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The Five Human Values

Bhagawan Baba’s teachings are based on the five most important human values of Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Right Conduct), Shanti (Peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). These form the very essence of Bhagawan’s teachings and the guiding principle of all His service projects and the functioning of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations worldwide.

Sathya (Truth)

“Truth is that which is not modified by time, space or guna (attribute). It is the same forever, unaffected and unchanging; it is never proved false by some subsequent event or knowledge.”

Baba says that the material world is subject to constant changes and God alone is the Pure, Immutable, Ultimate Truth. This Truth can be experienced only in the purified consciousness of one’s heart and cannot be found in the ephemeral appearances of the world wrought by Maya or illusion. Elaborating on this, in a Divine Discourse on 20th November 2001, Bhagawan said, “There are three levels of truth: Nijam (fact), Sathyam (truth) and Ritam (absolute truth). To speak according to what one has seen is to merely state a fact. Suppose I see you wearing a white dress and say "you are wearing a white dress", this becomes a statement of a fact. Later, at home, you may wear a blue dress. Then what I had said earlier will not hold good anymore. Thus, a fact is subject to change. Truth on the other hand does not change with time. A person may change any number of dresses. But, the person, as such, remains the same. Thus, truth is the same at all times. Ritam, however, relates to the Atma (self) which is changeless and eternal, unlike the body or mind that are subject to change. It transcends both good and evil. It is described as attributeless, pure, eternal, permanent and unsullied.”

In a discourse in Rajahmundry on 1st of Sep 1958, Baba said,

“There is in everyone a spark of truth; no one can live without that spark. There is in everyone a flame of love; life becomes a dark void without it. That spark, that flame is God, for, He is the source of all truth and all love. Man seeks truth. He seeks to know the reality because his very nature is derived from God, who is truth. He seeks love, to give it and share it, for his nature is of God, and God is love.”

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks” – Vol. I, Chapter-13.

“The chief duty of man is investigation into truth. Truth can be won only through dedication and devotion, and they are dependent on the grace of God, which is showered only on hearts saturated with love.”

“The experience of Truth alone can foster love, for truth is all-embracing and integrating, and sees no distinctions. Truth is the current and love is the bulb it illumines. Through truth, you can experience love; through love, you can visualize truth. ”

Speak the truth; speak it in a palatable manner

Baba always emphasizes on speaking the truth and speaking it politely and pleasantly. He says, “If you cannot oblige, you can at least speak obligingly.”

Baba explained the value of truthfulness very clearly in a discourse in Kerala on the 20th of December 1967. He said,

“If you want to know the way in which you have to observe Sathya or truth in speech, look into the Bhagavad Gita (‘The Celestial Song’ from the Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’). It tells you that the best form of speech is "anudvegakaram vaakyam" (speech that does not create pain, anger or grief to others). The Shasthras (ancient scriptures) also say, "Sathyam bruyaath, priyam bruyaath na bruyaath Sathyam apriyam" (Speak the truth; speak the truth pleasingly; never speak truth which is unpalatable). Simply because a statement will please the listener, don't speak it out to win the person’s approval; if speaking truth will cause grief or pain, then maintain silence." This is the vow of truth in ordinary daily life.

Don't have hypocrisy or crookedness in your speech. Both unpleasant truth and pleasant untruth have to be avoided. Sathya (or Truth) is God Himself.”

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks” – Vol. VII, Chapter-46

“Have faith that truth will save you in the long run. Stick to it regardless of what might befall.” This has been the call of Bhagawan Baba to mankind.

Dharma (Right Conduct)

Bhagawan Baba explains Dharma thus:

“Every profession, every stage of life, each gender, each period of life as fixed by age - childhood, boyhood, adolescence, youth, middle age, old age - has duties and obligations, which set the norm and guide the individual to benefit himself and society.”

“Dharma is characterized by holiness, peace, truth, and fortitude. Dharma is yoga (union or merger with God); it is Sathya (truth), its attributes are justice, sense control, love, dignity, goodness, meditation, sympathy and nonviolence. It leads one to universal love and unity.”

“Practicing what you preach, doing as you say it has to be done, and keeping practice in line with precept. Earn virtuously; yearn piously; live in the reverence of God, live for attaining God; that is Dharma.”

Act out your role well

“Perform your work as actors would in a play, keeping your identity separate and not getting too attached to your role. Remember that the whole thing is just a play and the Lord has assigned you a part. Act well your part; there all your duty ends. He designed the play and He enjoys it.”

Who is on the path of Dharma?

In the ‘Dharma Vahini’, Baba’s treatise on Dharma, He says,

“Whoever subdues his egoism, conquers his selfish desires, destroys his bestial feelings and impulses, and gives up the natural tendency to regard the body as self, he is surely on the path of Dharma. He knows that the goal of Dharma is the merger of the wave in the Sea, the merging of the self in the Over-self.”

“See no evil - see what is good.
Hear no evil - hear what is good.
Speak no evil - speak what is good.
Think no evil - think what is good.
Do no evil - do what is good.
This is the way to God.”

Dharma is like Mother

During the Summer Course in Indian Culture and Spirituality held in 1974, Baba said,

“Dharma is like a mother. One can choose a wife, but no one can choose a mother. Dharma is in the same position as one’s mother is. We have no choice (but to follow it) and we cannot modify Dharma.”

Shanti (Peace)

“What exactly is peace? It is the stage in which the senses are mastered and held in balance.”

To experience peace, we must overcome our excessive desires and unreasonable expectations. Agitation usually results from unfulfilled desires, not from external conditions.

“When man thinks, speaks, and acts along virtuous lines, his conscience will be clean and he will have inner peace. Knowledge is power, it is said; but virtue is peace.”

Inner Peace

Faith results in a peaceful outlook. When we realize the divine basis of creation, we cease to be upset by changing circumstances. Faith in God and faith in oneself is the key to achieving mental peace.

“Real Shanti is to be had only in the depths of the spirit, in the discipline of the mind, in faith in the one base of all this seeming multiplicity. When that is secured, it is like having gold: you can have any variety of ornaments made from it.”

The secret of peace

“You cannot easily detach yourself from activity; the mind clings to something or the other. Make it cling to God, let it do all things for God and leave the results thereof, be it success or failure, loss or profit, to God. Then you will have Shanti and contentment.”

“The essential attitude that one should cultivate is to engage in all activities that are a part of one's duty without getting attached to them. Just as the sky's clear blue is not affected by the clouds or rainstorms, lightning or thunder, but remains the same in spite of those temporary disturbances, the mind of man too must be clear and clean, in spite of all the storms and stress of life.”

Ref: Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. VI, Chapter – 27.


The formula given by Bhagawan Baba for attaining world peace is:

"If there is righteousness in the heart,
There will be beauty in character.
If there is beauty in character,
There will be harmony in the home.
When there is harmony in the home,
There will be order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world."

Prema (Love)

On the 1st of April, 1973 in Rajkot (Gujarat), Baba said,

“I must tell you of the paramount importance of love. Love is God; live in love. God is the embodiment of perfect love. He can be known and realized, reached and won, only through love. You can see the moon only with the help of moonlight; you can see God only through the rays of love.”

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – XII, Chapter - 11

“Love is the word that indicates the striving to realize the falsity of the diversity and the reality of the One. Love transposes the self on to another and the two begin to think, speak, and act as one. When love takes in more and more into its fold, more and more entities are unified as one. When you love me, you love all, for you begin to feel, know and experience that I am in all,” says Bhagawan Baba.

On New Year Day in 1971 in Mumbai, Baba said,

“The earth is a huge enterprise, a busy factory, where the product is love. By means of sadhana (spiritual practice), it is possible to produce love and export it to millions and millions of people in need of it. The more it is shared, the deeper it grows, the sweeter its taste, and the greater the joy. By means of love, one can approach God and stay in his presence, for God is love, and when one lives in love he is living in God.”

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – XI, Chapter - 1

The distance between you and Me

“When you live with the consciousness of the omnipresent Atma, you live in love, love flowing and flooding in and through you to everyone else. Cultivate love towards all, that is the way to gain nearness to Me. I do not measure distance in terms of meters or miles; the intensity of love decides the distance between you and me,” Baba said on the 18th of August 1968 to the assembly of devotees in Prasanthi Nilayam.

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – VIII, Chapter - 28

Love – my distinctive characteristic

Baba declares, “Prema (love) is my distinctive characteristic, not the creation of material objects or of conferring good health and happiness by sheer exercise of My will. You might consider what you call miracles as the surest sign of divinity, but the Prema that welcomes you all, that blesses all, that makes me rush to the presence of the seekers, the suffering and the distressed wherever they are; that is the real sign!”

Ahimsa (Non-Violence)

“Ahimsa (non-violence) does not mean merely not injuring a living being physically. You should not cause harm even by a word, a look or a gesture. Tolerance, fortitude, equanimity - these help you to practice ahimsa steadily.”

“Ahimsa is another facet of Sathya (Truth). When once you are aware of the kinship of all the beings, the fundamental Atmic unity and their oneness with God, you will not knowingly cause pain or distress to another.”

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – VII, Chapter – 46.

During the Summer Course on Indian Culture and Spirituality in 1978, Baba said,

“We generally think that ahimsa means not causing harm to any living being. Himsa is not merely causing physical harm, even looking at debasing things, listening to evil or wrongful words and speaking harshly amounts to Himsa (violence).”

It all depends on one’s intention

“If thugs attack you and chop off your hand, it is Himsa (violence). But, if the doctor amputates your hand in a surgery, he does it to save your life, and hence, it is Ahimsa (nonviolence).” Non-Violence, therefore, is a matter of intention and attitude, directed from the heart.”

True Ahimsa

Perpetrating violence on others is ultimately committing violence to oneself. We will definitely reap the consequences of our actions, whether in the present or future. Though the result may not be always apparent, every action evokes an inevitable reaction, Baba warns us.

Therefore, the best policy is to avoid harming others at all. As the biblical saying goes, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Swami, in his inimitable style, says, “Help ever, hurt never”.

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