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Be Grateful to the Doctors

Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Guru Poornima, Mysore, 27 July 1961
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
Web posted at Sep 1, 2001

Though I have been coming to this city for over twenty years now, this is the first time I am speaking to a gathering of the people living here. The time, the need and the deed have to coincide; and today they have. The Guru Poornima has provided all three and collected together in this sea of humanity the waters of many areas through many channels and tributaries. Mysore city has earned fame by its devotion to music, sculpture and other fine arts. But there is an art finer than all these: the art of living. Many a person skilled in other fields is a failure in so far as this art is concerned. He lives miserably, without a trace of joy or contentment or peace. He knows only pain and he gives others only pain.

Mysore is also famous for the fragrance of its sandalwood. So far so good. But I would like the fragrance to emanate from your feelings and thoughts and deeds, not so much from the trees that grow in the forests. Then only is the fame fully deserved. If the sense of beauty and the sense of harmony are not translated into the daily life of men and women and children, then that life is a waste, a burden, a hoax.

Man has to lift himself from the animal level through his own Saadhana. There are three types of men: the Paashavi or the animal type, the Sahaja or the human type and the Divya or the divine type. Man has evolved from the stone through plant and tree, worm and insect, bird and mammal; but some are still grovelling in the early stages though they have achieved the human form.

Everyone has some Illness or other

Chief Minister Jatti said that you are all like boulders, rough and hard, and that Bhakthi has the power to make you soft and smooth. Now, what does a sculptor do when he sees a good boulder? He pictures in his mind the lovely idol of God that is sleeping inside it. He becomes possessed with the idea of liberating the idol from the hard clasp of the stone. He takes up his chisel and removes the extra stone that lies around the beautiful figure; at last, he liberates the image. The boulder has to suffer all that hard chiselling in order to become the image of God; so too, you should cast off all the impediments, all the encumbrances that drag you down and make you a boulder instead of a Bhaktha (devotee) and a Paramahamsa (ascetic of the highest order), or even Paramaathma (the supreme being).

The world is a huge hospital and humanity is bedridden. Some are writhing in the pain of envy, some are bloated with pride, some are losing sleep through hate, some have become blind through miserliness, some are struck down by selfishness; every one has some illness or other. On this Guru Poornima day, you have to render gratitude to the doctors who diagnose your diseases and prescribe remedies, and the nurses who tend you back to health. You should also resolve today to follow the treatment recommended and the regimen ordered; it is not enough if you learn the prescription by heart or read the label on the bottle three times a day; or visit the hospital every day. Praising the doctor or worshipping him might induce him to take pity on you, but your illness can be cured only by your taking the drug and obeying the restrictions on food and drink and on your habit.

While talking of doctors, I must also say that doctors who fight for the patient's purse or who try to grab a patient before a rival appropriates him, are a danger to society. The doctor who despises other doctors, or sticks to his own patent cures irrespective of the experience of failure, or who is guided more by his whims, fancies and prejudices, or who considers the patient's caste rather than his disease as more important; such men are also dangerous. Today, we find doctors and Gurus who have deteriorated to the level of wrangling for patients and their purses, and for the sale of their own or other people's patent remedies.

Vyaasa is the greatest of spiritual Doctors

This day is a day when mankind pays homage to the greatest of spiritual doctors, sage Vyaasa. Vyaasa is the greatest of such doctors; for he put together the Vedhas and composed the Puraanas and the Mahaabhaaratha and gave humanity the Bhaagavatha. He is the primal Guru for all who walk in the path of God. He planted the seed of theism and nurtured it, through Sruthi, Smrithi, Shaasthra and the Mahaabhaaratha. He gave the world the Geetha and the Brahma Suuthras, the idea of the immanent Aathma, the story of the divine leela, the secret of this changeful creation. He belonged to about 3800 B.C.; he was the great-grandson of the sage Vasishta, the son of Paraasara and the father of that celebrated gem among Rishis, Suka. His life-story is a series of miracles, a divine saga. He came from Vaasudeva, announced the leela of Vaasudeva to all and finally, got merged in Vaasudeva. He established the era of Naamapaaraayana (repeating and discoursing on Lord's name) and made all aware of the sweetness of the name of the Lord, which evokes His form and His grace.

The Prayers to be offered daily

Vyaasa first revealed to man the secret of making the mind as clear and as full of cool rays as the moon on a full moon night; that is why this Pournami is associated with him and with all Gurus. Today, every Aasthika (believer in God) must refuse to be content with a feast and a lecture. He should try to plant today the Naamabija (seed of Lord's name) in his well-prepared heart, devoid of the thorns of egoism; and water it with Prema (love), fence the sprout with Shraddha (faith), feed it with the fertiliser, Smarana (remembering the name); and from the grown-up tree of the Manthra (holy letters), pluck the fruit of Aanandha (bliss) and relish the sweetness.

A person may boast of the vast treasures in the vaults of his bank, but he will get credit only for that which he has actually earned and deposited therein. Do not fritter away the time allotted to you; offer it to Keshava, who is Kaalaswaruupa (time personified). Know that waking from sleep is but birth and going into sleep is death. On waking, pray every morning of your life, "Oh Lord, I am born now from the womb of sleep. I am determined to carry out all tasks this day as offerings to Thee, with Thee ever present before my mind's eye. Make my words, thoughts and deeds sacred and pure; let me not inflict pain on any one; let no one inflict pain on me; direct me, guide me, this day." And when you enter the portals of sleep at night, pray, "Oh Lord! The tasks of this day, whose burden I placed on you this morning, are over. It was You who made me walk and talk and think and act; I therefore place at Thy feet all my words, thoughts and deeds. My task is done. Receive me, I am coming back to you." Adopt these as your daily prayers. The best thing is to have your own self as the source of light, as the Guru. The inner intelligence, the inner Guru will reveal the truth. This prayerful attitude will so educate your impulses that the inner intelligence will be fully revealed.

Do everything with a Sprit of Dedication

Begin with the cultivation of Prema. I have found that the people of Karnaataka have great faith and devotion; they are simple in their habits and thoughts. Do not allow these to decline; cultivate them with care. The Chief Minister said that all are children of the Lord. It is better to say that all are actors in the drama designed by Him; dolls dancing and acting as He pulls the strings. The role you have might be that of an officer, a soldier, a ryot, a beggar or a clerk. Act well your part so that the drama might be a success. Do everything in a spirit of dedication, as if in each moment you act, speak and even feel in response to a command received. To get that mood of dedication, the Bhakthi Suuthras (aphorisms on devotion) prescribed nine paths, but the easiest and the most practicable is Smarana - a life lived in the constant remembrance of the Lord.

A bar of iron sinks in water; but beat it into a hollow vessel and it will float merrily and even carry some weight. So too, man's mind sinks easily in the sea of sense; beat it hollow, hammer it with the name of the Lord. It will float safely, on a sea of troubles. Do not be like gramophone records singing some one else's song, ignorant of the genuine thrill of music. Sing from your own experience of the glory and grace of the Lord.

If you win the grace of the Lord, even the decrees of destiny can be overcome. There are certain drugs which come in bottles on which the manufacturer has given an ultimate date beyond which the drug loses its efficacy. Of course, the drug will be in the bottle, but would no longer be effective. Similarly, Lord's grace can make it inoperative.

The Guru is one who shows you the path for getting that grace and to such a one this day is dedicated.