Last updated on 6th Nov. 2015
The contents of my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1674984239384813, are given below (slightly edited):
This was meant to be a very long comment response to a conversation on my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1674769019406335. But Facebook did not accept this lengthy comment. So I have put it up as this separate post.
I think Bro [name-snipped] has raised an interesting question, "What is Swami's (Satya Sai avatara) mission?" and the question, "Why do you say Swami's mission isn't over yet?"
I decided to do some browsing to provide specific answers (or no answer) to the first and which also gave the answer to the second.
First, since the last Sai institution/orgn. I was involved with was the Sai university, I thought I can share its stated views on the matter. From http://sssihl.edu.in/sssuniversity/AboutSSSIHL/VisionMissionPhilosophy.aspx:
The Sai educational institutions have been established not merely to enable students to earn a living but to make them acquire good traits, lead ideal lives, and give them ethical, moral and spiritual strength. I have established them with a view to inculcate love and teach good qualities to students. They will learn here humility, discipline and faith.
I have established these institutions to impart spiritual education as a main component and worldly education as a secondary one. Education should enable one to cultivate good qualities, character and devotion. The teaching of the university curricula is only the means employed for the end, namely, spiritual uplift, self-discovery and social service through love and detachment.
This will be a Gurukula - a place where teachers and taught will grow together in love and wisdom - and like the ancient system of education, it will develop in its students a broad outlook and promote virtues and morals, which serve to foster noble ideals in society.
This Institute will be a temple of learning where youth are shaped into self-reliant, contented and enterprising heroes of action and self-sacrifice, for the purpose of serving humanity.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Revered Founder Chancellor
--- end extract from SSSIHL website ---
I think Swami has laid out the vision and mission of SSSIHL (Sai university) very clearly, in the above statements of his.
http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/pages/Sai_Organisations/Sai_Organisations.htm#obj lays out the Sai organization vision quite crisply. Extracts from it are given below:
The principal objectives of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation are:
To help the individual -
To be aware of the Divinity that is inherent in him and to conduct himself accordingly;
To translate into practice in daily life, divine love and perfection; and therefore
To fill one’s life with joy, harmony, beauty, grace, human excellence and lasting happiness;
To ensure that all human relations are governed by the principles of Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Right Conduct), Shanthi (Peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-violence).
To make devotees more sincere and dedicated in the practice of their respective religions by understanding properly the true spirit of their religion.
How are the Objectives attained?
The above-mentioned objectives are attained in the following manner:
By observing the four principles laid down by Bhagawan Baba, namely:
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, He is omnipresent.
By constant remembrance of God and looking upon all creation as a manifestation of Divinity in different forms and shapes;
By underlining the essential unity of all religions and securing proper understanding of all religions as being based on Love;
By looking upon all work as service dedicated to the Divine;
By bringing to bear upon all life’s problems, attitudes flowing from Divine Love, such as, understanding, compassion, tolerance, helpfulness, etc.
By basing all actions on Love of Divinity, fear of sin and steadfast observance of morality in society;
By engaging in spiritual, educational and service activities, both at the individual and community level, in an organized, systematic manner, without expecting any material reward or appreciation, but solely as a means to win God’s Love and Grace.
------ end first extract ----
Ravi: In all probability the above would have been explicitly approved by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, based on what I have seen & heard during my stint in Prasanthi Nilayam system.
But this page also has some specific quotations from Swami in this regard:
In a revealing discourse that Baba delivered on the 23rd of February, 1968 in Prasanthi Nilayam, Baba made the purpose of the organisation very clear when He said,
“The Organisations named after Me are not to be used for publicising My Name, or creating a new cult around My worship. They must try to spread interest in japam (recitation of God's Name), dhyaanam (meditation) and other sadhanas (spiritual practices), which lead man Godward; they must demonstrate the joy derivable from bhajan (devotional group singing) and Naamasmarana (remembering God's Name), the Shaanthi (peace) that one can draw from Sathsang (good company).
They must render seva (service) to the helpless, the sick, the distressed, the illiterate and the needy. Their seva (selfless service) should not be exhibitionistic; it must seek no reward, not even gratitude or thanks from the recipients. Seva is sadhana (spiritual exercise), not a pastime of the rich and well placed. Each one must realize this truth.
From: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. VIII, Chapter- 6.
“It is the duty of all those who are connected with the Sathya Sai Organisations to promote spiritual discipline and dedicate their lives to social service for leading a purposeful life. To promote the awareness of Divinity in human beings and build a genuine sense of brotherhood among people, should be their primary aim.”
- Bhagawan Baba’s Discourse in Prasanthi Nilayam on 22-11-1980
“Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. XIV, Chapter-56.
--- end extracts from Sai orgn. website ---
Ravi: I think the above statements clearly specify the mission of the Sai organization as specified by Swami Himself.
Now the specific question of bro [name-snipped] is "What is Swami's (Satya Sai avatara) mission?". I think there can be two (perhaps more) interpretations of the words Swami (Sathya Sai Avatara) mission. One is that the missions he has specified for his institutions & organizations (like Sai university and Sai orgn.) are Swami's mission. I think this is the interpretation that most Sai devotees use (including me) when we talk about Swami's mission. The term Swami is expanded to include the institutions and organizations that he founded and nurtured. I think this is quite fair as I have read Mother Teresa referring to the world as Christ's body, and that by serving the sick and needy anywhere she felt she was serving Christ! I don't think that is an inaccurate interpretation though [name-snipped] may not agree with me (and that's fine; we can always amicably agree to disagree on such nomenclature kind of issues).
The other interpretation is a more limited one focusing on the physical form of Sathya Sai Avatar only. Now I don't know whether Swami has clearly delineated exactly what Sathya Sai Avatar will do and what Prema Sai Avatar will do. So I think it is quite difficult to focus on mission of physical form of Sathya Sai Avatar. I think we need to look at Swami's words regarding His mission as the triple Sai avatar's mission. Here are some extracts from 1968 birthday message of His, http://www.saibaba.ws/articles/mission.htm, related to His mission:
For the protection of the virtuous, for the destruction of the evil-doers and for establishing righteousness on a firm footing, I incarnate from age to age. Whenever disharmony overwhelms the world, the Lord will incarnate in human form to establish the modes of earning peace, and to re-educate the human community in the paths of peace. At the present time, strife and discord have robbed peace and unity from the family, the school, the society, the religions, the cities and the state.
The arrival of the Lord is anxiously awaited by saints and sages. Sadhus prayed and I have come. My main tasks are fostering of the Vedas and fostering of the devotees. Your virtue, your self-control, your detachment, your faith, your steadfastness: these are the signs by which people read of my glory. You can lay claim to be a devotee only when you have placed yourself in my hands fully and completely with no trace of ego. You can enjoy the bliss through the experience the Avatar confers. The Avatar behaves in a human way so that mankind can feel kinship, but rises into his superhuman heights so that mankind can aspire to reach the heights, and through that aspiration actually reach him. Realizing the Lord within you as the motivator is the task for which he comes in human form.
Avatars like Rama and Krishna had to kill one or more individuals who could be identified as enemies of the righteous way of life, and thus restore the practice of virtue. But now there is no one fully good, and so who deserves the protection of God? All are tainted by wickedness, and so who will survive if the Avatar decides to uproot? Therefore, I have come to correct the intelligence by various means. I have to counsel, help, command, condemn and stand by as a friend and well-wisher for all, so that they may give up evil propensities and, recognizing the straight mark, thread it and reach the goal. I have to reveal to the people the worth of the Vedas, the Sastras and the spiritual texts which lay down the norms.
The establishment of Righteousness: that is my aim. The teaching of righteousness, the spread of righteousness: that is my object.
The removal of misery and distress is incidental to my mission. My main task is the reestablishment of the Vedas and Sastras, and revealing the knowledge about them to all people. This task will succeed. It will not be limited. It will not be slowed down. When the Lord decides and wills, his divine will cannot be hindered.
I have come to instruct all in the essence of the Vedas, to shower on all this precious gift, to protect the Sanatana Dharma (ancient wisdom) and preserve it. My mission is to spread happiness, and so I am always ready to come among you not once, but twice or thrice- as often as you want me.
No Avatar has done like this before, going among the masses, counselling them, guiding them, consoling them, uplifting them and directing them along the path of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema. (Truth, Righteousness, Peace and Love).
Cultivate nearness with me in the heart and it will be rewarded. Then you too will acquire a fraction of that supreme love. This is a great chance. Be confident that you will all be liberated. Know that you are saved. Many hesitate to believe that things will improve, that life will be happy for all and full of joy, and that the golden age will recur. Let me assure you that this Dharmaswarupa, that this divine body, has not come in vain. It will succeed in averting the crisis that has come upon humanity.
---- end 1st set of extracts from http://www.saibaba.ws/articles/mission.htm ----
Ravi: My understanding of the above is that Swami's mission is to re-establish Sathya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema among large number of influential people who will then spread it amongst rest of humanity. Note that Swami has made a reference to golden age and that it will recur. [However, English translation may have introduced slight miscommunication.] But this mission is that of the triple Sai avatar. And, in my humble opinion, that mission objective has not yet been achieved. And so, IMHO, Swami's mission isn't over yet.
But what is the role of Sai devotees in this mission of Swami?
I have given below a second set of extracts from http://www.saibaba.ws/articles/mission.htm, which has been taken from Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas, Vol XV, No 9, Sept 96 For Sri Sathya Sai Education in Human Values Trust.
Your mission has begun. Those are my words to you, my devotees. Each of you has a unique and valuable part to play in this lifetime. Only those whom I have called can serve Me.
My mission has now reached that point of time when each of you now has work to do. This planet has a purpose in which it it held. That purpose is now unfolding before our eyes. I call upon you to radiate the Bhakti (devotion) within you so that its unseen power will envelop all who come into your orbit. To successfully perform your part, always remain centred on Me.
Allow yourself to impart that purity of heart within you towards all human beings and all living things and do not reach for the fruits of your work.
This part of My Mission is performed in absolute silence. You are My instruments from whom My love will pour. Be always aware that the moment you let your ego descend upon you, My work ceases. When you have overcome your negative unmindfulness, you will again become My Source.
Others, too, will join Me in this Mission when I draw them to Me. The time is approaching when all humanity will live in harmony.That time will be here sooner than one expects. Before it arrives, be prepared for whatever is needed to reveal to every living thing the true purpose of existence. It is not what anyone alive can imagine. It is beyond all comprehension. I can say that its beauty is magnificent beyond all dreams. And as each of you perform your silent work, I embrace you to My Heart and henceforth your souls shall be lifted up and your eyes will reveal My Presence within.
This I say to all My Devotees from the Lord's Mountain Top where all the Universes become one. Be about My work, My beloved bhaktas. Your breath will carry the scent of the blossoms of Heaven. Your example will be that of Angels. Your joy will be My Joy."
Sathya Sai Baba
--- end 2nd set of extracts from http://www.saibaba.ws/articles/mission.htm ---
Ravi: So my understanding of the above is that Swami has asked/commanded/instructed those of us who have been blessed/privileged to have come into His orbit, to do our roles as specified above (to the extent we can, within the limitations we have) in His mission (which, IMHO, isn't over yet).
Now the above longish comment is my HUMBLE understanding of Swami's mission. However, [name-snipped] may have a different understanding and that's fine with me. We can always amicably agree to disagree.
Update: A correspondent responded over email (slightly edited):
Swami's divinity is all encompassing and universal. To say THIS is "His Mission" is to exclude some other things from his embrace. I think we should ask what is "our mission" in the light of Swami's presence. Its like, the sun does not have a mission but the creation draws energy to fulfill its own mission from sun light. That is why Swami once said "your mission has begun..."
Also, an avatar fulfills the promises made by scriptures and sages. Rama met the rishis of his time and made their dreams of dharma a reality. Krishna unified and fulfilled all the conflicting philosophies of that time like karma, saankhya, raja, jnana and so on.
Swami, as we witnessed, answered the prayers and prophesies of [Ravi: great devotees/spiritual masters]... to create a better world with better human beings.
In one of the songs composed by Him Swami wrote, "Is it not enough that Sakkubai cried for you? Do you want me to cry again for you? Are you not here because Thyagaraja prayed for you? Why do you want me to pray again?"
He has no Karmic debt/obligation to fulfill. He is here to fulfill the Karma of saints, sages and devotees who prayed and surrendered to Him over the ages.
--- end correspondent comment ---