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  Volume 3 - Issue 3
MAR 2005


- PART 6
(Continued from previous issue - beginning of next interview)


A Visitor: Swami, one hears talk of Mantras.

SAI: Just the repetition of a Mantra is of no value, but if the Mantra is chanted with full knowledge of its significance, it has a great effect.

A Visitor: How can we improve memory?

SAI: There is not much use thinking about the past, because it is gone. Trying to memorize is not of much value. We will naturally remember that in which we are interested. A small story: Arjuna was 85 years old, a middle aged man. In those days people lived much longer. Arjuna said, 'Lord, how is it that you can remember all the past lives, and I cannot?' Krishna replied, 'Well, what were you doing ten years ago on the third day of the month?' Arjuna said 'I do not know.' Then Krishna said, 'Well, you were alive then.' Arjuna replied, 'Yes, I was alive.' Krishna then said, 'Look back Arjuna, 60 years to the day you were married, do you remember that?' 'Oh, yes,' replied Arjuna, 'I remember that'. 'Then, look further back, Arjuna, to the day you met your Guru and were taught the martial arts. Do you remember?' 'Yes', replied Arjuna, 'I remember.' Then Krishna said, 'It is obvious that people remember that in which they are interested, that which was sufficiently intense to cause them to remember the incident. But they do not bother remembering that in which they are not intensely interested. Now, you do not remember 20 years back, but you know you were alive then, therefore the memory is there, but you cannot recall it. Now, I remember everything, Arjuna, because I am interested in everything.'

A Visitor: (carrying a professional camera): Can I take Your picture now?

SAI: (in English): How many are here? Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.....twelve.

A Visitor: Twelve disciples.

SAI: This is my camera (Swami opens His hand and there are 12 small pictures of Himself amid much exclamation from the group). Keep them in your purse. See, twelve! Full address also! Address here in India. No camera, no film, no flash. A visiting card. Puttaparthi is the address. (Sai opens a silver box and starts preparing leaves).

Visitor: What is that?

SAI: (in English) That is the nut. This is the leaf. See, the leaves, and this is the betel. This is not a bad habit. If it were a bad habit, Swami would not chew it. The leave's juice purifies the blood. The nut digests. Here, they mix the nut and give it for digestion even with the little puppies. And the other thing that is put in is calcium. The three mixed make red colour. This is Indian. (The foregoing was said in a joking voice, accompanied with much merriment from the foreign visitors).

A Visitor: The pictures that people take of Swami and then produce for sale are not good pictures. They do not do justice to Swami. Swami is perfect and everything around Him should be perfect.

SAI: Some may like one thing and others may not like that thing. The liking and the disliking is not in the object, but in our minds. If a person judges just from appearance, then it indicates a lack of depth. First they should know Swami, and then make a judgment.

A Visitor: But Swami is beautiful and the pictures make Him ugly.

SAI: Love is the beauty.

Translator: Swami says that because we love Him we see the beauty. So whoever wants to come will come to Him. You need not get upset because of pictures.

SAI: Johnson, you know Johnson the English writer and scholar. He had an ugly wife, but he loved her very much. A friend said, 'Your wife looks old and made up'. She did not look young and beautiful. Friends thought she looked old and made up. But he thought her beautiful. Love is blind.

A Visitor: How does one get devotion to God?

SAI: Confidence is necessary. Food is the origin - the body is made from food. Without health, it is very hard to do anything. The stomach is of four parts: one quarter air, one quarter food, and one half water. Too much food is taken nowadays; there is no room for water. In India, rice and wheat are standard. They are all right if taken in moderation. But people eat too much and become dull. Too much food results in dullness of mind. Food in moderation does not result in sickness. Swami travels to various parts of India and does not get sick from food. Swami becomes sick only when taking on the sickness of a devotee. Otherwise, never. Too much milk is bad. It is Rajasic.

Visitor: Sai Baba, this is for me, this is not for anybody, just for myself - my food. Meat is important, meat is my food.

SAI: Food is important for the body. Food is the reason even for being born. Mother and father have been nourished with food and then give birth to a child. The parents have grown up on food. The whole body is a food bundle. The type of food you eat creates the kind of thought that will come to your mind. There will be a Sattwic effect if you have Sattwic food such as fruit and milk everything that is cool and not hot like strong onions. Meat gives the blood an effect, like passion and similar qualities. Dirty thoughts come with fish. Although fish is always in water, it has a bad smell.

A Visitor: How about lamb?

SAI: Meat is all right for those who concentrate on the body and want to have strength, but for spiritual aspirants it is not good.

A Visitor: But the proteins that come from meat?

Yes, the body will get proteins with meat, but mental proteins will not be there. If you are keen on a spiritual life, eating meat is not worthwhile; but if you are keen on worldly life, it is alright. There is another spiritual reason. When you kill an animal you give it suffering, pain and harm. God is in every creature, so how can you give such pain? Sometimes when someone beats a dog he cries, he feels so much pain. How much more pain then occurs in killing. Animals did not come for the purpose of supplying food to human beings. They came to work out their own life in the world. When a human being is dead, the foxes and other animals may eat the body, but we have not come to provide food for those that eat the human body; we have not come for that purpose. Similarly, man eats the animal, but the animal has not come to provide man with food. But, we have taken to eating meat as a habit.

A Visitor: But we take milk, which is animal.

SAI: Anything that comes from the cow, a little milk, butter, cheese, is alright for the spiritual aspirant. There is no harm to the cow, and it is of benefit to take it. In Dwapara Yuga, before Kali Yuga, 5680 years back, milk came into favour. Eleven thousand years is the full length of the Kali Yuga.

(To be continued…….)

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