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Swami teaches....Part 92

Links to Swami Teaches - Part 91

Light and Love

Swami teaches... 4 - 6 Jan 2007
Let Raga, Dwesha Go, Let Rama, Krishna Enter

Part 1


Human comes into the world burdened with maya (illusion) and its instrument, the mind. The mind expresses itself through attraction and repulsion, raga (sense of attachment, passion) and dwesha (affection and hatred), towards the external world. Raga is rajasic (passionate) in its effect; it can be used for one's uplift. Dwesha is thamasic (negativistic). Without raga and dwesha, the mind cannot function. If these two are inactivated, there can be no mind and no maya, and you get fixed in jnana (wisdom).

How to overcome raga and dwesha? By discrimination, by inquiry, by reasoning.

The Thaitthireeya Upanishad analyses the mind and its behaviour. It gives directions to merge the mind in God; it gives the weapons with which you can foil the tactics of raga and dwesha. Use them for positive purposes. Have attachment to the Lord and aversion towards evil, pride, egoism.

What is the meaning of human life? It is an interlude between birth and death. In this interlude, people are victims of a variety of desires. There is usually no harmony between humans' thoughts, words and actions. It is because actions are not in accordance with thoughts.

Different thoughts are full of ideals. But human makes no effort to act up to these ideals. Human being usually thinks in one way, speaks in another way and acts in a different way. Consequently, human is subject to all kinds of sorrow and disorder. This is because person fails to satisfy own conscience. A person without self-satisfaction can have no peace.

The tree of life will become a tree of delusion, with all its branches and leaves and flowers of maya. You can realise it as such, when you do all acts as dedicated offerings for the Lord. See Him as the sap through every cell as the Sun warming and building every part. See Him in all, worship Him through all, for He is all. Engage in activity, but, fill the activity with devotion: it is the devotion that sanctifies. A piece of paper is almost trash; but if a certificate is written on it, you value it and treasure it; it becomes passport for promotion in life. It is the bhaava (thought behind) that matters, not the baahya (outward pomp); the feeling, not the activity that is performed.

At Thirupathi or at Bhadhrachalam, you find only a stone shaped as an idol; as stone, it is of little value. But, when feeling permeates it, when devotion transmutes it, the stone becomes the supremest treasure of the human mind. Human does not know this secret of transmuting every his/her act into sacred worship. It is partly because Brahman i.e. Atma was in existence, well before mind and intelligence came into existence. Brahman cannot be understood by one's mind or intelligence.

Temples serve to provide the company of the good and the godly and should be used for cultivating such company and acquiring mental peace. Even in uttering the names of the Lord, the words should come from the depths of the heart and not merely from the lips. The temples play a vital role in awakening the spiritual impulse and directing person towards the realisation of own inherent Divinity. The real temple is human's heart, and forgetting this fact, human being goes after temples outside. Temples are erected to remind people about God, but the Divine dwells in the heart and should be sought there. People go through any amount of difficulties, hardships, trials and tribulations in life, but few try to understand their essential Divinity, which should be the primary aim of life. People devote considerable care and attention to the preservation of the body which is perishable. But they do not cultivate good thoughts and do good deeds through which they can attain enduing bliss.

(Listening, contemplating on what has been listened to and practising what is dictated by the mind so transfused, these are the methods by which Ravanathwa i. e. the Ravana tendency has to be curbed. It is lust, greed, inordinate desire for things of the sensory world, egoism, and the rest of the fatal brood).

Many people are drawn away by the outer signs of sainthood, the long gown, the beard, the rosaries, the matted hair; they keep track of many such who move about in various lands and follow them into the wilderness. It is very difficult to demarcate clearly the manifestation of the Lord and so, Swami is announcing Himself and Himself describing His mission, the task, the characteristics, the qualities which mark out the Avatar from the rest.

Many ones praise Swami when all goes well and they call Swami stonyhearted when grief assails them. Many people ask from Swami thousand things of the world. However, ask and get from Swami what will save you, not what will bind you. Rarely people ask for "Swami." That is why Swami seldom addresses humans as bhakthas (devotees); Swami usually addresses humans as embodiments of the Divine or embodiments of the Divine Love. It is humans' true Reality.

Swami will be happy that people will take to the path that will give them real strength and joy. It is always every person's heart in communication with him/her on this path. This journey would be easier through examples from the Great Epics which have entwined to the parts of this serials' "Swami teaches... " article.

Some ones claim to be Sai bhakthas or Rama bhakthas or Krishna bhakthas. No, unless they are perfect instruments in His hand, they do not deserve that name.

For example, Bharatha can call himself a Rama bhaktha. He lived with Rama naama in every breath; he was with Rama in the forest and on the battlefield; he suffered as much as Rama; he was as much an anchorite as his brother; so, he too became dark skinned like Rama.

Acquiring the name of the Lord is like getting a precious pearl from the deep ocean. Having got it, you should not let it go out of your hands. Faith in the Lord must be strengthened by the repetition of the name. Faith is the foundation of all activity.

If you have faith and if you keep the name of Rama, Krishna, Swami as constant companion, you are in Vaikunta (Vishnu's heaven) or Kailas (Siva's mountain abode) all the time. These are not distant regions that have to be reached by tortuous travel; they are springs of tranquillity that are in your own heart. You cannot have this chance of the nearness of the greatest of all sources of joy in any other place. Here it is so near, so easy to attain, so full of grace.

Spiritual effort is needed to develop faith in God, just as curdling and churning are necessary to obtain butter from milk. The fire in the matchstick will be seen only when it is struck. Likewise God can be realised only through spiritual effort. No language can picture the actual bliss that the Name can confer; words can at best delineate only an atom of that joy.

If one talks about Rama, Krishna or Swami without being inspired by the glory of the Lord it sounds hollow; it is like the image of a table heavy with edible dishes seen inside a mirror; the dishes in the mirror will fill no hungry stomach. Mere repetition, for instance, of name Krishna, will be of no use, unless the contemplation of the Glory of Krishna starts purifying the character at the same time. Thus, human becomes the Divine. Death is changed into immortality. Through saturated with Divinity, this mud-filled body becomes saturated with the Divine consciousness - through saturation, this clod becomes God.

The tongue must be sanctified by the repetition of the Lord's Name. It has also to use sweet expressions which will spread contentment and joy.

(However, be very careful about your speech. Human's biggest weapon of offence is the tongue. The wounds that his tongue inflicts can scarce he healed; they fester in the heart for long. They are capable of more damage than bombs).

Let's contemplate the power of Krishna's name with brief episodes of His life. Krishna calls thirst for Him, for seeing Him, hearing Him, His Flute, for installing Him in the heart, in the mind, for grasping His reality through the intellect - this thirst is the healthiest, the most conducive to peace. (Krish means attract, draw, as in aakarshana).

Devotion to Krishna is the chain by which the mind can be fastened and subdued. Even a confirmed protagonist of adwaitha, (the contemplation of the Universal Absolute without name and form), like Madhusuudhana Saraswathi confesses that the attraction for the playful child on the Yamuna sands is irresistible.

Leelashuka declares that though the sastras taught him the truth of the Nameless Absolute, his heart taught him to revere the Cowherd Boy with the Flute. He prays that, when he draws his last breath, the Fair Child of Brindhavan with the Feather Flute and Flower might smile on him and bless him.

Krishna draws the mind away from sensory desires; that is another way in which the draw operates. He pulls the mind towards him and so, they are pulled away from everything else, for everything else is inferior, less valuable. He satisfies the deepest human's thirst for peace, joy and wisdom. That is why He is Meghashyaama - dark-blue as the rain cloud. The very sight of the rain-laden cloud is so refreshing. He is lotus-eyed, lotus-palmed, lotus-soled; the lotus is reminiscent of cool, calm, deep lakes of limpid water, the water that quenches thirst.

When Krishna is quenched, the highest Ananda is attained; there is no more need, no more want, defect or decline. The urge to drink inferior drinks, that only feed the thirst, disappears when once the sweetness of Krishna naama and Krishna bhaava (name and thought of Krishna) are tasted. Sense objects are like sea water that can never allay thirst. Radha, Godha, Meera, Chaithanya, Ramakrishna, Suurdas - they knew the nectarine taste of that Name.

(Radha thathwam, the real nature of Radha and other cowherd maidens can be understood only by those who have acquired that deep 'distressing' thirst for the Formful Aspect of the Lord, and for the Divine Call that resonates in the heart as the entrancing tune of the Flute).

The thirst for Krishna is a sign of health in the spiritual field. That thirst can be cultivated by the reading of scriptures, the cultivation of congenial company, lessons from a kind and considerate guru and regular practice of japam. Once it is acquired, the thirst itself will lead you on to places and persons able to quench it. That is the advantage of spiritual quest; the first step makes the second easy.

It seems necessary to repeat here what has mentioned in articles of previous "Swami teaches... " serials.

(Krishna is said to have been born in Gokula, He grew up in Brindhavan, He proceeded to Mathura and He established His home finally at Dwaraka. The significance of this to the sadhaka is, "Let Krishna be born in the Gokula of your mind; let Him grow and play prankishly in the Brindhavan of your heart; let Him then be fixed in the chittha (mind stuff, memory, subconscious mind) of Mathura; and, finally, let Him rule over the agitationless Consciousness as the Lord and Master of Dwaraka." The nirvikalpa (undifferentiated, without ideation) anandam is the final result of His Kingdom established at Dwaraka, in the centre of the waves).

Krishna will get born in the mind of human when three prerequisites are attended to - make the mind saturated with bhakthi. Make the intellect (buddy), full of jnana illumination of His glory, make the body the instrument for practice of dharma, of moral virtues. Bhakthi is the Raja (ruler, king, member of ruling class); jnana (wisdom) and vairagya (detachment) are the two Aides-de-camp of this monarch. They are the guards that ensure safety. Unaccompanied by these two, the Raja is not quite secure.

Krishna is described as blue in physical colour, for, He is as deep and inscrutable as the sky; the blue is the colour which the eye comprehends, though the sky has no colour at all. So too, Krishna has no colour or attributes but, in order to comprehend Him, the mental eye attributes a colour.

That is the consummation of Krishna-thrishna, the thirst after God, which dwells up in one's own heart.

No person afflicted with lust or envy or greed or attachment or egoism can pronounce judgment on the ethereal, formless, nameless principle that concretised as Krishna.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 3. "Ask for Me," Chapter 3; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "The Godward march," Chapter 1 and Vol. 6. "Krishna thrishna," Chapter 24; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 18. "Seva is the highest Sadhana," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 25. "No Greater Sin Than Ingratitude," Chapter 12).

Namaste - Reet


Light and Love

Swami teaches... 7 - 8 Jan 2007
Let Raga, Dwesha Go, Let Rama, Krishna Enter

Part 2

India has been the land of the Divine Communion of renunciation, of spiritual intuition. It spoke of sama-dhee, the wisdom that sees all as equal repositories of Divinity. Samathwam (equanimity of outlook) is just a matter of origin and essence; water in lakes, pits, wells and rivers is rain water, though the taste, colour, name and form are different, based on where the rain has fallen and how pure is the container. Divine grace is like rain, pure, pellucid, falling on all. How it is received and used depends on the human's heart. The Lord does not test a human just for fun; He does not pile calamity on calamity because He enjoys it. Examinations are held, to measure achievement and award marks and honours. You must ask to be examined, so that your progress may be recorded.

Vedas instruct to pray: Asatho maa sath gamaya (Lead me from unreal to Real); Thamaso maa jyothir gamaya (Lead me from darkness to Light); mruthyormaa amritham gamaya (Lead me from death to Immortality). Address this prayer, sincerely to your chosen deity, your the Form of the Lord you like most.

Human must to escape death and birth. Human has come, imprisoned in the ego, and has to liberate him/herself. This can be done only by making human aware of the Universal Adhara (basis). However, no one can liberate human, for no one has bound human.

Knowledge in the wicked is power misused for the stratagems of hate and greed. Grace too is power and it has to be endowed on the deserving only.

By Mahabharatha once Duryodhana (chief and eldest of the evil-minded sons of Dhritharashtra, father of Kauravas; holder of ruling power), declared, "I know what is good and what is bad. I also know that bad consequences will follow bad actions. But I am impelled to do only bad deeds. I know that good deeds will yield good results. But my mind is not inclined towards doing good. What is the reason for this? It is the absence of purity in my thoughts. My life has grown in the soil of selfishness. Out of selfishness I am seeking gains for myself. For selfish reasons I am harassing the Pandavas. I am aware of this. I am doing all this consciously."

Duryodhana, though he stuck to falsehood, greed and envy had, according to the Mahabharatha, a swell time, flags flying, festoons swinging, banquets everyday; but, Yudhistira i.e. Dharmaraja, the eldest of the Pandavas, had, as reward for his high morality, exile, poverty and privation.

Dharma (righteousness) stood firm in spite of hardships; faith was steadied and strengthened. In the case of Duryodhana, prosperity did not induce caution, humility or discrimination. So you revere Yudhistira, i.e. Dharmaraja and execrate Duryodhana today, centuries after they died. The Pandavas have become immortal because of the sufferings they underwent for the sake of Dharma. Jesus sacrificed his life for the sake of those whom he came to serve.

Valmiki also pictured Rama as wandering forlorn in the forests; but, He never for a moment wavered in the path of Dharma. Below are some examples about steadyness and Grace of Rama.

1. Ravana was killed and Rama asked Sugreva and Lakshmana to crown Vibhishana as Emperor of Lanka; he pleaded that Rama Himself should bless him on that auspicious occasion, but Rama insisted that His vow of hermit-hood prevented Him from entering an inhabited city.

2. Rama sent Hanuman to Sita and requested him to bring Sita to the camp in a palanquin. Hanuman bowed before Sita and got a vision of Lakshmi rising out of the waves of the ocean of milk. He felt that, that vision was enough compensation for all the births he had to undergo. While the palanquin neared the camp, there spread everywhere a sublime splendour from it, which astonished the sub-human or monkey hordes. Rama sent word that Sita may alight and walk the remaining distance, so that they may fill their eyes with her glory. This is not mentioned in the books.

When Sita was about ten yards away, Rama, who is butter when He melts and steel when He hardens, said, "I can accept you only after you pass through Fire." Lakshmana swooned at this thunderbolt; the monkeys who had to bring the fuel for the Fire bent under the weight of even twigs. The Fire Ordeal served two purposes- to scorch the slanderous tongues, which haunt the tracks of Avatar's at an times; and, to retrieve from the fire the real Sita who had entered into it, prior to abduction by Ravana.

Dasaratha also came there, to assure Rama that Sita was purity itself; and also, to satisfy his parental craving to see his son. He appreciated the steadfastness of Rama.

3. When the battle with Ravana was over, one glance from His merciful Eye was enough to revive the vanara hordes which had fallen on the ground and to heal the wounds they had earned during the fight. There were some rakshasas(demons) who had penetrated into the camp in vanara disguise; when they were brought before Rama for summary punishment, Rama smiled and pardoned them, for they had assumed the monkey form so dear to Him; He sent them away, unharmed to the enemy's camp. That was the measure of His mercy. To win that Grace, you must become permeated with Dharma so that every act is God-worthy.

Rama is revered even today as the embodiment of Dharma.

With the sharp chisel of intellect (buddhi), shape the mind (manas) into a perfect image of Dharmamurthi i.e. Rama, the embodiment of Dharma. Then, the rough-hewn idol of humanity that you now are, will shine with the splendour of Divinity itself.

All human beings receive help from various people in the world. Without such help, people cannot progress towards a higher level of existence. In childhood, the mother and father look after the children and provide for their education. Later, they are involved in activities with friends. And then their kith and kin involve them in family relationships. Thus various persons assist human beings in their life. Without the help of various people, no one can progress towards a higher life.

A human who has derived help in this manner, what help is he/she rendering to the fellowmen? It is good to render help to one who has helped you. It is even greater to help one who has done you harm. When this is the case, it is essential that person should serve the society that has helped him/her in many ways. Person owes to society the name and position what has achieved. Hence person must render service. This was the dictum of sage Vyasa as the distilled essence of his eighteen Puranas: "It is meritorious to render help to others; it is sinful to do them harm."

Though humans call themselves as human beings, they do not know the essence of human qualities. Today's educational system, as a rule, emphasises textbook knowledge and ignores morality and character.

In order to train the younger generation (and also the elder generation) in the proper way, five guiding principles i.e. human values has prescribed by Swami - Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Non- violence.

Human values are not commodities sold in the market. They should be reflected in one's behaviour and one's way of life. They should be taught not as academic subjects but as the basis on which right living should be built up.

Sathya (Truth) is not just relating events exactly as seen, heard or experienced. It is the eternal Truth which is beyond time and space, which does not ever change. If Love forms part of your nature, Sathya will be there.

When your thoughts emanate from a mind purified by Love, they will result in Right Action (Right Conduct), which is Dharma, When Love becomes part of your experience, thought and action you get Shanthi (Peace). When we comprehend Love clearly, Ahimsa or Non-violence will result automatically. Love is the unseen undercurrent binding all the four values.

It can be summarised thus: Love plus thoughts is Sathya Love plus feelings is Shanthi; Love plus action is Dharma and Love plus understanding is Ahimsa. Love is the common denominator for all these values. It is the form of God, for God is Love. Love, or absence of Love makes one an animal, human or God. The nurturing of Love is possible only in a tender heart. Because of attachment to worldly objects, that tenderness is lost. When the mind is directed towards the sensual world, life becomes artificial. When you go to your office, you greet people artificially. Respect is given artificially for the position and does not emanate from the heart. Only the good heart behind the action is entitled to respect and regard. So we should develop a tender heart filled with Love rather than act mechanically.

People today are racked by all kinds of troubles. Are these troubles designed to make human miserable or to elevate to a higher level of existence? Every trouble is really a step in elevating human. (From Atmic aspect everything that happens is perfect and is not an accident. There are no good or bad experiences; there are simply a different ways to have experiences).

If there are no troubles, human will have no proper lessons. Troubles constitute good lessons. Trouble and pleasure are inextricably mixed and cannot be separated from each other by anyone. Pleasure has no separate existence. It is the fruit of pain. Human's entire life is bound up with these varying experiences of pleasure and pain. Therefore, human has to cultivate the sense of equanimity in pleasure and suffering. (Give up the attachment to the senses, then grief and worry can harass you no more. Grief or joy, you must welcome with equal calmness). There is a joy in sorrow. There is suffering in happiness. When to cultivate the sense of equanimity in all circumstances, in pleasure or pain, that he will be able to experience peace.

All experiences of pleasure and pain have their origin in the thoughts. Thought is like the seed of a tree, which in due course puts forth branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. All that you see in a tree has come from a small seed. The banyan tree is huge, however, it's seed is very small. The seed and the tree are essentially one.

Likewise, although human's thought is subtle, it contains potentially the entire Universe.

Human has to keep a watch over thoughts because they form the basis for person's actions. When the wishes are fulfilled, one is content. When they are not realised, one feels disappointed. Person does not enquire into the causes of these divergent results. Person's failures are the result of own shortcomings. The thoughts are the cause of the success or failure of one's efforts. Person's vision of the world depends on how he/she looks at it.

The thoughts are essential. If you are of pure and open thought and acceptance, the Divine manifestation is a gift of your heart. Speak as you feel by your conscience and to act up to your words. In speech what matters is the inner feeling. The purpose of speech should be to promote heart-to-heart understanding. The heart is like a musical chair in which there is room for only one. Give in your heart place only for God.

See God in everyone you meet; see God in every thing you handle. His Mystery is immanent in all that is material and non-material; it has been discovered that there is no matter or material. It is all God, an expression of His Mystery. Derive joy from the springs of joy within you and without you; advance, do not stand still or recede.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 3. "Ask for Me," Chapter 3; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "The Godward march," Chapter 1 and "Krishna thrishna," Chapter 24; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 18. "Seva is the highest Sadhana," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 25. "No Greater Sin Than Ingratitude," Chapter 12).

Namaste - Reet


Light and Love

Swami teaches... 9 - 10 Jan 2007
Let Raga, Dwesha Go, Let Rama, Krishna Enter

Part 3

In Bharath many festivals connected with the Moon and the Sun are celebrated in order to drive into the minds of people the importance of mind control (Chandra or the Moon is the deity of the mind) and of clarifying the intelligence. (Surya or the Sun is the deity of the intelligence).

When the Sun moves Northward - that is 'Godward' - the Intelligence too must proceed Godward. That is the significance of the Uttarayana (Northward path of the Sun). Putting your faith in the machines and machine-made things, faith in power of the controlled mind and in the potentialities of the clarified and purified intelligence has declined. Yantra (machine) has eclipsed the mantra (sacred formula); but, this is a passing phase.

In spiritual literature are many discussions concern to the superiority of one marga or spiritual path over another, especially between the partisans of karma, bhakthi and jnana margas. But these three paths - work, worship and wisdom - are supplementary, not contradictory. Work is like the feet, worship, the hands, and wisdom, the head. The three must cooperate and complete life.

Worship or upasana or bhakthi marga is the name given to the path of saranagathi (absolute self-surrender) or surrender to the Lord's Will, the merging of the individual Will in the Will of the Universal.

Lakshmana is the classic example of this spirit of surrender that saves. Once during his exile in the forest, Rama asked Lakshmana to put up a leaf-hut on a site of his choice. He pleaded with Rama: "Why do you ask me to select the site? Have I any individuality left? Can I choose? Will I select? Don't you know that I have no will of my own. You decide and I obey; you command, I carry out the order." That is real saranagathi, real bhakthi. This can be acquired by constant practice of detachment.

Another example. By Ramayana Bharadwaja (celebrated sage who taught the science of medicine; seer of Vedic hymns) setting up a regal audience hall, with a bejewelled throne and all other paraphernalia, for the reception of Bharatha. Bharatha mentally installed Rama therein and stood behind, framing his brother. Bharatha was applauded for this act of genuine detachment by the sage. He was glad the citizens came to know the real nature of Bharatha by this means.

Bharatha did not partake of the rich banquet that the sage had prepared; he was too grieved over the turn of events to think of food, drink and sleep. He did not even take a drop of water, before he could speak to Rama. The thought of Rama was so intense in him that people saw Rama in the form of Bharatha. Ceaseless contemplation had made him an exact replica. Such is the depth of the bhakthi.

For all names and forms in the world, there is one that is basic. The basic truth underlying all the myriad names and forms in the world is the Sathwic Principle. It is pure Sathya. It is this Divine Principle that enables everything to have a name and form.

When rain falls on a sandy bed, it seeps down;
When the same rain falls on a bed of clay,
it remains sweet water;
When raindrops fall into an oyster,
they become pearls.

"Ekoham Bahushyaam" (I am One, let me become the many). It was by the Will of the Divine that all the myriad objects came into existence. The basic principle in this multiplicity is Oneness, or the Great One. All the diversity has emanated from the One.

By ancient scriptures God Himself has expressed in two forms - Lakshmi-Narayana and Daridra-Narayana. Most people prefer to worship Lakshmi-Narayana for ensuring their personal prosperity and welfare, but few chose to worship Daridra-Narayana (the Lord in the form of the poor and the forlorn).

If the hungry are fed, they are easily satisfied. Service to Daridra-Narayana can never go waste. It is the highest form of sadhana. Human is the product of the society and service to society is real service to God. Such service should be rendered without regard to caste, creed, race or nationality. (The essence of all religions is one and the same, like the current that serves many different purposes but is the same energy).

In serving society, they should bear in mind the four ideals of Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi (i.e. Santhi) and Prema. Service is like a bulb, which cannot shed light unless there is a wire to convey the current. Sathyam is the current. Dharma is the wire through which the current flows. When the wire of Dharma is connected to the bulb of Shanthi, then you have the Light of Love.

Seva is a small word but is filled with immense spiritual significance. Hanuman is the supreme exemplar of the ideal of service. When the Rakshasas asked Hanuman, during his search for Sita in Lanka, who he was, he replied simply: "Dasoham Kosalen-drasya." He was content to describe himself as the humble servant of Rama.

Every one has the power for selfless service. Create this power with each moment, with each experience. The power of seva connected with the power to speak truth, to love openly and fully gives in turn the inner peace, joy and love. Each moment has the power of 'Now', has a new opportunity for the development of the Self through seva as one of the easiest way towards spiritual awareness. Your companion is jnana within your heart.

Appendix

1. According to the current serial "Swami teaches..." it seems wise to explain by Swami the difference between mistake and sin and also the actions of the deepness of gratitude and large-mindedness. Swami explains the deepness of gratitude and large-mindedness pictorially through the examples from Mahabharatha.

If one commits a wrong unwittingly, one is guilty of committing a mistake. But if one commits it deliberately, one is committing a sin. (The example is the statement made by Duryodhana, described in previous Part 2).

2. Gratitude

In this context, it may be pointed out that Karna (half-brother of the Pandavas; valiant but unfortunate eldest son of Kunthi by the Sun deity; ally of the Kauravas in Mahabharatha) is a great example of one who cherished gratitude for the good done to him. He was not only a great donor who gave away whatever was sought from him. His loyalty to his master was unbounded. He was ever ready to lay down his life for his master.

The story itself is the following.

The ruler of Panchala announced that his daughter Draupadi would be given in marriage to any bowman who could bring down an overhanging fish-yantra by looking at its reflection in water.

Rulers from many countries had assembled there. Draupadi was no ordinary woman. She emanated from a blaze of fire. Who was worthy of her hand in marriage? Those taking part in the wedding contest had to abide by one of two conditions. Either he should be a ruler or a kshatriya (protector, warrior). Karna was a great warrior. He had come to take part in the contest. Unfortunately, he was not the ruler of any state and he was a charioteer's son, not a Kshatriya. For these reasons, he was asked to withdraw from the contest. He felt depressed that in spite of all his other accomplishments he could not take part in the contest. As he was walking back, Duryodhana got up with the feeling, "There is no one equal in prowess to Karna excepting Arjuna. With Karna on my side I can always deal with the Pandavas." He came to Karna's help at that moment. In that assemblage, he made Karna King of Angadesa.

For that one act of magnanimity, by which he was made a ruler, Karna pledged himself to serve Duryodhana by shedding the last drop of blood for him.

Later on, the Kauravas and Pandavas had gathered their forces for war. Krishna had tried his best to prevent the Armageddon as he knew the infinite calamities war brought in its train. He went as an envoy of the Pandavas to plead for a peaceful settlement with the Kauravas. Arjuna told Krishna that it was futile to parley with the wicked Kauravas and that they should get ready for battle.

A day before the battle was to begin, Kunthi, the mother of the Pandavas, realised what was impending. She was the mother of Karna also. Karna was her first-born who was the child of a boon from the Sun God. She was aware of his extraordinary powers and sought an opportunity to meet him. There may be bad sons, but there is no bad mother. A mother's love is unbounded.

One day, Karna was performing sandhya-vandanam (morning, noon, or evening prayers) in the morning after taking a bath in the river. Getting news of this from her maids, Kunthi went to the river bank. Karna was in meditation. As she stood, she was overwhelmed by grief at seeing him after a long time. She was also stricken with sorrow at the prospect of her near and dear ones dying in the impending battle.

Unable to bear the grief, she wailed aloud. Karna emerged suddenly from his meditation. He saw Kunthidevi before him. He did not know that she was his mother, though he knew she was the mother of the Pandavas. He asked her, "Mother! Why are you in such great sorrow? I am Karna the son of Radha. I offer my salutations to you. Please let me know the cause of your grief."

Kunthi replied, "Dear child, you are not the son of Radha. You are my son. You were born to me as a boon from the Sun-God. To avoid public ignominy, I left you on the Ganga. I am a great sinner. I pitilessly abandoned you on the Ganga though you were a new-born babe. For selfish reasons, to safeguard my name, I abandoned you in this manner. You are my eldest son. The Pandavas are your brothers and Dharmaraja is your younger brother. Dear son, give me one promise. If all of you were united, you could rule the entire world. You could become the emperor. All the Pandavas will obey and follow your footsteps like a shadow. I give you my word. Do not bear any enmity towards the Pandavas in the impending battle. Consider them in your heart as your brothers."

When Karna heard these words, he was caught in a whirl and his mind was in confusion. "I had heard now and then about the secret of my origin, but never before from the mouth of my mother. The Pandavas are indeed my brothers. I am Kunthidevi's son. But at this juncture, am I to abide by my mother's words? Or am I to show my gratitude to my master?" Karna debated thus within himself.

He told Kunthi: "Whether he was a wicked or an unrighteous person, it was Duryodhana who gave me a position of honour and raised me to my present state. I cannot betray my master. But, because you are my Mother, I will give you one promise declared Karna. "Promise to the mother is one thing; loyalty to the master is a different thing. The former is in the nature of a fight. The latter is a responsibility. They are like the two wheels of a chariot or the two wings of a bird. They go together. Mother, I give you this promise. When the occasion arises, I shall spare Dharmaraja, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva (Pandava brothers). But I will not spare Arjuna. If in this battle I lose my life, the five Pandavas will be your sons. In case Arjuna dies, you will still have five sons. I will take the place of Arjuna among the Pandavas. This is my plighted word."

Saying this, Karna caught hold of his mother's feet and said, "Mother! The other day, in the court of Dhrupadha, Duryodhana saved my honour. I know he is a wicked man. I also know that the Pandavas are the very embodiment of Dharma. But I will be worse than a cruel animal in the forest if I forget the good done to me by Duryodhana. In this respect, there can be no change in my attitude," declared Karna.

Later, Karna gave away even the earrings given to him by the Sun-God. And he offered to Indra the armour he was wearing. He even laid down his life for his master. But he did not give up the gratitude he owed to Duryodhana. Karna stands out as the supreme exemplar of gratitude. He demonstrated what it means to be grateful to one who has helped you, even if he happens to be a wicked person.

Gratitude is a great virtue. When the power of gratitude is realised, it will be seen that it can give benefits much more than anyone can imagine.

3. Large-mindedness. In the Mahabharatha, during the stay of the Pandavas in exile, the four brothers - Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva - died at a pond where they had gone to bring water because they refused to answer the questions which the guardian Yaksha (spirit) of the pond wished to put to them before they were allowed to take the water. Dharmaraja (the eldest of the Pandava brothers) then came to the pond and answered all the questions put to him by the Yaksha. Yaksha was so pleased with the replies that he granted a boon to Dharmaja. He was prepared to restore to life one of the four brothers whom Dharmaraja would name. Dharmaraja promptly asked that Nakula or Sahadeva might be restored to life. The Yaksha wondered why Dharmaraja did not ask for the restoration of one of his own brothers, Bhima or Arjuna, but preferred one of the two stepbrothers. Dharmaraja replied that as he was there as a surviving son for his mother Kunthi, he wanted that a son of his stepmother, Madri, should be alive. Appreciating the large-mindedness of Dharmaraja, the Yaksha restored all the four brothers to life.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 3. "Ask for Me," Chapter 3; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 6. "The Godward march," Chapter 1 and "Krishna thrishna," Chapter 24; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 18. "Seva is the highest Sadhana," Chapter 2; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 25. "No Greater Sin Than Ingratitude," Chapter 12).

Namaste - Reet

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