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Propagate the Divine Message of Love
All are Messengers of God

Date:25 Dec 1998 Occasion:Christmas Place:Prashanti Nilayam

Adored by Muslims as Allah,
As Jehovah by Christians,
As the lotus eyed Lord by Vaishnavites,
As Shambhu by Saivites,
The One who confers health and wealth,
Revere Him as the one Supreme Omni Self.
[Telugu Poem]

People may worship God in various names and forms, but the very same God responds to the prayers of all.

Embodiments of Love !

Everyone is aware of the fact that human life is highly valuable, noble and sacred. Keeping in view the welfare of society, the alumni of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur are undertaking many service activities, calling themselves as "Messengers" of Sathya Sai. First and foremost one has to understand the true meaning of the term, messenger. Every human being is a messenger of God. Everyone is born in this world by the Will of God. Only constant enquiry will reveal the reason behind God sending His messengers to the world.

Man's foremost duty is to make the stream of Divine Love flow to one and all.
It is not merely living for himself that man has been born,
Only by dedicating his life for the service of society
Will he ennoble himself and achieve self-satisfaction,
God has sent man to this world so that he may practice and propagate this message.
Of what avail is human birth if man remains
like a lump of clay without serving society?

Having taken birth as a human being, one has to realize the divinity within. The duty of every individual, being the messenger of God, is to practice and propagate the Principles of Truth, Love and Peace; to experience the bliss and share it with others. The one who propagates the worldly, fleeting and ephemeral matters cannot be called a messenger of God.

When Jesus was born three Arabian kings came to see Him. They were overjoyed at seeing the newborn babe. While returning, the first king said to Mary, "Mother, you have given birth to a child who loves God." The second king said, "Mother you have given birth to a child who will be loved by God." The third king said, "Mother Mary your child is not different from God, both are one and the same." Once we understand the inner meaning of these three statements, we will know the truth. The one who loves God is the Messenger of God; the one whom God loves is the Son of God; the one who understands the principle of unity becomes one with God.

Today, there are only a few who are propagating the message of God, but the majority is doing just the opposite. Having been the recipient of divine love, man should propagate the same principle to the fellow men. This is what Jesus proclaimed at the time of leaving his mortal coil, "All are one my dear son, be alike to everyone." Give up body attachment. The body is bound to change and will perish ultimately. God is the Embodiment of Truth. Truth is that which does not change in all the three periods of time. One has to follow the Path of truth to propagate the Principle of Truth and Divine Love. God loves those who follow the path of truth. Jesus propagated the divine message of Love as God loved him. He said, "Death is the dress of life." Body is like a water bubble. It is merely a vesture of the individual soul. So, He said, one has to give up body attachment and develop attachment to the spirit. The culture of Bharat declares, "Deho Devalaya Proktho Jeevo Deva Sanathanah" The ancient and eternal Divinity assumes human form in order to show the Path of Truth to man. Just as the son is the rightful heir to the father's property, man has equal claim to the God's property of love, truth, forbearance, peace and empathy. The Principle of Love is supreme. Love is the underlying principle of all human values. Love is God, live in love.

Every human being is a messenger of God. Man should not waste his life in merely eating, drinking and sleeping. Doing so is a blot on human nature itself. Every activity of man should reflect the divine message. Unfortunately this is not the case with man today. Some people claim that they have dedicated to the mission of God. But in reality it is not so.

All are wasting their time in precious materialistic pursuits. There is nothing wrong in studying, doing jobs and earning money provided they are done in the right spirit, which is beneficial to one and all. You see many people suffering. In what way are you helping them? Jesus opposed the practice of animal sacrifice in Jerusalem. As a result he had to face trials and tribulations. People who help are put to harm. The dualities of life, such as pain and pleasure, go hand in hand.

Pain and pleasure co-exist
It is impossible to separate them,
Pleasure does not exist separately
The fructification of pain is pleasure

This message of truth must be taught to the entire world. Without pain one does not realize the value of pleasure. The value of light can be realized only when there is darkness. This was the teaching of Jesus. One has to overcome difficulties to be successful in life. Give happiness to those who are suffering. Consider every activity as God's work. Right from birth man has been experiencing pain and pleasure. But, he is unable to realize that there is happiness in pain. What type of happiness? Is it related to the body or the mind? No. It is related to Atma.

Peace is essential for man at three levels body, mind and Atma. This is the reason we chant Shanthi, three times. Man can attain peace at these three levels only by developing love for God. The one without love for God will never be peaceful. All worldly pleasures are fleeting and momentary. The same sentiment was echoed by Sankaracharya:

Maa Kuru Dhana Jana Yauvana Garvam
Harathi Nimeshaath Kaalah Sarvam

Do not be proud of your youth, progeny and wealth. They are momentary. What is happiness? Is it sitting in an air conditioned room or partaking of delicious food. These confer happiness only at the physical and mental level; not at the level of Atma. True happiness is that which is related to Atma. You should not be afraid of difficulties, they are passing clouds. Do not waver. Follow the heart, which is steady and unwavering. Unity of head, heart and hand is essential for man. This is the true significance behind Christians crossing themselves. Install God in your heart. Contemplate on Him and undertake good deeds. Consider every activity as God's work and act accordingly. Merely feeding the poor and distributing clothes to the needy do not constitute Seva. Along with this one has to cultivate love, which is eternal. Right from dawn to dusk all our actions should be suffused with love.

Start the day with Love,
Fill the day with Love,
Spend the day with Love,
End the day with Love,
This is the way to God

There are very few who publicize this message. It is not enough if you call yourself a Messenger. You have to spread the divine message. Fortunate are those who pay heed to His words. Whether people listen or not, discharge your duty of spreading His message.

Many people call themselves devotees without understanding the meaning and significance of the term devotion. Devotion does not mean performing rites and rituals. True devotion lies in obeying the command of the Lord and spreading His message. In spite of innumerable difficulties Emperor Harischandra never swerved from the path of truth. One has to worship God both in times of pain and pleasure. Unfortunately, due to the effect of Kali Age, people worship Him when everything goes well and accuse Him in times of despair. When it was decided that all the devotees of Jesus should be crucified along with Him, even His closest devotees, Peter, Matthew, and Paul refused to identify themselves as His followers. Can these be true devotees? One should be prepared to sacrifice anything for the sake God and His message. Under any circumstances, do not disobey the command of God. That is determination. Determination gives rise to sacrifice, which leads to immortality

Na Karmana Na Prajaya Dhanena
Thyagenaike Amrutathwa Manasuhu

It is only sacrifice, not wealth, progeny and action that confers immortality. If money and health are lost they can be regained, but if character is lost everything is lost. Today man is striving hard for wealth and happiness, neglecting character. Truth and divine love constitute true wealth. If you earnestly follow the Path of Truth, you will not encounter any difficulties. How can you expect God to protect and confer His grace on you if you do not adhere to truth? True devotion lies in accepting both pleasure and pain with equal mindedness. Such divine messages should be passed on. The true message is the message of Love. Share love with devotion in accepting both pleasure and pain with equal mindedness. Share the love with everybody.

There is no greater wealth than love. Once, an angel appeared in the dream of John and handed a book asking him to read and digest its contents. Here, digestion means putting into practice the essence contained therein. Valmiki described Ravana as a fool. Though he had mastered 64 types of knowledge, he did not practice what he learnt. Rama on the other hand practiced what he learnt.

Vedanta says, "Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavathi", (the knower of Brahman becomes Brahman himself). John resembled Jesus in all respects, as he constantly contemplated on Him. "As you think, so you become." If you think of God incessantly you will assume His form. Prahlada never gave up the Lord's name even in times of adversities. As he surrendered himself to Lord Narayana completely, he was protected. When he was thrown into the ocean, the waves assumed the form of Lord Narayana. When he was pushed from mountain tops, Lord Narayana held him in His arms and when he was bitten by venomous snakes, the poison became nectar. Never feel depressed when you are weighed down by difficulties. God will never impose on you suffering, which you cannot bear. He tests his devotees in various ways. Test is the taste of God. Never fear any test. Be ready to sacrifice even your life for the sake of God. Only then God will protect you.

Initially Paul hated Jesus. One day Jesus appeared in his dream and asked him lovingly, "Paul, what harm have I done to you, why do you criticize Me? All your travails are consequences of your own actions; I am not responsible for your suffering." Then Paul was transformed and attained sainthood. Thus Jesus transformed many sinners into saints. Worship Jesus by following His ideals. Jesus pointed to three stages. The first one is, "I am the Messenger of God." He wanted to propagate the message of God. The second one is, "I am the Son of God." The son has a claim to father's property. What is the property of God ? Truth, Love, Forbearance, Peace and Righteousness are the properties of God. So, man has to strive to attain these qualities. He has to practice, experience and propagate these virtues. Only then man deserves to be called Son of God.

The third one is "I and My Father are One." This stage is attained when the principle of unity is realized. When Jesus reached this stage, He had no suffering at all. He was always blissful and was prepared for anything. Even at the time of crucifixion, Jesus was smiling, because he realized that He was not the body. Body is bound to perish, but the indweller has no birth and death. Truly speaking the indweller is God Himself. Jesus understood that body was merely vesture, and He was the indweller.

You should have the firm faith that you are the Messenger of God. Propagate Swamis message to the entire world. Some people may like it and some may not. Do not bother about what others say, be it "yes" or "no." 'No' and 'yes' relate only to you, but for Sai everything is yes, yes, yes. There are no defects in God. All words and deeds of God are perfect. You see the reflection, reaction and resound of your feelings. They are psychological in nature. God always gives good alone. Understand and experience this truth.

Matthew was a tax collector. He would meet fishermen regularly and enquire as to how they acquired faith in Jesus. Thomas used to doubt the divinity of Jesus. Such doubting Thomases are on the rise in the age of Kali. Never be in the company of such people. God is like fire and you are like coal. When coal comes in contact with fire, coal becomes one with fire. Similarly, when you come in contact with God you become one with Him. Have total faith in God.

Embodiments of Love!

All are messengers of God. All are embodiments of love. There is nobody without love. But you are misusing it by diverting it to worldly relations. No doubt you need to take care of your wife and children. But that is not all. God alone is important. Zero gains value when ONE precedes it. Moon is zero, sun is zero, world is zero. Only God is the Hero. Everything comes to naught in the absence of this Hero. A hero becomes zero if he forgets God. Have total faith in the Hero, God. Never give scope for any doubt Then you are bound to be successful. Jesus experienced and propagated this truth.

The term Christmas has been derived from the Roman language. Truly speaking, Christmas falls in the month of March, not in December: Since it is very cold in December and people are confined to their homes, they use this time to celebrate Christmas. Actually Jesus was born in the month of March. With the passage of time, this fact has been distorted and misrepresented in the Bible. "Munde Munde Mathir Bhinnah" (Heads vary so also thoughts). Each one interpreted Bible in his own way. Some wrote that Jesus was never born. Some wrote that it was the brother of Jesus crucified, not Jesus and that He was in Japan at that time. This is all imagination. Jesus is Truth.

When Jesus was a small boy His parents took Him to Jerusalem to attend a fair. After some time, Mother Mary not finding her son Jesus by her side, believed that He had lost His way in the crowd and searched for Him frantically. Ultimately she found Him listening with rapt attention to the sermon of the priest in the temple. That scene reminded her of the prophetic words of one of the Arabian kings who visited Jesus at the time of His birth that He would love God. She hugged her son and shed tears of joy. Jesus said, "Mother, you can find me in the company of God, but you have been searching for Me elsewhere. I consider divine proximity as My greatest wealth." There is a profound message in this. Man is in search of God without realizing that He is all-pervasive. He is the embodiment of love and can be attained only through love. When you realize that you are with God, for God, from God, you will find God everywhere. Strengthen the feeling that God is in you, with you, above you, below you and around you. How can you search for God who is all-pervasive? Saint Thyagaraja expressed the same feelings in a song, "Nenendu Vedakudura Rama..." (O Lord Rama! Where am I to search for You?). "You are my only refuge. I cannot live without You." So saying he threw himself into a river. To his joy he found the idol of Lord Rama in the river. "O Rama! You are so great and compassionate; you are with me always. Not realizing this truth I have spent my life in total ignorance." He extolled Rama in many ways and expressed his feelings in a song, "Raara Maa Intidaaka..." (O Lord! Please come to my residence). Only an ardent devotee can understand and experience the bliss of oneness with God. Sugar tastes bitter for a person suffering from malaria. Defect lies in his tongue, not in the sugar. So is the case with a person immersed in worldly desires. He cannot experience the sweetness of Divinity. Have the firm conviction, "God is in me, with me, around me, behind me." When you think on these lines you become divine. Never entertain the thought that you are separate from God.

When I distributed saris to the 'messengers' yesterday they expressed their gratitude by saying, "thanks, Swami." I exhorted them, "Do not thank Me. I am not a third person. Do you thank your mother who serves you food everyday? You may thank an outsider from whom you receive a favor, but I am not an outsider". So, never say thanks to Swami. Consider Swami as your own. Only then you will have the right to approach Swami. I do not crave anything from you for Myself; nor do I say or do anything for Myself. I do not want anything except one - your love. Even that is not your property that is also My property. Love cannot be earned by any means. It is a gift of God. Gift this gift of love, to God. Only then you will have self-satisfaction. That is your duty. The ancients used to pray:

Oh Lord! I offer you my heart, which is but your gift
I offer you what you have bestowed on me.
What else can I offer you?
Kindly accept my humble and prayerful salutations.
[Telugu poem]

A person with such noble feelings is a true devotee, and the one of sacrifice. Extolling of one's own devotion to the exclusion of others amounts to being egoistic. Never give scope for ego. Great devotees like Tukaram, Ramadas and Thyagaraja had to face many ordeals before they could win God's grace. Difficulties are part and parcel of the lives of great devotees. God subjects His devotees to tests so that their faith in Him can be strengthened and to purify their hearts. It needs a great effort on your part to cleanse a stained vessel. Difficulties are meant for cleansing the vessel of your heart. When the idol of Rama was taken away from Thyagaraja, he was grief-stricken. He questioned the divinity of Lord Rama. "Don't you have the power to solve my problems or do I lack devotion ? Definitely I have devotion, it is only you who lack power." He continued in this vein extolling his devotion in the process became egoistic. When he sat in meditation, wisdom dawned on him. He realized his folly in doubting Rama's divinity. He reflected, without the grace of Lord Rama, could a monkey cross the ocean? If Rama lacked power would Lakshmana worship Him or for that matter Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth serve Him and the extremely intelligent Bharata offer his salutation? "Oh! Rama Certainly your power is immense. It is because of my ignorance and meanness that I doubted Your Divinity." Thyagaraja sought His pardon and surrendered himself to Lord Rama. When you purify your heart and surrender yourself completely to God, He manifests instantly. He does not delay even for a moment. This proved in the case of Ramadas also. When Ramadas surrendered himself to the Lord completely, Rama and Lakshmana went to the King Thaneesha in disguise and paid the tax on behalf of Ramadas. On being questioned as to who they were, they replied that they were the servants of Ramadas. Thus we find that the Lord becomes the servant of His devotee, when there is total surrender. This is the Power of devotion.

There are many obstacles along the path of devotion. Some people accuse, criticize and censure God in times of difficulties. Each one has to bear the consequences of one's own actions. God remains unaffected. God is pure, unsullied and sacred. Let people say anything, be cool and calm. Do not enter into unnecessary arguments. It only breeds enmity. Speak softly and sweetly with a smiling face. That will silence the critic. Smile is the best answer to criticism. When Paul went on accusing Jesus, Jesus lovingly went up to him and gave a pleasing smile. The sweetness in the nectarine smile of Jesus transformed the poisonous heart of Paul. Be always cheerful, even in times of adversities. Always put up a smiling face, never a castor-oil face. "Happiness is union with God."

Embodiments of Love!

We have been celebrating Christmas every year here. True Christmas is celebrated only in Prashanthi Nilayam, where people of all religions get together. Generally Hindus celebrate Hindu festivals, Muslims celebrate their festivals, Christians celebrate their festivals so on and forth. It is only in Prashanthi Nlayam that people of all religions, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, etc., come together to celebrate Christmas. Prashanthi Nilyam symbolizes the unity of all religions. Elsewhere people drink, eat non-vegetarian food, and make merry in the name of Christmas. But Christmas in Prashanthi Nilayam is celebrated In a holy atmosphere. Christmas in Prashanthi Nilayam is a 'holy day not a 'holiday.' Practice whatever you have learnt here, even after you go back to your respective countries. Strengthen the feeling that you are the messenger of God and propagate the divine message far and wide. That is your prime duty. There is no greater service than this. Strive for the welfare of the whole world. The world is like a big mansion. All countries may be compared to different rooms. Do not have the narrow feeling that only your country should be happy. Be broad-minded. Pray for the welfare of all nations. Basing on this the ancients prayed, "Lokah Samasthah Sukhino Bhavanthu" (Let the whole world be happy). Cultivate Love. That is true Sadhana.

Yesterday children presented a magnificent drama, wherein the Power of Love was depicted. Love can transform the wicked. It is only a matter of time before the wicked are transformed. Be patient. Develop Love more and more. None can comprehend the Divinity and sanctity of Swami. Twenty years back when Christmas was celebrated for the first time in Prashanthi Nilayam, I sang a song:

Love is My form, Truth is My breath, Bliss is My food;
My life is My message, expansion is My life,
No season for Love, no reason for Love;
No Birth; No death

If anyone asks you to tell about Sai Baba, sing this song. It will convey the whole message. Tell them, Love is His form and His life is His message. Develop the feeling of brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God.

[Bhagavan concluded His discourse with the Bhajan, "Prema Muditha Manase Kaho"]