Volume 10 - Issue 02
February 2012
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Posted on : Feb 15, 2012




- a conversation with Vinod Cartic, an alumnus of SSSIHL


Listen to the Radio Programme



Part - 3



Self Knowledge from Sai

RS: Some more such memories of Divine moments from your MBA days?

VC: I have been fortunate to receive some private moments with Him when I could ask him certain questions with no reservations. For instance, I have always been troubled by the thought about why there is so much suffering in the world when God is all-compassionate and all-encompassing. I had been reading up on this to find some reasoning. I would also think about it in silent communion. So, when I once got the chance, I addressed this question to Swami and said: “Swami, why is there so much suffering especially around us when You are right here with us?” Instantly He replied: “Suffering is imagination.”

RS: Interesting. Did He elaborate further?

VC: Immature as I was, I just went on to argue and said: “Swami, at Your level it may be so, but I am not able to exactly feel that it is imagination, because I feel the pain.”

  Mr. Vinod Cartic and his family being blessed with an interview, 2008

I then reminded Swami of His mention in one of the discourses about someone who had to go without food for an entire day. I brought that up and said: “Swami, You too are able to see the suffering, because You have mentioned this in a talk.” Swami just smiled and left it there.

Thinking this was my time to prod further, I continued to insist and said: “Swami, they say that karma is the cause of suffering. Is that so?” To that, He narrated the verse from the Bhagawad Geeta: “Karmanye Vaadhika-raste, Maa Phaleshu Kadachana” - which basically means: “Don’t be attached to the fruit of your action.”

Again, I delved deeper and said: “Swami, how is it that we being Your image do wrong action? How is it possible?” And Swami went on to say: “You do!” Again, I was not satisfied, and I insisted: “Swami, not a leaf moves without Your Will! How is it possible that we do wrong, when everything is guided by You!?” Swami again came back to square one and said: “Karma is imagination.”

RS: Karma is imagination?

VC: He just smiled and actually sort of left it there and also made us a very strong promise saying that: “As Truth, everyone would soon know that they too are God!” Essentially, I have had discussions with so many people who have been asking me: “How is it that Sai Baba says He is God when there is so much suffering around?”

I have come to believe that in asking such questions we have got the basic fundamentals wrong. Sai Baba has never said that He alone is God. On the other hand, He has said: “I am God; I know it! You are God, you don’t know it!” And it is single iota of ignorance that makes all the difference.

So, all throughout, Swami has been trying to tell us that our essential nature is Divine. He left our discussion at that point so that I would ruminate further. The more I actually think about that conversation and the more I contemplate on it, I feel Swami’s very first response was perfect. Suffering is indeed imagination. And I think, our Upanishads, also point to the same thing.

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Mr. Vinod Cartic in the studios of Radio Sai, October 2011

They even go on to mention that what we consider as this wakeful state is essentially a dream. And all our suffering is as true as an imaginary-hammer hitting us on an imaginary head. This is something that all of us need to convince ourselves about. A lot of these spiritual or scriptural truths are essentially to be internalized. There is no one who can actually explain the essence to us, regardless of who they are. The understanding finally needs to come from within simply because the Master is not external; He is right within.

RS: Yes. Swami can guide us. We have Divine Masters who can only guide us, but ultimately, the knowledge has to come from within; we need to experience it and know it!

VC: Exactly!

RS: And, Swami at that moment did exactly that.

The Lord Wills and 'Sai Krushna Mandir' is Born

RS: Vinod, let’s move on to your involvement in  service initiatives. Could you shed some light on that?

VC: As is the norm here, in April 2007 soon after we finished the MBA, our batch approached Swami with the question, “Swami, what should we do next?”

When it was my turn, Swami looked at me and said, “Serve the public.” That was all the time I had with Him then as a lot of the others were waiting in line to gain Swami’s guidance.

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  In the interview room with Swami. During this occasion in 2008, Swami gave him
precise instructions about the orphanage He wanted him to start

I then decided to go around and see for myself what exactly the sufferings of the public were and what I could do to play my small role. Over the next two months, I travelled around South India and was pretty much awed, even over-awed, by the difficulties that people face. I felt that the only thing I could do right away was to invoke Swami in my prayers and ask Him to help them. I could do little else as I didn’t feel empowered enough to do more than pray.  I knew that I had a sound academic background and other strengths that I could put to good use but I felt there was still something else that I lacked and needed corroboration. After much introspection, I realized that I needed to first make sure that I had that conviction to dedicate my life to others. In 2008, most of the times when Swami would see me, He would ask, “So, when are you going to serve the public?”

And, during a family interview later that year, Swami very specifically outlined His task for me. He asked us to open an orphanage, which He also named as ‘Sai Krushna Mandir’, which was to be situated in Bangalore. Swami gave precise instructions with regards to the size of the orphanage and how it should be constructed. In addition to naming it, He also mentioned that He would physically come to the orphanage and bless it as well.

RS: How far have you progressed in implementing this directive from Swami?

VC: It is still in its inception stage. We have got the land with the blessings of Swami. Again, it hasn’t been rosy all through. It is well known that when Swami gives us a task, He also puts challenges in the way. I would think He does this for a good reason because those challenges and adversities are the places where you get answers to most of your unanswered questions.

RS: How has it proven to be so for you?

VC: I have always felt that sticking to truth and love, and being courageous is important. Swami actually put me to test by exposing me to situations where I could live up to those values. As all of us would know, corruption is rampant all over the world today. Without taking any particular name or references, I must admit that getting land from the Government proved a pretty big hassle. This is even more a problem when you are the kind who wouldn’t pay a rupee to get kinship over the entire universe.

RS: You just believed that it would happen?

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On many occasions Vinod had the opportunity to get direct clarifications and guidance from Bhagawan regarding the orphanage. (Above) One such interaction during Darshan.  

VC: Yes! I just believed that if Swami has mandated it, He will also make it happen. There was no way I could engage in anything illegal to make His vision come true  – the reason why it took almost 1.5 years of struggle with the government to get the land. What’s more, when the government did allot us land, it was in a very distant hilly place, with no power or water, where it would have been impossible to run an orphanage.

RS: Did you seek Swami’s help then?

VC: I just came back to Him and said, “Swami, this is what has been given, what do You say?” Swami instantly showed His annoyance and emphatically said, “No need for government!” He immediately added, “It will happen!”   

True enough, I was in a fix. I asked: “Swami, after all this, You are saying no need for government land? What are we going to do?” But of course Swami knew what He was talking about.

Sometime around January 2011, we suddenly got to know about some people who had been running a free school in a place called Hossadoddi on Kanakapura road in Bangalore. These people basically said that they wanted someone from Swami’s institution to take over the management of the school!

After making sure that all was fine with the school, we decided to present the proposal to Swami. We immediately received His consent and blessings. Little did we know then that the wire-puller was actually pulling the strings because a few months later, in May 2011, these very people who had been running this free school for almost 15-20 years, and with whom we had been working as the management since January, decided that they would also donate land for an orphanage.


Sai Krushna Charitable Trust's

Sharavathi Higher Primary School



The Sharavathi Higher Primary School provides free education for about 250 children of Hosadoddi village (Somanahalli) on Kanakpura Road. In January 2011, under Swami's guidance, the Sai Krushna Charitable Trust took over the management of this school. The children are now being trained in Bal Vikas and Human Values, in addition to the regular academic curriculum. The school which has students from Classes 1 to 10 provides, apart from free text books and note books a free mid-day meal to all students.


This land was situated right next to the school. We are actually planning to have a bhoomi puja sometime around Swami’s Birthday which is in about a month from now.

[Note: This conversation was done in October 2011 and as Vinod had planned the bhoomi puja (land breaking ceremony) of the orphanage did happen on Swami's Birthday and interestingly it was accompanied with many manifestations of His divine presence.]


Sai Krushna Charitable Trust's

The Sai Krushna Temple

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Sai Krushna Mandir is a project initiated, inspired and blessed by Bhagawan. It is a home for underprivileged and orphaned boys. Two philanthropic individuals came forward and donated the land for the project, which is approximately 1.5 acres and is right beside the school the Sai Krushna Charitable Trust has taken over.

The bhoomi pooja (land breaking ceremony) was performed on Swami's birthday last year (the above pictures were taken on that ocassion, 23 Nov 2011). Later, on 27 November, a special programme was organised to mark the beginning of the project . Currently, architectural planning and preparations are underway. The Sai Krushna Charitable Trust has announced that the inauguration of Sai Krushna Mandir will be held during Swami's birthday this year (2012).


It’s amazing the way things have unfolded, sometimes beyond our involvement and comprehension.

Swami has been working - and it is not miraculous for Him - in a way that is completely unimaginable and unfathomable!

RS: So, you are now involved in the management of the school, and in the new orphanage?

VC: Yes, the new orphanage will come up shortly.  And in the school, we are beginning to integrate Bal Vikas and Vidya Vahini into the curriculum and some of the other best practices from Swami’s institutions. It is a village school, a free school. The children get one free meal a day, and we have over 250 children from classes 1-10.

Although we call ourselves the management of the school, I think I have probably learnt a lot more from the children there - their innocence, simplicity, and simple devotion to Swami that makes me feel that I still have a long way to go. For instance, a child does not always question his conscience or the mind before taking up a task. He simply knows and carries out the task. As they say, child is the father of man. I consider myself very fortunate that Swami has asked me to work with the children. I hope to become a child in the near future!




- Radio Sai Team

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