Swami teaches....Part 25
Light and Love
Swami teaches.... (29 - 30 April 2005)
Countless Spiritual Paths and Countless Vedhas
Once upon a time, since the vices of greed and vanity developed uncontrolled among people, the Vedha was so incensed and insulted that it took the form of a black deer and fled into the forests. At this, it is said, the Vedhic Pandiths, sages and scholars followed it with prayerful importunities; but, it would not return. They had to come back, with just the skin of the deer and be content with that remnant. These Rithwiks who officiate in this and other Vedhic rituals wear, as you can see, pieces of the skin of the black deer, to warn themselves against the recurrence of that catastrophe. They also take their seats on deerskins. Every act and gesture, every accent and tone of the Manthras has a meaning, traceable to the deep past and the experiences of the makers of Indian culture. The skin is called 'Charma' in Sanskrit. But, worn during the ritual it gives 'Sarma,' which means joy and enthusiasm, Aanandha and Sukha.
The Vedhas are countless - 'Anantho Vai Vedhaah,' it is said. Why countless Vedhas are necessary to lay down the path of spiritual progress? Let us take an example. To make a child understand the meaning of one word, the parent or teacher uses often a whole barrage of words. Explanation means elaboration, repetition, re-emphasising. So, to make clear to humans of average intelligence or no intelligence, it became necessary to have a number of supplementary or complementary texts and scriptures, and since their number is immense, they came to be known as Aanantha (countless). The aim of every Vedha, to lead people from the animal stage through the human into the height of divine self-realisation. The same purpose has Swami's Teaching what also is countless that every human being with different stage of intellect, education and development would find there guidelines for the realisation of the Self, for whatsoever spiritual and worldly experiences.
Vedha means 'that which makes you know.' The cosmic principle is amenable to the mystic formulae and sound patterns that the Manthras (sacred formulae) of the Vedhas represent; the four fundamental urges of human (Dharma, to be righteous; Artha, to earn and accumulate; Kaama, to desire and get the desires fulfilled; and Moksha, to expand and get liberated from the 'here and now' into the 'ever and everywhere') get sanctified and sustained by the Vedhic path.
The Vedhas elaborate the Sanaathana Shaashtra (the primal science of the spirit). That science results in the removal of ignorance, the gaining of knowledge; not the knowledge of material, worldly things, which changes and gets superseded every few years. It endows the seeker with the knowledge that is the key to the entire gamut of knowledge.
Nothing remains the same in the Nature even for a moment. The sweet dish that is cooked now becomes stale and stinking a few hours. Other types of changes happen in other fields, other things and beings.
Human not only expects these changes, but prepares also to face them. A new-born babe must grow in weight, in movement of limbs, in the intake of food, and the output of energy through activity. Or else, parents become anxious and run from doctor to doctor.
In a normal babe, there is no desire (except the instinctive desire for food, drink and maternal protection) to agitate it. The babe is the inheritor of immortality; so it is unaffected by anxiety, that haunts the adult. The babe is sheer equanimity - an unshaken as in state of Samachiththa.
In its philosophical sense Samachiththa means, a consciousness established in the absolute Brahman, and as a consequence, above and beyond the storms and stillness of the world of duality. This constant consciousness of the reality is the fruit of Yajna (selfless sacrifice), the Vedhic symbol of Thyaaga (renunciation) by Swami - "not by the intellect, nor by progeny, nor by wealth, but, only by renunciation can immortality be attained."
Without sacrificing, human cannot live. Every individual does undertake sacrifice but he does not know that he is sacrificing. One should have sacrifice as the aim and one should enquire into what is permanent and what is not permanent and enquire into what is to be given up and what is to be accepted. Looking at things from a worldly aspect, if we do not give out the breath that we take in we cannot live; if we do not give out the food that we take in after digesting it we cannot live; if the blood is not constantly moved from one place to another every instant we cannot live. That is why it is said that what you cannot get by your knowledge and effort can be got by sacrifice.
By the Vedic idea the good and the bad are obvious, only so long as the individual is not fully established in the truth that 'God is all'. Until that moment, the body dominates thought, desires haunt the mind, ego rules the intellect; so dualities lord over human. When one is sunk and saturated in God-consciousness, i.e. Cosmic consciousness, there can be no feeling of gain or loss, pleasure or pain. The aspirant is immersed in the word, and is unconcerned about its meaning which is manifested in all its variety in the objective world. The one word seems to have many meanings, as a result of ignorance. It is the word, the Paraa-Shakthi (the supreme power) that gives value and validity to every one of the meanings.
Another idea is called Ekaagratha (one-pointedness). Saadhakas (spiritual aspirants) often bewail that they do not earn one-pointedness. They mean, by that term, that they are not able to concentrate their attention long on a flame, light, picture, or idol. The eye concentrates on something seen; the nose, on some fragrance; the ear on some melody. But, the mind concentrates on the one, the Brahman - which is described as the one, the eternal, the pure, the unmoving, the all knowing witness of all. Ekaagratha, therefore, denotes the concentration of the inner vision on Brahman (omni-self). The intellect, the ego, the senses - these should subserve this great purpose and help in attaining the ideal.
However, it has to be admitted that such Saadhana is now very rare; very few fix their inner vision on the universal and the eternal. The tragedy is just this: the human's mind has strayed away from its moorings, and is being tossed about on the waves of doubt and diversity. A mind filled with the yearning for Brahman will remain unaffected by the smiles and sneers of fortune. But, human's mind has been tempted into strange paths that can lead one to fear and frustration.
The human mind is like a razor edge. Without controlling the mind too rigidly and without allowing it to go too freely, we should encourage it to do good acts and we should control it when there is any tendency to participate in bad acts. Thus by distinguishing between good and bad acts, we should be able to guide the mind in a moderate manner between the two extremes.
Desires and attachments are as roots to the tree of life. When the roots are cut asunder, the tree dies; the rate of decline depends upon the speed and effectiveness of the cutting asunder. It will keep sprouting even if a single root is intact. It will not go dry or die. Remove every single root; then the tree perishes and becomes deadwood. The boast of people that they have destroyed all roots is vain, if the tree is green and growing. So too, the Maya that has possessed the Jivi will perish in proportion to the uprooting of desire, the desire that binds.
The mind of man alone is responsible both for his bondage and for his liberation. The difference between bondage and liberation exists only in our thought. There is no intrinsic or basic difference between these two. We will be able to appreciate the aspect of the divine only when we sacrifice the aspect of the Jiva. We have to recognise that the living and visible Jiva and the invisible divine are the same and we have to recognise the unity between these two aspects.
The assertive ego that urges to identify himself with the body and the instrument with which it is equipped, the motives with which those instruments work and the reactions which those motives breed, has to be mastered by the real self, a wave of the great ocean of Cosmic consciousness.
The faculty of the mind is like a strong current of electricity. It has to be watched from a distance and not contacted or touched. Touch it, you are reduced to ashes. So too, contact and attachment give the chance for the mind to ruin you. Desires will not disappear for fear of the one or for favour of the other. Desires are objective; they belong to the category of the "seen". When the conviction that "I am the see-er only, not the seen", it is possible to release from attachment. By this means one conquers desire. You must watch the working of the mind, from outside it; you should not get involved in it. That is the meaning of the discipline, called the Sthithaprajna nature, the fourth of four principle points to control the mind explained by Krishna.
The Sadhakas in the midst of their efforts sometimes imagine God to be less glorious than He really is. They feel that the Lord differentiates between sinners and saints, good and bad, Jnanis and A-jnanis. The Lord does not separate people thus. This truth is known to the Jnani. Others are unaware of this. They suffer under the false belief that the Lord is somewhere far far away from them.
The Jnani is free from Maya, he is unaffected by the Gunas: Rajas, Thamas or even Sathwa. The Jijnaasu, the seeker of knowledge, however, is different. He uses the time for unbroken contemplation of the divine, in pious deeds and holy thoughts. And the others gather elevating experience and ruminate over the real and the unreal and transform themselves into Jijnasus, seekers of knowledge. Later, they become Jnanis. The goal is reached thus, stage by stage. You cannot attain the goal in one leap. The goal is attained by all; only the process and the pace are different.
The Karma philosophy is something which is very sacred. Between the worldly thought and spiritual aspect exists the connection; the worldly aspect and the spiritual aspect cannot contradict each other.
The relationship between the Jiva, Eswara and Prakrithi is an inseparable one. Without cotton, we cannot have yarn and without yarn, we cannot have the cloth. For a piece of cloth to take the shape which it has, the basic material is the thread. While the cloth has for its basis the thread, the thread itself has for its basis the cotton. Cotton, thread and cloth are three names for three different forms but what is contained in all the three is the same and that is cotton. Prakrithi or nature is like the cloth in this analogy. It is the conglomeration of our desires that takes the form of nature. These desires emanate from our heart. We do not see the desires around us. We are able to see in external appearances what is latent in our hearts in the form of desires.
The Karma or activity is the indicator of inner character. Observing one's actions, their motives, their consequences and the extent of one's involvement, it is possible to declare one as a Pashu (beast) or Pashupathi (the Lord of individual souls), that is to say as divine as God Himself.
The Krathu is also a Karma, albeit a Vedhic Karma, dedicated to the acquisition of the welfare of the world. All Karma done to ensure the welfare of others, without, any aspiration for personal benefit, is good Karma which the Gods would appreciate as a Krathu.
Humans heart is like a camera lens. The object on which we concentrate our attention gets imprinted on the mind by the lens of the heart. Compassion towards all creatures is the greatest virtue, wilful injury to any creature is the worst vice. You do not have joy and peace now, mainly because, your vision is warped and wobbling. Gandhi used to go round the country praying "Sabko sanmathi dhe Bhagavaan" - "O Lord, give every one, give all, goodness of mind."
When a human stands on the bank of a sheet of water, the shadow appears in the water. People say it is he, but Vedhaantha (Vedhic philosophy) says, 'he is not it.' When the shadow is beaten with a stick, he is not hurt; so, it is not he; but, when some one says it is misshapen, ugly, etc., he gets angry! So, he is it. The shadow is both he and not-he. It is neither true nor false, it is real-unreal, it is Mithya (only mythical).
To the same truth has reached the modern science. Quantum mechanics views the entire Universe as a quantum superposition of many states which do not measurably interact on macroscopic scales. It predicts at least three types of phenomena that classical mechanics and classical electrodynamics cannot account for: quantization, quantum entanglement and wave-particle duality. When the particle is moving through the slits, its behavior appears to be described by a non-localized wave function which is travelling through both slits at the same time. Yet when the particle is observed it is never a diffuse non-localized wave packet, but appears to be a single point particle. So by modern physics the particle too 'he is not it'. The particle by observation is both he and not he, neither true nor false.... (Reet's compilation from,
Sathya Sai Baba. Geetha Vahini, Chapters V, XIII and XXV;
The Divine Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba. "Brahman and Bharat as the Theme of the Discourses that will follow." Summer Course in Spirituality and Indian Culture. May/June 1974, Brindavan;
The Divine Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba. "The Vedhic Rite," 10 October 1974, Prashanthi Nilayam;The Divine Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba. "Diamonds In The Dust," 25 October 1974, Prashanthi Nilayam).
Namaste - Reet
Swami teaches.... (1 - 2 May 2005)
Vidya - the Door Open to the Real Self
Swami directed: "O mind, chant the glory of the Guru's feet, which can take you across the treacherous ocean of samsara." All the life and every activity is as a touch of the Divine. The quest for Atma Vidya or knowledge of the real Self is essential in every human being.
The human body is a world in itself. Blood flows through and animates every part of the body. God is 'flowing' in and through and activating every spot in the world.
Humans' present condition of incompleteness is the consequence of the activities during previous lives. The future condition is being built on the basis of present deeds and desires, thoughts and feelings. This does not mean that one should not seek and secure assistance from others for promoting one's good fortune and avoiding misfortune. Such assistance is essential nearly for all.
"By means of Vidya and Thapas, human is transformed into a purified soul." Such is Swami's words. Vidya has two aspects: Baahya Vidya and Brahma Vidya. Baahya Vidya provides the wherewithal for human livelihood. Human being can study many subjects, earn valuable degrees, acquire higher and higher jobs and manage to spend the life with no worry and fear. Brahma Vidya endows all human beings with the strength which enables them to discharge successfully the duty they owe to themselves. It lays down the path which leads both to joy in worldly relations and bliss in the life beyond. Brahma Vidya is superior to all the Vidyas available on the Earth. Brahma Vidya has the divine potency to liberate everyone from bondage and makes aware of the Omniself, the Absolute, the Parabrahma. Vidya is the process of acquiring knowledge; Thapas is the known. The first is indirect, it is the means. The second is the goal, the end.
A bird cannot fly on one wing. No human can be rendered holy or purified without Vidya and Thapas.
Thapas does not mean positioning oneself upside down, head on the ground and feet held up. Nor is it the renunciation of possessions, properties and family and emaciating one's body, holding the nose to regulate breath. Physical actions, oral assertions and mental resolves - all three have to be in unison. The thought, the speech and the act all have to be pure. The effort must be undertaken for satisfying one's inner yearnings, for the contentment of the self. This struggle is the essence of Thapas.
This vivifying inspiration cannot be got through the perusal of books. It can be gained only when one mind-element contacts another mind-element. Scholarship and culture are not related as cause and effect. However learned one is in worldly knowledge, unless one's mind is cultured, the learning is mere junk.
There is one Law guiding and guarding this world - the Law of Love. The essence of this law humans can obtain through Vidya. Each nation or community has joy or grief, good life or bad, decided by the derived from its activities. The 'bad' too is 'good' in reverse. It serves to teach what has to be avoided. Neither 'bad' nor 'good' can be pronounced as 'absolutely unrelieved' states. Vidya reveals and makes clear that 'good' and 'bad' are only the reactions caused by the failings and feelings of the mind.
One must be able to judge the difference between one 'good thing' and another that seems to be 'better'. But it must be understood that the 'better' is not harmful to the good. Just as 'unrighteousness' prods to cultivate 'righteousness', troubles induce to manifest compassion and charity. Compassion has as its inevitable seed, suffering. If there were no wrong and no suffering, human would have become either stock or stone. One who has no capacity to weigh and to respond to the call of agony and pain is like a blind person who cannot distinguish between what is good and what is bad.
The pure consciousness becomes apparently limited into a variety of individuals. In deep sleep, the variety disappears and each individual lapses back into this "is-ness". Pictorially the names Ganga, Krishna, Indus are all lost when they enter the sea.
They are thereafter called "the sea". The Jivi (Individualised Soul) who is eternal and immortal is born again and again, as a transitory mortal; he continues to accumulate activity, prompted by inherited impulses and the activity produces consequences, which he must shoulder and suffer.
Yogis who are turned away from the objective world can attain the Parabrahmam, with Its Splendour of Realised Knowledge, in the pure clear sky of their hearts. We can know the Parabrahmam by a single test. That which remains, after everything is negated as 'Not this,' 'Not that' - that is Brahmam.
This is the Truth that all aspirants seek. Attaining It, they get the status of emperors and can travel wherever they like. (The Self that is in the human body cannot lead the body, so long as it is under the illusion that it is identical with the body. It is only by throwing away this illusory feeling and becoming disengaged from the body that the Self can gain control over the situation).
For attaining Atmic Wisdom one would be aware of values and relative importances of powers, qualities and objects what is one of topics of Vidya.
The renouncing of evil deeds, the giving up of desire are accomplished by manas or mind. The objectives of human life have to be gained only through that. As a result of persistent training, it will learn to obey your interests. The Chiththam (inner consciousness), on the other hand, presents before you past and present experience and invites you to see things in perspective and judge them against that background. Equanimity has to be attained in and through this process, that goes on in Chiththa.
So the Chiththa is the source and support of resolution. All resolutions, decisions and plans are the products of the Chiththa; they are of its form. That is when death overtakes a scholar of all Sastras, he becomes but the equal of ordinary people. The mind cannot free itself, as the Chiththa can. The Chiththa discriminates between resolutions; it tests them as duty and not-duty and justifies with proper reasons the classification it has made. There can be no proper Karma without Chiththa.
Dhyna is superior than Chiththa. Dhyana is the fixing of the Buddhi (intellect) on the Divine. In Dhyana, all agitations cease, all modifications are unnoticed. (On account of the effect of the Thamoguna, and even of the Rajoguna, all created things like the waters, the hills and mountains, the stars and planets, people, all are agitation-bound, change-bound).
Vijnana (Jnana) is better than Dhyana. Jnana based on scholarship steeped in the Sastras is referred to as Vijnana. It is attained by Dhyana and, hence, it is more valuable than Dhyana.
Superior to Vijnana is Balam ... Strength, Fortitude, Vigour. It illumines the objective world, it sharpens the Prathibha or Intuition. Prathibha is the power by which you can sense the Consciousness in all knowledge objects. Now there is one thing superior even to Prathibha: Annam, Food, Sustenance. It is the support of life. It is life that makes possible all activity of human being.
Thejas or Illumination is higher than Intuition, Prathibha or Food. Thejas is Fire, heat and light. Thejas creates water and water produces food. Thejas can make even Wind lighter. It shines as lightning and sounds as thunder.
Akasa is superior to Thejas, remember. It is through Akasa that sounds are transmitted and heard. Love and play are products of Akasa. Seeds sprout on account of Akasa.
Smarana, memory, is superior to Akasa. Without it, all experience is meaningless, all knowledge is waste, all effort is purposeless. Nothing can be experienced without the help of memory. It can be said that memory creates the Akasa and other objects.
Thus analysing the value and relative importance of objects and powers, human must give up identification of self with the physical body. Human's nature keeps on changing from moment to moment. The changing mind veils the true nature of the Self. Due to this ignorance, human sees duality in this world, and begins to relish change. Through Atmic wisdom acquired by Vidya is possible to be aware, recognise the real Self, Reality. A person aware of the Self rises to the noblest, laughing, playing and moving without regard to the comforts, luxurious needs of the body. The wind, the lightning and the thunder have no permanent existence. So too the particularised Jivi appears as separate for a time against the background of Brahmam and gets merged in It, at last.
The universe, willed by Iswara, is the embodiment of Ananda. Prakriti or nature, Ishwara, and Brahman appear to be different but their oneness can be recognised by the Rasa (thick, sweet juice which emerged from the Ocean of Milk) prevalent in all of them. These have been divided for the purpose of understanding. They have been given the names 'Mukti Dhama', 'Vaikunta Dhama' and 'Goloka Dhama' what correspond respectively to Moksha or liberation, Bhakti or devotion and Jnana or wisdom.
Mukti Dhama is the name given to the path wherein one enquires about the various forms and names visible in creation, which being impermanent, lead one to realise that Satchidananda that is, Nirakara or the God without name or form, is the essence of reality. In this way, one reaches the aspect of Yoga and through Yoga one attains Mukti. This path is, therefore, called the 'Mukti Dhama'.
When one surrenders one's ego to the Lord, thinks of Him and Him alone at all times, one would be following the path of devotion and this is named 'Vaikunta Dhama'.
If one develops noble ideas in all the three states, namely the gross, the subtle and the causal, and enjoys continued bliss recognising the oneness of everything and developing fully the feeling of the identity with Brahman, one will be following the path named 'Goloka Dhama'.
The purpose of life is to make contact with God within, who is truth, light, love and beauty and to take from that Universal source the inspiration for a meaningful and purposeful life of serving.
Swami asks devotees and followers to distinguish between the momentary and the momentous. He asks us to be aware of faith in God, the illusory and ephemeral nature of the everchanging world, and the imperishable nature of the Atma within. (Reet's compilation from,
Sathya Sai Baba. Vidya Vahini. Chapters V, VI and XII;
Sathya Sai Baba. Dharma Vahini, Chapter XIII;
Sathya Sai Baba. Upanishad Vahini. IX. Chandogya Upanishad;
Sathya Sai Baba. The Divine Discourse, "Detachment gives Peace even amidst Troubles," Summer Showers in Brindavan. May 1973, Brindavan).
Swami teaches.... (3 - 4 May 2005)
Sacred Pictures, Idols are Lamps Shine a Way to See the Lord Within
There is one Omnipresent God. But to concentrate on the Omnipresent, some fixed point or preliminary form is needed. And to conceive of the Divine as present everywhere at all times, the human's mind is to be clarified and purified by means of certain psychological processes called saadhanas (spiritual efforts).
This is the reason why not only among the followers of different religions regular rituals are prescribed for the worship of idols of God. Cynics question the validity of this type of adoration and say that will only confirm faith in a superstition. "Can God be a stone or a piece of paper?" they ask.
This attitude is not correct. Through worship pictures, icons, idols of God many aspirants have attained the vision of the Omnipresent and stayed in that Incommunicable Bliss.
With just a little paint and a piece of white paper, the painter can draw a frightening picture of a demon, or a charming picture of a smiling baby or an inspiring picture of a yogi meditating on the Absolute. All those different reactions are the result of the combinations of colours; the basic reality is just colour. So too in the picture house, the screen is the stable substance, the shadows come and go. When the picture is being flashed on the screen, the screen is not noticed; it is the base, the foundation, the whole of it has become the picture.
The Dharma as prescribed in the Vedas is tested and capable of being tested. It is impartial and just. Faith in it grows with practice. The worship of the Gods has to follow the rules prescribed in the Vedas; by this means, people will get strengthened in Dharmic practice. This Dharma is the command of the Lord; it is the authentic voice of God and so, it can well be followed by all.
The sixteen modes of worship laid down in the Shaasthras (sciences of spirituality) to make the aspirant aware that he/she is in the very presence and that every gesture and movement has to be motivated by devotion and dedication, ensure the purification of the mind from ego.This is chiththa suddhi - the cleansing of all levels of one's consciousness.
The basic chiththa (inner conciousness) has to be freed from down-pulling impulses. Even a short sincere session of puuja spent in Divine Awareness yields much fruit. Thiruththondar, a Thamil saint, confessed that he had engaged himself in worship of the Lord's idol in order to cleanse his mind.
In fact, puuja
(formal worship, at regular hours, with the recitation of hymns
and songs) is the very first step in the spiritual pilgrimage.
Many seekers have undoubtedly achieved an awareness of God by
years of asceticism among jungle caves. But, starting early with
puuja and continuing
The Omnipresent is not absent in the icon or the picture. We do not reduce God and shut Him up in a stone image; we affirm and realise that He is in the icon also. We raise the image to the dimensions of the absolute and through it is possible to achieve to Swami's Cosmic Omnipresent Form. We expand the picture far beyond its frame and through the processes of saadhana we become aware that the picture, too, can be made a tool for the mind to escape from its limitations.
If we do not recognise the divinity in living beings, how can we recognise it in lifeless photographs and speechless stones? Therefore, we must first understand what is meant by seeing divinity in everyone. It will then become quite clear to us that in every being the Atma is one and the same.
The material and the Form are inseparable, but the seeker must dwell on the Form which he desires to be manifested in all Its Glory, rather than on the material. He must dwell long and deep over the thought that God is found through every particle in the Universe, free from any limitations of space and time. The devotees have different stages of development due to the previous and present karma and less or more deep faith to the Divine. There is an 'Ego' too play some role... The ladder must be as tall as the height to which you want to climb, is it not?
The common people in India believe that when the thunder is threatening overhead, the simultaneous recitation of Arjuna's nine names keep a bolt from falling on them. This is proof of the power that not only the Names of God but also those of His devoted adherents - ever pure and ever in contact with the Absolute - have over the elements. That is the reason why aaraadhana (worship of the Presence) is offered even to great devotees like Thyaagaraaja and Kabeer. They have no identity of their own, having become one with the limitless through the worship of the limited.
Meditation induces God to come down to you and inspires you to raise yourselves to Him. It tends to make you come together, not place one in a lower level and the other on a higher. Dhyana is the royal road to liberation from bondage, though by prayer too, you earn the same fruit. Meditation needs concentration, after controlling the claims of the senses. You have to picture before your inner eye the Form on which you have elected to contemplate.
When you see in a house, on the walls of the shrine room a picture of Swami, do you not feel a wave of reverence and kinship, surging within you? You may not like him for any other reason, but Swami's picture will bring him closer to you though the owner of the house may be your rival in the professional field. So, too, know that every other person has in his heart of hearts a picture of the God you revere. Recognise it and reconcile your misunderstandings; close up all gaps and be brothers in pilgrimage, encouraging and inspiring each other along the arduous road. On this road Swami's pictures are for the many, many devotees and followers as the pinpointers from Swami's Form (as carrier not only imagage but also illumination the divine energy) to the formless Swami's Omnipresent Cosmic Form. Whether not therefore Swami is one of the most photographed persons in the world?
If you have Swami as the object of meditation, sit in a comfortable pose, let your mind dwell for some time on some good sthothras (hymns) or incidents from the sacred stories, so that the senses escaping into the tangles of worldly worries may be quietened and subdued. Then, with the Name on the tongue, try to draw with the brush of your emotion and the hand of your intellect, a picture of Swami, slowly, from the cluster of hair to the face and neck downwards, spending time in contemplating each as it is getting drawn and when the picture is full, start from the feet up to the head again, so that your attention is never for a moment diverted from the Form you love to meditate upon.
By this means, it can never go astray. That picture must, by this process of deep concentration, be imprinted on the heart, so that like picture printed on paper, it cannot be peeled off or erased. Merge yourself with the whole of creation; allow the whole of creation to enter the portals of your mind in one happy joyful family re-union. All people are lamps lit from the same flame which is God.
The external is only the reflection of the internal. The bimba (object) is inside and the external world is but its prathi-bimba (images). See the Lord within; see the world as the reflections He casts. Do not change the pose in which you have started picturing; do not draw today a Swami sitting and tomorrow a Swami standing or walking or talking.
No description can picture the portrait in full. When direct realisation is won, the tongue is rendered dumb; the portrait is unlimnable. It is beyond the reach of human intelligence or imagination.
The mind is like a camera; when the lens is turned against any object and clicked, the picture of that thing gets printed on the slide. So, be ever vigilant; turn it always towards the holiest of objects, God, and click.
The world is like the negative pole of generator of electricity. Divinity is like the positive pole. It is only by bringing them together that we can get peace and happiness. Great saints like Kabir, Jayadeva, Gauranga, Tukaram, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Rishis like Vyasa and Valmiki have their names engraved on our hearts eternally, because they had realised the need for bringing the world and God together by converting work into worship. During the history of humanity sacred books, icons, pictures, idols have played the role of mediators towards the Divine Union.
The architectural temple has three parts; the Praakaaram (the outer temple), the inner temple and the shrine or Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum). These three represent the sthuula, the suukshma and the kaarana sareera (the gross, the Subtle and the causal body) of human; when you go to a temple, you should remember this symbolism.
Pictorially by this symbolism direct Swami's darshan, where He is speaking, singing, blessing, etc. is as Sanctum Sanctorum. The inner temple constitutes His photos/pictures, specially prepared and blessed directly by Him. The outer temple constitutes all the others Swami's images, photos in Web, media, books, etc., as His indirect darshan available for all humanity. There would be clear to all that the shrine and the inner temple are more illuminated with the Divine places to receive Omnipresent Swami's Guidance and Blessing than the outer temple. (Reet's compilation from,
Sathya Sai Baba. Dharma Vahini, Chapter XIII;
Sathya Sai Baba. The Divine Discourse, "Detachment gives Peace even amidst Troubles," Summer Showers in Brindavan. May 1973, Brindavan;
Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 4. "Jeeva and Dheva," Chapter 19;
Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 7. "Lamps
lit from the same flame," Chapter 3);
Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 14. "Colour on canvas," Chapter 19).