Swami teaches....Part 55
Links to Swami Teaches...54
Swami teaches... 9 - 11 February 2006
The Road Has to Be Trodden by You...
The Earth and the Moon are illumined by the Sun. Dependent on the Sun, planets like Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Saturn, dutifully move along the prescribed orbits, at different speeds. Their satellites too belong to the solar family. When people lift their eyes up at the sky at night, they notice stars beyond numbers. Without being lost in numbers, people must ponder over the mystery of the Unity and Harmony of this Cosmic Projection.
The Cosmos has a name and form; God became the Cosmos. From the silver cup, you can never separate the silver as a distinct entity. So too God cannot be distinct from Creation. Nothing is mean or low, ugly or disgusting; every thing is adorable. To get fixed in this universal God(Cosmic)-Consciousness, one has to tame one's impulses and educate one's desires.
Life is a mirage; it comes from no visible rain; it falls into no recognisable sea. "What am I for?" "What ought I to do?" These questions you must pursue, and arrive at the answers.
People are all pilgrims, moving along this land of action (Karmakshethra) to the goal of land of righteousness (Dharmakshethra). The literary people, the poets, the teachers and administrators who addressed you so far are all guides who help you along; but, the road has to be trodden by you, every inch of it.
Kali Yuga has become Kalaha yuga, the era of wrangling and wars. Even while foes are surrounding this country, there is wild hate between one state and another. Similar is the fate of nations also. Now, relations between people are vitiated by malice and hatred. The Government, the administration and the people are as the three blades in the electric fan; when all three rotate together in the same direction and at the same speed, they conduce to comfort. Human has been enslaved by money and lives a superficial, hollow, artificial life. One should seek to possess only as much money as is most essential for living. The quantity of riches one must own can be compared to the shoes one wears; if too small, they cause pain; if too big, they are a hindrance while walking. Money too has to be with us only just enough for a life of physical and mental comfort.
Try to discover points of contact, not of conflict. Spread brotherliness and deepen kindness through knowledge. Integration of hearts can come about only through the recognition of the Oneness of All, and the renunciation of sensory pursuits.
Your nature is Sath, Chith and Ananda (Being Awareness Bliss Absolute). That is why you behave in the way you do. You desire to exist for ever; you enjoy continuing to live. That is enough evidence to conclude that you are Reality in essence (Sath-swarupa). Then, again, you are filled with wonder and curiosity and a desire to know the world around you. You ask continuously what, why, how and when, about all and sundry. This is the prompting that is given by the Consciousness (Chith), that is in your make-up. Lastly, you are always seeking joy, through some means or other. You try to avoid grief, you try to taste joy instead. It is the nature of human being to do so. "Well-ness" is natural; "illness" unnatural.
Happiness and peace do not follow when human is fed well, clothed well, housed well and even educated up to a high standard and employed under comfortable conditions, with no injury to health or security. There are many who have all these in plenty but who are yet worried or in pain or discontented. They depend on the inner equipment of human, not on outer skill or riches.
The tree of Life has to be watered at the roots, but now, those who plan to raise the standard of living, water the branches, the leaves and the blossoms. The roots are the virtues; they have to be fostered so that the flowers of actions, words and thoughts may bloom in fragrance and yield the fruit of seva (service), full of the sweet juice of ananda. Planning for food, clothing and shelter is only promoting the well-being of the cart; plan also for the horse, the mind of human which has to use the food, the clothing, the shelter and other material instruments for the high purpose of escaping from the ego into the Universal.
The body is but a boat, an instrument, for crossing the sea of change, that you have earned through the merit of many generations. When you have crossed the sea, you realise the Dweller, in the Dwelling. That is the purpose of the body. So, even when the body is strong and skilled, even while the intellect is sharp and the mind alert, effort must be made to seek the Dehi (Dweller), in the deha (body).
Seek the springs of Ananda (Bliss) within you here and forever. Believe that the Ananda within you is derived from God who is your Reality.
In the firmament of the heart, the intellect (sun) and the mind (moon) revolve on their regular courses.
If the passions mentioned above dim the glory, they are to be dismissed as passing clouds that cannot affect the sources of light. The more you reason out things, the plainer will become the reality. Reasoning power will never hinder the discovery of the Truth; only, you have to go as far as reason can take you; then, you can see the vast vistas beyond. Human has been endowed with enormous, immeasurable talents, skills and power. But, human is using all that to journey towards a poor satellite of the Earth, instead of journeying towards the wonderland of own inner realms, where he/she can come face to face with God who is the inner Reality of this entire phenomenal world.
From the point of view of the 'fully awake', the jnani, even the waking stage is ephemeral, illusory. That is why jnana is declared to be so illuminating; it reveals the Truth that all this is only 'relatively' real; the Absolute Reality is the Brahmam, Paramatma.
The core of this Universe is Paramatma (Supreme Self), which is beyond all description. Both the cognisable and non-cognisable have emanated from the same One Indivisible Consciousness. Each is full and complete in itself. The individual consciousness is the manifestation of the Cosmic Consciousness. When the material sheath falls off, it merges in its source. The Vedas declare, "That is full; this is full. From the full, emerges the full. When the full is taken from the full, the full remains full." So, the Cosmos, the world, the individual - all are embodiments of the Full. Nothing can be fractional or incomplete.
The Vedhas announce: "The One indestructible sound Om is Brahman, the Universal Absolute." The moving and unmoving, everywhere are only paraphrasing OM, elaborating its nature, illustrating its potentialities. The past that has gone, the present that is here and the approaching future are all also OM. The Pranava is the Name and Paramatma is the Named. "Sarvam Khalu idam Brahma". All this is indeed Brahman (Paramatma). But, this awareness of the immanence of the Universal can come only when the I - consciousness is forgotten.
The Vedhas prescribe the repetition of the Pranava while studying holy texts, reciting the Name of the Divine, carrying out daily duties and offering gifts.
The Pranava is the essence of all sustenance, the embodiment of Rasa. Of all creation, moving and un-moving, there are eight Rasas, the earth, water, physic, person, word, Rig, Sama (Rigveda, Samaveda) and OM lead to the ninth, Ananda (Bliss). These are the Navarasas, the Nine Essences, the Nine Sustainers. Ananda (Bliss) is the goal which human is seeking, the aim of human life.
In order to delve deep into the principle represented by the Pranava (OM), four steps have been demarcated in sadhana. One may doubt how the eternal unique integral OM can be understood in stages.
The steps, however, are designed to help the identification of the principle itself. Wakefulness, dream, deep sleep and the "fourth" are the steps. Wakefulness means "being awake," "exterior altertness," or "outward vision." The consciousness is gross, while in this stage the impressions that impinge on the consciousness are reflections and images of the Truth. During the dream stage, people can experience holiness and bliss, only when they engage ourselves, while awake, in steady pure unselfish activities. In dreams, they see diverse objects and persons, strange worlds, of skyscrapers and castles. From where did these emerge? Through whom were they presented? Prajnaanam Brahman, the Supreme Consciousness, is the basis for the creation of this variety of dream appearances.
In the deep sleep stage, the individual is not conscious at all; he/she is just a witness. It is pure unaffected prajna or awareness. It has no contact with the objective world or the senses, outer and inner. The last stage is thureya. It is the stage when the consciousness is fully aware of itself. It cannot be identified as such by any means. We can try to delineate it a little by saying that it is the silence that prevails, after one OM and before another OM follows it. The thureya is the stage of Atma-Consciousness. When the salt doll is dropped in the sea, it reaches the bottom and is dissolved. The same happens to the seeker of the Atma. He is dissolved. He becomes one with that which he sought to know.
Ananda is sought in three different ways, according to the innate quality of the seeker - the sathwik, the rajasik and the thamasik.
The sathwik path is poison in the early stages and nectar while coming to fruition. It invokes firm control and regulation of the senses, of cognition and action. This will be very hard to accomplish. To achieve the sathwik happiness that is positive and permanent, human must perforce take on trials and tribulations, loss and pain.
The rajasik path in the early stages is nectarine but later, it slides into misery, for the happiness is derived through the senses from objects of the external world. The pleasure soon reveals itself as unreal, false and exhausting. Human becomes too weak to pursue the goals of dharma (righteousness) artha (prosperity) kaama (wish-fulfilment) and moksha (liberation) which are laid down. Human's intellect, imaginative skill, intuitive faculty - all are rendered lame. Human can even lose human-ness. The blind pursuit of objective sensual pleasure has today resulted in this very calamity.
The thamasik path. People who prefer this way of life are unconcerned with the problems of the world; they sleep away their lives, deriving joy in sloth and darkness.
The material Universe is saturated in harmony, law and symmetry and is therefore charming and fascinating. Through this attraction, the external world, the Universe, draws human into various paths and exertions. The five elements, the five senses, the five vital airs and other phenomena teach human various lessons to mould his/her nature.
People need in spiritual Light. Swami is spreads this Light.
Until wisdom enlightens people, they need sadhanas; until they experience the One Unified Divine, they have to accept and practise discipline, regulations and sadhanas.
The Universe and all its components are to be looked
upon as one's preceptors and lessons learnt
What is the proof for having learnt such lessons? The proof lies at first in wholehearted service, in sweetness of speech. Vidhura once advised Dhritarashtra, "A tree when it is axed might yet put forth leaves; but a heart axed by a bitter word can never sprout again."
The next step is hard work. A Thelugu proverb says "work until your bones ache, and and eat until your teeth ache." We clamour for food all day, because we do not work until our bones ache.
The third step is prayer. It may be said we are praying every day. But prayer is not the pronouncing of words. Prayer is the yearning one experiences to awaken the divinity latent in the heart. A heart without words is far more precious than words without a heart.
Prayer must emerge from the effect to the cause. The individual self has to yearn for the Supreme Self, from the status of self to the all-inclusive Self, from Atma to Paramatma. Towards the success of that march, all Nature can provide advice and guidance until the very end. God does not teach us direct; He teaches us through Nature which surrounds us.
Below are five requisites that better to percept His directions through devotion.
The first is dedication (offering everything to God). Egoism is the bar to developing the spirit of dedication. Hence egoism should be renounced as the first offering to God.
The second is devotion. It should be regarded as an expression of gratitude to all that one receives from Providence - the air that we breathe, the light and the heat that we get from the Sun, the water we drink and the food we consume. All the essential necessaries of life are got by the grace of God. The consciousness of the omnipresence of God should be based on the feeling the presence of God wherever you go, whatever you may do, whether you are eating or speaking or working. When you cultivate such an attitude that is the highest form of devotion.
The third is discipline. In almost every action in life, the recognised limits and regulations have to be observed. This applies equally to the spiritual field.
The fourth is discrimination. It has to be used in every aspect of daily living - in what you see, what you listen to, what you speak and what you consume. Avoid eating all kinds of food in strange places.
The Last is determination. Without firm determination no great thing can be achieved in life. It is all the more needed in the spiritual field so that you may face all difficulties and obstacles and overcome them.
(What about freedom in context of 'Five D' above? True freedom consists in keeping the senses under control. An example. A man wants to drink. But he gets tipsy after a drink. What happens to his freedom? He has lost the little sense he had. Freedom does not consist in indulgence. Real freedom comes from realisation of the Self).
Today human is fast losing steadfastness in spiritual pursuits. Learn from the poor little spider this lesson of inflexible determination to succeed. It struggles again and again, in spite of repeated failures, to fix the basic threads of its web, so that it can weave it taut and strong.
Human is suffering today because human is engrossed in the external world, with no sadhana or steady practice to correct the vision. What can ten baths a day do to cleanse a person, when mind is fouled by evil thoughts? What can the shaven head and the ochre clothes do to foster spirituality when mind is riddled by desires and wants?
People are led into the wrong belief that the accumulation of material possessions will endow with joy and calm. The chief defect is the loss of self-confidence and enthusiasm among the people. They do not know that the secret of strength and courage lies in themselves. People have lost the art of living together in peace and harmony. They go from place to place, like postal parcels, collecting impressions on the outer wrapper, not on the core of own being.
Now is actual, for example, the family planning by the
artificial methods for the limitation of children. Though such methods may
appear to succeed, they are fraught with much danger; they will inevitably
lead to large-scale demoralisation of character and weakening of moral
stamina; stamina on which the ultimate strength of a people depends.
The regulation must come from within, not from without; people must
control themselves through their own innate strength.
It is not possible to consider creation and the creator, Nature and God, as different or separate. Can we say that waves are separate from the sea? Human too is of God, with and from God. The bubble is born in water, stays in water and is lost in water as water. The Cosmos too is a bubble born in the Absolute, exists as the Absolute and merges in the Absolute or Paramatma. Recognise this truth this world, cannot be conceived as without God. When you constantly remind yourselves, "I am God", you develop Godly behaviour. Listen to your Inner Voice - the Voice of Conscience. Your conduct will then be spontaneously Godly. You will spread peace and harmony in your respective countries.(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 4. "Fragrant with Grace," Chapter 13 and "Be like lamps," Chapter 14; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "The tree of life," Chapter 20 and "Proper care of the boat," Chapter 21; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 15. "The cleansing process," Chapter 4 and "The Universe - the Guru," Chapter 15; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 22. "Live in the Divine," Chapter 4).
Namaste - Reet
Swami teaches... 7 - 8 February 2006
Spirit of Enquiry to Acknowledge the Universal Consciousness
Swami's Teaching lives and acts amomg the devotees, followers and spiritual seekers here and everywhere, now and always, that Swami can pour His Grace on spiritually aware persons over the world more and more.
The world is surfing today from too much knowledge; virtue has not increased in proportion to the advance of knowledge. Path of the Divine Reality and path of Righteousness they are the two wheels of the bicycle that you have to ride. Pictorially, living was not so hard in the past ages; but now, since it is riding a two-wheeled vehicle, skill and vigilance are needed to keep the balance and avoid falling. Of the two tyres of the vehicle that human is riding, the tyre of the Brahman wheel is flat; it has to be filled by pumping the Lord's Name into it. One cannot go far on a flat tyre.
Life has to be spent in accumulating virtue and safeguarding virtue, not riches. Becoming rich is but a vulgar achievement; black marketeers and housebreakers also achieve it. Living without suffering or without making others suffer - that is grander and nobler. Listen and ruminate over the stories of the great moral heroes of the past, so that their ideals may be imprinted on humans' hearts. Be a light, a lamp, radiating virtue and self control everywhere.
(This advice has to be given by Swami again and again. The Vedas too repeat the essential teachings often so that they may sink into the minds of people).
There are numerous faiths, sects, beliefs and practices prevalent among mankind. All these are products of human fancies. The Truth, however, is one. It does not differ from caste to caste or nation to nation or from time to time. It is not governed by time or place. Likewise the basic elements - ether (i.e. space), fire, air, water, earth are not varying according to community or place. They belong to all. Likewise, Divinity is One and Universal, but people are fragmenting it and experiencing it diversely. But the Truth is one, it is infinite and it is Brahmam.
There is One God, but He manifests Himself in many forms to please different people. The respect can be aroused by the conviction that the same Atma (the Self, true Reality, Brahman ) that is in you is playing the same role of the other person. See that Atma in others; feel that they too have hunger, thirst, pain,yearning and desires as you have.
Sadhana (spiritual discipline or exercise) alone is not enough to enable one to understand this truth. The spirit of enquiry is also necessary. Today numerous divisive forces are at work. What is essentially One is being regarded as many. In this process, the true concept of Divinity is lost. In the pursuit of worldly interests and out of commercial considerations, the Divine is being split up.
Today many are indulging in actions opposed to Dharma and Truth and, on the basis of their caste or community, are promoting strife and conflicts. (The effort to stop this menace is weak. It appears as if all spiritual seekers' knowledge, position and influence have been reduced to nothing. Such persons, though they may not be indulging in unrighteous acts, are giving encouragement to them).
Here is an example from the Mahabharata: Considering that war should be a great universal calamity, Dharmaja (the eldest of the Pandavas) appealed to Krishna to go as an ambassador of peace to the Kauravas. Entering the audience hall of Duryodhana, Krishna described at length the disastrous consequences of war. The great Acharyas - Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and Aswathama - who were present in the court, were intently listening to Krishna's words. But Krishna's appeal was of no use to them. Because of their long association with the wicked Kauravas, they became abettors in the crimes of Duryodhana and others. Vidura, who was a witness to the evil that was being committed, resolved to oppose it. He pleaded with the Kauravas in many ways to listen to the wise words of Krishna. His appeal fell on deaf ears. Rather than stay amongst such evil-minded persons, Vidura felt that it was better to go on a pilgrimage, and left the country immediately.
Bhishma, Drona and others, having been beneficiaries of the sustenance provided by the wicked Kauravas, chose to be loyal to them and stayed on. All of them were great preceptors. They knew well the distinction between righteousness and evil. They had enquired into the nature of the eternal and the permanent. Of what avail was all that knowledge? When it came to practising what they knew, all their knowledge was of no use. In the final outcome, all of them met with the same end in the great war as the evil-minded Kauravas.
When the good are associated with the wicked and do not oppose them, they share the responsibility for the deeds of the evil doers. The Divine destroys even those who either do not oppose or remain passive while injustice and wrong doing are perpetrated.
When evil thoughts fill the minds of people, no knowledge or skill is of any avail. The failure to correct such evil-minded persons is a blot on the life of the devout. (As a result, they also get tainted by the same evil). It is the duty of all spiritually-minded persons to plunge into society, protest against the evils rampant in it, and try to reform it to the extent possible. Here one has to prepare to face any kind of crisis and meet any type of calumny. However, one, who experiences the bliss of union with the Divine has the strength of a thousand elephants.
Every country is a limb in the Body of God; He is conscious of the slightest pain or sensation in the most distant part of creation, for that too is His Body. He is Lokesha (the Lord of the Universe). He is the secret spring within all activity. Have faith in this and cultivate broadest Love, towards all. Earn artha (prosperity) adhering to dharma (righteousness). Let dharma dominate artha and moksha (liberation) dominate kaama (carnal desire); then, your life will be a success.
You should not attach so much importance to the language you speak. It is the meaning that is important, the feelings you express, the behaviour you adopt. The language of the heart is expressed through sympathy, kindness, service, love. That language can be understood by every one, though the speaker is dumb and the listener deaf.
The basic needs of human are mentioned in the prayer of the ancients: Asatho maa sath gamaya, Thamaso maa jyothir gamaya, mrithyor maa amritham gamaya (Lead me from unreal to real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality). This prayer rises from every human being. This yearning has no connection with the land of birth or the language spoken or the form of Divinity revered. It is the cry of humanity everywhere, at all times.
The Upanishads, which are termed as Vedanta or the concluding part of the Vedas, detail the method of achieving the Purushaarthas (four fold goal of life): Dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha. These can be achieved by one's own efforts through Vidhya (acquisition of right knowledge), which is of two types: one is Para Vidhya (the Higher Knowledge) and the other Apara Vidhya (lower knowledge). Para Vidhya shows the way to Moksha (Liberation), while Apara Vidhya deals with worldly pursuits.
The mind attracts many objects that it sees. It promotes a variety of qualities, attitudes and attachments. Human has six different kinds of mind. They are: (1) The Ordinary Mind; (2) The Super Mind; (3) The Higher Mind; (4) The Illuminated Mind; (5) The Intuitive Mind; (6) The Over-mind or Beyond the Mind.
The starting base for the six levels of minds is the ordinary mind. At the summit level is the Over-mind. In the mental processes what goes on is an ascent from the ordinary mind to the Over-mind as well as a descent from the Over-mind to the lowest level. It is when the ascending process and the descending process meet that there is fullness in the human being. (There is no difference between one kind of consciousness and the other. All consciousness is alike because it is a manifestation of Brahman. It is Brahman that has manifested Itself as the Cosmos).
Mind is closely entwined with five sheaths which envelop human being: the Annamaya Kosa (gross body), the Pranamaya Kosa (the vital sheath), the Manomaya Kosa (the mental sheath), Vijnanamaya Kosa (the Super-intellectual Mind) and Anandamaya Kosa (the sheath of bliss).
The physical form is the gross body. Thereafter we have the Pranamaya, Manomaya and Vijnanamaya Kosas (subtle bodies) which together form the Lingaswarupa - the "Within Body" or the "Sense Body." The Anandamaya Kosa has the "knowledge of the Real Self." There is an entity which keeps under control the three subtle bodies - Pranamaya, Manomaya and Vijnanamaya Kosas. Anandamaya Kosa is the Antharaatma (the Indwelling Spirit) also known as the Chaitanya Purusha. The seat of the Chaitanya Purusha is Hridaya Guhyam (a cave in the heart). This "heart" is the spiritual heart, which is all-pervasive, all-knowing and boundless.
(The types of knowledge, kinds of mind and sheats are the one and the same in all human beings, in spite of nationality, belief, age, etc).
The Atma (Spirit) when it is associated with the physical body is called Annamaya Purusha. This is the state of ordinary consciousness. When the Atma is associated with Pranamaya Kosa (the Vital Consciousness), then the Atma is known as Pranaswarupa (Life Consciousness). When the Atma is associated with the mental consciousness, it is known as Manopurusha. The fourth consciousness transcends the human senses. It is called Atheetha Maanasatvam (Transcendental Consciousness). The Vedas and Upanishads have described this state as Brihat and Rita (Transcendental Consciousness). It transcends human limitations and comes close to Divinity. It is called Super Mind. The Atma in this state is called Vijnana Purusha. Above this state is the Anandamaya Purusha (the enjoyer of Bliss). It is a state of Super-consciousness which expands in due course to merge with the Universal Consciousness.
This all-pervading Universal Consciousness has been called Chith-Tapas. It is the highest consciousness which encompasses all other levels of consciousness and is the basis for all of them. That is the Suddha Satwa (the all-effective Will), the Super Divine life. This is the Saitatwa (the Sai Principle).
The Suddha Satwa, which constitutes the Sai Principle, is omnipotent. It is the embodiment of all powers. It should be everyone's aim to strive to recognise this Supreme Principle.
One should manifest the Divine consciousness inherent in him/her and should submit to that consciousness as a spiritual discipline. This is called "Conscious Realisation of the Inner Divine."
The realisation dawns: "All this is contained in me." And then there is the consciousness, "I am the Divine. The Divine is in me. I am Brahman. Brahman is myself. There is no distinction between Brahman and me."
Years ago Swami told to students: "Do not walk in front of Me. I may not follow you. Don't walk behind Me. I may not lead you. Walk beside Me and be My friend." The inner meaning of this is that Divinity is omnipresent. Take the Divine with you, wherever you go.
When you reach the supramental stages that can grasp (to some extent) the relationship between the phenomenal Universe and the Divine. Every human being should strive to progress towards the state which has been described by the seers as Vijnanamaya Kosa (the Super-intellectual Mind).
Modern science is concerned with analysing physical objects, but the Super-intellectual Mind is concerned with exploring the Supreme Reality - the Omnipresent Cosmic Consciousness. This alone is true scientific enquiry. It is from the the Super-intellectual Mind that one proceeds to the Anandamaya Kosa - the state of Super Consciousness, of Total Bliss. That is the Universal Consciousness which is present in everyone - the One in the Many. The Universal Consciousness is the Sathyam (Truth). It is Jnanam (the Supreme Wisdom). It is Anantham (Infinite).
The whole cosmos has emanated from the Parabrahman, (God, the Almighty, the Absolute, the Supreme Omni-Will, etc. the names are many but meaning is the same). It appears as a material object. But from the material, we should proceed to the spiritual - the Universal Cosmic Consciousness.
(Puffed up by ego, human loses all powers of discrimination and forgets what is evanescent and what is permanent. Spirituality cannot be understood as long as the ego is dominant).
Many sages and saints did penance for realising Divinity. They said, "We have seen God Almighty." Where did they see Him? "We have seen God beyond the darkness, of ignorance". This darkness is the identification of oneself with the body and attachment to the senses. To realise the Inner Self one have to transcend the body and obtain the skill to conscious realisation of the Inner Divine. From ancient times, sages and saints enjoyed the experience of communion with the Divine and gave expression to their experiences in different ways. Such experiences are common to people of all faiths. The Lord's grace is available in abundance everywhere.
The Vedic injunctions have infinite meaning. The Rishis have given to mankind the Eternal Truth which was revealed to them. (The vibrations of their spiritual Sadhana have spread throughout the Universe). This is Sathya Swarupa (Embodiment of Truth). It cannot change according to time or place. It is beyond time and space; that is why it is called the Transcendental Reality.
However, no one can at any time, anywhere completely grasp the nature of the Divine. Speech and mind turn back without reaching to it, have declared in the Upanishads. How can any one describe what is beyond thought and words?
How far are materialists or scientists qualified to make pronouncements about spiritual matters? Even in the sphere of natural sciences, the expert in chemistry cannot speak with authority on matters relating to physics. How can those who have confined their studies to these sciences claim to pronounce opinions on matters of the spirit?
For instance, thanks to modern technology, thousands of persons scattered all over the planet are able to listen to radio broadcasts, or see television programmes or contact through internet. But when we read in the Bhagavata that Sri Krishna appeared simultaneously to the gopikas in thousands of homes, questions are asked whether this is credible.
Manifestations of such devotion are beyond investigation and explanation. Such experiences are beyond reason. There cannot be demonstrative proof for every phenomenon. One cannot understand how another's devotion to God finds expression.
If the all-pervasive Divine is received in the radio receiver of the heart by tuning in with one-pointed devotion, the bliss of that experience will reveal the nature of the Divine. People who question this power of mantras, are prepared to believe in the power of machines. If man-made machines can be so powerful, why doubt the power of mantras?(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 2. "Start Sathsangha," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 8. "Eyelids and the pupil," Chapter 5; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 19. "Duty of resistance to Adharma," Chapter 23; sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 21. "Ascent To The Divine," Chapter 7; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 26. "Bhaarath's glorious Vedhic heritage," Chapter 32).
Namaste - Reet
Swami teaches... 5 - 6 February 2006
Faith, Service and Human Values are Educare's Base
Life is like a football ground and each one of you a ball. Your good qualities like Truth, Righteousness, Peace and Love are on one side, and bad qualities like attachment, pride and hatred on the other. Both sides kick the ball and try to score a goal. The poor ball must suffer these kicks so long as it is bloated with the air of egoism in it. But once the air is let out, the kicks also stop.
At this critical hour in the history of the world, when the demonic forces of fear and anxiety, injustice and inequity are raging in wild fury, it is the duty of every human being to be equipped with spiritual strength, so that person may not be overwhelmed by the storm. Faith in God is the tonic that human needs to get back health and happiness.
Human life has to begin with faith and end with bliss. Complete faith is most essential to experience Divinity. The ancient myth below is illustrating the power of faith.
A young boy used to go from his village to school which was in a nearby town. He had to cross a forest en route to the town. Generally he used to return home well before sunset. One day; it so happened that he had to leave the school late in the evening and darkness set in.
The boy was afraid to walk through the forest in darkness and told his mother that he was afraid to walk in the night without company. His mother said: "Why are you afraid? Whenever you are in need of company, shout aloud calling your brother. He will help you."
The boy asked her: "Who is my brother?" The mother replied: "He is none other than Lord Krishna. God is mother, father, teacher, brother, relative, friend and all. Whenever you are in trouble don't hesitate to call on him for help."
The boy had full faith in his mother's words. In these days, even if God himself tells, nobody believes. That is why Jesus declared: "If I were to be a child everyday for a while, with full faith in my mother, how happy I would be!"
Another day the boy was returning home from school late at night in the darkness. He shouted: "Anna Krishna" (Brother Krishna). After a few moments Krishna appeared before the boy in the form of a lad. "Why do you fear? I shall escort you home." He accompanied the boy to the village outskirts and disappeared. The boy told his mother how the brother helped him true to her words. The mother said: “He helps not only you, but everyone who seeks his help."
When you have full faith, God will surely help you and make you fearless. People who have faith in God will never be let down. You need not search for God. It is God who is searching for a real devotee."Who am I?" everybody asks. This chance of a lifetime of mental and physical activity is a letter encased in an envelope, which you have to drop into the red box, called Nature (the Universe, Creation); but, you have to write thereon two lines who you are - your real address. And, more than this, where it has to go, which destiny this life has to attain, the address to which the envelope is to be delivered.
Also two fundamental questions arise: From? To? And, for both, you have not discovered the answer.
Science-minded people would answer the question, 'Who am I?' by saying "I am a body which contains about: 10 gallons of water, I gallon of lime, carbon enough to make 9,000 pencils, phosphorus enough to make 11,000 matches and as much iron as there is in a nail two inches long." All this stuff would seem to cost only about a hundred rupees, but actually even if you spend ten million rupees, you cannot make a human body. For, the human body has arisen out of Divine Will, it is alive on account of Divine Power and it is able to act as a result of Divine Grace. We imagine that the eye sees and the tongue eats but, in truth, the eye does not see, nor does the tongue eat. It is the Divine Will within us that operates every one of the senses.
1 + 1 + 1 + 1 is equal to 4. But I + I + I + I is equal to only 'I' for, the 'I' is, the same in everyone. To recognise this is to truly know one's real identity, the One, the Atma. The Atma is bliss, beauty and wisdom, but we allow It to be tarnished by the ego. (The ultimate fate of the seemingly high and mighty demons like Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakashipu, Ravana, and Kumbhakarana is widely known. These people had undergone severe ascetic discipline and thus earned many skills and powers, but they were ruined by the ego).
There is another example from today. At a particular place, when Swami was about to give discourse, one person switched off the fan. Swami asked him, “Why did you switch off the fan? We need it now. It is very hot here.” That person replied saying it was he who donated the fan, and his name was written on the blades of the fan; unless it was switched off his name would not be visible.
Engage in humble service and egotism will fade away.
Seva is a better form of sadhana (spiritual effort) than even dhyana (meditation); how can God appreciate the dhyana you do, when adjacent to you, you have some one in agony, whom you do not treat kindly, for whom you do not make all efforts to help? We are born into this world for carrying on seva.
With a genuine keenness or readiness to serve others, you can be happy in any group or community. Derive bliss through seva that is not done with any desire to get something in return. The very eagerness to serve others will endow you with the power and skill necessary for the required service. However, social service should not become show-cial work(!) carried out for publicity or with the camera in view. Nor should it become slow-cial(!) work. Why go slow, when you are doing good to the deserving? If you cannot do any good, at least desist from doing harm; or from finding fault with those who serve you.
To the extent possible, serve society. Of course, you need to take up jobs and earn your livelihood. But do not be avaricious. Be satisfied with what you get. King Alexander conquered many kingdoms and seized a lot of wealth. When his end approached, he realised that he could not take even a single penny with him. He requested his minister to keep his two hands raised above the head during the final journey so that the people would understand that even the mighty emperor Alexander had to leave the world empty-handed.
Even a millionaire has to partake of only food; he cannot eat gold. So, be satisfied with the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter.
Teaching is primarily an act of seva along with which you have to practise a little renunciation. Let us be heroes full of the spirit of service and sacrifice who are aware of Great Oneness of the Divine Atma.Without a seed in the past there can be no plant in the future. Do not feel that there is no seed of devotion or dedication in you.
There was a famous ancient sculptor in Italy Michaelangelo. A friend of his found him one day chiselling a big piece of rock. The friend told him: "Why are you working so hard with this rock? Why don't you go home and take some rest.?" Michaelangelo replied: "I am trying to release the Divine that is in the rock. I wish to bring out of this lifeless stone the living Divinity that is embedded in it." If that sculptor could create out of an inanimate piece of stone a living Image of God, cannot human beings vibrant with life manifest the living Divinity that resides in them?What is vidya? It is derived from the root word vid, meaning, ‘to know’. Vidya is termed as education in English. The term education has its origin in the Latin word educare, which means to elicit. Educare has two aspects, the worldly and the spiritual. Worldly education imparts knowledge pertaining to the physical world. Spiritual education is essential, without which human life has little value. Spiritual education (educare) is for life, whereas worldly education is for a living. Educare has two aspects: one is pravritti (outward) and the other, which comes from the heart, is nivritti (inward).
Today human is found of accumulating information by studying books. Person likes to indulge in argument and explanation. But in the field of the spirit, study, experiment and analysis do not take you a long way. What is required is inner experience resulting from actual practice. Teachers should treat the students as their own children.
(But, today, one does not find such relationship between the teacher and the student. Both the teachers and students have become money-minded. As a result the students do not respect the teachers and the teachers do not have love for the students. Everyone has an equal right on education. Education should lead to elevation, not agitation. But, today, we find agitation and passion for money everywhere).
Worldly education, which relates to the head, is ephemeral. Reading, writing, eking out a livelihood, and attaining name and fame - all these result from worldly education. Worldly education makes human great, whereas the spiritual education makes human good. Goodness forms the basis for spiritual life.
Worldly education is information oriented, while spiritual education is transformation oriented. The information oriented education makes human a computer, whereas the transformation oriented education makes human a composer. Who made the computer? The composer made the computer - such is the meaning of real education.
Worldly education is negative, and spiritual education is positive. What is the use of having a bulb without electric current? Secular knowledge is like the bulb; spiritual knowledge, like the current. Both are essential for the progress of human and the world at large.
Education is not for worldly progress. It is to set an ideal, experience happiness, and share it with others. All the elders, the educationists, the rich, and the students should come together and strive for progress in the field of education. It is not necessary that you should become a teacher to do so. On the secure foundational Sathsang (good spiritual company) of your family, you can build the superstructure of Sathsang in the community, the state, the nation and the world. When that foundation is absent, you will only draw down ridicule when you initiate publicity for the Sathsang idea. (There are many organisations, which preach what they do not practise; there must be one such in every street).
The base of true education (educare) is built by five human values of Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema, and Ahimsa (Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love, and Non-violence) can be compared to the five life principles of human, viz., prana, apana, vyana, udana, and saman. A true human being is one who practices five human values.
Human should fill heart with compassion, always speak the truth and dedicate the body for the welfare of society. The thoughts, words, and deeds should always be sacred. The heart unpolluted by desire and anger, the tongue not tainted by untruth, and the body unblemished by the acts of violence - these are the true human values in practice.
Love in speech is Truth. Love in action is Righteousness. Love in thought is Peace. Love in understanding is Non-violence. So, Love is the underlying principle of Truth, Righteousness, Peace, and Non-violence.
(In olden days the teachers were called acharyas,
meaning those who practice what they preach. Today teachers cannot be
called acharyas because they do not practice what they preach. The modern
teachers are experts in giving platform speeches, whereas the acharyas of
ancient times were proficient in practical
Human should never lose any of the five human values. If you do not honour Truth, you lose one of your life principles. Truth is your Atma. The culture of Bharat teaches, Sathyam vada dharmam chara (Speak truth and follow righteousness). These values are the same for one and all.
People all over the world are praying for peace in the world. How can this peace be attained? It is only through the practice of Sathya and Dharma (Truth and Righteousness, Right action). Today, most people are leading a life bereft of Sathya and Dharma, resulting in lack of Peace (Santhi), which in turn has lead to the, absence of Prema (Love).
How can Ahimsa (Non-violence) exist in the absence of these four values? Violence is rampant everywhere be it home, bazaar, or factory.
If our clothes get dirty, we change them because we are ashamed to appear in dirty garments. If our house, is dirty, we try to clean it so that visitors may not get a bad impression. But when our minds and our hearts are polluted, we do not feel ashamed. Is it not strange that we should be so much concerned about the cleanness of our clothes or our homes, but are not concerned about the purity of our hearts and minds which affect our entire life?
The value of an individual depends on their culture. The real meaning of the word culture lies in giving up bad thoughts and bad actions and cultivating sacred thoughts and performing noble deeds. The country is not a mere piece of land; it is an assemblage of citizens. For the country to progress, the citizens have to cultivate moral, ethical, and spiritual values.
Person must realize the immensity of the play of the Divine Will which manifests Itself in such abundant variety. (But what does classical science say of this Will? It declares that we should not believe things that we do not see. The Divine Will is beyond our power to see, so It cannot be testified to be real).
The sages and seers who have from time to time investigated the nature of God from the ancient past to modern times, have discovered that there is only one God and that He is known by various names and say forms. 'Ekam Sath, viprah bahudha vadhanthi’, say the Vedas.
How can the One have so many names and forms? Well, don't we prepare sweets with various names and shapes, though they all have sugar and taste sweet because of it? To recognise this Unity as Reality of Atmic Oneness one needs training.
Swami reveals thisTruth nearly in every His Discourse from different standpoints and entwines this with pictorial examples from past untill today through infinite angles of humans actions and processes in the nature.
You read this compilation by Swami's Teaching and feel all this to be true. Certain things are happening to you, and this appears to be real and no dream. Later you have a meal and go to bed. The castles and towers you see in dreams melt into nothing when you open your eyes. While you dream, the thing is very real, but when you wake up it turns out to be unreal and the waking stage seems to be real. But both are dreams - one, a night dream and the other, a day dream. During both dreams you are present and you experience the events. So you alone are real; the rest is a mixture of true and false. Understand this and keep a balance between pleasure and pain, joy and grief.
When a well is sunk, the soil that is dug out becomes a mound by its side. Some pay attention to the pit, others to the mound. Consider both with indifference. The soil that was the well has now become the soil that is the mound. This is the eternal see-saw. The Sun sets in West when the Moon rises in the East. These dualities are part of Nature. So long as you are here, try to practise equanimity.
Swami has no experience of either grief or anxiety because these are but dream experiences. They are not real. Some persons may praise you, others may blame you: both are in fact unreal. From the standpoint of wisdom, Maya is unreal; in the vision of the enlightened saint, Maya is absent. It is a peculiar, anirvachaniya (indescribable) phenomenon. To the jnani, who has crossed the shores of change and difference, it is non-existent; to those relying on reason, it is inexplicable; to the ordinary human, it is a fact.(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 10. "Raam and kaam," Chapter 3; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 14. "Teaching is a saadhana," Chapter 7; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 17. "Manifest your Divinity," Chapter 9; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 27. "The power of faith," Chapter 15; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 2. "Human Values and Education," Chapter 1).
Namaste - Reet
Swami teaches... 3 - 4 February, 2006
Goals and Actions Through Endless Procession of Time
Every moment is a manifestation of Time. From seconds to minutes, from minutes to hours, from hours to days and months, and from months to a year - this is the endless procession of Time. Time is the embodiment of God. Time is the essential spirit of God and known as Kaalaatmaka (Time-Spirit). God is called the protector of the wise. God is also known as the Lord of aeons because He creates and dissolves aeons like Krita Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. God is thus not only the creator of yugas (aeons) but also their extinguisher.
Because He contains within Himself everything and protects everything, God is also called Kaalagarbha (The One who is the womb of Time). He is beyond the categories of mithya or jagath (falsity and change).
The entire cosmos is bound by Time. It is permeated by Time. It is a product of Time. It is destroyed by Time. No one can fully comprehend the power of Time.
The Bharatiyas, from ancient times, recognising the sacredness of Time, followed certain observances to propitiate Time. They viewed every object, not in terms of its external appearance, but from its inner spiritual essence and based their life on that principle.
Remember that Time is fleeting. Time and tide wait for no one. Time is its own master. Strive to make proper use of Time.
Swami has often told how God represents Time in its various aspects. God is described as Samvatsara. Vatsara means one who is engaged in sport. Govatsara, referring to Krishna, means one who sports with cows. Samvatsara means "playing with all." This Time is available equally to all - whether one is a millionaire or a pauper.
Time is a witness to what everyone is doing. On a
stage, there are a number of lights. One light is turned towards an actor
in the role of a king. Another light is turned towards a beggar. Yet
another light may be focused on a fighting scene. Although the lights
illumine a variety of scenes, they remain unaffected by the
The Lord of aeons can be seen by the light that He Himself is, namely, the light of pure Prema (Love). What is needed is total faith in a simple word: Love. This word will confer every kind of strength you need to sustain in life. If you recognise the Divine in all, you will be blessed with everything as a spark of Time - embodiment of Atma.
(The dust settles upon the glass of the chimney of the lantern and dims the light. The attachment to sensual objects and to the pleasure they give is the soot that sticks to the inside of the chimney; that too dims the light. Clean the chimney by Namasmarana every day and the flame will shine for you and others).
Every second as the treasure of Time should be filled with purposeful action. What is the meaning of a life in which from waking in the morning to sleeping at night one is concerned only about own belly? Has it given a single moment of real joy?
People in the world attach value to all 'kinds of objects, ideals and personalities. Human fills the mind with a vast mass of information, but there is no change in behaviour or living. There is no end to economic changes, political and social reforms. But no mental transformation is taking place. People have been listening to Bhagavan's discourses and reading Swami's books for years. How far have you changed as a consequence? Of what use are studies if they are not put into practice even to a small extent?
Today people do not observe discipline, whether in area of spiritual development, sports or elsewhere, life has become intolerable. Some persons hold positions of authority in business, in administration or in other institutions. There manager cannot be free with tongue and with writings: one should observe restraint.
Discipline is like a shadow. It should follow you wherever you may go. It should govern every action of yours all through the day. Then it becomes Karma Yoga - the Yoga of Action and means the observance of certain well-defined rules. Without such regulation it is not possible to maintain humanness. Discipline has to be as natural component of one's daily life in the discharge of one's duties. It is essential for every group, for every society and for every political institution. It is discipline that unites human to human, and one society to another. Hence discipline is one of the basic insignia of social life.
Discipline has to be observed in speech, in sport and in every kind of relationship. For instance, during bhajans, all those singing in chorus have to maintain the same tune. Singing in unison in bhajans is a form of discipline.
Restraint has to be observed even with regard to eating. Excessive eating is the cause of many ailments. (One fourth of the stomach should remain empty).
Students should learn the body discipline of doing
things even in ordinary actions like sitting or reading. They should sit
erect and keep the spinal column straight. This enables the coiled energy
to move up from the base of the spine to the top of the head through the
vertebral column. (This movement takes place during the yogic exercise
known as breath control. This exercise is also useful for improving one's
memory and powers of concentration).
Another important aspect of discipline is keeping one's plighted word. The importance of this is illustrated by an incident in the life on Shirdi Baba.
There was a sheristadhaar by name Tharkad. His wife and 16-year-old son were ardent devotees of Shirdi Baba. Tharkad did not object to their worship of Baba. One day when they wanted to go to Shirdi, he gave them his consent.
Tharkad's son told his father that he would not go to Shirdi because he was performing regular worship to Shirdi Baba in their house. This worship would be affected if he went to Shirdi. The lad told his father that every day he was making an offering of sugar candy to Baba and he was partaking part of the candy as prasad (blessed offering) out of the conviction that Baba was receiving the candy. He declared: "I do not want any break in this practice. Hence I do not want to go to Shirdi." The father had great affection for the son. He told the son: "Babu, I shall perform that duty. You better go to Shirdi." The father was moved by his son's determination and gave him the promise to carry on the worship during his absence.
The father kept the word given to his son and performed the worship in the manner of the son for a few days. Offering candy to Baba, he took a part of it after the worship before taking his meal. On a Thursday, Tharkad had some urgent business in the court and left the house in a hurry after performing puja (worship). Returning for his meal, he asked the cook to bring the prasadh.
The cook informed him that he had not offered any offering of candy that day. Tharkad felt sorry that he had failed to make the offering to Baba.
At Shirdi, when the mother and son went to see Baba on the following Friday, Baba told the son: "Babu, yesterday I had been to Bangra, but no one gave me any food. Even the candy which you used to offer daily was not available. I have come back very hungry. Will you give me something to eat?" The boy was shocked on listening to Baba's words. He wept over his mother's lap. "Father gave me a promise, but he has not kept it and Baba was disappointed. I shall go back to our place." At that time, Baba sent a chit to the boy through one dog. In his message, Baba said: "There is no need for you to go now. Your father failed to keep his word, but you have not failed in your duty. You have all my Grace. You can stay here as long as you wish."
When the boy returned home, the father rushed towards him and begged his pardon. He said, "You. are young and I am old. But I am seeking your pardon because I failed to keep my promise." The boy said: "You must seek pardon not from me but from Baba. Whatever the society to which you may belong, whatever your beliefs, the promised word must be kept. This is your duty as a lawyer. You know very well how Emperor Manu upheld Dharma. If you do not adhere to Truth, you are violating the law."
Falsehood looks easy and profitable; but, it binds and pushes into perdition. Purify your feelings and impulses; do not worry that others are not doing similarly. Each individual carries destiny in own hands. You will not be bound, because others are not freed. You should strive for your salvation, at your own pace, from where you started when you were born as the Divine spark into this chance in the womb of Time.
Now the whole world is very agitated; it is full of discontent and anxiety, fear and petty faction and hatred. In order to calm and quieten it and remove the discontent and anxiety, you must have enthusiasm and courage. When defeat and disappointment stare you in the face, you must not give way to weakness or despondency.
Never condemn yourselves as inferior or useless; analyse the defeat and find out the reasons in order to avoid it the next time. You should have muscles of iron and nerves of steel. Then your resolution will itself generate the necessary confidence; and that will win over opposition. Remember evil has in it the potentiality to become good; good has in it the liability to turn evil. There is no fire without a wisp of smoke; there is no smoke without a spark of fire. No one is fully wicked, or fully infallible. Take the world as it is, never expect it to conform to your needs or standards.
For the crop of life, courage and confidence are the best manure; they are also the best insecticides.
Be like lions in the spiritual field, rule over the forest of the senses and roam fearlessly with full faith in victory.
Win the battle of life; be in the world but yet be away from its tentacles. That is the victory for which you deserve congratulations.
Spread joy at all times. Do not pour into others' ears your tales of woe and worry; carry a smile on your face. When you tell others of your success, your purpose is to create envy in them. You must not only love others, but you must be so good that others too may love you. Try to console, encourage, strengthen, and enlighten those who are miserable, downhearted, weak or ill-informed.
Leading a worldly life is unavoidable. But in doing so, the spiritual goal should be borne in mind. The goal is spiritual; actions are worldly. It is when actions are dedicated to spiritual ends that they become sanctified.
Your conscience knows the real source of joy; it will prod you towards the right path; your business is to take it as 'guide' and not disobey it every time it contradicts your whim or fancy. The path depends on the principle, they say. Follow good principles, you are led along to the good fruits. Be silent yourself; that will induce silence in others. Do not fall into the habit of shouting, talking long and loud. Reduce contacts to the minimum. Carry with you an atmosphere of quiet contemplation, wherever you happen to be.
So, tread the path of goodness because the Divine is the Indweller in every heart like sugar at the bottom of a tumbler filled with water. If the water is stirred with the spoon of Buddhi (the intellect).
When there are no sadhana (spiritual practices), human becomes a creature of whims. Human has a Vijnana Prajna (higher wisdom) which is obtained by sadhana. The purpose of the sadhanais to realise the Atma (Self), what is the combination of Manas, Buddhi, and Prana (mind, intellect and life force). This triune combination is called Triputi.
Human is the embodiment of this Triputi. It is otherwise known as the
It is for the purpose of harmonising thought, word and deed that Karma, Upasana and Dhyana have been prescribed for human. Karma reveals the human's nature - whether one is Satwic, Rajasic or Tamasic. All actions should be turned towards Satwic purposes. Right action results in purity of mind. The ideal life is one in which there is complete harmony and purity in thought, word and deed -Trikarana suddhi.
There are several misconceptions about sadhana for Self Realisation.
To attend to one's household duties, look after the children and attend to the needs of the husband and others at home constitute the right type of sadhana. Even the preparation of meals in the home is a great sadhana. Likewise every household chore can be sanctified. Even the sweeping of the house may be considered as a process of purifying the heart. Such actions are better than listening indifferently to a discourse and forgetting the teachings thereafter. Doing one's duty is the highest spiritual endeavour.
There are many ochre-robed persons going about flaunting their so called renunciation while they are full of pride and possessiveness. During an encounter between a renunciant and Ubhayabhaarathi, wife of the scholar Mandana Mishra, she made the renunciant realise how he was filled with attachment and egoism in spite of his having renounced everything. The ascetic fell at the feet of Ubhayabhaarathi and sought her forgiveness.
Thyaga (renunciation) does not mean giving up hearth and home but giving up bad qualities. It is enough if human gives up attachment and hatred. If everyone adheres the code of conduct pertaining to one's stage in life, devotes always the time to meditation on God, one will be redeeming own life.
Proper atmosphere is very essential for the sadhaka (spiritual seeker). That is why sadhakas used to move out and dwell in the ashrams (hermitages) maintained by sages in the past. It is like keeping a pot of water immersed in water; the water in the pot will then not be lost through evaporation. But if the pot of water is kept in the open so that the wind plays upon it and the sunlight shines on it, very soon the pot becomes empty. Be careful, therefore, that the success you have won in the promotion of virtue, in the conquest of baneful habits and in the assumption of regular disciplines, are not frittered away by trite company, loose talk, cynical criticism or lackadaisical effort.
There were two parrots on a tree, twins to be more precise. A hunter trapped them and sold them, one to a low, cruel butcher and the other to a sage who was running an ashram to teach the Vedas. After a few years, he was surprised to find that one bird swore very foully, while the other recited the leelas (Divine plays) of the Lord in a sweet musical tone which captivated the listeners. Such is the effect of the environment; so, seek and secure sathsang (good company).(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 1. "Be heroes, not zeros, " Chapter 15; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 11. "Beside, behind, before," Chapter 20; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 23. "More potent than portents," Chapter 5; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 29. "Importance of discipline," Chapter 21 and "The human adventure," Chapter 27).
Namaste - Reet