The Answers to All Your Questions

Q. How should Organisational Office-bearers be appointed?

I do not ration Grace on the silly principles (of Organisational seniority); a person may not hold any office, but he is entitled to Grace, provided he is sincere in the faith and steady in Love. Do not fall a prey to the temptation of office and position of authority in these Samitis and Mandalis. Hold the offices in rotation, so that all may get the opportunity of leading in service. There are some Mandalis and Samitis which select office-bearers by lot. The members feel that anyone who is allotted the post is as good as the others.

- Second All India Conference, Prasanthi Nilayam | November 20-21, 1969

Q. How should District and State Presidents be selected?

The selection of the District President or State President is done by Me, but I shall consult your wishes too. There must be an atmosphere of love and tolerance, not one of envy, excitement or aggrandizement, when names are considered. When once a person is selected in the atmosphere of peace and love, co-operation and tolerance should prevail, and everyone must follow his directions and respect his guidance. It is only then that the Divine Grace will be conferred on you…

There will be state-wise meetings in the Prayer Hall. When I come there, you can suggest to Me without any emotion or factional spirit, the names of District Presidents and State Presidents whom you would like to have, in Districts and States where there is no President so far. Even in places where we have them already, you can suggest changes, if you feel like having changes. But do it after mutual consultation and agreement. Avoid personal animosity and do not give room for personal misunderstandings. Remember that the essential qualifications for members are faith and devotion. Remember also that the development of this Organisation will bring peace and tranquillity to the world torn by chaos. The world can be bettered and saved only through spiritual progress, by the efforts of spiritual organisations.

- Third All India Conference, Prasanthi Nilayam | November 20-21, 1970

Q. What are the prerequisites for a member to be eligible as an Office-bearer of the Organisation?

People aspire only for the fruits of authority; they shirk the responsibility that the authority involves. Do not think that this is so only in India, it is the attitude of aspirants all over the world today. Power is sought; but the burden that comes with power is not welcomed. The chaos and misery of the world today are the creation of persons who have climbed to positions of authority but do not discharge the responsibilities of those positions. No one is entitled to such position who is unable or unwilling to shoulder the responsibility inherent in it and who does not discharge it sincerely. Whatever their status, however deep their scholarship, however rich they are, they do not deserve the position they crave for or hold. In the Units of this Organisation too, the same rule applies. No one has a place who does not possess the skill, the capacity and the willingness to carry out the responsibility. Before you enter the Organisation or seek any office therein, consider well whether youhave the yearning and the capacity; else, if you join or complain against some person or programme, you are only revealing your own smallness or weakness. Make due inquiry, give full consideration, before you join the Organisation. Having joined, co-operate with others vigorously and carry out all your duties conscientiously.

- Third All India Conference, Prasanthi Nilayam | November 20-21, 1970

Q. What are the uncompromisable requirements of Office-bearers?

The offices that you hold as Presidents and Secretaries of the Sathya Sai Organisational Units lay on you responsibilities with which, perhaps, no other Organisation burdens its members.

- Third All India Conference, Prasanthi Nilayam | November 20-21, 1970

Office bearers should resolve to carry on the activities of their Units on the lines laid down, without trace of negligence. From now, the usual practice of meeting once a year in Conference, passing a few resolutions with great furore, and casting them aside that very day, will not be of any avail. Only those units of the Organisation are authentic, wherein the office-bearers practise and experience spiritual Ananda, through adherence to the lines laid down here. The rest are mere nominal; they burden the lists with their names and should be immediately removed. Enough for us if there remain one or two where practice and preaching are correct and sincere. Quality is accepted; quantity is of no consequence.

- Fourth All India Conference, Madras | December 22-23, 1971

Q. Can Office-Bearers Claim Exemption in Organisational Activities?

Lord Venkateshwara is celebrated as the Lord of the Seven Hills; His Temple is on the Seventh Hill and one has to traverse and go over six hills to reach Him. This is symbolic of the six obstacles of Kama (Lust), Krodha (Anger), Lobha (Greed), Moha (Attachment), Mada (Pride) and Matsarya (Jealousy). One has to go across these passions and cast them behind him before he can stand face to face with the Lord… How can you climb the six hills and reach the seventh, if you hesitate even to ascend the first step? I laid down Nagar as a spiritual discipline, even last year, at the World Conference at Bombay. But, today, at this Conference, I find the Sub-Committee recommends that Office-bearers must attend the Nagar Sankirtan at least six times in the year! Can you call this Sadhana? Office-bearers cannot claim any privilege or exemption. They must evince leadership; by their devotion and faith, they must inspire the waverers. That is their function. But, now, they seek concessions! People crowd into film shows, rush towards social clubs, spend days together in playing cards – but, when they are asked to sing the glory of God and purify themselves and the atmosphere, they clamour for concessions! I cannot accept the plea that people do not find time for going out on Nagar Sankirtan. If a hundred things can be done in the time now available, surely the hundred and first thing can also be accommodated. You can stop doing the hundred but this extra one is as the breath that sustains life itself. Do not join the group only when the cameraman is around; move with the party and feel the thrill. The Office-bearers must be one with the rest, in all the activities of the Unit. Be filled with joy that you have now got the lucky chance of listening to and carrying out the command! This chance comes rarely to man. When leaders shirk the tasks that they themselves have prescribed for the followers, even the strongest organisations suffer disintegration.

Do not enforce the rules, without mercy or thoughtful consideration. If a person does not attend 60 percent of the meetings, the rules say that he is to be removed from office. Give him chances to reform, to be within the group, so that he may reform. If even this does not mend, remove the name, without any compunction.

- Second All India Conference, Prasanthi Nilayam | November 20-21, 1969

Q. What are the duties of Organisational Members and Office-bearers towards their Parents?

Office-bearers and Members of Sathya Sai Institutions must have Sahana (tolerance of opinions different from one’s own), Satya, Daya and Prema. They must revere their parents. Whoever neglects his parents, allows them to languish and suffer while he himself is enjoying a higher standard of life does not deserve to be a member, for I always stress the Vedic injunction: Matru Devo Bhava (consider mother as God), Pitru Devo Bhava (consider father as God). Those of you who are guilty of this malfeasance, take note, and be cured by this injunction. The Sathya Sai Family must have only men and women, who honour their family obligation of nourishing and nursing their parents.

- Second All India Conference, Prasanthi Nilayam | November 20-21, 1969

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