30. Peace through Seva
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 20 (1987)
Peace through Seva
I AM in the light. The light is in me. The light is me. I am the light. The man who has realised this truth becomes one with the Brahman. Man is perpetually engaged in the search for peace. The seeker of peace must search for it not in matham (religion) but in manam (the mind). The search for peace in the external is the cause of all the unrest in the world. Peace has to be established first within one's self. Then it has to be extended to the family. From the family, it has to spread to the village, the province, the state and the nation. What is happening today is the reverse of this process. Conflict and disorder are spreading from the individual to the family and right upto the nation.
You must become messengers of peace. You have to begin with yourselves. You can get peace only through service. An idle man is the devil's workshop. When one is busy at work, there will be no room for thoughts in the mind. Then there is peace of mind. A peaceful mind is the abode of love. Love is inherent in man, but like a seed that has to be nourished by manure and water, love in man has to be fostered by sraddha and prema (dedicated service and love). Love is a sacred quality. It is like nectar. A man who has tasted the immortal sweetness of Divine love will not desire anything else in the world. Life must become a constant manifestation of love. Today love is manifested in a constricted, selfish manner. It needs to be expressed in service to society. It has to be offered to others and shared with them. Thereby love becomes a reciprocal, everwidening experience.
Exercise discrimination before taking action
Every individual has four constituents: The body, the mind, the intelligence and the Atma. The body is the instrument for discharging one's duties (Dharma-sadhanam). The body can act only through the promptings of the mind. But it is the mind that enjoys the results of these actions. The mind, however, derives only momentary pleasure from the actions of the senses. For instance, when one is hungry, the mind is satisfied if the hunger is appeased for the moment by eating something. Beyond the mind is the Buddhi, the intelligence. The Buddhi has the power of discrimination. It points out what is wholesome and what is undesirable or bad for the body. When the mind is guided by the Buddhi, it experiences genuine joy. Every action that is done should be preceded by an enquiry as to whether it will lead to good or bad results. When discrimination is not exercised, the mind becomes blind as it were. It is the Atma that animates the body, and illumines the intelligence. The one who identifies himself with the body loses himself in carnal pleasures. The one who identifies himself with the mind experiences sensuous enjoyment. One who bases his life on the intelligence achieves intellectual fulfillment. Only the person who bases his life on the Atma can experience Ananda (pure bliss).
Strive to acquire Atmic experience
Those who aspire for pure bliss should strive to acquire the Atmic experience. When one has the Atmic vision, he recognises the One that pervades everything. This awareness cannot come through the study of scriptures. The Sai Organisations should function on the basis that the indwelling Spirit in everyone is the same Atma. Names and forms may vary. Everyone should develop this sense of oneness (nonduality) and render service to society in a spirit of humility. There should be no spirit of condescension.
The ancient sages started with regarding themselves as God's servants and reached the Divine through service. If you want to eliminate your ego, you have to consider yourself a dasanudasa (a servant of servants). This aspiration was expressed by Ramdas (Gopanna) in the song, "Dasanu-dasudanu Kavalenura" ("I must become a servant of your servants and do service to your servants, Oh Rama! Not I alone, but my wife and children should also render services at all times").
The Path of Bhakti
This is the path of devotion. Sankaracharya, who was the authentic exponent of Advaita (nondualism), composed the Bhaja Govindam to emphasise the greatness of Bhakti marga (the path of devotion)which is based on dualism. The unique merit of Bhakti has been expounded by Narada in his Bhakti Sutras. It is the path of love. Through love, we must develop the spirit of Thyaga (sacrifice)and proceed to Yoga (mergence in the Divine). When you give up what has to be given up, when you know what ought to be known, and reach what should be your destination, you will experience the bliss of Brahman. Attachment to worldly things has to be given up. The basic truths of life are to be known. The goal is unity with the Divine. In that lies the bliss of immortality. Every Sai sadhak and sevak has to make the Atma the basis of all activity. He should regard himself as the embodiment of the Divine and realise that the Atma is present in everyone. One should have the feeling that whatever joy or sorrow others experience is equally his. Only then can one render service, conferring joy on others. Today very few are fulfilling their functions properly-. There is too much talk and too little of action. Everyone should cultivate the feeling that primarily he is a servant, and a "worker." There is no demand on anyone to exert himself beyond his capacity. Nor should anyone in the organization think of leaving it because the rules of the organisation are too strict. You should realise that there is no greater and more sacred path to the Divine than service. It is a golden opportunity for you in this birth. Here is the means to sanctify your life by service in the Sai Organisation. There is no use in sitting alone in meditation with closed eyes, or in going on pilgrimages. You must realise the Omnipresent Divine through service.
Sai Krishna and Arjunas
Krishna revealed His universal form to Arjuna. But all of you are Arjunas. One of the names of Arjuna is Partha, the son of Prithu (earth). All of you are children of the earth. As Parthas you should not flee from battlefield. Krishna called upon Arjuna to do his duty, remembering always the name of the Lord. (Mam Anusmara Yudhyacha). Likewise all of you while carrying your respective duties, should keep in mind the name of Lord. Only then you will justify the appellation "Arjuna", meaning purity. Engage yourselves in service with a pure heart. Krishna used Arjuna as an instrument to stage His cosmic play. Today this Sai Krishna is directing His play with so many thousands of Arjunas. Nimitha Mathram Bhava Savyasachin! ("Be only my instrument, Oh Arjuna"). You are only instruments. Do not arrogate to yourselves any authority or power and claim credit for any achievement. All your name and fame are due to your association with Sai organisations and the use of the Sai label. Without the Sai imprimatur where will you be? It is the Sai name that has conferred on you distinction and recognition. Therefore, bear in mind the name of Sai and carry on your work. Since the 60th birthday celebrations I have been emphasising spiritual sadhana and the Advaitic approach. We have passed the stage of Karma-kanda (Realm of Action) and Upasana (worship) and must now enter on the stage of Jnana. Henceforth you should concentrate on the Advaitic approach.
The Sai phenomenon
At this conference, certain changes have been discussed. They are not related to any individual or to any lapses on your part. They are related to the situation prevailing in the world today. The world is looking at the Sai movement with a myriad eyes. They are asking: "What is this Sai? Wherever we go, whether to a bazar or a jungle, we see Sai photos and the Sai name being invoked." Many are astonished at this phenomenon and are trying to examine it either out of curiosity or out of envy. In a situation like this, there should be no room for any one to point the finger of criticism or derision at our organisation. Every one according to his status or position, should get on with his work.
In future instead of some persons functioning as officers and others as the rank and file, all can be treated as equals, as "brothers" or fellow workers. Mutual love has to be promoted. We have to demonstrate to the world the unity that underlies the diversity. All should work together in harmony, act. together, move together, grow together and share the common knowledge and experience with all. There should be no place for cynics, defeatists and doubting Thornases in the Sai Organisation. We want people who will completely identify themselves with the organisation.
Role of Women
For much that has been achieved by the Sai organisations, the credit goes to the women workers. They have done good service. There should be all the three wings in the women's section also - spiritual, educational and service. I desire that they should engage themselves in all three activities. In the women's organisations, instead of competition for office, there should be concentration on duties. There should be no room for bossism. All are sevaks in the Sai fold. Why should there be distinction amongst them? There is one other matter. Hitherto we have had a world council. It served its purpose, but now Sai centres have grown on large scale in overseas countries. The world council will cease from today. It will be appropriate if in each overseas country there is a committee looking after the workings of Sai centres according to the conditions and requirements of those countries. The overseas office should supply information to our office in Prasanthi Nilayam about their activities.
The purpose of introducing these and the other changes is only to provide encouragement and guidance to Sai Organisations which are growing by leaps and bounds. You know the ground that you have traversed. You must now look ahead towards the future. I desire that you should all conduct yourselves as brothers and sisters in the Sai Organisation and set an example to the world.
The direct individual relationship between each of you and myself will remain always. If our relationships can be strengthened through the organisations, I shall feel happier. Hoping that the proposed changes will in no way diminish your enthusiasm and that you will go on with your activities with redoubled vigour and enthusiasm, in an exemplary manner, I bless you all. Valedictory Address to the 12,000 delegates from all over India, attending the Sathya Sai Active
The human body has been given to you for a grand purpose: realising the Lord within. If you have a fully equipped car in good running condition, what is the use of keeping it in the garage? The car is primarily meant for going on a journey. Get into it and go! Then only it is worthwhile to own it. So it is with your body; proceed, go ahead, reach your destination.
– Sathya Sai Baba