Volume 12 - Issue 07
July 2014
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Posted on: July 09, 2014

TO FOLLOW SWAMI’S WISH OR NOT?

THAT IS THE QUESTION!

Prof. G. Venkataraman

PArt 03

 

Our Duty

Let me put it this way. All of us, irrespective of whether we come here or not, do not fail to claim that Swami is our Father, Mother, etc. In that case, as children of Swami, is it not our obligation to sustain His legacy, which includes not only His teachings but also the institutions that He established and left behind?

Take the Institute which He physically founded with a very specific purpose and the Hospital which came up against the predictions of so many naysayers. And let us not forget that this Hospital is where Swami chose to shed His body when the time came. Is it not our collective responsibility to make sure that these Institutions not only continue but also grow and flourish?

sathya sai university

Take, for example, Swami’s Hospital here that is far better known to the poor of India than to the rich of this country. People come from far and wide to Swami’s Hospital as a last resort, and they do so in the belief that here they would not be sent away but treated and, in many cases rescued from the jaws of death. Can we allow that hope to be lost through our collective neglect, whatever be the reasons we may choose to come up with? If we allow that to happen, it would be like offering ice cream to our Media.

sathya sai super hospital

The Media has never been friendly to Swami. Even as He left us in deep sorrow, they wrote and talked all sorts of rubbish. And now if the Hospital starts languishing, they would jump in to pour ridicule. I do not know how you would feel but I was here watching the Hospital take shape when most said it would not.

sathya sai super hospital inauguration

Back then, Swami would go there every other day to the Hospital construction site for inspection; at times, Swami would also do Narayana Seva to the construction workers. One evening when He went on such a visit, He became physically very tired. Late Capt. Oberoi who used to be in charge of Swami’s Airport told me that around 6 PM or so, Swami stopped in the Airport then nearing completion, went to the room meant for Oberoi as his office, sat on a chair, stretched His legs and closed His eyes. There was complete silence except for the birds making noise outside. After about 30 minutes, Swami opened His eyes and said, “I must go now. Devotees would be waiting for aarathi.” That is one example of how Swami at the physical level strained Himself so that for decades and maybe even centuries to come, the poor could always come here as a last resort for treatment, if they were to be rejected elsewhere.

p v narasimha rao inaugurating sathya sai super hospital

What I am trying to say is that having lived here 22 years practically uninterrupted, I have more than a passing idea of how much Swami gave of Himself to build His institutions. If we are truly His heirs, we cannot and should not distance ourselves from the responsibility that is unquestionably ours. One might give excuses; the mind is good at that kind of business. But we are answerable not to our mind but to our Conscience; remember, our Conscience is the Master and that Master is Swami!

Recall what Swami said in the clip we played for you earlier. He said our actions should not in any way blemish Swami’s name. Neglect of our responsibilities to one whom we call our Father as also our Mother would certainly lead to that situation, although we might not be aware of it.

I am sure that at this point, many would start making comments about the Central Trust, etc. My stand on this is as follows: Please let us not become small-minded and engage in finger pointing. Has not Swami said that if we point one fault in another person, others would be ready to point out ten faults in us? Instead, let us look at this from a broader perspective.

Take planet earth which " so that we could live on it. Few planets have air and water and the right temperature to sustain life – but our earth offers them all. Now whether we like it or not, in a sense it is humankind as a whole that has to act as the trustee of planet earth.

Swami once said,

"God created everything and gave it to you free. Land. You take land created by God and make money of it. God does not mind; but you have started ruining land! I expected you to be a good caretaker and hand it over to the next generation in the same condition in which you found it. Similarly, you have ruined water and air, forgetting that if you pollute air, you would pay a very high price for it.”

Extending that concept, as the inheritors of Swami’s legacy which includes His institutions, all of us together have a collective responsibility to sustain them, i.e., His institutions.

By the way, don’t jump to the conclusion that I am asking you for donation. Not at all. All I am asking is for you to make sure Swami’s institutions do not languish, and this can be done in any number of ways. Money is not the issue; joint and sustained support is the point.

You know something? Every time you walk into the Hospital and see the patients there, it would fill your Heart with joy and make you feel that in the midst of darkness, light persists, and in the midst of anger and hate, Love persists. And when you get that feeling, you would, when you go back, talk about this Miracle of Pure Love, gladdening the hearts of listeners and creating in them an eagerness to bring joy to others through service.

Next time you come here, if it happens to be during the first half of the month, we will arrange for you to go with Swami’s Mobile Hospital; you would then see how Swami’s Love continues to reach the poor at their doorstep and in a touching manner. It would bring to your mind the bhajan, Deena dukhiyon se prem karoListen Now




Dear listener, few of you have any idea of what this place went through on April 24, 2011. For about two weeks, the news from the Hospital was far from good. However, we clung to hope and believed that Swami would bounce back to stun us. Sadly, the Divine script was different. I know what a traumatic effect it had on the members of the Central Trust. I recall what Nehru said when the Mahatma died. I heard that broadcast of Nehru – it was barely two hours after a cruel assassin took away the Mahatma from all of us. In a sobbing voice Nehru said how Bapu to whom they turned for advice every minute was now no more.

It was the same here for the Trustees. So many different things had to be done in a tearing hurry – ranging from security to non-stop darshan for devotees who had come in hundreds of thousands from all over. But Swami made it all happen. And the Media? Till then Swami was a target. But now He became global news and they covered those three days non-stop. For them it was revenue and ratings; but at least because of them the world could watch tearfully what was happening in faraway Prasanthi. I am mentioning this because our boys had to make all the arrangements. Although it was a pool camera crew that did the main coverage, we had to do the leg work; besides, our boys went out in the village and shot miles of footage that we still have to unpack.

Incidentally, it is not as if things are not happening now. The work of Swami continues but without any fanfare. Remember the Orissa Housing Project that Swami did after the disastrous floods in that state in September 2008? Swami asked for 1000 houses to be constructed for the benefit of those whose houses were washed away and had nowhere to go. Seven hundred houses were constructed and handed over by which time came the 85th Birthday celebrations which kept everyone very busy. And soon after that Swami withdrew. The transition to a situation where Swami was not physically available for guidance did take some time, added to which was the trauma that each trustee had to personally undergo – grief does not spare anyone. That said things have returned to normal, the remaining 300 houses have been constructed and handed over.

odisha housing project




sathya sai water project anantapur


sathya sai water project

Presently, an extension of the Anantapur Drinking Water Project is nearing completion. This was not indicated by Swami but the Trust, in the spirit of continuing the good work started by Bhagawan, has undertaken this project, which would bring potable drinking water to about 2,50,000 people living in 118 villages, at a cost about Rs. 80 crores or about $ 13 million. Many other such social welfare projects are quietly in progress, including the improvement to the Ashram infrastructure. Shortly, Radio Sai would bring all those stories to you in full detail.

As regards the shortcomings, let us be honest; none of us is perfect; after all, this is the Kali age. That is why Swami told everyone to get engaged in seva, primarily to improve oneself. All of us are pilgrims marching towards God and in various stages of spiritual evolution. We cannot and must not use dubious arguments to say ‘I love Swami but do not need to be connected with what He started.’ As Bhagawan told us times without number,

I do not need anything from you because everything is already Mine. However, if you participate in what I have started, it would be good for you.

The Choice We Need to Make

To wrap this all up, I am not asking anyone to do any particular thing. After all, when coming to the end of the Gita, even the Lord left the final decision to Arjuna. Who then am I to tell you that this is the choice you must make? All I am trying to do in this talk is to present a side that is being currently obscured by leaning on what I regard as a questionable claim that Swami has taken residence in a particular place, that He delivers Discourses in a subtle form, and in a subtle voice, etc.

sathya sai baba darshan

There is one likely consequence of this kind of manufactured reality, which is that the Media is likely to seize on it when it is short of political news and scams. Already, Swami is always referred to as Godman which is most offensive. Now they will seize on what is going on to say, “Godman is now doing miracles in the subtle form!”

I am sure many would fiercely argue, “That is Media and we don’t care what they say.” Well, that is one way of looking at it – yogic indifference. But what does the Ramayana teach us? If we are serving the public, we cannot always not damn public opinion, however wrong that opinion might be.

Swami was vilified so much. Chennai, for example, was the headquarters of virulent atheism – I know, for I have gone to school and college there. But when Chennai had a severe drinking water problem, did Swami allow any such consideration to come in the way of executing the massive Chennai Drinking Water Project? And you know what? I am an eyewitness to how this act of supreme compassion transformed the arch atheist politician Mr. Karunanidhi. Swami always reached out no matter what others said. The Chennai water project shows that through loving service even non-believers can become friendly; and the first step in that is not to offer any chance or scope to the Media for spreading nonsense, even if it be untrue.

sathya sai drinking water to city of chennai

Looking at it another way, would anyone keep quiet when say, that person’s mother is vilified? I am sure everyone would say NO! In that case, why should we act in such a manner that would give yet another handle to the Media to vilify Swami who is our Supreme Mother? Have not the Media done enough mischief for decades? I know this line of argument would be hotly debated but that, anyway, is my view.

It is time to wrap up but before I do so, I must counter one argument that might be presented to support what I call the alternate subtle reality point of view. It might be argued that no matter what Swami might have said when He was physically present, having withdrawn to the subtle level, He has now changed His view and has chosen to speak through so and so, etc.

I would say, ‘good try.’ However, there is a problem. Speaking one day to students in Trayee Brindavan Swami described what happened on the twelfth day of the Mahabharatha war, when Arjuna learnt to his horror that his beloved Abhimanyu had been killed. A totally devastated Arjuna cried in anguish, “Krishna, You are supposed to be God; how come You allowed this horrible thing to happen?” In a calm voice Krishna explained that things happen as ordained. Unable to accept this, Arjuna retorted, “Krishna, You can do anything. That is what You said when You taught me the Gita; but now You have changed; how strange!”

Swami continued, “Krishna smiled and said, ‘Arjuna, it is you who have changed and not Me. In fact, being Changeless, I cannot change – that is simply impossible!’”

sathya sai baba darshan

In simple terms, I do not buy the line that Swami has changed His view after His supposed withdrawal to Muddenahalli. If people still wish to buy the Brooklyn Bridge that is their choice! That said, I appeal to each and every one of you to reflect deeply on the questions I have raised and the reasoning I have presented.

If you do feel convinced, please draw the attention of as many people as possible to this transcript or the broadcast or both. No matter what individuals decide, at least they need be properly informed as to what Swami desired of us and how we must face the question that forms the title.

Finally, at the risk of being accused of doing a plug for Radio Sai, let me say that anytime you wish to hear the actual and sweet voice of Swami delivering a real Discourse, all you have to do is to go to Radio Sai website, and click on to the Discourse Stream. You can hear Divine Discourses 24/7 with your hand-held device, wherever there is internet connectivity.

radio sai service

Likewise, we also offer a 24/7 bhajan channel where every tenth or so bhajan is one sung by Bhagawan Himself. There are many other things in the pipeline which we hope to offer in the not too distant future. We also hope to cover all functions here at Prasanthi in HD quality video. We already have the broadcast equipment, but have to do some hard work to get the required bandwidth here – where telecom is concerned Puttaparthi is not as advanced as it ought to be; however, there are alternate solutions but they are expensive. However, we are hopeful since costs keep coming down. Right now, with hope and confidence, we are moving one step at a time.

Thank you for your patience.

Offering the universal prayer samastha lokha sukhino bhavantu, I bring this special talk to a close.

Jai Sai Ram.


- Radio Sai Team

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