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 age 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 is OM."

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 Enquiry.

"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 resplendent.

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 indescribable.

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 unending bliss.

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 true joy.

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 way.

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 'man' disappear.

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 everything.

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 awareness.

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 state.

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 to God.

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 Sadhana.

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 unchanging 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.