Self-imposed discipline is conducive to real Shanti, peace of mind, poise, equanimity and the stable equilibrium of the mind. Peace of mind is the most desirable thing in the whole world. It gives us physical and psychical euphoria. In order to achieve this peace, an aspirant must develop a thirst for spiritual wisdom. He must acquire the qualities of love, sympathy and compassion, and do selfless service to others. Shanti (peace) should not be regarded as a part-time virtue to be cultivated only during meditation. It is a constant state of inner tranquillity. It should become habitual and instinctive.


How Does God's Insurance Office Work?
 

In the Gita, the Lord says that from time to time when righteousness is on the decline He incarnates. Swami has added that He has come to save scriptural knowledge and to protect devotees of the Lord. This raises the question: 'Who exactly is a devotee of the Lord?' Operationally, any one who has devotion for the Lord might be described as a devotee. However, as we all know, there are all kinds of devotees; in fact, five thousand years ago, Krishna identified four major categories.

 

They are
1) those who come to the Lord because they want their personal problems solved,
2) those who want the Lord to grant them wealth and prosperity,
3) those who would like the Lord to guide them in acquiring Wisdom, and finally
4) those who want nothing whatsoever and are content to enjoy Bliss immersed in God.

This was the classification given five thousand years ago and it still holds. The question now is: Which of these categories of devotees is eligible for protection? This in turn raises another question as to what exactly we mean by protection. But meanwhile, it is useful for us to note that Lord Krishna has said that He relates to devotees the very same way they relate to Him. Swami has amplified this with the remark that to a child He is a child; to a man He is a man, and so on. In other words, Swami is to us, what we think Him to be.

What has all this got to do with God's protection? We are coming to that. Let us start with the question, whom does God protect? He certainly responds to prayers and offers His protection in some measure, but only to the extent we are eligible. Devotees often forget this aspect of eligibility and imagine God to be something like a slot machine. We pray and God has to respond - that is the way people think God should operate. Is that correct? Let us take the slot machine. When we insert a coin into a slot machine and press the button, the machine delivers a chocolate bar or whatever. But when the stock of the goodies is over, even if one inserts a coin, one would get nothing. The same is true of God's Grace. When one has limited credit and that credit runs out, then prayers will not provide the protection one prays for. So it boils down to how to build up a good credit.

Lord Krishna and Swami have made one thing very clear. God's insurance office is open 24/7 and is accessible in all parts of the world from the North Pole to the South Pole. But if one wants comprehensive coverage, and God does have that plan, then one has to make proper payment of premium. And what exactly is the premium? Swami has indicated that. Basically, it consists of two words: Aushadam and Pathyam. Aushadam means medicine and Pathyam means diet restrictions. Swami says that when one goes to a doctor with an illness like stomach upset, for example, the doctor prescribes medicines and also diet restrictions; the same is true of the Divine Doctor, says Swami.

What exactly does Swami mean by these two words? Swami has explained that also. He says that the medicine is the constant chanting of the Name. OK, but what about the Pathyam or so-called diet restrictions? Swami says the Pathyam is TOTAL obedience of Swami's commands.

We would now like to make some comments about the latter. From time to time, we get reports that Sai devotees in some place or the other, are actively playing host to a person, sometimes male and sometimes female, who claims that Swami has sent him or her, creates vibhuti or whatever, and ends up collecting money, of course, for some cause authorised by Swami - that is what the self-appointed agent says. This sort of thing seems to happen in all parts of the world the East to the West.

Times without number, Swami has declared openly in so many Discourses that He has no middlemen. Times without number, Sanathana Sarathi has published warnings about specific persons going round claiming to act for and on behalf of Swami. The Organisation too has sent circulars asking Centres and Office Bearers to stay clear of such self-appointed 'messengers'. And yet, people seem to be drawn to such 'messengers'. Not only that, devotees invite them to Sai Centres, make them sit on Swami's Chair and even offer Aarathi to them.

Jesus once said, 'Why call ye me Lord, when thou does't not follow what I say?' One can similarly ask: What is the meaning of we calling Swami God and all that, when we are bent on ignoring His emphatic declaration that He has no middle persons.

If this were an isolated phenomenon, we would not write about it. But we are constantly getting reports about such people from all over. That such people exist should not surprise us; the world is full of who would like to take advantage of the gullible. But what we find astonishing is that people who claim to be devotees of Swami insist on violating His command.

People are free to follow whom they want, but they should be aware of the consequences. In the Gita, Krishna makes it very clear that those who follow the manes go to the manes; those who follow the deities, go the deities; but those who follow Him, go only to Him. Could anything be clearer? Think about it!

With Love and Regards,
"Heart2Heart"
RadioSai e-Journal Team,
In Sai Service.