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8th World Conference First Report
Second session
Second Session

1.45 P.M. – 3.00 PM November 20, 2005

The afternoon session was opened with some brief remarks, by the conference moderator, Dr. David Gries. He announced some changes in the timings and the fact that the Sai International Symphony would be performing in Sai Kulwant Hall at 4 PM. The three speakers for this session would be Dr. Narendra Reddy on 'Devotion', Professor Anil Kumar on 'From Education to Educare', and Air Chief Marshall N. C. Suri on 'Service'.

Dr. Narendra Reddy

Dr. Reddy is a member of the Prasanthi Council and Chairman of the International Medical Committee. He began his talk by asserting that everything about Swami can be summarized in one word: Love!

Bhagawan's life, message, mission, His ideals, His humanitarian works — all can be enshrined in one word: LOVE. But His Love cannot be expressed in words, nor can it be comprehended by the mind. We can only experience His Love, enjoy His Love, and expand His Love by sharing that Love with others. Love has no bounds, no limits. Love is infinite. We are really fortunate and blessed to be in the presence of the embodiment of Love. Swami has come not to destroy the evil doers but to transform them and to inculcate in all of us this Love, to teach us this path of Love, this message of Love, this obligation to Love, this duty to Love. He has also said He wants us to realize that Love is our essential nature, that we are Love personified.

But what is this “Love” of which Swami speaks? He says that true Love is often confused with attachment and affection, etc. But real Love, He says, is pure, selfless, unconditional, eternal, universal and never-changing. On Guru Poornima day of 2005, He said that we should pray to Him only for pure Love. Contemplating on that, I was reminded of what Jesus said, “Seek ye the kingdom of God and everything will be added unto you.” So if we have pure Love, everything will be added to us.

Swami says our Love should be one-pointed. He compares Love to a single seat sofa, not a double seat sofa. Similarly, Jesus said you cannot serve two masters nor ride two horses at the same time. We can remember JOY, J-O-Y. Jesus first; Others second, Yourself last. We can also apply this to SAI: S - Swami first, then A - All others next, and then I - I myself last. Jesus said the greatest commandment is: “Love thy God with all thy heart, mind and soul.” Hence, divine Love must be the highest goal for all of us. Swami also says that our Love must be intense, not merely one-pointed. I remember once, when I asked Swami, “How do I know I have devotion?” He said when you have intense longing for God, that indicates you have devotion.

Sri Ramakrishna said devotion should be like the combined Love of the mother for her child, of a miser for money, and of a chaste woman for her husband. One should have an intense yearning for God.

Swami emphasizes that true Love gives priority to quality, not quantity. Quality is more important. Onc,e I mentioned to Swami that the number of devotees attending the Center meetings in our home had grown from ten up to 100. Swami admonished me, and said, “Is that all you've learned after all these years? Quality is important, but not quantity.” However, He said in another context, “Expansion is the essence of Love.” How to reconcile these two apparently contradictory statements of His? The clue may be found in another beautiful alliterative Telugu dictum of Swami: Premanu penchuko, panchuko. It means, “Expand your Love and then share it with others.”

How to develop that Love? Swami has given nine modes of expressing devotion in His discourses. Because of time constraint, I shall not go into the details, but you can find them in many of His discourses. They include listening to the stories of the Lord, singing the glories of the Lord, constant remembrance of the Lord, serving His Lotus feet, salutations to the Lord, worshipping the Lord, service to the Lord, friendship with the Lord, and ultimately complete surrender to the Lord. The details of this can be found in Prema Vahini. If we follow any one of these paths, we will reach the goal, because according to Baba, Love is the common 'sutra' or thread running through all the nine modes of devotion.

Swami tells us that in order to experience pure Love, we should rid ourselves of impurities. Instead of fighting with the six cardinal enemies, Swami says we should channel all our desires towards God. Even negative emotions can be made beneficial by directing them toward God. For example, if we feel greed, we should convert the greed to wanting more and more of God. If we have pride, we should be proud to be a Sai devotee by following His teachings. We can have anger at our failings and shortcomings. In past ages, the sages prayed that God would come into their midst. But today we have the good fortune to be contemporaries of the Avatar. Let us all enjoy Swami's Love. This is the way to get rid of impurities and enjoy pure Love.

Of course, Swami always tells us that the root cause of impurities is our body attachment. Yesterday, on the Ladies' Day, Swami addressed this issue of body attachment. Usually, on this day Swami calls a woman devotee to translate His message. But He surprised everyone by calling on Anil Kumar, who was not expecting to translate His discourse. Every action and every gesture of Swami has a profound meaning. Swami then started the discourse. Usually, He begins by commenting on the importance of the role of the woman in society. But this time He said, “There is no difference between man and woman. These are all vestures. There is only one and that is Atma.”

This shows that we are only one. We need to find out who we really are. Avoid body consciousness. This is the way to develop pure Love for God. Swami also talks about spiritual evolution. First stage is bouthika bhakthi, when we start at the physical level, making prayers, meditation, japa, etc., to God. The second stage is ekantha bhakthi, when we go inward. The third stage is ananya bhakthi, when we see God inside and outside and everywhere. The conclusion of these three can be described as SAI, S-A-I. Sai And I are one. Also, we can say: See Sai, that is, to see Sai Always Inside.

What are the signs of devotion? Swami says that the proof of rain is wetness of the ground. Similarly the proof of devotion is to have peace and equal mindedness under all circumstances. If we are disturbed and agitated, it indicates we do not have true devotion. Swami has said, “Be equal minded. Nothing should disturb your equanimity.” Then, we will show our devotion in action through service, which is done with Love, humility and with no desires for self. Mother Teresa said “Fruit of Love is Service.” We should not worry about loss and gain, etc. We should always be cheerful, happy and radiate the joy to others. Swami says “Be Happy.” The goal of all spiritual practices is to Be Happy, and happiness is union with God. Let us all pray only for Swami's unconditional, changeless, boundless and pure Love. We must realize we are embodiments of Love. This requires Unity-Purity-Divinity, the theme graciously given by Bhagawan for this world conference.

Prof. Anil Kumar

Professor Anil Kumar of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning spoke on the subject: “From Education to Educare.” He used a PowerPoint presentation, making comments about each slide. “Spirituality,” he said, “is an opportunity to know the Reality.”

Spirituality, or religion, is not seriousness. Seriousness is a sign of sickness. Religion is laughter, spirituality is ecstasy. Life is dance. Life is celebration.

That's why we ask if anyone is serious, “why are you like that?” But if one is smiling, we don't say, “why do you smile?”

In order to understand the beauty of life, Educare is absolutely necessary.

We hear of so many “cares” nowadays: Agri-care, Aqua-care, Spirituo-care, Medicare, etc.

But this “educare” is something different. Through education, we receive knowledge, but the knowledge is just bookish information. The knowledge will make you a scholar. And knowledge will also make you knowledgeable. Knowledge-ability, scholarship, ability to gather information are the criteria of a man of education. But educare is something different. Educare is for wisdom; and it is a product of the heart, nothing to do with the head. While education is full of Fund of Information, Educare brings about Transformation!

And it is educare that gives us a sense of awareness of our true selves.

And in education, we are used to questions. More so the teacher. Students are eager to ask questions, if they care to listen. They ask so many questions, and seek answers. Whereas educare has nothing to do with questions and answers. Educare is a Quest! Educare is an eternal quest. The road ends there.

Education is based on communication skills — email, slides, powerpoint, etc. When it comes to educare, it has nothing to do with communication. Educare is communion. Communion and communication are different. Communication is external, communion is the one within.

We may say of someone, “he's a great intellectual.” But intellectuality is a product of education. We say he's a great intellectual, meaning that intellect is an extension of the mind. An intellectual can earn respect, prestige, and status in society. Whereas educare will never make you an intellectual but will make you intelligent. So, intelligence is different from intellect. We are born with intelligence, because even an insect knows which flower to go to. Therefore, this intelligence is the birthright of every living creature.

Education is full of logic. You say something, and someone will say “I disagree.” Education is full of arguments, disagreements. If you say you disagree, you think you are educated.

Education helps you to develop personality, while educare will build up individuality. Personality and Iindividuality are two opposite poles. Personality is ego-centric, ego-centered, whereas, individuality gives you emotional satisfaction. Personality is self-centered conditioning. You condition yourself, and therefore you stipulate so many narrow limitations. But educare gives you self application, you applied yourself to the Self.

Education is full of hallucinations and imaginations. One goes on imagining and dreaming of the future. Education will make you hesitate and be indefinite. But Educare is meant for mental rehabilitation.

Education will tend to lead toward escapism; educare leads to self- improvement. It gives you power and vitality. Education is for materialistic benefits and gains, whereas educare teaches us the art of life, the discovery of man.

Education deals with the objective world, composed of the five elements and is external. Whereas educare is subjective, dealing with the inner reality. Education lays an emphasis on conscience, the physical glory. Whereas educare is spiritual, taking us from Conscience to Consciousness. Conscience is Divinity at the level of the individual. Consciousness is all-pervasive, universal, cosmic Divinity. The same Divinity limited at the individual level is Conscience. Divinity, which is cosmic, is Consciousness.

Education always takes us to the sense of doer-ship. But educare focuses on the fact that things just 'happen'. That is, “I did not do this, rather, it simply happened." 'Doing' is egoistic, while 'happening' is divine and spiritual.

Life is a challenge. An educated man should be prepared to meet the challenge of life. Life is a game. There is a difference between game and play. “Life is a game. Play it,” Baba says. Why? Game has rules and regulations.

A Game is serious, while play is playful. In a game, someone wins or loses, while in a play, there is nothing like winning and losing. Game is within the limitations of rules and restrictions, while play is a matter of fun and frolic. It's God's Play. Therefore, education will make you an expert in games, which are rigid, while educare will make you playful, full of laughter, and flexible.

And then there is passion. An educated man is passionate. A passionate person always thinks in terms of competition and comparison. The educated man is passionate, rigid, and competitive. Where there is competition and comparison, there is no spirituality, no God, because the spiritual texts say that there is only one God — One Without A Second. When there is One Without A Second, with whom are you going to compete? With whom are you going to compare? Educare will make you full of compassion and not competition. Educare confers gratitude. You remain ever grateful to God for all the opportunities given to you.

Education will make you have higher standard of living, while educare brings higher standard of life in general. Education teaches you the art of becoming; while educare gives you the art of Being. Education helps you toward proficiency, while educare leads to efficiency.

Finally, there are two words I would like to speak about: dreams and visions. Dreams are the qualities of educated people. Dreams, actually speaking, are unfulfilled desires. People are always telling about their dreams. Dream is nothing but a mind phenomenon. But dreams relating to Bhagawan are not mere dreams, but Visions. After the dream, you get tired, exhausted. But Visions give energy, because you are in contact with Existence. You dream in sleep in an unconscious state. Dreams take you farther from reality whereas Visions take you closer to yourself. Dreams are black and white but Visions are technicolor. Dreams relating to Bhagawan are Visions and leave you with full of energy and in contact with God. Visions can happen while awake also.

My friends, education as taught in the typical classroom is quite different from educare. An uneducated man, may through educare acquire depth and profundity. Finally, I want to thank all of you for having heard my thoughts. Jai Sai Ram.

Air Chief Marshall N.C. Suri

The final speaker of the session was Retired Air Chief Marshall Suri, whose topic was Selfless Service in the context of Unity, Purity, and Divinity. He observed that, “for 70 years, I was in total darkness; whatever little I have learned I learnt in the last few years. So do not expect from me any great words of wisdom to flow through my mind. What you will hear from me is what I have begun to believe. And that is what I prayed to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba just now.”

So the first thing that I need to mention here is that I Love each one of you, intensely. I say this, not because of your face, not because I am able to read your hearts, but because each of you is a reflection of Sathya Sai Baba.

And the moment you accept my Love, I know that God will enter my heart and I will have no room for hatred, envy, jealousy, or animosity. So I beg you, please accept my Love.

I shall start with some of the comments made by Dr. Michael Goldstein with great brilliance in the letter which he circulated to all of you. In his letter, he says that Unity is oneness. But we have to look at that in the greater dimension. Unity is the consciousness of one Atma, which means that you and I are not different. When I told you that I Love you, it means I Love myself. When I say I serve you, I am serving myself.

Unity also means that every time you look at someone, feel that you are looking at yourself, and behave accordingly.

As far as Purity is concerned, it is the removing of the contamination from your mind, the distractions that your mind creates because these really lead you nowhere.

And the third is Divinity, which, really is the personification of Love. Dr. Goldstein put it nicely in the letter when he said that Unity, Purity, and Divinity are not attributes but three stages of spiritual progress.

Educare. I might mention that I have written an article on this subject. To me, educare means that every dunce, under correct care, can have enlightenment. That is the secret of educare. If you follow this program, you are bound to be enlightened, no matter what you may do.

As far as service is concerned, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has said that service should be your life breath. He also uses, more often than not, the expressions: “Love All, Serve All. Help Ever, Hurt Never.” We repeat these words, but very rarely do we tell people how to prepare themselves for this mission. What is the inner meaning? The reason I say this is because, paradoxically, knowledge and ignorance are the two sides of the same coin. To gain knowledge, you do not necessarily erase ignorance. Ignorance has to be addressed separately.

Presently, a lot of people in the spiritual field believe that pedantic knowledge should be our focus. They quote scriptures for all occasions. But in so doing, they often forget that Ignorance is not erased.

Now, I am going to be using certain acronyms that have been coined by me, which are perhaps not quite intelligent, but do convey the meaning of my orientation. For example:

E-G-O, to mean Every General's Orientation.

L-O-V-E, Life of Visual Enlightenment.

S-E-R-V-I-C-E, Service Encompasses the Real Vision of Community Enlightenment.

P-O-L-I-C-E, People of Love Involved in Community Enlightenment.

Mark the words “Community Enlightenment” at every stage. You and I are really Bhagawan's police. The only difference is that we have Love instead of the stick, or the handcuffs, or whatever.

Please remember that service is a function of life. Service is not merely giving out a few packages of food. It is throughout your waking hours, and possibly even in dreams. We should dream of giving service to others.

In doing service, it is important to realize that nothing really belongs to us. It is all Bhagawan's; and He has given it to us so that we may use it judiciously.

If we wish to serve, let us not think just in terms of food packets. Let us not think of what would be a seasonal activity. Let us think in terms of 'what would be service to God?' I think the best service to God would be for us to understand that no matter to whom you pray, what form you worship, you are praying to the one God.

Air Chief Marshall Suri concluded his remarks with an appeal that we all strive to come together, be loving to one another and be respectful of each other's religious orientation. He said it is not important to know when Sai Baba was born, or when Jesus was born, or when Rama was born, or when Mohammed was born and died. What is important, he said, is that Rama, or Christ, or Sai, or Mohammed be born in your heart and live in your mind. Baba wishes us all to remember that “Service is living in enlightenment.”