Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the unique spiritual being of our time – for all times. To His devotees, Sai Baba is an avatar, an incarnation of divinity, come down to earth as man to uplift humanity during this time of darkness, called by the ancients, Kali Yuga, meaning "age of wickedness." In turn, Swami, as He is lovingly called, tells us at the beginning of each of His public discourses who we truly are: "premaswarupulara!", meaning "embodiments of love!" To lead all to this truth is the purpose of His life. To arrive at this awareness is the purpose of ours.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba's presence on Earth has created a vast revolution in consciousness. His universal spiritual message is praised and practiced in virtually every country on earth. Its essence is the heart of all the world's religions and can be summed up in two small phrases, "Love All, Serve All" and "Help Ever, Hurt Never."
Because of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, we are blessed with the very real possibility that all humanity will indeed one day be united as one loving family, regardless of illusory differences like race, religion, nationality, gender, education or economic status. Sai Baba says,
There is only one religion, the religion of love. There is only one caste, the caste of humanity. There is only one language, the language of the heart. There is only one God, and He is omnipresent.
To reach this state of unity requires a transformation of global proportions, which the avatar is doing one person at a time. He teaches the importance of reforming our characters through selfless service and the practice of the five human values of PREMA (love), SANTHI (peace), DHARMA (right conduct), SATHYA (truth) and AHIMSA (non-violence). Swami says,
The avatar leads the people to a higher level of consciousness to enable them to understand the truth of spiritual laws, so that they may turn towards righteousness and steadfastly work for better conditions.
Sai Baba's life, which He tells us is His message, is a pure example of these principles in action. As omnipresent consciousness, Swami is uplifting the lives of millions worldwide. His pure love has fostered a series of educational, medical and social works projects in India and around the world – many serving the poorest of the poor and all absolutely free. "My love," He says, "is that of a thousand mothers."
The inspiration for all these ventures, Swami says, comes from His own mother, Easwaramma, a name appropriately meaning "mother of God." Born in 1926 in the small South Indian village of Puttaparthi, Swami was the fourth child of Easwaramma and Pedda Venkama Raju. His divinity manifested even before birth when musical instruments in the family home would play on their own with a divine sound, filling all who heard them with wonder.
It was evident from the beginning that Sathyanarayana, as He was called, was not an ordinary child. Little Sathya could not bear the suffering of any creature and continually sacrificed His own comforts and even basic family necessities, always to help the less fortunate.
When Sathya reached the age of 14, He gave up any pretense of a personal life. Renouncing His parents as "maya" (illusion), Sathya declared His avatar. His devotees were calling, He said. His Mission had begun. In a now famous letter to His elder brother, Sathya Sai Baba affirmed:
I have a task: to foster all mankind and ensure for all of them lives full of bliss. I have a vow: to lead all those who stray away from the straight path again into goodness and save them. I am attached to a "work" that I love: to remove the sufferings of the poor and grant them what they lack. I have a "reason to be proud" for I rescue all who worship and adore me aright. I have my definition of the "devotion": I expect those devoted to me have to treat joy and grief, gain and loss with equal fortitude. This means that I will never give up those who attach themselves to me.
(24 May 1947)
Sai Baba continues to expand the scope of His mission, His great love fostering projects that touch every level of society – inspired by the glorious mother, Easwaramma.
Mother Easwaramma had such noble ideas. As Sai's glory began to spread far and wide, she came to Me one day and said, "Swami, I am pained to see small children for our village walking all the way to Bukkapatnam to attend school. Please construct a small school." Conforming to her wish, I established a small school. After some time she wanted a small hospital also. She said she could not bear to see the mothers taking the trouble of carrying their children to Bukkapatnam for medical treatment. Accordingly I got a small hospital built. The small school I established has become a big university today. The small hospital that I constructed has become a super specialty hospital. These mighty tasks could be accomplished as a result of the Sathya Sankalpa (noble wish) of mother Easwaramma and Nitya Sankalpa (Divine Will) of Sai. Her last wish was to provide drinking water to the village. She pointed out that the women had to take great pains to draw water from deep wells, which had almost dried up. I immediately provided drinking water to the village. Now under Sri Sathya Sai Water Supply Project I have provided drinking water to the entire district of Anantapur. Once you become the recipient of your mother's love you do not need anything else.
(6 May 2001)
The infinite love radiated by Sri Sathya Sai has inspired a wave of selfless service throughout the international organizations founded in His name. For more information on the various medical and educational trusts and Bhagavan's other public works see: srisathyasai.org.in.
As a dedication to Easwaramma, the tender, selfless Mother of God, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has now blessed us with the Sri Sathya Sai Easwaramma Women's Welfare Trust. This marks a new era for women, a restoration of their innate dignity and a return to dharma for all mankind. As Swami says,
Women have a great role to play in the moral regeneration of the people. Dharma can be made to occupy its due position in society and restored to its pristine glory only by women. Woman (wife) is not meant to surpass man nor to be trampled underfoot. She should stand as his equal, not merely to nurse him, but also as his companion in his joys and sorrows in life. When the women are true and brave, kind and compassionate, virtuous and pious, the world can have an era of peace and joy.