Issue 221 - March 21, 2021
Editor's Note
Sairam dear brothers and sisters,

“Life is a game, play it”, said Sri Sathya Sai. In this game of life all that is expected of us is we “play” the game without any attachment, excitement, anxiety, joy or sorrow. Because in a game, sometimes we may net the ball and score and at other times we may miss the ball and loose. We do come to terms with the fact that it was a game and move ahead. Similarly, life will throw situations and challenges at us. We simply have to be mindful of the fact that every moment is a learning experience and march forward undeterred or unperturbed. Everything rests in our mindfulness and our constant awareness of the truth that we are here in this form, in this birth and in this way for a purpose. We all know the purpose fully well now. As our beloved Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai reminds us often - serve those in need which will lead to the purification of our minds; serve with the understanding that it is the same divinity which exists in all; constantly contemplate on the truth and simply be a witness to all that is happening around us. And one day, with the grace of the Divine, the truth shall reveal itself.

Our gratitude to our God and Guru for the direct guidance, without whom we would have been like ships lost at sea stranded without a compass. The Director is in our midst who is mercifully giving us the direction. Let us not miss this unique opportunity!

Bhuvana Santhanam
ātmano mokshārtam
(Emancipation of one’s self)
Excerpt From Master The Mind Series
What should one ask for at the feet of Goddess Annapoorneshwari (Annapoorna), the Goddess of food? Adi Shankaracharya asked Mother Annapoorna for Jñāna and vairāgya. So, what should be asked from Mother Annapoorna? She can give everything. She’s the mother for all and she is ready to feed us. But should we go and ask Her for food which will just quench the hunger of this body? Or is there anything higher which we should be asking Her?
What did Shankaracharya ask the mother? He asked for - jñāna vairāgya sidhyartham which means, “Oh, Mother, bless me that I may have Jnana (Supreme Knowledge) and vairāgya (Renunciation) as a bhikṣā (Alms) from You.” He prayed at Her feet saying, “I am a beggar at Your door, and I don’t beg for the food of this world. Because this food can quench the hunger for the time being, but not permanently. But my ātmā which is weak and hungry should be fed.”
And what is the food for this ātmā? Jñāna vairāgya is the only food, because that is what strengthens the ātmān. If we pour more water into a thorny bush, it is certain that only thorns will grow. Whereas, if we pour the same water into a rose bush, roses will grow.
Similarly, ‘I want Your grace not for wealth and progeny and cattle and prosperity of the world. I want Your grace… I ask You; I beg You to give me jñāna and vairāgya as the bhikṣā’, is what has to be asked of God. God may give hundreds of things. Whether we need it or not, whether we ask for it or not, if God thinks it is needed for us, He will surely give.
But when we are face to face with God, what should come out of our mouth? What should we stretch out our hands for? Not for these worldly things. We should stretch our hands saying, ‘Give me jñāna, give me vairāgya.’ These are the things to be asked from God. I get messages saying, ‘it is so difficult to get ourselves detached’. Ask God to bestow vairāgya and jñāna. Who knows? Because of the sincere prayer, He may grant you this boon!
An excerpt from the ‘Master the Mind’ series - episode 14, delivered by Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai
My Story
Self-Transformation of The Heart
Through Selfless Service
Kaya Kannan,
United Kingdom

Being born into a household of Sai devotees, the concept of serving others had always been deeply instilled in me. However, I never really understood the real importance of seva and simply treated it as just another duty to perform in my life. On my commute to work, I would often walk past people that were struggling for food. I would spare a few coins in the name of seva as I walk past them and not more than a passing glance. The feeling of sadness that they were suffering while I was doing fine and very well was often just a fleeting thought. These thoughts and sadness too disappear in the milieu of my daily duties and work life and the rest of the day would pass off normally.
I had heard about a weekly opportunity to serve the homeless in central London. I decided to participate, initially for observation purposes only. I did not think that I would discover anything new. I was told that I would need to buy ingredients to prepare sandwiches accompanied with a crisp packet and a drink, ready to serve in the evening.
As we walked through the cold, distributing food to the many homeless people on our route, I watched the other youth interact closely with them. I felt something that I never felt before: a combination of empathy, selfless love and unity. I felt it was my duty to ensure that they do not go hungry before they went to sleep. As I interacted with them, asking them about their day, their welfare, and just having a normal conversation with them, I realised just how deeply they cherished those interactions and how much they needed that love.
On one occasion, I came across a homeless woman who would selflessly volunteer at a flower shop during the day and then return to the streets in the evening to collect food and water from passers-by. After hearing this, I was amazed. The woman, who seemingly did not have anything, still offered to volunteer during the day, instead of using that time to perhaps earn a living. That lady made me realise what exactly was real selflessness.
Thereafter, I put extra care and effort into selecting the ingredients for the sandwiches, as well as purchasing the crisps and drinks, to ensure that they would be something that the homeless people would enjoy eating. I recognised the fact that their homelessness does not mean they could be conceded to a lower standard of living, and that I should feed them just as I would feed myself or my loved ones.
A few weeks later, I was on another morning commute to work without having breakfast. Walking into the café, I bought myself a small breakfast item with some coffee. Worried that I was going to be late, I hurried out of the shop. In the corner of my eye, I spotted a homeless man that I had passed before, prior to participating in the homeless seva. I felt a deep sense of anguish; something I had never felt before. I thought to myself: ‘’I am going to eat this breakfast and he is not going to eat anything’’. It was a feeling that I had never felt for a stranger before; a feeling that I would have felt perhaps only if someone I loved was not eating.
From then on, I noticed that I felt differently about all other people. A strong sense of oneness and the desire to care for the suffering. I stopped spending money on coffee for two mornings a week and instead used it to buy this man breakfast and interact with him. I understood that it is not just the food and water that homeless people require but, more importantly, someone to show them some love.
To me, seva no longer means ritually dedicating one afternoon to feeding homeless people. It is dedicating every action selflessly to God and not separating myself from others. I have learnt that love is only true and selfless when all are treated equally and when we do not differentiate one person from ourselves. 
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!
To attain the supreme knowledge, one must develop the sincerity and deservedness. One must follow the brahmacharya ashram which expects to observe celibacy (during the period of learning), reside with the guru in ashram and surrender one’s mind at the feet of guru.
On the journey of attaining knowledge, the mind may drift away from the right path, but with right efforts and the vow of brahmacharya i.e., to keep one’s mind always absorbed in the brahman it can be realigned.
This process of learning can be fulfilled by practicing three kind of austerities - austerity of the body, speech and mind which can lead oneself to the final goal of self-realisation.
In episode 15 featured this week, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai expounds the qualities that one must possess the measures that one must follow in order to realise the self.
“Be empty of all the mental content, of all the imagination and effort, and the very absence of obstacles will cause reality to rush in.”

– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
jagat hitāya
(Welfare of the World)
seva Through Collaboration
In the month of February, the youth contributed total of 530 kg of rice, beans, lentils, pasta, 100 litres of olive oil and 70 kgs of tomato puree to the social kitchen - 'The Other Human'. The kitchen was able to make over 4,000 meals which then was distributed to the needy.

A new seva which began last December is being continued in full gusto by the enthusiastic youth of Greece, where free assistance in Math, Physics and other subjects are provided to school children from impoverished families through the Support Center of Children and Family in Athens almost three to four days a week.
With a vision to embrace and support single mothers, youth in Kazakhstan are engaged every month to provide assistance to single parent families, focusing on widowed mothers. Basic necessities such as food and hygiene products are distributed.

During Kazakh New Year, ‘Nauryz’ the young volunteers visited the families, with goodies, which are supported by them. Nauryz symbolises goodness and wealth, happiness and love. Meeting the young mothers filled everyone with tender emotions of love and joy. The beneficiaries shared their experiences with the volunteers.

Every Sunday, the volunteers distributed meals in the city of Almaty. The meal packs consist of sandwiches, tea, chocolate, cookies and fruits.