|Human Values and Service - October 16, 1999|
O Man, why do you go hither and thither in search
of God, when He is present in your hridaya itself?
Serve all and be a recipient of His love.
There is no greater sadhana than this,
No greater bliss than this.
Embodiments of Love! Human life is the most sacred in the entire creation of God. Daivam maanusha rupena (God incarnates in the form of human being). Humanness is pure, unsullied, and beyond attributes. Such a sacred human life is being polluted with evil desires and thus birth itself is polluted. Janthoonam narajanma durlabham (human birth is the rarest and the noblest). It was God who created everything in the universe, right from the microcosm to macrocosm. In that case, why is it that He has attached utmost importance to human birth alone? Only man has the capacity to accomplish things that no other living being can.
Why has God created man? One should delve into the inner significance of this. Man's life will find fulfillment only when he understands the purpose of human birth. Human body is given to serve God, not to meet selfish needs. Sareera maadhyam khalu dharma sadhanam (the purpose of human body is to practice dharma). God has gifted human body to serve fellow men, but man has forgotten his primary duty of service to others.
In childhood, man is immersed in playing and frolicking,
In youth, he succumbs to temptations of cupid.
In middle age, he spends all his time in amassing wealth.
In old age, instead of contemplating on God,
He leads a life of discontentment.
Unable to give up his bad habits,
Not having the strength and interest
To follow the path of devotion,
He gets caught up in the quagmire of action and reaction
and ultimately meets his doom.
This is not the way one should fritter away human life, which God has gifted with lots of love and hope. Under all circumstances, one should be ready to utilize the slightest opportunity that comes his way to serve others. Human life should be suffused with idealism, but today's man is leading the life of a beast. He does not spare a thought even for a moment to enquire what the purpose of life is.
O man, think for a while whether
You have really attained happiness,
Forgetting God and struggling incessantly
From dawn to dusk to eke out a livelihood.
For whose sake are you living? Understand this and you will know the purpose of life. Why does God incarnate? He incarnates to lead man on the right path.
Materialisation of 100-year-old gold coin
In 1899, hundred years ago, 110 carat gold was in existence. It was extremely pure and effulgent. Gradually it has lost its value and effulgence on account of its association with different metals like silver, copper, and brass. Likewise, man at the time of birth is essentially pure and sacred, but as he grows up, he loses his human values due to his excessive desires and association with kith and kin. Such is the sacredness of human birth that even Gods would salute him.
Today, human values have become extinct. Man should continue to be as pure as he was at the time of birth. (At this juncture Swami materialised a gold coin) It was minted in the year 1899. Exactly 100 years have passed since then. Just as gold has lost its purity over a period of time, man too has lost his human values. Excessive desires are responsible for the decline in human values.
Having been born as a human being, you should foster human values. This morning, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh met Swami. He too was of the opinion that the country is facing hardships due to the absence of human values. Therefore, he vowed that he would propagate the Sathya Sai Human Values in society. Each and everyone, be it a student, a devotee, or a spiritual aspirant, should practice human values and lead an ideal life.
The Bhagavad Gita reveals that the universe, which can be compared to a gigantic tree, has its origin in the seed of divinity. Different nations are like different branches of a tree. All the living creatures are like fruits borne by the tree. In every species and every creature, there is the seed of divinity. In this context, Lord Krishna said, Beejam maam sarva bhutaanam (I am the seed in all the living beings). Nations may vary names and forms may be different, but the life principle remains the same.
Lord Krishna declared: “Mamaivamso Jeevaloke Jeevabhuta Sanathanah (all are the sparks of My Divinity).” But man is not prepared to believe this truth. Today man believes reports of events occurring in distant lands like America and Japan, though he does not see them, but he does not believe in the Vedic declaration that God comes down in human form. This is predominantly due to the fact that he is not treading along the path of truth. God will be pleased only when man finds fulfillment in life by practicing human values.
You reap what you sow
None can escape the consequences of their actions. O man, do not build castles in the air. It is not possible to sow a particular type of seed and reap a different fruit. You reap what you sow. At the time of birth you are born with an invisible garland, made up of the consequences of your actions, be it good or bad.
It is the duty of each and every individual to participate in social service activities, be it in the village or city. The epic Ramayana has stressed the need for service at the individual, family, and society levels. Do not be satisfied by merely serving your parents. Your life will be sanctified only when you serve society also. When you obey the divine command and serve Him, not only your life but also those of your parents and relations will be redeemed. Before your birth, where is the child-parent relationship; before marriage, where is the question of wife and husband relationship? All the worldly relations are like passing clouds, only God is with you always.
You will be wasting your life, if you do not dedicate yourselves to the service of mankind. Body is gifted to serve the creator and the creation. Service to man is service to God. Render service to society with the feeling that God is present in one and all.
Your education will be in vain if it is not utilized for the service of the society. O man, why do you feel proud of your education, which is but a mere waste if you do not worship God and serve society? Worldly education cannot confer divine grace unless it is dedicated for the welfare of society. The education you have received from society must be dedicated to the service of society.
Offer service and receive the love of God
True service has twin benefits: it makes you blissful and gives happiness to others. What is the use of education if it does not confer joy on others and bliss on you?
Service is the life breath of the Sathya Sai Organization. Remember the truth that you are born to serve society. Make no distinction whatsoever in rendering service. Serve your parents, brothers, friends, and even beggars alike. Divine grace will flow in abundance only when you serve with the spirit of humility and equality.
Service is the easiest path to attain divine grace. Offer service and receive the love of God. Love and service are like two wings by which man can soar to higher levels of consciousness. If you have the spirit of love and service, divine grace will follow you like a shadow wherever you may be, be it in the forest or in the sky, village or city, river or mountain cliff.
God has created man in His own image so that his conduct should be in consonance with His command. You should not cause harm to anyone, for God exists in all. Always speak with a smile on your lips. You cannot always oblige, but you can always speak obligingly.
Be proud that you are born in this sacred land
Understand the pristine purity of Bharat (India). The Himalayan mountains form the boundary in the northern part. Hima is that which is pure; achala is that which is steady. So, Himachala stands for purity and steadiness. The three rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswathi symbolise the paths of work, worship, and wisdom, respectively. The sacred scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads make the hearts of Bharatiyas (Indians) blossom forth with their teachings. Bha means light and effulgence. So Bharat is the country that radiates light to the rest of the world.
No country is more sacred than Bharat. Words are inadequate to describe the glory of Bharat and the fortune of those who are born in this sacred land. Having been born as Bharatiyas, there can be no greater misfortune than to lament that you are poor, weak, and helpless. You need not feel sorry if you have not acquired education or money. Be proud that you are born in this sacred land. To be called a Bharatiya is in itself a great qualification. The country is your mother; the culture, your father. You will become orphans if you forsake your motherland and its culture. He is a living corpse who does not have love for his motherland and its culture. Rama declared, Janani janma bhoomishcha swargadapi gareeyasi (there is no heaven greater than one’s own mother and motherland).
Students! What is the use of acquiring various degrees like BA and MBA if you lead the life of a black sheep? You are Bharatiyas; that is your greatest qualification. Live up to it. Who is a 'Hindu'? H stands for Humility, I for Individuality, N for Nationality, D for Divinity and U for Unity. He is a true Hindu who is endowed with these five sacred qualities. It is rather surprising to Me that people, having been born in this sacred land, crave to go abroad in search of greener pastures. One should serve one’s own motherland.
Do no forget the sacred Indian culture
Once there was a Vedic scholar who was hesitant to send his son abroad, fearing that he might forsake Indian culture and take to Western culture. On the insistence of his son, he reluctantly agreed to send him abroad only on the condition that he would not give up the study of the Vedas. He extracted a promise from his son that he would continue the study of the Vedas and would contemplate on God always. But the son failed to keep up his word. Once he reached abroad, he forgot all the Vedas he studied and got absorbed in western culture. He would always lie to his father whenever called, saying that he was thinking of God and studying the Vedas. Four years passed, but he was in no mood to return home. On several occasions, the father asked him to come back, but the son did not pay heed. The father, as a last resort, sent a telegram that his mother was seriously ill. Immediately, the son rushed home and was received at the airport by his father, who took him to the temple of the Goddess en route home, to offer their obeisance. The father told the son to offer salutations to the Goddess, but the son did not know what it meant as he had forgotten Indian culture altogether. As they entered the temple, the son greeted the Goddess, “Hello madam, how are you?” The father became furious with his son and asked him to get out. This is how people change their lifestyle once they go abroad, forgetting the sacred Bharatiya culture.
For the past 60 years, the overseas devotees have been requesting Swami to come to their respective countries. On many occasions, they brought special planes. Even now they have chalked out a program for Swami to make a world tour. But I have no such desires. That which is not present in Bharat is not present anywhere else.
What is there to see in a foreign land! Instead, try to have the vision of your own Self. Stop questioning others, “who are you?” Ask yourself, “who am I?” You will certainly get the right answer.
Today many students are going abroad to amass riches. Even some of the parents are encouraging their children to go abroad. I do not say that you should not go abroad. If you want to see foreign lands, you can always do so. But wherever you are, uphold your culture. You should crave divine love, not money.
Embodiments of Divine Love! Students Participate in service activities and give joy to your fellowmen. This is the essence of Indian culture. Keeping this sacred culture in view, serve your motherland. Do not give scope for mean desires. If you lead the sacred life of a true Bharatiya, you can redeem not only your life but also the lives of your kith and kin. Fill your heart with pure feelings and try to experience the ultimate bliss, Brahmananda. Tomorrow I shall teach you more about Brahmananda.
16 October 1999 Prasanthi Nilayam
Thought for the Month
"Selfless service is the recipe for experiencing the oneness of mankind. It is the way to transcend the ego. For whose sake are you performing service? For your own sake. You do this to become aware of the atma within you....to answer the question 'Who am I'?" Sathya Sai Baba