DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO SERVE SOCIETY
All your education,
all your positions of authority, all your acts of charity
and service have little value without the four virtues of
Sathya, Dharma, Prema and Santhi (truth, righteousness, love
and peace). (Telugu
You are all forgetting the purpose for which you
have come into this world. Wherever you are, you must remember
three things, namely, Where did we come from? Where are we
at present? and what is the purpose of your coming here? Supposing
you are dropping an envelope or letter in a post box, it should
have the “From” address and “To” address
written thereon. If these two addresses are not written, where
will the envelope or letter go? It will go to the “dead
letter office”. Similarly, you are in the world now
without these two addresses. You can very well imagine what
will happen to such an individual. You must therefore find
out yourself an answer at least for one of the three questions.
Otherwise, your life itself will become a waste.
Here is a small story. The business people in the delta areas
of East and West Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh cross
the river on boats. Once, a businessman was travelling in
a boat. There was no one else in the boat except himself and
the boatman. Usually, people would like to engage themselves
in conversation with somebody during travel in order to forget
the tedium of the journey. Therefore, he started a conversation
with the boatman to while away the time. He asked the boatman,
“Do you have a newspaper?” The boatman replied,
“Sir! I don’t have a newspaper. I cannot read
and write.” To this, the businessman commented, “Alas!
If you cannot read and write, one quarter of your life is
consigned to the waters of Ganga.” The boatman felt
sorry for his pitiable condition and kept quiet. After a few
minutes, the businessman enquired again, “My dear! Do
you know the present prices of gold and silver in the Bombay
market?” The boatman replied, “Sir! I do not have
any experience in gold business. Hence, I do not know the
prices of gold and silver in the Bombay market.” Then
the businessman commented, “If you do not know about
gold business, half of your life is consigned to the waters
of Ganga*.” The conversation continued. Observing the
wrist watch worn by the boatman, the businessman again enquired,
“My dear! What is the time now?” Though the poor
boatman had a watch on his wrist, he did not know how to read
a watch. The businessman again asked, “Why then did
you wear a wrist watch?” The boatman replied, “Though
one does not know how to read a watch, it is a fashion nowadays
to wear a wrist watch. That is why I am wearing one.”
Then, the businessman commented, “If you do not know
even to tell the time from a wrist watch, then three-fourths
of your life is consigned to the Ganga.” Meanwhile,
a gale started with great force raising high waves in the
river. The boat started tossing up and down and became unsteady.
The boatman then asked the businessman, “Sir! By the
way do you know swimming?” The businessman replied,
“Alas! I do not know swimming.” Now it was the
turn of the boatman to comment, “Then, your entire life
is about to be consigned to the waters of Ganga.”
Today, we are all in the same situation and are tossed in
the river of this world. But, unfortunately we are not making
any effort to know why we are here, what have we to learn
in this world, where do we have to go and by knowing what
we could reach there, etc. Thus, by being ignorant of these
aspects, our entire life is being consigned to the Ganga.
Therefore, we have to first try to find out answers to the
queries of: Why have we come here? What are we supposed to
know? and Where do we go from here? If we are not able to
know the answer to at least one of these queries, our life’s
journey will be without a purpose. It is only when we are
aware of the “From” address, “To”
address and the “present resident” address, our
life will be meaningful and sanctified.
Dr. Michael Goldstein (Chairman, Prasanthi Council and
a devotee of Swami) and his wife visit Puttaparthi often.
When I was going to the college one day, he approached Me
and requested, “Swami, if You kindly permit me, I will
accompany You to the college.” I told him to come. While
we were travelling in the car, I asked Mr. Goldstein, “What
is your programme?” He replied, “Swami, I have
to start my journey back home today.” Then I advised
him not to leave on that day. He again told Me, “Swami,
I shall go today, but I shall take the next day’s flight
from Bombay. “Thereupon I told him firmly, “You
do not talk to Me about all those things. If I say don’t
go, it is final.” Goldstein could not realise that his
life itself would be in great danger if he decided to start
on the same day. At last I told him, “Okay, you can
go, if you so wish.” Then he returned to his room, packed
up his luggage for the Bombay flight. Thereafter, he boarded
the plane for USA. Soon after the plane took off, it was realised
that there were some hijackers in the plane. The entire atmosphere
in the aircraft was extremely tense. Two hijackers stood guard
at the entrance. Another two were roaming about in the aircraft
with fully loaded guns pointed at the passengers. It is then
that Goldstein realised why Swami wanted him not to board
the aircraft on that particular day. He could not do anything
in the situation and was praying to Swami as his sole refuge.
His wife is a great devotee of Swami. She started chanting
Swami’s Name, “Sai Ram, Sai Ram, Sai Ram”.
When the aircraft gained some altitude, the hijackers started
shooting the passengers. The passengers were struck with terror
not knowing what to do. As the hijackers opened fire, the
aircraft was strewn with dead bodies. He and his wife were
seated on the front portion of the aircraft. The hijackers
started shooting the passengers around them. They thought
it would be their turn next. Goldstein then told his wife,
“Swami advised me not to start on this day, but I did
not follow Swami’s instruction completely and that is
why we are in this situation.” Meanwhile, one hijacker
set his eyes on the couple. Goldstein’s wife, however,
had been chanting the Name of Swami incessantly forgetting
everything. The chanting of Swami’s Name worked wonders
and Goldstein’s wife was spared. Goldstein then got
up and stood at the entrance of the aircraft. The hijackers,
however, could not notice him even though he was such a hefty
person. Thus, the life of Goldstein was saved by Swami’grace.
They remained on the plane as hostages for a long time without
food, water and sleep. They were very much depressed. Goldstein’s
wife has intense devotion for Swami. Normally women are more
devoted than men. It is not that men do not have devotion,
but they do not show it outwardly. Goldstein’s wife
advised him, “You do not worry, contemplate on Swami.”
At this point the hijackers began to shoot men, women and
children mercilessly. Goldstein and his wife, however, continued
to pray to Swami, “Sai Ram, Sai Ram, Sai Ram”.
They silently prayed to Swami closing their eyes. In the meantime,
all the ammunition in the guns of the hijackers was exhausted.
The police caught the hijackers. Goldstein and his wife were
released and put on board on another aircraft bound for America.
However, the ordeal that they underwent continued to haunt
them. After a few days, the police came to enquire about the
incident. Goldstein was offered some compensation, but he
did not accept it. After two or three months, Goldstein again
came to Puttaparthi and had Swami’s Darshan. Now he
realised through his own experience that he need not fear
anything under any circumstances if he did Namasmarana (chanting
of God’s Name). After he had Swami’s Darshan,
calmness was restored in him. From then on, when Swami would
enquire about his return journey he would leave it to the
Lord’s Will. He realised that it would be better to
leave the matter in Swami’s hands. From then on Goldstein
developed unshakeable faith in the words of Swami and stood
firmly by them.
People today are unable to realise from where they came
and where they would go. It is only after people have undergone
such experiences that they realise the strength of faith.
They have come into this world and somehow spend their time.
When someone questions them how they spend their time, they
reply that they have come into this world for enjoying food
and comfortable sleep. However, it should be understood that
man has taken birth in this world not merely for enjoying
food and drink. The same truth has been explained by Adi Sankara
in his famous Bhaja Govindam song thus:
Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam
Govindam Bhaja Moodha Mathe
Samprapthe Sannihithe Kale
Nahi Nahi Rakshati Dukrun Karane
(Oh foolish man, chant the name of Govinda; the rules of grammar
will not come to your rescue when the end approaches.)
When people are questioned why the human birth was given to
them, most of them would reply that it was for Khana (food),
Peena (drink), Sona (sleep) and Marna (death). This assumption
is totally incorrect. There are several things in life that
one has to achieve. The purpose of a human birth is not for
enjoying food and comforts. It is not even for pursuing education.
The purpose of human birth is totally different and the people
have forgotten it. You have to fulfil your life and sanctify
your birth. The body comes, grows and dies, and finally undergoes
decay. Before the body dies, one has to fulfil the purpose
for which he has come into this world.
Embodiments of Love!
There will be several trials and tribulations in the journey
of life. One has to acquire the power by which he can courageously
encounter them. That is the power of spirituality. One should
not become diffident and withdraw from his effort in the middle.
In this Bhavasagara (ocean of life), there will of course
be, turbulent waves which will toss your boat up and down.
Punarapi Jananam Punarapi Maranam
Punarapi Janani Jathare Sayanam
Iha Samsare Bahu Dustare
Kripayapare Pahi Murare.
(Oh Lord! I am caught up in this cycle of birth and death;
time and again, I am experiencing the agony of staying in
the mother’s womb. It is very difficult to cross this
ocean of worldly life. Please take me across this ocean and
grant me liberation.)
The purpose of human birth is not to be born again and again
from the womb of the mother, spend the life aimlessly and
finally depart from this world. There is a specific purpose
why one is born in this world. Therefore, one has to realise
the purpose and sanctify his life. Our education, our work
and the money we earn, all these must be spent in a purposeful
way. The students of the present-day are pursuing education
to make a living. They are acquiring degrees with the sole
purpose of earning money. What is so great about struggling
for filling one’s own belly? Even dogs and foxes fill
their bellies. You might have observed in the circus that
even the monkeys learn several types of feats and display
them. You, who are born as human beings should not behave
like dogs, foxes and monkeys. If you do so, of what use is
your education? The education you acquire must be put to proper
use. Only then will it become meaningful and will give strength
to your personality. The purpose of your life is not merely
pursuing education and acquiring degrees. Of course, you may
study, but it is not enough if you simply study for acquiring
Can you call all those who know
how to read and write educated?
Can one be called educated merely by acquiring degrees?
Can you call it education which does not confer virtues?
It is only when you keep education for both life and for living
as your goal, your education will be meaningful. Therefore,
every human being must keep the purpose of life in view. Of
what use is it, if you exult in your success thinking, “I
have passed MBA; I have acquired several degrees.” Those
degrees must be put to proper use. Only a human being has
the power to realise the purpose of his life. If one is satisfied
thinking, “I am born, I am educated, I earned money,
I have sufficient bank balance, I have got my children educated
and sent them for higher education to foreign countries”,
that is not the sole purpose of life. You should never forget
the purpose why you were born in this world. Unfortunately,
today, you have forgotten the purpose of your life and are
indulging in futile activities. As long as you live you must
experience peace until your last breath. You should attain
true and eternal bliss.
Mahatma Gandhi went to London and was conferred with the degree
of Bar-at-Law. He wished to fulfil his life by utilising his
education in the service of society. Therefore, after his
return to his motherland, he joined the Indian National Congress.
He sacrificed his entire life for achieving Independence for
the country. He started wearing a simple dhoti and a piece
of cloth to cover the upper portion of his body. He underwent
several difficulties in the north Indian States during the
freedom struggle. He was beaten by the police with lathis
(baton) in Lucknow. However, in spite of undergoing several
difficulties and physical torture at the hands of the police,
he did not give up his resolve to attain Independence for
the country. He started practising Law. Even then, his life
did not go smoothly. He joined the Independence movement on
behalf of the Indian National Congress and underwent great
torture at the hands of the British. Nevertheless, he did
not lose heart. His wife Kasturba was a noble lady. She always
served her husband with great devotion, even when Gandhi was
in jail. Simultaneously, she was also engaged in service to
the country. It is only her spirit of service that protected
her throughout. During the days of their involvement in the
Independence movement, there were occasions when the husband
and wife got separated. But Kasturba was reconciled to the
situation that whatever happened was for her good only. Thus,
people who serve others with a noble heart will always see
good only. At last, the country attained Independence and
Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister.
Subhash Chandra Bose was another great leader of the freedom
movement who was good at heart and was a great patriot. It
is only because of the efforts of such men of sacrifice, the
country could attain Independence. However, it is not merely
Swatantrya (Independence) that we have to wish for. We must
attain Swarajya. That is great. Swatantrya is a temporary
phenomenon of freedom from foreign rule while Swarajya is
concerned with and attained by the heart.
You must be prepared to sacrifice even your life for the country.
You are not the body. The body is only an instrument and a
means for achieving something higher and noble. The body has
to be put to use for achieving these higher and noble aims.
The body is like the dress we wear. One day or the other the
dress is bound to decay. Till then the body has to be maintained
properly. It is only by sacrifice one can attain Yoga. That
is what the Veda has proclaimed, Na
Karmana Na Prajaya DhanenaThyagenaike Amrutatthwamanasu
(immortality is not attained through action, progeny or wealth;
it is attained only by sacrifice). Having been born as human
beings we must dedicate our lives in the service of God and
in the constant contemplation of God. If you do so, none of
the physical ailments will trouble you.
A small example which I would like to narrate to you. When
I was in Bangalore sometime back, this body fell in the bathroom.
There were two students by name Satyajit and Achintya who
used to attend to My needs. They did great service to Me.
I told them “I have no body attachment. You may conduct
an operation on this body, but I have nothing to do with this
body. I am not this body. As long as the body is there, I
have to do My work.” The doctors wanted to put Me in
bandage, but I did not agree. They advised Me to undergo an
operation so that the fracture would be healed quickly. I
placed this body in the hands of the doctors and let them
do whatever they wished to do with it. I continued to walk
which I am still doing. I have no pains or suffering. Several
devotees are anxious that Swami is walking with great difficulty
and perhaps is undergoing great pain. I would like to reiterate
that I do not undergo any pain or suffering. Till today, I
did not undergo any body pain whatsoever. If you thus sacrifice
your Dehabhimana, you can achieve anything in life. Whatever
I do, I tell the same thing. One has to do what he says and
say what he does. That is what is meant by
ManasyekamVachasyekam Karmanyekam Mahatmanam
ManasyanyathVachasyanyath Karmanyanyath Duratmanam
(Those whose thoughts, words and deeds are in perfect
harmony are noble ones; those who lack harmony of these are
That is the real Manavatva (human nature). I can stand for
any length of time though the doctors advised Me against it.
Even now I have been standing for a long time. I have no suffering
at all. I don’t take even a single tablet. I don’t
put on any bandage. Mine is Atmabhava and Atmabhava alone.
I set an example by My own actions.
The body may undergo any amount of suffering. It is like a
water bubble. The mind is like a mad monkey. Therefore, we
should not follow either the body or the mind. We must follow
our Antharatma (conscience). We must develop Atmabhimana.
If Atmabhimana is developed, no pain can trouble us. It is
only for teaching you about this Atmabhimana, I am undergoing
all this trouble. I don’t feel any pain at all. I am
telling you the truth. I am not suppressing the facts. In
fact, I don’t know or feel what pain is. We must face
the difficulties courageously. It is only to teach you this
steadfastness and courage, I have taken upon Myself this pain.
You must follow My ideal. Do not ever give importance to the
suffering of the body. Give up Dehabhimana. However, engage
the body in proper activities. Engage the body in the service
of God. Our body is a gift of God. For what purpose has God
given us this body? It is only for dedicating it in the service
of the Lord.
Embodiments of Love!
The body has been given to you for performing sacred Karmas
(actions). Several people wonder why Swami does not feel tired
in spite of undergoing so much physical suffering. Especially,
the ladies can observe the signs of weakness quickly. I want
to assure you that I am maintaining a constant body weight
and good health throughout. Neither I have put up weight nor
become weak. I can walk swiftly, but I am desisting from doing
so only to satisfy the doctors. The doctors are particularly
pressurising Me not to walk swiftly. They advised Me, “Swami,
please do not walk fast. You always keep two students with
You to help You.” It is only to please them and satisfy
them that I am keeping these two students with Me. I am not
causing any inconvenience to these boys. Both these boys,
Arun and Prusty go to their offices and work there besides
attending to My needs. The moment I call Prusty, he immediately
rushes in. I ask him to get Me a glass of water and I drink
the water given by him. Similarly, both these boys constantly
attend to My needs. They are serving Me with great devotion
and love. I do not cause any inconvenience to anybody.
Embodiments of Love!
Today you are celebrating Swami’s birthday. In fact,
it is the body that has a date of birth. This body has already
passed 78 years and has entered the 79th year. But do I look
like a 79 year old man? No. No. Not only now, even after 80
or 90 years of age, I will be like this only. I will never
depend on anybody. My eyes and teeth are in perfect condition.
Normally, by the time a person attains 79 years of age, all
his teeth will be lost. His eyesight will be affected by cataract.
His skin will have wrinkles, but I have no wrinkles at all.
I will not have old age. In fact, I have no old age. Similarly,
you also develop such courage and confidence. You will certainly
feel good. Not only Myself, all of you should be in sound
health. But you are spoiling your own health. You are misusing
your physical strength in so many ways. If you put your body
to proper use, you can come up well by Swami’s grace.
You can serve any number of people with a healthy body and
a sound mind. Therefore, you have to maintain your body in
healthy condition in order to serve others, not to show off
your beauty. Even for Me, this body is required for serving
others. In the service to humanity, I am prepared for anything,
even to sacrifice My life. Similarly, you must also be ever
ready to serve others. Do not ever consider that the body
is very important. Neither, you fritter away the physical
strength. You must make proper use of the physical body. You
must also gain enough mental strength. You must come up well
in your educational career and make your life sanctified in
the service to humanity. You must always be ready to face
any situation in life boldly. That is the real nature of humanity.
Whenever your services are required, you must respond immediately,
saying, “I am ready, I am ready, I am ready.”
Develop such a courage and confidence and set an ideal to
This body is a den of dirt and
prone to diseases; it is subject to change from time to time;
it cannot cross the ocean of Samsara. It is nothing but a
structure of bones. Oh mind! Do not be under the delusion
that body is permanent. Instead take refuge at the Divine
Lotus Feet. (Telugu
You seek refuge in the lotus feet of the Lord. Do not mind
any amount of suffering of the physical body. You serve the
country to the extent you can. Utilise every small opportunity
to serve the country and society. Even a small help done to
an old woman that you come across on the way is service. Do
not ever think, “What do I gain by helping this woman?”
There is great merit even in such a small service. Therefore,
continue to serve. There is no greater Sadhana than service
to the fellow human beings. Seva Bina
Nirvan Nahi (there is no redemption without service).
You should not mind any inconvenience that you may undergo
while serving others.
I have no intention of celebrating My birthday on a grand
scale. My only intention is that the body should be maintained
in a proper condition and through the body service should
be rendered to others. You must always be prepared to dedicate
your life to serve society. That is the real service.
(Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan,
“Hari Bhajan Bina Sukha Santhi Nahin…”)