By Mr. Arthur Hillcoat
This is the transcription of the talk given by Mr. Arthur Hillcoat at a meeting of Sathya Sai devotees in Ebell Club, Los Angeles, California on the 7th of Sep, 2003. Arthur and Poppy Hillcoat have been serving Swami for many years since ’79. Arthur was a management consultant and the chairman for Sathya Sai Council of Australia. Later, Swami nominated him to be a central coordinator of Sai Organisations and for many years he was in charge of the Christmas celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam. In the last issue of H2H, we had the transcription of Poppy Hillcoat’s talk [click here to read it again] and now we have excerpts from Arthur’s talk.
My most humble and loving pranaams at the Lotus Feet of Our Beloved Lord and our very best Friend.
I heard something mentioned a little while ago about the fact that Swami calls me a ‘lion’ but I don’t want you to have any fears; I am really only a little pussy cat. I don’t have a lot of time for stories. But I’ll tell a couple of short stories to begin with. Swami - when we were planning to come away on this journey - said to talk about Unity and Love. So that’s something that I have to do.
But of course, we must see the love and the fun loving side of Swami. On this day He was talking to the students inside. And then He came outside where they couldn’t see Him. He called me and I said: “Yes, Swami?” He said: “The boys just want to see you.” I said: “See me Swami?” He said: “Yes, they want to see you. Go inside!” and so I stepped inside.
There was a great roar from the students - hilarious; and then I knew that Swami had been up to mischief. When I saw one of the students later I asked: “What was the roar about when I came in?” He said: “Oh, Swami was teasing us.” I said: “What do you mean teasing?” He said: “Swami pulled up His sleeve, and started to move His hand and said: ‘Would you like to see a lion?’ And the students said: ‘Yes Swami!’ So He called me.
You see, our Lord has a beautiful sense of humor and He teases the students and you become a part of it and it’s wonderful. But you also make mistakes sometimes…
We were down here in the Hill View stadium on the sixty fifth birthday and there was a cultural program in the evening. Swami was in the orchestra pit. I was a few feet away from Swami. And the children put on a drama.
And after it was stated that a special dance of Shiva would be demonstrated; and since that was near to my heart, I looked forward to it. And this beautiful lady had come on stage in gold - fully in gold, with long eyelashes and beautiful - and started to dance.
Then I start to get concerned: “What’s this young lady doing dancing in front of Swami?” As you know in India , once ladies reach the age of 12, they don’t dance any longer in front of all. So I was bit concerned about it. So I just looked to see if Swami was alright. But there was nothing showing on His face, it was just blank!
When it was over, Swami walked across quietly towards me and asked: “Have you ever seen that dance before?” I said: “No Swami, but it was very, very beautiful.” “Oh yes,” He said. There was a twinkle in His eye and He leaned over to me and said: “But that wasn’t a girl; that was a boy!” So you see, these are the things that happen sometimes.
That’s a lot’s more of these, but I really must move into more important things. When I was very young; in my teenage years; early teenage years – actually about 20 years ago - I had this yearning to speak about God; a very deep yearning. Fortunately no one asked me to; because I wouldn’t have known what to say. But the yearning was there.
I’d go to any church, and I was with one particular one. And there was a fight and I had to order the ice-creams. There was a last meeting and I said: “The soft drinks will be here, and the ice-creams will be here.” One lady rather fiercely said to me: “Who did you order the soft drinks from?” It didn’t sound too good to me but I said: “Tramackeys” and then she really abused me. “How dare you do that? How can you do this sort of thing?” I said: “What have I done wrong? I don’t know, they have the best soft drinks!” She said “That’s beside the point; they are Catholics!” you see.
So I stepped back because here one moment they were talking about a loving God; but only for us; not for any one else. We can never limit God but it limits us if we think that way.
Anyway, I am side tracked just a little bit. I want to talk what Swami told me to talk about.
So, firstly we have to look at one's self and that’s what I want to talk about mostly today. Because, unless we can understand and find the Truth, one will be coming back lifetime after lifetime. Jesus said two thousand years ago: “The Kingdom of God is within”. How much notice did we take at that time? Of course communication wasn’t as good those days as it is now.
Years ago I used to ask over and over again: “Why of all the people in the world, why me? Why has the Avatar drawn me to Him?” I asked that many times. But Swami eventually said to us one day if it’s your good fortune in coming to me you must give thanks to the merits earned in previous lives. So, it is good if we can play our roles well in this particular life.
What is it that we need to do? It’s very simple to say that we should change or we should do this or that. But how do we go about that? First, we must understand that the only thing in life - Swami tells us - is change. However, Swami has also said to us if you are looking for self-realization or if you’re looking for enlightenment; then you are selfish. He said that because you are looking for something for yourself when you should be looking for something to share with others.
So what is it that is the most important thing to search for? In my mind it’s your search for understanding. Understanding what life is all about. Understanding what steps one has to take to come to know the Truth. The more one understands, the more simple life becomes. We must continue to search to understand so that the time will come when we are open to the total Truth.
The search we have must come from an understanding. We must continue to search, make the effort that at such times as our understanding reaches a point that we realize that even the effort is a stumbling block - because there is nothing to reach! You are that at this moment; but don’t know it. Most misery is caused because one has forgotten who one really is.
Swami tells us over and over again: “Embodiments of Love.” Swami tells us that we are Divine. But do we really listen to Swami? Swami tells us beautiful words and they are lovely; and we get a good feeling about it but when we leave, do we think about that? Do we take time to search for understanding? Without that, without the understanding, how can we ever know the Truth? What are the things that get in the way? Things that get in the way are the fact that firstly we believe we are separate, and that we have free will and that we can do things and we can achieve things. How sad it is that we think that!
We think we are separated. I remember once in a hotel in Bangalore, it was evening and I wanted to write a letter. But I couldn’t see right; all the lights were on. I looked at the globes - they were all 25 watts. But you see, if you had a 100 of those, you still wouldn’t have had good light. So I went to the manager and I said: “Look, I can’t see out there! Would you have a 100 watt lamp?” “Oh yes of course!” he said and gave it to me and I took the 25 watt out and put the 100 in and then I had plenty of light!
And then it dawned on me there’s only one current that comes into this building. And that electrical current there was waiting to express itself as light. But the amount of light depended on the quality of the bulb! I thought: “Isn’t it just like God? The Divine current is ever ready to express itself as Love and Light through every one of these human globes. But it depends upon the quality of the globe as to how much Love and Light can be expressed.”
So we need to ask ourselves what sort of a globe am I? How much love and light am I expressing? One might be satisfied with a 25 watt. One might say well, perhaps 75 is okay or a 100. But whatever it is, we have to ask ourselves then how much do we really want to express? Some might say I would like to be a 100 watt globe; some might say a 500 candelpar; some might say a million candelpar; others may want to express that which can’t be expressed. But we can’t do that without understanding and making the effort to understand.
You know, a video is a great concept. What happens when we are watching a video? Our eyes tend to go a little bit square; and we are looking at it. We are looking at what’s on the screen. We are not sitting there worrying about that bit that’s being played - which we might call the past; and we’re not fearing that little bit of the tape that still has to come - which we might call the future! We are watching what’s on the screen at that very moment; right at that very moment. You see, if we can live our lives that way, life would be much more simple. If we didn’t get caught up in the past.
But when one gets enough suffering - that’s why I say; suffering, pain, loss, grief - any type of suffering is God’s grace at its very best. Because when we get enough of suffering, we will start to question. And then one starts to ask “What’s the purpose of my existence? What is life all about? Why is there suffering? Why do some seem to suffer more than others? Who am I? Who am I really?” And it’s only then that we start to get answers. Then God reaches out a hand to us and then our life begins to unfold with greater understanding. But we first must ask those questions.
Once you start searching, then you will start to see changes. I used to see that years ago; I went through some heavy parts in my life and I used to look up and say “Lord, why me? Why me again?” And it was as if the Lord was saying: “Why not you? And here’s a little more for you!” You know the feeling? Because I was so upset, I was asking the question: “Why me? Why me? Poor me!” you know.
You know, life is very beautiful. Wherever we go in the world, we find love. And you know it is interesting; I used to simply say that you find love mostly in countries which have suffered - like Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Russia - but that’s not quite true - but the intensity is a little more. Because they are forever asking, asking, because they are searching so much for understanding. But as Swami says: “All this is only in our imagination.” What an imagination! And this is hard to understand; very hard to understand. But if we keep working towards it, it will be understood.
You see, only God exists. It’s very simple; only God exists. And all else that we can see, touch, smell, taste, exists within God; like the fish in the fish bowl. But that which you are is that in which all exists. Swami tells us that over and over again.
He says: “You are God!” The only thing is that if you come to understand this and feel that to be so; then you don’t go down the main street tomorrow calling out that you are God! Know it within yourself! If you call it out too much around the ridges, you’ll find a vehicle come and two men with white jackets will take you for a drive somewhere! But this is what Swami is here for! It’s the Avatar. Why do we keep putting it off all the time? Why is it that we don’t seek to understand what He is telling us? Over and over again.
You know, a couple of years ago a tragedy happened! Swami got up to give a discourse, and then walked off; and didn’t give a discourse! And said He would never give a discourse again! It’s terrible; when the Avatar is here and He has to do this to try and get our attention! Two days later He gave a discourse to explain. He said: “Why are you not listening to me? Nobody is listening! I’ve told you in every way possible. Tell me what you want me to do so that you’ll understand?”
So you see when the Avatar does this; He is not doing it for fun: “Oh this is the thing that I’ll do today.” He is trying to get our attention that one’s own true nature is that which you have always prayed to; that - that which is expressing itself through the form of Sai is who you are! And we have to make an effort to reach this. And isn’t it worth it?
As I said earlier, Jesus said the kingdom of God is within. Why do we deny ourselves? Years ago I used to say why should we limit Sai; why should we limit God by not making this search? But of course I realized later one cannot limit God; we limit ourselves by not listening,by not taking some action to understand; and to understand the purity of His teachings.
We must come to understand that our own true nature is Divinity. Some people say: “Well what am I going to do? If I realize that, who’s going to do my work?” You see, that’s a misunderstanding. The body must remain until its appointed time to leave. The body must still carry out the role that it has been given in this lifetime.
You see, there are two roles to play then - a role of understanding and living a Godly life and allowing the body to play out its role. But people think that once you have come to understand something, you have to give up your body or something! It’s not the case! What it brings is a greater life; a greater understanding and the joy of understanding this great hoax.
What does Swami mean when He said: “All this is your own imagination!”? It’s hard. But you see, I always call it the waking dream. But people say to me: “But it’s not a dream at all! It’s tough sometimes. And you have to suffer; and sometimes you go through a lot of pain; sometime you get happiness; it’s the pleasure/pain principle all the time!”
My usual response to that is: “But isn’t it like that in the sleeping dream also?” I am sure we have all had a bad dream as we call it! If you had a bad dream when you are being chased by a lion and your little legs won’t move fast enough, and the lion is gaining; and you know the fear is so great; it is a reality! And you wake up with your heart pounding and you’re perspiring and when you realize, you say: “Oh thank God it was only a dream!” We’ve had that, you see! But then we think this one is real. The sleeping dream and the waking dream are only different in the fact that the waking dream seems longer.
The Body is Beautiful; the Love that comes is Beautiful; and we love that Form. But we should also love the Formless and relate more to the Formless because that can be with you and is with you wherever you are in the world; it cannot be away from you, you see!
I have called on Swami at times and I haven’t had to shout. There was one time in 1986, when I woke at four o’ clock in the morning with great pain across the chest and down both the arms. It was a frightening thing because it felt as if the body is going to explode and I would splatter all around the room; you know that sort of a feeling. So we rang for a doctor. And while the doctor was coming, it grew worse.
As I reached for the vibhuti, monkey mind is always there to challenge things. So as I picked up this vibhuti, monkey mind says: “I wonder if this is as good as the real stuff.” Because you see, this came off of a photo in Malaysia. But I continued to do what I was doing; regardless of the mind, and I put that in my mouth and boom! All pain stopped! Immediately! Totally gone!
The doctor arrived and asked: “So who is the patient?” I said: “I am!” He said: “What’s wrong?” I said: “I am okay.” He said: “You wouldn’t ring me at this hour in the morning unless you had a good reason; tell me about it.” So I explained it to him and he said: “You must go to the hospital immediately; you’ve had a massive heart attack!” And I said: “But I am okay!” He said: “I will not leave the house until you agree to go!” I said alright I’ll get one of my daughters to get me to go.” And he said: “No, No! It must be in the heart ambulance!” So I said alright. He left.
The heart ambulance arrived and they rushed in with their kick start gear and everything else. And they said: “Who’s the patient?” – since I was walking around the house! I said: “I am!” They dropped everything and actually picked me up and carried me to a chair! And while one was checking me out, the other one was trying to sell me a very bad program: “No longer can you do the things that you used to do. Once this has happened to you, you must change your way of life. You’ve got to go very quietly now; be very careful!” So I listened to them all the way to the hospital. When I got there; there was a young Chinese doctor - very nice young man – and he checked the ECG. He said: “Everything’s alright. I can’t find anything wrong.”
So you see Sai is there. Sai is within oneself. At least that which is expressing itself through Sai is within oneself. And if one asks - with faith - the Lord will look after you.
Most of you would know the story of Krishna when someone was calling Him: “Krishna ! Krishna ! I need You!” For four days! And finally Krishna turned up and the chap spoke harshly to Him: “What’s taken you so long?” And He said: “You had placed me so far away from you that it took so long for me to get here.” We don’t have to do that, do we? Because we know that the formless God is within oneself. Why is it that we find it so difficult to believe to really take on board that which Swami tells us?
For instance, if we took on board the words of Jesus when He said: “Love ye one another, as I love thee!” - everything in the world would change. If we take on Swami’s words – “Love All, Serve All”; if we just lived that one teaching, it would change everything within the world. But what will change it more; if only one can realize the Truth - that would bring changes in the world.
So, as we go out and be of service to the world we should not go and sit in a corner somewhere and think about your own true nature; or try to understand it. The thing is to do this while one is being of service to others.
The Lessons Of Love
There was a young man who came to me into the ashram once and he said to me: “Can I talk to you?” I said: “Yes, of course!” Then he said: “I am from Bosnia. This is my first visit. And the reason for me coming is that in Bosnia, when the shells were falling, there were people running around there helping others; helping to give them shelter; binding up their injuries and so forth. And I thought what’s wrong with these people? Are they mad being in the middle of this?
So I said to a couple of the people: ‘Who are you? What are you doing? Why are you out here like this risking your lives?’ They told me they are devotees of Sai Baba; a holy man in India. And I thought: ‘What’s that got to do with it?’ But you know I talked a bit more to them and I decided I had to come to India to see what it was that inspired these people to risk their lives?” But what a wonderful inspiration for that young man to see what the organization was doing in that country.
Nothing is as it appears to be - absolutely nothing. As I said each one’s world is different but the basics are the same. If we focused on the anger and hate and bloodshed in the world then that’s the way that our world will be.
I will give you an example of this - I am not talking from something I’ve read in a book – but it’s come to me from being with Swami for so long. When we were coming back from Bosnia, we were called into the ashram to be with Swami and while we were there; we received word that our investment advisor had stolen our money. It was a very large sum. We didn’t go into a panic and rush to change our flights to go home. We were there with Swami! Where we were to be! And before we left for home, at the appointed time, we had an interview and I didn’t even need to discuss it.
I simply said to Swami: “Swami, you know what happened to our money! But we have got another house there; we’ll sell that to get our money so we could continue to do our work.” He looked at me and said: “No don’t sell.”
You’d think that having that money in hand would have made things easier. Someone said: “What are you going to do? How can you go to different countries in the world now?” I said: “You don’t understand! If the Lord gives you a role to play, the Lord also gives you all that’s necessary to carry out that role.” It’s as simple as that! But we have to have faith in that; it’s not just something to have roll off your tongue; you have to believe in that - and not only believe in it - we did not have one unhappy day about that or about that money going! So for us it was an understanding there was something in our lives that had to come to us; either it was our karma - perhaps we had robbed somebody in some other lives or it was a test being given to us by the Lord to see what our reactions would be - whether we were really living what we were talking about.
So we went through it for three years; nothing came. Money in hand was running down to the point just before we were to leave to come on this journey, it was down to 5,000 Australian dollars. We could have sold this house you know. But Swami said: “No, don’t sell it.” And we did just that. We weren’t tempted to say: “Well things don’t look well, should we sell it?” But just before we left, we got about 40% back; whether anything else comes, who is to know?
Why should we feel angry about the man who did this? Why should we want to see him suffer? Why should we want to get even with him? Why should we want to see him go to jail as he has now? The sadness I saw is what is terrible. He had three young children. The other children in school were teasing and telling their father was a thief. The family has broken up. The family has come to America now to get away from all the strain that went on, and he is in jail.
Why should we feel bad about him? If we met him in the street tomorrow, we would give him a big hug because He is playing out his role in life. How do we blame him? Now if we had lost our money through bad judgment or something by accident then that’s another matter, you see. But this time, he did it with the intent to steal. And therefore he is getting his karma fairly quickly, but it gives us no joy for that.
We must get to the point where we can love everybody. Love is not something that is a commodity that you can grab a piece and hand it to somebody! When you search within yourself and continue that search until you can sit in true silence; after some time you will come face to face with God and then you will see your Self for the very first time.
Love is not something that is apart. Love is your own true nature. You are the Love itself! Why does one deny seeing that, experiencing that and being that Love? It’s there already - we don’t have to make it happen. We just have to get to the point of realizing that one’s true nature is Love itself.
Then of course, one never has to make an effort to be loving and kind to anybody ever again. Why should you? You are the love itself and its there for all. Then it’s like the mango tree.
The mango tree doesn’t say it’s George coming up the road, he’s a nice fellow he can have a mango. He’s Arthur, he’s not so good, he doesn’t get one. Of course the mango tree doesn’t do that; the fruit of the mango tree is for everybody - it’s not judgmental.
Then if someone experiences the love you are, you don’t feel elated; if someone doesn’t, you don’t feel disappointed - because there are no expectations; you are the Love, you just be that!
Swami is giving us this opportunity to see that, to be that love and to understand the Truth because you are Divine Love not worldly love. You are the Truth, you are the Peace; you are that in which all this exists. Hasn’t Swami been telling us this all these years? What have we done? This is our opportunity in this life time to realize the Truth and to be that.
Looking around the room, I see so much love and so much fear of having the audacity to be that love, to express that love. Stop the search and be as you are. Look within and see that. This is not reserved just for the men; it’s for ladies also. It’s not reserved just for the king and not the beggar; this is for every individual - regardless of what role is being played in life. Understand that your role is very important in life and it is becoming more important because you’ve been drawn to Sai. Now you must become the torch bearers, you must become that which sheds Light and Love wherever it goes.
And as you go back into the centers or your homes; realize that it’s one’s duty to shed that light and that love to all that one sees. Never let it be restricted because someone appears to be playing a bad role.
A man said to Swami: “Swami I am confused! You tell me that we are all God; and then you tell me not to mix with bad people. I am confused!” Swami said: “There is no confusion. You see the tiger and the cobra, God is there also, but do you play with them?”
We move ourselves away from the behaviors you see, not from the person. If we move away from the person, it’s because of the behavior not because a person doesn’t seem to be good.
So be the Love you are. Don’t doubt that that is your own true nature. And you have the ability to shed that Light and Love into the world. You see; the world really needs it now. And what would we be doing by doing that? We are playing our role to assist Swami’s mission to bring change - to bring the Golden Age. And you know, Swami is not going to walk out in darshan time one morning and ring a bell and say: “The Golden Age is here, everybody change!” No! We must change! The Golden Age is within one’s self and once you see that, you will shed that Light that is necessary not only for the Age, but for Swami’s mission.
Aum Jai Sai Ram.