Swami teaches....Part 69
Links to Swami Teaches - Part 68
Light and Love
Education Must not Only Inform, but Also Transform
Be active, welcome activity, that is the message that God gives human at birth. The breath teaches 'Soham' all the time, 'so' when it goes in and 'ham,' when it is exhaled. Activity is the very sine qua non of life. You will have to select that activity which is conducive to your spiritual progress, judging the stage in which you are at present. There is no high and low, in the activity.
The eye sees stars that are billions of miles away, but, they do not see the ears, which are a few finger-breadths afar. The eye must see, the ear must hear, the hand must hold. That is their Dharma (duty). Each must manage its own Dharma.
Married life and being a householder will not bar your way to Self-realisation. Look upon the wife/husband and the children as a sacred trust, and serve them in that spirit. Prepare yourselves for a celibate and spiritual discipline from the age of fifty; the five senses have to be mastered, by the time five decades of your life are over.
The conclusion of six decades means that you have conquered the six foes: lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and hate. When you are seventy, you must have become ready to merge with the seven sages, the seven seas and the seven colours of the solar ray; that is to say, you must be far, far above mundane desires and ideals, and as near the point of mergence as possible, through sadhana (spiritual discipline or exercise; self effort).
Eighty must see you in line with the deities that preside over the eight cardinal points, more or less Divine, in attributes and characteristics. Ninety takes you, or rather should take you to the realm of the Nine Planets, into the realm of the Super. When human reaches the hundred mark, living out the ten decades, he/she must have mastered the ten senses, the five senses of action and the five senses of knowledge and become Wisdom incarnate, with no trace of action or the consequence thereof or the desire for it. An individual and the Absolute are One and Indivisible.
Each one will come in own good time, at own pace, through own inner urge, along the path God will reveal as his/her own.
Divinity is inherent, immanent in every jivi (individual soul with ego) and the process of reminding human of that fact began with the very dawn of human history. All are holy, pure, parts of eternity. But these things shine in each in proportion to the sadhana, just as bulbs spread illumination according to the wattage. There is no body which is not sustained by the Absolute; there is no name that does not indicate the Universal.
Unless knowledge is transformed into wisdom, and wisdom is expressed in character, education is a wasteful process. If education confers the gift of transformation, then surely life will become peaceful, happy, and full of mutual help and co-operation. But mainly education today has degenerated into the acquisition of certain skills and intellectual tricks. It provides the educated with food, clothing and shelter and considers that its task is over with that achievement.
The sages who laid down the goals of education have declared, "That is true education which helps to liberate" - liberate human from greed, hatred, unrest, narrow loyalties and ego impulses. Education today, adds to the unrest already in the heart of human; it does not liberate from the prison house of desire. Human builds rest-houses where is possible to cool tired brain and revive exhausted nerves, but human has yet to build shanthi mandirs (temples of peace) where he/she can unconcernedly learn to witness the happenings of the world, aware of the level of the world, aware of the level of their relative importance. That will give him/her equanimity. Faith in God will render free to watch with interest the ups and downs of history.
A life of sadhana involves the dedication of all acts to God, the offering of whatever one does or thinks or speaks. You can do this only when you are aware always of the presence of God, in and around you.
The Gita says, practice is the crux of the problem. Through that, victory can be won. Concentration can be mastered in dhyana (meditation) and this will lead to disinterestedness in the results of one's actions, for the actions are not one's own, but God's. The results too are not one's; they are God's and you attain peace of mind and the Grace of God.
Thyagaraja,(18th and 19th century mystic singer/ composer. Leader in Karnatak tradition of classical Indian music) prayed that the screen hiding the Light that was inside him might be moved aside by the Lord's Grace. (Saint Thyagaraja was as Valmiki himself come to the south of India to sing the glow of Rama. As the bee in search of honey wanders in search of the flowers, as the rill runs to the river and the river rushes to the sea, Thyagaraja pined for Rama; his songs are pure fragrant blossoms of bhakthi and therefore, immortal. They are not mere songs, they are bundles of precious stones; they take you along the roads to God).
Krishna advised Arjuna to enter 'the fight,' and at the same time told him not to have hatred towards the 'enemies.' He said. Arjuna asked Krishna how he was to reconcile these two attitudes. Krishna said, "Maamanusmara, yudhyacha" (Keep Me ever in thy mind, and fight). "Do not cultivate the egoistic feeling that it is you who is fighting. I am-using you as My Instrument."
Arjuna had the privilege of having Krishna as his charioteer during the battle of Kurukshethra. But, he did not realise that Krishna was his charioteer every moment of his life. Krishna commissioned the great bowman Arjuna to escort the women of the Yadhava clan to a safe place of refuge, when He decided to end His earthly career; on the way, some wild tribals attacked the convoy, and Arjuna rose to destroy them, with the Gandiva (his famous bow and the divine arrow) he had won by severe austerity.
But, the charioteer had gone; the strength had ebbed away. He had forgotten even the formulae for invoking the deities who directed the arrows. He could not even string the Gandiva bow, he had wielded in a hundred encounters with the mightiest heroes of the age. Then, he realised that Krishna was the power behind the wheel of His life, that without Him, he was a spent force. The tribals overpowered the group and kidnapped the women whose wails pierced the heart of Arjuna.
So, be convinced that whatever achievement you make, is caused by the Grace of the Lord. Pray to the Lord for strength, wisdom, humility, detachment, light and love.
The true education has to clarify the goal of life to the rising generation and indicate the ways and means of accomplishing it.
Earning money is not the end all of education. It is the greed to earn money by any means, as fast as possible, that has led to the evils that we see in society today. Money can breed pride, pride fosters hatred. Money is one of the purposes why today practically no one has the golden quality of contentment.
People worry about their possessions, positions and associates, but not about their virtues. The discontented human is as bad as lost. Human seeks happiness by trying to satisfy desires and if a desire is fulfilled, one feels joy and when it is not, one feels grief. But the trouble is, desire is a bonfire that burns with greater fury, asking for more fuel. One desire leads to ten. Every person desires wielding power over others and yearns to rise higher and higher and exercise more and more influence, but no one attempts a rigorous examination of him/herself. Those who contentedly carry out the duties commensurate to the positions they hold, are very few.
Especially the youth today, in India as well as in other lands, are afflicted with deep discontent which manifests itself in revolt against rules, regulations, curricula and social norms, and an agitational approach to every little problem that affects them. They are imitating undesirable and fanatic norms of behaviour and are addicted to a code of disbelief, having no roots anywhere.
One of the reason for the prevalent overwhelming dissatisfaction of the youth - the chronic hypocrisy of elders. The very people who proclaim the efficacy of sathya (truth) from platforms, the very preachers who dilate on dharma (righteousness) and shanthi (peace), live without any regard to sathya, dharma or shanthi. The determination that one must act according to one's profession has disappeared. The moral strength and virtues of the teachers and parents will be reflected in the students/children under their care. The elders must practise what they preach, show how Divine life can confer joy, mental poise, contentment and real happiness. The responsibility of any person who holds forth an ideal is great, for person has to attempt to reach it him/herself while advising others to adopt it.
The elders must set an example of viveka and vairagya (discrimination and detachment). If they run after sensory pleasures with feverish excitement, how can the younger generation be blamed for their selfishness and greed? How can students cultivate humility and the habit of self-examination?
The most fundamental teaching of the ancient culture of India is Love. The science of spiritual culture and of the control of the mind has been developed and practised in this country for thousands of years. For generations, the youth of this land have been exhorted, encouraged and taught, by precept and example, to love the poor, the helpless, the handicapped, the illiterate and the disabled, for the same spark of Divinity that is in us is also equally evident and active in them.
Modern education must follow the ancient traditions, must endow human with this compassion and spirit of service. The true sign of education is humility and discipline (which are the hall-mark of humanness*); for there is much more to be investigated and learnt.
Discipline is important in order to progress in learning, and even more so in dealing with others. An indisciplined person is a danger to society; any moment person may run amuck. Human must recognise what limits, regulations and do's and don'ts are laid down by the sages of the past in order to ensure social security and individual advancement.
Along with the University degree, student has also to acquire some general knowledge which is essential for householders and others. (Otherwise, though the husband and the wife may both be degree-holders, they would be helpless and desperate even if the baby caught a slight cold).
Students have to be conversant with some spiritual discipline like namasmarana (remembering God's name), dhyana (meditation) and yoga (divine communion), so that you may not be carried away by every changing breeze.
But, sadhana is a uniquely precious activity, which will be vulgarised by public gaze. This is the reason for spiritual aspirants retiring into lonely mountain caves, or into solitary temples in inaccessible regions of the Himalayas, or in the depths of jungles. But, you need not imitate them; you can create enough privacy in your own home, screening off a portion of some room. There you can sink into yourself and discover the Inner Reality as the Reality of the Universe Itself.
By dhyana you develop jnana (spiritual wisdom) and by japam (recitation of God's Name) you develop bhakthi (devotion) and by both, you cleanse your heart of the canker of ego. You can link yourselves with God, by a chain of love, through the recitation of the name, in silence and with full awareness of the meaning and its nuances.
Whatever whatever yagas and japas one may do, without using the body in the service of others, no one can achieve liberation. Every one should be prepared to serve and be served. Service is the supreme aim in life. Render service to the extent of your capacity.
Through the body alone can Dharma be achieved, declares the scripture. The body is given to carry out the duties in life. There is in human an immortal spirit, whose presence should be realised.
The mind is the most important organ in the body. Human's life is based on the mind. Just as the body needs rest, the mind too needs quiet. Faith is the best guarantee of mental quiet. Students as teachers and parents have to follow the path of virtue, practise spiritual disciplines and take an enthusiastic part in social service. These three have to be accepted, adored and assimilated into daily life.
Life is essentially transient. Hence while life lasts, one must earn the esteem and regard of one's fellowmen. However, God alone is an unfailing friend, who is with you at all times and protects you. When you cultivate such an attitude you can face any situation in the pilgrimage of life.
*Humanness means harmony in thought, word and deed.
(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 1. "Gunas and Money," Chapter 17 and Vol. 1. "The screen within," Chapter 22; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 11. "Link by link," Chapter 3 and Vol. 11. "Step by step," Chapter 9; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 14. "Learning and liberation," Chapter 11; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 28. "Earn the esteem of society by service," Chapter 25).
Namaste - Reet
Light and Love
Swami teaches... 17 -19 June 2006
Listen to the Vedic Wisdom with Selfless Concentration. Part 3
There is only one royal road to realising God. It is the path of Divine Love. You have come from the Divine and your destiny is the merger with the Divine. Entertain only sacred thoughts and engage yourselves only in sacred deeds. Thereby you will be sanctifying your lives.
The all-pervading consciousness is termed as Divinity. But, there is none who has seen that omnipresent Divinity. It is only a human being who can contemplate on and realise the Cosmic Person. Human life itself is the manifestation of the Divine power.
What is happening in the world today is that people are attaching value to the external forms and not to the Divine substance which is common to all of them. This crazy desire is the cause of much misery. (Shankara, therefore, warned mankind against the mad pursuit of wealth and exhorted everyone to reduce one's desires). As a rule, all actions are dictated by our habits. If a person is used to pursuing material objects, he/she will find it difficult to go to the spiritual path.
Desires are inescapable. But there should be a limit for them. In the story-parable of Midas, he prayed and got a boon that whatever he touched should turn into gold. He soon found that he could not even eat his food as it turned into gold at his touch. He prayed again to the good fairy to take back the boon she had given to him.
Today the darkness of ignorance has to be dispelled. Ignorance is due to aviveka (lack of discriminating power). Aviveka is due to bhranthi (imaginary apprehension). These imaginary fears are caused by attachment and anger. The latter are the result of karma, which is a consequence of janma (birth). Karma is the seed for human birth as the last is the result of past actions.There is a close relationship between ignorance and birth. So your present life is a reaction, resound and reflection of your past actions. The results are based on your actions and not on your fancies.
Actions result in attachments and aversions, which produce imaginary fears. The ultimate source of these fears is ignorance, which has neither birth nor death. There is no specific cause for ignorance.
What is the ignorance that afflicts human? It is the false vision which makes one mistake the unreal for the real and the real for the unreal. The power which makes one believe so is called Mayaamayee. Forgetting the Divine nature, human is caught up in the meshes of Maya (delusion) and the fears caused by it. How to get rid of Maya? The answer is: recognition of Srimayee. What is this Srimayee? It is the one that shines effulgently always, being wide awake and fully aware. It is ever auspicious. That is Sath. That is Prajna. That is "I."
The Brahman i.e. the Divine cannot be experienced unless one gets rid of the delusions of the mind. How is one to get rid of the delusions? By developing faith in the omnipresence of the Divine. This faith can grow when one realises that every object in the world needs a basis for its existence and support. The Divine is the basis and the support for the entire Cosmos.
It is His conduct that is most important for every person. Conduct is determined by the state of the mind. Instead of giving way to promptings of the senses, every action should be done as a sacred offering to the Divine. Hence, in all your actions whether good or bad, do your duty, leaving the results to God.
The supreme sadhana that has to be practised today is to concentrate all senses on God. This may not appear easy, but with strength of will it is quite possible. It is easier to give up things than hold on to them.
Theists, atheists, agnostics, polytheists, henotheists, all accost God by various names but they all refer only to the One. The sages of the past were not ignorant fools and the mantras and rites they framed and prescribed were not born of amateur enthusiasm. They are the results of wisdom and actual experience.
("There are two modes of knowledge, through argument and experience. Argument brings conclusions and compels us to concede them, but it does not cause certainty nor remove doubts in order that the mind may remain at rest in truth, unless this is provided by experience," Roger Bacon, Opus Maius 1268).
Reciters who are not aware of this truth will mouth the hymns and mantras in a casual manner. Others who ruminate over the meaning and feel the emotions of exaltation and supplication are able to derive delight. Recitation without understanding the meaning might grant a little superficial satisfaction but the hymn can pour from the heart only when the meaning is sensed.
Talking of thought, word and deed in the context of the Vedapurusha Yajna, Swami explains that the Rig Veda (first Veda composed by the sages, consisting of 1028 hymns. Oldest religious text in world) is vaak (speech) taken form. The Sama Veda (collection of hymns appropriate for singing as liturgies) contains hymns that are sung. It is 'srothra' (hearing) which has taken form. Whenever the speech is saturated with truth and compassion, or inspired by service to others, it becomes Rig Veda. The Atharva Veda includes the very essence of the three Vedas and it is recited by the person designated as Brahma.
The Yajur Veda consists of a collection of sacred texts relating to sacrifices and has a name for Agni (Fire). Remember, when Agni is treated without faith and reverence, it destroys the very person who feeds it, just as the tiger which tears its own cubs with its deadly claws.
Another characteristic of Agni is its presence everywhere. Scientists and technologists today are proud that they have grasped the secrets of the five elements - space, air, fire, water and earth. But, they are still unaware of the intimate kinship each of them has with human's life. The sages of the past have delved into the mystery and revealed it to the world.
The Vedapurusha Yajna is centred on the adoration of Agni. Human is bound intimately with Fire. Human is a warmblooded creature; warmth promotes intellect and intuition. Calling upon God and placing the offerings in the Fire are acts which bring about rain to provide rich harvests. Fire is thus a valuable medium for gaining safety and security, for preserving morality and goodness. The Ocean too has Agni latent in its loins.
Human has in stomach the latent Fire that digests food. The latent Fire causes eight functions' It hardens and strengthens the muscles. It develops energy. It ensures healthy progeny. It makes one patient and therefore a better instrument, it increases the duration of life. It sharpens and deepens memory. It confers boldness of thought and action. (The religion of the Paarsis also considers the highest truth as "I am the Light" and "The Light is in me)."
The Yajur Veda describes the flames of the Sacred Fire as the Tongues of God and elaborates the importance of yajnas. These promote the peace and prosperity of the world, as that is the primary aim of all the Vedas. The Yajur Veda hymns extol the glory of the gods and propitiate the Divine Forces.
When all words emanating from you are sweet, when you restrict what you listen to and prefer only sweet speech, when you do only sweet deeds, then, you will be performing every day the Vedapurusha Yajna, the yajna which propitiates the Vedic Spirit.
"Yajno vai Vishnu", say the Vedas. God is the yajna (holy ritual, sacrifice, or rite; also, personification of rite) for He is the Goal. His Grace is the reward. His creation is used to propitiate Him; the performer is He, the receiver is He. When the ego of the sacrificer does not claim a place, the yajna is rendered Divine. Treasure the Vedic aphorisms and rituals in the heart for practice in daily life and for sharing with other earnest souls.
Human embarks upon an undertaking with a purpose, goal, or an end in view. But, the endeavour is sublimated into a yajna (sacrificial rite which can draw down the Grace of God) only if the purpose, goal or end is the glorification of God, regardless of other considerations. From general aspect living is in fact a real Vedic yajna, whether one knows it or not.Every act of yours from sunrise to the onset of sleep is a yajna.
From this aspect the heart is the ceremonial altar; the body is the fire place; the hair is the holy grass, darbha; wishes are the fuel-sticks with which the fire is fed; desire is the ghee that is poured into the fire to make it burst into flame; anger is the sacrificial animal; the fire is the tapas (concentrated spiritual exercises to attain God) we accomplish. People sometimes interpret tapas as ascetic practices like standing on one leg or on the head. However, tapas is not physical contortion. It is the complete and correct coordination of thought, word and deed.
There are five yajnas prescribed as mandatory for every human being.
1. Rishi Yajna - activities devoted to the study of scriptures.
2. Pitr Yajna - activities devoted to the parents who conferred the body and who fostered and guided you.
3. Deva Yajna - acts done as reverential homage to God who endowed you with mind, intelligence, memory and consciousness and who is inherent in every cell as rasa, the vital energy.
4. Athithi Yajna - adoration of guests. Every one has, sometime or the other, the chance to welcome a guest and treat him with affection and please him with sincere hospitality.
5. Bhootha Yajna - unselfish acts done while dealing with trees, plants, animals, birds and pets like cats and dogs.
There are also a few more yajnas prescribed in the scriptures. Jnana Yajna is one of such. Jnana is usually taken to mean knowledge gained from scholars and books and acting in accordance with that knowledge. But derived knowledge cannot be jnana. Knowledge can never ripen into wisdom so long as the ego persists in craving for results which can satisfy desire. When the ego fades away, knowledge can shine as wisdom.
It is important to know that the terms used in the scriptures have many meanings and it is hard to trace the straight meaning and prefer it to the crooked and deceptive one. For example, the Ashwamedha or Horse Sacrifice, does not mean the ritual killing of horse. The name Ashwa given to the horse describes it as an animal which is restless all the time - symboling the mind which is agitated, both while awake and while dreaming. The horse can never becalm and quiet. Its legs, tail, or ears will be quivering or shaking always. The banyan tree is called Ashwattha, since its leaves will ever be shaking, wind or no wind.
What is recommended is 'sacrifice' of the wayward mind, dedicating it to God so that it becomes stable and calm and not bringing a living animal and killing it. That is adherence to the outer literal meaning of the injunction, not to the inner and valid import.
Whatever is dedicated and offered to God can never be lost. People can gain enormous benefit by offering even a little to God. "A leaf or a flower, a fruit or a little water" - that is enough, if offered with devotion. Dhroupadhi gave Shri Krishna the fraction of a leaf sticking to the side of a vessel and God granted her endless good fortune.
Offer love and receive love. Give and take. But, the educational system today lays stress only on taking, a one-way traffic. Giving is taboo, totally absent. As a result, when you do not look at God, God too does not look at you. For instance, when you look towards Swami, your form appears in Swami's eye and Swami's form appears in your eye at the same time. If you do not look towards Swami, your form cannot appear in Swami's. One-way traffic will not help.
People resort to gurus to receive mantras (mystically powerful formulae to be recited by them for their spiritual uplift); others seek doctors and holy monks to get yantras (esoteric talismans to ward off evil forces); some others learn from pandiths, tantras (means and methods of utilizing the mantras for one's own good; secret rites for attaining superhuman powers). But all this is wasteful effort. One should accept the body as the tantra, one's own breath as the mantra and one's heart as the yantra. There is no need to seek them outside oneself.
Swami often reiterates that He is God. But, Swami also remind you that you are verily God too. You should not give scope for any confusion and difference of opinion in this regard. Everyone of you are embodiments of divinity in reality. When you develop such a firm conviction, you can visualise God in every human being.
You are worshipping and praying to God with great love. Continue to love God and develop faith in Him. Only then all your doubts will be cleared and you will be able to understand the nature of Divinity in full. Doubt implies duality, that is, a feeling of separation between you and God. In fact, there are no two entities ? God and you. However, when you wish to entangle yourself in worldly matters, duality comes.
(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 13. "The Universal Prayer," Chapter 34; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 15. "Make every moment a yajna," Chapter 22 and "Sacrificial fire,"Chapter 49; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 21. "You and The Cosmos," Chapter 27; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 25. "The Message Of The Vedas," Chapter 20; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 29. "Vedha and Vedhaantha," Chapter 44; Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The Divine Discourse "Purity of the Heart is True Sadhana." 9th October 2005, Prashanti Nilayam).
Namaste - Reet
Light and Love
Swami teaches... 15 -16 June 2006
Listen to the Vedic Wisdom with Selfless Concentration. Part 2
The scriptures have declared that the Cosmos is permeated by the Divine as One 'without the second.' (It is the desire of devotees to worship the Divine under different forms and names).
The modern science has reached near to the standpoint that the Cosmos is permanated by Cosmic Consciousness or Absolute as One 'without the second.' The forms and names and all we see or percept are as the 'fingerprints,' the holographic patterns of the Great Oneness. They are not real but only the reflections of the Great One from endless aspects by modern science. By Vedic wisdom this illusion-producing power is called Maya and the Cosmos itself is one vast Maya Sabha (a mansion of delusion).
True non-dualism is the extinction of this separation by the unifaction of the subject and the object.
The Vedic declaration underlines, "Only One is; the wise describe it in different ways." The ascetics, materialists, renouncers, the suffering, the wealth-seeker, the spiritual seeker and the realised use different names for the One. For instance, whether you offer to Agni (Fire God) or Sun God, it reaches the same One.
Have the firm conviction that the Cosmos and God are not different. Look upon creation as the manifestation of the Divine and make proper use of your opportunities to experience the Divine.
In your studies, try to combine spiritual discipline with academic pursuits. You must develop the habit of examining yourself and correcting yourself. Self-correction and self-punishment are as important as Self-realisation.
The Self-Realisation, a spiritual development can be considered as the help to the other people and oneself through meditation, spiritual contemplations, examples, worship, experiences, knowledge, etc. The self-realisation on the spiritual path is only the state or quality of being, the realisation of immanence divinity within through eternal human values (Truth, Love, Peace, Non-violence, Right conduct) and connected with them qualities - inner Awareness and Power, Harmony, Beauty and Wisdom.
This path is primarily qualitative Self-transformation, pictorially, as an activity of searching a coast in a stormy sea. Swami's Teaching and the experiences of His devotees are only as beacons indicating road to a coast. From individual depends, he/she wants to see the coast whether or not. Everyone can build own personal relationships with God i.e. Absolute or Swami's Cosmic Form.
Although in the human, there are animal, demonic, human and divine possibilities are present.
The first category of persons identify themselves with the body. They do not realise that this body is transient and may pass away any moment like a water bubble.
The second category of persons identify themselves with their minds. They are harried continually by thoughts and fancies. Brooding over the past and speculating about the future, these persons ignore the present and land themselves in confusion.
The third category of persons apotheosise the buddhi (intellect), identify themselves with it, make use of its powers and embark on various plans. By glorifying the discriminating powers of the intellect in this manner, these persons fail to recognise their true (the Divine) nature. Thereby, they are wasting the Divine potentiality of the buddhi. Life is wasted in endless enquiries and experiments. However long one may conduct enquiries and researches, the intellect cannot help one to realise the Divine.
The fourth category of persons rely on the power of the Antha Karana (the inner instrument of thinking). Regarding the phenomenal world as separate from themselves, these persons seek to realise the Divine by taking to the spiritual path.
The individual belonging to the fifth category declares: "I am everything. There is nothing in the world apart from me."
If one seeks to integrate the body, the mind and the Antha Karana (i.e. anthah-karana) to realise the transcendental goal, he/she has to go beyond the mind, the buddhi and the Antha Karana and transcend the states of waking, dream and deep sleep. Only then can individual comprehend the "I" principle of Prajna (intuitive wisdom dependent upon individuality).
The body, the mind, the intellect and the Antha Karana are related to the Prakrithi (phenomena of Nature in the Maya Reality). They are all functional variants of the mind. Divinity cannot be comprehended through the mind. (Efforts should be made to bring the mind under control).
In this context, the four great Vedantic pronouncements, Vedic Mahavakyas (Divine maxim on Absolute Reality, aphorisms) have given to the world.
1. Prajnanam Brahma (Consciousness is Brahman),
2. Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman),
3. Thath Thwam Asi i.e. Tat Twam Asi (That Thou Art),
4. Ayam Atma Brahma (This Self is Brahman).
These four aphorisms represent the core of the Vedic wisdom.
The first is "Prajnanam Brahma." What is this prajnanam? Is it bookish knowledge? Is it the knowledge that is forgotten with the passage of time? Is it related to the experience of the body? Not at all. Prajnana is the unchanging and eternal principle which is in you at all times and under all circumstances. People call it supreme knowledge but the correct translation for this term is Sath-Chith-Ananda (Constant-Integrated-Awareness). This Constant-Integrated -Awareness is present all over the body. It is Chaithanyam (consciousness or awareness). This consciousness pervades everything in creation, human, demon or deity, birds and beasts. This all-pervading consciousness has been regarded as the Brahman (Absolute Divinity). It transcends the body and the mind and is beyond the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep. How is it that human is not able to recognise such all-pervasive divinity, which exists in all the three periods of time, past, present and future?
Because this all-pervasive Brahman is identical with the Aham - the universal "I" principle - the Vedas gave the second aphorism, "Aham Brahmasmi" (I am the Brahman). This emphasised the oneness of the "I" and Brahman.
Therefore, Brahman, Chaithanyam, and pervasiveness are not entities with different names and forms. They are identical. But Brahman has different organs and limbs. Divinity is the integral form of all these constituents.
Hence, the declaration Prajnanam Brahma means "Brahman is Consciousness." Where is this consciousness? It is everywhere. There is no place without consciousness. On this basis, the Vedas proclaimed that the Divine is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient.
In the second great Mahavakya "Aham Brahmasmi," there are three words: Aham, Brahma, Asmi. Aham signifies Paripuurnathvam (wholeness). It is not subject to change on account of time, place or circumstances. Aham has also another meaning, namely Sakshi (Witness). This means that the Divine is a witness to everything - in the past, the present and the future.
Brahma refers to the principle that is the basis for akasa (ether) and other Pancha Bhutas (five basic elements). There is no difference between Aham and Brahma. They are interdependent and inseparable. The Aham principle also has the attribute of pervasiveness. Aham is present in the five elements also. Asmi unifies the Aham and Brahma. They are not separate but one and the same.
The third pronouncement is "Thath Thwam Asi." (You are That). This is one of four great statements expressing the non-difference of individual soul with Brahman, the supreme absolute Self, in Vedantic philosophy.
Thath is that which has remained unchanged before and after creation. It has no name or form. That is why it is called Thath (That). Hence it is called also "Being," that which is ever unchanging and transcends the categories of time and space.
The second term, Thwam, refers to that which has name and form. It has body, mind, intellect and Antha Karana. It belongs to the phenomenal world. There is a common bond between the Formless and the Object with Form. In all the objects with forms the Prajna, the awareness of "I" principle is present. Consequently, Thwam also acquires the attribute of Thath. Vedantic Principle of oneness implied by "Thath Thwam Asi."
This is illustrated by an example. A sculptor produced an idol of Krishna out of a block of stone hewn from a rock. While chiselling the stone for sculpting the idol, he threw away the unwanted stones. He was concerned only with making the idol. After the idol was completed, it was installed in a temple. The idol was the object of daily worship in the temple. After the removal of the idol, the other stone chips remained on the hill. These nameless and misshapen chips of stones proclaimed: "We are the same as That (the idol of Krishna). Once we were together in one rock. But because the other stone was given a name and form, we have become different from it. But the Divinity present in all of us is one and the same."
Below is a parable where the That (also idol of Krishna) is hidden in other scale of value.
An affluent man, a devotee, filled with dualistic feelings, adored the form of Krishna. He wished to offer worship regularly to an idol of Krishna. He got a gold idol of Krishna made by a goldsmith out of 20 coins. He got a golden cow made to match the idol. He got made a peacock and a golden cup to perform the abhishekam for the idol, both of the same weight as the idol.
Everyday he used to perform the abhishekam and enjoy the worship of Krishna. But the tide of time brought in its wake a decline in his fortunes and he found himself nearly destitute. He collected all his golden articles of worship and took them to another rich man to sell them. Each of the four items was weighed and valued at Rs. 60,000 each. The old devotee could not bear to learn that his revered Krishna idol was valued at the same price as the cow, the peacock and the cup. He said that more should be paid for the Krishna idol. The intending purchaser said: "Sir, for you the Krishna form is more precious than the other. But for me only the weight matters, not the form."
Another example. There is the vast fathomless ocean. Innumerable waves arise from the ocean. The waves appear to be different from each other, but are not really different. They are expressions of the same water of the ocean. The ocean is present both in the waves and the foam. The unity of these three is called Kootastha by Vedanta. Kootastha refers to the Thath that is present in all things (that differ in name and form). This principle of oneness is proclaimed by Vedanta in the pronouncement, "Thath Thwam Asi."
The fourth Vedic declaration is: "Ayam Atma Brahma." Ayam means that which is self-luminous and self-created. It is unmanifested - paroksha (unseen, invisible). Its form is self-chosen. Next to it is the term Atma. The Atma is present in all beings in the form of Chaithanya (Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness by modern science). Such Consciousness, which is present in all beings, has been called Sathyam. The reason for this appellation is that this Atma is Nithya (eternal, permanent, ever-present). Moreover, it is called Sathyam because, as pointed out in theTaithiriya Upanishad (one of the ten most important Upanishads) the Atma is the basis for all good thoughts and good actions.
The conclusion from a little different angle. All what exists is an expression of Atma. Only one Atmic reality exists, and all religions are simply different paths to that ultimate reality. The universal religion can be visualised as a mountain, with many sadhanas (spiritual paths) to the summit. Some are hard, others are easy. All paths are eventually reach to the top. They anticipate that a new universal religion which contains elements of all current faiths will evolve and become generally accepted world-wide. Swami's Teaching is a call for humans to internal growth and development by the new modern science connected with spiritual ancient wisdom and the Omnipresent Divine life-breath. Such connection is inevitable, as human's consciousness as an attribute of Nature, cannot be explained only by whatsoever methods of modern science, physics of quantum fields, for example.
In general, the truth underlying all the four Vedantic pronouncements is the same. It is the principle of Aham ("I") as expressed by Prajna (Constant-Integrated-Awareness). Aham ("I") is the Divine swara (sound) in all beings. All other sounds have emerged from Aham. That is the reason why the term Shabdhabrahman (the reality expressed in words. The scriptures like the Gita, which talk about Brahman can be called Shabdhabrahman) came to be used.
Where is this Shabdhabrahman? The answer comes from the term, Characharamayee (the one that is present in the moving and the non-moving). How does this Characharamayee exist? As Jyothirmayee (Infinite effulgence). How does the word Jyothirmayee issue from the mouth of human? As Vaangmayee (in the form of Vaak or speech). Even after a human dies, his/her words survive in the form of energy-informational waves (vibrations, energy matrixes by modern science) in the ether (physical vacuum by modern science).
However, so far as ordinary worldly life is concerned, body, mind, buddhi, etc. are essential. For performing any sadhana, the body is a prerequisite. To think about anything, you require the mind. To enquire into any matter, you have to utilise the buddhi (intellect). So, for leading a worldly life, the body, mind and intellect are primary instruments. However, they are only instruments, but the agency that puts them to work is different. That is Thath which, residing in the body, the mind, the intellect and the Antha Karana, makes them discharge their respective duties. There is, however, no difference separating them from each other.
(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 13. "The Universal Prayer," Chapter 34; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 15. "Make every moment a yajna," Chapter 22 and "Sacrificial fire,"Chapter 49; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 21. "You and The Cosmos," Chapter 27; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 25. "The Message Of The Vedas," Chapter 20; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 29. "Vedha and Vedhaantha," Chapter 44; The Divine Discourse Sathya Sai Baba "Divine Origin of Five Elements." 15 May 2000 PM, Brindavan).
Namaste - Reet
Light and Love
Swami teaches... 11 -14 June 2006
Listen to the Vedic wisdom with selfless concentration. Part 1
Swami has come in order to achieve the Supreme task of uniting as one family all mankind, through the bond of brotherhood; of affirming and illumining the Atmic reality of each being in order to reveal the Divine, which is the basis on which the entire Cosmos rests; and of instructing all to recognise the common Divine heritage that binds human to human.
Listen to the wisdom of Vedas and Vedanta (the most ancient scriptures of humanity) and be aware that only the Great Unity exists in the endlessly diverse forms and names...
The Vedas are the foundation of Bharatheya culture. The norms of action and behaviour in this land, of those who are cognisant or not cognisant of the reasons, are all in conformity with the Vedas. If in modern society, a trace of spiritual illumination is visible, we can ascribe it to this Vedic basis and the way of life it demarcated. For, all moral codes (dharma) have emanated from the Vedas.
Adi Shankara* (788 AD ? - 820 AD?, a Hindu famous philosopher) propagated the view that the Vedas uphold Dwaitha (dualism) and Vedanta teaches Adwaitha (non-dualism) on the basis of citations from the scriptural texts. People spend their life immersed in worldly affairs. To point out to mankind the more vital inward path, Shankara dedicated his life.
What is Adwaitha? The oneness of everything is Adwaitha. Adwaitha is a state of consciousness which can only be experienced and not described in words. In this regard, the Adwaithin is like a dumb one who has enjoyed a delightful dinner but cannot describe the taste of the dishes.
The difference between the Vedas and Vedanta by Swami is like the differences between various organs (diverse forms) in the same body (unity). All diverse forms from limbs to atoms or even to subatomic particles of the body belong to the same body and express the Unity in diversity by pictorially by their 'own aspects'.
To lead a purposeful and worthy life, you have to recognise the true meaning of the body, the senses, the mind and the intellect and know how to use them effectively.
All the troubles of mankind are due to the fact that ninety-nine percent of the people lead lives without understanding this truth. The body, the senses, the mind and the intellect are only instruments for the individuals and have no Chaitanya (consciousness) of their own.
The body grows on account of the food consumed by it. The body is only a temporary rest house for the Spirit. Vedanta declares: "The body is a shrine for the eternal Spirit inhabiting it." It is necessary in this context to know what enables the body, the mind, the senses and the intellect to develop or to deteriorate.
The whole Cosmos is made up of Pancha-bhuthas (five
basic elements: space i.e. ether, air, fire, water and earth). These
elements have come into existence for sustaining the Universe and
demonstrating the Omnipresence and Omniscience of the Divine. Their
subtle qualities are represented by sound, touch, form, taste and smell.
All these have emerged from Sath-Chith-Ananda (Being Awareness-Bliss),
the Primal Source. The mind, the intellect, the will and the ego are
too made up of the five elements, which are all emanations from the
Supreme - the Sath-Chith-Ananda. This is their Primal Source from which
they have emanated like innumerable sparks from a fire. From this source
they emerge as billions of atoms and assume countless forms.
Akasa (space or ether) is the first of these elements and provides the initial impulse. It is comparable to an infinite container. (The modern science has discovered that in the role of infinite container is physical vacuum as entity of endless possibilities). The other four elements (air, water, fire and earth) are indirectly contained in it. These elements vary in their subtlety. Water is subtler than earth and is more expansive and lighter than earth. Fire is subtler than water and air is subtler than fire and more pervasive. Akasa is subtler than air and is all pervasive.
Each of these elements is covered by a kosa (sheath). The mind, the intellect, the will and the ego are enveloped by these sheaths.
In the human being, the Antha Karana (the inner psycho-somatic instrument) is made up of the mind, the intellect, the will and the ego.
The ego is linked to the prana (life principle). It is encased in the Vijnanamaya Kosa (the sheath of integrated awareness).
The mind is linked to the chitta (will) and is encased in the Manomaya Kosa (the mental sheath).
Thus between the individual soul and the prana (vital principle), the mind functions. The life principle functions between the mind and the body.
The buddhi (intellect) functions above the level of the mind.
Human comprehends the world through the mind what is located between the buddhi (intellect) and the prana (vital principle).
Endowed with the human form and gifted with sense organs, the mind and the will, human nevertheless is failing to remember the source from which he came. Ignorance robs human of the power of discrimination. Lacking this capacity, human tends to inflate Ahamkara (ego). Egoism breeds hatred, which is the cause of attachment and desires. All karmas (actions) are born of attachment and desires.
However, in all circumstances human being is obliged to resolve problems in life. In daily existence human will never be free from worry. Human nature is such that person is never content with a single achievement. Human feels "there is always room at the top." This urges human on and on towards higher and higher goals. Human never attains satiety. To be ever discontended - that state alone gives to human being contentment.
The only way out of different desires and problems is to develop love for God. Love is the sovereign remedy for all.
The Vedas, however, have not given sufficient importance to this love. Their emphasis is more on aspiration than on experience. There are innumerable Vedic scholars who ceaselessly chant the Vedas. All this is verbal and not concerned with active practice. This attitude, as mentioned above, was described by Shankara as Dwaitha (dualism).
All the Vedic mantras were in the form of prayers for favours. (I want this, I want that). Desire is at the root of dualism. Desire arises because of the feeling that there is the "other." The one who desires and the object that is desired are two things apart from each other.
The Gayatri mantra is too not free from desire.
The Gayatri (Vedic prayer to illuminate the intellect) is the Universal prayer enshrined in the Vedas. The Gayatri is considered as the essence of the Vedas. It is addressed to the Immanent and Transcendent Divine which has been given the name 'Savitha,' meaning 'that from which all this is born.' The Gayatri may be considered as having three parts.
First the Divine is praised, then the Divine is meditated upon in reverence and finally an appeal is made to the Divine to awaken and strengthen the intellect, the discriminating faculty of human. (Here the Divine is 'the other', but by Adwaitha the Great One exists, where is then the other)? However, spiritual seekers have to remember that this 'the other' is the leading pinpointer towards the Great One.
(The Gayatri is usually repeated at dawn, midnoon and dusk. But God exists beyond time. There is no need to be bound by the three points of time to recite the prayer. It can be repeated always and everywhere, only one has to ensure that the mind is pure.
Swami advises to recite it when one takes bath. During the bathe, the body is being cleansed; let mind and intellect also be cleansed. Swami advises also to repeat it before every meal, when one wakes from sleep and when goes to bed. Swami advises also repeat 'shanthi' i.e. peace thrice at the end to body, mind and soul).
Two eyes cannot reveal the magnificence and the majesty of the realm of the spirit. They are focussed towards the objective world and its transient attractions. The Gayatri mantra has been given as a third eye to reveal that inner vision by which individual may realise Brahman. Pictorially, through Dwaitha to Adwaitha as life is a continuous series of sacrifices of the lower for the sake of the higher, of the tiny in favour of the vast.
Never give up the Gayatri; you may give up or ignore any other mantra but you should recite the Gayatri at least a few times a day. It will protect from harm wherever you are. Gayatri is the Mother, the sustaining Force that animates all life.
There are two kinds of proof for the existence of anything. Prath yaksham (direct perception) and Paroksham (indirect proof). The bliss derived from the Adwaithic consciousness is beyond words. It can only be experienced, but cannot be described or explained. In this matter, if indirect proof did not exist, direct perception would be out of the question. Unfortunately, today people attach value to direct perception alone and have scant regard for indirect evidence. For instance, one sees a block of ice. It appears solid, but it is entirely made up of water, which is a liquid. Thus water, whose presence is inferred indirectly, is the basis for the solid block of ice that is seen by direct perception. Thus it can be realised that what is indirect is the basis for what is perceived directly.
Likewise, for this visible phenomenal Universe, the invisible is the Divine. Not recognising this truth, people go by the Vedic conception of dualism instead of recognising the truth of the Vedantic doctrine of non-dualism. But the roots of non-dualism are hidden in dualism also. Only One exists. Near to such conclusion has reached the holistic academic science too.
In the Cosmic context, nature is the mirror. God is the viewer. All that is reflected in nature is Divine. The One alone exists. The object and the image appear because of the presence of the mirror. When there is no mirror there is no image. This is the mystery relating to nature and the wonders of the Lord.
This is the distinctive significance of Shankara's non-dualism. Shankara related the experiences of daily life to the doctrine of Ekathvam (spiritual oneness). The Divine is one, but is adored under different names and forms. Shankara did not approve of God being described as mother, father, etc. The relationship between God and human is oneness. "You and I are one." This is the essence of the Adwaithic doctrine. This awareness of oneness can give infinite joy, according to Shankara.
This experience does not come easily. One has to undertake intensive enquiry and also practise samskaras (spiritual discipline). When the samskaras lead to the refinement of the spirit, the experience of oneness with the Divine comes. How fortunate is the one who gets that experience.
The one who gets this experience is the Lord of the Universe. As the Master of the Self he/she is the Lord of the Cosmos. This Atma is present in every cell of the human body. When this nectarine truth is realised, human will not seek the ephemeral. Everyone should therefore seek the nectar, of enduring Atmic bliss.
Shankara made all endeavours to propagate the Adwaithic message to every person whether he was a king or a commoner, scholar or ignoramus.
PS: * Adi Shankara taught that all - God, the Universe, and every soul, is One. He developed a branch of Hinduism called Adwaitha Vedanta, or non-dualism. This school of thought explains that the Divine Reality is "one without a second," and that a person can only have true and lasting happiness by dissolving his/her individual identity in the Universal Consciousness (Cosmic Consciousness by modern science) through spiritual practices. It is practically the same as the modern outlook of the Holographic Universe by science. Science 'has collected' many confirmations to prove the reality of the holographpic nature of the Universe and human's mind also.
(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 13. "The Universal Prayer," Chapter 34; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 15. "Make every moment a yajna," Chapter 22 and "Sacrificial fire,"Chapter 49; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 21. "You and The Cosmos," Chapter 27; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 25. "The Message Of The Vedas," Chapter 20; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 29. "Vedha and Vedhaantha," Chapter 44).
Namaste - Reet