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Swami teaches....Part 101

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Light and Love

Swami teaches... 10 - 12 April 2007

Part 3. Develop the Crucial Skill

In the Treta Yuga, Sri Rama came to establish the reign of Sathya and Dharma (Truth and Righteousness). In the Dwapara Yuga, Sri Krishna came with the mission to promote Prema and Shanthi (Love and Peace). In the Kali Yuga Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi, and Prema are the purposes of the Divine Mission. When you adhere these four principles, Ahimsa (Non-violence) issues as a natural result.

The Bharatiya Culture, which laid emphasis on the four Purusharthas (the basic aims of life - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha), looked upon life as a journey to the Divine - the attainment of Moksha (Liberation).


The sage Narada referred to Purusha (the Supreme person, soul, self, indweller) as Pumaan and declared that whoever realises Pumaan (the Supreme person) becomes saturated with Divine Bliss. Thus, the terms Purusha can be applied only to the Divine.


(In the Sanskrit language, personality is described as pourusham - the hallmark of a purusha (perfect person, soul, self, indweller). Although "personality" and pourusham may have the same meaning, they are words pregnant with significance. People who do not know the inner meaning of these terms, use them casually).


One who manifests the indwelling, invisible Divine Principle is qualified to describe as a purusha who should manifest the Divine power in him/her.

The word Dharma, which is really bound up with an infinite variety of meanings, is being inadequately described by one word, duty, in modem age. Duty is something, which is connected with an individual, a predicament, or with a particular time or country. On the other hand, Dharma is eternal, the same for everyone, everywhere. It expresses the significance of the inner Atma. The birthplace of Dharma is the heart. What emanates from the heart as a pure idea, when translated into action is called Dharma.

(Overall, there are two types of human beings - the degraded and the sublime. The degraded are those who seek or receive things from others and not only forget to repay the obligation, but even try to harm those who have helped them. The sublime are those whose natural trait is to go to the help of others. If they give a word, they will try to honor it whatever the difficulties and obstacles).

To grasp the grand Truth of the immanence of Godhead (Sarvam Vishunumayam Jagath), and to won a right to be called purusha, the first path is bhakthi (devotion). Through bhakthi, when it is intensified, one sees in all, the form of God that he reveres.


Real bhakthi is also a matter of the inner consciousness, not of the outer behavior. There are people who complain that their devotion to the Lord is limited and shaped by the worldly bonds that bind them. It is not the world, which binds them; it is they, who bind themselves to the world.


Bhakthi means giving up all other desires and dedicating all actions and thoughts to God. When you offer every act of yours to God, it becomes worship. The body has described as the temple of God. You must fill yourself with the feeling that God is in you, beside you, around you, and with you, wherever you go. When you Love God with this awareness, consciousness, the Love results in Self-realization.

Here is an example. Uddhava was an adept in the path of Jnana Yoga (Knowledge and Wisdom). He wanted to teach the gopikas the path of Wisdom. So, he approached Krishna. Krishna told Uddhava: "The gopikas are totally devoted to me. Their devotion is fundamental to their life and reaches My heart! Their putty and devotion are like a light that shines. You cannot understand the hearts of such devotees! I am completely enshrined in their hearts." Uddhava doubted whether ignorant illiterate gopikas could understand the Divine.


To dispel the doubts of Uddhava, Krishna sent him to Repalle. Uddhava summoned the gopikas and told them: "I will teach you the path of dhana to realise the Divine." The Gopikas came to Uddhava and told him, "We are not interested in learning any sastras. Teach us one simple means by which we can realize Krishna. We are not aware of any yoga or bhoga or mantra. Krishna is everything for us, our yoga or bhoga. Please, therefore, tell us the means by which we can obtain Krishna. We do not want to waste our time on yoga.


Uddhava asked the gopikas: "How can you become one with Krishna?" One gopika answered: "If Krishna were a flower, I would be a bee whirling round Him. If He were a tree, I would be a creeper twining round him. If He were a mountain, I would be a river cascading from its top. If Krishna were the boundless sky, I would be a little star, twinkling in the firmament. If He were the deep ocean, I would be a small stream, joining the ocean. This is the way I would be one with Krishna and merge with Him." Another gopi said: "If Krishna were a flower, I would be a bee which goes on sucking every drop of honey in the flower raising the nectar that is there. This is our approach to God." So, spiritual sadhana means to regard a mountain or a tree, or a flower, or the ocean, as a means of God-realization.

Today the world is plunged in chaos, violence, and wickedness. It is for the young people to see that these demonic forces are routed for accomplishing any objective two things is needed: Krishi (individual effort) and Kripa (Divine Grace). The two are like the negative and positive poles of a magnet.

In spite of all destructive forces, human body remains the most wonderous machine in the world. It has a bewildering multiplicity of limbs, organs, veins, nerves and cells that cooperate to maintain it under varied conditions. If anyone of these rebels or refuses to rescue another, the body is bound to suffer. So too, a society, community, or nation can be safe, secure and happy only when the individuals comprising it are mutually helpful and bound together in skillful and sincere service.

The spiritual awareness of higher life depends on the cultivations of the five cardinal virtues - Truth, Right Conduct, Love, Peace, and Non-Violence. These virtues elevate the individual as well as the society of which he/she is a part. Connected with these virtues moral education is the primary requisite in life for every student, for every person.

If you engage yourselves in right action, you will not be bound by the consequences of karma. Because of past karma, you have got the present life. By your present karma, you can ensure freedom from birth. Through Love, you develop faith; through faith and earnestness, you acquire knowledge; through knowledge, you develop sadhana, and through sadhana, you achieve the goal. So, for practicing sadhana, you require wisdom, and for acquiring wisdom, you require Sraddha (earnestness and faith) and for Sraddha you must cultivate Love.

"The integral Knowledge is something that is already there in integral Reality. It is not a new or still non-existing thing that has to be created, acquired, learned, invented or built up by the mind. It must rather be discovered or uncovered, it is a Truth that is self-revealed to a spiritual endeavor: for it is there veiled in our deeper and greater self; it is the very stuff of our own spiritual consciousness, and it is by awaking to it even in our surface self that we have to possess it." - Aurobindo, "The Life Divine."

Every generation has to receive education and training in such intelligent cooperation and service. The institutions, which ought to have been temples of Saraswathi (the Goddess of transformation through learning) have become in all lands temples of Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth). The ideal held before the tender, innocent, unselfish children is lucrative job rather than a life of peace, contentment, and love. Narrow loyalties, contest, and competition are polluting the minds of children. Parents, teachers, and all interested in the progress of mankind have to take note of this situation.

The value of the teaching process lies in raising the level of consciousness of the learner, in heightening the sense of wonder and awe and in emphasizing the unity of one with all. The destiny of a country is decided by the ideals implanted by the teachers in the minds of the boys and girls entrusted to their care.

Education can claim success when it results in the student gaining awareness of the Divinity inherent in him/her and others. No academic degree can confer as much self-confidence and self-satisfaction and lead human as quickly and gladly to self-sacrifice and self-realization as that awareness. It has to be transmitted by teachers who have it through a sense of duty and in a spirit of love. It has to be accepted by students who have cultivated faith in the teacher and reverence for teacher's role.


If the teacher has the responsibility to inspire and illumine, the student has the responsibility to respond to the Love and Light, discarding all contrary thoughts. Thoughts that arise from the region of the pleasant (Preyas) cannot co-exist with those, which arise from the tough challenges of higher life (Sreyas). The student must be equipped to prefer the latter to the former.

Every person, young and adult should possess shanthi (peace), sathya (truth), nirahankara (absence of egoism) and absence of asuya (envy). Suffusing all the four is Prema (Love). These qualities are not got through studies, from a teacher, or as a gift from someone. They can be acquired only by one's own effort.


These noble qualities have to be developed from childhood itself. If from the beginning you learn to speak the truth, you will find it easy. However, once you take to lying, to return to the ways of truth is very difficult.


When teachers do their duty in this spirit, they will be imbuing the children with the spirit of Universal Love. Only if you fill their hearts with love will the world have genuine peace.

"Sathyameva Jayathe", says the Upanishad. (Truth alone triumphs). Truth is adherence to what is true in thought, word, and deed. Often many untoward situations arise which render such adherence difficult. (Children, for instance, out of fear of punishment or scolding by parents or teachers indulge in prevarication or falsehood and avoid admitting the truth. This tendency results in due course in vitiating their entire life by making them lead double lives).


You should not give up truth, whatever difficulties you may encounter, whatever troubles or trials may come your way. This is the lesson to be learnt from the inspiring story of Harishchandra, who won undying fame because of his preparedness to sacrifice everything for upholding truth. Material prosperity or positions of authority may come and go. But the reputation for truth and integrity will last for ever.


Cultivate forbearance. Forbearance endows you with the strength to face "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." Together with truth and forbearance, you have to cultivate freedom from envy what is like the pest that attacks the root of a tree. It can destroy one's entire life.
We may be enjoying many things in life - knowledge, wealth, position, power and the like. But if the virus of envy enters our minds, it can pollute everything. To be free from envy is a divine quality. It makes you feel happy over others' happiness or success.


You should learn to make sacrifices for the sake of others in need. Sacrifice means going to the help of others to the extent of your capacity. If you are not in a position to help others, you must at least refrain from doing any harm. Even that is a form of sacrifice (giving up the tendency to do harm to others).

 

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "Which is real? This or that?" Chapter 44 and "The cleansed heart," Chapter 45. Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 16. "Be exemplars of Sai ideals," Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 18. "One God : basic truth of all faiths," Chapter 30 and "Students and Satwic Purity." Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 19. "The teacher and tomorrow," Chapter 29).

Namaste - Reet



Swami teaches... 8 - 9 April 2007

Part 2. Develop the Crucial Skill

So the truth is: human has emanated from the Atma thathwa, (principle, truth, essence).


As the waters of the sea evaporate and form clouds to fall as rain and flow as streams and rivers to rejoin the sea, so, human too must reach the source.

It is difficult to understand the adwaithic conception that my reality and the reality of the Universal Absolute are the same. "I am That"; this can be realized only through the sharp intellect and clear discrimination. This cannot be established in the consciousness, by external argument or efforts.


The basic Brahmic unity makes every one equal; this equality can be realized only at that high level of experience. Until then, all talk of treating all as equal to one another is more self-deceit. Why, even such a simple thing as the advice to speak the truth leads to complications, which can be resolved only by compromise.

People today make no attempt to discover their true nature or their real destiny. Forgetting the great truths given to the world by Bharatiya sages and seers, people are leading utterly meaningless lives, unaware of the potentiality of the human to become the Divine.


There is, for instance, the simple gesture of folding hands when one greets another in offering "Namaskar." What is the inner significance of this gesture? For one thing, the coming together of the two palms is a demonstration of the unity that subsumes the multiplicity. For another, it represents the offering of the five sense organs and the five organs of action to the Lord as an act of surrender.

Another parable as example (from the different angle) by Pyotr Demianovich Ouspensky, a Russian philosopher and educator, 1878 - 1947. From his book "The Fourth Way").
"Let us compare a horse-carriage with an aeroplane. An aeroplane has many possibilities that an ordinary carriage does not have, but at the same time, an aeroplane can be used as an ordinary carriage. It would be very clumsy and inconvenient and very expensive, but you can attach two horses to it and travel in an aeroplane by road. Suppose the man who has this aeroplane does not know that it has an engine and can move by itself and suppose he learns about the engine--then he can dispense with the horses and use it as a motor car. Suppose that the man studies this machine and discovers that it can fly. Certainly, it will have many advantages, which he missed when he used the aeroplane as a carriage. That is what we are doing with ourselves; we use ourselves as a carriage, when we could fly."

Is human a bundle of the senses or the physical frame, or the mind or consciousness, with all it levels? Where did all these come from? How far can one decide the shape of one's journey? These are the questions to seek answers for. "Who are you?" you often ask, but, you seldom stop to ask yourself, "Who am I?" You are drawn by the news of the world, not by news of your own inner world. Of what avail is all the knowledge you gather, if the knowledge about yourself is absent?


You are the breath. So long as there is breath, you are Shivam; when that leaves, you become shavam (a corpse). So, treat the world as a two-day fair, treat life as a two-hour play, treat the body as a two-second bubble. Develop Love and devotion to the highest ideal, God.
However, that path is beset with hardships. They help; they do not hinder your forward steps. They serve as the shears that trim a growing bush. No one can escape these vicissitudes while on the journey. Fix attention on the goal that is the means to be happy and peaceful. Whatever the obstacle, God's Grace can transform it into a help for you. Educate your mind to view hardships as helps. The mind it is that binds or liberates. It is a web of desires and wishes. Why multiply desires and get bound, by the mind? Use it for liberation, instead.

Your hearts are shrines of the Divine. The whole of Nature is your playground; all the things in it are your playthings. Regard yourselves as masters of the Universe and not its bond-slaves. Once you surrender to the Divine, Nature becomes your servant.
 

Two things to be given up are: all remembrance of (1) the evil that others do to you, and (2) of the good that you do to others. The two things to be practiced are: (1) belief that death is certain and inevitable, and (2) God exists and yields to prayer and purity.
 

(Usually people do not forget the evil that others do or the good that has done by them; they forget the fact of death and the fact of the existence of God).

The Grace of God is immeasurable. Contemplate on Him as Love, recite His Name as the embodiment of Love, revere His as Love. This is the easiest path to God. Some feel despair that to them. God is far distant, because they have no resources to visit holy places and prostrate before famous shrines sanctified by saints and sages, no time or talent to master the Vedas. This is quite wrong for God does not measure out Grace in proportion to these external achievements. He is not moved by quantity. To appease you hunger, the grain in all the granaries of the world is not needed; a handful is enough. To slake your thirst, you do not crave for all the waters of all the rivers; a glassful suffices.
 

Similarly, one lime act of surrender is enough to win His Grace forever. Years of asceticism or study or sadhana are not called for. "You and nothing else," fix this in the mind and live in that conviction. That will transmute all your acts into worship invaluable puja.

When an act is done in spirit of surrender to the Lord, it becomes a yajna; when it is done in spirit of egoism, it ends in a battle. Dhaksha, the Emperor, performed a yajna; but, in his pride, he neglected the Lord and His shakthi (power). So, the yajna was upset by a fight. When there was no egoism minting the battle, it became sublimated into a yajna. That is the alchemy which sharanagathi (total surrender) can accomplish.

First, self-assurance that you are Dhasoham (I am His instrument); then, through the winning of His Grace, the consciousness that you are Shivoham (I am Shiva) or Soham (I am That) will become your unshakable experience.

Your life-story is regarded as made up of childhood, growth, achievements, thoughts, and ideals. But what is fundamental to a human's life is the moral stature. Neethi (moral standards) is delved from the Sanskrit word Nitha. Neethi means right conduct. It is the path that leads one to the sublime. Good character, putty of thought and selfless sacrifice are all covered by Neethi. The ancients regarded Neethi as fundamental, without which the society will be mined. For this purpose, even the body has to be made pure and hence good health is essential.

Good health is the basis of everything else in life.
 

(The condition of the children in the backward countries is pitiable. Most of them lack nourishing food, proper clothes, and roofs over their heads. People should go to the help of the poor and the weak not in a spirit of condescension or of extending patronage. They must offer help out of genuine sympathy and fellow feeling. They must regard such sympathy as one of the primary aims of meaningful living. Do not demand wages calculated and bargained for. The work done for wages will not be as sincere and as joyful as that done through love, reverence).

The word 'health' has derived from the Anglo-Saxon word 'helig,' meaning (wholeness) or inner spirit. What is the wholeness that is to be achieved? The body consists of the sense organs, the mind, the intellect, the consciousness, and the indwelling Spirit. "Wholeness" means that all these elements should be whole.
 

To achieve such a state of mind, it is necessary to understand the meaning of everything and every situation. (For instance, if a student has failed in an examination, he should not get depressed. Instead, he should examine the reasons for his failure, whether he had not studied properly or understood the subjects correctly. If he finds that his failure is due to inadequate preparation, he should resolve to do better in the future).

Swami turns to the students to promote ten kinds of purity. However, these advices are universal, for everyone.
 

To develop one's moral and mental strength, one should practice sadhana for disciplining the mind. For this purpose, one has to promote ten kinds of purity (sathwa).
It is needful to remember that the Lord cares for the purity of the motive behind the act, not for the pomp and the show.
 

(Sudhama,s wife directed him to proceed to Dwaraka - Capital of Krishna, and pray to his boyhood churn Shri Krishna for material help in running the family. Sudhama was nervous about the success of his mission, for, he fixed his attention on the externals, namely, the fort, palace, bodyguards, and all the paraphernalia of kings. He compared them with his own dress, appearance and the low value of the offering that he was taking to Him).

1. The first is purity of the place in which one lives. It is necessary to fill the room in which one resides or studies with a sathwic atmosphere. The pictures or other objects you see should fill you with peace and pure thoughts. The room should be clean and free from anything that is impure.

2. In the family in which you live, there should be mutual understanding and cooperation, and a sense of harmony. A harmonious atmosphere will give you true peace of mind.

3. Using sathwic food. This means that none of the edible items should be excessively sour, bitter or hot. You should eschew rajasic food like fish or meat. Even good sathwic food should not be taken in excess. It is only sathwic when you sit for the meal with a light stomach and get up from it with a light stomach.

4. Whatever fluids you take should also be sathwic. You should not drink whatever water is available. It should be pure water. Alcoholic splits should be eschewed.

5. Sathwic thoughts and feelings are of great importance. Only if your thoughts and feelings are pure, can you get the full benefit of a clean room, a good family, and pure food.

6. If you want to develop sathwic feelings and thoughts, your vision must be pure. All Srishti (Creation) is based upon drishti (sight). When you have wrong vision, you have wrong thoughts. You should not commit the sort of offences, which you will not tolerate in others.

7. Whatever books you read or whatever you write should be pure. A good book makes for a good mind. Any book you may study about physics or chemistry or other subjects, does not affect your character. However, books, which are literary, are not always good literature. If improper books are prescribed for study, treat them as mere textbooks and do not attach any high value to them as guides for life.

8. Pure sathwic service. With regard to service, you have to decide what is sathwic and what is rajasic. We go and clean streets, build roads in villages or dig wells and do them all as a service to the community. However, the kind of service, which we do, should give real happiness to the people.
 

Narayana has two forms: one is 'Lakshmi Narayana', the other is 'Daridra Narayana'. This 'Lakshmi-Narayana' is full of wealth. He will be able to get many persons to serve him. But, for 'Daridra Narayana' there is nobody to serve him. It is to such persons that we should do sathwic service.
 

(People today usually are eager to receive help from others, but have no desire to render help).

9. Sadhana. This is spiritual discipline. This must be sathwa. Some people do Hata Yoga. Some strive to develop the Kundalini Sakthi Some invoke evil spirits, to do harm to others. These forms of sadhana are not sadhana at all. The individual is Chith (Consciousness), God is Sath (The Eternal Absolute). When Sath and Chith combine, you have Ananda Sath-Chith-Ananda. Only the sadhana undertaken to realise Sath-Chith-Ananda is true sadhana.
 

Where is this Sath? This Sath is in everybody. You must perform sadhana in the spirit that the One pervades the many. In this process, you must cultivate the feeling of Love.
 

By the way, there are two forms of Love. One binds you to God. The other binds you to the world. The mind is responsible for either of these states. It is like a lock. If you turn the key to the right, the lock opens. If you turn the key to the left, it gets locked. The heart is the key to the lock of the mind. If you turn the key towards the world, you have attachment (bondage).

10. Your occupation or profession. It should be work, which can benefit the nation, the community. You must ask yourself, "What is the service, what is the help I can do for the community?" You must see that there is no untruth in any work you do, no unfairness, no fraud, no evil motive.

Absorb the teachings of all the great seers and prophets. Do not despise anyone. Everyone is entitled to accept what is good from any source. Differences of creed and caste are irrelevant. Swami's famous quotation declares, "There is only one caste, the caste of humanity. There is only one religion, the religion of Love. There is only one language, the language of the heart. There is only one God, He is omnipresent."
 

It is said that atom bombs will reduce the world to ashes. However, those who are promoting religious bigotry and hatred are doing worse damage than what the atom bombs can do. They are destroying the love and compassion in human hearts. They are breaking up mankind into fragments. There is no greater sin than this.
What the world needs today is the redeeming and unifying force of Love - Love that continually expands and embraces more and more people.

 

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "Which is real? This or that?" Chapter 44 and "The cleansed heart," Chapter 45.Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 16. "Be exemplars of Sai ideals," Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 18. "One God : basic truth of all faiths," Chapter 30 and "Students and Satwic Purity." Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 19. "The teacher and tomorrow," Chapter 29).

Namaste - Reet


 

Swami teaches... 5 - 7 April 2007

Part 1. Develop the Crucial Skill

People boast that they know much, but of what use is all that knowledge if they do not put into practice and win peace and contentment? Fundamentally, the inquiry that makes living worthwhile is, "Where-from have I arrived? Whither am I going?"
 

King Janaka used to gather many rishis in his palace and take delight in discussing with them about spiritual problems; he was a great adept at sadhana and he attained the highest stage of samadhi through Raja yoga. One day, while in the midst of the court, with the Queen and the maids, even while he was conversing with them, he fell asleep. He had a dream. He dreamt that he was deprived of his kingdom, that he was roaming half-mad, hungry and deserted in the jungle, begging for food from whoever he met, that he came upon some men washing dishes and vessels after a feast which they had shared, that he ran towards them seeking some crumbs, that they gave him some little quantity of rice scraped from the vessels, that he was about to put it into his mouth when a big bird flew in and swooped it out of his grasp; so, he yelled in pain and grief, and the Queen heard it and she woke him up.
 

Of course, when he woke, he knew he was the King. He remembered that a second previously, he was a beggar. He questioned within himself, which is real, this or that? To every one who inquired what the matter was, he put the same question. "Am I a king or a beggar?" The queen and others were frightened at this behaviour; they sent for the ministers and with them came, Ashtavakra, the preceptor. He discovered the situation as soon as he saw the King; so, to the question that the King put him, he answered, "Raja! This is unreal; that is unreal; you, who experienced this as well as that, you alone are real."
 

The waking stage is real until the sleeping stage; the sleeping stage is real, until the waking stage. But, both are unreal, because one cancels the other. So, why take life so seriously, so frantically? All efforts, all talk, all pleasures end with the graveyard.

Gain, gain; that seems to be the refrain of life in every human's activity. The wise hold that there is another gain which is far more desirable - attaining the presence of God, merging in the Supreme Bliss that God is, liberating oneself from the little pleasures which divert us from the pursuit of the highest pleasure, Divine Bliss.

Try to earn the Grace of God by being helpful to your fellow-beings. Different branches of knowledge are like rivers, while spiritual knowledge is the ocean. Even as the rivers merge in the ocean, all types of knowledge merge in spiritual knowledge.
 

You must bear in mind the company you keep. Kabir said, "I salute the bad and also the good!" Kabir was asked: "We can understand you?re offering salutations to the good, but what is the point in offering salutations to the bad?" He replied, "When I salute the bad, I am saluting them, saying, please remove yourself from my presence. I salute the good, saying, please come to me!"
 

Avoid the company of those who are evil-minded. Association with the good is pure yoga. You should pursue this kind of yoga and confer happiness on all people with whom you are associated. By cultivating the company of the good, you can raise yourself, because your bad qualities get diluted by association with the good, like sewage water when it enters the sea.

In the Ramayana, we see that by his association with Hanuman, Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana, was transformed into a devotee of the Lord. On the other hand, Kaikeyi, because of the influences of the evil-minded Manthara, brought infamy and widowhood upon herself and estranged herself from her noble son Bharata.
In the Mahabharata, we have the example of Dharmaraja, who had to endure many difficulties and humiliations because of indulgence in gambling with dice during a brief association with the wicked Kauravas. Association with the evil-minded can lead to endless troubles. The company of the good takes you near to God. Without God, everything else is valueless.

Attach yourself to the good and earn detachment; detachment will liberate you from illusions; that will make you steady in the faith; that faith will liberate you. Therefore, certain disciplines have to be followed to realize the truth about oneself.


This is emphasized in Sanathana Dharma (Eternal Religion). Nevertheless, due to political and cultural forces, Sanathana Dharma itself has neglected in much. The goal of life should be the earning of Atmic faith. That alone confers great joy that alone is true religion.
 

People glibly say that religion too is a convention of human, fashioned for the moment. No, religion is much more useful than that, much more established. It is rooted in intelligence, individual discrimination. It insists on unity of all this in one basic principle, Brahman. It does not advocate or preach difference and manifoldness.
All faiths have emphasized one common factor - that there is only One God and Truth is His form. There are no differences between Hindus, Muslims and Christians on this basic concept.
 

Jesus sacrificed his life for the regeneration and welfare of mankind. Today there are some who exaggerate the so-called differences between different faiths and, for their own selfish purposes, exploit these differences and thereby bring a bad name to the great founders of these religions, who were spiritual giants. No prophet or messiah asked his followers to hate other religions or the followers of other faiths. Every religion has declared that God is One and that the Divine dwells in every being. Jesus proclaimed the truth that the One Spirit resides in all beings.
 

All religions, all scriptures, all spiritual teachings point only to one truth - the Unity of Dignity. You may profess whatever faith you like. But you should not disparage another's beliefs.
 

It is a characteristic of the Kali Age that one religion is pitted against another. This only reveals the small-mindedness of the followers and is not the fault of the founders. It stems from envious intolerance and egoistic conceit. No one should cast aspersions on the deities or founders of other faiths.

Sanathana Dharma teaches us there is no other system or faith. All religions, all faiths are but phases or facets of the same Universal Faith and Discipline. It is like the seven blind men who examined the elephant and described it to others. The man who held the tail in his hand saw it as a snake; the man who felt the leg said it was a pillar; the man who examined only the ear swore that the elephant was like a winnowing basket. This story has a deep inner meaning. The Atma is one, but each one sees a fraction and judges it differently. It is the integrated sum of each of these facets of reality.

When Jesus was addressing the dews, an ethereal voice declared, "All lives are one, my dear Son. Be alike to everyone." When Jesus has crucified, the same ethereal voice declared that the human body is only vesture for the Spirit. The body is subject to constant change. However, the indwelling Spirit is immoral. This was the truth proclaimed by Vedanta when it said, "The body is a temple in which the Eternal Spirit resides as the Indweller." The inner meaning of this is that wherever you may go, the Eternal Spirit remains with you. You must regard the body as the temple of the Spirit; bear in mind that Divinity is ever within you. Only when you realize this truth can you begin to experience the Divine.

Godhead is described in the Vedas as Shahasra Sheershah, thousand-headed. It does not mean that God has a thousand heads. The heads are thousands in number but the heartbeat is the same in all. So too, God is activating all the heads, as the same electric current activates the fan, the stove, the bulb, the mike, the machine, the tube, etc. The current is the same, but the wattage of the bulb differs and causes the difference in light. The individual is different but the indwelling force is the same. In the basic substance, there is no high or low; the difference is caused by difference of the instrument, the container.


Students and spiritual seekers have to be encouraged to, "Follow the Master (the inner voice of Conscience), Face the Devil (the down-dragging anti-social urges), Fight to the End (until one is able to overcome the inner foes of lust, anger, greed, undue attachment, pride and hatred) and Finish the Game (of life on the Earth)." This duty is referred to in the Gita as swadharma (one's genuine obligation to oneself); the duties that one gets involved in, while dealing with others is defined as paradharma. Of these two, swadharma is more vital and valuable.
 

The best way to gain happiness is to choose God as the leader and guide. Then, He will guide and guard, from the heart itself.
 

Devotion implies faith in God. A tiny bird that perches on a bough is not scared when the bough sways in the gale. Why? Because it relies not on the bough, but, on its wings. You on the other hand rely on the grip you have on the branch of Samsara, or the world and its ramifications; you do not rely on the Atma or the God within, who buoys you up. That is the reason why any little shake in the bough frightens you. Have faith in your Divinity, in Divinity as such, and nothing can harm you. That is the crucial skill you must develop.

A man was crossing the Ganges in a boat; he asked the boatman if he had no watch and when he laughed at it, the man said," No; need or no need, whether you know how to consult a watch or not, unless you own a watch, a quarter of your life is as good as having gone into the Ganges."
 

Sometime later, he asked the boatman whether he had a radio receiver and when he learnt that he did not possess one, he said that another quarter of his life can as well be considered sunk in the Ganges. '"You are not up-to date at all; every one worth anything has a barber's box contrivance called transistor hanging round his neck at the end of a strap."
 

A few minutes later, he asked, whether he read any newspaper and when the boatman apologized for his illiteracy and his lack of interest in news, the man squarely said that another quarter of his life can be pronounced to be liquidated in the waters of the Ganges. Just then, the overcast sky became dark and furious and forks of lightning threatened a thunderstorm and a heavy downpour of rain; it was now the turn of the boatman to ask a question. He said, "Do you know swimming?" and when the man pleaded that he did not have the skill, the boatman replied, "In that case, your whole life is as good as liquidated."
 

Learn the art of swimming across the sea of life, with its waves of success and failure. That is the real skill to acquire.
 

The Beacon of the Spirit is the Lighthouse for the storm-tossed ships carrying humanity across the furious waves of the ocean of life. Instead of earning that light and saving from wretch, human is getting lost in travails, torrents of trouble, worry and agony and vain voyages in search of attaining the absent treasure. Unless that light is present ever with human, unless efforts are made to have it shining, clear in the heart, all the activities of life are shrouded in the darkness of ignorance. One wonders whether he/she has to appreciate or discard the charms of nature and the external world, whether to laugh or weep at their illusory attractions.

Blind to the real characteristics of this world, human has become a pendulum between birth and death. Human spins like a top, human is immersed in incessant effort; but what does human win? Nothing. You do not try to find out what you were before birth, after birth, and after death. The potter digs up clay to make his pots. The pots are short- lived and so, they represent the jivis, the individuals. Clay is the Brahmic substance, which underlies all creation.
 

For, what has to be sought after first is spiritual progress. Devoid of the principle of Godhead, no activity can be worthwhile. Brahman, the Universal Absolute, is all this; It is the source, the substance, the sense; it is as cotton in the cloth, mud in the pot, wood in the chair, the basic substance.
 

People say that the body is real, that it is permanent, that the senses give correct information, that the emotions are real. The mind has to be fixed on any object so that it can be seen, heard, or become the target for any sense. The ajnana - afflicted mind will feel objects to be pleasurable and permanent. The ajnana has to be overcome by means of spiritual discipline.
 

People trap monkeys by placing big pots with small mouths in the gardens and putting some groundnuts inside them. Then they wait nearby. The monkeys come, put their hands inside the pots, and fill their fists with the nuts. Now, they find that the hands full of nuts cannot be taken out of the pot, for the mouth is too small for the fists. In this helpless condition, they can be caught easily. They fall a prey to the trappers. If only they drop the nuts, they could escape from the burden of the pot and get free. However, the attachment to the nuts spelt disaster to them.
 

So too, human gets attached to sense-objects and gets entangled in the world forgetting the purpose for which he/she has come.

The other legend tells that once a stranger monk a defect in the eye diagnosed the illness of a rich lord and he was advised to cast his eyes on a single color only. The lord collected all the paint he could get and all the painters of the region and daubed everything green - walls, roofs, fences, roads, tree stumps.
 

When the monk returned after some months, he was surprised at the stranger appearance of the town. He asked the lord the reason for this and he was told that it was in accordance with his own prescription. The monk chided him for taking all that trouble and spending all that money, for, he could have gained the same end by putting on a pair of green glasses. When the vision is clarified into Brahma i.e. Atma thathwam (principle, truth, essence), then, all will be seen as the One Basic Brahman.

 

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "Which is real? This or that?" Chapter 44 and "The cleansed heart," Chapter 45.Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 16. "Be exemplars of Sai ideals," Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 18. "One God : basic truth of all faiths," Chapter 30 and "Students and Satwic Purity." Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 19. "The teacher and tomorrow," Chapter 29).

Namaste - Reet


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