Volume 11 - Issue 03
march 2013
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Posted on: Mar 19, 2013



A Conversation with Dr. Narendranath Reddy

Part 05




Message to the Sai Fraternity

RS: What is your message to the Sai fraternity? We recently had Bhagawan’s 87th birthday. What would you like to say to all the devotees out there?

NR: First, it is very important to realise how blessed and fortunate all of us are to be contemporaries of this loving Avatar! One day, posterity will say, “How blessed were these people who had seen Him, touched Him, heard Him and experienced His love!”

During my travels around the world, I have observed that though many devotees are doing good work, some devotees are distracted and misguided after Swami left His physical form. So, I would like to share five important mandates:


First Mandate – Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba – God as universal teacher:

We have seen the Teacher of Teachers, the Universal Teacher, God Himself, coming as our Teacher. So, we should never leave Him!

On 17 May 1968, during the First World Conference in Mumbai, Swami, in His infinite love and compassion, stated, “In this human form, every divine principle, every divine entity (all the names and forms ascribed by man to God), are manifest. Do not allow any doubt to distract you. You have the great fortune to experience the bliss of the vision of this Sarva Devata Swarupa (a form that is all forms of God).” These are Swami’s own words! So, having seen Him, we should hold on to His Feet till our last breath! That is my appeal.

That is why Swami’s first bhajan was “Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam.” All of us must hold on to His Feet; then we will reach the goal of our life. And, we should never get distracted by any other guru, once we have seen the Highest! I always tell devotees, once you go to Mt. Everest, you don’t go to small hillocks! Now that we have experienced the Teacher of Teachers, God Himself, we should hold on to Him.

Second Mandate – Swami’s message is the essence of all scriptures:

We should remember Swami’s message, given in the same discourse: “The best way to serve Me and reach the summum bonum of life is to just follow My instructions. That will give you more benefit than all the austerities you do.” Let us follow His message. What is His message? He always calls us Divya Atma Swarupalara, Prema Swarupalara. That means, He wants us to realise that we are embodiments of the Divine Atma and embodiments of love. How do we do that? – by diving deep into His teachings and practising them in our daily life.

Swami’s every word is a mantra; every sentence is a sutra – an aphorism. Every conversation of Swami is like a Bhagavad Gita, and every discourse of Swami is like a Veda. What we need to do is to dive deep. We are lucky that Swami has given 1,500 divine discourses, and He has written so many Vahini series (books) with His own hand! It is a great history that we have such a vast literature of God’s spoken and written words available at this time. Because of His love for the devotees, He wrote the Vahini series – Prema Vahini, Geeta Vahini, Bhagavatha Vahini, Ramakatha Rasa Vahini, Sutra Vahini, Jnana Vahini, Dharma Vahini – I can go on and on – so many Vahinis!

So, if we just take the time to dive deep into His teachings and, more important, if we put them into practice, no other sadhana is needed! It is very important for people to take Swami’s message seriously and not waste time reading different books! When devotees ask my opionion, “Should I read this book?” I tell them, “Once you finish reading the Sathya Sai Speaks (series) and the Vahinis, come back to me and I will tell you which book to read.” The literature of Swami itself is an ocean of knowledge, and Swami’s words are the essence of all the scriptures, the quintessence of all Vedanta.

Third Mandate – “Prema yoga” is the best yoga:

Everybody wants to do spiritual practices like Vipasana meditation, kriya yoga, hatha yoga and so on. Swami has given very clear instructions – the royal road in this Kali age is prema yoga (the yoga of divine love). Swami says, “The source is love, the path is love and the goal is love.” That is why He always says, “God is love; live in love.”

So, we need to practice prema yoga. Prema Vahini is the first of the Vahini series that Swami wrote.

RS: In fact, as you are saying this, I am reminded of an incident from Swami Vivekananda’s life. A young monk once went to Swami Vivekananda and said that he was not able to make any progress in his spiritual life. He said that he worshipped many images, followed the advice of a teacher, tried to broaden his mind and so on, but he was not able to attain peace of mind.


Then, what Swami Vivekananda replied to him is really interesting. He said, “My boy, if you take my word, first of all, what you have to do is to open the door of your room! Look around, and instead of closing your eyes, open your eyes! Go out! There are hundreds of poor and helpless people in your neighbourhood. You have to serve them to the best of your ability!”

NR: That is prema yoga. Swami also says, “Don’t seek God! See God!” That means see God with both eyes closed (that is, within you) and with eyes open! That is the ultimate. In the beginning, we close our eyes to see God in our own heart, but ultimately we should see God both with our eyes closed and eyes open. And that is what Swami Vivekananda says: we see God in everybody when we serve the needy and the poor. This is prema yoga.

Fourth Mandate – Prasanthi Nilayam, holiest of the holy pilgrimage sites:

Prasanthi Nilayam is the holiest of the holy lands! I clearly remember an incident that happened years ago, when they use to have flights from Mumbai to Prasanthi Nilayam. We were on the plane, and there were some devotees from Denmark. As soon as we got out of the plane in Puttaparthi, suddenly I saw this man from Denmark rolling on the airport ground and saying in ecstasy, “Hallelujah! I have come to the Holy Land!”

RS: Oh, my God!

NR: I had tears in my eyes! We take everything for granted! As Sai devotees, all of us should remember that this is the holiest of the holy places! In the Buddhist tradition, they say, “If you go to Lumbini, where Lord Buddha was born, or you go to the Bodha Gaya where he was enlightened, or you go to Varanasi where he gave the first discourse or you go to Kushinara where he gave up his body, it is equal to having the vision of Lord Buddha.”

How blessed we are to be present at Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of supreme peace. This is the Holy Land where the Lord chose to take birth as Sathya Narayana Raju, walked amongst us, talked to us, laughed with us, sang with us, blessed us and gave many, many wonderful divine discourses and nectarine messages.

And this is the place where He chose to give up His physical body! This holy land is thrice blessed! He chose to be born here; He walked amongst us here, and He gave up His body here. So here, the air, the water, the stone, the dust, the trees, the bushes and every particle is saturated with His divine love and blessings!

Swami said, “Puttaparthi will be just like another Shirdi, Tirupathi, Mecca or Jerusalem!” For Sai devotees, this holy land of Puttaparthi is our pilgrim centre. I am happy to see a lot of overseas devotees still coming here to celebrate their festivals.

RS: In fact, Parthi Yatras go on!

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NR: Yes, and we need to continue and encourage these pilgrimages, because it is our good fortune that when we come here, we still experience the divine presence of Swami and His grace.

RS: I think people come because they still feel that presence!

NR: Yes. We miss Swami’s physical form, but we can still feel His presence. In fact, some devotees say that they can contemplate much more easily now because they have their own Swami in their heart. In the old days, when Swami came for darshan, devotees would feel, “Oh! He did not take my letter! Oh! He looked at that person and did not look at me,” and so on.

Now there is no such anxiety, as everybody has the same access to Swami, depending upon one’s purity! Therefore, devotees need to keep the connection with this Holy Land. This is very important for re-charging our spiritual batteries!

Fifth Mandate – We have a divine legacy:


The Lord has Himself has given us this legacy! He has never done this before; Swami has gifted us this Sai Organisation and lent His sacred name to the organisation. He does not need any organisation, but He did this for our own good, so that we have a platform where all of us can get together, practise His teachings and also help our fellow brothers and sisters to realise their innate divinity.

He has established these wonderful medical institutes, where state-of-the-art health-care is provided free of charge with love and compassion.

He has established the educational institutions, where free integral education is provided, from kindergarten to the doctorate level. In addition to academic excellence, development of good character is emphasised.

Then we have the mammoth water projects, providing free drinking water to millions of people. He has entrusted us with these institutes and projects to take care of them. It is our duty and obligation to participate in these wonderful Institutions and to support them.

He does not need us for His mission! Swami has said that His institutions will go on for thousands of years! Whether we participate or not, they will go on! But when He has given us the opportunity, we need to make the best use of it. If we do not, we are the losers. His mission will go on, as per His sankalpa (will).

So, it is the greatest divine blessing if we can participate and support these projects and institutions founded, inaugurated and blessed by Bhagawan.

RS: As you mentioned, Swami does not need the organisation or the institutions or any of us! I am just reminded of another incident in the life of Swami Vivekananda.

After Vivekananda returned from America, he was propagating this value of reaching out and asking monks to go out and serve, and not just confine themselves to doing rituals and worship! Many monks disliked this, because they felt that he was not really following the dictates of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, because the Master, apparently, used to spend a lot of time in meditation and prayer. So, they felt that Swami Vivekananda didn’t understand the teachings of the Master.

At this point, Vivekananda got this strong feeling that this group of brother disciples wanted to create a narrow sect in the name of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He saw that they wanted to convert the Ramakrishna Math into some kind of a cult or temple where you have all the activities centered around devotional music, worship and prayer.

Dr. Narendranath Reddy and his wife  

So he took it upon himself to destroy this notion! His words actually burst upon them like a bombshell, and he asked them whether they really understood the words of the Master. He said, “Do you want to confine the Master? Do you want to confine Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who is the embodiment of infinite ideas, within your limits? I will break these limits and scatter the Master’s ideas all over the world!”

That’s what he told them and added, “You have never understood the Master’s message! Sri Ramakrishna is far greater than the disciples understand him to be! He is the embodiment of infinite spiritual ideas, capable of development in infinite ways! One glance of his gracious eyes can create a hundred thousand Vivekanandas in one instant! If he chooses now, instead, to work through me, making me his instrument, I can only bow to his will!”

So, as you said – Swami can do anything!

NR: That is a very relevant point! It is our good fortune to take part in the divine mission as His instruments. If He wants, He can create any number of people to do His work. Out of His infinite love and compassion, He gave us this unique opportunity to be a part of His mission.

Swami Vivekananda was the first one to coin the phrase, Daridra Narayana Seva – to serve the poor is to serve the Lord. But our Swami went even higher! With Swami, everything is the highest Vedanta, the highest philosophy! He says, “Do not use the word Daridra; say “Narayana Seva,” meaning, you are serving God. Daridra limits God only to the poor. According to Swami, God is for rich and poor, ignorant and scholarly. He is for all!

Let me tell you, brothers and sisters, we are the most blessed and fortunate souls. We should be grateful every moment to Swami, for giving us this golden opportunity to be a part of His divine mission, to be able to serve Him and to serve our fellow beings!

RS: Thank you very much, sir! I know you are traveling tomorrow and yet came to the studio and spent more than an hour with us! I express my deep sense of gratitude for your coming over and sharing your thoughts, feelings and experiences. Thank you very much!

NR: I thank Swami, Radio Sai and all of you for giving me this opportunity to share Swami’s message and love. Jai Sairam!


- Radio Sai Team



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