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Swami teaches....Part 45

Link to Swami Teaches....Part 44

Sai Ram 
 
    Light and Love
 

    Swami teaches...15 - 18 November 2005 

     Promote the Education - Appealing to Teachers and Students

   The world has become a very small globe, as a result of fast means of communication and transport, human has not yet learnt the art of living together in close proximity, as brothers, as children of the One God. The closer people are brought, the larger the differences appear. Thus, the little world is now fiddled with problems of conflicting cultures, competing creeds and contesting ambitions. The sorrows of one State spread fast into all its neighbours and infect the whole world. The world has become one vast battlefield.

    Let us try to answer the question. "What kind of Government is the best? "The answer is: "That Government is best, which helps us to govern ourselves." Make your Conscience the Ruler, do not depend on the external Ruler.

    Those who diagnose the ills of the world suggest various remedies to mend affairs; but, no analysis reveals the correct reason. The fundamental reason for the state of disease is "want of confidence in the Self." 

The Bible says: "Pious seekers seek God"; but said Annie Besant: "God seeks the pious seeker!" God is seeking for the pure heart that longs to reach Him.

   Today the world is reduced to a theatre by human, for, devotion to God has become a histrionic performance. You find people weeping in their heart of hearts, but, laughing their lives away. We find people who laugh in their heart of hearts, but, to all observers, weeping profusely over their fate. Worship is more for effect, a play acted with the pit in view; there is no sincerity.

    You dread that it is very difficult, nay, impossible, to realise God. It is very simple; its very simplicity makes you feel that there must be some hidden trap. You do not appreciate simple things and habits. For example, there is nothing so simple as speaking the truth; yet, how many stick to Truth. If you venture into untruth, you have to invent new stories all along the line and keep in memory all the stories and all the persons to whom you have related them. It is all very complicated and confusing.

    Love,' is the prayer that rishis have taught the children of ancient India. Their teaching has been Unity Divinity Charity - in thought, word and deed, from the first breath to the last. When teachers transmit this heritage, unspoilt and undiminished, to the children, the future of the land is assured to be glorious.

    Fundamentally, the years of life are but a short span, a rest in a wayside caravanserai, a drama played on a rickety stage, a bubble upon the waters. During this fleeting hour, it has been given to few to share this golden chance of imparting instruction, inspiring devotion, instilling courage, into the growing children, so that the generation to follow will be ever grateful. Let teachers do their job well as a puja and they will be amply rewarded with joy, peace, restfulness and rapture. Today's teachers have the same message for all students. Do not call them poor, for they are rich spiritually, doing their duty which is well-understood, well- undertaken, and well-done joyously.

    Teachers are not nowadays aware of the nobility of their profession; society has turned ungrateful.  Young people have the stars of the silver screen as their gods and guides; they learn deeply and dangerously from films, from horror comics, from crime books.  The teacher is a helpless witness of this tragedy; for, he has no strength and sustenance to impart, no ideal to implant, no enthusiasm to transmit. If only the teacher is imbued with the lessons of the Upanishaths and the Geetha, he can by precept and example turn the children along the path of peace and joy. 

    No amount of advice and exhortation can make the teacher rise to the full stature of his/her profession.  Teacher has to improve him/herself; he/she cannot be improved by external pressure or persuasion. Teachers  need to tread the footsteps of the great teachers of the past, who transmitted their spiritual wealth to succeeding generations. Teachers duty is to delve into the Inner Reality and discover the spring of joy therein, so that the exacting task of moulding the children will be a recreating job for you, highly refreshing and rewarding.

    The teacher is the most important asset of the school. Brick and mortar do not make a school efficient and useful. Nor are books in the library or appliances in the laboratory, so essential. Teacher has a big responsibility. The teacher dedicates him/herself to a great sadhana. If the teacher insists on punctuality, he/she has to come to the classroom on time. He/she is under rigorous scrutiny, all the time.  

   Teachers are reservoirs from which, through the process of education, students draw the water of life; so, every effort has to be made to see that the reservoir is not contaminated by hate or pride. Schools and colleges should not be engaged merely in the processes of teaching and learning. Reading, writing and arithmetic do not exhaust the task of the school. The inculcation of great ideals and the attempt to put them into practice are also equally important tasks.

    Patient effort and steady persistence are indispensable for teachers. Their work is of basic importance to the nations. Children's minds are innocent, tender and pure. The snake gourd is apt to grow crooked, if left alone.  The minds of children and of youth too are apt to grow crooked, under the influence of the sensuous films, the hollow hypocritical atmosphere created by the elders, the lure of glitter and glamour and of a false sense of adventure and fame. So, schools have to attach the stone of discipline and make them grow straight and true.

    Disciplinary rules have to be well thought out and adapted to the age-group they wish to correct. The atmosphere must be so charged that obedience to discipline comes automatically, with full heart. Such discipline will shape good leaders for the all nations. Teachers should not feel that they belong to a despised profession. Teaching is a very noble and respectable profession. The teacher is actually a king-maker. Even Kings and Emperors have to be in their early years students under a teacher.

   You know that you can draw cheques upon a bank, whenever you need money, provided you have enough current deposit therein. If the bank goes bankrupt, it will be a disaster. The educational system is the bank, on which the nation draws a cheque whenever it wants strong reliable skilled workers. If the system is overhauled and lubricated, the next generation is assured of good leaders and, what is equally essential, good followers.

   The attitude today is the root on which the future grows. The consequences of action can never be avoided. In schools we must learn to cultivate unselfish love, with no fear or suspicion. The teachers of tomorrow are the students of today; so, cleansing of the atmosphere of the classroom is very necessary, in the interests of the future.   

     There are two aspects of Vidhya (education) that you have to master; Vijnaana - understanding the world around us, science: and also Prajnaana - the higher learning, the art of controlling the inner feelings and the many layers of Consciousness.  The characteristic of true Vidya  is Vinayam (humility). Humility helps to make one deserving respec. Deservedness leads to Dhanam (wealth) and Dhanam leads to Dharma (righteousness).
Dharma is the means to Mukti (liberation).

   Today still educational systems usually are giving importance only to intellectual cleverness. So present day education develops mainly the intellect and skills. Human's achievements in the fields of science and technology have helped to improve the material conditions of living.   

    Science is tending to get out of control. There is a Sanskrit saying that there is no nobility without self-control. People are gloating over the phenomenal successes of science and technology. The scientist, in exploring the secrets of Nature, has acquired mastery over air, water, earth, fire, etc. But all these achievements are not greater than what Hiranyakasipu was stated to have achieved in his time. What should be recognised is that in controlling the forces of Nature, the balance should not be upset. In dealing with Nature, there are three requirements.

    The first is knowledge of the laws of nature. The second is the skill to utilise the powers of Nature for human needs. The third is to maintain the balance among natural forces. It is the disturbance of this balance that has led to such consequences as soil erosion, pollution of the atmosphere, etc.

     At present science has enabled  to acquire immense control over the external world. But he has no control over him/herself. The student fills his/her head with a lot of information, but the personality is impaired in the process. Filling the mind with physical facts and absorbed in physical investigations, student undermines own basic humanness. Selflessness, humility, unostentatiousness are qualities that underlie the human personality. Along with academic excellence, a student should aim at the cultivation of good qualities. Education enables  to score marks, but there is a  need elevation of student's personality. Qualities contribute to elevation. Education and elevation combine to develop the human personality.

    Winston Churchill once observed: "Man has conquered all, but not himself." And this was what Prahlada told his father, Hiranyakasipu: "Oh Father! you have conquered all the world, but you have not conquered yourself." 

    All knowledge is useless, if one has not acquired Self-knowledge. Such a person may be regarded as intellectually clever, but cannot be called intelligent. The first step, therefore, is to know one's Self. (Spirituality is the means to acquire knowledge of yourself). 

    It is essential that the development of science should be accompanied by a corresponding development of the power of Viveka (discrimination). It should be combined with Prajnaana (divine wisdom). Prajna is the essential principle in human. This 'Integrated Awareness' in Vedhaanthik parlance, Prajnaanam has been equated with Brahman (the Supreme Absolute). Earning of money should not be the primary aim of students. Education should be for developing human qualities, not for securing jobs. There are four requisites for promoting this attitude to education and life.

    They are: "Thyaja dhurjana samsargam" (Give up all association with the evil-minded),

    "Bhaja Saadhu samaagamam" (Pray for the company of the good),

    "Kuru punyam Ahoraathram" (Engage yourself in meritorious deeds day and night) and

    "Smara nithyaanithyathaam" (Remember what is permanent and what is transient).

    The ancient sages considered association with the evil-minded as companionship with a poisonous snake. It was to escape from the danger of such association that they resorted to the solitude of forests. A snake may bite a person once in a way but a bad person infects others with poison all the time.  

    What we need today, is a transformation of the spirit. Character is knowledge. Character is power. Character is life itself. Character is the hallmark of true education. Education should help to broaden one's outlook and make him useful to society and the world at large. This is possible when cultivation of the spirit is promoted along with education in the physical sciences. Moral and spiritual education will train a human being to lead a disciplined life. 

    Education without self-control is no education at all. True education should make a person compassionate and humane. Spontaneous sympathy and regard for all beings should flow from the heart of one who is properly educated. He should be keen to serve society rather than be preoccupied with his own acquisitive aspirations. This should be the real purpose of education in its true sense.

    Students do attend schools and colleges in order to cultivate discipline, control emotions, canalise passions, learning just a small fraction, of what can be gained from schools and colleges. They instil into the pupils the lessons of mutual co-operation, good manners, courtesy, compassion and comradeship, adjustment to limitations, overcoming of obstacles with calm deliberation.

     The marks ones get in the tests and examinations in each subject are not so important; more important is the 'remarks' that you earn - whether you are judged good, bad or indifferent, fresh, fair and free or wicked, vile and vicious. 

    Education should instill in the student "fear and faith." 'Fear' does not mean timidity. It is fear of sin and faith in God which have to be promoted. One should feel that he will forfeit the respect and regard of the community if he commits a sinful or immoral act. The student should learn to avoid unrighteous conduct. Students should be taught to love their mothers and their Motherland with deep devotion. Desabhakti (devotion to one's country) is one form of devotion to God. One who has no love for his mother, his Motherland, his mother tongue and his religion will be leading a meaningless life.

    If the present educational system is to improve, the only way is to eliminate selfishness and train students for the service of society.  It is through the inculcation of love, with no trace of self-interest. Love is of two kinds - Sahaja Prema (Natural love) and Daiva Prema (Divine love). Natural love is one which expects something in return. Divine love expresses itself in loving service without expectation of any return. Divine love always gives to others and receives nothing. Natural love always expects something from others. True education must teach this divine love of heart to heart, mind to mind, and Atma to Atma.

    What the students need today is the refinement of the heart. This is possible through an internal process. Students who have imbibed modern culture should not only develop their intellects, but should also develop a broad outlook.

    The students today have a two-fold duty: One is to face the challenges of modern civilization, the other is to protect and preserve the ancient spiritual and cultural heritage of the country. A complete education is that which makes a human compassionate. Besides giving appropriate exercises to the body, students should strive to cultivate the heart and keep it pure.

    Teacher can teach love to students only through love. Love in speech is Sathya. Love in action is Dharma. Love in thought is Shanti. Love in understanding is Ahimsa (Non-violence). This love is flowing in us as an unseen river. It is only by developing love that we can sanctify the educational system and train the students in the practice of human values as the essential condition for leading worthy lives. 

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks,  Vol. 8. "Love and be loved," Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks.Vol. 10. "School for hypocrisy," Chapter 5 and "The most profitable job," Chapter 9; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 19. "Education for transformation," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 26. "New horizons for the Sai Institute," Chapter 8). 

    Namaste - Reet


Sai Ram 
 
    Light and Love
 
    Swami teaches...13 - 14 November 2005  Feminine 

   Faith, Devotion, the Spiritual Power of Women, Mothers

      Swami has only one desire. That is, “All humanity should be united!” You must recognise the Oneness of the principle of Atma residing in one and all. The Divine Energy follows thought and directs human beings towards devotion, faith, charity and awareness of the eternal Light.  Realise that you, all other human beings and Swami are one. Bodies may be different, but they all bound by the same Love principle  what is representing the Atmic Reality. 

    There is something within, which is true and eternal. That is divinity. In order to manifest this latent divinity, you need to develop devotion, which in turn strengthens your faith. Faith becomes stronger as the devotion increases. No name and no form can ever help you if viswas (faith) and sraddha (steadfast devotion) are lacking in you.

    You need not make any special efforts to acquire divine powers. They are immanent in you. There is only one fundamental power, which is the very form of  all-pervasive Siva-Shakti. This world has a very significant name, Bhavan-Sankara. Bhavani means sraddha (steadfast devotion) and sankara means viswas (faith). It is to say that the world is based on the twin principles of sraddha and viswas. Bhavani and Sankara are inseparable, interdependent, and all-pervasive. So, the whole world is the form of ardhanareswara (androgynous). It is on this basis that the terms Srimati and Sri are used to address women and men, respectively. Srimati denotes Bhavani and Sri symbolises Sankara.

    Sraddhavan labhate jnanam (only the one with steadfast devotion attains wisdom). It is only through faith that one can realise the divinity within. Divinity in human is the combination of Bhavani and Sankara.

    The whole world is a combination of ichcha shakti (will power), kriya shakti (power of action), and jnana shakti (power of wisdom). Ichcha shakti is related to the mind, kriya shakti to the body, and jnana shakti to the Atma.   

    You are not one person, but three: the one you think you are (physical body), the one others think you are (mental body), and the one you really are (principle of the Atma). God is the witness to all that you do. He is always in you and with you. 

    There is nothing superior to bhakti (devotion). Through this bhakti and shakti, you get immersed in rakti (attachment) toward God and develop virakti (detachment) from the world. Then God confers on you bhukti (food) and also mukti (liberation). Thus, human has to travel from bhakti to mukti.

    Today people pray, Loka samastha sukhino bhavantu (may all the people of the world be happy)! It is possible only when sraddha and viswas are fostered.

    The Atma is sthiram (permanent) and the world is charam (changing). Human life is the union of sthiram and charam.  

     All are the children of Viswa Matha (Universal mother). The Sun is one and the same for all the worlds. Just as the Sun is reflected in a water tank, in a river, in an ocean, likewise the same Divinity is reflected in the hearts of one and all.

     Women embody the aspect of Mother Nature and the ancient sages found solutions to problems in life by recognising this truth. Human has to recognise the significance of Love and Truth, which are fundamental to human existence. The mother represents these two basic qualities. Nature is the manifested aspect of Divinity. The body and the Atma, the creation and the Creator, are pictorially interrelated  through Nature. The body cannot function without the Atma. The Atma cannot be experienced without the body.

     According to Vedhaantha,  there is room in the heart only for the love of God. Affection for the mother and reverence for the father are necessary. But parents, preceptor and friends are transient. God alone is permanent and unfailing and God alone should have the permanent place in the heart.

    The human body acquires its sacredness from the fact that it is the abode of the Divine. At present age God's  love should be secured by chanting the His name. You should be grateful to your mother for endowing you with a body which enables you to chant the Lord's name. The greatness of the Lord's name is illustrated by the following episode. 

    Once, Hanuman's mother Anjana, went to Kaushalya because her son was a great devotee of Rama. Kaushalya did not know Anjana and so she asked Anjana who she was in a sweet tone. Anjana was proud about her valorous son. She replied: "Mother! Have you not heard about me? Hanuman is my son. He leapt over the ocean in one jump. How is it that you did not know about my son?"

    Kaushalya replied in a soothing tone,  "Dear mother! I now know that Hanuman is a really great hero."

    While the two were conversing in this fashion, the mother of the sage Agasthya came there. Kaushalya made kind enquiries about her. She replied: "I am the mother of Agasthya. Don't you know that my son drank in one gulp the ocean over which Hanuman merely leapt? Are you not aware that I am the mother of such a pious saint's son?"

     Then, Kaushalya addressing the two ladies said: “For your son's leaping over the ocean and your son's drinking the ocean in one gulp, it is the name of my son that enabled them to accomplish these exploits. Because they remembered his name they could do these marvellous deeds."

    By then, Rama arrived on the scene. He told his mother: "This body of mine was given the name of Rama. However, the greatness of the name Rama enabled Hanuman to leap over the ocean and Agasthya to drink it one gulp. The power of the name is at the root of their achievement."

    Thus, the power of the Lord's name is incalculable.

    Everything in the Cosmos arises from love, grows by love and merges in love. It is wisdom. It is righteousness. It is wealth. It is Truth. Every human being is born from the mother's womb. He is fostered by the mother's love and enjoys many things in life because of the mother. There is no higher divinity than the mother. But this divinity relates to the body what is derived from the Sun. Without the Sun human's  life impossible.

    This world, with its movable and immovable objects, is nothing but the Cosmic Dance of Siva (Siva Thandava). This blissful Siva Thandava is full of awe and wonder and is beyond human comprehension. The dualities of night and day, pleasure and pain, birth and death are endless. Just as birth and death are natural, so also is the existence of dharma and adharma (righteousness and unrighteousness). When dharma is on the rise, adharma is on the decline, and vice versa.  

   In this world, there are many types of relationships, but none equals the relationship that exists between the mother and the child. One’s own language is called mother tongue, not father tongue.

   Your blood, your food, your head, your money are all the gifts of your parents. You do not receive these gifts directly from God. All that is related to God is only indirect experience. It is only the parents whom you can
see directly and experience their love.

    By ancient story once Mother Parvati and Easwara saw a person sitting on the branch of a tree, which was about to break. Then Mother Parvati pleaded with Easwara to save him. Easwara teasingly remarked, “Why should I protect him? You have seen him first. It is your duty to save him.” She said, “How can I protect him without your grace. I am negative and you are positive. Unless you shower your grace on him, he cannot be saved. Then Easwara replied, “Is it not his duty to call Me for help? How can I go to his rescue without being called? 

    Parvati, out of her motherly compassion, wanted to protect that person at any cost. So, she said to Easwara, “If that person, when he falls down, cries out Amma (mother). I will go to his rescue and if he cries out Appa (father), you should protect him.” Both of them eagerly waited, but the person fell down crying Ayyo! (alas). The words Amma or Appa did not come to his lips as he never respected and revered his parents in his lifetime.

    Children should revere their parents, who account for their physical existence. But they should realise what they owe to God, who is the basis of all life. Recognising this double obligation to the mothers and to the Divine they should redeem their lives by purposeful living. There are greater things than even life itself. The supreme achievement is God-realisation. It is the summum bonum of human life.   

    The Bhagavad Geetha says that a woman has seven qualities, whereas a man has only three. So, never look down upon women. They are most virtuous. They are the very embodiments of nature. Some women may think that they would have enjoyed greater freedom had they been born as men. This is a wrong notion. In fact, women are more powerful than men. With all the sacred feelings in your heart, respect women and be respected.

    People may say that women are weakminded. But, in fact, women are highly courageous and when it comes to sacrifice, women stand first.  You may be under the mistaken notion that women are weak in body and mind.

    By Geetha during the Mahabharata war, on a certain night, Aswatthama, the son of Dronacharya, slaughtered the Pandava children while they were asleep. Arjuna took a vow that he would behead Aswatthama. He tracked down Answatthama, tied him with ropes and dragged him before Droupadi. Will any mother forgive the one who has mercilessly slaughtered her children? But what did Droupadi do? Instead of cursing the evil doer, she fell at the feet of Aswatthama and said: It is at the feet of your father, Dronacharya, that my husbands have learnt all that they know. Being the son of Dronacharya, was it proper for you to kill my children? How could you have the heart to kill them, who were unarmed, young, quietly asleep, were not having any grudge against you, and were not contemplating any harm to you?

    Consumed with fury, Arjuna was about to attack Aswatthama. Droupadi raised her hand and asked him not to kill him. She said, “Arjuna, today I am crying over the death of my children. If you kill Aswatthama, just imagine what would be the plight of his mother! One should never cause grief to a mother. So, restrain yourself from killing him.”

    Though the Pandavas were highly virtuous and brave, the spirit of compassion that Droupadi possessed was not found in them.  

     Today’s society is polluted because there is no encouragement for women to cultivate such high ideals. (However, woman’s prayer is often more powerful than a thousand prayers of men because women are more pure and tender-hearted).

     In modern times the ways of life are so perverted that evil thoughts, evil feelings and evil behaviour rule the roost. If the women come up in society, the whole world will turn more pure and sacred. The Organisations of women have achieved many great things, but men do not recognise their good work. Women are capable of ruling the nations and even the whole world if they make up their minds. Men should not consider women as mere slaves.

    There is nothing in this world that women cannot achieve. Recognising the nature of such women we must encourage them and give them equal opportunities in society. As a rule, no such encouragement is being given today. Most men do not tolerate women joining together for a good cause in an Organisation. Because of their own selfish interest, men are unable to recognise the good that women can do to the society. 

     What is the reason for chaos in the world today? As there are no ideal parents and often no respect to women, to mothers today at home, there are no ideal children also. Since time immemorial, it is the mothers who brought up the children. The lap of the mother is the child’s first school. In olden days mothers initiated their children into studies by chanting sacred words at a very early age, these sacred words got imprinted in the hearts of children. 

     Modern youth do not care for the mother. They think they are highly educated and that the mother does not know anything. Probably it is caused that today’s parents initiate their children into education, not by chanting holy or sacred names of God, but by rhymes like ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep.’ 

    It is a great mistake.Through love and sincerity mother should put the children on the proper path. She should aspire that her children be good, they need not be great.

    Due to the impact of the Kali Age, modern women are often found lacking in the spirit of love. But even today, there are many women of virtue and character. The progress of a nation depends on its women.

   Treat all elderly women as your mothers and the younger ones as your sisters. The country will remain safe and secure only when men have such noble feelings.

     Swami has proclaimed November 19 as Ladies Day, which is very auspicious. The importance of this day lies in propagating and realising the sanctity of motherhood, which is founded on the principle of selfless love. This day will be celebrated by posterity for aeons.   

     All people must learn to respect the society because we are born, brought up and remain a part of the society till we die. Consider your country as your own mother and work for its progress. Vyashti (individual) has emerged from samashti (society), samashti from srushti (creation), and srushti from Parameshti (Creator). Only when you understand the principle of creation, can you understand the Creator. So correct your vision; the world will be corrected. Reform yourselves; the world will be reformed. 

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 30. "Mother's Love and Divine Grace, Chapter 12; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 1. "Women Symbolize Sacrifice," Chapter 14 and  Vol. 32, part 2. "Importance of mother’s grace, Chapter 13; Sathya Sai Speaks.  Vol. 33. "Prayers Of Mothers Sustain The World," Chapter 8 and  "Good Mothers Are Nation’s Pride," Chapter 19).

    Namaste - Reet


 

Sai Ram 
 
 Light and Love
 
  Swami teaches...10 - 12 November 2005 
  Feminine Birth is Estimable, Adorable and Sublime

   The phenomenal world is like a hotel to which we have come to experience the consequences of our actions in the past. The body is a room in the hotel in which we have to undergo the Karmic consequences. Our time and body should be used for carrying out the mission on which we have come. We are engaged in accumulating wealth, gold and other material possessions. It is true that we need money to lead our life in this world. But there should be a limit to the acquisition of these worldly objects.

    In this infinite universe, among the myriads of living beings humanity is eminent. Among human beings, it is a privilege to be born as a woman. There are many examples to demonstrate the preeminence of women. Was not Raama born as a Divine incarnation in Kausalya's womb? Did not Lava and Kusha (the twins) become great because they were born to Seetha? Was it not Putlibai's piety which made Gaandhi a Mahaathma? All the greater sages, and saints, heroes and warriors were born to women "who made them great?. Woman is the Goddess of Nature.

    Maternal love is akin to that of the Creator who projects and protects this infinite Cosmos in countless ways. One individual may elect to worship the Divine in the form of his favourite goddess. Another may worship God in a different form and derive bliss from such worship. Each one should note that the forms in which the Divine is worshipped by others are as important to them as own chosen deity is to him/her.

    From ancient times the feminine aspect of the Divine has been worshipped in various ways. The Vedha declares that where women are honoured and esteemed, there divinity is present with all its potency. The Vedha also adores the feminine principle in various ways. Vedhik rituals and practices accord a high place to women. The woman is adored under different names sacred as Sathyavathi, Anyavathi, Angavathi and Nidhaanavathi.    

    Gaayathri, which enshrines the essence of the Vedhas, is a goddess, venerated as Vedha Maatha (the mother of the Vedhas). It is obvious that feminine birth is estimable, adorable and sublime.

    The supreme Shakthi manifests herself in the form of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. Durga grants to us energy - physical, mental and spiritual. Lakshmi bestows on us intellectual wealth, the wealth of character and others. Even health is a kind of wealth. She grants untold riches to us. And Saraswathi bestows on us intelligence, the capacity for intellectual enquiry and the power of discrimination. One's own mother is the combination of all these Divine beings. There is no need to propitiate Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi for energy, material prosperity and worldly knowledge. If we love and adore the mother, we shall be showing our love and devotion to all goddesses.  All Great epics and sacred books emphasise the power of the mother's love, her blessings and grace.

    Consider the story of Lava and Kusa. Sita gave birth to them in the hermitage of Sage Valmiki. They were taught various branches of knowledge by him. Sita also was teaching them many lessons and imparting to them many skills. What happened when Sri Rama Himself came to fight with them? Lava and Kusa remembered their mother with great reverence and aimed an arrow at Him. Rama fell into a swoon when the arrow struck Him. 

    In mentioning the names of deities, the first place is given to the goddess, as in Seetha-Raama, Paarvathi-Parameshvara and Lakshmi-Naaraayana and the reason for the feminine, name getting priority is she is Prakrithi svaruupini - the embodiment of Prakrithi (nature). The implication in this usage, is that you should realise God through the-propitiation of Prakrithi.

    The archetypal woman is described as Aadhishakthi (the primal source of all energy) having a whole array of powers. She is hailed as the mother of the Amrithasyaputhraah (children of immortality).

    The cow converts its own blood into nourishing milk for human to sustain the body. The cow is the first example of the Divine as Mother. The Earth comes next. Like the Divine, the Earth bears human in its bosom and takes care of him/her in many ways. Hence the Earth also is the embodiment of the Mother.

    In the human body the Divine flows through all the limbs as Rasa (The Divine essence) and sustains them. This Divine principle that permeate and sustain the physical body should also be worshipped as mother goddesses. Then there are the great sages, the Maharishis, who gave to mankind the great scriptures, indicating the spiritual and mundane paths and how humanity can redeem its existence. These sages have also to be revered as Divine Mothers.

    The cow, the earth, the presiding deities for the body, the sages and the guru are all worthy of worship as the embodiments of the Divine Motherhood. They all play a protective and sustaining maternal role for mankind and hence should be revered and worshipped as Divine Mothers.

    One's mother is greater than heaven itself. Sri Rama Himself declared that one's mother and Motherland are greater than even heaven. One must remember that reverence to one's own mother is one's paramount duty.      

   In the ancient teachings about the persons who are to be revered as Gods - mother, father, teacher and guest - the first place is given to the mother, when it says, "Mathru Devo Bhava." This reveals the attitude of Bharathiya culture towards women in general and the mother in particular.

    We should deem our parents as Iswara and Parvati and serve them wholeheartedly. If we cannot please them, how can we hope to please God?

    It is the mother that a child sees as soon as it is born. The mother shows the child to the father. The father leads child to the preceptor and the preceptor leads child to God. Everyone should understand the inner significance of the four terms.

    We hear from spiritual aspirants the four terms -  Bhakti (devotion), Jnana (wisdom), Vairagya (renunciation), and Tatwam (reality) in the same order. There is a significance in the order in which these terms are mentioned. Devotion awakens wisdom, wisdom promotes renunciation and renunciation confers the knowledge of Reality. We can reach the mansion of Mukti (liberation) if we walk on the stepping stones of devotion, wisdom, renunciation and the knowledge of Reality. 

    The mother is the symbol for Bhakti (devotion). Father is the symbol for Jnana (wisdom). The preceptor is the symbol for Vairagya (renunciation). God is the very embodiment of Atmic knowledge. We can reach the Moksha (mansion of Liberation) only by ascending the four steps to Divinity.

     A mother is ready to sacrifice everything even her life, for the sake of her child. Such a spirit is to be found only among women. If a child is grievously ill, the mother will try to save the child at any cost. It is for this reason, that woman is described as Thyaagamuurthi, the embodiment of sacrifice. Men do not have the same spirit of sacrifice as women. Men may present a heroic pose, but do not have the determination and perseverance to carry on the struggle to the end. Valmeeki described woman as the Bhakti svaruupini (embodiment of devotion). Man was described as Jnaanasvaruupa. The Jnaani has limited access to the Divine mansion. But the woman devotee has access to innermost apartments. 

    Love for mother has to be fostered by everyone. Barely one in a million realises that child owes food, blood and life itself to the mother. Wherever she may be, a mother is verily divine.

   Everyone should treasure in the heart love for the mother, who has borne him/her, reared with love and fostered child with care. Mothers in ancient days used to teach, the children about right conduct, morality and devotion. The first preceptor for a child is the mother. The person who forfeits the mother's love will not earn any one's love. Below are some brief stories about devotion of mothers and sons from ancient times to the latest history.

    Pundarika was the one who was devoted to the service of his aged parents. In doing so he was adhering to a self-imposed rule. He would not take any food until the parents had gone to sleep. Once he was massaging the feet of the parents. To test Pundarika's love for his parents, Lord Panduranga came to his residence in a disguise and stood behind him.

    Pundarika went on with his service to his parents who had not gone to sleep. The new-comer asked Pundarika to look at him. Pundarika said, that he was seeing the visitor. The latter asked him: "In what form are you seeing me?" Pundarika said'" I am seeing you as my mother."

    Meanwhile Pundarika's Guru came there and told Pundarika that the visitor was none other than the Lord Himself. Pundarika said that the parents whom he was serving were also God. The Guru earnestly urged "Don't you realise that the one who has come is verily God?" Pundarika replied: "My parents also are God."
 
  The mother of Aadhi Shankara, Aryaamba, was a high-souled woman. Hence, Sankara could achieve greatness and world fame. Vivekaanandha was another illustrious figure Adhering to the instructions of his mother, he led an exemplary life and achieved name and fame. Their lives shine in the pages of history as examples for mankind.

     Another story. Gaandhiji's mother, Puthlibai, was a lady who believed in the two principles of truth and right conduct. She adhered to the practice of taking her morning breakfast only after hearing the first call of the cuckoo. One morning, the cuckoo's call was missing for a long time and Puthlibai did not take her breakfast. Seeing this, the young Gaandhi went to the backyard, cooed like cuckoo and came and told his mother that she could now take her breakfast. Puthlibai, who could easily guess the trick her son was playing, felt very sad about his behaviour. She thought: "What sin have I committed that such a son should be born to me? There is no use blaming you for what is the result of my own sin. How sinful am I that I gave birth to an untruthful son." That very moment Gaandhi took a vow "I must never again utter an untruth in my life.
 
     Eeshvar Chandhra asked his mother' "What are your three desires?" "The first one," she said, "is a primary school for the children of our small and backward village. The second one is a small village hospital for the local population. My third desire is that you should not sell your knowledge, nor feel proud about it. Cultivate humility and consider yourself the servant of all. Service is the pathway to leadership."

    Carrying out his mother's wishes, he established a primary school in the village, a hospital for the villagers and dedicated his entire life to the service of his fellowmen. He became famous as Eeshvar Chandhra Vidhyaasaagar, known for his knowledge and spirit of service. He became well known as a speaker who attracted large audiences of men and women.

    Once, a senior officer was keen to listen to Vidhyaasaagar's speech and set out for the place of the meeting by train with a suitcase. On alighting at the station, he called for a porter to carry his suitcase. As no one appeared, an old man who had got down from the same train offered to carry the suitcase. From the simplicity of the old man's dress, the officer took him for a poor villager and allowed him to carry the suitcase upto the place where he was to stay. After depositing the suitcase, when the old man was about to leave, the officer offered him a rupee for his labour. The old man declined the money and said that what he had done was in a spirit of service and not to earn money. After thanking him the old man (who was none other than Eeshvar Chandhra) told the young officer before leaving: "Your practice does no credit to your education. After so much education you are not able to attend to your own needs. You have made yourself unfit. Humility is the ornament for education. Education without humility is no education at all.

    Later in the day large crowds were assembling at the place of meeting. All were eagerly waiting to welcome Vidhyaasaagar. As Eeshvar Chandhra got up on the stage, he was profusely garlanded. The young officer was in the audience. He saw the speaker on the stage and wondered whether he could be Vidhyaasaagar: "Is he the same man who carried my suitcase in the morning?" He felt ashamed of himself. 

    By revering their parents and following their noble examples, many great men achieved glory and fame in the past. If today we do not have high-minded youth, it is the parents that are responsible.
 
    It is an unfortunate fact that today ninety percent of the children are spoilt by the parents themselves. The parents do not exercise timely control over the children. 

    What use is there in having children who do not behave properly? What did Dhritarashtra gain from his hundred wicked sons? He would not restrain them despite the warning of Krishna and Vidura. Ultimately the entire family was wiped out. There is no meaning in rejoicing when a child is born. The time for rejoicing will come when the child grows up, earns name and fame and brings credit to the parents.

    There was a time in the past when people were prepared to sacrifice their all for the sake of the others and the welfare of the nation. Today this spirit is, as a rule, absent. Selfishness is rampant. Education should make students service-minded, not job-seekers.
  
    Unfortunately also many men today do not honour women and humiliate them. This is utterly wrong and is a sign of ignorance.

     Men should realise the high status of women and honour and respect them accordingly. They should not make women weep and shed tears. A home where the woman sheds tears will be ruined. Men should give an honourable place for women and lead a respectable life. There is a saying in Andhra Pradesh: "Judge a house by its mistress."

     Men and women have to understand each other so that they can live in harmony, in the family. 

     Now, for a few words of advice to women. It is found that women are given to excessive talking. If women observe restraint in speech and men control their movements, it will be good for both. Every experience should bring out a change. Develop pure thoughts wherever you may be. Today's women, should change themselves and help to change the men and the children. They should develop the qualities of sympathy, compassion; love and sacrifice. Study the lives of our great women, who were models of patience, fortitude, compassion and sacrifice.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 20. "From the Mother to Moksha," Chapter 10; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 21. "The Mother Divine," Chapter 28; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 28. "Noble mothers breed noble sons," Chapter 3 and  Vol. 28. "When women are honoured," Chapter 32).
 
     PS: Spelling as in original texts.
   
     Namaste - Reet

 

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