"SAI QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS"
Welcome back to the Sunday sessions!
My humble salutations at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
We are meeting after a long gap. Perhaps I
think we met earlier before Sankranti, before the eleventh of January. (Note:
The last Anil Kumar Sunday Talk was on January 7th. Afterwards Bhagavan went to
Brindavan for three weeks. Therefore there was no Sunday Talk.) Many things have
taken place in between.
You all know them. Towards the end, I shall try to share with you what all had happened in between.
Somehow I am very much encouraged to share with you yesterday evening's dialogue with Bhagavan Baba. It is spiritual, highly informative, resourceful, and serves as a guideline, particularly to seekers and aspirants. It is along this line that I want to present before you some of the points that I could gather.
"I AM THE MAGNET"
The first remark that Bhagavan made
yesterday evening, after His regular interviews, was this: "If you act according
to what I say, you will be happy and I will be happy. If you follow My command,
you will be happy and I will be happy."
Speaking in the same wavelength, Bhagavan said another point: "Some of you feel sorry that I don't talk to you. Some of you feel so bad that I am avoiding you. What is the fun of talking to you when you don't follow Me? Why should I speak to you when you do not act according to My direction? Why should I waste My time?"
And the next example He gave to illustrate the same point is this: "A magnet attracts the iron filing. The magnet attracts. Similarly, I am the magnet. I attract you. I draw all of you near and dear, closer and closer, if only you follow Me." This makes us draw certain conclusions and make certain observations on what Bhagavan said along this point of view.
Once He said, "What is the iron piece that is not attracted, that is not drawn by a powerful magnet? Can any iron piece in the world say, 'The magnet failed to attract me! That magnet was utterly miserable that it could not draw me!' If an iron piece says so, 'O Magnet, you failed!' then magnet will reply, 'I have not failed. You have failed because, O bloody piece of iron, you are not pure! You are full of rust and dust. So I don't attract you!' "
So some iron pieces are not drawn. Some iron pieces are not attracted. It is not because the magnet lacks power nor because the magnet lost its magnetic effect. The reason is that the iron is full of rust and dust! Similarly, when we go back to Bhagavan's teaching of yesterday, some of us are not being drawn closer, some of us could not be closer or nearer to Bhagavan, psychologically or physiologically or physically or intellectually or spiritually because of the rust and dust.
Desire and Attachment
So what is this rust? If I am the iron and
if Bhagavan is the magnet, then what is this rust? What is this dust? The rust
is the desire, while the dust is attachment. The rust of desire and the dust of
attachment cover me, the iron. Therefore, Bhagavan, the biggest magnet, could
not draw me. Yes. Attachment is of my own making. We are not born with
attachment. With the lapse of time, this attachment has grown. That's all. We're
not born with attachment. We are not born with the desire. That is sure. The
desires have come in sequence with the passage of time. With the growing,
advancing age, the desire and attachment have multiplied in arithmetic and
geometric proportions. And therefore we have failed, not the magnet.
Here is another example Bhagavan said long
back: The child Krishna was a very naughty child, very mischievous, on spiritual
grounds. We can afford to be mischievous, but not spiritually. But every
mischief of Krishna is not the mischief in the ordinary sense. It is His leela
(play). It is a miracle. It is a leela or a play of God. All Krishna's actions
speak of the play of God, represent the Will of God, a teaching to humanity.
As a child, Krishna started running hither and thither. Mother Yasoda received complaints against this naughty child. About what? Everybody in the neighborhood went on complaining against the naughty child, Krishna. What are the complaints? He goes on visiting every house, drinking milk without being offered, partaking butter (though they are not prepared to serve), and breaking the pots! He's a big nuisance in the vicinity! And therefore they all said, "Who is it who is breaking the pots? He is stealing butter, curd, and drinking milk! We're at a loss!" These are the complaints brought to the notice of Mother Yasoda.
She was so serious. 'It's time to put this boy under control! There must be some check, OK!' Now she held a cane (Caning was also there in those times!) in her hand and went in search of Krishna to beat Him! (Of course, if it was in the United States now, the matter would be given to the court - 'abuse of the child' - or something like that!) (Laughter)
So the point is, holding the cane on hand, she went on in search of Krishna. But Krishna was more intelligent. He was hiding somewhere. She was running here and there. As she was an old lady, she had to run behind Him! She cannot maintain as much speed while running as Krishna can. She was desperate. She was frustrated, very much annoyed with the behavior of Krishna. 'How to catch hold of Him now? If I don't catch hold of Him now, I may lose this degree, this level of anger! That mischievous boy will give a beautiful smile. I'll be carried away by the wafts, by the gust of the wind-current of the smiles of the Lord! This is the time to cane Him!'
So she started staring in all directions. She noticed the footprints of Krishna. What are those footprints? Can you notice footprints here? Impossible. But Yasoda could notice the footprints of Krishna on the flooring of this type. (Note: He points to the floor in the hall.) How is it possible? As Krishna went on drinking the milk from the pot above, to maintain His balance, He kept both His Feet in the pot below! (Laughter) I think I am clear. He was drinking the milk ('Gulp, gulp, gulp!') with both the Feet in the lower pot to maintain the balance. Next, He would go to another place. Come on! He would start eating butter with both the Feet in the milk of the pot below!
Noticing that Mother was coming with a cane, He immediately jumped down and started running! When He was running, the Feet smeared with butter and milk left footprints along the way. Am I clear? Now Yasoda could understand, 'Oh, here are the footprints of butter and milk!' Who will have the footprints of butter and milk? We too have footprints of dust and other things. But Bhagavan's, Krishna's footprints were of butter and milk! While watching that, Yasoda thought, 'Let me follow the footprints!'
As she followed the footprints, she could finally catch hold of Krishna. Bhagavan explaining this said, "Just as Yasoda could catch hold of Krishna by following His Footsteps, failing which there is no alternative to catch hold of Him, similarly a devotee also should walk along the footsteps of God." Devotees should walk along the footsteps of the Lord!
LOVE, SERVICE, AND SACRIFICE
What are the footsteps of Bhagavan? Curd? Butter? Milk? What are the footsteps? The curd of service, the butter of Love, and the milk of sacrifice. So if I am to compare the butter, the curd and the milk, I can say that they are equivalent to Love, service and sacrifice. Those of us who want to follow the Footsteps of our Lord Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, let us watch His footsteps of sacrifice, of Love, of service, so as to be close to Him, so as to be near Him. That's how I understood it when He made that statement last evening.
VALUE OF THE DIVINITY
The second question is this. Somebody
asked, (Their names are not important, only the points are important.)
"Bhagavan, we know that You are God. But why don't we follow You? We know that
You are God! But we are not following You. Why? We fail to follow Your
Footsteps. Why should it happen? Why?"
Bhagavan gave a beautiful example here: "You say that you love God, but you do not have faith in Me. You know. Knowing is one thing. Faith in the knowledge, faith in that which is known, is a different thing." You have known Baba is God. Fine. But we have not reposed faith in that which has been known. So Bhagavan says, "You know that. Agreed. But you do not have faith in what is known." So, by merely knowing that Baba is God, it is not enough. One should have faith in Baba that He is God. Then he would be able to follow Him.
And Baba gave another example. What is it? Mother prepares so many delicacies. She makes so many preparations - sweets, hot things, whatnot. She's so happy with her child, with her son. She makes so many preparations. But the boy wants to visit Holiday Inn! (Laughter) Holiday Inn or Hotel Oberoi - five-star hotel! That which is prepared at home, which is highly nutritive, where everything is in perfect hygiene and healthy, that food is not relished by the son. He wants to buy something outside and he wants to enjoy. 'Let me go to a five-star hotel! Why here?' Similarly, when God's Grace is in abundance, when God's Love is Infinite, still people run after, away from God because of the lack of faith.
So, my friends, to relate this once again: We fail to follow the footsteps of God because of the lack of faith, in the first instance. And the second reason is, like the son who does not know the value of the cookies and the donuts and the pie made by Mother at home, he runs after the cafeteria and restaurant outside. Like that, we also have forgotten the value of the Divinity. We also have forgotten the price of the Divinity. So we run hither and thither. That's what Bhagavan has said.
CLING TO GOD IN TIMES OF TRAGEDY
Third point He said is this. (All the
points are interrelated.) What did He say? We want to run away from God. We
don't want to follow Him? Why? Two reasons He said already. Third reason He is
telling now. What is the third reason that makes us helpless, that makes us run
away and get away from His nearness or proximity? What is the third reason?
Swami gave one example. Mother made preparations. Here you must have known paysam, rice pudding. OK? It is something like pie. I think you will follow that pie example. It is a sweet preparation, like laddus, which Bhagavan distributes. Everyone must be familiar with the laddus. OK? Now Mother prepares those sweets at home. But she sometimes does not serve them to her son. Mother has laddus, sweets, but she does not serve them to her son. Why?
Son is suffering from a sugar complaint, diabetic. Son is a diabetic. But the son does not understand this. 'Why does she not give me a laddu? Why not? She serves laddus to everybody. Why not me? She has so many. She serves in twos and threes to everybody! But she doesn't give even one fourth to me! What is all this? Nonsense! Is she a mother? Does she love me? No! It's time to run away from home!'
Similarly, some of our desires are not granted. Some of our ambitions are not fulfilled. Some of our attempts meet with total failure. Some of our endeavors must have been totally out of our expectation - a total loss in business or a failure in our attempts. That will make us frustrated! 'We can think of God later. Let me cry now!'
In times of loss, in times of suffering, in times of damage, calamity or a tragedy, it is all the more imperative to hold onto God. It is all the more necessary to cling on to God. Why? Bhagavan gave one example: Mother starts beating the child, the little naughty child who is running along the darshan line, spoiling the mood of everybody (which some children do) when Swami starts walking along that direction. Naturally they start crying, as if they could not postpone or advance it! Now when a child runs like that, Mother is helpless. What does she do? She'll just catch hold of him and start beating. This fellow starts crying. But he will not run away from her, which is a natural quality of a child. When the child is beaten, the child hugs the Mother, embraces and hugs her more and more, holds her in his tight grip. The child will be holding Mother, hugging onto Mother more than before!
Similarly, just as the beaten child clings onto, holds onto and hugs the Mother more intensively, the person who suffers, the person in sadness, the person in misery, the person in trouble, turmoil or challenging situations, should hold onto God much more than during any other convenient, comfortable, wish-fulfilling, 'honeymoon' season!
Life is not a 'honeymoon' all through. They have not given any name to the rest of life! They gave a name only to the first period - 'honeymoon'. They are afraid to name the rest because they have to face the consequences! (Laughter) The first period they gave a lovely name, in order to enjoy the taste of life. The next period, well, to be on the safe side, they have not given the name because it is more to be realized and experienced than said!
So similarly, just as the child should understand, 'Mother has not given me a laddu. Mother has not offered me a sweet. It is not that she doesn't love me. It's not that she has no affection towards me. It is in my own interests that she has not given to me. I am diabetic. She wants me to live long. It is love towards me which made her withhold, withdraw the love of offering a laddu to me!' That should be the proper understanding.
So, my friends, as Bhagavan says, "Desires are not fulfilled. Why? It is in our own interests." Some of the plans are unsuccessful - due to it being in our own interest! Some of the dreams have not been realized - for our own betterment! When we consider it this way, we'll never run away from the Hands of God. These things Bhagavan has said.
THE SPIRITUAL PATH IS NEVER TOUGH
Then next I asked this question: "Swami,
all right. Why is it the spiritual path is so tough? I mean, it is so tough
because You ignore me. You don't look at me. You don't call me. And I also find
bumps and jumps in life. And people think I am a devotee, but my suffering and
pain are known to those who are around me. Why the spiritual path is so tough?
Then Bhagavan said, "Spiritual path is never tough. It is never tough. It is never rough if it is really spiritual."
"Oh, I see. So the path I follow is not spiritual now?" (Laughter) The very path has become a questionable thing now!
We follow the spiritual path for worldly benefit. We want the spiritual path for worldly gain. So the ulterior motive, the ulterior idea, the aim of following the spiritual path is not the spiritual end. It is not the spiritual objective. The path is spiritual, but the goal is worldly. The path is spiritual, but the end is ephemeral, transient, sensual pleasure. So property, positions, influence, name and fame, they are the targets, the end and the goal, the aim and the objective. But the path is spiritual.
It is true with every one of us. So we find the spiritual path rough and tough for the simple reason that it is not spiritual. It is goal-oriented. It is need-based. It is world-guided. It is physical, world-motivated. That's all. That's the reason why we find the spiritual path rough and tough.
MIND IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE
Another question: "Bhagavan, why do we
have obstacles and troubles on the spiritual path? Why? It should be like a nice
drive on the highway, a straight, non-stop flight! Why obstacles? Why?"
And then do you know what Bhagavan said? "Obstacles are not there in the spiritual path. Obstacles are made by you. Obstacles are the growth or manifestation or expression or stumbling blocks of the mind. Mind is the biggest obstacle."
So on the spiritual path I find obstacles. Why? My own mind is the biggest obstacle. When the brakes of my automobile, my vehicle or car are not working, I can't blame the road! The national highway is fine. But something is wrong with my accelerator, something is wrong in my engine, something is wrong with my brakes. The vehicle is not in perfect condition. Therefore it is not running smoothly. So I blame, "The road is not fine." People will say, "You are not fine! Your vehicle is not fine."
So my friends, once on the spiritual path, the obstacles that we have on the way are not from the outside. They are not external. They are not imposed. They are not brought by anybody. No animosity, no enmity, nothing. The biggest stumbling block, the worst of the hindrances, the biggest troublemaker is one's own mind!
On the face value, it will look rather out-of-tune because we spend our time mostly in the state or from the state of mind. I talk from this state of mind. If I don't talk using my mind, well I am sure next week this whole Hall will be empty! (Laughter) I do my job in the office with an all-alert mind. If my mind is not alert while at work in the office, I land myself in 'hot waters'! In the USA, they give 'pink slips': "Thank you for your services. They are no more required." By the weekend, you'll get a slip: "Thank you for your services. We wish you all the best." They mean, 'We don't want you here anymore!'
So mind has got to be alert. In the laboratory, one has to be alert mentally. If he is it not mentally alert, he will not be able to take the reading of the experiment. On the other hand, he might land in danger because of the combination of various chemicals there in the laboratory. Some might spill on his body instead of into the test tube. Sometimes it happens.
MIND: THE BEST FRIEND AND THE WORST ENEMY
So we always function at the level of the
mind - in office, at home, with others, along the highway. It is the mind that
is quite active. But the mind is a troubleshooter. Mind has got two faces. It is
the best friend and the worst enemy! Mind is the best friend. Where? In the
world. In this objective world, to be most successful, an alert mind is
necessary. Why? The mind is always extrovert. The mind is always directed
outward. The mind always follows the external path, what is called Pravritthi
Pravritthi marga means the mind is outward. A simple example: I may be alone, but I think of my college. The mind thinks of the college outside. I close my eyes, but I have not closed my mind. That's the reason why meditation has not given us any positive results in many cases. We are successful in sitting straight. Why? Due to backbone pain, that's all! (Laughter) It's physical exercise! We are successful in closing our eyes. Why? Perhaps no one wants to look at us and we don't have anybody to look at. It won't help us. One can close eyes. One can make the body sit straight and tight or cross-legged (and find it difficult to get up later!). (Laughter) This is not meditation. It is just physical exercise, gymnastics, physical education training class, drill class. I'm not lowering or underestimating the procedure. No. It may be necessary to begin with. It may be necessary to start somewhere. We have to start meditation somewhere. So initially it may help us. But it is not the be-all and end-all.
MEDITATION IS THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE MIND
What is the true meditation? What is the state of true meditation? It is the withdrawal of the mind. Withdrawal of the mind is the true state of meditation. Where is the mind? How to withdraw it? If I say, "This hand is an obstacle," I can just chop it or cut it off. Fine. If the leg is an obstacle, I can amputate it. Fine. I know where the hand is and where the leg is. So I can just cut them off. Then where is the mind? Somebody may say, "Never mind." (Laughter) But actually that is not what I mean! What is the mind? Where is it? Perhaps I may fail to give you a proper definition of mind. I may fail to show you where the mind is. But I can express about it.
THOUGHT IS THE MIND
Mind is nothing but thought. Thought is
the mind. Thoughtlessness or withdrawal of the thought, or thought-free state,
is meditation. When there are no thoughts, it is mindlessness or thoughtlessness
or withdrawal of the mind or annihilation of the mind. That is the true state of
Therefore the biggest obstacle is not imposed by anybody. It is not brought by anybody nor imported nor exported nor generated nor manufactured. It is in-built! That in-built, greatest and worst of the obstacles, the mind, is within you. When once that mind is gone, when once the mind is withdrawn, when it is removed by being totally free from thoughts, you have no obstacles and are on the spiritual path!
What a beautiful example! What a beautiful illustration! What a beautiful explanation that Bhagavan has given! A simple example: You know the spider. A spider makes its own cobweb. A spider builds its own cobweb in which it gets itself arrested. The cobweb is the jail or imprisonment. Nobody arrested the spider. Nobody brought any chains and then kept it behind the bars! The spider built that cobweb on its own, got itself arrested in it, and cannot come out of it. Finally it dies one fine day.
Similarly, this thought-process is of our own making. Continuous flow of thoughts is of our own doing. The withdrawal of thoughts is in our own hands. By not being able to do it, by allowing the continuous flow of thoughts one-after-one, we are making a cobweb around us, becoming a spider! Ultimately we are left with no other option than being imprisoned, caged or encased.
So my friends, to withdraw the mind what should we do? To be thoughtless what should we do? That's the next question. It's quite easy to say, "Withdraw the mind!" Oh! Easier to say, "Don't have thoughts!" Oh-ho, fine. (Laughter) How to do that? (Indicating his audience) You are so nice, so good and generous to me. So you are not challenging me! You are not putting challenging questions to me. Thank you! (Laughter)
Now I put a question to myself: How to withdraw the mind? How to be thoughtless? How to transcend the realm of thought? How to go beyond the firmament of mind? How to cross the horizons of mind? How to go beyond the boundaries of mind? How not to be affected by psychological aberrations?
WATCH YOUR THOUGHTS
Bhagavan gives a few examples, easy
techniques. All right. One, an absolutely spiritual answer: A thought has come
to me right now. Who is noticing that thought? This thought has come to me. This
means I am the watcher. I watch my thought. Thoughts are coming one-after-one,
particularly in meditation (because nobody would disturb me). (Laughter) During
meditation time, it is convenient to have a number of thoughts because nobody
will disturb you! (Laughter)
So I should be conscious of my thoughts. I should be aware of my thoughts. What thought has come to me right now? 'The foreigners' dining hall!' OK. Ummmm. It didn't stop there. Next thought came: 'Evening darshan, will I get first line or play some trick near Ganesh statue so as to make some quick reservation?' Oh, caught! Every moment I think a thought…'When is Swami leaving? Is He going to be here until Sivarathri or is He going to leave before or after or at all?' (Laughter) Thought after thought! And the thought won't allow you to decide! That is the tragedy! See that: 'All right, one thought has come. Let me finish it off. Let me think of it. Let me solve the problem.' No, no, no! Before you can think of a thought, another thought comes there! It is something like frogs caught in a basket! You collect so many frogs in a basket. What will happen? One frog will jump out of it. When you catch hold of it, another frog will jump out of the basket! When you go for that frog, three will jump out at the same time! Like that it happens. You will not be able to collect all the frogs and put them back into the basket.
Similarly, thought-after-thought comes in a regular sequence at a terrible velocity or momentum so that we don't even have time to think of a single thought and be done with it! Now what is our state? Our situation is to just understand what thought has come now. OK. Next thought comes, fine. Just observe your thoughts. Be aware of the flow of thoughts. Be vigilant of the thoughts. This awareness of thought-flow keeps you in the position of a watcher. You are not a participant. You are not involved in the thought. You have not become one with the thought. You just see the flow of thoughts. You just watch the flow of thoughts. You are aware of your thoughts, keeping yourself away from them. I think I am clear.
So this state of being a watcher is called in Sanskrit sakshi or in Vedantic parlance, witness. 'Watcher' is a normal, usual, regular verbal expression. If you are a watcher or a witness to the thought-flow, what happens? Thoughts stop! To stop thoughts, you should be a watcher. A simple example: Boys are talking, talking, talking, talking. If I turn my back and just look at the blackboard and start writing, they go on talking and talking. I can't help it. Supposing I turn towards them and just watch the boys, they suddenly become very good boys! (Laughter) 'Ahhh! I have not seen such a batch of boys like this before!' I see. Why? You are watching them. Turn your back, you'll know them in their true colors! (Laughter) Boys are boys, after all! You have to understand. (At one time also we were boys! Now we are big boys, that's all! We are big boys!)
So the point is that the moment the teacher starts watching the boys, well there is no more of noise, no more of sound, no more movement, no more mischief, but they give their full attention! Similarly, until Swami starts, until Swami goes around, until the music starts for His entrance, our (inner) music is in full! (Laughter) Our music is full! Appa! Even if the other fellow wants to close his eyes, I don't allow him to close his eyes because he must listen to my music of lives! (Laughter)
So our music continues on and on until the real music starts and Bhagavan begins walking along the darshan line. When once Swami starts walking, we put a full stop to our music and we start looking at Him. There are no more of thoughts thereafter! Only one thought: 'Whether He would come this line or that line?' (Laughter) 'Whether He would take my letter or your letter?' (Laughter) 'Which batch is called for an interview?' (Laughter) That's the only thought. We are not bothered about our visa or passport or plane reservation, British Airways or Air France. We are not bothered about our job, the new assignment that we are likely to take up back home in the United States. We are not concerned with any assignment or business or any transactions or the share market. Nothing. Why? The only concern is Swami's movement. The only thought, 'Swami is coming this way!'
Then what happens? He asks a few people, calls them for an interview. And suddenly Swami goes into the Interview Room. Then our noise-music starts! (Laughter) Immediately Swami will come out. He turns - Finished! No more thoughts! (Laughter) Those who are standing find themselves seated without being asked, without being told. The miracle of Baba is the discipline that is self-imposed. There is no formal announcement: "Don't talk". Our lips or the tongue will find their limitations watching Swami. We are capable of talking! The moment He goes - Abba! - we start! The moment He comes out and starts staring, nobody talks!
Similarly, the moment you are aware of
your thought-flow, the moment you are conscious of the thought-after-thought
that comes in a sequential order, thoughts come to a total halt! Thoughts come
to a total stop! That is the real state of experience, the 'no-mind' state, the
mind-free state. That is what you call 'samadhi'.
Samadhi: sama (equanimity) + dhi (intellect). He maintains the state of equanimity. He maintains the perfect state of balance because thoughts are no more there! We are agitated. We are disturbed. We are elated. We are frustrated. We are proud. We are egoistic. We are sometimes depressed because of thoughts only. When the thought enters, 'You are that and this. You are a senior man,' well, you don't feel like talking to anybody. You don't feel like looking at anybody. An egoistic thought. When once you feel that other people are more fortunate than you, this is a jealous thought.
So the thoughts have got these attributes or guna. Guna are the attributes. So thoughts carry the guna or the attributes. As is the thought, so is the expression. As is the thought, so is the action. As is the action, so is the result. Therefore when in a thoughtless state, when thoughts are withdrawn, when the mind comes to a total state of halt, by taking that position of sakshi or witness or a watcher, you can tell yourself that you are a realized soul. You can tell yourself that you have realized the soul.
'YOU' DO NOT EXIST
Of course, there is a correction here:
There is no real 'you' to call yourself. 'You' do not exist. I think I am clear.
When once you say 'I' and 'you', it is nothing but mind. It is the mind that
says, "I am so-and-so. You are so-and-so." When the mind is withdrawn, 'I' does
not exist. So if anyone starts describing their meditation, if anyone starts
explaining their achievements and results in the course of meditation, just you
hear him but don't listen to him. (Laughter) You can hear him, but don't listen
to him. Hearing means: "You can speak as you like. I'll think what I have in my
mind." (Laughter) (Some students hear like that. Therefore they fail in the
examination!) We don't have enough of patience to listen to everybody. It's not
worth listening. You can hear anybody.
So meditation or samadhi is not an achievement. So if anyone says, "I got this," it seems he thinks it is an achievement. He feels it is a goal. Hear him but never listen to him. Why? Because the 'I' does not exist. 'I-ness' does not exist. Separateness does not exist. The personal identities are totally lost because mind is no longer there. Thought-free mind, withdrawal state of mind does not have any sense of ego for a claim. So to come back to the question, the biggest obstacle along the spiritual path is the one of our own making, the mind and the thought-flow.
GOD IS PRESENCE
Then the next question: How to know the
spiritual progress? Very good. How to know your business progress? There's a
regular balance-sheet showing the profit and loss. It can have deductions or
additions. You can make a final column. Oh good. How to know your business
progress? Five crores profit! Fine. How to know your educational progress? 'I
got a Ph.D.' Very fine. How to know your physical progress? 'I have put on some
more weight.' 'Very good. Please stop there! No more progress later! (Laughter)
If you go on progressing weight-wise, well that's no progress.' The doctor will
So progress can be measured. Progress can be expressed. Progress can be accessed. Progress can be evaluated in different fields of life. In spirituality, it is neither progress nor a failure because in spirituality there is nothing like progress. There's nothing like evolution. There's nothing like revolution. There's nothing like retrogression. Why? Spirituality is not a goal. Religion is not an achievement. God is not an accomplishment. God is not a person. God is PRESENCE.
Kindly I beg of you to understand this: GOD IS NOT A PERSON. GOD IS A PRESENCE. HE IS A PRESENCE. GOD IS EXISTENCE. GOD IS EXISTENTIAL. God is not an object. If God is an object, you can acquire Him. If God is a person, you can win His favor. If God is a person, you can be near Him. God is not an object. He is subject. He is not in objectivity. It is in subjectivity you realize. He's not a person. He's a Presence. He's Existence. He's bliss. God is a dance, music, ecstasy, existential. Because we view Him from the objective point-of-view, we are not able to enjoy the fruits of our attempts. We are not able to realize our dreams of fulfillment. All our plans don't come true because we take God as a person. When once we feel Him as a Presence, our attitude will be altogether different.
Because you consider God as a person, you are after excitement. Excitement - "Swami materialized vibhutti there! Ahhh! I am excited here!" (Laughter) "I am granted interview!" I am the very metaphor of excitement! "Swami just looked at me!" Ah-ha, I am highly excited!
SPIRITUALITY IS ECSTASY AND NOT EXCITEMENT
But spirituality is not excitement.
Spirituality is ecstasy and not excitement. Ecstasy is different from
excitement. Excitement is momentary. Excitement is reason-oriented. There should
be some reason for your excitement. If one feels excited all the time, there is
something wrong with him! (Laughter) It may be an expression of blood pressure
or hypertension, one day leading to a cardiac arrest! You can't afford to be
excited throughout. So it is not excitement because excitement is an expression
of emotion, and sometimes indicates emotional imbalance.
So emotional imbalance expresses itself by way of excitement. God is not excitement. God is ecstasy. Ecstasy means non-dual state of bliss. Ecstasy means the very expression, the very way of life - full of fun and frolic, the joy, the Cosmic radiance, the Divine vibration. That is ecstasy. Ecstasy carries with it the Divine vibrations, the Supreme State of bliss, unlike excitement which subsides.
Excitement is not permanent, while ecstasy could be made permanent. One can live in ecstasy continuously without any health hazard. He can be more healthy by being ecstatic, not by being excited. Excitement is possible with a bottle full of Scotch whiskey, but not ecstasy! (Laughter) Ecstasy is possible through meditation, not otherwise. It is meditation or prayerfulness or thinking of God with a contemplative, meditative or concentrated mind that will bring the experience of ecstasy.
Swami laughed when this question was put to Him, "What is spiritual progress?" There is nothing like one being higher and the other being lower. Well, my temperament is not to keep quiet, to put another question until I get into hot waters! (Laughter) "How about different levels of comprehension? How about different levels of experience? In spiritual path, one has one level of experience. Another person has another level of perception, another level of experience. What shall I say, Swami?"
Then He said, "In spirituality, there are no levels. To consider oneself at a higher level is not the spirituality. It is ego that makes him say that! Egolessness is religion. Ego in its nature is material experience. So if ego prompts, it is material, worldly experience."
SPIRITUALITY IS IMMEASURABLE
So Bhagavan says, "Spiritual progress is
not to be measured because it is aprameya, immeasurable. It is
nirupamana, incomparable, avyaktha, cannot be expressed, achintha,
cannot be thought of. It cannot be thought of, is inexpressible, beyond
expression and imagination. So that being the case, how do you say 'progress' or
'failure'? How can you say that?" That's what Bhagavan has said yesterday.
And in the same address He said something, to add a special caution to all of us, as it equally applies to us all. (Whatever I say, it begins with me, please understand. I am in no way superior to anybody. No, no, no, no. I am the least of all. I am fully aware of it. Anything I say, it begins with me. That's it.) In Telugu He said, "If you act according to My instructions, you'll be free from all accusation. You'll be free from all blame. You'll be free from all punishment. You'll be comfortable. You'll be happy." That's what Bhagavan has said.
EARTHQUAKE IN GUJARAT
I am left with a couple of minutes more. I
know that many are anxious to know some more details of the conversation we had
with Bhagavan. I'll just say a few highlights for lack of time.
When Bhagavan has been announcing the kind of service extended to the earthquake victims there in the State of Gujarat in such a large scale, in such a large measure, all of us were wonderstruck! I cannot imagine 70 truckloads of rice, wheat, oil, plus certain implements to make chapattis, clothes, and hundreds (1300 or so) tents to live in! Tents to live in, chapattis to eat, rice to cook, implements to use, oil for health! What more you want in life?
Swami is supplying all these things in such large measure - 70 truckloads with thousands of bags, hundreds of tins, thousands of items like that. When Swami was explaining, I don't remember the exact number because I am a student of biology, afraid of numbers and statistics! (Laughter) The very number is enough to frighten me! So I don't remember the exact number - but it was in hundreds I can say, in some cases, in thousands also or a little more. Swami was explaining, "1500 tents to live in and 2000 bags of rice," like that. Well I could not resist the temptation to say, "Swami, what a help You are doing!"
Swami turned back and said, "What did you say?" (Laughter)
He does not purposefully hear you to make you repeat, and for me to receive scolding! When He says, "What?" it means you are wrong totally. That's why He makes me repeat, so that others will have entertainment at my cost! (Laughter) "What did you say?"
"Swami, what a help you are doing!"
"Why do you say that? I am not helping anybody. You say that you are helping somebody because you think that you are serving public. I am not serving public. I am not helping anybody. I feel that all of you belong to Me. I feel all belong to Me. I feel that you are all Mine, My property, My people. So why do you say 'help'?"
Finished! I kept my mouth shut.
BLISS IS WITHIN YOU
Somebody said, "Bhagavan, You were not
here for so long. And now that You have come back, we are happy." Good
statement. Can anybody say that is wrong? (Laughter) "Swami, You were not here
for some time. Now that You are here, we are happy!" Anything wrong with that?
(Laughter) It's not a negative statement. I know that you (to audience) are not
talking because you know the risk involved! (Laughter)
Then Bhagavan said, "I may not be here. But you are here. You are here, aren't you? You are here. Then why do you say this?"
"Oh, I see."
Then I wanted to improve upon that question, thinking that that man has not put it properly. (Laughter) I said, "Swami, since You are here, our faces are shining brightly. We are blissful since You are back with us!"
Then He said, "You are wrong! (Laughter) Why? You are bliss. The bliss is within you."
I don't want to accept defeat. How many times can I afford to lose my argument? (Laughter) Any lawyer or attorney would not like to lose the case every time he appears in the court. At least once in life he should win a case! (Laughter) So I said, "Swami, if bliss is in me, then how is it that I experience it now after You have come? Why not before? (Laughter) You say bliss is in me. I experience it now. Why not before?"
Our God, you know, after all can't He answer a fellow like me? He turned and said, "No, no, no. The very thought that I am not here, the very thought that I have separated from you, the very thought of separation covered the bliss within. The bliss within you is covered by the thought of separation, by the thought that I am away from you. Or else bliss in within you."
Finished! That's the end of the argument. (Laughter)
LAW OF NATURE AND THE LOVE OF MAN
And then another question: "Bhagavan, You
don't want me to say that You have helped the Atma which is there. I can
understand because we are Your people. But…"
"But what?" (Laughter)
"You should assure me that You would not misunderstand me because I need some time to pack my luggage if I am asked to go! (Laughter) Because it is a risk, I know that!"
"What? Doesn't matter. Ask, ask!"
"Why did you not prevent earthquake?" (Laughter) "You could have prevented earthquake. Instead of preventing, You want to send hundreds of lorries. Why? Or, why should You make me cry and caress me later? Why?"
Then Swami said, "I see." He looked at me seriously. I have put this question with the voice fumbling and the legs trembling! (Laughter)
And then He said, "Natural calamities of this type - earthquakes, floods of this nature - this is all the Law of Nature."
"Then Swami, how about the lorries and all that?"
"That is the Love of Man!"
So natural calamity is the Law of Nature. Sacrifice, help, coming to the rescue of the poor and the needy and the downtrodden, rising to the occasion when it is required, is the Love of Man! The Law of Nature is what you find. The Love of Man is the response. That's what Bhagavan has said about it.
THE DIVINE FORMULA
And Swami said another point that I want
to share, which I think you will like. I know the time is up. I'll conclude.
Swami was just looking like that. All of us were staring at Him, looking at Him because everybody wanted to collect every point He made.
Suddenly Swami called one M. Sc. final year boy, a postgraduate. "You boy, come up!" (He came from a distance.)
The fellow came, thinking that he will get some vibhutti prasadam. (Laughter)
He called him and said, "What are you doing?"
"Ah, Swami, what am I doing?" (Laughter)
"No, no, no. You are physically here looking at Me. But mentally you are thinking something else. Being here, yet you are thinking something else. You are physically present and mentally absent! You are not supposed to do that! Right now you are thinking about your sister, OK?"
That fellow was shivering.
Then silently I said, "Fall at His Feet! That solves the problem." (Laughter)
The boy, being smart enough, could hear my whisper and fell at His Feet.
"There. It doesn't matter, boy. Nice, nice."
Baba is so kind. He doesn't look at you until you shed a tear and He cannot see you shedding tears continuously. He cannot bear your suffering and your crying. Until you start crying, He won't look at you! And He won't allow you to cry for a prolonged period. He starts melting. So we know that's the Divine Formula. So we have to follow and fall at His Feet.
And the boy left. Swami said, "In any congregation like this, when we talk about spirituality, when Swami is here talking to you in a congregation or in a discourse or in satsang during bhajan, you should be alert. You should be here with full concentration. You cannot be mentally absent, allowing diversions. No, no, no."
And He gave one example, with which I will close for this morning. He gave an example of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a very great sage of this country, a realized soul, the one who brought this feeling of congregation of worship, the one who propagated the principle of fellowship of faith, unity of religions. By practicing, he propagated. Such a great man!
One day he was talking to his devotees. In the gathering there happened to be a lady by the name of Rasamani. She had appointed Paramahamsa to serve as a priest in the Divine Mother Temple. Yes, such a rich lady, a highly respected lady was also there in the gathering.
Paramahamsa started talking to people. Suddenly he got up, advanced a few steps towards her and slapped her on her cheek! He slapped her! Everybody felt very, very much embarrassed! They felt so badly. We don't expect a Preceptor to get up and slap a woman in public!
"Is this the sagehood? Is this the quality of a realized soul? What kind of a priest is he?" People felt very much ashamed.
And then Paramahamsa said, "Look here! When once you are here, you have no business to think of anything else! You are thinking of your court deal. You are thinking of your litigation, your court matters, the documents with your attorney. You should not do that. If you are so busy with your court dealings, you should have stayed back at home. Being here, you should not entertain any other thought!"
With this note my friends, I take leave from you for this morning. Next week same day same time. (Applause) Thank you. Sai Ram.
(Professor Anil Kumar closed his Sunday Talk by singing, "Bhaja Mana Narayana, Narayana, Narayana.")
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
O Shanti Shanti Shanti
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Ji Ki! JAI!