Words with Wings (a)
(in 3 parts: (
a) continued b, continued c )


Sanathana Sarathi (*)

On Sivarathri day in 1958 the monthly magazine designed to communicate the message of Bhagavan to the world was inaugurated. He named it Sanathana Sarathi. These two words taken together spell the function that Baba has taken upon Himself. Sanathana denotes His being the very source of all this 'becoming'. In a written message to Shri. R.R. Chatterji of the Sathya Sai Seva Samithi, Calcutta, announcing the mission for which He has assumed this human form, Baba made a declaration which nobody since the days of Lord Krishna had the good fortune to listen to: 

"There was no one to know who I am till I created the world, at My pleasure, with one word. Immediately earth and sky were formed, mountains rose up, rivers started flowing, sun, moon and stars sprang out of nowhere to prove My existence. Came all forms of life - plants, insects, beasts, birds and men. Various powers were bestowed upon them under My orders. The first place was granted to man, and My knowledge was placed in man's mind." [See also: Srîmad Bhâgavatam, Canto 1 - Creation]

Sanathana means 'timeless, eternal'. Baba has said that He always was, is, and ever will be. He is Sanathana, now limited in time and space, so that He can be availed of by us. The Upanishads speak of embodied beings as chariots which are drawn along by the senses (horses) through the objective world. Safety lies in choosing a knowledgeable Sarathi (charioteer) and installing him with unimpeded authority in the chariot. By taking upon Himself the role of the Sanathana Sarathi, Baba has revealed that He is the eternal Inner Motivator in all-recognized or unrecognized, acknowledged or ignored, respected or slandered. "My knowledge was placed in man's mind," He says. But the mind allows itself to be covered by veils, so that pure knowledge becomes warped or is denied. 

The first issue of the magazine contained a message from Baba wherein He spoke of the high purpose which it had set out to fulfil: 

"From this day, our Sanathana Sarathi will lead to victory the cohorts of truth - the Vedas, the Sastras and similar scriptures of all faiths - against the forces of the ego such as injustice, falsehood, immorality and cruelty. This is the reason why it has emerged. This Sarathi will fight in order to establish world prosperity. It is bound to sound the paean of triumph when universal Ananda is achieved."


Baba is ever conscious that He is the cosmic principle that has transformed Itself into human form. He is the goal, the guide and the guardian whom every being seeks. He gives expression to this truth in His discourses and writings. As a proem to His discourses He sometimes sings, in either Telugu or Sanskrit, a short verse which lifts the veil of mystery hiding him from our eyes, and in a flash makes us aware of some facet of His plan to rehabilitate man. He declared, 

"The same Vishnu who rewarded Dhruva [See: SB, Canto 4-12] with material and spiritual glory and saved Prahlâda from the cruelty of those who sought, through torture, to break his faith in the Lord, [See: SB, Canto 7:5] that same Gopala who showered grace on the impoverished and famished Kuchela [*5], is here now, the embodiment of Wisdom and Bliss, the ruler enthroned in the hearts of good men, the compassionate monitor of all those who stray away from the right path."

On one occasion He sang another poem which had spontaneously blossomed on His lips: 

"Why does the sun rise and set everyday without delay or disruption? Why do the stars that light the sky to the delight of all eyes, hide their splendorous faces when the day dawns, and never even slyly peer to tell us where they are? Why does air always be around, giving us the breath of life? Why do these streams and rivers roar, murmur, gurgle and gossip over rock, pebble and sand, as they meander along towards the parent sea? How is it that the billions that constitute mankind, though they are caskets treasuring images of the same entity, remain distinct from each other in appearance, achievement, aspiration and attitude? This is the answer: Know that I am the One who has ordained that these be such and shall behave so."

The Five Elemental Aspects

The Upanishads declare the tests to decide the genuineness of Bhagavân's incarnation thus: 

"For fear of Him, fire burns; for fear of Him, wind blows. Indra, the mighty god of gods, also stands in awe of Him. Death hastens towards or flees away, as He directs." [See also: SB, Canto 3, Chapter 25, verse 42]

When a greedy forest fire advanced towards chuchuma ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border, where stood the Sai Yoga Institute of Indra Devi, her prayer to Baba turned the fire back by a sudden twist of wind when the flames had reached within yards of the ranch. Shri K.A. Raja, Lt. Governor of Arunchal Pradesh, writes that a huge bamboo cluster within yards of his official residence at Tezpur caught fire and was exploding merrily immediately adjacent to the thatched huts of some Nepalese workmen. Mrs. Raja hastened to the scene and called aloud to Baba to soften the fury of the flames. The letter relates, "The fire extinguished itself in a few seconds; not even a dozen fire engines could have done that job." Similarly, Baba has many a time prevented rain by a mere gesture or oral command, when it had threatened to drench the thousands gathered to have His Darsan and listen to His discourse. [See also: SB, Canto 10, Chapter 17, where Krishna swallows a forest fire]

The president of a coach factory near Madras had made a commitment to deliver about 25 coaches as the first instalment of an agreement between the government of India and the government of an overseas state - a prestigious assignment that was secured in spite of overwhelming competition from countries in the front line of industrialized nations. But troubles dogged him at every step. He was very unhappy that he would not be able to load the coaches onto a Japanese ship that had already left Bombay for Madras to take the cargo on board. He prayed to Baba to save the reputation of his factory. Baba said, "The ship will be delayed; hurry on with your work." 
The ship faced a fierce storm off Cochin and had to undergo some repairs at Colombo. When it finally did reach Madras, the port was too full to allow it into the docks. When, at last, it was ready to receive the coaches, they were waiting, spick and span, to be carried overseas. Bhagavân can initiate or pacify storms when He wills. He welcomes into the realm of death those who clamor for release, and brings back from the gullet of death those who were gobbled while they had yet to play the role He had in mind for them. The words emanating from Him are, therefore, divine commands, which can charge us with an immense potency and purity and change us into reservoirs of love and light.

Come Again

On another occasion, preliminary to the hoisting of the Prasanthi flag at the Nilayam, the following poem was sung by Baba: 


 "The cowherd boy, the son of Nanda (foster father of Krishna) [see: Bhagavata Vahini, Chapter 44 & SB, Canto 10:3], has come again among you, embodied as Ananda, so that He may collect His playmates. The same Râma [see: Ramakatha Vahini] has come again, with a great deal of Aaraam (leisure), since now there is no burden of imperium, no dynastic responsibility; He has come again to give his erstwhile followers the chance of service. The same Sai has come to you from Shirdi to be in the midst of his erstwhile companions and comrades. Once again, the same all-comprehensive, omnipresent Principle named Vishnu has come in this comprehensible, cognisable human form, so that you may benefit from Him. He has come without His instruments and weapons, for He has willed to forge them here itself." 

Baba has herein asserted that He is the self-determined human expression of that super intelligence, that absolute will. He says, 

"For you, birth is an anxious moment; childhood is fraught with anxiety; living is a series of anxious moments; livelihood is earned through a chain of anxious events; old age and death cause dire anxiety; even joy brings about the anxiety that you might lose it soon; all activity is saturated with anxiety. But barter all this anxiety for only one anxiety - how to win the grace of Sai - and you will be free from the big brood of worry and unrest." 

His prologue-verses often deal with devotees, telling them how steady faith alone can earn eternal peace: 

"Compassion in the eyes; sweet words on the tongue; nectarous gleam on a smiling face; joy ever residing in the heart; reassurance in every gesture of the hands - that is Sai. Do not lose hold and give up the Savior who has come to you."

Hold Fast

Ponder over the significance of this verse He sang years ago: 

"Something you have held, while seeking to hold something, hold on to it most firmly. Something you did ask for, though asking is not needed; persist till the gift is granted. Some desire you have entertained in your mind, though there is no need to desire; still, knock at the door until it opens and your desire is fulfilled. Either I must grant you the thing that you crave for, unable to withstand your yearning; or you must realize its very absurdity and conquer that worthless yearning." 

True to the declaration He made at the first World Conference that He is all names and forms by which man has ever tried to describe God, the annunciatory verse He sings on days dedicated to Râma, Krishna or Shiva would often be about the identity between Him and the deity that is being adored. On a Shivarathri day a few years ago, He proclaimed, while standing before a festive gathering of twenty-five thousand people, 


"This day Shiva has come into the view of mortals - Shiva, dwelling in the village of Parthi. He carries on Him matted hair, the Ganges flowing from it, the eye in the centre of the brow, the dark-complexioned throat, the serpent wristlets, and tiger-skin around the waist, the red dot on the forehead and the pan (betel) - produced redness on the lips."

When He led a party of about a hundred and fifty devotees to the famous Himalayan shrine of Nârâyana, He addressed them at Hardwar before starting on the mountain trek, saying, "Yours is a unique chance: going to Nârâyana with Nârâyana."

The Unseen Force

Once Baba sang a verse in which He declared that He is the Unseen Force that regulates the movements of celestial bodies and all forms of life, and designs the destinies of each of us. This was when He inaugurated the all India conference of Sai organizations held at Madras. If the Will is all-powerful and eternal, it can, of course, come down and move as a man among men. At another time He said, 

"There are three types of men: those who seek happiness for themselves first, with no attention paid to others; those who consider others first and thereby derive happiness; and those who will try to prevent others from being happy even at the cost of their own happiness." 

To a group of Americans He once gave a message that was different in emphasis. 

"You are the smiling flower," He wrote, "you are the twinkling star. What is there on the earth and in the sky that you are not? Then, why need you desire? You are the God of the universe. You create the universe and, after playing with it for sometime, draw it into yourself and are the same again. What you really are is Truth - Consciousness - Bliss." 

Baba insists that every one be made aware of the goal of life, which is to pass from the stage of 'I am in the Light' to the stage 'the Light is in me' on to the ultimate truth that 'I am the Light.' When you are the Light, there can be no darkness, no desire, no fear, no hatred, no ego.

In the following message to children, Baba is simple and direct, as if they were really sitting around Him, their eyes wide open in wonder:

Dear Children,
You have been born in this most glorious country, Bharat, and have grown up here. Unless you learn to know of its history, its holy traditions, the lives and teachings of its men of wisdom and piety, what else is there for you to learn? Light the lamp of morality and righteousness, the lamp that once shone bright in this land. Let its light illumine the world.


In a message to students He has asked, 

"Can the goal of life be just this? To struggle amidst the waves of joy and grief that rise and fall in the visible, objective world; to be carried along the swift current of desire, gathering food, shelter, comfort, and sensual pleasure and, finally, to flounder on the rocks of death?" 

In another message He emphasises a basic truth: 

"Seeking a high standard of living instead of a high level of living, has played havoc with human society. A high level of living insists on morality, humility, detachment and compassion; a competitive race for luxury and conspicuous consumption is not encouraged. Now man has become a slave of his desires and finds himself helpless before the urge to earn pleasure and luxury. Being too weak to keep his baser urges under control, he cannot arouse the Divinity that is latent in him."

Baba has said that in this incarnation He is the supreme teacher. "Aham Satyabodhaka" (I am the Teacher of Truth), He says. He teaches at all times, in all places and by all means. He showers love and wins you; He withholds love and cures you. Once He administered a mild admonition to some devotees who had expected a continuous flow of 'plums and roses'. Then He enlightened them: 

"Do you delight when I allow you to be near Me? The next moment I might cause the sorrow of separation. Do you feel that Sai takes delight in your tears? Just then I might make you laugh till your sides ache, and continue to grant you joy, again and again. Do you feel a sense of elevation when I praise you a little? That very moment I may prick the bubble of your pride by means of ridicule. Do you feel secure when I tell you not to fear? The next moment I might inflict pain and appear indifferent when you pray for relief. I do not allow you to go back, nor do I allow you to go forward! I madden your mind and smother your ego. Find out how any one can move away from this charming Sai, the embodiment of Love and Light. Find out the reason why He is indispensable, in spite of this dual role."

In this message He has revealed that every act of His, every flash of anger or twinkle in the eye, every smile or curve of the brow, has a deep significance for the recipient. Many such messages are composed in verse extempore and sung by Baba, expressing the mood of the moment and answering unspoken thoughts and questions that agitate the mass of people gathered to hear Him.

"When you have before you the wish-fulfilling tree," He sings, "why do you desire to foster inferior trees?" "When you have for the asking the cow (Kamadhenu) that yields all that you need, why do you seek the common cow for milk? When you have the Meru mountain, rich in gold and silver, why do you run about frantically in search of petty gains? When you have with you the Sai Who gives liberation, why do you crave for lesser joys that dissolve again into grief?" 

Most of Baba's discourses are a commentary on some such basic idea enshrined in poetry and song.

A group of Americans once prayed for a message to take home with them to the States. So Baba, in His own attractive calligraphy, wrote, 

"The fruit has to be sweet, though the rind can afford to be bitter. It is the juice and its sugar content that count; put away the rind of anger, malice, envy and greed and assimilate the sweetness of the fruit, so that sweetness can develop within you... Be a lotus: The lotus is born in slime and mud, but rises up through the water and lifting its head above it, refuses to get wet, although it springs from water. Be like the lotus or the lily-unattached."

Baba teaches us by means of His letters, discourses, books and articles. He writes in simple and elegant, colloquial Telugu or English prose. The message is always extempore, His ideas receiving expression as mellifluous poems and songs showering exquisite delight. His script is reminiscent of charming monastic artistry; the lines are straight and parallel, resembling floral garlands spread out upon a paper. Poetry and melody shine through each sentence, and behind each phrase and clause lies a form that is clearly human, though it carries divine wisdom. Thus Baba's message enables mankind to benefit from the grace and wisdom that He has come to confer.


The Mother Feeds

Baba speaks of Himself as the mother yearning to feed an unruly child who, in its ignorance, refuses to eat what will cure its hunger. The child has to be coddled and coaxed, wheeled and petted, even caught unawares sometimes by means of a story or a song, to induce it to accept the food it needs. Baba's immeasurable love persuades Him to pack a medical dose in a sweet smile, a panacea in a palatable parable or a profound thought in syrupy joke.

Let us dip into the books that Baba has given man in order to draw him to the feast that He has prepared for his hunger. A number of scholars, cynical of matters beyond their ken and proud of their academic achievements, receive these books by post (sent mysteriously by Baba Himself) or through some inexplicable source. These become for them invitations to the Presence, fresh and fascinating as they are.

Baba has said that if He were to be identified by one characteristic more than any other, He could most aptly be called Prema Swarupa, the Embodiment of Love. The very first Vahini (stream) that flowed forth from his pen to fertilise the mind of man was the book 'Prema Vahini'. Nârada, the great exponent of love as a spiritual discipline, defines that path as Sathasmin Parama Prema Swarupa (it is of the nature of supreme devotion or love to That). The love is described as supreme, because it is full and free, with no conditions, no trace of bargaining, no taint of fear. Once such love is practised and experienced, all distinctions drop, duality ceases, and only the truth remains.

The Gopis

Baba quotes the love of the simple milkmaids and cowherds of Brindavan towards Krishna as the best example of this Parama Prema. Krishna Himself appreciated it thus: 

"They long for Me so deeply, their thoughts, words and deeds are so imbued with Me, that they have no sense of time or space, no consciousness of their bodies and their needs. They are so absorbed in Me that they are like rivers that have merged in the ocean and lost their individual names and distinctions." [See also: SB, Canto 10, Chapters 29 to 33]

Sankara, the great philosopher-saint, wrote of Bhakti: 
Swa-swarupa anusandhanam bhaktirithi abhidheeya the 
(the constant contemplation of the Reality which is one's innermost core, is

Baba elaborates on this truth: 

"The Atman is the inner core, it is the reality that has to be contemplated upon... When Krishna advises Arjuna to surrender all activity to 'Me' and to take refuge in 'Me', it is but an exhortation to spend every moment in the awareness of the real Me, the Atman, the Swaswaroopa." (**

Baba says in Prema Vahini 

"Only through love can faith become steady; only through faith can knowledge be gained; only through knowledge can Parabhakti (complete devotion, self-surrender) be ensured and only through Parabhakti can the Lord be realized."

"Jnanadevathu Kaivalayam," says the Gîtâ (knowledge alone can confer freedom). Bhakti clarifies the vision, cleanses the mind, strengthens self-control and purifies thought, so that the Lord may be reflected clear and complete in the heart. Regarding the age-old controversy on the relative status of the three paths - Bhakti, Karma and Jnana - that lead to God, Baba writes, 

"I do not agree that Bhakti, Karma and Jnana are separate. I do not place any one before the other, nor will I accept a mixture of the three. Karma is Bhakti; Bhakti is Jnana. A piece of candy has taste, weight and shape; the three cannot be separated. Each bit has all the three; we do not find shape in one bit, weight in another and sweetness in the third. When the candy is placed on the tongue, the taste, the weight and the shape are simultaneously experienced. Similarly, Jnana, Karma and Bhakti may be truly experienced only as one whole." 

Karma is love in action, Jnana is love experienced and Bhakti is love universally shared. Thus Baba dismisses in one stroke all disputations about the superiority of any one of these disciplines over the other.

Cups of Many Shapes

Baba has silenced traducers of idol worship too. He says that no one can adore the nameless, formless absolute principle, without sacrificing one's alloy in the crucible of devotion to that same principle in a mentally cognisable and acceptable form. 

"No one can be a Nirguna Jnani (knower of the attributeless) without being a Saguna Bhakta (worshipper of the attributeful)" He says. 

"Iswara anugrahadeva pumsam adwaitha vasana," says Sankara: It is only through God's own grace that one can comprehend Him as being without name and form. 

In 'Prema Vahini' Baba says, "Idols serve the same purpose as metaphors and similes in poetry. They illustrate and illumine the Divine." 

He has also said that idols are only artistic and attractive containers which people use for quaffing the nectar of divine effulgence. 

"You cannot quaff it without a cup. One person may like to drink the delight in a 'blue cowherd boy of Brindavan (Vrindâvana)' cup, while another may relish it in a cup depicting the ecstatic 'cosmic dancer' (Lord Shiva) of Kailas. The choice may depend on either hereditary predilection, or on personal choice, or on a wave of spiritual awareness. Whatever the reason or the shape of the vessel, it serves the same high purpose - to help imbibe the joy, the power, the love, the wisdom and the splendor of the one divine entity."

In the Bhakti Sutra, Nârada has said that a bhakta (devotee) has no worldly worries for he has surrendered himself to the Lord. 

Baba writes, "This does not mean that he would sit quiet. Service of man, for the bhakta, is service of God, for he sees God in every man. Free from the alternating waves of like and dislike, worry and exaltation, the bhakta sees the divine as the motivator in himself and in others. He is ever-engaged in good deeds for such is his basic nature. In whatever he does, thinks or speaks, he promotes lokasangraha (the welfare of mankind). He has no worry or disappointment, because for him it is God who provides, performs, proposes, plans and dispenses."

While the monthly serials of 'Prema Vahini' in the Sanathana Sarathi were percolating like fresh water into desiccated hearts, another series of Baba's articles was published in the same magazine to remove the weeds of doubt growing wild therein. They were collectively entitled 'Sandeha Nivarini'. Even in His teens and twenties, Baba took delight in prodding those who gathered at His feet to ask Him questions on spiritual matters. These became the cues for dissertations, short and long, with many an interspersed parable, poem or song, to lead the questioners from darkness to light.

Questions Answered

I remember many such question-answer sessions taking place on the Chitravathi sands. Dayananda Sagar (a lawyer), Vittal Rao (a sylviculturist), V. Hanumantha Rao (a civilian officer), and a few others, were prolific interrogators. Many brought their doubts before Baba and prayed for solutions. There were pundits and sadhakas from Venkatagiri, Yerpedu, Vyasasram, Thiruvannamalai (Ramanasram), Pondicherry, Kanhangad and Varkalai Narayanaguru Asram. They returned happy and restful, for their problems received Baba's clear analysis, deep diagnosis, intimate unravelling and effective remedy. There was, one day, a hoary monk from Rishikesh who asked Baba with a touch of nonchalant conceit, how to escape the coils of mâyâ. Baba answered,

 "Mâyâ does not exist, until you look for it. Don't look for it, it won't affect you. The image of your face is inside the well only when you peep to discover whether it is there." 

The monk confessed to me later it was a reply he had never received so far, and it had solved for him a doubt that had haunted him for years.

In 'Sandeha Nivarini' Baba says, 

"I am happy when anyone asks Me about things he has not understood. Of course, you have every right." Then he asks the pupil, "But are you reflecting on the answers I give and are you practising what has been told to you, with the conviction born of faith?... What am I here for? Is it not for explaining to you things you do not know? Ask me without hesitation or fear. I am always ready to answer. Only, the enquiry must be earnest, emerging out of a genuine desire to know and to practise what is good."

It can be revealed now that the 'bhakta' who visits Baba with questions - personal, philosophic and religious - in every chapter of 'Sandeha Nivarini', is a creation of the divine pen. Baba reveals through this character, His infinite compassion towards the Samsayatma, the person afflicted with doubts. He poses the problems and provides the answers. He writes, 

"bhakta! I converse with you about every point you place before Me, and allow many to take part in this conversation. The sun's light falls upon the mirror, the light from the mirror upon the walls of the bungalow and the light from the walls upon the eye. Similarly, this 'Sandeha Nivarini' has been planned in order that the illumination of My teaching may fall upon you and thence on to the pages of the Sanathana Sarathi, so that the effulgence may illuminate the world and bring light and harmony into the heart of mankind."

Dharma Is the Refuge

The next book to be serialised in the pages of the Sanathana Sarathi was 'Dharma Vahini'. Baba says, 

"Dharma is like the river Saraswati, flowing unseen beneath the deeper levels of human consciousness, feeding the roots of activity, filling the springs of thought, cleansing the slushy eddies of feeling. When the river runs dry or is clogged by greed and hate, the avatar comes to let in a torrent of grace and restore its fresh, free flow."

Buddha declared that Dharma is the very basis of good life. He insisted that everyone should surrender to its dictates so that the misery that is ever at the heels of life may be avoided. Ashoka (***), the historic emperor, sweetened every law of his empire with Dharma. He inscribed on rock and pillar his exhortations: 

"Hitherto my people and my forefathers went on Vihara yatras (pleasure trips); hereafter I propose only Dharma yatras (pilgrimages). Hitherto they gave Dana (charity, usually in the form of money); hereafter they must give Dharma dana (the gift of the knowledge of Dharma). Hitherto they sought Dig vijaya (conquest of territory); hereafter I exhort them to relish Dharma vijaya (the triumph of righteousness)." 

Ashoka knew that Dharma sustains, strengthens and saves.

"Why should man take to the path of Dharma?" asked Schopenhauer, and then replied to himself, "To preach morality is easy; to lay the foundation for morality is not." Faith in God, who rewards the good and punishes the bad, was a stout bulwark of Dharma for ages. But secularism has undermined this faith. Baba, however, in 'Dharma Vahini' has installed Dharma on an unshakable foundation as the unity of all life, indeed, of creation: 

"Whoever conquers the ego and overcomes the natural tendency to regard the body and its furniture as his true self, is surely on the path of Dharma, for he would soon discover the truth behind all this scintillating multiplicity. He would realise that the objective world is like a gem-studded veil over Brahman, which is the one and only truth. Sarvam Khalu Idam Brahman (All is verily Brahman). When man is aware of this truth, there will be no 'other': all will be 'you'. Since you love yourself most, your love will flow in full measure towards all and encompass the living and the non-living." 

As a red indian chief wrote to the president of the United States of America in 1855,

 "Every part of this earth is sacred to my people - every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the woods, every clearing and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people."

Dharma has to be built on this deep understanding of the depths of being. 

"Build your life," says Baba, "on the atmic plinth, the faith that you are a wave upon the ocean of bliss, a spark of the cosmic intelligence." Then He asks, "When you worship an idol, what is it that you really do? First, a form of God is imprinted on your mind. After that you meditate on His power, grace and omnipresence, and project these qualities upon the idol, thus enabling your consciousness to transcend it and become unaware of the lithic substance before you... In the same manner, imprint onto your consciousness that form of God which delights you most and fills you with illumination, and project that form on every man, beast, bird and insect, on every tree and plant, on every rock and rill; this Sadhana will make you true, good and beautiful."

This is the fundamental norm: Atmic awareness - the unceasing remembrance of the one appearing to be many. And to the question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" often asked by those wearing 'I-glasses', Baba answers, "You are your brother; his health is your health; your holiness is his. There is no difference or distinction. If you swim, he swims; if he sinks, it is you who sink."

The Source of Power

Baba does not agree with the dictum, 'knowledge is power', for knowledge may induce conceit, competition and conflict. Instead He always emphasises that 'Character is Power' and, elaborating upon the basis of character, He quotes the Bhagavad Gîtâ (*4) (Ch. 12, verses 13-19): 

"The man of character hates none, is kind and compassionate, free from egotism, treats pleasure and pain with equal unconcern, behaves ever with forbearance, is ever content, self-restrained and steady in his conviction of the unity of the universe. He has no feeling of harassment from the world nor does he in any way harass the world. He has no trace of anger, fear, anxiety or exultation, nor is he bound by the chains of infatuation or vengeance. He neither craves nor grieves, but passes unscathed through good repute and bad, welcoming both, heat and cold. He is satisfied with fortune, be it good or bad, and has no home which he is loath to leave."

Seva has two invaluable consequences: the negation of the ego and the experience of kinship. Baba reminds us that even charity is cruelty unless one heart meets another in warm fraternity. The fragrance of love and the sweetness of sincerity must sanctify every act of Seva. Baba teaches us in the book 'Prasanthi Vahini', how Dharma can lighten the travails of family life and how social life can become healthier and happier through the regulation of relationships according to Dharma. Masters and servants, elders and youngsters, teachers and students - all can benefit if Dharma prevails.

But the ancient academies of Dharma have now become hotbeds of greed and jealousy. "Beautiful groves and fields are becoming thorny jungles with no viable path," says Baba. He lays down in some detail how parents can preserve and promote the culture of this land and save Dharma from pollution. He pleads for a revival of the status of the village temple as a reservoir of Dharma. He says, "It can, if maintained on ancient lines, circulate sanctity and vitality through every vein and nerve of the social organism."





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(*) Sanathana Sarathi

(**) BG, Chapter 18, verse 66: 
sarva-dharmân parityajya
mâm ekam saranam vraja
aham tvâm sarva-pâpebhyo
moksayisyâmi mâ sucah
sarva-dharman -- all varieties of religion; parityajya -- abandoning; mam -- unto Me; ekam -- only; saranam -- for surrender; vraja -- go; aham -- I; tvam -- you; sarva -- all; papebhyah -- from sinful reactions; moksayisyami -- will deliver; ma -- do not; sucah -- worry.
Go, leave the variety of religions behind for surrendering to Me only; I will deliver you from all the consequences of sin, don't worry!

(***) Ashoka, the most trusted son of Bindusara and the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, was a brave soldier. He was the most famous of the Mauryan kings and was one of the greatest rulers of India. Under his reign Buddhism spread to Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, Central Asia, Burma. For propagation of Buddhism, he started inscribing edicts on rocks and pillars at places where people could easily read them. These pillars and rocks are still found in India, spreading their message of love and peace for the last two thousand years. To his ideas he gave the name Dharma. Ashoka died in 232 BC.

(*4) See BG: 12, verses 13-19 for the sanskrit verses: 
(13-14)  With no dislike towards anyone and surely friendly and kind, nonpossessive, and not identified, equal in distress and happiness, forgiving, peaceful and always devoted, selfcontrolled and with determination in mind and intelligence always fixed on Me - such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me. (15) Anyone of whom the people are never disturbed and who is also not disturbed by the people; he who is free from ups and downs, fears and anxieties is very dear to Me. (16) Anyone prepared for alternatives [neutral], who is pure, capable, unworried, untroubled and does not consider mundane endeavoring, such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me. (17) One who never rejoices nor hates, never grieves nor craves and remains detached for better or for worse - one who is such a devotee is dear to Me. (18-19) Equal to foe and friend, in honor and dishonor, in heat and cold and in happiness and distress and the same in absence of company; not different in infamy and repute, quiet and satisfied with anything, free from his home and fixed in his determination as a devotee a man is very dear to Me.

(*5) The story of Kuchela

The story of Kuchela tells how one has to meditate on God, to worship him and to honour him. Kuchela knew what exactly had to be given to the Lord. The Lord cares more for the feeling that accompanies the gift, the attitude with which the offering is made. He is not moved by the quantity or the cost. Kuchela took a little "beaten rice" and the Lord ate it with relish and was highly pleased at the offering so full of Bhakthi (devotion). The imprint of Bhakthi (devotion) made the beaten rice precious." "Give the Lord the fruit of prema (love), that grows on the tree of life. Develop the illumination of Prema and the bats of grief, envy and egoism will fly away into the far darkness."

In the Kuchela episode the wife of Kuchela plays a more important role than Kuchela himself. She had much more bhakthi (devotion). In fact women are more devoted than men, they can master their mind better. It was her maternal love that prompted her to send Kuchela to the Lord. Kuchela hesitated and argued that Krishna may not recognise him or remember him or invite him or accept his homage. He was described in the Bhagavatha as constantly engaged in meditation. But then how can this doubt be explained? She argued with him to give up all his doubts and proceed at least as far as the gate of the palace of Krishna. She was certain that Krishna would call him in, if he took at least that little trouble. Of course, fire warms all, but one has to go near it, is it not? Staying away you can not complain that the fire is not warming you.

Once it was decided that Kuchela would go, she took from the place where she had hidden it for a rainy day, a quantity of paddy. Just a handful, she put it in boiling water, took it out, dried and then frying it over the fire she pounded it with a pestle to prepare the beaten rice, that Kuchela said was Krishnaís favourite food while at school. She tied it to a corner of the cloth worn over the body and he moved on with his fear increasing at every step. Such fear should be absent in a genuine bhaktha. He must approach the Lord as his right and earn the Grace that is his due.

Of course the Lord showers his mercy on all. So he called him in with overwhelming joy and reminded him of the happy days at school which they spent together at the Guruís feet, and even while Kuchela was trying to hide the offering tied to the corner of his tattered cloth Krishna sought out for the stuff and began eating it with great relish. Bhakthi had made it very tasty to the Lord.

It was related that Rukmini Devi held his hand when he took the third handful and the reason given usually by the commentators is that she was afraid that all the riches of the Lord would go over to Kuchela if a few more handful were taken by the Lord. What a silly idea! as if the riches of the Lord are exhaustible, as if He would care if Bhakthas carried all of it away, as if the Mother of the universe is stingy in her gifts! This can never be true! The real cause for her holding the hand of Krishna was that she claimed her share of the offering of the devoted heart. She wanted a portion for herself as it was her right to have a share.

Kuchela left Dwaraka rather disappointed, because he was not given any donation or promise of a donation. He was sad when he remembered his family and the starving children. He was lost in grief and so, he passed his own house without noticing that it had undergone a great change and had become over night a big mansion. His wife, who saw him, called him back and related how suddenly, happiness had been showered upon them by Krishnaís Grace.

Kuchelaís sadhana started that day! Until then he was just a ritualist, going through the outward forms of the rites precribed in the Shastras. When he realised how the Lord can through this mahima, transform poverty to wealth, he decided to win the Grace of God for securing perpetual undiminished joy that is to say, he got "Su-darshan" that is the vision of what is good for him. And in the midst of the treasures that now filled his residence he lived a life of an ascetic without any attachment. He knew that it was all a dream, the riches now and the poverty then.

On one occasion even Kuchela doubted Krishna. He thought that although Krishna was his childhood friend, now that he was a very rich and powerful king, Krishna may not even recognise him. Kuchela was very agitated. However Kuchelaís wife never had such doubt and she encouraged him to go and see Krishna, who has a very broad mind and would never forget His friends. After passing through such doubts and several tribulations, Kuchela entered Krishnaís mansion. Krishna welcomed him heartily and honoured him. Even without being asked, Krishna gave a lot of material wealth and a lot of Grace to Kuchela. The moment Godís Grace is showered, one will forever forget his own desires.

After this Kuchela returned to his home and to his great surprise, found his poor home transformed into a big mansion. He explained to his wife how he was treated by Krishna and said, "He received me as if He was longing to meet me and He showed such Kindness that He appeared as kindness and compassion personified. He accepted a small quantity of parched rice from this poor Kuchela and showered on us this large mansion." If you can give the Lord even a small quantity, He returns it back manifold. 


Written by N. Kasturi M.A., B.L.