Volume 5 - Issue 12
“Where do I begin to tell the story of how great a love can be?
The sweet Love Story…that is older than the sea;
The simple truth about the Love He brings to me.
Where do I… start?
Where do we…start?”
I offer our most loving and humble salutations at the Divine Lotus Feet of our most beloved Bhagavan. Revered elders, dear brothers and sisters, Sai Ram to all of you.
Even as we stand on the threshold of another milestone, another anniversary (it was the 21st Anniversary of the MBA programme of Sri Sathya Sai University), I cannot but wonder in utter awe, admiration and a deep sense of gratitude for what Bhagavan has done for all of us.
In 1963, when one of the foreign devotees had come for the first time to Puttaparthi, he described Puttaparthi as a stone’s throw from the Stone-age. And today, what we see is that the whole world has come to Puttaparthi! How can we count our blessings? How fortunate are we? Let me just share with you this interesting thought that I have:
Scientists say that the universe is about 13.5 billion years old, which is an incredibly long time, and the average life span of a man on the earth is about 100 years. Imagine our great good fortune that we happen to be on this earth, at the very same time, in the entire span of 14 billion years! We happen to be just at the time when God, the Creator of this Universe is also present on this earth!
Puppets in His Plan
More importantly, how fortunate are we that we have been chosen by Him, that we have been called by Him that He has given us an opportunity to sit on the ring-side and watch His Divine Master Plan unfold! Giving us this opportunity to play our little roles in this Divine Master Plan. My Mother had taught me a very beautiful Hindi song. It goes something like this:
which means, this entire world is a manifestation of His Master Plan. When even the Moon and the Stars cannot change His Master plan, where is man in this whole scheme of things? It is but a puppet. And we are so lucky to be puppets in His hand.
To be Bhagavan’s student, especially a Management Student, has been the only exhilarating experience of my life. What have I learnt from this experience? I wish to share some of my thoughts on what I have gained from Swami as a Management Student, taking the aid of a small stanza which runs as follows
(A song in Hindi)
“Hey Aankh voh jo Shyam ka darshan kiya kare?
Hey sheesh jo Prabhu charan me vandan kiya kare?
Bekar voh mookh hai, jo rahe vyarth bathon mey
Mookh voh hai jo, Sai naam ka sumiran kiya kare..
Hire Mothi se nahi, shobha hai hath ki
Hey hath jo Bhagavan ka poojan kiya kare
Markar bhi amar nam hai us jeev ka jag me
Prabhu prem mey, Sai prem mey, balidan jo
Jeevan kiya kare..”
[Of what use are the eyes, if they cannot have Darshan of Shyam (the Lord)? Of what use are the hands if they cannot worship the Lord? Foolish is the mouth that rambles aimlessly. Blessed is the tongue that chants the Name of Sai. The hands are beautiful not by holding precious pearls, but by worshipping the Lord. The one who lives, even if he is dead, is the one who offers his life at the Feet of the Lord.”]
The Ultimate Lesson
“Hey Aankh voh jo Shyam ka darshan kiya kare?"
Those are the true eyes that see the Lord everywhere.
How does this apply to us, Management Students? The corporate life can be a pretty tricky one. Bhagavan says, “See God in everyone.” One of the Devotees of Bhagavan, who is stationed in Delhi, heads a very large organization. And He used to hear Bhagavan often saying, “See God in everyone.” He used to wonder, “Swami, how do I do it?”
And he had a special difficulty with one particular subordinate of his. This person was not only a misfit to the Organization, but more importantly, he had an attitude problem. And whatever he did was just not tolerated by this Sai devotee. On one occasion, he had committed such a big blunder that in a fit of rage, this devotee slapped him and told him, “Get out of here.”
That night as he slept, Bhagavan came in his dream. He saw Bhagavan standing outside the window, but what really horrified him was that Bhagavan’s cheeks were red. And Swami was rubbing his cheeks.
As soon as he saw this, he immediately got up and began to cry and sob. He said, “Swami, now I know what is the meaning of seeing God in every being is!”
Let us all believe that every person who walks into our life, every individual who comes in contact with us, is His Form.
He Writes the Programme
The next line is the song is:
“Hey sheesh jo prabhu charan mey vandan kiya kare.”
What use is the human body if it does not bow to the Lord with love and humility.
I am reminded here of another very beautiful story. Swami says that a fruit laden branch always bows down. Because, it has humility, it wants to serve the other. And so also should be a knowledgeable mind. But unfortunately, when we gather all this data and information, we start to float. And Swami says that this knowledge is actually the air which makes us float, which is truly nothing.
One of our students, armed with an MBA degree from this Institute, had passed out and had always this feeling that it is he who can do everything. This took him far and wide, to so many places and ultimately he joined a large multi national corporation in the United States
Just to give a background of this organization, they manufactured a certain electronic component almost a hundred per minute, and a part of the process was that as this item was manufactured, it had to be labelled and then it would be loaded on to the trucks. This labelling process was done manually and that was the bottleneck of this process.
This brother, a senior brother of ours, had risen to the position of the Chief Technology Officer, and so he proposed to the management to automate this entire process of labelling. The management agreed to the proposal and gave him this responsibility, invested a sufficient amount of money and told him that within 6 months he had to come up with the project.
He worked day and night and came up with a wonderful program that executes this entire process electronically. He tested this whole process more than 1000 times and every time it was a success. The day of this program going live arrived, and five minutes into this process, he started to get calls into his office – “This program is not working, what have you done?”, “We have invested so much in this, and is this what we get?” and so on. Very soon, within the next 15 minutes the entire management team was in his cabin, questioning him.
He was under intense pressure. At this stage, he just said, “Please leave me alone for 5 minutes. Let me try and rectify the situation. I will think peacefully over a cup of coffee and get back.”
As soon as these people left, he didn’t go for coffee. He just bowed his head down and said, “Swami, I am a big zero. I am nothing. This is my prayer to you: Please bail me out of this trouble!”
Just as he closed his eyes, he heard a voice say, “Kumar!” It was exactly the way Bhagavan used to call him, when he was here as part of his MBA Program. “Kumar, emi ra Kumar?” (What happened, Kumar?) And he opened his eyes and he didn’t know where this voice was coming from. It was very clearly Bhagavan’s voice.
And then, he says, for the next 10 minutes what he didn’t know what he did. He just mechanically followed Bhagavan’s instructions. Swami asked him to open a particular window and change all the parameters there. A minute after the whole thing was over, the first phone call comes with the message: “Kumar, the process is successful, the labelling has started.”
Only when we bow down our head in humility and dedication, can we see His Power work through us!
“Bekhar voh mukh hai jo rahe vyarth bathon me.
Mukh vo hai jo prabhu naam ka sumiran kiya Kare?”
Wasted is the mouth that chatters.
What is the use of the tongue, if it does not chant the Name of the Lord?
Let us look at this third statement now. A saying goes that ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ And when such a power corrupts, it affects our very fundamental thinking process.
One gentleman from Malaysia had a very similar problem. At the very young age of 35, he had romped all the corridors of power and travelled across the world at least a dozen times. He thought, “Yes I am the greatest. I don’t need any God, because God is meant only for the weaklings. I have achieved everything, I don’t require God.” He used to tell everybody that only through self-effort can you achieve in this world. God is not required, unless you are weak minded.
One day, one of his aunts spoke about Bhagavan to this gentleman. And this gentleman said, “First of all, I don’t even believe in the existence of God and here you are trying to tell me that God can come in a human form? This is still a greater figment of your imagination.”
When he went to her house one day, he saw beautiful pictures of Bhagavan all over the place and started an argument with his aunt. As he recalls, “We all do bhajans only for 30 minutes or one hour, but that day for 3 hours non-stop, I kept attacking Swami. I was doing this sub-conscious, unconscious ‘Namasmarana’ of Swami.
I kept challenging Swami and at the height of my arrogance while arguing, I, once, pointed at a photo of Bhagavan and said, ‘If He is who you say He is, let me see His presence, right now!’” And exactly at that moment, Vibhuti started to materialize from that photograph, and he was absolutely bowled over.
He knew for the first time that there exists a power greater than himself, a Source that is not some static entity. It is dynamic and it responds to your call.
Passing a Test
Then, the fourth line of the song:
“Heere mothi se nahi shobha hai hath ki,
hey hath jo Bhagavan ka poojan kiya kare..”
The hands that worship the Lord are precious,
not the ones adorned with valuable pearls.
Bhagavan says, “We have to see God in everyone.” How do we do this? Let me narrate a very beautiful incident that happened about 5 years ago.
It was those cold wintry months of December and January. And one of our students was armed with a letter as he came to Mandir one morning. That was his chance to sit in the first row and he wanted to give Swami a letter which he was trying for many days. He knew that if he missed the chance that particular morning, it would be weeks before he gets a similar opportunity.
So he started from the hostel very early in the morning. As he was proceeding towards the Mandir, he saw a lady seated on the footpath shivering in that bitter chill morning. He couldn’t just pass by her. He thought, “Don’t I have a responsibility. But then, what is going to happen to my chance?” So thinking, he said to himself, “Swami, I know I have to help this lady more than anything else.”
So he ran back to the hostel, picked up a small shawl and a bed sheet, returned to this lady and put it around her. But by that time it was too late. When he reached Mandir, he had to be happy with a seat somewhere in the 5th row. And Bhagavan came out as usual, came straight to him, stretched out His hand and asked for his letter. That day, the boy learnt if we extend our hand in the service of society, God Himself will stretch His hand to take care of all our troubles.
Diving into the Depths of Devotion
And the last line of the song is:
“Mar kar be amar naam hai us jeev ka jag mey,
Prabhu prem mey, balidan jo, jeevan kiya kare”
Lucky is the One who lives even after death,
the One who offers Himself with Love at the Feet of the Divine
It was one of those birthday functions where lakhs of devotees had come to Prashanthi Nilayam, and Puttaparthi was beginning to face the brunt of the resource crunch. It wasn’t as ready then as it is these days and problems with water and sewage were beginning to erupt. On one occasion, it so happened that the entire sewage system gave up.
There was a major block and all the sewage water began to overflow from a particular drain and everybody knew that the only way that this problem could be solved is by someone going down and clearing the muck that was there in the drainage system. But who will do that? How can one jump into that drain?
One Sevadal volunteer from Orissa, without a second thought, removed his shirt and dived straight in! He removed the muck successfully and came out, went straight for a bath, put on his dress and returned to his duty.
The birthday function was over and Bhagavan was giving Padanamaskar (the chance to touch His feet) to all the sevadal members. And nobody had physically informed Swami about this, but He came straight to this man and openly declared in front of everybody: “This man will not have another birth for what he has done.”
When we do something out of our love for God, then Bhagavan Himself will come and bestow upon us the highest of rewards!
“Prabhu prem mey jo apne jeevan detha hai,
Prabhu usko sub kuch dethey hai”
The same few lines are echoed in this Telugu song which is very dear to Bhagavan:
“Ninne dhyaninchaleni, Deha melano?
Ninne Poojinchaleni, Karamulelano?
Kanuvindhula ninu choodani Kannulelano?
Ninne Marachi, Ninthalanchani, Janmamelano?
Ninu thalavani ninu pilavani, jeeva mela jihva mela?”
What is the purpose of this life, if it does not think of You, my beloved Lord?
Sai is Sacrifice in a Shape
We see so much of Bhagavan’s Love pouring forth. But how do we bring this love into our lives? When we look at Bhagavan’s Life, we see that His Life is one of sacrifice. “This is not sacrifice” He tells us. He doesn’t feel that sacrifice Himself! When we look at Him, we see that He is sacrificing. For Him, it is an automatic expression of His love. And He says, just look around at everyone, at all the things that we see in the world. Everything is, in fact, sacrificing for us.
Parapokaarartham, phalanthi vrukshaha
Parapakaarartham dhuhanthi gavaha
Parapokaarartham vahanthi nadhyaha
The trees bear fruits for us, they sacrifice. The rivers flow, and the cows give milk, for us. This whole world functions only for us. Then what is our role? We also have to sacrifice. To conclude, I am reminded of this very beautiful song, which echoes these same sentiments.
Oh Bhagavan, let us also learn the spirit of love and sacrifice from you. Make us like those flowers in your garden, that emit fragrance to who all come in its midst. Make us shine like that star in your firmament. Oh Lord, make us the flute which is hollow from within, on which you can play your divine melodies.
Jai Sai Ram!
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Vol 5 Issue 12 - DECEMBER 2007
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