Issue 244 - September 05, 2021
Editor's Note
Sairam Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
We all want happiness, and we are constantly chasing it. In this pursuit, we get disillusioned by the temporariness of this happiness. If we were to ponder upon what truly gives us permanent happiness…we will gradually realise that living our life in accordance with certain principles will certainly bestow upon us what we are seeking all the time.

Swami says, “To respect all, love all, hurt nobody, to serve everyone as much as possible, to remain selfless, to think about everybody’s welfare and concern, to live with a sense of sacrifice by giving more than what you take from the world and ultimately realise that there is one principle that permeates everything, there is one divine truth… is the ultimate truth of every existence. By following these principles, you will be on your way to permanent happiness. Follow your inner voice. That is the spiritual way.”

We have always heard, ‘Do this, you’ll find happiness. Do that, you’ll find happiness. Do this also, you’ll find happiness.’ We tried and we found some bit of happiness here and there, but it didn’t last long. Then we got disillusioned by this whole concept. We asked questions outside, and we didn’t find the answers.

Now, the time is to turn inwards and find answers from within. The voice within always tells us what to do, but barely, we rarely we follow it. It is time to connect back to that voice which is always there inside each one of us; nobody can deny that the voice does not exist!

Sairam
Bhuvana Santhanam
ātmano mokshārtam
(Emancipation of one’s self)
Excerpts From Book
I Chose You, Rest Are Your Choices
During a conversation, a devotee asked for Swami’s guidance on a certain decision. Swami casually told the devotee that he may decide as he considered fit. 
 
The devotee humbly submitted to Swami that when Lakshmana asked Sri Rama as to where the hut should be built in Panchavati, Sri Rama told Lakshmana to decide for himself. Hearing this Lakshmana broke into tears saying, “I am saddened that You still think that I have a choice of my own. I am Yours and You need to choose everything for me.” In the same way the devotee prayed, “Swami, like Lakshmana, I don’t want to have any choices of my own, I want only You to choose everything for me.”
 
Pat came the reply from Swami, “I chose you; the rest are your choices.”
 
Swami clarified that He had chosen the devotee to perform the particular task, and along with that, He had given him the ability to choose the right thing by keeping Swami in his mind always.
 
An excerpt from ‘Innerview’ authored by Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai
My Story
sevā My Lifeline

By Usha Raman
Trainer, Perth, Australia

This is my story of a change over from directionlessness in life to purposefulness of life. I led a happy-go-lucky life with friends, social dinners, long hours at work, aiming for career incentives and promotions, and the likes. I never even knew of a Guru by name, Sai Baba until I was 16. None of my family members were Sai Baba devotees. The very first sight that we had of Baba was also a very fleeting one.

Later, when I was 18, I started attending bhajans and satsangs that were arranged by the Sai devotees of Australia. I used to enjoy the satsangs to my heart’s content; however, I could not be a regular participant due to other busy commitments. During my study overseas, my only connection with Baba was when I looked at Him on my study desk, and knew within that He was the one who was guiding me. More than that, I did not make an attempt to connect with Him deeply, and hence did not consider myself as one of His ‘devotees.’

It was only when I was about 24 years old that I started loving Swami with all my heart. My connection with Him was kindled through ‘service’ or ‘sevā, more than through bhajans and satsangs, I would say. I used to take EHV (Education in Human Values) classes for young students. Even though I was the one teaching the subject, I realised that it was me who was benefitting the most from the classes. Those precious initial years paved the way for my coming closer to Swami, sevā and spirituality. Fast forward 20 years, now when I look back at my life, I realise that Swami, through His love, has been consistently guiding me and transforming my life into a pure and purposeful one.

Being a part of the country and cross-country sevā projects has helped me find a great deal of fulfillment. I have met the most inspiring people on the planet, who are doing extraordinary things to the people in need. Remembering them gives me goosebumps even today! My outlook on life thus changed tremendously. Now, I try to dwell inwards more, whilst balancing the outer world. Days that would otherwise be challenging have become easier after practising Swami's teachings – ‘ceiling on desires’, ‘detachment’, ‘surrender’, ‘being righteous’ and much more. This has helped me in many ways. It has taught me to respond to situations and not react. I would like to share an experience here.

There was an instance in my life when I was threatened with a knife, by a person who was ready to kill me. I thought that would be the day when I would breathe my last. At that juncture, I did not panic or scream or even feel frightened. I do not know what came over me in that moment—all that I could think was ‘Swami’ and I felt that my last moment should not be stained with fear but should be radiant with love. So, I clasped my hands in prayer and just closed my eyes waiting for the knife's blade to cut through my skin and penetrate me. However, the knife was spared from performing this spiteful act, and needless to say that I wasn’t killed. The only dose of courage came from Swami’s teaching of ‘Living Life with Love’, and this kept my peace even at such a fiendish moment. If we are sincere in treading the spiritual path, Swami ensures that we learn our lessons and progress step-by-step towards Him. 
 
 
sevā has played a pivotal part in my personal transformation process, and this path is the one I shall always tread on. To me, there is nothing at par with sevā. It teaches me about the world, the challenges which others face, accepting things that I can't change but persisting to bring about a good change through good work, working collaboratively as a team, keeping a tab on individual ego, listening mindfully, feeling gratitude for all the blessings of life, the power of faith and love…and the list goes on!

sevā is my lifeline. There is purpose, fulfillment and self-satisfaction in sevā.’Love All Serve All’ – this is my mantra.
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 www.iohv.org today!
upaniṣad
Knowledge is the source of one’s strength, only if it’s understood, digested and assimilated completely by the knower. Undigested knowledge is a mere pile of information that might turn troublesome or burdensome. This can be well understood through a small example: A man was travelling and was carrying a tiffin carrier with food. As long as he was carrying the food, it felt like a ‘weight’ that he had to take along. After consuming the food, the carrier became light and he gained more energy to continue the journey.
 
Similarly, knowing or understanding the greater truths of life won’t help any individual to progress on the spiritual path. It is only when the individual imbibes those teachings into his/her personal life by practicing them in daily life situations, that the progress towards the ultimate destination is felt. This kind of knowledge no longer stays bookish or borrowed, but becomes a part of the knower itself. 
 
The scriptures say that—only those with a subtle intellect (sūkṣma buddhi) have the right kind of focus to perceive the truth that appears to be hidden in secret, although present in all beings. The one who practices adhyātma yoga can rise above the ideas of dualities and reach the ultimate.
 
In the Episode 33, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai explains about adhyātma yoga which is considered to be the ultimate yoga for self-realisation. Under the guidance of the Divine Master, let us learn these profound teachings of vedanta and follow Him in the path of Self-Realisation.
 

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
"God has sent and has set you aside for a special purpose."

- John 15:16
jagat hitāya
(Welfare of the World)
Melbourne
Values Programme

Values Programme was conducted for children from the age group of 5 to 13 years. Weekly interactive sessions on the core human values were conducted through a range of fun activities. 
 
In the month of August, the focus was to teach the use of positive affirmations in daily lives. Due to COVID lockdown, these sessions were conducted online. The participants experienced the impact, the positive affirmations had on their lives. Few examples of affirmations that the kids came up with were: “Change is great and is a part of life”, “I will keep trying”, “I will make the most of this lockdown period”, etc.
 
There was also an interactive family session where both the parents and the kids participated. The session was called ‘Famolympics’, using the theme of the Olympics 2020. Many fun family activities like quiz, treasure hunt, etc…were conducted keeping the focus around key family values like love, care, and gratitude.

 
Mindful Parenting 

The Sai youth run a weekly parenting session covering a range of topics. This month’s programme revolved around the topic – Our Choices and its Impact on Kids.

Parents explored the concept of ‘above the line and below the line thinking’, which involves choices that make an individual react or respond to situations, especially situations that are out of our control like lockdowns, home schooling, etc…
 
Ideas were shared by all the participants for everyone’s benefit. Currently the session trains seven parents.
 
Health Sessions
 
Due to COVID restrictions, the youth have not been able to carry out the usual face to face free dental care and health consultations. However, during the month of August, the Sai youth continued to consult the patients via online platform. Interactive sessions for refugee mothers regarding healthy living and oral hygiene were conducted. A total of three sessions were run during the month of August with an average participation of about 20 mothers in each session. The purpose of the programme is to empower mothers with the basic knowledge of health and well-being.
Meals Distribution

The Sai youth engaged in the service of homeless individuals once a week during the month of August. Homeless individuals found on the streets and hawkers in the market were served hot and fresh home cooked meals. Close to 60 boxes of meals were served in the month of August.
Groceries Distribution

Many families with low income or absolutely no income were struggling to make the two ends meet. The Sai youth took this opportunity to help such families in need from Denpasar City and Bangli Regency and provided them with grocery kits. Each kit consisted of 10 kilograms of rice, two litres of oil, two kilograms of sugar, and 10 packs of noodles.