Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 29 (1996)
Develop Love for God

Editor’s note: A condensed version of this discourse appears in the Sathya Sai Speaks series. This more complete version was published in Sanathana Sarathi, September 2013.
Forbearance is the real beauty in this sacred land of Bharat.
Of all the rituals, adherence to truth is the greatest penance.
The nectarine feeling in this country is the feeling of love toward one’s mother.
Character is valued far higher than the very life itself.
People have forgotten the basic principles of this great culture and
are imitating Western culture.
Alas! The Indians (Bharatiyas) are not aware of
the greatness of their cultural heritage, just as a mighty elephant
is not aware of its own strength.
(Telugu poem)
The honour of a nation depends upon the morality of its people.
Lack of morality will certainly put a nation to disrepute.
True human race is that which upholds morality.
Listen to this truth, oh valorous sons of Bharat!
(Telugu poem)
The power of intelligence is growing in humanity at tremendous pace. In fact, there are no limits to intelligence. But, unfortunately, there is not even an iota of development in virtues. Due to the advancement of science and technology, and with the power of intelligence, people have learnt to fly in the sky like a bird and dive in water like a fish. But they have not learnt to live like human beings on earth.
See unity in diversity
What is the big achievement if people fly in the sky like a bird? More important is to learn to live like a human being on earth, because earth is the base. It is a mistaken notion to think that one has made great progress just because one has learnt to fly in the sky. It is only an illusion.
In fact, the intelligence of humanity is so perverted today that people are creating diversity where there is unity. Moreover, the number of such so-called intelligent people is on the rise.
People today have forgotten the virtues that can help them to visualise unity in diversity. The primary duty is to see unity in diversity. To see diversity in unity is a sign of meanmindedness.
It is very easy to cut a cloth into a number of pieces, but it is difficult to stitch all the pieces into a single piece of cloth. Real fulfillment, happiness, and comfort of life lies only in unity. People should understand the relationship between unity and diversity.
In order to get a shirt stitched, you take a twometre cloth to a tailor. The tailor will cut the cloth into a number of pieces - otherwise, the shirt cannot be made. He has to cut the cuffs, pockets, collar, etc., separately and join them together.
What does the tailor use to cut the cloth into pieces? A pair of scissors. What helps the tail or to join all the pieces and make a shirt? A needle.
People today are conducting themselves like the scissors that divide and not like the needle that unites. People think they are very intelligent because they can divide. But this is not real intelligence. People have forgotten what real intelligence is and are indulging in cunningness and wasting their lives.
Human birth is meant to attain freedom from birth and death
Life is a mixture of happiness and sorrow. Happiness and sorrow, profit and loss, good and bad, light and darkness are, in fact, the reflection of each other. As the Gita says, One should remain equal-minded in happiness and sorrow, gain and loss, victory and defeat (Sukhadukhe samekruthwa labhalabhau jayajayau).
What is the purpose of life? What is this life all about? It begins with birth and ends with death. One is caught in this endless cycle of birth and death. Therefore, one should pray to God to grant freedom from this cycle of birth and death.
Oh Lord! I am caught up in this cycle of birth and death
Time and again, I experience the agony of staying in the mother’s womb.
It is very difficult to cross this ocean of worldly life.
Please take me across this ocean and grant me liberation.
Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam, Punarapi janani jathare sayanam,
Iha samsare bahu dustare, Kripayapare pahi murare.
(Sanskrit Verse)
Every human being who is born is bound to die one day or the other. How should one lead life? What is the goal of life? What is the purpose of life?
Human birth is considered very sacred. Of all living beings, human birth is the rarest (Jantunam nara janma durlabham).
Why is it considered so rare? It is rare because people can demonstrate great ideals in human birth. Therefore, people should not waste their lives in pursuit of worldly pleasures.
Our Vice Chancellor mentioned in his speech that children perform the death ritual (sraddha) for their deceased parents on a particular day every year and offer their gratitude to them. This annual ceremony in Telugu is called Tat Dinamu (That Day). One should think of one’s parents at least on the day of their death and offer them a few tears of gratitude. That is real tarpanam (offering of water to the deceased ancestors).
It is your foremost duty to offer your gratitude to your parents. Why? Your blood, food, head, and money are the gifts of your parents. Therefore, it is your duty to offer them gratitude, remembering the love they showered on you and the sacrifices they made for your growth.
If you perform such sacred ceremonies in memory of your parents, your children will also respect and remember you in the future. You will receive the reaction, resound, and reflection of whatever you do in life.
If you love your parents, your children will love you. If you betray your parents, your children will also betray you. None can escape from the consequences of their actions in this world. Therefore, preserve the sense of gratitude in your heart and set a noble ideal.
Put your intelligence to proper use
Students today are trying to develop their intelligence, but not good qualities. They are heroes in academic achievements but zeros in virtues. They secure 100 percent marks in their studies, but when you evaluate their virtues, they don’t score even one mark out of hundred.
Three-fourth character is life. Education without character is useless. Therefore, make all efforts to develop your character. You may be endowed with power, wealth, intelligence, and physical strength, but all these powers will prove futile if you lack the power of divine grace.
All of you know what happened to Karna in the Mahabharata war.
One may have physical prowess and power of intelligence,
But one will come to grief if one lacks divine grace.
Karna was a great warrior, but what was his fate?
Never forget this truth.
(Telugu Poem)
Once, a ruler was impressed with the story of the Mahabharata and the way the virtuous Pandavas vanquished the wicked Kauravas. He wanted his story also to be written resembling the epic Mahabharata, portraying himself as the hero of the story.
He convened a meeting of his court scholars and poets and said to them, “Oh great scholars, I will give you a sumptuous reward if you write my story on the lines of the Mahabharata. You may compare me with the eldest of the Pandavas, who was virtuous and the embodiment of truth.” One of the scholars asked, “Oh king! Whom are we supposed to portray as your four younger brothers?” The king thought for a while and said, “Four four ministers are dear to me. You may treat them as my brothers.” “Oh king! Then who are the Kauravas.” “All my enemies are like Kauravas, there are hundreds of them,” said the king.
An intelligent poet who was listening to the conversation got up and asked, “Oh king! The Pandavas were five brothers. You will choose your four brothers from your ministers. We will take the one who is endowed with physical strength as Bhima. One who has a sharp intellect will be treated as Arjuna. Accordingly, we will choose Nakula and Sahadeva also.
“But there is one more aspect you have to look into. When you are portrayed as Yudhishthira and your wife as Draupadi, she has to be portrayed as the wife of your four ministers also, since Draupadi was the wife of five Pandavas. Now you have to decide the name of the person who will be portrayed as Draupadi. She will be not only your wife but also the wife of the four ministers!” On hearing this, the king immediately gave up the idea of getting his story written like the Mahabharata.
The moral of the story is that you should understand the life source behind those stories when you read epics like the Mahabharata. Every character and every aspect of this great epic has a particular life source. Only when you recognise them will you be able to understand their significance and message.
One who does not understand the life source will suffer the same predicament as this king.
People today have perverted intelligence. What is the use of intelligence if it is not put to proper use? If intelligence is associated with good qualities, you can achieve anything in life.
One may acquire a high academic qualification such as M.A. or B.A. and attain an exalted position,
One may amass wealth, perform acts of charity, and attain name and fame,
One may have physical strength and enjoy a long and healthy life,
One may be a great scholar studying and preaching the Vedas,
But none can equal a true devotee of the Lord.
(Telugu Poem)
Having been born in this sacred land, you should strive to develop virtues along with intelligence. While intelligence will help you to accomplish certain tasks, your virtues will bring you a good name. There are only two things that are true and eternal in life. What are they? Righteousness and a good name.
Life in the world is impermanent.
So are youth and wealth.
Wife and children are also not permanent.
Only righteousness and good name are permanent.
Asthiram jivanam loke, Asthiram yauvanam dhanam,
Asthiram dara putradi, Dharmam kirti dwayam sthiram.
(Sanskrit Verse)
Do not misuse time
This world is impermanent, and everything in it is temporary, like passing clouds. When a boy is born, you call him a child. After ten years, he is called a boy; at the age of thirty, he is called a man, and at 75, he is called a grandfather. Though he is called child, boy, man, and grandfather at different stages of life, the person is the same.
Time is the most important and precious power that God has given man. Time is very, very important. Don’t waste time. Time waste is life waste. Time is God.
We offer salutations to time by reciting: “Salutations to time, to the one who is beyond time, to the one who has conquered time, to the one who transcends time, to the one who is the embodiment of time, and to the one who ordains time (Kalaya namah, kala kalaya Namah, kaladarpa damanaya namah, kalateetaya namah, nalaswarupaya namah, kalaniyamitaya namah).” Everything is regulated by time. Time is responsible for even birth and death. When somebody dies, people say their time is up.
Even for unripe fruit to become ripe, time is responsible. Time is most important and is the basis of everything.
People indulge in vain gossip, talk ill of others, and waste their time.
To ridicule others is a great sin. You can never escape from its consequences.
In fact, others are not others; they are verily embodiments of God.
Listen to this, oh valiant sons of Bharat!
(Telugu Poem)
When you ridicule others, you verily ridicule God Himself. So, never ridicule or criticise anyone. You waste a lot of time in criticising others. Don’t you have anything else to do? If you have nothing else to do, it is better to spread your mattress and sleep. Why do you misuse your time in evil talk? One who misuses time is a great sinner.
Bharat is the land of plenty
There is no dearth of anything in this sacred land of Bharat (India). Bharat is considered the Land of Bounty (Annapurna). There is no dearth of fertile land or perennial rivers in this land. All types of crops can be grown here. The resources that are available in Bharat are not available anywhere else. If the Indians (Bharatiyas) work hard, Bharat can really become a land of bounty.
Bharat is forced to take loans from other countries because people are not prepared to work hard. Why should we take loans at all? We have everything in plenty. The only thing we need is to make proper use of our resources.
Sanctify your time by working hard. Any individual can have their fill if they work hard. Isn’t it possible to fill your belly if you work with both hands? Though God has given you two hands, you are not able to fill your belly because of your laziness.
Work hard. Do your duty sincerely. Then you will have both health and happiness. Today, people are ready to eat but not to work. On top of that, they indulge in vain argumentation.
Those who indulge in vain argumentation have their head filled with mud. There is any amount of knowledge in the pustaka (book), but what is the use if the mastaka (head) is filled with mud? You may fill your mastaka with knowledge from the pustaka, but do not make your mastaka another pustaka.
Only those who lack total knowledge indulge in argumentation. They are really great fools. Never indulge in vain argumentation. How can you argue about something that you do not know?
You start imagining what is beyond the moon, but you have not seen it. Then how can you argue about it? How can you decide what is there?
If someone asks you what is under your feet, you will say that earth is there because you have direct knowledge of it. But what do you gain by arguing about something that you do not know? You will only be wasting time, energy, and memory power. Not only that, you will age prematurely.
There is perfect harmony between My thoughts, words, and deeds. My memory power is perfect; I have no weakness whatsoever.
How do modern young boys of 17, 18, or 20 years look? They wear a castor oil face with sunken cheeks. Students should always be happy, cheerful, and active. They should be careful also. Whatever work you do, do it with proper care. Only then can you have peace and happiness, and even the nation will be safe and secure.
Since there is a dearth of hard-working people today, we are compelled to depend on other nations for help. If you look back and enquire, you will understand how the British overpowered this country. How could a small country like England vanquish a vast country like Bharat with a huge population? The reason is that Indians betrayed their own country due to their selfishness and greed for money. They were lazy and not prepared to do hard work. That is why the British could swallow the entire India like an idli.
Indians are like the mighty elephant that does not know its own strength. With a swish of its tail, the elephant can throw the mahout far away. The mahout controls such a powerful elephant with the help of a small iron hook because the elephant does not know its own strength.
Every individual and student is endowed with immense power and great energy. They can accomplish any mighty task. There is nothing they cannot achieve in this world if they do it with firm resolve. But they are not making efforts to manifest their innate power.
A tiny ant can walk miles together if it puts in effort. On the other hand, even an eagle cannot move an inch if it does not put in effort.
Thyagaraja sang,
Oh Rama! In Your pure and unsullied form of love, You dwell in all beings from an ant to Brahma as also in Siva and Kesava. Please be my protector too
Cheemalo Brahmalo Siva Kesavadulalo prema meera velasi unde birudhu vahinchina Rama nannu brovara.
One with life principle is Siva (life), one without life principle is Sava (corpse). Therefore, man is verily the embodiment of Siva. Whatever one does - walking, talking, reading, writing, etc. - it is only with the help of the innate divine power.
Once, Thyagaraja was dismayed when he had to face a great ordeal. His elder brother had thown into the river Kaveri the idol of Lord Rama that Thyagaraja used during worship.
Thyagaraja complained, “Oh Rama! Why do You put me to this great ordeal? Don’t I have devotion? Or don’t You have the power to protect me? If You really have the power to protect me, why do have I to undergo all this suffering? I do have devotion, because not a moment passes when I do not think of You or pray to You. Therefore, there is devotion in me, but there is no power in You.” In this way, Thyagaraja became proud of his devotion. It is like a dancer blaming the percussionist to hide his own inefficiency.
Later on, Thyagaraja repented for his mistake. He said to himself, “Fie on me. My devotion is not true. Lord Rama is certainly omnipotent.” He then sang:
But for the power of Rama, could a mere monkey cross the mighty ocean?
Would Lakshmi Devi, the goddess of wealth, become His consort?
Would Lakshmana worship Him?
Would the intelligent Bharata offer his salutations to Him?
But for the mighty power of Rama, would all this happen?
Indeed, Rama’s power is beyond all description.
(Telugu Song)
Thyagaraja said, “Oh Rama! It is impossible to describe Your power. But for the power of Your Name, could a monkey cross the ocean? Everybody worships the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. There is none who does not worship Lakshmi. Even a mad person stretches his hand for money.
“Would the powerful Lakshmi worship You if there were no power in You? How great is Your power, Swami, we are not able to know.
“The vessel of my heart is very small. Therefore, I could receive only a little of Your grace. So it is not Your fault; the fault lies with me because my vessel is small. If I can expand my vessel, I can fill it with Your love and grace as much as I want.” God is the embodiment of love. Live in love. You have to expand the vessel of your heart so that you can fill it with the love and grace of God. When your heart is narrow, it is a great mistake to blame God for not being able to receive His unbounded grace.
Students should develop moral values
Our system of education is so defective that it does not foster moral, ethical, and spiritual values in students. Once, there lived a pundit (scholar) who meticulously performed the ceremonial worship of God (Sandhya Vandanam), chanted the Gayatri Mantra, and led his life in this sacred manner. His only son fell into bad company. Tell me your company I shall tell you what you are.
One day, the son came to his father and said, “I want to go to America - all my friends are going there.” The father advised him, “My dear, it is not possible to follow our sacred traditions in America. There, it will not be possible for you to chant the Gayatri Mantra or perform Sandhya Vandanam. Even if you try to perform them, people will make fun of you saying, here is a mad Indian. Therefore, I advise you not to go to America.” But the son was very adamant. He insisted on going. He was his parents’ only son. Humanity is caught up in the three-fold trap of desire for money, wife, and progeny (dhaneshana, dareshana, and putreshana). Since he did not want to displease his son, the father agreed.
The boy went to Delhi and got his passport and visa. The next day, he was to board the flight to America. At the time of departure, the father advised him, “Son, wherever you go, never forget our family deity, Mother Kali, in any situation. Always contemplate on her, perform Sandhya Vandanam morning and evening every day. and chant the Gayatri Mantra regularly.” The son readily agreed to whatever his father told him. He readily gave his word to his father.
Even though he promised his father that he would follow his instructions, he was really not serious about it, and his main concern was to reach America somehow. He was desperate to reach America by any means because he considered America a heaven on earth.
But in reality it is not so. Life in America is artificial. On the other hand, how sacred and blessed land India is! It is the land of merit, sacrifice, and action (punya bhumi, thyaga bhumi, and karma bhumi).
Five years after reaching America, the son forgot even his mother tongue. While speaking to his mother over the phone, he was unable to converse in Telugu. The poor mother was not able to understand what her son was saying.
Being a traditional woman, she did not know modern ways. Therefore, she handed the phone to her husband. The son spoke to his father in English. “Father, I have to be here for another five years to pursue higher studies.” What was he studying? In fact, he did not complete the course for which he had gone. All the money his father sent was wasted on eating and roaming. As the Telugu proverb goes: A jobless barber tries to shave the head of the cat. That is how the boy spent his time. doing nothing worthwhile.
His father thought, this mad fellow would not return to India if he left him like this. Therefore, he devised a plan. He sent an urgent telegram to him, saying, “Mother’s condition is serious, come immediately.” Out of fear that his father may not send money to him again, the son decided to return to India. His parents were very happy that their son was returning to India. In his letters from America, he had been writing lies that he had not forgotten the Divine Mother and that he was chanting the Gayatri Mantra regularly.
The father went to receive him at the airport and took him to the temple of Mother Kali directly in a car. Since he had sought Divine Mother’s blessings while sending him to America, he wanted to receive her blessings before taking his son home. After reaching the temple, the father told him to offer his salutations to the Divine Mother.
The son looked at the idol of Mother Kali and said, “How are you, Madam?” The father was aghast at his behaviour. He scolded him severely, saying, “Fie on you! Is this what you have learnt in America? You are not fit to be my son. Get out of here!” What an arrogance it was on the part of the son to address the Divine Mother, “How are you, Madam?”! Is this the quality of an educated person? Does this type of behaviour befit a human being? No, this is a demonic quality.
Howsoever such highly educated people may be, they are not fit to be called human beings. Today many students are becoming like this.
First of all, students should develop moral values. Bereft of human values, life has no meaning. Lack of moral character of the people is the cause of so much chaos in the country today. Morality is most important.
You will become the embodiment of the divine Trinity when you develop the triune principles of love for God, fear of sin, and morality in society (Daiva preeti, papa bheeti, and sangha neeti).
However high an education you may acquire, never lose your faith in God. One without faith in God is verily a living corpse. Even the dead animal has some value, because its skin can be put to some use. But the dead body of a human being has no value at all.
Therefore, strive to earn a good name while you are alive. That is the ideal life. It is possible when you develop love for God. You will have everything in life if you have love for God.
(Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the bhajan, “Prema Mudita Manase Kaho ...”)
Selected Excerpts From This Discourse
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