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Swami teaches....Part 95

 

 

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Light and Love

Swami teaches... 4 - 6 February 2007

Part 1. Towards the State When Every Night Is Shivarathri

What is the difference between rathri (night) and Shivarathri? For the human who has recognized own Divinity, every night is Shivarathri. For the human immersed in worldly concerns, all nights are the same and is marked by darkness.

Shivarathri's night is marked by light. Shivarathri is an auspicious occasion for concentrating the mind on God. Devote at least this one night entirely to the contemplation of God, to the exclusion of all other thoughts and worries.

Human has to proceed from the body to the Divine. Human is a limb of society. Society is a limb of Nature. Nature is a limb of God. The Atma is present in everyone. It knows no territorial barriers. It is omnipresent. To recognize the omnipresence of the Divine is the purpose of observing Shivarathri. God-realization should not be put off to some distant future. It has to be taken up here and now. That is the purpose of Shivarathri.

The entire creation is the Cosmic Dance and Play of the Lord. It is a marvelous and incomparable Dance. The Play is His; the role is His Gift; the lines are written by Him; He decides the dress and decoration, the gesture and the tone, the entrance and the exit. You have to act well the part and receive His approbation, when the curtain falls. Earn by your efficiency and enthusiasm the right to play higher and higher roles - that is the meaning and purpose of life.

Life is a short and fast-flowing chance; you will have to put every minute to the best use: that is, the discovery of your own Reality, which gives you the highest joy. Do not spend time inquiring about the whence and wherefore of others. Inquire about yourselves. For this, you must have faith, faith in God and Grace. (Now, most people have no faith; what is worse, they laugh at those who have, they scorn those who create and promote that faith).

In this world, birth and death, happiness and sorrow follow each other in ceaseless succession. However, by legend Sumathi, an exemplar of chastity, could stay the Sun from rising to prevent the death of her husband. In order to restore her husband to life, Savithri confronted successfully the lord of Death. Such extraordinary power is given only to human beings.

In spiritual matters, faith is the very essence. Doubt shakes the foundations of sadhana and is therefore, to be avoided. Have faith in the wisdom of the ancients; do not pitch against the intuitions of the saints and their discoveries.

Sow in the field of your heart the seeds of good thoughts, charged with humility; irrigate it with the waters of Love; protect the growing crop with the pesticide called Courage; feed the crop with the fertilizer called Concentration; then, the devotional plants will yield the harvest of jnana, the eternal wisdom that you are He, and when that revelation comes, you become He, for, you were always He, though you did not know it so far.

Human should seek God alone. Once God's Grace is secured, all else will be got with ease. For this purpose, human has to get rid of attachment, fear, and hatred. He must perform all actions as an offering to God, who is omnipresent.

The vigil and fasting observed on Shivarathri night have become farcical. True vigil and fasting consist in concentrating all one's thoughts on God during the whole night. God's grace is a direct sequel to one's actions. Each one has to examine for oneself in what spirit he/she is performing the worship. The Divine can be realized only through Shraddha and Vishvaasa (spiritual earnestness and faith). Without earnestness, even the most trivial act cannot be. The Divine is within everyone. Once human recognizes this fact, he will give no room for bad qualities.

Dedicate yourselves to the performance of your duties. Do not waste your time or that of others in idle talk. Starting with the duties of the individual, human should aim at achieving-oneness with the Divine as the ultimate goal.

To develop the taste for liberation, Namasmarana, or rolling the sweet Name of the Lord, saturated with sugar of His splendor on the tongue and in the mind. This is an exercise that can be practiced at all times and places by all, irrespective of creed or caste or sex or age or economic and social status. It will keep you in constant touch with the Infinite and so, it will transmit to you something of the Wisdom and Power of the Infinite.

Remembrance of God can become established when you are free from the shackles of spite and envy. With no trace of pride or envy, malice or hate, egoism or conceit - that is the way to keep the heart clean for God to install Himself. Prasanthi or the Highest Peace can be won only when you unfurls it in your heart.

The divinity that is present in everyone will find expression in varying types of behavior. The actions of the Divine are totally free from self-interest. Because God is the embodiment of Love, no taint can adhere to God's actions. As God is the embodiment of all that is pure and untainted, any defect that is attributed to God is only a projection of the defect in the individual concerned. Non-professionals look only at the superficial aspects of things. The Lord does not see things that way. He is free from hatred or envy, likes and dislikes. When these are attributed to the Lord they are only a reflection of one's own feelings. God is like a mirror. What you see is only a reflection of your own action and posture. God neither punishes nor rewards any one. Punishment or reward is the outcome of your own actions.

From other aspect, God is Nivaasah (the Supreme Abode). Our aim should be to dwell in the Lord. This Cosmos is the abode of the Lord. We are living in this Cosmos. We are not separate from it. However, the sacred feeling that we are living in the abode of the Lord should be cherish able by everyone. The consciousness that the same constituents are present in one and all should be realized. Then, there will be no room for differentiation and alienation. The sense of Oneness will be experienced.

Where there is attachment, there is hatred. Fear is born out of attachment - the fear of losing what one has. Attachment and fear breed hatred. These three lead human to stray from the adherence to Shraddha and Vishvaasa. Hence, these three have to be brought under control.

As long as the fear remains, God will elude person. One has to develop faith in the Divinity (Shiva) within to get rid of this fear and acquire the Brahmabalam (strength of the Divine). For this realization, dedicate all your deeds, words and thoughts to Sarveshwara, the Supreme Sovereign. As pinpointer of this Supreme Sovereign is the emergence of the Linga (the ellipsoid-shaped representation of the formless Divinity) will happen on Shivarathri night.

The Linga is in every one of you. In the Angam (body) there is Jangam; (in the body composed of limbs, there is always the movement of the mind towards the external objects). In Jangam, there is Sangam (through this movement, there arises attachment). In Sangam there is Lingam (through attachment and consequent suffering, the individual learns the need for and the efficacy of the Linga, or God, who is everyone's innermost core).

Sorrow affects you because you feel you deserved joy and did not acquire it; but there is one impartial distributor of joy and sorrow, who gives you what you need, rather than what you desire. You may need the tonic of tragedy to set you on the road to recovery. The Compassionate One knows best.

Welcome the tragedy and fight your way through, with the amour of the Memory Divine. As all rivers hurry towards the sea, let all your imaginings wend their way to God.

Do not get too much attached to the world, and too involved in its tangles. Keep your emotions always within hold. The waves agitate only the upper layers of the sea; down below it is calm. So too, when you sink into your depths, you must be free from the agitation of the waves.

The Pranava japa (the recitation of Om and the contemplation of that mystic syllable) will help to calm the roaring waves. Om is the sum of all the teachings in the Vedas about Godhead and of all the systems of adoring the Godhead. Om, that one syllable is Brahman.

Om is a composite of three sounds A (aa) arising from the region of the navel, U (oo) flowing through the throat and tongue and M (mm) ending up at the closed lip. It has to be pronounced rising in a crescendo as slowly as possible, and as slowly coming down, until after them there will be the echo of the silence reverberating in the cavity of the heart.

Do not take it in two stages, arguing that your breath will not hold so long. Persevere, until you are able to be stirred by the upward sweep and the downward curve and the silent sequel. These represent the waking, dreaming and sleeping, and the fourth, beyond the three stages. It represents also the flower of one's individuality growing into a fruit and filling itself with sweet juice out of its own inner essence, and then the final release from the tree.

From other words, the final Om must be the flower blossoming on the creeper of life, that has twined itself on God all one's life. This is referred to as Rajavidya, in the Gita; that is to say, the royal road to spiritual success. It is also Rajaguhyam - the royal mystery - a teaching that is to be imparted, after long preparatory exercises and from master to disciple, in a serious and sincere atmosphere. It was not sung as verse; it was given as a lesson, in prose. (It was Vyasa, who cast it into verse form).

The peace or distraction, calm or anxiety that one gets is the product of one's thoughts and deeds. It is dependent on one's attitude and behavior to oneself and others. There are many who take up the process of the Pranava japa, dhyana or regular meditation on the Name and Form of God, who are able to quieting the agitations of the heart and open the way to inner realization.

But, dhyana should not be vacillating or wavering from one ideal to another. It should not be reduced to a mere mechanical textbook formula, a rigid timetable of breathing through alternate nostrils, a meaningless stare at the tip of the nose. It is a rigorous discipline of the senses, the nervous current, and the wings of imagination. That is why it is said, the dhyana is the valley of peace that lies on the other side of a huge mountain range, with the peaks named the Six Foes.

These are lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, and envy. One has to climb over the range and reach the plain beyond. One has to rend the veils, before the light can shine on the path. One has to remove the cataract from the eye, so that the Truth can be seen. Maya is the name of that mist of ignorance that torments the mind, which seeks to plunge in the depths of the Self.

This mist is the confusing conglomeration of three qualities that disturb the primal equanimity of the Universe - the white, red and black - the sathwic, the rajasic and the thamasic - the unaffected, the active and the dull; the detached, the passionate and the slothful. The curtain of Maya made of these three strands has to be either brush aside, or rent asunder, or rose, so that the reality may be revealed. Bhakthi marga (the path of devotion) raises it. Karma marga (the path of righteous action) rends it, by means of activity aimed at tearing the strands. Jnana marga (the path of spiritual knowledge) brushes it aside, for it moves about as if it did not really exist; it brushes it aside as a mere figment of the imagination.

Human must examine for him/herself the merits of various activities, and choose only such as will benefit. Human desires peace and cultivates worry and anxiety. Planting a lime tree, human hopes to get mangoes.

To make coal white, it is foolish to wash it in milk; the milk too gets black. You have to heat it red-hot, and continue the process until it is transformed into white ash. The ash remains ash for ever. Similarly, the Thamasic (dull-witted and ignorant) mind (black) has to be transmuted into the Rajasic stage (red or active and passionate) and then, to the Sathwic stage (white or calm and pious), by the process of spiritual discipline (heating). The blackness and the redness are produced by the qualities of greed and lust. Regular treatment with the drug of self-control will cure you of these. The holy days of Shivarathri have prescribed for inaugurating the treatment. The sastras extol the drug and lay down the method of administration. The lives of saints encourage you to seek it and save yourself by it. Through these, human can ascend from the animal to the human level and from the human to the Divine.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 7. "Angam and Lingam," Chapter 6 and "The dying lament the dead," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 10. "The ripe fruit," Chapter 13; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 23. "Be Master of the senses," Chapter 12 and "Purity of the mind : Role of the senses," Chapter 15; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 26. "Secure God's grace by Shraddha and Vishvaasa," Chapter 6).

PS: The spelling is mainly as in original texts, because I have not found many words in Vahini's Glossary. Texts now and thereafter are written in U.S. English.

Namaste - Reet


Light and Love

Swami teaches... 7 - 9 February 2007

Part 2. Towards the State When Every Night Is Shivarathri

Spirituality is the lighthouse that spreads light for the human who is full of despair, immersed in insatiable desires. Linga (Spirit of the Soul) that emerges in the night of Shivarathri underlines the eternal bliss of Creation, Unity in diversity. That is the sanctity of Shivarathri.

The Linga as remembers, "Look for the solution, not the problem. Develop a state of acceptance and tolerance. Have no sharp angles in your thoughts and in your life." Avoid even little misdemeanors, for, by repetition, they warp character, and develop into vicious habits. Examine your acts, thoughts, and feelings every moment on the touchstone of Truth.

Make Shivarathri an Akhanda Shiva-rathri - a continuous festival of Shiva-contemplation - an inspiration for making life itself an unbroken adoration of Shiva.

How is human can to realize the presence of Shiva and Shakthi within? The message of the Lord in the Gita declares, "Whatever actions you do, dedicate them to me. Consider me as your Supreme Lord. Be devoted to Me." This is the right way to worship the attributeful Lord. This kind of worship promotes devotion.

Only a land that is properly ploughed, weeded, manured and sown with good seeds will yield a rich harvest. Likewise, after the field of the heart has been cleared of the weeds of bad thoughts and qualities, fertilized by good feelings and virtues, and the pure seed of Prema (Love) is sown, the sacred crop of Jnana (wisdom) can be enjoyed.

Based on this, two paths have laid down in the spiritual field: Vidhvamsaka and Vidhaayaka (the destructive and the constructive paths). Vidhvamsaka path refers to the clearing of a field of bushes, thorns and the like before it is got ready for cultivation. Vidhaayaka path refers to the planting of good seeds in the form of good qualities, which will yield a harvest of joy. Hence, everyone's heart has to be filled in the right way by Shraddha and Vishvaasa (earnestness and faith).

It is not enough for a devotee to claim that he/she loves the Lord. A devotee must find out whether the Lord loves him. You must see whether God showers His grace on you. In all actions, human must find out whether the actions are approved by own conscience. Just as the Divine is always blissful, the devotee should be a Santhushtah (ever blissful).

(However, in the present times, people have no contentment or sense of joy. They are racked by doubts and apprehensions. How can such persons ever experience bliss)?

Kaama (desire) is the cause of birth; Kaala (Time) is the cause of death; Rama (God) is the guardian of life. On account of desire, birth takes place. By Time, which flows unceasingly on, respecting none, the thread of life is cut. Life is a battle; the battle is fought until victory. When you prepare yourself for victory in this battle with your inner foes and the senses, the Lord gives you the reinforcements you need, for you are proceeding to Him and He takes a hundred paces towards you for every ten you take towards Him. The goal of victory is the 'Crown' of Atma, the 'Sovereignty' of the Realm of Liberation. That is attained and won by the process laid down in Vedanta.

The very first lesson of Yoga is the conquest of kaama (desire). The will has to be fashioned as an instrument for the beneficial deed and the deed has to subserve the need for winning wisdom, which confers in a flash the awareness of the reality.

The Gita teaches the process of dhyana in a neat little formula, "Keep me in your memory and right!" Accept fight in the battle of life, together with God in the consciousness as the charioteer. It is not merely a direction for Arjuna; it is a prescription for all humanity. "Fix your mind on Me and fight! I shall be the Will behind your will; the eye behind your eye; the brain within your brain; the breath within your breath. The fight is mine, the might
is mine, the trials and triumphs are mine; the fruits of victory are mine; the humiliation of defeat

is mine; you are I and I am you." That is the consummation of dhyana - identity, the negation of difference.

The body cannot exist without the senses and vice versa. Each is useless without the other, like the positive and negative ends of an electric current.

Proper protection of the body is an essential duty of the individual. In this connection, the role of the senses is remarkable. The wonders performed by the Divine defy description. Equally the part played by the senses is marvelous. The senses are subtler than the body. Although the potencies of sound, touch, sight, hearing, and taste exist within the body, the senses exercise extraordinary power over all of them. Joy and sorrow, heat and cold are experienced when the sense organs come into contact with external objects. Without sensory objects, the senses cannot function. It is not easy for anyone to comprehend or describe the myriad facets of the sense organs.

In the Kathopanishad, the senses are described as horses yoked to the chariot of the body. In regarding the senses as aswa (horses) what is the inner significance? Aswa means that which is continually restless. It is common knowledge that a horse, whether it is running or standing or sleeping, moves some part of its body or the other all the time. The tail, or the leg, or the back or the nose, some part or other is kept moving. It is because of its restless nature that the horse is called aswam. In ancient times, the rulers used to perform a yaga (sacrifice) called the Aswa-Medha Yaga.

Aswa means that which is fickle and restless. Medha means Buddhi (intelligence). Aswa-Medha means "fickle-minded." The horse that is used in the yaga symbolizes a fickle mind. Whoever is capable of capturing and controlling that horse is described as a person of heroic intelligence, worthy of meeting in combat.

It is only when both the meanings are synthesised that we get at the whole truth. It is the duty of every person to control the horse-like senses. Whatever yagas or yajnas one may perform, whatever scripture one may have mastered, if there is no control over senses, all these accomplishments are worthless.

In addition, there is divinely prescribed limit to what each indriya (sense organ) can experience. For instance, the eye can only see, but cannot hear. The mouth can only speak but cannot see. Thus each organ has been endowed with a specific talent. Only those who use these organs according to the divinely prescribed functions will be acting up to the will of the Divine. Those who violate the prescribed limits will be going against the Divine Will.

For example, the tongue is being grossly misused today. It is used for consuming narcotics, eating animal food, smoking, indulging in abuse of others, carrying tales, using harsh words (language), and causing pain to others. As a consequence, human experiences numerous troubles.

You must know how to handle horses properly so that the chariot can be used well. The horses must be in front of the chariot.

Today, on the contrary, the horses are behind the chariot. This leads to dangerous consequences. The chariot cannot move at all.

While fostering the senses, no effort is being made to bring them under control internally. This is like feeding a horse excessively, but not giving it adequate work. We are failing today to engage the senses adequately. They are being allowed to run amuck.

The world is based on the mind. All that happens in the world - joy or sorrow, sin or virtue, truth or untruth - has its origin in the mind.

The mind has no inherent power of its own. It is dependent on the indriyas (sense organs). It sees through the eyes. It cannot see by itself. It hears through the ears and has no inherent hearing capacity. Likewise, it functions with the aid of the sense organs. Consequently, the offences committed by the senses are reflected in the mind. The senses are associated with the mind's various processes. If anything goes wrong, who is to blame - the senses or the mind? No blame attaches to the mind by itself. It is the association with the senses which pollutes the mind.

The mind has ten wives - five sense organs and five organs of action. Each organ seeks to enjoy objects of its own choice. The nose smells some good edible and wants to have it. The ear hears some sweet music and wants to enjoy it. The eye hankers after a new film. When all of them are keen about their own particular desires, how can the master (the mind) satisfy them all at the same time? Unable to satisfy them the mind gets frustrated. It is when the senses are kept under proper control that human would be happy and shares that happiness with others.

There is a method by which the demands of the senses can be reconciled and harmonized. This is by treating both good and bad with equal-mindedness.

Tukaram, a wise man from the past is an illustrious example. He was a saintly person. His wife was a termagant. By his calmness and forbearance, Tukaram managed to get on with her. Once, Tukaram was bringing home in his cart the sugarcane crop harvested from his small farm. As he was going home, the children of the village gathered round him and pleaded for a piece of sugarcane. In his boundless goodness, Tukaram allowed the children to help themselves to the cane on the cart. By the time he reached home there was only one stalk of cane left. Seeing this his wife got enraged, abused Tukaram, and taking out the cane, struck Tukaram with it. The cane broke into three pieces. Tukaram calmly remarked, "I was wondering how to distribute the single remaining cane to the members of the family. You have solved the problem. You can keep one piece and give the other two to the children."

The ancient sages regarded sense-control as a form of penance. Disciplining of senses calls for an understanding of how the senses function. A Christian priest learnt a lesson in sense control from the driver of a horse carriage in which he was traveling. The priest noticed that the driver was beating the horse severely as it was approaching a railway crossing. Taking pity on the animal, the priest asked the driver why he was beating the horse unnecessarily. The driver explained that at the level crossing there were some white painted stones, which caused a fright in the horse. He was beating the animal, as the horse was more afraid of the whip than the white stones. The priest learnt that diverting the mind away from one undesirable thought was the way to turn it in the desirable direction.

Under the influence of Maya, the mind skips from one fancy to another and is never at rest on whatever it dwells on. It keeps the mind always intent on external objects; it resists the inward journey of the intellect, the process of self-examination and self-discipline. But, once human succeeds, however slightly, in releasing his mind through dhyana, the road is clear for the final illumination.

Dhyana (meditation) is the discipline by which the mind is trained to inner analysis and synthesis. The goal of dhyana is the One in which all I's are synthesized, in their purest forms. That One is described in the Gita as having eight attributes. They are the:
kavi (aware of the past, present and future),
puraanam (timeless in its origin),
anushaasithaaram (it lays down the norms),
anoraneeya (it is more minute than the minutest),
sarvasya dhatha (at the basis of all),
achinthyaruupa (of inexplicable form),
aadhithya varna (effulgence)
and thaamasah parasthaath (beyond darkness).

This is a task, which can be carried out only by unremitting dhyana. Again, dhyana and the control of the senses must go together. It is not an easy task.

Once Ramadas (an ancient saint) wailed, "O Lord, You are Mighty, All-powerful, All- knowing; I am alone, helpless, orphaned and poor." Then the Lord interrupted the self-condemnation and said, "No, how can you name yourself poor, helpless, and orphaned? I am with you, in you, in showering My Grace. The only Orphan in the Universe is Myself; for, I have no guardian, no means of support, nobody to fall back upon. I am the A-naatha (orphan); all else are Sa-naatha (with Lord), for I am their Naatha (Lord)."

So, do not call yourself as a dheena (weak person); how can you be a dheena when you are endowed with dhhee? (Dhhee indicates intelligence, discrimination). With this dhhee as support, start your sadhana, without wasting precious time in wails. That is the highest duty you owe to yourselves. The sadhana can be to realize God as Formless (Nirguna) or with Form (Saguna). When one walks, the right foot and left foot are both necessary, you cannot hop long, on one foot.

The Saguna Sadhana and the Nirguna Sadhana are as the two feet. When the pilgrimage is over and the shrine has to be entered, place the right foot forward. The right foot is towards the Nirguna Sadhana - the Formless aspect of God.

The defect in the mind (called Vikshepa) is a caused by wavering and lack of steadiness. Various practices like meditation, concentration, and prayer have recommended for steadying the mind.

However, many people not trying to cleanse their minds. Instead, they are polluting their minds in all possible ways. It is only when you have the body, the senses and the mind under your control, that you will be master of yourself.

Why are the countries today afflicted with so much disorder and chaos? It is because people are preoccupied with the external and are totally ignoring the Spirit within. Without any regard to whether the methods adopted are righteous, fair, and just, or not, educated people are engaged in acquiring money and wealth by any means. However, real wealth consists in the practice of virtue, in loving and serving.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 7. "Angam and Lingam," Chapter 6 and "The dying lament the dead," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 10. "The ripe fruit," Chapter 13; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 23. "Be Master of the senses," Chapter 12 and "Purity of the mind : Role of the senses," Chapter 15; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 26. "Secure God's grace by Shraddha and Vishvaasa," Chapter 6).

PS: The spelling is mainly as in original texts as I have not found many words in Vahini's Glossary.

Namaste - Reet


Light and Love

Swami teaches... 10 - 11 February 2007

Part 3. Towards the State When Every Night Is Shivarathri

Shivarathri is the fourteenth day of the dark half of the month, just a minute fraction remains visible to human. The Moon is the presiding deity of the mind. The mind is the source of all the entangling desires and emotions. The mind is, therefore, almost powerless this day; if only this night is spent in vigil and in the presence of the Divine, it can be fully conquered and human can realize own freedom. So, every month, the fourteenth day of the dark half of the month is prescribed for more intense sadhana and once a year, this Mahashivarathri, the Great Night of Shiva, is laid down for the Great Consummation.

Vigilance this night is to be secured by sadhana, that is, by means of bhajana, or the reading or listening of sacred texts. Be engaged in seeing good, listening to good, speaking good, thinking good, doing good; that is the program for the vigil night of Shivarathri. Make it also the program for your entire life.

Each moment in life is worthwhile, for the Lord gives it, He uses it, He fills it, He fashions it, He fulfils it. When He is fused with every breath, you can achieve the sovereign task of merging in Him. You have the might; the Atma cannot be gained by the weak, so long as the source of might is not in you, is not all you, so long you are a weakling unfit for the supremest adventure.

In this creation, both Dharma (Righteousness) and Adharma (unrighteousness) are prevalent. At one time righteousness is predominant; at another time unrighteousness reigns. Only a human filled with devotion can attain the triune embodiment of the Divine - Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram (Truth, Auspiciousness, and Beauty).

When confronted with the final destiny human becomes a prey to many fears and doubts. (The moment Kamsa heard that the child that would be born to his cousin Devaki would prove his slayer, he wanted immediately to kill her. Vasudeva saved his wife's life by promising to hand over to Kamsa every child born to Devaki. To kill or to save a life, the power vests in human alone).

Wealth is not confined to money, gold, or other possessions. All the knowledge and skills acquired by a person also constitute the wealth. Even health is wealth. The power to think is also wealth. Physical strength and mental abilities are also wealth. The time at one's command is also one's wealth.

(Swami often advises not to indulge in excessive talking for the reason that it is a gross abuse of the time available to them. Moreover, by excessive talk with another person, he is robbing the latter of his/her time).

Dharma implies the right use of one's time and resource. Adharma is the abuse of one's time and wealth and depriving others of their wealth.

Every person has own mind in which thoughts arise based on his Ichcha-Shakthi (will power). One person favors adoration of Rama. Another prefers Shiva. A third one enjoys worshipping Krishna. A fourth is inspired by contemplation of Jesus. Another is musing over the thought of Allah. All these are based on individual preferences.

But, in the minds of all persons, in whatever country or region, whatever form one wishes to adore, whatever deity one wants to worship, whatever name one likes to chant, two qualities are essential; Vishvaasam (faith) and Shraddha (earnestness). Without earnestness, even the most trivial act cannot be performed well.

By Gita only the earnest seeker can acquire knowledge of the Divine. Without earnestness, one will achieve nothing. A person with earnestness can convert a small burning cinder into a huge bonfire.

Shraddha is the means to the realization of the Divine. It signifies Dhaiva-Shakthi (Divine power). Shraddha is called Bhavaani. It refers to Shakthi (Divine energy) or Prakrithi (Nature).

Vishvaasam (faith) symbolises Eeshvarathvam (the Divine Principle). Through Shraddha Ichcha shakthi, Kriya-shakthi and Jnana-shakthi (will power, the power of action, and the power of wisdom) are manifested. The essence of these three potencies is Eeshvarathva (Divinity). They constitute the power of Vishvaasam
(faith).

Shraddha and Vishvaasam represent Parvathi and Parameshvara. Humanness represents the combination of Shakthi (or Nature) and Shiva. These two are not disparate. Just as fire and the power to burn go together, these two go together. Likewise Shraddha and Vishvaasam are symbiotically related to each other.

The whole of Prakrithi (nature) is Ardhnaari-svarupam (the feminine half of the Divine couple). Both Shraddha (as God) and Vishvaasa (as Nature) are equally present in human and constitute spirituality. Without these, all spiritual exercises have no value.

Human commits many offences, knowingly or unknowingly, not only in this life, but also in previous lives. The Chitta (the associative memory) carries the imprint of these actions over many lives. When these relics soil the mirror of the mind, the mind cannot perceive anything in its true state. When the doors of your hearts closed by the bolt of falsehood, how can deny or you lay the blame on God if He does not illumine it with the rays of Grace? Falsehood is prompted by desire, by kaama; when kaama is in the heart, Rama (God) has no room.

(Hence, it is necessary to cleanse the mirror of impurities on it. How is this to be done? It is always important to ensure the food that is eaten is obtained by righteous means. But, it is not always possible to ensure such purity in every respect at all times. To get over this difficulty, the way out is to make an offering of the food to the Divine and regard it as a gift from God).

People attach value to various relationships. All these are temporary and passing. No doubt, they have different essential duties before the country, nation, family, etc. However, this applies to every relationship, which carries its own specific obligations. All relationships arise in course of time and end in due course and their character are often not clear.

By legend, Brahma asked the sage Narada what was the amazing thing he noticed on the Earth. Narada indicated, that one of the most amazing things is, "Every one fears the consequence of sin, but goes on sinning nevertheless. Everyone craves for the consequence of meritorious acts, but everyone is reluctant to do any meritorious act."

(Some people deny the existence of God, for they miss His presence as a result of the myopia they are afflicted with; when a skilful eye surgeon removes the defect, they can well see for themselves the omnipresent evidence of His Grace. The amalgam of the three gunas (qualities) mentioned already, when spread as a hindrance to clear vision makes human fumble, feel that one thing is ostensibly another, and hides the truth, giving it all the hues or horror of the false).

The scriptures have declared that there are three defects relating to the mind Mala (contamination, dirt), Vikshepa ( waywardness; distracted or diffused mind that obstructs concentration; projecting) and Avarna (veiling).

Avarana is the covering, which envelops the mind and prevents it from seeing things properly. It makes you feel that the body is your true self. The cover which distorts your vision is made up of the six enemies - lust, anger, greed, pride, delusion and envy. To get rid of Avarana, Love has to be developed.

The mind, the intelligence, the Chitta (memory or will) and the Ahamkara (ego) together constitute the Antahkarana (the Inner Activator).

All sense organs have a form. But, the mind, the Buddhi (intelligence), the Chitta and Ahamkara have no form. The Antahkarana is the formless combination of these four.

The Antahkarana is subject to four kinds of defects.
1. Bhraanthi (delusion)
2. Pramaadam (dangerous situation)
3. Karana-aapaatana (weakness of organs)
4. Vipralipsa (jealousy)
These four defects sully the Antahkarana.

Bhraanthi is the deluded state of mind in which one mistakes a rope for a snake and a snake for a rope, regards the unreal as real and the real as unreal, the temporary as permanent and the permanent as temporary.

These delusions lead to pramaadam (dangerous situations). If you hold on to a snake, thinking it is a rope, you are bound to have trouble. If it is the sense organs that enable one to see, hear, and so on, how does it happen that even when all the organs are there a dead man is unable to see, or hear? This is because the power, which enables the organs to function, is not there. There are no battery cells inside. The blood cells in our body are like those battery cells. They carry Divine energy in them. There may be cells, but if the Divine power has left them, we cannot make the senses function.

The third defect is karana-aapaatana. Karana means instrument. Aapaatana means weakness. The weakness of the organs is the third defect. The senses are prone to certain kinds of afflictions. These afflictions affect the mind and cause mental illnesses.

What are the types of illness to which the senses are liable? The senses never function in their fullness to perceive totally things as they are. They tend to behave according to the circumstances. This may be illustrated by a story.

In a village, there were two farmers, one the village headman, the big property owner of the village, and the other a small farmer. One day, the bulls of the two farmers were involved in a fight as a result of which the head man's bull died. The small farmer was deeply worried about the incident and was at a loss how to explain the matter to the village chief. In his nervousness and fear, while relating the incident to the big landlord, he stated by mistake that his bull had been killed by the headman's bull in a fight. Immediately the landlord started consoling him, saying, "Even intelligent human beings kill each other. When unintelligent animals do so, you should not make much about their conduct."

Meanwhile the small farmer realized the mistake he had committed. He hastened to inform the big landlord that it was the latter's bull that had died in the encounter between the two animals. Immediately the landlord got enraged and asked: "What nonsense is this? It is a serious matter if your bull has killed my bull. You must be very arrogant indeed to let your bull commit such an outrage. You have to pay a penalty of Rs. 500."

The big landlord considered it a natural occurrence if his bull had killed another's bull. But he considered it a crime for another's bull to kill his animal. It is because the senses are prone to such varying responses according to circumstances that they tend to view right as wrong and wrong as right.

The senses lose their natural capacities when they are ailing. For instance, when a person suffers from malaria, the tongue loses its natural capacity and finds everything bitter including sweets. When one suffers from jaundice, the eye fails to distinguish colors in their true hue and sees everything as yellowish. Karana-aapaatana refers to the ailment the mind suffers from on account of afflictions affecting the senses.

Vipralipsa refers to jealousy. Person cannot endure the happiness or prosperity of another. There is no cure for this disease.

All activities of human must result in cleansing own Chitta, the levels of awareness. When these are done as offerings to God, they advance this cleansing process a great deal. The way He works shapes the destiny of human. Work is sublimated into worship, which fructifies into wisdom.

A father sent his son to the market with a sum of money to bring home some fruits. While bringing them home, the boy saw a few beggars on the road and heard their wails; he realised that they were very hungry and that they needed the fruits more urgently. So he gave the fruits to them and came home empty-handed. When the father chided him, the son replied, "I have brought you invisible fruits that are sweeter and more lasting." Let the invisible power of Shivarathri inspire people to peep within and to perform the selfless actions.

(Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 7. "Angam and Lingam," Chapter 6 and "The dying lament the dead," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 10. "The ripe fruit," Chapter 13; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 23. "Be Master of the senses," Chapter 12 and "Purity of the mind : Role of the senses," Chapter 15; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 26. "Secure God's grace by Shraddha and Vishvaasa," Chapter 6).

PS: The spelling is mainly as in original texts as I have not found many words in Vahini's Glossary.

Namaste - Reet


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