IIT Professor meets Sri Sathya Sai Baba

O Master, O friend of those that bow to thee, thou
ocean of mercy, I bow to thee; save me, fallen as
I am into this sea of birth and death, with a
straightforward glance of thine eye, which sheds
nectar-like grace supreme.
                   - Vivekacudamani 1.35

"The atheists wish to say GOD IS NO WHERE, whereas, the theists wish
to say GOD IS NOW HERE.  The beauty is that both state what they wish
to say by using the same words,  least realizing the fact that they are
doing so,  just by  associating the letter with either the word NO or
with the word HERE," said Bhagavan on Sunday the 21st January 1979  at
Brindavan during an interview that He graciously granted to a group of
scientists.  Who are the lucky few that got this rare and precious
opportunity to sit in the presence of Bhagavan is not important;
but what is important is :  `What message did they receive from Baba?'

To reproduce verbatim what Bhagavan said is like trying to build a
bridge across the ocean.   We shall  endeavour  to present  what He
told this group in summary form; we hope readers of Sanathana Sarathi
will benefit from it.  It was Sunday; about  15 of us gathered in the
Bhajan Pandal of Brindavan and we were asked to sit together so that we
could move en bloc if Swami gives the green signal. At about 9  AM
Bhajan started  and the crisp and cool winds in Brindavan were soon
carrying the devotional music to the  nooks and corners of the world.
Soon the Bhajan tempo increased and suddenly every head turned towards
the main building wherefrom, like the rising Sun, Bhagavan made His
appearance bringing joy and light to the hundreds of devotees gathered
in Brindavan.

After giving darshan to the many devotees who were waiting near the
gates of the main building, Bhagavan  made His way slowly and steadily
towards the Bhajan. Soon He was standing in front of us and enquired
whether all of our party had come, and when the answer was in the
affirmative, He told one of  the volunteers to guide us to the room 
where the interview was to held.  We waited for some time outside the 
room while Baba completed His meeting with other devotees.  After 
sometime the room was opened by Baba Himself and He asked  us to come
inside.   He  addressed everyone as "Bangaroo"    and He admitted us 
into that room, extending to us the most affectionate welcome that we 
have ever witnessed in our lifetime.  All of us were overwhelmed.  With 
the last man in, Baba moved from the door towards His chair and 
suddenly He called the name of one of us as if He had known him for 
ages.  Naturally the concerned person  was overjoyed and he prostrated 
before the Lotus Feet of Baba. Then Baba asked the people to raise any 
subject they choose.  Some  people put questions relating to their 
personal affairs and Bhagavan answered them most affectionately. In 
fact Bhagavan assured that He would meet us individually to listen to 
personal matters some other time, thus suggesting that we better 
concentrate during this interview on more general matters.  Of course, 
even after this assurance, when some of us persisted out of genuine 
anxiety in  asking  questions about our personal matters  He did not 
dissuade us at all;  on the contrary He tried to comfort us by pouring
love and affection.  We realized that for the Anandaswarup it is but
natural to comfort, console and protect  those  in distress.  Baba, 
however, utilized the opportunity, while answering some personal
questions, to bring home the point that one  should  not get  overjoyed 
while experiencing pleasure and get depressed while experiencing pain.
He pointed out that between two pleasures there will be always pain and 
vice  versa.  One should experience both pleasure and pain with 
equanimity. Also He emphasized that all humans being the children of 
God are inherently GOOD and Satsangh, good company, is the elixir for 
the growth of goodness in a person.  That is  why He often says: Do 
Good, See Good and Be Good. As is characteristic of Baba, He
explained the meaning of all His statements with examples from daily

Continuing on the theme that human life is precious and unique and that
pleasure and pain are integral parts of life, He extolled the virtue in
being a human by saying :  "Humans and animals are equal in all 
respects except for the difference that Man has been endowed with the 
capacity to think and reflect".  He told us that He addresses everyone
as Bangaru because He knows that all humans are as precious as Gold.
But then, Gold has to be heated and treated in order to be converted 
into jewelry.  Man also must undergo similar processes in order to 
become useful to himself and society.

Baba stressed the importance of the quest through Sadhana for self- 
realization.  There are three important stages in the process of 
self-realization and they can be considered in terms of Dwaitha, 
Adwaitha and Visishtadwaitha.  To illustrate these three aspects He 
gave three different but very  striking examples. "Each of you is three 
persons, not one," He said.  "What you think are, What others think you
are and who you actually are".  The first stage is, as Jesus said, that
"I am the servant of God".    The next one is the Visishtadwaitha
stage: "I am son of God".   At last the Adwaitha stage: "I and my
father are one" is reached.  So too the sadhana stages of I am in the 
light, the light is in me, I am the light.

Baba explained with more examples how the endeavors of self-realization 
get constrained or hindered by the growth of attachment to the material 
world.  He emphasized that everyone should try- by cultivating proper 
methods of Sadhana- to reduce his attachment and allow the growth of an 
attitude of detachment towards worldly things.  He pointed out that 
attachment to worldly things is the single source of unhappiness for 
the human race.  Baba explained that Man, because of his attachment to 
the material world, tends to get distracted from the path of Dharma in 
order to amass wealth.  What a beautiful couplet He devised to condemn 
the blind rush of Man to amass wealth: "Money comes and goes; Morality 
comes and grows," He said.  Further He said: "But still man prefers
money to morality and discipline."

Bhagavan emphasized the importance of Mauna (silence) as one of the 
constituents of Sadhana for self-realization.  He pointed out that it 
is not Mauna if one keeps his mouth closed but has the switch of the 
mind `ON'.  Actually the real state of Mauna is when  you shut off the
wandering mind.  This is very important because it allows one to
cultivate the all important habit of concentration. From concentration 
one graduates to the stage of contemplation and finally to the stage 
of meditation. 

At this point, one of us asked : How can one make  his Bhakthi grow ?  
Bhagavan said Bhakti  can be allowed to grow by Sadhana and 
conscientious effort, like any  other trait of a human being.  One can
increase his Bhakthi, quantum by quantum through disciplined behavior
and attachment to God.

Then the discussion turned towards the Scientists and a question was 
asked: Are we trying conscientiously to orient our educational methods 
to turn out scientists who perforce should disbelieve and deny the 
existence of  God?  Bhagavan replied that while there appears to be 
that sort of a trend now-a-days, He does not believe that there is any 
atheist.  It is His  assertion that man may choose,  for material 
reasons to play the role of an atheist, but every man knows in his
heart that he is the son of a supreme father and hence he must believe
in His existence. It is becoming a fashion to call  oneself a
rationalist.  But  science and spirituality are like the two halves of
a circle and one is incomplete without the other. Baba emphasized, by
giving Einstein as example, that an accomplished scientist will be
humble enough to accept the necessity of spirituality and the existence
of God.

At this juncture someone said:  Swami I could not understand what you 
have said. But in summary you seem to say Science is a tool.  If we use 
it with love it is good. If we use it with ego or greed it is bad. Am I 
right?  Baba replied that it is right not only in the case of 
scientific endeavor but true in the case of all human endeavors.  In 
fact  love  is  everything  and all problems of this world could only 
be solved through Love.   He said: "How can Peace be established if 
politicians talk about Peace with bombs in their hands, which the 
scientists have helped them to possess.  There are many ways through 
which a scientist can utilize his knowledge  for  constructive purposes 
such as improving the health, sanitation  and  nutrition  of  our 
people. Every man (be he a scientist,  an artisan, a farmer) has a role 
to play in promoting the welfare of society and he can play this role 
effectively if he cultivates Love towards his fellow human beings and 
treats them  as his brethren." Baba closed the interview, saying: 
"There is only one caste and that is the caste of humanity.  There is 
only one religion and that is the religion of Love" .

Thus came to an end the most memorable interview with Bhagavan. Then He 
distributed prasadam.  We all came out wishing that the interview had
never come to an end.

                    -Prof. S. V.  Pappu
                     Indian Institute of Science
                     as appears in Sanathana Sarathi
                     March, 1979



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