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The Soul-Stirring Call dor a Celebrated Life...

By Mr. Sanjay Sahani

On August 14-15, 2009, Bhagavan Baba’s residence witnessed a special series of talks for the benefit of the alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai University currently serving in the various institutions in Prashanthi Nilayam and Brindavan.

This session, which was conducted at the divine direction of Bhagavan Baba was exclusively meant for the former men students who have chosen to stay close to their alma mater and align their professional and spiritual aspirations as a mark of their gratitude and love for Bhagavan Baba.

All of these former students are currently associated with either Bhagavan’s University, School, Hospitals or the Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust. This convention was also attended by the Tyagajeevis, the group of inspired individuals who are married only to Bhagavan’s mission and splendidly run the Sai Schools in Alike and Muddanahalli.

The path that all the people above have chosen is one of discipline, devotion and dedication, and the recent talks offered them a special dose of motivation to pursue their mission with heightened determination.

Heart2Heart now presents excerpts from the insightful presentation of the first speaker, Mr. Sanjay Sahani.

Mr. Sanjay Sahani joined the Sri Sathya Sai University in 1983 for his Bachelors in Commerce. He received a gold medal in this degree and later pursued his Masters in Commerce in the same University. He was again awarded gold medal on his post graduation. Subsequently, he joined the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of his alma mater as a lecturer and in 1992, became the warden of the Sri Sathya Sai Boys’ Hostel in the same campus. Later, he moved to the Brindavan campus and is currently the Principal of this campus of His University. He is reputed for his excellent oratory skills.

Mr. Sanjay Sahani speaking to the participants of the Tyagajeevi and Brahmacharya convention

I offer my loving pranaams at Bhagavan’s Lotus Feet, at whose call, on this most auspicious, wonderful occasion, of India’s Independence Day, we the Sai brotherhood, have assembled under the umbrella of Swami, in His own residence!

Our esteemed Vice-Chancellor, in His speech in the morning to the students in the College, was recalling the immense challenges that the country is facing today. The answer to all those challenges is this assembly, which is seated here. We need many more such assemblies in our country and the world over.

Before I commence, let me express first of all, my gratitude to my parents, who encouraged me and supported me to follow this sacred path. And as I remember them, I pray to Bhagavan that He may shower His choicest blessings on the parents of all our Brahmacharis (celibates) and Tyagajeevis assembled here for the support and encouragement that we have received from people who are grihastha’s (householders) no doubt, but who understood the Divine call of Swami and showed us the way.

‘Who Comes for Me?’ - Baba

Years ago, in the mid 90’s, one day, Swami was speaking to the students in Brindavan. And that day, He struck a very different note. He said:

“Many people come to Me. Students come seeking education, they receive education from Me and they go away. Youngsters come, seeking a job; I bless them. They feel happy that their prayers are answered, and they go away. Parents of children come, seeking alliances for their children, I give them My blessings, they feel happy and they go away. Businessmen come, seeking profits in their business, I bless them, and they go away. Who is there, who comes for Me? Who is there who comes for Swami? Is there anyone who comes for Swami?”

That is a sentiment, which Swami expressed that was extremely precious to all of us assembled. What does Swami mean when He says: “Who is there who cares for Me? Who is there who comes for Me?”

One day, a few students and teachers were with Bhagavan and Swami was addressing them. He said:


“Do you know why I give you this chance to be with Me? Is it because your parents are very wealthy and they have a lot of property? Is it because of your intelligence that I am giving you this chance? No! This opportunity is not given to you because of all these reasons. I am giving this to you because all the time My vision is focused on Loka Kalyanam – the welfare of the whole world. It is because of that reason, I am giving you this opportunity to sit at My Lotus Feet and be with Me! So, if you all become good, the whole world will stand to gain.”

 When Swami says: “Who cares for Me?” It is not for His physical body; He does not need anything for Himself! When He says: “Who cares for Me?” He means to say: “Who cares for My Mission?” The Avatar has come down for uplifting humanity to a level of Divine Consciousness from human consciousness!

“Is there anyone who is concerned about that Mission for which I have come?” It is the responsibility for each one of us here, to say to Swami: “Yes Swami! We are here! You don’t have to be worried about anything! We are here Swami, for You and Your Mission!” If Swami wants, in one sankalpa (Divine Will), He can finish His Mission! Sankalpa (mere Will) is enough!

Swami said: “My students will do whatever I tell them. For those who have the seed, I Myself ask them to get married. For those who don’t have the seed, I will not compel them.”

One day, we were in Ooty, sitting with Swami and there was a devotee there, who was working in the Water Works Department from Tamil Nadu. Swami was enquiring ‘How is your work progressing?’ And the devotee said: “Swami, if Your sankalpa is there, everything will go well.” Swami said: “It is not a question of My sankalpa! If it were just a question of God’s sankalpa, Rama would have said: ‘Ravana, you die! Sita, you come!’ and the Ramayana would not have been necessary! Why was the entire drama of Ramayana enacted? It was done to show to the world the devotion of Hanuman. By nature, physically a monkey, but because of his devotion and dedication, because of his attachment to Sri Rama and the Lord’s Mission, today he is worshipped all over the country!”

When He comes down as an Avatar Swami wants to show to humanity - here are the salt of the earth who will do anything for Me!

The Profundity of Brahmacharya


The topic that is assigned to me is ‘The Essence of Brahmacharya’. What is Brahmacharya? Yesterday, we celebrated Gokulashtami, and I was reminded of a small Chinna Katha of Swami. One day, Sage Durvasa visited Mathura. And Lord Krishna, who is Rishi manasa sanchari (who resides in the minds of the sages), wanted to extend hospitality to the great sage. So He called Rukmini (His consort) and said: “Rukmini, Sage Durvasa is residing on the other side of Yamuna and you must cook food for him and extend our warm hospitality.” Rukmini was ready with the meal but Yamuna was in spate and she didn’t know how to cross the river. So she came to Krishna and said: “Krishna, the Yamuna is in spate, how do I cross it?”

He said: “It’s so simple! You go to Yamuna and say: “Nitya Brahmachari (a confirmed celibate for life) Krishna has told me to take this food and give it to Durvasa, and see what happens!” So, Rukmini had total trust in Krishna’s words and went to Yamuna and said: “Nitya Brahmachari Krishna has asked me to go and give this food to Durvasa, and lo and behold, the Yamuna waters parted! She easily crossed the river, went to the other side, met Durvasa, and served him food. After his meal, she had to now return.

So now, she asked Durvasa: “Durvasa, the river is in spate, how do I get back home? Can you give me a clue?” Durvasa said: “Amma, it is so simple! Go to Yamuna and say: ‘Nitya Upavasi (ever on fast) Durvasa has asked me to return home after serving him.’ And see what happens!” So she went and told that to Yamuna, and lo and behold, the waters parted!

When she reached home, she was very perplexed! So she asked Krishna: “Krishna! What is this! You are a gruhastha (householder) and say that ‘I am a Nitya Brahmachari’ and the Yamuna parts. And right in front of me, Durvasa has had a stomach full of meal, and he asks me to say: ‘I am a Nitya Upavasi!’ and the Yamuna parts! How can the Yamuna not recognize the untruth of these statements!”

To be God-centered is – whenever you get an opportunity of choice, your first preference is Swami; everything else comes later. And therefore, to have God also in your life, and to be God-centered is a very different proposition.

Krishna says: “Rukmini! You are looking only at the superficial meaning! You are not going to the inner secret of the words! Nitya Brahmachari. Who is a Brahmachari? Brahmacharyatiti brahamchari - ‘He who roams always in the domain of Brahman’; Divinity, that is what I am! Whether the world recognized it or not, Yamuna knows! And who is Durvasa? He may have had a stomach full of meal; but that is not the meaning of upavasa! Upa means near and vaasa means to reside. He who resides near somebody, and that somebody is Divinity. The mind of a sage is always near the Divine. And that is why when he said: I am Nitya Upavasi, the Yamuna recognized the truth of that statement.

To be a brahmachari, is to be living in Bhagavan. And in that sense, to be a brahmachari is an aspiration; it is not the journey’s end! We have not reached it yet, when we reach it, we will be Bhagavan Himself! It is an aspiration for life and maybe for lifetimes! It is an opportunity for us to be here because to be a brahmachari, is to be God-centered and not world-centered! Why do I say that it is important to be God-centered? What do I mean by that?


There are so many people outside who would love to be in this hall, which is so cool, so peaceful, so calm. But everybody did not get this opportunity! There are two facets to our relationship with God. God is also in your life and God is the center of your life. They are not two same things.

Living for God Vs. Living Also for God

It was Bhagavan’s 70th Birthday. And one of our visiting faculty members, the Board of Studies member, Academic Council member, was personally invited by Swami to attend His 70th Birthday celebration. Swami said: “Come! You will get Vishwa Roopa Darshan! And call all your relations.” He went and told everybody and you know how things happen in the families. Suddenly, it so happened that two marriages got fixed amongst his very close relations. And it was a big dharma sankata (moral doubt)! Should they come to Prashanti Nilayam or attend the marriages! He himself was in a big dilemma!

One night, Swami came in his dream and said: “You know, your heart is like a mansion with several rooms! In one room, are your children and your wife. In another room of your mansion, are your conferences, which you attend all over the country. In the third room of your mansion, are your properties, your possessions. In the fourth room, you have place for Swami. If this is how your house is, Swami may once in a while come and stay in your house, but He will not install Himself in your heart!”

Immediately he recognized what Swami was saying and gave up all the family bonds and said: “I must be at Prashanti Nilayam to have Bhagavan’s Vishva Roopa Darshan!” To be God-centered is – whenever you get an opportunity of choice, your first preference is Swami; everything else comes later. And therefore, to have God also in your life, and to be God-centered is a very different proposition. This is an assembly of God lovers and that is what has entitled us to be in this hall. Though at a very basic sense, brahmacharya also deals with marriage.

The Highest Principles of Life

What is Swami’s view on marriage? Who can speak about it except Swami Himself? So let me share something, which happened many years ago. We have two green rooms in the Poornachandra Auditorium, and Swami used to accommodate visiting VIP’s there.

The participants of the unique convention held in the divine precincts of Baba's residence

So the Chief Minister and the Governor of Andhra Pradesh had come and Swami had called two of our research scholars to serve them. And you know Swami; the mischievous Swami! For Him, if there is an occasion, He will not waste it!

The Governor and the Chief Minister were sitting in Swami’s presence, and Swami started pulling the leg of one of the research scholars: “How is the girl in your native place?” And the boy said: “No Swami! Nobody is there!”

This was going on in the middle of them. Suddenly, in the midst of the conversation, out of turn, the Chief Minister butted in! He said: “Swami! Your students don’t marry?” There was a stunned silence! Nobody knew how to respond!

Only Swami could answer that question. And this is what He said: “My students will do whatever I tell them. For those who have the seed, I Myself ask them to get married. For those who don’t have the seed, I will not compel them.”

In God’s Creation, the urge to have a replica of ourselves is very strong. If He had not made that urge so strong, the whole creation would have come to a stand still. And that is why, in our tradition and culture, when we divide a man’s life, there are four stages for his life. And one of the very important stages is gruhastha. It is not that a gruhastha should not follow a brahmacharya; there is a brahmacharya principle for a gruhastha too. Since it is not relevant here, I will not talk about it. Because in His Vahinis Swami has said, irrespective of which pathway to God you chose to take, you must have two things: yama and niyama. And among the five principles of yama, which Patanjali has referred to on his treatise of mind control - one of the five important principles he has enunciated, is brahmacharya.

Swami says yama and niyama should be followed by every spiritual aspirant. How do we know that we are eligible for it? How do we know that we have the qualification for it? In my humble opinion, there are three qualifications required: first, aspiration, coupled with the second quality of determination.

An Adamantine Aspiration

Mr. Sanjay Sahani speaking on August 15, 2009

Many years ago, after I finished my education, when I reached home, the first thing that my father asked me was: “What did Swami ask you to do?” Of course, Swami had first told me: “Go abroad, do your Ph. D, then He said, ‘Do C.A.’” I didn’t want to tell that to my father because both were unacceptable to me. I said: “Swami did not tell anything to me.” He said: “The moment Swami returns from Kodai Kanal, you should ask Him what you should do.”

Any parent would have said: ‘Come, now let’s decide your future, what should you do?’ But that is Swami’s blessing. Finally on June 1, He called me. Some of my classmates were also there, and He asked some others to take up research and He asked me to join teaching. On that occasion, He asked me: “What did your parents say?” I said: “They said I should do whatever You ask me to do.” I narrate this because of this one statement made by Swami. He said: “When you yourself were so determined, what else could have your parents said?”

God’s Ever-Present Grace

The aspiration, the motivation is very important. The motivation is ‘God should be the center of my life. God is the first priority of my life.

What I mean is, aspiration is not enough! Determination is also required, but even that is not enough! There is one third thing that is very important ingredient, which is required, and that is Bhagavat Anugraha - God’s Grace. This brahmacharya life is not for everybody. And those who earned that anugraha of the Lord, will be able to walk on this path, which is like a razor’s edge. As the Katho Upanishad describes: ‘To walk on this path, without slipping.’ If a person says: “Sir, I have already slipped!” It doesn’t matter if you have slipped once; or if you have slipped 10 times, but persist! Determination is everything!

One day, God will have mercy on you and say, ‘Okay, Come!” and He will put His hand over you and will give you that blessing and the obstacles in your path will be removed. But, the aspiration, the motivation is very important. The motivation is ‘God should be the center of my life. God is the first priority of my life.’


And when Swami has come here, His path, which He is showing the spiritual aspirants, is not the path of going to the Himalayas, or in some cave in some mountain, and locking yourself there. No, He wants us to enter society. He wants us to be in the world and show how you can lead a life of being dedicated to God in spite of being in the world!

Is Simply Loving God Easy?

I would like to quickly come to some aspects of how do we walk on that path. Many people say: “Swami says, ‘You love Me that’s enough! You need not do any sadhana (spiritual practice).” Somehow I intuitively felt there is something wrong with this logic. Because to love Swami, and to consistently love Swami and to be attached to Him and nothing but Him, how do we control this mind? It’s not easy! Unless you put some extra effort.  

Quite a few students in our days, used to have this love, but none of them could really live up to their highest potential. It is not easy to consistently love Swami and to be attached to Him unless there is spiritual effort. What kind of spiritual effort?

The Necessity of Morning Prayer

Swami says: “I am your banker; your custodian. The prayer that you do in the early morning is actually meant for your spiritual growth and evolution. I will not allow you to encash it for any other purpose.”

Number one: prayer. We may pray throughout the day, but there is a fundamental difference of prayer early in the morning – brahma muhurtam – and prayer at any time of the day. That’s why in our daily schedule for students; the morning prayer is given so much of importance.

Swami compares the morning prayer that you do, as a fixed deposit. The prayer that you do at any other time of the day, as current deposit. What is current deposit? You can deposit anytime and withdraw too at any time. So whatever deposit you make in terms of contemplation of Swami, throughout the day, is like a current account.

Suppose some difficulty comes, Swami immediately gives a withdrawal from the current account and your problems are solved. But the prayer of the early morning is not like that. Swami says: “I am your banker; your custodian. The prayer that you do in the early morning is actually meant for your spiritual growth and evolution. I will not allow you to encash it for any other purpose.”

So when we want to walk on the spiritual path, the prayer, the contemplation, whichever way you want to do it, the brahma muhurtam, the early morning is very important! And if we don’t do it, we are jeopardizing our future in the spiritual path.

The Requisite of a Disciplined Daily Routine


Point number two is another very important ingredient for the life of Swami’s students in the Campus: regularity of schedule. Whatever the schedule, it has been meticulously been planned by Swami!

When we are working in other Institutions, or we are elsewhere, maybe we may not be able to have the exact schedule that is possible in the hostel, but you can fix up some schedule and regularly follow that routine. There should be time for everything.

We must have time for exercise and games too because the body has to be fit to be able to do Swami’s seva. If the body is unfit, what seva can we do? So have time for everything! But it should be done regularly – the time you should eat, the time you should sleep, etc.

Today’s modern generation want to sleep late and get up late. In the spiritual path, this will not lead us anywhere. So, regularity of schedule, whatever they maybe, the spiritual routines that you have fixed for yourself, cannot be changed to - ‘today I will not do it; I am not in the mood.’ No! You should do it! Whether you like it or not, you should do it! One day, the enthusiasm will come, the mood will come back. One day, you will relish the joy, which is within.

You are not making a sacrifice for somebody else when you take up the Brahmacharya path! It is to experience joy in your heart!

If Swami is inspiring us to lead this kind of life, it is not Swami who is getting anything out of it! If all 240 of us decide today: “Swami, we don’t want to work in Your Institutions, we don’t want to work in Your Mission”, I tell you, for each one of us, Swami will produce 10,000 people! It is a chance for each one of us! He chose us, He showed us the way, He gave us the encouragement! He gave us the support of our friends, of our brothers, of our parents, of our teachers who helped us, who supported us and lead us to where we are today.

Sri Rama, Sri Lakshmana, Mother Sita
and Hanuman

The Immense Power of Brahmacharya

The third important ingredient is to control our negative thoughts. Every human being, every human mind faces negative thoughts. Let me share with you a small anecdote from the Ramayana. It was narrated by Swami,,and in my more than a quarter century of association with Swami, I have heard it only once when He was speaking to students in Trayee Brindavan. And it is not recorded in any Ramayana.

Though a gruhashta, Lakshmana was a great brahmachari. The sages of Rama’s time declared that his victory over Indrajit was superior to that of Rama over Ravana. Because Indrajit had the power to become invisible and he had mastery over the magical art and there was no way in which anybody could defeat him. Except one person, who had practiced purity for fourteen long years! And that qualification, Lakshmana had. For the fourteen years that he was in the forest, through the dedicated service that he did to Lord Rama, he had acquired that purity of heart to defeat Indrajit.

When we participate in Swami’s Mission, the challenges are going to be so immense that we need the power of Brahmacharya to face those challenges; everybody will not be able to face those obstacles! Lakshmana was able to do it because he was able to practice brahmacharya. But not without God testing him!

Overcoming the Tests along the Razor Path

One day, Sri Rama wanted to test his brother Lakshmana. [You know, Swami is no different!] Sita is sleeping in the forest in Sri Rama’s lap. Rama pretends that He has some urgent work and says: “Lakshmana, I have some work, I have to go; but don’t disturb Sita. You come and take My place and let Sita sleep without any disturbance until she wakes up.”


So quietly they change their positions; Lakshmana takes Rama’s position and Sita is with her head on Lakshmana’s lap. And what does Rama do? He converts Himself into a parrot and goes and sits on the top of the thatched hut, and looks to see what is going to happen to Lakshmana. But Lakshmana is not any ordinary person! Do you know what he did? This is what Swami said: “Look at him! He was alone with a woman! There was nobody else. This is his brother’s wife. And look at what Lakshmana did.

'Sumitra…Sumitra…Sumitra..' he was reminding himself constantly that the woman who is sleeping in his lap is not Sita, but Sumitra, ‘my mother, my mother, my mother’ he kept saying to himself.”

Patanjali calls this pratipaksha bhavana. When you get a wrong thought, always produce a counter thought, which is more powerful, which will negate the effect of the wrong thought. It is one of the subtlest of the secrets of Ramayanam, which Swami narrated once to the students - how to practice overcoming wrong or negative thoughts, which will always assail us from time to time. But we must have the wherewithal to overcome all that.

Glowing in His Light…

Whatever I have shared with you; I share it with my students. Many of them are here. For some of them, it may be a repetition, but we have joined together to express our joy to Swami for the joy of being with Him. The greatest fortune of our life has come on our lap. God knows in which lifetime, if not in this lifetime, we have prayed for this opportunity! It has come to us!

Swami’s Mission is entering into a very critical phase and His Glory is going to multiply much more. Swami wants that each one of us should share a little bit of that Glory - that light, which is His, a little bit of that light should also come to all of us. And He has given us that call and we have responded to that call. Expressing our gratitude to Swami for inviting each one of us to participate in this wonderful convention, I close. Jai Sairam.

Source: http://media.radiosai.org/Journals/Vol_07/01SEP09/03-sanjay_sahani_1.htm

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