Swami teaches....Part 88



Links to Swami Teaches - Part 88


Light and Love

Swami teaches... 13 - 15 Dec 2006
Searching the Divine Grace

Part 1

Remember, freedom is your birthright.
Concentrate on that and practise the means of attaining it.
Remember, with every step, you are nearing God.
And when you take one step towards Him
God takes ten steps towards you.
There is no halting place in the pilgrimage.
It is one continuous journey,
through day and night,
through tears and smiles,
through death and birth,
through tomb and womb.
When the road ends and goal is gained,
the pilgrim finds that he has travelled
from him/herself to him/herself,
that was long and lonesome;
but God that lead individual unto,
was all the while in him/her, around him/her,
with him/her and besides him/her.

God is always your guardian, when you sleep; when you are helpless; even when you have forgotten or neglected or discarded Him. He has no need for the things you offer, or promise to offer. He is ever content, ever blissful, ever full, ever free.

Your duty is to concentrate on the development of the Divinity latent in you; once you do that, all hate and all pride will disappear. (Remember these things cannot be decided by the counting of votes or measuring popular support).

Clarify the intellect by spiritual discipline so that you get a vision of the God who dwells within; that is the Suudarshana (Discus, a weapon of Vishnu) which saved Gajendra, the wild elephant (human being) that was caught by the alligator (egoism) while rollicking in the lake of Samsara (the objective world). Look upon joy and grief as teachers of hardihood and balance.

Sharpen the intellect, then the latent Divinitity will become evident. The most revered and the most popular mantra in the Vedas is the Gayatri; it seeks the grace of the Source of all Light, to foster one's intelligence. Have a custom never to forget Gayatri. There is unseen unexplainable Divine power in Gayatri. (One who is immersed neck deep in water may be able to speak, but not a person who is totally immersed. Likewise, a person who is immersed in divinity completely will have no words to describe the glory of God. Only those who have understood God only partially will try to describe Him in various ways).

You can gain the spiritual awareness of Unity and Divine Grace by rigorous sadhana. Spiritual discipline is more arduous than physical discipline; imagine the tremendous amount of effort undergone by the lady who runs along a wire stretched across the ring, underneath the circus tent. After all, the gain is just a few rupees. The same steadfastness and systematic effort aimed at a higher reward can endow you with mental balance and you can maintain your equilibrium under the most adverse or the most intoxicating circumstances. The jnanendhriyas (organs of perception) are more important for this type of sadhana than the karmendhriyas (sense organs), the intellect more important than all the rest of the inner instruments.

Make the intellect the Master of your mind and you will not fail; you will fail only when the senses establish mastery over the mind. Below is a story what illustrates it.

A lame man and a blind man became friends and they moved from place to place, the lame man riding on the shoulders of the blind. One day, while passing through some fields, the lame man saw hundreds of what are called Dosakaayis (an edible variety of gourd) in a field and he suggested to the blind man that they pluck a few and eat their full. The blind man had greater sense and so he did not welcome the idea immediately he heard about it. He asked, "Brother! Have they fenced the crop?" The lame man said, "No." Then, the blind man said, "Let us go our way. The Dosakaayis must be bitter; that is why they are left unguarded." You know there are sweet as well as bitter Dosakaayis and the blind man, by his intellect, was able to discover that they were bitter, even without tasting them. His intelligence perceived the truth faster and clearer.

Everyone has the fight to earn Grace, but, those, who have faith in themselves, will earn it soon and plentifully. God loves those who have the self-confidence and the courage of conviction and who seize every opportunity to improve their spiritual status.

There is an other example from ancient scriptues.

Thenaali Raamakrishna (spelling as in original; there was also famous saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa - 1836 to 1886 - celebrated mystic; mastered all types of Yoga and Christian and Islamic practices) the famous Andhra poet, humorist and philosopher, who lived in the reign of the famous Emperor Krishnadheva Raaya, of the Vijayanagar dynasty, about 1500 A.D. He was attached to the Court and was honoured as a wise and quick-witted minister.

By legend Thenaali Raamakrishna once happened to lose his way while traversing an area of thick jungle. In the jungle he saw an old sage. Raamakrishna ran forward and fell at his feet, in reverential homage. He asked the sage how he got caught in that wild forest. The sage said, "The same mysterious force that dragged you here has dragged me too to this spot. The moment when I have to cast away the body I occupied so long, has arrived. I shall initiate you, now, into the mantra which I have recited all these years, as my talisman and treasure." It was the mantra of Mother Kali, and he whispered it into the ear of Raamakrishna.

Raamakrishna was overjoyed at the great gift; he retired into a temple of the Mother, deep in the recesses of the jungle and was intent on the meditation of the Mother, propitiated by the mantra. At mid-night one day, the aboriginal Koyas of the forest came into the temple, with a goat which they sought to offer as sacrifice to please Her and propitiate Her. Raamakrishna hid behind the idol and when the knife was about to fall on the neck of the victim, he exclaimed, "I am the Mother of all living Beings, including you. If you kill my child, I will curse you, I cannot bless you." Believing that it was Kali that spoke, the Koyas desisted and went away. Now, Kali manifested before Raamakrishna; She asked him what he liked to receive from Her. "Which do you want?" she queried, holding a plate of curdsrice in one hand and a plate of milk-rice in another. He wanted to know the consequences of eating either plate before deciding which plate to ask for. She explained, "The curds-rice will endow you with riches and economic prosperity; the milk-rice will make you a wise scholar. Now, make your choice."

Raamakrishna thought within himself, "This not good being a fool in possession of vast riches; nor will scholarship fill the stomach, three times a day." He asked a further question: "I see two plates before me. Before I make the choice, tell me how each will taste?"

She laughed and said, "How can I describe the taste and make you understand the difference? You will have to taste them yourself" and gave him both the plates for the purpose.

The clever Raamakrishna hastily put them both in his mouth and managed to swallow the curds and the milk and the entire quantity of rice from both plates.

Kali was mortified and exclaimed that his impertinence called for dire punishment. Raamakrishna accepted his mistake and invited the punishment she proposed to inflict. But, can the Mother's punishment destroy the child, however reprehensible the conduct of the child may be? "My sentence will certainly save you, do not tremble," said Kali. Then she pronounced the sentence thus: "Become a Vikatakavi." That is to say, "Be a clever clown, having great influence at Court, accumulating much wealth and guiding all those who approach you with good advice."

Anybody cannot order the Divine Bliss from any shop. It has to be earned the hard way: doing good deeds, moving in good company, desisting from evil, keeping the mind attached to the Glory of God.

Good and bad cannot be kept together in the same vessel; then, the good also will turn bad. Night and light cannot coexist.

By legend the Sun was proud that he had no enemies left. But, some one told him that he had one enemy left, viz., Darkness. Then, he sent his rays, the emissaries, to seek out the foe, but, wherever they went, they saw only light, the darkness was nowhere to be found. They returned and reported ∑ "There was no such thing as Darkness upon the Earth; we made the most rigorous search!"

Suryaprakasha Sastra said that the worlds this side of Suryaloka are all inhabited by beings that are subject to life and death, to the processes of involution and evolution and that the world on the other side are inhabited by beings that are free from these aspects of change.

Sastra also asked, who can give us the secret of transcending the barrier that divides the region of death from the region of immortality? Of course, the Lord has often sent messengers to tell humanity about it and He has Himself come down in human form to communicate it and save mankind from perdition.

So, Veda is the source of Dharma, Veda which Suryaprakasha Sastra declared was revealed to the Yogic Consciousness of sages.

Rama is the perfect embodiment of Dharma and proclaiming Dharma to the world. He was aware of all the various applications of Dharma in the various fields of human activity.

So Ramayana partakes of the excellence of the Vedas. The Mahabharatha is generally known as the Fifth Vedha. And the Bhagavatha describes the Glow and the Grace of the Lord and His splendour as the Indweller in All. It is the Vedaswarupam (essence of the Vedas) that is enshrined in these three works, thus making them equally effective as drugs to cure you of ignorance.

The cottage and the castle are both built on the earth: so too, all faiths and religions, all disciplines have the Veda as the basis. The special feature of Indian culture is that here the dress and demeanour, the language and literature, the manner and mode of living, the ideals and institutions are all attuned to the spiritual progress of humanity, emphasising as they do the superiority of the spirit over the body, the subtle over the gross. Everything is subordinated to that supreme task. The subtle is the basis for the gross; the Divine is the basis for the Human.

People tend to forget that the real self is one's own Self (Atma), which is the same Self (Atma) present in every individual. And, that Self is Chaitanya Shakti (the power of universal consciousness).

(Birds, beasts and animals cannot realise this sacred Atma Tattwa and manifest selflessness. Only a human being can do so by sadhana).

You are as distant from the Lord as you think you are, as near Him as you feel you are. That nearness is won by devotion, which cannot be steady except after getting rid of "I" and "Mine". When a prisoner is taken from place to place, he is accompanied by two constables. When human who is a prisoner in this jail life moves from one place to another, is accompanied by egoism and attachment. When human moves about without these two, you can be sure person is a free, liberated from prison.

People are all under sentence of imprisonment and are in this jail of life. There is no use hoping for reward when you work in jail; you have to work because you are ordered to; and you must work well too. You cannot argue that rewards are not distributed justly and you are not entitled to desist from your allotted task. If you do so, your sentence will be extended or you will be transferred to another jail.

On the other hand, if you quietly accept the sentence and go about your work without clamouring or murmuring, your term is reduced, and you are sent out with a certificate that ensures a happy life, unpestered by constables. This is the attitude that the jivi (individual soul) must adopt.

The body should be fed and kept free from disease. Why? So that it may be fit for spiritual discipline. Spiritual discipline for what? For the realisation of the truth about oneself. As the saying goes, Sathyannasti paro Dharma (There is no Dharma greater than adherence to truth). The mansion of righteousness rests on the foundation of truth. Hence, truth and righteousness are the two most important limbs of a human being. When truth and righteousness go together, love manifests. There can be no peace without truth, righteousness and love.

(The rose flower which is a symbol of love teaches many good things. It is a thing of beauty that speaks silently in the language of fragrance. It is surrounded by thorns. In this example, the rose flower is comparable to love and the thorns to lust).

Love is the human's life breath. It is the consciousness in all the beings. It is the goal of human life. There is the principle of Hiranyagarbha within every individual. Hiranya means gold. When gold is mixed with other metals such as copper, silver, brass, it loses its brilliance, value, and identity. Then it becomes impossible to ascertain whether it is gold or silver or brass or copper. Similarly, humanís heart, which is Hiranmaya, is losing its brilliance, value, and identity on account of its association with sensual desires. Consequently, it is impossible to ascertain whether one is a human being or an animal or a devil or a demon.

Life devoid of love is a devilís life. Can people be called human beings if they have qualities of devils, demons, and beasts?

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 4. "A rupee or hundred paise?" Chapter 10; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 8. "The sour and the sweet," Chapter 10; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 10. "Maaya and mayaa," Chapter 27; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 27. "Education and culture," Chapter 30; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 1. "Cultivate love in your heart," Chapter 2. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. "Truth and Righteousness are the Foundation for True Education,"Divine Discourse on 22 Nov 2005,Prashanti Nilayam).

Namaste - Reet

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 16 - 17 Dec 2006
Searching the Divine Grace

Part 2

Keep up your own good qualities, which the world will appreciate. Love all. (It is due to lack of love that there are today conflicts between individuals, villages, states, and countries).

When you develop Love in your heart, you are verily God. You become God or demon on the basis of your feelings. Good and bad are human's own creations.

Below is an example that pictorially confirms this.

During the exile of the Pandavas, Krishna visited them to enquire about their welfare. He spent a night with them. The Pandavas had to undergo untold suffering during the period of their exile. Since they had Draupadi also with them, the Pandavas would keep vigil in turns for one hour each every night. Krishna also volunteered to keep vigil for one hour.

Dharmaraja wondered, "When You are the protector of the entire Universe, what is the meaning in Your offering to do security duty for an hour to protect us?" But at the same time he cautioned Krishna saying, "Krishna, beware of the devil in the vicinity. My brothers and I encounter it every night. On many occasions, it tried to attack us. Therefore, we pray to you to desist from this act. You have come to enquire about our welfare.

It is not proper on our part to put you in danger. So kindly take rest."

Krishna replied, "Dharmaraja, is this what you have understood of My divinity? On the one hand, you extol Me as the protector of the entire Universe and on the other you are apprehensive that I cannot protect Myself. You are worried that the demon will harm Me. Rest assured that no demon can touch Me. Therefore, permit Me also to join you all in doing the security duty."

Having completed one hour's duty, Krishna sat on a rock smiling to Himself. Thereafter it was Arjuna's turn. He rushed to Krishna, a bit worried thinking that the demon might have attacked Him. Seeing Krishna smiling, Arjuna fell at His feet and enquired whether He had vanquished the demon.

Krishna replied, "Arjuna, I have never created demons and evil spirits. Then, how can the non-existent demons appear in the forest? The demon you are referring to is not a demon at all. It is just a reflection of the evil qualities within you such as hatred, anger and jealousy, etc. The anger in you is manifesting in the form of a demon. Its power is increasing in proportion to the intensity of anger in you."

The evil qualities are the real demons troubling people today. People are under the mistaken notion that demons exist and that they are responsible for suffering. These are all nothing but creation of human's imagination and psychological fears.

How can one expect positive results when person's heart is full of negative feelings? External is the reflection of the internal.

Today wealth is worshipped as God,
Selfishness has become the basis of life,
Pomp and show have become the fashion of the day,
Ego is ruling supreme in everyone,
Ambition makes people ignore righteousness.
There is no humility and no regard for truth,
Education is sought for earning money,
Hypocrisy has become the order of the day.

Vedanta declares, " Know thyself." A person who follows pravritti marga (outward path) is interested in collecting information about others and their whereabouts. He keeps asking others "Who are you?" "Where do you come from?" etc. A person who treads along nivritti marga (inward path) looks within and enquires, "Who am I?" "Where do I come from?"

The inherent nature of fire is 'to burn'; of water, 'to wet'; of stone, 'to be heavy.' The nature of human consists in the yearning 'to know' and to be blessed with the Divine Grace. This attributes have come into human from the moment of birth to play the present role. You are now believing that you are the role. And, enjoying and suffering as a result of that belief. Just as you get cured of the bite you get from a snake in your dream as soon as you wake up, so too, when you awake from Maya, and become yourself, the fear and grief will disappear. When an actor weeps or laughs on the stage, he watches own weeping or laughing and tries to make it more realistic and effective. So too, be the witness of your activities and thoughts; keep afar and away, without attachment or disgust.

Science asks the questions, "What? and How?" and seeks to get the answers from the objective world of Name and Form, the world one can see, hear, taste, touch and smell, the world one can categorise through reason. But the science of the spirit asks the question, "Why? For what purpose?" It discovers that Maya is the answer for the 'Why?' Sheer delight, at confusing reason, through the illusion of manifoldness. Ice and steam are but water, though they appear so different in every way; diamond is but carbon; jewels are but gold; pots are but clay. Go into the truth and you see the One behind the manifold. Brahman, Atma alone is the One; all else is the superimposition of name and form upon its Sath-Chith-Ananda (Being-Awareness-Bliss) essence.

The essence of spiritual education is faith and dedication. They are like the two bunds of a river. Only when the river of life flows between these bunds would the river be safe. If there are no bunds, the waters would flow over villages and towns and cause vast destruction. It is the absence of spirituality which is responsible for all the problems, violence, agitation and strike.

People today are treating the body as the source of all happiness. Such happiness is not true and permanent. We are acquiring knowledge, but do not put it to proper use. Knowledge without action is useless. Action without knowledge is foolishness. There is a divorce between knowledge and action today. We need a fusion of knowledge and action.

Spiritual education is the urgent need Of the hour to reform our children and also their parents And turn them in the right direction.

It is because the modern education is, as a rule, self-centered. Wherever you see, people today analyse whether a particular activity they wish to undertake will be beneficial to them or not. Everywhere you will find only selfish interest coming to the fore. But education is not for earning a fat pay-packet.

Often you are restless and worried and not concentrating on the teaching. This is a part of the atmosphere that you carry about with you, wherever you go, nowadays. There is lack of earnestness, of single-pointed attention. Many individuals today put up a show as though they had renounced everything. In fact, it is they who crave only for worldly possessions.

The trouble is, many people are moving in the wrong direction, away from the desirable destination.

An example. The farmer complained aloud: "Only one stranger came into this village yesterday and, he was a brahmin. But, my cockerel has been stolen and eaten!" Thus, the brahmin's vow of vegeterianism was revealed as a hoax.

Profess only as much as you can practise; do not blabber more than you are prepared to fulfil. Be sincere and honest to your own conscience.

Individuals have come into the world to realise themselves, fully equipped with all the instruments needed for that endeavour - viveka, vairagya and vichakshana - (discrimination, non-attachment and ability), the urge to enlarge their love, to enrich their emotions, to ennoble their actions.

Many have lost their way and are caught in a morass; people are confused by mirages and dreams which they take as real; they run after false colours and cheap substitutes.

All people are well aware of the fact that everyday in the newspapers anyone can find headlines describing the conflicts between various countries, between various parties, communities, religions, etc.

In fact, love is the most important aspect of whatsoever human's spiritual development and education. Without spiritual education how to obtain the qualities what are in accord with the laws of Nature, with the laws of the whole Creation protected by the Divine Grace?

Give Swami the lotus that blooms in your Manasa sarovara - the clear pellucid waters of the lake - of your inner consciousness; give Swami the fruits of holiness and steady discipline.

Swami's world is the world of the spirit; there values are different. If you are happy, with faith in God and fear of sin, that is enough service.

What do you mean by education in general? What type of education should you have? What kind of education will set an ideal? What is the outcome of education?

One must enquire deeply, investigate and get the right answer to these questions.

There is a purpose and goal for true education; that is Truth. Education should promote culture. What is education without culture? It is like a kite cut off from its main thread. It is not possible to predict where this kite would land - whether on thorny bushes or on dwelling places. It may also be compared to a house without light; bats and poisonous reptiles enter into such houses. Education without culture makes human forget own true human nature and take to evil ways.

Refinement and culture are the very life-breath of human life. It is not by education alone but by culture that one gets refined. Culture promotes refinement. It is termed as Samskara which consists of Sadhguna (good character), Sadhachara (good practices) and Sadbhavana (good feelings). For a person to be deemed educated, behaviour should be good, actions useful to society and feelings should be compassionate and kind. One should have concern for the welfare of all beings.

Education should inculcate in students the spirit of self-reliance and self-confidence. The first thing in life is self-reliance, second is self-confidence, third is self-sacrifice, fourth is selfrealisation. With self-realisation life finds its final fulfilment.

The basic aim of education should be to bring about an all-round development of the personalities and to make people of character and virtue. Many people think that knowledge is power. In fact, character is power. Education should confer humility Education without humility, action without discrimination, scholarship without wisdom, words without truth, friendship without gratitude, music without melody, politics without morality and integrity can never shine in society. One's personality blossoms only when one has humility along with knowledge.

Today people have forgotten human values but ceaselessly search for the Divine Grace. By laws of Nature it is not possible.

That is the reason why one comes across various agitations and strikes in society today. What is the reason for the country getting poverty-stricken, for suffering from fear and anxiety, for not recognizing the sacredness of spirituality, for losing morality and integrity? The reason is that human is not living as a human amidst the other fellow beings. The cloud of ego and pomp is covering the Sun of Atma and hiding its natural splendour.

Spiritual education should confer on young and adult students the sacred qualities like good character, adherence to truth, devotion, discipline and duty. These qualities are true pinpointers to earn the direct ticket to the 'land' of the Givine Grace.

(Those who act against those principles are not students, but stupids. You should not make friendship with such people. Neither you should call them stupids and earn their wrath. Be neutral in your relationship with them.

It is not surprising to see students assaulting teachers in the educational institutions today. There are students who find fault with those who actually provide for their living. There are also students who do not hesitate to pull down the very hand that feeds them. Such are the qualities of the present day students. They do not appreciate the role played by the teachers in their uplift).

No one seems to bother to examine all these matters, whether Government, society, educational authorities, or other administrators, etc. This is a sad state, which ails the system of education today. It is making students a slave of the senses and they cannot see the Divine Grace what is hidden behind the activity of senses. How can such people serve the society?

Universities are busy developing different types of subjects to be taught, but are not aware of the Real Subject which they should reach. What is that subject which is the very basis of all other subjects? Atma-Vidya (Spiritual knowledge), is the basis of all education. It is like the ocean while all other types of education are like rivers which must merge in the ocean.

What is it that made Rama God? It is imbibing of such qualities, as character, compassion, non-violence, control of the mind, control of the senses and fame. People should imbibe these six qualities which make human God who is protected by the Divine Grace in action and enjoy peace themselves and spread peace all around. Knowledge from books and laboratories should be made relevant and useful to society.

Swami asks students (and also all truly educated people on the planet) to carry on their secular life with spiritual outlook and attitude.

Individual should be free from ego, jealousy; arrogance and be full of humility, nobility and sacredness. Service to society and the nation must dominate one's thought, word and action.

One who cultivates the crop of Love in the field of one's heart is a true Christian, a true Sikh, a true Hindu and a true Muslim.

The great epic Ramayana is replete with several examples of how association with good people results in developing noble qualities and consequently the Divine Grace. (Today, people move about in bad company and ultimately spoil themselves. This is the effect of Kali Yuga, which is often referred to as the Kalaha Yuga - the Age of Conflict).

By the Great Principle of Oneness hurting or harming any person essentially means hurting and harming oneself. It is in this context Vyasa stated that the essence of the eighteen Puranas is "Help ever, Hurt never." These words are known to every spiritual seeker as axiom.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 4. "A rupee or hundred paise?" Chapter 10; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 8. "The sour and the sweet," Chapter 10; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 10. "Maaya and mayaa," Chapter 27; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 27. "Education and culture," Chapter 30; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 1. "Cultivate love in your heart," Chapter 2. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. "Truth and Righteousness are the Foundation for True Education,"Divine Discourse on 22 Nov 2005,Prashanti Nilayam).

Namaste - Reet

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 18 - 21 Dec 2006
Searching the Divine Grace

Part 3

Individual can derive happiness and the Divine Grace by controlling and conquering the mind and the senses. God alone can guard individual against the terror of Death.

The Vedas declare, "Chandrama Manaso Jatha, Chaksho Suryo Ajayatha (the Moon was born out of the mind and the Sun out of the eyes of the Purusha)." Moon is the presiding deity of the mind. So, mind should be pure, unsullied and calm as the moonlight. The higher you go, the cooler is the atmosphere. The lower you come, the hotter it is. So, keep mind cold and calm by means of dhyana and japam.

There is an immense significance in every statement of Vedanta. Confusion prevails when these are misunderstood.

An example. There is a practice of sacrificing innocent and dumb animals such as goats, sheep, etc., on Sivaratri in the name of yajna and yaga. One day, a noble soul noticed some animals being taken in a grand procession. On enquiry, he was informed that they were being taken to the sacrificial altar. He asked the owner of the animals what benefit was derived from sacrificing the animals. The reply was that the animals would attain liberation as a result of being offered to God.

Then the noble soul said, "O man, you yourself, your mother, your father, your wife and your children - all crave for liberation. If you firmly believe that sacrifice grants liberation, why don't you sacrifice yourself and your family and fulfill your and yours family desire in the process"

Why don't you grant liberation for yourself and to the people who aspire for it instead of the innocent animals, which do not know what liberation means?

Human's mind manipulates, handles all other things; it cannot carry itself, it cannot manipulate and transmute itself. The mind cannot hold the holder, that is to say, the Inner Motivator, God. So, in order to save yourselves from the waywardness of the mind and its minions, you have to hold on to the 'holder.'

The magnet will draw the iron to itself; that is the destiny of both. Then, when it contacts the magnet, it too earns the magnetic quality and it gets rest from its quest. That achievement is the best, for both magnet and iron. But, if the iron is covered with the rust, the grace of the magnet may not operate strong enough to draw the iron near.

Greed for sensual pleasure will certainly act as rust. The dust of sensual greed can be prevented by keeping good company, and putting into practice the axioms of good conduct that one can imbibe from it.

Human's behaviour is influenced by Sthanabala (power of the place), Bhujabala (power of the physical body) and Dhanabala (power of wealth).

For instance, in the Ramayana, when Rama and Lakshmana were going in search of Sita, Lakshmana suddenly felt tired and told Rama that he was exhausted and was fed up with the search for Sita and would like to go back to Ayodhya as quickly as possible to have a more comfortable living. Rama smiled at him and said, "Let us proceed further, I shall explain everything later." How did Lakshmana who previously had declared that Rama was everything to him and that he would not live without Rama even for a moment, suddenly develop this attitude? How did this concern for bodily comfort arise in him suddenly? After they walked some distance, they sat under a tree. That moment Lakshmana felt the pangs of repentance for his impertinent behaviour. He realised his mistake, caught hold of Rama's feet and enquired, "Rama! Forgive me for what I had said. I cannot understand how these devilish qualities and bad thoughts entered me. What could be the reason? Rama thought over the matter for some time and explained, "Lakshmana! The region through which we passed just now was the haunt of Surpanakha. She used to rest under that tree. Hence, the place is surcharged with all her devilish qualities. The vibrations of those evil qualities aroused bad thoughts in you. The moment you came out of the place, you are your normal self again. Your inherent good nature asserted itself." Thus, one's association with a particular place also has its effect on one's behaviour.

Human turns bad on account of bad company. That is the reason why sages and seers in ancient times constantly strove to cultivate noble qualities by satsanga. Today, trash literature are very exciting to the young minds. No force on earth can change such young persons. Not even God. Unless one makes introspection into one's behaviour and strives for transformation, one continues to move about in bad company. One's character and conduct are of paramount importance.

Below is an example what illustrates the role of bad company.

After Buddha became a renunciant, he traveled far and wide. People were wonder-struck to see his brilliant and handsome form. Attracted by his effulgence, a lady named Ambashali approached him and said, "O great one, you look like a prince in ochre robes. May I know the reason behind your donning ochre robes at this young age?" Buddha replied that he had taken to the path of renunciation in order to seek the solutions to three problems: "This body, which is young and handsome, is bound to become old at some point of time and will be subjected to sickness and will perish ultimately. I want to know the cause of old age, sickness and death."

Impressed by his quest for truth, she invited him for lunch. In no time, the entire village came to know of this. The villagers started coming to Buddha one by one and requested him not to accept her invitation, since she was a woman of bad character. Buddha listened to all their complaints patiently.

Then he smiled and asked the village headman, "Do you also affirm that she is a woman of bad character"? The village headman replied, "Not once, but a thousand times I will vouch for the evil character of Ambashali. Please do not visit her house."

Holding the headman's right hand, Buddha asked him to clap. The headman said that he could not do so as one of his hands was in Buddha's hold and it was not possible for anyone to clap with a single hand. Buddha replied, "Likewise, Ambashali cannot be bad by herself unless there are men of bad character in this village. If all the men in this village were good, this woman would not have turned bad. Therefore, it is men and their money that are responsible for the bad character of Ambashali."

Saying so, he wanted to know if there was any individual in that gathering without any trace of evil in him, so that he could visit his house for lunch. No one came forward. Then Buddha said, "When there are so many bad men in the village, it is not proper to point an accusing finger at one woman. She turned bad due to bad company." That is why it is said, "Tell me your company, I shall tell you what you are."

Inspired by the teachings of Buddha, Ambashali took to the path of renunciation and led a pious life.

Each one is responsible for their own good and bad. Who is good, who is bad? First eliminate all that is bad in you and then imbibe all that is good. It is the self-confidence, what leads yours actions.

For every act of sin, five persons are mainly responsible. One who commits the sin, one who is the cause, one who encourages the act of sin, one who shows the ways and means to commit the sin, and one who witnesses it. All five will have to face the consequences.

It is rather difficult to say how one gets merit or sin. In order to escape from sin, one should take to the path of spirituality.

Knowingly or unknowingly, you commit sin. Consequently, you suffer. You are unable to trace the root cause of your suffering. So, undertake meritorious deeds. Cultivate sacred feelings. Serve your fellow beings. Taking to this path amounts to devotion. The Divine Grace smoothens your path. Of course, for every desire to come true, the time, the cause and the circumstances have to coincide.

With noble qualities one has to develop Ekatma Bhava (feeling of oneness). If this Ekatma Bhava is developed, one, being illuminated by the Divine Grace, can move about freely in the world with no special attachment to any particular individual or object. On the other side our worldly life in the DNA forms without attachment impossible, but attachment should be within certain limits.

The closer we move towards attachment, the farther we drift from liberation. The dog will stop barking at its own shadow in the stream, when it knows that it is not another dog, but is only itself. All are shadows, and so, whom are we to hate and whom are we to prefer? What is the attitude of the wise? "Give up attachment, give up entanglements, that alone grants freedom," say the Vedas. Renounce the idea of your being separate; see in all beings, yourself; and yourself in all beings. That is the highest renunciation, the renunciation of the sense of ego, which makes you cling to this temporary habitation, this bundle of bone and flesh, this shell with a Name and Form.

All people are experiencing three stages: the waking stage, the dream stage and the deep sleep stage. They have been quoting various shlokas from the scriptures to establish that you are the witness, and not the participant and that you have only to wake up from the slumber of ignorance to realise this. During day, you are engrossed in what may be called day-dreams, at night you are either dreaming or lying dormant, with only the 'I' consciousness alive, but, not aware even of that.

This fundamental ignorance called Maya (illusory), plays many tricks. It makes you believe the rope to be snake and you shiver and run away. It makes you imagine a lake of water where we have only the hot sands of the desert, and you run towards it with your dry tongue, to allay thirst. And you call it, "maya," "through me," "for me," identifying yourselves with it, as if it is real and beneficial. The moment you realise it is Maya it ceases to bother you.

All creatures and objects are attached to the Unity of Atmic Reality alone by their limitless diverse forms and constitute the infinite holographic multiplicity of Great Oneness in actions. Fill the consciousness with the thought of the One, it will get saturated in Ananda, the Divine Bliss; fill it with ideas of the many, it will get befouled by hate and partiality, prejudice and envy. The world is the creation of your mind; go into deep sleep; it is negated. That is why sleep is said to be a form of Samadhi, when the intellect becomes balanced, merged in equanimity.

The Universe, including the house within which you dwell, namely, the body, is composed of the five elements: earth, water, fire, wind and ether - elements that act upon the senses as smell, taste, colour, touch and sound. Since the elements are 'divine emanations,' each of them has to be treated with reverence and circumspection. For example: the earth. If you scatter seeds on the soil, they may not sprout; if you plant them too deep in the soil, they may not throw up their shoots, they may give up the struggle to rise up into the light. So too, each element has to be used, under some limitations, not as and how you like.

Pouring water down the throat can well become torture, if the limit is crossed. So too, there is a limit to the heat you can bear or the sound you can hear, with safety. You cannot breathe comfortably in a typhoon, nor can your ear-drums stand the pressure of an explosion within earshot.

Water is the emanator of the rasa principle, the taste factor. There must be a balanced equilibrium in the stomach the various tastes - sweet, bitter, salt, acid, sour, acrid, hot, etc. If the balance is upset, by the predominance of any one taste, health suffers a downfall. If the emanations from any one of the five elemental components in your body are more than tolerable, health will be damaged and sadhana (spiritual practise) will be affected adversely. Treat the elements as if they are the vesture of the Almighty. He is the current that activates everything everywhere.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 4. "A rupee or hundred paise?" Chapter 10; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 8. "The sour and the sweet," Chapter 10; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 10. "Maaya and mayaa," Chapter 27; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 27. "Education and culture," Chapter 30; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 32, part 1. "Cultivate love in your heart," Chapter 2. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. "Truth and Righteousness are the Foundation for True Education,"Divine Discourse on 22 Nov 2005,Prashanti Nilayam).

Namaste - Reet

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