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Questions & Answers 194 to 228
229 It seems in one of the discourses, Swami said, “You are only a puppet.” Are we puppets? How can we be puppets? It has disturbed our minds. Why? Why should we be puppets? (311005)
To say, “Why should I be a puppet?” is the quality of a puppet. (Laughter) To feel “Am I a puppet?” is the quality of the puppet. A puppet does not know that it is a puppet; whereas the Master knows that you are a puppet. Do you understand?
Therefore, “why should I be a puppet?” That feeling arises out of ignorance, ajnana. To know that I am a puppet is jnana or wisdom. Wisdom lies in knowing that I am a puppet, in being aware that I am a puppet. “I am an instrument” is the awareness or knowledge.
“Am I a puppet?” Good. You are a child. “Why should I be a puppet?” Very good. Himalayan ignorance! (Laughter)
HIGHER LEVEL OF AWARENESS
So, the real knowledge, the real awareness knows that I am a puppet and I have to dance and act in accordance with the director, the puppeteer behind it. The puppeteer goes on moving the strings and the puppets dance on the surface. They do not know why and how they dance because the puppeteer is behind, pulling the strings in different directions.
Similarly, this question arises out of ignorance. This question arises due to a lack of awareness. This question arises because of our worldly nature. This question arises because of our little, simple achievements and attainments.
“I am the boss of my office! Oh! Am I a puppet? Why?” Oh! I see. Being a boss is also a puppet show. (Laughter) Part of the puppet show. So, to know that I am a puppet is a higher level of awareness.
228 I am well-educated and learned, with good cognisance of spiritual precepts and Baba’s teachings. I know myself as a part and parcel of God for sure, without a doubt. I know that Swami and I are one. And I have all the correct knowledge and mastery over desire. Still I don’t have money, I don’t have a job, (Laughter) and no shelter. What am I to do? I know that I am God, but have no job. I know I am God, but have no shelter to live in. (311005)
Waah! No shelter, what am I to do? I know that I am God, but I have no job. I know I am God, but I have no shelter to live in. Arey! Poor God!
Have the correct idea of God, at least. (I am not speaking from the point of experience.) If I conceptualise, if I visualise, if I have an idea in accordance with the scriptures, God does not need a shelter because God is everywhere. A shelter is required for a person who is at some place. We need shelter. Yes. Because I am here, I need shelter. But when I am everywhere, why do I need shelter? So I am God; but saying, “I have no shelter” means you are not God! Because God does not need shelter as He is everywhere.
TRAVEL FROM DUALISM TO NON-DUALISM
He is inside; He is outside. He is within; He is without -- in the ocean, in the sky, on the mountain, in the deep valley. He is everywhere. Why? All are in Him. The cosmos is in Him; the universe is in Him. Then, why does He need a shelter?
So, this is only a non-dual statement with a dual background: “I don’t have a job.” When all jobs are God’s and your job is God’s job, you are God, meaning you give jobs to everybody. So why do you bother about your job? You say, “I am God.” God gives us jobs – His is the employment exchange office! Then why do you worry about your job as you are the giver of all jobs! So it is not so!
You are dual. Definitely you are dual. You are separate from God. So, you need food and shelter from rain. Being separate from God, I need all these things. Therefore, let me travel from duality to non-duality. Let me make a journey from duality to non-duality. Let me speak of non-duality, while my life is dualistic. Let me slowly travel from dualism to non-dualism. That’s what I can say.
A very good question, from a modern man, an electronic, computer man. If all are the same, why should I serve anybody? Who is serving whom? Ah! Excellent question.
The answer is this: If you really believe that all are same, when others are eating, you don’t eat. (Laughter) When others are sleeping, why should you sleep? While others have their cup of tea, why should you have your cup of tea?
You have not reached that state. You have not experienced that all are the same. You are only saying all are same, so why should I serve? You are not convinced of the truth that all are the same. If you are convinced, if you have experienced the truth that all are the same, you don’t have to serve anybody. It is only Baba who can say that.
“Swami, why don’t You eat? When all of us are eating, when all of us are at the dining table with so many delicious items, why don’t You eat?”
It is Baba who said, “Why should I eat?”
“Swami, why not?”
“When all of you eat, don’t you know that it reaches Me?”
That’s why He doesn’t eat. Just to make others eat, just to give company to others, He pretends as if, as though, He eats. If I copy Swami’s style of eating -- just one spoon of ragi – by next Sunday, you will not see me! (Laughter) Then there will be someone else to talk to you. (Laughter) Impossible! Not only should I eat, I should eat spicy stuff also -- oily stuff and all that. (Laughter) We have got preferential eating. So at this stage, I cannot say all are the same. No, no, no! I am different. Spicy food is necessary for me.
So, “all are the same” is an experiential, existential conviction. It is an experiential, existential conviction, not just a verbal, vocal, oral expression. Therefore, until you experience this conviction, you will have to serve others.
226 How do I get connected with Bhagavan? I am studying in a very good college. But I am missing the link with Bhagavan. How do I get connected with Bhagavan? (311005)
This is a question from a college student. To get yourself connected with Bhagavan is to do what is expected of you. As a student, if you study well, you are connected to Bhagavan. As a student, if you make your parents happy, you are connected to Bhagavan. As a student, if you are obedient to your teachers, you are connected to Bhagavan.
As a student, if you are always in good company, you are connected to Bhagavan. As a student, if you have got healthy habits, you are connected to Bhagavan. If you participate in some service activity or go to some educational activity of the Sai centre, like Bal Vikas, or Education in Human Values or Educare, or join the bhajan group, or read some good book, you are connected to Bhagavan. There are so many channels to establish your contact with Swami. Swami will never leave you alone. Swami will never desert you.
BABA WILL NEVER FORGET YOU
On a flight, on your journey to Tokyo or Hong Kong, when you are helpless, when you feel strange, all alone, you will find someone on the flight with the ring given by Bhagavan. You will find someone wearing a T-shirt with “Sai Ram” written on the back! (Laughter) You will find someone reading “Man of Miracles” written by Howard Murphet. You will find someone with Baba’s picture as a sticker on their baggage.
You may forget Him, but He will never forget you. Baba chases you; Baba haunts you. When there is no light, you may not get a shadow. You will get a shadow only when there is light. Baba is a shadow, whether you are in the light or the dark. That light is our life. That light is our delight, from which you can never de-link. You think that you have de-linked but, He will never allow you to be de-linked. He follows you.
HE IS WITH YOU, IN YOU, ABOVE YOU, BELOW YOU
There are number of instances. A fellow had to go to a Holiday Inn, in the company of people who are used to taking alcohol, because of some business session. He had to go along with other businessmen for a cocktail party. The glasses were filled. When all the others could have the taste of alcohol, this fellow’s glass was full of aqua, water, Bisleri only. (Laughter) Same bottle. Alcohol is in all other glasses. H20, water, in his glass. Even if you want to have alcohol, He will see to it that it becomes water. Even if you want to have water, He will make it milk. He will make it ambrosia, amrit.
Yes, He can do it because He follows you. He is with you, in you, above you, below you! So, there is no question of being de-linked. Impossible! This kind of link with Baba is eternal. This link with Baba is for lives to come. He said, “I shall not forsake you even if you forsake me.” And He said, “I shall not leave you until I take you to that height that I want you to reach and attain. I shall not leave you.”
Therefore, my friends, be assured that He is not going to leave us, which calls for greater responsibility, higher grades of simplicity, higher levels of humility, more prayerfulness, more respectfulness, more gratitude towards Him.
This is a common question. How to accept unpleasant things with joy? I don’t say that it is pleasant to sit there for three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening; because your knee joints will tell you how pleasant that is! The backache will tell you how pleasant it is. It is very difficult. Yet, pleasant or unpleasant is more or less based on our temperament, based on our attitude. So, pleasant or unpleasant is temperamental. It is an attitude. It is psychological. It is the way of the mind.
Let us take the Japanese. Anyone from Japan works like a grinding mill. He is ready to work. Though the country was totally lost, it could come up in the field of science and technology within no time. Although Hiroshima was brought down to ashes because of bombing (Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you must have heard of those two places), today Hiroshima is the most beautiful city. Out of rubble, they created a most beautiful city.
MAKING UNPLEASANT THINGS ACCEPTABLE IS SADHANA
It is an attitude. If we can make unpleasant things pleasant, I consider myself triumphant, victorious. It is a win! Simple example: I am a smoker. (Of course, I am not. I am giving an example, as of today.) (Laughter) Example: I am a smoker and somebody tells me, “Don’t smoke.” This is very unpleasant to a smoker. But if he stops smoking, which is quite unpleasant, he has won; he is a winner. If an alcoholic stops drinking, yes! He is a winner. So, in making unpleasant things pleasant, there lies your success. There lies your win. That is sadhana.
Sadhana, spiritual practice, is nothing but making unpleasant things pleasant, making unpleasant things acceptable. Sometimes certain things happen in our lives which are not acceptable to us, which are shocks. Some calamity happens in the family. Some death happens. Property is stolen or job is gone. You are deserted by kith and kin -- some shocks, which are very unpleasant. When these unpleasant things are accepted with a spiritual background, with spiritual trust, with spiritual strength, YES! Then you are the winner. On the other hand, if you just take unpleasant things unpleasantly, you are the loser. You have lost the game. Success depends upon that.
REPOSING FAITH IN GOD
Simple example: When you are a legal heir, you have all the rights in the court of law to be the king; but if you just abandon that kingship and go to the forest, you are the winner. That’s what Sri Ramachandra did. Sri Ramachandra was the legal heir of the kingdom, but He left the kingdom went to the forest, so He became great. It is not pleasant to go to the forest for a king. He could make the unpleasant thing very pleasant. That made Him chivalrous. That made Him a hero for all ages to come.
So, your heroism lies in making unpleasant things pleasant, through some effort. This is only possible by reposing faith in God. It is only faith in God that will make unpleasant things acceptable.
“Why did God do this?”
Don’t question it. “God, give me strength to face this. Give me courage to face this.” That should be our attitude.
This is a big question. Each topic would be enough to be the title for a whole talk for an hour at least! But this is a wholesale question. Something like if you went to the wholesale market. So he wants me to tell him about all these points at a stretch - Love, Faith, Trust, Belief, and Sincerity. OK! I shall also try to give him an answer in the form of a ‘package deal’, using the modern terminology or nomenclature. All right, let me do that.
BELIEFS ARE SOCIAL, COMMUNITY-ORIENTED AND TEMPORAL
Let me start with belief. Belief is social. Beliefs are social, community-oriented. A simple example: When I see a black cat in the morning, the moment I get up from bed, something bad is going to happen. That is belief. The same black cat will confer blessings to another fellow. So, a belief need not be common to everybody. Belief need not be same to everyone. Beliefs are social. Beliefs are community-oriented. Beliefs are followed for the time being.
At one time, a long time ago, it was a belief not to go abroad. If any fellow crossed the sea, he would automatically go to hell! Today, if you don’t go abroad, you will go to hell (Laughter) because you think heaven is on the other side!
Chandala yoga. They used to say chandala yoga: If one goes to any foreign country, it is chandala yoga, meaning he will go to hell. Today, if you don’t go to a foreign country, you are a useless fellow! You are already in hell; you don’t need to go to hell. (Laughter) So, beliefs are social, which change from time-to-time.
There was belief at one time, here in this country, that a girl should get married at the age of eight. Ashta varshe bhaveth kanya: A girl should get married at the age of eight. It didn’t matter even if she married a fellow of eighty years! She was eight and he was eighty. That was the thing in those days. Now, if any fellow gets his daughter married at the age of eight, he will be behind bars. He will be kept in prison. He is punished. So, beliefs are social, which change from time-to-time.
FAITH IS NOT A COMMODITY TO BE LOST
Above belief, there is another level -- faith. Faith is individual. Faith is not common. Faith is not social. Faith is not societal. Faith is individual. “I have faith in You.” That doesn’t mean all of us should have faith in Him. No. “I have faith in Christ” doesn’t mean that everybody should have faith in Christ. No. So, while beliefs are social, faith is individual.
But faith is shakeable. I may lose faith. Swami is giving me an interview every time, so I have faith. But later, if He is not looking at me, I no longer have any faith. I don’t say unfaithful. I only say I don’t have any faith. I lost faith. So, you may have faith at one time and you may not have faith at a later time. Reversible, revertible, convertible. It may be lost for any silly reason.
There are some people who start coming to this place. “Sir, I lost faith.” Oh! Faith is a commodity to you. Something like, “I lost my watch.” Faith is not a commodity. Faith is not a pen to be lost. But, we look at faith as a commodity, and therefore, we lose it sometimes. We have faith; sometimes we lose faith.
TRUST IS STRONG LIKE A MOUNTAIN
But when that faith becomes, steady, strong, unshakeable, unwavering like a mountain, that is called trust. Trust is an unshakeable faith. Trust is faith that is so strong, like a mountain. So, there are three levels: beliefs, which are social; faith, which is individual; and trust, which is distilled, precipitated, strong, unwavering faith.
That’s what we should have. Jesus Christ had such a trust in God that even while on the cross, He prayed, “Oh! My Lord! Oh! My Father in Heaven!” What kind of trust this is! Jesus had not lost trust in His Father even when He was on the cross!
For us, the slightest increase in our temperature is enough. In our case, we doubt whether God is there or not. (Laughter) If we missed the flight, “What is Baba doing? Is He on vacation or what?” (Laughter) We doubt Him! This is not trust. Trust means trust, come what may. That’s what it is.
LOVE IS ETERNAL AND UNCONDITIONAL
And then, love. Belief, faith, and trust I have explained. Now about love. Love. Let me speak from the negative side, as we take it in the worldly sense. Love is not lust. Love is not attachment. Love is not conditional. Love is eternal. Love is beyond age, position, gender, unconditional.
Love is unconditional. Love has got nothing to do with attachment. It has got nothing to do with bondage. It is not a contract. It is not give-and-take or possess. Love is unconditional. Love is continuous. Love is like a river that flows incessantly. Love is like sunshine, which is available to all. Love is like the cool evening breeze that gives delight to everybody. Love is like a dew drop on a lotus leaf, shining like a pearl, so beautiful to everybody.
Love does not react. If you scold me, I don’t get disturbed. If you praise me, I don’t sit by the side of the Hanuman statue there. I am not ruffled. I am not frustrated. I am not elated. I am beyond praise and blame. That is Love. Love is non-dual. Love is detached. Love is unconditional. Love is eternal. Love is immortal. Love is blemish less, spotless.
LOVE LIES IN THE DEPTH OF SILENCE
Love is experienced in silence. Those who we love, we don’t speak about it loudly. I don’t say into the mike, “I love so-and-so!” Unless something is wrong with me! (Laughter) When once you start speaking in front of the mike about your love, you will make a very good career in politics. (Laughter) In political talks, “I love my people!” Certainly you will get some more votes (Laughter) and be elected to power. Only later, people will come to know how you don’t love them in reality. Love expressed leads to exploitation. Love that is expressed is false.
Love lies in the depths of silence. Love’s expression is in the resonance, in the echo of our heartbeat. The very heartbeat is the pulsating expression of our love. As the river flows, silence speaks of our love. As the wind blows, silence speaks of our love. As the cloud moves across the firmament of the sky, it is the touch of love. When a child on a swing smiles, that is love. When an elderly person, an aged man, looks gently and compassionately at you, that is love.
LOVE IS DIVINE -- LOVE IS FORGIVING
Love is Divine. Love is not human. Love is Divine. It is love that looks at a sinner and a saint alike. No matter if I am a sinner or a saint, both of us are the same to God. When two brigands, who were guilty, were on the cross with Jesus, Jesus loved both of them. They were rowdies who deserved every punishment! But He loved those two people as much as He loved his own disciples.
Love is forgiving. Love forgives. “Last year you did not say, ‘Sai Ram’ to me; therefore, today I will not look at you.” Useless fellow of the first order! If you go on remembering all the past, if I go on recollecting all your past, all that you have done against me, that is the quality of a snake. A snake will never leave you; it will wait until it bites you, then sees you off from this planet. Vengeance is the nature of an animal. Revenge is the quality of an animal.
DIVINE LOVE WILL NEVER JUDGE, EVALUATE NOR ASSESS
Love is Divine. A godly man loves and loves. It was Buddha who loved the person who stood in front of him with a sword to behead him. He loved him very much. Jesus loved robbers, the down-trodden, and people who were away from the path of morality, with all compassion. Love knows not who is a sinner and who is a saint -- saintliness or sinner.
From our point of view, we say, “He is a great devotee.” But is there any thermometer to show the degree of his devotion? Or we say, “He is a new devotee, just a beginner.” Who are we to decide? So, this is our point of view.
But to God, all are the same -- saint or sinner. Divine Love does not discriminate. Divine Love does not judge. Divine Love does not evaluate. Divine Love will never assess. Many things, nay, volumes can be said about that Love. As we think of great people, noble souls, we should know what Divine Love is.
LOVE IS LIFE -- LIFE IS LOVE
We have not tasted that Divine Love, not even a drop. Because the love we know is conditional. We know love which is physical. We know love which is a business. We know love which is worldly. We know love which is time-bound. People say, “Hello, how are you?” But after retirement, they will avoid you. Is that love? So long as you are obliging, people are loving towards you. Once you say you are sorry, they turn their face away from you. Is that love? Therefore, my friends, we have not tasted even a drop of Divine Love.
A fellow poisoned Baba as a child. He offered some food with poison in it to Baba. His whole body turned blue. Everybody thought Baba was collapsing. He cured Himself and finally said, “Don’t beat that fellow. I knew that I was taking poison.” And He appointed him as a watchman of Prashanti Nilayam, the one who gave Him poison. That is love!
I am afraid I may take any length of time on this topic because Divine Love is altogether something that we should long for, something that we should live for, because Love is life. Life is Love. Life without Love is death. Therefore, that is the final thing I can say about it.
Jehovah and Witness are not separate. Jehovah is God and God is the Witness. So, Witness and God are not separate. God is the Witness.
I can speak anything in front of this mike, something acceptable as well as something not acceptable. But this mike will never say, “This is acceptable; this is not acceptable.” The mike is only a witness.
Similarly, Jehovah, the Divine, is the Witness. He is not separate. That Witness, Christians may call Jehovah, Hindus may call Vishnu. Saivites may call Siva and so on. They are not separate.
222 What is the goal of human life? (311005)
Goal is futuristic. A goal is to be reached. A goal is to be attained. A goal is strenuous. A goal is stressful. A goal is doubtful. There is no goal at all. There is no goal to reach. Why? Because goal means time and space.
If the bus station is my goal, it takes ten minutes to reach it. If the bus station is the goal, there is one mile of distance. So, goal involves two. Time and space. But life is beyond time and space. How can life be purposeful and goal-oriented?
Life has no goal or purpose. We just set our own goals to reach. And once we think that we reached the goal, our ego is bloated. Once we feel that we have not reached the goal, the balloon of ego, the football of ego is deflated. So it is only an ego play, that’s all.
LIFE ITSELF IS A GOAL UNTO ITSELF
My friends, there is no goal to reach. Life is enough of a goal unto itself. We may have passed through millions of lives in the past. We may have had the life of a stone, the life of a tree, the life of a bird, the life of an animal; so many lives we went through in the past. And then we reached this human life. So this life itself is a goal unto itself.
Therefore, to think I have got another goal is emptiness. It is a void. It is an abyss in the mind. It is only a play of the ego to set goals. It is only a play of the ego to set a purpose for your life. It is not like that.
Purpose is nothing but business temperament. “I have come to Puttaparthi to say thanks to Swami that He gave me a job.” A business relationship. “I have come to Puttaparthi because I am in search of a good bridegroom for my daughter.” So see, a business.
GOAL-SETTING IS A PLAY OF EGO
So, wherever there is some purpose, there is a shadow of business. But God is not a business. At least, I am sure. I will give you some examples I know.
Swami was talking to some people. Swami started looking at a parent. “Oh! When did you come?”
“Swami, this morning.”
“Oh! I see. Why?”
“Swami, my daughter is studying and…”
“Oh! You have come for your daughter, not for Swami.” (Laughter) Finished. Finished! “You have come for your daughter, not for Swami.”
Another instance: Swami was talking to a senior officer. “Oh, good! When did you come?”
“Just now, Swami!”
“Oh, I see! Why?”
“Swami, I have come to Dharmavaram on official duty.” (Laughter)
“Oh! Office! Not for Swami.”
This is goal-oriented. This is purpose-oriented. So, if I have some purpose, I will come. “Swami, I have come for my examination.”
“Oh! Examination. Not for Swami.”
Therefore my friends, the goal or purpose that we set for ourselves is nothing but the play of the ego. It is nothing but business; nothing but a transaction on the worldly plane. That is the reply I can give you.
He can say ‘19 years’ (instead of ’19 year old’) as he is not yet ‘old’! (After all, no one is old.)
Oh! My friends, life is not serious. Life should not be serious. No. Life is fun. Life is music. Life is dance. Life is full of festivity. Life is full of joy. Life is ecstasy. Life is bliss. Seriousness is sickness. A spiritual man will never be serious.
We see many people who are ‘serious’ in the name of spirituality. They are misguided people. They are people who have not understood religion at all. They are non-spiritual. I am sorry to say that. To remain serious is a curse in life.
SWAMI‘S SERIOUSNESS IS A DRAMA TO CORRECT US
Can’t you smile? The calculation is like this: There are 84 lakhs of species in creation. It is only Homo Sapiens, the human being, who can smile. If a human being cannot smile, well, should I call him an insect or a mosquito or a bed-bug? I do not know. (Laughter)
We find our dear God smiling and smiling all the while - in a wheelchair or in the car, on the dais or behind the curtain, in a festival, totally relaxed. We will never find Swami serious. He pretends to be serious to correct others. Seriousness is something that He pretends. He acts serious, but there is lot of fun on the inside.
I can tell you one instance. Somehow, Bhagavan was upset with a teacher. The teacher was sitting behind Swami. I was sitting very close to Him and Swami was like that, as usual. Nobody could notice it.
He was talking to me, almost in a whisper, “See how serious that fellow is! How nicely he is crying!”
That fellow finds Swami’s face serious, but He is joking with me! (Laughter) Joking!
“See? I find all ego in his eyes. Let him end himself.”
“How nice it is!” (Laughter) Is He serious?
Then there was another occasion. Let me not mention the name of that man. He is a judge in the Supreme Court. Swami was blasting him heavily because he was irresponsible or something like that.
Swami was looking at me. That gentleman doesn’t know Telugu. He was looking at me smilingly and said, “See how nicely that fellow is crying! (Laughter) He should learn; he should know how to behave!”
“You liked it?”
And the He gave a heavy blasting to that man –same time, same God
SWAMI’S STATE OF BLISS IS NATURAL
Then I understood Swami’s seriousness is just an action. Swami’s seriousness is just a pretension. Swami’s seriousness is just a drama. But Swami’s smile is natural. Swami’s state of bliss is natural. Swami’s laughter is eternal. Swami’s smile is immortal. Swami’s jovial nature is His true nature.
Therefore, my answer to this young man, who is just 19 years, who wants to be serious, let me tell him, “Life is not worthwhile if we are serious!”
SERIOUSNESS IS NOT THE GOAL OF LIFE
Bhagavan gives an example of Lord Krishna. Krishna started singing in the company of cowherd girls in Brindavan. Krishna was singing and dancing in the company of these girls along the banks of the Yamuna River in the night, basking in the moonlight. It was a cosmic dance, a Divine Dance.
The same Krishna started singing Bhagavad Gita in the battlefield. The Gita is a song. When did He sing? At the time of war! Where did He sing? On the battlefield! So, for Krishna’s music, whether it is a full moon night or a battlefield, it is immaterial. Krishna goes on singing because God is music. Life is music. Life is laughter.
So, let us not make our life serious. A patient is serious. A healthy man is not serious. If anyone is serious, we will ask him, “How are you? Are you alright? You don’t look healthy.” A healthy man laughs. So, let not seriousness be the goal of life, for heaven’s sake!
220 At Prashanti Nilayam, when people gather for darshan, almost all blocks are reserved, either for VIPs, students, ex-students, special foreigners, old people, etc., and hardly one block is left for the general public. People coming from far off places, with so many difficulties, hardly even get to see Swami properly. Is it not unfair to reserve these blocks always for VIP people, students etc., who also get easy darshan, sparshan, and sambharshan on a regular basis? (311005)
Yes. To speak from the point of view that this gentleman has expressed, it is a very genuine question. Coming from a long distance, with lots and lots of expectations, when all the front rows are reserved by people for various reasons, naturally we will feel very annoyed. We will be very angry about it. It is quite natural to feel so.
BHAGAVAN IS THE ONLY TOPIC OF CONVERSATION WITH DEVOTEES
I request you to look at the other side of the coin, dispassionately. I am not supporting anybody. Even in my wildest dreams, I never feel that I am special. Up to this day, I have never felt that I am special. No! On the other hand, I feel very happy to be amongst all my friends, to feel that I am a common man, that I am ordinary. That is my genuine feeling now (because I cannot give a guarantee for the future)! I feel very happy when I feel that I am ordinary. I feel very happy when I am a common man. And I think of those days, sitting in the fourteenth row, fifteenth row, talking with other devotees, sharing Swami’s experiences and His messages on the ‘Golden Era’.
The so-called preferential treatment, the so-called VIP line, the so-called first line has not given me as much happiness as I had in the past. In the past, when I was just sitting in the twentieth or twenty-fifth row, the only topic of talk while sitting in the company of devotees was about Bhagavan only. No other talk. People spoke of Bhagavan only.
THE WEARER KNOWS WHERE THE SHOE PINCHES
Those people sitting in the front row have got certain preferences, certain personal agenda. Each one might have a letter of request, a letter of prayer or at least a letter of complaint. Therefore, it is not such a beautiful thing to be seated in the front row. You find more comparison and more competition among those who are seated in the front row.
If a person always sits in the front row, when he finds that seat occupied by someone else, you will see how disturbed he is, though he has been here for the last twenty-five years. He is the only one sitting there right from the inception of Prashanti Nilayam. Poor man! People may leave their property, their relations and their position, but they hold on to the ‘Cuddapah slab’, the stone on which they sit. It is a pity, a real pity!
This is something to be sympathised with and even pitied. There is nothing to feel envious or jealous about. That kind of holding on to a particular seat, ‘Only I should sit here’, is irreligious and non-spiritual, by any standard. No one can defend it. Even if someone defends it, you can tell him straight-away, “You sit by my side in the fifteenth row and you will understand the beauty of it.” The wearer knows where the shoe pinches. I certainly understand.
THOSE IN THE FRONT ROWS ARE THERE FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES
I would like to draw your attention to a naked truth. The officials, the staff members or doctors are heads of different wings in the ashram. Whosoever sits in the front, they don’t sit comfortably. Please watch them. They are not sitting comfortably. You don’t find them relaxed. Why? Swami may call anybody and bang them heavily. Blast them heavily! Yes!
“Where are you? Come here! Ever since you joined the college, you have spoiled the college.”
Would you like to take my place? (Laughter)
“Come here. You brought a bad name to the hospital. I have been watching you and you are not mending your ways.”
Heavy blasting! Would you like to take the doctor’s role? No. He will call some principal or head of the department and say, “There are more failures ever since you have come here.” (Laughter)
Would you like to have it? And then He will call some head and say, “You are shouting there. That is not good. You fellows, who are heads here, are behaving like Pomeranians, bulldogs and Alsatians!”
He said openly on the dais, “You fellows are behaving like Alsatians, bulldogs, Pomeranians. You don’t mend your ways!” That’s what He said openly. It’s on the record! In public, He said it. So would you like to follow the same? (Laughter) Please tell me.
And not only that, suppose He wants to give some instructions to the college principal. If he sits in the fiftieth row, should He wait until he comes forward? If He wants to give some instructions to office people or hospital people, should He search for them? Should He locate them? Most of the people are there for official purposes; most of the time, to stand corrected. They have to be ready to be banged anytime, and heavily.
TRUTH IS ALWAYS BITTER
There is another thing with the Divine Master. This is something which I am not able to digest until today. Something goes wrong with you, but I will get the heavy blast. I don’t understand why! (Laughter) He will blast me heavily. I don’t understand why! After Arathi, I will come to know that the culprit is some other fellow. (Laughter) It is very difficult to digest that. Truth is always bitter. When one student is irregular, all the other fellows will get it -- a mouthful! It is very difficult to accept. If something wrong happens elsewhere, you get a heavy blast! How are you accountable?
And when this question was put to Swami, Bhagavan said, “One mosquito may bite you, but you will kill all the mosquitoes in the room. After all, only one mosquito bites you; why should you kill all the mosquitoes?”
That is the law (Laughter) of our God right now. We are all mosquitoes in His hands! He has got enough spray. (Laughter) Oh yes! (Laughter) Those who sit in the front, they are more accountable, more responsible. They are on official duties. There is nothing special about it.
GOD’S UNSEEN HAND IS EXPERIENCED WHEN WE FEEL NEGLECTED
Before I go to the next question, I should tell you the truth of truths. For seven years, I was always getting fifteenth row or twentieth row, more often it was the thirtieth row, or something like that. During those seven years, I had many beautiful experiences which were never repeated. That period of silence, that period when I was totally ignored, God granted me many, many beautiful experiences. I will tell you about these later.
During that period, I also had some accomplishments and achievements in my life which I never had in the later period. So, God’s unseen hand is present when we feel we are neglected. This is also true at the family level. When there is a small tiff in the family, when a husband fights with his wife or a wife fights with her husband, whatever it may be, they will be thinking more of each other than before! (Laughter)
ENJOY THE DIVINE ROMANCE
This is the Divine romance. If we get used to the Divine romance, we will enjoy it. Of course, it can be a painful enjoyment, sometimes a miserable pleasure, if I can put it that way. Yet, when you think about those past years, you will smile and enjoy. What a lot of fun it has been!
Once the children are away from us, they think of us more than when they were with us. When you are away from your family, you think of your wife right from breakfast time. When you are there with your family, it follows a mechanical routine. So Swami’s outward silence, apparently neglecting us, is establishing a wider, thicker contact than otherwise.
SWAMI IS ALWAYS THINKING OF US
The bottom line is this: Those who are called for interviews, the VIPs, the ministers or President of India, whomsoever it may be, Swami talks about us only. Take it from me; this occurs with the President of India, the Prime Minister or whoever it may be.
“You see My devotees are waiting. They are My devotees. They sit far behind, but they always think of Me. They stay under the trees and they bear all kinds of inconveniences. They are My true devotees.”
Swami speaks about us only to those people who are called for an interview. What more do we want? We are the subject of discussion inside! On the outside, we feel that we are neglected, but inside we are V-V-VIPs! There is no doubt about it. This has happened a million times. I can tell you out of my own experience.
Once it happened like this: “Has prasadam been distributed?” That was the question from Swami.
Then I said, “Swami, Yes, yes.
“Keep quiet! I am not speaking of you fellows seated in the front row. I am speaking of those who are sitting there (in the back). Have they received prasadam?”
“Swami, I think they have received prasadam.”
“Why do you think? You go and check it out!”
When I went, only two rows were left. Distribution was almost over. I thought the boy will complete it quickly. After all, boys are young. They can jump; they don’t walk. ‘They can easily complete it,’ I thought. So I went and reported to Swami. “It is over.”
Swami said, “No! Two more rows are left. Why do you bluff? I know.” (Laughter)
On another occasion, I said, “Swami, the buses are on strike. Road Transport Corporation (RTC) buses are on strike. Buses are not plying to this place!”
He said, “Old news! The strike was called off this morning. Buses are running just as before.” (Laughter)
He even mentioned the name of a person who arrived that morning, sitting in the fiftieth row in Poornachandra Auditorium. “See that man has come here. He is the RTC depot manager. He is sitting in Poornachandra Auditorium, behind.” But Swami had never been to that side.
My friends, these are not stories. I will give you his house number and if you are so particular, his identification (a mole on the hand, a mole on the cheek), his ID, address and all that. Yet, physically we feel so badly when Swami doesn’t look at us. However, contrary to how one might feel, all of us are ‘registered’ here (known and noticed by Swami).
PHYSICAL, OUTWARD CONTACT IS NOT REAL
There were many instances when He said, “This is your fourth visit. You are feeling that I have not looked at you. I know. This is your fourth visit, I know.”
How does He know that this is your fourth visit if He has not looked at you? So, let us be convinced that the physical, outward contact is not the real one. It does not represent the reality, what Swami truly is.
Sometimes, He will turn His head away like that, as if I have done something wrong. Immediately a thought comes to me: ‘Because You have seen me first, You have turned Your head to that side. Or else You would not have turned it! (Laughter) You want to put me to a test; You want to avoid me. Therefore, You have first seen me and then turned Your head like that. I am glad.’
I think like this: ‘If You want to talk to a person, You have to wait, go to him, see him and call him. Because You want to avoid me, You have seen me first, while You have to see the person of Your choice later. He is on the waiting list as ‘number two’! I am in waiting list as ‘number one’. Fine! Why not?’ So, all of Swami’s actions are really very interesting; we should not take it from the outward, external point of view.
I have another question, covering the same issue: “Why is Swami not looking at me? When the car came close to me, He ordered the car to be turned in the other direction.” I think same answer applies to this question also.
219 Why does Swami always give preference to boys only, and not girls? Are girls and women not as devoted as boys? (311005)
It is a good question indeed. This question must be from a girl; there is no doubt about it. Let me make it clear. There are two important points here. Everybody should go by the norms of the society. Everyone should also consider what society feels about your movements, about your activity. If Swami gives more attention to girls and women, the very same people will criticise Him tomorrow as we don’t like to keep quiet: (Laughter) “Why is it that You are always found talking with women and girls?”
If He doesn’t talk to women, we say, “Why don’t You talk to women?” If He talks to women, we say, “Why only with women?” (Laughter) We don’t spare Him! And moreover, this Avatar being in a masculine form should be extra careful. He would not submit Himself to public blasphemy or criticism. Not in the least.
SWAMI SETS THE IDEAL FOR EVERYONE
Point two: He has to set an ideal for everybody. He does not approve of this socialisation. Even husband and wife have to sit in different rows, which you must have observed. The wife should sit with other women and the husband has to sit with the men. This has been the discipline of this ashram from the beginning, and it is in tune with the culture of this land. In the West, this may seem to be silly and quite alien. But here in this land, this segregation has been in practice for many ages. Therefore, Swami insists they sit separately.
To set an ideal Himself, Swami always keeps women at a distance. And at one time, He Himself said, “I will not call any lady alone for an interview.” That’s what Baba told. “I will call that lady along with two or three other people. I will not call any woman all alone.” This is also a model, a lesson for all of us to learn, particularly here in this part of the world.
A WOMAN SYMBOLISES TRUST BY CREATION AND NATURE
Third point: He said, “A woman, once she develops faith, will never drop it.” She will be faithful throughout. By creation, by nature, a woman symbolises trust. A woman is the very metaphor of faith. She doesn’t have to be told and retold, affirmed, reaffirmed and confirmed. This is not necessary. It is their nature. Bhagavan said in the Bhagavad Gita, a woman has extra features when compared to man.
At one time, Bhagavan said, “Although I have not been to the Anantapur campus of this university for the last few years, those girls experience Me more than the boys here.”
You may speak to any member of the Anantapur campus, students or teachers. They will tell you how they feel Him there. It is literally true that many people noticed when Swami moved from room to room there. This is not hallucination, not a dream, not an imagination, but reality. Many people observed Swami moving from one room to another, there in the Anantapur campus while He was here physically. He can appear there also.
Therefore, women will never miss Him because they have got their own way of approaching Swami, more intimate -- a hotline contact.
WOMEN ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MEN HOLDING ON TO SWAMI
Women have many visions. Women have many dreams. We can admit frankly without any reservation, they are responsible for men holding on to Swami. In thousands and thousands of cases, this is true. Therefore, no woman ever feels neglected, whereas a man feels dejected if Swami does not look at Him. No lady is ever frustrated, while a man will think, ‘Why should I go to Puttaparthi when Swami does not look at me?’ No woman would ever say that.
Therefore, Swami has got His own ‘internet’ or I should say inner undercurrent of contact with the women. There is no doubt about it. That’s what I can say. Some of these words are said by Bhagavan Himself. Finally, before I go to the next question, as I start thinking about this, many thoughts come to my mind as stated by Bhagavan earlier.
WOMEN HAVE STRONGER FAITH THAN MEN
Kuchela, a character in Bhagavata, happened to be the classmate of Krishna, but didn’t have faith in Him. On the other hand, his wife, who had never seen Krishna, who only heard about the intimacy between her husband and Krishna, had total faith in Krishna. The wife of Kuchela, who never saw Krishna, had complete faith; whereas Kuchela, His classmate, became a ‘doubting Thomas’. (Laughter)
Kuchela was wondering whether Krishna would recognise him or not. He was wondering whether he would be permitted into the palace or not. His wife told him, “Why do you doubt? He will certainly talk to you. He will certainly recognise you. He will certainly make us free from all the difficulties that we are going through right now.” This story is repeated by Bhagavan, time and again, to show you how strong the faith of a woman is, while that of a man is not that strong. It is weak.
218 The next question is with respect to translations available all over the world. This brother feels that there is a deviation from the original thought. (310705)
I can tell you that the print-out booklet, given to you on the second or third day after the Divine discourse, is made available in the bookstall only after Divine permission and sanction. Therefore Swami’s speeches, which are available for sale in the bookstall, have prior approval of Swami. So we don’t have to doubt it, as it has got the ‘reserve bank stamp and signature of the governor’, so it is genuine currency and not a fake note!
Very good! That’s why He is Bada Chittha Chora. This man says that Krishna was a successful cheater. He cheated Karna and He cheated Dharmaraja, by asking them to do all that was not true. How can God cheat everybody?
My friend, Swami gives a good example, which is there in Satyopanishad. If you follow Satyopanishad, two volumes of which are available in the bookstall, all these questions are answered. The same question was put to Swami.
What did Swami say? “When the thief is running away from the main door, you have to run and follow him. When the thief is escaping through the back door, you cannot say, ‘I will go through the main door.’ You are the owner of the house. If thieves go and escape by the back door, the owner goes through the same door.” Therefore to meet this challenge, Krishna adopted that means. It is not that He is a cheater.
216 “What are your views about astral travel?” (Laughter)(310705)
Worldly travel itself is tiresome. Sometimes, we get the reservations cancelled; plus visas and passports are highly expensive. When this travel itself is a bore, why consider astral travel? Whether it’s astral travel, or physical travel, earthly travel --- travel is travel. Astral travel is possible to some people in deep meditation, and to those who take to penance. To travel, you don’t need to do any penance as there are cars and flights.
Somebody came to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and said, “Swamiji, I did penance for three years.”
Paramahamsa said, “Good, very nice meeting you.”
This man said, “Swami, after three years of penance, you know what I got? I can generate fire here. I can produce fire here!”
Paramahamsa laughed and said, “If you have a matchbox, that is enough! Why three years of penance?! (Laughter) Why three years of penance? Use a matchbox!”
Similarly, why travel? Astral travel or earthly travel or heavenly travel -- travel is not necessary. Sit and meditate. Travel within, not without. Therefore, travelling inward is meditation; travelling outward is a journey. Travelling within is spiritual; travelling outward is tiresome. Travelling within is blissful; travelling outside is disgusting and vexing. Travelling within is certainty; travelling around is uncertainty.
A very good question…the answer is straight. The Sri Sathya Sai Seva organisation, under the Divine direction, has gifted us Bal Vikas to train children. After completing Bal Vikas, as the child grows older, he will pass through the training in Education in Human Values. And as he comes to the college level, he will be given training in Educare. That will make him the pillar of Sai philosophy. To sum up, Bal Vikas, Education in Human Values, and Educare are the three wings of Sathya Sai philosophy that will make you a worthy instrument in the Divine Hands.
Swami can take care of Himself. (Laughter) Don’t worry. You be worried about the scandals that are being spread about you, and the conspiracies that might arise any time. Somebody asked, “Swami, people write so many things against You, and broadcast and telecast so many things. What shall we do?”
Baba said, “You hear so many bad things because you have ears. You are helpless.” When some fellow goes on digging into your ears, helplessly you have to hear, praying that the fellow will eventually run away.
Baba said, “As you have ears to hear, I gave you feet to get away from that place.” (Laughter) God gave you ears to hear, so you are complaining that you have to hear all the nonsense. But know that you are given feet also to run away from there!
213“We want to construct a Sai school in the western countries. Should the building be constructed facing towards east or west?” (Laughter)(310705)
It is a western country, so should the building be turned to face the east or west? My friends, it is really a bothering question. I am reminded of what my teacher said long ago: “Whether the cat is made up of mud or wood, still it must eat the rat.” (Laughter) So whether the building faces east or west, let there be a building first! (Laughter)
Let there be a Sai School first, but we have to follow the tradition of the land. Some people say, “In our country, a building facing east is auspicious.” All right! Follow that. “Sir, in our country, if the building faces west, he will prosper.” Thank you. Let it face west. But when the earth is round, there is neither east nor west, so it doesn’t matter. (Laughter) Earth is round, and for a circle, there is no east or west. But for those who are traditional, who are ritualistic, we honour the just law of the land.
At this moment, I am reminded of an anecdote. There was one great European by the name of Sir Arthur Cotton. He is remembered to this day, because that gentleman was responsible for the construction of a bridge across the Godavari River, which supplies water to thousands and thousands of acres of land today. India should ever be grateful to Sir Arthur Cotton, whose bridge construction is stronger than some of the bridges constructed these days, which collapse the next day. (Laughter) Sir Arthur Cotton’s bridge is still strong today.
Why I want to tell an anecdote from his life is because Sir Arthur Cotton decided to construct a dam. The work started. On the day of the commencement, an old fellow, a casual labourer died. Immediately all the people came and said, “Let us stop constructing the dam because the fellow died.” Somebody said, “In the Godavari River, until now, the water flowed towards the ocean and all the water went to the sea. By constructing this dam, you are not permitting the river to go to the sea. Therefore, the poor fellow died.” (Laughter)
Sir Author Cotton had to take the trouble to visit every useless fellow of this nation, and convince him that the river water should not be allowed to flow easily and merge in the ocean. If the river water is kept in a dam, it can be used for irrigation. He had to convince many people. So, whether eastern-facing or western-facing, somehow we have to turn our face to get away from such people.
Yagna means sacrifice. Let us understand this. Yagna does not necessarily mean sandalwood, ghee, trees, and mantras. That is all outer yagna. Breathing is yagna; work is yagna. To follow the command of the guru is yagna. To serve our parents is pithru yagna. To follow the command of the scriptures is rishi yagna. To worship God’s deities is deva yagna. So, yagna does not mean only a ritual in a temple. If it is inconvenient to go to a temple, do yagna at home by thinking of God, by praying to Him, by listening to His cassettes. That’s also equally a yagna.
I don’t know which profession wants you to commit sins. I don’t know sinful professions or professional sins or professional sinners. I do not know. But this brother has substantiated his statement with an illustration: A police officer has to beat another man; is it not a sin? A soldier has to shoot at his enemy; is it not a sin? No. It is swadharma, it is his duty. A soldier cannot invite an enemy for dinner (Laughter) or for a tea party. A policeman cannot give a hug to a thief or a robber. No. To punish him is his dharma; to kill the enemy is the job of a soldier. It is not a sin. But if you kill another fellow and rob his money, that is a sin. If you know that he is guilty and is a thief, yet you don’t punish him, then it is a sin.
Therefore, our thought process should be correctly motivated. It should be directed along the right channel, so that we know what a sin is. A doctor cuts open the abdomen; what a sin it is! Can you cut my body like that? The doctor is not a sinner, because our life is saved in surgery. Can the doctor shed tears? “How can I cut? It is a sin!” (Laughter) He is the worst sinner if he thinks so. So it is the motive that decides whether he is a sinner or not -- not the act itself.
210 “I am not fit for service physically, but I feel that Swami is telling me that service and Namasmarana should go together. So what path should I follow?”(310705)
Swami time and again reminds us that our birth is a burden on earth if we do not know the purpose of birth. You say that you are physically unfit to do service. I do not know what you mean when you say ‘fitness’. I do not know what you mean when you say ‘service’. An encouraging word, a comforting word or a few words of solace is service. Don’t you think they are acts of service? A gentle look, a smile, is that not service?
So, service does not mean physical exertion. Physical exertion and physical strain is service, but it is not the be-all and end-all. Every word and every gesture, any letter or any look is an act of service. So never consider that you are physically unfit. You may tell somebody, “Do not worry, my dear young man, I suffered like you; but good days are ahead. Am I not happy now?” If you say some soothing words like that, it is service. When you say, “Sir, don’t worry that you have problems. Here is vibhuthi, come and take it.” That is service. Don’t you think so?
Therefore, our idea of service should be totally different. Service does not mean five or six hundred people going somewhere. That is a seasonal activity. It is community activity. As an individual, you can serve the community as service is not seasonal or incidental. It is not accidental. It is one of continuity to eternity. We should go on serving people throughout our life, either by thought, word, or deed.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu. Praying for the peace of everybody is a service. That’s what I love very much about Christians, because they often say, “Please remember us in your prayers. Please pray for me.” Wonderful idea! Beautiful idea! Excellent idea! That is enough service.
209 “My inner conscience tells me that it is time for me to let go of all worldly matters and settle at His Lotus Feet.” And he goes on to say, “My conscience is asking me to leave everything behind….. I am forty years old with a family.” Abba! Bombshell! (Laughter)(310705)
He is aged forty with a family, and he wants to run away and settle at His Lotus Feet! Life is a challenge, meet it. What is the challenge? You have a family and you want to settle at His Lotus Feet. What is the challenge in running away, or remaining here? My friend, where are His Lotus Feet? Please give me the address of His Lotus Feet. Please give me the phone number of His Lotus Feet, or the cell number. (Laughter)
His Lotus Feet are spread all over the world. His Lotus Feet are spread all over the universe. So why do you think of settling at His Lotus Feet, as if His Lotus Feet were present at a particular locality, under geographical limitations.
No. ‘Sarvathaha panipadham tad sarvathochi shiro mukham.’ His heads are everywhere, feet are everywhere, and ears are everywhere. So you don’t have to run away to settle at His Lotus Feet, because His Lotus Feet are everywhere. Where are they? In the Avatar of your heart. The Feet are with you. Can you run away from yourself?
If I ask anybody, “Sir, where is Anil Kumar?” they will say, “I met this gentleman half-an-hour ago. He was alright then; but what happened to him now?”
They will ask, “Is something wrong with you?” (Laughter)
I cannot search, looking for me. So, similarly, thinking that settling at His Lotus Feet is sadhana is ignorance. It is ignorance. It is illusion, because His Feet are installed in your own heart. For that, you don’t have to run away. Can you run away from yourself? What you have to do is look within. When you are sitting in front of me, can I turn my back and look there? I should look at you.
So, the Lotus Feet are installed in the Avatar of your heart. Look within; you cannot run away. He is not far; you cannot get away from Him. He is within you. And taking care of your family is your sadhana. To a doctor, practicing medicine is his sadhana. To a professor, teaching is sadhana. To a businessman, business is a sadhana. So when you want to run away from the family, it means that you are giving up your sadhana and this is something that God will never endorse nor appreciate.
There are thousands of cases where Bhagavan asked people to go back and join their families. And Sanathana Dharma will never allow a husband to run away like that, without prior permission of the wife, which no wife will ever give. (Laughter) Without the wife’s permission, one cannot be a renunciate or sannyasin. Why do they say that? Because she won’t give her permission. So that is the answer I can give.
A dream that makes you confused is a psychological reflection. It is mental imagination; it is hallucination, or to quote Swami, “Hysteria.” The vision of Sai is different from a dream of Sai. I gave one lecture earlier on dreams and visions. There I explained the difference between a dream and a vision.
For those of you who were not present then, for your reference, I will explain this in one sentence: “Vision is spiritual, while dream is psychological.” Vision is directed, while dream is left to your choice. Vision is intuitive, born out of the heart; while dream is a reflection of the mind. Vision comes unexpectedly; whereas usually dreams speak of unfulfilled desires or tasks. A simple example: ‘As I cannot beat you here, I’ll take care of you in my dreams and finish you off there.’ (Laughter) So dreams speak of unfulfilled tasks, whereas visions are quite independent.
207 Some members of our centre believe that we should recite the ‘Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu’ only after doing Arathi. Is that the right way for this mantra? (240705)
Anyone may say, “Why should I eat yogurt or curd at the end of the meal? Why don’t I begin with yogurt? Why don’t I begin with curd?” Why not? Please do it if you want. Or have yogurt only.
But my friends, ‘Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu’ is said at the end of Arathi because, as we leave the bhajan session, as we come out of our own prayers, we’ll have that feeling of universal brotherhood. We’ll have that universal feeling. We’ll have that cosmic feeling. We’ll have that feeling of oneness, of equanimity and equality.
If that is not there, if you say ‘Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu’ at the beginning, then towards the end, you may feel, ‘Let me be happy,’ that’s all. You will end up with (ego) ‘I’-ness. You will end up with the ‘I’-ness of self-centredness.
On the contrary, when you say, ‘Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu’, you are part of loka you are chanting about; so you don’t have to pray for yourself separately. You are part of this loka, as you have not yet gone to the other loka (to die)! (Laughter) We are all here in this loka only.
Some questions I deliberately put in the ‘priority number two’ list. Now I am going there. Oh ho! “I have sent my photo to Swami. He is talking to me. Is there any answer?”
When Swami is talking to you, what answer can I give you? (Laughter) Please put that question to the photo, and you will get the answer!
A second time? (Laughter) If you say a second time, some person will say, “Why not a third time?” Another person will say, “Why not all the time?” No. Why? Because some people love Rama; some people worship Krishna; some people worship Lakshmi; some people are believers of Christ; some are believers of Allah. All these Names should be there.
There can be too much of Ganesha. You cannot do that. When our singers forget to sing a Sarvadharma bhajan, with all the holy Names in all religions, Swami sees to it that they sing that song. He will not get up until that song is also rendered. He insists that a Sarvadharma prayer (bhajan) should be there. Therefore my friend, if you want to sing a second or third Ganesha song, please sing it to yourself! (Laughter)
A child does not need the presence of God to be explained. Children experience God more than all of us put together.
The other day, when the drama was enacted in front of Swami, we found children crying. The children went on crying. I don’t know why they cried. Nobody asked them to cry. During the dance, they went on crying as they had gone into the mood of ecstasy. They had gone into that mood of bliss. There were tears of joy. They could not contain that emotion. They could not contain their happiness; their joy was overwhelming. It was expressed in the form of tears of joy.
So shall I explain to them how to experience God? It is too silly. We also experienced God when we were children. Of late, for reasons best known to us, we need to do some sadhana to go back to our childhood. That’s why Jesus said, “Unless you are like a child, you cannot enter through the gates of heaven.” As a child is so innocent, a child can experience God.
As a matter of training, initially Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas has come with some procedures to encourage the child to proceed along the path toward Divinity. The Bal Vikas syllabus, the Bal Vikas classes, have produced wonderful results all over the world. Please believe it. Children from Bal Vikas are totally different from children elsewhere, as Bal Vikas has given them a sufficient foundation and grounding for the future, so that they are well-trained and prepared to face life and its challenges.
Here is an interesting question: “My dear Anil, I am a member of a Sai centre. I would like you to tell me a bit more about the code of dress in our organisation.” Yes. This question is obviously from a lady.
She says, “When men are free to come for darshan with all kinds of coloured dresses, pants, Indian pyjamas, why should women only come in a particular way? Why prohibit women to enter with particular dresses? Why can’t women enter with pants and tops that are a bit tight-fitting, of western origin?” I am reading it. It is not my creation; please don’t attribute anything to me. I am not interested. (Laughter)
As the proverb goes, “Be a Roman when you are in Rome.” This being India, we have to follow the tradition of this land, as we are here. Wear what you like in your own country. You can be free, in accordance to the law of that land, in adherence to the practice and the tradition of that land. When you are here, you have to follow the culture and tradition of this land. Better I stop at that level, rather than go into other details. (Laughter)
The questioner says that prayer could only push the negative effects off to some extent. The powers of prayers are limited. What is destined to happen will happen, as per the law of karma. In other words this man says, as things will happen according to karma, then why should we pray?
Very simple. There is good karma and bad karma. Good karma will give you good results; bad karma will give you bad results. But when you pray, you will experience your good karma, the good results, with humility, reverence, respect and simplicity.
With prayer, when you have to pass through bad experiences, the difficulties and troubles in life, which are the result of bad karma, you will be courageous, you will be hopeful, you will think of a promising future. ‘There are good days ahead of me.’
Without prayer, good karma yielding good results will make you egoistic. Without prayer, bad karma yielding bad results will frustrate you, and sometimes even lead to suicide.
Therefore, prayer will help you to be simple, humble, respectful, and submissive, and to accept the Divine command, to surrender. It will make you hopeful. So prayer is necessary in both the situations, positive and negative.
The purpose of marriage will be to know that true Love is beyond infatuation and beyond attachment, and will help you to go to Divine Love. Marriage means to find the unity of purpose, the unity of Love. That’s what spiritual marriage means.
200 “When contemplating on Sai, which instantly leads one to enjoy and feel Sai’s Love, I find myself very sad as I feel trapped and chained by the very world I have created around me.” (240705)
Wah! This is a dichotomy of experience. I chant Baba’s Name; I am very happy. At the same time, I feel sad that I am caught in the cobwebs of this world, that I am chained in this world.
My friends, it is not so. When I sing His glory, when I chant His Name, I find the world altogether different from what it was earlier. Before singing His bhajans, before chanting His Name, I find the world disgusting, vexing, mechanical, and not interesting. I find the world full of competition and comparison, with all duality. But after basking in His holy Name, after thinking of Him, I find the world interesting, because the world is not different from God.
God manifest is the world. World un-manifest is God. You cannot love God and treat the world with contempt. No. You cannot simply love the world and deny the Creator. There cannot be creation without the Creator. Creator’s reflection is the creation.
Swami Vivekananda gave an example: A fellow who did not believe in idolatry went on criticising others who worshipped idols. Vivekananda wanted to teach him a lesson. He went into a palace, and looked at the painting of the father of this gentleman. He just pulled it down, broke the glass and kept it under his feet.
The fellow started shouting, “What did you do? It was my father’s painting, a beautiful picture. Why did you do that?”
“Arre! The picture is not your father. Why do you cry?”
“No, no, it’s my father!”
“Similarly, an idol represents the Ideal. So shut your mouth!” he said. (Laughter)
Idols represent the Ideal. We cannot deny them or consider them as foolish. But at the same time, Baba said that an idol is necessary till such time as you realise the Ideal. He gave one simple example: With this finger, you point to the beautiful flower. This pointing finger is necessary until you see the actual flower. The pointing finger shows the direction, that’s all. Thereafter, you don’t need that direction any more. Similarly, when once you are closer to the Ideal, the idol is no longer necessary. That’s how we can understand it.
My friends, you should never feel that you are chained in this world; that you are happy only chanting His Name. No. This world is nothing but His own creation. This world is nothing but His own reflection. He wanted us to live in this world. If this world is so bad, why should He allow us to live here? Good or bad are your own thoughts. Good and bad are nothing but the effects of the change in time and influence. Therefore, a spiritual man will feel the world full of Love. He will enjoy the world as the manifestation of Divinity.
This has to be a question from an Indian! (Laughter) Foreigners don’t have this problem (Laughter) because the moment the boy completes his graduation, he is on his own. It is only in Indian families, that we still have joint families, where it can be a problem.
What is the advice to a daughter-in-law? Swami wants every daughter-in-law to consider treating her mother-in-law as her own mother. Swami’s definition of daughter-in-law is daughter-in-love. Daughter-in-love. The mother-in-law should know that the daughter-in-law is not from a different house; she is, after all, her own daughter. The daughter-in-law should behave and conduct herself like the daughter of her mother-in-law. It is a relationship of mother and daughter, that’s all. It is not ‘in-law’; it is ‘in-love.’ That’s what Swami says.
Of course, this was a lengthy letter, as this good daughter-in-law is under torture by her mother-in-law. But I can’t help her. (Laughter) What to do? It will come under interference.
Some say that marriage is a necessary evil. (Laughter) Those who have got married, they repent. Those who have not, they are in a hurry to get married. That is the beauty in this. (Laughter) That, my friends, is just a joke.
But what does Baba say? Does He say that no one should get married? If He says that no one should get married, why should there be two Kalyana Mandapams (marriage halls) in the village? Why should there be a Kalyana Mandapam in Brindavan, near Whitefield, Bangalore? Why should there be a Kalyana Mandapam in Hyderabad? Why should He Himself perform the marriage? Why should He Himself preside over mass marriages? Why?
My friends, marriage, spiritually speaking, is much more than we understand in the worldly way. All Avatars are born to couples only. Jesus, Buddha, Shirdi Baba, and Sathya Sai Baba were all born to married couples. They did not come out of the blue or from heaven. So how can they say marriage is not necessary? Can they say that? No.
But marriage has a sacred responsibility. There are four objectives of life: dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. Dharma is righteousness. Artha is prosperity. Kama is desire. Moksha is liberation. These four are much easier to achieve and to realise for a householder than for a celibate.
Hundreds of devotees say that they are here because of their wives. I told Swami, “It is the wife who becomes the devotee first. She will not allow her husband to have his breakfast until he agrees to make a trip to Prashanti Nilayam.” (Laughter)
She hurries him, that’s all; and the fellow simply follows her. Thereafter, he becomes a follower and this follower becomes a leader later. She feels so badly for her husband, who was not a devotee initially. Later she complains to the husband, who has become a zealous devotee, an aggressive devotee, a 24-hour devotee. She complains that now he has no time for her! (Laughter)
“You are the woman who complained when I was not a devotee. Now, why do you say this?” I have nothing to say, because we are all of that category! (Laughter)
So my friends, marriage is not a barrier. It is for the realisation of the objectives of life. When you cross the river from this shore to the other shore, you need a boat. Married life, the life of a householder, is a boat to cross from this shore of earthly sojourn to the other shore of liberation. A married man will have a kind of understanding, sympathy and an ability to adjust.
Looking at some people who are not married, I congratulate them. Please remain like that because, if you had gotten married, the wife would have committed suicide because of your temperament, which is non-adjusting! You cannot compromise nor can you adjust with anybody; therefore remain a celibate, at least to save the life of one woman on earth! (Laughter)
Therefore my friends, marriage is not a barrier. It is not that I am in a hurry to get every unmarried man married. I am not a priest or a marriage bureau. (Laughter) I am just telling you that, spiritually speaking, it is not a hindrance. The couple work together, just as two wires, positive and negative, allow the electricity to flow for the light to illumine, for the mikes to amplify the sound.
Therefore, the married life is a life of adjustment, a life of co-operation, a life of mutual encouragement. It is a life of mutual sympathy and empathy. Therefore, it is not a barrier. It is a boat to cross from this shore to the other shore. That’s what I can say from the viewpoint of Swami’s messages.
I’ll give a summary, as the question is lengthy. I’ll try to sum up to save time. What is the proper method to turn the mind inward?
The very fact that you know the mind is outward and that it needs to be inward is the first step in turning the mind inward. This is the first step. ‘I know that my mind is outward. Therefore, my life is miserable. I also understand that my mind has to be turned inward.’
Who is that ‘I’? My mind is outward; my mind has to be turned inward. Who is that ‘my’? Who is claiming that? Who is to turn it? When once you concentrate on that, on the one who is to make your extrovert mind introverted, who has realised it? Who has understood it? ‘My mind is outward.’ How do you know? Who is the knower? ‘I must turn my mind inward.’ Who is going to do it?
Is it a calculator or any weighing machine or a thermometer or a periscope, a telescope or a stethoscope? No scope. So understand the knower, who knows that the mind is outward, who realises that it has to be turned inward. That one is within you. Therefore my friends, this process is called ‘enquiry’. The path of enquiry is the only way to turn the mind within.
Please check: “Ko-ham?” Who am I? The first immediate answer is, “Deham.” I am the body. But you will know very soon that you are not the body because, by evening, you will fall sick with your BP shooting up!
If I am the body, I should remain like this. If I look at my photograph ten years ago, I feel like crying. I will not allow anybody with a camera to click my photograph now. (Laughter) We were all very handsome at one time. Today people want to escape us! If I am the body, then the body should be the same all the time; but it is not.
Next question, “Who are you?”
“I am jivasmi. I am an individual.”
No, you are not. No, no, no. Why? Because in sleep you forget your individuality. You are just lying there like a log of wood. So then, where is your individuality?”
Then comes the question, “Ko-ham?” Who are you?
“Yes, I am Brahman. Aham Brahmasmi. I am That.” That is the correct answer. It is called the theory of negation. The path of enquiry will help us turn our mind inward.
“Without mind, how can I know wisdom?” True! But similar to the moon that vanishes as soon as the sun rises, once wisdom dawns, mind becomes non-functional.
Chandrama Manaso Jaatah.
As you all may know by now, moon is the presiding deity of the mind. But in the daytime when there is sunlight, where is the moon? We will see the moon in the evening. Similarly, the sun represents the buddhi or the intellect. When this intellect or buddhi is present, it’s shining force drives the mind to get out of the picture. That is the state of wisdom.
Knowledge creates ego! A person of knowledge often becomes egoistic. Because he always says, “I know this and I know that.” You tell anything to him, and he says he knows! But we know that he does not know. (Laughter) All those people who say they know, indeed, do not know.
There are three categories: that which is ‘known’, that which is ‘unknown’, and that which is ‘unknowable’. Once I know something, it is known. When I do not know it, it is unknown. But what about this third dimension called ‘unknowable’?
All that is ‘known’ and ‘unknown’ are related to the mind. If I say, “I know you”, it is my mind that tells me so. If I say, “I don’t know you”, it is my mind that tells me I have never met you before. But this kind of known and unknown are the obverse and the reverse of the same coin we call the human mind.
Beyond the mind, however, lays the knowledge of the ‘Self’ or the ‘Consciousness’. And as that is beyond the mind, with what guts can you say, “I know”? In fact, if you say “I know” that logically means that you do not really know! Why? That which is unknowable cannot really be known (by the mind).
Oh I see! Why then are we wasting time when it cannot be known? (Laughter) We have so many coffee shops here. Why not go there then and spend our time more usefully? When it is unknowable, why this exertion? In reality, we are investing our time and energy in grasping the fact that it is indeed the unknowable, which is behind the known and the unknown.
Simple examples: mind is thinking, eyes are watching, and ears are listening because of the consciousness and the spirit behind it. In fact, it is the consciousness that silently percolates and flows into the different senses, making them functional. In reality, we are able to see not because of our eyes, to hear not because of our ears, and to think not because of our mind, but because of the consciousness that lies behind.
It is the ‘unknowable consciousness’ or the ‘unknowable spirit’ that makes things known or unknown to us. Am I clear? My friends, wisdom is extremely precious, valuable, and should be sought after. The whole life shall be oriented towards this wisdom that is beyond the state of mind; that which cannot be expressed but only experienced.
195 What is wisdom (jnana)?(100405)
Another question was put to Bhagavan. ”What is wisdom (jnana)?” These questions naturally come to our mind and, although we might have our own answers, we better hear Swami’s beautiful and direct response.
Before going any further, however, allow me to clarify a few points on the subject. All that is related to the outer world, the five elements, and all that is seen, touched and heard is knowledge, not wisdom. Furthermore, all that we get from books and learn in colleges and universities is knowledge, not wisdom.
So, knowledge is outer, external, and sensual. It is information that is passed on and handed over to us from one generation to another. Knowledge is stored in the head as information is stored in the computer. But wisdom is different. Wisdom is in-born, latent, immanent and our birthright. Wisdom is discriminating, Divine, and spiritual. It is neither learnt nor can be taught.
Knowledge is taught, while wisdom is caught. Wisdom is caught, while knowledge is taught. Knowledge can be taught, while wisdom is caught by the intellect. Knowledge is external, while wisdom is internal. Knowledge is given to us through expression, vocal and verbal, whereas wisdom is intuitive, as an inner voice that we call the ‘conscience’.
Most of us have no experience of the inner voice and have not heard the voice of conscience. Why? Because of the outer noise! (Laughter) As there is outer noise, we are unable to hear or listen to the inner voice. The outer voice can be heard, whereas the inner voice is felt.
Inner voice is the silent whispering of God and it is heard in silence. Therefore, according to Bhagavan, “Wisdom is the annihilation or withdrawal of the mind.” When the mind is totally withdrawn, wisdom dawns; and so where mind ends, wisdom begins.
194 WHAT IS ILLUSION? (100405)
One day, somebody asked Swami, “Swami, what is illusion (maya)?” Our knowledge of the different scriptures, such as Yoga Vashista or Brahma Sutras, assists us in understanding this concept. Bhagavan gave a very straight and simple answer: “Not being what you really are is illusion.” You are the force, the reality, the consciousness and existence, but you do not know that. Indeed, being that Divinity, yet not being aware of it, is what illusion is.
Swami says, “Illusion is nothing but unawareness of the true Self that you are.” Allow me to illustrate this point with an example. Suppose I have so much money in the bank, but unaware of its existence, I lead a beggarly life. Everybody thinks that I am a beggar; but in reality, I have lots of money in the bank to my credit. So, ‘illusion’ is like a rich man who is unaware of having money in the bank, and has become a beggar.
Then somebody asked, “Swami, what is fortune and misfortune?” We rather think that getting first line at the stores or the ice cream parlour is fortune! But according to Bhagavan Baba, “To be away from your own reality and to be forgetful of one’s own true Self is misfortune. To be aware of reality and to have experienced the truth of one’s own nature is the biggest fortune.”
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