|Akshay Kamath receiving MBA Gold Medal from Sri Sathya Sai - November 22, 2010, SSSIHL Convocation|
I remember sitting in the Sai Kulwant Hall around ten years ago with some of my classmates, holding letters, asking the Lord of the Universe whether they should choose Mathematics or Physics or Biology or Business Science as a major for their graduation. It was a beautiful gesture of surrender to plot one’s forty years of long career on one word of His. The lovelier part would come from Swami Himself, as He would carefully enquire about their marks and inclination to give a Divine, yet a seemingly logical human decision. Even though Swami is no longer with us on the physical plane to make our decisions, He sits as a silent spectator watching us make decisions, taking guidance from our own conscience. We all play our roles in society today, propelling our actions on promptings of our mind and intellect, ignoring the tiny voice of our conscience. Every action of people affects them differently, making them happy or sad. We work for corporations that may induce consumerism and competition in society. Our work hours limit our participation in His activities and by the end of the week we are too burnt out, even to think of crossing the gate of our houses. The end result is guilt, dissatisfaction and feeling a million miles away from the resident of our own Heart.
Simple statements made by the Lord a million times across His sojourn on Earth – “Love All, Serve All”, “Help Ever, Hurt Never” suddenly seem mammoth and unreachable. The one I propose and am trying my level best to practice is tied around the title of this offering – only He matters. In this organization called ‘Life Unlimited’, we always have a choice to work in a super flat hierarchy – where you report directly to one Boss, our Lord and Master. Every role we play is His Will, every act under that role, irrespective of human reaction, is reported to Him and with that our actual performance appraisal at the end is directly from Him. How do we apply here?
Being a student in Swami’s University has many blessings, but one that I cherish is that there is always a story, analogy or experience which we can tap into and find an answer to our daily dilemmas. Swami used to say, “Learn to be like a dog and not as a cat”. Now has our condition become so sad that we need to tap into our pet’s existence to modify ours? Yes. Swami used to say that a dog is faithful only to his Master, while the cat is faithful to the House. Similarly, wherever we may be in the world, we never need to complain that I miss my home, or my Sai Centre, or even Prasanthi Nilayam. We carry our Master’s message in our hearts and that is enough to propel our actions. In the corporate world also, it pays to stay loyal to one’s work culture, one’s professional integrity and one’s ethics. If we stay attached to them, rather than one’s organization, or boss or profile, progress is guaranteed.
Two characters from the Mahabharat, Yudhishtira and Duryodhana were once asked to go around their city. Yudhishtira was asked to find one bad human being and bring him to the palace and Duryodhana was asked to find one good human across the city and get him. They were out the entire day and at the end both returned with no significant result. When asked the reason, Yudhishtira said, “My Lord, I searched everywhere and did not find one bad person”, while Duryodhana said, “I searched everywhere and could not find one good person”.
Swami says every human being looks at the same world differently as he/she has put on different coloured glasses to look at the same world. The scriptures say “Ekam Sat, Vipraaha Bahuda Vadanti” – the Truth is one, people speak it differently. What I am trying to emphasise here is the need to filter feedback on every action of ours. Externally, no action will ever please everyone or sadden everyone. Internally, an action that pleases the mind may be frowned by the intellect and vice versa.
|Akshay Kamath in the Convocation Drama 2007; |
Seen in last row with a long beard as the Shahenshah Taneshah
Having been blessed by Swami to act in dramas in His Divine presence, I always wanted to improve my performance by asking my co-actors to provide me feedback. One day, I requested 25 participants to give their observations. Five of them said that it was the best they had seen of me so far, while three to four of them said that it was the most disappointing performance ever, while the rest of them remained neutral.
I was completely lost! It was then that one of our teachers saw this and asked me to approach only two or three people whose feedback I felt would be really valuable and then within a few days to stop that also, and be my own judge.
It is in this premise that our Lord’s immortal promise in the Gita comes useful:
“Sarva Dharmaan Parityajya, Maam Ekam Sharanam Vraja” – ‘Act, don’t stop acting, but offer it to Me completely and to Me alone’. We are the best judge of our own actions, and we will listen to our inner self when we shut the external noise of praise and prejudice. My struggle to work on the two concepts proposed continues every moment, first to be attached to Him alone, and second to move away from this continuous urge to seek confirmation of every action from the world as I see it. After two such bouncers, the Lord decides to throw a tricky leg spinner, which tests the final line of defence in this game of life.
Jaya and Vijaya were the guards appointed by Lord Vishnu at Vaikuntha, the Divine abode. One day when they did not allow the holy sages to enter the Lord’s abode, they were cursed to take three births as demons across eons of time. Lord Vishnu told them that though He had the power to nullify the curse, He wished that they should take these demonic forms as the Lord’s opposition, which He would vanquish as an Avatar on the earth and they agreed to take demonic forms like Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashyap, Ravana and Kumbhakarna, Dantavakra and Shishupala which are the most despised roles in all Indian mythology.
Mother Kaikeyi was a noble soul who knew Rama’s Divinity but wished that King Dasharatha could also have the same realisation, as he was always lost in her physical beauty despite having the Lord of the universe as his son. Lord Rama instructed her that for the sake of the king’s liberation, she would have to play a role that would be despised by generations to come. She agreed and played the drama of wanting Rama to be banished in such a way that Dasharatha craved for Rama in his final moments and was liberated.
|Akshay Kamath in the Sports Meet Drama 2009; |
Seen in the last with the tall crown as Duryodhan
Arjuna and Karna were engaged in a fierce battle until Karna’s wheel got stuck in the ground and as he was trying to pull it out, Arjuna stopped shooting arrows as Karna was unarmed. At that moment, the Lord directed him to kill Karna, as he deserved the same for his misdeeds. The Lord knew that it was Adharma (unrighteous) for Arjuna to kill his unarmed brother, but Arjuna fired the arrow in total obedience. Bhagavan says, “If you take one step towards Me, I will take care of the rest”. This statement is not just an incentive but an opportunity to prove to Him that Only HE Matters.
- Akshay Kamath
Student (2005-2010), Faculty of Management and Commerce
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Currently, Group Manager (Finance), WNS Global Services SA Pty Ltd,
Source: Sai Nandana 2015 (90th Birthday Offering)