A Discourse for Devotees, by Michael Goldstein. M.D.
My dear Brothers and sisters:
Sai Ram to you all.
I am happy to be with you and very grateful to Swami for this opportunity to speak to you. We are in a good place today, and in fact, we are here together on this planet Earth, living our human lives given to us by God, for the purpose of loving and raising one another to the experience of pure love.
Spiritual realisation is the constant realisation of divine consciousness. That is the reason why we are here together today and why we live these human lives which God has given us.
As devotees of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as sincere spiritual aspirants, as people with common sense, we recognise the importance of time, the time spent in this good place and the time which we spend embodied in these human lives, given by God. This time is limited.
Hence we focus on the most important: “The nature of God and man, our spiritual purpose and our plan, and time, time, time.
Now is the time to amplify our perspective and contemplate the human passage from birth to realisation, from the entrance into this world and its obstacles, to the transcendence which goes beyond the illusions of maya! Now is the time to move towards becoming aware of our innate divinity.
Today I am speaking to you about these themes, but I must ask myself, “Am I prepared, and am I worthy?” What do ‘prepared’ and ‘worthy’ mean?
Recently, our beloved Swami gave me a profound and poignant lesson on the significance of being prepared and being worthy, a lesson which is applicable to all of us, in every moment and in everything we do.
I was in Prasanthi immersed in a conflict which was the result of my own attachments. I had serious differences of opinion with my brothers of the organisation. Unresolved differences of opinion breed conflicts.
Conflicts breed bitterness and deception. Bitterness and deception breed anger. Anger is the antithesis of spirituality.
This particular day, Swami had planed to give a discourse. He came out to give Darshan; he walked among the multitudes and exuded his Divine Love. We were all seated there, waiting to hear His discourse.
Generally, His discourses are a preceded by one or two orators pre-selected by Swami. That day, I did not have the privilege of being pre-selected. Swami came to me and to my great surprise he asked, “Goldstein, are you going to speak?” I answered, “Swami did not give me instructions to speak today, but if it is Your will, then I will do so.”
Swami then asked, “Are you prepared?” I replied, “If it is Your will, then, Swami, I am prepared.” He moved away and continued to give Darshan.
A little later He returned and once again he asked, “Are you prepared?” I repeated to Him, “If it is Your will, then I am prepared.”
He entered his room for some moments, and came out again walking among the devotees. Before sitting in His chair for the Divine Discourse, for a third time He came up to me and asked. “Are you prepared?”
This time full of eagerness, anticipating the happiness to have been selected by Swami to speak in His Divine Presence, I said, “Yes Swami, I am prepared!”
Swami then leaned close to me and said softly, “To be prepared… Is a state of the inner self.”
Instantly I knew the significance of His words!!! “PREPARED AND WORTHY ARE ONE” I had thought I was prepared to speak, but I was experiencing inner unrest. Your words must reflect what you think, feel and do.
Then you will be prepared and you will be worthy. I was feeling uneasiness and conflict with respect to matters of the Sai Organisation and so was not prepared to speak of peace and love.
My interior world was not in peace nor in harmony. “To be prepared is a state of the inner self” and obviously I was not prepared, and I must tell you that I did not speak that day. For us, Sai devotees, to be prepared and to be worthy are one and the same.
With a simple word or phrase, Swami teaches us many lessons at many levels. That is the nature of Divinity. One of the reasons for telling you this story in particular is that I know that many of you have bad feelings about our Sathya Sai Organisation.
Now I beseech you to search deeply within yourselves and ask your conscience, which is your master, if these sentiments are noble, spiritual, free of all egoism and worthy. As always, we want a spiritual experience! So let us look as the result of those meetings and programmes offered by the Organisation, the true spiritual experience and not only mundane achievements.
Now I must repeat my mantra for today, the nature of God and man, our purpose and plan, and time, time, time.
When the Lord allows himself to manifest himself among Man, it is to ennoble him and allow him to understand the Divine Essence and the purpose of human life. The Lord, to make Himself known, allows Himself to manifest Himself to Man in many ways. God has created nature for us, that we may find our own divinity. It is like playing ‘hide and seek’. Being the omnipresent Lord, He hides everywhere. Candidly we look for Him outside of ourselves, as we mature spiritually we look within, in our own hearts. There we find our true self, our divine self, our self…. free of all egoism.
The knowledge of God is immanent in all the experiences of life.
In so many ways the Lord allows himself to be recognised by man. Unquestionably, the greatest of all is when he takes the form of man, embodies as Avatar, as God-man and walks amid us. The Bhagavad Gita teaches us that this occurs when civilisation suffers a spiritual and moral downfall, to the point that darkness befalls us. The Lord comes to the world as a divine light, loving and enlightening, and he enables us to recognise the outstanding characteristics of true humanity, of nobility, of character, of excellence. He manifests himself in the universal human values; Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema, Ahimsa; truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai has embodied for this purpose. Contemplate and rejoice! The lamb and the lion of God are amidst us!!!!!
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, our Beloved Sai, is merciful and compassionate, peaceable and loving. He is the Lamb of God.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, our beloved Swami, is all powerful, omniscient, omnipotent. He is the lion of God.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, our beloved Swami, is the divine synthesis of sweetness and strength, of innocence and of knowledge, of attainability and of invulnerability.
He is both the lamb and the lion of God.
Frequently, through the years, many people have asked why I travel to India, being so far away and so often. Before answering the question, I contemplate my experiences with Swami in the last 25 years and I ask myself the same questions, which I have just mentioned.
Who among men, knows all that we have thought, felt, said, done and also dreamt?
Who among men, is not limited by the law of time and space, nor matter nor energy, as our scarce knowledge allows us to understand God’s creation?
Who among men can comfort the ignorant, or the suffering, with a look, a smile, a simple touch and so many other imperceptible ways?
Who among men has given his life for the good of humanity so magnanimously, and so free of all egoism, always giving and forgiving, never taking and forgetting?
Who among men spontaneously speaks the eternal truth with fundamental authority?
Who among men can inspire the pure and innocent love of a child in the hardest and most cynical of hearts?
According to my experience, Sathya Sai Baba does all of these things. For me, that confirms His Divinity. Ironically, Swami himself has said that only an idiot goes out into the world to look for God, because God resides in the heart of every man and woman. So, perhaps I have made so many journeys to India because of stubbornness and being hardhearted.
But I feel a great unprecedented love and rejoicing, when I am in the presence of Sathya Sai Baba.
The life of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba demonstrates Divinity and inspires our own spiritual transformation.
The message of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba teaches us the nature and paths of Divinity and inspires us to look for the spiritual purpose of life.
The work of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba exemplifies the omnipotence of Divinity and inspires us to emulate Him to transcend our imagined limitations.
The nature of God and man, our purpose and our plan and time, time, time.
What about time?
Bhagavan Baba has said, “Don’t waste even one moment of the span of life which has been granted to you. Time is the body of God”
Swami is like a divine clock. The hands of the clock, whose movement we cannot see, represent the changes that He is making in the world. The minute hand represents those movements that we can almost see. They represent the changes that He is making in each and every one of us. The second hand, whose movements are almost imperceptible, represent those glorious occasions when Swami intervenes directly in our lives and we know it without any doubt whatsoever.
I remember an incident in which a devotee, who had been behaving incorrectly was reprimanded by Swami. The devotee, mortified by Swami’s reproach, said to Him: “Swami, I will stop my incorrect actions from this moment on.” Swami responded, very severely, “ From this moment on--no, but from right now!”
Without a doubt, Swami wants us to understand that time is life and that no one knows what awaits us ahead. How can we squander the most priceless which cannot be replaced, and which cannot even be measured …? The time of our lives! Only Swami knows what is awaiting us.
The presence of Bhagavan Baba amidst us, here and now is the will and work of God. In fact, it is the Lord himself that has come to keep us from the precipice of auto-destruction. That He is with us here and now, in the human form of our beloved Swami-- that is the will and work of God.
The advent of the millennium is the will and work of man. Man has divided time into various units, according to the movement of the celestial spheres, in order to be able to act and interact in an orderly way in this world. Man has created the distinctions in time: second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year, century and millennium.
An unfortunate consequence of our useful classification of time in these divisions has been the development of the possibility of the power to “postpone”, as a form of life, amidst humans.
Only man delays and postpones. Animals, birds, ants and other forms of living beings do what they are meant to do at any given moment, only we leave for tomorrow that which should be done today.
We are punctual for the frivolous divisions, but we are out of time to study and apply the Divine Teachings of Bhagavan Baba in human nature.
The nature of God and man, our purpose, our plan, and time, time, time.
And what of man?
Swami indicates that we should repeat to ourselves, “I am a man, not an animal”. What does this mean?
I am a man, not an animal.
A great philosopher once said, “ Knowledge is not enough, we should apply it. Will is not enough, we must do it”.
The will of God will be done.
Our bodies are the tools which fulfil the work of divinity.
Our minds are the artisans which use the tools to fulfil the work of divinity.
Our conscience is the light of the Lord within us, which guides our minds, which are the artisans that use our bodies, which are the tools, to fulfil the works of Divinity.
Repeat slowly…… (repeat the above, beginning with “Our conscience is the light of the Lord….)
Repeat slowly….. (repeat the above, “The conscience gives….)
Through our conscience, our minds and bodies become instruments for the demonstration and the preservation of the glory of the Divine Conscience, which is Love, and Love is God. Love all, serve all. These are the works of Divinity.
Will we adhere to the spiritual path of life?
Or will we succumb to the squandering of mundane life?
The choice is ours, truly it is!
I am a man, not an animal.
Swami has described the spiritual anatomy of man, using the analogy of a carriage. He tells us that the horses represent the indriyas or senses; the reigns represent the manas or the mind; the carriage represents the body; the coachman represents the buddhi, or intellect, and the passenger in the coach represents the atma, or spirit.
Let us ask ourselves in this context, if we journey through these lives as divine passengers, or will we be driven through these lives as beasts of burden?
The choice is ours!
I am a man, not an animal.
We should never allow our lack of control to limit the Divinity within.
We aspire to experience Divinity from the height of divine wisdom and the attitude of unconditional love.
Our mind is a reservoir. We must maintain the contents clean. Our conscience stirs up the dirt and the detestable, and drowns the conscience of God. The torrent of purity draws the cardinal enemies of man; lust, anger, greed, pride, attachment, and jealousy. They submerge and then the clear waters of pure love, free of egoism, water the ground of our humanity and allows our sprits to flourish.
We must have confidence in our conscience and in the conscience of others, Then society will become a gracious game, rejoiceful and of amorous interaction between the Lord, Our Beloved Baba, and His creation, humanity. We are really brothers and sisters in the family of humanity. Are we prepared to live in confidence of our own conscience and in the conscience of others?
The choice is ours!
Our lives are a crossing of the illusion of reality, of the fears of the darkness to the light and to clarity, from the poverty of ignorance, to the opulent treasure of the knowledge of oneself.
To arrive at our divine destiny, we must look at the map, which is engraved in our hearts, that is self- inquiry.
To see the map within us, and to know love free of all egoism and to navigate these lives in this exterior world with wisdom, we need light, Divine Illumination.
The Lord provides the light of His love to everyone. It is within us and around us. It is everywhere. Swami so often tells us that He is in us, beside us and around us. Swami is the light of the Lord that allows us to experience the unconditional love and see the map of the self-knowledge inscribed in our hearts.
Swami is the light.
The light is the loving divine consciousness.
The loving divine consciousness is God.
The nature of God and man, our purpose and our plan, and time, time, time.
What is the purpose of our lives?
First is there is creation.
Then there is civilisation.
Then there is self-realisation.
First there is creation. God dedicates himself to humanity.
Our past actions determine our genetic predisposition and the circumstances of our birth. We are born in a situation that allows us to learn the spiritual lessons we need, to obtain the spiritual recompense we deserve, and to repair our past transgressions. This way we truly reap what we sow.
Then there is civilisation. Men and women recognise that the quality of life improves with peace and love. Men and women search for a purpose in their lives. There is self-inquiry. Our character determines our level and place in civilisation. If we are generous and compassionate, sincere and unconditional, we are free and noble. If we are mean and indifferent, false and egoistic, we are enslaved and we are ignoble men. The ignoble person is enslaved by one’s ego and body. The desire of power over others and sensual pleasures contaminate and enslave the ignoble person.
Then there is self-realisation. Men and women experience and become one with their innate divinity. They live in constant and everlasting consciousness of their divine reality. That is self-realisation. This is the divine purpose of our human lives.
First we are born and we see the light of day.
Then we learn and experience the light of love and wisdom.
Then we identify ourselves with our consciousness and we become one with the light of God.
We see!--------------we experience! -------------we become light!
The purpose of these human lives, then, is to become constantly conscious of the loving divine consciousness which saturates all creation. The nature of this consciousness is unconditional love.
The nature of God and man, our purpose and our plan, and time, time, time.
WHAT IS OUR PLAN TO ACHIEVE OUR GOAL?
Heaven is a mental state, a state free of egoism. Heaven is a mental state in which we experience and live So Ham: I am That. We become that. That is divine consciousness which saturates all our experience of infinite bliss. The absence of ego, being free of attachment is a state of infinite bliss. It is a state of self-realisation. That is heaven. Swami assures us that we can reach heaven in these human lives. We can live in heaven now. All we have to do is to search within ourselves and find heaven.
From this it comes that hell is also a state of mind and we can convert our lives into hell if that is what we choose. Hell is characterised by incessant desires. As each desire is satisfied, this gives origin to another desire to obtain more. Desires of power and of pleasure. Desires which can never be satisfied in an everlasting manner. This gives origin to deception and frustration, to pain and discouragement. We become frenetic and foolish, running madly around the desert chasing every mirage which appears in the exterior world.
Heaven or hell. The choice is ours.
Suppose we all choose heaven. We make a decision. We choose heaven and we repel hell. What do we do next?
Spiritual transformation is the awakening of our latent divinity. Our Lord, Bhagavan Baba, transforms us in many ways. The Lord is inscrutable and mysterious. We cannot understand his way of working with our lean mental capacities. We can understand, up to a point, through our intuitions, when He inspires us. Then the attained knowledge is experienced knowledge, not knowledge learnt by memory. This distinction between learnt knowledge and experienced knowledge is very important.
When we really know, we do not accept the knowledge, we are the knowledge. This is true knowledge. That is wisdom.
Swami has taught us that God is consciousness and that the nature of consciousness is unconditional love. He advises us to dig deep into our hearts and that this is how we can find this consciousness. How do we do this?
We are all very different as individuals. But our differences are superficial. We are brothers and sisters of the divine mother and father. That is the unity of our essential nature in spite of the diversity of our appearances and external circumstances. For each one of us the most efficient method of moving us spiritually will be something different. Although, do whatever we do, and however we do it, this must be compatible with the divine teachings. I will explain a simple example. It is based on my own experience with Swami and his teachings.
I have talked about this before. It is important to have a spiritual plan. To make a plan for oneself which embraces Swami’s teachings, which satisfies our needs and is befitting to our lives. Have a spiritual plan. Then you can dedicate yourselves to your spiritual purpose.
This plan consists of 9 points. 3 points are about perspective, 3 points are about attitude, and 3 points are about actions. The perspective, the attitude, the action. What we think about things, how we feel about them, what we do with them.
It is necessary for each of us to determine his perspective, his attitude and his actions. We must examine what we think, how we feel and what we are doing to move in the right direction. I don’t want to give you the impression that we can make a package deal of spirituality. But you can think about this and put it into practice in an orderly manner. I will describe the nine points. I will give you examples of experiences with Swami wherever possible.
Firstly, the nine points are:
In the category of perspective:
· · 1 - do not worry about the past, but learn from the mistakes made.
· · 2 - do not worry about the future, but make appropriate plans to achieve one’s objectives.
· · 3 - do not worry about what other people are thinking about you or about events in the world around us. Consider everybody as divine brothers and sisters and all the events as God-given opportunities to serve.
In the category of attitude:
· · 4 - Be loving with all, always.
· · 5 - Always be happy within.
· · 6 - Always be silent and pacific within.
In the category of action:
· · 7 - remove all unworthy thoughts from the mind before they make an impression causing emotion or action. Allow noble thoughts to mature till they become uplifted actions.
· · 8 - Follow the conscience and act without delay with complete confidence upon the base of the conscience.
· · 9 - focus upon Swami, His name, His form, His love, His words, His actions, in all of Him, for He is all.
Now we examine each of these points with examples of Swami wherever possible.
Point 1 is to forget the past, we must live in the present.
We must learn from the past, but not be worried by it. We must learn to live now, in this moment. We must not let sadness nor past errors contaminate the present nor the future.
In my first journey to India I knew I would be a devotee of Swami for the rest of my life. I knew that I had met the love of my life, the fountain of the realisation of my life. This happened more than 26 years ago. I knew I would always follow Swami.
What does `follow Swami’ mean? It means that one will follow a spiritual path. What is the final result of following a spiritual path? It is union with God, self-realisation.
I had lead a very mundane life and I worried that my past transgressions could prevent my spiritual progress. The last day of my first visit to India, I was sitting in the Mandir for morning Bhajans, just before leaving the Ashram.
Whilst sitting in the Mandir listening to the Bhajans I started to worry about my past errors. I felt useless and without hope because of my past. I felt that although I knew I would always follow Swami, my past would not allow me to reach the end of the spiritual path. I thought past – past – past, an unsurpassable obstacle. Then suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Swami. He had entered the Mandir by the back door, coming up to me from behind. He simply put his hand on my shoulder, looked at me in the eyes and said. “Forget the past”, he then carried on walking. He left me and I cried. I felt redeemed.
The Lord said, “Forget the past”. The heavy load of past errors, the sadness and the guilt were removed.
That is the power of the Lord!
Point 2 is do not worry about the future, live in the present.
A long time ago there was a Sai devotee who had cancer. His doctors had given him chemotherapy. Then his cancer regressed.
He was a devotee of Swami and he used to go to see Swami periodically to ask for his divine intervention. The man lived many years more than the doctors had given him. One day this man came to me and he said that he had just arrived in India and he had refused to be treated with chemotherapy prescribed by the doctors.
He pleaded that I ask Swami to intervene. As Swami had spoken to the man on many occasions, I told Swami that this man was in the Ashram, and that he was afraid of dying and I asked Swami to intervene and to save his life.
Swami then said to me, “This man has had cancer for twelve years. Each time that he came to Swami during the last twelve years he has been thinking about the cancer and death. Swami has given him twelve years of life, but he has not used this time that Swami has given him to live. He has only been thinking about death during those twelve years”. None the less, Swami received the man and he continued to live.
We must not worry so much about the future that it stops us appreciating the present. Swami tells us to live in the present, the omnipresent.
Point 3 is we must not worry unduly about the events in the world or about other people’s reactions towards us.
Swami teaches us that we are three people. The one we think we are, which corresponds to our body; the one others think we are, which corresponds to our mind; and the one we really are, which corresponds to our spirit. We are not the body, we are not the mind, we are the spirit of God, enclosed in this human form. So, our emotions and actions must not be based on other people or on exterior facts. Our motivation, direction and destiny must be governed by the owner, our conscience.
The three points 4,5 and 6, under attitude are: be loving, be happy, and be silent and pacific within.
Point 4 is be loving
Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba, our beloved Swami, has come to light the lamp of love in the heart of humanity. The qualities of light are purity and the absence of egoism. The powers of light are redemption and transformation.
To love spiritually is to love without egoism. This means love without desire. Love without the need to possess the object of love. That is pure love, unconditional love, divine love. We learn to love as humans in our diverse relationships to be able in time to love God as he loves us. This is the most important of the nine points. If we are really loving, everything else will be given to us.
All creation is like God’s thought and life is like God’s dream. Our chosen form of God is the thinker that planned the universe and the dreamer that conceived life. The Lord has all his creation and is immanent in all. But God is bigger than the creation that has originated from Him. In the same way, divine love contains and includes the feelings, which we are capable of harbouring as human beings, such as affection, respect and veneration.
But as God is greater than his creation, in the same way divine love transcends, and is greater than, our human family expressions and our experience of love. The qualities of divine love are purity and the absence of egoism. The powers of divine love are redemption and transformation.
As Sai devotees, how do we love Swami? How should we love Swami?
Most of us have some hardness in our hearts. Some of us have enormous blocks of granite and others, only grains of sand. We must open our hearts and soften them.
On a superficial level, we are delighted with the beautiful form of Bhagavan Baba, and fascinated by his divine personality. Is this not love? Yes, it is, but it is not sufficient, On a deeper level, we feel inspired by the noble words and actions of Bhagavan Baba, and we aspire to emulate his heroic actions. Is this not love? Yes, it is, but it is not sufficient.
Finally we recognise Swami as the Embodiment of the most uplifted, noble and true aspect of ourselves. We turn our minds within, and we see the divine light of truth and love. We understand that this, our spiritual heart, is our true identity, and it is one with the Lord. We reach the absence of egoism. The duality of God and us no longer exists. We fuse with the Lord. We must make an effort to love God in this way.
To love God has a dramatic effect on our lives. To love God is like diving into the ocean of the absence of egoism. When we dive into these waters of absence of egoism we give origin to waves which expand and embrace everything, concentric circles of sacredness which eventually include all creation. When we dive into these waters of the absence of egoism, we submerge ourselves profoundly in a purification process which changes us forever and uplifts all who know us. Such is the nature of unconditional love. It transforms.
Point 5 is be happy.
Happiness is contagious. When we smile, or show a happy gesture, we shine light in the minds and hearts of our brothers and sisters. We make others happy. And so they make us happier than ever. And so on successively. Happiness generates joyousness. The realisation of our own divinity is perfect bliss.
Swami has a marvellous sense of humour. When He smiles and laughs, this makes our hearts glow and one cannot help but feel very happy. One day I found myself in the house in Kodaicanal with Swami and a group of students. Swami was talking to them in Telugu. I could not understand what he was saying. Then he looked at me and mentioned my name and the boys laughed. I sensed the boys were laughing because Swami had made a joke about my excess weight. I was sitting facing Swami and Swami looked at me and laughed with all his heart.
I watched him laugh, I watched his eyes and then I was filled with happiness and joy. I also started to laugh, even though Swami’s happiness and laughing made me so happy that I also laughed. Then suddenly Swami stopped laughing. He looked at me and asked, “”Why are you laughing?” I answered, “I am laughing because Swami is so happy that it makes me happy”. Then Swami became serious and said to the boys,
“Goldstein is happy because Swami is happy. He is laughing because Swami is laughing. That is true devotion.”
This apparently simple event which I have related is the way in which Swami often teaches us important lessons. He created this little drama in that which the joke was about me, but I was happy because Swami was happy and I love him so much. In this incident Swami used me to demonstrate devotion to the students. To be happy is very important.
Point 6 be silent within.
To be silent within is to be in peace. Peace is the absence of turbulent emotion. To be silent within is essential to hear the interior voice of God. Respect and preserve the interior temple of silence.
The last 3 points, points 7, 8 & 9 are all about our actions.
Point 7 is to cleanse de mind of all unworthy thoughts.
Do not allow these to create an impression which causes emotion or action. At the same time, always accommodate noble thoughts and allow that these cause uplifted actions.
Swami teaches us that we should consider bad thoughts as devils, which enter into our minds to sidetrack us from our spiritual path. We should not let them enter. Bad thoughts generate emotions and actions, which then cause bad tendencies and bad habits.
Our conscience must sift thoughts and determine if a thought a worthy of entry into our mind. This results in a good character and spiritual progress.
In one of my visits to Prashanti many years ago, I played a little game with my thoughts, whist I was sitting in the Mandir. Every time an unworthy or distracting thought entered my mind, I shook my head lightly and threw out the unwanted thought. At first I shook my head so often that I feared the brothers sitting near me would think that I had developed a neurological affliction. While I practised this exercise, I discovered that unwanted thoughts came less frequently. Since then I have learned that physical gestures are not necessary to control the mind.
Point 8 is to follow one’s own conscience. To act without delay and with complete confidence based on the dictates of the conscience.
One day another devotee and I were sitting at Swami’s feet. Swami started to talk to me. He told me that this man was a good devotee. Swami said that each time this man had to make a decision he looked within and looked for an answer within his own conscience. The man never doubted the answer which came. Swami said that this man asked, ‘Is this correct or incorrect, is it good or bad, what would Swami do?’ And then the man acted according to the answer he heard in his own conscience. Swami said that the answer did not always come at once. But the man persisted in his enquiry until he received an answer. Swami put great emphasis on the importance of this process in spirituality and said that this man was a good devotee because he had faith and always followed this process.
We must recognise that our conscience represents God within us. The commanding morals which come from our conscience must be respected.
Finally, point 9 is to focus oneself in Swami, to focus oneself in the Lord, His divine name, form, love, teachings and actions.
The constant focus on the spiritual is essential to be able to reach our spiritual purpose. We can focus ourselves in one of His names and forms, we can focus ourselves in the great spiritual principles, in those on which all religions are based. We can focus ourselves on the generosity and sacredness which we see around us. They are all expressions of the loving universal consciousness which is God.
The spiritual movement is that movement which has the purpose of taking us to the realisation of our inherent divinity. To move in the correct direction it is important that we consider our own perspective, attitude and actions. I have given you a formula which consists of 9 simple points.
Our perspective should also include living in the present and not to be worried about the past nor the future, the reactions of people nor the events of the world. Our attitude should be loving, happy and silent within. Our actions should include discarding unworthy thoughts, following our conscience and focussing on Swami.
I advise you from my heart to draw up your own spiritual plan to reach your spiritual purpose. Your own plan will be adequate for who you are and where you are in your spiritual understanding.
Swami has given us another spiritual tool. He has put his name to a spiritual movement, the Sathya Sai Baba Organisation, so that we, His children, can learn to love one another and bring unconditional love and service to the world.
Humanity has no life without universal consciousness. Swami teaches us that universal consciousness is the omnipresent divinity, it is divine love. This universal consciousness resides in the heart of each man and woman and provides life to the mind and body. Universal consciousness is realised and appreciated by each one of us by way of our conscience.
The Sai Organisation, or any spiritual organisation, has no life without the conscience of each man and woman in that organisation. It is not spiritual, it is not of God, nor from God, if it is not immersed in, and if it is not saturated by, the universal consciousness, or unconditional love. This can only happen if the organisation is guided by the conscience of each man and woman acting together in the spirit of unconditional love. It is for this reason that Swami has given His name to the organisation.
Swami repeatedly says that He is a source, not a force. He is a spiritual source. The Sai Organisation should also de a source, not a force. It should be a source of light and love. In everything we do, people should feel an unconditional love and obtain spiritual benefit, they should feel uplifted. That is the nature of a genuine spiritual movement.
As members and co-ordinators of the Sathya Sai Baba Organisation we should consider ourselves servants of the people whom Swami has already called and of those he will call in the future. We should have a solid faith in the divinity of our Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and believe that he will motivate and touch the hearts of everybody that they may commence the spiritual path.
The spiritual path of a particular individual can include, or not, the name and the form of our beloved Bhagavan Baba. That is between the Lord and every individual heart. But all the names and forms of God are one. The eternal spiritual principles are one for all the religions and everybody.
We in the organisation should consider ourselves spiritual doorkeepers. What are the duties of a spiritual doorkeeper? We greet with love those who come to the door. We open the door and thus we provide access to Swami’s teachings and programmes. And what is more important, we provide access to Swami’s love if the organisation is functioning correctly. Finally, as spiritual doorkeepers, we protect the establishment. We protect the sacred name of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. We do this assuring that everything that happens within the Sai Organisation, under the name of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, is worthy of His Divinity.
We should remember that He is the omnipresent witness and we should trust that all we do and everything that others do as part of the organisation will obtain His approval.
My beloved brothers and sisters,
In conclusion, we are all apparently different. Different in names, forms, experiences, nationalities, races and religions. These differences are the clothing that our spirits wear to act and interact in this world, to be able to play the rôle in the divine drama of the creation.
Although, having said our lines, having sung our songs, having danced our dance, we take off our makeup and our fancy dress. We return to our solitary beings. And here we discover that we are all part of the one, of the loving universal consciousness, which is God! Our beloved Bhagavan Baba is the incarnation of this divine universal consciousness. He is constantly reminding us that we are all divine consciousness. We are all divine love.
Today we have reflected upon the nature of God and man, upon our spiritual purpose and our plan, and time, time, time.
Now is the time for you and for me, and for everyone everywhere, to advance towards the realisation of our innate divinity!
Jai Sai Ram
Michael Goldstein, M.D.