Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Instruction of Sathya Sai to ashram young staffer in 1975: Do only your work. Do not get involved with other persons' work; Same instruction would be good advice today too in Prasanthinilayam ashram

In 1975 (which is around 25 + 18 i.e. around 43 years ago) a person P was working as a paid staffer in Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi) ashram. Note that I am using the term 'staffer' in the sense that the person was doing work for the ashram and for Swami, on a permanent basis.

Perhaps a year or two ago this person P, now elderly, told me, in the course of a general discussion about his interactions with Swami over the years, that once Swami (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) gave him an admonition-type instruction. Swami told him in Tamil, "On velai mattum paare. Adatavanu soli/zoli ki pohade." P said that Swami spoke in pure/proper Tamil.

The meaning of that is: Do (see) only your work. Do not go into other persons' work (get involved with other persons' talk/views/work).

I recently re-confirmed the matter with P so that I could be sure of the facts when I put up this post.

P told me that, during that time, the ashram security was handled by one person mainly. After P's work for the day got over, he used to chat with this ashram security guy at his office/post, listening to the radio/transistor there and chew some betel leaf :-). That seems to have got noticed.

Later a senior ashram manager, Shri Kutumba Rao, also told P the same thing.

P ensured that there were no more complaints in future about this.

P agreed that it was him following these instructions of Swami that helped him stay (survive) in the ashram system for long.

P also agreed that even now in 2018, close to 7 years after Mahasamadhi, this instruction of Swami will be helpful for many people in Prasantinilayam (PN) system. That is one key reason why I decided to put up this post. Another reason is to simply chronicle this aspect of Swami.
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Ravi: Ashram systems are typically dictatorial in nature, including PN. In the case of PN ashram, it was, and still is, the mission centre of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. So it was a hub of activity with a lot of people coming and going, including some bigshots. For most staffers and contractors to survive in the system and lead a comfortable life,  required, and perhaps even now requires, some special skills and approaches.

I feel that Swami's instruction to P given in 1975 to do only one's work and not get involved in other people's work, is a valuable instruction for survival in PN ashram system even today for most staffers. Perhaps it applies to most other ashram systems too.

Top-level ashram administrators would need to know what is going on around them and so this 1975 advice/instruction of Swami may not apply so much to them.

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