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Swami teaches....Part 67

    

Links to Swami Teaches - Part 66 

 Sai Ram

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 1 - 2 June 2006

Problems in Society Call for Humans' Spiritual Transformation

Current serial "Swami teaches... Problems in Society Call for Humans' Spiritual Transformation" is connected with the previous "Swami teaches... From Duality Towards Non-duality," but from a little different aspect underlining the purpose, why humans' society needs today mental transformation over the world through spiritual awareness. The spiritual enlightenment is the need of the hour for all humanity.

In human life, there are three important things: One is the individual, the second is the family and the third is the society.

Today human is concerned primarily about individual interests, Each one is concerned about own position and power. Everyone is struggling for their selfish ends. Individual differences are on the rise. It is selfishness that is the cause of all the cruelty and violence today.

Few care to take any interest in what concerns society as a whole. In society today social morality have disappeared. Peace has become a casualty all over the world, because people have lost the fear of sin, the love of God and basic ethics in social relationships.

One should be prepared to face all challenges and work for the uplift of the society. Regard yourself as an integral member of society. Develop the social consciousness that your welfare is bound up with the welfare of the society.

Unfortunately rules and laws of our consumer- society have mostly swept away the foundation of ancient culture and moral values. But moral values are fundamental for human life.

Excessive desire causes imbalance in nature. As human's conduct with nature is perverted, today we find many different natural calamities taking place far more frequently than tens of years ago. It is indiscriminate exploitation of nature results in imbalance in earth, which is playing havoc with human lives.

You should enjoy Nature according to your need. You should not rob Nature of its resources to satisfy your greed. It is likely as once a greedy person owned a duck, which used to lay a golden egg every day. One day, he ripped open the stomach of the duck thinking that he would get many golden eggs at a time. Today human also is indulging in such foolish and greedy acts. Instead of being satisfied with what Nature is giving, human aspires for more and more, and in the process, creating imbalance in Nature.

Today scientists are interested in new inventions. The advancement in science and technology has also led too to imbalance in Nature. As a result, there are earthquakes and no timely rains, climate has changing... Science and technology, in spite of several progressive results, have created formidable problems for mankind in their physical existence. Science and technology in majority are undermining the very root of humanness. While providing temporary and transient comforts, several branches of science and technology have turned humanity away from the spiritual quest. They have served to encourage ostentation, possessiveness, self-interest, selfconceit, jealousy, etc.

But Science should be utilised only to the extent needed. Science has its limitations, and crossing those limits leads to danger.

As a rule, human is straying from righteousness. Love is absent from his/her vision. Every desire is misconceived. Every craving is inspired by greed. Sublime ideas have vanished. Spiritual concepts are treated with levity. The human consciousness is getting weakened. Likes and dislikes, attachment and aversion are having free play. Such is the common situation in every country.

(If you examine the attitude of young people today, you will find chaos and confusion in their hearts. Self interest and selfish concerns rule the roost. In their rooms, in the place of pictures of national heroes, you see only pictures of film stars. These are the deities whom they worship. Here the root cause is the absence of exemplary parents and teachers. Even among the leaders, there are few that can be considered ideal examples. It is when you have ideal leaders, ideal parents and ideal teachers that the students will be inspired to act on right lines).

Wherever you turn, you see only disorder and conflict today. Fear has gripped everyone. You are haunted by fear whether in your home or out in the streets. Fear grips you when you get into a bus or a train, whether you are going in a car or in an aeroplane. How is life to be rid of fear?

It is through desirelessness or vairagya (detachment) that fear can be banished. Today people think that giving up hearth and home is renunciation. This is not what vairagya implies. Whatever we do should be done in a spirit of goodwill and service. Everything you do should be regarded as conceived for the nation's well-being. The welfare of all must be looked upon as the motto of all nations.

From times immemorial Bharatiyas have lived upto the ideal: "May all the worlds be happy!"  To uphold this ideal, the rulers, the scholars, the sages and others made many sacrifices. The culture of Bharat is vaster than oceans and mightier than mountains.

Bharat (India) is the birthplace of spirituality, charity and righteousness. This sacred land is the birthplace of the Adi Kavi (first poet), Valmiki, and sage Vyasa, who classified the Vedas. This is the meritorious land that gave birth to Gautam Buddha, who declared that nonviolence is the highest dharma. This is the noble land that was ruled by Lord Rama Himself. This is the Divine land where Lord Krishna sang the song celestial, Bhagavad Gita. Bharat gave to the world noble souls renowned in all the continents. Bharat is Swami's motherland. From this land His Teaching illuminates over the world.

To overcome the total problems created by consumer-society, people have to change their inner values and turn to the spiritual insight about own Self and the whole Universe. There is the leading role of Swami's Teaching as a guide for spiritual development for humanity.

People talk about spirituality. What does it mean? Spirituality means discovering the unity in the multiplicity. Unity can be achieved through truth, nonviolence and love. (Preoccupation with one's own destiny is not spirituality. That also is a form of selfishness).

The essence of spirituality is mental transformation. (Without mental transformation, what is the use of all spiritual sadhanas? What is the use of prayers)? Develop spirituality, love, unity, and forbearance. All these can be achieved through God's grace. People do not even need to undertake any rigorous spiritual practices. (Japa, meditation, and yogic practices confer only temporary satisfaction). It is enough if you develop love in your heart. It is Love and Non-violence that sustain the world. So, the true spirituality consists in filling the heart with Love, dedicating all actions to the Divine and striving for the welfare of all.

Hence, in every way, the awareness that Cosmos is manifestation of the Divine should be obtained. The truth of the Upanishadic declaration, "All this is permeated by the Divine," should become a firm conviction. Human is derived from the Divine, is sustained by the Divine and has to merge in the Divine. (Human is not a petty being, nor is a weakling or a destitute. Human is the most powerful being on the Earth).

Although the Universe is filled with innumerable objects, with different forms and names, the one thing that is present in all of them is the "I." The "I" Principle is omnipresent. The expression "I" is used by a yogi or a bhogi (pleasure-lover), by a mendicant or a millionaire. "I" runs like a continuous thread in a garland in all beings, whatever their name or form. Hence, every human has to recognise the significance of this ubiquitous term "I".

In this vast Universe, wherein there are innumerable things which have to be learnt, what is the inner reason for the emphasis placed by Vedanta on the search for the meaning of the word 'I' used by everyone in common parlance? When human is able to understand the meaning of "I," he will be in a position to understand everything.

In the great scriptures and epics, you find the statement: "The enquiry into the Self leads to Liberation." All scriptures enjoin: "Know thyself." The Sruti (Veda) declares: "Aham ethath na" (I am not this). In this statement there are three distinct terms: "I," "am not," and "this." What is the "I"?

On the authority of the Vedas, the "I" has been described under various names as Atma, Brahmam, Paramatma, Pratyagaatma, and the like. It must be noted that this "I" is present in every human as Vaiswaanara. In the form of Vaiswaanara, the "I" principle digests the food taken by a person and, converting into blood, circulates it to every part of the body.

Then, there is the term "This." "This" implies and indicates every object in the phenomenal universe. "This" is used when referring to the sun, the moon, hill or dale. The inner meaning of the use of the term "This" is that it refers to everything that can be perceived. "This" is present as an all-pervading quality.

"This" is Drisya (the Seen). "I" is Drashta (the Seer). Creation is a manifestation of the union of the Seer and the Seen.

It follows that the 'seer' is not the 'seen'. "I am not the body; that is my vesture. Even as I see other things, I am also seeing my body." "This" is how one should recognise the distinction between the seer and the seen.

Here the Divine parable is hidden. The Vedas declare: "Aham Brahmasmi" (I am Brahman). But in Swami's view, even this is not complete truth because the presence of 'I' and Brahman i.e. Atma symbolises duality. Truth is one, not two.

The body is like other perceived objects. Hence, to identify the body with one's Self is preposterous.

All the myriad forms cannot be perceived without a perceiver. Therefore, the basic truth underlying all the forms is the existence of the perceiver (the "I", the Seer).

Recognise the fact you are the Seer. This Seer is known by many names. In the waking state, Seer is the cogniser in all beings, and hence is called Viraata Svaruupa. (The Cosmic Person). As peson is engaged in a variety of activities, he/she is also termed Vyavaharika-Purusha (changing soul). On account of the attachment to every object in the world, he/she is also called Viswam (a name of the individual soul in the waking state).

(In the waking state, the "I"-consciousness is present in its fullness. In the dream state, it is present only to the extent of fifty percent. In the Sushupti state (of deep sleep) it is present in its complete subtle form).

The term "nenu" ("I" in Telugu) is not just a simple two-letter word. It has countless meanings.

It does not refer to the transient body. The "I" is the Eternal Witness present in all beings. All worldly knowledge relates to the senses, which are transient. The real Truth emanates from the heart. What is received from the external returns to the external. Human is not a product of the external world. Human has come from the Divine and "I" is a permanent reality.

You are eternal and self-effulgent. Hold this truth firmly in your heart. Keep this awareness firm. Awareness implies total understanding. (Knowing this or that bit of information is not complete awareness. For example, having seen just the tail of a rat, how can you claim to have seen the rat itself)?

Today human tries to know Divinity with his/her mind. In order to visualise Divinity, you should understand the "I" Principle i.e. Atma Principle. The Atma is formless. So long as you are attached to your form, you will not understand what Atma means.

(What do you mean by vision of the Atma? It is visualisation of the all-pervasive effulgence. In order to understand this, you have to transcend form. All the material objects have a definite form, but in due course of time they lose their identity and merge into the causal dimension, i.e., in the Atma. So, human should make an effort to go beyond form and merge into the Atma).

For better understanding the vision of Atma and also different aspects of Swami's Teaching it is essential to know the quality of three types of ethereal dimensions, namely, Bhutakasha, Chitthakasha and Chidakasha.

Bhutakasha is engulfed by Chitthakasha, which in turn is encompassed by Chidakasha. The Bhutakasha is very vast. All the stars, the Sun, the Moon and the Earth, form a part of Bhutakasha. All these are present in Chittha in a subtle form. So,Chitthakasha is many times bigger than Bhutakasha. You feel the Sun is self-effulgent, but in fact, it is the Atma, which illumines the Sun. So, the Atma is the greatest of all. Its vastness cannot be described in words. All the five elements are made up of atoms, whereas the Atma is not made up of atoms, as it is formless.

All the activities that are related to the form correspond to Pravritti (outward path) i.e., Bhutakasha, which is made up of atoms. All this will ultimately merge into the Atma.

(In the days of yore, many sages made concerted efforts to recognise the nature of the Atma. Ultimately, they declared to the world, "I know the Supreme Being who shines with the effulgence of the Sun and who is beyond the darkness of ignorance)."

In order to have the vision of the Atma, you don?t need to go to the forest and undertake penance. You can see it everywhere once you dispel the darkness of ignorance from within. Divinity is latent in humanity, but you are attributing various names and forms to it and are trying to visualise it through worship and rituals. As a result, you are subjected to frustration and depression.

First of all, you should make efforts to realise the Divinity that is latent in Bhutakasha. Only when you transcend Bhutakasha and Chitthakasha, can you understand Chidakasha.

Bhutakasha is like a small star in the sky of Chitthakasha. The same can be said of Chitthakasha as compared to Chidakasha. Chidakasha is nothing but the Atma. There is nothing beyond this. To understand the formless Atma, you should go beyond form.

In the beginning, you meditate on a specific form, but gradually you should go beyond that form and realise the formless Divinity. (The formless Atma in daily life is experienced in the deep sleep state (sushupti) in which you lose the identity of name and form).

Though the modern human is highly educated, he/she is unable to comprehend the principles of Bhutakasha, Chitthakasha and Chidakasha. Usually person is keeping away from such an enquiry, thinking them to be abstruse philosophical truths. But they are the eternal truths, which are to be understood and put into practice in daily life.

(In Bhutakasha, beings are many, but the underlying Atmic principle is the same. Though you see God in the form of people around you, you are not excited. But if you see a person with three heads, you will become ecstatic thinking that you had the vision of the Divine Cosmic Form).

All that you find in the external world is nothing but Viswa Virat Swaruupa (Cosmic Divine Form). All forms are His. Form is associated with pravritti (worldly activity, attachment). It is the root cause of delusion. Due to the influence of worldly objects, you have forgotten your Swabhava (True nature). 

Human should hold on to the principle of non-dualism and sanctify own life through this spiritual awareness. Once you develop faith in this principle, you will have all the purity and prosperity. ?All are Mine and I belong to everybody.? Once humanity reaches to such firm conviction the sharp social, environmental problems vanish. It would be is the triumph of spirituality as passport to the Golden Age.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 23. "Give up selfishness: Cultivate unity," Chapter 7; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 24. "Discover the God within you, Chapter 21; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 1. "Give up enmity, develop unity," Chapter 4; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 33. "Vision Of The Atma, " Chapter 3).

Namaste - Reet


Sai Ram

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 29 - 31 May 2006
From Duality Towards Non-duality. Part 2


The body, the mind, the entire cosmos is in the Atma. The Atma cannot be inside anything else. It is the All. It is the everything. The source of lasting peace and happiness is within ourselves. One must constantly develop the consciousness that the Atma is everything - the doer, the deed and the outcome thereof. When the consciousness is broadened this way, in due course it leads to Self-realisation. If the vision is broad, the destination will also be of the same magnitude. Set your sight on the Supreme. The illumination will come in a flash.

The "I" principle is present everywhere. It begins with the Divine itself. The first word was "Aham" ("I"). Even the Pranava ("Om") came after "Aham". Before all creation "Aham" alone existed. One who realises the oneness of what he/she regards as his "I" with the cosmic "Aham" alone knows own Reality.

The universal "I" appears under different names and forms in different bodies owing to time and circumstance. Even the same person goes through many changes in form and relationships in life. But the "I" remains unchanged. It is like an actor wearing different disguises, but himself remaining one and the same. The realisation of the unchanging and universal character of the "I" (the Atma) is the essential objective of the spiritual quest.

Cynics declare that statements like "Human is the crown of Creation" are only for text-books and platform. But human life is holy, sublime, sacred, ever-new, ever-fresh. The Upanishads try to arouse and awaken human into the awareness of this Truth. "Awake and adore the Sun and recognise your Realty in the light of his rays," that is the call reverberating from the Upanishads. But, human is deaf to this entreaty.

Three ardent desires are holding human back: he/she is enamoured of wealth, wife/husband and children. Of course, wherewithal is essential for the process of life and labouring for it cannot be avoided. They must be used for good purposes, promoting virtue and well-being, fostering Dharma and fulfilling one's duties along the Divine path.

(The intellect discriminates; it probes, it analyses. But the mind follows blindly every whim or fancy. The intellect helps one to identify one's duties and responsibilities. Slavishly bound to the vagaries of the mind, human hops from one spot to another, without rest or peace. Person runs to catch a bus, rushes to the office, to the cinema hall, to the club and has no moment of calm silence).

Peace has to be attained through spiritual efforts, that is to say, through spiritualising every thought, word and deed. What has to be planned today to set the world aright is not a new spiritual order or institution but men and women with pure hearts.

Many undertake meditation as a spiritual exercise and expend many hours on it, But, in fact, meditation is implicit in almost every act that is done from morning till night. Meditation (in the sense of concentration) is implied in all the daily chores like eating, going to work, attending to business, etc. One is meditating while reading or playing or shopping.

Without concentration no activity of any kind can be done. When the concentration is on God, it becomes spiritual meditation. Does such meditation call for a specific time or place? There is no special technique for meditation. 

For instance, if people do not listen with dhyana (one-pointed attention) to Swami's discourse, they will not remember what Swami said. Even listening calls for dhyana. It has no specific form. No dhyana is possible with a wandering mind.

(Today, in the name of dhyana, several stunts are being practised. Instead of spending hours in so-called meditation with a mind restlessly hopping from one thought to another like a monkey, it would be better to concentrate on the performance of one's household, official and social duties with earnestness and dedication. Is that not meditation? Of what use is it to sit in "meditation" for an hour, when you cannot keep your mind still for a minute)?

Devote yourselves to your duties. Meditation should permeate every action you do.

Whatever service you are rendering you should not feel that you are serving others, but that you are serving God Himself. While taking a bath or giving one to the children, consider that you are doing the purification ritual of washing God Himself. While serving food consider that you are offering it to God Himself. While giving food to a beggar, consider that God has come in this form and you are serving Him.

When you are cutting some vegetables for cooking, consider that you are cutting away your desires and ego with the knife of wisdom. While sweeping the floor don't lament, 'O, it keeps
getting dirty again and again. Think rather that you are cleaning your own heart. If you are rolling Chapathis at home, consider what joy it is to roll and knead and expand your heart. In this way, you can consider every activity you undertake as being done for the sake of God. Then where is the need for separate meditation, separate penance or separate worship?

Those who have faith in the Gita should note that it has clearly declared that this world is ephemeral and "a vale of tears", and enduring peace and bliss are not to be found by attachment to it. However, in the arena of Maya humans have to perform the duties during their life time. It is one of the appearance's of Atma.

The Vedas explain how the Karma and Atmic insight are interconnected and finally lead the the eternal Truth "Thou art That." The Vedas explain that thyaga (giving up) is the means to gain eternal bliss. The Vedas assert that not through karma, not through progeny, not through wealth, but by renunciation alone immortality can be gained. The Vedas declare, both inside and outside, in all that is, immanent Narayana (God) exists.

Through Vedic karmas (actions) like yagas, human can achieve Swarga (Heaven), say the Vedas. But the same Vedas declare, "One can be in Heaven only as long as the merit lasts; therefore when that quantity is spent, one has to enter the world again." So, Heaven, too, is a transient luxury.

The other two types too has only limited force. The Vedas can take you only to the proximity of the Almighty. Karmas can and do cleanse the mind of ego-sense and of sensual desires.

The Vedas which contain the earliest questionings of human, declare that human asked for the answer to one problem above all: Kim (What)?

What is the secret of all the mystery, all the multiple incidents and impressions? Is there a Person or is it Impersonal? Has it attributes or is it devoid of marks and motives? Has it consciousness or is it merely mechanical and automatic? Human inquiry proceeded along these lines.

And, when varied answers came from many directions, another question arose: "Yath" (Which)? Which among these guesses is the correct one? For, it was difficult, nay, impossible to delineate the truth in words or even to delimit as an image for one's imagination. The wise seekers arrived at the conclusion that Brahman, the Universal Absolute, can be described only as "That from which the Cosmos was born, that by which it is sustained and that into which the Cosmos dissolves."

Still, the doubt lingered: ?Can this conclusion be right? Can it explain all that is puzzling human?"

Intuition gave them the answer, "Thath" (That). "That conclusion is correct," it affirmed. "Thou art That." There is no Thou separate or different from That. Both are one. That was the Truth which was revealed.

The Vedas consist of three sections or kandas (section, chapter, canto): Karma Kanda (action-oriented), Upasana Kanda (worship-oriented) and Jnana Kanda (spiritual knowledge oriented). Of course, the Thath of which the Thwam is a projection is indescribable and unreachable by action, emotion or reason.

The Karma Kanda, for example, cleanses the levels of consciousness. Karma or activity cannot confer satiety or ecstasy, thrupti or ananda. Even when some little is gained, it will be shortlived. It cannot last. How can things or events that do not last confer joy that lasts? Therefore, those who resort to karma believing that they can acquire lasting bliss thereby are pursuing an illusion.

There are four types of karma: production (uthpaadya), acquisition (aapya), transformation (vaipareethyam) and refinement (samskaaram).

Production. Land is levelled and ploughed, furrowed and fed, before seeds are sown, then saplings are guarded, and crops are fostered, before the grain is harvested. But, the grain does not give us lasting contentment and joy.

Acquisition. We acquire things which we hope will fulfill our wants, through the use or misuse of our status in society, position or authority, command over riches or other people, and our own physical prowess and intelligent skills. Even such gains and possessions do not confer lasting joy. While acquiring, while guarding what has been acquired and while spending or consuming it, we have to undergo painful effort and be ever vigilant. Acquisition is therefore fraught with difficulties and it has only temporary value.

Transformation. An example is the change caused in milk to produce curds; forging a piece of iron into a knife or axe. Even these articles do not last long. They disintegrate soon.

Refinement. it is removing dirt and dross. When we decide to celebrate a holy day, we repaint doors and windows, clean the floor and polish door knobs etc., and make the house look spick and span. The daily bath and washing clothes are also processes of refining. We have to refine the mind also. But refined things and minds do not last as refined; they have to be subjected to the same processes again and again.

The conclusion is that the joy and pleasure earned by activities (karma) are temporary. Nevertheless, one cannot desist from karma, one should not desist from karma. How then is one to act? One should practise detachment and desirelesses towards the results of karma. That is to say, one should treat all karmas as yajna, (sacrifice) performed for the glory of God (and not for selfish ends), for earning lasting merit (and not for temporary benefits). Karma done in that spirit will not cause either greed or grief. It will cause only a sense of fulfilment of one's duty.

Karma can be considered under two heads: worldly and scriptural (loukika and shasthreeya).

The scriptural karmas comprise three types:

1. Shroutha (based on the authority of the Vedhas and in accordance with Vedic injunctions).

2. Smartha (rituals and ceremonies laid down in the disciplinary moral codes or Smrithis).

3. Puranic (fasts, vows, pilgrimage, worship of idols, etc., recommended in the Puranas).

The physical body which performs japam or dhyanam or the various other spiritual practices is but a water-bubble. All these methods are for temporarily controlling the mind. But there is one practice that will have a permanent effect, and that is self-enquiry what Swami recommends.

The enquiry should go on thus, "Here is my body, here is my mind, my heart, my feelings, my intellect, my memory power. I am not any of these. Someone has praised me. Someone has censured me. But to whom does this pertain? Only to this physical body." In this way you have to develop a sense of detachment and a sacrificing nature.

How can a physical body abuse another physical body? That is inert, and this is also inert. How can inert things criticize or admonish? How can they even worship anything? They cannot. But then, can Atma criticize another Atma? That is absurd. Life is a Divine Play, a dream. The concreteness of the Universe we percept is but a secondary reality (Maya) and what is "there" is actually a blur of endless vibrations (frequencies) of Atmic Reality what is beyond the human's perception. The visible world is not real by Swami, Vedas and several acceptable theories of modern science too.

Many people aspire for grace, love, devotion and humility. All these are the forms of the Atma (Divine self). God is not different from faith. Faith and God are principally one and the same. However, many humans live today without faith (the base) and without ideal (the superstructure). Dharma should be the base and Moksha (liberation), the superstructure, but the world has neglected both and it relies on artha (wealth) and kaama (desire) for happiness and liberation. How can mankind progress without the first of the Purusharthas as the faith and the last, as the ideal?

The Divine Grace is certainly not secured by a change of faith. It is the mathi (mind) that has to undergo a change, not one's matham (religion). By merely changing the garments you wear, you cannot acquire divine qualities. Only the person who transforms character can sublimate him/herself.

A firm faith results in your attaining Brahmananda (the Divine bliss). The happiness experienced with the body is human (dehananda). When the mind is transcended, the joy experienced is Chidananda, which is immeasurably greater than the joy of the mind. Happiness is heaven itself. Happiness is obtained by the control of the senses. True heaven is inside you. This again is described as immortality.

Therefore, you need not perform any sadhana, and if you are following some such practice, there is no need for you to abandon it. But in any event, surrender your heart to God.

If you keep reminding yourself constantly that you are a part of Divinity, you are bound to become Divine yourself. On the other hand, if you harbour the feeling that you are something apart from the Divine, you shall remain far from Divinity always. Keep doing your function in society, but always remember that you are essentially Divine.

People pine for happiness. But, can one gain it by allowing a free rein to the senses? Can one be happy eating four meals a day, or riding prestigious cars or living in many-roomed bungalows? No. Happiness is brought about by giving up, not by hoarding. Eating, drinking, procreation, sleep, etc. are common to people and animals. From living at a human level, one should aspire to reach the Divine level. Experience and control gives power; regulation gives greater strength; discipline reveals Divinity.

Three main principles are expounded in spirituality.

1. Don't put all your faith in your body, for you do not know what will happen at any moment of time.

2. Don't put your faith in the world.

3. Never abandon your faith in God.

Do whatever job, but never forget God. Forgetting God is no different from forgetting yourself.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 15. "The faith and the ideal," Chapter 7, "Prema saadhana," Chapter 23 and "The garden of the heart," Chapter 25; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 20. "Who am I ?" Chapter 6; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 22. "The One and the Many," Chapter 14; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 2. "Complete surrender confers Bliss," Chapter 16).

Namaste - Reet


Sai Ram

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 27 - 28 May 2006
From Duality Towards Non-duality. Part 1

The motto:

People look for short cuts in everything, even in spirituality. But, surprisingly, spirituality does have a short cut. There is no need to wander here and there. God is residing in your heart. Turn your vision inward. Have full faith that Divinity resides in you.

From the microcosm to the macrocosm, the entire Universe is pervaded by Divinity. This Viswa (cosmos) is the form of Divinity. All that your eyes see are forms of the Divine. All the sounds you hear are similarly pervaded by Divinity. Even the thoughts in your mind are forms of the Divine. The bliss that emanates from the heart is also Divine.

Once you understand that Viswam Vishnu Swarupam (the Universe is the form of Vishnu), you will certainly be able to see the world as God, who is the embodiment of sweetness, manifests Himself in many forms. The Upanishads have declared: ?Raso vai Sah" (He is sweetness itself). He invests that sweetness with infinite variety.

The Omnipresent God has, according to the Vedic hymn, "a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet." This is to say, that the Effulgent Cosmic Person, God, the Vishwa Virat, is the individual multiplied by infinity. The individual mind multiplied by infinity becomes the Cosmic Mind, Hiranyagarbha, the Universal Consciousness. 'I' merges in 'they' and 'we', friend and foe, known and unknown, of all races, creeds and lands, and all become ONE, the Vishwa Virat (the Cosmic Form of God). The Atma Principle, the God Principle and the Brahma Principle are but synonyms for the One.

You create the world of your choice. You see many, because you seek the many, not the One. Try to subsume the many in the One; the physical bodies of yourselves and others, the family, the village, the community, the state, the nation, the world. Thus progressively march on towards more and more inclusive loyalities and reach the stage of Unity, in thought, word and deed. This is the sadhana of Love for, Love is expansion, inclusion, mutualisation. The individual has to be universalised, expanded into Viswa Swarupa (Viswa - totality, whole creation; Swarupa - true nature of Being).

Adopting this path and progressing in it is genuine bhakthi or devotion, which discards selfish narrowness. What is the meaning of devotion? Devotion is that which enables the unmanifested Divine principle to manifest itself in the inner vision of the devotee. Then for that devotee nothing else will exist other than He. To reach that stage you must discharge your duties keeping the permanent entity constantly in mind. You can cross the vast, deep ocean of worldly existence and enjoy the infinite Divinity that is its reality, with the help of a small boat. That boat is the Name of God.

In the beginning of the spiritual journey the name is the basis for progress, but it should not become life-long support, depending entirely on it alone.

All sadhanas (spiritual efforts) are not pursued for realising the Atma (Divine Self). There is no need to seek the Atma, which is all pervasive and present everywhere. Sadhanas are performed to get rid of the anatma (that which bars the vision of the Atma).

(God cannot be experienced through the ostentatious observance of rituals and worship. Where there is pomp and show there can be no Divinity. As a seed will not sprout on the rocky ground, the bliss of Divine cannot be realised by worship devoid of humility and sincerity).

To realise the Divine, the more easy method for anyone is chanting the Divine Name. People today act on the basis of names and forms. True, that these names and forms are artificial. Sound has the quality of permanence. If the name of the Lord is chanted with due regard to the sound, the name acquires spiritual power. The Chinmaya (higher consciousness) can be experienced in the utterance of the Divine Name. (There are, of course, many great ones who chant the name of the Lord incessantly. There are many others who recite the Name for days, months and years, but this effects no change in them. What is the reason for this? All their sense organs function with the feeling: "I am the body." Those who utter the name of the Lord while being immersed in the body consciousness cannot realise the Divine, however long their penance may last).

It is the name that leads you to the form. That is why the ancient sages and seers started Namachinthana (continuous contemplation on the Divine Name) to have the vision of God. Names and forms are all projections of the mind and have an existence only as long as the mind and body remain. Ancients undertook various spiritual practices with total devotion and earnestness. Spiritual practices should confer the awareness that Divinity is all-pervasive. Just as fire is needed till the rice is cooked, so also spiritual practices are needed till you realise the innate Divinity.

In the initial stages, human has a need to worship portraits or idols of God in all the sixteen forms of reverential homage. (Preliminary concentration, invocation, offering seat, washing feet, offering hospitality, ablution, offering vestments, sacredotal thread-wear, sandal paste. flowers, incense, lamp, food, paan, camphor flame waving, circumambulation and prostration).

The sixteen items are good for the first stage of development. But, one should progress from this stage to the awareness of the Atma.

Flowers fade and rot soon. What God loves more are the flowers blossoming on the tree of human's own life, fed and fostered by skill and sincerity. They are the flowers grown in the garden of heart.

The flower of Ahimsa, the virtue of nonviolence, is the very first. One should not entertain even any idea of hurting another, or humiliating another.

The second flower is Indhriya Nigraham, mastery of the senses.

The third flower is Dhaya. Sarva bhootha-dhaya (compassion towards all beings and all things), for, "All this is God." It is said," homage paid to any God reaches the Supreme."

The fourth flower is Kshama, tolerance, fortitude. Kshama is identified by the scriptures with truth, righteousness, knowledge, sacrifice and joy. It promotes divine qualities. It reveals inner Divinity.

The fifth flower is Shanthi - inner peace. Shanthi does not mean that a person should not react at all, whatever others may say or however they may abuse him. It does not mean that a person must be silent as a rock. It involves mastery of all the senses and all the passions, inner peace must become one's nature. Shanthi has detachment as the basic quality. Shanthi endows human with an unruffled mind and steady vision. The prayer for Shanthi is usually repeated thrice. "Om, Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi." Peace is prayed for, in the physical, mental and spiritual planes.

The sixth flower is Thapas - austerity. Thapas does not mean-forsaking family and children and escaping into the loneliness of the forest. The real austerity is the exact co-ordination between one's thought, word and deed. When human succeeds in this thapas, the words will have such power that what he/she says will be transformed into mantras.

The seventh flower is Dhyana - meditation. Today, there are in vogue as many systems and methods of dhyana as there are hairs on Swami's head. Sitting quiet and transferring their emotions and feelings to God is no dhyana. True Dhyana should not bring God down to persons level; persons must raise themselves to the level of God.

The eighth flower is Sathyam - truth, that which is unmodified by the passage of time. The Divine alone persists unchanged from the past, through the present into the future. When this flower blossoms in your heart it will reward you with eternal fragrance.

Those who perform japa, dhyana or puja (reciting God's name, meditation, worship), conceiving God as separate from themselves have a dual insight. Duality is an obvious fact of every day life. There is no life without duality. All sastras, puranas and ithihasas (spiritual sciences, epics and ancient legends) have recognised this duality and sought to regulate peoples lives on that basis. As long as people are engaged in activity in the phenomenal world in any capacity, the dualistic attitude is inescapable. All scriptural injunctions are designed to regulate humans' conduct in the phenomenal and the temporal world.

How do we expound the Unity Principle (adwaitha)? There are three forms of this Principle of Oneness:

1. unity of substance,

2. unity of matter,

3. unity of action.

While the names and forms are different, the elements (pancha bhutas) of all bodies are the same. All are suffused with the same sensory perceptions and the same life principles.

Before the body perishes, make all effort to experience the Divinity within. It is only through body that one can experience Divinity.

Human has to progress every moment. The spiritual aspirant too should not stagnate in one sadhana. From the master-servant relationship with God the seeker has to reach the stage of merging in the All-inclusive One - from dualism, through conditioned non-dualism to monism or non-dualism (adwaitha).

The Grace of God cannot be won through the gymnastics of reason, the contortions of Yoga or the denials of asceticism. Love alone can win it, Love that needs no requital, Love that knows no bargaining, Love that is paid gladly, as tribute to the All Loving, Love that is unwavering as flowers of the heart, offered to God. The body is mortal, but the Life Principle is imperishable. If you have to attain this level of immortality, extend total Love to God. This should be unconditional Love.

Spiritual practices done without the Principle of Love are useless. Some people sit for hours together in meditation but are unable to experience Divinity because their mind is unsteady. Instead of wasting time in this manner, it is better to do some useful work. (Human's mind is a bundle of wishes; turned hither and thither by the dictates of each wish. Human slaves own conscience believing that he/she is acting right).

However many scriptures you may read and however many spiritual exercises you may do, if you do not allow your heart to melt with compassion your life will be a sheer waste. All practices have to be directed towards softening your heart so that it will flow with kindness and love. Develop this feeling of compassion and allow it to flow fully and spread among all the peoples of the world. That is the essential spiritual exercise you need to perform.

Every cell in your body contains the details of your whole being. In fact, every cell in your body holds your whole form. There are billions of cells in your body. While your form is immanent in each cell and in each limb in the microcosm, your body is your own macrocosmic form. In the same manner, each one of you is the Cosmic Divine Form (Viswa Virat Swarupa). You must make efforts to fully appreciate this reality.

Do not limit God to a particular name and form. He exists in all beings and in all forms as Atmic Principle. In fact, it is the power of the Divine that makes you see, hear, talk, experience, and enjoy. In that case, you may ask whether difficulties, worries, and misfortunes are also Divine? Yes indeed! They too are forms of the Divine. Even the most evil people have some good in them. This goodness is the aspect of Divinity in them. It is present in theists and also in atheists.

While God is omnipresent and can be recognised in the Divine manifestations of Nature, the body consciousness prevents people from experiencing oneness with the Divine. (You cannot see your image, without a mirror to reflect you. How, then can you see your Reality without reflection through knowledge)?

Years ago during the Round Table Conference a person suddenly asked Gandhi: 'Where is God'" Gandhi replied, "God is that mysterious power from which the worlds around me originated, through which they disintegrate, which is the base on which all creation rests and moves." This power is so mysterious that, as the Vedas declare, "Words which attempt to describe It turns back defeated; even the mind with all its imaginative power cannot reach It."

Things which are not definable, which cannot be delineated, are usually dismissed as false. Only those things which can be perceived by the senses are accepted as true. We assert that we have minds but have we ever been able to see it in us. Has joy or bliss any form? They are experience-based not sense-based. God is not seen with these eyes but the vision is possible if one can earn the eye of jnana, of clarified and purified knowledge.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 15. "The faith and the ideal," Chapter 7, "Prema saadhana," Chapter 23 and "The garden of the heart," Chapter 25; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 20. "Who am I ?" Chapter 6; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 22. "The One and the Many," Chapter 14; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 2. "Complete surrender confers Bliss," Chapter 16).

Namaste - Reet

Sai Ram


Light and Love

Swami teaches... 24 - 26 May 2006

Clarity and Courage of Vision Are Both Needed

We have been receiving Swami's Teaching that will sweeten and lighten life itself. Let us pray that we may get this feeling all through life.

There is a language of the heart, which all can understand and all would like to hear. That is the language which Swami speaks. When heart speaks to heart, it is love that is transmitted, without any reservation. The trials and turmoils, the throes and thrills, the search and sorrow - these are the same in quality for all mankind. The responsive heart listens to these with sympathy and answers with love.

When the night grows chill, you draw the rug tighter around you, is it not? So too, when grief assails you, draw the warmth of the name of the Lord closer round your mind. To pour the nectar of grace, the vessel must be cleansed. Clean it and demand the nectar; do not grieve later that you missed the chance, when it had come within reach.

Each has own allotted task, according to the status, taste, tendency and earned merit. Do it, with the fear of God and of sin, deep in your heart. Inner content is more important than outer prosperity. Let the flagrant smoke of the Divine thoughts, full of love to all, rise around you; why try to scatter fragrance from scent-sticks available in the market? The flame of jnana (experiential knowledge of Supreme Reality) can reduce to cinders the impulses inherited through many births and many experiences.

You have come into this lokha (world) to enter the presence of the Lokesha (Lord of the world). So do not tarry in wayside inns, mistaking them to be the goal. The Lord too will be longing for the arrival of the lost. He is like a cow yearning for its calf.

You are eternal. Just as the water you drink is eliminated as perspiration, the karma that you accumulate is eliminated through karma, gladly borne. So, bear both 'mirth and moan' with equal calm. Like the akasha (space) in the pot merging with the akasha outside the pot, silently, fully, with no trace of separation or distinctness, merge with the Universal.

To get peace, to become unaffected by the ups and downs of life, is the result of years of training in Vedanta. It can be well established only on the basis of the belief that all material things which fall within the range of sensuous experience are fundamentally non-existent.

Sadhana (spiritual effort) requires regular habits and moderation in food, sleep, and exercise. Fasting weakens the intellect and reduces the strength of discrimination. The body, the mind and the spirit, all three must be equally looked after. Unless you have "muscles of iron and nerves of steel," you cannot contain in your head of your being the Universal itself, the Eternal Reality itself.

No fuel, no fire. No sadhana, no sankalpa (desire). Pour oil and light the wick. You are on a pilgrimage to the beyond, so, you cannot long dwell in this beneath. Some time or other, sooner or later, this birth or the next, you have to realise that this is but a dream you took to be true; you have to pack up and march. This is asath (non-Being); go towards the Sath (Being). Proceed towards the jyothi (effulgent Light); proceed towards the realm where immortality reigns.

Every one is eager to be happy; every one wants to work less and gain more, give little and get amply, but nearly no one experiments with the other method, that is, wanting less and giving more. Most people spend the lifetime allotted to them or earned by them in the partaking of rich but harmful food and drink and indulge in glamorous but more harmful pastimes. Accumulation of sofas and chairs, cots and tables, shelves and curios clutter the hall and render movements slow and risky.

Reduce wants, live simply, that is the way to happiness. Be like the lotus on water; on it, not in it. Water is necessary for the lotus to grow; but, it will not allow even a drop to wet it. The objective world is the arena of virtue and the gymnasium for the spirit. But, use it only for that purpose; do not raise it to a higher status and adore it as all-important. (You may have a costly transistor or watch or phonograph with you, but if you do not know how to use it efficiently they are mere lumber. Now, imagine what a wonderful machine you yourself are. Should you not know how to operate it and get the best results out of it? What is the benefit, if you use a sharp silver hilted sword to cut vegetables)?

Indian seers discovered the art of operating this human machine. In ancient times, the sages and seers maintained purity in thought, truth in words and righteousness in deeds.

(But today their descendants have allowed that art to decline. The teachers have no desire to learn it, have no qualification to practice it, or enthusiasm to discover it. The leaders of the people, who are in charge of Government are unaware of it).

Vyasa collated the Vedic texts and composed the Brahma Sutras (spiritual texts of Vedantic teachings in short maxims) stringing together in epigrammatic form the essential teachings of Veda and Vedanta. He also placed humanity under a deep debt of gratitude by elaborating the moral and spiritual lessons of Veda and Vedanta in the magnificent poetic philosophical epic, Mahabharatha, and in the sweet bhakthi- saturated collections of stories called Bhagavatha.

While the Brahma Sutras* may be helpful only to a limited number of intellectual seekers, the Mahabharatha and the Bhagavatha are for the common person, the unlearned seeker. The Puranas** and the epics teach the path of devotion and surrender. They ask that human should do every deed in a spirit of dedication.

By imbibing the teachings of the Bhagavatha, your thamo guna (quality of inertia) will be raised into rajo guna (quality of restless activity) and purified into sathwa guna (quality of poise and serenity). It is like the fruit growing by the combined influence of the Earth and Sun first into full sourness, then to partial sweetness and finally complete sweetness, in three stages. Human too by the twin forces of the Grace from without and the yearning from within, grows into the complete sweetness of Ananda and Prema. (Provided there is the thirst to know it, even one sage who is adept in that art is enough; many can light their lamps at the flame of that sage. Vyasa is one such sage, the foremost and the first. That is why he is described as Narayana Himself).

The Vedas deal with rituals and worship, which imply a dualism between the worshipper and the object worshipped. Vedanta spells out the principle of Adwaitha (non-duality). It is interpreted in different ways, but the real basis of the Adwaithic principle is Ekatma Bhava (being, becoming) that is the feeling that there is only one Atma pervading everywhere and none else. Wisdom lies in the perception of Oneness.

(Sage Yajnavalkya taught his wife Maithreyi the principle of oneness. The same Parabrahman or the Supreme Self is present in everyone in the form of Awareness).

The Upanishads are a set of the most ancient treatises constituting the primary source of Vedanta metaphysics. Though the Upanishads are termed as Vedanta (the end of the Vedas) they are actually the siras (head) of the Vedas. They preach oneness, based on the concept of unity in diversity. Upa means "near," ni represents "nishtha" and shath (shad) means "sit". Upanishad means that one should sit near the preceptor to acquire the Supreme Spiritual Wisdom.

The Upanishad originated during different periods of time. That is why we find that the teachings of the different Upanishads are not based on the circumstances obtaining at one particular time, but they are applicable universally at all times as they teach only what is vital for the welfare of humanity.

The Upanishads stress the importance of human knowing own Reality, transcending the body, the senses, the mind and the intellect. The Upanishads declare: "Lead me from untruth to Truth, from ignorance to Knowledge, from death to Immortality." They proclaim that the real nature of human is love, compassion and selflessness. The Upanishads teach the difference between pleasure and pain. If you shed your ego and experience Divinity you will get rid of your pain and enjoy lasting bliss. The Upanishads teach it through stories the subtlest truths. Their inner significance is possible to understand through inner purity of heart what leads to Siddhi - Self realisation.

Love, compassion, self-confidence and sacrifice are the real human qualities. Purity in thought, word and deed is a basic requisite for human. Patience is another ideal quality one should develop. The third quality is perseverance which is indeed a prime need for any one in any field but more so in the spiritual path.

With premabhava (feeling of pure love) you can realise your oneness with the world. Every object has five attributes, namely asthi, bhathi, priyam, name and form. The first three -
existence, cognisability and utility are permanent and changeless, while name and form are subject to change. Human beings with different names and forms are just like waves on the ocean of Sath-Chith-Ananda. They are also same Sath-Chith-Ananda. The essence is the same in all names and forms. The realisation of this truth is spirituality. This is the message of the Upanishads.

Some topics from the Eeshaavaasya Upanishad. This scripture emphasises right action has to be done for achieving purity of heart. When you get rid of bad feelings, evil thoughts and evil deeds, you can experience your Inner Self. (Prakrithi is like a mirror which reflects whatever object is placed before it. When you look into the mirror there are three entities - yourself, the mirror and the reflection. But if you remove the mirror, there is only one left and that is 'you.' The reflection is gone. Because of worldly feelings, you look at the reflection. Remove the worldly feelings, you see your Inner Self which is the Reality).

The Eeshaavaasya Upanishad stresses that the mind and the body will change but the Atma is the unifying, changeless and permanent entity. Sathyam (Truth) is changeless. It is the basis of the Sanathana Dharma that has been followed in Bharath.

The Eeshaavaasya Upanishad teaches how to combine bhoga with thyaga (enjoy the world with an attitude of sacrifice). One imbued with the feelings of thyaga (sacrifice) will not revel in mundane pleasures. Sacrifice and sensual pleasures cannot coexist just as water and fire cannot coexist. What, then, is the inner significance of this directive that human should enjoy bhoga (pleasurable experiences) with thyaga (renunciation)?

It means that though one is not interested in mundane things, one has to do his/her duty. Person cannot escape doing karma. Person should shed ego while doing the work and should not consider him/herself as the doer without any desire for the fruits thereof. When work is done with a selfless attitude there is no difference between bhoga and thyaga.

God is the great Unseen, the vast Unknowable. Though you do not see the roots or know how far or how wide or deep they are clutching the ground, you pour water round the trunk, so that it may reach them. You expect that when the roots contact the water, the tree will yield fruit. Recognise, similarly, that there is God, as the very basis of Creation; pray to Him, and He will shower fruit. If you think of God and pray to Him with sincere devotion, every deed done by you will be a yajna (holy ritual, sacrifice, or rite). The mind is the altar of this yajna. You must offer all the evil qualities at the altar of the mind. When human sacrifices own bad qualities, he/she is transformed into the Divine.

In Thretha Yuga (the second in the cycle of four eras) Viswamitra (sage; early counselor of the young Rama) took the help of Rama to ensure the conduct of the yajna without hindrance from the demonic forces. His ashram was called Siddhaashrama. Actually the heart of every human being is a Siddhaashrama. The moment evil thoughts or bad feelings arise in human, that is the beginning of all sins.

The senses say, "Why struggle? Eat, drink and be merry, while you can," but, the Guru says, "Death lands on you without notice; overcome its fear now, before he calls." Death stalks your footsteps like a tiger in the bush. (It is true that the Guru who taught you cannot do anything to haul it; he can only guide. The control of the senses, changing the mode of life, the habits of thought, have to be done by you).

The seven-walled fort - mamakara (feeling of mind and one's own) and the six evil tendencies, kaama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (infatuation), madha (arrogance) and mathsarya (jealousy) - has a garden in the centre and a lake, where the hamsa (divine bird) plays. It is the image of own true Self; become aware of it. When the heart is polluted with such sinful thoughts, one should seek the help of Atma Rama, just as Viswamitra sought the help of Rama to put an end to the ogress Thaataki and achieve peace.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 3. "Sweeten and lighten life," Chapter 5; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "Sweetness in the fruit," Chapter 17; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 9. 'In it,' not 'of it', Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 26. "The message of the Upanishaths," Chapter 33, "The quest for happiness," Excerpts from Discourse on 19-10-1993 and "Unity in diversity," Excerpts from Discourse on 21-10-1993).

PS:

*1. Sutra is concise rule or aphorism; that which, through a few words only, reveals vast meanings; text consisting of aphorisms or maxims; a thread; something, like a thread, that runs through and holds everything together.

**2. Purana is a collections of ancient legends and lore embodying the principles of the Universal, eternal religion and ethics.There are 18 Puranas.


Namaste - Reet


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