Swami teaches....Part 57
Links to Swami Teaches...56
Swami teaches... 28 February - 2 March 2006
Human's Attraction, Destiny, Service, Love, Sacrifice and Worship
The body, intellect, thought, mind, heart - all are in maya (illusion) and operate only through maya. But the disappearance of maya is a fact, not a delusion. In algebra the symbol X is used for the unknown quantity. When its identity is discovered, as it eventually is, the symbol X disappears from the equation. In the same way, God is X, the entity you have to discover.
God is the prime cause of everything is true to a certain extent; but you are not thrust by Him into an iron cage of destiny from which there is no escape. He has endowed you with discrimination and detachment and, with a sense of awe and wonder, you have to use these for attaining Him. Though bound, you are not entirely incapacitated.
On the land that belongs to you, you can grow the food you need or you can sit idle and allow it to lie fallow. You are the cause of your ruin or uplift. The tools are in your hands; you can learn the skills; you can break the shackles and escape; but if you grovel in slavery and bondage, who can save you? Do not blame fate for your condition. The likhitham (writing) has been done by you yourself. The status in the present life is decided on the basis of the activities in previous lives.
The nature of mind is Nirmala (pure); the sensory impressions colour it and soil it with likes and dislikes. The latent impressions warp the mind, already bent by blows and buffetings suffered in birth after birth. Join the group Divine and see whether the mind continues to be intransigent. Spiritual aspirants may follow any one of the nine paths of devotion and realise the Divine. In the process of achieving oneness with the Divine, the first stage is for everyone to consider himself as a messenger of God.
However, in the spiritual field you have to climb the peak alone. Wait for the Grace, in readiness. Do not cling too fast to things that please the senses or get caught in the coils of the attractive and the pleasant.
It was God who created everything in the Universe, right from the microcosm to macrocosm. The whole world is permeated with principle of attraction, pictorially said, magnetic energy. Green pasture attracts the cow. Flower attracts the honeybee. Mother attracts the child. There is power of attraction (different by its essence on the first sight, but in deep level the one and the same) between stars and planets, atoms and molecules, human beings, birds, animals, etc. The world cannot exist without this magnetic power of attraction.
Why is it that He has attached utmost importance to human birth alone? Only human has the capacity to accomplish things that no other living being can. You can understand the significance of the human body in your daily life when you enquire into the mystery of God's creation.
There are innumerable unseen powers present in human. They are known as transcendental powers (atheeta shakti). Scientists know that energy, which is infinite and unfathomable, can be neither created nor destroyed. Since time immemorial, human has been investigating the nature of this energy. They have come to the conclusion that the whole world is based on psychotronic power, which is also termed bioplasmic power. This is present in every cell and every vein of the human body.
This power is also called ajnatha shakti, that which is not known. All these powers are not visible to the naked eye. Very often, scientists refer to the two terms - matter and energy - but truly only energy exists. Whatever appears as matter also becomes energy in due course of time. This energy is beyond the comprehension of the mind and description by words.
Mastery over mountains of information has been attained by human now; but wisdom has lagged behind. Hence, human's capacity to probe and progress into the realm of the power of the Universal and the Absolute has to be developed.
Manifestation of these powers can bring about a divine transformation in the hearts of people. Swami wants that such changes should take place from now onward. It is impossible to say when, where, and how this power will manifest itself.
Human's life will find fulfillment only when one understands the purpose of human birth. Human body is given to serve God, not to meet selfish needs. Under all circumstances, one should be ready to utilize the slightest opportunity that comes his/her way to serve others.
It is the duty of each and every individual to participate in social service activities, be it in the village or city. The epic Ramayana has stressed the need for service at the individual, family, and society levels.
For whose sake are you living? Understand this and you
will know the purpose of life. Why does God incarnate? He incarnates to
lead human on the right path. Each and everyone, be it a student, a
You will be wasting your life, if you do not dedicate yourselves to the service of mankind. Body is gifted to serve the creator and the creation. Worldly education cannot confer divine grace unless it is dedicated for the welfare of society. The education you have received from society must be dedicated to the service of society.
True service has twin benefits: it makes you blissful and gives happiness to others. Serve your parents, brothers, friends, and even beggars alike. The Divine grace, The Divine power will flow in abundance only when you serve with the spirit of humility and equality. Merely listening to the glory of this power may not evoke interest in you. You will understand only when you experience it. This is the super-human Divine power.
Here an example. Vivekananda had gone once to a town during his wanderings. Lots of important persons, painters, scholars, philosophers, poets and artists gathered around him and plied him with an endless array of questions. Vivekananda was engaged the whole day in answering them. A Harijan who was standing in a corner at last got the chance of falling at his feet and the monk asked him why he had come. He asked, "Swami, you must be very hungry; shall I bring you some milk? Or, if I get some flour, you can prepare chapathis (leavened bread) yourself if you will not eat those prepared by me; no one seems to have thought of your food." That man had love, the Divine illumination in practice. That is more fruitful than all the knowledge packed in a library of ancient texts.
Service is the easiest path to attain the Divine grace. Offer service and receive the love of God. Love and service are like two wings by which man can soar to higher levels of consciousness. If you have the spirit of Love and service, the Divine grace will follow you like a shadow wherever you may be, be it in the forest or in the sky, village or city, river or mountain cliff.
Love and sacrifice are like two eyes for human. Whatever sacrifice you make, treat it as an offering to God. Then work will be transformed into worship. The manner of living is more important than the standard of living and good qualities are more valuable than money.
It should be realised that the divinity in human beings cannot be measured in terms of worldly goods. It has to be measured in terms of Love. Mankind has to understand this Love Principle. Hence, people should fill their minds with the all-embracing Love Principle. That will be the result of total devotion. So cultivate and share Love. This is the need of the Kali age.
There is an episode in the Ramayana, which indicates what love the people of Ayodhya and Mithila bore to Rama and Sita. The people of Ayodhya set our in their thousands to witness the wedding of Rama and Sita in Mithila.
The wedding of Rama and Sita is not a wedding of one young man and one young woman. This wedding is a union of Prakrithi (Nature) with the Purusha (Supreme Lord). The whole world seemed to rejoice at the wedding of Rama and Sita, because it had its cosmic significance. Every being in the cosmos, whatever may be the gender, in external form, is essentially feminine. Prakrithi (Nature) is feminine. She represents one half of the Lord. Together, Prakrithi and Purusha represent the concept of the Divine conceived as half-male and half female. This union of male and female is found in every human being.
As a matter of fact, Prakrithi, the Feminine Principle, comes First and the Purusha (Masculine Principle) is second. However, there are many who are worried when they hear women reciting the Pranava (OM) during the auspicious time before sunrise every day at the Nilayam. They forget that shabdha (sound) itself is fundamentally Pranava, that all breath has Pranava immanent in it; now can women, avoid or keep away from OM which is ever-present in the akasha (ether) and which their breath is reciting every moment?
Just as every breath reminds you of OM, every little act is an act of worship, remember. Every tiny thought, every faint whisper has to be so directed that it may curb the vagaries of the 'mind and help in guiding it Godward. Women have equal chances and equal rights to attain God-head.
Due to the impact of Kali Age, human is accepting bad and giving up good. Unable to realize his innate divinity, human is taking to paths that are contradictory to the principles of sathya and dharma (truth and right action). Often humans use for selfish purposes the power of speech. Through the power of speech one can acquire a kingdom or great wealth. Friends and relations can be got through speech. Through speech one gets bound and loses his freedom. Even death is brought about by speech. Speech is the life-force of human beings. Speech is the backbone of life. Be careful with this power.
Society today is divided in a myriad ways and there is no peace. On account of differences of caste and creed, linguistic and parochial loyalties and desires of various kinds, violent conflicts have turned the social scene into a graveyard. Moral values are steadily declining among people. Even well-versed scholars and eminent public figures are caught up in the coil of bitter controversies because of narrow-minded thinking. Unity among the people is being shattered by the ideological and sectarian differences among persons who are well educated and intellectually eminent. Intellectuals who promote discord are on the increase, but there are few who promote unity in diversity.
To transform the world from its present state, there is no need for a new social system or a new religion or creed. What is essential is a body of men and women with sacred ideals. But such godly persons cansurvive in a society in which there is purity of mind and good character. For these two to blossom, the basis is morality. But morality cannot flourish without spirituality. Hence the mansion of the good society has to be built on the foundation of spirituality, with the pillars of purity and character, and with morality as the roof.
The Bhagavad Gita reveals that the Universe, which can
be compared to a gigantic tree, has its origin in the seed of divinity.
Nations may vary names and forms may be different, but the Life principle
There was a great saint in Kerala some 500 years ago, Bilvamangala by name. He would call on Krishna and Krishna would appear. Such was his bhakthi and his sadhana. One man who suffered from chronic stomach-ache heard about this and he pestered Bilvamangala to find out from Krishna whether it would end or not. Bilvamangala agreed and when Krishna appeared next, he asked him the question. Krishna replied, "When the rolling stops, it will cease." The unfortunate man interpreted it to mean "when he stopped rolling in pain" and he got desperate, because he had perforce to roll in the agony of that ache. So he left Kerala and wanted to go to some holy place to meet some holier person who would procure for him a more satisfying answer. Bilvamangala told him that he had to suffer this trouble due to his activities in previous births. He took rolling to mean, "rolling from birth to birth."
On the road to Kaashi which he took, he came to a free feeding place run by a pious lady, Kururamma by name. When she saw his agony, she spoke to him kindly. He told her that he had decided to drown himself in the Ganga for he was told there was no escaping the consequence of past sins. Kururamma called him a fool. She gave him the holy manthra, "Gopeejana Vallabhaaya namah," and asked him to repeat it. She said the Name would cure him completely.
The poor man uttered it when the attack occurred next and he was surprised to find that the pain had gone! Yes, gone; even though he pounded his stomach, it did not return.
He finished his pilgrimage to Khaasi and returned to Kerala and fell at the feet of Bilvamangala, who enquired about his ache; the ache with which he had to live for it was earned in past lives. When he was told that it had disappeared, he called on Krishna and asked what he had meant by "rolling." Bilvamangala thought it to mean rolling from one birth to another and acquiring good and evil; the sick man took it to mean 'rolling in pain' when the ache came on. But Krishna had meant rolling in this objective world, this prakrithi, and its changing phenomena. When the human lived in the name of God and had no other thought, the rolling had ceased; the Name and the chain of destiny cannot exist together. Prarabdha (result of past bad action) will melt away like fog before the Sun when Namasmarana is done. This was a revelation even for Bilvamangala.
Just reflect on this for a minute: How did human forget own Divinity? Then you will know that it must be as a result of the mind running after momentary pleasures. What then is the remedy? The answer is just one word - "Worship." Do everything as worship and you become that which you feel.(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 2. "Aadhaara and aadheya," Chapter 21 and "Destiny is no iron cage," Chapter 26; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 27. "Shri Raama : the ideal for humanity," Chapter 12 and "Experience the fullness of love," Chapter 21; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 2 "Cultivate Discipline and Love," Chapter 8 and " Human Values and Service," Chapter 9).
Namaste - Reet
Swami teaches... 25 - 27 February 2006
You Have Come From the Divine With Love
The individual self is always the eternal Self (Shivam);
Human being should ever strive to manifest the excellence which is its credential and to gain, as a result of that manifestation, Divinity Itself. When that is gained, nothing else need be gained. When the vision of That is won, there is nothing more to be visualised. When that is loved, nothing else would appear as worthy of love. All else would be trash and dust. When that is known, all is as good as known.
The nature of human is a mixture of progressive and regressive characteristics. The will to renounce, to share, to give up, is a precious virtue. Curiosity, the longing to know, is another quality which must be used to know the Reality which appears as many and momentary. This knowledge can be attained when the consciousness is purified, by the grace of God. However, each one can explore the Truth of God only as far as one's capacity - moral, intellectual and mental - an delve into the mystery. God is beyond the reach of the most daring imagination. Annamaachaarya, the mystic poet, realised the limitation imposed by one's own failings,
The Divine is in every individual, but one's realisation depends on one's own efforts. The Divine shines according to the degree of one's spiritual awareness.
God cannot be got by hatred, anger or jealousy. It is because these three evil qualities are present in people that you see in their faces the marks of misery.
All people should strive to promote your effulgence and bliss by seeking oneness with the Divine. Whatever you do, remember the omnipresence of the Divine. Do every act to please God, out of love and not out of compulsion. The Lord declares in the Gita: "Having been born in this transient and unhappy world, worship Me."
The Divine mystery is incredibly marvellous. It is not easy for ordinary mortals to comprehend these mysteries. The nature of divinity cannot be described or defined. It is beyond description. What is needed is development of faith in the Divine, through weal and woe. The ways of God are governed by Cosmic laws. Even the Divine cannot act against these laws.
People today violate the code of moral behaviour. But the divine cannot act against His own moral code. So, on different occasions, God waits for the appropriate time to enforce the code. On that account, you cannot say God is powerless or incompetent. God is omnipotent, but that does not mean He can act arbitrarily. He acts according to the cosmic code.
God is an impartial witness. God dwells in the heart as a witness. This is the truth about the omnipresence of God. He, merely hands over the fruits of each one's actions according to their deserts. In case the consequence is unpleasant God may interfere to get the pain reduced by proper propitiation. That authority He has. That is the Divine prerogative of God. He can create anything, protect anything. He creates and brings about its dissolution.
Hence, the Divine is called Atma. This all-pervading Atma is the Eternal Witness. This role may be illustrated by a simple example.
Using the sunlight different people are carrying on different activities. The Sun is totally unaffected by either the good or bad actions that are being done by different persons. Each is accountable for own actions. But the Sun shines as a witness to all that is happening. Without the Sun none of these actions is possible. The doers have to reap the consequences of their own actions.
You cannot have in this world a Karma (an action) without a Kartha (a doer). The doer and the deed go together. Who is the doer? What is the action? What is the fruit of the action? It is only when these three are properly understood can the secret of creation be recognized.
"Subtle as the atom, vast as the vastest in creation, the Atma pervades everything as atom" says a Telugu poem.
Scientists are seeking to explain the mystery of creation in various ways. Whatever any one may say, what is perceived by us is the atom. Rocky mountains, wooded forests, the waters of the ocean, and the flesh and bones of the body are all composed of atoms. The atom itself consists of much smaller particles far not visible to eye.
Om, the Pranava Mantra contains within it the powers of Shiva and Shakthi. These two powers, Shiva and Shakthi, correspond to what scientists call electron and proton (the two constituents of the atom). Proton forms the nucleus of the atom. The electron is moving at great speed round the proton. The Veda has described the phenomenon in different ways. It has declared that Shiva and Shakthi are inextricably associated with each other. This also corresponds to the relationship between the electron and the proton. Anterior to the electron and proton is the particle known as neutron. This corresponds to what the Veda has called Sath. In common parlance Sath is regarded as something effulgent. This is not correct. Sath means darkness. Out of this darkness is born light. Thus darkness is called Thamah.
One meaning of Tha is "nectar." The other meaning is garbha (womb). This womb is called by the scientists as "space". The second syllabic 'mah' means poison or Time. Thus the word Thamas encompasses space and Time, which are the determinants of the human predicament.
What is the origin of human? At the beginning there is garbha (space). In this garbha (womb or space) human life originates and has the form of a bubble. Then it takes the form of the embryo. On the 30th day it becomes foetus. On the 60th day, the head starts taking shape. On the 210th day, the foetus quickens with life. On the 240th day, the full body is formed. On the 270th day the child, comes out into the world.
Although superficially it may appear as if there are differences between the findings of science and the declarations of the Veda, essentially there are no differences. Science has not yet found many of the truths declared by the Vedas.
(Some scientists may deny God, but they do nor realise that the powers of the electron and proton are derived from the Divine. God may be called by any name, but God is one. The atheists may adore something without calling it God, but nonetheless the Divine is present in it).
Few seekers seek to unravel the intention of God, to tread the path that leads to Him, to follow the ideals He lays down. They follow their own instincts and judgements and get distress and despair as reward. They are not aware of the sacrilege they commit. They proclaim that God is the inner motivator and that He is present everywhere but they behave as if He is absent in the places they do not like Him to be. They fritter away precious time in dry discussions and controversies about God.
Some sadhakas bargain with God. They try to use the Lord to solve their problems and promise to adore Him when He brings them prosperity. Below is a pictorial example by myth.
There was a woodcutter who collected and bundled a heavy load of fuel one day, since he needed extra money that day. On the jungle track, he waited long for someone who could help to lift the load on his head. Pining over his tragic poverty he cursed his fate. He prayed pathetically to Yama, the God of Death. "Why have you forgotten me. Take me into your custody. End this miserable life". Yama appeared in answer to the call.. "Come, I shall take you to my Kingdom", Yama said. The woodcutter replied, "Not so soon, my dear friend. But, you can do me another service. Please lift this bundle of fuel and place it on my head".
Time is moving fast like a whirlwind. Human's life ends even before one is aware of personal duty. Human's feelings vary from moment to moment. Contemporary human is afflicted by endless desires. Owing to endless desires, human is affected mentally and this gives rise to many bodily ailments. In general, today the world is afflicted with seven kinds of diseases caused from a huge net of less or more collective desires
1. Business without morality. This is a major malady
afflicting the world.
How are these diseases to be got rid of? The mind of human has to undergo transformation. It must turn Godward and inward, not world ward and outward. Love is the essential means for this activity. Then only can attempts at economic, political and social transformation succeed in uplifting human's destiny.
Everything is based on human's thoughts, which find expression in external forms - a reflection of one's inner being. It is the Atma (Spirit ) that activates all human's senses.
In the human's life the mind, which is continually engaged in thought, is most important. All sorrows arise because of the failure to understand the workings of the mind. The mind is constantly engaged in thinking.
The mind is not a mere physical entity but a special expression of the Atma. Concern to human, the Atma is the unified form of three constituents: mind, intellect and samskara (sacred actions). It is not the body but an expression of the enquiring quality of the Atma (Spirit). The powers of the mind are indescribable. The speed of thought is greater than that of anything in the world, faster than light or wind. Though endowed with this immense power, it is a pity human considers a weakling. There is no connection between the mind and the physical heart, organ in the body. But the mind manifests the Atmasakti (power of the Spirit) if the nature of mind is directed to the Spiritual truth.
The second constituent is Buddhi (intellect) what is generally regarded as the medha-sakti (power of intelligence). This is not correct by scientific aspect. (However, sometimes on the level of popular speeches they are considered nearly as the same. For common people without Vedic basis of knowledge is difficult to understand this subtle difference by one speech or discussion only). Buddhi is really the discriminating power of the Atma. There is a vital difference between medha sakti (intelligence) and Buddhi (the discriminating power). Intelligence exists as a physical entity in human. It is the centre of the nervous system, as a kind of 'control-room' for human. But Buddhi represents a superior power derived from the Atma. It is not related to the physical body or to the physical phenomenal world. By its relationship to the Atma, it has divine attributes.
The third constituent is Samskara. This term is usually
defined as "way of life." But it is much more than that. It represents
righteous conduct, based on reason and tradition, embodying the mores of
the society. Righteous conduct must be based on an enquiry into what is
transient and what is of enduring value in
Offer to God steadfast faith, pure unselfish Love. It is far more valuable than tons and tons of erudition and miles-long titles before one's name. Place these on one pan of the balance called 'Life' and place one single drop of Love Divine in the other. The drop will outweigh the junk. (But some times a person donates ten rupees and insists on the fact being published in a ten-inch long headline).
Expansive Love, purity of intention and an eagerness to sacrifice - these three are the criteria for the Sathwik quality. They are the chief limbs of the spiritual body which require attention. Mental health and spiritual well-being depend on these limbs. The path of Love is the path of Dharma. Love results in enthusiastic service.
The Love is a gift of the Divine. You must treat it as the Divine property and not as your personal possession. (As long as you entertain the sense of personal property, you can never understand the Atmic principle). The feeling of 'I' and 'mine' is the root cause of all human's troubles. Attachment and possessiveness cannot be totally eschewed. But there should be limits for them.
Human is sustained by three factors: the body, the mind, and the tongue. The hands represent the body, thoughts represent the mind and speech represents the tongue. The acting in unison of the body, the mind and the tongue is Dharma. (Dharma has many approaches, however, by such definition it is more easy to understand the essence of Dharma) Thoughts, words and actions should be in harmony. That is the mark of a true human being. This basic truth is valid without regard to place, nationality, language or religion. It is applicable to people everywhere, at all times. Those who observe this triple purity are the redeemed. They are the salt of the Earth.
The whole Cosmos is a creation of the Divine. The Lord declares in the Gita - "The individual on the Earth is a fragment of my Eternal Self." Cosmos is surcharged with energy. This energy is not localised at a particular point in space or in time.
Eight manifestations of the Divine forms by Vedas are the following.
1. Water. The Divine is protecting all living beings in the form of water. Water is known by another name as Jivanam (Life).
2. Fire (agni). It is on account of fire that everything is illumined and can be perceived. The same fire is present in human as the digestive fire. It is this fire that enables the conversion of the food one consumes into blood, flesh, bone and other things and sustains the body. Without these seven primary constituents life cannot exist for a moment. For all of them, God in the form of fire is the basis.
3. The Earth. All living beings flourish on the Earth. Birth and death go on the Earth. The phenomena of birth, growth and death testify to the manifestation of God in the form of the Earth.
4. Air. Every moment we are engaged in breathing air. We are sustained by the oxygen in the air. God is to be recognised in the process of inhaling and exhaling. The Divine is within us and present in the form of the pancha bhutas (five basic elements).
5. Akasa (space). The distinctive quality of akasa is sabda (sound). The cosmos is filled with sound vibrations. Sound is the means of cognising most things in the world. The entire cosmos is permeated by akasa and its quality - sound waves. (The modern science has many examples which prove this statement). Creation itself has originated from sound. Akasa is present in the process of breathing.
6. The Sun. All living beings are able to survive because of the Sun. Human intelligence is a reflection of the effulgence of the Sun. The enquiring nature of the intellect is derived from the Sun.
7. The Moon. The Moon principle confers tranquillity on human. The mind is reflection of the Moon. Human's primary goal is to secure peace of mind.
8. The authority of the Veda (Veda-pramanam). The Vedas proclaim the eternal Truth. God, who is embodiment of Truth, though eternal and formless, manifests Himself in the eight forms in the Cosmos.
(Considering the Divine as formless, some scholars have raised controversies regarding this process. The truth is that there is no object in the world, which is formless. Even the minutest subatomic particle has a form. By view of the compiler the Divine is formless when we consider the Divine on the level of the Atmic reality. In the Maya reality, what is relatively real, we consider the Divine as having a forms or, by other words, the Divine has manifested Itself as Unity in diverse forms).
Human beings have come to the planet Earth as pilgrims. They have to return to their original home. You have come from the Atma. You have to go back to the Atma. You have come from the Brahman (Supreme Self). You have to merge in the Brahman. You have incarnated as a spark of Brahman. You have to become the Brahman. In between there may be many impediments. You should ignore them.(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 17. "The Message of Shivaraathri," Chapter 5; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 23. "Devotion in action," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 28. "God: The trinity and the cosmos," Chapter 5 and "Dedicate all actions to God," Chapter 21; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 30. "Service, love and sacrifice," Chapter 6).
Namaste - Reet
Swami teaches... 23 - 24 February 2006
Maha Shivarathri Inspires Awareness of the Basic Truth
On holy Maha Shivarathri, you have to impress on your consciousness that Nature is alive, that Nature appears ever-lasting, since God is eternal; Nature is but a reflection of God. He lends the colour of order, purpose, and activity to inert Nature. Appearance is but a reflection of reality; Easwara is but a reflection of Brahman, the intelligence behind the awareness of all.
The rays of the morning Sun induce buds to blossom into fragrance and beauty; they prompt the Divine in you, today, to blossom into fragrance, purity and holy endeavour. Earth and sky take on a golden hue, reminding us of the Golden Womb from which all creation emanated in the timeless past. This is a sacred day, according to the traditions of Bharath; it has been revered and celebrated since numberless centuries.
The scriptures composed by the sages of Bharath are testaments of genuine experience; they are to be interpreted and observed in practice, after reverential study by persons who have clarified their intellects by rigorous disciplines. They can confer eternal Ananda (Bliss) when they are thus utilised; but, scholastic or philological or grammatical inquirers which seek to comment and confuse can only lead to the neglect and loss of the precious content.
Children of Bharath are fortunate to have this invaluable heritage. The Vedas and Sastras speak of this fortune; the sages extol this land on this score; the Upanishads acclaim the people who have such gurus and guides; the achievements of generations of aspirants and seekers stand witness to this treasure and its worth. Bharath is the land where the identity between human and God has been declared by persons who have attained that realisation.
Every directive given in the scriptures on discipline is intended to help the sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) to realise this identity and to derive the Ananda which recognition of this Unity confers.
Without an intellectual grasp of the fundamentals of the Divine Principle, all vows, fasts and vigils are imitative, routine, mechanical activities that involve waste of time and energy. It is best that you impress upon yourself the need for this basic step on this Maha Shivarathri.
Shivarathri is the fourteenth day of the lunar fortnight, when the Moon is waning and the Sun is in the sign of Aquaries. The festival is, however, related to the Moon rather than the Sun. That is the reason why it is called Shivarathri (the night of Shiva). Unlike other nights, this particular night is the night consecration, of dedication, of illumination. On this night there is just a minute part of the mind left to be conquered and that can be done by keeping vigil and dwelling on the Glow of God.
Shivarathri is an auspicious night. How is it auspicious? There are sixteen aspects for the mind. The moon is the presiding deity for the mind. On this time it is possible to get full control of one's mental faculties.
Auspiciousness consists in diverting the mind towards God. This calls for getting rid of the inherited animal tendencies. This is the occasion to recognise the omnipresence of the Divine in all beings and in all objects. It follows that whomsoever you adore or condemn, you are adoring or condemning God.
(There are three types of people - the multi-centred, the uni-centred and the non-centred. The first group, who allow their senses, mind and intelligence to wander where they will, is a very populous group. So also is the third group, which comprises people who flit from one object to another, hop around from one thing to another in listless flippancy. For earning the concentration and single-centredness characteristic of the second group, the festival of Shivarathri is very propitious).
The night-long bhajan (congregational singing of devotional songs) is significant of the lifelong consciousness of the Divine Presence that every one should cultivate. The rites and vows laid down for Shivarathri being absent on other nights of the year, their observance on this day comes as a reminder that they are useful.
Bhajan, namasmaran and puja (ritualistic worship) are not for pleasing or propitiating God, but for our own spiritual progress. Recitation of the Divine attributes only enables to dwell on elevating ideals and approximate ourselves more and more to the Divinity that is our nature. We become what we contemplate.
Immerse your mind in good thoughts and world will be good; soak it in bad thoughts and the world will be bad for you. So, recollect only good, think, plan and do only good, speak and act only good. Then as a result you will approximate God, the source of all good. This is the message of Shivarathri.
Vedanta teaches that each one is "Sathyam jnaanam anantham Brahma (Truth, total knowledge and infinity is Brahman)." Every one must get convinced that he/she is the Atma, not the body which is its material residence. To instruct about this is the special purpose of the festival of Maha Shivarathri.
One of significances of Shivarathri is: Shiva, or the Paramapurusha (the Eternal Absolute Person), in His desire to attract Prakrithi (objective world), engages Himself in the Cosmic dance. The dance is a divine plan to attract the material creation, for all divine miracles like those of Rama (He who pleases and delights) and Krishna (He who attracts), are for drawing people to the Divine Presence for the purpose of correcting or cleansing them, or for confirming their faith and then leading them on to the sadhana and to transformation, leading them to helping others and finally conferring direct vision of truth.
The Cosmic dance is so fast that fire emanates from Shiva's body because of the heat generated by activity. In order to cool Shiva and comfort him, Parvathi, his consort, places the Ganga on his head, makes the crescent Moon rest amidst the coils, of his hair, applies cold sandalwood paste all over his body, winds round the joints of his hands and feet cold-blooded snakes, and finally, being herself the daughter of the Himaalayas she sits on his lap and becomes a part of Him. At this Shiva rises, and both Purusha and Prakrithi dance together to the immense delight of the Gods and of all creation. This happens, according to the Puranas (mythological legends), on the Shivarathri day.
The other aspects concern to Shiva.
The secret of Creation is evident from the description of the form of Shiva. The crescent moon on Shiva's head symbolises the consciousness in human beings, the Ganga symbolises the Life-Force and the snakes on Shiva's body represent the myriads of living beings. Despite being endowed with all these, why was He obliged to carry the begging bowl? To demonstrate to the world that every kind of wealth is a hindrance to spiritual advancement, It is through renunciation Shiva became the eternal embodiment of supreme bliss.
The three eyes of Shiva represent the three lokas (worlds). Shiva's trident is symbolic of the past, the present and the future - three aspects of time. The three gunas (satwa, ajas and tamas) are images of the trinity -Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The three worlds, the triune aspect of time, the three gunas (qualities) are thus manifestations of the Easwara Principle. (Easwara is the Lord of every creature in the Universe. The entire cosmos is reflected as an image in the Lord or Easwara or Atma).
It is for the well-being of the world that Shiva swallowed the Halahala poison. Again, it is for the sake of the world's good that Shiva contained the Ganga in His matted locks. Shiva bears the moon on His head to confer peace of mind on mankind. It is only when human gives up utterly bad thoughts, evil desires and wicked deeds, human will be able to transform into divinity.
Shiva means Purusha (the Supreme Person). Shiva is also described as Bhuthanaatha - the Lord of all created beings. Bhutha refers to creation. Human being is the product of interaction of Purusha (the Supreme) and Prakriti (Nature). Consequently human should have the perennial bliss of the Divine and remain perpetually blessed. Human is made in the image of Nature.
Shiva is also known as Subhankara - the one who is ever good (Subham).
The Linga emerged this day from the embodied Shiva, and the Sastras (ancient scriptures) say, Brahma and Vishnu who sought to measure its Glory could not succeed in their venture. The Linga is just a symbol, a sign, an illustration, of the beginningless, the endless, the limitless. It has no limbs, no face, no feet, no front or back, no beginning or end. Its shape is like the picture one imagines the Formless to be. Linga means - leeyathe (that in which all forms and names merge) and gamyathe (that towards which all names and forms are proceeding, to attain fulfilment). It is the fittest symbol of the All-pervasive, the All-knowing, the All-powerful. Everything is subsumed in it; everything starts from it; from the Lingam arises Jangam (Universe), from the Jangam arises Sangam (association, attachment, activity) and as a result of the Sangam, one realises the Lingam (attributeless Atma). Thus, the circle is completed - from the beginningless to the Beginningless. This is the lesson that emergence of the Linga teaches.
The entire Cosmos is governed by three states: srishti, sthithi and layam (creation, sustenance and dissolutions). Srishti (creation) is the expression of the Easwara Sankalpa (Will of God). It is called Prakrithi (Nature). Every object in creation should have the characteristics of Nature. The powers of Nature are not present in all in equal measure. The human who is conscious only of the physical has a perverted view of these powers. The spiritually-oriented person sees their benign nature.
The cosmic process shrishti (creation), sthithi (sustenance) and layam (dissolution) goes on in every human being as Cosmic dance of Shiva. This three qualities are present in every human being. The three are to be regarded as one and worshipped as Shivam what is the embodiment of auspiciousness.
In a government there are different departments like education, finance, etc. Likewise in the spiritual field also there are different departments. They are: srishti, sthithi and layam. Each department has a head. Each head has to govern his department on right lines. There is an overlord presiding over all departments. He is like the Prime Minister in a cabinet. He is God. By attributing different names and forms to God, Divinity is fragmented in various ways. The one Divine is responsible for the threefold cosmic process - creation, sustenance and dissolution (srishti, sthithi and layam).
This three aspects of God can be seen in the English word GOD. G represents Generation - Srishti. O represents Organizations - Sthithi. D represents Dissolution - Layam. GOD represents the unity of the three aspects.
There is a misunderstanding about these three. Layam is considered as destruction or dissolution. Its real meaning is mergence. 'O' represents organization. It means protection. 'G' stands for generation (creation). Brahma, Vishnu and Easwara are three potencies immanent in human. To understand this it is essential to follow the spiritual path and looking upon the whole humanity as one.
The Divine Principle can be manifested through the practice of pure thoughts and actions. Today's Shivarathri observance conveys a significant lesson.
However, according to numerology, Shivarathri is the day devoted to overcoming the eleven Rudras by adoring the Supreme Lord.
The Rudras turn the Buddhi (intellect) towards sensuous objects and thrust the individual in the sea of Samsara (worldly life). The Paramatma (Supreme Spirit) is master of all the Rudras. The human being who has conquered eleven Rudras can expect to realise the Supreme. Who are the eleven Rudras? They are' the five Karmendriyas (organs of action) the five Jnanedriyas (organs of perception) and the Buddhi. Human must seek to control as much as possible these eleven organs. This statement is stressed from ancient times.
Each devotee has own conception of the Divine. No single specific form can be ascribed to the Lord. The Lord's grace is conferred on each devotee according to the level of his spiritual consciousness. Annamacharya exclaimed: "Oh Lord! You appear to each devotee according to the nature and measure of his/her realisation."
The ocean is vast and boundless. But the amount of water you can carry from it is determined by the size of the vessel you take. If the vessel you carry is small, you cannot fill it beyond its capacity. Likewise, if your heart is constricted, Divine grace will be equally limited. Broaden your heart and receive the plenitude of God's grace. A broad heart means recognising the truth that the Divine dwells in everybody.
Life is a combination of light and shadow.
When you have here the very embodiment of love as your dearest treasure, why welcome into your hearts the waves of hatred, faction, fear and doubt? Why turn them into volcanoes of cruelty and wickedness, when they can smile as green valleys of fragrant flowers?
All around you echo the sentiments that you carry in your own heart. You become what you yourself feel.
Remember that even when ten million disappointments combine to distress you, never give up love; fix it on the source of love, the spring of love, the Supreme Goal of love, namely, God. Whatever the handicap, howsoever you are tempted to loosen the grip, hold on to God; there is always a calm, after the storm. Love ennobles the least and the lowest. Love your Self for the God that it embodies; love others, for the God that is enshrined in them, that speaks and acts as expression of limitless Atma, as Unity in diverse forms.
The Divine Will is the determinant of the destiny of the individual or of society what itself is a reflection of the Divine Will. Hence human's supreme duty is to act according to the Divine Will. Dharma (duty, righteousness) is the spiritual expression of the Divine Will in relation to society.
Divinity is not easily perceived or realised.
To look at something evil and shout about it like crows is not a good thing. It is better to sing like the cuckoo over something good. Tastes differ from person to person. One human's sweet is another human's poison. With such diverse tendencies, how can people recognise the Divine?
God is present both in the good and the bad, in truth and untruth, in merit and sin. That being the case, how is one to determine what is false and what is unrighteous? The Gita declares: "My Spirit is the indwelling spirit in all beings." The individual who realises this truth will experience samathvam (equal-mindedness). However, it is not enough if you believe that God is everywhere and at all times, and that you are yourself no different from Him. When you are God yourself, a carrier of spark from Swami's Cosmic Form, to whom are you to surrender what? Think over this deeply and attain to that realisation.
But, for people living in the mundane world and concerned with worldly affairs, right and wrong, truth and untruth and similar opposites are unavoidable. Hence, as long as one is involved in leading a worldly life one cannot escape from duality. One's peace and security have to be found in the context of pleasure and pain.
Every human being has sacred qualities, based on his Shivathvam (Divine essence). When every person realises own essential Divine nature, the entire world will be transformed. The body and the mind are mere instruments. Human should use the instruments given to perform duties well and realise oneness with God.
The principle teaching of the Vedas is that all people should strive together in harmony and share their joys together in amity. God is one, the goal is one and all life is one. This unity underlies all diversity.
God today is in search of good people. Every one should strive to be sincere in thought, word and deed. Then you need not go in search of God. The indweller within God will discover you .
In the world, whoever takes a bodily form - whether it be humans, deities or avatars sometime or other the body becomes Asubham (tainted). The prefix "Sri" is affixed to the names of such persons to indicate that without the prefix they are tainted by their bodies. That is why "Sri" is added to the names of Krishna, Rama, Venkateswara and so on to confer beatitude on them. With regard to Easwara, however, the epithet "Sri" is not applied because Easwara is ever in a state of beatitude as our Swami is.
Shiva is not called "Sri Shiva." Easwara is not referred to as "Sri Easwara." He is the embodiment of all auspiciousness and holiness. Hence he needs no other appellation.(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 11. "Love, the sine qua non," Chapter 12 and "Shivaraathri: its significance," Chapter 13; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 14. "God, the source of good," Chapter 1; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 23. "What the Avatars mean," Chapter 4; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 29. "Spiritual significance of Shivaraathri," Chapter 5).
Namaste - Reet
Light and Love
Swami teaches... 20 - 22 February 2006
Be Alert and Vigilant on Journey of Life
The Divine, after creation, did not keep all powers within but gave them to mankind. God is the Creator. But He did not retain within His hands the responsibilities relating to the Creation.* He gave to human beings all capacities. But He laid down a condition relating to the use of these capacities. People are free to live as they like. They can utilise all the material objects in creation. There can be no objection to this from anyone, not even from God. Human has the freedom to enjoy the things provided by the Creator. But human should exercise discrimination to determine what are beneficial and what are not fit to be used. Because all things are available, one should not use them as one likes for the simple reason that each use is accompanied by its natural consequences. One cannot avoid these consequences. If you are prepared to face the consequences, you can act as you want.
Prakrithi (Nature) is like a mirror. It reflects your action. Standing before a mirror, you offer a Namaskar to it. The image in the mirror reflects your actions. If you attempt to hit the image, the reflection will hit back. Basing on this law of action and reaction, the Vedanta declared: "Whatever your thought, that you become."
Very much anterior to science is the Veda. Science seeks to know all about creation, but the Veda reveals the knowledge about the Creator. All the natural sciences are concerned with knowledge about created things.
There is an internal relationship between Nature and Divinity. The scientist should develop an integral approach towards Nature, Human and Spirit. Then is possible to realise the underlying divinity that unites the human being and the cosmos.
We need today a science that can promote love. Instead of Spirit of Love, we are witnessing today a "splitting of Love." The Spirit of Love is being broken up and destroyed. Thereby love is receding to the background. Human today indulges in greater cruelty than wild animals. It would be an abuse of language to regard as human beings people who indulge in large scale killing of each other. Human has lost respect for life.
Where is our boasted progress? Many scientific inventions are extremely useful to human. But if they are not properly used they can cause great harm. For instance, television, internet can be valuable means of educating and entertaining people. The fault lies not with the television, internet, etc., but with the excessive and wrongful use of the instruments. It is like a knife which can be used for slicing vegetables or stabbing a person. It is only when science is linked to spirituality that the results of science can be fully harnessed for the good and elevation of mankind.
Long time ago the young lad Prahlada told his father, "In a brief period you have been able to conquer all the worlds; but you have failed to master your senses and your mind." Likewise, today we are acquiring mastery over the external universe, but are unable to control our senses. It is only when we use science for control of the senses will we be able to bring Science and Spirituality together and integrate the two.
"Among studies, I am the study of the spiritual", declared Lord Krishna in the Gita. He also observed, "I am the embodiment of spiritual knowledge." Pursuing spiritual studies, the ancient sages realised spiritual truths and divinised their lives. From ancient times it has been the greatness and glory of Bharath to proclaim to the world the message of human welfare and praying for the good of all mankind. The world acclaimed the fame of Bharath.
Together with spirituality it is essential to have morality. Morality means ethical behaviour. It is the supreme duty to demonstrate such conduct in daily life.
"Through perseverance anything can be accomplished," is a well-known adage. For instance, goodness in a person is like a piece of burning charcoal. However, the fire in it is covered by the ashes of worldly desires. When the ashes are removed by sadhana (spiritual practice) the fire of goodness is revealed. But this remains invisible because it is enveloped in a cloak of worldly attachments.
It is obvious, therefore, that more than knowledge, what is essential is the refinement of human behaviour and Samskara (conduct). Sacrifice and charity are more important than wealth or position. Hence, for every individual, practical knowledge of the world is more essential than mere position or authority. The first prerequisite for this is the promotion of human values.
Because of the absence of human values, it has been impossible to demonstrate the value of human existence. These human values can be developed by spiritual practices and by no other means. When human values are implanted in a heart that is sacred and spiritual and nurtured there, that they will flourish and shine in all their splendour. Unfortunately, today human's heart is filled with narrow selfish concerns.
(For example, some people, afflicted with envy at the reconstruction of Sanathana Dharma are attempting to undermine its basic beliefs and create confusion in the minds of the youth. The kokil's song is harsh to the ear of the crow, but the crow's criticism will not silence the lark. The swan is defamed as ugly by the duck, but that does not worry the swan in the least, nor can the duck decrease the glory of the celestial swan. Defamation, criticism and slighting are all to be set aside, unrecognised; they shall not be valued at all. They also do some good in their own way, for they help to emphasise the excellence and bring it more to light. It is a foil to make the thing shine brighter. Besides, when one person says 'no' and another says 'yes,' it is an individual problem.
A dog barks at own reflection imagining it to be a rival. Other dogs, not knowing the reason, take cue, and the whole area is drowned with barking. Some bay at stars, but the stars are unmoved).
The mission on which every individual has come is to merge the individuality in the Universal. The life that each being is leading is saturated with the Divine. It is the Divine that inspires, that activates, that leads and fulfils the life of each being, however simple or complex its physical structure may be. From the atom to the Universe every single entity is moving towards the estuary where it merges in the sea of Bliss.
The Divine Life is the very breath of all beings; it consists of Sathya, Prema and Ahimsa (Truth, Love and Non-injury).
(How can any one be false to another when there is no other at all? Falsehood comes out of fear. No one is loved more than the Self: so, when all is the self-same Self, all is loved as the Self is loved. Who is to injure whom, when all are but one)?
How to lead the Divine Life? There is no special membership that entitles you to it. Every struggle to realise the Unity behind all the multiplicity is a step on the path of Divine Life. The Divine Life does not admit of the slightest dross in character or delusion in intellect. So, people dedicated to it must emphasise this by precept and example.
Wipe out the root causes of anxiety and fear and ignorance. Anxiety is removed by faith in the Lord; the faith that tells you that whatever happens is for the best and that the Lord's Will be done. Quiet acceptance is the best armour against anxiety. Sorrow springs from egoism, the feeling that you do not deserve to be treated so badly, that you are left helpless. When egoism goes, sorrow disappears.
Prema (Love) directed to the Lord is called bhakthi (devotion). For treading the path of devotion, one needs only Love Bhakthi can be spoken of as having several stages.
Mukhyabhakthi is the stage where the seva (service) of the Lord alone matters and it is its own reward; the devotee does not seek anything more than just the service of the highest, done to the utmost of capacity.
This gradually becomes Paraabhakthi, where nothing except the Name and Form of the Beloved is cognised.
Again, there is what is called Gounabhakthi, which is coloured by the three Gunas (inner qualities): the attitude of the afflicted, the seeker of worldly comfort, the sincere inquirer and the Jnani (the wise person) who is silent and content with the realisation that all is He/She.
For treading the Bhakthi marga (path of devotion), one needs no scholarship, nor wealth nor riches, nor ascetic rigours. Prema (Love) - that was all they had and that was all they needed. By sadhana, japam, dhyanam and systematic cultivation of virtue, this Grace is converted into clouds of truth. When prema embraces humanity, we call it dhaya (compassion), the quality not of pity but of sympathy; sympathy which makes one happy when others are happy, and miserable when others are unhappy.
(You have seen beggars singing in the streets? They have each of them a pair of cymbals in one hand by which they mark time, and a single-stringed instrument in the other, to the twang of which they tune their singing, The song will be harsh if it is out of tune. The song of life has also to be similar; keep up the daily tasks and sing away in joy to the tune of prema).
Train the mind not to feel attached to things that change for better or for worse. Do not hold before it the tinsels of worldly fame and riches; attract it towards lasting joys derived from springs inside you. The mind itself will then become the Guru, for it leads you on and on. It is the mind that fills the image made by the potter with the Divinity which the devotee sees in it; it is the mind which fills the shrine-room with the fragrance of holiness.
It is possible to see the Lord dwell in every being.
Swami has been telling one Truth always in huge amount of angles: every
one's master is his/her heart, where God resides. Every one is Divine in
reality; differences in name and form are but temporary and external.
There are many roads through which you can reach Madras; so also there are many roads to the Lord.
There is also the Adhwaithin who discovers him/herself as the basic substance of all creation, as Brahman itself. All paths are right; only some are easier, some more circuitous, some hard.
Swami does not insist that a person should have faith in God. Swami refuses to call any person a nasthika (an atheist). Beings exist as a result of His Will, in accordance with His Plan; so no one is beyond His Grace. Besides, every one has Love towards some one thing or other, and that Love is a spark of the Divine; every one has ultimately to base life on some one Truth; that Truth is God. No life can be lived out in complete defiance of Truth; one has to pay heed to truth and speak the truth to some one in order to make life worth living. Now, that moment is God's moment and at that moment when he utters the truth or loves, or serves or bends, person is a theist.
So, it is not even bhakthi that is essential. It is Love, Truth, Virtue, the eagerness to progress, to serve, to expand one's heart, to take in the whole of humanity in one's Love, to see all as Forms of the Divine Consciousness.
In the light of the Divine Oneness without Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi and Prema (Truth, Righteousness, Peace and Love) the accumulation of scholarship and education are barren achievements. Without them, all charities and services rendered to others are ineffective. Without them, positions of authority to which one is raised, become positions of persecution. Without them, no good act or meritorious achievement can yield fruit.
The education that was practised in ancient India was far superior and far more fruitful, for it equipped the student with a healthy spirit of self-reliance. It taught to discriminate between the flippant and the stable, the upgrading and the down pulling. It armed against all obstacles on the path of self-culture and self-realisatlon. It exhorted to oppose, without rest or relief, untruth, injustice and violence. Education is to be valued not as a means of earning one's livelihood, but as the essential requisite for a happy, peaceful and progressive life leading human from the animal stage of existence to the presence of the Divine, where love and light reign undisturbed.
Self-confidence is the base for the mansion of life; people must erect the walls of self-satisfaction and put on them the roof of self-sacrifice. Then they can live in that house and achieve Self-Realisation.
Awareness is life; be aware of your inner strength and glory. Express that glory through loving service to society. In Northern India yogis, sages and monks are addressed as Maharaj, which means Emperor, for an emperor is person who has a rich treasury of the gems of detachment and service, not one who has vaults full of precious metals. The wealth that you hoard is not yours; the wealth that you have shared is yours.
Intelligence being the special mark of humans, every effort must be made to amplify and sharpen it so that it may be a fit instrument for understanding the inner and the outer worlds. Along with intelligence, character has to be cultivated in equal measure. The readiness to renounce one's pleasure in order to relieve the burden of another is a prime virtue of character. (Moksha means liberation; renunciation, too, involves giving up, or liberation. The secret of both is the same).
What exactly has to be renounced? Desire is the worst enemy and it has to be canalised and reduced with determination until it ceases to bother. Besides desire, anger and greed also have to be discarded, for they are present wherever there is desire. Desire is bad even if it is for fame and authority. It is the avarice for power and pelf that ruins many a human life.
*An example from ancient scripures to this statement.
The wind blows; rains fall. In the Dwapara age, Indra caused a heavy downpour. The people who were affected by the deluge, prayed to the Lord: "Oh Lord! We and our cattle are suffering from this downpour. Save us from the rain." The Lord replied: "I cannot stop this rain. Whatever has to happen in nature has to go on. But I have the right to protect you from its adverse effects. Rain comes according to the laws of Nature. But, having regard to your devotion and prayers, I shall lift this hill and provide shelter to all of you. But I will not stop the rain." (The reference is to the lifting of the Govardhana mountain by Sri Krishna).(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 1. "Divine Life," Chapter 4 and Vol. 1. "Many roads," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 13. "Expand the heart," Chapter 21; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 18. "From Creation to Creator," Chapter 4; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 25. "From Knowledge To Wisdom," Chapter 14).
Namaste - Reet