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Then & Now
A day in Ashram


Mr. J. Jagadeesan was the then Central co-ordinator for Sri Sathya Sai Organisations in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Brunei

For the people of the West, coming to seek spirituality in India is nothing new. This has been going on for over a 100 years. But, never in the history of human civilization have we seen Africans coming to India seeking a Living God, Japanese come to India seeking a Living God and never have thousands and thousands of Chinese flocked to India seeking a Living God. This is the first time in the history of the world that this phenomenon is taking place.

Many may wonder as to how Bhagawan has reached the hearts and minds of millions around the world. No promotion is being done by the organization itself. All we do is to serve the community. But Baba has reached out in His own way. We have vibhuti manifestations pouring out of pictures around the world: Japan, Australia, USA, Malaysia, Indonesia etc...

When I first heard about the avatar in 1966, I became a very strong anti-Sai Baba. One day we had an argument about Baba in my auntie's home. I criticised Swami for two and a half hours and at the end I challenged Him, I said, "If you are who you say you are, show me a sign.” Dear Brothers and Sisters, Vibhuti came on Baba's picture.

The greatest miracle

Swami, the truly great miracle You have brought to this world is the transformation of man. You have transformed many selfish individuals, previously looking after only themselves and kith and kin, to selfless sevaks who now spend countless hours wanting only to do one thing, to serve their fellowman. This, Swami, is the greatest miracle.

What we see here today is another indication of the transforming power of the Avatar. Normally, on the occasion of the Chinese New Year in countries where the Chinese are a dominant population, the entire city comes to a halt. The Chinese work very hard the whole year and during New Year Day they close shops. After finishing their prayers, it is a time for enjoyment, mahjong, gambling etc. Look around today at the Chinese who have flocked here. They have left their homes and left all their traditional Chinese ways of celebrating the Chinese New Year. They have worked hard and dedicated themselves to make this Chinese New Year the greatest ever in their lives. Thank You Bhagawan. You have fulfilled a vision that some of us have had for the last ten years to have a Chinese New Year celebrated in Prasanthi Nilayam.

Decline in human values

Swami, many years ago, when we had the Education in Human Values Programme at Prasanthi Nilayam, You warned the world that the time would come very shortly when human values would decline rapidly and that unless Education in Human Values Programmes are launched, there is no hope for the world. We are now witnessing times of rapid decline in human values and things like basic Culture, Religion and Tradition are rapidly being lost. Let me give you a small example, what is happening in Malaysia. In the homes of all the people, be it Chinese, Malay or Indian, hardly thirty years ago, if a child or a young boy walks across a hall where the parents and elders are sitting down, he would bend down and put his hand forward and walk forward crossing the hall, in a silent body language sign of respect. Today, a young child walks across and says, "Hey Pap, Hey Mum!" and the parents would be lucky if he does not put his leg on the table. Today, like the rest of the world, the Chinese are facing a big problem. I would like to describe what is happening in Singapore showing the decline of filial piety. The Singapore government has passed a law today that a father or mother can sue their sons or daughter to look after them. This law has been passed because of the neglect by youngsters of their parents. The great Chinese tradition of filial piety is declining. Everyone thought that this was a ridiculous law. On the first day when the office of this agency opened, seven Chinese families came forward to file suits. In one Chinese family, there were seven children and the mother was quoted as saying that "my daughter prefers to feed her dog rather than feed me.”

Observe dharma

In Sathya Sai Vahini, many years ago, Swami said, the first step to ensure, peace and harmony to mankind is for each one observing the Dharma or the code of Conduct laid down for him in his own religion. If one holds his own faith and its essential principles mandatory one can serve himself best and also serve others well.... Dharma in this context means action in accordance with the Tradition and Cultures of the land. Swami, you have given us now the clue as to how we can implement the year of Dharma. If we can bring Tradition, Religion and Culture back into our homes, we revive Dharma. That is why we have decided to make use of this auspicious occasion of Chinese New Year to revive Chinese Tradition, Religion, Aspirations and Culture. We pray Bhagawan that all Chinese devotees who have come here will take back to their homes and implement some aspect of their Chinese tradition, religion and culture.

Call to devotees

The International Chairman of the World Sathya SAI Organisation has requested me to convey to all present a special request from him. All of us should leave behind here one vice, one bad habit of ours and take back one virtue. This is the best way we can show our devotion and gratitude to Bhagawan for what He has given us today.