of these two presidents have to do with Swami. Both of them realized that what was real was the job of being President and NOT the perks that come along with it. And when the day came, they were able to walk away with great ease and comfort because no maya was holding them. This brings me directly to the key sentence of Gita Vahini which sort of summarises all this for all people. As best as I can remember it, this is what Swami says:

• You are born in this world and must therefore live in this world. Accept that. By doing so, you are NOT violating any commandment of the Lord.

• Destiny places you in a certain position; it may be as a soldier or as a president or whatever. Do your duty as you ought to.

• This means that while your actions must relate to the world, the motivations for the actions must be rooted in Eternal Values.

It is the last sentence that holds the key. It is a command with deep and profound implications and it means the following:

• Follow Dharma always; never compromise on that.

• Don’t get attached to the trappings of Office if you happen to hold a high one.

• Remember that at the end of the day, it is Sathya and Dharma alone that are eternal. Thus, when you are in this world, see God’s immanence in the world; that is the part that is real; ignore the trappings part, for that is unreal.

Bearing the above in mind, it is most educative to examine the lives of Rama and Janaka. Both were kings. While Janaka was born to be a king, ruled as one and finally gave up his body as a king, he never allowed himself to become bound by the trappings of royalty; and, he always adhered to Dharma.

What about Rama? He was born to be a king but walked away from ruler-ship when it came to upholding a promise. That promise was actually made by His father, but it did not matter. The father happened to be a king and a king’s word must always be honoured, or else it would impair the rule of law. And so He went into exile. And by the way, if you have read the Ramayana you would know two important things. Firstly, just before He goes on exile, Rama gives away all His belongings as charity for He does not want to be bound by possessions while leading the life of a hermit in exile. Secondly, when Bharatha comes to persuade Rama to return, Rama not only stubbornly holds on to His vow but also ticks off Sage Jabali who tries to argue that world is the only reality.

As Swami says, the world is a mixture of that which is Eternal and that which is transient. The physical aspects that we see are always changing and that is the part which is unreal. However, immanent in all things material and living is Pure Consciousness or Atma or Brahman or God, call it what you will, and that is Real. Thus the bottom line is:

Go through life seeing God who is everywhere, in everything, and do this all the time. If you manage to do this, then your actions would be in this world, but based on values beyond this world.

By the way, seeing the Omnipresence of God all the time is what Swami used to refer to as Constant Integrated Awareness, or CIA, if you want to remember it! And living life using CIA as the main compass is the central command of Gita Vahini.

This was a rather long reflection, but then it also shows how compressed Swami’s teachings can be. Bearing that in mind, don’t you think we should spend more time reflecting on the Message of the Lord than on other things, most of which are trivial anyway?

Think about it! Jai Sai Ram.

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Radio Sai Team

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