Issue 249 - October 10, 2021
Editor's Note
Sairam Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The compassionate Lord bestows each one of us with an opportunity to participate in the grand divine mission, only to be able to redeem ourselves. The opportunity could be big or small; it is not about whether it’s mammoth like building a hospital or an ashram or negligible like packing a sandwich. It’s only about the opportunity which has been given and the intent with which it is done with all our heart and soul, because like He says…when we do His work, He will definitely do our work much better. We may not do His work so well but definitely He will do our work perfectly, because that is one of the characteristics of Sai! 
Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai once said, “See how God is! He only teaches you; gives you the opportunity to do sevā, so He can shower His grace and fulfill all that you have asked Him! How can Krishna who has the sudarshana chakra (spinning disc like weapon) on his little finger, cut his finger with a sugarcane afterall. It was all for the sake of Draupadi to save her honour at some point in time, which Krishna had foreseen. He had given Draupadi the chance to tie His little finger with a piece of cloth from her saree, which came to her rescue. Likewise, God creates these opportunities, and it is the abundance that He showers.”
Let us not forget that the inescapable destiny of every living being is the attainment of Fullness and Perfection. 

Bhuvana Santhanam
ātmano mokshārtam
(Emancipation of one’s self)
Excerpt from Book
Liberty, Equality and Fraternity can be achieved only on a Spiritual Basis. Let us now examine the cardinal principles on which ideal societies are founded – Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. If these remain as concepts only on paper, we would not have moved even an inch forward in the desired direction.

Societies cannot enjoy true liberty, when man remains a slave to his desires and passions; first and foremost, man should attain liberation from slavery to his own passions. American universalist minister and an outspoken pacifist, Clinton Lee Scott insisted, “The freedom of mind is the beginning of all freedoms.” Such freedom of mind can be attained only through spiritual realisation. Even with regard to individual liberty in society, only a government led by spiritually inclined leaders can guarantee true liberty in the long run, as can be learnt from the conviction of Mahatma Gandhi, “I am a lover of my own liberty, and so I would do nothing to restrict yours. I want to simply please my own conscience which is God. A leader is useless when he acts against the promptings of his own conscience. The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me.” Only a leader with spiritual wisdom can proclaim this.

Similarly, when one considers equality, all men are equal only in the spiritual sense, since all men are equally divine. Men are not born equal in their physiques, minds, intellects or talents. Therefore, equality or equitability can be achieved in society only when all individuals realise their inherent spiritual equality. Of course, we should always remember that this whole concept of equality becomes meaningful only when the basic material needs of all people are met.

Finally, let us come to the topic of fraternity. In a society wedded to spirituality, any political or economic ideology can achieve equality, since fraternity among its people becomes spontaneous, when they realise their spiritual unity. Brotherhood of man and Fatherhood of God go together. Love and compassion are the best levellers of material wealth in human societies. Only a spontaneous sense of fraternity based on spirituality can bring about the magic of combining liberty and equality in human societies. Therefore, fraternity is an indispensable component of liberty with equality.

If individuals look only outwards at the material world, any efforts to implement liberty, equality and fraternity in society by mere laws, rules and regulations will only meet with failure. Only when individuals learn to look inwards at the spiritual world within, do these ideals translate into action. Carl Jung said, “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” Thus, the triune combination of liberty, equality and fraternity is natural solely to spiritual societies, and nowhere else.

An excerpt from the book ‘Sanatana Dharma’ authored by Mr B N Narasimha Murthy, Pg no. 162, 163 and 164.
My Story
Father Charles Ogada, Thank You

By Mr Alade Abayomi Idris
Teacher at The Embodiments of Love Academy (TELA), Nigeria

I was born and raised in Oshodi, one of the suburbs of Lagos. Lagos is one of the thirty-six states of Nigeria. The present day Lagos and the suburbs - Oshodi have transformed and have become good now. Whereas I am talking about Oshodi during those times much before the arrival of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola. It was a place where all kinds of social vices thrived. In my area, there were more thugs than responsible people. These thugs appeared to be living good lives. This made every young person of my generation, including myself, aspire to become a thug. In the school, it was a common sight to see senior students displaying thuggish behaviour before the school authority and teachers. Often times, these students went unpunished, because they had their gang members outside the school, who were notorious criminals and would not hesitate to even kill people who tried to discipline their peers. These made thuggery more attractive to us. None would defy us and we could do anything and walk away scout-free.

Gradually, we started following truancy in the school and associated ourselves with notorious thugs. The few responsible parents, that I knew back then were worried about what their children were fast becoming. They would shout and cry, but to no avail. My case was not different, because I was living with my grandmother (mama) who was too old to spank me. This gave me the freedom to do as it pleased me. Though mama would once in a while shout at me, but the shouting wasn’t enough to make me turn over a new leaf. Thuggery was the order of the day and like every child at that time, I was determined to become a thug.

I was living this thuggish lifestyle until the day I met a team of evangelists. They told me about Jesus and everything He represented. They made me to see reasons why thuggery wasn’t good. They told me that there is life outside Oshodi and showed me pictures of responsible people who influenced the larger society. They said that if I accepted Jesus into my life, and changed my ways, that I would become one of the great people to lead and influence the larger society of the future.

Their idea of leading a larger society appealed to me and so was the picture of the flawless Jesus. I accepted Jesus into my life and I began to study the holy bible. Gradually, my circle of friends began to change and I became less influential, where I used to have influence. It was not easy, but God helped me. I took my studies seriously and my grades improved. This was a source of encouragement. I became addicted reading the bible and my books. My ambition changed from wanting to become a thug, to becoming a scholar in whichever area my book and bible would lead me. Soon, I gained admission to the university and I was more committed in my righteous ways. I was different from the rest of my classmates and sometimes they would jeer at me. It never deterred me. After spending the required number of years in the university, I graduated and did my youth service.

Life outside school is not easy as they used to say. I have grown into a young man and there was a horde of responsibilities on me. I was a more committed Christian and I was getting a leadership position in my local church. I got a job and I started doing well. I would help the needy in my own little ways. At work, I was in a position where so many of my colleagues envied. I was more of a gatekeeper to the organisation's treasury. On several occasions, I was told of how rich I would become if I played smart on the company with my pen and papers. I was told that diverting the company’s funds was one of the many ways to become successful in Nigeria. They told me how government officials diverted public funds. They cited examples of how some of the rich people around me stole company’s funds. They said, if I did not utilise these golden opportunities that life has placed before me, I would regret later on in my life. None of the things they said mattered to me. It was not in the bible and I was not going to do things that my bible did not say. I was called with different kind of derogatory names by my colleagues. There were different gang-ups that I overcame.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I lost my job. It was a huge blow on me. I had been upright and I did not deserve to be laid off. My colleagues laughed at me. They used my favourite bible quotation to ask me a question. They questioned the righteousness, that the bible proclaims to exalt a nation? They laughed and jeered at me, right on my face. I became bitter and cried inconsolably in my room. Just like my colleagues had said, I began to regret my righteous life. The bible and its numerous teachings made no sense to me anymore. I stopped going to church and other religious gatherings. I would say and do the things that I would not have done before. I made up my mind to do dishonest activities to be rich just like many young Nigerians.

Just then, I came in contact with Reverend Father Charles Ogada. Initially, I took him for one of the swindlers that paraded themselves as men of God, that are littered in every nuke and crannies of the country. But upon closer look at him and his teachings and way of life, I was convinced that he is a genuine man of God. His teachings, selflessness, and commitments to the betterment of the deteriorated Nigerian societies made me pick up the toga (a distinctive garment of ancient Rome) to righteousness from where I dropped it. Now I have returned to the church and continue reading my bible. I am eternally grateful to Reverend Father Charles Ogada for helping me to continue in the righteous way that leads to God.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “Being a good example is the best form of service.” Coming in contact with Father Charles and observing his life, I have understood the meaning of this above quoted statement. Now, the goal of my life is to become a good example, similar to Father Charles, to the younger generations and lead them to a better future.
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!
The path of spirituality is a difficult one. Why so? It is because we have never walked on it before. When a child pulls up to stand and attempts baby steps, it goes through many difficulties and walking even two small steps is laudable. Just because the child struggles to walk in the initial stages, no mother refrains her child from attempting to walk and learn.

Falling is a part of walking; failing is a part of learning; and mistakes are the part of experience. Therefore, falling, failing or making mistakes shouldn’t deter us from this most glorious path of seeking our true identity.

A mistake is not a mistake if we have learnt a lesson out of it. Only if one doesn’t learn from the mistake, it remains as mistake. On this path, everyone is going to commit many mistakes. It is certainly difficult, but not impossible. To tread this path, one needs appropriate guidance. Only a guru can enlighten and guide oneself to reach the destination.

For a sādhaka (spiritual aspirant), it is most important to attempt walking on this path. When the aspirant walks two steps ahead, guru and God will take the remaining steps to guide.

In episode #35, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai expounds the qualities which a spiritual aspirant must develop within himself/herself to continue the path of Spirituality.
“The only true wisdom is in knowing, you know nothing.”

– Socrates
jagat hitāya
(Welfare of the World)
Collaboration with Food ATM

It’s been three months now, since the Sai youth from Middle East have successfully collaborated with a commercial enterprise, Food ATM, and are serving the blue collared workers with cheap and nutritious meals every single day. These meals include healthy vegetarian foods like pulav, mixed vegetable curry, roti (Indian flat bread), dal (lentils), raita (Indian yoghurt preparation), sweets and chocolates. This service has been very gratifying and many volunteers had experiences of transformation within themselves. Close to 2,760 meals were distributed to the blue collared workers in the month of September 2021.
Water Distribution to the Needy

Considering the scorching hot summers in this region, a sip of cool water while working outside in this sweltering heat of sun, is as soothing as mother’s love.

In association with Food ATM, the Sai youth have been very active and busy participating in the wonderful sevā of meyah (water in Arabic) distribution to the blue-collared workers, working at various construction sites.

Huge amounts of water bottles were distributed to the workers at the holy place of Gurudwara.

Close to 19,000 water bottles were distributed by the youth within the period of two weeks, every single day, at several locations covering the entire region.