Swami teaches....Part 91

Links to Swami Teaches - Part 90

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 29 -31 Dec 2006
Develop Faith in Your Divinity, Follow Your Conscience

Part 1

The New year days come and go. Every moment is always new. The New Year comes regularly year after year. But do you have any new thoughts? Of what use is it to celebrate new year days if you do not change your old ways of thinking and behaving?

Every morning, as soon as you sit up in bed, ask yourself this question: "For what purpose have I come into this world? What is the task set for me? What is the triumph for which this struggle is preparing me? Which is the grand victory for which I have to strive?"

The clock, to all appearances, keeps on ticking away continuously. However, one can notice, a short pause between one tick and the next. That is the interval of rest. But, the mind does not have even this short interval between one thought and the next. And in the continuous succession of thoughts, there is no order or relationship. This is the main source of ill-health in human.

We are at present planning and preparing for physical rest and recreation and we know that even machines need hours of rest! But, we have neglected the duty of ensuring rest for the mind.

Dhyana (meditation) is the name for the period of rest we provide for the busy and wayward mind. The heart is engaged, like the ticking of the clock, in beats but, a new pulse of energy is generated between one beat and another. It makes for the flow, regardless of the past or the future moments. It is a constant flux towards a goal.

Some one came to Ramanamaharshi and asked him thus' "Swami! I have been doing intense dhyana (meditation) for the last 18 years; but I have failed to realise the Ideal on which my dhyana is concentrated. How many more years should I continue thus?" Ramana answered, "It is not a question of a certain number of years. You have to continue dhyana until the awareness that you are doing dhyana disappears. "Forget the ego; let it melt and merge, with all its layers of consciousness.

Valmiki was covered by the ant-hill that grew over him; people discovered him by the sound of Rama naama that emanated from that mound. Ignore the deha (body) so that you may discover the dehi (indweller); do not get engrossed in outer finery but delve deep and discover the inner splendour.

Selection of 18 advices for one's life dedicated to the spiritual development.

1. Make proper use of time which is precious and sacred.

2. Do not waste energy on the impossible.

3. Do not indulge in useless gossip.

4. Do not try to change anyone's mind.

5. Do not ask others to make choices for you, do not make choices for others.

6. The best thing you can do for others is help them make a conscious choice. Here quality is more important than quantity. You receive through the same slot through which you give.

7. Give up all thoughts of offense, revenge, of being injured, of self-justification, of needing to defend yourself against others' expectations, of the unfairness of life and so on...

8. Joy breeds joy and sorrow breeds sorrow. Seeing someone's good fortune, wish good for them.

9. Life is in a dynamic balance, based on your present actions. The future pours into the past through the channel of thinking. Change what you are thinking now, and the future will take care of itself.

10. Learn your own news, before getting excited about the news of others. Learn of your own alphabet and then, you will be better able to help others in their life.

11. Do not vacillate or postpone. Who knows when death will knock? Do not postpone for tomorrow the dinner of this day? Feed the spirit as scrupulously as you now feed the body.

12. The parents must bear a major share of the responsibility for the proper upbringing of children. The earliest years of life are the most crucial. The skills, the attitudes, the emotions, the impulses that make or mar the future are built into the Foundation of Life in those years. The parents can help or hinder the making of that foundation, strong and straight.

13. Children are fresh charming saplings, who can be made, by care and love, to blossom into ideal citizens of this land, able to understand and practise the great disciplines laid down by the sages for their liberation, through self-realisation. Children must grow up in homes, where their parents honour their parents, in their turn, and are happy only when they serve their elders. This must be taught to them by example, rather than by precept. Children in turn must learn reverence for parents, teachers, and elders.

14. Plant in those tender children's hearts the seeds of love, sympathy, truth, justice, charity, compassion, repentance and self- control. Train character more than brains. That is the prime duty of all who deal with children. (The parents first and foremost, the teachers next, the comrades, playmates and companions next, and the various levels of society later, these shape the character of the children, and the destiny of the country).

15. Learn the glory of God who is your inner Reality; understand that you are not the body, but, you are the one dehi (indweller), who is the dehi in all.

16. Seek only salutary karma; eat only sathwik food that will not disturb the equanimity you earn through your sadhana.

17. Develop good qualities like compassion, love and sympathy, tolerance, empathy.

18. Do not grieve, nor be the cause of grief. The very embodiment of Ananda (Bliss) is in you, as in others, as in all else. In spite of a multiplicity of containers, the contained is the same. That is the principle of Sath, Chith and Ananda (Being, Awareness, Bliss). The minutest atom, the mightiest star are basically one.

Adwaitha (nondualism or monism, the Vedantic doctrine that everything is God) declares all is Atma; then, why this apparent variety? Variety is the picture drawn by the delusion that you are the body, that you are the 'character' the drama has cast on you. In the drama, you sing and speak, weep and laugh, always aware that you are yourself and not what the apparel and acting make you appear to be.

The reflection of the Moon in the lake is broken into bits but the Moon above is unaffected. Do not yield to grief because the reflection is broken; it is due to the weakness of the medium, water. So too, when you think you are the body, which grows and withers, is elated or disheartened, you see the reflection as broken; but the genuine thing, the Atmic Reality is unaffected.

The Lord is neither benignant nor malignant; your progress is reflected back as Grace; your decline is reflected back as its absence. The mirror just reflects. It has no partiality or prejudice.

Detach yourselves from the senses; then, only can the Atma shine. The mind must be withdrawn from its present comrades, the senses; the mind must be loyal to its real master, the intellect or buddhi. That is to say, you must separate the grain from the chaff, through the exercise of viveka (discrimination) and then, fix your desire on the things that last and nourish, rather than on things that are flashy and corroding.

Keep a lamp in a room with all its five windows open; the wind will blow it out, for the flame is swayed from all directions. To keep the flame burning straight, close the windows. The senses are the windows; the flame is the mind concentrating on the single purpose of God-realisation. What do the outward-bound senses know of that sweetness? They are like the frogs that hop about on the petals of the lotus; they are unaware of the nectar in that flower. Only the intellect can reveal that to you.

It is enough if you seek the Divine Grace, through one-pointed attention and devotion, through the Lord's footprints: beauty, strength, truth, morality, love, sacrifice, goodness in Nature and in the heart of human.

You are That - it is one of four great statements expressing the non-difference of individual soul with Brahman, the supreme Absolute Self, Atma; that is the truth. You and the Universal are One; you and the Absolute are One; you and the Eternal are One. You are not the Individual, the Particular, the Temporary. Feel this, know this. Act in conformity with this.

You can be really healthy and happy only when you are immersed in the Universal. If you are in Atma Thathwa (essential nature of the Self), you will be fresh, happy and healthy. When you separate, and feel that you are in deha thathwa (principle of body), you start declining.

To comprehend the Divine, human has to understand the subtle Atmic Principle that pervades the entire cosmos. The difficulty in comprehending the Divine was recognized by the gopikas who declared: "How can we know you, oh Krishna! You are the subtlest among the subtle and vaster than the vastest among the 84 lakhs of species in the cosmos."

With faith in the omnipresence of the Divine, human should engage in good deeds, cherish good thoughts and dedicate life to good practices. The ornaments person should cherish are truthfulness in speech, charity for the hands and listening to sacred lore for the ears.

There are two kinds of knowledge: Dharmee-bhuutha Jnana and Dharma-bhuutha Jnana. The first is knowledge related to forms. The second is knowledge related to names. There is no basic difference between the two kinds of knowledge. Name and form are interrelated.

The awareness that shines within all beings is the form and nature of the Divine.

Every such concept has an external and an inner meaning. You have to grasp the inner meaning. Anything can be accomplished with Divine support.

Dwell always on high thoughts. When air fills a football, it takes the form of the ball. When it fills a balloon, it takes the form of the balloon, oval, sausage shaped, spherical or spheroid. The mind assumes the form of the objects with which it is attached. If it gets fixed on small things, it becomes small; if on grand things, it becomes grand.

If you have attachment towards land and buildings, bank accounts and balances and when these decline, you will come to grief. Develop attachment towards the Universal and you will grow in love and splendour. That attachment must be sincere and steady.

Every human being needs to cultivate the spirit, irrespective of beliefs. All need devotion. It is only spirituality that can purify the heart and mind. The second requirement is morality. Morality helps to purify speech. The third is righteousness. All righteous deeds done by the body or hands sanctify a human. It is through spirituality, morality and righteousness that the three instruments get purified.

You yearn to escape the consequences of birth and the aftermath of death. You desire peace and joy; for this, you have to cleanse the mind so effectively that it is well-neigh eliminated. This is possible only when you identify
yourself with the Atma, rather than with the body, which is the casket of the Atma, earned as a reward for one?s activities of mind and body. When you live in the consciousness of the omnipresent Atma, you live in love, this love flowing and flooding in and through you, and all else also.

You are aware holy festivals in the famous pilgrimage centres. The colossal chariots of the temple will be gorgeously decorated with flags and festoons; stalwart bands of people will draw them along the broad roads to the music of blowpipes and conches; acrobats, dancing groups, chanters, minstrels, all precede it and add to the exhilaration of the occasion. Thousands crowd around the holy cars and line the streets. Their attention is naturally drawn towards the entertainments provided, but they feel happiest only when they fold their palms and bow before the Idol, installed in the chariot. The rest is all subsidiary, even irrelevant to many.

So too in the process of life, the body is the chariot, the Atma is the Idol installed therein. Earning and spending, laughing and weeping, hurting and healing, and all the various acrobatics of daily life are but subsidiary to the adoration of God, the attainment of Atma.

The body is the chariot; buddhi (intelligence) is the charioteer; desires are the roads through which it is drawn by the rope of sensual attachments; moksha (liberation) is the goal; Moola-Viraat-Swarupa (the primal-all-pervasive-Divine, the Cosmic Form of God) is the Master in the chariot. The car which you carry about has to be treated thus. (Instead, people are wildly milling round and round, in dreary circles, from birth to death, pulled by wishes or pushed by needs. No milestones on the pilgrim road are crossed; no bridges are negotiated; no progress is registered).

To cross safely the flood of "birth-death-continuum" the bridge called nishtha or discipline of an unflinching kind is essential. It must be a sturdy safe bridge. Or else, you will fall into the raging waters and be drawn into the sea, infested with sharks - lust and anger.

See how great heroes like Prahlada did not loosen their hold on the Lord, in spite of heavy odds. Prahlada never gave up the repetition of the Name of the Lord, though he was tortured, twisted and burnt. One must have that determination and that faith. Sorrows and disasters are as the clouds that flit across the sky; they cannot injure the blue depths of space. Your duty is to strive on, from this very moment.

For Namasmarana no materials are needed; there is no special place or time to be provided. No qualification of scholarship or caste or sex has to be proved.

When a bit of iron is rubbed to and rub on a slab of stone, heat is generated; only, the rubbing has to be vigorous and continuous. When you do so at intervals and with poor pressure, the iron will not get hot. So, too, in order to get sufficient heat to melt the soft heart of the Lord, rub the name the Lord vigorously and unintermittently. Then, the Lord will shower His Grace.

All religions exhort human to cleanse the heart of malice, greed, hate and anger. All religions hold out the gift of Grace as the prize for success in this cleansing process. Ideas of superiority and inferiority arise only in a heart corrupted by egoism. If some one argues that he is higher or that his religion is holier, it proves that he/she has missed the very core of faith. Leaves, flowers, fruits may be peculiar to each species; but pay attention to the trunk, and you will find similarity emerging. Sadhana will reveal likewise, the unity in the fundamental teachings of all religions. It is, of course, a hard path; but, it is a path that every one has to take now or later.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.5. "Follow His footprints," Chapter 3; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 9. "Alms and Qualms," Chapter 1 and "Charming saplings," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 16. "The daily prayer," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speak, Vol. 29. "The triple purity," Chapter 1).

Namaste - Reet

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 1 Jan 2007
Develop Faith in Your Divinity, Follow Your Conscience

Part 2

The magnificent mansion that was created by the sages of the past, for the peaceful and prosperous existence of their succeeding generations, the mansion called Sanathana Dharma.

Asatho maa sath gamaya (Lead me from the Unreal to the Real),
Thamaso maa Jyothir gamaya (Lead me from darkness to light),
Mruthyor maa amrutham gamaya (Lead me from death to immortality).

This is a Upanishadic prayer asking to be led from the Jagath (mundane world), which is constantly being built and rebuilt, resolved and dissolved, into the Divine whose Being undergoes no change.

The darkness symbolises the ignorance which induces identification with the body-senses-mind reason complex. The light reveals the Divine core, over which all the rest is superimposed by the fog of faulty vision. Death affects only the body-mind complex. When we are led into the light, we become aware that we are the undying Atma, and so we become immortal.

The human heart is an ocean, whose depth none can gauge nor can anyone limit its horizon. The ocean has countless pearls and precious corals but it has also sharks and crocodiles. One has to explore continuously and boldly for the gems and pearls of good thoughts and feelings, and cultivate them more and more.

There are two obstacles which prevent human in this valuable effort.

1. The tendency to compare yourselves with others. This is very wrong. No two things or no two persons are identical. Even identical twins grow in distinct ways of life. No one of the millions of leaves on a tree is exactly the same as another. Billions of human beings are on the Earth, but which is the press which has given each of them a novel imprint? This is the glory of God. Millions of boxes are manufactured by a company; all are identical; all can be locked and opened by the same set of keys. However, each person is different with own distinct nature, quality, potentiality and destiny. How, can any one compare him/herself with another and either exult or despair? All this is very silly when we come to think of it.

2. The habit of justifying our faults, rationalising our errors and avoiding the responsibility of facing them squarely and correcting them.

These two attitudes thicken human's ignorance and breed further failings. Every one has God as the source. No one is higher or lower.

We are all kin, through God from Whom we have come. Parents and other physical kith and kin are those whose impact we feel on the way. But, the Source and the Goal are God and God only.

One can ripen only when the Divine in us is developed. Live in God, with God, live on God and for God. Drink God, eat God, see God, reach God. God is the Truth, the substance, the Heart of Man. A pure heart, a cleansed mind, a God-filled consciousness will help you to listen to the voice of the God within you. "I am the occupant of your heart", says Krishna. What is the abode of God? The Lord told Narada: "I reside wherever my devotees sing my glories." The Lord dwells in the hearts of devotees. This is His main address. All other places are "branch offices."

Dedicate your body to the Divine. This is the true mark of devotion.
Devotion alone bestows the supreme good;
Devotion alone is the destroyer of the disease of the cycle of birth and death;
Devotion alone is the means of recognizing Divinity;
Devotion alone is the means of Liberation.

Esteeming bhakthi (devotion) as the supreme end and the highest goal of life, Bharatheeyas have been pursuing the path of devotion from ancient times.

The term bhakthi (devotion) has been interpreted in many ways. The word "bhakthi" is derived from the root 'bhaj.' "bhaja sevaayaam," declared Sankaracharya (celebrated philosopher, preceptor of non-dualistic Vedanta; defeated all religious opponents in debates throughout India). "Service is devotion, Service to God is true form of service.
Another interpretation: The recognition of one's own true Self is bhakthi.

Narada (sage-bard; traveled the world chanting Narayana; famous for creating disputes, resulting in solutions for the spiritual advancement or victory of the virtuous) defined Bhakthi as the ceaseless flow of devotion arising from dwelling on the Lord's name.

Ramanuja (11th century spiritual teacher and interpreter of the Brahma Sutra, who was the exponent of the Visishtaadhwaitha philosophy), derived the meaning of bhakthi from the name of Radha and interpreted it as the continuous flow of love for God.

Madhwacharya (13th century exponent of dualist philosophy; refuted monism of Sankaracharya) described true devotion as regarding God as the only unfailing friend. All others may be friends for some time and turn inimical later. Thus all worldly friends may turn into enemies some time or other.

Madhwacharya defined true devotion as the manifestation of the love for God, considering Him as the greatest friend.

Vallabhacharya (15th century spiritual teacher; advocated non-mortification of the body; wrote many spiritual texts) gave a different interpretation of devotion. He made a distinction between the continuous flow of devotion and devotion falling in drops. When a devotee's heart is completely filled with the love of God, he ceaselessly chants the name of God. This state of mind of the devotee was described thus, "Ceaselessly thinking of God at all times and at all places." True devotion is to regard God as friend.

The Vedas have proclaimed a truth transcending all these interpretations. The Vedas repeatedly harked upon two words: Nithyam and Svagatha. Nithyam is that which remains unchanged through all times. This has also been described as Truth which remains the same in past, present and future. Svagatha refers to that illuminating power, which remaining alone spreads its effulgence all around.

Atma has two qualities. One is effulgence. The other is spreading the light all around. You have the example of a lamp in your home. The lamp is one, but its light illumines the whole house.

Likewise, Atma (Spirit) is one only in its form. It is eternal and unchanging. The smrithi (code of law; traditional law delivered by human authors) described it as: Sathyam, Jnanam, Anantham Brahma (The Supreme Self is Truth, Wisdom and Infinite). It is the nature of the Self to spread jnana (spiritual wisdom) everywhere. The smrithi declared that the Self has the form of Anu (atom). All material objects are made up of atoms. The scripture declared that God is omnipresent as Anuswarupa. (Swarupa - form, essential nature, true nature of Being).

The Anuswarupa (micro-essence) of God is termed Dharmee. All objects in the universe appear as different from each other, but the Divine principle in all of them is one and the same. That Divine principle, which manifests the oneness underlying all objects, is called Dharmee. This Dharmee is what unifies all apparently manifold objects. Dharmee is described by the Veda as the thing that is at the root of all things. This primal basic potency is the basis for everything else. (Today the significance of this Dharmee is being forgotten. It is also forgotten that this Dharmee is all-pervading).

Dharma demonstrates the diversity in the forms of objects. As the all-pervading Dharmee (Divinity) is present in all objects as the subtle essence, human is regarded as Dharma-Swarupa, the embodiment of Dharma (righteousness). What for has human been given a body? The scriptures say that the body has been given to human to practise Dharma.

The process of living is the swinging of a pendulum from smile to tear. Childhood is too tender and innocent; youth is too full of folly and faults, middle age is muddled with problems and possible remedies; old age is spent in regret over past failings and falterings.

When can human taste some little sincere joy? Nature is the vesture of God. It images the Supreme. It shines through the machinations of the mind. The inner core of each living thing is God. Joys and sorrows are the results of the mind's involvement in the transient and the trivial. The mind is a wonder, its antics are even more surprising. It has no distinct form or shape. It assumes the shape or form of the thing it is involved in. Wandering from wish to wish, flitting from one desire to another, is its nature. So, it is the cause of loss and grief, of elation and depression. Its effects are both positive and negative.

The mind is prone to gather experiences and store them in the memory. It does not know the art of giving up. Nothing is cast away by the mind. As a consequence, grief, anxiety and misery continue simmering in it.

The swimmer in the river has to push aside the waters in front to the sides and to kick the waters to the back so that he can move forward straight and fast. Forcing the water back is the act that takes him forward. That is to say, do not attach importance to it, throw it back, give it up, renounce; that alone can help you to progress, even an inch. Instead, human collects and stores, accumulates and takes pride in what he/she holds firm. So, we sink in material possessions, victories and vagaries. But, if the mind can be taught sacrifice, one can become a yogi i.e. spiritually serene person.

Through the ages human has, sought liberation, struggled for freedom from bondage. But, human has no correct appreciation of what has to liberate him/herself from, what the bondage is from which human has to be freed. Many are not even aware that they are imprisoned and are bound. So, they do not even try to free themselves. Is the family the prison? Are riches, properties and possessions the bonds? Are attractions and aversions the bonds that curb person? No one of these binds person. The tightest bond that limits person's feelings and deeds is his/her ignorance of who person really is.

Until one is aware of the Atma, one is certain to be tossed from grief to grief, with intervals of joy. The grief has three sources and so, it has three characteristics.

1. Grief caused by the unreality of the apparent.

2. Grief caused by want of knowledge or wrong apprehension on account of the limitations of our instruments of perception and inference or on account of the mystery of the Divine phenomenon that subsists in everything.

3. Grief caused by death, disintegration or dissolution of things which we held to be real.

When one is established in the awareness of the truth of the Jivi (the individual being), the Jagath (Cosmos) and God, the Creator, one need have no grief or fear any more. By the other words: when one becomes aware that the Self is God, there can be no fear of death haunting him.

The Self is unaffected by the effects of the mind pursuing the senses wherever they lead it. Faith is life; absence of faith is death. Only the body dies; the Atma (the Divine Self) is beyond birth and death. Aware of this, one is soaked in Ananda (Divine Bliss).

You read in the sacred books that Vishnu (God engaged in Preservation, Protection and Fostering the Universe) has as His vehicle, the Garuda (Eagle); that Shiva (God engaged in the Mergence, the Disintegration

and Destruction of the Universe) has the Nandhi (Bull) as His vehicle; that Brahma (God engaged in the Emergence, Evolution and Creation of the Universe) rides on a Hamsa (Swan); Subrahmanya (the Generalissimo of the Divine army) rides on a peacock; Shani (the God who directs Saturnine influences) has the crow as his vehicle. Ganesha (the God who helps in overcoming obstacles) rides on a mouse, though he is stupendously corpulent and has the head of an elephant.

This does not mean that the Gods are helpless without these animals and birds as instruments of locomotion. It only reveals that no bird or beast is to be despised; for, the Divine is using each as His vehicle. Seen as deha (body) all are distinct; seen as dehi (the embodiment), Brahman, all are One and the physical world is just like dreaming.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.5. "Follow His footprints," Chapter 3; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 9. "Alms and Qualms," Chapter 1 and "Charming saplings," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 16. "The daily prayer," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speak, Vol. 29. "The triple purity," Chapter 1).

Namaste - Reet

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 2 -3 Jan 2007
Develop Faith in Your Divinity, Follow Your Conscience

Part 3

The Bhagavatha, a textbook of the Divine Love, the story of Avatars, especially Krishna, describes all the incarnations of Vishnu. It also means those with attachment to God, or the Godly is so called because it deals with the Leela, Divine sport, greatness and instruction of the Lord, as manifested during His various appearances in history.

The career of the Lord, whenever He appears, is made up of two strands, one earthly and the other Divine - one external and the other - inner.

The Bhagavatha says that Krishna was stealthily eating the butter that was stored in the houses of the gopees. What is the significance of this behaviour? Did he go about stealing butter because he had no butter at home? It is not butter that he coveted; it is the cream of virtue kept in the (heart) pot that he wants. That cream is the genuine Atma, secured after vigorous churning.

The episode's the breaking of butter pots by the infant Krishna the outer meaning is that the child broke the mud pots wherein the milkmaids of Brindavan kept the butter they had prepared. The inner meaning is that Krishna broke the material casement in which their souls were imprisoned and liberated them from temporary attachments. He then appropriated to Himself what always belonged to Him - the butter of Faith*. This butter is the result of the churning of the mind, the sadhana (spiritual discipline) of self-purification.

And, was it 'stealing' that he did ? He is 'Hari' (God; destroyer of sins; name for Vishnu). He who robs, who appropriates. He sees all, Himself unseen. As soon as He enters, you awake, your inner consciousness is alerted. You offer Him the fragrance of your virtue, the courage of your heart, the wisdom of your experience. (The senses drag you away from Him; but, do not yield; they will lie low soon).

With the power of the Divine to sustain you there is nothing you cannot accomplish. Today the nation needs unity above everything else. It is through faith in the Divine that unity can be promoted. By the single feeling of faith in the Divine, unity can be achieved.

It is because behind and beyond the body, manipulating the senses, the ego, the intelligence, is the Atma, in the very core of the five sheaths what constitute the humans life. These sheats are the same for all human beings. There is no person without them. They are:

the Annamaya (the food or physical sheath),
the Pranamaya (the vital, the nerve-centred),
the Manomaya (the mental, imagination-centred, symbol-dealing),
the Vijnanamaya (intelligence centred, reason-based, logical),
the Anandamaya (intuition-centred, experience- based, blissful).

Faith, love and detachment are the pillars on which Shanthi (peace) rests. Of these, faith is crucial. For without it, sadhana, dhyana, namasmarana and other paths of worship are empty rites. Detachment can make sadhana effective, and Love leads quickly to God. Faith feeds the agony of separation from God; detachment canalises it along the path of God; Love lights the way. God will grant you what you need and deserve; there is no need to ask, no reason to grumble, Be content. Nothing can happen against His will.

Sadhana must make you calm, unruffled, poised, balanced. Make the mind as cool and comforting as moonlight, for the Moon is the Deity holding sway over the Mind. Be calm in speech, and in your response to malice, cavilling and praise. You complain that others are disturbing your equanimity; but, you do not know that though your tongue does not speak, your thoughts can unsettle the equanimity of those around you.

Vivekananda was once asked by a cynical critic why he paraded his renunciation through the ochre robe. He replied, "This is no parade; this is a protection. I am wearing this ochre, because, seeing this, no one will approach me for alms or monetary help. And, so, that word 'No' which I am averse to pronounce need not be spoken by me. At sight of this robe, only seekers of salvation will come near me; for them, I have enough to give. I am moved when distressed people come near; but, I have no money to give them. This dress helps me to escape such painful situations."

There are three constituents in human: the mind, the power of speech and the body. These three are called Thrikaranas - the three active agencies in human. It is when all three are used for sacred purposes, human becomes sanctified.

The field must be cleared of bush and thorns; it must be ploughed and furrowed; watered and dampened to depth; then the seeds have to be planted into the earth; scattered on the surface, they do not germinate, Plant the seeds, water the field, remove the weeds; keep away stray cattle, manure the plants; dust them with pesticides, and then, you can collect the crop. Sadhana means and includes all these steps.

You are judged by your sadhana; not by the number of temples you have gone into or the quantity and cost of the offerings you have made in those shrines. Do not calculate the length of time you have spent in the company of the Lord's Name, and exult. Calculate rather the length of time you have wasted, away from that contact, and repent. Have that name ever in your thoughts and you can brave any calamity. Remember how Sita braved the taunts, insults and tortures of the aggressors in Lanka; what was it that gave her the mental stamina? It was Rama's name and nothing else.

A poet sang, "Can canines conceive of colourful poetry? Or, donkeys know of the taste of the parched grains that we load on them? Or, a blind man admire the charm of the full moon?" We may well ask, how can a human sunk in relative knowledge become aware of Atma (the Absolute)? But there is no reason for despair, or for condemning ourselves as mean and low. For, when small people take big decisions, they earn encouragement from the great. When the tiny squirrel decided to share in building the passage across the sea, did it not receive the blessings of Lord Rama? The squirrel knew that its help could only be infinitesimal, but the feeling of dedication which prompted it won the grace of God.

People, however, generally do not sublimate small sadhana through high purpose. They engage in bhajan (congregational chant), puja (ritualistic worship) and dhyana (meditation) but these are but physical exercises. The mind does not elevate them into sincerity. The heart does not pour forth or vibrate in them. So, they remain at the human level. They do not rise to the Divine. "Can the lake be filled when there is only a sprinkle of rain? Can thirst be relieved, when saliva gets in? Can the belly be full, if breathing is held tight? Can live cinders be secured by the burning of blades of grass?" asks the poet.

Logs have to be burned if charcoal is needed: only sheets of rain can fill a lake to the brim; a glass of cold water alone can cure a person of thirst.

Look at the lotus; its roots are in under-water slush. It grows through water and floats on it. But, it does not get tarnished by slush or wetted by water. The wonder is, it cannot survive without slush and water. Our life has its roots in the Atma and it grows through the agitated waves of living. It can never uproot itself from its Atmic source.

After sadhana do you love more, do you talk less, do you serve others, more earnestly? Your progress must be authenticated by your character and behaviour. Sadhana must transmute your attitude towards beings and things; else it is a hoax. Even a boulder will, through the action of sun and rain, heat and cold, disintegrate into mud and become food for a tree. Even the hardest heart can be softened so that the Divine can sprout therein.

Sadhana will disclose to you this identity.

However, be careful; Sadhana can foster even pride and envy, as the by-product of progress. You calculate how much or how long you have done sadhana and you are tempted to look down on another, whose record is less. You are proud that you have written the name of Sai ten million times; you talk about it whenever you get the chance, so that others may admire your faith and fortitude. But, it is not the millions that count; it is the purity of mind that results from genuine concentration on the name. Your sadhana must avoid becoming like drawing water from a well in a cane basket. You get no water however often you may dip and pull the basket up.

What does the sadhana of ignoring the body imply? It means turning aside from the temptations of the sense, the overcoming of the six enemies: desire, anger, greed, attachment, pride and malice (kaama krodha, lobha; moha, madha and maatsarya). Anger turns a human into a drunken brute. The other impulses are equally vicious.

The Lord will manifest Himself only when the pillar is split in twain, with the sword of yearning. Hiranyakashipu (a demonic person who forbade mention of Vishnu's name, wicked father of Prahlada, who was a great devotee of the Lord; killed by the man-lion Narashimha, an Avatar of Vishnu) did it and immediately, the Lord appeared from within that pillar. He had not hidden Himself there, anticipating the contingency. He is everywhere; and, so, He was there also.

The lesson that Hiranyakashipu learnt was that the deha-thathwa (body principle) must be split as under if the deha-thathwa must reveal itself. That is to say, the "I am body" consciousness must go, if the "I am embodied" consciousness, must emerge; no pain or grief, pride or egoism can tarnish you.

Take a small quantity of sea water and keep it separate in a bottle; it will get foul in a few days. But, so long as it was in the sea, nothing could foul it. Be in the sea, as part of it; do not separate yourself, do not individualise yourself, do not feel that you are the deha (body), apart from the dehi ('I').

This must be your deeksha (steady pursuit, dedication, initiation, consecration). And, the deeksha must express itself in actual practice, as nishtha and sikshana. Nishtha means discipline, control; sikshana means training of the senses, the emotions etc. Naashta (food) should be subordinated to nishtha. The deha is but an instrument to realise the dehi (one who has a body; conscious embodied Self).

PS:* It seems need to remember that talking of faith, Swami warned many tens years ago.

"Many people are collecting money in various places using My Name for various purposes like arranging receptions, building temples, doing puuja etc. That is unauthorised and against My wish and command. Do not yield to such requests and encourage this practice, which I condemn.

Then there is another set of people who trade on your faith. They advertise that I have 'possessed' them; that I am 'talking' through a medium or a stove (!) or some other thing. Treat all such people and their agents or brokers as you treat cheats; if you do not treat them so, then you are also accomplices in the cheating process.

There are others who gather groups of followers and admirers and collect money exhibiting mine idol or image that has been 'given' by Me or advertising mine other sign of My Grace. Some of them even declare "Baaba sent me to you to take from you some money" or "Baaba has given me this" or "Baaba blessed me specially thus and thus" and then ask for your help or your praise or your purse! I ask you to chastise all thee types of men and turn them away---whoever they are." (SSS. Vol.2. "Sprouts of faith," Chapter 51; spelling as in original is).

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol.5. "Follow His footprints," Chapter 3; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 9. "Alms and Qualms," Chapter 1 and "Charming saplings," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 16. "The daily prayer," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speak, Vol. 29. "The triple purity," Chapter 1).

Namaste - Reet

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