Posted at 18:55:12 Hrs. IST on 22 Nov 2009
AUM SRI SAI RAM
SRI SATHYA SAI UNIVERSITY
Twenty Eighth Convocation
November 22, 2009
PROF. SAMUEL SANDWEISS, M.D.
Dearest Beloved Swami, Revered Chancellor of this sacred Sri Sathya Sai University, pranams at Your divine lotus feet. Esteemed Vice Chancellor Vishwanath Pandit, distinguished members of the governing body and faculty of the University, respected guests, beloved students, brothers and sisters,
I offer these few words to Swami and pray that His love flows through them.
I am deeply humbled by the invitation to address you at this special 28th Convocation of the Sri Sathya Sai University. I consider Swami to be divine-- omnipresent, our constant friend and companion.
Whenever -- wherever has there been such a Chancellor who is with us in this life and the next – leading us to bliss and love? It is humbling to speak before Him -- it is the greatest honor of my life.
A short poem
There is a young tender heart somewhere
Out there in the dark,
Crying to see -- to understand the dark
But feeling apart -- and lost
Will You come to me?
Will You come to me?
Can I see You?
Can I touch You?
Can I hear You?
Can life be all right
Because of You?
And then You came so unexpected –
Out of the darkness
I was in Mumbai 37 years ago
A young psychiatrist
Worried about impermanence
Leaving a small apartment
To see You for the first time
And hidden among 20 million people--
And You came to me
What love --
To come out of the darkness
And make me happy
I saw eternity -- all of creation
The meaning and purpose
And above all, Your love.
How can I sing Your praises?
How can I frame Your greatness?
Accept this short talk, Swami
A prayer for Your children lost
I pray that Your mercy spills
Across the skies and hills
On hearts that ache.
For God's sake
Let the mountains ring
The heavens sing
Let every being
Be bathed in seeing
Through this midnight of darkness
Make us well and whole and holy.
Today I am addressing graduating students of this very special university -- and I would also like to include all devotees of God, because in our hearts we are all Swami’s students.
What are we learning here that I found nowhere else?
We have experienced Swami lovingly saving us at the very last minute where ever we are -- showing His command over time and place.
Seeing Swami materialize an object is to bear witness to the truth that "Creation -- the universe is a projection of God's will -- it has no basic reality." Swami has written so in Bhagavatha Vahini.
Can modern science even begin to imagine this reality?
Our knowledge about Swami’s love and mastery of time, space, and matter, is not a thought or book knowledge – it is a knowing born out of actual living experience with Swami – it is practical knowledge. No earthly treasure can buy it. Yet it is freely given to you by Swami. It is His precious priceless grace!
Yes! God exists! His heart is soft like butter -- He loves us, and wants our love -- love merges into love -- I am God.
Mind is the key -- it is the cause of our bondage or liberation -- follow the conscience, it leads us to serving society – through service we find God in society and are fulfilled!
Students, you are the holy repository of Swami's teachings -- soon to test this sacred knowledge in the crucible of daily life. How are we to live these teachings? Here is a story.
In February 2005, Swami materialized a gold ring for my wife. It had a rectangular surface and from one side we saw the inscription Om.
We noticed that from different sides the same lines looked like words in different languages. One looked Arabic. Swami said that they were names of God.
I knew the mystery of the different names would unfold in time.
A close friend became ill -- his wife was disabled. They couldn't care for themselves. They sank into despair.
We traveled 2000 miles -- to work hard for a week cleaning their home and moving them to a safe place. Their home was in such disarray and so dirty that we had to wear protective masks when working there. This is man's condition today -- we live in polluted land, water, air, and societal relationships -- we have become sick!
Swami was in our thoughts, words, and deeds, -- and as we established cleanliness and purity in the setting, and in our impulses, we saw signs of Swami's divinity -- in the smiles on our dear friends’ faces.
While at the desk of our motel, the clerk noticed Sharon's ring -- "Do you know what that means?" she asked. "It is the name of God, Allah," she said. -- -- Service brought insight!
Subsequently we learned the meaning of each word as we turned the ring in different angles. From one angle it was Om, from another Allah, from another I am I, from another El, a name of God in the Jewish religion. Swami was teaching -- different names but one God, and that by serving we see our unity in diversity.
Deeper grew the wisdom in the course of service.
Sharon and I went to St. Petersburg to speak at the Russian National Sai Conference about a year and a half ago. Swami teaches self-management -- family management -- local community service -- even service in the world community.
We told the ring story and showed pictures on a large screen. Muslims in the audience were deeply moved and cheered. They were happy to see that Swami had recognized them by materializing their holiest word. We were so happy to play a part in bringing happiness.
Professor Jafar Malaev from Dagestan had the widest smile of all at the conference. I'd never heard of Dagestan. How could I have met Professor Jafar but in the expanding orbit of Swami's love?
He was a Muslim and Chancellor of a large university with an enrollment of 30,000 students. He was impressed by Swami's love and educational programs. "How can I bring your teaching to my university?" He asked. Swami simply said, "You are the educator -- find out for yourself." -- There’s a major lesson for us here! We must integrate the teachings through the power of practice -- it is up to us. Constant integrated awareness -- hands in society – and head in the forest -- integrate the two into one!
Jafar said --"We must rise above anger, violence, and revenge, if we are to survive. Problems such as in the Middle East between Palestinians and Israelis must be solved with love." Then taking my hand in his -- and looking deeply into my eyes, he said -- "We must stop fighting and learn to love each other -- Sandweiss I love you." I was sincerely touched and responded, "and Jafar, I love you." Swami’s ring brought us together!
Jafar is Muslim and I am Jewish. I pray that this love generated by Sai, -- enters into the age-old conflict between Palestinians and Israelis -- Muslim and Jew -- into all frictions and factions -- heals our hearts and brings peace. Is it possible?
Only through Swami's love -- and we are His messengers. We gain confidence in the possibility of pure love bringing world peace – by looking at how this love has already manifested!
When I first met Swami 37 years ago I couldn't stop thinking and writing about Him. I was so thrilled to see infinite consciousness and love in a being -- and to know that He is a reflection of the Self. I learned that I am God.
But when I told my fellow psychiatrists at the University that I am God, they thought that I had lost my mind in India. Actually, I found my heart here! Matters didn't improve when I said, "Wait, wait -- you are God too." Modern psychiatry still has a ways to go.
Then came the temples of healing -- the Super Specialty Hospitals with their message of purity and compassion. -- How quickly they appeared, how beautiful they are, how efficiently and effectively they express Swami's love for the poor and needy. How they encourage us to be instruments of this love as well.
In an age when medicine has been polluted by desire for money and position -- the message of Swami's hospitals -- of purity, sanctity, and service, is already being heard and practiced. For instance, one month ago I took part in the first Sai International Medical Conference at a large convention center in California USA. It was organized by the Sri Sathya Sai International Medical Committee -- Chairman Dr. Narendra Reddy. Swami told Dr. Reddy that He would conduct the meeting -- and indeed, it was brilliant.
About 30 gifted speakers -- some chairmen of departments -- presidents of societies, from the USA and around the world -- spoke to an international group of about 450 doctors, about Swami's love -- and how they integrated it in their practices, free clinics and camps, and disaster relief programs. Some of our brothers and sisters had been to such distressed areas as Darfur, Somalia, Kosovo, poor villages in Russia, Africa, and India, serving the most suffering of our brothers and sisters -- and with Swami's support ever present.
Swami is bringing a transformation not only in medicine but also in all relationships and especially in education. I have seen this University blossom. I saw the beginning when there were only lines in the sand pointing where to dig. I've seen the buildings rise – I’ve seen you in the corridors and the classrooms, -- the laboratories and hostels, -- on the sports fields and during darshan when you scurry so quickly for a seat near Swami. -- I've been friends with the Vice Chancellors from the beginning. The first one, Dr. V. Gokak, sat at our kitchen table in the United States teaching our four young daughters the food prayer.
And now I stand before you at the time of this 28th Convocation -- having seen such a transformation of buildings, programs, and students. And now this university is ranked among the best in all of India!
How exhilarating to see your bright faces and sense the eagerness in your hearts to serve. You are proof that the integration of secular and spiritual education is not only possible -- not only practical -- it is essential if we are to survive!
Dear students, be ever vigilant to hold tight to Swami as we face today’s enormous problems.
Poverty of love and the rise of selfishness are producing great suffering in our minds and on Mother Earth. Anxiety, depression, hatred, confusion, loss of reason and purpose, run rampant. Mindless production and consumption have produced depletion and pollution.
Over one billion people already suffer from a shortage of clean water -- we cough up 93 million tons of toxic waste daily into the atmosphere. -- This mindless, selfish action affects us all -- the Inuit Eskimos of Greenland, for instance, are among those having the highest concentrations of these toxins in their body. They are at our mercy.
We currently use 20% more resources than the Earth can regenerate. With the growing world economies and if everyone would consume to the degree found in the United States, it would take five planets the size of Earth to replenish our addictions. Adding four more planets cannot be our goal!
We face the threat of nuclear war, genocides, racism, fundamentalism, narrowness, terrorism. How can this dire condition change?
Only through Swami's love -- and we are His messengers.
Our place is with Swami -- to be worthy instruments of His love. The issue is not that we don't know the teachings. Swami has firmly placed them in our hearts! The problem is one of losing will and determination over the long haul -- of getting and forgetting our close relationship with Swami. Swami describes this closeness in a letter to His students years ago.
“The bird with you – the wings with Me
The foot with you -- the way with Me,
The eye with you -- the form with Me,
The thing with you -- the dream with Me,
The world with you -- the heaven with Me,
So are we free, so are we found,
So we begin, and so we end,
You in me, and I in you.
We must not get and forget the gifts that Swami has given -- because of bruised egos, daunting tasks, or prolonged effort. There are no excuses to wander -- I am too tired -- it is too inconvenient -- my career consumes all my time -- I have to make money -- I'm not in the mood -- I'm embarrassed -- I forgot -- so many reasons to drift.
No, no – the path of pure love is too important. Rather we must recognize our role and rise to the calling -- as Swami once wrote to students,
See life as a battlefield meant for heroism and courage.
You are the children of God, heroes in action, great soldiers in the age of Kali. -- The mother is awaiting your arrival on the scene."
Hold tight and be ready to serve. Here is a story about sacrificial love ever ready to serve Swami.
Dr. Jack Hislop came to know of Swami and served Him faithfully for the last 30 years of his life. He was the first President of the Sathya Sai Council of the United States and wrote two books about Swami, "Conversations with Sathya Sai Baba," and "My Baba and I." Swami told me that for his last 15 years, Hislop was in constant meditation on Swami.
Hislop was a strong man and spoke all over the world about Swami. When he was approaching death and becoming frail, he was invited to speak in Japan. Because he was so weak, he wrote to Swami asking if he should go.
Swami sent one word back – “Go!" It appeared that Swami was asking for total surrender -- to fully release everything into Him and accept that He is the doer!
Although Hislop could hardly stand, he obeyed our Master -- and remarkably spoke 35 times in 10 days. Sometimes Swami holds a devotee up as a role model of sacrificial service. I believe that Dr. Hislop was such a devotee.
Hislop returned home feeble and faint. One morning I called -- he said that he had fallen in the night and was too weak to rise -- so he lay for hours on the floor. I was alarmed and immediately took him to the hospital. We found out that he had cancer and would soon die.
Dr. Hislop had no fear of death -- Swami was his staff and support. When asked what he had learned from his long spiritual life and what was giving him strength now, without hesitation he said, "I have practiced many paths -- meditation, service, detachment, -- but of all paths, the most lasting and what I'm holding onto now is devotion! All other paths -- meditation, service -- have dropped away. What remains is devotion. I see Swami -- and I know that He is in me -- and I am in Him."
Pure love is most precious. It is the alpha and omega -- the beginning and the end. When everything impermanent is removed, love remains. When the well runs dry and all the frogs leave, there remains only God's pure love to keep us company. Swami tells us that Creation, Preservation, and Dissolution, emanate from this pure love. Pure love brings beauty to the character -- harmony to the home -- and peace to the world.
And Swami has come to give us this pure love – as He has said—
“I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts,
to see that it shines day by day with added luster.”
Swami has showered his pure love on me in overflowing abundance today. He has allowed me the honor of being Chief Guest and the opportunity to speak to you today. The invitation came as a complete shock. I know that many are better qualified – but Swami allowed me the honor – it is an expression of His pure love—a love that operates beyond the realm of human comprehension -- plain and simple as that. I am grateful beyond measure for Your pure love, Swami. Thank You.
We might ask if Swami’s love can actually bring peace to our troubled world. It is one thing to see the miraculous appearance of Super Specialty Hospitals, mammoth clean- water projects, revolutionary educational programs, spiritual centers all over the world practicing service and love – it is something else altogether to really consider that Swami can actually bring world peace. Although Swami has said that in a short time we will have world peace – it seems almost impossible.
But let us be open to the possibility of this impossibility – because Swami can do anything! We must seriously prepare for the moment when Swami picks any of us out of the crowd, as He picked me today, and places us in a position to actually influence world events. By singing His name, serving His children, studying His eternal wisdom – we must prepare ourselves for the day He picks us.
My wife once asked Swami if He would save the world. He said, “Half save, half seva.” Seva – pure love in action!
Swami, as we approach the year leading to Your 85th birthday, I pray a year of pure Love, -- let Your glory shine on our hearts like a million suns – setting our love aflame –
Until You and I become the same—
Let us walk with Your love in our hearts
Your name on our lips
Your hand in ours
And hand in hand – half save, half seva
Let us bring honor to this holy University and to Your sacred name – and radiate love to the world – so that
The mountains ring with love
The heavens sing with love
The stars shine with love
The poets rhyme with love And all the beings
Of all the worlds are happy
Students, I know the love in your hearts, I share it -- I've heard you chirping frequently in front of Swami – Swami, Swami, Swami – Swami, Swami, Swami -- I've seen Him moved by your yearning. I pray He hears this plaintive cry from fledgling birds about to fly--and blesses us with His precious words of light.
Dear Swami, please speak to us on this glorious and sacred Convocation Day.