Chapter 3.1 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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3.1 CENTRES AND MEMBERS

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"And now I give you a new commandment  -  love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples."    Jesus Christ

"In living together with kith and kin, men find courage and comfort. When they work in unison they become stronger and better able to go through the battle of life."    Zarathushtra

FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

WHY ORGANISE?

You must be clear about the objectives of the Organisation of which your unit is a limb; for, without having the goal clear in the mind, how can the journey end in success? (130571)

What is the primary purpose of the Sai Organisations? It is to make the people realise that they are sparks of the Divine and not embodiments of the physical products of Nature. (211195)

The Organisation has been established, not for publicising any person or creed, or to provide berths for some ambitious individuals, from which they can exercise authority over others. It is as a means of spiritual discipline that the Organisation is to be understood. Take it in that attitude. Do not consider the rules as restrictions imposed by me or as shackles on your freedom of action. They are devised to help you and others in the spiritual practice you have entered upon. (221271)

The Sathya Sai Organisation has been established to provide sacred tasks for every moment of wakeful life, to make people conscious of the vagaries and vanities of the mind and establishing the reign of the pure intellect, by which alone the One behind all this multiplicity can be realised as the only Reality. (241174)

These organisations are meant to broaden your love, to canalise your activities along lines of constructive service performed as worship, not to confer on some people more power over others, or greater control over the activities of other members, or for the display of the devotion of some people. (210467)

The Organisation must help people to realise the Unity behind all this apparent multiplicity which is only a superimposition by the human mind on the One that is all this. The Vedas proclaim that God is One, that the goal is the same and that Truth stands self-revealed when the veil of the world is cast away or torn off. (290376)

Do not imagine that your task is to propagate Sai and speak of Sathya Sai and His Message. This is not right. But, through the name of Sathya Sai and the emphasis on the message, aim at the promotion of Godliness and of Faith in God. Create the spiritual attitude; promote spiritual discipline. It does not matter what Name you use, or what Form they concentrate upon. Through some Name and some Form, lead them into the path of faith and spiritual practice. (060175)

Your organisations must endeavour to promote faith in God. If that base is absent, worship, devotional singing, ritual worship, good works - all become meaningless automatic ritual, done under social compulsion. Inner transformation, which is the fruit, can be acquired only when these are done with faith. Faith can grow only from the root of inquiry. Faith is made firmer by inquiry. You must encourage inquiry by the members whom you contact and welcome their efforts to gain first-hand experience. (210467)

WHO CAN BE MEMBERS?

Who can be members of these organisations, and what are their qualifications? (1) Of course, they must be eager aspirants for spiritual progress. (2) They must have full faith in the Name that the organisation bears and in spreading that Name, in the manner suited to It's Message and Majesty. (3) Besides, the member must have won recognition as a good person. (310467)

I am not concerned about the numerical growth of centres or devotees. I want only quality. Increase in quantity should be accompanied by improvement in quality. This is the service you have to render. The bliss which you experience should be shared with others. (211195)

The Sathya Sai Organisation is working with persons belonging to all religions. They do so because all religions  -  Christian, Parsi, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim  -  have, as their basic doctrines, Love and Non-violence. Develop these qualities. Then, you get the title to preach to others and propagate them. (201170)

You know that the State requires you to take a solemn oath, when you take up an office or enter upon an assignment. Similarly, each member and office bearer must take an oath , from the very depth of the heart, before engaging themselves in the activities.

"Swami, save me from any act of commission or omission which will affect adversely the three qualifications you have laid down. Bless me with the skill, intelligence and enthusiasm, necessary for the task to which I am dedicating myself for my own uplift. Guide me along the correct path; shower on me Your Grace so that I may earn a fair name in this attempt; guard me from temptation and wrong steps."

When you rise from bed at dawn, pray thus. At night, when you go to bed, ponder over your activities during the day, examining them, whether you went against any of the conditions of membership; and if any wrong has been committed, unconsciously, pray that they may not happen again. Decide to dedicate yourself in this manner, with the ideals, for the work ahead. (210467)

BE A LIMB OF THE SAI BODY

You are all My Limbs; nourished by Me. You constitute the Sai Body. Sai will send you sustenance, wherever you are, whatever your function, provided you give Sai the things Sai considers sweet and desirable, like virtue, faith, discipline and humility. Be happy that you are a limb of the Sai Body. Do not complain that you are the foot and so have to tread the hard ground. Do not be proud that you are the head and so, up and above. It is the same blood-stream, the stream of Love that circulates in both; the function of each is as valuable as the function of every other limb. The function of each limb is also unique, remember; so do not give room to despondency. Your part is something special, which only you can play. You cannot walk on your head; you cannot think with your feet. Whatever your position, win Grace by your virtue, that is the main gain. (290367)

Take a vow to develop the Sai Organisation day by day. Take all the people within the fold. People who have gone away from this Organisation are the unfortunate ones; you should not become unfortunate. Come what may, do not give up the Organisation; consider this Organisation as your life's breath. This is a real penance. Take a vow on these lines to become experts. This is what I desire. Swami will be with you in whatever you are doing. (5th World Conf)

RULES AND REGULATIONS

When an organisation is started it has to lay down for itself certain rules and regulations. But our rules are of a different nature altogether. Our rules emphasise that members must first practise what they stand for. Whatever you desire others to do, you must first put into daily practice sincerely and with steadfastness. (210467)

Do not overstep the limits imposed by the Organisation; do not disobey the rules laid down; do not deviate from the ideals laid down. March straight on, and reach the goal. (161074)

Do not fret against the rules and regulations which the Organisation imposes on you; they are laid down for your own good. Regulation is the very essence of creation. The oceans observe their limits. Wind and fire respect their limits and bounds. The human body has to maintain its warmth at 90.4oF in order to be healthy and the heart has to beat a definite number of times a minute. How, then, can this Organisation escape the prescription of certain rules and regulations? (290376)

Efforts must be made to remove from the Organisation any one, however rich, however renowned as a scholar, however influential and important in society, if he transgresses the rules of the Organisation. (231271)

The setting up of Sai Centres is not an exercise in numbers. The emphasis should be on quality not quantity. The International President and the National President of our Organisation have mentioned how the centres have grown. But has fellow-feeling grown to the same extent? Fellow-feeling should grow. On the contrary, divisiveness is growing. I want quality, not quantity. (181195)

ADVICE TO MEMBERS

The symbol of the Organisation is "the Harmony of Religions, the Unity of all Faiths, the Acceptance of all Approaches". (231271)


Two guidelines, peculiar to this Organisation you should not neglect - (1) Act and then advise; practise first, precept second. Unless you yourself avoid the evil habits, and the undesirable practises, don't talk against them. (2) The rules, regulations, that we have laid down for the Organisation and its Units, have to be observed, scrupulously, down to the smallest dot and dash. (221271)

Members of the Organisation must extend love and respect to persons belonging to any state, any religion, any caste or community, and speaking any language. (231271)

Use the office you hold in the Units to the best advantage, namely, to overcome your ego, to inspire others in the God-ward path and to relieve distress. Don't go through the routine of devotional singing, meditation and singing the Name while walking together, because you have to; or, because someone else will usurp your office, if you do not stick on. Share it with others, act from the depths of your hearts. Do not indulge in mere talking. Practise what you direct others to do, asserting that it is beneficial. (140571)

Office bearers of the Organisation, strive to establish yourselves more firmly in your own truth, and strive to demonstrate in your behaviour that you are aware of the truth that all men are sparks of the same Divine Spirit. I consider service as the most important activity of the Organisation, for it is the highest spiritual practice. (231271)

The members of the Units of this Organisation must be ever engaged in the twin processes of purifying the mind and clarifying the intellect. They have to free themselves from all prejudices and misunderstandings. They have to speak softly and sweetly, and give everyone the respect and attention due to them sincerely. Humility and tolerance must characterise the behaviour of a Sai devotee. (290376)

Not merely the office bearers, but, any one of the members, if he fails to observe any one of the rules and regulations, he is weakening the Organisation and bringing it into disrepute. Members together form the Units. Its strength, its utility, its expansion, its efficacy, depend on disciplined obedience to rules. Faith in the discipline, marked out by the rules, is as the heart to the various limbs of the Organisation. (221271)

Do not import into the Sathya Sai Organisation the political faction mongering, group formation, scandal spreading, and vote-catching, in order to win positions of authority or oust others from them. Do not create splits and parties among the devotees in order to establish yourselves over others. (140571)

Do not give room for differences and misunderstandings among yourselves in the Organisation. Work with unity. Love Divinity. Serve the needy and helpless and sanctify your lives.

Do not become slaves of Mammon. Do not allow politics to enter our Organisation. Do not depend upon or have any connections with the Government for carrying on organisational work. Serve society according to your capacity. When you need money, those among you who can afford should come forward and accept the responsibility to provide funds. In any case, never resort to the deplorable and unbecoming practice of issuing subscription lists. Sanctify your physical, mental and all faculties by using them for the service of society. (010188)

The Sathya Sai Organisation and its Units must not collect money or material from those outside the membership. Fund collection is as much opposed to this movement as fire is to water. If you yield on this point, spiritual advance will perish. Let only members contribute; do not ask all and sundry, or anyone who is not a member of the Unit. (140571)

R
emember that the essential qualifications for members are faith and devotion. Remember also that the development of this Organisation will bring Peace and Tranquillity to the World torn by chaos. The World can be bettered and saved only through spiritual progress, by the efforts of spiritual organisations. (211170)

Our motto should be  -  may all mankind live in happiness and peace. This is our objective. The reason is this: Nations are many, but the earth is one. Stars are many, but the sky is one. Jewels are many, but gold is one. With this spirit you should work. This is the truth of unity in diversity. (201192)

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