Excerpts from: Swami's Discourses

[From: The Divine Discourse Date: Jan 1, 1996 Occasion: New Year]
Today man is filled with selfishness. He concentrates on looking after his own. He is not bothered about others. He thinks always, "I and my people." What about society? Only when you are concerned about society's welfare will you and your people be happy. Are you not a part of society? Without society, you cannot live for a moment. So we should undertake service to society. Your welfare depends on society's welfare. Develop such Love and consider everyone as yours. Today we should expand our Love and extend it to all. You should consider the whole world as a single family. Narrowness of feeling isolates. Therefore broaden your feeling. We are all one, belonging to one family. All are children of God and therefore brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God. We should develop the feeling that we cannot live without God even for a moment.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date: Mar 20, 1996 Occasion: Ugadi]
There are 24 hours in a day. 6 hours for sleep, 6 hours for labor, and 6 hours for physical needs. Then what are you doing with the remaining 6 hours? Participate in Seva. Enter the path of divinity.

I have been asked about the forecast for the Year. Many changes are taking place in the political field this year. Internal struggle increases. There will be no deficit in food crops, but some rivers will cause floods. But man can change even God's will when he enhances the divinity within himself. Foster good thoughts. Do good deeds. Work for the auspiciousness of the world. Discard the small individual feelings and strive for the welfare of the society. Pray to God always. This is the help you can render the nation. No need to doubt how you can be of use to this entire nation. A small prayer is enough. This entire Universe transforms into auspiciousness by a small prayer. Pray not for your selfishness, not for your own needs, but for the Universe. The auspiciousness of the Universe is your own auspiciousness. This is Spirituality. No other venue exists for liberation except for the possession of these three: a heart filled with compassion, speech associated with truth, and hands that participate in service to humanity. The unity of these three is the "purity of the three acts (thought, word and deed)". Jnana is attained by the purity of these three acts. There is no use in just talking about this. Show it by your actions. What is the ornament for the hand, is it bracelets? No, no, Hastasya Bhushanam Daanam, charity is the ornament for the hand. Now what is the ornament for the throat? Not wearing big, big necklaces. Satyam kantasya bhushanam. Truth is the ornament. Similarly, ear rings are not the ornament for the ears. Shrotrancha Bhushanam Sastram. Listening to the holy scriptures is the ornament for the ears. What other ornaments do we need? These three are the main ornaments for man. Our ancient culture also teaches the same thing. But, neglecting this we are getting attracted to mere momentary pleasures.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Mar 31, 1996]
You are returning to your homes for the holidays. Conduct yourselves well. Bring a good name to your parents. Earn a good name in society. If you have no other work join in any service activities of the local Sai Organizations. Let service be your motto. That should become your lifes goal.

Students! Put into practice at least a fraction of what you have studied. Plunge into society and engage yourselves in social service. Make society happy. Having taken birth in society, if you achieve this much, it is enough. Remember that nothing lasts - the body, the mind or senses. Only ones reputation survives him. This is what Swami expects from you. If you achieve a good name and bring credit to the Institute where you have studied, you would have rendered great service to the nation.

As one of the student speakers said, cultivate good company. Avoid bad company at any cost. Seek good company with all your life. Serve your parents. Help your mother when she goes out shopping. You must confer happiness on the mother who bore you for nine months in the womb. Do not cause any displeasure to the mother. Be ready to give a helping hand to your father. Dont waste your time in idleness. Engage yourselves in social service. Those who can sing should take part in Bhajans. Serve patients in hospitals by purchasing medicines or providing clothes, but do not give them money. If you give them money, they turn into beggars. If you render service in these ways, you will be earning a good name. You will be redeeming your human birth.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:April 9, 1996]
Many people come from different places and gossip a lot. In this way, energy is lost. With loss of energy, there is loss of memory. All this talk takes you away from God. Develop only satsang. Share love with at least ten people. We and we are one. When we discriminate clearly, we become sacred. No use doing meditation and japa. Is your mind steady? No! Follow conscience. God is the mother and father. He is in you and above you and around you. When he is so close, why search in forests? Do you search for yourself? God is indweller of your heart. You are God, not separate. You are given a name because of your body. You are not born because of nature. Nature as God is beauty. Service done to anyone is service to God. Whomsoever you respect that respect goes to God. If you criticize anyone, it goes to God. So 'Help Ever! Hurt Never'. This will give you bliss. There is no greater happiness if you follow this teaching.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:April 15, 1996]
Every person has to do righteous deeds. The body is gifted for karma. When an iron machine is not in use it gets rusty. Likewise, without work, we too become rusty. Therefore, determine to render service to society. Your happiness depends upon the happiness in society. Human life has to be redeemed through work. Sai has advocated worship and wisdom.

S.A.I. - S stands for Service, A stands for Adoration and I stands for Illumination. We must all attain three states. Action is responsible for the pleasure and pain. For this, Bliss is the cause. Unfortunately, man is not discharging his duties properly. Since ancient times Bharathiyas attached importance to service. Your body is only for service. Then you get reaction, resound and reflection. So it is for your own sake you act. If you lead your life like oil on water, it is lifeless, or like a dead life. God is the first cause of creation. The whole universe is the gift of God. All are divine, everything is divine. We should have faith in God. Man has lost faith. When man gets his desires fulfilled he extols God, but when it is not fulfilled, he blames God. God is the witness. He confers bliss as He is Bliss. You only create your own misery, that is the reaction, resound and reflection, but divinity is pure and unsullied. God is ready for anything and performs acts we cannot think of what He is able to do for us. There are so many ideals in Bharath. One devotee was so poor he had such a small house. He was Kumba. God made a house for him. Kabir (poet) was a weaver. As he did his weaving, he sang God's name. God was his support and he overcame poverty. Only experienced devotees know this. If one surrenders, he will not suffer.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:April 17, 1996] 
Once there was an old man. He performed nishkama karma (selfless service). He planted a mango tree with the feeling that many people could enjoy and partake of the fruit. His son-in-law asked him why he was struggling in the heat to plant it. The old man replied that the body is gifted for doing service and that was his goal. The old man then gave the son-in-law coconut water to drink. The son- in-law enjoyed it very much. The old man said, well he did not plant the coconut tree but his father had. So, at some time or other, someone else will enjoy the fruit. Actions that make others experience good in the society should be performed. This is yoga. Bhakti Yoga is the actions performed with total love. There is Godly feeling without any trace of selfishness. The purpose of devotion is to please God. God is bliss itself. He is not wanting in Bliss. We say 'Happy Birthday' to those who are unhappy. God is always happy, with the form of Bliss. God, who is bliss, is like a big tank. God's tank is full of love. If one puts poison in the tank, then you will get poisonous water. As is the feeling, so is the expression. God is pure. So with pure love make God happy. This is your duty and goal. Time is infinite. Heart should be broad. But we don't understand the greatness of the three and we go on the wrong path.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:April 21, 1996]
In a village once, there was a very compassionate lady. She distributed blankets in the cold winter season. One day a student noticed her. He was surprised that she was so humble as she always walked with her head bent down. He questioned her, why she should walk with her head bent down. She said that, "God had given everything. He gave us two hands. I am only giving a single blanket. What a shame!" So one should not be egoistic. The boy then realized how egoistic he was because of his studies. Thereafter, he performed service to the society. Today, elders are not acting as good examples. They have MBA qualification. They send their children to USA They make them study there. Yes, money and study are necessary. Go, but earn virtues. The suicide rate abroad is very high. The reason is no peace of mind. Peace of mind is only in Bharath. Peace is only in God. So develop virtues. Once you develop virtues, money follows. The Goddess of wealth is not blind. She will examine who will make proper use of money. She will also be sad if anyone misuses wealth.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:April 23, 1996]
Once Rama told Lakshmana that if Ravana surrendered to him, he would even persuade Bharatha to make Ravana the king of Ayodhya. Hanuman was full of service, so he had the power of Lord Rama. He had the grace and, in front of Ravana, he was full of courage. Hanuman had virtues and peace. He was so great because of love for Lord Rama. So we should make every effort, besides singing the name, to serve. Everyone is afraid of the end. If one goes abroad all his friends will greet him - "Good-bye". Any foreign country will welcome him also. On the other hand, when you go to the other world, no one will greet you. From a foreign country you return in the same body. From the other world you are bound to return but in what body? No one knows. So instead of taking birth after birth, one should redeem oneself.

Divinity is latent. It becomes patent through service. Make proper use of the two. Just because you have some education you cannot behave as you like. Through education become an ideal. So, Rama was an ideal. Valmiki composed the Ramayana, taking Rama as the ideal. He had full faith, in the end, that Rama was God. First, he thought he was an ideal man. Tulsidas(poet) declared that Rama was God. In the end, he said that he was the noblest and highest man. He said that he was an ideal man. He is the highest (Purushotama). Thus, Lord Rama came down to earth as an ideal man. He behaved as a man but he was full of Divinity within. The body is an instrument. We take ourselves to be the body and so we do not cognize Divinity.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:May 6, 1996 Occasion: Eswaramma Day]
Today's educated persons get puffed up over their petty educational attainments. It was his mother's teachings, which made Vidyasagar practice humility. "Not penance, not rituals, not pilgrimages are of any avail in crossing the ocean of human existence. Only service to the good can take one across" ( Sanskrit sloka ). Service is most important. It helps to promote humility and to further the oneness of mankind. No room should be given for ostentation. True devotion is free from exhibitionism. TALK LESS AND WORK MORE .

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Jun 27, 1996]
The modern student's life is full of confusion. Those who always talk do no study and those who study keep silent. So 'talk less and study more.' Human values are deteriorating daily as man doesn't behave like a man. Through excessive talk, man is losing the Divine power and sanctity within. As one talks more, one loses memory power and concentration. He loses energy, eats more and so becomes lazy. The laziness inhibits him from being sincere in any task and he shirks seva. So to 'serve more, eat less'. "Eating too much harms your mind. Eating less food confer happiness".

Sardar Vallabhai Patel said, "Talk less and work more!" Vidura said that silence increases one's power. Hence our ancients observed silence to increase their power. Excess talk reduces our sense of discrimination. By talking less, we can serve more. Through service we develop friendship. True friendship is working together at all times and in all places. Thus God is the only true friend as all others have traces of selfishness. God gives and gives but never takes.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Jun 28, 1996]
What is Seva? Is it to sweep the roads? No. To do one's duty well with all conscience is real seva. A doctor or a nurse cannot come for Aarathi, when the patient is suffering. God won't appreciate this. Doing his/her duty well, is an offering to God. Every one should do his or her duty. They should not worry about others doing their duty properly, but should worry about their own work. Finally this country would have progressed much faster if everyone did their duty according to salaries they take. One should look into one's own conscience to see how much work they are doing and if it is commensurate with the salary they get. Our leaders need not have to go with begging bowls to all countries for paying the salaries of all if only everyone works according to the salary they take.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:July 4, 1996]
There are several misconceptions about Sadhana (spiritual exercise) for Self Realisation. For instance, some women devotees feel sad when they are unable to attend Bhagavan's discourses because of their preoccupation with domestic duties and attending to their spouses and children. What is the service they render by taking part in a Sathsang or a discourse? To attend to one's household duties, look after the children and attend to the needs of the husband and others at home constitute the right type of Sadhana. Even the preparation of meals in the home is a great Sadhana. To remove the stones from the rice before it is cooked is one kind of yoga (gunathraya vibhaaga yoga - the yoga of division of the three qualities). Every stage in the cooking of vegetables may be deemed a spiritual exercise. Likewise every household chore can be sanctified without a sense of regret that you are missing a bhajan or a discourse. Even the sweeping of the house may be considered as a process of purifying the heart. All such thoughts are spiritually exalting. Such actions are better than listening indifferently to a discourse and forgetting the teachings thereafter. Doing one's duty is the highest spiritual endeavor.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:July 11, 1996]
In all discourses I always refer to Prema (Love) and Dharma. These are my inhalation and exhalation. Whatever be the subject, Love and Righteousness are the standard and are always spoken about. Speak Truth and follow Righteousness all through your life. Students, you study many subjects. In spite of all this, to what extent do we follow these - Prema and Dharma? We must do service. How should we serve? We should serve to kill ego, show and pomp in us. Many pray to Swami to be given good mind and discrimination and energy to tread on the right path. Those who pray thus are not devotees at all. Why? You already have a good mind. This is not a bank transaction - to give and receive. Though you have a good mind you do not use it. You are hungry and all dishes have been served. But unless you eat, how will your hunger be appeased? You do not eat so you do not get the energy and consider yourself weak. You should practice all that is said. Today as every one attends the talks, the detachment goes on emerging in the listeners but this lasts only as long as the discourse. It is not treasured even until they reach home. What is the use of listening to so many discourses on detachment, etc.? You just listen but do not follow. Only when you practice you will see fruits or results. Once you taste it you will know. Why are you not eating ? You are weak. So eat and digest. But you do not, because of the bad effect of the Kali age. Spirituality has become a sort of 'fashion'. Not Compassion. Develop compassion then the fashion will disappear. Listening is a fashion. When asked, "where have you been?", you say, "I have been to such and such a discourse". What happened there ? Lots of things happened there but when asked to repeat a few things you cannot remember even one.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:July 19, 1996]
Devotion is the basis for supreme knowledge of the Divine principle. It is the panacea for the disease of birth and death. It is the cause of liberation. People practice devotion to God, to earn his grace and attain liberation. The word Bhakthi is derived from the root Bhaj, which means spirit of service: servitude to God. It is the essence of Love. Devotees worship the Lord in four ways, based on their temperaments.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:July 28, 1996]
Since there are four states in man that have come to stay once for all, he is put to all these sorts of sufferings. God in man, man in man, demon in man and animal in man. Therefore God, man, demon and animal are all present in everyone. Based on the portion and the circumstances, the time and the space, the reason and responsibilities, actions undertaken, these four come out and express themselves. In what form is God present in man? Man thinks of God continuously, he does all the activities and actions without expectations of any reward, without any trace of ego and thinks of the divine. He entertains sacred thoughts, he renders service to every body. Whatever work he undertakes, he does it to please God. Therefore every good work transforms into God's work. He has no thought other than to let all actions be satisfying into God. These sacred qualities and virtues present in man will prove the Divinity in him. Man without thinking about himself and the other world, thinks only about the eternal truth - that is Divinity latent in him. Where from do you get these thoughts? They emanate out of the human heart. Where from do you get this Divinity? It comes out of man only. Therefore the one who spends all the time thinking of the Divine, will find the Divinity in him. Though he is human being by form, all the thoughts and actions are Divine. All the good actions get transformed in to good actions.

This is how God manifests in man. Next aspect is of man in man. Every human being on earth is after truth and righteousness. With full faith in these two, he doesn't drop his path, discharging his duties and responsibilities, he takes care of his house hold responsibilities. He entertains all acts of charity. His heart is full of compassion. Upanishads define Manava(human) as the one with faith. He has no fear at all. It is only an animal that has fear. Man is not an animal so he need not be afraid of anyone. So don't make anyone fear stricken and don't have fear of anyone. Man renders service and participates in social work. He also earns reputation, name and fame in society. He practices human values and he delights himself and makes others happy. The truth depends on righteousness. Righteousness depends on peace. Peace depends on love and this love depends on Non-Violence. When once there is truth in you, you will never resort to violence. When once there is righteousness you will never utter a lie. Once you have peace and love you will never be violent.

Heart is the lock, Mind is the Key. Turn the key towards God - you get detachment. Turn the key towards world - you get attachment. Detachment leads to liberation. With all the money man is restless. Only sacrifice can bring peace. Do good actions, offer things in charity to others or donate for education, health . There are many people who suffer in villages. For man head and heart are important. The head is education, and the heart is health and the body is water. The body needs health to do service. We should desire good health to do service. We need a head that thinks of good always. We should know the relationship between food, head and God. You need food to develop health and good virtues. These virtues are required to do service. We should maintain safety and security in society. For this reason only we are born in society and we grow in society. If we don't think of society, there can't be a greater betrayal than that. If society is good you will also be happy. Therefore one should desire for the welfare of society. For doing service in society love is essential. Through love you can get everything. Without love what is the use of reading so many books? When you don't put into practice what is the use of reading books? We should not read so many books, they spoil our head. Today we need practical knowledge and not the bookish knowledge . We should act, we should do and find happiness in making others happy. Let us not aspire to live long. It is enough if we get a good name.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Aug 16, 1996]
The foremost goal modern youth should set before themselves is to sow the seeds of love, rear the plant of forbearance and distribute the fruits of peace to society through dedicated service. The secret of peace is not in the external world but is within each individual. He should realise that the whole universe is permeated by the Divine. Today the world is filled with strife. It is not possible to make a distinction between a human being and a demon. Man, who evolved from the animal, instead of proceeding towards Divinity, is regressing to animality. Man's primary duty is to uphold the human values of Truth, righteousness, peace and love.

Dear students! You are the victims of a purely secular education devoid of roots in spirituality. As often as possible, when you get the chance, meditate on God. That will ensure a good future for you. Earn the esteem of society by your service.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Aug 22, 1996]

Why do you search for God
Hither and thither ?
Is He not present in your heart ?
Offer service and receive the love of God
This is the way to realise the Divine.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Aug 27, 1996]
Embodiments of love,
The foremost duty of everyone is to make love of God flow towards all in creation. Every man lives not for his own sake but to render service to society. To forget concern for the body is the way to realize self-satisfaction. Of what use is human birth if you do not manifest unsullied love towards all beings?"

Mr. Wellington (who had spoken earlier) said that service to humanity is service to God. This principle was observed by Virochana. Emperor Bali also followed the same rule.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Sep 7, 1996]
By perseverance anything can be accomplished (says a Telugu proverb). The Gita declares that by repeated practice one acquires the wisdom that ultimately leads to renunciation (Thyaaga). Every activity in life is based on practice. Likewise, to realize the Divine constant practice is necessary. Mere repetition of the Lord's name is not enough. Devotion should express itself in social service. Any service done with social well-being in mind will become service to God. The one Self dwells in a myriad bodies like butter in milk, oil in til (sesame) seeds, fragrance in a flower, sweet juice in a fruit and fire in wood (Sanskrit sloka ). This is the truth proclaimed by Vedanta. Today, modern youth, not realizing this truth, are wasting their lives in every way.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Sep 9, 1996]
In this context, I should like to recall an incident which happened when I was traveling with Burugula Ramakrishna Rao, the then Governor of Utter Pradesh. He was a good devotee and was proficient in a number of languages. He was a very intelligent person. He resolved to make the trip to Badrinath and Kedarnath "in the company of the Lord Himself (Bhagavan Baba)". On learning that Swami was going to Badrinath nearly 200 devotees joined Bhagavan's group. The Ramakrishna Rao couple were very pure and pious people and every day they would take their food only after the 200 devotees with Swami had taken their food. Such was their devotion! When the devotees sat for the meals, Ramakrishna Rao himself would serve water for all of them. He would not allow his ADC or others to do this service. He used to declare: "I am a servant of Swami, not a Governor". PRECEPT AND PRACTICE

Sankara sought in this manner to turn the minds of the people away from sensual pleasures to thoughts of God. Sankara did not call upon all young men to take to sanyaasa. He exhorted them to do their duty and dedicate the body to the service of the Divine. He preached the truth, practiced it and broadcast it to the world.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Oct 3, 1996]
The third quality is Daksha. This means that the devotees should be steadfast and unwavering in any situation. With his mind firmly rooted in God, he should engage himself in service to others and perform actions in a spirit of detachment. Only such a devotee is eligible for God's love. He is unaffected by pleasure or pain, gain or loss or what happens in the mundane world. The fourth quality is "Udaseenah"- indifference to external happenings.

Where is God? Not in temples or pilgrim centers or other places. He dwells in the heart of everyone. To experience the Divinity within, one has to see the Divine in all others and render them service in that spirit.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Nov 22, 1996]

This motherland of ours gave to the world
Noble souls renowned in all the continents;
It is the land which freed
The nation from Western rulers.
This Bharat is reputed for its scholarship.
It is the sacred land which stood forth
As the master in the realms of music, literature, and sacred lore;
Born in the land of Bharat, noted for its fine arts and natural beauty,
It is your bounden duty to foster
The glory and prosperity of the Motherland.
Bharat, which in the past was noted for its educational achievements in various spheres, is today confronted with a crisis in its educational system. The system attaches value only to the acquisition of degrees. Is it for earning a mess of pottage that these degrees should be got? Or should they be acquired for rendering service to society? Or, are they to be acquired for getting wisdom (Vijnaana)? Neither students, nor the authorities, nor the parents appear to be bothered about these questions.

Students! You are the children of Mother Bharat. You must cherish and foster the great culture of Bharat. Born in this Motherland, you breathe her sacred air, drink her holy water and are sustained by her produce. Follow her sacred footsteps; engage yourselves in service to society in a spirit of dedication. You have to transform yourselves in accordance with our ancient culture. Only then will your humanness be vindicated. Otherwise all your education will be like cultivating barren land.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Nov 23, 1996 Occasion: Birthday]
Let the Buddhist prayer be your guide. First, take refuge in your intellect (Buddham Saranam Gachchaami). Divert that intellect to the service of society (Sangham Saranam Gachchaami). Then you will find refuge in Bliss (Anandam Saranam Gachchaami).

Right from this day our organization should expand and spread all over the world. We should forget individual differences, keep in view the welfare of the society. The welfare of the society is our welfare. Let it be in any village, region or country, we should participate in all activities in all areas, regions and countries.

[From: The Divine Discourse: 25 December 1996 Occasion: Christmas]
"Salutations to any living beings go toward God," say the Vedas . ("Sarva bhuta namaskaram; Keshavam prati gachate.") We think there is no meaning in saluting both the one who praises us and the one who criticizes us. Saluting the one who praises us is understandable, but what is the use of saluting the one who accuses us? We must have continuous relationship with accusations, because without them there is no beauty or value to praise. Without criticism, appreciation loses its meaning. That is why every word, every thought, has some obstacle or no beauty or value to praise. Without criticism, appreciation loses its meaning. That is why every word, every thought, has some obstacle or other. For the good, bad is a shadow. For pleasure, difficulty is a shadow. All opposites are interrelated. The pleasure and pain, the profit and loss, exist together. Christ went on pursuing his path in the face of many obstacles with strength and endurance. He gave His life for the service of men, for the principle of Love and propagation of Love.