Many among you might wonder, "We have been coming to and staying at Prasanthi Nilayam for years. But, Swami is not talking to us. He does not even look at us." Now, what really is the reason? The sparks that leap out of the flames of fire go into the distance and soon become ash or dark dust. Of course, everyone is fundamentally Atma, but, moving away from the awareness of that Reality, one reduces oneself into ash or dark dust.
You are in Prasanthi Nilayam, certainly. But, your thoughts wander everywhere else. When your thoughts revolve around your desire to attain Prasanthi or Supreme Peace, when your deeds are directed by the regimen laid down for attaining it, when your words are soft, sweet and soaked in Love, you can, without fail, enjoy the warmth of this Fire. Often, when you watch the range of hills around Prasanthi Nilayam, you can see, specially in Summer, streaks of light creeping fast over the tops. This is due to the vegetation catching fire. You can see the light from afar, but you cannot bask in the warmth. So too, you only see Sai Baba; you do not derive the Grace He is ready to grant.
The reason is: You do not dedicate all your thoughts, words and deeds to Swami. Whatever you do (wherever you are) feel that it is prompted by Swami and let it be acceptable to Swami. I am the recipient of all your efforts and attempts. For example: The army recruits dhobis to wash and iron uniforms and clothing. It has barbers and sweepers on the pay roll; they work in camps and move with the military personnel. They may be engaged in different types of work but every one has to undergo physical training and drill, every day.
So, too, one of you may be working in an office, another in a shop, a third in the press but every one must engage in Sadhana with devotion, discipline and a sense of duty. Do not feel that your role is low and the other person's high. Do not be depressed when you find your role is minor; do not be proud when you discover that your role is a major one. Give your best to whatever role is allotted to you. That is the way to earn Grace.
When can you secure Swami's Grace? In what form? One may get it as a chance to have Darshan, another as a chance to touch The Feet, a third as a chance to exchange a few words. Others may not be the recipients of any of these. Why? Their ideals and desires may not be proper. Even if they are proper, they may not be gladly pursued in daily lives. There are five fingers in every hand. If each finger points towards its own peculiar direction, how can the hand hold or manipulate any article? If they come together and stay together, the hands can accomplish whatever they plan. Similarly, when one of you turns your head away at the sight of another, and ten people insist on ten diverse directions, how can any deed be done? You must all be equally alert and active and co operative.
Why must you compete and quarrel? Nothing in this world can last as such for long. The Buddha diagnosed this correctly. He declared, "All is sorrow; all is transient; all are but temporary contraptions of ephemeral characteristics." Why should you be as fatally fascinated by these finite things? Strive to gain the eternal, the infinite, the universal. One day, you have to give up the body you have fed and fostered. How long can you keep all that you have earned and possessed with pride? Trivial thoughts and desires award only sorrow; holy thoughts and desires award divine peace. Therefore, cultivate good and beneficial feelings and desires. Keep away from bad company and bad thoughts. Realise the holy purpose of life through pure thoughts and words and selfless service to your fellow beings.