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The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

“Sathya Sai Baba and Ideal Friendship”

  

July 18th, 2004

 

OM…OM…OM… 

Sai Ram 

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan, 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

Baba’s poem on Friendship

This morning I would like to share a few thoughts with you on the topic, “Sri Sathya Sai Baba: an Ideal Friend”. That is the topic of the day. The material is collected from Sathyam Shivam Sundaram and other related books on the topic. I’ll begin this topic with what Bhagavan said on friendship.

 

In a beautiful poem in Telugu, He conveyed these ideas: “Do you have friends in life?” The poem begins with this question:  “Do you have friends?”

 

Second question:  “Have you become a friend to anybody?”

 

Three:  “What is the result of friendships?”

 

Four:  “What happiness, what comfort did you experience out of your friendship?”

 

Five:  “Have your friends transformed you, or you transformed your friends?”

 

Last question:  “If there is not transformation, what is the friendship for?”

 

This is the summary of the poem that He has composed. Let me discuss this topic in the light of these ideas.

 

God is the only real friend

My friends, we have friends everywhere. We say we have so many friends, but Bhagavan’s answer and response to such a claim is this: “All whom we call our friends are not our friends. We can, at the most, call them our acquaintances.”

 

They are all acquaintances, not friends. Why? According to Swami, God is the only real friend. God is the only real friend! All other friends are merely acquaintances, as per the parameters laid down by Swami for all of us.

 

SAi devotee’s experience with friendship

I can give you an episode related to this. That gentleman is very much here. I shall not tell his name in public, because I have not yet taken his permission. Most unfortunately, that gentleman lost all his property. It was a time of political havoc and rivalry at a place by the name of Vijayawada, twelve hours drive from here. Because of political rivalries, people started taking revenge on each other.

 

This Sai devotee owns a tyre factory -- lorry (truck) tyres, car tyres and all that. He has a big godown (warehouse). All these tyres, and all related paraphernalia, come to a worth of about one crore. Because of the political rivalry, somebody set his godown on fire. The whole thing was in flames. He lost all the property. All tyres, everything, the whole godown, brought down to ashes.

 

And to quote him directly, he said, “Sir, no one came and enquired how I was. I helped many of my relatives. There is no relative who has not received my help, monetary and otherwise. But nobody enquired how I was, what happened, what is it that I lost, or what am I going to do? Nobody enquired.”

 

Being a Sai devotee, he immediately rushed to Prashanti Nilayam. He stood there in the darshan line. Our good God, He ignores when we most need Him. He ignored him; He was going in the other direction. Wherever he sat, either darshan was cancelled or Swami picked up someone else, as if he was a non-entity. That was the situation. This Divine romance, if you want to call it that, continued for two to three days.

 

“Do not worry, I am with you”

On the fourth day, Swami stood in front of him. This man burst into tears. And before he opened his mouth, before he spoke anything, Bhagavan started narrating all that had happened, how the whole incident took place, how the political rival group had set his property ablaze, and how everything had been brought down to ashes.

 

Swami explained every minute detail and called him close and said, “Do not worry. Your relatives and friends may not care for you. They might not have called on you. But remember, God is the only real friend. I am with you. Don’t worry. Everything will be settled.”

 

This man came straight to me and said this is what had happened. Out of curiosity, I put one question to him: “When you needed Baba the most, when you were about to burst out, Swami avoided you for two to three days. What did you feel? What was your reaction?”

 

Friends, please believe me, he said, “Sir, when Bhagavan avoided me purposefully, there is some valid reason why. Had He called me on the very first day, there would have been a big scene in the Kulwant Hall. No one could have controlled my agony. No one would have consoled my grief. I would have cried out loudly. Nobody would have been able to stop me from crying. Bhagavan wanted me to settle down, cool down, before the gas cylinder burst. He allowed me to settle down first. After three days, He has chosen to speak to me because, by that time, the intensity of my grief started dying down, almost totally vanished. So there was a Divine purpose as to why Swami maintained His silence for three days, though I very much needed Him.”

 

Then I asked, “Sir, what happened?”

 

This gentleman returned home the next day and a batch of officials visited him. They were from the insurance company. They said, “The whole property is insured. Don’t worry. You will get back everything within fifteen days. The papers are already filed on your behalf. Applications have already been submitted. Things are moving positively. We have come here to obtain your signature, that’s all. We have represented the whole matter to the top people in the insurance company. Do not worry.”

 

This gentleman told me in tears all that had happened. In a month’s time, everything was settled, and he could get back one crore of lost property. He is quite OK. And then to express his gratitude, he came to Prashanti Nilayam once again.

 

Baba stood in front of him and asked him, “How are you?”

 

It was this man’s turn to say, “Baba, You are the real friend. You are the real friend.”

 

Baba wants you to feel that you are his close friend

Baba as a friend is a subject to be discussed, to be thought of, pondered over and reflected upon. Just relax and think of the days of togetherness in the company of Bhagavan. How close He was and how close you were with Him. Bhagavan said at one time that He never wants to feel superior because you will be afraid of Him. He never wants to feel inferior because you may not care for Him. He wants you to feel that you are His close friend. He doesn’t want you to walk in front of him because you may miss Him. He doesn’t want you to walk behind Him because you cannot be sure that He would guide you or lead you. You should walk alongside Him, like a bosom friend.

 

God is a real friend. Maitri is the Sanskrit term for friendship. Bhagavan, being Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, has split this word Maitri into two. Mai-tri – three periods of time. Maitri is the friendship that existed in the past, that exists now and will continue in the future. So, Baba has said, “Maitri: in all the three periods of time, your association with Me, or My friendship with you, will continue.”

 

Do we have that Maitri, the friendship that lasts for all three different periods of time? Certainly not. Any difference of opinion or any selfish interest can break our friendships.

 

Now I would like to draw your attention to how Baba conducted Himself as an ideal friend. How at a young age He developed friendship with boys of His age group. On the last day of the Summer Course, Bhagavan would speak about his childhood. He addressed students and staff only, and I have gathered some more facts, which I want to share with you.

 

true FRIENDSHIP IS BEYOND CASTE, COMMUNITY, RACE, NATIONALITY

It was the days of Bhagavan’s childhood. He was eight or nine years old and He had learned Pandhari bhajans, devotional songs where there was dancing in tune with the songs. Baba picked up these Pandhari bhajans. He was singing devotional songs and dancing to the beat and rhythm of the song. Then He taught the musical songs to his classmates – boys of His age group. All of them started dancing and singing in praise of God, the Pandhari bhajans.

 

One day the village elders said, “All the people have learnt Pandhari bhajans now. We want to arrange a competition.”

 

There are some people who were less fortunate, who were staying in the outskirts of the village; but that group also got sufficiently trained in Pandhari bhajans. Now there was a competition between people of all the other groups and the boys from the less fortunate group of people, who were staying in the outskirts of the village, whom we call Harijans today. We should not call them ‘untouchables’, no. Harijans.

 

There was a competition of Pandhari bhajans between other classes and Harijans. In the village, there was a place where there was a neem tree called Janda Vepa Manu, and there the competition took place between the two groups.

 

At the conclusion, after everybody left and without anybody noticing, Baba went to the outskirts of the village where these less fortunate people lived. Bhagavan visited that area and went into the hut of a very poor man whose name was Jonnala Narasappa.

 

Swami called everybody to this hut and told them, “We are friends. I have come here to congratulate you. In this competition, I can say that you did an excellent job.” Baba returned back home, and this was noticed by His parents. They didn’t like Baba going to that place.

 

They said, “Don’t go hereafter.”

 

But Baba went on visiting that place without their noticing. So, this is an incident which tells us that friendship is beyond caste, race, nationality and community. True friendship is beyond these.

 

However, today if we ask, “Who is your friend?”…”Sir, he hails from my own place.”

 

“I see.”

 

“He is my neighbour. We belong to the same community. We speak the same language.”

 

Language and status are the considerations for friendship today. But according to Swami, true friendship is beyond caste, community or race. From His own example, we can afford to be a true friend hereafter, if we were not so already.

 

FRIENDSHIP MEANS CARING FOR THE FRIEND

Secondly, friendship means caring for the friend. What do we find today? To quote Swami, “Everyone goes on saying, ‘Hello, hello, hello’ with hollowness inside.”

 

‘Hello’ outside, hollow inside. ‘Hello’ -- hell, hell, hell, that’s all. Hollow emptiness. There is no true friendship. There is no true friend today. We don’t care whatever happens. We want somebody to engage us; we want somebody to talk to. No one cares for anybody. True friendship is caring.

 

Let me tell you an anecdote from Bhagavan’s life. In those days, teachers punished students when they committed any mistakes. Today we should not punish; it is enough if students do not punish the teachers. (Laughter) In newspapers you read how students manhandle their teachers. On the other hand, in certain places you are sued in court if you beat your child or a student. You are not supposed to punish. If possible, praise them for all the mistakes that they commit so that they would be the ideal traitors of the country, betrayers of the parents.

 

But in those days, teachers punished for any mistake committed so that the students would be afraid to repeat the same mistake. And one common mistake was (then and now also) arriving late. Students come late to the class. Well, in those days, if you were the first one to be late in the class, you would be given one stroke of the cane. If you are latecomer number two, two strokes. If you are latecomer three, then you would have three strokes. (There is some method in the madness also.) (Laughter)

 

So, depending on the order, if you are latecomer number ten in that list, you will have ten beatings. That was the punishment in those days in the Divine valley of Puttaparthi, when there were no buildings and a village occupied by only a hundred people. Summers are severe; winters are equally severe. Children used to attend the school one hour before time, shivering, because they didn’t want to be beaten. They were afraid.

 

I recall my school days. When I was in sixth class, I was beaten by my drill teacher. Ah! He caned me like anything. Well, I came home crying. My mother was the district education officer. She took a tape and measured the length of the scar on my body and wrote a letter to the headmaster. This is the length and the breadth, the teacher is not supposed to beat the children like that. Because she was an education officer, she wrote the letter. And the headmaster warned the teacher, the teacher said he was sorry and there ended the episode. But one month later he beat me twice:  “Why did you report to your mother? If you report me again, I’ll give you another beating -- remember that!” (Laughter) So I was not free to tell anyone.  Now I remember that day, you see.

 

So, caning is very difficult to bear. The children would be there in the school one hour early, shivering, as it was winter. Baba, a boy of eight or nine years at that time, went home, collected clothes and distributed them to the boys. “C’mon, cover up, cover up, so that you don’t have to shiver.”

 

This was noticed by His parents and brothers. They thought, ‘If He continues distributing clothes like that, we will not have enough clothes to wear tomorrow.’ So they used to keep all the clothes in a locked trunk, so He could not distribute them the next day.

 

Why I narrated this episode is this: Baba tells us that friendship is caring. You care for your friend. You try to help your friend in every possible way. It’s not simply a matter of greeting your friend and forgetting them thereafter.

 

friendship IS sharing

The third point is that friendship is sharing. Just to review, the first point is that friendship is beyond caste, community and race. The second point is that friendship is caring. Now the third point: friendship is sharing. These are all points that are collected from Bhagavan’s biography.

 

Friendship is sharing. What is that? Bhagavan used to carry to school in His pencil box some groundnuts to have for lunch. Even today, Swami very much likes the chikki groundnut. He has a special liking for groundnuts. So He used to carry these groundnuts in His pencil box to school.

 

One day, when Baba went somewhere, His bosom friend, Gazula Krishnayya opened the box and ate all the groundnuts. When Baba returned, He said, “Arre, useless fellow! Why did you eat all of them? You should have left some for me and you should have distributed a few groundnuts to our classmates also. Understand that friendship is sharing.” That’s what Baba told him. Friendship is sharing, not taking everything for yourself.

 

FRIENDSHIP knows no retaliation

Point four: friendship knows no retaliation, no revenge, nothing. Friendship is beyond attack or counter-attack. Of course, political friendships mean only attacking each other. That’s why they say ‘friendly opposition’. A new phrase has come out: “Hey, what are you?”…“We are the friendly opposition.” Friendly fight. We have to pick up new hybrid words now. Hybrids. We may call them figures of speech, at the same time they are truly a hybrid variety! So Baba said that friendship knows no rivalry, no revenge, nothing whatsoever.

 

One example is narrated by His classmate, who’s named V. Venkata Subbaiah. (I am also including these names in support of the statements I am making here, to establish credibility and authenticity.) So this V. Venkata Subbaiah narrated this episode about what happened in those days.

 

Baba always had thick hair, very thick hair, even as a child. Just yesterday evening, I was wondering about His hair, ‘So thick, so thick.’ It is something like a crown, you see; like peacock feathers, moving like this and that. I was enjoying watching His hair dance like that, something like daffodils dancing with the touch of the wind. It was dancing like that.

 

It is also so beautiful to see how He adjusts His hair. So nice it looks. Ah ha! Good to see Him. Sometimes He pulls it up like that. (Laughter). So beautiful. I am yet to come across people who adjust their hair in such a tender, beautiful, delicate style. And then, how He takes care of the dress, the folds and all that. (Laughs) So nice, I tell you.

 

Anyway, this V. Venkata Subbaiah narrated one thing: Baba always had thick hair. Other boys made fun of Him. They used to throw thorn balls into His hair. These thorn balls would be difficult to take out of His thick hair. It would take some time. (Ladies will understand how it is when they comb their hair.) So these thorn balls, which got caught up in His thick hair, would be painful to take out. Thus, when these boys threw them at Him, Baba would run away to avoid this.

 

Because Baba was the favourite student of His teachers, other classmates were jealous of Him. Jealousy is not anything new. Man is born with jealousy. The first man, Adam, also must have had enough jealousy. Jealousy is not anything new, but it has taken an ugly turn today.

 

So Baba’s classmates were jealous of Him and they used to scold Him a lot, calling Him names. And this classmate of His said that He maintained silence. He never replied. Whatever they said, He kept quiet. That is Baba -- no retaliation, no revenge.

 

FRIENDSHIP IS forgiveness

Not only that, once it so happened that it was a Thursday, which is the favourite day of Bhagavan. On October 20th, 1940, when He declared that He was Sai Baba, He instructed everybody to do special pooja, or worship, on Thursdays. Thursday is Sai Baba’s day. Baba said, “Worship every Thursday.”  Long ago He said this.

 

When Baba was a child, right from 7 or 8 years old, He used to spend every Thursday alone. He would be lost in Himself, speaking within, with some gestures of writing in the air, something like that. And people thought that something was wrong with Him. We can understand why He was like that. Probably He must have been identifying Himself with His previous incarnation, Shirdi Sai Baba. It was time for Him to declare that He was Shirdi Sai reincarnated. Maybe He was preparing Himself for this declaration to be made to humanity. So, He would get lost within Himself, not observing anybody.

 

One day, one classmate, Hanumanta Reddy, came to see Him. It was a Thursday. The poor fellow didn’t choose the right day, because Swami was lost within Himself somewhere. Hanumanta Reddy waited half an hour, but He didn’t look at him. Even after one hour, He didn’t look at him. One and a half hours passed; He didn’t look at him. He became very angry with Baba. He picked up a stone and threw it at Him, hitting Baba.

 

This was brought to the notice of the headmaster of the school, Lakshmipati, who said to this boy, “Why did you hit Him? After all, He was sitting all alone.”

 

The classmate said, “He did not look at me. I went there to talk to Him. He has no business to remain silent like that. I waited for one and a half hours. What does He mean? Therefore, I hit Him.”

 

“Hey, useless fellow, you should not do that.” So the teacher gave him a big punishment. “From today onwards, you will not have food. No food.”

 

So this boy was starving. One day he was very weak. Finally, this Hanumanta Reddy said, “Sir, let us go to  Baba. Let us go to Sathyam. (They called Baba ‘Sathyam’ in those days.) Let Him solve the problem. You cannot let me die out of starvation like this. Let’s go and settle this.”

 

So the headmaster and Hanumanta Reddy went together to Sathyam, and before they opened their mouths, Baba said, “He hit Me. He called Me names. You know why? I made him do that. He hit Me because I made him do so. He called Me names because I made it happen so. Feed him now. Serve him food now, immediately.”

 

Friendship is forgiveness. Friendship should express itself in the form of forgiveness. It does not call for any kind of retaliation or revenge. That’s what we know from the life of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

 

'FRIEND In need is a friend indeed'

It is said that ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’. Let me narrate to you the experience of another classmate of Baba’s, by the name of Narayan Reddy. It was Baba’s 60th birthday and Swami was travelling in His car towards the Kothacheru area, on His way to Ananthapur.

 

Suddenly Baba stopped His car. He recognised one gentleman passing by and said, “Hey, Narayan Reddy, how are you?” This man was very much surprised.

 

Baba asked him, “Don’t you remember? We were classmates. Have you forgotten Me? Your number was such-and-such, and you sat on that bench. We were classmates. How is it that you have forgotten Me?”

 

My friends, I’m sure you will understand when I tell you that it is like a feast to watch Swami talking to His classmates in the local vernacular, in the rural language. It is very funny how He talks to these chaps in the local vernacular, as if He is a child once again. It’s also very nice to watch Him whenever He meets the people from this Puttaparthi area and from the neighbouring villages. Every region has its own local accent. He talks to them in the same language, with the same intonation, the same diction and accent as they have. It is very funny. Swami doesn’t speak like that when He addresses vast gatherings. But in this area, when He talks, it’s very interesting. I just watch Him, as it sounds like music to me.

 

So Swami stopped the car and said, “Narayan Reddy, have you forgotten we were classmates?”

 

“Ah yes, we were classmates!”

 

“Where are you staying?”

 

“Swami, I am renting somewhere.”

 

“What a pity it is! Don’t worry that you don’t have a house of your own. You are staying in a rented house. Don’t worry, friend. I will get a new house constructed for you as birthday gift.”

 

Today, Narayan Reddy stays in the house constructed especially for him by Baba, marking His 60th birthday. ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’ That’s what we know from Bhagavan.

 

FRIENDSHIP is a two-way traffic

Friendship is two-way traffic, as Bhagavan says; it is not one-way traffic. If I go on receiving benefits from you and don’t extend anything I have, don’t share anything with you, then you cannot call it friendship; it is exploitation. You are a parasite if you depend on someone else continuously. Friendship is two-way traffic, not one-way traffic.

 

It is very interesting to know that there is one Rama temple in that village of Bukkapatnam, two miles from here, where Baba spent His school days. Baba says, in those days, there were no pencils or books for taking down notes or writing. So here is what Baba, the classmate, did in those days. He used to call friends to that temple and write in the sand, in order to practise how to write. He taught them all the lessons. Being a classmate, He also conducted Himself as a teacher. He clarified their doubts. That’s what Baba told.

 

FRIENDSHIP should not be based on material gains

The next, interesting point about friendship is this: Friendship should not be centred around material, financial or business gains. Today we find two people are friends because of their business interests. Or two people are friends because of their political interests. Baba said that friendship is beyond this, and that friendship should never be made for material gain.

 

Here is a simple example from His own life, when He was studying in Bukkapatnam in those days. Now Baba always says to His students, “I am telling you boys about all of the experiences when I was a nine-year-old. I am this short now, so you can imagine how short I was at the age of nine!” That’s what He likes to say.

 

Being a good boy with leadership qualities, Sathyam was made the class leader. Being the leader, He had to lead all His classmates. Villages usually have market fairs, where vegetable and other provisions are sold, along with cows and other things. And in these village fairs, it is the children scouts who organise things. They serve the people. So, classmates of Baba had to go to these fairs and serve there.

 

What did Baba say about this? “I didn’t have enough money to go. I needed an extra set of clothes. I didn’t have them. I always had only one set of clothes. I would wash the knickers (short pants), and as they dried, I would be wearing the shirt. I would then wear the knickers and wash the shirt. Whenever a button broke, I couldn’t replace it. It remained torn because I could not afford buttons.” That was His utter poverty. But Sathyam never wanted to tell others that He was so poor. He just told everybody, “Boys, I am not coming.”

 

So all His classmates went to His house and said, “No, no, Sathyam, You must come. If You don’t come, we are not going to go attend that fair.”

 

Then Baba cleverly said, “I can’t come because I am suffering from a stomach ache.” No doctor could examine Him immediately. Finally the teacher also came to plead with Him, “Please come.”

 

He said, “Appa, the pain is increasing! I can’t come.” However, the moment the teacher and His classmates left, Baba started jumping and playing, saying, “I did this trick only to avoid going.” But somehow He was forced to go.

 

Baba said, “As I had no money, I walked day and night to reach that place.”

 

He walked all the way to the other village, but then He couldn’t afford food or anything there. What He carried with Him was something like ragi (local millet) bread, some circular dosa-like thing that was very hard. (If you tried to eat it now, you would have to collect all 32 teeth! (Laughter) Perhaps it’s easier to bite a piece of iron --very hard stuff!) And Baba said, “I carried two of them and dipped them in water to eat, saving a small portion for the next day.” That was the situation.

 

His classmate came to know that Baba didn’t have an extra set of clothes. So what he did (being from a rich family) was to get a new set, an extra set, specially stitched for Baba. Then he placed that new set of clothes under the desk, along with a note saying, “Sathyam, we are classmates. I know that You don’t have an extra set of clothes. I got it stitched for You. If You don’t wear these clothes, I will commit suicide.” That’s what he wrote on that paper.

 

Baba went silently to the class, collected that piece of paper and read it. On the reverse side of the paper, He wrote: “We are friends. Friendship should not be for material things. It should not be for the exchange of money or material objects. If you have transactions like this, our friendship will break. Therefore, if you want our friendship to continue, take it back. I am not going to accept this.”

 

Friendship should grow on grounds of love; it should not be based on material gains. That is the lesson He taught, which is a lesson for all of us -- not only now, but for years to come. Friendship is not for material gains. Friendship should be based on love, as Baba says.

 

FRIENDSHIP IS sensitivity

Next point, Friendship is sensitivity and tenderness. One can’t be rough as a friend. If you go on speaking roughly, it is meaningless. Friendship is sensitive; friendship is tenderness; friendship is delicate; friendship is soft. You can’t afford to be harsh towards your friend.

 

Here is one episode from Swami’s life: Being a class leader, Baba was asked to slap the cheek of other students when they committed a mistake. The teacher would tell Him, “You, Sathyam, go and slap him.” He was to go and slap the other. Sathyam was asked to slap His classmates, whoever committed a mistake.

 

Swami went close to them, but He could not slap them. He is soft, very soft. God is always soft. Had He not been soft, we would not have been here today, because all the things that we do and all the thoughts that we have are not good.

 

So Baba went close to His classmate. But how did He slap him? Just like that (demonstrating a soft touch). (Laughter) Then the teacher was very angry! “Are You applying face powder or what? I want You to slap! That is not a slap. C’mon!”

 

There were forty-one boys in the classroom. The teacher then proceeded to slap Him on both sides of His face forty-one times. “This is the way You should slap!”

 

He had to pay heavily for His softness. He had to pay heavily for His delicate mind. He had to pay heavily for being so good to His classmates. He could never be rude. He could never be crude. Friendship is sensitivity. Friendship is tenderness.

 

FRIENDSHIP IS among equals

Love towards equals is called friendship. In friendship, one can’t feel superior to the other person; nor can you ever feel inferior towards your friend. Friendship is among equals.

 

There is one gentleman by the name of Batta Venkatesh. Swami used to call His classmate, “Hey, Uncle.” ‘Uncle’ He would call him, just as a matter of fun.

 

Every day these two boys used to go to the banks of the tank there in Bukkapatnam, and silently share groundnuts, eat watermelon and share buttermilk. This classmate says, “It is very difficult to believe that He is God. We were so intimate, sharing buttermilk, groundnuts, and watermelon. How am I to believe that He is God?”

 

That’s what he says, even to this day. God, as a friend, comes down to your level. God, as a friend, communicates in such a way that you will be able to feel free with Him. If you are afraid of Him, He will not be anywhere near you. If you consider Him cheap, you will ignore Him.  So, because you consider Him as a friend, you feel like moving closer and closer.

 

To make you feel freer, sometimes He cuts jokes. He goes to students and says, “What did you have for breakfast?” Or, “Your dress is nice.” Or, “You didn’t comb your hair properly.” Or, “Where were you last night?” Or, “Why did you leave half a chapatti uneaten?” Or, “Why did you have an extra chapatti? When others were eating two, you ate three.” He will make everybody laugh like that, so that we establish kinship, so that we feel close to Him.

 

Say that you sit over there and say, ”Thank You, Swami, but I am afraid of You.” You will never be near Him. True friendship means nearness. True friendship calls for an easy level of communication, the common mode of communion. So His classmate says, “We were excellent friends, moving so intimately.”

 

FRIENDSHIP IS sharing Benefits

The next aspect of friendship is sharing benefits. When Baba started His mission, right from the beginning, He was a poet. He used to compose beautiful poems. (Baba as a poet, we’ll discuss later. This morning the topic is about Baba as a real friend, as the only true friend. Next time, if you like this series of talks, we will talk on a different topic: Baba, as an ideal son. This morning, it’s enough if we know Baba as an ideal friend.)

 

There was one gentleman by the name of Kote Subbanna. He had a small provisions shop in the village. He started selling a new medicine, an Ayurvedic medicine, so he approached Baba. “Will You please help me with advertising this, so that everybody knows that a new medicine is available here?”

 

Since there were no TV ads in those days, Baba had to write a poem, a song in Telugu, in praise of that medicine. He taught this song to other classmates. This boy started singing the song in praise of the new medicine.

 

I’ll give you the meaning of that song. As it is in Telugu, I’m sure you will not understand it. (As an apology, it is not a true translation, as fifty percent of its original beauty is lost in translation. Every language has its own natural beauty. You cannot translate Shakespeare into every language, unless you want to kill him or murder him. Just for practical purpose you can do it, that’s all.)

 

This is the meaning of the poem that He composed:

 

Boys and girls! We can procure a new medicine.

Classmates! Please know that medicine’s name is ‘Bala Bhaskara’.

Boys and girls! A new medicine is available as of today by the name of ‘Bala Bhaskara’. C’mon, c’mon! Please know that it will help you to cure all your eye problems, tooth problems, joint problems, headache, earache, snake bite, constipation,

cold and shivering.

Why one or two? It cures all diseases.

It is available in the form of a paste, a liquid, and a powder.

Those who take this medicine will be cured, 100% guaranteed!

Come closer and buy it!

If you ask where it is available, boys, look here!

It is available in that shop -- Kote Subbanna’s shop!

 

Right from that time, a heavy rush of people wanted to purchase it because they had so many problems. Some had tooth problems; some had ear problems; some had joint problems. As Baba said it was a solution for all problems, that shopkeeper made an excellent business!

 

Towards the end, these shop people distributed mangoes and money. He gave money and clothes to Swami. What did our Baba do then? He distributed the money and clothes to all His classmates, and He returned empty-handed. Friendship means sharing equally the benefits that come from one’s talents.

 

Summary

Friendship is sharing. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Friendship is beyond caste, creed and community. Friendship doesn’t call for any retaliation or revenge. These are the values that Baba taught, by demonstrating them in His own life, by practising these things in His own lifetime, which I have shared with you this morning.

 

May Baba bless you all!

Anil Kumar closed his talk by chanting the bhajan, “Jaya Ho Jaya Ho Gopalana”. 

OM…OM…OM…

Asato Maa Sad Gamaya

Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya

Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya

 

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

 

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti