Sai Baba gave a long discourse on 'Qualifications for Brahma-Jnana or Self-Realization', the purport of which is given below :
Qualifications for Brahma-Jnana or Self-Realization
All persons do not see or realize the Brahman in their life-time. Certain qualifications are absolutely necessary. (1) Mumuksha or intense desire to get free. He, who thinks that he is bound and that he should get free from bondage and works earnestly and resolutely to that end;and who does not care for any other thinks, is qualified for the spiritual life. (2) Virakti or a feeling of disgust with the things of this world and the next. Unless a man feels disgusted with the things, emoluments and honors, which his action would bring in this world and the next, he has no right to enter into the spiritual realm. (3) Antarmukhata (introversion). Our senses have been created by God with a tendency to move outward and so, man always looks outside himself and not inside. He who wants self-realization and immortal life, must turn his gaze inwards, and look to his inner Self. (4) Catharsis from (Purging away of) sins. Unless a man has turned away from wickedness, and stopped from doing wrong, and has entirely composed himself and unless his mind is at rest, he cannot gain self-realization, even by means of knowledge. (5) Right Conduct. Unless, a man leads a life of truth, penance and insight, a life of celibacy, he cannot get God-realization. (6) Preferring Shreyas, (the Good) to Preyas (the Pleasant). There are two sorts of things viz., the Good and the Pleasant; the former deals with spiritual affairs, and the latter with mundane matters. Both these approach man for acceptance. He has to think and choose one of them. The wise man prefers the Good to the Pleasant; but the unwise, through greed and attachment, chooses the Pleasant. (7) Control of the mind and the senses. The body is the chariot and the Self is its master; intellect is the charioteer and the mind is the reins; the senses are the horses and senseobjects their paths. He who has no understanding and whose mind is unrestrained, his senses unmanageable like the vicious horses of a charioteer, does not reach his destination (get realization), but goes through the round of births and deaths; but he, who has understanding and whose mind is restrained, has his senses being under control, like the good horse of a charioteer, reaches that place, i.e., the state of self-realization, whence he is not born again. The man, who has understanding as his charioteer (guide) and is able to rein his mind, reaches the end of the journey, which is the supreme abode of the all-pervading, Vishnu (Lord). (8) Purification of the mind. Unless a man discharges satisfactorily and dis-interestedly the duties of his station in life, his mind will not be purified and, unless his mind is that Viveka (dis-crimination between the Unreal and the Real), and Vairagya (Non-attachment to the unreal) crop up and lead on to self-realization. Unless egoism is dropped, avarice got rid of, and the mind made desireless (pure), self-realization is not possible. The idea that ‘I am the body’ is a great delusion, and attachment to this idea is the cause of bondage. Leave off this idea and attachment therefore, if you want to get tot he goal of self-realization (9) The necessity of a Guru. The knowledge of the Self if so subtle and mystic, that no one could, by his own individual effort ever hope to attain it. So the help of another person-Teacher, who has himself got self-realization is absolutely necessary. What others cannot give with great labour and pains, can be easily gained with the help of such a Teacher; for he has walked on the path himself and can easily take the disciple, step by step on the ladder of spiritual progress. (10) and lastly the Lord’s Grace is the most essential thing. When the Lord is pleased with any body, He gives him Viveka and Vairagya; and takes him safe beyond the ocean of mundane existence, ‘The Self cannot be gained by the study of Vedas, nor by intellect, nor by much learning. He, whom the Self chosses, gains it. To him the Self reveals Its nature,’ says the Katha Upanishad.
After the dissertation was over, Baba turned to the gentleman and said - "Well sir, there is in your pocket the Brahma (or Mammon) in the form of fifty-times five(Rs.250/-) rupees; please take that out." The gentleman took out from his pocket the bundle of currency notes, and to his great surprise found, on counting them, that there were 25 notes of 10 rupees each, Seeing this ominiscience of Baba, he was moved and fell at Baba's Feet and craved for His blessings. Then Baba said to him, "Roll up your bundle of Brahma viz. Currency notes. Unless you get rid completely of your avarice or greed, your will not get the real Brahma. How can be, whose mind is engrossed in wealth, progeny and prosperity, expect to know the Brahma, without removing away his attachment for the same? The illusion of attachment or the love for money is a deep eddy (whirlpool) of pain full of crocodiles in the form of conceit and jealousy. He, who is desireless, can alone cross this whirlpool. Greed and Brahma are as poles asunder, they are eternally opposed to each other. Where there is greed, there is no room for thought or meditation of the Brahma. Then how can a greedy man get dispassion and salvation? For a greedy man there is no peace, neither contentment, nor certainty (steadiness). If there be even a little trace of greed in mind, all the Sadhanas (spiritual endeavors) are of no avail. Even the knowledge of a well-read man, who is not free from the desire of the fruit or reward of his actions, and who has got no disgust for the same, is useless and can't help him in getting self-realization. The teachings of a Guru are of no use to a man, who is full of egoism, and who always thinks about the sense-objects. Purification of mind is absolutely necessary; without it, all our spiritual endeavors are nothing, but useless show and pomp. It is, therefore, better for one to take only what he can digest and assimilate. My treasury is full, and I can give anyone, what he wants, but I have to see whether he is qualified to receive My gift. If you listen to Me carefully, you will be certainly benefited. While sitting in this Masjid, I never speak any untruth.
When a guest is invited to a house, all the members of the household and other friends and relations that happen to be present, are entertained, along with the guest. So all those that were present in the Masjid at this time, could partake of the spiritual feast, that was served by Baba for the rich gentleman. After getting Baba's blessings, one and all, including the gentleman left the place quite happy and contented.
Special Characteristic of Baba
There are many Saints, who leaving their houses, stay in forest, caves or hermitages and remaining in solitude, try to get liberation or salvation for themselves. They do not care for other people, and are always self-absorbed. Sai Baba was not of such a type. He had no home, no wife, no progency, nor any relations, near or distant. Still, He lived in the world (society). He begged His bread from four or five houses, always lived at the foot of the (Neem) tree, carried on wordly dealings, and taught all the people how to act. and behave in this world. Rare are the Sadhus and Saints who, after attaining God-vision, strive for the welfare of the people. Sai Baba was the foremost of these and, therefore, says Hemadpant.
"Blessed is the country, blessed is the family, and blessed are the chaste parents where This extraordinary, transcendent, precious and pure jewel (Sai Baba) was born."