A True Birthday Gift
This year you have named My birthday the "Golden Jubilee" of the Avatar (Divine Incarnation), and gathered in vast numbers from all parts of the world. I am sure you have benefitted by the sathsang (holy company). I do not ascribe one particular date in the calendar as My birthday, for I consider the day when divinity blossoms in your heart as My birthday in you. Therefore each of you should individually celebrate such a day as My birthday. The day when you resolve to practise My advice, to follow My directives, to translate My message into acts of service, and to engage in sadhana―that day is My birthday for you. The 23rd day of November which you now honour as the day on which I was born, is only like any other day if you celebrate it in a routine, ritual fashion. Adore man; the adoration reaches Me. Neglect man; you neglect Me. Of what avail is it to worship the Lord and to suppress man, His counterpart? Love for God must be manifested as love for man, and love must express itself as service. Through love alone―Love acquired through sadhana, and shared with all as sadhana―can peace be attained, by the individual as well as by the nation. My Life is My Message and My Message is Love. That explains why you have gathered hither in hundreds of thousands.
Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 13 Ch. 19, November 23, 1975
Birthday celebrations are a time of happiness and reflection. The birthday of Sathya Sai Baba was on November 23, 1926, in Puttaparthi, a tiny, remote, inconspicuous village in South India. Baba’s primary mission was to teach mankind how to live a life worth living; that is, living a life filled with love and service in order to realise one’s innate divinity. Baba left His physical form on April 24, 2011, but His presence continues to be felt by all who sincerely inquire.
The celebration of the birthday of Sathya Sai Baba should be a joyful time of remembrance of His divine love and reflection and practice of His simple and profound divine teachings. Sathya Sai Baba has given all who are receptive an experience of His divine love. This love is felt by those who have seen Him or spoken to Him. Others have had experience of His love through selfless service activities or meeting others who love Him and follow His teachings. Still others have had this experience through reading spiritual books, listening to inspirational music, singing divine songs, through dreams, or in a myriad of other ways. His ways are indeed mysterious and uniquely touch each one of us.
Sathya Sai Baba has touched me and my family in so many ways. He has guided us to lead more peaceful, loving, productive lives, and He has surrounded us with His divine love. I recall my last visit to Prasanti Nilayam while Baba was in His physical form during His birthday celebrations in 2010. My mother was suffering from a chronic, terminal lung disease, and I was hoping for a chance to ask Baba to help her. It was near the end of our trip and I was praying that Swami would ease her suffering when He gestured for me to approach Him. As I approached, my heart melted at the sight of His penetrating, loving gaze. He then smiled and created a necklace with a Ganesha pendant. As He was placing the necklace around my neck, He told me to give it to my mother. I knew instantly that He had heard my prayers and I also knew that my mother’s suffering would be eased. My mother was a very simple, spiritual woman who had implicit faith in Baba. Baba’s loving gesture helped ease her suffering and gave her the strength and peace of mind to endure the inevitable. This compassionate, loving gesture by Sathya Sai Baba is imprinted in my heart forever and gives a small glimpse into His divine nature.
In addition to remembering the love that Sathya Sai Baba has showered on us, His birthday should also be a time of self assessment and self reflection. We should make a concerted effort to practice His core teachings. I recall many years ago I read the book, Man Management, which is based on a series of talks given by Sathya Sai Baba to the management students at the Sathya Sai University in Puttaparthi. I was very inspired by Baba’s application of the human values of truth, righteousness, peace, love and non-violence in business administration and management. It was a common sense approach to divinise business and man management. I am a physician (radiologist) and not a businessman but I did have an interest in running a radiology practice. Shortly after reading this book, I had the opportunity to own and run a radiology practice. This practice included many employees and I had the opportunity to practice Baba’s teachings (basically treating others with respect and love) in my workplace. The workplace environment was challenging but practicing His teachings in the workplace made me a better manager and person. As often happens in business, the business subsequently declined but thanks to the practice of Baba’s teachings and thanks to prayer, the stress of the business downturn was greatly eased. To this day, in my daily medical practice, I rely on Sathya Sai Baba’s core teachings. I train my staff to treat all patients and each other with love and respect, and, of course, I have to lead by example. I also try to practice Sathya Sai Ideal Healthcare which is essentially the application of human values in medical practice. This type of practice has been very fulfilling. Patients often comment on how the staff eases their anxiety and are so pleasant at our medical center.
In celebrating the life and message of Sathya Sai Baba, let us offer to Him a gift worthy of the love and divine guidance He has given us. The only gift truly worth offering to Him is following His spiritual teachings. Baba did not preach any new religion; He repeatedly and lovingly reinforced the importance of practicing the human values. The essence of all of Sathya Sai Baba’s spiritual teachings can be summarized by “Love All, Serve All” and “Help Ever, Hurt Never.” All of us and, indeed, the whole world, can benefit tremendously by practicing His teachings and by loving and serving our fellow man.
Vijay Chundi, USA