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Swami teaches....Part 119

Links to Swami Teaches - Part 118

 Light and Love

Swami teaches... February - March 2008

Part 3. Shivarathri Is the Time for Auspicious Spiritual Contemplation

When you have faith in yourself, you will have faith in God. Realize that there is nothing beyond the power of God. Love God with that supreme faith. Then you will be drawn towards God.

It needs purity. A magnet cannot attract a piece of iron covered with rust. Similarly God will not draw to Himself an impure person. Hence, change your feelings and thoughts and develop the conviction that God is everything. God will not give you up when you have this conviction. Look around, Swami has a myriad eyes who all are Divine as your own eyes.

For this you have to get the conviction that God is omnipresent. When you have that conviction, you will not indulge in falsehood or practice deception, you will not abuse others or cause harm to them, you will acquire all virtues.

"So we have to start from the position that we are children of God, encourage people to assimilate that great truth, and then to understand the implications – specifically that we are all channels of expression and experience of God, with the freewill to learn by experience." Adrian Cooper, author of the book "Our Ultimate Reality."

Jnana (knowledge) is usually associated with two ways of acquisition - the worldly or the material and the spiritual or Brahman path. The worldly path is like a pair of scissors. It cuts knowledge into pieces. The Brahman path is like a needle - it makes the separate parts into One and indivisible.

The sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) must be aware of both. When you declare a person to be a jnani (liberated person), he/she has passed through these two stages. (However, one thing is to know the path, quite another thing to walk on it).

Those who have studied the Vibhuthi Yoga in the Bhagavath Gita will know the infinity of forms which the Lord assumes. If one has faith that the Lord is present in the atom, one will have a vision of the Lord even in the atom. (But if you make a distinction between different objects, treat some as pure and others as impure, you will not get that vision).

A sculptor creates an idol out of a rock. Because of the form given to it, it is installed in a temple and worshipped. In fashioning the idol, the sculptor chisels away many chips of stone. The chips may proclaim verily their kinship with the idol worshipped in the temple. They may say: "You and we are one. The only difference is, you have a form and we have none."

Thus, the Divine exists both in the form and in the "formless". Most people look at all things from the worldly point of view. Change the angle of your vision. When you practice seeing the world from the point of view of the omnipresence of the Divine, you will get transformed. Reverse the Maya Reality's 'machine' centered point of view and turn it into the Divine-person-centered point of view.

(The reason most people don't manifest what they could, is that they do not feel what they deserve. Nearly all of us have an inferiority complex. We don't know who we truly are. In addition, there are many people who think the Universe revolves around them and they themselves are the centre.

Many humans also have no control over their own thoughts, often choosing to focus on the evidence provided by their own physical eyes, often focusing on negative things, thinking the worst. Such persons, as a rule, have been slaves of own negative thoughts and desires and different kinds of material values).

A decade ago astronomers made the revolutionary discovery that the expansion of the Universe is speeding up.

The quickening expansion will eventually pull galaxies apart faster than light, causing them to drop out of view. In short, it erases all the signs that a big bang ever occurred.

What knowledge has the Universe already erased? This scientific scenario truly reaches to the limits of conscious thinking. Science or the study of observable sensory matter, of measurable and calculable items, can give incomplete information. (The sea has pearls in its depths; but, you have to dive into it to secure them. The waves throw out only shells).

All the Universe can exist only in unity with the diverse qualities and quantities of infinite vibrations. (Even hard crystals have phonons, the vibrational modes of crystals).

Through modern scientific knowledge and scientific experiments one may reach closer to Vedic wisdom and Swami's Teaching. It may be so and also may be not.

All depends on the spiritual values and quality of thoughts of scientists and spiritual seekers who searching Swami's Cosmic form through science. But very often they forget to look within own Self. With every breath Swami's Cosmic Form as remembers to us His existence, and as asks to revise own thoughts, which are pinpointers for our words and deeds.

Always keep your thoughts fixed on the infinite Divine power. The more you contemplate on the Divine, the more and more the bliss gets multiplied. Whatever may be the experience in everyday life, the Reality is one, though it may be called by endless names.

All what exists and what less or more changes is the Divine Will, nothing will happens outside this, even the scientific extraordinary ideas and experiments. Unity in diversity exists not only among material forms but also among humans minds who are too part of the Great One. No, they are more than only a part. Human's consciousness is a co-creator, holographic pattern, fingerprint of the Cosmic, Universal Consciousness, alias Creator, Swami's Cosmic Form.

For decades, the Standard Model of particle physics has served physicists well as a means of understanding the fundamental laws of Nature, but it not enough complete as all other scientific discoveries.

It seems, that new the scientific experiments in CERN* what will begin in spring-summer 2008, will bring us closer to the Great One, to the unity in endless diverse forms of all what exist through science. (By the way, on the entrance to CERN is a sculpture "Dance of Shiva").

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest machine in the world - a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground.

At full power, trillions of protons will race around the LHC accelerator ring 11 245 times a second, traveling at 99.99% the speed of light. Two beams of protons will each travel at a maximum energy of 7 TeV (tera-electronvolt), corresponding to head-to-head collisions of 14 TeV. About 600 million collisions will take place every second.

LHC originally conceived in the 1980s and approved for construction by the CERN Council in late 1994. Civil engineering work to excavate underground caverns to house the huge detectors for the experiments started in 1998 and practically ended in the beginning of 2008.

The six distinct experiments (characterized by its unique particle detector) at the LHC are all run by international collaborations. Below is the very brief background some of these experiments.

Each atom contains a nucleus composed of protons and neutrons, surrounded by a cloud of electrons. Protons and neutrons are in turn made of quarks which are strongly bound together by other particles called gluons.

Physicists hope that under these conditions they created, the protons and neutrons will 'melt', freeing the quarks from their bonds with the gluons. This should create a state of matter called quark-gluon plasma, which probably existed just after the Big Bang.

The other experiments will be looking for differences between matter and antimatter, possibility the formation the Black Holes and hypothetical extra dimensions in laboratory conditions.

(We live in a world of matter. Antimatter is like a twin version of matter, but with opposite electric charge. At the birth of the Universe, equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been produced in the Big Bang. But when matter and antimatter particles meet, they annihilate each other, transforming into energy. Maybe, a tiny fraction of matter must have survived to form our Universe).

One of the experiments forward particles created inside the LHC as a source to simulate cosmic rays in laboratory conditions. This experiment will help to understand why we live in a Universe that appears to be composed almost entirely of matter, but not antimatter.

Which conclusions and questions follows from the LHC experiments in the field of spiritual development?

May be the LHC experiments show to scientists that quark-gluon mixture is the first 'soup' of Creation after Big Bang... but what was before and more and more before...? Anybody cannot find answer to this. Being a holographic patterns of Creator we (humans) cannot peep beyond and inside Creator. Humans can analyze only the fruits of Creation from tiny bricks in atoms to human brain and galaxies.

But it is possible, LHC experiments (far to discover ‘God’ particle) can quite pictorially show that all Creation is connected with infinite invisible ties. These experiments will show the reality these ties with energy, particles, strings, etc., which all by spiritual outlook are the expressions of Atma.

There is a wish that through these new kind experiments scientists must commit to a new, spiritual-based responsibility.

But how do scientific, political and economical leaders embrace the humans development from a spiritual basis? Many of them worked with a large number of international groups to produce the Earth Charter - a UN initiative calling for establishing an cultural- ethical foundation for the emerging society and to help build a sustainable world based on respect for nature, universal human values and rights, economic justice, and peace.

It seems that a new planetary civilization is beginning to emerge. It must generate a spiritual and ethical consciousness consistent with its geographical, ecological, intellectual, social, and economic level.

Swami's Works and His Will (through different aspects) are in the role of the key for transformation the world on a global, universal spirituality.

The main task towards a humankinds’ spiritual awareness would be a deep respect for the diversity of cultures and life around the world. That expresses itself in and through human values, compassion, tolerance, justice, environmental protection.

It will embrace an ethic of respect for other traditions and an openness to learn from others, while remaining faithful to its own particularity.

There is a deep need to build a sustainable, and peaceful community of humans and to protect the planet's ecological systems. In and through this process, the modern world created by science, technology, and globalization has an opportunity to find its spiritual centre.

Where is a center, then there is easy to build around it different constructions, be they scientific, cultural, economic, social...

Vedas teaches the basic spiritual laws of existence, Swami teaches to look far beyond of emotional attachments towards emotional freedom. Recent scientific experiments has reached close to the truth that all the Universe is connected into one entity on the subatomic level.

From Atmic point of view there is no place like home...

Our true "home" we reside is an atmic-energetic experience beyond all forms. It is interesting to dare to experience the joy and pleasure of simply being alive.

Black holes lose matter through the emission of energy via a process discovered by Stephen Hawking, worldly known today’s physicist. However, any black hole that cannot attract matter, will shrink, evaporate and disappear.

I fancy that when one is not attached to the material animated or unanimated objects, with sincere faith and belief, then the different 'black holes' (envy, angry, fear, anxiety, and so on...) what human mind is ever 'creating' also will shrink, evaporate and disappear. Faith and belief seems to be fundamental to this process.

By laws of Creation (the Divine Will) humans are an infinite aspects of Atma and share the same infinite creative characteristics of Atma even through scientific spirited experiments. Humans are limited only by their capacity of thought supported by faith and belief. That is why Swami always underlines the significance of faith and belief.

With faith in our Atmic nature, being supported by Unconditional Love, Gratitude and belief in the creative power of Cosmic Consciousness anything is possible inside (not beyond) the diverse forms of Creation and their relations with each other.

(Reet's compilation from: Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 9. "Thieves or Masters?" Chapter 4; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 14. "The four blemishes," Chapter 15; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 16. "Build temple in your hearts," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks.Vol. 21. "Bhaktha Sakhaa Bhagavan!" Chapter 17; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 28. "Idol worship and God Omnipresence," Chapter 4).

References:
CERN-Brochure-2008-001-Eng. Communication Group, January 2008.
http://lhc-milestones.web.cern.ch/LHC-Milestones/Flash/LHCMilestones-en.html
(Wait a little, when it downloads. Click to the indicator below; you can read popular history of LHC from this idea in1980 - to 2008).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Charter#History

PS:
*CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research or in France - Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire.’

FYI: Studies into the safety of high-energy collisions inside particle accelerators have been conducted in both Europe and the United States by physicists who are not themselves involved in experiments at the LHC.

Namaste -Reet


Swami teaches... February - March 2008

Part 2. Shivarathri Is the Time for Auspicious Spiritual Contemplation

A person who is in a state of ignorance about the Self is like the bud of a flower that has not yet blossomed. When the flower blossoms, it sheds its fragrance all round. Likewise, the human being who has realized the Divinity within becomes a source of light and strength. (But today almost every activity of human is motivated by self-interest. It is opposed to the Divinity that is immanent in human. Without realizing this Divinity, how one can to achieve peace internally or in the world outside)?

We have all the creative power of God, but only to the extent that we can realize God within.

Reality is infinitely complex, so we filter it down into manageable chunks with our stage of spiritual or worldly values, our attitudes, our feelings, our motivations.

Spiritual education must provide illumination; the darkness of ignorance and the dusk of doubt have to flee before that splendor. Then it is easy to cultivate good thoughts, feelings and impulses of the gratitude to co-travelers in the brightness of heart.

Or, as some perverted persons do, bad thoughts, bad feelings and bad impulses can be bred in the original darkness itself. The first is the Rama path, the second, the Ravana path.

Whether in olden times or nowadays, there have always been some persons who indulged in calumny against Avatars and good people and derided the good actions done by them.

Here is an example from the life of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

Ramakrishna's disciples had to go by boat across the Ganga to get whatever was required for his ashram. Ramakrishna used to assign different tasks each day for the young disciples in the ashram. One of them was a gentle youth known as Brahmananda. The other Narender was an aggressive and short-tempered youth.

One day Brahmananda went by boat to bring provisions for the ashram. As soon as they saw an ochre-robed person in the boat, the other passengers got very indignant. They started abusing Ramakrishna Prahmahamsa in various ways. They remarked: "He is a pseudo-sanyasi. He is spoiling all young men," and so on. Brahmananda silently shed tears, remembering the teachings of the master. During the trip he was apprehensive about what might happen. On the return trip, the earlier story was repeated. He listened silently to the abuse leveled against Ramakrishna and did not venture to quarrel with them. After his return, Ramakrishna asked him to narrate what all had happened.

After listening to Brahmananda's pathetic story, Swami Ramakrishna burst out:

"How could you remain silent while your guru was being reviled? You have committed a sin." Narender who was standing nearby, listened to the angry words of the Master. Brahmananda fell at the feet of the Master and pleaded for forgiveness.

The next day, it was Narender's turn to go by boat to buy provisions. As soon as they saw an ochre-robed youth in the boat, the other passengers started abusing Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

One rich man accused Ramakrishna of spoiling young men by his teachings. Narender remembered what the guru had said the previous day, rose from his seat and gave a slap on the cheek of the reviler. Narender was a strong, powerful person. He told the traducer: "Will you keep your mouth shut? You may have your likes and dislikes and we have ours. What right have you to condemn us? If you do not keep silent, I shall hurl you into the Ganga."

Everyone in the boat got alarmed that the irate youth might actually carry out the threat. All of them became silent. Narender brought the provisions and returned by boat to the ashram. On the return journey no one ventured to open his mouth.

Ramakrishna asked Narender to relate what all happened during his boat trip. Narender related what all had happened and said: "All of them kept their mouths shut after I had slapped one of them for criticizing the guru." Immediately Swami Ramakrishna observed: "Chi! Chi! How unbecoming of you to dishonor the robe you are wearing by losing your temper, exhibiting hatred and causing hurt to a person. What does it matter what anyone says? How does it affect us? Their praise or censure will not touch us.

Narender pleaded: "Swami! I was listening yesterday to what you had said to Brahmananda. Because of that, I behaved in this manner. You took him to task for remaining passive. You take me to task for retaliating. I am unable to understand what is the proper thing to do."

Ramakrishna explained his divergent reactions by another example. He said, "There are four tyres for a car. What should be the pressure in the front tyre and the rear tyres have been laid down. If there is excessive pressure in some tyres, it should be reduced. If some tyres have low pressure, they have to be inflated. Only then the car will run smoothly. Narender suffers from excessive pressure. He requires to be deflated. Brahmananda is excessively weak, so he has to be inflated."

The teachings of the masters vary according to the condition of the disciples.

Likewise, in the Bhagavad Gita or other scriptures, statements might appear which seem to contradict each other. These differences relate to differences in circumstances and requirements of the person concerned. You should not contrast one statement of the Swami with another and ask why them is a contradiction between the different statements.

In the Gita itself, in one place, Krishna stresses the need for action, at another the adherence to Dharma, and in another place commends renunciation of all Dharma and urges complete surrender to the Lord. These apparent contradictions are not contradictions. The teaching varies according to the state of spiritual development of the person concerned and the situation in which he is placed.

The inner significance of the great teachings of the Avatars and sages should be properly understood before any criticism is attempted. No room should be given for logic chopping or verbal controversies.

You have to observe only two things: adhere to Truth and cultivate Love.

People talk much about the search for truth in their worldly life. What is this search? Consider this example. Your eyes see the mother, the child, the wife, the cook, and the daughter-in-law. The eyes are the same but they see different persons with different emotions. The search for truth means seeing everything in its own true, specific nature. All the persons may be feminine and the eyes that see them are one and the same. But to find out the truth one has to determine how he should view each person in relation to that person's state.

Truth resides in you. It is the appropriate application to specific objects which determines what is true. (More correctly relatively true, from aspect of Atmic Reality).

You have to recognize that these Divine attributes, Truth and Love, exist equally in all beings. Develop the sense of equal-mindedness and equal regard for all. This is the true sadhana. Cultivate Love for the Divine and share that love with all beings.

Those attached to God, aspiring for God, aware of God, adoring God have certain distinct marks by which they can be identified. Such people have a compassionate heart.

The Truth about the omnipresence of the Divine was evident to the Gopikas who sang in praise of Krishna:
O Krishna! How can anyone know your mystery?

You are subtler than the atom and
vaster than the vastest thing in the world!
You are present in myriads of beings in this
vast universe in innumerable forms.
How can we ever know you?
"You are a thief among thieves, a good man among the good. You manifest the qualities of the object in which you dwell. You are everything."

The sages addressed all human beings as Children of Immortality. (But, in spite of this definite assurance and the inexhaustible joy that can be experienced therefore, human degrades him/herself into an children of falsehood).

Thieves who rob human of valuable treasures, like peace and contentment, equipoise and courage, are being honored as masters and masters who ensure peace and happiness are treated with irreverence and disgust.

The thieves - lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and hate - are honored as welcome guests and the real well-wishers like tranquility and humility are shown the door.

(That is the state of human today. Human craves for peace, but, does not know how to attain it).

Human must be sincere; the word must be in conformity with the feeling, the action must be in conformity with the word. Resolve on this practice, at least from today of holy Shivarathri. Do not be false to yourself.

Swami asks to cleanse his/her mind of four blemishes before he/she can overcome the disaster that is fast overtaking him/her.

They are ashraddha, krodha, avishwasam and chintha - (lack of steady interest, anger, faltering faith in oneself and a perpetual sense of worry).

It is said that the person endowed with shraddha (steady interest) gains jnana (wisdom). How can jnana be won by half-hearted dedication?

(Most of young people and many adults also today is very flighty; they are carried away by fantasies, whims and fancies. They are reluctant to dive deep into the truth of themselves or the outer world. They run after the sheets of water they perceive in mirages; can glow-worms light, a lamp? Frivolities and fancies cannot grant peace and happiness; what is really worth while has to be discovered first; then, steady effort must follow to gain them).

Krodha (anger) is deadly poison. It affects others by its fumes, manifested through the eye, the tongue and the hands. The seed of a poison tree sprouts into a poisonous plant and when it becomes a big tree, its leaves, flowers and fruits will be certainly poisonous. So too, the person addicted to anger can only emanate poison, through thought, word and deed. An angry thought is like a pebble thrown into the calm waters of the manasa-sarovar (mind-lake), inside human. It creates a circular effect which spreads through the entire lake.

Strive by all means to prevent the poison entering your mental make-up.

The significant handicap is avishwasam (weak faith in oneself). Now, you have faith in the body and its appurtenances and not in the inner motivator, the charioteer.

That is why faith falters when some minor calamity happens. Contemplate on the impermanence of wealth, fame, worldly friendship, etc.

(Many have no interest and knowledge of the-eternal, the changeless, the ever-blissful).

Swami asks you to cultivate faith in the value of seva; believe that love can overcome hatred. Have faith in righteousness and the moral life. This is called dharma (righteousness) since, dhara means that which is worn, that which envelops, etc.

Overcome 'chintha' (the habit of sliding into worry and despot). Once this weed takes root in the mind, it assumes many forms to assert its hold. Every stage of life is fraught with anxiety; every step in the progress is a cause for worry.

(In fact, birth, death, old age, illness, every one of these multiply worries of their own. How to get sleep is a cause for worry; how to get up from the bed is another worry. Today admission to colleges causes worry; admission to the hostel is another worry; the examination causes worry. But these are matters that are not essential. They need not cause so much heart-burning as the problem of removing the fundamental error in the thought process - the ignoring of the Divine that inspires and guides you always and for ever.

When you cultivate the attitude that you are the body, the body will demand from you more food, more variety in food, more attention to appearance and physical comfort.

It is only when sacred thoughts of brotherliness, devotion, dedication and discipline are cultivated that Swami can be installed in our hearts.

We build our future thought by thought,
For good or ill, yet know it not.
Yet, so the Universe was wrought.
Thought is another name for fate;
Choose, then, thy destiny and wait,
For love brings love and hate brings hate.
(Henry Van Dyke)

Thoughts are as things. Pictorially we can create a thought as surely as we can create a mail, and once created there is no telling where this thought may stop or how lasting its action may be.

If these thoughts are good, they return to us with the added happiness, gratitude and power which they have accumulated from others.

Evil thoughts come back to us in the same way with added power of evil and cruelty.

In a similar way the power of the will may be used for good or for evil, as the case may be, and it has a great power in both directions.

It all depends into which channel one directs the energy of this will.

"We must learn to know ourselves, to preserve a just and careful balance of judgment, sympathy, understanding and intuition" (Adrian Cooper).

Education connected with educare does not end with the accumulation of information; it must result in transformation of the habits, character and aspirations of the individual. Knowledge has to be tested in daily actions.

(Now, human being is interested in everyone except own Self. If only human becomes aware of own Self, he/she can have vast strength, deep peace and great joy added unto him/herself).

Science has provided human with the radio, the television set, internet, cinema, etc. They are each useful and productive of good, if each one is manipulated by persons with a pure social consciousness and with love in their hearts.

Individual, society and the world - all the three are inextricably inter-connected. The individual's welfare is dependent on the state of the nation. Everyone should strive to develop his spiritual qualities and utilise them for promoting the interests of the community and the country.

But, when the devices of technical progress are in the hands of people with no high moral standards, who find in them tools for amassing money and so, they have become enemies of human progress).

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty" (Albert Einstein).

Some of the biggest cosmological questions in the Universe depend on its shape. Is it curved? Is it flat? Is it open? (Those may not make that much sense to you, but in fact it’s very important for astronomers).

Some of the biggest questions in the spiritual Universe depend on human's the firm conviction that all - seen or unseen to human's eye - is Divine.

To know is the function of the mind. To act is the duty of the body. To remain as the Eternal Witness is the function of the Atma. Mind, body and Atma together constitute humanness. The Divine is present in all three.

(Reet's compilation from: Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 9. "Thieves or Masters?" Chapter 4; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 14. "The four blemishes," Chapter 15; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 16. "Build temple in your hearts," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks.Vol. 21. "Bhaktha Sakhaa Bhagavan!" Chapter 17; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 28. "Idol worship and God Omnipresence," Chapter 4).

Namaste -Reet


Swami teaches... February - March 2008

Part 1. Shivarathri Is the Time for Auspicious Spiritual Contemplation

Shivarathri is the Sacred Night. In the Night of this auspiciousness is the occasion for cherishing auspicious thoughts and praying for auspicious action and conduct in life.

Relying on the merely literal meaning of the words, people wait a whole year for this particular holy day in order to miss a meal and call it a fast, to miss a night's sloop and call it a vigil.

The fast is called in Sanskrit as Upavasa and it means something far more significant than missing a meal. It means living near and with God. Upavasa means living in the unbroken constant presence of the Lord, by Namansmarana or remembrance of Divinity; that is the real fast, holding fast to Him.

Keeping awake, shaking off the sleep of the senses and being fully aware of the Light of Love, that is the Divine essence in all.

The sages of the past have realized the value and dignity, the worth and responsibility, of human life and they have laid down disciplines like the vigil and fast on Shivarathri Day, in order to inspire human and instruct human, on the upward path to God.

Shivarathri is a word that connotes the dual nature of human and human's duty to discriminate between the higher and the lower. Shiva means jnana (the higher wisdom, the Unifying Universal Vision); it also means, the lasting, the timeless, and the beneficial, the holy, the auspicious. And the second word, 'rathri' means darkness of ignorance, the blind pursuit of tawdry pleasures, the bewildering of sensory joys. It also means the transitory, the fleeting; it connotes the maleficent, the inauspicious, the sacrilegious.

The message of Shivarathri is: discriminate between Shiva and rathri - the prana (life energy) and the body, the dehi (indwelling of spirit) and the deha (body), the spiritual and the material (kshetrajna and kshetra). /The last called in the Gita as vibhaga-yoga (the yoga of discrimination between matter and spirit)/.

Shake off the drowsiness and laziness, and practice the deep concentration in meditation and sadhana.
That is the main purpose of these holy days and the regulations laid down for their observance.

These holy days must be set apart for the contemplation of these great ideals with different approaches and topics directed by Swami.

The Upanishads have declared that through renunciation alone is immortality to be attained. The significance of yajna, dhama and thapas (sacrifice, self-control and penance), of sahana, sadhana, samyama (forbearance, spiritual discipline and restraint), of the great Mahavakyas (Divine maxim on Absolute Reality, Vedic dicta) enshrined in the Vedas, of the three yogas - bhakthi, karma and jnana.

With increased spiritual development and spiritual life, we will perceive that nothing is really separated from anything else; that we are united in the Great One in infinite forms. We are united in the Atmic Reality, of which we form a part.

The entire phenomenal Universe what human being can perceive is a manifestation of the atoms. The five basic elements (space, air, water, fire and earth) are all made up of atoms and pervade the Universe. For this reason, the ancients regarded the Universe as a manifestation of God.

What is the origin of atoms, mass? Why do tiny particles weigh the amount they do? Why do some particles have no mass at all? These are questions what arise today before modern science.

Everything we see in the Universe, from butterfly to a galaxy, is made up of ordinary particles, referred to as matter, made up of atoms forming only 4% of the Universe. 96% is unknown to science dark energy* and dark matter*.

So the part of forms (atoms) in the Universe is about 4%. The other 96% is formless entity, what human being cannot directly perceive.

"There is an atomic particle subtler than the atom.
There is something vaster than
The vastest you can imagine.
The atom is in the immense and
The immense is in the atom.
The Atma is in the atom as the Spirit"
says a Telugu Poem by Swami.

The child Prahlada (by ancient scriptures son of the demon king Hiranyakasipu: he was beaten, trampled, and cast into fire and water. But he saw only God everywhere, and repetition of the Name of God saved him). realized the omnipresence of the Divine. He told his father: "Do not have any doubts that the Divine is present here and not there. He is omnipresent. You can find Him wherever you seek Him."

What Prahlada declared millennia ago, the scientists of today are near to accept, namely, that the energy that is present in the all-pervading atom is Divine.

Separateness ends with realization. Science and Vedanta say the same in substance by different aspects.

Scientists are tending to realize the basic unity of the energy that fills the Universe. Vedanta describes that Unity as Brahman (the Supreme all-pervading Absolute, Cosmic Consciousness). The terms used are different, but in substance they are saying the same thing; namely that the Great One subsumes the many. (About the absolutely new scientific experiments in 2008 - briefly in one of the next part).

With regard to divinity, there is no meaning in making a distinction between the Divine with form and the formless divinity. How can you conceive of the Formless Divine? You cannot avoid idol worship until you have experience of the Divine within you. The night of Shivarathri will remember it to you through Swami's Teaching.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once told a disciple - who asked why he (the disciple) was not able to see God - whether he yearned for God with the same intensity with which he sought many worldly things. If he did so, he would certainly have a vision of God.

When a similar question was put to Buddha, he said that without indulging in speculation about God if one practiced truth, righteousness and non-violence he would have the highest experience.

Let us look these two kinds of worship more properly.

Long before humans started exploring the secrets of the atom and discovering the nature of atomic energy, even before scientists began to understand the nature of spirituality, Bharatheyas worshipped the Bhuumi or Earth as Divine. Because the five elements were present in the Earth, they adored the Earth as Bhuudevi, the Earth Goddess. They worshipped water as Gangadevi, recognizing the Divine element in water. The Fire God comes next. The fourth is Vayudeva (the Lord of Wind). The fifth is Shabdha Brahman, the Divine as primal sound. Thus, all the five elements were considered manifestations of the Divine and worshipped as such by the ancient Bharatheyas.

Every atom has a form. There is no object in the Universe perceivable by humans without a form. By Vedic scriptures the form is vigraha (an expression of the Divine idol).

Swami tells. "I point my finger at the mike and say: this is a mike. After you have seen the mike, you don't need the finger to point it out. I point to a flower and say: this is a flower. After you have seen the flower, there is no need for the finger to point it."

Likewise, idols were used to point out God. Until God-realization comes, idols are essential. After God-realization there is no need for idols.

(After worshipping an idol and gaining experience of divinity by such worship, one would be able to describe one's experience of God by formless worship).

People in different countries over the world hoist the national flags and revere it. Before the National Flag could attain this status, many sacrificed their all for the freedom of the country.

(Indians went through all this suffering so that they could have their own flag in a free country. On August 15th and January 26th, the National Flag is hoisted all over the country and revered as the symbol of national freedom).

Moreover, people respect even their party flags. Is this flag animate? Has it any vitality or power in it? When you enquire like this you discover that it is the faith in the flag that makes it adorable.

Likewise, if the question is asked whether a stone idol that is worshipped has any life or consciousness in it, they will find the answer from the example of the honor done to the national flag.

How does a square yard of cotton cloth made into a flag acquire its value? The value is derived from the fact that the flag is a symbol of the victory achieved in the freedom struggle. That victory has no form. The flag demonstrates the achievement of that victory. Without the flag how do you demonstrate the victory in the freedom struggle?

Take another example. There is a 100-rupee note. It is lifeless. But you take good care of it because it represents wealth. Money as such has no qualities like goodness. But the possessor of money has qualities. Money is a symbol of power.

The fragrance emanating from a flower has no form, but the flower has a form.

Take love, for instance. It has no form. But the mother who exhibits love for her child has a form. If there is no mother, how can there be love?

The mother's body is a vigraha (embodied form). The preceptor's body is a form. Swami's body is a Form.
Among human society there can be no action without the body what is at the base of everything.

The term vigraha also means an idol that is an object of worship. Through them humans can realise the Divine.

The idols that are worshipped give the answers to those who go about asking, "Where is God?"

The truth is, God is present in every atom and in every subatomic particle. Every atom represents the power of the Divine. Every atom deserves to be worshipped. All objects in Creation have to be respected. People have to cultivate this feeling of reverence for all things.

In every religion there is a distinct form for worship. For example: Prakrithi (Nature). Nature has the power of attraction. It contains all the five elements. It is from Nature that we get our food. Nature is the source of all minerals. Nature is the sustainer of human being in ordinary life. That being the case, what is wrong in adoring Nature? Should we not be grateful to that which provides so many things for our needs? That gratitude is a form of worship.

Today scientists are trying to understand the power of attraction. Take, for instance, a temple. Thousands of people go to the temple for worship. The attractive power of temple extends to the idol in the sanctum. The thoughts of the worshippers are also attracted by the idol.

Thereby the power of attraction in the idol gets intensified. The rituals performed for the idol also enhance its power of attraction.

This process can be noticed if a couple of nails are kept near a magnet. After two days it will be found that the nails also have been magnetized. In the same manner when worshippers go to a temple the power goes forth from thousands of worshippers, the power or a action in the idol gets immensely intensified. The idol surcharged with this power is able to energize the worshippers.

In a home, there are pictures of grandparents and great-grandparents. The present generation has not seen them. But they offer garlands to the pictures and revere the ancestors. Is there life in the pictures? Do they exhibit any love? Do the pictures by themselves reveal any relationship? Not at all. But the pictures are revered out of the feeling that they represent one's ancestors. If such a loving feeling did not exist, the pictures will not be kept in the house. Likewise it is the attachment for an object that inspires respect and reverence. This is termed devotion. This devotion should be shown towards all objects because the Divine is in everything, in every atom. It may be difficult to cultivate such devotion without special forms.

What is the form of water? Here in this tumbler is some water and its form is derived from the tumbler.
Likewise air acquires the form of the balloon in which it is confined. Similarly when the body is filled with Divine energy, the Divine acquires the human form. The all-pervading Divine thus acquires the form in which it manifests itself.

What is the form of Ananda? Experience alone is the form of this bliss. This bliss can be experienced only by God-realization and not by any other means. Bliss is all-pervading, but it not visible. For that reason, its existence cannot be denied.

(By losing faith in the Divine, turning into unbelievers, moving away from bliss, people are becoming a prey to worry).

In conclusion, every person begins to learn about all objects only in relation to their forms. People could not easily conceive of God as omnipresent, who is in every object and in every individual. (Some were able to conceive that the atom is present in every, object and everywhere. But it was only some centuries ago that atomic physics came into existence).

In conclusion idol worship should not be regarded as a meaningless exercise. It is a good practice because on the basis of the idol the higher consciousness is attained.

With firm faith and devotion, after idol worship's experiences the realization of the Great One will appear as formless unity, as the fusion into this formless unity.

This divine power does not come from outside. It is within human beings. Our very form is Divine. That is why Swami often addresses people as "Embodiments of the Divine Atma."

(Hence, if you want to discover the Divine who is omnipresent there must be a change in outlook within you. When you realize your own inherent divinity, you will be able to recognize the divinity in others).

Worship of the formless is often misconceived. The ideal is to make your hearts the temples for the Divine to dwell. (But today jet this is not possible for everybody. Temples in stone are reminders of the existence of God). Ttrue worship consists in heartfelt devotion to the God within each one.

The temples erected in your hearts are permanent. When most of humans will realize the God within, then the sums spent on the construction of temples could be spent more usefully on service to the poor and the needy.

Learn to see in every living, vital, active person, the embodiment of all energy, all beauty, all beneficence, namely, God. God is subtler than ether, filling the smallest crevice with his majesty. Know this and serve his manifestations, wherever you meet them.

(Reet's compilation from: Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 9. "Thieves or Masters?" Chapter 4; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 14. "The four blemishes," Chapter 15; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 16. "Build temple in your hearts," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks.Vol. 21. "Bhaktha Sakhaa Bhagavan!" Chapter 17; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 28. "Idol worship and God Omnipresence," Chapter 4).

PS:
1. Dark energy was discovered in the late 1990s during a survey of distant supernova. (Instead of finding evidence that the mutual gravity of all the objects in the Universe is slowing down its expansion, researchers discovered that its expansion is actually accelerating).

2. Dark matter was first theorized back in 1933 by Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky. He noted that galaxies shouldn't be able to hold themselves together with just the regular matter we can see. There must be some additional, invisible matter surrounding the regular matter that provides the additional gravitational force to hold everything together.

Namaste - Reet


 

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