Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: God in Service of Humanity - Prof. T. N. Lakhanpal

In this age of Kali, when all norms of moral and ethical values have degenerated to the lowest and the self-reigns supreme, the God descended as Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, to rescue the mankind, to lead them into goodness, to remove their sufferings and ensure for all, life full of Ananda. The place of Lord's birth, Puttaparthi, once a little known hamlet, today is the international centre of spiritual upliftment, where devotees are drawn in endless streams towards the nectarine ocean of love — Bhagavan Baba, from all corners of the world. All pathways have been turned Sai-wards and all roads lead to Prasanthi Nilayam, where Bhagavan Baba is creating a new world order based on truth, righteousness, peace and love through selfless service to humanity. His infinite compassion for mankind has rechristened 'Kaliyuga' as 'Saiyuga.' His sayings are practical lessons in 'Sadhana through service' and in purity of thought, word and deed. His Gospel 'Manav Seva-Madhav Seva' is laying the firm foundation for realizing the latent divinity and for fostering unity in mankind through love. He has come not to a new faith, nor to disturb or destroy any faith but to confirm each one in his own faith, so that a Hindu becomes a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim and a Christian a better Christian. This is a continuation of transformation process initiated in Shirdi Avatar and shall be continued in the next-to-come Avatar — Prema Sai Avatar, as proclaimed by Bhagavan Baba. 

Manifestation of Swami's love has taken forms of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences and Sri Sathya Sai Water Projects. All these have been executed miraculously and have no precedents in the history of mankind. Swami wants not hollow speeches but sincere demonstration of love in practice. His assertion 'My life is my message' is the lamp post to guide and guard and steer us through the ocean of life. 
Sri Sathya Sai Projects
It is our good fortune that we are contemporaries of the Avatar. This merit we must have earned from many previous lives. This life will become meaningful if we get attached to the Sai mission and adopt the Sai ideals and become messengers of Sai. This is possible when we integrate the human values into our professions and practice them in daily life. 

Bhagavan Baba conveys the essence of Vedas in the simplest possible language for the comprehension of all because all scriptures have originated from Him. His magic words drenched in pure love touch the human heart and bring a change in thinking. Man becomes a human being only when he follows human values, these values instill love and love brings in transformation. 

I learnt to appreciate the inherent spirituality in biology through Swami's assertions. Though all living beings are in service of mankind, plants truly demonstrate this trait of selfless service more conspicuously than others. They provide man with all basic amenities of life: food, feed, fuel, fiber and fertilizer. They inhale the poisonous carbon dioxide exhaled by living beings and release pure oxygen for the entire creation. Is it not what Lord Shiva did during Sagar Manthan? They mutely tolerate the human wrath, reward even those who damage them following truly the dictum, 'Help Ever — Hurt Never.' This is a display of utmost sacrifice, patience, perseverance and purity. This 'Love all-Serve All' quality of theirs has been rewarded by God by granting them the unique property of self-healing. Their injuries heal through an in-built mechanism without any external aid. The unity in diversity is also best exemplified by plants and animals. The basic blocks building the entire biological kingdom are the same nucleic acids and proteins and the apparent diversity is unified through them. 

Environmental degradation and pollution is at present the topmost concern of all the sections of the society because these are threatening the very existence of man. Who is responsible for this state of affairs? Mahatma Gandhi once said that 'there is enough for everybody's need, but not enough for everybody's greed.' Today greed has overpowered the need and what we are getting in return is a reaction, reflection and resound of our own overdoing. Man must learn that all living beings in the creation are interlinked and interdependent. All organisms from microbes to higher plants are essential spokes in the wheel of creation. A small break in the chain destabilizes the cyclic process. Environmental degradation and hazards result from breaks in these cycles through over exploitation, disturbing the harmonious natural balance. The resources gifted by God are for use, not for misuse. Proper use is possible when man distinguishes between need and greed. This realization will come through 'ceiling on desires' and through proper application of power of discrimination. Discrimination is an attribute of intellect; Intellect shines in pure mind, purity comes through the practice of human values, which help us in selflessly serving the society and rise above the self. The outside pollution, therefore, prevalent in the universe, is incident to inner impurities of lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego, i.e. due to misuse of senses. Therefore, if the senses are used properly with discrimination for seeing good, listening good, thinking good, speaking good and doing good for society, the burden of desires will be lessened and the life will become a pleasant journey. This requires turning the key of mind God-wards, cleansing the inner self and automatically the outer world will become pollution free. If the 'self' improves, the family improves, the society improves, the nation improves and the world improves. But the 'charity' has to begin at home. 

Manifestation of Divine love - The Miracles: 

Bhagavan Baba is love. Love always gives and forgives. He tries to guide us to the right path through varied experiences of His Divinity. These may be miracles, dreams, or direct communications through Darshan, Sparshan and Sambhashan. What appears to us as miracles, are a part of His personality and they flow from 'Sankalpa-will' from ‘Head to Hand’, when deserving person and right moment has arrived. Sai has blessed, cured, rescued, relieved, resurrected and helped the people all these years. Those who went as sceptics came back as devotees, those who wanted to investigate got themselves re-searched. 

Miraculous powers, which are a part of His personality are too well known to be described at human level. Volumes and volumes have been written, taped and picturised on various aspects of Sai phenomenon. Dimensions of His mission are beyond human comprehension and description. Still He Provides us with opportunities to become instruments in the Divine mission which even otherwise will be accomplished because steps in the life of Avatar are pre-decided, predetermined and executed through 'Sankalpa-will.' 

Himachal Pradesh is devoted to the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan from the depth of its heart. Situated as it is in the lap of lofty snowy Himalayas, it enjoys infinite bounty of Mother Nature. In Himachal Pradesh, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation saw light of the day in early 1968. Since then it has flourished by leaps and bounds under the Divine dispensation. Ever since too, Bhagavan continues to attract and draw its people in thousands in unending stream to His Lotus Feet at Prasanthi Nilayam. Also He showered His abundant Love and Grace on them by visiting Shimla twice in quick succession in 1973 and 1975. 
Sri Sathya Sai Darshan in Shimla - 1975
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation is very active in the State. The impact of its Spiritual Service, and Educational activities is clearly visible in the entire Pradesh, including its far flung mountainous terrain. One can find Sai devotees and active workers in all fields in the State: in administration; in schools, colleges and universities; in hospitals; and in rural development institutions. All the wings of the Organisation are vigorously engaged in implementing a variety of programmes to mark the 79th year of the Advent of the Avatar. A special mention may be made of the proposal to complete a multi-faceted educational complex at a sprawling Hill in the vicinity of Shimla. 

During our first visit to Prasanthi in 1987, as casual visitors, my wife while going for Swami’s Darshan lost her nose pin near Poornachandra Hall. She was very upset, as the loss of gold is considered inauspicious. I consoled her saying that Baba might one day retrieve it for her. After almost five years Swami appeared to her in dream and invited her to celebrate her birthday (28th Feb.) in Prasanthi Nilayam. By that time we had realized the Divinity of Swami. We were very happy and thought that may be Swami would grant us an interview and bless her with her lost nose pin! 

Two days before our departure for Puttaparthi the blessed girl Anju, came to our house early in the morning with a small packet in her hand. She handed over this packet to my wife saying that Swami had given this packet for her the previous night. With trembling hands, my wife opened the packet and to our amazement there was a beautiful nose pin immersed in Vibhuti! The birthday present had arrived even before leaving for Prasanthi! Who can and how can this be explained? 

When we think in retrospect, no event in our life, small or big, has been without Swami's intervention. After 1987 this realization got stronger. Swami has and is guiding and guarding us at every step of life. Instances are too many to be described. I will narrate just one incident which tells how He, the knower of our past, present and future, is concerned with our welfare and protects us. In July 1997, ten years after my first visit to Puttaparthi, Swami blessed me with Darshan, Sparshan and Sambhasan. He talked to me invariably for the whole duration of my stay, educating and explaining to me the meaning of Disease, Pollution, Hinduism, Humanity and History. On July 2nd 1997, (the birthday of my daughter studying at Prasanthi) He came towards me at around 5.15 pm just before the evening Bhajans and enquired, 'When are you leaving' but immediately asked again, 'Are you coming back? When are you coming back'? I replied, 'Swami I am leaving tonight and will be coming back on 14th.’ Nobody else knew this programme of mine. I had long back reserved the tickets for attending the Youth Conference. He repeated the question a number of times. Then He said expressing concern, ‘Oh! Leaving tonight’, moved a step back and further said 'Have some Prasadam,' waved the Divine Hand and produced a diamond studded gold ring, and slipped the 'perfect fit' into my finger. Everything happened in a fraction and unexpectedly but I was overwhelmed with bliss.

This is one part of the Divine Play. I came back with my son to attend the youth conference for 15-17th July 1997. To spend some more time in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, I postponed my return to 25th July from 20th July. Swami did not talk to me during these days. On 25th night we boarded Karnataka Express for New Delhi. Our bogie was S-12, the last sleeper coach. On 26th July, when the train arrived at Bhusawal, the train was diverted via Baroda as a portion of railway line at Khandwa was submerged. The engine was changed, our bogie from S-12, became S-1 with only 4-5 compartments ahead. The train was running late by almost twelve hours. At around 1O pm when the train was passing at a great speed, the Faridabad Township in Haryana, we were preparing for getting down soon, suddenly there was a big loud thud, creak and our bogie derailed but stopped as such. We witnessed one of the worst accidents in the history of the Indian railway. The scene outside horrible, terrifying and breathtaking. All the compartments ahead of our bogie were badly crushed and shattered and people entrapped inside were crying and shrieking. Engine of our train had hit another train that had slowly moved out of Faridabad a little while ago on the same track. It had hit the rear of the other train with such great momentum that the engine climbed up a few bogies of the train, got detached and the driver could realise the detachment only after moving a few kilometers ahead. Our bogie was last to be derailed but there was no damage caused. Other bogies in front were so badly damaged that injured and dead had to be extricated with great difficulty. Swami had foreseen the event and provided me with a protective cover of the diamond ring. A mere miracle that it seemed to be on 2nd July turned into a 'life saving miracle.' 

Prof. Lakhanpal receiving a ring
from Sri Sathya Sai
Swami's miracles are means to inspire the human to seek Divinity and become instrumental in spreading His message of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa. Swami expects us all to realize His omnipresence and follow His command with a feeling of full surrender. This is not an ordinary event to be a contemporary of "Avatar." Therefore, we all should learn from Swami's life and try to transform ourselves according to His will and His message. Swami says 'My Life is Aly Message' but then He also says 'your life is my message.' We become His messengers only when we imbibe His teachings in daily life, cast off ego, develop a sense of respect for the entire humanity and engage in service to society. Only prayers to Him and surrender at His Lotus Feet can transform us into Sai messengers, worthy of association with His Mission.

- Prof. T. N. Lakhanpal
Visiting Faculty, Department of Biosciences
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning

Prasanthi Nilayam Campus;
Former Director
Institute of Integrated Himalayan Studies
Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla

Source: Sai Vandana 2005

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