Sri Sathya Sai Baba Biography
Sri Sathya Sai Baba was born on 23rd November, 1926 at Puttaparthi
village in Andhra Pradesh. Initially known as Sathyanarayana Raju he
took on the name Sathya Sai Baba later. The meaning of ‘Sathya’, 'Sai'
and 'Baba' is Truth, Mother and Father respectively. He exhibited
differences from his companions at an early eage and frequently led his
school friends in worship and chanting spiritual songs as their 'guru'.
In 1940, at the age of fourteen, a change occurred to the young boy and
he left school and acquired a deep samadhi state. He announced himself
to be the reincarnation of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba and left his family home
choosing instead to be with his growing number of devotees.
As the number of his devotees multiplied, he built his ashram Prashanti
Nilayam on the outskirts of the Puttaparthi village in which he was
born. During his life Sathya Sai Baba spent most of his time at his
primary ashram at Puttaparthi, and sometimes took residence in some of
his other spiritual centres, throughout India. He only left the country
one time, and that was on a visit to Kenya and Uganda in 1968.
Sri Sathya’s message was intrinsically linked to the concept of seva
(service). And his work led to the establishment of many colleges,
hospitals, clinics and service centres.
He died aged 85 on April 24th, 2011 at the Speciality Hospital located at his primary abode Prashanti Nilayam in Andhra Pradesh.
Words on Arunachala
Sri Sathya Sai Baba Sings Manasa Bhajare
The first spiritual teaching Sri Sathya Sai Baba is reputed to have
given to the world was at the age of 14 years when he left his home and
took a seat on a boulder outside his Puttaparthi village. It was at that
boulder (which would later mark one of the boundaries of his vast
desert Ashram), that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai sang:
Manasa Bhajorey Guru Charanam
Dusthara Bhava Sagara Tharanam
Guru Maharaj Guru Jai Jai
Sai Natha Sad Guru Jai Jai
Om Namah Shivaya, Om Nama Shivaya,
Om Namah Shivaya, Shivaya Namah Om
Arunachala Shiva, Arunachala Shiva,
Arunachala Shiva Aruna Shiv Om
Omkaram Baba, Omkaram Baba,
Omkaram Baba Om Namo Baba
"O mind, worship the Lotus Feet of your God and Supreme Teacher that
will take you safely across the ocean of life and death. Victory to our
Lord and supreme Teacher, Sai Nath!
Mind, also chant and worship; the Divine name of Lord Shiva and
Arunachala mountain (which is no different to Shiva) and Baba whose form
In this bhajan Bhagavan exhorts devotees to worship the feet of the
spiritual preceptor and explains that there is no difference between the
Pranava Om (which pervades the Universe), Arunachala and the Lord.
Bowing to one is as bowing to all.
Since that early age of 14 years and his first teaching, Sri Sathya Sai
Baba often encouraged, suggested and even ordered devotees to come to
Arunachala. As well as his love of this Holy Place, Sri Sathya Sai Baba
often guided people (as did Ramana Maharshi) in the method of Self
"All agitation will cease the moment one enters on the enquiry.
'Who am I?' This was the sadhana that Ramana Maharshi achieved and
taught to his disciples. This is also the easiest of all disciplines."
[Sri Sathya Sai Baba]
The following is a speech made by Sri Sathya Sai Baba on Shiva, the Divine Consciousness:
“Who is Shiva?” Divine Consciousness which pervades all living beings is
none other than Shiva. This Divine Consciousness permeates not only
human beings, but all other creatures. Shiva-consciousness is
all-pervading. “With hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth and ears pervading
everything, He permeates the entire Universe.”
All that we witness is Shiva Consciousness; nothing else. Shiva does not
mean a particular form with matted hair and tiger skin. Wherever we
look and whichever form we come across – whether a child or an elderly
person, whether a woman or a man, in every form Shiva Consciousness is
How can you describe the all-pervading Shiva-consciousness or limit it
to a particular time and place? God is described by different people in
diverse ways depending on their imagination and understanding. But the
nameless, formless God is omnipresent and all-pervading
Who can describe such Divinity? There is only one sign for Divinity,
that is, Consciousness. In whichever form this Divine Consciousness
permeates, it will assume that form – it may be the form of a dog, a
crow, a crane or a human being.
All that you witness in this objective world is a manifestation of
Shiva. It pervades the three worlds; earth, space and nether world and
exists in the three periods of time; past, present and future. It is
Man today searches for God everywhere, not understanding that he himself is an Embodiment of Divine Atma.
One has to realise Divinity by cultivating love for God. It is only love
that can bind God. Through such Divine Love, the oneness of God has to
be realised. If the attributeless God has to be described, the
description would be “One without a second, eternal, pure, unchanging,
witness to all functions of the intellect, beyond one’s imagination and
beyond the three conditions (gunas).”
The best sadhana is to realise unity in Divinity and worship God as such. “To see the One in all you see.”
Mind and Self Enquiry
“It is the mind that is responsible for bondage or liberation. The
negative mind takes you to negative actions. Negative actions bear
negative results. The mind, when positive, will prompt you to take
positive actions. And positive actions will give you positive results.
Therefore, never entertain any negative thoughts.
Mind has no form. As is the thought, so is the mind. When the thoughts
are good, there constitutes a good mind. When thoughts are bad, they
make a bad mind. Mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts . . when the
thoughts are negative; you suffer. Once you know the thoughts are
negative and make you suffer, come on! Give them up - throw them away!
Don't entertain such thoughts, as negative thoughts will make you
suffer. Why should you suffer? Brush them aside.
Similarly, once you know that the negative thought is making you suffer, drop it immediately!
All agitation will cease the moment one enters on the enquiry, “Who
Am I?” This was the sadhana that Ramana Maharshi achieved and taught to
his disciples. This is also the easiest of all disciplines.”
[Sri Sathya Sai Baba]
Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Discourse on the Mind
The entire world is based on the concept of I. So long as this
I-principle exists in you, you will be involved with the outside world.
And as long as the world exists in your experience, you will not be able
to free yourself from sorrow and misery. During deep sleep you do not
have the thought of I and mine. Once the I-thought disappears there is
no longer any world for you, and when there is no world there will be no
sorrow. Therefore, eradicate the cause of sorrow. Relinquish the
feeling of I and mine. Then you will be in Ananda, You will be in
What does being in Ananda mean? Is it related to the possession of
health or wealth or power? Aren't there many people in the world who
have lots of wealth? And aren't there many also who are blessed with
health? And aren't there many others who wield power? But are any of
these enjoying real happiness? No. What is the reason for this? The
reason is that so long as anyone still has the thought of I and all the
desires and attachments that go with it, he will be unable to manifest
When thirsty animals see a mirage they run to it to quench their thirst;
but they cannot find water there, and so they get exhausted and perish.
In the same way, man seeks happiness in the objects of the senses and
runs after them. But he cannot find the inexhaustible springs of Ananda
there, and so he gets exhausted and dies in a most futile and pitiful
The moment you free yourself from the thought of I, you become God
Itself. It has been said 'Brahma Sathyam Jagath Mithyam', that God is
real and the world is unreal. But more correctly, the world is both real
and unreal. It is an illusion which is unreal, superimposed on God who
is real. If you want to understand the nature of the world you must
first make an effort to find out who you are and whether you are real or
not. The moment you find out your own truth, you will be able to
understand the world.
One of the great sayings of the Vedanta which you are enjoined to repeat
and meditate on is, 'Aham Brahmasmi', which means 'I am Brahman', 'I am
God'. In this saying you use the word I before the word God. Where did
this word I come from? What is its meaning? Is it the same I that you
use many times every day to refer to your individual self? No, that
personal I is not what is meant in the statement, 'I am God'. Beyond the
personal I, which is the I-thought, there is another I which stands
behind it. That is the true I. That I is your own true nature. That is
the true I meant in the statement, 'I am God'.
This true I is not just there when you repeat Vedic sayings. It is there
behind every I you use. Suppose you say, 'I am a man'. Here also,
standing behind the subjective I, there is the true I which is your
natural state, your unchanging truth. The word 'man' is the feeling of
limitation you impose on that truth. The true I is always full in
itself; it is complete and unlimited. But, the word 'man' is partial,
incomplete and limited. When the word 'man' with its limitations and
boundaries joins the true I which has no limitations or boundaries, then
the limited I-thought arises.
The I-thought can be compared to a river bounded by name and form. Once
it merges into the limitless ocean it loses its name and form and all
its limitations. Before that it had a separate identity as a river. But
once it merges it becomes the ocean. In that way, when you remove the
I-thought, you as a limited man merge with the unlimited ocean of
Divinity and become one with It. Then you as a separate entity called
What is the origin of the I-thought? The I-thought takes its origin from
the Atma, the true I, the one eternal Self. From the one Self arises
the thought of I. And out of this I-thought all the rest of the mind
takes form. In truth, the I-thought and the mind belong to the Self;
they are both just aspects of the Self. The relationship can best be
visualized as the Self being the grandfather, the I-thought, the
personal self, being the father, and the mind being the grandson.
Consider a cloth which has been made into a handkerchief. Its basis is
cotton, which does not have any specific form. It may be considered as
pure and unlimited. From this cotton has come the threads. By joining
the threads together a cloth has emerged. In the same way, from the pure
and unlimited Atma the I-thought has emerged. From this, in turn, has
come the mind. Therefore, your mind and the I have both originated from
the pure, unlimited Divinity, the One Reality which is your true Self.
You should be clear about the distinction between the I-thought and the
impersonal, immortal Self. The I-thought takes birth and grows; for a
time it comes in and is associated with a body; then it disappears. But
for the Self there is no birth, there is no growth, no death, no coming,
no going. Once you recognize the truth that from the one unlimited Self
has emerged the limited I, and from that I the mind has taken birth,
then you will realize your true Self and understand the origin of the
world and everything in it.
Chaitanya or consciousness is all-pervasive. This consciousness is also
the substratum of the mind, but when it becomes associated with the mind
it is no longer pure. Mind takes birth, blossoms forth and shines in
man. With this mind man tries to analyze and understand the external
world. But, unknown to him, that world is only a reflection of the inner
thoughts that shape the mind. All knowledge is inside you. All the
beauty you see outside is but an image of the beauty already there in
your heart. All the research and experiments that you perform in the
world are merely reflections of the inner thoughts that are already
within you. If you learn to carefully concentrate your mind and go to
its very root you will be able to understand the basic truth of
Make an effort to know who you are and what the deeper meaning of this
word I is. When you conduct this investigation you will unlock all the
secrets of existence. When you examine your own truth, you will discover
the very basis of the whole creation, and you will find the source of
life itself. Then the Divine Flame inside you will blaze forth and you
will realize the truth that the Divinity is your very core. In this you
can be your own guru. If you develop a high level of patience and
calmness, and remain free from selfishness, the basic truths that are
always within you will naturally manifest and shine forth in your
First you must free yourself from the defects in your vision. Do not try
to find fault with the creation. The entire creation is saturated with
Divinity. Today, man uses all his capacity and power of vision to see
the outside world, but he does not use his abilities to discover his
true Self. It is because of the petrified ignorance in his heart that
man goes on thinking and worrying about worldly objects and situations.
And by diverting his attention only to the manifested world he suffers
disappointment and despair.
If you think you can free your mind from worldly thoughts by repeating
mantras or engaging in various spiritual exercises you are mistaken. It
is only when you recognize your own real nature that you will be able to
become free of all worries and misery. Once you know yourself, nothing
that can happen in the world will be able to touch you or cause you any
anxiety. And once you understand yourself you will be able to understand
the world in all its fullness.
No matter how long you go on experimenting to find out what this
manifested world is, you will always come back to the realization that
the world of name and form consists only of the five basic elements,
space, air, fire, water and earth. The body, the mind and the senses are
also made up of these same five elements. So, the senses composed of
the five elements are enjoying the things of the world made up of the
five elements. Of what avail is that? These limited enjoyments are not
real; one day or another they must come to an end. Names and forms
made up of the five elements can only give rise to other names and
forms which go on changing and finally disintegrate.
Aspire for the eternal joy that has no end. The Vedanta declares,
'Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati', 'Know God and you become God.' Once you
know the Divinity you realize you are the Divinity Itself. Then there is
lasting joy and fulfillment. That is why it is said, it is not enough
to merely hear the Rama story. You must become Rama Himself. You must
realize your truth as Absolute Bliss itself.
Therefore, endeavor to understand the principle of Atma. Strive to
discover the relationship between the I and the Self and banish the
I-thought completely out of your being. So long as that I-thought
continues you will not be able to free yourself from attachment and the
anxiety and misery that go with it. As was mentioned before, in the deep
sleep state you do not have the thought of I. When there is no I there
is no world for you. The moment you get up from sleep the I-thought
catches hold of you and the experience of world rushes back into your
awareness. Once the world reappears sorrow automatically follows.
Your distance from the Divinity is the same as your distance from
yourself, your true Self. It is the I-thought that has emerged from the
Divinity which separates you from the Divinity. Who is it that declares
this I? Is it the body? The body is inert. It cannot have the power to
declare its ‘I’ness. Then is it the Self? The one eternal Self does not
recognize any second entity at all. If you examine this question
carefully you will find that the word I emerges by itself the moment the
Self and the body come together. As soon as this I-thought emerges the
mind manifests itself and the world appears. At the same time, the
impersonal Self, the Atma, disappears from view.
The mind has 50 million different ways of manifesting itself in the
thinking process. Behind all these myriad thoughts there is the
seed-thought which is the source of all thoughts. This is the I-thought
which emerges from the One Self. Everyone, be he a theist or an atheist,
says 'I' and believes that he himself exists. Eventually everyone will
have to realize the truth of his existence by tracing back to the very
root of that original I-thought and discover there his true Self.
Spirituality is nothing more than that. It is recognizing your true
nature. It is abiding in the very heart of the Reality and enjoying it.
I bless you that you will steadily inquire into the Divine Principle and
realize the Ananda which is your own natural
Sri Sathya Sai Baba's Kodaikanal Interview April 1, 1985
Below are highlights of an interview given by Sai Baba to approximately
forty Western devotees on April 1st, 1985 at a devotee’s cottage in
Kodaikanal. This interview conveys the strong advaitic emphasis of
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai’s teachings, and is particularly illuminating
with his exposition of the mind:-
Devotee: Swami, what is the best way to relate to the world?
Baba: Do not spend your time thinking about the world or
your relationships to individuals. These are all impermanent. They have
only to do with the body. The body is just a water bubble. The mind is
like a mad monkey. Do not follow either the body or the mind. Follow the
Self, the Atma. It is beyond the mind. It is permanent. It is the
unchanging truth within you.
Most important, do not ever think that you and God are separate. Think
always, "God is with me; He is inside me; He is around me. All there is
is God. I myself am God. I am the Infinite, the Eternal. I am not two; I
am one, only one. There is no one else besides me. I and God are one
and the same."
To realize this Unity, the first step is to develop self-confidence. It
comes when you realize that God is not outside of you. Self-confidence
means thinking all the time, "God is in me . . . God is doing everything
. . . without God I cannot be . . . all this is God . . . I only want
to think of God." When there is self-confidence then there will be love,
there will be peace, there will be truth, there will be God. Without
self-confidence there cannot be God. So, first there must be
self-confidence and love of God.
Devotee: Swami, how to do we rise up to that highest level?
Baba: Through love. Only through love. Develop divine love.
Divine love is completely selfless. Human love is mostly selfishness;
all the time it thinks only of the little 'i'. That 'i' is the ego. The
ego is a very bad quality. Ego sees everything as separate; it sees
everything as dual. You must remove this ego and see only the Unity.
Think only of Unity; think only of the Atma. Atma is the one unchanging
Truth, the one Reality that is the basis of everything.
Devotee: Swami, is everything predetermined?
Baba: For the Atma there is no time and there is no form.
It is beyond time and beyond form. In the Atma all are one. Remember
that Unity. Live in that Unity. Make that your goal. All are one .
. . be alike to everyone.
Devotee: Baba, what is the relationship between the Atma and the individual?
Baba: The Atma is everywhere. But, do you know that?
No, you do not know. What you say now all comes from your imagination.
You have no experience. Do some Sadhana. Realize the Atma! Always think
like that . . . "I am the Atma. I am all." The individual exists only in
your imagination. It is just an illusion. When the Atma is one without a
second, when the Atma is everywhere, where is the individual? Only in
your imagination. The Atma alone is real. Realize it through meditation.
Devotee: Then there is really no higher being related to this body, judging me and guiding me?
Baba: You see, you are still in 100% body consciousness. Do
not stay with this body consciousness. Remove that. What will remain
will be Atma-consciousness. Then there will be no anger, no hatred, no
envy, no jealousy, no hunger, no desire . . . only complete Ananda . . .
only bliss, bliss, bliss!
Devotee: But then, Swami, what is reborn in reincarnation?
Baba: The body is born. Birth and death only have to do
with the body. Ego also relates only to the body. Similarly,
reincarnation relates only to the body. Do not think of the body. Think
of the Atma. The Atma is one; it is unchanging. For Atma there is no
incarnation, there is no reincarnation.
Devotee: Swami, do I exist at all as an individual?
Baba: When you realize the Atma then there is no
individual. You can think of individuals as different light bulbs. There
will be a differences in wattage and in color. There will be
differences in shape, but everywhere the current is the same. That
current is who you are. You are not the individual bulb. You are the one
current in all.
Devotee: Is there any difference between I and God?
Baba: You are God. You are not the ego. You are God!
Devotee: I am God?
Baba: Yes. You are the Atma. You are permanent. The
physical is not permanent. The physical is not the Atma. You are the
Atma, not the physical. You are God. Think like this always. Do not
think about the body. The body comes and goes; for it there is birth and
there is death. But you are not the body. Body is just rust and dust.
Think only of God. Love God.
Devotee: Swami, how can we love something we don't understand?
Baba: Develop self-confidence, then love will follow; it
will come naturally from within. And that way the love will be pure.
First comes self-confidence, that is the foundation. Then comes
self-satisfaction. It is like the wall. Next comes self-sacrifice, it is
like the roof. Finally the house is complete and the Indweller is
installed inside; that is self-realization. It starts with
self-confidence and it ends with realizing the Self. That Self is you.
It is everything. It is God. That is who you really are.
Devotee: Does self-confidence mean confidence in the Self?
Baba: Yes, self-confidence is confidence in the Atma; it is
an unwavering love for the Divinity within you. That is very important.
What will help you to develop that confidence? Be equal minded, be
satisfied with what you have. Be happy. The secret of happiness is not
in doing what you like but in liking what you have to do. That is a
great truth. Always have complete faith in the indwelling God who takes
care of everything. True greatness can only come from faith.
Devotee: Lord, I want to arrive very early to You. What do I have to do?
Baba: Through love, only through love. Love is everything.
Love is God. Live in love. Start the day with love, spend the day with
love, fill the day with love and end the day with love. That is the way
Devotee: How do we develop this selfless love?
Baba: It all comes through God's Grace. Without Grace you
cannot do anything. First do your duty and think about God all day from
morning to evening. See everything as God. Be happy. Think, "O Lord, You
are my everything. You are my goal. You are my breath." Do not think,
"This is mine, that is mine." Instead think, "All is You. All is Yours."
Think, "I am beyond the body. This body is just a water bubble. I am
beyond the mind. This mind is just a mad monkey. I am the Atma. I and
God are one. Before this body was formed I was there. After this body
leaves I am there. Without this body I am still there. I am omnipresent.
I am all." To reach this truth you have to do some spiritual practice.
You have to inquire, "What is God? Who is God? Who am I?" Jesus spent
twelve years in the desert; then he realized. You must also do some
The first step in realization is to always think of God. Then after some
years you will realize that you are one with God. In the beginning you
can think, "The world is like a stage. I am only an actor. God is the
director. All are His instruments, all are just actors. He is directing
everything." But do not always remain at that level. Move on. Think, "I
am the un¬changing Atma, not this changing personality and body."
Do good, be good and see good. Do everything with love. After you
develop your self-confidence and love for God then you can share your
experiences with others. But it is a good rule to talk very little, even
about God. In Sadhana there will be internal talk with God. You will
give up all attachments and attach only to God. For this, purity of the
heart is very important. Where there is no purity, there is no Unity.
Without Unity you cannot attain Divinity. Then your life is just a
waste. First purity, next Unity, then you realize your Divinity.
Devotee: And purity comes from service?
Baba: Yes. Purity comes from Seva . . . it comes from
selfless love. All are one family, serve all . . . not just the
Sai family, but the whole world family. All are brothers and sisters.
All are one, be alike to everyone. That is Unity . . . the brotherhood
of man and the fatherhood of God.