On 25 May 1947, at the age of 20, in response to a letter from his brother who was concerned with what he was doing, Sri Sathya Sai Baba wrote the following letter. This letter disclosed his mission. Dr. Gokak's essay, An Historic Letter of Baba (in Golden Age, Kingdom of Sathya Sai, Brindavan, India, 1979, pp. 1-9), gives particulars surrounding this letter, and this letter was typed from that essay.
My dear One! I received the communication that you wrote and sent; I found in it the surging floods of your devotion and affection, with the undercurrents of doubts and anxiety. Let me tell you that it is impossible to plumb the hearts and discover the natures of jnaanis, yogis, ascetics, saints, sages, and the like. People are endowed with a variety of characteristics and mental attitudes, so each one judges according to his own angle, talks and argues in the light of his own nature. But we have to stick to our own right path, our own wisdom, our own resolution without getting affected by popular appraisal. As the proverb says, it is only the fruit-laden tree that receives the shower of stones from passers-by. The good always provoke the bad into calumny; the bad always provoke the good into derision. That is the nature of this world. One must be surprised if such things do not happen.
The people have to be pitied, rather than condemned. They do not know. They have no patience to judge aright. They are too full of lust, anger, and conceit to see clearly and know fully. So, they write all manner of things. If they only knew, they would not talk or write like that. We, too, should not attach any value to such comments and take them to heart, as you seem to do. Truth will certainly triumph some day. Untruth can never win. Untruth might appear to overpower Truth, but its victory will fade away and Truth will establish itself.
It is not the way of the great to swell when people offer worship and to shrink when people scoff. As a matter of fact, no sacred text lays down rules to regulate the lives of the great, prescribing habits and attitudes that they must adopt. They themselves know the path they must tread; their wisdom regulates and makes their acts holy. Self-reliance, beneficial activity --these two are their special marks. They may also be engaged in the promotion of the welfare of devotees and in allotting them the fruits of their actions. Why should you be affected by tangle and worry, as long as I am adhering to these two? After all, praise and blame of the populace do not touch the Atma, the reality; they can touch only the outer physical frame.
I have a "Task": To foster all mankind and ensure for all of them lives full of bliss (ananda). I have a "Vow": To lead all who stray away from the straight path again into goodness and save them. I am attached to a "work" that I love: To remove the sufferings of the poor and grant them what they lack. I have a "reason to be proud", for I rescue all who worship and adore me, aright. I have my definition of the "devotion" I expect: Those devoted to me have to treat joy and grief, gain and loss, with equal fortitude. This means that I will never give up those who attach themselves to me. When I am thus engaged in my beneficial task, how can my name be tarnished, as you apprehend? I would advise you not to heed such absurd talk. Mahatmas do not acquire greatness through someone calling them so; they do not become small when someone calls them small. Only those low ones who revel in opium and marijuana but claim to be unexcelled yogis, only those who quote scriptural texts to justify their gourmandry and pride, only those who are dry-as-dust scholars exulting in their casuistry and argumentative skill --only those will be moved by praise or blame.
You must have read life stories of saints and divine personages; in those books, you must have read of even worse falsehoods and more heinous imputations cast against them. This is the lot of mahatmas everywhere, at all times. Why then do you take these things so much to heart? Have you not heard of dogs that howl at the stars? How long can they go on? Authenticity will win.
I will not give up my mission, nor my determination. I know I will carry them out. I treat the honor and dishonor, the fame and blame that may be the consequence, with equal equanimity. Internally, I am unconcerned. I act but in the outer world; I talk and move about for the sake of the outer world and for announcing my coming to the people; else, I have no concern even with these.
I do not belong to any place; I am not attached to any name. I have no "mine" or "thine". I answer whatever the name you use. I go wherever I am taken. This is my very first vow. I have not disclosed this to anyone so far. For me, the world is something afar, apart. I act and move only for the sake of mankind. No one can comprehend my glory, whoever he is, whatever his method of enquiry, however long his attempt.
You can yourself see the full glory in the coming years. Devotees must have patience and forbearance.
I am not concerned, nor am I anxious, that these facts should be known. I have no need to write these words; I wrote them because I felt you would be pained if I do not reply.
Thus, your Baba