Dr. Harvey and Dr. Goldstein
Region 5 Visit - Feb. 20, 2000
Visit to North Central Region by Dr.
Harvey and Dr. Goldstein, Chicago, Illinois, 2/20/2000
What an auspicious date,
2/20/2000! Although we had some heavy snow on Friday, the highways
were dry and clear by Saturday so our young adults could safely
travel to Chicago for their retreat, which was held in conjunction
with the visits of Dr. Michael Goldstein, our world zonal
coordinator, and Dr. William Harvey, our United States coordinator.
Sunday was warm, sunny, and full of Sai-spiration.
We extend special thanks and
appreciation from the region to the Metro Chicago Center for
hosting these two wonderful Sai Organization leaders and providing
a delicious and nutritious lunch, with lovely table settings, for
us all. The Young Adults led a rousing and inspirational
devotional singing program in the morning with many new bhajans
and many bhajans sung half in English and half in Hindi, which is
an excellent way to introduce English into center bhajans. The
Southeast Chicago Center was so kind to provide sack lunches for
out of town travelers to take home with them. The Milwaukee Center
spearheaded a child care effort that was very much appreciated by
the families with younger children. Most of all, thank you to
everyone who took the time from their very busy lives to come to
Chicago to hear these two wonderful Sai Organization leaders and
to represent their centers.
First hand experience is best and my notes may be lacking in
places, so I hope you will be understanding. I know in a region as
spread out as ours, many who would have liked to attend could not
due to distance or other commitments. I will highlight the main
points of these talks from my notes (we were not allowed to audio
tape). If anyone would like to add to these points or if I made
any errors, please correct or add anything as appropriate. I hope
this at least gives a flavor of this fine day.
Dr. William Harvey lives in St. Louis and has been Coordinator of
the United States for well over ten years. We are very fortunate
to have him close at hand. He is usually the first one I turn to
with questions and concerns and as do many others, too, I suspect.
He is unfailingly cheerful, upbeat and gives wise counsel.
Dr. Harvey began his talk by discussing how the Sathya Sai
Organization is a significant presence in over 150 countries. The
purpose for our birth and the reason we are all here is to
recognize the Divinity within us. We need to boost our stamina on
our spiritual journey and not fall into the trap of being
distracted by worldly events like the news, rumors, or squabbles
at work, etc. That is all back drop. We should take just a few
minutes three times each day to contemplate our good fortune in
knowing Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in this lifetime.
The Young Adult Program's unfoldment is more glorious as we flow
along. Embrace the young adults as they are the leaders of
tomorrow. Involve them in the planning and implementation of
projects. They are part and parcel of the Sai Organization and not
separate from it. Each region has a Young Adult Male and Female
representative and advisor. Phyllis Crystal, Hal Honig and Dr.
Harvey are the United States Coordinators. At the 2nd World Youth
Conference, Swami gave several discourses and His main focus was
that we need faith and courage. Faith and courage are the two
wings that can carry us the rest of the way. Society can shake us
up, depress us, and make us nervous, at the very least, but Swami
is there personally for each of us.
He has a way of making us
aware He is aware of us. We can never get too far from that
personal heart to heart contact with the Lord.
We need faith and courage. We
should pray to Swami to give us more and more courage to do what
we have to do. Our tendency to worry and try to figure things out
is dangerous. Too much thinking is not good for us. Worrying
doesn't help. We must contain and curb the Monkey Mind. As we are
digging the well deeper and deeper, we are piling up a mound of
dirt, that gets higher and higher. Some people focus on the pile
of dirt when they should be focusing on the well.
Remember, Faith and Courage are Extremely Important!
Dr. Michael Goldstein was introduced by Dr. Harvey. (Dr. Goldstein
was Swami's Chief Guest on the occasion of the 18th Convocation of
the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and Swami had many
kind things to say about him in His discourse given in Sai Kulwant
Hall on 22nd November 1999: "Since he is a familiar figure here,
do not take him for granted.
He is not ordinary person....Goldstein
does not bother about grandness or greatness, he is concerned only
with goodness....Goldstein does everything according to the
commands of Bhagavan. He is a good, devoted and disciplined worker.
As a loyal member of the Sai Organization, he has the three sacred
qualities--duty, discipline, and devotion. Emulate him and follow
these three qualities and become ideal models in your lives.")
The themes of Dr. Goldstein's talk were the importance of time,
the nature of God and man, our purpose and plan, and time, time,
time. He urged us to transcend beyond the illusions of Maya (this
reality of day to day life) to the realization of our innate
Dr. Goldstein shared an incident he experienced at Prashanthi.
Swami usually preselects those who speak prior to Him. One day,
Swami said, without warning, to Goldstein, "Will you be speaking?"
Goldstein replied "If You wish me to speak, I will speak." Swami
then asked, "Are you ready?" and Goldstein replied "If it is Your
Will, I will be ready." All the while, Goldstein was feeling
perturbed and disturbed inside and experiencing inner conflict.
Once more Swami asked, "Are you ready?" and this time Goldstein
replied, "I am ready." Swami responded, "Ready is a state of inner
being." We cannot speak about love and peace when we are not
experiencing love and peace within us. That day Goldstein did not
speak. We want spiritual experience not expedience.
What about God?
When God permits Himself to
be known, it is for us to discover our own Divinity. I is a game
of hide and seek. The knowledge of God is immanent in all human
experience. In order to recognize our true humanity we need to
demonstrate the five human values of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba:
love, truth, peace, right action, and non-violence. Goldstein said,
"Behold and rejoice the Lion and Lamb are here with us." Beloved
Swami is all knowing and present everywhere. He is sweetness and
accessibility. He is unconstrained by the laws of time and nature.
He knows our thoughts and is always giving and forgiving. He
speaks the truth spontaneously and with complete authority. Swami
says only a fool goes looking for God, because He is inside our
hearts. He is the mirror and measure of mankind. His works inspire
The Nature of God and Man?
Time is the body of God. The
hour hand represents the changes in the world we can't see. The
minute hand represents the changes in us we can't see. The second
hand represents Swami and His interactions with us that changes
our lives. Right now, we need to comprehend that time is life.
None of us knows what lies ahead. Only Swami knows. God is with us
now in the human form of Swami. Of all the creatures, only man
procrastinates. Only we put off what should be done today. The
significance of the millennium is that so many people in so many
places focused on time, time, time. Knowing is not enough, we must
apply what we know. Willing is not enough, we must accomplish the
tasks given to us. Conscience gives us consciousness. Love is God.
Love All and Serve All. Say, I am a man, not an animal. Will we
ride through life as divine passengers or as beasts of burden?
Conscience removes the dam and the damned. Lust, greed, pride,
attachment go under. Brothers and sister in the family of humanity,
life is a journey from Humanity to Divinity. See the map within
you. See the Divine Love. Live lives with planful purpose. Our
Swami is the Light of the Lord, the Light of Divine Consciousness.
We journey from creation, reaping what we sow, to civilization
with self inquiry where character determines rank and the kind,
sincere, and selfless are free and noble and the insincere and
selfish are enslaved and ignoble, to self realization where we
become one with innate divinity.
Self realization is the purpose of our human lives. We become the
Light of God. We become constantly aware of Divine Consciousness.
Heaven or Hell--the choice is ours. Heaven is a state of mind--selflessness.
Experience and live 'So-Hum'--the 'I am That.' state of bliss that
never ending. We can live in heaven now. We need only seek within
ourselves. Hell is also a state of mind that is characterized by
incessant desires, giving rise to disappointment, frustration and
pain. Spiritual transformation is the awakening of our latent
divinity. The nature of consciousness is selfless love.
Differences and diversity are superficial. We all must obey and
follow the immutable Law of Divinity.
Dr. Goldstein's Plan:
Dr. Goldstein stressed the
importance of having a spiritual plan, one that fits your needs
and life. He shared his own Nine Point Plan with us. The first
three points deal with outlook, the next three points deal with
attitude, and the last three deal with actions.
1. Don't worry about the past.
Learn from the past but don't be preoccupied by it. Swami say, "Forget
the past." Let yourself experience redemption. (As someone with a
sometimes less than stellar past, I was even further comforted by
the daily quote the next day, 2/21/00, on
sai@k...: "There are some gurus who advise you to keep a daily
dairy, where you note down every item of evil that you did; they
ask you to read it as a spiritual exercise and resolve to correct
yourself. Well, reading it and writing it only tend to impress it
more in the mind. It is better to substitute good thoughts for the
bad and cleanse the mind of all evil by dwelling on righteous
deeds and holy thoughts. Forget the things that you do not want to
remember. Bring to memory only those things that are worth
remembering that is the way to achieve spiritual progress.")
2. Don't worry about the
future. Dr. Goldstein told about a man with cancer who Swami had
given twelve more years of life to, but who spent the entire
twelve years worrying about his cancer and death instead of
enjoying his boon of life. We don't know how much time we have and
every conscious moment should be replete with Divinity.
3. Don't worry about what
other people think or external events. We are three people, the
person we think we are, the person others think we are, and the
person we really are--Divine. Govern yourself from the divinity
4. Be loving--in all
relationships there are lessons for us to learn how to love.
5. Be happy. This is
contagious. Shine light into the hearts and minds of the people
with you. Happiness is contagious.
6. Be quiet and serene. Be
peaceful--enjoy the absence of turbulent emotion and preserve the
inner temple of silence.
7. Discard unworthy thoughts.
The mind is like fly paper and the bugs of thoughts stick to it.
Don't permit them to land. Remove the sticky quality of the paper.
Dr. Goldstein shared a time when he tried to rid his mind of
unworthy thoughts by shaking his head and other men on the
verandah must have wondered if he had developed some strange new
8. Follow your conscience.
Act without procrastination. Look into your heart and ask yourself,
"Is is good or is it bad?" Have complete confidence in the
conscience as the conscience represents God within ourselves.
9. Focus on Swami/God/
Godliness/Goodness. His name and form or any name and form or
attribute of Divinity. We MUST focus. This is real. This is the
purpose of our lives. Swami is Divine Consciousness--He is
Omnipresence in time. This focus on the Divine will preclude all
feelings of racial, religious, and cultural separations.
Dr. Goldstein concluded his talk by sharing some thoughts about
the Sai Organization and the 7th World Conference. He said the Sai
Organization has no life without being immersed in conscience and
selfless love. Swami has lent His Name so that all of our hearts
and minds will be uplifted. We must be a source, not a force. The
members and officers of the organization must be servants of the
people. Swami is omnipresent, He is all names and forms. He is for
ALL religions and peoples. The 7th World Conference will be a
great spiritual experience that will lead to better understanding
of Swami's message and purpose in our lives. If we are effective
and diligent, the goal will be reached and our lives will become
His message. Each region will have a regional pre conference and
produce input for one consensual document reflecting the
experience of the Sai Organization.What do devotees need? How can
we uplift society? These results will be the agenda for the World
Conference. There are now over 2,000 Sai Centers in 130 countries.
We are all different races, forms, religions, but this is only
apparel. Under our costumes, we are all One
Divine Consciousness and Divine Love.
Questions and Answers:
Q: How can we displace improper thoughts?
A: Fill your thoughts with God.
Q: How can our centers be more welcoming in general and to
Americans in particular?
A: Welcome people with REAL love. Our centers must reflect the
culture and society they exist in. We are not advocates of any
religion. We need to reflect that fundamental premise and truth.
If there is no love, then the center is a dry and barren place.
The spirit of love is the most important thing. We need to learn
to love one another. As this deepens, we will make changes that
are appropriate and good. In addition to love, there must be
understanding. Changes must be evolutionary, not revolutionary.
There must be understanding, then adjustment. (I would like to
discuss this entire issue more in depth in my next email to all of
you. I had a talk with Dr. Goldstein and he approved and
recommended the implementation of a strategy I believe might help
us be more welcoming. I am sure that there are other ideas and
strategies our centers are using. We need to pool our collective
wisdom and each center take what might work for them.)
Q: Will there be a need for service at the World Conference?
A: There will be ample opportunity and need. Each center will have
the opportunity to send one delegate, the president of the center
or one person representing the center. In addition, the
coordinating council members may attend as delegates. Pick
representatives who will uplift the quality of the conference. We
want this conference to be conducive to the emergence of something
useful. There will be consideration of reviewing the world charter
and the national guidelines.
Q: What about the current talk of Swami traveling?
A: The last time He was asked in November, Swami said, "Get
ready. I'm coming." He will be coming sooner rather than later.
When Swami went to Delhi, someone said "First Delhi, then USA?"
Swami said, "Yes, I'm coming, make arrangements." Then, He said,
"No, not now. I'm coming soon." In Delhi, Swami told the
politicians that if they did not serve the people, they would not
remain in office. He told the wealthy, if you don't help the poor,
your wealth will not last long. Swami will come to the USA. It
will be soon. He will come to America.
Q: Is it OK to use Sai devotees or a survey to analyze the
impact of religion on health and behavior?
A: No. This is frivolous. The Sai organization is not a religion,
it is a spiritual movement. This is unacceptable to Swami.
Q: Is there a definite plan for a Sri Sathya Sai Baba School in
A: Yes. We are taking a proposal to Swami in March. There is a
plan for a school in a city on the East Coast in an
underprivileged area. It will have a local board and be connected
to the SSEHV Foundation. This plan looks good, but the specifics
will not be given until Swami approves.
Q: How will the Young Adults be involved in the World
A: I will let Bill speak to that. Plans are essential,
although they do not preclude spontaneity. We must make plans to
render service and to conduct our activities with dignity and
confidence. In bhajan also, the most important is the feeling of
selfless love, but the aesthetic aspect is very important.
Q: What about Sathya Sai Education in Human Values in the
A: There is a SSEHV Foundation and Board of Advisors. They are
republishing the SSEHV Manual and producing a new Community SSEHV
Manual. SSEHV may be used more extensively, retaining the name of
the program. We do not retain the name (Sathya Sai) to promote
Swami. The name preserves the sanctity and ensures the spiritual
authenticity of the program.
Q: What about the language/appearance of bhajans?
A: The struggle. These things will resolve naturally as our
understanding deepens. Our centers must be beacons of light for
people in this society and culture. We need to inform people and
inform them with love. Explain with love and help them feel
welcome with love.
Q: Should we avoid cake with eggs in it?
A: Swami does not want us to eat eggs, but eating cake with
eggs is not a sin that will burn you in hell. Dr. Goldstein told
about a time when he ate chicken one night when he was alone in
his hotel room in Bangalore. Later, he was sitting with Swami as
Swami read letters and Swami asked him, "What did you have for
dinner last night?" Goldstein replied vegetables and rice.
Swami asked, "What did you
eat the night before?" Goldstein told Swami. Then Swami asked, "What
about the night before that?" Goldstein was forced to reply, "Ch,
ch, chicken, Swami."
So, dear brothers and sisters, I leave you with one final thought
from our Beloved Lord Sai:
"Everyone is eager to be happy. Everyone thinks that wanting more
and working less to earn the things wanted is the quickest way to
be happy. No one tries the other method, wanting less and working
Hope you enjoyed this little recap of the visit of Dr. Harvey and
Dr. Goldstein as much as we in attendance enjoyed them.
In the Service of Sai,