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Continued From Page 1

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar  

“Questions from America”

Part II

 July 27th, 2003


 

“Why God?”

Next question: “Is it necessary that one should face dissatisfaction to be spiritual? I am OK with the world. So, why pursue God then? I am fine in this world.” This is a question from a young adult.

I told him, “Boy, you are OK in this world now. But just wait for sometime. (Laughter) You say, ‘Everything is fine.’ Wait for some more time. Not all days are Sunday. There will be Monday, then Tuesday, and so on. Life is a cycle, filled with ups and downs. Life is a cycle, filled with bumps and jumps. Life is not a straight line. One has to necessarily face both situations. It is like a pendulum that oscillates from one end to the other. Life is like a pendulum that moves between a tear and a smile. Therefore, you cannot always say that you are very much satisfied in this world.”  

I told that young adult an example that Baba had given. It seems that one boy could not get his degree. He appeared for the examination a number of times. The university was fed up with him. This fellow could not manage to get through. But he was fortunate to get a girl, a double graduate, as his wife. The poor chap could not get a better one. Somehow, she agreed to marry him. She was a double graduate, while this fellow had no degree. He was very happy that his wife was a double graduate, aha!

On the day of his wedding, in front of everybody, he said, “I am the luckiest man in this world. Although I have no degree, my wife has two degrees!” (Laughter) On the wedding day, this fellow kept looking at her, forgetting the large audience, because he was so happy -- Himalayan bliss. (Laughter) Naturally, this life was OK with him, so why pursue God? This is what he thought at that time!

After the wedding, his wife joined him. This fellow was relaxing, sitting in the easy chair. He called her, “Come on! Get me a hot cup of coffee, OK?” (Laughter)

She said, “I am sorry. You go prepare a cup, and one for me also.” (Laughter)

Then he said loudly, “I am the most miserable man on earth.”

Fifteen days earlier he had said, “I am the most fortunate man.” Both are true. At that time, what he said was correct, and today what he said is also correct.

Therefore, life has its ups and downs. Let us know that life is whole: W–H–O–L-E. Life is total. If you lead a choiceless life, you will be successful. But if you say, “I want only success and more success,” it is impossible. You will be successful as a patient, that's all. (Laughter)

You cannot always say, “I am a failure and I am miserable”, unless you are a pessimist, unless you are a sadist. Then you should be sent to a psychoanalyst. You should consult a psychiatrist. If you want only the positive, you are impractical. If you think negatively too much, you are a pessimist. Life is total -- both positive and negative. You cannot say, “I want only daytime with sunlight.” If you said, “Oh sun, be there throughout the day. I want daylight all the time”, then people will want to avoid you. You cannot have darkness all the twenty-four hours. Neither can you have light all the twenty-four hours. A day means both light and dark.

So, life also means both success and failure. Life means profit and gain. Life means celebration; it also means humiliation. Life means praise and blame. Life means health and sickness. Therefore, if you view life in totality, there will be no question of disappointment. Then you understand what life is.

 

Busy Work And God  

The next question: “In the midst of busy work, how do I link myself with God? Some people have to drive hours and hours to reach their work spot. At the end of the workday, they return completely tired after driving more hours. In this busy life, how am I to establish a link with God?”

This has been a problem. Yet, the answer is simple when I say, “O God, I am only an instrument. You make me do what I am supposed to.”

I am only an instrument. It may be my office work; it may be that I am driving my car. Yes, right there at the steering wheel, say to yourself, “O God, I am driving as per Your will.”

“O God, I am working with my computer as per Your direction.” Or, “I am a doctor, so I am Your instrument.”

With a spirit of surrender when you work, you are not simply linking with God. No. You are in God, not just ‘linked up’ with God. ‘Linking’ is different from ‘being in God’. Where there is a link, there is also ‘de-link’ -- linking and de-linking, connecting and disconnecting. But when you are in God, nobody can take you out, because God is everywhere.

Therefore, my friends, it is quite possible to live in God, with constant remembrance of His Name. This is what Swami calls ‘Constant Integrated Awareness’. That's what it is -- Constant Integrated Awareness -- remembering His matchless glory, His Name. So then you are always established in God, in full awareness.

 

“Do Good To All”  

“God says to do good to all. Where do I draw a line, say, if I have done the best of my ability, and yet another man hurts me?”

This is the next question. You are doing your best because Baba has said to do good. Still, the other man is hurting you. Where do you draw a line? This means, “When do I stop helping the other man? I keep on helping the man and he is not reciprocating. So, at what point should I stop helping him?” That’s what the questioner meant.

I will give you an example from Sai literature. It seems a wise man was having his morning bath in a river. In the river, he saw a scorpion struggling. This wise man picked up the scorpion with his hand. The scorpion bit the man, so immediately the man dropped it in the water. The scorpion went on struggling.

Out of compassion, the man picked it up again. The scorpion started biting again. Then this wise man thought, ‘Oh scorpion, you have not given up your bad nature. Although you have not given up your bad nature, why should I give up my nature of helping? I will continue to help you because this is the lesson that I learned from you. Just because you have not given up your nature, why should I give up my nature?’

Therefore, when another man hurts you, he is behaving like a scorpion. Because that person hurts you, it doesn't mean that you should stop helping him. You should continue your own nature. It is something like the sun. “O sun, you are giving me light. Thank you!” None of us says that. Still, the sun goes on shedding light.

None of us would say, “O thank you, wind god, because you supply me with oxygen.” I breathe oxygen as if it were my father-in-law’s property! (Laughter) Of course, the in-law won’t allow even that. The point is that we take things for granted. This should not be the situation. Whatever the other person may say, we should continue with our nature.

Gandhiji was highly respectful to Winston Churchill in spite of the fact that they were at loggerheads with each other. Because of his nature, he was very courteous to Churchill. Likewise, helpfulness should be your nature, should be second nature to you.

The thought of helpfulness should not be only a Sunday affair. The thought of service should not be only for a service activity. It should be your nature. You and service should go together. You and help are one and the same. It is not that help will only dawn on Monday. “I am very humble on Sunday, serviceable on Tuesday and helpful on Wednesday.” No. Life is not a timetable. Life is not a schedule. Helpfulness should be your nature – second nature, in-built character -- so that you are not mindful of anything else.

At this hour, I am reminded of a great missionary, a great Christian missionary, by the name of Wolf. He was staying in a big bungalow. A few robbers and thieves entered his house. They had stolen everything and they were leaving his bungalow.

At that moment, Reverend Wolf got up from his bed and noticed the thieves leaving. He shouted, “Oh young men, stop there. It is dark all over. There are many thorny bushes. This place is known for snakes and scorpions. I will give you a lamp, my dear sons. Take the lamp and go slowly. I don't want you to die.” That is a helpful nature!

I also remember a story from Tolstoy literature. A vagabond -- a gangster and a man of vices -- lost all his property. Finally, it happened that his fiancée wanted his mother’s golden chain. This fellow went fully drunk, killed his mother and snatched away her gold chain. He was leaving the house to present this gold chain to his fiancée.

Then the man heard a voice: "Sonny, be careful! Watch your step. You are fully drunk, my dear child. You may fall. So carry the gold chain carefully."

The fellow looked back. What did he see? He saw the heart of his mother on the ground. The heart started speaking like that. “Sonny, be careful! You may fall. Take hold of this chain. Be careful.” That is Love.

“I will help you if you help me” -- that is business, which is political. “I will continue to help you even if you hurt me” -- that is the true spirit of help.  

 

“Can Baba Find A Cure FOR SARS?”

“Can Baba find medicine for SARS?” (Laughter)

SARS was a health problem in Singapore and Canada and few other areas. I said, “Well, I have not brought up this topic with Swami. Why ask just for SARS? For all diseases, I know of only one medicine: Paramam Pavitram Baba Vibhutim – Baba’s vibhuthi. That is the only antibiotic that I know. I am not aware of other things.

 

“What To Do With Criticism?”  

Next question: “If anyone criticises me, I feel badly. I have not gotten beyond that feeling. What do I do? How do I take the criticism? I have still have a reaction. What am I to do?”  

Baba has given a very good answer to this. If anyone criticises you for a reason that is genuine, be thankful to the critic. If you are really wrong, be thankful to him: “My brother, you have pointed out my mistake. Thank you very much.”

Suppose that you are criticised or charged with doing something that you have not committed. In other words, you are not guilty. Then don’t worry at all! As you have not done anything, so your heart is clear. When you are clear, when the accusations are false, don't bother. Pay a deaf ear. When they are genuine, correct yourself and be thankful for the awareness.

Baba gave Himself as an example: Baba said, “If you say, ‘Baba, You are bald’, I am not offended because I have a lot of hair. I am not bald. Whatever you say, why should I feel offended? Suppose someone says, ‘Baba, You have a mop of hair -- so much hair’, then I am not offended because it is true (Laughter)!”

When truth is said to your face, you don't have to feel guilty. You don't have to feel sorry. When a false accusation is made, you don't have to feel badly either. Criticism helps you to correct yourself when you do commit a mistake. Therefore, feeling hurt should not arise at any point in time.

Whether you praise God or not, He will always be happy. Someone might say, “O God, You are really loving.” God does not think, ‘O My son, I am happy with your compliments.’

Or if you say, “God, You are unkind because nowadays You are not giving me interviews”, He is not displeased.

Spirituality is transcendence. Spirituality is not indulgence; spirituality is not avoidance. Spirituality is transcendence. You should transcend criticism as well as praise and admiration. You should go beyond the two. That is true spirituality.

 

Right Balance Between Worldly Success

And Spiritual Growth  

Another question: “Particularly in America, how do we, as Sai devotees, find the right balance between worldly success and spiritual growth towards Swami's Lotus Feet?”

This is a good question. Where is the balance between worldly success and spiritual growth? Where do you strike the balance towards Swami's Lotus Feet? My friends, worldly success and spiritual growth are not opposite. Why should you think that a spiritual man is a failure in the world? Why should you think that a spiritual man is incompetent or inefficient? No! Worldly success and spiritual growth go hand-in-hand.

You may ask me, “Why not spiritual growth alone? Why should there be spiritual success?”

My friends, ‘spiritual growth’ is a false term, a false word, the wrong usage. There are some people who say, “I noticed spiritual growth in myself.”

Oh, I see. (Laughter) You must have noticed ‘undergrowth’ yesterday. You may find ‘overgrowth’ tomorrow. Spirituality has nothing to do with growth! No. You cannot say, “I am spiritually growing.” Has your thermometer helped you to measure? Or have your scales (for weight) helped you?  Or, on your morning jog, has it been revealed to you?

My friends, ‘spiritual growth’ are the wrong words. It is better that you remember ‘spiritual awareness’. It is not spiritual growth, but spiritual awareness. Awareness means realisation. Realisation means an understanding of what you already are, whereas spiritual growth gives a misunderstanding of what you are not: “I have not grown today.”

‘I have grown’ means from undergrowth you have moved towards growth. But, spirituality is nothing like undergrowth, growth and overgrowth. No! Spirituality is constant. Spirituality is constant because it has been there since existence. Spirituality is existence. There is nothing like extra growth, undergrowth, hypertrophy -- it’s not like that. Therefore, spiritual awareness will naturally help you to be successful in the world as well. Worldly success is assured. In the world, there is success and failure. But in spirituality, there is nothing like success and failure. Spirituality is beyond duality. Only the world is dual.

So how do you establish a sort of balance between the two? One is the realisation; the other is the achievement. Spiritual awareness is realisation. Worldly success is an achievement. How can I measure liquid and solid in the same way? One has to be measured in litres and the other one has to be measured in kilos. I cannot say that the distance from here to the Mandir is fifty degrees. Can you say that? “What is the weight of this? Two litres!” Do you say that?

This kind of measure is not applicable in the spiritual realms. In the spiritual realms, it is realisation and awareness of that which is non-dual. In the world, which is dual, the parameters of success and failure, or profit and loss, are always dual.

Therefore, how to strike a balance? The balance is this: Worldly duality can be viewed through the undercurrent of spiritual awareness. Spiritual awareness is the understanding; spiritual awareness is the backdrop. Worldly success is the projection. When worldly success is projected on the screen of spiritual awareness, yes, you are a seeker, you are an aspirant, you are spiritual, or you are a saint. The curtain is spiritual awareness; the projection is worldly success. They are not opposite. One is the corollary to the other. One is the screen; the other is the projection.

I gave that answer.

 

Spiritual Aspect  

My friends, I will take the last few minutes to address the topic of spiritual questions.

 

“How Do You Develop, Protect And Improve Faith?”

First question: “How do you develop, protect and improve faith?”

This question came from the Milwaukee Center in the State of Wisconsin. How to develop, protect and improve faith? Three aspects - develop, protect and improve.

My answer is simple. Faith is natural. You don't have to develop it. You were born with faith. A child has total faith in the mother. A child is not taught how to develop faith towards the mother. “My dear child, she is your mother. So have total faith in she who is teaching you.” You are born with faith. Faith is not cultivated. Faith is not imported, exported or manufactured. You are born with faith.

Furthermore, Baba goes on to say that you have total faith in a barber. You go to the salon and bend your head. Whether this fellow is going to put the knife on your head or your neck, you don't have any doubt. You have total faith in a barber. You give your costly dress to the washerman. You never think that he may run away someday with your costly clothes. You have total faith in a washerman and total faith in a barber. Then you have total faith in a doctor. You lie down on the operation table. He will transport you to the other planet and bring you back safely to earth -- you don't doubt it at all. You have total faith in a doctor. Faith is a natural quality. You are born with faith.

The question might be, “Why, then, is faith sometimes lost?” Rather than ask how to develop faith, the question is: “Why has faith gone? Why is faith lost?” This question is in respect only to God! You have faith in everybody else. There are a number of instances where I have heard this at a railway platform or in an airport. Someone will ask his or her neighbour, “Sir, here is my luggage. Please take care of it. I will go to the restroom and come back.” 

By the time you come back, the other person and your baggage may be elsewhere! (Laughter) In total faith, you give your baggage to that man. In total faith, he has run away with it. We have faith in everybody, except in God. So, instead of saying, “How do I develop faith?” let us ask the question, “Why have I lost faith?”

Then, “How to protect faith?” Yes, you have to take every precaution. You have to take every measure to protect faith. Why? Now that you have developed a sort of attachment to Swami, you have faith in Swami. If you start arguing with people, if you start interpreting Swami’s sayings, you are sure to lose the faith. Let us not interpret Bhagavan.

There are many people who say, “You know why Swami has not looked at you? I will tell you.” (Laughter)

“Who are you to tell me why He has not looked at me?  Who are you? That's my problem.”

Then some says, “You know what Baba meant when He said this to you? He meant that….”

“Oh ho, who are you to tell me? Bhagavan will tell me directly what He wants me to know. Why should you interpret? You are already mad and turning me double mad. Why?”

So, let us not interpret. To grow strong in faith, we should stop interpreting. We should learn total acceptance, not negation. Unconditional acceptance, without any interpretation, is strong faith.

Then, so long as faith is tender, you need to be careful about those who are against your faith. You believe in Baba, but suppose you talk to people who have no faith in Him. You will lose it. Baba gave this simple example: When a sapling is planted, it needs a fence to protect it. When this same plant grows into a huge tree, it will give shelter to cows and sheep. At a tender age, a sapling stands the risk of being eaten away.  When it grows into a huge tree, it gives shelter to the same animals that may have harmed it earlier.

So, until your faith is strong enough to encourage others to proceed in the same direction, you have to be careful. That's why it is important to be in good company. Cheje durjana samsargam: Run away from bad company. Bhaja saadhu samagamam: Join good company. Then you will be well protected. Then, how to improve faith? As there is more and more love, you can improve your faith day-by-day.

That's all for the today. In all probability, we will complete the rest of the questions this next week. Yes, there are not many more. Thank you very much for your patient listening. (Applause)

                           

           OM…OM…OM…

 

Asato Maa Sad Gamaya

Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya

Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya

 

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

 

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

 

  Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji Ki Jai!

  Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji Ki Jai!

  Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji Ki Jai!