Conversations With Sai

Ref: http://www.saibabaofindia.com/conversations_with_sai.htm.

HISLOP: We do not perceive life with absolute clarity, and yet we are acting all the time, and unclear action makes for a confused life. We are unhappy about that confusion, and in an effort to remove it we accumulate ideas of Truth, God and Reality. But those imaginings do not remove the confusion. Life is still confused. So, the question is: what is the big factor that prevents us from seeing the Truth of life clearly?

SAI: You say that Truth, God and Reality are imagination. Why do you think they are imagination? They are not. Time, work, reason and experience; these four in harmony together, that is Truth

An example: yesterday you came to Bangalore and from there to Puttaparti by car. Travel is work. It took you four hours to come from Bangalore. That is time. You came here to see Swami. That is the reason. Having seen Him you felt happy. This is the result. 

On the other hand, last night you dreamed you were in America and were shopping. In this, the four factors were not involved. There was no work, there was no time expended, and where is the result? This is untruth. That experience was imagination, only mind work. This is the difference between truth and imagination.

H: But truth, that is, in terms of work, time, reason and result – you look around the world and you see those things in operation; and the world is in a mess. So, there must be more to it than that?An example: yesterday you came to Bangalore and from there to Puttaparti by car. Travel is work. It took you four hours to come from Bangalore. That is time. You came here to see Swami. That is the reason. Having seen Him you felt happy. This is the result. 

On the other hand, last night you dreamed you were in America and were shopping. In this, the four factors were not involved. There was no work, there was no time expended, and where is the result? This is untruth. That experience was imagination, only mind work. This is the difference between truth and imagination.

H: But truth, that is, in terms of work, time, reason and result – you look around the world and you see those things in operation; and the world is in a mess. So, there must be more to it than that?
 

A small example: while suffering from malaria, you eat a sweet but feel it has a bitter taste. It was not that the sweet was bitter, but in your experience it was bitter. It is not the fault of the sweet. Ignorance is also a disease like malaria. And the cure for this disease of ignorance is Sadhana. Man has doubt only when he does not know the Truth.

Once you experience the Truth, doubt will vanish. Truth is one and for all time Truth is Truth. Whatever changes, know that as untruth. Once you were small and you grew bigger. That is also untruth. Where is the body of the ten-year-old? All has merged into the present body. First untruth; then, when we have the experience we know the Truth. Darkness and light are not different; they are one only. 

A small example: last night you ate some fruit. In the morning it becomes stool and you pass it out. It was fruit yesterday, but the bad and the good are the same, only one. In one form it was fruit; in the other form it was stool.

It is the same with light and darkness. When the light comes, the darkness goes. But really, the darkness does not go to any place and the light does not go to any place. When one comes, the other is unknown; it does not go anywhere.

H: This mixture of light and darkness, of ignorance and wisdom which creates unhappiness, which creates trouble – Swami says that the mixture which creates confusion fades away with the right experience. The question is what is the basic factor that prevents us from having that right experience?

SAI: We don’t have the intensity that is required. How much effort is needed even to study books and come to the stage when we can read difficult books. How many years, how many hours of toil we put into it. If you have the same intensity in spiritual practise, you will surely know the Truth. But we are not as intense as we should be on the spiritual path. We do not apply concentration and one-pointedness. Full concentration is needed even in the world, in walking, talking and reading. 
We cannot do anything without concentration. We must concentrate even in small worldly tasks. But when we try to think of God, we get restless, and the mind becomes unstable. Why do we do the things of the world with full concentration? Why? Because we are fully interested in it. And with God we have these doubts. We have full concentration in whatever work we love deeply. Concentration is not full when we do work that we don’t love deeply. 

A small example: you are driving a car. At the same time you are talking to some passengers. The road becomes narrow and dangerous. You say, “Please let us not talk now, I must give full concentration to the driving.” Why do you say this? It is because you deeply love your life and you must concentrate thoroughly to avoid an accident. Because you have this love for your body, you concentrate on its safety. When you have profound love for God, then concentration on Him will come automatically.

H: But that is the point, there is the whole point. 
 

Part 2
SAI: …….When you have deep love for God, then concentration on Him will come automatically.

H: But that is the point, there is the whole point.

SAI: In all these experiences we must hold to the Truth, to life. You love life. We have all these experiences because of life. So we are clinging on to that sort of pillar which is life; for we know that without life we don’t have experiences. Life gives so many things externally but life does not change; life is the same. That life is Truth and that is God. The unchangeable is Truth.

H: Since we are that Truth, we would like to have love in our hearts and flow naturally with life and not according to our arbitrary wishes. Yet we don’t. Swami says we do not, because we lack the intensity. So we say to ourselves, “Well I must get that intensity.” So we strive towards that goal, and striving towards that goal makes the thing stronger – that prevents the desired intensity.

Translator: I don’t follow that.

H: We are selfish and greedy naturally. If we substitute a spiritual goal for a physical goal, then we are still engaged in the same greed. One has just changed the physical greed to a spiritual greed. A further point. If one does not love, as indeed one does not, then one says, “I must get love”. Then love is over there and oneself is here.

SAI: Who are you? Who are you?

H: I am the accumulation of all my past, all my ideas.

SAI: Who is that ‘my’? Who is that ‘my’? Who is claiming? Between the love and yourself there is this claim. What is love and who are you?

H: I am that which I am, the accumulation of all these…

H’s Wife: The accumulation is the idea that you have, but according to Swami you [Atma] and the love are the same thing. You [ego] are the one who puts the separation.

H: Yes, I am the one who puts the separation between us. I am the ego.

SAI: Ego is untruth.

H: Ego is untruth, then I…

SAI: But you are not ego. You are Truth. Ego is not Truth. Any amount of arguments and discussions like this are just words. You will not get this without spiritual practice, without Sadhana. An example: someone asks us what sugar is. We say it is brownish and sort of sandy, because we know sugar. But the sweetness has no form. You can describe sugar like this, but you cannot picture the taste, because the taste has no form.

Even pertaining to the world there are so many things we do not know, and we don’t imagine or worry about. If we only feel intensely for God instead of much discussion and reading books. We must get into the field and try it out. Even if someone writes a book it is his spiritual experience.

You love your wife and she loves you. But if she is hungry you cannot eat for her. And if you are hungry she cannot eat for you despite the fact that you love each other dearly. Spiritual hunger is like that. Each man must seek and appease that hunger according to his faith. Even though
Swami tries to explain, you do not grasp it. It is only through experience that you can come to it.

When you start to learn to drive, you must have an open space for practice; but once you learn, then you can go confidently even on a narrow road. It is just like in a school. Gradually you go and you understand. If big words are used when the child is still learning ABC then the child does not understand. 

In the beginning, we do not understand the things of the world, and do not even understand ourselves; so how can you understand that which is beyond you? So, first you try to understand yourself by doing spiritual practice, by doing Sadhana. First ‘I’ next ‘you’. ‘I’ plus ‘you’ equals ‘we’. Then ‘we’. Then ‘we’ plus ‘He’. Then only ‘He’.

H: No, I don’t understand that.

SAI: First ‘I’ then ‘you’. First ‘I’ that is life. Next ‘you’ that is the world. ‘I’ plus ‘you’ is ‘we’. ‘We’ plus ‘He’ is God. Only ‘He’. There is love, the person who loves and the person you love. And when all get together it is bliss.

You see there are three blades in the fan. The three Gunas are represented by the three blades. Only when the blades circulate together in harmony do you get the air. When they move in the same direction then they bring the cool air. The three Gunas within us are going in different directions. When you turn them in the same direction all going round together then you will have one-pointedness and you will be enabled to know.

A Visitor: Could it be like this? It is the experience of a number of people including myself that gradually one does Sadhana, but then comes such an experience that would have taken an immense time to gain, but through your Grace one has the sudden experience.

SAI: Another example: in a house, each one does a particular job and divides the work. In the evening when the family has finished the work nobody says, “Father, I did such and such a work and you must pay me.” It is one house. So you don’t ask for payment you just do the work. But when someone from outside comes you fix up the rate and pay accordingly. When you pay them that shows that they are outsiders. But when they become your own you don’t have to pay them. They work with interest and no pay is expected. Similarly with God. When you think God is the nearest and dearest to you, like one family, you don’t ask for pay. The one who surrenders like that, he is My own, he does not have to look for payment. But the one who says, “I have done so much Sadhana” and barters with God and says, “I have done so much Sadhana and you give me such and such a reward”, then that is the difference; he is the outsider.

The child who is so small does not ask the mother “I want milk. I want to be changed” and so on, but the mother looks after every need of the child without its asking. When you have surrendered yourself completely to God and become God’s child, you don’t have to tell God what you want. He will give even more than you have asked for. But it is only by love that He is your dearest. Do Sadhana and there is a closeness to God; then you don’t have to tell Him that you want this or that. Because you are like a little child, He will come and give you more than even what you ask for. Ego is what prevents us from becoming close to God. It is that ego, ‘I’ have to do this, ‘I’ have to get all this. You must see that ’I’ is only the instrument of the Lord. Like the fan is an instrument, you are an instrument of the Lord. Now is the fan making the fan rotate or is the current making the fan rotate?

H: The current is making the fan rotate.

SAI: The current is God; so you are only the instrument. Even the fact that we think that our eyes see things and that our ears hear things is not correct. My eyes are here but the mind is in Bangalore thinking of this or that. My eyes are seeing, but my mind is somewhere else. Mind is important. Body is like a torch; eye is like the bulb; mind is the battery cell; intelligence is the switch. Only when the four work together do you get the light. The body is only like a torch.

H: Surrender to God is everything of course but…

SAI: The word ‘surrender’ in English is not quite correct; it is not the right word. Because, when you say ‘surrender’, you are separate and God is separate. That is the meaning you get. But God is not separate.

Part 3

SAI: ……..The word, ‘surrender’, in English, is not quite correct; it is not the right word. Because, when you say, ‘surrender’, you are separate and God is separate. That is the meaning you get. But God is not separate. 

A Visitor: The word, ‘surrender’, is not the correct word, so Self-realisation…

SAI: Self-realisation that is why they call it so. You are You. You realise your own Self. You are you, not your wife. You are You.

A Second Visitor: Where is our responsibility? We are supposed to share, to help others.

A Third Visitor: Help oneself first.

SAI: ‘Self’ is the base, or foundation. ‘Help’ is the wall. God is the roof or top of the building. ‘Light’ is the owner.

A Visitor: But she was asking, ‘what is the limit?’ Where is the limit of one’s responsibility? How far should she go?

SAI: First you should look after yourself and not be a burden. That is the first thing. If you are not able to help so many people, it doesn’t matter. But if you don’t do anything that is harmful, that is real help. If you can’t help a person, never mind. But don’t harm anybody. To harm is bad. But the very feeling you have that you can’t help, itself is good. 

You must have physical strength, spiritual strength, and mental strength; and only when you have the three, then you can really do service. Food, head, and God. Food is for the body; and you want a good body so the brain can function properly, so you can think. And why do you want this head and that intellect? To realise that which is beyond this – and that is God.

Visitor: But it hurts me to see people in need, beggars and innocent little children who are ill.

A Second Visitor: Is it not egoistic to have everything for yourself?

Translator: But Swami did not mean in that sense. What Swami said is that when you do not have the physical, mental and spiritual strength, how can you really help another person?

SAI: Sometimes when we are not balanced and have not realised the proper truth, we will mislead so many other people.

A Visitor: It is that you cannot give what you do not have.

A Second Visitor: Nothing before straightening yourself.

H: Is it possible for Swami to give the lady Self-realisation?

A Third Visitor: Swami says it is possible. Since He gives the Truth, cannot He also give Self-realisation to the heart?

SAI: When there is that feeling, that depth of feeling, Swami can give it. Oh, yes. She has such a depth of feeling for the body. If she has the same intensity for God-realisation, Swami can give it – just now.

H: So, that is what Swami means by, ‘Before you can help people’.

SAI: The more intensity, the greater the result. If you are digging a well, the deeper you dig the higher will be the wall formed by the mud you bring out. The depth is in the form of the height. (The deeper you dig the higher the wall).

H: Swami says that He cannot give to a dry heart. Why is the heart dry?

SAI: God gives even that for our own good. When you aren’t hungry, why should He give you food? When you’re hungry and receive food, it is useful; but if you aren’t hungry and He gives you food, you will have indigestion. Sometimes, even if you are hungry, God doesn’t give you food – just to keep you in check and control. 

Suppose you are in the hospital; they can’t give you everything you might ask for. There is a proper time and a proper way for your own sake. Sometimes God withholds even a spiritual experience because God does everything for man’s good. He never does anything to harm man or give him sorrow. But you must have that faith. First you must grapple with the fact that duty is God, and start doing your duty.

H: Is it that the heart is dry because one is not doing one’s duty?

SAI: Nobody’s heart is really dry. At least men have sense love. At least you have worldly love for children, family and others. It is the same love but given to some only. You only have to take it all and give it to God. 
 

Part 4
 

SAI: No man’s heart is really dry. At least men have sense love. At least you have worldly love for children, family and others. It is the same love, but given to some only. You only have to take it all and give it to God.

A Visitor: If his heart were completely dry, he would not want to come to Prashanti Nilayam.

SAI: Even in coming to Prashanti Nilayam, you could love your wife and family. Love is God. Live in love. Love itself is God. He is nothing else but Love. There are different forms of love; love for family and love for money; but love for God is devotion. There is a glass of water. An Englishman will call it water, an Andhra man will call it by another name and in Tamil still another name is given. But the water is the same. We just call it by different names. The names of love for wife, children, and objects differ; and love for God is called devotion – but the love is one. The most important thing you have to develop is love. If you develop love you don’t have to develop anything else.

H: But love is not something made by man. Love is not something created by man; how can I develop love?

SAI: You have love for the tape recorder. How is it that you have that love? When the tape recorder was in the shop, did you love it? But because you have got it now and it is yours, ‘my’ tape recorder. You did not love it in the shop; you love it now because you feel it is ‘mine’. So, when you think God is ‘mine’, you love Him.

A Visitor: I make an effort to strengthen love, but I know it does not happen.

SAI: It is a question of practice. Intellectually you understand. Say, you have a temperature, a 105 degree fever. If you keep on chanting 100 times, ‘I want penicillin injection’, it won’t cure you. You have to have the injection. You don’t have to chant that you want penicillin; you just have to have one shot and you are all right. Instead of thinking of ten different things to do, if you do one thing correctly, that is enough. When you are thirsty, you don’t want all the water from the well. One glass will suffice. You don’t have to take all and try to practise everything. Take one. Here is a match box with some 60 matches; if you want to light a fire you need to strike one match, not the entire box of matches.

H: Swami, in the hospital, each patient has a principal disease; is the doctor able to know that principal disease?

SAI: If he is a good doctor, yes. If he just has a degree, no. In present day India in the political field, people have studied very little; but because of politics they get a doctors degree.

H: Then let the Supreme Doctor tell me what my chief disease is – not physical.

SAI: You do have this desire to go towards God. But you are just at the point, ‘How to go to it’, you are wanting to know. This, Swami cannot say before the others. He will say to you separately. Such problems are separate. Like the doctor, each patient he examines separately, not while everyone is in the room.

A Visitor: Swami, do I continue teaching with the same meditation? It is not always the same people there.

SAI: You must have the same group. Then if new people come, you must give them a separate time and do not mix them with the others.

Visitor: Yesterday there were a number of new people.

SAI: There is not much difference within the group. Even the people who come to you do not know much. If the child wants to learn ABC’s, he must continue to say ABCD and so on.

A Visitor: When should I leave?

SAI: Whatever your decision is. If you want to leave on the 19th morning, Swami will see you tomorrow. But if you have other plans, it will be adjusted accordingly. Swami is not limited by space. Wherever you are, here or in Bombay or wherever, He is with you. You have to be happy. That is what Swami wants. So it should depend on your decision.
Visitor: But I am a person for whom decisions are a great difficulty.

SAI: Deciding good and bad all the time is a human problem. You can leave on the 19th morning.
A Second Visitor: Swami, I have been away from business and I want to talk with Swami, but if I stay another month, then there will be only one final talk with Swami. I want to talk with Swami now, and then stay a month.

SAI: Tomorrow is Thursday. Swami will see each of you individually, then you can make your plans when you want to leave, or stay. With you, it is like this; you have a few doubts, now you want to clear these doubts immediately so as to leave room for new doubts, (much merriment from the interview group). That is your plan.

SAI: (to a visitor): You have some plan for poor people. What are the details?

Visitor: The old Mandir. We should make a number of new homes for the poor people. Then those who are now staying in the old Mandir can move to the new houses and then the old temple can be made like new. It is Swami’s first Mandir and it should be saved for history. If people continue to live there, it will tumble down in no time at all. To just use it for living looks like a lack of respect from the people who are in Puttaparthi.

SAI: That can be discussed further at a later time. Now, Swami is troubled that all of you have come from so far spending so much. Your love is so touching. There is no price for that love even if measured in crores and crores. Swami wants your happiness. Swami will teach as quickly as may be.

Visitor: But now is the time because there is the World Conference in May and Swami’s devotees will come here and it does not matter whose plan it is to save the old Mandir; it should be as though it is everyone’s idea and all should work together to accomplish it.

SAI: You draw up a plan and show it to Swami. How to do it.

Visitor: And one other thing I must ask Swami because people say Swami must be asked. I want a little plot of land. On the opposite hill if I have a little place and then put up a big shed, for which I have the plan, so that there is a big place where they can come and gather and do yoga or whatever it is. But then when I am so close, that is closer than from here to the old Mandir, but not just outside the gate so that people will be saying this or that about me, then I am outside, and then you know….

A Visitor interrupts: …..so that no control…….

A second Visitor: No control….

SAI: A faithless garden, (much merriment from the interview group).

Visitor: Well, you know, nobody can come and say no cooking, and so on.

SAI: It might be all right to start, but then you will have many more problems than you wish for. All the dogs from the villagers and other problems.

Visitor: The thing is that I have said at home that I would like to have a little house outside the compound.

SAI: With all the dogs together, you are going to have a great problem. Ten puppies each.

Visitor: But, anyway, you….

SAI: We will discuss it. You may start enthusiastically, but then the problems that will be coming in the future will not be good.
(Swami now moves His hand, and a large mass of sugar candy appears in His hand and is distributed. The group exclaims how sweet and delightful it tastes.)

SAI: Complete sugar. 

Visitor: Not only sugar. It is flavoured.

SAI: Everyday should be sweet like this that Swami would again make the sugar.

Visitor: Someone told me that I should not let anybody touch these earrings that you gave me, because they are sacred. But I don’t like to tell people not to touch.

SAI: Nothing like that, about touching. Was everyone angry because Swami did not come this morning?

Visitor: No, no, Baba. We were singing Bhajans and talking about the Gopis.

SAI:Gopi means sense control, one who has controlled the senses. It is not a lady’s name.

End of Interview