Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A shower of wisdom from Sri Sathya Sai during Ramadan.

This article is definitely a stand alone one in terms of its content. But it is actually a continuation of an interview that Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) granted to the students during the Ramadan of 2006. You can catch the first part at

If you have already read the first part, you will surely enjoy this second part.

Non-vegetarian food

Presently, Swami got a twinkling shine in the eye. It was evident that He was going to pull someone’s legs. He looked at little Sathya, a Muslim boy from Iran, seated in the front and asked him,
“Do you eat meat? What meat do you prefer.... (the boy was nodding - No) Tell me....Mutton or fish?”
The boy did not say anything. But he was putting his head down.
“What about your parents? Do they eat meat?”
Now Sathya answered, “Swami, they gave up eating meat more than 4 years ago...”
“Only 4 years? What measure is four years in a lifetime? Good that you do not eat. You chant Vedas so well, how can you eat meat?”

At this point, I remembered the thousands of arguments for and against non-vegetarianism. Whatever be the dominant argument, Swami has made it clear on several occasions that meat-eating is an absolute no-no for any spiritual aspirant. One cannot progress spiritually if one consumes non-vegetarian food. 

In fact, during the 69th Birthday, on November 1994, Swami delivered a discourse in which He exhorted every spiritual aspirant (devotee) to give up three things - meat eating, alcohol drinking and smoking. He said,
Feeding His dear deer in Brindavan.
Today, let it be anyone, whether one deems himself a devotee or not, he should give up meat eating. Why? meat eating promotes only animal qualities. It has been well said that the food one consumes determines one's thoughts. By eating the flesh of various animals, the qualities of these animals are imbibed. How sinful is it to feed on animals, which are sustained by the same five elements as human beings! This leads to demonic tendencies, besides committing the sin of inflicting cruelty on animals. Hence, those who genuinely seek to become devotees of God have to give up non-vegetarian food. Calling themselves Sai devotees or devotees of Rama and Krishna, they fatten the chickens. How can they be deemed Sai devotees? How can God accept such a person as a devotee? Therefore, whether they are devotees in India or outside, they should give up from this instant meat eating. Therefore, those who aspire to become devotees of God must give up meat, liquor and smoking.

Swami continued to speak.
“Fish is Matsya (the first in the Dasha Avatar of Lord Vishnu). How can you eat God?”
From there, Swami took the conversation into a new dimension.

“See, when the child is in the womb as the embryo, it is like a fish swimming in the fluid. (Matsya). Then, the fluid slowly dries up and the embryo moves to the tortoise stage (Koorma). Slowly, it takes the shape of a boar which is Varaha. When the delivery takes place, the little human comes out. That is Vamana. Like Vamana, you too must grow such that you cover the entire three worlds. Then alone will human life find its meaning and purpose.”
Jagadish spoke up on behalf of all of us,
“Swami, we never knew this or even thought of it in this manner till you told us.”
My thoughts on the same have been recorded in a separate article entitled - Theory for evolution: The Dashavatar.

Practical wisdom

All of us seated there were simply lost in the beauty of what Swami was telling. Taking the conversation to a more personal level, Swami began to speak to different students. He asked Swaminathan Aiyer,
“What is your role in the drama?”
“Swami, I am a soldier.”
“Why are you having such a moustache and beard?”
“Muslim soldier Swami... That is why.”
It was clear that Swami did not like this kind of ‘stereotyping’. Immediately, He responded,
“Ay! Why such distinction? Is there anything like a Hindu soldier and a Muslim soldier? Whatever be the soldier, the soul is one. Soul is fixed and steady.”

Swami asked Gururaja,
“What is your role?”
“Swami, I am a minister...”
A small frown came on Swami’s face.
“Why is it that everyone today wants to be a minister? If not a minister, they want to be at least an MLA or an MP...”
(Even today, that is the case. I remembered the many occasions where Swami has stressed that a true leader does not clamour after power. He clamours after opportunities to serve.)

Omnipresence, Omnipotence, Omniscience

Lokesh was seated to one side wearing an emperor’s costume. Swami asked him,
“What is your name?”
“My name is Lokesh, Swami.”
“When did you grow a beard?”
“Swami, I have borrowed this beard from the costumes department of the hostel.”
As Swami was looking into Lokesh’s eyes, Syed Babjan volunteered to tell Swami,
“Swami this boy comes...”
Swami cut him and said,
“He comes from Dubai. I know.” All of us smiled.
(How many times it happens that while speaking with Swami, we forget who He is. We are so busy ‘informing’ Him and ‘seeking from’ Him that we forget who He is! Thankfully, He parts the veil now and then to reveal His majesty and we are in awe. But soon after that, He again draws back the veil.)

And perfectly drawing back the veil, Swami began to ask different students about where they came from. The various cities, towns and villages were named. I was also hoping to be asked. But Swami did not. Instead, He gave me a sort of ‘opening’. He said,
“Are there none from Puttaparthi here?”
Immediately, my hand shot up. I said,
“Swami, I am from Puttaparthi.” Swami smiled. He told everyone,
“This boy was born in Puttaparthi. He studied in Puttaparthi and he grew up in Puttaparthi.”
(On first look, that statement looks like it is filled with errors. But then, I can cross my heart and say that my ‘life’ truly began only after I came to know of Swami and came to Puttaparthi. What a difference He has made in my life! As for my ‘growth’ who can know better than Him?)
I was not satisfied with what Swami said. I added,
“Swami, I want to be in Puttaparthi always.”
Swami nodded to say yes.
“You will be in Puttaparthi always.”
That was 2006. This is 2013. I am in Puttaparthi and am grateful for that statement that Swami made.

The Master and His pupils.

Lessons in selflessness

“Swami, be like this always... Talking to us in this manner.”
“What about the others then?” Swami asked.
(He is very quick to pick on selfishness - even trace amounts of it!)
“Swami keep all of us near and dear to you.”
“Today, you are near. Tomorrow, you may be far. Nearness and distance are not important. What is the most important is your heart. God is always in your heart. Enshrine and treasure Him there.”
Amey did not give up, “Okay Swami. But keep us near and dear to you.”
Swami smiled, “Yes. Always... forever.”

The conversation had become quite ‘casual’ now. Rangantha Raju got up and said,
“Swami, one wish. Please fulfill that.”
Swami egged him on and he continued,
“Swami, till now, you have made us walk. We want you to also walk Swami! (in tears now) Swami, please walk. We cannot see you in pain. We want you happy.”
Many others began to cry. I felt a few hot tears stream down my left cheek. It had been almost 3 years since Swami had broken His hip bone and had not cured Himself.
Swami also almost broke down and replied.
“I am not in pain Bangaroo. I am always happy. It is only when His children are sad that He is sad.“
Raju continued, “Swami, but we are sad and pained to see you.”
“Is that not selfishness? You want me to do something for your happiness? I am not sad. I am happy.”
“Swami, that is our selfishness - not yours. No problem.”
“There is nothing like your or my selfishness. Selfishness is selfishness.
Amey stepped in,
“Swami, please make us walk on Your path.”
Swami smiled and nodded. That was true Padasevanam as Swami had already taught on a previous occasion.

The session continued.

...Ready to go to the next part? It is here:

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  1. Beautifully narrated , the inner meaning of the evolution of man through Dasavathara is really eye opening , hope these information also flow to all such as explaining to children during balvikas etc.

    1. The pearls that we gather from our memory only show us how Swami has been scattering pearls before all of us throughout.... We just have to wake up to them! :)

      Thank you.

  2. Sai Ram, these words are so precious, Aravind... Thank you very much to share it with us!
    Did you listen Swami says that eggs are not vegetarian food ?
    I know that in the Ashram there aren't... Om Sai Ram

  3. Thank you brother for sharing these intimate moments with Swami. How much closer we all can feel with these beautiful narratives, and find personal meanings in every statement of His.

  4. Om sai ram and thanks so much for this words dear Aravind. For all this inspiring story is a Divine Darshan and your is a great Seva. Swami bless you for Ever! Om sai ram, Richard

  5. I had some christians argue that while Jesus served fish, how can Baba say a different thing? So I want to know if you know of anything in the Bible or Quran that cautions against non-vegetarian food.I will be happy to hear some thing in the affirmative

    1. I do not know anything from the Bible or Quran.

      However, I would like to share some of my thoughts here. Swami speaks about "Desha, Kala and Paristithi - Place, Time and Situation." On many occasions, He cautions people against blindly imitating or following what others say because "their place, time and situation is different".

      For instance, someone asked me - "What about eskimos? They live in snow-filled areas where only meat can be food because nothing else grows?"
      My answer would be - "Fine! But does that justify meat-eating by people who have access to super-markets?"

      Some regions in the world are such that nothing grows naturally there and meat is the natural food there. But today, meat is 'grown' in all places on earth and the animals are in such inhumane conditions too at times. Saying that Jesus gave fish to his people, I feel, is like saying, "Eskimos have to eat meat because they have no other option available. So I too will eat."

      Proper understanding the "Desha, Kala and Paristithi" of Jesus' act alone can resolve the issue...

  6. Very inspiring.

  7. bless you and thank you for sharing... beautiful, just beautiful


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