August 25th, 2002
Is It So?
Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Brothers and Sisters!
We welcome you to this morning’s session. The topic for discussion is: “Is it so?” In the end, we should arrive at the answer, “Yes, it is!” We begin with a question, “Is it so?” and end up with the answer, “It is so!”
We often think of religion and Truth. We also feel that Truth and religion are synonymous, meaning the same. But, it is not so! Religion and Truth are different. Is it so? Yes, it is! Truth and religion are different. How and why - we shall inquire and try to find the answer.
The mind is an important instrument given to every human being. The mind, which is important and so active, is also an obstacle, a hindrance. To live in the world and to be successful in this world, the mind is absolutely essential.
I want to draw your attention to one important fact: There are two schools of thought – one, Eastern thought and the other, Western thought. Western thought says that the mind is either well or ill, that’s all. That’s according to Western thought. Eastern thought says that the mind is nonexistent. That is, according to Eastern philosophy, there is no mind at all,
Mind Is External
I will give you a concrete idea to begin with. The mind is external. The mind is outward. The mind is worldly. It is after material objects, which we call pravritthi or the outward path, the external path. In other words, all the secular knowledge, all the material knowledge, all the worldly knowledge, the humanities, the sciences, and the fine arts - the entire existence of human life on earth - centres around this mind that is so important. However, spiritually speaking, it is dangerous. So, the mind is a friend; but at the same time, it is an enemy.
I will mention a few points relating to the mind, according to Bhagavan Baba. The mind is impotent. It is not capable of functioning. That means it cannot function independently. It is not potent. It is impotent. Furthermore, the mind is negative. Bhagavan has said many times, “The body, senses, mind and intellect are all negative. It is only the Self or Atma, the Spirit or Soul or Consciousness, that is positive.” The senses and the mind - all of them are negative.
The mind is a dream. The mind dreams. It is a dream itself and its nature is to dream. The mind is just an illusion because it can be withdrawn; it can be annihilated; it can be subdued; it can be nullified totally. Therefore, it is an illusion! The mind goes on dreaming. Imagination and hallucinations are all the products of the mind. They all come from the mind alone.
As John Milton puts it, “It is the mind that makes a heaven out of hell or a hell out of heaven.” It is the mind that decides whether it is a heaven or a hell, as the case may be. The mind is dual - good and bad, high and low, success and failure, victory and defeat, profit and loss. These are all the dualities in this world. The mind is dual. The mind never stands for unity. The mind never speaks of Oneness. The mind is paradoxical. The mind is full of polarities or opposites. That is its very nature.
The mind is logical and rational. Being logical, it wants to conclude something; it wants to derive something; it wants to find out something; it wants to experiment with something; it wants to investigate something. So the mind is always logical and rational.
These are points relating to the ‘nature of the mind’, what we call ‘the mind in the human body’. As I said in the beginning, Western thought is different from Eastern thought. Western thought says that mind is either well or ill, that’s all. But Eastern thought says that the mind is non-existent. Accordingly, it doesn’t exist at all. Is it so? Yes, it is so!
Religion Is the Reflection of the Mind
Religion is nothing but the reflection of the mind. Therefore, we have so many scriptures, so many interpretations, so many paths, so many ways and so many methods. The methods, the goals and the scriptures are all due to the reflection of the mind. So, religion is nothing but the reflection of the mind. But Truth is beyond the mind. Truth transcends the mind. Rather, Truth is a ‘no-mind’ state, beyond the mind. Truth is transcendental!
Bhagavan says repeatedly, “Truth is One!” There is nothing like ‘American Truth’, ‘Russian Truth’, ‘Indian Truth’, ‘Pakistani Truth’, ‘Japanese Truth’, ‘German Truth’ – nothing like that whatsoever. Truth is only One! That Truth is non-dual and transcendental. That Truth is Light and that Truth is God! God is Truth. Truth is God. Live in Truth! That Truth is transcendental. That Truth is beyond the mind. That Truth is a ‘no-mind’ state. That is Truth!
The mind does not allow us to remain in the state of Truth. No, it doesn’t! It is the nature of the mind to be dual. So, one (religion) is the reflection, while the other (Truth) is the transcendence. Truth transcends the mind, while religion is the reflection of the mind. Hence, we need so many scriptures to be the followers of a religion. What scripture do you follow? Bhagavad Githa? Dhamma Pada? Koran? Holy Bible? What religion do you follow? We need scriptures to follow a religion, scrupulously whereas Truth needs no scripture because Truth is inborn!
Truth Is Non-Scriptural
Truth is original. Truth is natural. Truth is not taught. Truth is not scriptural. Truth is non-scriptural. It has nothing to do with the scripture because Truth existed even before the scriptures. Scriptures came later; the Vedic text came later. Truth existed in the beginning!
As Bhagavan said in a Telugu poem:
The entire Creation came out of Truth.
The entire Creation merges in Truth.
Is there any place where there is no Truth?
It is the pure, unsullied Truth that exists.
Truth is the beginning and it is the end. So Truth is non-scriptural – meaning, it has nothing to do with scriptures. Religion is full of words - vocal, verbal and subject to expression. You find religious people speaking very highly of their religion. You have pastors, you have priests and you have monks speaking very highly of religion. People can speak very highly of religion, based on scriptural sanction, quoting profusely from the holy books because religion is verbal, vocal and subject to expression.
But Truth is silent! Truth is silence! It is wordless and speechless. It is a void. Truth is experienced in a state of silence. Truth is Sathya! Sathya Sai Baba is Truth! Sathya Sai Baba is not a religion. Sathya Sai Baba is Truth! Sathya Sai Baba cannot be understood by scriptures. Sathya Sai Baba can be experienced in silence. Sathya Sai Baba cannot be spoken about. Sathya Sai Baba has to be experienced. Sathya Sai Baba cannot be analysed. Sathya Sai Baba has to be realised. Sathya Sai Baba cannot be experimented. Sathya Sai Baba has to be experienced. So, there is a lot of difference between religion and Truth.
Sathya Sai Is Truth
My friends, those who attended the first International Conference of the Sathya Sai Seva Organizations held in Mumbai, heard Bhagavan’s declaration: “Sathya Sai is no religion! Sathya Sai is no sect! Sathya Sai is no ideology! Sathya Sai is Truth!”
That Truth is eternal, immortal and non-religious. I'm not saying irreligious. Irreligious is negative. Non-religious means something beyond religion, above the framework of dogma, fanaticism and imitations. So religion is that which can be vocal, verbal, which can be experienced. But Truth has to be realised in silence, which is wordless and speechless.
Furthermore, all religions promise something. If you follow the Holy Bible, there is paradise - Heaven is guaranteed! If you go through Hindu scriptures, they speak of Vaikunta, Kailasa, and other beautiful worlds. And, if you do not follow these scriptures, hell is waiting there! All religions speak of something to come, something to happen. They entertain hope. They make so many promises. So, religion is full of hope and promises something that lies in the future.
Becoming and Being
So, the concept of ‘becoming’ - Are you going to become a man of merit or are you going to become a man of sin? Are you a ‘sinner’ or a ‘saint’? What are you going to become – saint or sinner? That is the challenge posed by religions. But Truth does not say that. You don’t have to become a sinner or a saint. You may become a saint later. Or you may become a sinner as a result of all your actions.
Let us not be bothered by ‘becoming’. Truth is our very Being. Bhagavan has said this many times: “God is beyond sin and merit. God is beyond good and bad. God is non-dual.” So, Truth is something beyond. Truth is not a promise, no! It is our very Being, which is changeless. ‘Being’ is changeless whereas, ‘becoming’ is a state that goes on changing with the passage of time.
A boy, a grown-up, a father and a grandfather are all the different states of ‘becoming’. A child, a student, a householder, a recluse and a renunciate are states of ‘becoming’. But ‘I’ remains the same during all these periods. As a child, as a grown-up, as a grandfather, ‘I’ remains the same. Whether I am unemployed or employed, a bachelor or a householder or a renunciate, the ‘I’ or Beingness remains the same.
So, Truth is changeless. It is the very core or our Being, whereas religion is ‘becoming’. “You are going to become a virtuous man. You are going to become a noble man. You are going to become a holy man. You are going to become a religious man. Come on! Follow this path!” That is religion. Truth does not say that. You are already the very Being! You are changeless! That is the Truth!
Truth Is a Quest
Religion: All religious scriptures have many, many questions. The questions are nicely answered. You can go to any scripture: Each scripture tells you how to be a noble person, how to be religious, how to reach heaven, how to avoid hell and how to be virtuous. They will tell you the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. The Bhagavad Githa will also tell you. The Hindu scriptures will also tell you about yamas or individual discipline and niyamas or social discipline. Oh! So much, so many books of ‘do’s and don'ts’; then, ‘follow this but don’t follow that’ - full of answers, ah! Ask any question, ready with the answer! All questions are nicely answered. That is religion! You can ask any question and the scripture will have a ready-made answer.
But Truth is not a question. Truth is a quest, while religion is a question. Every question has an answer, but Truth is a quest, an inquiry. It is a question without an answer because the question is the answer. The question is the answer in this inquiry. How is this so? We’ll come to know quite soon, within a couple of moments.
So in Truth, the question is the answer - the question doesn’t give you any answer; whereas in religion, there are questions and answers. Truth has to be experienced with inquiry - Self-inquiry. You should inquire to know the Truth, to experience the Truth, whereas in religion you can ask anything and you will get the answer.
“Who Is God?” and “Who Am I?”
Religion speaks about “Who is God?” Yes! You ask any religion, “Who is God? They’ll tell you, “Please sit down. How much time can you spare? I will explain.” Any religion will give you a detailed account of God in different ways. Every book has its own interpretation. Every book has its own explanation, its own narration, description, comprehension, and understanding of Divinity. Scriptures are written. Scriptures are composed. They are all based on the composer and the intensity of his devotion.
Truth does not speak of God - no! While religion says who is God, Truth wants you to ask the question: “Who am I?” Truth wants you to ask this question of yourself: “Who am I?” Forget about God! Who am I? That’s it. That is the Truth. That is the question.
Alone and Lonely
In religion there is a sense of belonging. In religion we are a crowd. Hindus are a crowd, Christians are a crowd and Buddhists are a crowd. Religious groups and religious matters relate to a crowd. There cannot be a single man’s religion. Neither can there be a single political party with a single person - it is impossible!
Religion means a crowd, a group. But Truth is a journey that we make all alone. We are alone on the path of Truth. We are never in a crowd on the path of Truth. We are alone. We are to make Self-inquiry alone, not in a crowd. We are a crowd in religion, while we are alone along the path of Truth.
Recently, Bhagavan said this: Though it appears to be a joke, it has a profound Truth behind it. He called one boy and He said, “You applied for a job. You are not going to get it.”
The boy said, “I see! Why?”
Bhagavan said, “You did not fill in the application form. Your mother filled in the application form. Since your mother filled in the application form, you are not going to get the job.” The boy had completed his engineering course and is now in the MBA class. Still, Swami told the boy that he would not get the job.
Furthermore, Bhagavan said, “Your mother can't eat on your behalf. She cannot take medicine on your behalf. When you are sick, you should take the medicine. When you are hungry, you should eat. When you are thirsty, you should drink a tumbler full of water. You can't ask somebody to do something on your behalf.” There’s no question of who’s ‘in charge’ - each of us has to ‘discharge’ these things for ourselves. Similarly, each of our paths is all alone in the direction of God.
I would like to draw your attention to one important point: When I said ’alone’ on the path of Truth, I mean this positively. There is another aspect of this word, which is ‘loneliness’.
“How are you?”
“I feel lonely.”
That is not spiritual. Loneliness is negative. Aloneness is positive. Loneliness is a punishment. Loneliness is penance. Loneliness is an imposition. Aloneness is a preference, nay; it’s a choice!
Aloneness is a choice, whereas loneliness is imposed upon you. As you do not know how to communicate with others, as you do not know how to accommodate yourself in the company of others, no one accepts your company. Therefore, you are lonely. Though you want company, you find yourself all alone and lonely. But aloneness is not a penance. Rishis, ancient sages and saints spent their time in the forest. Why? They wanted to be alone. They did not feel lonely.
Here is a simple example: A totally frustrated lady, who had lost everyone and everybody in her family, came to Bhagavan and said, “Swami, I am lonely. I don’t know how to live. I don’t know how to spend the rest of my life.”
Bhagavan said, “How can you say that? Why do you say that? I am in you. You should never be lonely. I am in you! When you’re alone, you will know Me!”
So, let’s not be lonely - to know Him we have to be alone. That is solitude. Solitude is something to be preferred; it is something to be chosen. Then we can reflect upon, we can ponder over and we can turn within to make Self-inquiry.
Religion is a crowd, whereas Truth is being alone. In a crowd, we feel safe. “I have so many Sai devotees who come to my house.” Oh-ho! Nobody will come when the situation demands help. (Laughter) Yes! So, though we feel comfortable in a crowd, let us understand that nobody will come to our rescue when the situation demands something.
Our Hearts Are Not Empty
This is a fundamental Truth. Here is what happens: When I am alone, nothing will happen to me because I am empty. Once I am truly alone and turn within with closed eyes, what will I find within myself? There’s no second person, there‘s no authority, there’s no position, there is no scholar, and there is no friend. I am just empty when I am alone. In that state of emptiness, I experience God. When the whole thing is empty, the cup of the human heart is filled with Divinity. Divinity fills the heart that is empty!
But our hearts are not empty. Our hearts are filled with jealousy, envy, pride, comparison, competition, unknown goals and full of agony and anguish. Why? We do not know. We are so serious as well. Therefore, the heart that is full of unwanted stuff can never experience Divinity – it can never know the Truth. It can be religious, but it cannot go along the path of Truth. Truth requires emptiness, total emptiness, so that God will find a place to sit there. Then God will converse with us.
"My Child, I Wanted To Talk With You"
Some time back, I read this in some book: “My child, I wanted to talk with you. You were just getting up from bed. I wanted to talk to you, but My son; you just got up without praying to Me. You got up and yelled at your wife for not getting your hot coffee ready and for not serving it to you in bed. Yes! You got up from your bed full of anxiety and disgust. You never thought of Me. My son, I missed the opportunity to talk to you.”
“Then I was watching you, My son. What were you doing? You brushed your teeth and you had your bath. I was sure you would think of Me. I was waiting! But, you didn’t. Instead, you read the newspaper, watched TV and then you proceeded to the dining table for breakfast. I was waiting My son, but you never thought of Me.”
“Then I thought that while getting ready to go to the office, you would give Me a chance to talk to you, My son. No! You were so busy polishing your shoes and selecting a nice suit to wear to the office. Then with your briefcase, you immediately rushed to your car and started driving. While you were driving to the office, I thought you’d think of Me. No! In your car, you listened to pop music all the way to work. You were listening to pop music and you were driving very fast so you could be on time. You never thought of Me. I was following you, My son.”
“You reached the office. Yes, you’re the boss! You were there in your revolving chair, in an air-conditioned room and you were about to begin your work. I thought you’d think of Me, My son. No! You started bossing everybody around, asking personal assistants and clerks to bring yesterday’s files. You wanted to plan what needed to be done. You were so busy with your itinerary and so busy with your schedule, with your priorities that you didn’t give Me a chance to talk to you. Then I thought I shouldn’t disturb you.
“Lunchtime came and I thought you’d say some prayers: ‘Brahmarpanam’. No! You wanted the company of another man seeking a favour - some business deal. You wanted some kind of a luncheon meeting. You were thinking only of business matters. But I was waiting patiently for you, My son!”
“In the evening, you were returning home. I thought you were tired, so I should not disturb you. By the time you reached home, you had coffee and some tiffin. Then I thought you’re fine, so I can talk to you. But you spent the time with your wife, children and friends. You were full of jokes, thinking about what had happened in your office, how successfully you were bossing others, how successfully you dominated everybody and how successfully you made all business deals. Yes! You went on boasting about yourself. Well, I thought that you’re a little child to spend time like this.”
“Then it was dinnertime. I thought that now you are free, but you began watching TV and eating your food, so you didn’t give Me any time. Night came and you were about to retire. You were lying on the bed, getting ready for sleep. I thought that you’d say some prayers. No! You were very tired, so you slept and started snoring and snoring. I still couldn’t have My time with you. I was waiting for you right from the beginning of the day - from the time you got out of bed until you retired. I was waiting for you. I was ready to give you an interview, but you didn’t have Me in your inner-view. Still, I was waiting for you all the time!”
This is important to know: It is only in aloneness (being alone) and it is only in emptiness (thought-free mind) that we can experience God. With all our avocations, professions, provocations, priorities, and our busy schedules that occupy our head and heart, we have no time to think of God. We have no time to keep an appointment with God, not even for a moment. So, it is absolutely necessary to empty ourselves!
Once Bhagavan gave this example: “When the glass is full of water, how can you fill it up with milk? It’s not possible! Unless you pour the water out, unless you make this tumbler empty, you cannot fill it up with milk.” Thus, unless we empty ourselves, it is not possible to fill the cup of the human heart with Divinity. This is absolutely necessary.
I said once, “Bhagavan, a VIP is waiting for You.” That’s what I said.
Swami said, “Let him wait until he forgets that he is a VIP.” If I can say so, his head is full of VIP-ness. He’s a VIP-fool, being a fool by himself. Therefore, we should make ourselves totally empty because God is ready to occupy the chair, the throne of our heart.
Religion Is Full of Revolutionaries
Religion is full of revolutions, full of reactionaries. You find one group fighting with another group. They may be of the same religion, yes! In Hindu philosophy, we have two groups - the Vaishnavaites, those who worship Lord Vishnu, and the Shaivites, those who worship Lord Shiva. The difference is that one believes in putting vertical lines on their forehead, while the other believes in putting parallel lines in the same place. (Laughter as AK points to his forehead, drawing make-believe lines.) Parallel and vertical lines, that’s all. Even in the vertical lines, there is a difference whether it is U or V (referring to different Vaishnavaite groups); again, that is the only difference. (Laughter) So, every religion has so many denominations, groups and sub-groups. Usually one group is trying to dominate the other group; one group is always trying to wash out another group. Each is full of revolutions, full of reactionaries.
Truth will never allow you to be a reactionary. Instead, it will make you a rebel. A man of Truth is a rebel! A man of religion is a reactionary. Who is a reactionary and who is a rebel? Though we think both are the same, there is a difference. A rebellious man rebels against himself. He’s not going to fight with anybody. He rebels. Why? For his own transformation! A rebellious man goes for inner transformation, whereas a reactionary tries to bring about a change in the social order, like a zealot. Reactionaries want to bring about a change in all of society. A reactionary takes this responsibility upon himself, whereas a rebellious man wants to change himself.
Christ was a rebel. Mohammed was a rebel. Buddha was a rebel, who fought against the existing order in those times. So, a man of Truth is a rebel for his own personal, individual transformation, while a man of religion is a reactionary who always takes you into a revolution.
Religion Is Full of Organisation and Institutionalisation
Next: Religion is full of organization and institutionalisation. Religion believes in organization. Religion runs after institutionalisation. Every organization has its own discipline. Every institution has its own code. It does not allow you to be free - you just follow the organizational principle. The organization becomes an end in itself. An organization or institution is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Yet, the organization will make you so busy that you forget the very purpose of the organization.
Why have you joined the organization? For what purpose? Being there, you might even lose your peace. Being there, you will be inviting enmity. Let us understand that the organization of religion is only a means to an end, not an end in itself.
Here’s a simple example: Suppose I find a thorn in my hand. To remove that thorn, what shall I do? I should take a second thorn to remove the first one. Having removed the thorn, what do I do? I throw away both thorns. I don’t pocket them, do I? No! So a thorn is removed by another thorn, and finally both are thrown out. Am I not right?
Similarly, the thorn in our life can be a problem we have. Another thorn is an organization. After some time, both have to be thrown out. Once you identify yourself with the organization, you think of cadre, the convenor, the president, what not. Another hierarchy! The name is different, but the mentality is the same. Therefore, just as a fruit like a tamarind ripens, what happens? The outer covering comes off automatically. The outer cover comes off naturally with the ripening of the fruit.
Similarly, once we realize the objective of the organisation, the purpose of the institution, this organization drops off - moksha, karma sanyasa yoga, the renunciation of action. The renunciation of action is an automatic process. It is a natural process. It is not a forceful process. No! It drops off automatically. As we follow the path of action, karma yoga, as we go to the state of bliss, it drops off naturally. It is like the serpent that drops its skin periodically. This is what is called karma sanyasa yoga, the renunciation of action. That is quite possible.
Therefore, this process of organization will delude us, will take us to false goals, false ideas of another hierarchy, a cadre-building process. Truth is something to do with our own Self. We don’t need a convenor’s permission to follow the path of Truth. In an organization, we need a convenor’s written permission as well. For the path of Truth, nothing of that sort is required. Religious organizations require membership. In some, a membership fee is also demanded.
One Requirement: Capacity to Receive Light
Along the path of Truth, there is only one requirement: That requirement is the capacity to receive light. For that, we have to be alert, awake, aware and attentive. We need that capacity to receive Love. We should be able to contain that voltage, that intensity. The amplifier should not burst because it could not contain it. We have to evolve higher and higher to receive that higher light intensity.
Here’s a simple example: A devotee asked Bhagavan Baba, “Swami, are You Shirdi Baba?”
Bhagavan said, “Yes!”
“I want to see You as Shirdi Baba.”
“Oh, I see. Why? Is it not enough that you see Me?”
“No, I want to see Shirdi,” he insisted!
Bhagavan said, “Don’t be in a hurry. Don’t be so particular about it.” Still, this man insisted on the experience of seeing Shirdi Baba in Sathya Sai Baba.
This fellow was Bapatla Hanumanta Rao, a famous man who has written about twelve volumes on Shirdi Sai. This happened in Bangalore, in Whitefield, when Bhagavan was there. Bapatla insisted that he see Shirdi Sai in Baba.
He said, “Bhagavan, I'm not going to believe it unless you make me experience it.” What to do? After ten minutes, what happened to Bapatla? He found his head on the lap of Baba. He had fallen unconscious, watching the radiance, the brilliance and the light of highest intensity when Bhagavan granted him the vision of Shirdi Baba. Bhagavan brought him back to consciousness and offered him a hot cup of coffee.
Though we think that we want to see the Divine, though we think, “Swami, maybe You are just human after all; so let me experience the Divinity in You”, we have to ask ourselves: “But am I qualified? Can I see that light? Can I bear it?”
One Crore of Suns
Here’s a simple example: It happened in the life of Ramana Maharshi, the sage of Tiruvannamalai. Most of you must have heard of Him. Yes! Somebody came to Him and said, “Hey Bhagavan! It is said that God has the brilliance and the radiance of an intensity of one crore of suns. I want to see that.” (Laughter) See that! What foolishness! It is something like a child saying, “I want to be pilot.” What could He do?
Swami remained silent. This man went on pestering him: “I want to see God with the brilliance of one crore of suns.” Ramana Maharshi, the very personification of wisdom and compassion, took this man with him to a nearby lake. It was midday, 12 o’clock noon. Tiruvannamalai is a very hot place, a very, very hot place at midday.
Ramana took him along with Him and asked him to look straight into that lake. Because of the sun’s reflection - it was shining like anything - he could not look at it as it was so brilliant. Then Ramana Maharshi smiled and said, “When you cannot look at one sun’s reflection in the water, could you look at Him straightaway? Forget about one crore of suns, forget about it. How could you see that?”
This man asked, “Swami, when the physical eye cannot see that much light, why is it said that it is equal to that? Why do you say that? When I cannot see one sun, how can You say it is the intensity of one crore of suns? What sort of calculation is it? I doubt the very statement.”
Ramana Maharshi said, “Look here, once you experience the Self, once you experience the Atma, the Consciousness within you, why one crore? A hundred crores of suns you can certainly see. The same Self has the highest light intensity, the Cosmic energy. But you will see that light not with the help of the physical, naked eyes, but with the Inner Eye. Once the Inner Eye of Wisdom, the Third Eye, experiences the Self, the Spirit or Consciousness, well, it amounts to the light intensity of thousands of crores of suns – ‘Atma Jyothi’. The light of the Self, the light of the Spirit, is a beacon. It is the Light of lights!”
That’s the reason why in every religion, in every festival, and in every activity, we start by lighting the lamp. The outer lamp is a symbol of the inner lamp, of the Inner Light. It is the Inner Light that makes the eyes see. If there is no Inner Light, the external light is useless. “There is light in me, so I can see the light outside. The light in me is the Inner Light.” That is the Light of the Spirit, the Light of the Self. One should have the capacity to receive that Light.
In an organization, you may have delight without the light - that is only light-mindedness. Ultimately, that becomes heavy and burdensome. So the real bliss comes from enjoying the Light of the Self.
Truth Is Full of Light
In religion, I go on quoting poems; I go on reciting poems; I go on quoting verses from scriptures to establish myself as a speaker, as an orator, to convince my audience. Speeches require quotations, verses and poems; that is religion. Yet, all that is quoted, all that is recited, and all that is learnt by heart, is borrowed knowledge. It is all borrowed. I recite a poem, yet it is written by someone else - not by me. I quote one book, yet it is borrowed information - not my experience. So religion is nothing but borrowed information, second-hand information, or dead knowledge. All that old information is past. It is dead and gone.
But Truth is alive. Truth is alive! Truth is Life! That’s the reason why the Holy Bible says, “Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.” Asato Maa Sad Gamaya! The Truth is eternal! Truth is full of life! Truth does not belong to the past. Truth has nothing to do with the future. Truth is here and now! Truth is here and now, that’s all. It is not the past; it cannot be the future. Truth is eternal. It is alive and it is direct. It never wants you to conclude or to arrive at something. It is not an equation, it is not a derivation - it is direct!
Religion conveys its dictum, its message, in an indirect way. Religion is inauthentic because each one starts interpreting according to his own vagaries, according to his own whims and fancies, according to his own imagination, according to his own level of comprehension, according to his own level of understanding. In doing so, religion becomes inauthentic. Whereas, the Truth that you have arrived at, the Truth that you have experienced, the Truth that you have come to know, is authentic. Truth is authentic! Religion is an invention. People invented it - man invented it. However, Truth is a discovery!
Discovery: So, what is discovery? Discovery is about what is already in existence, that which is already present. So Truth - you are the very embodiment of Truth. Your experience of It is the ‘Art of Self-Discovery’. It is a matter of Self-Revelation. Self-Discovery is Truth! Invention is religion. Religion, which is an invention, becomes conventional with the passage of time. It becomes a matter of routine as days pass by.
How To Empty Myself?
Now, what is the way? Having understood, is it so? Yes, it is! In what sense is the Truth different from religion? What is the way? This is the way: Truth wants us to know that God is not a being. Everyone wants to be close to Swami. Many people say, “I'm very close to Swami.” It is nothing but foolishness - total and utter ignorance. God is not a person! God is a phenomenon! Yes! He is not a being. You can experience that phenomenon by emptying yourself.
How to empty myself? I should forget my authority. I should forget my position. I should forget my scholarship. I should forget all I am trying to be. I should forget what I'm trying to look like in the sight of others and what I have developed over the years - the qualification, the position, and the influence. All that has to be emptied. That is death!
My friends, Christ was crucified. On the third day, Christ rose and came back to life. That is called ‘resurrection’. In Christianity, these two aspects are important - crucifixion and resurrection. Christ was crucified on the cross and he rose from the dead on the third day! Most Christians know that.
What do I mean by ‘crucifixion’? Spiritually speaking, ‘crucifixion’ is emptying one’s own self: “I'm not anything. I'm nobody after all. You may think of me as somebody. You may attribute something to me. You may imagine me to be somebody, but I am nothing. This is self-effacement, renunciation. That emptiness is death.
Suppose someone who is president of a Sai centre goes some place here and a Seva Dal stops him. What will happen?
“What! Are you new to this place? Don’t you know that I'm the Convenor?”
“Excuse me, but you’re not the President of India, to be known by everyone!”
Here we are nobody. We are all equal in the sight of God. When you say that the other person does not know you, it is enough to say that you are nobody. When you are somebody, people will already know you. When you are trying to introduce yourself, it only means that you are nobody. Yes! To feel that you are nobody, that you don’t have anything to do with anybody, well, it is almost death. It is almost crucifixion.
People honour me for several reasons. People respect me for several reasons. People recognize me for several reasons. When I say that I'm nobody, it is death. It is very difficult to bear. That is crucifixion…Christ on the cross. Crucifixion is self-effacement. It is emptiness. Resurrection…He rose from the dead. This means the realization of the Truth. Realizing the Truth is the resurrection of the Christ. Why? His heart was full of Truth! His heart was full of the Divine, full of Divinity! Now, that is the Truth, the resurrection.
There is one word in Sanskrit, dvija, which means ‘twice-born’. How can I be born again unless I die now? Yet, the scripture says that one can be reborn in this lifetime. How is it possible? If I die to the past, I'm born to the present - that’s a second life! That’s the reason why the Holy Bible says, “Unless man is born again, he cannot enter the Gates of Heaven; he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” How can we be born again? It means we should empty ourselves. Death (of the ego), self-effacement and nothingness - out of that we resurrect. We are reborn with Divinity, experiencing ecstasy and spiritual bliss…that’s what is said.
It is William Blake who defined God in this way: He said, “Who is God? All is God.” Furthermore he said, “God is only a name for all.” That is Viswa Virat Swarupa, the Cosmic form. Everyone is Divine!
God is not a goal. Someone said, “My goal in life is to go to God.” Hey! He’s not in a foreign land. You are not ‘going to’ God. No, No! God is not a goal! God is not a desire! God is Reality! You are God! It is Reality! It is not a distant goal. It is not an ambition. It is not a desire. You are the spark of the Divine. The Holy Bible says: “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you!” You are Divine!
Mrtyormaa Amritam Gamaya means ‘from death to Immortality’. What a wonderful statement! We just repeat it like a parrot. However, once we go into it in depth, we’ll enjoy the spirit and meaning of it. From death to Immortality, from crucifixion to coronation, from crucifixion to resurrection - that is the meaning of dvija, twice-born.
It is a revelation…God is a revelation! You are Divine and did not know it until now. Now He will reveal that you and He are One and the same - Aham Brahmasmi, Thath Thwam As - ‘That thou art’! It is a revelation! I'm thinking, ‘Dust thou art.’ No, No! ‘That thou art’ not ‘dust thou art.’ So, ‘That thou art’…It is a revelation to know that I am Divine. It is a matter of joy and ecstasy!
As Bhagavan says, “You are the Light - The Light is in you. You are in the Light and you are the Light.” That is non-dualism. You are the whole. You are not a part. You are the whole, no longer just a drop in the ocean. Once you know that you are the whole, you are holy. You are the whole and you are holy!
May Bhagavan grant us that kind of path, so we won’t get this question, “Is it so?” Because it is so, it is so! Let us be the seekers of Truth; let us not be people of religion. This should be the actual spirit of understanding.
The Divine Melody
We are close to Krishnashtami. I understand that Krishnashtami falls on the 31st, this Saturday. Lord Krishna, who played on the flute, was just pretending to be asleep, but God never sleeps. He was pretending. God is an excellent actor. He was acting as if He were asleep, keeping the flute by His side.
Many came and said, “O flute, how lucky you are! You are always on the Divine lips. God blows air and we listen to the melody, the Divine music. How lucky you are!”
The flute started answering, “Look here, look here! Don’t be jealous of me. Don’t be envious of me. Don’t praise me. Please look at me - I have nine holes just as you have in your body. Within me, I am hollow, empty; whereas, you are full of pride, avarice, ego and all that. Empty yourself, so that you can be a flute. Then the Divine Krishna can blow His breath into your human body of nine holes, so that you can listen to the Celestial Song, the melody and music of God Himself.” This is the quintessence of Krishnashtami.
Krishna stands for the individual desire for the Divine. Krishna is God Trishna means the desire. Truth is desire. When once you have trishna or desire, what is it for? For Krishna – God…yes, that is the Ultimate Reality!
We hear about so many illiterate women, called gopis, seeking after Krishna. This only means that God does not want our scholarship. God wants the heart that is soft, tender, delicate, receptive, sensitive and attentive. God wants the heart of a gopika, like the cowherd people, like the innocent women who sang the Glory of Krishna all the time. They symbolise the soft, loving human heart.
Krishna was always after butter. The modern man may doubt this thinking, “Krishna could just as well have maintained a bakery or a dairy farm!” It’s not so! Butter stands for the human heart. Today, the human heart is so tough and hard. Our heart may not respond - may not melt - seeing the agony, misery and suffering of our fellowmen. No! When the heart melts, when the heart responds, that is as good as the butter God accepts.
In the Company of Women
Krishna moved with women - 16,000 gopikas. Some people may misunderstand. ‘Woman’ is not merely feminine. ‘Woman’ here means delicacy and tenderness. If you narrate anything that is difficult to a woman, she will start crying. No man ever responds immediately; rather, men are tough. With that toughness, they do not respond immediately, whereas the heart of a woman is like a tender rose flower. The petals are so delicate. God, Krishna, moved among the ‘women’ - the people with hearts so tender and so soft like the petals of a rose flower.
People say that Krishna was in the company of 16,000 women. Who were they? Bhagavan said, “Here lies a lotus flower (Anil Kumar points to the top of his head), sahasrara. It has 1,000 petals. Each petal has 16 shades: 16 times 1000 equals16,000.” You and I are also in the midst of 16,000 women, not just Krishna! There are shat (seven) chakras in the human body. The chakra at the bottom is muladhara and the chakra on the top is sahasrara - there are 16,000 shades for the 1,000-petaled lotus. It is on the top. Unfortunately, people do not understand the inner significance of all this.
Krishna has eight wives. Oh I see! Who were they? Bhagavan mentioned the eight-petaled lotus in this regard. Hrudaya kamala – the human heart is a lotus with eight petals. You and I have ‘eight wives’ - eight petals.
Krishna’s life was a life of beauty, a life of bliss. We find Krishna singing on the battlefield. Can you sing on the battlefield? If I am to go to a hospital for a health check-up, can I smile? Impossible! What is the doctor going to say? There is tension. Just a health check-up is enough to make me serious. How is it that God sang on the battlefield - the Bhagavad Githa, the “Song Celestial”?
God transcends rudra bhoomi, the battlefield, or bhaktra bhoomi, the shores of the Yamuna River. In the company of so many people, He was singing. Whether it is rudra bhoomi or bhaktra bhoomi, God is beyond. Let us all be like Krishna in our own way. Transcending duality, let us sing the Celestial Song, which is the quintessential essence of Krishna.
May Bhagavan bless you!
Thank you very much! Sai Ram!
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
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!