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Swami teaches....Part 87

 

        

Links to Swami Teaches - Part 86

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 30 Nov.- 1 Dec. 2006
Imbibe and Develop Rama's Virtues Slowly and Silently

Part 1

Bharath has had seers and sages throughout the centuries who have held forth the value of high ideals. The emphasis has all along been on the Atma that is the core of every being - a teaching that can confer courage, contentment, peace and harmony. It is indeed pathetic to see people following the vagaries of the mind and courting disaster, instead of using the intellect to discriminate between the transient and the permanent.

The culture of Bharath is based on the high ideals of righteousness. For example there is an old story of Alexander the Great, which illustrates the glory of Indian Culture. It seems Alexander used to go incognito to the villages around his camp, in Bharath, in order to learn the habits and manners of the strange new land into which fate had brought him.


One day, he found a man pleading with another to accept a pot of gold, which the other was refusing even to look at. He came to know that the pot of gold was discovered under the soil of the field purchased by the man from the man who refused to accept it. The buyer argued that he had bought only the land and was therefore not entitled to own the pot of gold; the seller said, he had no more right for anything found on or in the plot, that he had sold.

 

Alexander watched this contest for some time; both did not yield. At last, the village elders were called in to decide the issue. And, even as Alexander watched, the elders found a happy way out the buyer's son shall marry the seller's daughter and the pot of the gold shall be given to the bride as dowry. Alexander felt elated at the heights to which human virtue could rise; he was also ashamed at his own adventurous ambition to conquer another's property by force of arms.

Bharatheya culture has emphasised the valid ways in which one has to spend energy and money for service of the distressed, the diseased, the hungry, the illiterate, the ill-housed, the ill-clothed. Bharatheya culture also lays down that nothing should be done to damage any one's faith in God or in own Self. Faith is a tender plant and it needs all the nurture that you can give. Wealth by great epics and Vedas is to be held on trust and used for promoting the brotherhood of human and the fatherhood of God.
 

The ideals of sacred culture enshrined more brightly in the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha.

What Bharath and the world need most today is neither a new creed nor a new 'ism,' neither a new society, nor a new ideal but men and women who adore and follow pure feelings and motives, persons who renounce anger, lust and greed.

The story of Rama embodies this vital message. It is the cream of the Vedas. Valmiki has named each section of the epic, kanda, a name which means a length of sugarcane. However crooked the cane may be, every slice is as sweet as every, other.
 

Similarly whatever the situation depicted or motion delineated, whether coronation or exile, victory or defeat, heroism or dispiritedness, love or hate, joy or grief, Ramayana is equally sweet and charming.

The Ramayana is a guide book, a sacred text, an inspiring scripture, for everyman in all lands, at all times, whatever his creed or condition might be. For, it imparts poise, balance, equanimity, inner strength and peace.
 

Peace is the best treasure, without which power, authority, fame, fortune are all dry and burdensome. To earn this peace and to be unshakably established in it, human must develop abyasa (systematic, steady practice) and vairagya (full detachment). From birth to death, human is the slave of habits and practices. One must examine these and rely more and more on those that lead towards subjective joy rather than objective pleasure.

 

Subjective joy can be acquired by harmony in the home, mutual cooperation among the members of the family and community, acts of service to others and concern for the welfare and prosperity of the society in which one is living.
 

The Ramayana holds up the ideals to be pursued by the father, the son, the mother, the brother, the friend, the servant, the master, the teacher, the pupil, etc. The happy home is the basic cell of the national organism. It ensures a happy world, for mankind is one family, and if any one unit is sad or struggling in distress, how can, the rest be safe or satisfied?

Rama enlightens every seeker in the spiritual field, since he put into daily practice all that he deemed right. So, He sets the standard for every member of the household, of the society, of the nation and of the human race. He went into exile to maintain the highest ideal of a ruler responsive to the reaction of his subjects. The former holds forth the duty of respecting the command of the father and the latter, the regal duty of respecting the wishes of the ruled.
 

The bud has as its inevitable goal, through the emerging fruit and the mature fruit to become the sweet ripe fruit. These three stages do follow each other. That is the reason why the Vedas lay down karma (the bud), which becomes upasana (the flower of worship, devotion, meditation practice) and jnana (the fruit). Rama illustrated in His own life this process of the onward evolution of the soul into its Awareness.
 

Rama was the embodiment of steady adherence to sathya and dharma. Those who are saturated in Rama-bhakthi can dive into that glory. He is the grand ideal, upon whom you can contemplate.

The fame of divine personalities grows with every word they speak and every deed they condescend to enact. Rama's glory shines brilliantly even after all these centuries. It will shine as resplendently for ages to come. Rama means He who pleases. Nothing pleases human more than Atma, which is an eternal unfailing source of joy. One must prefer the awareness of the Atma and the bliss that the awareness confers, to all other minor momentary joys.
 

The Ramayana has a deep undercurrent of significant meaning. Dasaratha (father of Rama) as the name means, he who rides in a chariot of ten. He is tied up with three gunas (qualities), or three wives, as in the Ramayana. He has four sons, the Purusharthas - dharma - righteousness, morality, virtue, duty (Rama) artha -wealth, prosperity, aim, purpose (Lakshmana), kaama - desire, worldly fulfillment (Bharatha), and moksha - liberation, devoid of delusion, freedom from bondage. (Sathrughna). These four aims of human have to be systematically realised, always with the last one, moksha, clearly before the eye.
 

Lakshmana represents the buddhi (intellect) and Sita is truth. Hanuman is the mind, and it is the repository, if controlled and trained, of courage. Sugreva, the master of Hanuman is discrimination. That is the lesson of
the Great Epic to everyman.

Every human being has to feel an urgency in the great tasks of life. Buddhi (intellect) is a special gift that has been offered to human being. This has been given to know own Self but unfortunately it is now used to know others. (When human has been given a mirror to look at own face and set right its blemishes, person is foolishly holding it before other people's faces).

There are certain fundamental duties that human has to accomplish through intelligence. Three of these are referred to in the scriptures as ma (debt). Human has to discharge three debts as a consequence of the human birth and earthly career.

The first one is deva-ma, the debt to be repaid to the Gods. Every organ of the human body, every function in fact, is dominated and controlled and motivated by the Divine Power. Therefore as a grateful repayment for the debt human has to use own organs, limbs, functions and skills for the benefit of other people and for the welfare of the community.

The second debt is called rishi-ma, the debt owned by man to the sages, seers and ancient lawgivers.
 

Long before the birth of this generation, a beneficent code of morals and a precious collection of guidelines for the realm of the spirit had been preserved and handed down as heritage through the efforts of selfless seers and sages. Each generation draws inspiration and knowledge from the previous ones, especially from the pathfinders, the pioneers and bridge builders in the regions of ethics, law, mysticism, sociology, science and religion. Their footprints mark out the lines of individual and social development. So an enormous debt of gratitude has to be repaid to them.


The sages and seers have handed down a precious quantity of knowledge about nature, about consciousness and also about the means and methods of testing and enlarging that knowledge.
 

The festivals in the religious calendar are instances in point. The rishis have laid down these days as holy days and it is your duty to become aware of the meaning and significance of the festivals and as to why they have been so designated.
 

(You can infer, from what is generally done in every home when this festival starts, the real purpose intended by the rishis. On this day people take ceremonial baths, wear new clothes, tie new fresh green-leaf festoons across their door sills, have their houses whitewashed and painted anew, draw novel designs on the floors and make their homes charming to behold. All these are reminders of the prime purpose, namely, that of entertaining fresh ideas and giving up the old faded ones, installing the Divine bliss in the mind, recouping courage and confidence and strengthening hope and faith).
 

Observe the right codes laid down by the rishis with an awareness of the deeper plans they had in view.
 

Follow the Sastras (spiritual sciences)and perform the daily and seasonal rites, rituals, fasts, vows and vigils recommended rishis. That is the best repayment you can make.
 

The third debt is the pithrur-ma (the debt repayable to the ancestors), especially to the parents. This debt is also Universal, that is to say, people in all lands and all climes have to acknowledge it; for we are all born of parents to whom gratitude is due for endowing us with a body. Adore the parents, make them happy, give them contentment and joy by paying loving attention and bestowing affectionate care.
 

Another duty is to propagate the line through children of pure character, high virtue and noble endeavour.

In Vedantic parlance identification of yourself with others is called maithri. In seva activities you have to develop maithri (friendliness). Another attitude you have to develop is karuna (compassion). The third is called muditha (contented) and the fourth is called upeksha (indifferent to results). In all these four ways we should try to change ourselves and others.

Maithri is commonly equated with friendship. In the worldly sense this friendship is a mutual relationship. True friendship lies in regarding other people's comforts or joys or sorrows as your own. For instance we have an example in Ramayana in the relationship between Rama and Sugreva. Their friendship was based on the fact that each could experience the suffering of the other as the own. The bond of friendship is drawn when there is a recognition of sharing of experiences common to both.

What is karuna or compassion? Seeing a person in distress and expressing verbally sympathy is not compassion. The last must express itself in action to relieve the suffering. Nor should you adopt an attitude or indifference on the plea that each one is suffering for his own folly. Though suffering may be due to one's mistakes - mistakes to which everyone is prone - we should seek to remedy such suffering just as we try to get rid of our own suffering.
 

True compassion should emanate from the heart. It should not find expression in outward manifestations which only reveal one's vanity.

Muditha means acquiring peace of mind through cultivating equanimity in the experience of honour and dishonour, praise or calumny, loss or gain, joy or sorrow. These pairs of opposites should be regarded as things which come and go, like passing clouds.

The fourth requisite is upeksha. Apeksha (craving for the fruits) binds human. Upeksha (indifferent to results) frees human. Apeksha means involvement with the worldly concerns. Upeksha means getting rid of this involvement. (A green pumpkin, when it is placed in water, it sinks. The pumpkin has plenty of water within it and when placed in water it sinks. The same pumpkin, when it is dried and has no water inside it, floats on water. In the first place the pumpkin has friendship for water and it makes water part of its own self. Similarly, when you are worldly yourself and you move in the world you are bound to it. When you free yourself from worldly attachments you go towards Divinity and you are freed from bondage to the world).

There are two predominant streams of feeling or mood in the Rama story, the stream of compassion (karuna) as Rama and the stream of love (prema) as Lakshamana. It is the mergence of the two that evokes ananda (bliss) what is the very nature of Rama. Valmiki refers to Rama as equal in valour to Vishnu, but not as Vishnu Himself. It is only through the mouths of Rama's own sons that the mystery is revealed.
 

All who adore Rama as manifesting and protecting the Universe and projecting the Cosmic Effulgence and Intelligence are entitled to be known as bhakthas.

 

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 13. "Raamaayana for everyman," Chapter 11 and "The Raama Era," Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 15. "Raama the ideal," Chapter 6; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 17. "Ceiling on desires - II," Chapter 16; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 19. "Discover your Divine essence," Chapter 12).

Namaste - Reet


Light and Love

Swami teaches... 2 - 3 Dec. 2006
Imbibe and Develop Rama's Virtues Slowly and Silently

Part 2

When Rama, Sita and Lakshmana reached the banks of the Ganga, Sumanthra, the aged minister of the Court who had taken them so far in the Royal Chariot, could not follow them; he had in duty bound to return to the capital.


They entered the forest and started walking in single file through the thick jungle - Rama, Sita in the middle and Lakshmana following behind. They reached the hermitage of Valmiki soon; when the Sage came forward to welcome them, Rama asked him to indicate a place where he can reside. Valmiki said, "We sages reside in You; you reside in us. Where else can I request you to reside? Though you have assumed this human form, "You give yourself away by the Beauty that shines in You."

The beauty of Rama was the beauty of inner peace, the splendour that fills one when he/she is conscious of living in dharma (righteousness).

Mankind has progressed much in exploiting the material resources of the Earth in order to promote the better standard of life. But, neither the individual nor the society has learnt the way to inner peace and contentment. Envy and greed have fouled the relations between nations and between persons, supressing the awareness of the Unity that underlies all Creation. The main cause of this calamitous situation is rank egoism, each one tries to grab for himself whatever adds to power and comfort. The ego is making puppets of them all. The words and deeds reflect this tendency of selfish aggrandisement.


When desire for the evanescent overcomes person, he/she becomes distant from the goal. Even Sita was not free of desire caused by ego. Sita renounced everything that she thought would give her comfort in the palaces of her father and father-in-law and preferred to follow Rama into the forest. So, she secured the proximity and presence of the Lord. But, alas, when she saw the false form of the Golden Deer, she yearned for it, and sent both Rama and Lakshmana after it, so that she might fondle it and feed it and have it as a pet. What was the result of this fatal desire? She was forced to live far away from the Lord and to pine for Him in great anguish.


The conclusion is that in the first place when she removed kaama (the desire for possessions) she became one with Rama. The meaning of this episode is, so long as you are tied to kaama, you cannot hope to get Rama or God.


In order to restore peace to the individual and in society, the mind, where desires are born and resolutions are framed, has to be purged of its attachment to the Self. The mind has desires, as its warp and woof. When desires are ego-oriented, time and effort are wasted; duty is neglected; the body and its skills are misused.

The Ramayana instils wise, valid, valuable detachment, or thyaga (sacrifice). Rama gladly journeys into the forest as an exile, the moment he knows that his father's wish was that he should do so; and, remember, he was to be crowned Emperor just that moment by the very same person who ordered him to go into exile. (When those who have full powers and claims, renounce positions of authority in the Ramayana, we see today persons with no powers or claims, clamouring to occupy position of authority).

Individual has the capacity to grow into a pure Divine personality. Individual is able to enquire into, examine and explore the phenomenal Universe because of the consciousness that prods within. Nature and the phenomena that comprise it are reflections of inner experience. The life on the planet is a beautiful painting, a grand work of art. The whole Universe is the glorious work of this art projected by the Supreme Artist, without a wall or canvas to draw upon, without brushes or colours to paint with.

The art is outside, but the beauty is experienced by the heart inside us. Art becomes art when the heart recognises it.


All investigations of the external world are indeed reflections of mental processes which emerge from the "I" projected by the Atma, a spark of Paramatma. If we concentrate on this basic truth, we can see the Divine basis that sustains everything.


(However, today with the accent on "collection", we are ignoring "concentration". The essence of education is concentration of the mind and not collection of facts. Nowadays, we hear of more and more people complaining of tension, as a reaction to frustration, failure and disasters. Tension is caused as a result of the mind indulging in likes and dislikes.

Everyone must be vigilant about the mind, its capabilities and character. It reacts in fifty million different ways, not one or two. It assumes fifty million forms. Each of these is a wave that agitates. The system of education practised today does not divinise the mind and turn it towards the 'I' which is a reflection of the Atma within).

Human is overcome by the sleep of ignorance and has to be aroused and taught by elders who know the precious heritage he/she is losing. The sleep is caused by the different kind of attachments as human has chained to low ideals and so, has fallen into fear and grief.


The Upanishads exhort human to awaken and become master of own Self. The Upanishad says, "By renunciation alone can the Bliss of Immortality be won".

When the feeling of "I" drops human realise own brahmic reality and attain ananda. The Vedanta declares: "Brahman is Sathya (Truth); the Cosmos is mithya (illusory)." Whether the Universe is real or illusory, or whether it is real-unreal need not be your concern. For, the Cosmos itself will reveal to you its permanent-cum-transient character. Chaitanyam (Cosmic Consciousness) is all-pervasive in the whole Cosmos (alias in the Universe) and in the individual mind. But, in the mind it is limited.


So the Universe is teaching innumerable lessons all the time. Each one should try to discover the secret of life and the Universal Consciousness that is inherent in person. The first requisite for each one is to make him/herself own guru.

Your primary concern must be to understand whether you are real or unreal or what in you is real and what is unreal. It is only when you have recognised the truth of your own being, that you can recognise the world as illusory and your own reality.

The realised person asserts: "I am Brahman." It is a spontaneous expression and not the result of thought or feeling. But when one states, "I am a human", the attribute "human" expresses a thought accepted and a feeling welcomed.


The "I" is boundless Infinite. When the finite concept "human" merges in the Infinite "I" the "I" alone remains.

When a river reaches the ocean, there is only the ocean; the river ceases to exist. Before it joins the ocean, the river is bound by its banks and it has a distinct form. But when it merges in the ocean, it loses its separateness, its form and name and taste. It becomes the ocean. Likewise, when "human" merges in the Infinite "I" only the Infinite "I" remains and the limited human entity disappears.


The mind also is a projection of the idea of "I". The mind and the ego are related to the Atma as its manifestations. The Atma is the grandfather, aham (the knower, the ' I ', ego) is the son and the mind is the grandson. From the One unchanging Infinite Atma, the finite and changing ego (what has birth and growth) and the mind, with its diverse feelings and ideas, have emanated.


The Atma has no birth, growth, decay or death no sorrow, no happiness. It is changeless, immutable and eternal. The multiplicity of names and forms can be understood in their true nature only if the truth about their fundamental basis is recognised. Hence, everyone should seek to know the basis of what he terms as "I."

Self realization alias 'I' realization, the understanding of one's basic Reality, should be the fundamental purpose of education and self-education and not the mere acquisition of information about the external world as has noted above yet.

Creation is a marvel. It has to be seen and experienced with wonder and awe and not dissected, disfigured or analysed or explained. Imagination boggles, beholding this cosmic scene. It defies description. It exhibits what is not real and conceals what is. Confronted with the Universe, so difficult to decide whether true or false, some have concluded it is real, some have declared it unreal and some have described it as a mixture of the real and the illusory. The problem has been the subject of endless debate and controversy. Right education should aim at discovering the basic truth, which will lay at rest this uncertainty.

So, the world is experienced by the "I". As long as the "I" dominates the mind, the world is cognised as real. And so long as the "I" is involved with the world, sorrow cannot be eliminated. In the state of deep sleep, there is no consciousness of the "I" and so there is no consciousness of the world too. When the world is absent, sorrow and also happiness disappear.


On the whole, what is happiness? Do wealth, power or health confer happiness? The world has numerous wealthy people, but are they experiencing happiness? There are many wielding power or having good health, but are they happy? There can be no real happiness as long as one is infected with the ever-greedy ego.


In humans' actions, insights and visions there is no object without fault or failing; there is no joy that is unmixed with pain; there is no act that is not tainted with egotism. All these qualities are less or more interconnected.


Like animals which run towards a mirage in the vain hope of quenching their thirst, human goes after sensual objects hoping to derive happiness from them. In the end human meets with disappointment and frustration and quits own life without realising the true destiny.

These contemplations about happiness and essence of human's life does not mean that you have to renounce the world. Living in this world as you are, you have to strike a balance between worldly life and spiritual life. Duty is God, that is the lesson the Ramayana teaches. (The word 'duty' is today used to indicate the methods by which one exercises the authority. It is not true).


Duty is the responsibility you have to respect and revere others and to serve them to the best of your ability.


(You claim to have the freedom to walk, waving your walking stick around you; but, the person coming behind has as much freedom to use the road as you have. To exercise your freedom so that you do not limit or harm the freedom of others - that is the duty, which becomes worship).

In general human's life is like gold in its native state, associated with dirt, which is impure. It is impure in the initial stages. When you begin to purify your thoughts, speech and actions through seeking good contacts and cultivating noble ideas, you will be transforming yourself.


When a sculptor converts a piece of rock into a beautiful idol to be worshipped in a shrine, what was inert and worthless becomes sacred. This is transformation. Similarly, an idol made out of silver becomes an object of worship. In the same manner, everything which is petty and worldly can be transformed in course of time into something sacred and divine.


When Rama is installed in the heart, everything will be added unto you - happiness, fame, fortune, freedom, fullness. For instance, Hanuman was a mere monkey leader until he met Rama; he was a minister in the court of his master; but, when Rama gave him the commission to seek Sita and sent him, that is to say, when Rama was installed in his heart as guide and guardian, Hanuman became immortal.

There are many who spend much time in mechanically reciting the name Rama or systematically reading the entire Ramayana according to a fixed time-table.


Without gaining purity of thoughts and intentions, compassion and the urge to serve, these outward expressions and exhibitions are but ways of cheating the society which applauds you as a great devotee. Your sight must become insight; it must be turned within and used to purify and clarify.

People talk glibly of Vision of the Divine, the vision that liberates. The Seer and the Seen have to merge and become One and experienced as One only, without a second.

 

Merge into the Divine which you really are; that is the consummation.

 

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 13. "Raamaayana for everyman," Chapter 11 and "The Raama Era," Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 15. "Raama the ideal," Chapter 6; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 17. "Ceiling on desires - II," Chapter 16; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 19. "Discover your Divine essence," Chapter 12).

Namaste - Reet



Light and Love

Swami teaches... 4 - 6 Dec. 2006.
Imbibe and Develop Rama's Virtues Slowly and Silently

Part 3


The motto:

 

Nature is a preacher; life is a teacher. When this truth is recognised, life becomes meaningful and purposeful. Everyone should strive to unfold the divinity within and illumine life.

Ramayana teaches the need to give up the false identification with the body. When Rama saw Tara , Vali's - a great monkey-king's wife wailing over the corpse of Vali, he gives her lessons on the evanescence of the body and the foolishness of identifying a person with that vehicle he uses for the purpose of his journey to Divinity.

The body is an entity which houses much that is bad and that is undesirable. Externally we take great care of the body through bathing and cleaning. We are aware of the external impurity and we try to get rid of it. But, are we aware of the internal impurities? How do we purify them? For this internal purification, we have to acquire sacred thoughts and do sacred deeds. We have the concepts of jivi (individual being) and deva (celestial being).


Human is composed of the three gunas (qualites), sathwa, rajas, thamas (serenity, restless activity, inactivity). As long as you are part of these gunas, you are jivi. Once you transcend these three qualities you become deva (celestial being). The three gunas are like the husk that covers the rice in the paddy. When you remove the husk it becomes the rice-grain. Whatever we do, whatever actions we undertake, if they were to be permeated with thoughts centred on God, they would become sacred.

Three evil qualities have to be renounced before human can rise to the own real role. Anger which smothers wisdom (jnana), lust which pollutes the deed (karma) and greed, which destroys one's love (prema) for God and human. The touchstone which pronounces an act as meritorious is 'renunciation'. If an act is selfless, it helps to inflate the ego and to reach to the conscious level of detachment.
 

Full detachment does not imply renunciation of family ties and fleeing into the loneliness of the jungle. It means our giving up the feeling that things are permanent, and capable of yielding supreme joy.  (For example, you might have a plateful of nice eatables before you and they might appear to be delicious and fine; but, if the cook announces that a lizard had fallen into cooker when it was on fire and has been boiled alive, all the fascination for the' food disappears in a trice).

Everyone has in possession a ticket for liberation from the cycle of birth and death. But, most do not know the train which they have to board; many get down at intermediate stations, imaging them to be the terminus and wander helplessly in the wilderness or are carried away by sights and scenes.

Three types of strength are given to a person: physical strength, mental strength and the power of money. It has been said that all these should be offered as yajna (sacrifice). This sacrifice is not offered to God who has given you the body and the mind, does not need them for Himself. God is also the source of all wealth. What does He want with your wealth? Use it for sacred purposes.


Was it beyond the power of Rama to discover Sita in Lanka Himself? What need was there for Him to send Hanuman? Rama wanted Hanuman to go on the search, so that He could show to the world the devotion and steadfastness and faith of Hanuman. It is a case of Grace on the part of Rama.

The human's final goal has to be realisation of the unity of the Self with the Paramatman (Supreme Self).


The mind should be checked by the intellect. Or else, evil resolutions will result in sorrow. Resolve on good actions and reap joy. Of course, if one can desist from desires and the tendency to pursue them, one can have unshaken peace. (If the mind is let loose and given the mastery, human is driven from one inequity to another and self-respect. Then life becomes a frantic rush from place to place and object to object).

We all have undertaken endless number of actions of varying magnitudes and description. Before we embark on the execution of these actions we have to ask ourselves three questions.
 

1. For whose sake are we undertaking these actions?
2. For what purpose?
3. How are we going to execute these actions?
 

These may be three different questions, but the answer is mainly one. If we examine deeply, the answer to the first question is: "All for our own sake." The answer to the second is: "For our own happiness and joy." The answer to the third question is: "The results of our work will depend on what we do. If we do something good, the result will be good, if we do something bad, the result will be likewise."

In this world it is not possible to make use of anything without transforming it in one way or the other to make it useful. You cannot have rice for eating without converting paddy to rice grains and then cooking it. Similarly, you cannot have cloth without transforming cotton into yam and then weaving it into cloth. Similarly, a human being needs transformation in respect of three things: The first is bodily transformation; the second pertains to the mind; the third relates to the Atma. It is only the body and the mind that require transformation.

For that transformation examine your mind; find out its defects, for example, whether it is damaged by egotism, greed, insincerity, waywardness and sloth. For, with these faults, it is difficult to concentrate on thoughts of God, either within or without. You must also cultivate the positive quality of Prema (Love) for the Embodiment of Prema can be realised only through Prema. That is the message the Ramayana gives all those who study it with sincere desire to learn.

Why the Self (Atma within) takes this human form? If mere 'living' or even 'happy living' was the goal, the self could have been encased in the form of birds or beasts. The very fact that human is equipped with memory,
mind, intelligence discrimination ability to anticipate the future, desire to detach him/herself from the senses, etc., is an indication that human is destined for some higher goal.

The most effective discipline that human can adopt to attain this lofty goal, is the control and conquest of the five senses, avoid the errors and evils that the eye, the ear, the tongue, the mind and the hand are prone to commit. These are called the panchadoshas (five vices).


The eye ever seeks the vile and the vulgar. Not withstanding the danger to own life and body, the motorist will stare at obscene posters advertising a movie film. The eye must be held in check so that it may not ruin the mind as well as the body.


The ear craves for scandal and salacious stuff. It does not persuade you to attend discourses that can really help in your spiritual development. Even if you chance to attend any, the ear dissuades you by giving you a headache. But when some one pours abuse on another, the two ears attain maximum concentration.
 

The tongue is doubly dangerous unless held in check, for it speaks scandal and creates craving for taste. It is well nigh impossible to lead the tongue towards the path of spiritual recitations and meditation, however sweet be the Name of the Lord.
 

When the eye, ear and tongue are under control and capable of being used for self-improvement, the mind and the hand can also easily be held in check. Thus when human realises him/herself, there is no need to inquire where God dwells. He dwells in the pure heart clearly shining in innate splendour of Wisdom, Power and Love.


Through a desire to judge or estimate or evaluate, you cannot discover the mystery of God; through devotion and faith, you have to win His Grace, which will reveal Him to your understanding and experience. (But you cannot be changing your allegiance as and when you please).

A person must have enough money and posessions to lead a simple life. Riches melt away only when you spend them, but the span of years you can live on the Earth is shortened every moment whether you like it or not, whether you are conscious of it or not. With every second, life drips, as water from a leaky pot.
 

Wealth accumulated beyond reasonable levels intoxicates the Self and breeds evil desires and habits. Wealth has to be held in trust for activities that are beneficial, for promoting righteous living and for fulfilling one's duties to society. Above all, the basic purpose of all service activities is to effect a transformation from the state of human to the state of Divinity.

We should get rid of the thought that seva activities are being done for others. You should understand that they are being undertaken for your own sake and for your own betterment.


More than penance and meditation, service to others is the means by which one transforms oneself. In rendering service, you should be moved by genuine concern for those you serve. You should try to ascertain the cause of their suffering and try to remove it.

However, momentary sympathy or charity or competing with others in exhibiting one's generosity is not true seva. In rendering service if you try to do something which is beyond your capacity it is a sign of your ego. And vice versa: if you give less than what you can, then you are a thief (denying to others what is due to them).  You must regard service as a sadhana (spiritual effort).

You should believe that service is a path to God realisation and is purely and essentially for your own sake. The seva that you do, should not be done out of a sense of compulsion or to please others. It should be wholehearted and spontaneous. It is to transform your own lives that you undertake seva. Through the medium of seva you can reap the fruits of japa (soft prayer, repetition the name of God) and dhyana (meditation). By making your fellow-beings happy you are making God happy.

Swami underlines: "Do whatever you feel is your duty and what is necessary for the areas in which you are working. Do it with all your heart without comparing yourself with others."

Poring over a few books, one may secure a high rank in university examinations by one's diligence and industry. But this is not the consummation of education. Nature is to be accepted as a better instructor. By its forbearance, adherence to its genuineness, unselfish bounty, patience and serenity Nature is continually proclaiming its inherent and real role of preacher of spiritual truths. Consider, for instance, a tree. It puts up with heat and rain, summer and winter and all the harm inflicted on it. It offers shade and distributes fruits to whoever approaches it and seeks no return from those who benefit from it.


Consider, next, the bird. The lesson it teaches is self-reliance. A bird perched on the leafy twig of a tree is not affected by the wild swaying of the twig or the storm which might blow it off because it relies not on the twig or tree but on its own wings for its safety. It knows it can always fly and save itself. The bird is always happy and carefree, sporting as it pleases. Birds are not concerned about acquiring things for the morrow. They are content to make the best of the present, living on whatever they can get for the day. They do not worry about the careers of their children or the state of their bank accounts. They have no anxiety about the upkeep of houses or properties. But, human being, sitting on the branch of the life tree, is worried about every little tremor in life and loses peace of mind.

Human's ignorance of the reality stems from incorrect understanding of the world. This ignorance cannot be dispelled by yajnas, yagas or japa or even long bouts of dhyana. When one discovers the indwelling Divinity and realises the true nature of own Self a person can be free from this ignorance.

 
God is as far from you as you are far from yourself. That is to say, you are not the body to which you cling. God reacts to the status assigned to the "I". Who is it that says "I"? The body? How can the body speak? It is gross matter. The Atma? How can the Atma speak? It is subtler than the subtlest. Really, the "I" serves as the link which disappears when the body-mind complex merges in the Atma.

 

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 13. "Raamaayana for everyman," Chapter 11 and "The Raama Era," Chapter 31; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 15. "Raama the ideal," Chapter 6; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 17. "Ceiling on desires - II," Chapter 16; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 19. "Discover your Divine essence," Chapter 12).

Namaste - Reet

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