Issue 250 - October 17, 2021
Editor's Note
Sairam Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Have we ever stopped in our tracks for just a moment and wondered what kind of devotee of God we are? Have we at any point in time pondered over the kind of prayers we submit daily at the Feet of the Lord? He is indeed the refuge of all who seek refuge, and the saviour of all who have to be saved. But, loving God and praying to God for His sake alone, is said to be the highest and the best. 
We all know by now that there are four kinds of devotees who come to God - arthi, arthārthi, jignāsu and jñānī
Firstly, the arthis – come because of their problems and pains, so that God would resolve and relieve them. 
Secondly the arthārthis – come for fulfilment of certain worldly desires - name, fame, position, power and the likes. 
Thirdly, there are those who are curious about the nature of God, and want to experience God, know the truth; they are the jignāsus, the curious ones. 
Finally, the jñānīs who know the nature of God, and don't desire anything. Even if they are in pain and distress, they don't ask God for cure or relief, because they know God is aware of everything and will do what is best for them. 
Swami had once compared these to the children devotees from the Puranas - Mārkaṇḍeya, Dhruva, Nachiketā and Prahlāda respectively. He had said the highest of all was Prahlāda, as he went through all the tests, keeping firm faith in Narayana. Only Prahlāda had the courage, to calm down the ferocious and angry Narasimha! Happy with this selfless devotee, when Narayana granted him a boon, Prahlāda’s quick reply was, “If at all I have to ask You for something, it should be that I should never ask You for anything!”
More often than not, Swami has reiterated that He loves devotees who come to Him for His sake alone! Nothing else is desired from the Lord, as He knows what to give whom, when to give, how to give and how much to give! While addressing a congregation of youth, Swami once said, "Such devotees, with that kind of devotion alone is dear to Me. Even Sati was separated from Shiva, but Nandi was never separated, because Nandi always sat at the feet of Shiva only to serve Shiva, and had no expectation, no desires, and only wanted to be with Shiva. The highest of all devotion is the devotion without any desires. Desireless devotion is the sweetest; it is the purest; it is the closest to the Lord's heart and such a devotee alone is a true devotee! Others are only give and take, give and take, they are business devotees!"

Now, let us stop for a moment from all that we are doing and thinking, and from the deepest recesses of our heart understand what kind of a devotee we are…

Bhuvana Santhanam
ātmano mokshārtam
(Emancipation of one’s self)
Excerpt From the Divine Discourse
The entire creation, including all the phenomenon in the creation, happen because of Divine power. Since, God is present in everyone, we say that His feet and hands are everywhere. His eyes and head are everywhere as He pervades every being in the universe. This universe is nothing but His own form. God is not only in me; God is in everybody. And therefore, everybody should lead a blissful life. His true nature is the ātma, which is there in every one of you. When you are enveloped with the qualities of tamas, rajas and sattva, your inner light is dimmed. It is only God or the Divine incarnation who transcends all these three qualities. Only when you can go beyond these three qualities, can you have similar effulgence as that of a Divine incarnation. 

Without giving up the tāmasic quality of inertia, you cannot realise the true principle. Without giving up the quality of passion, born out of rajas, you cannot develop good devotion. Only the sāttvic, purity is responsible for developing devotion in you. We worship the Mother Goddess in the form of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. If you want to get rid of the tāmasic quality, you should worship Goddess Durga. Mahisha – the demon is symbolic of the buffalo. It is always lazy. This laziness is symbolic of the animal qualities in us, and so with all the wicked qualities of greed, jealousy, etc. There are four things that are common to human beings and animals – food, sleep, procreation and a sense of fear. If we use all these things within limits, there is no problem. You need to worship God in order to know how you can keep them under a limit. Goddess Durga is the one who destroys animal qualities. When you get rid of these animal qualities, you can attain rājasic qualities. When you worship Goddess Lakshmi, you get wisdom to involve yourselves in appropriate activities. When you have good intelligence, you will have good feelings, good words and good actions. If you want to develop good intelligence, you need to adore Goddess Saraswathi. Thus, we worship the Goddesses in these three ways. During this nine-day festival of Navaratri, we worship the Goddess for three days in the form of Durga, three days in the form of Lakshmi and another three days in the form of Saraswathi. Through rājasic power, we have to get rid of tāmasic qualities. And through sāttvic qualities, we have to take control over the rājasic qualities. Finally, we have to transcend all these three qualities and get nearer to the ātmic principle.

Only when there is individual transformation, can the world be transformed. If everybody has to be happy, first and foremost, we should develop a good character. Mind is responsible for our bondage as well as liberation. Only when we conquer the mind and the senses, we can celebrate vijayadaśamī. The effulgence of the ātma should shine forth in us. In the fire of the ātma, we have to sacrifice all our tāmasic and rājasic qualities and become sāttvic. All ten days you must involve yourself in all divine thoughts, feelings and activities.

An excerpt from the Divine discourse delivered by Sri Sathya Sai Baba on October 01, 2016 on the auspicious vijayadaśamī day during Navratri celebrations at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli.
My Story
Introspection – The Key to Perfection

By Grishan Sivakumaran
Data Scientist, United Kingdom
As I continue on my spiritual journey, I have increasingly begun to turn towards self-introspection. Indeed, it is self-introspection that shows us point blank, the core issue for all our sufferings. What are these issues? Mistaking ourselves to be separate; distinct entity limited by the body and mind; failing to recognise and see our true nature clearly, etc.
On reflection, it has emerged to me that who we think we are and who we truly are reside on either side of a symbolic coin of our identity. The side that we focus our attention on, becomes our reality. This is not just a philosophical concept but a practical experience that we face daily. In all the events of our life, our experience of them is driven primarily by how we perceive ourselves, and subsequently react in those situations internally, rather than the external circumstances or conditions that are presented before us. This has deepened my understanding of the universal message that unconditional happiness is within all of us.
We should view taking on a human birth as an opportunity given to us to realise our true nature and free ourselves from the shackles of the self-imposed limitations that we have placed on ourselves. Yet, our mental conditioning as a finite person seems to be so deeply engrained that we continue to get caught up in the attachments of life, creating a never-ending cycle.
So, why is the path of service and spirituality so important?
In my experience, it is the only bridge from the individual self to our true Self. In each timeless moment that I have been fortunate to undertake selfless service, there has been no room for the individual identity to take shape. This is because the need for self-sacrifice when serving, requires us to put our individual preferences aside. As we serve from this space, we can experience the ever-present Divine love in and around us. We eventually begin to perceive life for what it truly is and the role that we have been given becomes clearer, as we gradually immerse into the abiding presence of being a ‘mere witness’.
I can now appreciate more clearly that spirituality is the path in which one continually discriminates between the Real and Unreal. This ongoing effort is made possible by the guidance of spiritual masters and the company of like-minded people, who help us to remain centred in the midst of all kinds of experiences. On the path of spirituality, any ignorance that we hold about ourselves is directly addressed, enabling us to gradually break down the attachment to our illusory identity at its very source.

Today, I’m totally a different person altogether, accepting the life as it is and constantly revelling in the joy within.
Self Development
To help reach Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s human values-based education to the world, and to resuscitate the humanness of humanity, the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence launched a unique, first-of-its-kind Institute of Human Values, to offer tailor-made courses totally free of any charges, curated by experts from around the world. The Vision of the Institute is to make better humans in their personal and professional spheres, by making them more sensitive towards society’s needs and exploring ways of their contribution to society in a meaningful and selfless manner, thereby creating a sense of global citizenship and responsibility.

The courses will help an individual balance the inside and outside, while progressively being a better human being, that will ultimately help him or her unravel the true meaning and purpose in life.

Learning from the heart is spiritual awakening, Baba would say. The Institute of Human Values is the first step to help lead the world into the beautiful awareness of its heart – a heart that operates from the universal human values of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa.

Log on to today!
Every individual born is same like that of gold which remains steady. It may take various shapes and sizes of different ornaments, but the essence remains the same. Every jīvātmā (individual soul) is like that of space, where all sorts of things take place. In this space, rains, storms, fire, seasons, etc. come and go. The space remains untouched, unsullied and ever free. It is never affected by the any of these forces.

Likewise, our nature as ātman is always pure – nitya (permanent), śuddha (pure), mukta (free), buddha (peaceful), nirmala (unsullied) svarūpa (embodiment). There is no merit or sin for the ātman. It only applies to the body and mind complex.

The ultimate truth is that ātman is ever free from the dualities of this creation. The one who learns and imbibes the teachings of adhyātma yoga (yoga of the soul) taught in kaṭhopaniṣad will escape the vicious jaws of birth and death.

In episode 36, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai clears the ‘three confusions of life’ which one may encounter while treading the path of spirituality. Come and receive the highest wisdom directly from the Sadguru expounded in the simplest way possible!
“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.”

– Saint Clare of Assisi

jagat hitāya
(Welfare of the World)
Food Distribution

Every Sunday, the Sai youth from Kazakhstan would distribute meals on the route from Church to the Mosque in Almaty city. In the month of September, a little more than 150 meals which included sandwiches, sweets, cookies and tea were distributed to 120 needy individuals.
Supporting Single Mothers and Children
Every month, the Sai youth engage themselves in the sevā of assisting the single parent families, primarily focussing on families with single and widowed mothers. Many are raising their children alone without any support. Basic necessities such as food and hygiene products are distributed to seven such families with a total count of 23 individuals and 345 meals.