Questions and answers

This menu contains questions asked of Sathya Sai Baba in His Subtle Body and His answers given at gatherings/satsangs held all over the world.


Australia, on 24 September, 2015.

Question: In the world, when we see so much wrong, it’s sometimes difficult to remain silent. I want to know, as an individual, should we say something when something is wrong or just transfer the problem to You, Swami?

Swami: If you see that something is going wrong and do nothing about it, you are also a part of that wrong. You become equally guilty of the mistake being made, or the crime being committed. You have seen, and though it was within your capacity to do something about it, you decided not to. First you need to make an effort yourself -- I always say, “Do your best and then leave the rest to Me.” Without doing your best and leaving everything to Swami, nothing is going to happen. I put you in such situations to teach you how to deal with them; to make you learn courage; to make you learn compassion. If you do not make any effort and pass it all on to Me, how are you going to learn anything?
If parents keep doing the their children’s homework out of their misplaced love, when is the child going to learn anything? Therefore, when you see that something is going wrong, make an effort to stop it. Pray to Me to help you. There is no escape -- you must make an effort first and, only then, must you pray to Me for help. Just transferring things to Me is not going to bring you any result. When you are sitting at home and you are hungry, do you simply pray to Me for your hunger to be satisfied? Or do you go to the kitchen, find something, cook it and eat it? When it comes to your own problems, you want to solve them immediately. When it is other people’s problems, you want to transfer it to God. (laughter) Make an effort!


Australia, on 30 Decembar, 2014.

Question: Mankind has a certian degree of freeedom. Some people abuse the freedome given to them. Can You not just it away from them, so that there are less problems?

Swami: Once I have given something, I do not take it back. You have to come and offer it to Me. I do not take away your freedom, or anybody else's, either. As you evolve, as you grow, you will be able to offer everything back to God – that is the whole point. If I were to take away everybody's freedom, you would not call Me God, you would call me a dictator! (Laughter) I want to be God; I do not to be a dictator.
That is how it is. Everybody is designed that way. Some are more knowledgeable, some are less; some are more kind, some are less. You are evolving. At least, if you become aware of people who are in need, help them to become better; that is exactly what I am doing. All teachers want good children in their classes, children who listen to them, bahave well and don't make noise – but, real teachers are those who are ready to accept children who are naughty and disobedient, and correct them – that is the task of a real teacher. My true devotees help the people who need help. What is the point of helping people who are already on the path? In that case, you are not really doing very much.


Australia, on 23 September, 2015.

Question: How should I know if what I have done is right or not?

Swami: Everybody must ask this question. Only then will you know whether you should correct yourself or not. If you think that you are always right, then who can teach you or correct you? Look -- it is raining outside, but it also rained a while ago. Now, when you go out of this hall, you may not know whether it has rained or not -- you may not have seen it raining, but when you see the soil and the wetness of the soil, it will be clear to you that rain has fallen. In the same way, if you do the right thing, immediately peace will descend; your mind will be put to rest and your heart will be filled with a sense of peace. You will know that this peace is nothing but the result of knowing that what you have done is right. If you experience this peace and joy, know that what you have done is right. If you do not experience this peace, but you are experiencing confusion, then you should know that what you have done is not right.
There is no other definition. Your heart will tell you whether it is right or not. Selflessness is always right. If you have to choose between your desire and the benefit of many, choose the benefit of many -- that will be the right choice. If you have a choice to abstain from talking harshly, from saying things that would hurt people, from doing things that would not be in the interest of many, then abstain from it. Even if it costs you, it will be less painful to let it go than to suffer later for having done something wrong but, more importantly, there are two things that you must consider while doing anything; paschaat tapa or remorse, is feeling guilty after you have done a thing and realised that it is wrong -- then you try to change it but, since the time has gone, the opportunity is gone and it is very difficult to put right the damage. Poorva tapa means that you think of the consequences of what you are going to do, before you do something and whether it is going to benefit everybody. Is it honest? Is it just or righteous? You must ask these questions before you do anything. Thinking before you do something is more important - there is no point in thinking after you have already done it.


Muddenahalli, on 15 January, 2015

Question: Swami, how do we get rid of our ego?

Swami: If you think you are the body and its master, and you have to look after it – and you worry only about your own future – then the 'I' will not go. If you think, 'I have been put here as part of the Divine Plan and everything that happens is also part of the Divine Plan.' When difficulties come, Swami will look after things and when good times come it is Swami's gift – keeping your mind always thinking about Me and not on the circumstances will help you get through difficulties.
Everything you do, you should do for the love of God. 'Will Swami be happy with this? Will Swami be pleased? Will it take me nearer to Swami?' Keep asking youself such questions and do only that which brings you closer to Me, all the time. Then, there will not be any ego.


Muddenahalli, on 15 January, 2015

Question: Swami, how can I be happy?

Svami: When you make others happy, you will be happy.


Australia, on 30 December 2014.

Question: Swami, a lot of us here  are SSE (Sathya Sai Education) and Bal Vikas teachers. Can You please guide us as to how can we help the children? Sometimes they are very restless. How can we help them to be still?

Svami: If they hear, they forget. If they see, they remember. If they do, they learn. They are not going to learn anything if you simple talk to them. First, you must set an exemple, and then make them practise; practise is the only way that will learn their lessons. Any amount of knowledge is not going to help. Many of your gurus are platform heroes and practical zeroes. (Laughter) When they talk about precepts, they make no mistakes, but when it come to their own ways, they do not follow them. They say, 'Love All, Serve All', but are not even able to talk nicely to their own people at home.
Children are rational. They are learning, not only when you are teaching in the classroom, but also when they are outside. You should be a teacher 24 hours a day, not just when you walk into the classroom. You must practise what you are preaching, every single moment. If the children see that, they will note it and they will change. You must also help them practise – no amount of teaching, just by talking, is going to help. Acharati iti acharyah – a teacher is one who practises. You must first put into practice; only when you will they learn from you. Otherwise, it will be a waste; it will be like dairrhoea, going in and coming straight out.


Australia, on 23 September 2015.

Question: Could You please define what forgiveness is, and how we can achieve it?

Svami: Swami: Oneness is forgiveness. When your right hand hurts your eye, you don’t punish your right hand. You forgive the right hand because you know that this hand also belongs to you, just as your eye does. When you think that both belong to you then, obviously there is no question of you punishing or forgiving. In fact, with the same hand, you put ointment on the eye, apply a medicine or a balm, and help it recover. It is only when you know that all are One, that all are part of the same principle, that you are not different from each other, that you will truly forgive. When you truly love, you truly forgive, when you truly feel all are One, then you will forgive. That is why I say, “Love lives by giving and forgiving,” because love knows that all are One. If your tongue is bitten by the teeth, you still know that it is an accident, not intentional. When you know that both teeth and tongue belong to you, you don’t pull out your teeth. In the same way, if you truly love, and you feel everybody is One with you, then you will forgive very easily. In fact, there is no question of forgiving, for you know that it happened because of ignorance or by accident.


Australia, on 23 September 2015.

Question: If we are surrounded with people who are going through a lot of physical pain, and we are doing our best to serve them, what more can we do?

Swami: God will give bigger challenges to people whom He thinks can handle the bigger challenges. Anyone can do very small things, even a child would be able to do them. However, as you grow up, the complexity of your examinations will grow. Therefore, if you want to be promoted and reach higher levels, you must pass tougher tests. You serving somebody and them serving you is a very easy test. When you serve somebody, but they don’t serve you, is a little more difficult test. When you serve somebody and they harm you, that is still more difficult. So do not give up -- think that God trusts you; that you can definitely do better than before. As a result, He makes your challenges harder, because He knows that you are capable of achieving them. With God by your side, nothing is impossible. It might be impossible for you alone, but for God, nothing is impossible. The Pandavas could not have won the battle of Kurukshetra with just the five of them and a handful of soldiers. It was Krishna’s presence that made all the difference.
Think, ‘Swami is with me in every situation,’ consult Swami, who is in your heart, and don’t be in a hurry to simply follow the dictates of your restless mind. Then you will definitely find a way to win over the hearts of people. The greater the challenges, the more exciting the journey. When you look back at your life, you will be happy that you were able to do the right things and could transform so many people. When a river flows, it does not discriminate -- it flows freely for everybody, whether they wash their dirty clothes in it or, they drink water from it. Whether it is an animal, a beast, a bird, a saint or a criminal, it does not discriminate. It goes on flowing, because its nature is to flow. Your nature is to love. Whether somebody loves you or does not love you, should not matter to you. How many of you drink from a river and thank the river for giving you the water? Very few -- but river does not mind, it knows that, only if it flows, can it reach the ocean; if it stops flowing, to discriminate and differentiate and to analyse, it will not be able to reach the ocean. Flow like a river -- selflessly. The more people demand, the more you must love -- your love is inexhaustible, because the source of love is God, which is inexhaustible. Have faith that God is trusting you with greater challenges because He knows that you can become better and take up every challenge. Life is a challenge, meet it.

Singapore, on 23 March, 2016.

Question: Swami, I just want to know, to what extent must we dedicate our life to service? How much time must we dedicate to rendering service, and how should it be done?

Swami: There is an old saying: “Work is worship and duty is God.” You must follow this dictum; all work should become worship, then all work will become service. Even if you feed your body, you must think, ‘This is God’s temple and God resides within.’ He, in the form of hunger, accepts the offerings, like oblations in to the fire – yajnam. Therefore, even that is an act of service. If you look after your children, your family, your friends, you must think all of them are nothing but gods – ‘God is coming to me in different forms and different names’ and any act of help, any act of service, is worship in its true sense. 

Then there is nothing like finding time for service. At all times, you can keep doing service. If you live this way, all work will become worship. Without this spirit, all worship will also become just work. Service done with any sense of doership or ego, that ‘I am the one who is doing it for someone else’, is going to bring you great misery. If the right hand puts something into the left hand, it is not doing service to the left hand. Similarly, if the right hand hurts the left hand, it is not doing disservice to the left hand. Both are part of the same body, and the same body is sharing it. You must serve with this attitude: all are nothing but the same Divinity encapsulated in different bodies. This spirit is very important. 

As I said, if it is not spiritual, it will tend to become ritual; it will cease to be worship, it will simply remain work and work will bring its own results in its own time.

For Me, the best prayer is service. However, prayers chanted from the lips do not have the effect that an act of service can have. Narasimha Murthy said, “Yat karoshi, yat juhoshi dadaasi yat” – everything that you do, say, or offer should be for God’s sake. If you follow that one dictum, all life will become service. 

There is no end to service. Every moment, every day, every time you can keep doing service, but the spirit should be right. You are not doing it for anyone else; you are doing it for yourself; you are doing it for the same Divinity that resides in all, without any claim of doership.


Japan, on 21 March, 2016.

Question: There are those who come to this place, wanting to receive some advice regarding their daily struggles, or craving for a cure from a disease. What is your advice to such people?

Swami: If you are healthy, you don’t need a doctor at all. It is only when you don’t take care of your health, that you need to rush to a doctor. If you always follow the right way of living, eating, resting, your body will be fine and you won’t incur diseases. When you deviate from healthy living, diseases come and you have to see the doctor.

Likewise, problems come when you deviate from the path of spirituality, the path of morality or path of unity. By harbouring selfish desires, attachments, greed and all such negative feelings, you spoil your spiritual health. If you carefully analyse the root cause of all your problems in life, it is either due to ego or attachments. Whenever there is an excess of ego or attachments, there always is a trouble. So, if you already follow the path of humility and detachment, where is the question of you having any troubles in life? Nevertheless, when there are problems that come, it is a kind of reminder from God that you are forgetting Him, and that is why you are getting into all this. Now that you have a health problem, there is no harm in going to a doctor, taking medicine, taking his advice – but then, you must continue to follow that. You may seek the solution to your mundane problems from God – there is nothing wrong in it. However, when God gives you the medicine of humility and the diet of detachment, you must go back and follow it. You come to God, seek advice, go back and do not follow. It is like keeping the medicine in the bottle. That is not going to cure you.

I have been God since the beginning of time, and I shall continue to be till the end of time. I have known everyone’s problem, and I can clearly tell you, the reason is either ego or attachment. An inexperienced doctor may diagnose you differently or wrongly, and give you a different prescription. I, however, am an experienced doctor, and I can clearly tell the reason it is either due to ego or attachment. So, this medicine of humility and the diet of detachment is the perfect cure for bhavaroga, the disease of this world, all the problems of this world.


Croatia, on April  24, 2016.

Question : Swami, what is the significant difference between ‘grace’ and ‘blessing’?

Swami: Grace is there for all, as the sun shines for all. However, the one who uses it is the one who is blessed. Grace is there for everyone equally; it does not differentiate one from another. It is there for all to use, equally – but, when you make the effort to utilise grace, then you may consider yourself blessed.

For those who sleep when the sun has risen, it is still night and it is not going to benefit them. Blessed are those who utilise grace to grow and develop into their divine nature. It is only a play of words – grace is there for all, but you are truly blessed when you use it; otherwise, it is like rain that falls on rock and is wasted. Only when rain falls on fertile soil, which has been tilled, weeded and sown with seeds, will it bring forth a crop.


Dubai, on 31 March 2016.

Question: Since you mentioned about Karnataka State and Prema Sai, we are all eager and full of curiosity to know when we can see Swami again in the Sthoola Shareera (physical form) of Prema Sai?

Swami: What will this eagerness fetch you? You must understand the working of the Avatars. It is not as simple as you think. It is not that an Avatar appears, you go and knock on His door, He opens the door and you have His darshan, sparshan or sambhashan. It may seem that it is as easy as this, but it is not so. Out of the billions of people on earth, only a few million knew about Sathya Sai Baba. Out of these, only a few believed in His Divinity and worshiped him. Even among those who knew and believed in Him, very few had the opportunity to see Him, experience Him and be in His presence. Of those who experienced, saw Him and were in His presence, very few understood what Sathya Sai Baba’s Avatar really was and is.

Therefore, it is not really a question of physical darshan or meeting Prema Sai, Sathya Sai or anyone, physically. Unless you are internally prepared to meet the Avatar, there is no way you can go and meet Him. Just because you are devotees of Sathya Sai Baba, don’t take it for granted that you will automatically be promoted to Prema Sai Baba’s presence – that is not the case. There will be a test at the end of every year; only those who pass will be promoted to the next level. The tests are going to get more and more difficult, as you go further in your education.

Asking when Prema Sai Baba will come, where He will come, what His schedule will be, what He will eat, what He will wear, how will He be – all these are curiosities, like a primary school child trying to know what is taught in the university. Even if I tell you, nothing will be understood and it will be of no use. In your own time, as you reach the university and pass through each class, so will you reach His presence. Having said that, nevertheless, the university is about to open; it is only a matter of a few years from now, then His Avatarhood will be declared, just as this Avatar or previous Avatars declared themselves. Those who have passed all this and have entered the university will definitely attain His presence.

That Avatar is different. Every Avatar is different. There is more of silent preaching, more of travelling, more of meeting people around the world – that is how He is going to string the entire world together in one garland through His prema, or love; that is what He stands for. I am here, Shirdi Baba was there. Like a gardener, Shirdi Baba prepared the flowerbeds. He sowed the seeds in the earth and watered the plants. Sathya Sai Baba came to remove the thorns and collect the flowers. Prema Sai will come to string the flowers together into a beautiful garland. This is how the Avatars operate. Those who are thorny will not find a place in the garland. Therefore, you better get rid of ego and attachment, which are the thorns. One way of doing this is by serving and loving. Constantly loving and serving everybody, you can get rid of ego and attachment, which are like thorns, hurting others and not giving them joy. Even the best of flowers will not be picked if they are surrounded by too many thorns. This is what you must do now, to be in His presence tomorrow. Don’t worry, you don’t have to search for Him. He will seek you and come to you, if you really deserve Him. Prepare for that.


USA, on June 20, 2015. 

Question: Swami, we love you, thank you for being with us. Will you always stay with us and protect us?

Swami: You wanted to tell Me ‘thank you’? In ‘thank you’, there is ‘I’ and there is ‘you’. But between Me and you, we are both same. So, there’s no question of you thanking Me! Don’t distance yourself from Me by thanking Me. Just be grateful.