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Memories Of Bhagavan's Childhood

[Divine Discourse by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba On 1 Oct 2000 During Dasara Festival At Prashanthi Nilyam]

"There are many who preach about the knowledge of Brahman, but there is none who realizes it in practice. Sai's word is verily the Truth."

Embodiments of love!

Every Bharatiya's heart is pure and steady. Their faith that every object in the world is Divine is based on great declarations like Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma, Sarvam Vishnumayam Jagat and Isavasyamidam Sarvam, which have been propounding the eternal Truth. Bharatiya culture abounds in such teachings. There is a gradual decline in the number of people who practice such sacred teachings. Many say God is all pervasive but they neither believe in it nor do they realize it.

Bharatiya culture is eternal but such a Divine and glorious culture is being neglected by the people today. What is the reason? They disregard the Divinity and forget the human values emanating from within. Is man practicing Truth, which originates from himself? God, who is Truth, is present in everybody. Man, without recognizing this Truth, develops misconceptions.

For ages Bharatiyas have been worshipping trees, anthills, and stones out of their faith. Many who wrongly interpret this consider that Bharatiyas are foolish and superstitious. But, this is not true, for there is nothing in this world which is not Divine. This being the case, what is wrong in worshipping a tree or stone as God? This demonstrates that God is one, but such feeling of unity is not understood by men of today.

Though some believe in Brotherhood of Man and Fatherhood of God, the Bhagavad Gita does not agree with it. It proclaims unity as the very essence of spirituality. Such culture of Bharat is not seen anywhere else. Criticizing anything or anybody would amount to criticizing our chosen God. Divinity is latent in everything. Instead of recognizing this, people come forward to criticize it. Based on this, the Bhagavad Gita extols, 'Adveshta Sarvabhutanam' ­ 'do not hate any being'.

The ancient culture of Bharat is very noble. The basic philosophy of social justice of Bharatiyas is not seen anywhere else. How can man understand such purity, which is even beyond the feeling of unity? If you ponder over humanity in its totality, you can see the all-pervasive Divinity. The Bhagavad Gita extols that the Divine aspect present in stone, frog, mound, tree and anthill is one and the same. Even today people worship trees. They plant Tulasi in their homes and worship It. Bilva Patra and Tulasi leaves are believed to be sacred offerings to God. For Bharatiyas whatever they see, say, do, think or practice, it is the manifestation of Divinity. Many great people realized such unity in practice. Thyagaraja taught this unity - 'O Rama, You are in the ant and in the Brahman, in Siva and Keshava! O Compassionate One! Shower Your grace on me.' He believed that Divinity is present even in an ant. How much power has been bestowed on that little ant for, its bite causes pain even to a man. God has empowered it so for its self-protection. Therefore, none in this world is able to comprehend the essence of Bharatiya culture or the purity and faith of Bharatiyas. Even Bharatiyas themselves do not understand this in the true sense.

This evening, Sanjay Sahni spoke about the little dog. It was with Me there down and when I ascended the steps, it too came up. Today's man lacks the cleverness of even a dog! A dog can comprehend the future but not the man. For example, you are walking along a path and a dog lies in a ditch twenty feet away. If without any feeling of hatred you pass by, it does not even get up. But, if you plan to throw a stone, even when you are twenty feet away, the dog runs away. See how clever it is and how it senses the thoughts of man! Thus, Divinity is latent in all living beings. The future of the universe is dependent on the future of the living beings. One can never decide conclusively that this is God and this is not. Every Bharatiya should firmly believe this. Examine any stone and you will find a shape in it, to some extent estimate its weight, value and form. This is the energy. This is the Divinity latent in all the forms. A stone can injure anyone. Scientists attribute this capacity to the law of nature. But, it is a mistake. It is the law of creation. The energy of the creator is the fundamental basis for this. Analyze anything, we find Divine energy in it. This towel is made of cotton. Cotton which is so light that it gets blown away even by a gentle breeze. It has now taken this form, which is quite strong. Unity of threads confers strength on this cloth. When you develop such a relationship with God, you too will become Divine. So long as you think a tree as a tree, a stone as a stone, it remains so. You should perceive the Divinity in it, which is helpful to all of us. It gives shade even to that person who would axe it down. Forgetting the harm done, it even offers fruits to him! It means that God does not care for praise or blame, for, everything is His own form. In such a situation why should man develop hatred?

Today, man worships God and at the same time harms his fellow beings. Is this devotion? No. When you recognize that truth that God is present in all beings and practice it, it reveals the God for you. Sometimes, today's devotees respect fellowman but harm the other living forms. Godıs love is one and such love should be shared selflessly with every being. As you go on cultivating this love, it flows towards all the beings. One should not, therefore, mistake that principle of love should be extended only to humans. It is for all living beings. Instead of considering such love as God, people treat God as an inert object. As, is the feeling, so does it happen. (Yadbhavam Tadbhavati). If the onlookers' feeling is bad, the scenery appears bad. It is the mistake inherent in the vision and not in the creation. Why should such feelings arise in you when you too are Divine? It is because of the body attachment, which enhances the attachment to such attributes. Divinity has no attributes. Divinity is described as Nirgunam, Niranjanam, Nitya, Buddha, Shudda, Mukta, Nirmala Swarupinam. (Attributeless, formless, pure, ancient, eternal, immortal, nectarine). You err by developing attachment to the body. This inert and perishable body is yours only till you live. Why should you trust it? You should utilize it as an instrument. But, never think that `you` are the instrument. Since this body attachment affects your self-confidence, realizing the principle of oneness, you should never harm any being. Harming any being amounts to hurting one's own deity. You are worshipping only an inert object not realizing the consciousness latent in it. The Bhagavad Gita says, "Body is the temple with Jiva as the indweller". You should therefore respect this temple and maintain it clean. How can a man harm the bodily temple?

You hear any number of sacred statements but are you practicing even one? You salute Brahma standing before you, at the same time kill the ant on your back. There is no correlation between your words and actions when you adore one form and harm others. It verily distances you from Divinity. Today desires have grown beyond limit. These need to be curtailed in order to realize Divinity. Eat food just enough for nourishment and wear clothes for protection from cold. While Jesus was being crucified, Mary was very sad. An unseen voice consoled her saying, 'Death is the dress of life.' The dress continuously changes but the Jiva or individual soul is the same. This Jiva is deathless. It is said, "He is birthless, deathless and eternal. He has neither a beginning nor an end; he is not born, does not die and cannot be slain; He is all pervasive in the form of Atman.

Spirituality has its origin in this sacred land of Bharat. What is the use of one's life if one does not recognize this native land of spirituality? You do worship daily and also meditate. But on whom do you meditate, you do not know. Avoid such meaningless rituals. Love every living thing. While Dharmaja was on his way to heaven, his brothers and wife left their mortal bodies one by one. But a dog followed him to the end. As the heavenly messengers invited him first, Dharmaja insisted that the dog be allowed in heaven before him as it accompanied him all the way. Thus, Dharmaja is one who practiced morality and integrity. Never betray the trust of people and never cheat anybody who has helped you. Todayıs man lacks gratitude. He receives all the favors and does harm in return. In reciprocation to a favor, gratitude should be in one's blood stream throughout one's life. Here is an example. When this body was studying in Uravakonda three of us used to share a desk - Myself in the middle flanked by Ramesh and Suresh. They were about 7-8 years old and were not good in studies. So, whenever a teacher questioned them, they used to give the answers prompted by Me, for which teachers used to praise them a lot. Thus, I continued to help them, which brought a gradual change in their attitude. They started believing that other than Raju there was no support for them. They uttered Raju's name all the time. In case their mother prepared any eatables at home, they would wrap them in a paper and get it for Raju. But I would refuse all these asserting, "I am always a giver but not the one to take. Our friendship will last longer without these give take transactions. If I take anything I have to remain indebted to you throughout, therefore I should not accept."

Mahboob Khan was our English teacher. His relationship with Me was not external but it was an Atmic one. The moment it was time for My class he would force the other teachers to vacate. The class was filled with students of 8 years age gap. When they saw Mahboob Khan coming, they would start teasing Me and make fun. Mahboob Khan seldom taught anything. The moment He took his seat he would call 'Raju!' I told him softly, "Sir, other students may mistake you, so I too shall sit at the desk there with boys. Do not call Me every time." This made him angry and he said, "Let them think what they want to, I am not afraid. I am not doing anything wrong. I love everyone, but, I love You more. This is because of the Divine power in You." I am telling this incident again for the benefit of the public.

Our ESLC public exams approached. We had to go to Uravakonda. There were no buses or bullock carts. Puttaparthi, a remote village 60 years ago has now become a town. Now, there is a University, an airport and a railway station and all other facilities. But, in those days, one had to go by walk, carrying two big rotis. After a stretch of walk, we used to rest under a tree and again continue the journey playing and singing.

Ramesh and Suresh were disheartened thinking about the ensuing examinations. I told them, "You have faith in Me, I will make you pass". I told them what to do. As soon as we entered the hall, blank answer papers were given and we settled in our respective places. Numbers allotted were such that I got 9, Ramesh 300 and Suresh 200. But, they followed My command strictly to the utmost detail. But it is different with our Bhajan boys here. I have emphasized time and again that Bhajans related to all religions must be sung to give satisfaction to all the people. If once you sing a Bhajan on Vishnu, the next one should be that of Siva to give joy to devotees of Siva. Every participant should derive joy. But our boys do not listen and do as they like. So I too have stopped telling them. But those two boys were different. They went to the examination hall, and as were told, pretended to write for two hours. After two hours papers were collected. I wrote for both of them in their handwriting after finishing my paper within half an hour. Thus, after one and a half hours, I submitted the answer papers and three of us came out. All the students discussed their answers outside the hall. But these two, sticking to My words, never spoke anything. The very next day results were declared - Only Ramesh, Suresh and Myself passed in 1st class. None could doubt their high marks as our register numbers were far apart and the handwritings too were different. We were taken in procession in the streets. The two bowed down their heads. I encouraged them to be bold and lift their heads. On the third day, there were questions based on examination in the class. Ramesh and Suresh could not answer any of them. I told them to say that during the examination time their hearts prompted the answers.

I had returned from Hampi. My collar pin was lost. The collar pin is an illusion - so lost are all the bonds. Know Me truly as Sai, stop your efforts to bind Me in attachment. All My relation with you is cut off now; it is not possible for anyone to bind Me. Seshama Raju noted this down. He used to even remind Me of this sometimes.

When I left Uravakonda, Kameswar Rao was the headmaster. Everyone including him cried. But I cared for none. Will I submit Myself to all this? The next day they asked another boy to lead the prayer in My place. The prayer too had been composed by Me. That boy, who was a Mohammedan, was a good singer. He walked up to the stage but could not sing, remembering Me, he broke down. The prayer was stopped and a holiday declared. Without Raju, Ramesh and Suresh refused to sit on the bench or stay in the classroom. Ramesh ran and jumped into a well giving up his life. Suresh kept crying, "Raju, have you left us! Raju, have you left us!" He became mad and was admitted to the mental hospital in Bangalore. His parents prayed to Me to go and see him once. Swami told them, "The present Suresh is different from the earlier one. There is no point in My coming to see him." After a few days, he too died.

I had two dogs, Lilly and Billy in the Old Mandir. Jack and Jill were born to Lilly. The two were none other than Ramesh and Suresh come again to stay near Me. One would sleep at my head and the other at My feet. They used to get up at My slightest movement. One day the Queen of Mysore came for Swami's Darshan. She was very orthodox. She got down from her car at Karnatakanagepalli and walked up to Puttaparthi. After his dinner, the driver had to go back to the car. It was dark and he did not know the way. I ordered Jack to show him the way and the driver followed it. The driver slept in the car while Jack slept under the car. The next morning when the driver started the car, he ran over Jack's spine. From there, Jack dragged itself through the river towards the Mandir. The washerman, Subbanna, who used to look after the Mandir, told me that for some reason Jack was coming whining. I replied that I knew and walked up to the Mandir gate. Crying aloud, Jack fell at My feet and gave up its life. Jack was buried behind the Mandir. Jill too passed away after a few days. I built a Samadhi for them and planted a Tulasi plant over it. It remained for a long time. When I was at Bangalore recently, in order to extend the Kalyana Mandapam, the engineers razed it. Thus after spending their next lives as dogs, they finally merged in Me. Those who believe in Me shall have no dearth of anything.

Once I had to attend a scout camp but had no uniform. Ramesh`s father was an officer. Ramesh asked his father for two pairs of uniforms, though he did not tell that the second pair was for Me. Ramesh packed the uniform and placed it under My desk with a note that if Raju would not accept it, he would give up his life. In turn, I left another note that if our friendship had to remain, Ramesh had to take back the uniform. Ramesh considered this as My command and took it back. Thus, in those days, even in such small matters children used to follow commands.

When I was in school at Bukkapatnam, I used to teach elders aged between 20 and 30 in Puttaparthi. They earned their livelihood by selling jasmine flowers. I used to teach them in the evening, after coming back from Bukkapatnam. They revered Raju as their Guru. In the month of Magha, the children of the village would have ceremonial bath in the pond near Hanuman Temple. Once after the bath, I told them to go round the temple. They asked Me to join them but I feigned leg pain. Upon their loving insistence, I took a round with them. At the end of the first round, a huge monkey blocked My path. The efforts of the others to chase the monkey away failed. The huge monkey prayed to Me not to go round him. I then explained to the boys that the monkey had come with such a sacred feeling. The huge monkey was none other than Hanuman himself.

In the meantime, Seshamaraju was transferred to Uravakonda. With the intention of continuing Raju's higher studies, Seshamaraju decided to take Him there. Coming to know of this, the children felt sad that they had nothing to offer as Gurudakshina to Me. At that time, money was more valuable than materials. All of them pooled a paisa each and offered it to Me. I refused to take it and asked them to keep it with them. This way the villagers showed their gratitude towards Me. They walked along with Me till Bukkapatnam, crying, asking Me when I would return.

But in today's situation, modern studies have brought a decline in human nature. Gratitude has disappeared. The quality of love is not pure. Hence the whole country is suffering. In those days, there was a lot of mutual respect. Once when I was returning from Bukkapatnam, a mother was removing lice from her childıs hair. She was chewing paan and not noticing Me, she spat. It splashed all over My dress. She felt very sad. Villagers were full of love and affection. She made Me remove My shirt and herself washed it. Such was the gratitude shown by villagers. Purity and gratitude should flow in the blood. There is no atonement for the ungrateful. Our vision is a gift of the Sun. Chandrama Manaso Jathaha Chaksho Suryo Ajayatha. The Sun withdraws the power of vision from the ungrateful ones, making them blind.

All of you know about Kondama Raju. He was a good singer. When he would narrate about the episode of fainting of Lakshmana in the battlefield, the people of the entire village would gather there. In Anjali Devi's film, you must have seen his character. He was 112 years old. Every morning he would come walking all the way to this Mandir. One day, I went to him. Then he asked Me, "Swami, how much longer will I live? When will I give up this body?" I told him, I would come to him at that time. Some days later, I went walking into the village, he sensed it and called out to Easwaramma, "Easwaramma, Swami is coming. I have to leave now." He asked her to bring some water. He asked Swami to drink the water from the tumbler and give him the remaining water. I pretended to do so and after that he drank it. Then he told me before dying, "I had a small shop. I never did injustice to others. But forgetfully, I might have forgotten to return a paise or two to someone. In our family, Swami is born. Our Ratnakara lineage has been sanctified. Therefore, I should not leave behind any debt. You should grant me a boon. When they take my body in procession, let some paise coins be thrown all over, so that my debts would be cleared as people pick them up." Thus, he gave up his body peacefully. The father of this body too had a small business. He used to run to Bukkapatnam even for a coconut required by the devotees. Thus, he used to help them all. One day he came up to Swami and said that he wanted to talk to Me for a minute. I had already called a group for interview. I told that I would call him after the interview of devotees. It was an urgent matter, so I called him. He used to tie the money in the corner of the dhoti. There were no wallets or pockets those days. He took out a collection of coins and placed it in My hands and asked Me to distribute food to the poor on the tenth day after his demise. He also mentioned that he had kept aside grams, rice, jaggery, etc., required for that purpose. After this, he went home. He played with Janakiramayya's son, Ratnakar for a while. When Easwaramma came, he handed over the child to her and he left the physical body. Those who lead a sacred life will have a sacred end.

Even Easwaramma had a sacred end. During the Summer Classes at Bangalore, breakfast had been served to the students at 7.30 a.m. Gokak, who was a strict disciplinarian, used to conduct everything on time. Easwaramma had her breakfast and was seated in the verandah. All of a sudden, she cried out, "Swami! Swami!" I was upstairs in My room. I was coming. She asked Me to come down soon. Just as Swami came, she caught My hand and gave up her life. Pure souls have sacred ends. This was also the case of Kondama Raju and Pedda Venkama Raju; all had peaceful death. They were all selected by Swami. Normally, parents choose their children, but in My case, it was the child selecting its parents. This is the glory of Swami's Life Story.

Sanjay Sahni spoke about Avatars, that is why I have been speaking about these incidents. I have never hurt anyone. I never use harsh words either. At the most, I would chide someone by saying Dunnapotha (He-buffalo). I always bestow Ananda on others. Let everyone be happy, let everyone be blissful. Let everyone endeavor on the spiritual path, developing self-confidence. Only with self- confidence can one's life attain fulfillment. All those present here, those who live here should develop self-confidence. It is useless to live without it. Atma is life. Even if one does not have Bhakti (devotion), one should have self-confidence. Everyone should enjoy the bliss of the Atma. What is happiness? Happiness is union with God. Enjoy the bliss in this union.

Today is the first day of Navaratri festival. Navaratri is dedicated to Maha Durga, Maha Kali and Maha Lakshmi. These three deities are not different but one and the same. They are the forms of energy. Saraswati is the presiding deity of speech. Lakshmi is the form of Ananda. All three are present in every man. We do not have to search for them elsewhere. Man is Divine, humanity is Divinity. Consider man as Divine and the body as temple of Divinity, enjoy the bliss of God.

[Bhagavan concluded His discourse with the Bhajan "Hari Bhajana Bina Sukha Santhi Nahi...]

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