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August - September 2004


Spiritual

Our India: Our Baba

by Mahendra Solankee


Many western media portray and promote negative aspects of India, why? Equally, depicting negative messages of Sri Sai Baba, why? The answer is very clear, sheer ignorance, lack of knowledge and inability to understand the rich culture and deep spiritual value. We only pray to Sai Baba to give them the knowledge and understanding to overcome their ignorance.

Sri Sai Baba quotes: "God is the harmony of all the Forms and Names that man gives Him. Only those who are ignorant of God's glory will insist on one Name and one Form for His adoration and, what is worse, condemn the use of other Names and Forms. Be warned against such silly obduracy. Do not go about proclaiming that you belong to a separate sect and are distinct from those who adore God in other Forms and Names; thereby you are limiting the very God whom you are extolling."

1. Belief in God, for there is only ONE GOD for all mankind, though He may be called by many names.

Sai Baba has declared that we must have full faith in God. Whatever deity we worship, adore him with a sense of Oneness. This is the feeling with which God should be worshipped. Only then can we reach the state when we can declare that we are one with God, which is the sole purpose of our existence. Sai Baba has further stated a spiritual aspirant's spiritual belief is purely a personal matter between God and that individual and as such no one has a right to question the belief of another person.

2. Follow sincerely the respective religions we are born into or we have chosen and to live our daily lives in.

The principles and teachings of all religions are based on good behaviour and morality. Each of us should practice our own religion sincerely. A Christian should be a good Christian. A Hindu should be a good Hindu. A Muslim should be a good Muslin and so on. Let each one be a true practitioner of our religion. All are One.

3. To respect all other religions - for no religion advocates the negative and low qualities of man. All urge mankind to follow the ideals of high Human Values.

Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish and let the glory of God be sung in all the languages and in a variety of tunes. That should be the ideal. Respect the differences between the faiths and recognize them as valid as long as they don't extinguish the flame of Unity. True spirituality emphasizes the truth 'that is common to all religions. We must recognize the unifying truth in all religions. The truth proclaimed by all religions is one and the same. Every religion recommends the cultivation of tolerance and respect for other religions, thus paving the way for non-violence.

4. Perform selfless service to the poor, the sick and the needy, without thought of reward or fame.

Sai Baba has stated many times that 'Service to man is service to God'. Man is not merely a human being, he is the embodiment of Divinity. All acts of service done to others are to be treated as service rendered to God. Since God is the indwelling source of all living beings, doing service or good to a person is in reality worshiping God. Realize the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God. Transform the service into worship. The purpose of life is to grow in love, expand that love and to merge with God who is Love, and this is best done through service. That service should be rendered selflessly in a spirit of sacrifice.



5. Cultivate in our lives the values of TRUTH, PEACE, LOVE, RIGHT CONDUCT, and NON-VIOLENCE and to promote these among all.

Truth
God is the embodiment of Truth. Truth is the foundation of the Universe. Truth is that which remains unchanged over time. We must aspire to live up to this Truth. We must also realize that the Divine is present in everything. Only when you can recognize the omnipresence of the Divine will you be able to experience the Divine.

Peace
The treasure that is unmistakably precious is the quality of Peace, equanimity, and unruffled ness. Purify your hearts, your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and speech; strengthen your nobler impulses; then, no panic can unnerve you; nothing can shake your stability, your Inner Peace. Sow the seeds of Love, after preparing the soil of your heart, removing the weeds. Let them grow, watered by faith, and yield the blossoms of fortitude; later, you are assured of the fruit - Inner Peace.

Love
Love binds one person to another; Without Love the Universe is naught. The highest Love makes us aware of the Lord in every one. The Lord is equally present in all. Life is Love; Love is Life. Without God, deprived of God, nothing and nobody can exist. We live on and through the Divine Will. It is His will that operates as Love, in each of us.

Right Conduct
Every being in the world, whether they are aware of it or not, is dependent on right conduct for peace and happiness. All triumphs, whether acknowledged or not, are earned only through right conduct. 'If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be Peace in the world.' It may thus be seen that the first link in the chain leading to world peace is righteousness.

Non-Violence
Non-violence is the highest form of right living, the divine Law which is the highest of all virtues. The principle of non-violence means the promotion of mutual love along with achieving and maintaining goals of peace and unity. That is the main feature, which is a recognizable sign of being human. Non-violence means refraining from violence released by passionate feelings and controlling oneself. The non-violent are recognized by their patience. The only way in which one can take the path of non-violence is to recognize Oneness of the soul that is present is all living beings and regard them as equal.

Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Supply Project
For millions in Rayalaseema, Andhra Pradesh, getting pure drinking water was a daily drudgery. It meant trudging long distance, often in vein. And then, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust decided that the villagers need never again treck for something, which ought to be on their tap. The Impossible began to take shape. The result - SRI SATHYA SAI WATER SUPPLY PROJECT covering more than 700 villages in Ananthapur district and providing Water to a million people who had lived all their lives on the edge of drought and despair.

Sri Sathya Sai Health Care

"Health is an essential requisite for man; it is the very root for all endeavours in the four fields of human achievement: dharma, wealth, desire, and liberation" Sathya Sai Baba

Primary Health Care
Medical camps are organised on a regular basis in rural areas where patients are given medicines free of cost. Hundreds of thousands of patients are treated for eye ailments and thousands of cataract operations are performed. Free medical dispensaries are being run at various places by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations. Blood donation camps are organised. Medical teams from Sri Sathya Sai Organisations of various states visit Orphanages, Old Age Homes, and Leprosy Homes etc. for medical checkup on a continuous basis.

The General Hospitals
Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital at Prasanthi Nilayam and Sri Sathya Sai Hospital at Whitefield, Bangalore render free medical aid to the poor rural population. These Hospitals have made steady progress and blossomed as institutions offering a high quality service to the helpless villagers. These hospitals now offer up to date facilities. The dedicated and selfless service of the resident doctors and doctors who visit the hospitals from time to time have resulted in the phenomenal growth of these hospitals.

The Super-Speciality Hospitals
The Super Speciality Hospital is the tertiary link in the chain of health care. Most of the patients who come for treatment to the Super Speciality Hospital are from socially and economically weaker sections of society. The Hospital provides excellent patient care facilities to everyone without discrimination of any kind. Expensive surgeries in tertiary healthcare are done entirely free of the cost to the public.

Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is perhaps one of the few institutions in the country in the field of Higher Education, which emphasise character building as much, if not more than, mere academic excellence. It is based on Bhagawan Baba's contribution to the world of learning in the form of Education in Human Values as extended to Higher Education. The single golden thread that runs through the gamut of all the activities of the Institute - curricular, co-curricular and extra curricular, is that education is for life and not for mere living. The uniqueness of the Institute lies in the academic environment being suffused with pure Love, and the students being moulded in a spirit of sacrifice and service to the community.

Baba has been stressing that the end of education is character and that the true meaning of education is not merely knowledge, but knowledge in action. The emphasis is on purity and harmony of thoughts, words and action. Knowledge and skills are imparted in the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in an atmosphere of tenderness and intense love. The type of education provided here is education that ensures absorption of knowledge, accumulation of wisdom and an appreciation of the experience of ancient ideals of Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi, Prema and Ahimsa. In the scheme of Integral Education of the Institute, it endeavours to combine through its awareness programmes and thoughtfully designed curricular and co-curricular programmes, academic excellence with duty and devotion; erudition through purity and meditation, healthfulness through yoga and service, social and national awareness through field and project work, and a sense of unity and world brotherhood through acquaintance with seekers of truth from all parts of the world. The major focus at the Institute, apart from academic excellence, is the development of character, correct attitudes and values. Each student is assisted to conduct himself in consonance with the highest principles of humility and integrity.

Surely, concentrating on the positive and thinking positive would help the world to be more effective in accomplishing world peace and harmony. In contrast to the recent negative media programme on BBC. Such programme cause serious damage to the overall portrayal of Hinduism in the West. The Western media seems to take great delight in presenting Hinduism in such poor light. A hundred years ago Swami Vivekananda had said something like, "the amount of mud slung at Hinduism by outsiders is more than the mud at the bottom of the Indian Ocean." It appears that the supply of this mud has yet not dried up!

But 'Satyameva Jayate.' "In the long term truth always triumphs". It is with the likes of Vivekananda and Sai Baba that Hinduism can regain its dignity and stature. This was the case 100 years ago and as we are discovering this is still the case today. Ultimately the West has no choice but turn to the teaching of Vivekananda and Sai Baba. When they want to diffuse the serious issue of strife in the name of religion or when they want to rekindle love of religion in their own congregation whom can they turn to? When they want to reconcile their own religion with rationality or science with spirituality - where is the resolution? Vivekananda and Sai Baba waits quietly to help you to became a better human.

We pray for all, that Baba gives them the understanding to become better citizen of the world and enhance their value of being human.



The full article is available in the print edition.

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