Living with God is True Education - By Sanjay Sahni

Sri Sanjay Sahni with Sri Sathya Sai at Prasanthi Nilayam
Coming to Prasanthi Nilayam in 1982 was like home-coming. I remember the first day of my joining the hostel. It was the time after the evening Bhajans. I was shifting some luggage from West Prasanthi 5 to the Hotel. Those days there were no rickshaws plying on the roads as we have today. Being new to the place, I was unaware that porters were available. With great difficulty, I somehow managed to carry my holder to the bus stand. There I rested to recover my breath. Suddenly, two small boys came up to me and asked 'Brother, are you going to the hostel.' When I affirmed, they pleaded, 'Can we help you to carry your luggage till the hostel?' I was astonished. The two students did not come up to even half my height. For a few seconds, I hesitated for they were strangers to me. But then my need got the better of me and I opted for this God-sent assistance. I caught one end of the holder and the two boys its other end and together we proceeded till the Institute gates. 

There two intermediate school students met us and took over the holder from the small boys saying that the task was too heavy for them. In this way, we reached the hostel but the incident touched me deeply and has left an indelible imprint on my mind. Love is the foremost teaching of Bhagavan in this love-starved world. I have loved you and you must love each other the same way. My education at His Lotus Feet had already begun. 

Vidya or education should inculcate in the students the quality of vinaya or humility. Bhagavan's own life is His message. Once some of us students were sitting around Bhagavan along with a few devotees. The whole atmosphere was vibrant with joy as Bhagavan was enjoying materializing various things. One such creation, I vividly remember, was a unique wrist-watch powered by some divine force. The only human adjustment the watch would ever need was for correcting the time which was achieved by inserting a small pin into a hole on the sides. None of us had even imagined that such a watch could exist and were gaping at it wonder-struck Bhagavan gave the watch to a lady- teacher there, she was so overwhelmed that she kept repeating, 'Thank you, Swami'. Bhagavan unassumingly replied, 'No mention', sending all of us into raptures over this unexpected human courtesy. I have myself seen any number of people being thanked for favors given and saying in return, 'Most welcome' or 'please do not mention'. Here, was Bhagavan giving undisputed proof of His Divinity and yet not betraying even the least trace of ego in His actions. On another occasion, Bhagavan was speaking on the evils of Samsara. A devotee, who was present, perhaps unable to bear the dismal picture that Bhagavan pointed interjected saying, 'Swami, if Samsara is so bad, then why did you create it in the first place and put all of us into difficulty?' We were a little taken aback by the tone of the question. After a moment's silence, Bhagavan explained, 'Samsara is your weakness. God does not create it. What is Samsara? Samsara is nothing but desires. You desire for this and that and get bound by them. Give up desire and be free. Life plus desire is Man. Life minus desire is God.' 
Sri Sanjay Sahni with Sri Sathya Sai at the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus Hostel
God's is the state of desirelessness. Even the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations to which Bhagavan has lent His name is not for any benefit to Himself but for the devotees to uplift themselves. Bhagavan does not need the Organization to spread His message. It is our privilege to be His worthy instruments and thereby sanctify our lives. 

Life is basically a choice. Bhagavan once said, 'I have given a long rope to each one. With this you can either tie yourself to the Lotus feet (and save yourself or hang yourself (i.e. condemn yourself to another sentence of life — imprisonment).' One is born to learn how not to be born again. This alone is real education. Such an education cannot be bartered for money in any school or college. It is available to the spiritual aspirant whose sole yearning is the Divine and nothing else. Our own good actions in the past have secured for us this wonderful opportunity to join Bhagavan's college. The worldly knowledge is the bait with which He has attracted us. But His main intention is to nourish us with the soul-saving spiritual wisdom. 

A few days ago, Bhagavan was telling some students, 'Spirituality is very easy. But you are not able to give up body consciousness.' Bhagavan exhorts us to consider the body as the moving temple of God. 'Amrutasya Putrah', declare the scriptures. 'You are the children of immortality.' "Removal of immorality leads to immortality”. When the body is unpolluted by such evils as anger, lust, greed, jealousy, etc., it verily becomes the temple of God.

One of the good evidences that God is within each one of us is to hear His voice in the inner recesses of our hearts. Let me narrate a thrilling experience of a devotee by name Prithviraj. Prithviraj was travelling to Bombay and alighted in Bombay V.T. in broad daylight. As he was proceeding to the exit, to his utter astonishment, Prithviraj observed a young lad surrounded by a gang of ruffians with knives and revolvers on the railway station. A crowd had collected at a distance but none dared to intervene. The gangsters were trying to persuade the boy to undertake something. It seemed that the boy refused and did not yield. Seeing the boy’s plight, Prithviraj felt a desire to save the boy and was about to rush forward. Just then he felt a voice within, 'Don’t move. Just watch and be a witness.' He restrained himself. 

After some time, the boy seemed to have yielded. He was immediately whisked away in a taxi. Eager to follow the inner voice, Prithviraj boarded another taxi and followed the gangsters. They travelled a long distance and soon they were nearing Dharmakshetra. A furlong away from Dharmakshetra, the boy got down from the taxi and started walking briskly. He walked upto a foreign car (belonging to one of Bhagavan's devotees), took out a bunch of keys, inserted one of them into the door lock, opened it and sat inside. Prithviraj, who was observing all this, at last realized that this was a gang of car-lifters. 

After some time, it appeared that the boy wished to come out. Again, he changed his mind and started off in the car. The other gangsters followed in their taxi and close behind was Prithviraj in his car. Presently, they came to the highway and it was a clear road. Suddenly, before the very eyes of the gangsters and Prithviraj, the young lad along with his car vanished into thin air. Prithviraj was greatly perplexed. Anyway there was nothing else that he could do but go his own way. 

Sri Sathya Sai Ashram, Mumbai
A few months later, Prithviraj came to Bhagavan and was called in for interview. Bhagavan asked, "Prithviraj! how was my drama? " When Prithviraj failed to recollect, Bhagavan reminded him about the Bombay incident and narrated the latter half of the entire episode. When the young boy got into the foreign car at Dharmakshetra, Bhagavan manifested in the back-seat. Bhagavan told the youngster that if he paid heed to His words, He would save him from the gangsters. The boy was very surprised to see Bhagavan sitting in the car. But being unfamiliar to taking orders from strangers, he instead ordered Bhagavan out of the car. When Bhagavan still persisted, the boy tried to get out of the car, but found all the doors locked. Having no other alternative, he started the car and drove off. All the time Bhagavan was giving directions. Finally? the car pulled up near a house. Bhagavan came out and took the boy inside that house. It happened to be the home of a devotee couple. 'See Amma! I have brought your son back'. Bhagavan remarked. Ten years ago, on that very day, this couple lost their child in a fair. In course of time, the child fell into the hands of the gangsters who brought him up and trained him in the art of car-lifting. The mother was inconsolable and a few years later when they heard of Bhagavan and got a chance to talk to Him, she pleaded for the return of her lost son. Bhagavan promised that one day He Will Himself bring the son. That promise was dramatically fulfilled on the tenth anniversary day of the loss of the child. Thus, Prithviraj realized that the voice that he heard within at Bombay V. T. was indeed that of Bhagavan. 

In a letter to boys on Janmashtami day in 1974 Bhagavan wrote, "Come, one and all and see in Me, yourself, for I see Myself in you all. You are My life, My breath, My soul. You are My forms, all. When I love you, I love Myself; when you love yourselves, you love Me. I have separated Myself from Myself, so that I may love Myself. My beloved one’s, you are My Own Self." 
Sri Sathya Sai with Students in the Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir Interview Room
Once Swami’s body was afflicted with a strange eye-aliment for days together. The reddishness in His eyes remained. We got worried and, daily at Darshan time, we would watch His eyes to see if they had cured. A leading, eye-specialist, who was a devotee also expressed his concern to Bhagavan in our presence. One evening Bhagavan called some of us into the interview room. As soon as He sat on His chair, He asked, who are you? We did not know what to answer? Bhagavan explained, “You and I are one. My body is yours. All these days, you have been worrying about Swami’s eyes. One important point you must all note. For 60 years, I have not used even once My Powers for My own benefit. Always it has been used for the benefit of students and devotees. This ailment has come in the natural course of events and will go away naturally. But as you have been worrying about Me, I give you a solution. As you and I are one, you pray to Me that I should cure this ailment and I promise that I will give all of you happiness by fulfilling your wish the next day.

We were awe-struck at this great revelation of His Divinity and our identity with Him. Every minute that we spend at Bhagavan’s Lotus Feet is precious. For it is pregnant with some spiritual insight. Living with Bhagavan is a continuous educational experience. Eight years’ stay at the Lotus Feet have passed off like eight minutes. May we all make the best use of every minute we have with Him! Devotion has to be intermittent, uninterrupted, like the flow of oil from one vessel to another.

- Sanjay Sahni
Student (1982-1987) and Faculty Member (1987 onward)
Department of Commerce
Director of Brindavan Campus (2002-2015)
Currently, Controller of Examinations
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning

Source: Sai Vandana 1990 (65th Birthday Offering)

1 comment:

  1. Great living and life with Bhagwan.. thanks Sanjay ji. Sai ram


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