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See God Here and Now

With love, gratitude, and reverence we offer this special Guru Poornima edition to our Guru, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, He is Jagat Guru, the universal teacher; Sadguru, the true teacher; Gurunaam Guru, the teacher of teachers; and Parama Guru, the divine teacher. We are blessed and fortunate that the Avatar of this age came as our Guru to show us the Guri – the goal. He has shown us that the goal of this life is to realize and manifest one’s innate divine nature – and also see the same divinity pervading everything, everywhere, and forever.

As proclaimed in His discourse of July 30, 1996, everything is Brahman; every atom, every cell, and every moment in creation is divine. Swami says it is foolish to seek God elsewhere in mysterious, faraway places – we should always strive to see God everywhere and in all things, for there is nothing other than God. The divinity is hidden behind the screen of Maya, and the unreal manifested world in front of the screen is deluding us. The screen which hides the truth is the veil of ignorance or Maya. However, Swami assured us that if we hold on to Him steadfastly with absolute faith and walk with Him without stopping, He will reveal to us the truth behind the screen, which is divinity itself.

The Four Spiritual Qualifications

To be able to walk with Swami, we need to walk in His footsteps and practice His teachings in our lives. In the Sutra Vahini, Swami enumerated the four qualifications necessary for Brahma Vidya, or the Supreme Knowledge of Brahman.

The First qualification is discrimination (Viveka), to discern the real from the unreal, the transitory from the eternal. In this publication, one of the devotees shared his experience from a drama enacted before Swami in which King Janaka pondered about what was the reality “Is this real, or is that real?” We should always exercise this discrimination to hold on to the truth and discard the transitory, the ephemeral, the unreal.

The Second qualification is detachment (Vairagya). Once we realize what is unreal, we should get detached from the unreal and get attached to what is real. Therefore, we must get detached from the unreal world and be attached to God, our true reality. In this magazine, another devotee describes how he realized that this world is unreal and then developed detachment from objects of the senses and focused only on realizing the truth.

The Third qualification is the set of Six Virtues (Shat Sampathi). Once we detach from worldly objects and become attached to God, we should then develop Shat Sampathi, or six primary virtues.

The first is Sama, mind control. The mind is responsible for both bondage and liberation. During the 1976 Dasara celebrations, Swami delivered a series of nine discourses about the mind, which was published as a book titled “The Mind and Its Mysteries.” In these discourses, Swami described in detail ways to control the mind, by practicing meditation, repeating God’s name, singing devotional songs, and worshiping God.

The second virtue is Dama, control of the body and senses. Swami says that a spiritual seeker should bend the body – that is, use the body to serve others. They should also mend the senses, and use the senses for the right purpose: see good, see no evil; hear good, hear no evil; think good, think no evil; speak good, speak no evil and do good and do no evil – this is the way to God.

The third virtue is Uparathi, withdrawal from sensory objects. This aspect is beautifully described in the Bhagavad Gita, where Lord Krishna says, “Like the tortoise withdraws its limbs when it encounters any potential danger, a spiritual seeker in search of truth should similarly withdraw from sensory objects. We should constantly evaluate if our action is beneficial (Shreyomarg), taking us towards God, or pleasure-seeking (Preyomarg), taking us away from God

Fourth is Titiksha, forbearance. Swami gave a wonderful discourse on May 25, 2000, about forbearance being the noblest virtue for a person on the spiritual path. Swami Himself was the greatest example of forbearance, which He demonstrated His actions throughout His life.

The fifth virtue is Shraddha, unwavering faith. Swami says one should have unwavering faith in the scriptures, faith in the Guru, and most importantly, faith in oneself – Self-confidence. Absolute, unwavering faith is crucial in the spiritual path. In the Shirdi Avatar, Baba frequently asked the people who visited Him for the offerings (Dakshina) of faith and patience (Shraddha and Saburi), and in the Parthi Avatar, Swami also stressed the importance of faith and love (Shraddha and Prema).

The last of the six cardinal virtues is Samadhana, equanimity – treating everything as a gift or blessing of God. One should be joyful in all the pairs of opposites one encounters: pleasure and pain, praise and blame, profit and loss, honor and dishonor, and success and failure. If we have this joyful attitude under all circumstances, we will accept everything as His blessing (prasad).

The Fourth qualification for Brahma Vidya is an intense longing for liberation or Self-realization (Mumukshatwam). Once one develops this genuine spiritual hunger, it will surely lead one to the goal. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa emphasized that if one has intense longing for God, the goal is automatically assured. He said one should have an intense longing for God as a drowning man has for the last breath of air. He showed by example how to see God by intense prayer and by crying in anguish for Him. Once I asked Swami, “What is devotion?” He replied, “If you have intense longing for God, it means that you have devotion.” This intense longing for divine love is truly a gift of God. It can be attained only by the Grace of God and is the royal road to Self-Realization.

Divine Love is the Royal Road

Divine love is the royal path to God. Just as the moon can be seen only by moonlight, God, who is Love, can be experienced only through love. Swami says, “Love is God, God is Love, Live in Love.” He also exhorts us, “Start the day with love, spend the day with love, end the day with love, and this is the way to God.” In contrast to worldly love, divine love is unconditional, pure, selfless, and never changing.

How should we love God? It is essential to have one-pointedness. Swami urges us to never change our focus from the chosen Guru or spiritual practices. Second, He advises us to give priority to God. If we want SAI in our lives, we should have Swami first, All others next, and I (oneself) last. He exhorted us to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. That means we surrender completely to God and become full-time devotees, not part-time devotees!

How do we nurture this love? It is important to be in the presence of God constantly. First, we should have absolute faith that God is omnipresent. If we are aware that He is always present and watching over us, then we will have fear of sin (papa bheethi) and will do the right thing which will please Him (daiva preethi). The great saint, Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite monk, practiced being in the presence of God every moment at all times, even when he was serving as a cook in a monastery. Thus, he was always in communion with God.

Second, it is essential not to find faults in others but recognize one’s own faults, and try to correct them to nurture Divine love. Swami mentioned that another way to foster this love is to be with like-minded people who love God, serve God, and love to sing His glories and praise Him (Satsang).

Self-realization through Love In Action

Love in action is service. Swami emphasizes service to man is service to God. Service done to animals, plants, and nature is to recognize the divinity in everything, everywhere. SSSIO members lovingly serve the communities by providing food, shelter, water, clothes, education, and healthcare to those in need. Service offers an excellent opportunity to see God in everyone and allows us to experience that the giver is Brahman, the recipient is Brahman, and the act of serving is also Brahman. All is Brahman. Such experiences purify the heart and get rid of our egos. Service can also be a kind gesture, a smile, a pat on the back, sweet and loving words, noble thoughts, and praying for others. Another wonderful way to serve the Lord is by spreading His message and love to everyone, and one of the most important services is leading someone closer to God.

The Greatest Service

Once in answer to my question, Swami said that the greatest of all services is to realize oneself as God. Finding our true nature, realizing that we are Brahman, the Atman, is the greatest service. Once we realize that we are divine, then we experience that everything, everywhere is divine.

Swami says on the auspicious occasion of Guru Poornima, the best offering to Him (Guru Dakshina) is to realize oneself as the Guru. We can achieve this by getting rid of our ignorance by acquiring the requisite qualifications mentioned in the first aphorism on Brahman (Brahmasutras) and living in divine love.


Jai Sai Ram.