Does God exist? How to seek God?

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The Barber and Baba

In the Hindu religious practices, there is a ceremony where the locks of a child are cut for the first time in its life. It is considered an important ritual and is also called the Mundan ceremony. And thus it was that a couple once pleaded to Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba),

“Swami, please cut the first locks of our child. It would be the greatest blessing to have this done by You.”
To this, Swami smiled sweetly and replied,

“I am Baba and not barber!”

That being said, there is an interesting story of a doubting barber that I read somewhere. Having read that, I read another episode narrated by the former Controller of Examinations of the Sri Sathya Sai University, Prof.M.Nanjundiah. Both these narratives together made a beautiful lesson.

The story of the doubting barber

The story was of a person who goes to the barber for a haircut. As is the common practice the barber engaged the person in a conversation which steered towards God. Now the barber said,
“Look here! I do not believe that God exists.”
“But why are you saying that, my dear fellow?”, asked the client.
"Well, it's so easy. You just have to go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. Tell me, if God existed, would there be so many sick people on earth? Would there be abandoned children and old people? If God exists, there should be no suffering nor pain."
The man gave no response and the conversation ended there.

After the haircut, the man got up and started walking out of the shop. The barber stopped him, “Hey! You cannot leave without paying!”
“Pay? Whom should I pay?”
“Pay me of course! For the haircut.”
“But, there are no barbers in the world! Whom do I pay?”
“What do you mean?! Don’t be ridiculous. Did you not feel your hair snip as you sat in the chair. Were you not subject to the experience of a haircut? How can you say that barbers don’t exist?”

"Well, it's so easy. You just have to go out in the street to realize that barbers do not exist. Tell me, if barbers existed, would there be so people with unkempt hair and long beards on earth? Would there be children and old people who have not known the touch of a snipping scissors or a shaving blade? If barbers exist, there should be no person with overgrown hair!"

“If they choose not to go to the barber, is it the barber’s fault?” The client just smiled, paid the barber and walked out.

The experience of God is as personal as a haircut!

Seeking God - His departments

It was here that I was wondering on what it meant to seek God. Thinking of Swami always is possible but what if I seek Him for wealth, for a career, for health etc. Is that also seeking God? Swami has no problem with that. He says, “I give you what you ask for so that one day you will ask for what I have come to give.” But what does seeking Swami exactly mean?

The 85th Birthday commemorative issue of the Sanathana Sarathi magazine has an article by Prof. M Nanjundiah. And he writes about what Swami once told him. That answered my question completely.

“Just like the cabinet that the Prime Minister has, Swami too has His own cabinet. I have entrusted different tasks to the different ministers. I do not interfere with their work. If I get a prayer in a letter, “Swami we want rains,” I will redirect the letter to Varuna, the Lord of water. He will deal with it appropriately.

Only three departments come directly under me: Love, Selfless Service and Spiritual Sadhana. Whoever loves me, I too love them. I do not look into the other qualities or eligibility. Whoever performs service without expecting rewards, I shall take care of them. Whoever or whenever any person pursues spiritual sadhana, he/she will will come under my protective umbrella. Other departments are all looked after by My other Ministers.”

And so, if you want to seek God, seek Love; if you want to seek God, seek selfless service; if you want to seek God, seek Sadhana!

What a revelation!

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© 2011 Aravind Balasubramanya

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Comments 26 comments

Prithwis Kumar Goswami 2 years ago

Baba's teachings are always very interesting.Sai Ram


vijaya lakshmi 2 years ago

Sai Ram Aravind. barber story is great...Thank You


Kokila Vaidyanathan 3 years ago

Great story about the barber...lovely article. Thank you Sairam


padma 3 years ago

loving Article..Seems as though Swami is lovingly giving advice-love,service,Sadhana.thanks Again.


Prakash Chittaranjan 3 years ago

If I may add...in my case, I wish to clarify that my path is exclusively Self Inquiry (you may wish to put that into Sadhana category if you wish) and I know how Swami has got me closer to this thru Self Inquiry !!


anju dhingra 3 years ago

Awesome message for all of us.....one can seek God through Love, Selfless service & Sadhna. Beautiful article as always....simple & meaningful.

Just loved it. Thanks a lot !!!!!!!!


An Impressed Reader 4 years ago

Really liked the analogy of Swami's cabinet .. It is a very powerful one and makes us realise such a profound truth .. That God can be won only through love, selfless service and persistent Sadhana ..


tpudayasankar@yahoo.com 4 years ago

This type of nice presentation can generate from His products only. Keep continuing your articles..


Kyle Quandel 4 years ago

Great piece - thank you again! Kudos! - Kyle Quandel


Sreenidhi 4 years ago

What a beautiful analogy! You have oncne again helped me out to answer a few of my friends and people around me.....this was Swami's way of teaching and helping me.....jaisairam


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aravindb1982 4 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@ Moodle - Thank you :)


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moodle 4 years ago

Great story about the barber - beautiful.


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poornimasrinath 5 years ago from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA

Beautiful colation of apt story and Swami's words for the topic chosen! well done again :)


omshidhar 5 years ago

Thank you aravind. The best way to start my day.


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 5 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@ Sainath and Arpita - Swami's love makes everything happen!

@ Kyle Quandel - Thank you for the appreciation...My pleasure to share


Kyle Quandel profile image

Kyle Quandel 5 years ago from NYC

what a great piece! thanks for sharing!!


Arpita Mallajosyula 5 years ago

one of the best examples ever..!!! again a very simple daily life example yet so profound....i will remember this lifelong..!!! :) this cabinet ministers example has touched me so much....!!! thnx ana..!! :)


Sainath 5 years ago

Beautiful Message - Once again reiterating that Love or Prema is the only thing we need to cultivate to all


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 5 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@ Shruti, Deepa and Spirit Whisperer - Thank you. Swami is the one who inspires everything.

@ Samir - Thank you. I shall convey the same to all here! Will be good to see you next year.


Samir 5 years ago

Thanks a lot brother! All you in SAI radio are very vivid in my memories and make SAI still embodiment of Love in Prashanti!!! He left Swami's Boys when he left His body! Hope to have your Darshan next year :))) love for all


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Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

A beautiful hub. Thank you.


deepa venkitesh 5 years ago

wow! a great hub, thanks for sharing. you helped bless us too.


Shruti 5 years ago

How true!…. All that He asks from us Love to God…!


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 5 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@ Saisarannaga - Thank you. :) It is entirely HIS grace.

@ Aarthi - "Do not bother either about the past or the future. When needed, they will reveal themselves. Just continue to love." That has been His message always.


Aarthi 5 years ago

Very nice article! "Whoever loves me, I too love them. I do not look into the other qualities or eligibility." - Simple yet profound! Swami does not consider any other factor of eligibility except love. What more assurance do we need? Thanks, bro!


saisarannaga 5 years ago from Chennai in Tamilnadu, India.

What else can I expect from the students of Swami's Institute? Both the above experiences clearly points out Swami's way of teaching great Truths. Let us try to come under Swami's umbrella by opting any of the three paths. Thank you for the nice presentation.

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