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Behaviour - Sathya Sai Baba on Conduct

You have come to me after much trial and expense, do not waste your time in idle chatter and forming acquaintances. Time is precious. If you lose your good health you can regain it, if you lose wealth you can earn it back, but, if you lose time you will never regain a second of it. Stay close to God and do not waste one minute on idle and useless actions.

As you have come to this sacred place to lose or get rid of some bad habit that is detrimental, watch your language, be careful, precise, gentle and pure. Stay on your own and practise spiritual exercises... When you are alone there is no noise or chatter and the mind can rejoice in total peace. Peace is only derived from an inner search and is a treasure that is waiting to be discovered in all of you.

When you are in your own country, you behave according to local laws and customs and no one is scandalised. But when you are in India you must watch your conduct. The first rule is to dress as local custom directs. Many of you come here dressed in ways that are disapproved of. Your clothes should not distract or attract the attention of others. Be modest, simple and silent. People will judge you and your country by the way you dress and behave.

Another rule is good conduct which is an indication of good character and another is to keep silence. Spirituality is based on good manners, discipline, good behaviour, suitable attire and limited speech. All of these rules must be kept when in Prashanthi Nilayam and even when elsewhere.

There is also another thing that needs to be said. Many of you have a lot of money and may pay 10 rupees when it is worth 1. Ten rupees may be nothing to you but to the local people it is a large sum and by paying more than something is worth, you are making life difficult for the local residents. When you pay too much for something, do not believe you are doing a good deed, you are doing a bad. Do not waste money. The wrong use of money is evil. Money is even given to beggars who spend it on drink and drugs. If they are hungry give them food, but not money.

You have come to acquire devotion to God so concentrate on that task and develop that devotion. Always remember that you come here to experiment with holy thoughts and to sanctify your lives. Here you must observe discipline. You must behave with decency and respect for others. Self-realisation can be achieved only through sacrifice but some are not prepared to give up smoking or eat vegetarian food. If you cannot give up these little things how can you develop the spirit of sacrifice? When you return to your country, your behaviour should be such that fellow nationals respect you highly. They should be able to see the big change within you, with your visit to Prashanti Nilayam and try to follow your example.

When you continuously repeat to yourself, 'I am God' you develop a divine behaviour. Listen to your inner voice, the Voice of Consciousness and then see how your behaviour will be divine. You have come here because of your devotion and seriousness. Therefore, you should use your stay here well towards your aim. Swami will judge you not by quantity but by quality. What is important is your level of transformation and your spiritual progress. Remember that your aim is only to realise the Divinity within you. It is difficult for everyone to have an opportunity such as this. In the millions of people in the world, how many can actually come here and experiment with the Divine? You are among the few blessed and fortunate. So, make the best use possible of this extremely good fate and transform yourself into a Divine person and you will be able to help others transform themselves as well.

Freely translated excerpts from Discourse While at Prashanthi Nilayam, to Overseas Devotees at the Mandir, Prashanthi Nilayam, Aug 20, 1984