On 15th October, 1977, Swami declared, "Each one of you announces yourself as 'I'. Listen! Sai and 'I' are ONE." Our joy knew no bounds when we heard this and later when we thought about its deeper meanings. Let us not forget that He also declared that day, "You call yourselves Sai devotees but your actions and thoughts are all contrary." I was sure He did not intend to discourage or disappoint us; He meant only to inspire us to greater effort.

So, come! Let us be even more enthusiastic to put His Message into practice. Let us make ourselves worthy enough to be called by Him in His sweet and melodious voice as true and sincere devotee.

We know that the same Atma dwells in all of us. Who or what is this Atma? Swami has told us that it is a part of Paramatma, a spark of the Divine, the Bhagawan our beloved Baba Himself, "Sai and `I' are ONE". He created this wide boundless Universe for it is His Leela, sportive Play. He created the human race and placed it on the highest level among all living creatures.

But, the moment human beings stepped on the world, from His Divine Loving Hands, they started to run helter skelter in pursuit of sensual pleasure, like vehicles with no drivers, chariots without charioteers. Therefore, utter chaos prevailed and destruction descended on them. After getting loose from God's Hands, we drag our lives along the thorny wastes of anger, lust, greed and hatred, deluded by ignorance.

Obviously, we have no right to blame God who has been warning us from within and without, and is ever gracious to accept the position of charioteer for us, and hold the reins of our lives. He is so compassionate that He forgives our faults and is only too glad to lead us along the safe and smooth path of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema. We hesitate to surrender our lives to Him and miss the chance of saving ourselves from perdition.

Many a time, we bow to His portrait and say, "Swami! You know both the good and the bad that I think, and speak and do. From today, from this moment, I surrender to You, to Your Will. I shall not yield to my will. Lead me, guide me. I shall follow you." But, the very next moment, the promise, the resolution fades away from our minds. When things go right as we desire, we praise Him. The moment our petty desires are not fulfilled, we rush to the same portrait complaining and crying; "Swami! I surrendered fully to You but you have refused to grant my one little wish." How foolish it is to behave thus!

Imagine, we make a few clay toys in a mood of joy. Will we not do our best to protect them from harm? Will we not be vigilant to shield them from injury? Will not the Creator, our God, do all that is best for our good? When a child falls sick, the mother would not give it things which would harm its health and worsen the fever. The child is ignorant, but the Mother knows, what is good for it and what is bad. Alas! We, foolish people, do not realise this simple fact. How much amused must Swami be, when, in spite of our verbal `surrender', we cry before His portrait and complain!

If we have the genuine yearning, surrender is not a hard task. All we have to do is to offer our desires and propensities to the Lord, they are the hurdles and obstacles which produce joy and sorrow and prevent us from reaching the goal of mergence in Paramatma.

My personal experience is that, in the beginning, it is very difficult to practise the sadhana of Surrender, because we have to accept all that happens to us as His Gift of Grace. But, if we do not waver, the Validity of Surrender will slowly dawn on us. We feel as if we are sailing away from the burdens of the world, safe in the ocean of Divine nectar, the boat filled to the brim with Divine Love.

Consider, which is better? To indulge temporarily in the transient material world or to immerse ourselves in the Bliss, which is for ever radiating from Sathya and the Embodiment of Sathya, Sathya Sai? Contemplate the lives of Prahlada, Lakshmana, Hanuman and Meera. Let us realise the Truth, right before us, now. Let us discard our lethargy and folly, make the best of this priceless Present and surrender at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan. He says, "Take one step towards Me; I shall take a hundred towards you." "Shed just one fear; I shall wipe a hundred from your eyes."

These words ring true for each one of us, who has come into His Divine Fold. We are indeed blessed. We shall pray, "Let Thy Sweet Will prevail at all times, every where."

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