Bear all and do nothing

Hear all and say nothing

Give all and take nothing

Serve all and be nothing.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

The above quote from Sri Sathya Sai Baba is highly symbolic and goes way beyond the surface.  In this article I would like to humbly offer my own translation of Swami’s wonderful words.

“Bear all and do nothing” simply means to accept everything as it is, in the knowledge that all is in Divine and perfect order at any given time; “all” being God’s will.  When we detach from the ego we are able to do this, embracing both pleasure and pain with equal equanimity.

“Hear all and say nothing” All is God and God is All.  Therefore maintain silence and hear the voice of God, the inner voice of Love; for silence is the language of the spiritual seeker, and it is only in the silence that we can hear the voice of God.

“Give all and take nothing” Give of yourself to others wanting nothing in return.  There is nothing we can take anyway, because there is nothing in this earthly life that we can own, except our love which was given to us by God before time began.

“Serve all and be nothing”  This is very, very powerful indeed.  Following on from the last statement, the easiest way to serve God is to serve our fellow humans, because God dwells within the hearts of all.  Baba tells us that the easiest and most effective way to enlightenment is Karma Yoga, which quite simply means to serve others, completely without thoughts of self, wanting nothing in return.  When we give our love selflessly we are taking a step closer to God, and when we do that, God takes manifold steps towards us, filling us with Divine love in the process.  This ultimately will lead to Self-realization.

The symbolism doesn’t quite end there.  The word “nothing” itself has an extremely deeper meaning here than would appear on the surface.  We were all once “nothing” until we became ideas within the super-conscious mind of God.  We then became particles of “nothing” until God willed us into form.  So life is a journey from the formless, into form and then back to the formless; or “nothing”.

We can conclude by saying that this seemingly simple quote from our beloved Sai is actually a mini-instruction manual on how to achieve Self-realization and Oneness with the Divine.  If we bear all, hear all, give all and serve all, we will achieve “nothing”.  Nothing being the uncreated state of pure bliss.  Sai Ram.

6 thoughts on “Nothing

  1. This quote of Swami has had deep meaning for me for over 2 decades. But as life has unfolded when I need to earn to support my family and get raises at a minimum in proportion to the increase in cost of living, I am unable to comprehend, “being nothing”. Perhaps it means do your job well and to not expect any returns and if you are recognized for your exemplar service, it is God’s gift and let it not get to my ego! However, it also reflects as a negative in my annual performance review that I have no ambition Real world seems not to be in synch with the spiritual world!


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