Every incarnation of the Lord is unique. They come down to earth for a specific mission and possess special traits. One of the specialities of the Sathya Sai Avatar is simplicity of His teachings. Sathya Sai Baba has a beautiful way of conveying the complex truth or philosophy in a simple and lucid way, so that common man can relate to and understand it. Similar are his ways of teaching his students. He has a unique way of driving home his teachings to make his students learn the lesson with love and confidence. I shall narrate one such episode, which took place in early 1980s with one of the senior students in the Brindavan Campus.

This student was in 11th Standard, which was the prime of his youth. As it happens with most of us, his mind was very fickle, wavering and unstable. Those days Sai Baba used to visit Brindavan very frequently. This student always felt so guilty that he used to avoid being close to Sai Baba, when everyone else used to pine to be near Him. But, Sai Baba as a loving mother knew what was happening. He would not let his child suffer for long and it was time to sort this out. One day at Trai (Sai Baba’s residence), this student was sitting a few rows behind, apparently hiding himself from Sai Baba. But He saw him and beckoned him to come closer. Others made way as the student went closer to Sai Baba and sat down.
Sai Baba asked, “How are you?”

The student replied, “Sai Baba, I am fine.”

Sai Baba replied, “No, no, no.”

This student was nervous and scared that Sai Baba was going to chastise him for having a bad (or rather, a wavering) mind. Sai Baba continued, “Unstable mind, bumps and jumps”. Brother was very scared, not knowing what was going to happen next. Sai Baba lovingly looked into his eyes, lifted his white handkerchief and said, “See, your mind is as pure as this white hanky”.

With these few words from Sai Baba, the guilt in this student was instantly converted into confidence. While he though his mind was dirty, Sai Baba had said it was pure. What a beautiful way of treating a young mind! He became more attentive now. Sai Baba then wiped his lips with the hanky. In those days Sai Baba used to eat Beatle Leaf (paan). This made the hanky soiled with red marks. Then he continued, “See what happened now, it is dirty after use. Similarly, when you use your mind, it becomes dirty. What do you do when your hanky becomes dirty? You give it to the dhobi (washerman). He will clean it and make it clean and pure again. Isn’t it?” The student was now paying full attention. Then Sai Baba said, “Give your mind to me, I will clean it for you and make it pure. I am your dhobi.”

Needless to say, it had a great impact on this student’s mind and life thereafter. Simple yet profound are His words. Beautiful is His teaching. Loving is His style. What does Sai Baba mean when He says, “Give me your mind”?. It simply means thinking of Him constantly and offering every thought, word and deed to Him. The more we do this, it becomes our habit, and finally, it becomes our way of life. We then live in God and God will live in us.

– Manoj Kumar Gautam

This particular story takes place a few days after one of the sports meets. I was involved in a project for the university, and was busy writing a program. When I went to the mandir later that day, my friend told me that Sai Baba had already given padanamaskar (to touch the feet of the Lord) to the students and that I missed it.

The devotional singing started, and from a distance I saw Sai Baba swaying to the beautiful singing. I started having a conversation with Him in my mind. I said “Sai, I was doing your work and I missed the padanamaskar. Is that fair?”

A few songs later, Sai Baba got up from his in the hall, walked to the block where I was sitting and stood next to me. I looked up at him and gestured with folded palms if I could have padanamaskar. He nodded, and I kissed the divine feet in joy. Sai Baba then turned and walked back to the hall.

Though we have heard this a million times from thousands of devotees, it is still thrilling to experience Sathya Sai Baba, the chief resident of your heart hearing and responding to your prayer.

There are occasions when we feel that our prayers are not answered. A question may arise on why we don’t feel the presence of God in our lives, or why we feel God is not responding to our prayers. Sai Baba has given an example of an oil lamp that gets covered by soot. This slowly reduces the brightness of the lamp. All that we need to do is to see that the soot is cleansed and the light is very clear and bright. In our own lives, we get bogged down by our daily chores and issues. Thinking about God is just an afterthought or a ritual. God in our heart is covered by our own limitations. It is not that he is not present, it’s just that we don’t feel his presence. As we clean the soot to restore the lamp’s brightness, we need to cleanse our heart of its pollutants to reveal His presence.

How do we do that? A few techniques from Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses are given below:

  • Service at every given opportunity. When you do HIS work selflessly, HIS presence will be felt.
  • Equanimity – Accept everything that happens as HIS will. He will reveal Himself
  • Reduce desires – start focusing on needs rather than wants. Sai Baba gives the example of Sita who went to the forest, leaving all her jewellery behind, and she in turn got the company of Rama. The day she desired the golden deer, she lost the company of Rama.
  • Sathya Sai Baba is most compassionate. He wants us to lead ideal lives so that we can feel HIS presence always.

    – Sridhar Subramonian