A life full of love. A lifetime of service. If there are two words that enshrine and epitomise all of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s ideals and humanitarian works, they are Love and Service. In the 85 years that He physically walked the earth, He touched and transformed millions of lives through His greatest commandment of selfless love.
Born as Sathyanarayana Raju in the tiny hamlet of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh, He grew up to be revered by many the world over as a humanitarian, spiritual teacher and God. His simple message of ‘Love All, Serve All and Help Ever, Hurt Never’ provided the much-needed succour and beacon of hope in a world that was constantly hurrying to reach nowhere in particular. Devotees, drawn by His love, felt impelled to transform themselves and imbibe the universal and secular human values of truth, righteousness, peace, love and nonviolence in their daily lives.
In His lifetime, Baba, as He was fondly called, set up many institutions and models that have now become models worthy of emulation. He was a school dropout, but He gave Puttaparthi and the world a University, where education is absolutely free (Vidya). His hamlet did not even have a dispensary, but He gifted millions access to free healthcare (Vaidya). Villagers would trek miles for a can of potable water, but He made sure clean water was brought right into their homes (Vari). Baba felt that access to good education, reliable healthcare and clean water were essential to living and should thus be provided free of cost. But these were mere ways to express and demonstrate His love for humanity.
Even after having given up His physical body on 24th April, 2011, Baba continues to inspire, motivate and lead the way for His devotees. Centred in Muddenahalli, Chikkaballapur district near Bangalore, Baba, through His subtle body, continues to establish education and healthcare institutions that serve as conduits of individual as well as collective transformation not just of its beneficiaries but the volunteers as well.
In His subtle body, Baba now travels across the globe, spreading His message of Love and Service, and transforming lives and setting up global institutions with local reach. Touched by His love, His devotees the world over continue to rededicate their lives to the greater cause of spreading love and peace in the Universe.
To know more about the subtle body concept, click here.
To read about how it all began for Sri Madhusudan Naidu, who is bestowed with the rare blessing of being able to see, speak to and hear Baba in His subtle body, click here.
To read inspiring accounts of Sai devotees, who were touched by the Lord’s love, click here
“Everyone in this world has four types of bodies – SthoolaShareera – the physical body; SookshmaShareera– the subtle body; AtiSookshmaShareera – the higher subtle body; and Para SookshmaShareeera – the omnipresent supersubtle body. SthoolaShareera is the physical body which anyone can see. Right now, I am not in the physical body, but in the SookshmaShareera (subtle body) which is beyond the physical.
In My SookshmaShareera I can move to any part of the world without taking any time. In My AtiSookshmaShareera I enter the dreams and meditations of people and guide them. In Para SookshmaShareera, I am present in every atom. At this point of time, you are in the physical body and if you are in a room, you cannot see what is outside since there is a wall in between. But SookshmaShareera is not bound by desha, kala and paristhiti (space, time and circumstances) and therefore cannot be seen with physical eyes.”
“We do not just exist on this earth, but also exist in a parallel plane. That parallel universe is the SookshmaPrapancham. For many students, this would be difficult to comprehend. Here is an example: consider steam, water and ice. What is the difference in them? All of these forms are essentially of the same compound. Can we hold steam in our hands or taste it? We cannot. But we can easily drink water or hold the ice in our hands, because they have physical form. Steam, when cooled, becomes water and when water is cooled further, it turns in to ice. Cooling is the process through which the unseen is seen. You have all studied Newton’s laws which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but it can be changed from one form in to another. It is through such process that energy changes into matter and vice-versa. Although fire is latent in wood, it is unseen until we run two twigs together and they catch fire. Once manifest, the fire engulfs the wood and gives out bright light and heat. Fire which was latent in the wood becomes manifest through this process. This is a simple fact known to all.”
“Though butter is present in the milk, one cannot see it. To make it visible, milk must be boiled, curdled and churned. Thus, to manifest butter physically, the milk must undergo a process. This process can be called Parishuddhi(refinement). What is refinement? When you were a small child, you would fight over a petty toy that you were fond of. You may have fought with each other about the toy. Would you fight for the toy now? No. As you grow up, you understand that it is not proper behavior to squabble over petty things. If you need something, you must politely ask for it, but not demand it. Stealing or snatching things from others is not good behavior. As you grow up, you learn civilised behaviour. You become refined. All of us consume rice. Where does it come from? Rice grown in paddy fields and is covered with husk. Husk has to be removed through a process of refinement, to make rice fit for consumption.”
“Swami has always existed. He exists now and will continue to exist in the future. He takes various forms just like the water vapor transforms into water and further transforms into ice. The divinity materializes in various forms so that man can touch, feel and experience it. It is difficult to comprehend this phenomenon as man is bound by the limitation of time, space and circumstances. Human effort is needed to understand the Truth. If you tell a child that stars are bigger than the moon, he may not believe you as he sees the moon to be bigger than the stars. If you explain the same to higher-class boys, they would understand the logic and accept it. If you tell a child that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, he would immediately believe it as he understands the concept of directions. If you tell him that the sun neither rises nor sets and it is the earth which rotates about its own axis, he would not believe you. He believes in what he can see and experience with his own Physical eyes. Lord Shiva has a third eye, which is not the Physical eye but the faculty of inner vision. It is represented as an eye on the forehead. It takes a bit of analysis and effort to understand the reality that lies beyond physical sensory perception. In order to hold water in your hands, you will need to condense steam into liquid water and into ice!”
“Students can experience this divinity, as their hearts are pure and unblemished. They are able to understand these things much faster than elders. Elders mind is filled with excessive rationality and it is difficult for them to grasp these truths unless they have the heart of a child. Students can easily experience the form and the formless aspects of divinity.”
“You often get dreams. In those dreams, you might see Swami walking amidst you, talking to you and giving you something. When you wake up, you can no longer see Swami or touch Him or talk to Him. Then who was that Swami, who came to you in your dream, spoke to you and made you happy? Can He be brought back? No. But there is a world inside of us. Dream is also a state of consciousness in which pure souls can experience divinity. It is a bit difficult to see the bottom in unquiet water. Similarly when you are awake, the faculty of your mind is completely engaged with senses and therefore, agitated. It is difficult to look inward, when the mind is in such a state. But if you can sit down quietly even for five minutes detaching your mind from the senses, you can experience the inner reality.”