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Practice is better than theory!
Theory and Practice!
One teaspoon of cow's milk!
“One teaspoon full of cow’s milk is worthier than barrels of Donkeys milk” said Sri Sathya Saibaba to his students and devotees once! He want to emphasize the point that practicing even one teachings of saints and sages is better than reading, lecturing and writing on philosophy in volumes! I am guilty of that mistake. Once he told me on the conclusion of a personal audience, “You have studied a lot and stacked them in your brain” This is not a compliment but an indirect warning that there is no use to remain a ‘paper tiger’. Actually, this is one of the serious flaws with spiritual aspirants all over the globe! They will be lecturing for hours on the various philosophies contained in world scriptures! If you ask them, “Sir, you are elaborating on many noble truths, have you personally practiced any? Most of the eloquent speakers will keep their mouth shut to this query! Hence, spirituality remains in books and cassettes as well as in library racks! Has the racks benefited even to a small extent? No! Since the racks are inert and incapable of imbibing the high philosophies! But man surely possesses the quality to ruminate over what he has read and bring it to actual practice! I too feel ashamed that I am yet to practice the main theme philosophy of Sathya Saibaba, who says, “Help ever; hurt never! “The hands that help are holier than the lips that pray! I am silently ruminating on how many occasions, I have practiced his philosophy? It may be hardly one occasion if I remember!
Akbar with his infant son!
Emperor Akbar and his minister!
Confessing thus, I proceed further, praying to him to enable me to practice the teachings to an extent at least! What prevents us from following the teachings of scriptures and great people? It is the strong attachment to the body which obstructs us from going out of the way to help others! There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to help others! Even removing a glass piece or thorn on the road and safely dispose it constitute a service. Helping the elders and infirm to cross the road is a service! Service need not be an elaborate affair attracting the attention of one and all. We have seen many politicians call the press and TV crew to cover their cleaning programs. The leader will hold a broom and clean the road while the TV crew is busy recording the event live! First of all, this kind of show has no place in real service! Service denotes selfless and silent one. No need to attract any! Also, keeping the fame that accompanies the service in view is quiet contrary to real service! There are many NGOs who do silent service without any fanfare! Saibaba again emphasize that service to man is service to god! Not everyone in this world can become real saints. But we can always start somewhere in our life, the helping tendency. If our kith and kin are affected in some way, we react to such events instantly!
Here, I remember a beautiful story narrated by Saibaba long ago! It seems once the Emperor Akbar and his close Minister Pirbal were on some errands. Akbar asked him one vital question, “In your Hinduism, there are stories that the Lord himself comes to the rescue of the devotee and the Lord comes in human form to guide the humanity! Akbar told his minister that god could depute any one of the multitude of saints to guide humanity. But Pirbal replied, “Your Highness! I will prove this within few days and said God really comes to the rescue of his devotees! After a week time, Akbar, Pirbal and the small son of Akbar were on a pleasure ride! Suddenly Pirbal shouted, ‘the prince has fallen in the water! Instantly Akbar himself dived into the water to save his son! All the while, the prince was playing on other side of the boat which is not visible! Pirbal cleverly put a prince like doll inside the water! After retrieving the doll which looked like his son, Akbar got terribly angry for the mischief created by Pirbal. Pirbal politely replied, Your Highness! Kindly pardon me. Last week, you asked me a vital question ‘why god himself need to descend on earth? He could have deputed many of his deputies (sages) for the job? When I have shouted that the prince has fallen in water, you yourself jumped in water! Why? You could have deputed any of your guards! Akbar got his answer in a practical way. There is no time even to think, the foremost thought in my mind was to save my son! Hence I myself dived into water! Biarbal said, “Exactly your Highness! God too comes on earth to protect his children! Akbar appreciated him and presented him a nice memento! This is how Saibaba educate the devotees and students on various aspects of life’s philosophy. Logic has no place in spirituality! Love alone decides the actions of God!
Sathya Sai service projects
Puttaparthi, then and now!
Millions of devotees have been benefited by the teachings of Sathya Saibaba through his many discourses in public. Until his 32 years, he was conversing with devotees one to one. He used to call them for a personal audience, narrate their personal problems and suggest remedies. Always his emphasize is on uttering the names of god silently in the mind! Christians, Muslims, Parsis, Chinese, Japanese, Russians and even people from tribal arears visited him to get the benefit of seeing his person, listen to his words of Truth! People who don’t have faith in a personal god also visited him in order to defy him! But all went illumined and immensely benefited! Incurable diseases like cancer, Asthma and heart problems were cured by his mere touch! His emphasis is ‘selfless love and service to the needy! Hence he had founded two magnificent Hospitals with Super specialty facilities. More than one lakh surgeries were performed free of cost for one all. The surprise things about Sai Hospital are that there is no ‘billing section’. All are treated free! Hence there is a huge weighting list. To those cases which could be postponed, they prescribe medicines and they will be asked to comeback after a particular time! Emergency cases are dealt as per the needs. Most of the poor illiterate villagers around were benefited due to Sathya Sai Hospitals!
Around fifty years ago, Puttaparthi had scant facilities for treatments! Students had to trek miles for their education! Today, Puttaparthi boasts a world renowned University, Super specialty Hospital, General Hospital, Schools teaching free from KG to PG. Even costly management courses were offered free to those who compete in the entrance exam and came out successful. Minimum lodging charges and boarding charges are levied but the poor students get completely free hostel. His drinking water supply scheme is a boon to suffering villagers who lacked potable water for centuries. Now all the 730 villages of the district get potable water in their village itself!