Swami teaches....Part 61

Links to Swami Teaches.....60

Sai Ram

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 3 - 4 April 2006

The ABC of Life and Basic Human Values. Part 2

There are a few steps between the superficial knowledge and practical knowledge. From superficial knowledge we must proceed to general knowledge what cannot be acquired by mere study. It is learnt from the book of life.

After analysing this general knowledge one gains discrimination knowledge and knows the difference between good and evil. From this discrimination knowledge we proceed to practical knowledge. This practical knowledge is changeless. True and eternal education never changes when the heart is filled with compassion; it becomes sacred and aspires for the welfare of one and all.

To acquire discrimination knowledge one requires general knowledge, which consists of ordinary cleverness and intelligence. Both are essential for life in this world.

Spiritual education is the highest education. It starts with discrimination knowledge, which is like a perennial river. In perennial rivers the quantity of water may vary but not the quality. Thus students should understand that quality of education is more important than its quantity.

The path of spirituality forms the basis for all forms of knowledge. The fundamental knowledge, which comprises spiritual knowledge, is greater than both practical knowledge and general knowledge. So, this should be imparted along with the secular education.

Education is not mere knowledge, it surely includes actions. Education, which originates from within has a sound basis and is permanent. It is referred to as Sathyam. A step higher than Sathyam is Ritam (the Order, Absolute Truth) as proclaimed in the Vedas.

(There are three types of truth. They are fact, truth and Absolute Truth. What people normally refer to as truth in daily life is merely a fact. To say as it is what you have seen is a fact. Suppose I see you wearing a white dress and say that "you are wearing a white dress". This becomes a fact. Later at home you might wear a blue shirt. Then what I had said earlier does not hold good anymore. Thus a fact is subject to change.

Truth, on the other hand, does not change with time. A person may change any number of dresses, but the person remains the same. Thus truth is the same at all times. One think you are the physical body. The other think you are the mind. Mind is invisible. Ritam is the one you really are, the Atma. It is described as attributeless, pure, eternal highest abode, permanent and unsullied).

How long human beings lead a truthful and ideal life in the world without trying to discover the Absolute Truth (Ritam)?

Students, young or adult, are pursuing different types of education in different countries. But ultimately education should converge into educare. That can be achieved gradually.

What is the difference between "education" and "educare"? Education is like insipid water, educare is like sugar. Merely adding sugar to water does not make it sweet. It is only on stirring, does the sugar mix with the water making it sweet. The heart is the tumbler, divinity is the sugar, and secular education is tasteless water. With intelligence as the spoon and enquiry as the process of stirring, we experience the all-pervasive Divinity. That is true wisdom, which enables us to recognise the unity of all creation.

What is the end of eduction? People answer this question by saying there is no end to education. The end of education is character. Our character is reflected in our words, behaviour and conduct in daily life. Education without character is useless. The ancient sages took the students along with them wherever they went and taught them without conforming to any time schedule. This education was a continuous learning process.

(But today in the schools and colleges education is limited to strict time schedules. Therefore, education has become limited. But true education, which moulds character, has no limits).

The main problem of education is how to adapt the spiritual and cultural traditions to the needs of daily life today.

The world sorely needs today human values. However, human values cannot be promoted merely by repeating the words Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema and Ahimsa. In practising Dharma there should be no secret desires. Actions performed with such secret motives result in bondage. Truth and right conduct should be adhered to with pure intentions. Both of them are rooted in the eternal. A righteous life leads to peace. Love is to be experienced in the depths of peace. Love should find expression in nonviolence. All these basic values have to be demonstrated in action and not limited to preaching.

The more human values are cherished, the better will be the growth of society, the nation and the world. We cannot rest content with an educational system which is confined to academic achievement. It has to promote simultaneously human virtues. Human virtues cannot be acquired from others. They have to be cultivated by each person and the resulting joy has to be experienced.

It is not possible to reconcile the physical and the internal spiritual vision. The heart cannot be transformed by lessons in a classroom. The world cannot be changed by mere preaching. Only through action and practical example can the impulse for change be intensified. The people will follow of their own accord. This applies to human values. (Those who seek to impart the values of Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema and Ahimsa to others, must first try to practise them themselves whole-heartedly).

Attempts are being made to promote these values in the educational field. But they cannot be promoted through materialistic, worldly or scientific means. Without developing devotion to God (Atma) no human quality can grow. The first requisite is faith in God. Doubts are raised whether God exists or not. Those who affirm that God exists and those who deny are equally incompetent to say anything about God if they know nothing about the nature of God. There can be no greater folly than to deny the existence of God when the whole Cosmos bears witness to His handiwork.

Educational institutions must promote the spiritual outlook among students. When students acquire spiritual values, human values will grow in them of their own accord. Human have to be manifested from within.

Human values are in everyone. If the feeling that the divinity that is present in everyone is one and the same, is promoted among all, human values will sprout naturally in every person. To have this sense of spiritual oneness is the prelude to experiencing the highest bliss.

Bend the twig and bend the tree, says the proverb. The moulding of character must start with children at the earliest age. Begin developing human values from the primary school. Some are concerned about our living in a "secular state". Secularism really means equal respects for all faiths and beliefs. There should be no hatred towards any faith.

Some time ago there was an absurd idea that Sathya Sai educational institutions were religious institutions. Sai educational institutions are based on equal respect for all religions. They are wedded to unity and harmony. Bodies are many, but life is one. Beings are many, but Bliss is one. Religions are many, but Truth is one. This is the kind of oneness that has to be experienced in the depths of our heart.

All that you do as an offering to God will be an expression of human values.

To restore the supremacy of true education and human values in all fields of national life, an association should be set up by leading scholars and educationists in the country. This association should have no links with the government. It is only if it is autonomous and completely independent that it can achieve its objectives. They may have very good ideas but they have no freedom to implement them. They should be given the freedom to try out their ideas.

Those who in power operate under their own compulsions. They can take over properties and enterprises, but they cannot promote values. They may occupy temples and take over temple properties, but they can exercise no control over God. Governments may exercise control over people, but they have no hold over their qualities.

Everybody talks about the need for world unity. But real unity must begin with the individual and the family. It must become a way of life. It is vital to perceive the unity that underlies the apparent diversity.

However, human today is dividing oneness into many. In reality every one knows that the world today is full of misery. People today are totally immersed in self-interest. Multiplying desires without limit, they are becoming demonic beings. They are not content with having what they need for essential purposes. They wish to accumulate enormously for the future.

There is no place without fear and grief. People are afraid to travel by air, by trains or by cars, because they are wary of evil elements. Even walking has become unsafe. People are not happy at home also, since they are haunted by numerous fears. They are terribly fear-stricken. But, who is undergoing suffering? It is the body only, which is the composition of the five elements. Reduce attachment to the body. Attachment to body leads to pravritti (outward path), while attachment to the Self leads to nivritti (inward path). That which comes from the heart leads to nivritti (inward path). But, all that comes from the head lead to pravritti (outward path). The head carries responsibility, whereas the heart is bestowed with right. Whatever is done by the head is temporary. The combination of these paths is human life.

As long as you live in the world, you do need the warmth of relationship. You can wish for the welfare and progress of someone else. You can also share happiness. But all these feelings are limited to the physical relationship, which is transient. The eternal nature of Divine Love, which is blemishless, selfless, and pure, alone stands the test of true friendship. When you enjoy the proximity of such a friend, you will be free from fear even in the face of insurmountable difficulties.

Time undergoes change. Waking, dream, and deep sleep states are subject to change. Matter, worldly things and bodies composed of the five elements also undergo change. Mind, intellect, feelings, and senses also undergo change.

But you are permanent and experience everything. Do not brood over the past. Future is not certain. So, live in the present, since it is permanent. It is not ordinary present; it is omnipresent. But usually you simply brood over the past and worry about the future. In this way, you ignore the present. As a result, you are subjected to suffering. Why should you not derive happiness from the present state of affairs?

Brooding over the past and worrying about the future are the main cause of human's suffering. Why do you think about the past? You treaded that path consciously. Then why do you look back? Be happy in the present. That is all you should aspire for. You may face many ordeals. But do not pay too much attention to them. Lead your life happily till the end. Experience the eternal Divine bliss at the right time before the body decays and becomes decrepit. This is the task of the human beings today. You try to experience many things. Instead, experience the Divine bliss, which is within you. That is the supreme bliss.

Human's heart is a big screen, which is changeless. On the screen of the heart, you see sufferings, happiness and ordeals. The pictures in the form of projections on the screen come and go, but the screen does not change. None of the scenes is permanent. Only the screen of your heart is permanent. That is Divine. It is also called conscience which is the eternal truth. Conscience is within. It vibrates throughout the body, whereas conscious perception is associated with the senses. Where do these two, conscience and conscious perception, come from? Both have their origin in the all-pervading Universal (Cosmic) Consciousness. It is infinite, immutable, invisible, and all-pervasive. First, one should understand this consciousness and then can attempt to merge it with Divine Consciousness.

Some persons are listening to Swami's discourse or some are reading this serial "Swami teaches...," some are moving away from hall and some are sleeping when Swami is speaking, some are deleting this mail... Different people are doing different types of work and acts differently. However, the light in the rooms stands as a witness. It is not affected by sleep or deleting action. It is not affected even though one does not listen to Swami's discourse or is not interested in His Teaching. The light simply remains as a witness.

The Divine light similarly is the witness of everything. Its effulgence illuminates everything else. Where does it exist? We find santhi (peace) within asanthi (unrest). In the depth of the santhi (peace), there exists prakanthi (supreme splendor). In this prakanthi, one can experience Param Jyothi (Divine Effulgence). Param Jyothi, in the form of Atma Jyothi, (the light of the Atma) is within you. That is the light of nonduality and eternity. That is the light of immortality. That is the light of the Self.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 20. "Spiritual basis for value education," Chapter 20 and "Teaching values by example," Chapter 21; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 24. "Birth: Rebirth: Freedom," Chapter 13; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 1. "The ephemeral and the transcendental, Chapter 11; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 33, ""Educare" Is True Education," Chapter 20).

Namaste - Reet

Sai Ram

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 1- 2 April 2006

The ABC of Life and Basic Human Values. Part 1

By the Divine will of Prajapathi, two pairs were created; the subtle and the gross, the inert and conscious. By the union of the two, the entire Universe, consisting of animate and inanimate objects, was created.

All the sastras declare that death is inevitable for everyone who is born, and birth is inevitable for everyone who dies. If life is bound up with the round of birth and death, when will this process end? What is the basis for it?

Sage Pippalada explained that God is without a beginning or an end. The entire Universe consisting of moving and unmoving objects is mithya (illusory). Although there is the Real in the illusory Universe, all that is perceived in the phenomenal world is liable to pass away.

Pippalada told disciple Bhargava: "Life redeems itself only when it merges in Prana (Life-breath, Life Principle, Life Force)*. As long as one's life is immersed in delusion, life itself remains a delusion. As long as delusion remains, the Absolute cannot be realised. The Absolute is realised by absorption in the Brahmam and then there is no rebirth".

Creation is an eternal process whose beginning or end cannot be known. In the process of birth, growth and dissolution, besides the will of the Lord, the role of human effort can also be recognised to a certain extent. Human's destiny is determined by the nature of actions, thoughts and desires. Death exists as well as birth. But human has the capacity to free him/herself from rebirth. Humans do not know their origin, but they can determine their future. No one can tell how human came into existence and the circumstances of this origin.

Further Pippalada explained to disciple: "Freedom from rebirth follows the complete shedding of all desires. Human without desires has no rebirth. As long as the mind is filled with desires, there can be no escape from the chain of birth and death. When the desires are replaced by the Brahmic consciousness and the mind is emptied of all other thoughts, there will be no rebirth. Oh Bhargava! You think that rebirth and death are beginningless and endless. This is not so. There is a way out of this recurring chain."

The abode of the Life-Principle is the body and It operates using the body as its sanctum. It is timeless in its origin, but seeks an abode in a new body.

Hence, one's status or condition in life is based upon one's actions. The scriptures, therefore, teach human not to succumb to difficulties or gloat over success but maintain equanimity in all situations. One's own thoughts and actions are responsible for one's successes or failures, honour or ignominy, pleasure or pain. Whether one goes to heaven or hell or any other place, it is own actions that are responsible.

There are five kinds of vital airs or pranas: Prana, Apaana, Samaana, Udaana and Vyaana. These five vital airs are not only present in the body, but are cognisible in all the Panchabhuthas (five basic elements). The Prana is in the Sun. Apaana issues from the Earth. Samaana emanates from Akaasa (ether). Udaana issues from Vaayu (air). Vyaana arises from Agni (fire). In these five elements, the five life-breaths are immanent. Close to each one of these life-breaths, the reflections of human's actions are present.

No one can completely explain the secret of creation. There is a shadow which closely follows every object. Likewise the reactions of each action of human closely follow the five life breaths. When the Life Principle leaves one body and enters another, the results of one's actions follow the Life Principle to the other body. (By modern science it is likely human's genetic code). Human alone is responsible for own joys and sorrows. God is in no way responsible. He is only a witness. But if you pray to Him with all your heart and soul, the effects of all karmas will disappear or lessen.

Pippalada continued: "The Prana (Life Principle) is the most important factor. You have to merge yourselves in the mind. Merge the mind in the Atma**. Whatever you do, do it in a spirit of dedication to the Atma (the Divine). You can carry on your respective avocations. When you practise it in a spirit of dedication, work will be transformed into worship. When life is led in such manner, there is no rebirth."

Let's examine Prana also from the other aspect.

The body, mind and Atma constitute together the human entity. Actions are done by the body and cognition by the mind. The Atma is that which abides. The Atma is the Divine spirit present in the human heart. Action, Awareness and Being are the threefold aspects of human life which have to be properly understood. Although they appear to be distinct, it is the unity in Action, Awareness and Being which makes for the fullness of human life.

The mind, because it is engaged in various thoughts and motivates various desires and actions, is described as Antahkarana (the inner instrument). It is known as Manas (mind) when it is engaged in good and bad thoughts. It is called Buddhi (intelligence), when it exercises the discriminating power. When expressing the will, it is called Chitta. As a manifestation of the Divine in the individual, it is known as Aham or the I or Ego.

(Aham too, as the other inner instruments, arises from the Atma. Thoughts are produced by the Ego and give rise to speech. In this world, speech carries also more value than the currency note. In ancient times, people used to give immense value to speech. With the help of speech they were able to become rich and prosperous. Human becomes virtuous only when his speech is good; he becomes evil when his speech is bad. Speech promotes friendship and also brings about differences between friends. Speech promotes affinity among relatives. It also creates discord. Effects of speech are not confined to ephemeral and worldly matters only; speech affects our spiritual progress also. Speech may even cause death. Speech can save one’s life, too.

When all human action and speech are sanctified by dedication to God i.e. to Atma, the consciousness of oneness with Brahman - I am Brahman - ensues).

There is a fundamental principle which is at the base of all these. It is known as Prana and usually has been described as Viveka (discrimination, intelligence, comprehension and the like). These are not quite correct. Prana really refers to the Brahman in human. It may be regarded as "constant integrated awareness," the source of all values in human. This Prana is permeated with love. (Human is not able to manifest the kind of love that is beyond name and form. Love has no form. It does not differentiate between young and old or man and woman. It cannot be compared to anything else. Love is the very form of the Divine. Human can cultivate love in several ways. However, he/she would not limit it only to the bodily needs and relations).

Truth is the echo that resounds from the love-filled Prana. All actions that arise out of this love filled Prana are reactions, constituting Dharma. Santhi (peace) is a reflection of this Truth and Dharma. Thus Truth, Right Conduct and Peace emanate from the Prana that is charged with Love, as Resound, Reaction and Reflection. The proper understanding of the source and nature of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace and Love is Ahimsa (the attitude in which one cannot think of causing harm to anyone).

Truth in its real sense transcends the limitations of time, space and circumstance. It is difficult to practise this transcendental truth in ordinary life. It is the basis of human existence. It is on this basis that all the facts of the phenomenal world should be properly understood. One should not act on the impulse of the moment immediately a thought occurs. The rights and wrongs of an idea should be examined and only when the heart approves of a certain course should action follow. This is the process of cultivating values. What the mind (head) thinks, should be examined critically by the heart and the right decision should be carried out by the hand. This should be the primary product of the whole educational process.

The educational process will not be complete unless, together with specialisation in specific subjects, one acquires general knowledge and develops common sense. Many famous scholars who had significant scientific achievements to their credit have been lacking in general knowledge and the common sense required in daily life.

Today we have made prodigious progress in various fields of knowledge - in mathematics, physics, chemistry, the bio-sciences. But few attempts have made even to approach study of the spiritual. All our knowledge ends with study of matter, plants and living creatures. Education must go beyond these to an understanding of the Divine. How far have human values been promoted and what is the transformation that has taken place in mankind? There is no proper answer to these questions.

Today educational institutions are growing in numbers, but there is no growth of a broad outlook among the educated people. Education should serve to enlarge the vision and broaden the outlook of the people. Spiritual knowledge and scientific knowledge should go together. There should be no dichotomy between science and spirituality. True bliss can be experienced only when science and spirituality are combined. Spirituality can promote ethical values, the spirit of tolerance and equal-mindedness. The science of spirit is essential for developing human values.

Many people are discussing education in Human Values. What seems to be necessary is three H(V): Head-Heart-Hand (values). The hand should carry out what the heart has approved of the ideas emanating from the head. This triune process has been described in Vedanta as Thrikaranasuddhi - the purity and harmony of thought, speech and action.

Activities arising from Thrikaranasuddhi find expression in two ways: one through artistic creativity and the other, through scientific exploration. Artistic creativity is supremely important. The aesthetic feeling is based on creative imagination. In art the bhava (imagination) finds ichcha sakti (creative expression).

Both ways are rooted in Prana, the Divine source. As against this aesthetic creativity, we have the urge for scientific enquiry. This is primarily concerned with objects in the external world. Experimental research has its vision turned outward. But even that has its basis in the Antardrishti (inward vision) what relates to the subject.

The world needs the discoveries of science. But if it forgets the base and is preoccupied only with the superstructure, it will be the source of much disorder and trouble. Today science has been mostly divorced from spirituality and faith in the Divine. Many imagine that science can create a heaven on earth. But what is the kind of heaven that is envisaged? Is it the enjoyment of material and sensuous pleasures?

Research is going on endlessly. Service to society must become the fundamental purpose for science and for any other human's activity.

Why should the individual serve others? What claims has society on the individual? When to examine these issues becomes evident that the individual can find fulfillment only in society.

Society may be viewed as a many-petalled flower. Every individual is like a petal. All the petals together make for the beauty of the flower. Every individual is a petal making up the flower of society.

Society may also be compared to a four-wheeled chariot. The four wheels are: Aikamathyam (unity), Swadhenam (control), Jnanam (knowledge) and Sakhti (power). These four help the society to go forward.

Let's look the properties of human values from little different aspect (than in previous articles "Swami teaches...") connected with human qualities and character.

Human values cannot be practised by studying books or listening to lectures. They have to be cultivated by individual effort.

True education consists in sanctifying everything you utter and every thought and action of yours. Everyone has to practise human values as a mark of a true human being. Humility is the bed-rock. Cultivate humility as the first step, Bend the body. Mend the senses. End the mind. This is the key to immortality.

It is education, what mostly responsible for humans' development to the higher stages of awareness.

For understanding the significance of integration of science and spirituality at first is essential to know the main aspects of education.

Five principal aspects of education.
1. What is education?
2. What type of education should we pursue?
3. What is the main aim of education?
4. What is the uniqueness of education?
5. What are we gaining from present-day education?

What is education? It is of two types: The first type is collection of facts and knowledge about the external world and sharing them with students. The second type is educare. Educare involves the deep understanding of the knowledge that springs from within. and imparting it to students.

As a rule, culture or refinement can develop good personality and not the first type of education. So, both education and culture are important. (Today’s education is devoid of culture and is like a counterfeit coin. Even a beggar does not accept a counterfeit coin. Then how can experienced and intelligent people accept such education? So, to satisfy everyone educare has to be developed).

Education without culture is like a dark room. Only bats can live in dark rooms; such rooms are filthy. So, by pursuing such education devoid of culture, our hearts have become as dark rooms.

What is culture? It is the cultivation of discrimination between good and evil, sin and merit, and truth and untruth that we experience in our daily life. It is also removal of one’s evil thoughts, feelings and qualities, and cultivation of good thoughts, feelings and good qualities. Not only this, culture makes one broad-minded by getting rid of one’s narrow-mindedness.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 20. "Spiritual basis for value education," Chapter 20 and "Teaching values by example," Chapter 21; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 24. "Birth: Rebirth: Freedom," Chapter 13; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 1. "The ephemeral and the transcendental, Chapter 11; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 33, "‘Educare’ Is True Education," Chapter 20).

PS: By Glossary of Vahini's

*prana (praana) is Life-breath, Life Force, Life Principle, vital energy, the five vital airs.

** Atma (Aathma) is the real Self, one's divinity, God, the substance of everything, the unseen basis, the spark of God within.

Namaste - Reet

Sai Ram

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 28 - 31 March 2006

The Power Behind the Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution

The Glory and Majesty of the Lord is immanent in the Universe, as fragrance in the air, of heat in fire, or as butter in milk. He is the string that passes through and holds together all the beads. To know Him as such, to realise that He is the source, sustenance and summum bonum of all this Creation is the end and aim of human life. That is the sum and substances of the teachings of all the scriptures that man has inherited from the past, in all languages and in all climes. Without this all-pervading Divine light, anybody will not be able to live for a moment. As the whole Universe, so the human body are to be sustained well, they need the sustaining power of the Divine.

The Vedanta (the concluding essence of Vedas) declares, "All this is enveloped by God." The rules and disciplines laid down in all religious systems have as their aim the application in daily life of this great Truth, the Immanence of God.

Sathya and Dharma (Truth and Righteousness) are the two eyes of every religion that has emanated from the primal Sanathana Dharma: of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

All religions are but essays at demarcating the path towards that consummation. Swami's desire is that you should not censure other religions. God is One. Love is One; it transcends caste, colour and creed, if it has to be genuine. Truth is One. The Goal is One; for, all roads must lead to the One God. (Why then should people quarrel and fight over the Eternal and the Absolute)? Bharatheya culture has emphasised that nothing should be done to damage any one's faith in God or in own Self. Faith is a tender plant and it needs all the nurture that you can give.

Bharath is the land where this precious knowledge was gained and spread by ardent seekers and sages.

Sathya and Dharma are the two cardinal principles of Sanathana Dharma (ancient but eternal spiritual code, Eternal Religion). They are the goals of all faiths, the teaching of all saints, the core of the achievements of all sages, the under-current in all scriptures. They spring out of the essential nature of the Self, which is the lesson taught in the Gita. If any one challenges you to show them one text where the principles of Sanathana Dharma are succincity stated tell them about the Bhagavad Gita. It is the essence of the Vedas and the Sastras and the Puranas. It is like a bottle of fruit-juice obtained from a basket of fruit. It will not get dry or rot like the fruits, for the juice has been well extracted and preserved. Its taste and excellence will persist until the end of this Yuga (Age) and then it will merge in the Vedas.

Yugas are aeons what are imprinted into holy festival in Bharat and invested with profound inner significance. Yugadi is commonly believed that this marks the beginning of a new year. But it is really a beginning of a yuga (aeon). The Lord is the beginning and the end of every aeon. Hence, He is called the Creator of yuga and described as a sustainer of the yuga.

Yugadi is also celebrated as Samvatsaraadi (the festival of the new year). Samvatsara means God, the One who dwells in everything. For Samvatsara (the year), the underlying spirit is Atma. Another name for Samvatsara is Kala (time). Because time is subsumed by the Spirit, God is known as Kala Atma (the Time Spirit). God is also known as Vatsara, the Divine indweller in all beings.

Yugadi represents the form of the Divine. The four yugas (aeons) - Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kali - are permeated with Divinity. Hence, God has also the name Chaturatmaka (the fourfold Spirit). This fourfold Spirit is manifested in four forms with distinctive attributes though their powers are one and the same. They are Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Aniruddha and Pradyumna. All the four are combined in the Avatara (the incarnation of the Divine in human form).

Vasudeva is the first form of fourfold Spirit. This name signifies that the Lord is immanent in everything in creation and bears within Himself everything in the Cosmos. He is omnipotent. He is resplendent. He remains unmoved in any condition, in any circumstance, while being present in every limb and every cell. He is the vital essence. Thus, everything is permeated by God and there is nothing outside Him.

Sankarshana is the second form. Sankarshana is the One, who at the time of Pralaya (the Great Dissolution), absorbs within Himself the entire Cosmos. The Sankarshana represents the Divine attribute of eliminating grief and giving happiness, removing mental agitation and conferring peace, destroying weakness of spirit and instilling fortitude. This is no ordinary attribute. It is a Divine quality which is present in every human being.

Aniruddha is the third form. It refers to one who has a unique quality. He confers this quality - Sampada (wealth) on whoever prays to Him. He is the Lord who confers both material and spiritual benefits on those who adore Him. In this aspect, He shines through His effulgence. This illumination is not derived from outside. He Himself is the source of His light and also the light that illumines everything. This principle of Aniruddha is essential for every human being.

Pradyumna is the fourth form. He represents the invincible Divine power, which cannot be overcome by anyone. He has no equal. He is His own example. He is His own law. There is no one below Him or above Him because He is even in those below Him. The Pradyumna principle is all-pervading and omnipresent.

God is not different from human. Vasudeva is Paramatma (the Omni-Self). Sankarshana is Jivatma (the individual Soul). Pradyumna is the mind. Aniruddha is Aham (the ego). It is the combination of all these four forms which constitute humanness.

If any one of these four constituents is absent, human cannot live in the world. If it is asked whether Ahamkara (egoism) is also essential, the answer is: Aham (the ego) should be present but not Aham-kara (the feeling of egoism, the sense of separate identity associated with the body consciousness). Aham means "I."

I" should not be identified with the physical form. "I am the Brahman." "I am not the body." This Aham is the essence of everything. Aham means the principle which is present in everything in the cosmos, from the atom to Brahmam.

The sages have laid down various regulations, disciplines, practices and paths. They have laid down, five yajnas for every human being, wherever he/she may be. These yajnas are not elaborate ritual exercises, accompanied by Vedic recitation, prescribed for the attainment of specific states of Bliss in after-life or specific victories of a worldly nature. They are simpler and more democratic. They are being performed, casually and without the awareness of significance, by human being everywhere. They are indispensable steps in spiritual progress.

The five yajnas (sacrifices) are: (1) Sacrifice for God; (2) Sacrifice to propitiate the sages; (3) Sacrifice to propitiate the progenitors; (4) Sacrifice to propitiate the visiting fellow humans; and (5) Sacrifice to propitiate the animal companions. They are called Daivayajna, Rishiyajna, Pithruyajna, Athithiyajna, and Bhuutha-yajna, in Sanskrit.

1. Daivayajna

It is commendable practice, the allotment of one small room for the shrine, while building houses. In every Hindu home, we have a domestic temple or altar or shrine, where the members of the family, singly or all together, can adore God. Usually, there is a picture or idol placed there to remind them of the Vast Immeasurable which it represents. Daily worship is offered at this shrine prayers are poured forth before it, meditation is done in that quietness, the Name of God is taken on the tongue. This is the Daivayajna; it purifies the household and brings God into the consciousness of human through all his activities.

2. Rishiyajna

It is used for the activities of human that propitiate the sages. They are mostly: the study and practice of sacred scriptures, that are the treasure of wisdom gained by the arduous asceticism of the sages. The Vedas are the earliest, the most compendious, philosophically the deepest, texts, the most practical of all the scriptures, and the most universal. Then there are the great epics Ramayana, the Mahabharatha, the Bhagavatha and other narratives of the eternal struggle between right and wrong and the everpresent Grace of God which helps the triumph of the Right. These and other books cleanse and console, elevate and uplift, correct and convince, and fill the mind with courage and humility.

3. Pithruyajna

The command of the Vedas is "Maathru dhevo bhava; Pithru dhevo bhava" - "May the mother be your God; may the father be your God." The stanza is repeated ad nauseum today, but, there is no sign of reverence towards the parents anywhere. A generation that does not respect and foster its parents is bound to end in disaster.

There is a fine story mentioned in the Puranas about this. The Divine Parents, Shiva and Parvathi, once laid down a test for their two sons - Ganapathi and Subrahmanya. They were to go round the whole world and return to them; he who does it quicker will win the prize.

Subrahmanya started quick and fast, and was pacing through highlands and lowlands; but, Ganapathi walked quickly round the parents and claimed the prize. He said, the parents are all the world - and the statement was accepted as correct. The moral of this story is that parents have to be cared for, and obeyed. That is the real Pithruyajna.

4. Athithiyajna

It means acts done to please and comfort the A-thithi (he/she who comes only for a day), that is to say, the stranger, who comes to your door seeking food or shelter. Give him these, as an act of worship. Treat him/her as having been sent by God or as God Himself. This is a sacred rusk enjoined by the Vedas. Share your meal with whomsoever asks for food when you are about to eat it.

5. Bhuuthayajna

It means steps to comfort and keep happy the animal collaborators and companions one has around him--bullocks, cows, goats, horses, which help you by their toil, and dogs, cats and other pets which make your home pleasant and full of joy. You should not keep them hungry or overwork them.

Love and reverence - these are the real springs for sacrifice or yajna. The duality of appearance and nonappearance can be overcome by jnana.

Jnana teaches do not worry about worldly comforts. Do not waste precious life-time in distracting doubts about the existence of the Lord in human form, here and now. Cultivate love towards all; that is the greatest service you can do to yourself for, all others are but you yourself. You should bend, only before love (prema) and truth (sathya), not before hatred and cruelty and falsehood.

Today often human is a contradiction in him/herself. Without harmony within how can human contribute to harmony in the community and in the world? That is the misfortune in the world today. Human has therefore to understand own dignity and own inner spiritual reality, then only will human have the right perspective. Otherwise, it is like the story of the ten foolish disciples. Each one of them does the count and finds there are only nine and wails for the tenth missing man. Each one of them has forgotten to count himself and has plunged not only himself but others too in grief.

Human has to understand the reasons for sorrow. First human would try to understand what Prakrithi is. It is something which has come in between; it is a relative value. We should therefore transcend the consciousness of Prakriti. From moment to moment Prakriti is changing. The experiences Prakrithi gives us in the waking state get obliterated in the dream state, and those of the dream stage cease when we wake up from the dream. The dream experiences are our creation. And so are the waking state experiences too. What we see is nothing but our own creations. The vision-experience of the world is but a projection of our mind and the reflection of our own inner thoughts. If you view things with prema, with a loving heart, the whole world, the whole creation will appear to you as a reflection of prema.

The selfishness fouling our love is veiling Divinity from our vision. What is the reason for the selfishness which is veiling Divinity from us? It is simply our attachment to the body; it is the weakness of our mind and our enslavement to our senses.
But the body is not we, the sensory organs are not we; the mind is not we. The body is just a vesture of the Atma. The body is described in the Upanishads as a chariot, the rein is the mind, the senses are the horses, the intellect is the charioteer and the Atma, the Lord, is seated inside.

On one occasion, someone came to Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and wailed, "My mind is troubling and torturing me". Ramakrishna gave a very witty reply: “Oh, is your mind giving you so much trouble? Catch hold of it and bring it to me. I will punish it". Ramakrishna wanted to stress only that the mind is but his imagination. It is our desires alone that create the phantom of the mind. If desires are subdued, the mind vanishes.

We must delve beyond the body, beyond the senses, beyond the mind, beyond the buddhi (intellect) and reach the source of all these - the Atma. It is the substratum, basis and source of all else.

The faculty that decides between good and bad and what course one should take is buddhi. Buddhi is the superior most amongst all the faculties, and its pre-eminence is due to its proximity and closeness to the Atma. The charioteer sits close to the master inside. The brilliance of the Atma directly falls on buddhi which derives the maximum benefit and strength from the Atma.

The buddhi should exercise its control over the mind, and the mind over the senses. But what happens generally is that the buddhi does not exercise discrimination; the mind arrogates to itself superiority over the intellect and the senses arrogate to themselves superiority over the mind. The chariot runs in the wrong direction.

To avoid this, buddhi has to act in the Atmic light, and the mind in subordination to buddhi. It is not as if our daily life is different from Adhyatmic life. In our day-to-day life, if we use the buddhi to discriminate between right and wrong, and the buddhi follows the dictates of the Atma, then everything will be right. This is the Divine prescription and panacea for life. What is therefore required first is faith in the existence and supremacy of Atma. (If one has no faith in Atma, no self-confidence, and if one goes ahead with own egoistic vanity, how can person ever benefit by the divine light and guidance)?

Today, people argue in various ways, forgetting the source of the reasoning power is itself God. People should depend not on their physical or intellectual strength, but on the power of God. Do not worry about the world; concentrate on God. For devotion to God, only two things are needed faith and experience. Both these are rooted in love.

All branches of knowledge are like rivulets which flow into the sea. Just as all rivers flow into the ocean, all types of education will find their true fulfilment when they lead and end up in spiritual knowledge and wisdom only. So, true, complete education is Atma Vidya. The other branches of education are the relatively true, relatively complete. In general worldly life and spiritual life are not different. Worldly life should be blended and harmonised with spiritual life.

Give each problem the attention it deserves; but do not allow it to overpower you. Anxiety will not solve any difficulty; coolness comes from detachment. Above all, believe in God and the efficacy of prayer; the Lord has said that he who does good, thinks good and speaks good will not come to harm. That is the way to get equanimity, santhi.

PS: People ceaselessly talk about bhakti (devotion). But what is this devotion? What are you doing for the land of your birth? Gratitude to your native land is the real index of devotion. Your deha (body) and your desa (nation) are one. Therefore, the welfare of the nation is your welfare. Remember this always.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.3. "Bend before Prema and Sathya," Chapter 7; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 9. "Love and reverence," Chapter 5 and "Cults and culture," Chapter 7; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 15. "Day of Dedication," Chapter 5 and "Eternal harmony," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 22. "Make every moment holy," Chapter 8).

Namaste - Reet