In March this year I was privileged to be in the residence of Bhagavan along with devotees. As we waited eagerly for the sudden flash of the Red Robe, He appeared beaming with a smile; his eyes flashed "Vidyullekha”. I waited in grateful expectancy for events to unfold themselves. In Baba's Presence we learn the art of waiting for things to happen; anything unexpected can and will happen!
He suddenly turned towards me and said: "So, you have been transferred to Bangalore!" He was asking me this question after several months of my transfer even after I had first reported to Him before taking charge of my assignment! Like others I have also wondered why Baba the 'Omnipresent', the 'Omniscient', asks such questions and sometimes even feigns ignorance! I have found an answer which I believe is true.
Supposing Baba starts telling in front of everybody about us, what is in our mind and all our deeds and misdeeds, how many of us will have the courage to go to Him again? If He reveals all the time His Divinity and the attributes of "Omnipresence" few of us will dare go to him; the skin-deep facade of a devotee which we all maintain even in His Presence, is so fragile that it will be shattered and there will be no scope for improvement and the 'transformation' for which He has incarnated. So, in His mercy He gives us the impression that He is merely human and envelopes us with this Maya that is essential for our transformation which, unfortunately, is slow. 'Kramakramena', 'gradually' you will have to give up your undesirable habits, He says in His infinite patience!
Returning to the occasion when He asked me the question, I said, "Yes! Swami" and I thought that was the best occasion to volunteer additional information. "Swami I have only 71 days more before I retire.” I hoped that He would say.” "Yes! Bangaroo! Time will pass and you will join Swami's service.” He suddenly turned round and looked at me with those penetrating eyes. Out came the Sadguru's mantra: "Whether it is 71 days, 71 hours, or 71 minutes or 71 seconds, quality is most important" and in His characteristic style. He turned round and conveyed the same message to all. "Quality is important, isn't it?" He asked them, His way of confirmation.
This Is Baba's method; He uses all occasions to convey important lessons of spirituality in daily living by such mantra. He aims the mantra not only at the direct recipient but also at others who might care to learn the lesson. One will miss the import of His statements if one thinks that it was meant only for the individual who happened to be the target.
Baba shook me from my stupor. He has repeatedly said that all work is His; there is nothing like Sai service and government Service. All that you do is for Sai only; in fact it is for yourself, for awakening the Sai within you. Not that I did not know these teachings of His. But again I had forgotten the lesson and the ever vigilant Sadguru had given me the lesson again at the right moment.
What a great formula for Ananda! What is important is not what happens after 71 days. What is important is that till that last second we do not forget that it is His work and that we should carry out the work assigned with the highest quality since it is His Worship through whatever He has assigned. "The past is beyond recovery. Those days are gone. The future you are not sure of. The given moment is NOW! Sanctify it with holy thoughts, words and deeds,” He has declared. "Quality" means sanctifying every moment with holy thoughts, words and deeds. "The most important thing in life is not doing what you like, but liking what you have to do, He has told us. These are the keys to spirituality in daily living.
Can we do this in the office, in the factory, in the kitchen or in any other vocation and avocation? Yes! We can; we should try to bear in mind some of the other mantras He has given us. We can sanctify our thoughts, words and deeds if they are not motivated by the six enemies which the ancients had correctly identified, Kama (passion), krodha (anger), lobha (greed) moha (attachment), mada (pride), matsarya (envy). Difficult? Yes but not impossible if we try. Read any book on modern psychology; you will learn that all our diseases are due to these six enemies; our diseases are psychosomatic caused by these passions.
There is another aspect to filling every moment with "quality.” We must be fully involved in enjoying the quality of the work we do! That itself becomes "fulfillment" rather than the fruit of the act. In fact the real fruit of the act is the sweetness of the process. The game is more important than whether we win or lose! That is the real meaning of the Lord's statement, "Work alone is thy concern; not the fruits thereof.”
Knowing that we are all forgetful I pray: "Baba give me the wisdom to remember your mantra when it is most needed and fill every moment with the highest quality, for which you have endowed me with abilities."
(Extracted from an article by M.V.N.Murthy, published in Sanathana Sarathi, June, 1981)