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Swami teaches....Part 36



Link to Swami Teaches....Part 35


Swami teaches.... (23 -27 August 2005)

Dharma Upholds the Universe

Every country develops its own system of Vijnana (knowledge). In all systems there are certain good traits that are common like morality, character, truth, sacrifice and forbearance. The Bharatiya system of education contained five elements' conduct, tradition, religion, art and study. The value of this system of knowledge is measured by the degree of righteousness which is promoted. The progress of knowledge in the world is determined by the progress of righteousness. The well-being and advancement of a country depend on the combined progress of Dharma and Vijnana.

The knowledge developed by each country is essential for it. This should not be underrated. According to its historical circumstances and the requirements of the place and the time, each country develops its own store of Vijnana (knowledge). No one has the right to criticise it. Each country evolves its own code of righteousness and its corpus of knowledge and culture based on its conditions and needs and this is the proof of its validity. Each system of knowledge, however, is designed to promote the human personality.

No scientist has the competence to criticise the Indian texts dealing with philosophy and metaphysics. Science today claims to discover some truth, which on later investigation is found to be untenable. A science which is constantly revising its theories, cannot sit in judgment on the eternal verities presented by the Indian sages in Vedanta. If you examine the speculations of European philosophers from Kant to Spencer, you will find that compared to the downpour of philosophic thought presented by the three schools of Vedanta Dvaita (Dualism), Advaita (Nondualism) and Visishtaadvaita (Qualified Non-dualism)?the speculations of these philosophers are a mere trickle.

There is no common ground between philosophy and the physical sciences today. No doubt it is necessary to pursue the study of physical sciences. But one should not get puffed up by one's scientific knowledge. Realising that there are innumerable other things which are yet to be learnt, the scientist should cultivate humility and modesty.

It is true that anybody cannot run the cart of life on a single wheel. No bird can fly with a single wing. Likewise human needs mundane knowledge for carrying on worldly affairs and Brahma-Vidya (Spiritual knowledge) for his spiritual welfare. Acquire knowledge of the physical sciences; that is necessary. At the same time seek spiritual wisdom also. You have to conduct your life based on both these kinds of knowledge.

The most important area of study is 'self-management'. The individual who cannot manage him/herself, how is possible going to manage anything else? No one can be an island unto him/herself. No individual or family can exist without depending on society.

Today, there are lakhs of people in authority or engaged in politics, business or other walks of life. Almost all of them are concerned only about themselves and their families and few are imbued with a social consciousness. What is the cause of all the evils plaguing society? It is the lack of sense of social responsibility. Every individual has to recognise own duty to society and understand that without society anybody cannot lead a family life.

Everyone should feel: ?I am a part of the society. My well-being is bound up with the well-being of others." These words are not easy to realize. All notise that with the rapid advance of science and technology in the world, there is a corresponding decline in peace and security. Certainly there is no use in attempting to establish a new system of education or a new social system. By these means the current problems cannot be solved. This is morality and devotion to truth can solve these problems. Character and truth lead to the emergence of spirituality in the divine human personality. Human life has come from the divine. When you dedicate your life to God and adhere to the path of righteousness you can sanctify life and achieve peace, happiness and prosperity.

Like the lightning that flashes from clouds, wisdom should shine forth from education. Deem your heart as the sky. In that sky, your thoughts are the clouds. The mind is the Moon, your intellect is the Sun. The clouds are passing clouds, not permanent. If you have forbearance, the clouds will pass and then you will be able to see your true Self. Then your mind and intellect will shine brightly.

The great sages attached no value to wealth or possessions or intellectual abilities, but esteemed only righteousness as of supreme value. It shows their concern to demonstrate to the world the truth that the world is based on Dharma (Righteousness) and that Dharma is vital for the life of human.

In this way, Bharatiya Vijnana, (science, supreme knowledge) containing the essence of all Sastras (scriptures), laid down the goal of all human endeavour in the form of a divine sutra (maxim). Bharatiya Vijnana encompasses all potencies. Bharatiya Vijnana is suffused with Dharma (Righteousness). Dharma is the primary maxim of life. It is life itself. What is Dharma? It is said: ?Dhaarayati iti Dharmah" (Dharma is that which bears or supports everything). This derivation is not adequate. In every object, there is a vital principle running like a thread. One pictorial example. Here is 'fire'. What is it that 'fire' bears within it? Heat and light. Only when heat and light are present, can you regard it as Agni (fire). If heat and light are not present, it will be a piece of charcoal and not fire What, then, is the Dharma (the vital principle) of 'fire'? To manifest heat and light.

What is the Dharma of human? It is a life of sacrifice on the basis of morality and integrity. How should the Dharma be practised? With purity in thought, word and deed. True humanness consists in the harmony of thought, word and deed. (Today it is because there is no unity of thought, word and deed among people, Dharma has declined. As a result Vijnana has lost its true form. Security has become scarce. Morality and integrity have disappeared. Mammon-worship reigns supreme. The absence of work ethic - the spirit of work - is responsible for this situation).

It is Dharma which upholds the Universe. Everything abides in righteousness. Dharma is a term which is all embracing. What is the need, it may be asked, for propagating Dharma when it encompasses everything. The reason is that, though Dharma is present everywhere, it is covered by ignorance and pride, like fire that is covered by ashes or water by moss.

The presence of this Dharma cannot be established by sense of perception or through inferential deduction. Its existence has to be derived from the Vedas*. Dharma and Moksha (Liberation) are transcendental - beyond the intellect and sense perceptions. How can the Vedas throw light on Dharma and Moksha, which are beyond the reach of the senses? They can do so only by indicating the yajnas and yagas (sacrificial rites and rituals) that constitute the spiritual exercises leading to Dharma and Moksha. Even the Vedas are not competent to provide direct access to Dharma and Moksha. But the Vedas show that through good deeds and practices, one can acquire the competence to realise Dharma and Moksha.

Propagation of Dharma does not mean spreading knowledge about something that is not known.
Its basic purpose is to promote the practice of Dharma. Only those who practice Dharma are qualified to propagate it. It is because Dharma and Sathya have not been propagated by persons practising them that they have been eclipsed, as it were, and are not perceivable. A human is judged by the nature of the actions. One's qualities and actions are interdependent. Actions reveal qualities and qualities determine actions.

Among the qualities a human being has to develop the foremost is Kshama - forbearance or forgiveness. It is essential for every human being. It is supreme among virtues. Kshama is Truth, Righteousness, Sympathy, Non-violence and all else. Kshama comprehends every quality.
Kshama is acquired by practising four kinds of purity:

1. Dravya Soucham (purity of materials); 2. Maanasika Soucham (purity of mind); 3. Vaak Soucham (purity in speech); 4. Kriya Soucham (purity in action or purity of body). When these four kinds of purity are practised, the quality of Kshama develops to some extent.
Purity has its roots in Righteousness, which in its turn, sustains Truth. Dharma is not the word to be bandied about. Repeating oft-quoted aphorisms like "Dhaarayatheethi Dharmah" (Dharma is that which sustains) and "Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah" (Dharma protects its protector) are easy enough. But what is needed is practice of Dharma. Right conduct alone constitutes Dharma.

Dharma upholds the Universe what is made up of two components: One is the name and the other is the form. There is nothing that can be perceived without name or form. Name implies sound. Sound permeates the Universe. The sound is called Vaak (word or speech). Without words you cannot identify anything. Every object has a sound (or name) attached to it. We have not created sound. Hence, from ancient times every sabda (sound) had a specific meaning. These meanings are not the creation of any scientist. Similarly for every word in the world there is a form. What, then, is the form of the word Duhkham (grief)? The troubles you experience are its form. For Ananda (bliss), the joy you experience is the form. This is a 'hall.' The form gives it the name. For speech the Prana** (life) is Bhava (feeling). For feeling, the life is desire. For desire, the life is Ajnana (ignorance). For ignorance, Divinity is the life-source. You have to recognise the close link between Vaak and Divinity.

For everything, the foundation is devotion to the Lord. Only the power of the Divine can save the world and not any tank or bomb or Government. Therefore engage yourselves in prayer to God for the welfare of the world. Try to be helpful to others in all your activities. There is no greater sadhana or puja than this. There is no need to install a picture of the Lord in your small shrine to worship Him.. Install Him in your heart and adore Him. Only the power of the Divine can protect any individual, society or nation. Seek to realise that Divine power. It is inherent in you. That is why the Vedantic texts declared: "The One Lord dwells in all beings." Realisation of the Divine is the goal. But most of our actions are related to worldly concerns. The only way to sanctify all actions is to do them as acts of worship, as an offering to the Divine. Thereby life itself becomes sacred. You have to realise the Truth that the Divine dwells in every human being. You must develop this sense of oneness and share it with others.

However, by the mere mouthing of mantras, one's sins will not be washed away. Carrying the Gita and shouting slogans will not make one meritorious. One whose thoughts and deeds are in harmony can be called a saintly person (sadhu). Who are sadhus? Not merely those who wear the ochre robe. All are sadhus. All beings have sadhutva (goodness and purity) inherent in them. They have to foster and manifest these qualities and not the external vesture. It is the purity of one's thoughts which reveal his sadhutva.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said: "If you want to pray to God, be like an innocent child." Jesus also said the same thing when he told his disciples: "Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." He also used to say: "Even if I am like a child for even a brief moment of the day, how pure can I become?" (Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 21. "The Crowning Virtue," Chapter 1; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 24. "The perennial quest," Chapter 8; "Vijnana and Dharma," Chapter 19 and "Develop social consciousness," Chapter 20).

* Veda is that which enlightens or expounds fully a subject or matter. For instance, Dhanur Veda expounds the science of archery. Natya Veda is the treatise on Dance. Sama Veda is the science of spiritual music. Ayur Veda is the science of life and medicine. The prefix figuring before the term Veda indicates the type of science that is dealt with in that particular Veda.
The Emperor Manu coined a special term to describe the significance of the Vedas as the scriptures prescribing the spiritual and worldly actions to be performed by people. He gave to them the name Vidhana. At the present day, in the Kali Yuga, the term Vidhana has been associated with legislative bodies. Vidhana means that which lays down the law.

**What is Prana (the locus of life) in human? The Veda declared: ?Neelathoyatha madhyasthah vidyullekheva bhaaswarah" (He shines like a lightning in the heart of a dark blue cloud). Behind the back of a person, there is the spinal column with 33 vertebrae. Between the 9th and the 12th vertebra, there is the Sushumna naadi, which shines like a lightning. People imagine that life resides in the heart. The heart is like the main switch. But life does not reside there. What happens to life when heart surgery is performed? When the heart is transplanted, it is like changing the main switch. But it is because of the vital force in the middle of the spinal column that life exists.

Namaste - Reet


Sai Ram

Light and Love

Swami teaches.... (19 -22 August 2005)

Key to Spiritual Development from Vedic Sages

In the Earth all the time, every moment some activity or other is going on: Meritorious actions and actions in the discharge of Purusharthas (the four goals of human life); marriages and festivities; births and deaths. All these take place all the time and life goes on in merriment or sorrow. There is no end to this.

Evolving from the animal, human developed the mind and in due course was able to invent whatever was necessary for personal comforts. Many things Have discovered, but not, for example, the cause of birth and death. What is the secret of this phenomenon? Death is certain for one who is born. But one does not know whether a dead person is born again. The ancient sages sought to unravel the mystery of birth, death and rebirth. They found that this secret is beyond the human's perception. They realised that this was due to the Divine Will and not the result of human effort. Innumerable things are happening in the world without any effort on human's part. For example, the functioning of heart, blood circulation, respiration, ect. are not dependent on human effort. They are the result of the Divine Will. No one can alter what is destined by the Divine Will. Hence the sages advised mankind to pray to God for His grace.The ancient sages prayed to God to shower the rays of His grace on mankind.

So you must be prepared for any sacrifice, offering everything to God. Only then you can acquire extraordinary powers. Whatever studies they pursued, whatever great knowledge they acquired, the ancient sages were never filled with conceit. Humility is the hallmark of knowledge. People boast about the achievements of science. But there is still a long way to go. (It is only when everything is dedicated to God that our actions can be carried out smoothly and successfully. However, today's devotees and sadhakas do not resort to dedication. They tend to behave like shareholders in a company. They want to strike deals with the Lord, saying., "I shall do my work, you give me the benefits." They want to go into partnership with God. This won't work. You make your offering. God will see to the rest).

Mankind discovers in the process some secrets of Nature. However, there is always an awareness that what is not known is far more than what is known. There is a power at work which cannot be seen by the eye or heard by the ear or conceived by the mind. That this power transcended the human was dimly inferred.

For every kind of power, proofs may be sought by direct perception or by the process of inference. People sought to find out by what direct proof they could experience this transcendental power. Ancients They found the proof in the Sun. Without the Sun there will be no light at all. Nor is that all. All activities will come to a standstill. Hence, the ancients concluded that the Sun was the visible proof of a transcendental power. They also found some subtle secrets about the Sun. Hence, they adored the Sun as the principal deity in the Gayatri mantra. "Dheeyo yo nah prachodayaath." (May the Sun illumine our intellects in the same way he sheds his effulgence).

This Gayatri mantra is not related to any particular time, place or person. "Bhur Bhuvas-Suvah"
(occurring in the mantra) indicates that it relates to the three aspects of Time - the past, the present and the future. "Tat Savitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi, Dheeyo yo nab Prachodayaath" (Light dispels darkness). Without light darkness will not go. "Bhargo devasya" signifies that the Sun is the dispeller of darkness. In this manner, the ancients believed that there was a supreme power and looked upon it as God.

In course of time, ancients started studying numbers. Among these numbers, the primary number is one and the others are derived from it by a process of addition. They regarded one as the primary number. "Ekam Sath Vipraah bahudhaa vadanthi" (The Ultimate Reality is one, but the wise call it by many names). This is one of the declarations of the scriptures. The same truth was proclaimed by the Vedas in the statement: "Eko-ham bahusyaam" (I am One, let me become many). Without one, there cannot be other numbers. Through the study of numbers also, the ancients came to the conclusion that God is one only. The One has assumed innumerable names and forms and permeates the entire Universe. On the basis of this truth, the ancients declared: "Isaavaasyam idam jagath" (The Divine is the indweller in the Cosmos). The ancients gave the name Aditya to the Divine. Aditya, as one of the 12 Adityas, was worshipped as Vishnu. Vishnu here does not mean the deity bearing a conch and discus. Vishnu refers to the One who permeates the entire Cosmos. For this omnipresent principle, a form was conceived: Vishnutva means that which is all pervading.

How was Aditya looked upon? You have vessels made of gold, silver, brass, copper and clay filled with water. In all of them the same reflection of the Sun is perceived. Innumerable vessels may be kept, but the Sun's reflection will be one and the same. The ancients concluded that the contents may vary in value, form and name but the image is the same in all of them.
Proceeding from this, they considered the body as a vessel made of mud. In this vessel made out of mud, they found that Chinmaya (consciousness as Spirit) was present. This spiritual entity was called Hiranyagarbha. Expanding his comprehension in this manner, human came gradually to realise that there was only One Reality and that was Divinity. Another name given to this Divine entity was Easwarah. That is, the Divine was regarded as the possessor of infinite and inexhaustible wealth. What is this wealth?

Material riches are one kind of wealth. Knowledge, virtues, wisdom, are all included in the term Aiswaryam (wealth). They realised the truth that Easwara is the embodiment of every kind of wealth.

Probing further into the mystery of the Divine, they described Him as Siva. Siva means the One
who is free from three gunas (Satwa, Rajas and Tamas). He was also called Suddha-Satwah. Siva is that pure untainted Satwa quality. It represents the principle of Mangala (auspiciousness). This means that only when the gunas are absent, auspiciousness appears.

As their comprehension developed, they began to describe the Divine as Sambhavah. Sambhavah
means the One who can manifest Himself at any place, at any time, in any form, according to the requirements of the situation. This is borne out by the sloka in the Gita where Krishna says: "Whenever Dharma faces decline and Adharma rears its head, I manifest Myself. For the protection of the good and the destruction of the wicked and establishment of Righteousness, I make my advent from age to age."

Another name given to the Supreme was Isa. It is essential to understand how the ancient sages sought to explore the innumerable facets of the Divine. The term Isa refers to the possession of the six forms of Aiswarya by the Divine. These are wealth, riches, wisdom, fame, glory and vairagya (non-attachment).

As human's comprehension of the attributes increased with the growth of the intellect, God has described as Aprameyah - One who is beyond any kind of proof and who is immeasurable. It may be possible to measure, the vastness of the ocean or the boundless sky. But there is no methods by which God can be measured. God transcends the three kinds of proof: direct perception inference and the authority of the spoken word. Ancients concluded that this infinite and immeasurable Divine entity is allpervading. If such a Divine Principle did not exist, the cosmos will not exist. Whether human believes in it or not, this Divine power is present everywhere.
The human has come from the Divine. Krishna has emphatically declared in the Geetha: “Mamaivaamso jiva loke jiva bhutassanaatanah" (The human being in the world of beings is a fragment of Myself).

In Thelugu, Geetha means a streak. And, in the Upanishadhs God is described as a "streak of lightning, flashing through a thick blue cloud;" Krishna is 'blue,' of the blue cloud; the Vedhas say, neela thoyadha; the Bhaagavatham says, neela megha. Both mean that He is as deep as the sky or the sea and so His colour is that of the sea and the sky.

When you have to be shown the moon, they say, "Look at the tip of that branch of that tree!" But really there is a long long way to go, to reach the moon. You can see it from afar, as a round disc emitting cool, comfortable light. So too, the Bhaagavatham and other epics and poems show the Lord and help you to see Him enough to arouse the keenness to approach Him nearer; that is all. Each book leads you from one stage to another, revealing more and more of the beneficence of God, until you are filled with insatiable yearning for Him. That yearning is its own reward; it will transform the Will of God into the Form you long to see. A rolling stone, it is said, gathers no moss; the stone that stays put is encrusted with moss. The mind that rolls from book to book, that delineates the charm of Divinity, cannot get encrusted with the moss of material desire.

The human baby, born as innocence in Dharmakshethra (in the realm of Dharma), in the fullness of Sathawaguna, gathers, as the years roll by, the moss of Rajas and Thamas, and lands itself in the conflict-ridden area of Kurukshethra. That is the story of Mahaabhaaratha in each life.
Kuruskshethra is a battlefield between Maamakaah (our people) and Paandavaah (the fair people). That is what the very first shloka of the Geetha announces. What does this really mean?

On one side stand the Raajasik (passionate) and Thaamasik (impure) impulses fed by the sense of mine and our; on the other side stand the Saathwik, fair, spotless attributes of love, forbearance, truth and righteousness which are Divine and fostered by God. The combat between the two forces - the down-dragging and the uplifting - knows no armistice. The daily bath ensures cleanliness, the daily battle keeps the evil foes at arm's length beyond capacity to harm.

It is said that during the Kurukshethra battle which lasted for 18 days, sage Vyaasa had his mind torn with contrition, for the contestants were both of his lineage. So, he could not cast his eyes on the fratricidal carnage. One day, he was so overcome by remorse that he hastened beyond the bloodsoaked plain, where another day's holocaust was about to begin. Hurrying along, he saw a spider scurrying forward on the ground! "Why so fast?" inquired the sage; the spider ran off the road, climbed up an ant-hill by its side and from that eminence, it replied, "Know you not that the war chariot of Arjuna is about to pass this way. If I am caught under its wheels, I am down." Vyaasa laughed at this reply; he said, "No eye gets wet when you die! The world suffers no loss when you are killed! " The spider was touched to the quick by this insult. It was shaking with rage. It ejaculated, "How is that? You feel that if you die it will be a great loss, whereas I will not be missed at all. I too have wife and children whom I love. I too have a home and a store of food. I too cling to life with as much tenacity as you folk. I have hunger, thirst, grief, pain, joy, delight and the agony of separation from kith and kin. The world is as much in me and for me, as in and for human beings and others."

Vyaasa hung his head and moved on in silence, muttering the line, "for man and beast, these things are common." But, he told himself, "Enquiry into the Ultimate, yearning for beauty, truth and goodness, awareness of the underlying unity, these attributes of Wisdom are the unique treasures of mankind," and went his way.

Through this wisdom, human can see the indwelling God in the spider and in every being that exists within the bounds of space. The receptacle may be different, but the Divine content is the same. The taste of the Divine can be experienced in the atom or the cosmos, the friend as well as the foe, the virus and the Universe. This is the Realisation, the Liberation, the Illumination, the Revelation. The world is God filled This sphere of change is surcharged with the Omnipresent Divine. Krishna is in the bower and the battlefield, blowing the conch or playing on bewitching flute, wielding whip and wheel, the unseen force behind every thought, word and deed of human everywhere at all times.

The ancient Vedic sages functioned in this spirit. The mystery of the Veda is unfathomable. But it will become clear to those who have Sraddha and Bhakti (earnestness and devotion). You have to open the eyes of Sraddha and Bhakti, which are not physical eyes. When you have acquired the Eye of Wisdom, the light of the Divine will be visible to you everywhere.
When one takes to the spiritual path, everything is alike and differences and distinctions cease. As long as you are in the phenomenal world, you have to observe the phenomenal appearances. Differences will remain as long as you think in terms of "I," "you" and "he/she." These three different entities have to be eliminated. That is the state of the Atma.

It is meaningless to compare the knowledge of the ancient sages with that of modern scientists.
How many sages performed arduous penances to acquire divine potencies. Today's doctors perform surgical operations. They acquire this skill after long training here and abroad and after many successes and failures. They use sophisticated instruments. But in ancient times, there was a highly skilled master of medicine and surgery, the sage Bharadwaja. He taught surgery to the world. He was the author of the science of Ayurveda - the Science of Life. People consider that Ayurvedic medicines do not yield quick results. Quickness may operate both ways. Today antibiotics are used. A few drops of the medicine brings down the fever. But later fever goes up. There are also adverse reactions. In the treatment employed by the ancient sages there were no such reactions. Because of their penance, their vision transcended the barriers of distance. They could directly converse with the powers of Nature. When the mind was purified and divinised, they could acquire super-human powers.

The ancient sages knew more than the scientists of today. One of the greatest scientists in ancient times was Hiranyakasipu. He was the master of all the five elements (ether, air, water, fire and earth) and explored the depths of the ocean, all the regions of the Earth and the farthest reaches of the sky. He probed the secrets of the atom. But with all this vast knowledge, he did not know his own reality similarly as the most modern scholars.

Raavana and Hiranyakasipu are mahaathmas (great persons); Thaataki, described as an ogress, is also a mahaathma. That is to say, they had superhuman prowess and mysterious powers. All are Divine; God is the inner motivator of everyone. They are Raajasik mahaathmas, enslaved by their emotions and passions, quick to hate and slow to forget the slights inflicted on them. Raama and Lakshmana are Saathwik mahaathmas, embodiments of the prowess and powers that righteousness and virtue can endow.

Human obtains the potentialities of higher levels through various stages development. No one is a scholar of knowledge at birth. There is nothing that cannot be achieved by determined efforts. You should not give up the effort out of a feeling of incapacity. The ancient sages persevered ceaselessly in their quest. They succeeded in their efforts after going through every kind of ordeal, braving heat and cold, gain and loss, joy and sorrow.

Efforts and paths of spiritual development are in human's hands; success or defeat rests with the Divine. So, when you rely on the Divine, success will be yours. (Reet's compilation from. Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 9. "The spider in the same web," Chapter 17; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 16. "In Human Form," Chapter 16; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 24. "The perennial quest," Chapter 8).

Namaste - Reet