Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lessons from Sathya Sai Baba

One thing that comes up in the aftermath of Sathya Sai Baba's death is that one needs no connections, no education, no money to make a huge difference to the world. All one needs is love. Assuming he is a mere mortal (which most people have gone to extraordinary lengths to prove), he has, without any of the above mentioned characteristics, got over 6 million devotees across the world that include heads of states, set up hospitals, schools, universities, trusts, water projects etc. sitting in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh that no one would have ever heard of. His trusts have assets worth anywhere between Rs. 40,000 to 1 lakh crores that many commercial profit making organisations cannot claim in their reserves, an army of volunteers who do an astounding amount of social work. For all those who have given up hope at some time or the other, this person was the refuge and once they met him, they always drew from him. From being seemingly so powerless, so unempowered, Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi grew to be one of the most powerful figures in Indian and even World history.

A power he wielded as the representative of what each one can do if they follow the path of love. A power that our knowledgeable and scientific society tried to disprove and dispossess many times. It is amazing how often we try to take away any sign of genuine power. As if we have understood the dynamics of things powerful! As a society, the majority is still deeply distrustful of Sathya Sai Baba. Arre why is everyone going there? All one needs to do is to see what he has done and shown and put it in perspective. As a society again we must learn to stop criticizing needlessly, and appreciate the good that has come about. Do one thing that the devotees do as a basic form of social service - set up a small pot of drinking water near your house and give it to the thirsty as they walk to start with. Listen to someone who has lost hope and only support them with love. There are still things that are beyond the limits of science and one may do well to acknowledge that, instead of letting the power of knowledge get to the head and making one oblivious to the obvious.

On the other hand, we as a society easily forgive those we elect with the express purpose of doing social work using public money. We elect governments after governments, incompetent and inefficient leaders, tolerate the corrupt and the criminal. We can stand their threats helplessly, we can whisper to one another over how much they have amassed, how brazen they are. Instead of building a single constructive thing in society, we support and actively participate in this governance as a society. Vested with real power, these leaders and officers can do with public money all that one man who had no education, no money, no power has done. And more. But they choose to bleed the system and we choose to look the other way.

It is a paradox but that is how it is. I am not a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba but I am truly amazed at what he has done and am deeply appreciative of the fact that I have lived in the times that he has lived. The path of love is tough. It brooks no compromises, only severe sacrifices. It is too hard for most of us. So when someone walks that path, however harmlessly, we try to pull them down. And similarly when we get beaten, robbed, raped and killed we rush back to elect the same leaders. As a society we do deserve what we are getting, that we all know. But when we see something like this that one man has done, it is worth a think. And possibly act. We are all humans too.

1 comment:

Rajendra said...

yes, worth emulating, irrespective of belief in him.