Excerpts from: Swami's Discourses

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:14 Jan 1998 Occasion:Sankaranthi]
You may carry on your vocational duties. But along with it, render social service. See the divine in the people whom you serve.

[Bhagavan concluded His discourse with the bhajan: "Bhajana binaa sukha santhi nahi" . But after the bhajan was over, Bhagavan made a short speech calling upon the students to take up social service in the villages after they go back to their homes. This is the way to make use of their studies and put into practice Swami's teachings. "Instill in the villagers devotion to God. Practice what you preach. This is true service. "]

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:15 Feb 1998 Occasion:Address to students]
Students, Teachers and Doctors!
Human birth is a God-given gift which should be used with due care. It should be filled with righteous acts. Unfortunately, today men misuse all their God-given talents for unholy purposes. The mind should be filled with good thoughts, the heart with compassion and the hands should be engaged in selfless service.

Even in rendering social service, there is often an element of self-interest that vitiates the quality of your service. Instead of being a "positive" act of selfless love, the service becomes a "negative" act carrying the taint of self-interest. No permanent joy can be derived from such "negative" activities.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:25 feb 1998 Occasion:Shivarathri]
Embodiments of Love! Try to understand my doctrine of Love. I often address you as "embodiments of the Divine Self". You will be true embodiments of the Divine only when you develop divine love. The only being worthy of love in this world is God. All others are only objects of transient attachment. On this sacred Sivarathri day, develop love for the Divine and redeem your lives. Manifest the Divine within you. Continuously chant the Divine name. Do every act with love. That is the highest spiritual sadhana. The way of love will transform the world. Love is God. Truth is God, Peace is God. This is the message of Sivarathri . Understanding this, dedicate all actions to God and render selfless service to the people to redeem your lives.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:29 Mar 1998 Occasion:Ugadi]
Not realizing the true nature of the Divine Principle, man wastes his time on rituals and religious practices of various kinds. God cannot be realized through such practices. It is only by loving God and getting close to Him that one can realize one's aspirations. Swami does not disapprove of sadhana practices. They are good activities for using time sacredly. But without service to Godly persons, they are of no use for realizing freedom from the cycle of mundane existence.

I am ready to give you all happiness. Are you prepared to receive what I wish to offer? Banish all worries. They are temporary like passing clouds. Do not allow any one - whether it is the father, the mother or the preceptor - to come between you and your duty to God. This is the lesson taught by Prahlada, Bharata and Emperor Bali. Their allegiance to the Lord transcended all other obligations. God takes care of such devotees. Surrender yourselves to God and dedicate yourselves to the service of mankind. You have my blessings. Foster love and serve society.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:14 Apr 1998 Occasion:Tamil New Year]
Good speech is as essential as good vision. Avoid all kinds of gossip. Keep your speech confined to what is godly and sacred. Engage yourself in service to others. Pay no attention to other people's defects and faults.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:18 Apr 1998 Occasion:Divine Discourse]
Sage Vyasa gave the essence of all the eighteen Puranas as "Paropakaraya Punyaya, Papaya Parapeedanam". In this, we generally take it that Paropakara means helping others. Para means God, Upa means near, Kara means do, make efforts. The import is that you should make efforts to be near God. It is meritorious. "Papaya Parapeedanam " means to see the many in One is sin. How can you avoid this? You have to see the One in many or unity in diversity. This is the correct thing to do. That is to say - help ever, hurt never, perceiving Atma in all. If you are not able to do any help, sit down quietly and do no harm. See the divinity in all and do sacred activities. Don't waste the elements nor misuse them. Being bound to the world with attachment to worldly objects is negative approach. Make positive approach turning towards Divinity. The difference lies only in turning your mind. Turn to world, you get bound - turn to God, you get liberated. God is without birth and death and is an eternal witness; you must strive hard to earn the love of God. One who receives the love of God will be earning the love of all. If you realize Love is God, you will not get attached to worldly things. No one can take the wealth of the world with him when he dies. This is a truth we have seen throughout the history of mankind. Many great kings, emperors, saints and seers have left without taking anything. When you are born you don't bring anything with you. Render service in divine awareness. In order to lead a fruitful and meaningful life, render service to mankind which will take you nearer to God.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:19 Apr 1998 Occasion:Mahila Day]
Women devotees in Sai Movement are participating in large numbers enthusiastically in service activities such as helping the women of weaker sections to learn some useful trades like tailoring etc. so that they can earn some money for the family and also spend their time usefully. If such activities are taken up all over the country, the country will prosper. This sacred work is typical of the culture of our ancient country. Women are the heirs of our ancient culture. Culture means refinement. Women are the torch-bearers of refinement and they are toiling for the emancipation of the nation.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:Apr 1998 Occasion:Divine Discourse]
Love is there in everyone naturally. Instead of directing it towards your wife, children and relatives, direct it towards God. By this diversion you will get whatever you want. The heart is given by God. Offer it to Him. You need not have any fear. Surrender your body to Him as this is also a gift of God. Every action should be underlined by Prema(Love). Do seva with love. You must cultivate the feeling that you belong to God.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:9 Jul 1998 Occasion:Guru Poornima]

Neither by penance nor by bathing in sacred rivers
Nor by study of scriptures nor by japa
Can the ocean of Samsara be crossed
Without serving godly men.
Man adopts various means to achieve liberation (from the bondage of mundane existence). Penance is performed for whose sake? It is for one's own benefit and not for the good of others, nor even for the Supreme Self. In the performance of japa (recitation of the Lord's name), it must be noted that it is done for one's own satisfaction and not for the welfare of others. What is it one should do to secure redemption from the cycle of worldly existence? Chanting the Lord's name or performing sacrifices or doing other rituals will be of no avail. You have to render service to your fellow human beings.

Service is True Worship
Service is the highest form of worship and the best penance. Seva is the most important form of reciting the Lord's name. Money that is lost can be earned again. Lost friends may be got back again. Even the loss of a wife can be made up by remarriage. But, if the present body is lost, it cannot be got back again. Hence, the body is highly sacred.

For what purpose should this sacred body be protected? The body has to be protected because verily it is the primary means of achieving Dharma.

Human birth is a rare privilege. It is highly sacred and sublime. Having been born as human beings, if men do not realize the preciousness of human life, what is the use of being born as human? Man is endowed with the gift of memory. Reflection is natural to him. The search for the meaning of life is an admirable quality. It is as a result of this search that man's creative faculties have resulted in great achievements in the fields of science and in other fields of knowledge. But, owing to their failure to use the intellect properly and on account of misdirected search, people are lost in different kinds of inquiry. One person sees a tree. He sees only the branches and not the roots. Another sees the roots and not the branches. This is not the right way to find out the real truth about anything.

Sankaracharya and Padmapada
Sankaracharya had five disciples. One of them was pure-hearted. The other disciples were keenly studying the Sastras, the Upanishads and other texts. They were also learning logic and grammar. One day, Sankaracharya was teaching these disciples the principles of logic. One of them was primarily concerned with service to the guru; he regarded himself as a Dasa of the guru. He was engaged In gathering clothes of the guru after the morning ablutions, take them to the Ganga, wash them and dry them and bring them back to the Ashram. Thus he was totally involved in attending to the personal needs of the guru. He kept the guru 's clothes clean, chanting all the while the name of the guru. Once, on his way back from the other bank of the river, he did not realize that the Ganga was in spate. As he was crossing the river, it rose up to the level of his neck. He looked around, but had no fear whether he would be washed away by the swelling waters. His only worry was how to take the clothes to the guru even at the cost of his life. Placing the clothes on his head and chanting the word, " Guruji! Guruji ", he continued wading through the river. Because of his intense devotion to his guru, at every step he took there was a lotus-shaped stone on which he could place his foot. He thereby earned the appellation "Padmapada". Sankaracharya called him and imparted his teachings to him. He told Padmapada: "Service to the guru is a great virtue. You have adored the guru as God. Guru represents the Divine Trinity and is the Supreme Self".

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:28 Sep 1998 Occasion:Dasara]
Embodiments of Love! Take to service, do not think that you are serving others. You are serving only yourself. Similarly, all the spiritual practices such as Japa, Thapa, Dhyana and Bhajan are for your own satisfaction. God does not need them. God wants only one thing - you should know your Self. Only then you will know God. Confidence in you and confidence in God - this is the secret of greatness. Prahlada had total faith in Narayana, while Hiranyakashyapu had faith in the body. God will always protect the one with strong faith like Prahlada.

Though you are the embodiment of Love, you have to necessarily do Sadhana and Seva, till you realize your true identity. Some people say, "Swami, why do we need to be devoted at a young age? We can as well think of God after retirement." When the messengers of death come to seize your life, when your relatives make arrangements to keep your body outside, and when your wife and children cry bitterly, is it possible to remember God at that moment? So, right from an early age, you should think of God. That is why I say, "Start early, drive slowly and reach safely."

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:29 Sep. 1998 Occasion:Dasara]
In your daily life, knowingly or unknowingly you are committing mistakes. You are only keeping the physical body clean, but are not making any effort to know how to purify your mind and speech. You are treating bad as good and good as bad. We should make efforts to know what is good and what is bad. All service rendered for the welfare of society is good. You are a member of the society. So, your welfare depends on the welfare of the society. The country will prosper if the society is good. Individual prayer, family prayer and community prayer, all the three are very essential.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:30 Sep. 1998 Occasion:Dasara]
Today, man does not make an effort to know why the body is gifted. The body is gifted not for just 'loading' and 'unloading'. Food is required to keep the body fit to undertake sacred actions. As is the food, so is the head. As is the head, so is God. So partake of sacred food, undertake sacred actions and join good company. To the extent possible, render service to the society. Have good feelings in your Heart, speak good words and do good actions. This is called Trikaranashuddhi (Unity of Heart, word and deed). Understand that this is the purpose of human life. Whatever actions you undertake to do them to please God (Sarvakarma Bhagavath Preethyartham). Divinity pervades everything, right from an ant to Brahman, but man does not realize this and misuses his body. Body is the gift of God. To misuse it is a great sin. Sin and merit are not present in a foreign land; they are attached to your actions. Good actions yield good results and bad actions yield bad results. Therefore make proper use of the body, mind and the intellect, which are the gifts of God.

What is sadhana ? Service is true sadhana. Serve the society. Treat everyone as your brothers and sisters. Only through selfless service, your life will be redeemed. Consider service unto others as service to God. Unfortunately today man takes to service expecting something in return. He has become money-minded. Excessive wealth makes one egoistic. Ego leads to bad qualities. Excessive desires make one suffer. Misery is the birthplace of desires. As the desire increases, misery too increases. "Asamthruptho Dwijo Nashtaha," a discontented man suffers both ways (i.e. he is not happy with what he has and feels unhappy over what he has not got). So, be contented with what you have. Experience bliss and share it with others. If you have devotion, God Himself will confer bliss.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:19 Nov 1998 Occasion:Women's Day]
Pundarika used to visit the temple of Lord Panduranga every day. One day he was engrossed in the service of his parents and hence could not visit the temple. So Lord Panduranga Himself came to Pundarika. At that time Pundarika was pressing the feet of his parents. As Pundarika was busy serving his parents, he requested Lord Panduranga to take His seat and wait. So saying, he passed a brick to the Lord as there were no chairs and sofas in those days. After attending to his parents, Pundarika offered his due respects to the Lord Panduranga. The Lord was immensely pleased with his devotion to his parents and blessed him profusely, saying God comes to you on His own when your behavior is good, "there is no service greater than service to parents. Consider service to parents as service to the Lord." We need not go to God, but should make God come to us. One can select one's wife, but not one's parents. Only God selects His parents. I wish that you obtain the blessing of your parents and set an ideal for the rest of the world: Today, I do not see parents being accorded respect due to them. They are approached only in times of need and neglected later. There is a proverb in Telugu the boat is set on fire, once it serves its purpose of taking you across the river. Similarly, parents are sought after only in times of difficulties. Once you are highly placed in the society and accumulate wealth, parents are forgotten. Here is a small example. V. Ramakrishna was an I.C.S. officer from Madras. His wife was Durgamba. They sent their son to America for higher studies. A month later when Durgamba contacted her son over phone and enquired his welfare in Telugu, to which he replied that he had forgotten Telugu and could converse only in English. On hearing this the mother was overjoyed and came to Swami to share the news proudly. I replied that a person, who forgot his mother tongue in a month, was likely to forget his mother too. There are many such students in the world today. They forget their parents once they go abroad.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:20 Nov 1998 Occasion:World Conference of Center Presidents]
In countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Germany etc., women are practicing human values more than men. They are following Swami's command under all circumstances. Here is a small example. It is not for any glorification that I am relating this. Last week the mother of a Mahila volunteer expired suddenly. She spent that night in the hospital and reported for duty as usual the next morning. I asked her as to how she could make it for duty immediately after the demise of her mother. She replied, "Swami, You have said that both birth and death are, but, natural. Both are like twin birds that move together. Anyone who is born is bound to die. Whatever had to happen has happened. But I must discharge my duties. This is duty towards God. Everything else is ephemeral and transient, only God's work is permanent, I have come here to do that work." She is a resident here in this Mandir and has been serving for long. Since then she has not taken a single day's leave. The untimely death of her mother did not deter her from discharging her duties sincerely. She withstood all this by diverting her mind to God. Women have that sort of determination. She is none other than Asha, seated beside Mrs. Shourie. Her husband Shiv Pandit is a lecturer in the Institute. There are crores and crores of such sincere workers in this world. They are not striving for name and fame, but for Swami's grace. You can find fulfillment by practicing at least one or two teachings. Lord Krishna declared in the Bhagavad Gita, "There is nothing in this world that I want. Yet, I am constantly engaged in activity for the welfare of humanity." When God Himself is engaged in selfless activity, why not man. Success prevails where God and His ardent devotee come together. So we should determine to follow the path shown by God. Wealth and property are passing clouds. "Money comes and goes but morality come and grows." Nothing is great in earning money. What happened to all the great kings of yore, who ruled over vast kingdoms? Could they take even a pie with them when they left this world? No! So utilize the money earned for the welfare of humanity. Do not be proud of your wealth. Greatness lies in sacrifice alone. One who sacrifices is a true yogi. One who is immersed in worldly pleasures is a rogi (diseased one). It is only sacrifice that confers immortality. Serve in your respective villages. Service does not mean sweeping the roads, cleaning the temple and feeding the poor. Discharging one's duty sincerely is true service. Work in accordance to the salary you draw. That is service to the nation. Ensure that the Government is not put to loss under any circumstances. We are compelling the Government to borrow, because we are not contributing our mite in sufficient measure. All those who are members of the Sai Organization should work hard and wholeheartedly.

Develop Love, take care of your health and serve the society. Then God will confer on you the necessary strength and happiness. When God can make a dumb speak and a lame ascend the mountain why will He forsake those who are sincere and hard working? Develop faith in God. Mere chanting of the divine name will not confer peace of mind. Only selfless service coupled with total faith in God can do that. Treat everyone as your brother and sister. There may be difference of opinion at times but that should not lead to hatred and enmity. Pandavas were outstanding examples. When Pandavas were in exile, Krishna visited them. On finding only Dharmaja, Krishna enquired about the whereabouts of his remaining brothers. Dharmaja replied that four of them had gone to fetch food and the remaining hundred were in Hastinapura. Krishna chided Dharmaja for considering Kauravas also as brothers to which Dharmaja replied, "Krishna, don't you know this? When there is an internal conflict among ourselves we are five and they are hundred in number. But when there is a threat from external forces, we all unite and are 105 in number." Differences should not divide us. Members of the Sai Organisations should foster such unity. Let there not be any conflicts. Live like children of the same family. Get a good name that there is no other organization comparable to the Sai Organisation in this world. Develop love and work unitedly.

Just as all of you joined together in perfect harmony and unison in following My Bhaian , have the same principle of unity in undertaking the service activities. You should take part not only in community singing but also in community work. Only then you will be blissful. I wish that you have this kind of harmony, integration and unity in singing Bhajans and rendering service to the society and derive the joy therefrom.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:22 Nov 1998 Occasion:Convocation]
Bharat has stocked plenty of wealth for you. What is this wealth? It is the spirit of sacrifice, which can be acquired through service to society. Do not waste time. "Karmanubandheeni Manushyaloke", human society is bound by action. "Sareeramadhyam Khalu Dharma Sadhanam", body is gifted in order to undertake righteous actions, not to eat, drink and make merry. Render service to others till your last breath. The essence of 18 Puranas can be summed up in one phrase: "Paropakarah Punyaya Papaya Parapeedanam ". HELP EVER; HURT NEVER. Set an ideal, which is helpful and delightful to one and all.

"Janthoonam Narajanma Durlabham", human birth is the rarest of all. Human life should be one of character, good actions and good qualities. It should be dedicated to the service of society, not for amassing wealth. Education is for life and not for a living. One need not strive for money. If education is properly utilized money will come on its own. Today educational institutions have become business centers.

Hiranyakasipu's scientific achievements far exceeded those of the modern scientists. He could even reach the Polestar, whereas the modern scientists have traveled only up to moon. Prahlada cautioned his father Hiranyakasipu, "Oh! Father, you have conquered all the worlds, but not your senses. The same sentiment was expressed by the Prime Minister of England, Churchill, "Man has conquered all, but he has not conquered himself". Man knows everything, but not himself. On being questioned by a westerner as to why he was in a pensive mood, Gandhi replied that he was ruminating over the modern educational system, which was making him stoneheaded. Education should fill one's heart with love and compassion. Two parts of hydrogen and one part of oxygen add up to make water. Greatness lies in sharing water equally, not making it. Everyone has an equal right in sharing water. Today everyone is fighting for rights but what about responsibility? Students! You do not need to fight for rights. Discharge your responsibilities, rights will follow. Do your duty, duty is God; work is worship. What is your right? To make everybody happy is your right. Serve everybody and make everyone happy without expecting anything in return. Service is God. "The best way to love God is to love all and serve all". "Speak softly and sweetly". "You cannot always oblige, but you can speak always obligingly". That is the essence of Bharatiya Vidya. Education does not mean "Twinkle, Twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are?" All this is artificial education. True Bharatiya Vidya is one, which fosters spirituality and human values.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:24 Nov 1998 Occasion:World Conference of Center Presidents]
The third point raised is, "Everyone is undertaking spiritual practices, but I am unable to do so for lack of time as I am engaged in multifarious activities. I am unable to think of Swami and participate in service activities. What is the solution to this?"
It is a big mistake to think on these lines. There is no need for a specific time and place to think of Swami. Discharge your duties sincerely with the conviction that everything is Swami's work. "Work is worship, duty is God". You do not need to sit and chant 'Sairam' repeatedly. "Sarva Karma Bhagavad Preethyartham", do all acts with the feeling that they are for pleasing God. That is the greatest Sadhana. Instead of wasting your time in meditation devoid of concentration better attend to your household work. "Karmaanubandhini Manushyaloke", human society is bound by Karma (action). Karma does not mean sweeping the road and serving the sick. Even your breathing process, batting of your eyelid, eating, sleeping, reading can be termed Karma. Life without Karma is impossible even for a moment. Life will be sanctified only when you do all Karmas (actions) pleasing God. Do not make any distinction between God and yourself, His work and your work. Work with the conviction that you and God are one. Then even a small work will assume magnificence. Greatness lies in small things. No doubt sweeping the roads and visiting hospitals are good deeds, but they in themselves do not constitute service. Discharging one's duty properly is the true Sadhana. In the name of Sadhana or spiritual practices if your neglect your duty and if your work is not commensurate with the salary you draw, then it would amount to cheating the government. True service lies in discharging one's duty properly. Hence service can be done even in office. Any work undertaken without discriminating it to be personal or divine would become service. Never give an excuse of lack of time.

Fourth point: Being in foreign land we are unable to do Swami's work and so would like to come to Bharat and participate in Swami's activities wholeheartedly.
This is another sign of laziness. To do a service activity can there be a distinction between a foreign land and Motherland? God is omnipresent. Whether the service is done abroad or in Bharat, it does not lose its significance. It is utterly selfish to come to Prasanthi Nilayam to do service activity. You may come after retirement for service at Prasanthi Nilayam. You have your own duties to your children, vis-a-vis their education and career. If you were to come here without fulfilling the same, you would begin to develop frustration after sometime. "Don't come now. It is better that you stay in your place and serve. Swami does not expect any service from anyone. Many of my boys are here. But, I attend to My own work. They all aspire to do service to Me. Very fortunate few get to serve Me. Others, for this reason, should not get disheartened. Attend to your own duty. That is service in itself. I am 73 years. My legs, hands, eyes are in perfect condition. I attend to My own work. So serve those who are incapacitated and are weak. This can be your service to Swami. You may wonder that Swami may suffer from leg ache as He moves around much. Let Me tell you, I have never suffered nor will I ever suffer. Only when I take upon Myself the suffering of others do I appear to be suffering; otherwise this body does not have any suffering. I call Dr. Alreja to check the blood pressure. He always replies, "Swami! Normal, perfect normal! 120/ 80." But, My blood pressure is 117/78. Then I ask him to check My pulse. My pulse is always 68 - perfect normal. How much ever I may move about or speak, My blood pressure does not increase. How sacred is My body! It is all due to the combination of Purity, Patience and Perseverance. None of you ever need to serve Me. You may perform your own duties and look after the welfare of your family.

You may forget Me, but I will never forget you. I am always with you, in you, around you and above you. People who are in divine proximity are extremely fortunate. It is a culmination of the merit acquired in various births. It has not come in this birth. Therefore, do not waste your energies brooding over this. What pleases Swami? What is He displeased with? Do not entertain such doubts. I am pleased with whatever you undertake with purity of heart. I only desire the purity of your heart. With pure love in your heart, you may undertake any type of service. Have total faith in Swami's words, implicitly obey His commands. I do not misguide anyone at any time. Whatever I say is for your own good. "Whatever I tell, whatever I do is good for you; not for Me. I do not have any work of My own. All are done for your sake. On any account, do not entertain the thought that I do not have love for you. Fortunate people get a chance to undertake sacred deeds in close proximity to the Divine. But those who do not get such an opportunity should not entertain any jealousy that others had received and they have not. The most malignant disease of all is jealousy. Cancer may have a remedy, but not jealousy. Cancer may be cancelled, but jealousy has no remedy whatsoever. Jealousy would depress one to such an extent that one would perish in the process.

Members of Sai Organization should develop broad vision without giving room for jealousy, hatred and ego. Consider all as brothers and sisters and immerse yourselves in bliss by doing service.

Enter the society with noble virtues. Help everyone. Do you know why the hands are given? Is it for eating? It is for helping others! Charity is the ornament for hand. Do you know why voice/throat is given? Not to sing cinema songs! Not to criticize or blame others, but to chant the name of God. That in itself is the beautiful necklace. Wear that necklace and sanctify your voice/throat. Do you know why intelligence is given? Is it for becoming egoistic? It is to ponder over the means of contemplating on Divinity and reaching and experiencing of the same. One must engage each limb and senses in sacred activities.

Be ideal members of Sathya Sai Organization and bring about proper development/progress and transform the nation itself. I do not desire for My name to be upheld. I do not require any name or fame. If only I wanted, the whole world would have been at My feet by now. But, "I do not want". I only want to help you. Foster the sense of service amongst yourselves. Entertain noble thoughts.

Leaving aside all differences, one must mingle with each other and undertake service activities. You should not form separate groups. Realize that pain inflicted on others is pain inflicted on Me. If all are united, I shall be extremely happy. If you were to meet someone whom you may have hated, greet him lovingly. You must conduct yourself with love. This is real penance, meditation, Japam and Sadhana.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:25 Dec 1998 Occasion:Christmas]
Everyone is aware of the fact that human life is highly valuable, noble and sacred. Keeping in view the welfare of society, the alumni of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur are undertaking many service activities, calling themselves as "Messengers" of Sathya Sai. First and foremost one has to understand the true meaning of the term, messenger. Every human being is a messenger of God. Everyone is born in this world by the Will of God. Only constant enquiry will reveal the reason behind God sending His messengers to the world.
Man's foremost duty is to make the stream of Divine Love flow to one and

It is not merely living for himself that man has been born,
Only by dedicating his life for the service of society
Will he ennoble himself and achieve self-satisfaction,
God has sent man to this world so that he may practice and propagate this
Of what avail is human birth if man remains
like a lump of clay without serving society?
Do not be proud of your youth, progeny and wealth. They are momentary. What is happiness? Is it sitting in an air conditioned room or partaking of delicious food. These confer happiness only at the physical and mental level; not at the level of Atma. True happiness is that which is related to Atma. You should not be afraid of difficulties, they are passing clouds. Do not waver. Follow the heart, which is steady and unwavering. Unity of head, heart and hand is essential for man. This is the true significance behind Christians crossing themselves. Install God in your heart. Contemplate on Him and undertake good deeds. Consider every activity as God's work and act accordingly. Merely feeding the poor and distributing clothes to the needy do not constitute Seva. Along with this one has to cultivate love, which is eternal. Right from dawn to dusk all our actions should be suffused with love.

We have been celebrating Christmas every year here. True Christmas is celebrated only in Prashanthi Nilayam, where people of all religions get together. Generally Hindus celebrate Hindu festivals, Muslims celebrate their festivals, Christians celebrate their festivals so on and forth. It is only in Prashanthi Nlayam that people of all religions, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, etc., come together to celebrate Christmas. Prashanthi Nilyam symbolizes the unity of all religions. Elsewhere people drink, eat non-vegetarian food, and make merry in the name of Christmas. But Christmas in Prashanthi Nilayam is celebrated In a holy atmosphere. Christmas in Prashanthi Nilayam is a 'holy day not a 'holiday.' Practice whatever you have learnt here, even after you go back to your respective countries. Strengthen the feeling that you are the messenger of God and propagate the divine message far and wide. That is your prime duty. There is no greater service than this. Strive for the welfare of the whole world. The world is like a big mansion. All countries may be compared to different rooms. Do not have the narrow feeling that only your country should be happy. Be broad-minded. Pray for the welfare of all nations. Basing on this the ancients prayed, "Lokah Samasthah Sukhino Bhavanthu" (Let the whole world be happy). Cultivate Love. That is true Sadhana.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:14 January 1999 Occasion:Shankranthi]
Last year, on 19 November, all the ladies gathered to celebrate 'Ladies' Day'. They said, "Swami, we're wearing the saris gifted by You and experiencing the bliss of Your divine presence. What can we do in return to express our gratitude to You? Please give us a chance to serve You."
I replied, "You don't need to do anything, be always happy. That is enouqh."
But some of them pleaded for a chance to provide food to the volunteers (seva dals), who are coming in large numbers from various parts of the country to render services in Prasanthi Nilayam. I assured them that I had already willed it and that it would materialize in a short time. I have willed that the volunteers should be provided good food, entirely free of cost, for 365 days a year. I have already made arrangements for this. I have got the sheds put up. All the necessary items like gas cylinders, utensils, plates, spoons, rice, dhals etc., have been already procured. None is aware of this. SATHYA SAl IS A SILENT WORKER [cheers]. From tomorrow onward, food will be served for volunteers (seva dals) free of cost forever.

Then I summoned the members of the Central Trust and asked them what work they were doing. "What is the use of occupying high positions if you don't discharge your duties sincerely?" People from all walks of life and from different strata of society are coming to serve as volunteers every year. I may give them food free of cost, but who will bear their travel expenses. The railway fare is increasing day by day. In olden days, 20 rupees were enough to reach Madras from here, but these days even 200 rupees are insufficient. I commanded them to approach the railway authorities for concession travels for the volunteers (seva dals). I talk sweetly, but at the same time I am stern when it comes to a question of discharging one's duty. I told them either you do this work or resign. The Central Trust members have negotiated with the railway authorities and got the travel concessions sanctioned for volunteers [cheers]. Man plunges into action only when told strictly. The railway authorities were very happy. They thanked Me saying, "Swami, it is our good fortune that we got an opportunity to serve Your devotees." Not only this. In order to ensure that the volunteers (seva dals) and devotees reach Prasanthi Nilayam without inconvenience, the Central Government has sanctioned 50 crore rupees for the construction of a railway station near the petrol bunk [cheers]. We will have trains connecting Penukonda, Dharmavaram, and Prasanthi Nilayam. The other day, the officials of the railway department had a meeting in Delhi and arrived at this decision. Everybody should be able to reach Prasanthi Nilayam comfortably for Swami's 75th birthday. One may board a train in Bombay, Madras, Delhi, Hyderabad, etc. to reach Prasanthi Nilayam.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:14 Feb 1999 Occasion:Shivarathri]
You should not waste valuable time in vain gossip. Instead undertake service activities in villages and slum areas. Provide the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing to the poor and needy. It amounts to the greatest service. I am practicing this right from My childhood. When some one appeared at the door steps begging for alms, the people in the household would say not now, not now, but I would surreptitiously dole out alms. If anyone needed clothes I would provide them. The Griham Ammayi (mother of this physical body) used to recollect and narrate all these incidents wistfully. Believe it or not I had only one pair of dress to be used throughout the year. Everyday after returning from school, I used to don a towel and wash My only dress, put them for drying and then press them by using a container with embers as an iron. When I was provided with a new dress, I used to donate My old dress to the poor and needy. The Griham Abbayi (father of this physical body) never reprimanded Me or beat Me up. He would compliment Me by saying, "You are a Maha thyagi (one of great sacrifice). It is impossible for us to be like You." He would endearingly address Me Vedanti (philosopher). The same was the case with Griham Ammayi too. She looked after Me with great love and affection. People used to fall at her feet, pour out their tales of woe and plead with her to recommend their case to Me. But I used to put her off softly by saying, "dont worry about others' problems". In spite of this she used to carry on saying, "Swami, what is the use of My human birth if I don't help people in distress. My sincere feeling is that they will be relieved of their suffering if I convey their problems and feelings to You. So, I will not refrain from doing this, even if you raise an objection or scold Me". In this manner the parents of this physical body led a very pious and sacred life. The whole clan has benefited from this.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date: 03 Mar 1999 Occasion: Yugadhi]
The students in Delhi and Mumbai had various bad habits. Now, a complete change could be seen. The youth ranged in age from 25 to 30. How active they were! Swami knows their hard work as seva dals. The service work of the seva dals of Delhi was incomparable. They did not pay heed to their food or drinking water. They were engrossed in their work with single-pointed attention. Each one did the duty allotted to him. (They thought) " Swami says, " Duty Is God. Work is Worship". We are prepared to give up our lives. We must fulfill His Words. That will please Swami."

Seva-dal servants
There was a seva-dal in every nook and corner of Delhi. Everyone had a cellular phone to get updated on Swamiâs movements. News was flashed to and from them constantly. All the ten thousand seva-dals were ever alert for Swami's arrival. There was not a single complaint about any one. The Delhi police and the journalists were full of praise for the seva-dals. They said that such selfless youth are members of the Sathya Sai Organization and that there are no others like them.
Selfishness is prevalent everywhere. But ask any one of the ten thousand youth seva-dals at Delhi and the reply will be "I want only You; I want only Your Love." The change of heart was instantaneous. As a result, their service became even better. Their manner was polite, and their words were sweet. They put into practice the saying "You cannot always oblige, but you can speak obligingly." They did not say any harsh words. They did not speak words that hurt others. Through their sweet words and sweet behavior, they brought good name to the Sai Organization.
Sai Organizations
At Mumbai, the health minister approached Swami. He said, We have various doctors with us. But there is not much efficacy. We wish to collaborate with the Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty hospital. We could undertake an exchange program through which doctors from the super specialty hospital can serve in Mumbai and doctors from here could serve there. Every small service there is undertaken in the spirit of ideal service. There are various organizations active here. But they all operate on the basis of self-interest. We have seen many organizations, but the service done in the spirit of sacrifice that is found in the super specialty hospital is rare to find elsewhere. We spoke with several seva-dals and received the same response. Let us not worry about minor challenges here and there. The exemplary Sathya Sai Organization must spread all over the world.

We must lead an ideal life. We must engage in activities that help others. We must help the poor and those that need help. When we do those service activities, then we can call ourselves devotees. Bhagavan has said this many times. What is the sign of devotion? Good character, good impulses, truth, love for God, discipline, and a sense of duty óthe person who possess these six traits is a true devotee. We must engage in service activities.

Truthful thoughts are like the radio waves. These waves expand and spread through love, not through advertisement. The Sathya Sai Organization abhors campaigns and advertisements. It does not function for the sake of advertisement. Love alone should bind us as one. It is our service activity that will broadcast our ideals, not advertisements.

You can be happy listening to the report of the service (seva) activities done at Delhi and Mumbai. They did service suitable to their circumstances. Bhagavan does not gauge their activities. Whether you do service or not, Bhagavan will always be happy and will always love you. You do not have to act expecting Bhagavan's appreciation. The truth of the matter is that if you want to be brimming in bliss, you should have no desires. Desires must cease. That is real dharma. Bhagavan's happiness is not affected, whether desires get fulfilled or not. It is beyond all that.

Take steps to acquire this happiness. Develop friendship with God. Who is your true friend? You may have a friend in the canteen, or you might have recorded his address. But no one can give the address of your friend who is God. If you ask God, "Where do you live?", he will reply, "In your heart." God lives in your heart. There is no need to search for Him. Turn your mind inward to see Him. You will see Him. You will have happiness.

Service done in the spirit of sacrifice is an ornament for our hands.
Truth is the ornament, a necklace, for the neck.
Thyagam hasthasya bhooshanam
Sathyam kandasya bhooshanam
When such ornaments are available, why go in search of others?