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Harnessing the Heart

Dear reader, in the November issue of H2H, we started this new series promising to offer you every month one real life story from present times of a ‘brave-heart’, so to say, who had the courage to follow their conscience when confronted with difficult dilemmas or challenging circumstances in their daily life.

In the previous issue, we had the story of how Mrs. Priya Davis, a former student of Bhagavan’s University, did not give in to the unjust demands on her boss, followed her Heart and at the end found herself vindicated in every respect. In this issue, we have the story of Mr. Dev Taneja, a Sai devotee from Canada.

Dev's dilemma was whether to take the final year certified accounting exam in Canada to further his goal of professional and financial growth or to forego his personal ambition in favour of his family responsibilities by  making it to an important family event in India and carrying out his duties as the oldest male member of the family? How did he determine what was right for him? Today, in retrospect, does he regret his decisions?  Dev gladly shares his story with us.

A conflict of duties

Mr. Dev Taneja,
Toronto , Canada

An ardent of Bhagavan Baba who came into the Sai fold in 1996, Mr Dev Taneja currently works as a Senior Tax Auditor with the Ministry of Revenue, Ontario, Canada. Additionally he has been a volunteer Yoga teacher for Hath Yoga and Pranaya Yoga for the last five years. An inspiring personality, he is also a team member of trained volunteers for Dynamic Value Parenting program and has conducted numerous workshops on this subject.

Sometimes it is difficult to make a choice between one’s material progress and our duty or dharma. I am the eldest son in a family of 6 children. My father passed away when I was 31 year old, but I undertook the full responsibility of my father’s duties and tried my very best to help and assist my mother in the upbringing of my brothers and sisters in New Delhi, India.

Harnessing the Heart

In my endeavour to help the family, I immigrated to the UK and finally to Canada and pursued the career of Certified Accounting. In 1988, I was in the final year of my accounting designation of Certified Management Accountant (CMA) program, at which time I received the news from India that my younger brother was getting married around the same time as the final examination I was required to take in order to complete my CMA degree. 

For various reasons my family in India had no option to change the date. The schedule conflict seemed inevitable. I had the dilemma of either attending the wedding and shouldering my responsibilities as an older brother in the absence of our late father, or pursuing my career goal.  If I missed the final examination I would have to take four more courses to finish my degree as the Society of Management Accountants changed their rules and restructured the program after that year.  I appealed to the Director of the Education Department of the Society to make an exception, but my appeal was denied.

Meanwhile, my family depended on me to attend this wedding to fulfill the role of a father.  I was caught up in a dharmic dilemma. I had to prioritize.

Prioritizing Life Effectively

With the grace of God who guided me, I followed my dharma and decided to attend the wedding at the cost of my career goal.   My wife, two young children and I took a flight from Toronto to Delhi to fulfill this responsibility and my mother felt so relieved and happy to have us beside her on this very important occasion in her life. Everyone in the family in India was overjoyed. Obviously, I never got a CMA designation.

Although my career has suffered due to the professional sacrifice I made, today, in retrospect, I have no regrets as I feel absolutely gratified to have fulfilled my dharma. It is my conviction that because I did the right thing, Swami has helped me in numerous ways to grow and succeed in my career despite the fact that I missed my professional goal by just one paper. With His grace, I currently hold the position of a Senior Field Auditor with the Ontario Government’s Ministry of Revenue. Had I continued my career goal, I could probably have climbed the ladder more swiftly and would be holding a more Senior Managerial position but I would have lost my peace of mind and my family would have had to suffer due to the longer hours of work.


Swami has kept my life in balance – physically, spiritually, and financially.  He has given me inner-peace, has provided me with numerous opportunities to engage in acts of service whereby I have been His instrument to inspire and help others. He has brought numerous special people closer to me who have helped me stay focused on the ultimate goal of life. With Swami’s grace I have a loving family. Hence, ultimately, what Swami has given me is more important and valuable to me than anything else.  

As Bhagavan says, everything happens for the good. In my case, the scheduling conflict between my duties to my family and my dream of a professional designation gave me the opportunity to prioritize and choose what I thought was right for my conscience, even if not for my career goals or ambitions. The fact that I sacrificed self-interest over the larger good of the family proved to be the best move I have ever made.

Righteousness Protects the Right

Perhaps due to the blessings of my mother and God, today, I continue to pursue my Sai activities with a passion, taking the universal message of the five human values into the larger community where I facilitate Dynamic Value Parenting Workshops for various schools and temples in the Greater Toronto Area.

I am also able to devote my time and energy to many wonderful and gratifying activities within our Sai centre and the community. The joy of living a purpose-driven life, in sync with Bhagavan’s teachings is the ultimate dream that I thoroughly live, enjoy and am grateful for. I can vouch the validity of the Vedic dictum Dharmo Rakshate Rakshataha. I adhered to dharma and dharma protected me too many times to even enumerate.

Harnessing the Heart

Although there are many incidents where dharma or righteousness has safeguarded me, one of them, in particular, stands out more. A few years ago, we were involved in a litigation case for a period of seven years. Sustaining a legal battle for such a long duration of time was a financial drain. Given the circumstance, it was obvious to us that we had no chance of winning the court case.  The odds were against us.  Losing the case would also mean losing everything we had, including our house.  This is where the umbrella of divine protection came in to shield us.

In the year 2006, I visited Bhagavan Baba in Whitefield, Bangalore.  That was my first visit to Him, and I had joined the Sri Sathya Sai Organization of Canada only two months earlier.  During this visit I was more of a curious George than a devotee.  However, on my return to Toronto, within 30 days of my arrival I received a good news letter that the court case had been withdrawn, and in addition, we would be reimbursed $7,500!  As you can imagine, our joy knew no bounds.  We heaved a huge sigh of relief. 

In my view that miracle was an affirmation of all my efforts in life to stick to doing what was right and good over what was more attractive and appealing. For attempting to adhere to righteousness, I had earned its protection in return. Can I ever forget this?  Never!

Every word that Bhagavan utters is the gospel truth. If only we adhere to it, we can enjoy ultimate freedom from worries and anxiety. Thank you Swami for guiding me to follow my dharma.


Dear reader, we are sure, you too might have been through similar situations in your life and been faced with dilemmas which made you take rather tough but morally right decisions, which later filled you with a great sense of satisfaction and inner contentment. Please do share such inspiring anecdotes with us at This will not only help build an amazing collection of ‘triumph of the conscience’ stories but also will embolden others to take to this path with greater determination.

- Heart2Heart Team


Dear Reader, did you find this article helpful? Do you have any experiences that you would like to share with us? Please contact us at mentioning your name and country.  Thank you for your time.



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Vol 5 Issue 12 - DECEMBER 2007
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