Visitor: Swami, one hears talk of Mantras.
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
How can we improve memory?
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
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.
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?
SAI: 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