Sai Baba and His Mahavakya of Leadership - By Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Dr. M.L.Chibber

After knowing Baba for a quarter of a century, what is it that this old body can share with the reader? He is a phenomenon the like of which has not visited this planet ever before. Why this conclusion? Two experiences may help explain this conviction.

During one of the earlier visits to Parthi, He called us, along with a small group, for an interview. As we sat down He scouted a stainless steel ring with His portrait, on my finger. “Where did you get that?” he enquired. “From the market Baba,” I responded. “How much did you pay for it?” “One rupee” I replied. He asked for it, held it for a few seconds. It became a silver ring, and He gave it back to me.

Mrs. Chibber was sitting close to Him on the ladies’ side. The moment I took back the ring, she sat up and said, “Baba, you are very partial to men! I was the one who brought him here. Last time you gave him a medallion to protect him. He wears it around his neck. Today you have converted his useless steel ring into silver ring, but you have done nothing for me”. She then started pulling out her wedding ring from her hand. Baba raised His hand and just said, “Wait, wait, wait”. 

A while later he took us to the inner interview room for an audience. As we sat down at His feet, He put His hand on Mrs. Chibber’s head and said, ”I have already made you a Sumangali. Why do you want these little trinkets?” I had no idea what Sumangali meant but it quietened her down. I was happy that she was at peace. We came out after a while and I forgot all about it. 

The next day I was waiting in the darshan line with a senior devotee in front of me. “How was the interview yesterday”, he enquired. I suddenly remembered the Sanskrit word Baba had used and responded. “It was good, but what is the meaning of Sumangali?” He laughed and said “why do you ask?” I narrated the whole story. He then patiently explained. “The word indicates that Baba has blessed your wife that she will not become a widow. It means, my friend, that He has postponed your going up!” and he laughed again. It was then that I remembered numerous incidents when, in wars, I would have been blown to pieces but the bombs did not explode. On Siachen Glacier the enemy missile fired at my slow flying helicopter missed the target. I stood still in awe at the way Baba, like a loving father, had put His hand on Mrs. Chibber’s head and explained what He had done for her. I then realised that such lucky coincidences occur when God wants to stay anonymous! I silently touched Baba’s medallion hanging around my neck.

Lt. Gen. M.L.Chibber (right) with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at Leh, near Siachen Glacier

Time rolled on. After retiring from the Army I was appointed as the Director of the Management Development Institute at Delhi. Besides, I got involved in teaching in the leadership course for the MBA class at the Sai University. Significantly, it is the only university in the whole world where the MBA programme has an obligatory three credit course on Leadership in the syllabus. It was then that a great privilege was showered by the Lord. This body became the scribe for His book ‘Sai Baba’s Mahavakya on Leadership’. Stretched over several months, He revealed the key components of the book. He would often call a few of the MBA faculty and some senior students and then ask us questions, listen to us patiently and finely articulate the nuggets. These, recorded in the book, form its structure. None of us, at that stage, had an inkling that, eventually, the Mahavakya will be translated into ten major languages of the world: American English, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Russian, Sinhalese and Spanish. Nor did we become aware, till a few years ago, that it is the only book, among over a thousand inspired by Him, for which He has written a Foreword with His divine hand. Not only that, but He also wrote the Afterword. Obviously, effective leaders are going to play a major role in His mission of moving mankind to a new age; He calls it the Vishwa Parishad (a global civilization). 

A brief description of the day the actual Mahavakya was articulated will give the reader a flavour of how Baba guided the inputs. There were about nine of us sitting at His feet. He asked a simple question, “What is leadership?” One by one we blabbered. A few of us spoke at length, some very briefly. He sat patiently, listening to what we had to say. We spoke for over half an hour. He then explained leadership in just five seconds flat, “Leadership is TO BE, TO DO, TO SEE and TO TELL”. The session was over.

Once the basic draft of the book was ready, He created an opportunity for this scribe to present the concept in Europe and the USA. It was well received but there is a bit of His Omnipresence that needs sharing with the reader. At the University of Illinois in the USA where a presentation was to be made, this scribe came across, the then best selling book by Stephen Covey, titled ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’. While reading it, the page 46 rang a bell. There, the author records that the basis of the book is an ancient maxim and quotes a part of it. He does not mention the source. I, of course, knew that it is from India. This scribe was thrilled and decided to show the discovery to Baba. We were back at the Ashram a few days before birthday of Baba in 1991.

Day after day, this scribe sat for darshan and raised Covey’s book whenever Baba passed by. He ignored it. There was disappointment but the book was still with me during every Darshan. A few days before the Sai University annual convocation, Baba summoned Mrs. Chibber and me for an interview. There was a thick marker on page 46. When we went to the inner interview room, I opened the book, but Baba just brushed it aside! He bantered for a while with (Dr.) Mrs. Chibber about how doctors are very difficult patients! When he finally spoke to me there was no chance even to slip in my great discovery! So be it Baba and all was forgotten. 

Two days later the University Convocation was held. Prime Minister Narasimha Rao was the Chief Guest. At the end of the function Baba gave His Discourse. As usual He spoke in Telugu and Prof. Nanjundaiah translated it into English. Towards the end there was a long pause. We all sat up and focused our eyes on Baba. He broke out into slow and deliberate English. I nearly jumped out of my seat with a start. Can you guess what He was saying? Precisely the maxim, the great discovery by this scribe that I was so desperately trying to show to Him. With folded hands and tears in my eyes I realized that, foolishly, I was trying to show the maxim to its very author. The maxim is: “Take care of your thoughts. Then actions will take care of themselves. Actions follow thoughts. You sow an action and reap a tendency. You sow a tendency and reap a habit. You sow a habit and reap your character. You sow your character and reap your destiny. Therefore, destiny is your own creation. If you change your habits you can be master of your destiny.”

Sri Sathya Sai addressing the SSSIHL Convocation on November 22, 1991

Baba then went on to add what is NOT in the original Upanishadic maxim, “The key for the change is also given to you - The mind. Turn the mind outwards you stay locked to the seen world. You turn the mind inwards, the door to your reality opens up”. Regrettably, this scribe did not fully comprehend what is our destiny. Many years later an inseparable friend named Akbar shared with this scribe the meaning of our destiny. It is to be constantly aware that I am I. Anyone who wishes to understand the meaning of this single scientific reality will do well to read the Ashram book titled Sai Baba’s Teachings on Direct Flight to Divinity. Nine devotees, calling themselves Atoms of Sai (Sai Anoos), have written this small book, typed and edited in the USA. It was published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publication Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam. All those who wish to fully grasp the highest teaching of Baba, and wish to reprogramme themselves to participate in moving mankind to Vishwa Parishad (Global Civilization) will do well to get on board the Direct flight.

The gist of this scientific reality is very simple. In the Theory of Everything (TOE, the ultimate search of scientists) Baba has explained the Vedic heritage in scientific idiom. The Vedic name of God, Sat Chit Anand, means His Energy–Consciousness-Bliss. These three are as inseparable as wetness-liquidity-transparency of pure water. Only about one cubic centimeter of His Energy (zero-point energy) was converted with a big bang to manifest the Universe. The recently captured actual sound of the big-bang, indicates that it was a big Hummmm - the Vedic Aummmm! Similarly, it now appears that light is the visible facet of consciousness (Chit). All this is integral to Einstein’s equation: E=mc2 (Energy = mass x speed of light squared).

(From Science to God, by Dr Peter Russel, New World Library USA, 2003)

The truth about all the miracles that Baba performs was conveyed by Him to Akbar thus, “I WILL AND IT HAPPENS”! That is how my steel ring changed into silver. On a later occasion it was changed into gold when Baba loaded Dr. (Mrs) Chibber with gold and diamond goodies.

About the Author:

Lt. Gen. (Retd) Dr. M. L. Chibber retired from India's Armed Forces after a long distinguished career and was awarded PVSM and AVSM for his outstanding distinguished services to the country. Later he was the Chief Executive of Management Development Institute, New Delhi till January 1990. He has been a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow and a member of the Academic Council of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. Has a number of publications and research work to his credit- including the book “How to be a Successful Leader” and "The Mahavakya of Leadership".

Source: Sai Sparshan 2005 

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