November 25, 2001
"Echoes from Discourses"
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of our most Beloved Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
The Real New Year Begins
We’ll commence the New Year from this day. Why? Because after Bhagavan’s Birthday, the real New Year begins. We don’t go by the calendar year. The calendar year begins from the first of January. We don’t go by the academic year, which begins on the first of June. We don’t go by the financial year that starts the first of April. So, it’s not the financial New Year; it is not the academic New Year; it is not the calendar New Year. It’s the spiritual New Year, beginning from 23rd November. So I welcome you all to listen on this new spiritual year. (Applause)
I'm so glad to meet all of you. This being the first session in this new spiritual year, I wanted to share with you certain important points and highlights of Bhagavan’s discourses, which He has so graciously delivered during the recent days. What are the important points, these highlights? It may not be possible to cover them all, nor is it necessary. But my attempt is to draw to your attention to few points so that you’ll be encouraged to work along similar lines.
Listening with Open-Mindedness
Spiritual activity requires three important things. The first is listening or Sravanam. One has to listen patiently. Unfortunately, we don’t have that. We listen as we think. We think and listen. Therefore, neither do we think or listen. We listen in order to contradict the speaker. We listen with prejudice. We listen with bias. We listen totally negatively, without any positivity. Listening in that way, we will not be benefited by such a listening process. Listening with open-mindedness, listening in a total state of silence, and listening with a spirit of acceptance is spiritual.
So my friends, when we hear Bhagavan, we should not just hear Him. We have to listen to Him. You can hear any stuff that is said to you. "I got first line. I got vibhuthi." OK, OK. You can hear all this and then forget about it. But certain things you have to listen to and remember for your whole life. Those things we have listened to we have to remember lifelong. But those things we have simply heard are just passing clouds.
So, having listened to Bhagavan’s discourses for the past couple of days, I thought of sharing a few of the important points and highlights that caught my attention. As the time is inadequate to cover them all, I limit my self to five of the important points.
We Are Not Prepared For Enlightenment
The first point is with regard to enlightenment. Bhagavan has decided to speak on this subject of enlightenment. Since we are not prepared for such enlightenment, those points do not get into our head. I am not blaming anybody. (Whatever I say, I am also included. I am not on a higher pedestal. I'm the first among you. I'm sure, my good friends, you’ll never mistake me. I mean ‘we’, including myself.)
We are not prepared for enlightenment nor are we making any attempt for enlightenment. Therefore, these points don’t sink into our heads. Some of you may ask, "Why do you say that? On what basis do you say that? On what grounds do you say that? Why?"
We are disappointed when we don’t get interviews. We are frustrated when Bhagavan does not look at us. We are depressed when He does not take a letter. In fact, we are highly jealous of those who get these interviews and get their letters taken by Him. When Bhagavan declared last Guru Purnima, "No more padanamaskars.are to be taken," we lost all hope as if our lives were lost.
These are all the features and all the points that indirectly tell us we are not prepared for enlightenment. "Swami, I'm not prepared for that." "Why?" "Well, I'm lost when You don’t look at me." Somebody was complaining this morning, "Why did Bhagavan stop walking toward the left side of Sai Kulwant Hall?" That was the question put to me. (Laughter) Why is He not walking toward the left side (gents’ side) of Kulwant Hall?
What should I say? The answer is, "He is walking towards the right side." This is the answer regarding why He is avoiding the left side! (Laughter) Yes! Just as I have no answer to tell you why He’s walking this side, likewise I have no answer for why He’s not walking on that side. I have the same answer – no answer – for both questions. So, the questions of ‘why’ and ‘why not’ come when we are not prepared for enlightenment.
There are also some people who write some chits: ‘yes-no, yes-no’. There are two ‘yes’s and two ‘no’s. They put them in front of Bhagavan saying, "You can take one." Supposing if it is ‘no’, they are not prepared for that ‘no’. They do it again until they get ‘yes’! (Laughter) Until they get ‘yes’, they do it. It means, "Swami, though I give You a choice, it is really in my hands!" (Laughter) So this is not an indication of enlightenment, no.
Moreover, all of us are also under one mistaken idea. Many people come to me and ask me, "Sir, please tell us some experiences. Please tell us some ‘miracles’." Well, I'm very much surprised whenever I encounter such a question. Why? Baba has certain points to say about these ‘miracles’. One thing He has said is: "All the miracles and experiences come to the size of a mosquito when compared to My Divinity, which is the size of an elephant." So, since we live in the midst of mosquitoes, we appreciate mosquitoes, along with their music at night in particular! Hence, we are after these ‘mosquito-miracles’. Very good. Why not? (Laughter)
A Miracle Is Just a Visiting Card
The second point He said was regarding miracles or experiences. They are just a ‘visiting (business) card’ for you to know that God exists. For so long you have been under the opinion that everything is under your control. "I can manage, I can dictate, I am everything." This kind of ego, this kind of I-ness, is more and more rampant, increasing day by day, Therefore, there comes a ‘speed breaker’ in our life, either wife or doctor or your good noble Self. For example, doctors examine you and say, "It’s a doubtful case." Then we suddenly turn to spirituality. So, spirituality or God come into the picture when we fail. It’s the case.
Then what happens? When things happen favorably, for example if I'm cured totally or if I get a promotion also (sometimes overtaking my immediate juniors), well, it is a ‘miracle’ in life! If I get a free ticket or a place to sit in the front row, these are all ‘miracles’. That’s what we think. But my friends, a miracle is not necessarily a success. Failure is also a miracle. Please understand this. Failure is also a miracle. Birth is a miracle and so also is death. Victory is a miracle and so also is defeat. Therefore, our attitude towards miracles is not correct.
A simple example: Many devotees or most of us are here for some problem or other. I say ‘most of us’. There may be a few who are above this. I cannot generate equations for them. When scientific laws have their own exceptions, why not humans too? There are some exceptions. But for a fact, most of the people are here due to some problem or other.
Bhagavan is gracious enough to have these problems solved immediately. So we develop some faith and we are very much attached to Him. But the trouble comes later when we then expect miracles to happen every day. Not only every day, but in our life only! (Laughter) That is the tragedy. "Every day should be a bright day, a successful day, a day of conquer, a day of valor, a day unbeaten, unrivalled, unparalleled, a day where I always maintain my supremacy." That is a ‘miracle’. I am just telling you openly that this is our concept of a ‘miracle’.
But that’s not so. A trouble that we had at home, a family problem that we had at home, a professional problem or a business problem, a problem in politics, whatever it may be, some problem brought us here. Though that problem is negative, it brought us here. So that is positive. Thus, a negative thing gave you a positive result! Now tell me what is a ‘miracle’ now?
A person is suffering from a serious ailment - a negative. He came to Bhagavan - a positive. Now tell me which is positive and which is negative! There’s nothing like that. A thing, which was so sad, conferred upon him a thing that is so blissful. Sickness made him spiritual! I think you’ll agree with me. The problem made him to find a solution and he turned spiritual. Or else, had he been hanging round his problem, his life would have been problematic, and he himself would have turned into a problem for everybody! So my friends, even a failure is also a ‘miracle’.
Death Is the Dress of Life
It so happened that some time back one of our friends from my native place breathed his last. He died all of a sudden here in Prashanti Nilayam during the Birthday celebrations. I knew him for the last twenty years. He died all of a sudden. Well, it appears to be a tragedy. Yes. But if we go deeper into the matter, he did his service. He served as a volunteer. He was an ardent devotee, quite an active man, who had all his problems solved. He was very fine. That moment he just walked with some uneasiness, and within couple of seconds, that uneasiness was gone because he found a place on the Lap of Bhagavan: He merged in Him!
It’s only death, though it seems to be a tragedy. But ultimately He brought him glory. Ultimately it brought him to bliss, rather than falling sick at home and remaining bedridden, having to be taken care of by everybody and making all disgusted with him. Family cannot serve us for long because we haven’t served them at anytime. We expect everybody to serve us. Then life becomes a burden. Instead of life becoming a burden and full of boredom, he just simply took the ‘intercontinental flight’, which took him to the ‘other planet’ (leaving the body)! Easy transport, no further visa problems, no more passport problems, no such thing, no more seating problems. He can always have the window seat! (Laughter)
That’s the reason why Bhagavan says, "Death is the dress of life." Hence, my only point is to draw your attention this morning to the point that there is something good even in bad, and there is something bad even in good things also.
Here is another simple example: I’m a very successful man and I'm a very big businessman. I’ve got a lot of money. Good, good, it’s a ‘miracle’! However, because of too much of money, I take to vices, gambling, and drinking. I lose all the money, become so weak and pathetic. So, that initial success, that initial ‘miracle’ of money, brought me the ‘miracle’ of hospitalization too! (Laughter)
So what should happen in life? Should we always have only good? But that may turn into bad later on. In addition, the bad of today may turn into good later on. That’s the reason why, my friends, in the last discourse Bhagavan made this important point. It has dug so deeply into my heart that I have been waiting to meet you in order to share with you this particular point, which is most essential at one time or another in our life. What is it? Bhagavan said: "Go to the Primal Cause, the Primal Foundation." Then look at It.
Go To the Primal Cause
A simple example: here is a screen. On the screen, films are projected. Without the screen, we cannot see the film. Mere film projection into an empty space will make everybody feel that there is something wrong with our heads! So, the screen is essential. On the screen, we project the films. Let us say that we are watching a film that shows floods. However, in spite of the floods being projected on the screen, the screen will never be wet. You can touch it…it’s not wet! Another film shows fire, a huge bonfire, and the whole city is in flames! People watching are saying, "Ah, ah, ah!" But please touch the screen! It is not burnt. Thus, the screen that projects the floods is never wet, and the screen that projects the flames of fire is never burnt.
In another film, a romantic film, we find the hero and heroine just dancing for the time being. After an interval, we will find the reverse side of life! (Laughter) During the honeymoon period, they dance. Later, they make others dance (meaning, there will be some troubles)! (A.K. and all laugh) So what happens is this: Oh! We find a beautiful dance going on. It is so nice! But the screen doesn’t dance. It doesn’t nod its head or anything like that. It is just like that, like it always was. Then, after an interval of time, there’ll be some misunderstanding between them. Then the heroine goes on fighting with the hero, the hero may like to manhandle that lady, and, in the end, both of them start crying! Then it is finished.
But if you go to the screen, it is the same. Even during romantic scenes, it is the same. During times of fighting and conflict, it remains the same. It means the screen is the ‘primal principle’. The screen is the foundation or background upon which or against which life is being projected. I think I'm clear.
Therefore, Bhagavan says that there’s nothing like pain and pleasure. Go to the Primal Cause, like you do with the screen. That is the foundation, which has no change at all, which does not respond or react to anything, which only reflects an image. There is no reaction at all. Nothing remains like that. That stillness is called the ‘Witness’. That is called the ‘Witness’, which is our true Being. Our true nature is that of the Witness. Just as the film screen is unaffected, the Spirit, the Soul, the Consciousness, our Atma, is not affected. This state of being unaffected is the non-dual state, which is called the Witness.
That’s what Bhagavan was talking to us about. The whole idea of spiritual exercise, whether you do worship (puja), or sing His glory (called namasmarana), or do meditation (dhyana), or go through books (parayana), the ultimate aim, the ultimate reality, the final goal, the last destination is only one thing. That is experiencing the Self, being an eternal Witness. Self is an eternal Witness, non-dual, not carried away by any sort of experience. Due to our life and our experiences here, particularly with Bhagavan, we will realize this Witness or Self some day or the other. He won’t leave us until we do.
Maintain That State of Balance
When you are called for or granted an interview, you go into that room and experience the way Swami talks to you. It will appear as if you are the center of the world! You will feel that you are the Universe, and that this Incarnation needs you. Yes, you will feel that this Incarnation is purposeless without you. (Laughter) This Incarnation has no Divine program without you! Why? Because Bhagavan gives you that feeling of importance. That’s the reason why, after an interview, when we walk out of the interview room, we don’t walk like normal men and women! (Laughter) No, no! Ah! So rhythmic! There’s music, "Hi, hi, hi, hi!" (Laughter) Why? Ah! The Divine Spirit...it is not alcoholic spirit, but Divine Spirit! (Laughter and applause) Even simple alcoholic spirit gives us kick! But Bhagavan’s ‘Divine kick’ (sounds like ‘wine-cake’) is a thousand times more than ordinary wine! (Laughter) All of us have that experience.
Then what happens? The next day, as He passes by, He stands in front of you. He lifts both of His hands and He starts looking up, while you are down there. (Laughter) "Only yesterday morning You gave me the impression that I'm so dear and I'm everything for You. Yet today You fail to identify me!? (Laughter) You fail to recognize me! Am I nobody to You, Bhagavan? I was everything to You yesterday. And today, I’m nobody." That’s it.
Why is this? There are two points here. One point is that we have to maintain that state of balance, when interview is given and also when interview is not given. We are able to develop the balanced state of mind. And secondly, Bhagavan also demonstrates detachment. "Just because I talked to you, never think that I'm attached to you. No!" There is no attachment.
It can even happen to a big (VIP) man. I can give you an instance, but let me not name him (as it doesn’t look nice). A Chief Minister was kept waiting for three days outside! A Chief Minister! Whether he is a Chief Minister or the Prime Minister, it doesn’t matter in front of Bhagavan. They are Ministers to the people there in the Parliament, but not in front of Bhagavan. Unless you forget that you’re a Minister, He will never remember you!
So, this understanding and balance, that’s what He was talking about - samatwam, equanimity, and samatasthithi, a balanced state of mind or being equanimous. If one remains like that, that is really a spiritual life. When can we develop it? When we can accept that good and bad are ultimately for our good only. This is what is called ‘surrender’.
Somebody asked, "What is surrender?" Surrender is very simple. Preparedness for anything that comes in life is surrender. It is not helplessness. No! It is preparedness. Whatever might happen, all right. If You look at me, good. If You don’t look at me, I continue to maintain my own peace. I don’t disturb anybody. (There are some people who go on disturbing because they themselves are disturbed! Beware of them.) So, a balanced state is very much necessary, as He has mentioned.
How to develop a balanced state of mind? What is equanimity? Is that possible? Bhagavan said it is possible. If it were impossible, that would not draw us to attention. It helps us to know that it is possible. God is here to tell us how to achieve it, how to attain the state of equanimity.
Consider Your Mind As Your Servant
He has said another important point. What did He say? Consider your mind as your servant, not as your master. If you consider your mind as your master, you are happy in the morning, but miserable in the evening. You’re successful during the year 2000, but an utter flop in the year 2001! So this kind of duality, good and bad, these things like success and failure, such dual attitudes happen as they are the products of the mind. That’s what He was telling us. I think those of you who heard with rapt attention the Divine discourse must be remembering all that He has said without failure. So, that mind which is a servant, that mind used as an instrument, will help you to develop that state of equanimity. That’s what He was telling us.
Bhagavan further said that the senses are negative, the mind is negative, and the intellect is negative. In fact, everything in the whole world is negative. But there is only one thing that is positive and that is your Self or Conscience, Spirit or Atma (whatever name you may give). Some people call it Soul; some say it is Spirit. Whatever you may call it, that is the only thing that is positive. All the rest is negative. When once you know that you are the Self, then the senses are instruments, the mind is an instrument, the intellect is an instrument, and the Self is the master.
So my friends, I'm bound to react. I'm sure to show my own reactions during times of happiness and times of unhappiness. I do show my reactions. People say that the face is the index of the mind. I cannot say that I'm happy and then put on a long Shakespearean face! "I am happy." Oh-ho, is this happiness? Some people shout, "Well, I love people!" Oh-ho, shouting is love? I don’t think so. It is terrorizing tranquility! Or violent peace, or peaceful violence. It is not peace or happiness. So, the face is the index of the mind. This sort of feeling of being a master, of having control over the mind, will help us to remain in the state of equanimity. By considering the mind as just an instrument, we are able to transcend the dual experiences. That is what He has said.
Be a Watchman, Watching Your Own Thoughts
Other point that deserves your attention, which I want to make before I go on to the next topic, is this one. This is the last point with regard to the mind. Here is a simple example. I'm a member of the Seva Dal. I’m in the service wing. I'm given duty there at the gate. What do I do? I see people come in and go out. I see where people are seated and, if they don’t have seats, I show them seats. I just watch. That’s all. People come and go. That’s all that I do standing at the gate, right?
Similarly, all the thoughts that come into our mind, thoughts that come and go, such thoughts create a traffic jam like at the Bangkok Airport! These rush of flowing thoughts create a traffic jam. Imagine this. There’s a terrific rush of vehicles. It will take you at least three hours to reach Bangkok Airport because there is a traffic jam all along the way!
So the point is, just as you find people coming and going, so are thoughts coming and going. Watch the thoughts that come and go. You are a watchman now, watching your own thoughts. You are not the thought. When I think that I am the thought, I'm egoistic. When I am the thought, I am proud. When I am the thought, at times I am mad. So, just say to yourself, ‘No, I'm not the thought. I should just watch my thoughts as they come and go.’ Then what will happen? There comes a stage when thoughts stop.
Here is a simple example. These are all examples from Sai literature. My brothers and sisters, I always emphasize this point. Do not make a mistake and think that I'm speaking, based on my intellect (which is non-existent, I know)! (Laughter) Never think that these are all things that I can imagine and then speak to you. Not in this lifetime! These are all from Sai literature only. If I know anything, it is only from Sai literature. The rest you can imagine. There is a college for that.
So, the point is this. Here is another simple example: You find a small child playing, shouting "Takka-takka", and moving. Yes, oh-ho! Just watch the child. Catch his look when the child starts moving. After that, that’s it! The child will just sit there. You don’t have to check on him nor do you have to beat the child. No. Just watch the child playing like that. That’s it.
Similarly, like this child at play with the sand and pebbles, everywhere moving hither and thither, inside, outside, and all around, when once you start watching the thoughts, the thoughts stop. A thought is like a child who is moving around. As with the child, when you watch a thought, it stops. That is what is called the process of the withdrawal of the mind or the annihilation of the mind. It is also called the absence of mind, merger of the mind, or disappearance of the mind.
(I'm using so many words. It is not that I'm an expert in English language, no! It reflects more my struggle to be understood. That’s all. I've been struggling to be understood. That’s it. It’s nothing to do with my scholarship.)
So my friends, this sort of withdrawal of the mind is possible when we are watchful of the thought process. When can you watch the thoughts? When you are separate from the thought. Why are you separate from the thought? You are separate because thoughts have originated out of the mind. It is the mind that thinks. When once you think you are not the thought, it means that you have a feeling that you are not the mind either. You are not the mind. Why do people say, "I have no mental peace. My mind has no peace." What does it mean? It means that I'm separate from my mind. "I have no peace of mind." It indicates that I am separate from my mind, which has no peace. Am I clear?
So, when once I understand that I'm separate from my mind and I start watching the flow of thoughts, the mind stops. This is the secret of being non-dual. This is the secret of happiness. This is the secret of bliss, provided we know the intricacy of the process. This is one thing that Bhagavan said.
Happiness Lies In Union With God
The next point is this, regarding wishing "Happy Birthday!" People say, "Happy Birthday!" Bhagavan repeatedly says, "You need to greet a person, wishing him "Happy Birthday", if he’s not happy." Thus you are suggesting to that person that at least on this day or in the near future, he should be happy. At this time, on this day, he should be happy. Bhagavan says, "But I'm always happy, so you don’t need to say that to Me." That’s what Bhagavan has said. So, here are a few points from Bhagavan regarding happiness.
Bhagavan has said in His discourses, "Happiness lies in Union with God." Why? In the union with the world, there is only misery. In the union with the family, we should know better! (I need not say more because otherwise I stand the risk of certain things following!) (Laughter) Union with the family, union with the world, union with money, all that will never give you happiness.
Worldly matters give bumps and jumps. It is something like a share market, having bumps and jumps. Dollars are valued so much today. But tomorrow it may rise. It is all like a share market. The price may go up or down and then one may lose. Therefore, my friends, this sort of happiness, where we link up with the world, where the mind identifies with the world or the position, pelf, power, influence, or politics - whatever it may be, misery is the result. Only in between, you may be happy.
This morning I was watching TV. So much fighting goes on there in Parliament! People throw chapels and slippers at each other! (Laughter) What very nice people, what wonderful representatives we have elected! (Laughter) It reflects our true standard also. Who is your representative? A fellow who cannot talk! A fellow who has no mind at all! A fellow who is ready to break all the mikes! These are the representatives. So, if we watch on TV when Parliament is in session, we can't help but cry. I feel so badly for having elected them to power!
So my friends, ultimately our understanding, our links, and our contacts with the world will bring only misery. Let it be USA or USSR or China or Germany. No man is happy by having too much of indulgence or too much involvement in this world. It is impossible. There comes a saturation point.
Here is a simple example. "Why do you say this, Anil Kumar? What do you know about the happiness I have there in Germany, Japan, or Trinidad?" I will answer, "Oh-ho! Why are you happy?"
"We have got the free flow of liquor there! (Laughter) Instead of water, we’ll have liquor." "Oh, good! Liquor acts quicker! You believe that. OK. Whiskey is not risky. That’s OK." As Bhagavan says, man drinks the first cup, the first glass of wine. Next glasses, wine drinks wine. Finally what happens? Wine drinks the man. So, first step is the man drinks wine. Then, wine drinks wine with repeated glasses. Finally, wine drinks the man. Do you understand?
So, initially that habit might give you happiness. But ultimately one ends up in sickness with a serious problem. So, true happiness does not lie with our attachment to the world. True happiness lies in Union with God. That’s what Bhagavan has said, which really needs our special attention and focus.
True Happiness Is Not Objective
The second point is that true happiness is not objective. Here is a simple example: A TV is an object. A car is an object. These objects are all only objects and hence, obstructions to true happiness. That's why ‘abject’ is very close in spelling to ‘object’. All these objects are ‘objections’ to the real happiness. The very term ‘object’ itself has come out of ‘abject’! So, you can understand, there cannot be true happiness out of these objects. It is impossible.
True happiness lies not in objectivity, but in subjectivity. True happiness is subjective. Worldly happiness is objective. That’s the reason why Swami says, "Happiness lies in Union with God." It means never be objective, but be subjective. That is the point that He has said.
By being a teacher for four decades, you may find me repetitious. But I am sure that you will excuse me. Old habits die hard. I’ve been a teacher for four decades. Not only that, I'm born in a family of teachers, right from my great grandparents, maternal and paternal. There are more ‘genes’ in me of a teacher than of any other profession, allocation, provocation, or whatever else you may call it. This whole body is full of ‘genes of teachers’ only! Therefore, I'm prone to repeat certain things, for which I hope that you’ll bear with me.
Happiness Is a Natural Thing
Now Bhagavan has spoken about this happiness: Happiness is a natural thing, just as help is natural. I don’t question, "Why are you healthy?" (Laughter) Will anybody put that question, "Why are you healthy?" I would respond, "Oh I see, you want me to fall sick or what? Huh? I'm not your competitor, so I don’t know why you put that question."
So we will never ask anybody, "Why are you healthy?" Health is natural. Sickness is unnatural. "Why are you sick? Oh I see! Who is treating you? Get well soon, my dear child. Get well soon!" This means that we want everybody to return to the natural state of happiness. So, happiness is our natural state. Sickness is unnatural. This we have to understand.
But unfortunately, we don’t want to look happy since we think others are happier than we are. But it is not so. This is foolish! We think others may be happier than we may be. No, no, no, no! He’s much, much worse than you! (Laughter) No one is happier than anyone. Please understand this! "He’s going in a Rolls Royce car, which is so costly, wow! Therefore, he’s happier than me." But he’s driving to a heart specialist for a heart check-up! (Laughter) He’s happier than you are? Where? In heaven! Please understand this.
Therefore, we are not enjoying and we are not experiencing this so-called happiness. We are not in the natural state of happiness because we think others are happier than we are, which is nothing but a fool’s paradise. All are happy. All are unique. Everyone is great. Everyone is happy. We are the happiest creatures on earth today, being at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan. Happiest people today! (Applause)
Why are we so happy? Has He given us gunny bag-loads of currency? No! Why? Has He given us dollars and pounds? So, why are we happy? He has given us an attitude, a mental balance, courage, and a spirit to take things with equal mindedness. He has given us that conviction of equanimity. He has given us a feeling that we are not the body. He has shown us the purpose of life, the goal of life. My friends, this is the real ‘miracle’ of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on everybody. It’s nothing like giving us some money or giving us a position, after all. I'm so sorry if we consider this as a miracle.
The miracle, the greatest miracle of Bhagavan, is transformation. Transformation of our attitudes, transformation of our habits, our thinking, of the ultimate purpose of life, this is the greatest miracle. We should be aware of this. So, this kind of happiness is Bhagavan’s gift. And this happiness is not to be achieved, please understand this! Happiness is not an achievement. Please be convinced of it. "I want to be happy tomorrow." Oh-ho! You continue to want it. You continue to desire it. Next life, we’ll see.
Happiness is not an achievement. Happiness is your reality. Happiness is your reality, your own nature. It is not an achievement. What is to be achieved? Sadness must be achieved. Misery must be achieved. Therefore, my friends, we should learn how to be happy in the true sense by looking inward. By turning inwards, we can be very happy.
Because I Love You, I Choose To Correct You
I don’t know whether I told this earlier or not. It so happened a couple of years ago that Swami blasted me like anything: TAH-DAH! TAH-DAH! It was like ballistic missiles! I was finished, as you find Afghanistan today. (Laughter) Totally gone! Something went wrong in the office, and I could not come up to His expectations. Therefore, He blasted me in public. Any rewards or rings are given in the interview room. But this blasting is done in public so that I will not repeat those mistakes for a hundred lives to come! Humiliation in public! He does it purposefully so that we don’t do that again. Yes. Surgery is very necessary. I was feeling so badly, very upset. And I could not look at the faces of others because it was the initial stages of my surgery. After repeated surgeries, well, we gain experience. (Laughter)
So due to that situation, I was so very much upset. I could not look at the face of anybody. I was seated. Swami was just sitting there and looking at me like that. Do you see His Divine Romance? See that? As I didn’t feel like looking at Him, I just looked away. He was looking at me, while I was looking away like this. (Laughter) He completed that bhajan session with just three songs that day. He left.
The next day I was also serious because one cannot forget things like that. With such a long service career, there is an artificial image of one’s own personality, which is nothing but a mirage. We react when once that ego is blasted because of the personality that we have created over years of name and fame and because of our own imagination (which is also non-existent and utterly false). It’s not so easy to forget.
The next day I was also sitting there. He went and turned like that and then like this, and then He threw a rose flower, which fell on my lap! I did not look at the rose flower because I was remembering the thorn! I was thinking of the thorn. ‘Why a rose now? Yesterday He gave me only the thorn!’ (Laughter)
That evening He asked me to get up to translate and He started giving a discourse. What did He say? "When I say certain things, some are feeling hurt." Not some! Only I was there at that time! (Laughter) "Some feel insulted, some feel humiliated, some feel very badly about it." I was thinking, ‘Why ‘some’ Swami? You can mention my name straightaway!’ (Laughter) Everyone knows it. Everyone knows that already. This game has been going on for the last couple of days. Finally He said, "Because I love you, I choose to correct you. Because I love you, I consider you as Mine. So I have a concern for you. If I had no concern, I wouldn’t need to correct anybody. You can go on your own way. Because I consider all of you as my children, I have concern and so I want to correct you."
God Will Not Look At Serious Faces
He just made a general lecture. I knew it was 100% meant for me. I knew that. Then finally He said this point. (It’s not blowing my trumpet. Of course, it’s not blowing one’s own trumpet when one says that he’s been banged heavily. No, it’s not that!) I want to draw you to this punch line and the important message behind it.
He said, "God will not look at serious faces. He will not look at serious faces." That of course was the face that I had been successfully maintaining for the last three days because of my reaction, due to my pride being so much affected. (Laughter) "He will never look at serious faces, unhappy faces, or castor oil faces. So, smile, smile, smile all the way!" That is the message of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. If we can smile, smile all the way. (Applause) Life is laughter. Life is bliss. Life is never seriousness. Seriousness is not life at all. If I consider spiritual life to be serious, my place of meditation is in the hospital, not in the Mandir. (Laughter)
Seriousness is a sign of sadness. Seriousness is a sign of ego. Seriousness is an expression of a false image, a false personality that one has developed over the years. Seriousness is a lack of humility. Seriousness is a quality of jealous people. We should smile and smile! We should be able to laugh because, "O God, You have given me this beautiful life. O God, You have brought me so near to You. O God, You have blessed me with this opportunity of participating and associating with Your activity, with Your institution. I am able to watch your beautiful face! So why should I cry? Why? If I cry here, where else can I smile? If I'm not happy here, where else can I be happy because this is the very paradise! The very heaven is here."
This is a place where we have our concentrated attention on Bhagavan. When you have your concentrated attention on Him, the mind is withdrawn. Your body is withdrawn and your intellect vanishes. He remains; I go. When He remains, when I go, as He is bliss, the bliss remains with me forever and ever. That is the secret of bliss. (Applause)
So my friends, this is not an achievement. Happiness is not an achievement. Happiness is a continued state of living. Happiness is a continued state of Eternity. Happiness is God's gift, which we can spoil ourselves. That’s what I could understand from His talk.
No One Is Extraordinary
Here is another point that comes in the way of our happiness. I think that all of you would agree with me. In order to teach us a lesson when we think that we are so important, Bhagavan will call on a Primary School child and He will start talking with that child. You are there, VIP’s are here, Ministers are there, administrators are there, all having important programs or seeking important clarifications or clearing of doubts. But He goes on talking to the Primary child! ‘Is that child so important?’ (Laughter) Oh no! Then why does He do this? He wants us to be ordinary. None of us should consider ourselves to be extraordinary. We are ordinary. That’s all. Ordinariness is extraordinariness. To be ordinary is extraordinary!
To feel that you are extraordinary is abnormal. No one is extraordinary. We are all ordinary. There is beauty in being ordinary. There is glamour in being ordinary. There is humility in ordinariness. There is simplicity in ordinariness. There is prayerfulness in ordinariness. But once we feel that we’re extraordinary, we’ll be on the cross! We’ll be humiliated and we’ll be insulted. Today we are deprived of all happiness and all smiles are missing because we feel we’re extraordinary. No! Let us entertain the feeling of ordinariness. "Bhagavan, I am ordinary."
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa gives this beautiful example: "Why do you disciples fight among yourselves? Why?" This fighting is there every time. Every great teacher or every Incarnation had associates with our same temperaments then, now, and forever! So, they were fighting with each other. By fighting, I mean there were those with ‘superiority complex’ and those with ‘inferiority complex’. "My teacher talks to him only! So let me pray that he will fall down in size!" Oh-ho I see. "But not on the day when I come up, no! On that day, he should be completely ignored!" That’s our (wrong) sadhana or spiritual practice.
Paramahamsa, being the all-knowing preceptor, could understand this and said, "My dear disciples! Why do you fight among yourselves? Why this competition?" And Paramahamsa said, "Where there is competition, there is no religion." Where there is comparison, there is no religion. All of you are here at the doorstep of God, in the capacity of a beggar, begging for His Grace and begging for His blessings. We cannot say 'superior beggar’ or ‘inferior beggar’ or ‘class one beggar’, ‘class two beggar’, and so on. That’s disgusting! A beggar is a beggar! (Laughter)
So, we are all at the doorstep of Bhagavan. We are equal cadres. We are all equal, of equal standing, praying for His Blessings. No one is superior to anybody. This sort of feeling of being extraordinary, in order to show to others, "I'm extraordinary" (in making every attempt to be extraordinary) is the main cause for unhappiness. But if I consider myself to be ordinary, then there’s no disappointment and no appointment. No appointment and no disappointment, this is the secret of happiness.
Faith and Awareness
Bhagavan made a few statements about awareness. I picked up a few points about awareness and I'm trying to elaborate on them within the stipulated time. Awareness is very important.
To go back to the original point, miracles and experiences have two basic factors. If you have faith, you will experience them. This is the first way. Secondly, if you experience them, then you’ll have faith. Both are true. Some have an experience and therefore they develop faith. Some have perfect faith and therefore they have an experience. Good. These are miracles. But true spirituality is not an experience.
True spirituality has nothing to do with faith. Faith and experience are the two that are related to miracles in the field of religion, in the realm of rituals. But the true spirituality, which He was referring to the other day, is transcendental. True spirituality is transcendental. Why and how?
To know that I am Atma, to know that I'm Spirit, to know that I'm Consciousness, do you call it an experience or faith? Even if you have no faith, you continue to be the Self. Even if you don’t have any experience, you continue to be the Self. Experience and faith have got nothing to do with the true Self, as the Self is not an experience. The Self is not born out of faith. Rather, the Self is known out of awareness. Awareness is different from faith and experience.
There are two pens in my pocket. This is not an experience, no. They’re already there. This is not a matter of faith. It's not a question of faith because a faithless man may find my pocket empty. So, whether you have faith or not, two pens are here. Whether I experience it or not, two pens are here. The only thing I have to do is to be aware of the two pens in my pocket. I'm aware of the two pens in my pocket. That’s all. It’s not faith. It's not an experience.
So true spirituality, true philosophy, requires awareness. Awareness of what? Awareness of that which is already in existence. Being aware of that which is already in existence, of that which is already in you, is what is called awareness. And that awareness is so simple and innocent. Why? Faith is not like that. "You know what a strong faith I have? Oh-ho! How many kilos is my faith, would you tell me? Can you tell me the weight of your faith?"
Reminder Is the Teaching
Some people will come and say, "I have so many experiences!" "Oh-ho! Please record them and keep it under your pillow!" People boast about those two things - experiences and faith. People feel proud of those two things. But awareness has got nothing to do with such a declaration, nothing to do with any publicity, acceptance, propaganda, pride, ego, or any other such thing. Why? Because awareness is not anything new. Awareness is that which is already in existence.
Suppose you say, "You are Anil Kumar!" You won’t say it as if I’ve become the President of India! I'm already Anil Kumar! Whether you call me ‘Venkayya’ or ‘Subbayya’, I'm not bothered because I'm Anil Kumar. By calling me ‘Anil Kumar’, I have not suddenly become Anil Kumar the moment you called me that, no! I was named like that when I was born. That has been my name throughout. When you call me by my name, well, it is not an achievement. It is not anything that I have attained, no! Simply you have reminded me of my name.
So, that kind of reminder is the teaching. The one who reminds you is your Guru. The Guru is the one who reminds you. That reminder or remembrance is upadesha or teaching. He reminds you of what? He reminds you of what you really are through what you call manthra. So, manthra is nothing but what you are. Upadesha or teaching is nothing more than telling you what you are. And the teacher or Guru is no one other than the one who tells you who you really are. The Guru will not transport you to the moon, no! He’ll make you sit where you are and tell you who you are. That’s all. This is what you call awareness, which is so simple and so innocent.
Once Enlightenment Comes, It Never Goes
With regard to the experiencing of that enlightenment, once it comes, it never goes. Let us understand this. Some people will say, "I had a lot of information about these Upanishads, the Bible, and all. Nowadays, I'm no longer reading." No, no. no! This is foolishness. Enlightenment, once it comes, will never go. Please remember these points.
Swami said, "That which comes and goes is not knowledge or wisdom." Jnana or wisdom, when it comes, it will never go. That which comes and goes is your money. That which comes and goes is the world. But that which is true neither comes nor goes. That is what is called jnana or wisdom. That is enlightenment.
So people cannot say, "I know that Baba was God last year. Today I'm not able to know that He’s God." Oh-ho, I see. I can only conclude that you never knew before. You claimed to have known, but you actually never knew. Because once it is known, it cannot be ‘unknown’ later. That is what you call wisdom. That’s what we call enlightenment.
Therefore, my friends, this sort of enlightenment is possible only by two methods. One way is what is called ‘through keen interest’. Enlightenment about Bhagavan’s Divinity, enlightenment about Bhagavan’s teachings, is possible out of keen interest. We don’t have that keen interest. As Swami passes by, what is my keen interest? It is on my letter, which I want to give to Him. (Laughter) There is so much keen interest in the letter, but not about Bhagavan. There should be keen interest in Him.
Here is another simple example: When you are competing with others, when there are chances and prospects of promotion, you have got keen interest in your job. When you start some new business, you take immediate steps now so that you’ll have 100% profit tomorrow. That is when you have got keen interest. So, such a keen interest we should have towards God. That leads to enlightenment. Therefore, having a keen interest is the first method.
As Bhagavan said, the second method is through authentic search, making the true search, searching in the right direction. When Swami’s coming this way, if I go this way also in order to get closer to Him, can I say it is an authentic search? It is a foolish search! So, where there is God, yes, walk towards Him. Go forth towards Him. Follow Him. Follow His command in every way. That is the authentic search He is speaking about. This means following His teachings, following His footsteps, and following His message. That is the authentic search. Plus, have a keen interest to experience Him all the time.
My friends! As the time is up, as lines start from 12:30, I don’t want to trouble you further. Thank you for having heard the talk with attention. Thank you very much!
Om Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!