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Satyopanishad - part 9:
Direct Directions from the Divine

Dear reader, in response to positive feedback to this section where we have a dialogue with the Divine, we continue with Prof. Anil Kumar’s “Satyopanishad” after completing the serial Dr. John Hislop’s “Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba” in January 2008.

This also is in the “question-answer” format that many devotees prefer, and has answers from Bhagavan on topics as wide-ranging as the origin of evil, the goals of human life, aspects of God – embodied and formless, to price hikes, women’s liberation, vegetarianism and the generation gap of the present times.

Published in two parts by the author, these volumes have 270 questions in all, which are neatly grouped under separate chapters. In this issue, we continue the third chapter: Youth.

(Continued from the previous issue)

Anil Kumar: Swami! Everywhere we hear people speaking of 'brain drain'. Statistics indicate that every year the number of educated people going abroad is increasing. Is this good?

Bhagawan: This is not good. It is not proper on the part of the young people to leave this country and settle in foreign countries. Here, in Bharat (India), according to tradition, you have five mothers almost equally venerable. These five are the most revered and ranked along with one's own mother. Who are those five mothers?

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  • The first and foremost, of course; is the dehamata, the physical mother. It is this mother who has given you birth, struggled hard serving you and sacrificed everything for your comfort and upbringing. So, she has to be revered.
  • The second is gomata, the cow. It is the cow that gives you milk and helps to nurture and strengthen your body. You have to be grateful to the cow.
  • The third is bhumata, Mother Earth. It is on the earth that we live. We cultivate the land and grow grains. All the metal ores we extract and use are treasured in the Earth.
  • The fourth is Vedamata, Mother Scripture. It is the Vedas that teach you the aim and the goal of life while showing you the spiritual path as well. We should be grateful to Mother Scripture, as we should be to our mothers.
  • The fifth is desamata, Motherland. Your culture, tradition, and rich heritage are all embodied in this land where you are born. You have to treat your desa, country, as your mother. So it is called desamata, Motherland.

For the simple reason that a woman you meet happens to be more beautiful than your mother, you will not call her 'amma', mother. This message is conveyed in the Ramayana. At the end of the war, after Ravana had died, Lakshmana said to Rama: "O Brother! This Lanka is prosperous and exceedingly beautiful. Our enemies have all died, and we have every right to rule this land. O Lord! Why don't you become its king? Bharata has been already been there for fourteen years as the king of Ayodhya. We can as well ask him to continue his reign there, and we stay here and rule this kingdom." Then Rama replied, "O Lakshmana! Your motherland is greater than heaven itself. Your mother may be ugly and another woman you have seen may be beautiful. Yet, you don't address the beautiful woman as 'amma'."

Whatever may be the country you belong to, it is your Motherland. Everyone must be patriotic. Everyone must love his or her own country. You should serve your country.

Anil Kumar: Swami! What are your comments on brain drain? Many highly educated professionals like engineers, doctors, computer experts plan to go abroad and settle there for better and higher prospects of income and placement in life. This is the cause for worry in many circles, both government and private. What do you feel about this?

Bhagawan: It is most unfortunate that this trend is on the rise. This is not good at any point of time anywhere in the world. You are born in this society. So you grow up, educate yourself, make money, name and fame in this society.

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Only through this society can you get your clothing, food and shelter: Have you come up on your own without the society you live in? Could you make a career for yourself without its support? Should you not express your sense of gratitude to it for all it has done for you?

Man should never be an ungrateful creature. The best way to be grateful is to serve. You know, our people put in greater effort, and work more sincerely abroad. While they are here, they don't show the same spirit and zeal in their work. They are not as sincere and industrious here as they are in foreign countries.

In fact, the emoluments they get here by doing their best will be the same as they get abroad, a fact they fail to realise. To some extent, parents also are responsible for this problem of brain drain. They don't properly inculcate in children the values of work, patriotism, sacrifice, love and gratitude.

So, it is your fundamental duty to serve the society in which you are born and brought up. You see many a foreigner coming here. They learn lots of things from this sacred land of your birth, whereas our people forget what they know. Some of our people are even inferior to locals and natives of foreign countries in respect of observing traditions. What for is our education? Is it for the decline of human values? Janani janmabhumi s'ca svargadapi gariyasi. Rama observed 'Mother and motherland are greater than Heaven.'

Anil Kumar: Swami! Modern youth, in the name of the generation gap, are not prepared to pay heed to their elders. Advise and give us Your message.

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Bhagawan: This is meaningless. What are the changes you notice in the name of the generation gap? The sun rises only in the east and never in the west. There is no change in the laws of nature. Don't you feed the same stomach every day?

Don't you wash the same face every day? Don't you clean the same utensils every day? Don't you wear the same clothes? So, all important things need to be done time and again. In the name of the generation gap you should not neglect doing things that need to be repeated.

You shouldn't turn a deaf ear to the advice of your elders branding them as senile, old hags. No. They are persons with rich experience. They are your well ­wishers. You must listen to them, obey and follow their instructions. The modern generation is not prepared to listen to the elders. It is foolishness and utter ignorance to brush aside all that the elders say. It amounts to pride and egotism. You will ultimately ruin yourself if you don't follow the valuable advice of elders.

Anil Kumar: Swami! We have on one side our parents pulling us towards the world and on the other, the divine teachings we have been fortunate enough to receive from You. We wonder which of the two will dominate and influence us?

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Bhagawan: If the ideas of your parents are against God, you should choose God and definitely not your parents. You must clearly explain and appeal to them, and then convince them of the value and importance of the spiritual path. Among the Bal Vikas children, there are a large number who have brought about a change in their parents.

There are many who have been influenced and transformed by the children of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and the students of the Sri Sathya Sai University. There should be a change in the family of the children first, then in the society.

In fact, you are not from your parents, but you are through your parents. Truly, you are from God. If you are convinced of this, your words and actions would be godly.

Take a simple example. You fill a container with sweet milk pudding, payasam. If the container has holes, you will expect the same sweet pudding to come out of these holes. Will you not? Similarly, when you know that you are from God, your words, thoughts and actions will be divine.

Anil Kumar: Swami! We are progressing in Science and Technology. At the same time, our modern youth are not able to face life's problems courageously. They are depressed by the slightest problem. They are not able to bear any suffering with patience, and easily take to drink and drugs. What is Swami's message to our youth?

Bhagawan: Today, many young men and women go to Colleges and Universities for studies. There are many specialisations in every branch of knowledge. This is, on the whole, good. But the pity of it is that we find innate, vital human qualities deteriorating fast and disappearing altogether.

Education is not for living, but it is for life.

Education is not for transmitting information, but it is for transformation.

Education is for elevating the human personality to the mansion of God.

Education should not be instrumental in earning annas, money,
but in earning gunas, values.

Education is not for jitam, salary, but it is for jivitam, life.

Without values even if one is highly educated, what is the use? Is there progress without values? Will Science and Technology help you, if you have no values? It is for this reason, that is, the absence of values, that modern youth take to drugs and alcohol.

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The youth are not vira, courageous, but bhira, timid. They should be masters, instead they are slaves. They should know "Life is a challenge. Meet it". They have to encounter and overcome all the problems and difficulties in life rather than choose to run away from them and feel frustrated.

Since life is a challenge, you should meet it. Life is full of keen competition in all fields - scientific, technological, physical, ethical, political and spiritual. They should fully equip themselves with the right weapons and be ever ready to face the challenges of life.

A similar thing happened during the Mahabharata war. Arjuna wanted to run away from the battlefield being totally disheartened like a coward. At that time, Lord Krishna instilled in him the needed courage and morale by teaching him the Bhagavad Gita, the Song Celestial. This acted like calcium and glucose injections that gave strength of mind and body to Arjuna.

Life is a sports ground, life is a game, play it. You have to play with sportsmanship and accept victory or defeat, gain or loss, with equanimity. In this world, people may not have everything they want, but there is none without love. So, life is love, share it. God is love, love is God; hence, live in love. Your heart is full of love, but with how many are you sharing this precious gift? Question yourself. Love begets love.

Today this is not happening. This is the main reason for all conflicts, misunderstandings, and differences. Do your duty with all your skill and to the best of your ability. Don't be lazy, building castles in the air. You work such that your dreams come true, "Life is a dream. Realise it!" Nowadays, you plan in a funny way, so very far from reality. Is it life? No.

Yogah karmasu kausalam - ‘Do your duty sincerely praying to God’. Then, your work will be transformed into worship. Your karma, action, will turn into yoga, spiritual communion. Then, duty and work will become a spiritual discipline on the path of karma yoga. Don't merely dream; don't spend time in meaningless fancies. Know that life is duty.

Anil Kumar: Swami! You seem to be very much upset and annoyed when anything goes wrong in respect of discipline, educational standards and personality development in general. Swami! You come down heavily upon students when you see their slackness in coming up to Your expectations and openly reprimand the guilty in public. It is terrifying to be a witness to this sort of a thing. I get fear stricken when I think of You, Swami, in that mood. How are we to reconcile ourselves to such a situation and take it positively?

Bhagawan: First of all, you should know that Swami is completely selfless. You should also note very clearly that Swami is never angry with anyone: "God is Love, Love is God". I pretend to be angry and unhappy with you only to correct you. Even that apparent anger vanishes very soon like a shower of hail. You cannot call anyone a guru if he accepts and endorses all that you do and say. He is a guru in the true sense of the term if he corrects you and turns you in the right direction as your well wisher.

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Suppose this is a workshop. All damaged and spoiled vehicles come here for repair. I must, if I am a mechanic, tighten bolts, nuts, screws, etc. Similarly, I should correct your mistakes, make you free from your faults, see that you are rid of your weaknesses and defects, and finally mould you into ideal citizens of this country. Your mistake must be corrected immediately then and there itself, as and when it is committed.

I should be harsh enough to correct you. You bend iron when it is hot, don't you? But, when it is not hot, no man with all the strength of his muscles will be able to bend it. So, you should be corrected and admonished when you go wrong immediately. If your mistakes are pointed out in public, you don't repeat them.

Take a small example here. Suppose, wearing a lungi (a South Indian informal dress, a long robe wrapped round the waist, down to the feet), you are sweeping your room with a broom. Suddenly your friend comes to see you. What do you do? You will put the broom aside, change your dress and make yourself presentable to your friend.

Why do you do that? After all; you are cleaning your room. Nothing wrong about it! You don't want to be seen in your informal dress. You want to be dressed neatly before you meet him. You care for him. Don't you? So also here, when I point out your mistakes in public, you will be able to correct them forthwith and you will also be careful enough in future not to repeat such mistakes, won't you?

In fact, I don't lose anything if you are spoiled. I don't gain anything if you are good. I don't expect anything from you. I want you to be good and get a good name to your parents, your institution, and your country. This is not for Me, but for your ultimate good.

(To be continued)

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Vol 6 Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2008
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