Swami teaches....Part 115


Links to Swami Teaches - Part 114

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 17 - 20 October 2007

Part 3. Efforts for Inner Transformation

Spirituality is the foundation of education. The whole Universe is University for you. You can imbibe wisdom from the sky, the clouds, the mountains, the rivers, the daily phenomena of sunrise and sunset, the seasons, birds, trees, flowers, the insects, in fact, all beings and things in Nature.

Approach these teachers, with awe, reverence, and humility; they will respond with their lessons. Do not worry that you have no mastery of Samskrith; Samskar (purification act) is enough equipment, for the university that lies around you. Samskrith is the language of the ancient scriptures and of classical literature; Samskar is the language of the heart, the refined medium of fruitful communion with Nature, in all the manifold outpourings of Divinity.

To obtain skill to speak in language of heart, you must first learn about what others think you are. They deal with you as a body, with a specific name and an identifiable form. Then, you must learn about what you think you are. You are aware of your mind and its tricks, its prejudices and preferences, its passions and pursuits. You are aware of your individual consciousness, of your version of 'me' and 'mine.'

Learn about the mind as an instrument, which can harm you if used unwisely or help you, if used wisely.

You have to learn about yet another 'you' what you really are. For, you are neither the body, nor the mind. You are the embodiment of purity, power, love, bliss. The miserable little prison named 'individuality' has to be denied. You are free, but you fancy you are bound and mope in the cell you imagine is limiting you.

The sages of Bharath knew that the mind is an instrument, which can bind human, or release from bondage. One has to understand its working technique, as well as its potentialities. You must learn how to wield it, rather than yield to it. It is the mind that weaves the pattern called the 'I'. The way in which mind establishes this ego and elaborates it into a multitude of shackles is called maya (deludious force).

The mind prompts the senses to project into the outer world of objects, for it builds up notions of pleasure and pain, of joy and grief and constructs a whole array of urges and impulses. It resists all attempts to escape into the Eternal, the Universal, the Absolute.

It protests when the individual is eager to become conscious of own identity with these, but, when it finds determined opposition to its tactics, it surrenders and disappears.

When human is established in the experience of the Great One, there is no desire, for who is to desire for whom or what? So, human has to diminish desire to become free from delusion; desire comes of attachment; deliverance comes from detachment.

You put money in a bank and you become attached to the passbook issued by the bank. You keep it in an iron safe and scan its pages lovingly. They may loan the money you gave the bank to some one you do not like, but you do not care. You have the passbook with you. Now what exactly is yours? To which were you attached so deeply? To the money, the passbook? To none of these things. You were attached to prestige, comfort, show, greed: things that arose in your mind as desire, as urges; to your own ego, basically.

In the world today usually exists prosperity without peace and abundance without happiness.
For the sake of filling the belly, we enter into studies, acquire professional qualifications, and engage in business activities, all for the sake of accumulating wealth - endless accumulation of properties and possessions.
A certain amount of money is necessary for leading a good life. However, money is a double-edged weapon that can be used for good or bad. Food, clothing, shelter - these are incidental; the more you have, the greater the bother, the anxiety, the fear.

Do not entertain excessive desires. Better that you lead a life of moderation.

Human being fills the days with unremitting labor being immersed in perpetual anxiety and worry. Busy beyond description, with no time to stand and silently contemplate the Creator's handiwork, he/she is troubled by strange inexplicable misgivings; human runs helter-skelter after hollow comforts; he/she is blinded by hate and greed.

The ways in which human spends days are really ludicrous in the extreme. Human craves happiness and is ever on the go in all directions in its pursuit. Moreover, when human finds that when secured, the happiness is but a flash in the pan of misery, he/she starts cursing him/herself and others. Though all the sacred books, all the saints of all the lands and all the creeds, and all the teachers and preachers have been saying that God alone is the source and spring of lasting happiness, human usually turns a deaf ear to the counsel and goes own blind way.

Caught in this toil and turmoil, human has lost knowledge of the one anchor that will save from the tornado, namely, discipline of the vagaries of the mind. That discipline has to be learnt and practiced as early as possible in life; it is not to be postponed to old age.

Each one must take up some spiritual effort in order to cleanse the mind of lust and greed, of envy and hate. Come out of the well of ego into the sea of the Atma of which you are a part. Go into the silence within you. More than all, set right your habits, purify your conduct, cleanse your behavior. Control yourself and do not yield to the snares of friends or society or, what is miscalled social convention and become a prey to this and other bad habits.

(For example, one bad modern habit that has taken deep root is the smoking of tobacco, an evil that is fast becoming universal. It destroys health, happiness, energy, and even charm. Smoke will not quench your thirst or fill the hungry stomach. It disfigures your face and denigrates your lungs).

There is the story of a young man who was riding a cycle on a dark night along a crowded road; the police officer on duty asked him to stop and alight, for, he had no lamp on his cycle. The fellow, however, shouted, "Policeman! Keep away. Of course, I have no lamp; but, beware; I have no brake, either!"

That is the pathetic condition of nearly every one now. No one, as a rule, has the lamp of wisdom, and the brake of sense-control. How then can they go along the road to Ananda without causing injury to themselves or others? Human has need of wisdom and self-control. True worship is control of the mind. (Letting your mind wander while your hands are performing the motions of worship, is no worship at all).

We should lead an ethical, moral, and spiritual life. Speak the truth, speak pleasantly, and do not speak unpalatable truth. These three values are ethical, moral, and spiritual, respectively.

Following the path of Truth and without swerving from a spiritual life, we should work for the welfare of the whole world. Truth is an internal current and Love is its external flow.

If our hearts are full with sacred Love, no evil tendency will enter them. The heart is like a single seat-sofa, not a double sofa, nor a musical chair. There is room for only a single tendency and be it Divine Love.
Love emanates from Truth and Truth emanates from Love; one does not exist without the other.

The Narayana Principle is the expression of this unity. The inner flow is continuous. This symbolizes Saraswathi, Goddess of learning and eloquence, a daughter of Brahma. You may have seen the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Saraswathi is the invisible undercurrent.

The eternal inner flow of the Saraswathi principle represents speech. Control of speech is of vital importance. If your feet slip and you fall, there is no great harm; but if you slip in your speech, it causes irreparable damage. Of all the human faculties, speech should be used with extreme carefulness.

More than other parts of body, tongue is extremely flexible and has no bone in it. You can turn it any way you want and the words you utter seem to dance to any tune that you make.

God is the embodiment of sound, mobility and immobility, light, speech, eternal bliss, supreme majesty, delusion and wealth. For the proper evolution of humanity, Truth and Love must have a sound basis.

The sounds that you think you produce are all-pervading. Where have they all gone? They are all parts of the Divine vibration.

Occasionally, you hear some words or music from here or there, but the Divine vibrations are eternal and omnipresent. That is why the Vedas declare, “Sarvatah Paani-padam ...” this Divine vibration pervades all of us from top to toe.

Music is a reflection of Love. All phenomena are reflection, reaction and resound. Life is a reflection; heart is the reality. When the reality is clear, the reflection and the resound will be true representations of that inner reality. Therefore, today we should fill our hearts with love. Love is a loose word. It means many things. There is worldly love; there is physical love, etc.

Our tender hearts have turned hard. Why is this? It is our own attitude that is responsible. Our good and bad habits have the effect on the other people.

Character, is the quality that has to be safeguarded by one and all. This alone is God’s desire forever. People, not recognizing this truth, spend their time in the acquisition of wealth and in other selfish activities. This selfish attitude should be uprooted from the heart of human.

People today are keen to acquire wealth, strength and friendship, but show little interest in developing character. Without character, wealth, strength, and friendship are worthless.

Focus your mind on one goal and do not allow it to waver. You have to hold on to it till the very end. If you keep mind changing from day to day, you will ruin your heart. Have control over your wavering mind and deluding vision.

However most people fill their minds and spend their time in activities and associations replete with evil; but when they reap the consequences and suffer, they are filled with misery. As every thought emanates from the mind, its consequences are determined. Such was the fate of Ratnamala (the Emperor Bali's daughter).

By legend (as in previous part has noticed ), Emperor Bali based all his actions on Truth. Looking upon his subjects as his own children, he performed his duties. He was one who encouraged pure and sacred thoughts and activities. He was called Mahabali, as he was truly great in every aspect of his character.

Once he performed a sacrifice called Viswajit, in commemoration of his victory, on the banks of the river Narmada. The Lord incarnated as Vamana at that time. He was born as the son of the saintly couple Kashyapa and Aditi. The young Vamana walked towards the site where Bali was performing the sacred ritual. The boy was brilliant and effulgent, and everyone looked with wonder at his great beauty.

Ratnamala, saw the young boy and developed a desire in her mind to have Him as her own child and fondle Him in various ways. However, in the meantime, Vamana had pushed Bali down into the Pathala (netherworld). This event turned her love towards Vamana into hatred and she felt that she could kill the child. The all-knowing Vamana noticed what was passing through the mind of Ratnamala and pronounced, "May it be so!"

He told Ratnamala, “Mother, you first desired to breast feed Me. However, seeing your father’s downfall, your desire turned into hatred. You felt like feeding poison and killing Me. You will be born in Dwapara Yuga as Poothana (demonness, who desired to kill the baby Krishna) and feed Me with poisonous milk, and you yourself will die.”

When you are subject to misery, you blame God, but do not realize that your distress is the consequence of your own thoughts. This is why you should have good thoughts and seek good company.

Contemplate, by ancient scriptures, what happiness did the demon Somakasura attain by stealing the Vedas and hurling abuses at God?
What was the fate of the ten-headed Ravana who abducted Sita?

What did Duryodhana, the eldest of the evil-minded sons of king of Kauravas Dhritharashtra, who refused to give the Pandavas even as much land as would a needlepoint occupy, take with him at the end?
What happened to the wicked Kamsa (brother of Krishna's mother, Devaki, and killer of her first six sons) ultimately who indulged in the gruesome act of slaying infants?

The same will be the fate of the wicked today. If not today, at least tomorrow, they are bound to meet their doom.

People form their own reactions and attitudes to different situations. Such reactions are their own creation and do not conform to the reality of the event. The various attitudes like greed, jealousy, pride, delusion, etc., are inner attitudes projected on others.

You attempt to repress and suppress such negative impulses in you. There is no use in such attempts for, sooner or later, they are bound to erupt. Your effort should be to prevent the very entry of such attitudes and feelings in you.

Several fuels like petroleum, coal, etc., are extracted deep from the earth. Where did they arise in the first place? Over a long period of time, they have accumulated deep inside. Now they are making their appearance outside. In the same way, evil tendencies like desire, anger, hatred, etc., are accumulated in you, hidden in you. Sometime or the other, they are bound to come out. So, take care that they do not even make their entry into you. This is the true human value.

(Reet's compilation from. Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 1. "The wise ryot," Chapter 14; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "Diminish desires," Chapter 11; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 12. "Full circle or half circle?" Chapter 30 ; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 12. "To those who are Mine," Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 12. "The second visit," Chapter 32; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 22. "The One in the many," Chapter 17; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 33. "Happiness In Union With God," Chapter 17).

Namaste - Reet

Swami teaches... 14 - 16 October 2007

Part 2. Efforts for Inner Transformation

Human has sent into the world, in order that he/she may use the time and the opportunity to realize the Truth that he/she is not human, but God.

(Nevertheless, everything in its own good time, as the saying goes. A flower blooms; but a long time elapses before it grows into a fruit and is filled, with nectarine juice. A child is born; but it takes a long time to grow into a strong intelligent member of society).

The wave dances with the wind, basks in the Sun, frisks in the rain, imagining it is playing on the breast of the Sea; it does not know that it is the Sea itself. Until it realizes that Truth, it will be tossed up and down; when it knows it, it can lie calm and collected at peace with itself.

The creation emerges from Truth and merges into Truth. Is there a place where Truth does not exist? Visualize such pure and unsullied Truth what is the essence of Atmic Reality, the Great One.

Truth may sound like a simple word, but it is very important to know its greatness. The entire Universe is dependent on Truth. If the very basis is lost, what is left of our life?

Truth is one, but sages refer to it by many names. All types of wealth, comforts, and conveniences are based on Truth what neither can be hidden nor be changed. Truth is that which the same remains in the past, present and future. All human values are based on Truth.

By legend emperor Bali was the personification of generosity and truth. To uphold his promise, he sacrificed everything. Young Vamana requested three paces of land. Bali promised without a moment’s hesitation. His preceptor Sukracharya however dissuaded him. He told Bali, “Vamana before you is Vishnu Himself. Once you promise Him anything, you cannot transgress it. "Bali replied to Sukracharya that there was no greater sin than going back on one’s words and, he upheld the promise made to Vamana. Bali was prepared to undergo any misery while maintaining Truth. So, Lord Vishnu sent him to the netherworld Pathala and gave him all the comforts of living. Being in Pathala, he attained eternal life. Emperor Bali attained his eternal life through Truth and Love.

(Emperor Bali, though born in a family of demons, he was filled with divine thoughts. It is the consequence of the great merits of Bali).

Truth is undercurrent of all happenings in the Universe.

Trees are able to stand firm and grow, because of the roots that have spread out of your sight. This world is so plentiful, so charming, so rich, so comfortable, so regular in its movements and moods, because it has an unseen Master the sustainer of the seen.

Have faith in His Grace, and lead a virtuous life, a life devoted to service of the weak, a life spent in thoughts about the might and glory of God.

How should devotion to God express itself? Not in ostentatious external forms like smearing vibhuti, wearing a special dress or flaunting a japamala. For spiritual seekers on the nirguna (without qualities, attributeless) path is not always necessary to go in search of temples and shrines for worship. The body itself is a temple and the indweller is the eternal God. God is not to be found in the temple or in a palace. Find Him in your heart.

Do not judge others as inferior, because they do not participate in bhajans (group devotional singing), nagarasankeerthans (public devotional singing by moving groups), or different study circles.

Bhajans and japas do not constitute the whole essence of bhakti (devotion). Sometimes even the rituals you perform, meditation and worship may be in fact negative. (You are sitting in meditation rotating the beads of your rosary, but your mind is doing purchases in the market). You must yearn for the Love of the Lord. Along with your studies, cultivate devotion and spiritual discipline.
You can be very wrong, if you estimate a person's spiritual development, by mere externals. Inner purity cannot express itself through pompous show. Only one, who sees into every heart the Divine source, can know who resides therein: Rama or kama (God or selfish desire).

Of course, disciplines like bhajan, nagarasankeerthan and japa (silent repetition of God's name) are needed for cleansing the mind. They cure the terrible malady of birth and death, as the external medication of these sadhanas (spiritual practices) so the internal medication of dhyana and sheela (meditation and virtuous conduct) are both essential.

External discipline is Dharma Vidhya (the acquisition of righteousness as a way of living); internal discipline is Brahma Vidhya (the acquisition of spiritual experience as a perpetual treasure). When one cultivates the inner look, one attains the conviction of the basic equality of all.

Every individual is a pilgrim on that road proceeding at his/her own pace, according to qualification and the stage reached by its means. The advice that appeals to one of you or applies to one of you might not be appropriate to another, who has traveled less distance or reached a more advanced state.

When one person follows one line of sadhana (spiritual discipline), it is specifically for his/her benefit; do not take it as prescription for your benefit also. Each has a different make-up - mental, physical, and spiritual. (When a person is obese, doctor advises certain types of food; when a person is lean, doctor advises other types). When doctors who treat diseases of the body have to prescribe different remedies, how much more specific and personal must be the remedies for the complex and varied conditions of mental situations and spiritual yearnings and aspirations?

Unless you make earnest inquiry, you cannot discover the remedy applicable to your temperament and its problems. Study with faith and devotion. Delve into the significance and the meaning of what you read; and, always have before you the goal of putting what you read into practice.

What have you gained? Knowledge, what this or that author says or this or that sage teaches is not what a study circle or individual must aim to acquire. Not information, but transformation; not instruction, but construction should be the aim.

The proper directions of study are - reading, reflection, and regular application in life. Study is work. Inquiry into the value and applicability of what is studied is worship; the experience of the validity and value of the practice is wisdom.

Once a famous pandit (learned scholar) was expounding the Bhagavad Gita before a massive gathering; he gave an elaborate explanation of the sloka (verse) recounting the Glory of the Lord, through the media of different epithets. The Lord, he said, is Kavi (He knows the past, the present and the future), Purana (the Ageless One, the effulgent light and life-spirit in all beings), Anu-shasitha (He who lays down the Law which regulate the Mind and lead it on to its source and sustenance, the Universal Spirit).

The audience was amazed at his encyclopedic scholarship; but that was all. He had no experience of the God whom he was delineating in such attractive colors. He had only learnt it from books.

You must be guarded against pride that infects the scholar who has mastered a certain number of ancient texts.

Praise too feeds the fire of egoism and fogs genuine faith. The disciple should not flatter the teacher, nor should the teacher flatter the disciple. The relationship should be like that of parent and child. (If the child flatters the parent or if the parent fawns upon the child, it would be ridiculous).

However, praise and thankfulness are far different words. (Some time many of us forget this). We have to always be thankful and express thanks for whatsoever service as we thanks God within other person and express our own faith (for our own sake) to God in this way. (Nevertheless, God within as eternal unchangeable witness needs no praise).

It is your duty to serve, and to be good, whether people honour you or throw scorn at you. Liberation and Ananda in your hands already are, packed between the upper cover 'I' and the lower cover 'want'. 'I' means the 'ego;' 'want' means 'desire.' Remove the two covers, the ego and the desire.

What remains is Liberation, Ananda. In order to remove the upper and lower covers, intelligence is wanted. That is why Gandhiji went round the country with the prayer Sabko Sanmathi dhe Bhagavan: "O Lord, give every one good intelligence."

Intelligence has to be directed to good ends; to seek and discover ways and means of expanding one's Love and deepening one's compassion. It should not descend to cynicism, and the search for faults in others. When a rose is held in the hand, its fragrance can give the holder joy; people standing near can enjoy the fragrance.

So too, when your intelligence is saturated with the fragrance of Love, Virtue and Charity you can derive contentment and joy, and those around you also can share in the peace and harmony.

"Attractive people know that Love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate Truth at the heart of the Universe" (Deepak Chopra).

Theoretical knowledge is a burden, unless it is practiced, when it can be lightened into wisdom, and assimilated into daily, life. Knowledge that does not give harmony and wholeness to the process of living is not worth acquiring. Every activity must be rendered valid and worthwhile by its contribution to the discovery of truth, both of the Self and of Nature. Of what use is it to know everything about Nature, if you do not know anything of the Self?

The Self is Atma, of which the entire Creation is composed and so, knowledge of the Self alone can quench the thirst of human being.

Nature is a projection of the Self, and so, unless the Self is known, knowledge of Nature is either distorted or deceptive.

You are drawing wealth out of Prakriti (Nature) what is the manifestation of Purusha (God). Nature is not anyone's private property. It belongs to God. When you desire to master Prakriti, and bend it for your needs, you have to earn the Grace of Purusha. Not realizing this truth, some people embark on the exploitation of Nature, out of arrogance and self-conceit.

Ravana sought Sita (who is Prakriti, since she was the daughter of the Earth, discovered by Janaka in the furrow on the field he was ploughing). However, he did not first win the Grace of Rama, the Purusha (God), who is the master of Nature. Therefore, he brought untold disaster on his head and on the heads of all his kinsmen, clan, and followers.

Human today is basing own life on reliance on Nature, forgetting God. This is a grievous mistake. You must place your faith in God, who is the prime supporter of Nature, and enjoy what Nature provides.

Look at the modern attempts to understand God by concentrating on exploring the secrets of Nature.

The scientific method is the foundation of modern science. It is a process for making observations, recording data, and analyzing data that can be duplicated by other scientists. Science is powerful, but it cannot explain everything.

However, the effort should be to realize that Nature has come from God. You have to turn your mind from the mundane to the Divine, from Nature to Nature's God. Admittedly, the phenomenal world presented by Nature is true. The Spirit is also true. Human's journey is not from untruth to truth but from a lesser truth to a higher Truth.

Often devotees make a distinction between personal duties and service to the Divine. They look upon worship, meditation the like as Divine service. What they do for their families and friends they accept as personal duties. Hence, there is no meaning in making a distinction between one kind of work and another.

In any business in which you engage yourself, treat it as God's work. This is known as bhava-adwaitha (adwaithic attitude or attitude of oneness).

Be vigilant, even while engaged in little tasks. Maintain silence, in the recesses of the heart, as well as outside. The Gita says, God's hands and feet are everywhere. Develop the awareness of God, see Him, and serve Him in every living being.

You have the instance of people in different bodies, with different forms and names. Nevertheless, irrespective of these differences, they are basically made up of the same five elements. These elements are aspects of the Paramatma (the Supreme Self, Over Soul). Why then should any distinctions be made in our activities between different persons constituted by the same common elements?

Together with bhava-adwaitha, you should have kriya-adwaitha (the unitary attitude to work). This means that whatever work you do should be dedicated to God. All such actions become thereby sanctified and divinized, they acquire the unifying quality of holiness.

When you begin to enquire into the fundamental basis of all objects, you find that it is only one. This quality is padartha-adwaitha (non-dualism relating to objects).

When bhava-adwaitha, kriya-adwaitha and padartha-adwaitha are properly understood, we can have a vision of the basic Reality. Then the omnipresence of the Divine can be experienced.

Engage in some work which will take you out of your narrow self into the vaster magnificence; some task where you dedicate the fruit of karma to God, where you devote your time and energy to share your joy, skill, or knowledge with fellow-men.

Alternatively, keep yourself surrounded always by persons devoted to the higher life; persons who will encourage you to move forward along the road towards the goal. By these means, you can achieve cleansing of the mind, so that the Truth can be clearly reflected therein. Sathsang (company of pious and holy people) leads gradually to withdrawal from the entangling activities. (When a cold bit of coal is placed in the midst of glowing cinders, and when the fire is fanned, the coal too gets glowing with fire). Jnana-agni or the Fire of Wisdom operates similarly.

(Reet's compilation from. Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.1. "The wise ryot," Chapter 14; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "Diminish desires," Chapter 11; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.12. "Full circle or half circle?" Chapter 30 ; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.12. "To those who are Mine," Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.12. "The second visit," Chapter 32; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 22. "The One in the many," Chapter 17; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 33. "Happiness In Union With God," Chapter 17).

Namaste - Reet

Swami teaches... 11 - 13 October 2007

Part 1. Efforts for Inner Transformation

Success, health or happiness ect., is not a game of chance. It springs from deep within us, from our deepest thoughts and beliefs.

One person cannot change the whole world, but he/she can change him/herself. After this action, pictorially as a new world is born for this person.

The sage Thyagaraja asked: "Is wealth the source of happiness or serving the Lotus feet of Rama?" Real Ananda (Bliss) can be won only by means of the transformation of the impulses that agitate the mind. It is not to be found in wealth.

Constant dwelling with the Name of the Lord gives unshakeable happiness and peace, unaffected by the vicissitudes of life. Attach yourself to Him; then your attachment for these temporary objects will fall off; or at least, you will start seeing them in their proper proportion as having only relative reality.

Human carries the twin burdens of joy and grief tied to the ends of a single pole slung across shoulders. Courage is the tonic for getting both physical as well as mental health and strength. Do not give any chance for these to strike root in your mind. Pray that you may carry your duty well. God will certainly answer your prayer. Knock, the doors of Grace will open. Open the door - the Sun’s rays waiting outside will flow silently in and flood the room with light.

Human being by means of the inner Divine strength with which he/she is equipped, can achieve anything; he/she can even become Madhava (God, name for Krishna).

As it is said, Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavathi (the knower of Brahman becomes verily Brahman). If you perceive yourself as Divine, you become Divine. If you consider yourself a human being, you will remain so.
There is the Atmic Principle in you. To recognize this Atma, you have to keep your heart pure and empty. To help you to give up hesitation, fear, and doubt, keep the Name of the Lord always on your tongue and in your mind. Dwell on the endless forms of the Lord, His limitless Glow, while you repeat the Name.

(When you get violent and angry with any one, quietly repeat the name of the Lord to overcome it or drink a glass of cold water or spread your bed and lie down until the fit of fury passes. Five minutes of anger damages the relationship for five generations, remember).

In your heart, there is the symbol of Atmarama, the Rama that confers eternal joy. So, it is joyfully to repeat the name Rama, the Sun that can make the lotus in the heart bloom. Rama is not only the son of Emperor Dasaratha but of the ruler of the dhasha indriyas (ten senses). Name 'Rama' has a form and you should picture the form also when you repeat the Name; then the name becomes concrete and japam (soft prayer or repetition of the name of God) is easier.

By ancient story Narada (sage-bard; traveled the world chanting Narayana; famous for creating disputes, resulting in solutions for the spiritual advancement or victory of the virtuous; author of texts on dharma) one day boasted before Vishnu /the Preserver in the trinity of Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu and Shiva (the Destroyer)/ that no devotee could excel him. However, this boast was against the very first qualification of a bhaktha - freedom from egoism. So, Vishnu spoke of a ryot , who was tilling his little plot of land as a greater devotee and recommended that Narada should visit him and learn 'the art of devotion' from him. Narada felt badly humiliated; but he proceeded to the village.

He found the ryot engrossed in his round of duties on the field, in the cattle shed and at home. In spite of the most vigilant watch, he could not hear him speak the name of the Lord more than thrice a day, once when he woke up from bed, another time when he took his midday meal and the last, when he retired for the night. Narada was naturally incensed that he was deemed inferior to this poor, pale specimen of a bhaktha. He was always singing melodiously the leelas (the Divine sport) of the Lord and spreading everywhere the message of devotional singing of the Lord's name and here was a hornyhanded son of the soil who remembered the Lord only three times a day, whom Vishnu judged superior to him.

Narada hurried to heaven, his face flushed with anger and ignominy; but Vishnu only laughed at his plight. He gave him a pot full to the brim with water and asked him to carry it on his head and go round a certain course without spilling even a drop. Narada did so, but when asked how often he had remembered the Name of the Lord, he admitted that in his anxiety to walk without shaking the pot and spilling the water, he had forgotten the Name completely.

Then Vishnu told him that the ryot who was carrying on his head more precious and more spill able burdens than a pot of water and who had to be careful not to take any false step, must perforce be admired for remembering the Lord at least three times a day.

Do not give up your worldly duties, but do them with the name of God on your lips. When you spend your hours in thoughts about God, you are free from evil ways. You will not be tempted to abuse others or harm them in any way. Do not involve yourselves in the affairs of your neighbors or others to the extent that you get so entangled you cannot extricate yourselves.

Nevertheless, worry and grief there will always be, of one type or other, in the past, present and future: while walking, dreaming, and sleeping. However, place faith in the Lord and do your tasks as dedicated to Him and they both will vanish. Accept all the events of life as His Gifts. Force your mind to breathe the grander atmosphere of the eternal by reminding it of God and His Glory, every second, with every breath, when you repeat any one of His Names. Hearts dedicated to these noble ideals are indeed golden.

Everyday before you begin work, pray to the Lord a few minutes at least; and, at the end of the day, when the work is over, offer grateful thanks to Him.

View the beauties of nature that are spread out before you in earth and sky; green expanses of the crops you have raised, cool breezes that waft contentment and joy, the panorama of colored clouds, the music of the birds. Sing the glories of the Creator as you walk along the bunds of the fields and the banks of the canals. Do not talk hatefully; do not disturb the sky with your shouts and curses.

Shine your light in the world and do what you love. We all have different unique talents to offer the world. What the world needs is work done in spirit. Remember always that it is easy to do what is pleasant; but it is difficult to be engaged in what is beneficial. Not all that is pleasant is profitable. Success comes to those who give up the path strewn with roses, and brave the hammer-blows and sword-thrusts of the path fraught with danger.

There are spiritual guides with many different various names. Because of this, human’s mind gets confused. However, there is only one Divinity. Stick to any one God of your choice and hold firm to it. Unnecessarily, do not go around to various places, confuse yourself, and ruin your faith.

If you keep transplanting a sapling from one place to another frequently, how can it grow healthily into a tree? You have to plant it in one place and feed it with fertilizer and water regularly until it grows into a firm, strong tree. This is true devotion. If you keep changing your spiritual guides frequently, your devotion gets adulterated. Trust that God is in all, but if one keeps on changing from one God to another, it is false devotion.

Worship God in any form or with any name. In fact, God has thousands of names and a myriad forms. Worshipping the Lord with a thousand names, you should be fully aware there is a single Divinity you are addressing.

Therefore, your mind should be focused on God. Consider this as lock and here is the key. Put the key in the lock and turn it to the right and the lock opens; turn it to the left and it is locked. Your heart is the lock and your mind is the key. Turn your mind to God and you are free. Turn it to the world and you are bound. Our mind is constantly turned towards the world.

Of course, the world is there, but our experience in this world is impermanent, ephemeral. There is only one truth and that is spiritual. To become spiritual is to ‘merge’. The worldly life is as if a ‘marriage’ no, not even a marriage, actually a ‘mirage’, an illusion. A mirage is visible but there is no reality behind it.

This Asthipanjaram (skeletal cage or body) is the Hasthinapuram (capital city of the Pandavas and earlier the Kauravas), where we have the blind king, Dhritharashtra (father of Kauravas), holder of ruling power, the symbol of ignorance as well as Yudhistira (eldest brother of the Pandavas; also called Dharmaraja) the symbol of Wisdom.

Let the forces of Yudhishtira win, with the help of Krishna; let the tongue, accustomed to the bitterness of the margosa /A large tree of the genus Melia (M. Azadirachta) found in India; Its bark is bitter, and used as a tonic/ fruit of worldly triumphs and disasters, taste the sweet honey of remembering of Lord's Name. Experiment this for a time and you will be surprised at the result. You can feel the vast improvement in peace and stability, in you and around you.

Learn this easy lesson, get immersed in joy and let others also share that joy with you.

Individual effort and Divine Grace are both interdependent; without effort, there will be no conferment of Grace; without Grace, there can be no taste in the effort. To win that Grace, you need only have faith and virtue.

Your devotion must be such that God seeks you. Like a child crying ceaselessly till the mother rushes to pacify it, like a calf calling for its mother-cow, the devotee should feel the yearning for His coming.

Spiritual discipline is based on faith in the unity of all beings based on the all-pervasive immanent indwelling Atma. We are all the limbs of that One Cosmic Body, the Purusha, who is far more expansive than the Universe. The Universe is but a small fraction of His Splendor. You are the Cosmic Consciousness, God; temporarily in the role of 'I.' The body-mind-complex is the instrument to be utilized for that Will. This is the message of Rig Veda. (first Veda composed by the sages, consisting of 1028 hymns. Oldest religious text in world).

Keep this thought in your mind, “I am not a mere human, I am the embodiment of God.”

In garland, quickest to strike the eyes are the flowers, while the thread upon which they are strung has to be inferred; it is not so patent. Nevertheless, without it, they will all fall off. So too, without that bond in Brahman (the Supreme Absolute, i. e. Creator, i. e. God, i.e. Cosmic Consciousness), we will fall off as unrelated entities. The Divine current flows through each one and activates each. On that Ekam (One), all anekam (many) - is strung. Based on the Great One, the many secure support.

Conscience is deathless. The Universal Consciousness has neither birth nor death. It has no beginning, middle, or end.

(How can you comprehend such an entity? All your conceptions are mere reflections of this reality).

So, you are not the body, the mind, the intellect, the brain, the heart, the denotable diminutive ego. You are the Infinite Universal Absolute. You have to get yourselves established firmly, unshakeably in this awareness. Paramahamsas (ascetics of the highest order) have that awareness. Every one can attain that state; it is your destiny, your duty to yourself.

Sage Viswamitra performed intense penance and revealed the sacred Gayatri Mantra that is prefixed with the triple syllable Bhur Bhuvah Suvah. Bhur represents materialisation, Bhuvah - vibration and Suvah - radiation.

The Universe is entirely constituted out of these three components. Radiation is Divinity, vibration is the life principle, and materialization is the body. All these three are in you. When you recognize these realities, you achieve your humanness. Do not get too much attached to your body. So long as you are alive, naturally you must keep your body in a healthy condition as without body spiritual awareness is impossible.

For Karma Yoga, body is the basis.
For meditation and worship, mind is the basis.
For realization, heart is the basis.
You must recognize the unity of all these three.

The world is a furnace and factory, where human has to shape destiny by his honest untiring efforts. One, who takes up this challenge and spends the allotted years and the skill and intelligence with which he/she is endowed, in purposeful activity, is really entitled to the status of Karma Yogi.

The entire humanity of the world is a single family. Individual’s existence is a reflection of the world’s condition. Whether you are an atheist or a theist, youth or aged, you should recognize that you are all part of the single race of humanity. You have to develop human values. Without this, you are human merely in form not in fact.

Keep the heart pure, unsullied by evil or vice. Let the rays of Love illumine it. Let the foul bats of hatred and greed fly away from the cavity of your hearts; let the clean air of mutual cooperation and help render the cavity safe and sweet.

(Reet's compilation from. Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.1. "The wise ryot," Chapter 14; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "Diminish desires," Chapter 11; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.12. "Full circle or half circle?" Chapter 30 ; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.12. "To those who are Mine," Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.12. "The second visit," Chapter 32; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 22. "The One in the many," Chapter 17; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 33. "Happiness In Union With God," Chapter 17).

Namaste - Reet

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