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Honouring Him the Right Way

By Rev. Ted Noffs
Pastor of the Wayside Chapel, Sydney

(Excerpts from his speech at Baba's Birthday Celebration in 1986)

Rev. Ted Noffs, Pastor of the world renowned “Wayside Chapel” in Sydney, was the keynote speaker at the 61st Birthday celebration of Bhagavan Baba in Australia in November, 1986, organised by the co-ordinating committee of the Sathya Sai Organisation of New South Wales in Sydney. The background of Rev. Noffs and the “Wayside Chapel” as well as their philosophy are closely akin to the Sai Principles, and have been documented in the article titled, “The Family of Humanity” in the December 2005 volume of H2H. Twenty-one years have gone by since then and the speech deserves a global audience, another clarion call to all devotees this year, our Beloved Swami’s 82nd year of advent. For Sai devotees all around the world, Rev. Noff’s speech will give a lot of food for thought. We are pleased to share this with all our readers.

Celebrating in the Correct Way

Sai Noff
Rev. Ted Noffs

Ladies and Gentlemen! It is a great honour to be involved with you this afternoon in the celebration of Sri Sathya Sai Baba's 61st Birthday. The words spoken and the music we just heard have already honoured a great living human being, a great spiritual giant, a per­son who might be described only in Messianic terms.

There is nothing more important in the world, at this moment, than that men and women, and boys and girls, might be lured into a consciousness of the need to recognise our familyhood. That is what I sense this afternoon in this auditorium. We are thinking in terms of that achievement. That in itself is a momentous objective of the ministry of your Master, Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

How can I speak about someone who has influ­enced the world so greatly, already, in His present lifetime? You already have indicators of the fact that the Messiahs of the past, the great spiritual giants, have been recognised after their deaths. But in the lifetime of this great leader, Sai Baba, so much has been achieved. That in itself is an important point.

I would just like to share with you my own feelings of the importance of His ministry. I be­lieve, first of all, we should recognise Him to be a person who manifests in the world, great, new and wonderful things. We live in a world of destruc­tion, where people are constantly destroying things and one another, destroying the planet and its ecology, destroying their own mind and body. But here is a person who is constantly manifesting new life, beautiful and creative things. We must recognise His manifesting power.

So, how do we begin to celebrate His birthday in the right mind and attitude? As we see the whole life of Sai Baba, we begin to realise that we are speaking about a person of great faith. He does not look around and say, "Is there anybody else up there." He does not look around the planet for someone! This is where religion has got it all wrong, all religions, includ­ing my own. Remember the great words of Jesus: "The things I have done, you can do, and greater things than these you can do." But you never hear those words preached in a church. And yet, Jesus said that we all possess within us enormous spiritual potential, gifts of making a new world, creating a new universe.

Co-Workers with Divinity

Sai Noff

Every one of us is to be a co-worker with the Divine power. We are to recognise a stamp with a Divine imprint, and our task is to recognise the Divinity within us. And Sai Baba recognises this great Truth and says to all His followers: "You are to be people, who in your own homes should be­come Christ figures. You are to realise your poten­tial and all the possibilities of your life." I am often criticised when I say such things in churches.

And people say, "But you cannot say that; there is only one Christ, and He alone is the only one." But Jesus never said that. He said that every one of us can reach that level of Spirituality. Jesus was a man, who became a Christ. Any person in this auditorium today, or elsewhere, may be looking upon themselves as men and women, with a par­ticular name, but should know that they could be­come Christ figures. That is what this is all about - the whole story of Sai Baba.

And yet, we have constantly with us, a whole misunderstanding of the human potentiality and possibilities. Our task is to realise our potentiality to the full. I believe we should be honouring this extraordinary person, who is alive with us in the world today, for emphasising this fact. Look around at the institutions He has created and the lives that have been changed through His influence. See what one person, realising His potentiality, has achieved in his lifetime.

Cannot you say to your­self today, I am going to leave this auditorium, go out into the world, and manifest a new world for men and women, boys and girls, to enjoy it forever? That is what this birthday is all about. It is not just a matter of coming here and singing songs, and saying our prayers, and going on our way and saying, "that was lovely."

Transforming the Planet

That was not the objective of Sai Baba, who founded this great Spiritual force on this planet. He would be disappointed I am sure, if you left the auditorium and did just that. He wants you to go out and help to transform this planet and make the world a new and more beautiful place to live.

The death of a lonely person cared for by our 'Outreach' programme was reported at the Chapel this morning. This man who died at the Concord Repatriation Hospital had given the Wayside Chapel as his 'next of kin.' No next of kin in terms of a mother, a father, a son or a daughter - only one little institution, the Wayside Chapel. But Sai Baba must be next of kin to countless millions of people around the world. Is this not terribly impor­tant?

When I look at your ministry and the work you are doing, this is what you have got to take as a philosophy - the words of your own Master, the teachings of this great man. You have got to put them into practice. Do not stand back and say, "Somebody else is doing it," because they are not. You are to be the person doing it. Twenty-one years ago, outside the Wayside Chapel, a girl was dropped almost unconscious from an overdose of drugs.

Sai Noff

She managed to crawl inside the building before she collapsed. We found her there several hours later. I had never seen a drug overdose in my life. I looked around for a doctor, a nurse or a social worker, who may have known what to do. I discovered that in the whole of Sydney, there was not one available. Not one hospital could take her. So we have to set up our own drug programme in Australia .

Did I look around and say, “Well, isn't there somebody, some authority somewhere who can do it?" No. God calls upon you to do it. You are to be the authority. You are to be the pioneers. You cannot leave it to anyone else. What was required in the past of seasoned warriors, is today required of more recruits to serve humanity. That should be the theme of our age. You might say, "I am nobody; I am only a person humbled; I have got no potentiality and no possibilities."

“Here I am, Lord!”

But you have; you are to be it; you are to be the Saviours of the world in this age. The world needs another Christ, but where is He? We must go out and look for Him. Perhaps he said, "Here am I. Send me." You have got to say that. If your Sai movement is to be counted, or if it means something to you, you have got to stand up and say, “Here I am Lord! Send me wherever you want me to go, and whatever you want me to do."

The world renowned comedian, Tony Han­cock, reminded me of what the human heart needed and the hunger within. When I met him I recognised his inner loneliness and I had never seen a sadder face in my life. Instead of talking about some of his jokes, he spoke about religion. He spoke about the hunger in the hearts of men and women, and the hunger in his own heart for religion. Little did I know that a few hours later he would be dead! He died of a drug overdose. The greatest comedian who brought laughter to the world, was himself very lonely, and knew no laughter in his own heart. You meet so many people everyday, who you think are self-sufficient and do not need anything.

You may sing together and gather with friends at religious meetings. It is not enough. Your task is to follow the teachings of this great leader, Sai Baba, this great spiritual giant, whose birthday we celebrate today, and the greatest birthday pre­sent you could give Him is to be like Him - to manifest your love for all beings and to manifest things for all-time, for the planet to enjoy; for the rest of human history. That is your task.

We are confronted today by so many varied problems. I find that the needs of humanity always out­strip the resources available to meet them. You know that? That is an axiom. You never catch up. You never arrive, but you are always trav­elling on. Your task is to go out into the world and transform this city, this nation, and the entire world, into one beautiful human family. That is what it is all about.

I have a creed which most of you know and I share it with you. One day I hope the whole world will say it. It is also the creed of Sai Baba, in a different way:

"I AM a Catholic, but I AM also a Protestant. I happen to be a Jew, but I AM also a Buddhist. I AM a Muslim, I AM a Sikh, I AM a Hindu, And I AM SAI BABA. I AM all of those things be­cause I AM a HUMAN BEING. No one in the world can ever be a stranger to me."
Sai Noff

That is the distinctive philosophy I believe, that should somehow encompass the planet, and we here in Australia are very privileged to un­derstand these things. If you go out there to all those Australians, you will be amazed that they do not really believe in Anglicanism or Catholi­cism. Every Australian, even children, under­stand that what matters most is not religion, but the Family of Humanity. And they want your help to become a part of that family. They want Sai Baba to be an instrument in making that family a reality in the world. We should be able to say, "I love you, you are mine."

One of the four principles, the four bastions of Sai Baba is Love, a commitment to other human beings. Merely talking about it is not enough. We have to go out into the world and care for the less fortunate. This is what Sai Baba is about. Is it not the great point of His ministry and His life, that Sai Baba has given the world Unity, Har­mony and a sense of Divinity? For that we all should be thankful to God. For many more years to come, I hope Sai Baba's Ministry will expand this Message of Unity, Harmony and Divinity, for the whole world to benefit.


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Vol 5 Issue 11 - NOVEMBER 2007
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