The Answers to All Your Questions

Q. What is the first aim of every Sai Samiti and the first ideal of every Sai Sevak?

The first aim is to foster and cultivate Bharatiya culture. Let its validity be examined through actual living, and one’s own discovery of its values; and communicated to others by those who have experienced the peace and joy derivable from it. I do not want the extolling of the medicine by persons who have not been themselves cured by it. Today, in the very land where this culture grew and flourished, immorality and corruption have destroyed happiness and contentment. Many condemn these things, but those are the very persons who commit the wrongs they deplore. Those who profess to lead the people are themselves led astray by the temptation to fall. So, the very first ideal you must keep in mind, when you start and run these organisations is: “Do not crave for status or authority or position; do not allow any pomp, or show; do not compete for publicity or recognition or praise.” Duty is God. Do it and be content… Unattached work is the purest; it does not encumber the mind with elation or disappointment. “I did it,” “This is mine”: these are the two fangs that make the individual poisonous. Pull out the fangs, the snake can be handled and played with as a pet. The Organisation must be vigilant to see that egoism and the sense of personal possession, pride or achievement, do not invade them. That is the goal to be kept in view.

- First All India Conference, Madras | April 20-21, 1967

Q.What are the minimum qualifications to be a member of the Organisations?

A spiritual organisation is really above all rules and regulations; the realm of the Atma is beyond the limits of regulations. In this sense, rules are either meaningless or superfluous in Sathya Sai Organisations. But at least, to satisfy the law of the land dealing with associations of this kind, some rules must be adopted. For example, who can be members of these organisations, and what are their qualifications?
  1. Of course, they must be eager aspirants for spiritual progress.
  2. They must have full faith in the Name that the Organisation bears and in spreading that Name, in the manner suited to Its Message and Majesty.
  3. The member must have won recognition as a good person.
That is all the qualification needed; nothing else counts. There is no need to have money or lands, or scholarship, influence or authority or official position. If you have the three qualifications mentioned, I assure you, even if you have no place in any organisation bearing My Name, you will have a place here (Baba indicated His Heart as the place where they will be accepted).The Organisations must be such that members find them congenial places to deepen their Sadhana, to cultivate their virtues and to overcome their ego, by contact with workers who are free from the least trace of that deadly poison. If this is achieved, their success is certain.

- First All India Conference, Madras | April 20-21, 1967

Q.Should the Organisation focus on the quality or quantity of Samitis?

I am not interested or elated when this or that district claims to have a larger number of Units of this Organisation than the other one. I am interested in the work, in the loving heart, in the selfless service. There are Units that exist only in name! There are others that function in ways quite contrary to our purposes and ideals! Instead of allowing these to continue, it is best they are wound up, immediately. Better to have two or three that function well than hundreds that function badly or not at all. Two ounces of cow’s milk are preferable to a potful of donkey’s milk.

If Units are started or if they are functioning only with the idea of helping the Office-bearers to attend these Conferences, if the members have no faith and devotion, if they do not make constant effort to realise the ideal of the Organisation; then it is necessary to wind them up. If we allow them to continue, they will create in the Organisation the confusion we find in the political scene… My desire is that whenever any slight misunderstanding arises among you, you must set it right among yourselves, exercising love and tolerance. You should not plunge into a passion over it and let things blaze into a quarrel or a factional split. Recognise that you are engaged in the exercise of widening your hearts, of reaching the Feet of the Lord through the expression of love. Unless you cultivate love, tolerance, humility, faith and reverence, how is it possible for you to realise God?

Is love to be scarce, between member and member, in our Units too? No. You must prove by your conduct and attitude, that love, based on the realisation of the One Atma in all, can cure the problems of the world… Be lamps of love. That contains all. Then, there is no need for Japam or Tapas. Love, loving service of others (who are forms assumed by the Divine) will provide you the Grace of God.

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

Q.What is the spiritual objective for Organisation Members?

Organisational effort in the spiritual field has long been neglected in India; it is fraught with the danger of disruption through the subtle cankers of egoistic ambition and faction. Unless the individual is first purified and strengthened, the organisation will disintegrate and fall apart… Sacrifice, service, sharing in the exaltation of others, compassion when others suffer grief – these are virtues that purify and prepare the individual to the arduous task of reaching the Goal…

At the present time, when people meet, a curt of envy, pride and misunderstanding intervenes between them and creates obstacles in the path of sympathy and brotherliness. They miss the basic unity, the essential fraternity, the fundamental equality. Understand and tolerate, sympathise and love – this is the message of the sages of this land, who shaped and sustained the Sanatana Dharma (the Eternal Universal Religion). As Office-bearers of the Units of this world-saving Organisation, you have to revive this Message, revitalise it and guide men, with your experience. If you live along the guidelines of those sages, you will make three people happy – you, them and Me!

Devotion is not an acquisition to be advertised; it is a secret gain which must be communicated only to God. When the spark of envy envelops the mind, it soon develops into a huge fire and destroys all chances of good. Watch for it vigilantly; envy is only the consequence of pride and pride comes of ignorance of your role. You believe that you have achieved much and that others are not giving you the respect due to you. They honour someone with less achievement, more than they honour you. But, just think for a while: Who granted you the chance, the intelligence, the success? The Lord. You are helpless without Him. He chose, He prompted, He executed, it was done. Be humble, be cordial with all. They are equally devoted and sincere…

You must have intense faith in the Vedas, the Shastras and the Puranas. They are the repositories of the ancient wisdom, the wisdom that has stood the test of ages. They teach humility, reverence and tolerance. Saturate yourselves with the spirit of those texts. Then, you will be free from the illnesses of sloth and covetousness, lust and gluttony, envy and pride. Enthrone Love as the Monarch of the Kingdom of Feeling! Enthrone Reason as the Monarch of the Kingdom of Thought! Enthrone Detachment as the Monarch of the Kingdom of Activity. This is the task I set for the Units of the Sathya Sai Organisation today.

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

Q.What is the role of Organisation Members in the Vedic Way of Life?

Like food to a starving man, like showers on a parched field, the Vedic science of spiritual self-discovery is the lifesaver for humanity sliding down to destruction because it has lost its hold on truth, morality, peace and love… It has become imperative to plan out the process of carrying spiritual knowledge to every door, for the gigantic flood of the modern machine civilisation is fast obliterating all traces of the Divine in man…

You are the instruments in the spread of Vedic science among the farthest corners of this vast land; you are the chosen ones! You have to show by precept and by example that the path of self-realisation is the path to perfect joy. Hence on you lies a great responsibility; the responsibility of demonstrating by your calmness, composure, humility, purity, virtue, courage and conviction under all circumstances, that the Sadhana you practice has made you a better, happier and more useful person. Practice and demonstrate, do not simply assert in words and deny in deeds… Saying one thing and being another will defeat the very purpose. The slightest sign of hypocrisy will weaken the foundations of the edifice. That is why it is necessary to lay down certain tests and qualifications, certain broad guidelines for those who stand forth as workers in this field. Standards and systematic self-examination are necessary at every stage for the success of every effort.

- First All India Conference, Madras | April 20-21, 1967

Q.What is the task allotted to Organisation Members?

The Vedas and the Intellect, which man is endowed with as a gift from God to separate good from evil, are the means by which the culture of this land is to be preserved and promoted. When the Vedic treasure house is explored with intelligence, the Atma Tattva (essential nature of the Self) becomes clear and when that is recognised, man becomes eternally happy and full of peace… You are allotted the task of bringing once again to the homes of the people the message of Atmic strength and Atmic unity. Transmuting ‘man’ into ‘God’ and experiencing that Ananda is the one and only achievement for which life is to be devoted. The efforts you make in your own places are directed to bring this goal into the awareness of each person. Of course, there are in existence many organisations and societies engaged in distributing various cures for the ‘spiritual’ ills of their constituents, and therefore, a question may arise about the need for this additional institution. The need has arisen to emphasise the basic and essential discipline, which is practical and universal, as prescribed since ages for the revelation of the Divine in man…

Every Indian must learn and practise the spiritual science that the sages of this land have explored and discovered. However, due to hostile forces, evil company, and ignorant fascination; Indians have neglected this foremost duty. The infection has come;it is well settled in the organism. Now, it has to be cast out. This Conference and the Organisations you represent are attempts to cure that illness. The purpose is the same, whatever the name – Prasanthi Vidwan Maha Sabha, Sathya Sai Seva Samiti, Sathya Sai Seva Dal, or Sathya Sai Bhakta Mandali.

- First All India Conference, Madras | April 20-21, 1967

Q.What are the spiritual essentials for every Organisational Member?

Duty, Discipline and Devotion, all three, are absolutely essential for everyone in our Organisation. You may have Devotion, you may discharge the Duty entrusted to you. But, unless you are saturated in Discipline, the other two are useless. Many of you rushed forward when I walked along the passage this morning and tried to reach out your hands for touching My Feet, falling over others while so doing. This is definitely an instance of devotion outrunning discipline. Discipline must regulate and control, not only your activities as members of the Organisation but, every activity of your life.

I have been telling you since years “Duty is God.” Work is Worship… Duty involves loyal adherence to the rules and regulations framed for the efficient working of the Organisation. Look upon them with a pure vision, a steady mind, and an attitude of reverence in the heart. Do not talk ill of any one with contempt, do not think of any one as low or mean. Christ declared, “All are One; be alike to everyone.” Hating an individual, or institution, or a religion is a low act. The Atma is imminent in everyone; it is the spark of Divinity which gives him light, love and joy. Do not be content by addressing gatherings from platforms, “Brothers and Sisters” that becomes merely histrionics, unless you feel the Brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God. When you have not felt in your heart the Ananda of realising that God is installed in the heart of all beings, you do not deserve to speak those words, while addressing others.

- First All India Conference, Madras | April 20-21, 1967

Q.What should the Sai Organisation and its members dedicate themselves to?

Food is the medicine for the illness of hunger; drink, for the illness of thirst; for the disease of Bhava Roga (Birth-Death-Cycle), Bhagavan is the medicine; for the disease of desire, Jnana is the specific. For the disease of doubt, despair and hesitation, which are the occupational diseases of Sadhakas, the most effective remedy is Paropakara (doing good to others). For the major infection of Ashanti (anxiety), the course of treatment is Bhajan. It is to provide these remedies to the sufferers that the Organisation has to dedicate itself.

- First All India Conference, Madras | April 20-21, 1967

Q.What should be the focus of all Organisational Members?

Everyone must learn the secret of happiness which consists in refusing to shed tears for anything less than God. You have won this human body, this human life, as the reward for many lives spent in acquiring merit. You have won this chance, this unique good fortune of being able to get Darshan of Sai. Plunging deep into the waters of this tumultuous ocean of Samsara (worldly life), you have heroically emerged from its depths, with this rare pearl in your hands – the Grace of Sai. Do not allow it to slip from your clasp and fall into the depths again. Hold on firmly to it. Pray that you may have it forever and be filled with the joy that it confers. That is the way by which you can render this life fruitful.

- First All India Conference, Madras | April 20-21, 1967

Q.What should be the attitude of Sai Samitis and its members?

The conviction that I am everywhere, watching everything and aware of everything must keep you on the straight path of Sadhana, through Seva and study. I want that every Samiti (and every Unit complementary to it) must be bubbling with joy at the work already achieved and with enthusiasm for the work ahead. Love, respect, tolerance, mutual co-operation, forbearance – these must flow from the hearts of each to all. There should be no eagerness to capture Office from the other’s grasp or to hold it back when another is ready for it. The Units too should cooperate with each other and not compete in a spirit of envy or faction. You are all limbs of one body, namely, the Sai body. The Samitis should be guided and if necessary corrected by the District President; the District Presidents should be guided and, if necessary, corrected by the State President; and the State Presidents should have constant contact, advice and guidance from the Centre.

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

Q.What should be the daily prayer of every Organisation Member and Office-bearers?

You know that the State requires you to take a solemn oath, when you take up an office or enter upon an assignment. Similarly, each member and office-bearer must take an oath, from the very depths of the heart, before engaging themselves in the activities. “Swami, save me from any act of commission of omission which will affect adversely the three qualifications You have laid down. Bless me with the skill, intelligence and enthusiasm necessary for the task I am dedicating myself to carry out for my own uplift. Guide me along the correct path; shower on me Your Grace so that I may earn a fair name in this attempt; guard me from temptation and wrong steps.” When you rise from bed at dawn, pray thus. At night, when you go to bed, ponder over your activities during the day, examining them, whether you went against any of the conditions of membership, and if any wrong had been committed unconsciously, pray that it may not happen again. Decide to dedicate yourself in this manner, with these ideals for the work ahead.

- First All India Conference, Madras | April 20-21, 1967

Q.What are the four types of Self-Enquiry the Organisation needs to encourage?

This Organisation has spread far and wide, but I must say that is has drifted away from the purpose for which it was started. It has not resulted in the least benefit. For, in the spiritual path, the first step is ‘Selfless Service.’ Through selfless service, man can realise the Divinity that is all this creation…

The Sathya Sai Organisation is established to translate the principles of Love and Non-violence into daily practice. It has also to promote inquiry into four basic problems - (1) The Body – What is it? (Deham); (2) The Body – I am not it (Naham); (3) Then, who am I? (Koham); (4) Well, I am That (Soham)…

We say, “my hand,” “my book,” “my mind,” “my act,” “my thought,” because there is an I that owns all these, that uses all these as its instruments. Who is this I? Like the current which activates and operates the machine, (with all its nuts, bolts, wheels and belts), the I activates the inert body and its components, inner and outer. We have a microphone here, before Me, and there is a wire which is fixed in it. But, even if the microphone is of the latest model and the wire is of the best quality, if there is no current coming through, My voice cannot reach you! In the body too, there should be this I, this Divine power, prompting and performing the hand, the eye, the mind.

You must carry on the activities of your Unit in the faith that a Divine Will is the basic motive power of all you plan and do. Who are you? You are that Divine Will, that gives you life, vigour, will and wisdom. Realising this is the goal of life. It means an end to ignorance, delusion (Maya).

The sages have laid down four goals for man on earth: Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire) and Moksha (liberation). That is to say, man must earn wealth through righteous means and desire above all for liberation from the see-saw of duality. Liberation is the goal that must dominate all the activities of life. The rest of the three have to be subordinate.

If you need flowers from a tree or its fruits, you do not water the boughs and twigs, where the leaves, buds and shoots are! You feed the roots! So too, when you seek the last of the four, Moksha, foster Dharma; that will sanctify your Artha and purify your Kama and win for you the Moksha you strive for. Develop Dharma and let it saturate your efforts to earn wealth and comfort.

Every worker in this Organisation must rid himself of the idea of separateness or distinction, between one person and another, on the basis of caste or creed, poverty or richness. He must always be eager to share the sorrows – and what is more difficult – the joys of others… The Sathya Sai Organisation is working with persons belonging to all religions. They do so because all religions – Christian, Parsi, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Muslim – have as their basic doctrines, Love and Non-violence. Develop these qualities. Then, you get the title to preach them to others and propagate them.

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

Q.What are the three spiritual fundamentals for every Organisation Member?

  1. Forget the thing that has to be forgotten:

    Forget the objective world, ignore it, it is Asat, only relatively real, not absolutely Real. Forget the A-sat. Remember the first statement in the Prayer. Asato Maa Sad Gamaya – Lead me from the unreal to the Real.

  2. Give up that which has to be given up.

    The Jeeva Bhava, which is Darkness has to be given up, in order to attain Light which is the Deva Bhava. You are not the body; you are not just an individual, not just a chance spark or a stray drop. You are a part of the Divine, a fraction of the Fire, a wave of the Ocean. This is the second statement in the Vedic prayer – Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya – Lead me from darkness into Light.

  3. You must reach the place which you have to reach, that is, Brahma Tattva.

    Brahma means, expanse, limitless presence; you have to pass beyond the limit to the limitless. Limit is death; beyond it, unaffected by it, is Immortality. So, the prayer cited above adds as the third statement. Mrutyor Maa Amrutam Gamaya – Lead me from death to Immortality.

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

Q.Should Organisation Members publicise their spiritual attainments?

The Sai Organisation is set up to develop and foster Love; it is not set up through compulsion; it arose from the heart and it expands the heart. The inner desire to achieve Love and expand Love has taken outer shape as this Organisation… There are many who go about the country, preaching about Japa and Dhyana, pretending to be highly advanced experts. They claim to be masters, so that they can collect huge audiences and show off their skills. But, such exhibition of talent is not a sign of spiritual attainment. Spiritual attainments shun publicity. Spiritual practice is to be done in silence, away from public gaze. The name and form of God are extolled by Meera as ‘Precious Gems’; precious gems are not brought out as wares to the marketplace; only vegetables are so exhibited for all to see. The Units of our Organisation should not encourage pomp or show – for they are alien to the Spiritual Path… When you are engaged in the various activities of this Organisation, dedicate all desires to God, do everything as the command of the God, whom you have installed in your hearts.

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

Q.Can Organisation members compromise on the rules and regulations?

Consider work through the Organisation as your very process of living. That work is the food on which you live. If you miss a meal, you become weak; if you miss a rule, the Unit becomes weaker. Not merely the office-bearers, but, any one of the members, if he fails to observe any one of the rules and regulations, he is weakening the Organisation and bringing it into disrepute. Members together form the Units. Its strength, its utility, its expansion, its efficacy, depend on disciplined obedience to rules. Faith in the discipline, marked out by the rules, is as the heart to the various limbs of the Organisation. Lack of discipline is the root cause of the disorder and discord that are undermining almost all the various types of association of men, from the simplest to the most complex.

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

Q.What should be the Organisational members attitudes to people from different faiths?

Followers of all faiths can join our Organisations; there should be no opposition to their entry; on the other hand, they must be welcomed with sincerity and looked upon as brothers and sisters. No ill-feeling should be allowed upon as brothers and sisters.

No ill-feeling should be allowed to sprout in your minds against, say Pakistanis or Muslims or Americans, as a consequence of the passing phases of history. Motivated by anger against someone, to injure and insult the innocent, is bestial behaviour. No one connected with our Organisation should participate in or encourage such reprehensible behaviour. You must respect every individual who resides in Bharat as a Bharatiya and love every such person. This is an Organisation dedicated to the promotion of Universal Love.

Start pouring out Love to all the members of your Unit, and gradually, expand that Love to include all mankind and even the lower creatures. It is an insane idea to perform worship of God, as if He is distinct and different from creation. Do not believe that God will be pleased if He is so marked out.

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

Q.What should Organisational Members’ approach be towards teachings of various religions?

So long as Arjuna believed that he was the doer and the enjoyer of the rewards for the deed, he was miserable. But, when the Lord taught him and demonstrated to him that he was but an instrument, that his duty was only to surrender to the Will of the Lord, that those whom he sought to kill had already been killed by the Lord, he was freed from grief; he was filled with unspeakable peace.

This is the teaching of all religions, a teaching that flows like a subterranean spring feeding all the external rites and ceremonies laid down in each religion according to the climate, geographic and demographic, of each region. The basic lesson each religion teaches is to surrender to the sovereign Will of God, and leave the consequence of deeds well done, to the Lord Himself. It is His Will, and your only duty is to shape yourself into a fit instrument. To suppress the assertive ego, disciplines have been laid down in every religion, by every compiler of moral codes, by every educator and reformer of human morals. But the oldest, and most effective, and the most successfully practised system is the body of directives laid down in the Vedas and Shastras of India.

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

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