October 24th, 2004
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
We are meeting again after the finish of the grand Dasara celebration (a 10-day Indian festival celebrating the victory of the forces of good over the forces of evil), and I want to share some thoughts with you that befit the occasion.
The Dasara celebration provides an opportunity to start a particular spiritual path. It is a holy season during which we can pray to the Goddess, God as Divine Mother, to bless our spiritual endeavour and spiritual path so that we can reach our goal without getting diverted on the way. We do this because, however intelligent, keen, or particular we are, we still need God’s blessings. We need God’s benediction to be successful in realising our objective in life.
It is in this context during the Dasara season that people start a particular sadhana (spiritual exercise) seeking the blessings of the Divine Mother, or they invoke God’s choicest blessings on those who have already started the spiritual journey, or those who have yet to start. My friends, many are actually not prepared to undertake this spiritual journey. Why? We find huge crowds, large gatherings of people, at places where the ways of the world are followed and honored, the paths of competition and business. The spiritual journey, the spiritual path, is not given to everybody.
The ancient texts clearly tell us, and Bhagavan repeatedly informs us, that we are the children of God. The one who chooses the spiritual path, the one who undertakes the spiritual journey, is a chosen and beloved child of God. So let us begin by paying our respects and gratitude to God for having chosen us as deserving, for treating us as pilgrims in this pilgrimage of life, in this pilgrimage of spirituality. Why are most of the people not prepared to undertake this journey? The reason is simple.
I know how it will be in my life if I make more money (Laughter) by doing business. I know what position I would achieve in life with additional degrees and qualifications. I know what kind of life I would lead if I became a state or central government minister. I know how I can enjoy and make the best of an opportunity given to me. All worldly goals, all worldly aims, all worldly objectives, are within the reach of the human mind. These goals, the objectives, the fulfillment of desires, are very well known to all of us. The only difference is in magnitude.
Now, I have made hundreds of thousands, and after doing more business, I make a few more billion. That’s all! I now have a ten-bedroom mansion, a fifty-bedroom mansion, or a pretty five-bedroom suite. So, I can imagine the kind of life I would like to lead. That is in my imagination, in my thoughts. So, my friends, we go after the worldly path. We are very anxious. We are in a hurry. Our desires get fulfilled, because that fulfillment can be planned and estimated. But the spiritual journey is different.
Spiritual journey - point of known to point of unknown
The spiritual journey leads from the point of the known to the point of the unknown. It is very difficult to go to that unknown place. I am prepared to go to the known, where I have money, power and influence – these areas are well known to me. But I have no concept of the spiritual field, that other shore of life. That field is totally unknown to me.
I feel within, ‘Oh God! If I proceed along the spiritual path, what kind of life will I lead? Suppose half-way through, I become a drop-out, or I fail? I am afraid. I might lose my mind. There are some people who, in the name of spirituality or so-called ‘liberation’, ultimately turn mad. They become crazy. Why? Simple. Their understanding of what constitutes the spiritual life is not correct.
the spiritual journey is an adventure
So, to cut to the quick, the spiritual journey is an adventure. What sort of an adventure is it? It is an adventure that requires us to be prepared to reach for the unknown shore. We are not sure that we will reach that other shore. There is no guarantee. Nobody ever returns from the other shore to tell us, “This is my experience.”
In business, you will be instructed. “Please be careful. Obey the laws.” These laws are expressly laid out. In politics, you will be told, “Be careful. Watch your opponents so that we can get our party voted into office and into power.”
In spirituality, no one returns to caution or guide us. Knowing then that there is no guidance based on first-hand experience, that it is a journey toward the unknown, how many people would be prepared to embark upon such a journey? Therefore, my friends, the spiritual journey is truly an adventure. We should all prepare ourselves with the necessary courage, the equipment, the awareness, the knowledge, the determination, and the conviction required to undertake this eternal quest. Spirituality is an adventure.
Spiritual journey is not a question
The second point I would like to draw your attention to is this (being a teacher, I beg your pardon if I repeat statements, but it is the way of a teacher to reiterate): the spiritual journey is not a question.
There are some people who say, “Sir, I have a question.”
“I see! Are you sure I have the answer to your question?”
“I do not know.”
Am I certain that the answer I give is born out of my own experience? No! So once the questioner inquires, answers can come from anyone and anywhere. The answer can come from a sacred text, or from information heard, from second-hand, borrowed information, or from book knowledge. These answers relay superficial knowledge. They are not born out of the depth of one’s own experience.
Therefore, my friends, spirituality is not a question; it is a quest. What is the difference between a question and a quest? I am not a student of the English language, trained to play with words, nor am I interested in verbal gimmicks. These are the facts. Nonetheless, let me try to explain.
Spirituality IS BEYOND the mind
In the world we have a number of questions. Why? Why not? How? What is it? There are a number of questions in the world and just as many answers. But, in spirituality, the question does not have an ‘I’, because there is an answer – but no question.
Spirituality offers an answer, but does not have a question. Why? Questions are born out of the mind. Spirituality is beyond the mind. When we start doubting, a question arises. When we have an ego, life becomes a bundle of questions. When we have a complex, of superiority or inferiority, yes, we have all sorts of questions. So questions are born out of ego. Questions are born out of doubt or suspicion. Questions are birthed by our superiority or inferiority complex.
The mind’s capacity to debate and argue encourages questions. It is not that I discourage questions. What I am saying is in a different context altogether. Brothers and sisters, please understand me well. Do not think that I avoid questions in general. No, no, no! I am not an extremist. This explanation of ‘questions’ refers to a different context.
Adi Sankara (an ancient teacher of non-dualism) told us something. If we question it, I don’t know where we would be. Jesus Christ declared something as the Truth. If we question that, what is left for us to learn? If mother tells us something, and we doubt her, who will come to our rescue? Who else can read your heart other than your mother? So this sort of questioning mind has no place in the spiritual path, because spirituality is beyond the mind.
“Yado Vajo Vivasandhya,
Apprapya Parata Para”.
The mind cannot cross to the spiritual shore. The mind cannot reach it. The mind cannot imagine, cannot comprehend, cannot estimate spirituality because spirituality is beyond all estimation. It is beyond all human understanding. It is beyond the scope of human imagination. Therefore, questions are out of question on the spiritual path! What this means is that we should find a goal, and we should travel there beyond the mind if we are really spiritual seekers.
A QUEST is BASED ON EXPERIENCE
Therefore, my friends, spirituality is not a question, but rather it is a quest. A quest is a search, a kind of inquiry. The quest calls for experience, not explanation. Explanation and experience are very different. There are number of people ready to explain things. There are very, very few that have actually experienced. A quest requires experience. It is based on experience. A quest is existential.
What do I mean by that? A question relates to the future. “Will Swami give me an interview?” A question. “Why has He given an interview?” A question. “Did I have my return tickets reserved?” A question. So, the question relates to the future, a future answer, whereas a quest is existential. A quest exists and rests in the here and now.
Spirituality is an eternal quest, and a quest is existential, experiential and experimental. We have to be ready to experiment; we have to be ready to try it out for ourselves. An experimental quest must to be experienced, and it is existential because it must be done in the here and now.
When we teachers are asked a tough question by a student, some of us may answer, “Please meet me tomorrow” (Laughter) or, “That is not in your syllabus”. Okay! Or perhaps we will say, “That is not that important for the examination,” (Laughter) or, “Don’t worry about that question.” We have certain ways to evade questions. Postponement! Postponement is a futuristic device.
This moment of life is a gift of God
There is doubt in a questioning mind, in a mind that seeks answers to such questions. But a quest is beyond the question. A quest is an inquiry; it is an experience in the here and now. It has no reference to either the future or the past. Because the mind is always either in the past or in future, our lives become crisis-prone, painful, miserable. Our mind is not prepared to have to be right here now.
Actually, I tell you quite often, my friends, that we have no reason to be sad. We have no reason to cry, and no reason for tears. We have no reason for a long face, because right in this very moment we are in the presence of God. Right in this moment, we are at a pilgrim centre. We are in a holy place. Right in this moment, we are face to face with God — an auspicious occasion. We are fortunate to be here in the Divine presence. Then why are we unhappy?
“I feel unhappy because last year I could not be here.” (Laughter) “I am unhappy because I may not be able to make it on the next trip.” (Laughter) The mind worries about the future, or it broods over the past. The thought of the past and the pangs of the future make the mind miserable. We are all puppets in the mind’s hands.
We have no external enemy, my friends. Our own mind is our worst enemy. We should be able to manage it well. I am an efficient manager in the office, after all, but still I mismanage my mind. The mind is a mad monkey. ‘Oh mind, please don’t jump around like that. Try to live in the present; try to live in the moment.’ Where is the fun in thinking of the future?
There are some people who plan their will, who continuously revise it. (Laughter) The first will divides things 50-50. (Laughter) Tomorrow, the split will be 40-60. The next month, it is 20-80 because the daughter-in-law forgot to serve a hot cup of coffee. And so the ratio changes. (Laughter) The son-in-law didn’t smile yesterday, and so the ratio changes! (Laughter) People think about these things all the time, all because of the mind.
Ask any elderly person, “Sir, why are you so particular about money? Your children are settled and you are retired. Why are you chasing after more money?”
He answers, “If I have to undergo heart surgery in ten years (Laughter), I will need four lakhs of rupees.”
“I see,” I reply. “Even after spending four lakhs on your heart surgery, what is the guarantee that you will survive? (Laughter) Four lakhs will be paid to the doctor, but you could be at the ‘other place’. (Laughter)
This is a geriatric problem. A geriatric problem leads to toil. It is the same for children too. ‘Geriatric’ children. ‘Geriatric’ is based in the future, always worrying about the future. So young people who constantly worry about the future are ‘geriatric’.
Right now, enjoy this moment. This moment of life is a gift of God.
When the flowering blossoms are full of smiles,
When the blossoms and bouquets are right in front of your eyes, can’t you smile?
When you watch the rainbow, can’t you jump in joy?
Can’t you enjoy the final touch of the cool breeze in the evening?
Can’t you see the wonderful painting of God,
Across the canvas of sky in the evening time?
How much money is required for this? We may need some money to pay for a movie; we may need some money to spend time in a casino. But the whole universe is right in front of us. There cannot be anything more beautiful than God’s work. No painting can ever equal the painting of a natural rainbow. No plastic flower can be more beautiful than the real flowers on the grass outside. So, we have lost the very beauty of life, my friends
WE FIND HAPPINESS IN UNHAPPINESS
We have lost sight of the very splendour of life because we find happiness in unhappiness. Why? We have reason to worry if we experience no enjoyment. Then again, a lack of worry is a cause for worry for some people. “I have nothing to worry about, so I am very worried.” (Laughter) Very good! Very good! This is not the way, my friends! This is not the way!
Let us enjoy Nature, which God has given to us. We are all gifts of Nature. Let us feel the pulse of Love among fellow men. We each have an abundance of such a pulse, but the pulse ‘slows’ - that is the reason why we just trudge along in our lives.
Some people say, “How are you?”
“How are you?”
“Getting by”. (Laughter)
They are getting and going. (Laughter) They live the life to ‘get’. No! Life is fragrant. Life is effulgent, brilliant, radiant, and interesting!
LIFE IS PERFECT HARMONY
Life is music. The real music is silent and plays eternally from womb to tomb. The music in our heart, the beating of the heart, has the correct rhythm and timing. That is the music. When the music loses the beat, we look for a bed in the cardiology department. (Laughter) There’s perfect music in the beating of our heart. There is perfect harmony in our vision. We experience perfect harmony as we walk forward to the pulse of our life.
Life is a symphony. Life is an orchestra. In an orchestra, if any instrument is played willy-nilly, the sound is horrible and the concert is terrible. Unless all instruments play in perfect harmony, in perfect symphony, you cannot enjoy the music. Therefore, life is the music of harmony. Life is a perfect orchestra. Why?
An example: The mind wants to eat a mango fruit. Let me take you toward the mango tree. The hand picks up a stone and throws it against a fruit hanging from the tree. The mango fruit falls to the ground. The hand picks it up. The tongue tastes it, and the fruit goes where it should go. The thought of the mind and the sight of the eyes -- what coordination! The picking up of the fruit by the hand, and the tasting done by the tongue – it all works in perfect harmony. They all work in perfect unison.
Life is an orchestra. Life is sincerity. Life is music. Just sit alone in the evening and listen. You are touched by the evening’s cold breeze. As the wind blows, there is music. There is a rhythm there. Go stand at the sea shore. The surging waves carry a rhythm in them, from wave to wave. We have not learned how to enjoy Nature.
We don’t even enjoy our money. We enjoy the passbook entries! (Laughter) That’s all! I carry a passbook with a million dollars and when I leave the world, so the passbook is left on my chest. It is only the entry of the balance that brings me satisfaction, not the fruit of the money, not the fruit of my work. That’s why we are unhappy.
LIFE IS A QUEST
Therefore, my friends, life is a quest and not a question. A quest is personal and eternal. A quest exists to be experienced. We have someone to turn to for answers to questions, but in a quest, there is nobody to do that for us. Once your question has been answered, well, that is the end of the matter, but a quest is eternal. It goes on and on. It has no end.
A quest is an inward journey. It is an inquiry. It is neither acceptance nor rejection. A quest is transcendent. Rejection is negative; acceptance is positive; transcendence is beyond all that. So, spirituality is transcendence. It is not avoidance; it is not rejection. No, no! It is transcendence. So life is a quest and not a question.
Outside ourselves, we have teachers who are ready to answer our questions, or they can be answered sometimes at a college or school, where there is a schedule for them to be answered; but a spiritual quest has no time, has no syllabus, and there is no teacher. In a quest, you are the teacher. You teach yourself.
Suppose I ask, “What is ice cream like?”
At the most, you can say, “It is very nice, very sweet.”
“How sweet is it?”
You cannot explain how sweet it is. You cannot give me an understanding of the depth of its sweetness, its capacity or magnitude. That is the quest - the experience cannot be told, whereas with a question, the answer can be given and understood without direct experience. Life is a quest.
life here, right now, is spirituality
The third point I want to share with you this morning is this: We are not aware of the number of lives that we have lived over the eons. We do not know how many lives we have spent here, and it is not even necessary to know.
There are some people who tell me, “Sir, in Tamil Nadu, if you pay, you can know who you were in the previous life, from books based on the Nadi Grandha (an ancient text).”
I tell them, “I am not interested." (Laughter) Why? Suppose the man asks Rs.200/- or Rs.300/- depending upon the books he has, and upon his qualifications and experience. The conversion rate is high.
The man says to me, “Mr. Anil Kumar, you were a king in the previous life.” (Laughter) That means I am a pauper now! (Laughter) “You lived in a palatial palace.” Today I am not living in a mansion. That makes me feel very sad. So, what is the fun in learning of my past life, one that is not in existence at this moment?
Or if that gentleman tells me, “Mr. Anil Kumar, you had a hopeless life previously.” Now I feel just as hopeless, if not more so.
So that which is not in existence now is not worth knowing, because the past is dead. The past is gone and beyond recovery. The future is uncertain. Why should we know it? Spirituality, however, is the life right here, right now. Life is a pilgrimage, the spiritual path is an eternal quest, and the spiritual life is here and now.
If anyone asks you, “When do you see God? When will you meet God?”
Suppose you answer, “2005, next Dasara.”
That would be a wrong answer, because there is no guarantee that you will be able to meet Him. There is no insurance coverage, covering spiritual rules.
So it is here, now, my friends. That which cannot be experienced here and now, can never happen in the future, because the future is the repetition of the present.
Bhagavan says, “The present is not a simple present; it is omnipresent.” The present is a result of the past, and the present is the foundation for the future, and in the present you find past, present and future - omnipresent.
So by thinking the spiritual life is here now, does not mean that I am crazy? No. It does not mean that I am a lunatic, a fanatic, or dogmatic. It means that I am realistic, because life is here now. God is here now.
god is a lived experience
The best idea which I want to share with you is this: We think God is an idea! Some people want to conceptualise; some people want to form a theory or hypothesis. Yes!
“Sir, could you tell me about God?”
“Why not? I have been meaning to tell you all about Him.”
We have our own ideas. We have our own notions and concepts. We have our own path. But let me be clear. God is not a concept; God is not a hypothesis; God is not theoretical; God is not fiction; God is not an idea. Then who is God? God is a lived experience.
Some people keep on boring you with their dream experiences. They say to you, “Sir, last night you appeared in my dream.”
I say, “You can’t dream of a better person than me! (Laughter) You know film people—heroes and heroines. Dream of them, not me.” I think I’ll become a devil. (Laughter) Ah, infatuation!
A dream is, after all, a dream. There are many people that tell me, “Swami appeared in my dream, and I am going to make movies.”
Suppose, you know, to be mischievous, I then tell them, “Swami appeared in my dream and told me not to believe you.” (Laughter)
You cannot dream my dream. I cannot dream your dream. Both of us are in a dreamland, an unrealistic world. Spirituality is not a dream. That is very clear. Not that I am discouraging people from dreaming. If you like, come on, tell me your dreams! (Laughter)
No, the dream is unreal, but the dreamer is real. Why? The one who dreamt and the one who is telling me about the dream now, are one and the same.
Suppose I tell you, "Last night Baba gave me a million dollar cheque in my dream.”
“Oh I see! A million dollars!”
“Yes. He gave it to me in my dream. Who are you to question me?”
Here I am just reporting my dream experience. The one who dreamt then, and the one who reports now, are one and the same. Why? The dreamer there and the reporter here are one and the same. Am I clear?
Therefore, my friends, let’s concentrate on the dreamer and not the dream, because dreams are fleeting, but the dreamer continues. He is eternal. He is one and the same in the waking state and in deep sleep. He is one and the same.
deep Sleep can only be experienced and NOT explained
“I tell you sir, I had a nice sleep.”
People ask, “Had a nice sleep?” Because sleep has also become a valued luxury item.
“I had a nice sleep.” Why not? “Oh, I slept excellently.” I see! Can you sleep when there is noise? “I had a good sleep.” Oh I see. Is there anything like ‘bad’ sleep? “Oh, I had a sound sleep”. Oh! Is there anything like ‘silent’ sleep? Shall I say ‘sound’ sleep, meaning you were snoring?
What is a ‘sound’ sleep? A sound sleep is a sleep where we do not dream, where the mind is subdued and withdrawn, and where I am in a state of thoughtlessness -- thoughtless, brainless. Therefore, that sleep which is thoughtless (thought-free) and where the mind is withdrawn is a ‘deep’ sleep.
I experience that sleep, but I cannot explain it. I can’t say how nice that deep sleep is. You tell me how nice sound sleep is. Please, tell me, ‘sound’ sleep, is it as sweet as the sweets supplied in the North Indian canteen? (The North Indian canteen is known for its sweets, both in quality and quantity. Of course, I am not a commission agent!) (Laughter) So can you convey to me effectively that your deep sleep experience is sweeter than the North Indian sweets, or hotter than South Indian sambar, (Laughter) or as bland as the diet in the foreign canteen? (Laughter)
Sound sleep is experienced and can never be explained, my friends. The dream is experienced and can be explained. The waking state can be experienced and can be explained, but deep sleep can only be experienced and cannot be explained.
Even so, the ‘I’ is the same in all the three levels, in all the three states; and that ‘I’ is a lived experience. So my friends, God is not a hypothesis. God is not a theory. God is not a fiction. God is not a notion. It is foolish to conceptualise God because God is a lived experience.
GOD IS NOT A GOAL BUT A LIVED REALITY
I can also assure you that God is not a goal.
Some people say, “What is your goal?”
“To know God.”
Then who are you? Am I the devil? (Laughter) No! So, if I set my goal to be: to reach God, in the geographical sense, in time and space, God is found in Puttaparthi. This is a 17-hour drive from my place, or perhaps a 24-hour flight in two planes from some other place, to reach Him. In this way, you think that distance cuts you off from God. Geography!
You are distant from the point of time and space where God is, but time and space have nothing to do with God. So, my friends, God is not a goal, but a lived reality. God is a lived experience or existence. God is a lived reality within, contemplated equally by everybody. God is not a theoretic exclusive experience.
Some say, for example, “Sir, when I was coming over here, I was blinded by headlights on the road. A lorry ran over me. But Baba saved me.” Very good. Why did He save you? So that He may kill the rest of the people? (Laughter)
spirituality is not exclusive -- it is all-inclusive
Spirituality is not personal. Please believe that. ‘Lived reality’ is common to everybody. Complete comprehensive experience is spirituality. It is not exclusive. It is exhaustive. It is all-inclusive. You had better understand this, my friends: you cannot propagate it, nor can you confine it to an individual. It is universal. Spirituality is not individualistic; it is universal. Because of certain misapprehensions, somehow we get ourselves caught up within our minds and we refuse to come out.
Somebody who came from quite far away asked me, “Mr. Anil Kumar, I find peculiar people here in Prashanti Nilayam. How do you explain it?”
I described several types of people, just for fun, as though it matters. There are people who work either in the institute or the hospital or the stores or the canteen, wherever it may be. Some of them think that they are the be-all and end-all. But working at a particular place is only a means to an end, and not the end itself. One might say, “I am in charge of the canteen.” It does not mean that I am going to be in charge of the canteen in heaven! (Laughter) So whatever work we do here, whatever service we offer here, it is only a means to an end, but not the end itself. Why?
The service I do has a purpose. What is the purpose? To make my mind pure. The purification of your mind is the end result of service. We have to serve for hundreds of lives if we fail to make the mind pure now. We must become egoless. One has to become free from jealousy; one has to become humble, simple, and ordinary. Service does not make me extraordinary.
To be ordinary is extraordinary.
I am very fond of this statement, my friends. I think you will also appreciate it. To be ordinary is extraordinary. There is nothing extraordinary in being extraordinary. Alternatively, ordinariness is extraordinary; extraordinary is ordinary. Everyone wants to be extraordinary. The one who tries to be extraordinary becomes cut off from the current of life. The beauty lies in being ordinary, in being simple. So our Satish is ordinary. Pursue self-denial, self-effacement, not an individual attitude. I will give you a few examples.
There was a young girl, attending school. She used to carry loads of books back home to do her homework. Her math teacher was wonderstruck because this girl had the answer to every problem. She solved every problem, however tough it was, while other children failed. (We teachers also have ego: We don’t want students to give all correct answers. (Laughter) We see to it that there’ll be some mistakes in order to establish our authority! That is our professional ego!) (Laughter)
So, my friends, this little girl was solving all problems. The math teacher’s ego was a little bit affected so he called her up, “Come on, how is that you are solving every problem? How is it that your homework is perfect? You children would have to be grownups to understand how to do this math.”
That little one, she said, “Teacher, my grandfather helps me every day with my homework.”
“Does he find time to do your homework?”
“Yes, while he does the gardening, he helps me.”
“Oh! Where is he?”
“He lives next door to me.”
“Would you give me his address?”
“Yes.” That little girl gave him the grandpa’s address.
The teacher went and visited the grandfather. To his utter surprise, the grandfather was no less than Sir Albert Einstein! That is simplicity, simplicity to the core - to do the homework with this little girl. Could you find anyone else like that? No. I can also give you another incident.
A group of journalists wanted to meet Madame Curie, the great lady who won a Nobel Prize. They were curious about Curie. They had to search for her as she was on vacation and had not given her address to anyone because she did not want to be disturbed. Totally discouraged, having given up hope, the group of gentlemen arrived in a tiny hamlet.
They got down from their vehicle and asked a sweeper, who was sweeping in front of her small hut, “Do you know where Madame Curie resides? We know that she is somewhere around here.”
The sweeper went inside, put the broomstick in one corner, then came out and said, “I am Madame Curie. Why do you want to see me? I am happy if you know my work. I am happy in that I have continued and extended the work of my late husband. That’s all. Be more interested in the work, and not in the person.” That is spirituality.
But we find the opposite among some of us. For instance, a senior doctor might not approve of the junior doctor’s diagnosis. “I am senior!” (Laughter)
Or, you may not believe it, but some people say, “You know how my grandfather died – in a royal way!”
“How many times?” (Laughter)
That also is a talking point of the ego. The ego is hopeless, I tell you! (Laughter)
“You know how many people came to see him?”
What if he is no more? So what if nobody sees him, or if everybody sees him?
It’s a dirty ego. It is like a serpent that raises its ugly hood any moment to bite us. We have to be very careful. People say, “I have no ego.” When you say ‘I’, yes, there is sufficient ego. (Laughter) “I have no ego”. Ego is there, totally. (Laughter) Ego bites, a little, wholly or otherwise, to express itself.
“You know, Swami came and stood in front of me.”
If anyone happily tells us this, cut him short. “You are happy? No, No, No! That is not spiritual.”
“I always remain in the state of bliss. Did you know that?” Oh, I see. It is egoistic bliss or blissful ego. (Laughter)
If anyone says, “This is my first visit to Puttaparthi…”
“First visit? This is my thousandth visit.” (Laughter)
“You should be ashamed to say so because, even after a thousand visits, you have not changed a bit.” (Laughter) If they have not changed a bit, it is a matter of shame, not pride.
“You know, I have been going to Puttaparthi for the last couple of years and I am in charge of the book stall!
Oho! In charge to take charge of your ego! Oh boy, oh boy! (Laughter)
Therefore, spirituality is self-effacement, self-denial, total simplicity, austerity, and humility. So, spirituality is to remain ordinary. My friends, please note that.
spirituality is the ability to be simple
I can give another example of a great teacher. One English teacher gave a lesson on the poem titled “Cloud” by William Wordsworth, a wonderful writer. Lovers of Nature should definitely go through the compositions of William Wordsworth. Some might find them a little romantic, but Wordsworth chooses to take Nature in its true spirit.
So the teacher was explaining this poem, and at the end of the lesson, he said, “My friends, I cannot explain more than this about Nature. If you want to know more, go to such-and-such a place and meet the one who can.”
One student in the class listened to this, and then ran and ran until he reached that place - a temple. He stopped the priest and prostrated in front of him and said, “Sir, my teacher told me that you can explain things about Nature much better. Could you please tell me?”
And the priest said, “I have been waiting for you, my child, for a long while, for decades. I am very happy to I see you now.”
That little child, Narendra, later became Swami Vivekananda, and that simple man in the temple was no less than Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa of Dakshineshwar temple (a Bengali saint), in the state of Bengal near Calcutta.
A temple priest became a teacher of the world, became a teacher of teachers. An ordinary person who could not even correctly spell words like pencil and pension! (I also never knew the meaning of the word ‘pension’!)
He couldn’t say, ‘pencil’. “Pencili, pencili, pencili,” he used to say like that.
Somebody used to correct him, “No Swami, it is ‘pencil’.”
“Ah! Forget about it. Pencili.” (Laughter)
So here was someone who left school in the 6th or 7th class, who became a teacher of teachers. Scholars assembled at his lotus feet to have audience with him. The greatest scholars were waiting to view a glimpse of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He discontinued his studies in 7th class, so he was very, very ordinary.
So the hallmark of a great man is his ability to be simple, and his capacity to communicate with everybody. That is what spirituality is.
SPIRITUALITY GIVES US AN ASSURANCE
Spirituality gives us an assurance. Yes, an assurance. What is that assurance? We all know about insurance, but I am speaking of ‘assurance’. Really, it is very funny when I think about insurance.
People say, “I insured my life for Rs.10 lakhs, or so.” Okay! Insurance. The money will go to those who survive you. You pay them. Very good. We have been paying for everybody else, but we do not get a penny for ourselves. That’s the life of a beggar.
This is what Swami was referring to yesterday. A beggar is not one without money. A beggar is one who simply feels unhappy, feeling that what he has is insufficient. He is not a beggar in a normal sense. So the man with desires is a beggar, whereas the man who is satisfied, contented, is the richest man on earth. A competent man, a man of decency, a man of contentment is the richest man. The so-called rich man, one who has fabulous amounts in his bank account, yet who wants still more, is a beggar of the first order. That is why, my friends, spirituality is ordinariness. It is so simple and humble.
a need for education in human values
My friends, a tiger cannot change its eating habits. The lion cannot change its eating habits and we don’t need to tell the lion, “Oh lion, behave like a lion.” I don’t need to tell any tiger, “Oh tiger, you are really a tiger. So please learn how to be a tiger.” I never have to say that.
But unfortunately, with people, this is not the case. Sometimes we must say, “Oh man, know that you are a man. Oh human, behave in a human way.” That is a most unfortunate thing for us. Dogs do not need to be reminded that they are dogs, and a serpent does not need to be reminded that he is a serpent; but a human being has to be reminded that he is a human being. That is the tragedy of our life. (Applause) A human being has to be reminded time and again that he is a human being. That is why there is a need for education in human values.
BHAGAVAN IS GOD ON EARTH
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is God on earth because He is none other than simply God in a human form. Baba is a phenomenon. Baba is not a person. Let us be very clear about it. Baba is not a person - Baba is a phenomenon. Baba is not simply the body that we see.
Baba is the ideal and the quest, too. Baba is not an individual whom you meet. Baba is the cosmos, or universal Being. This kind of cosmic vision, this kind of comprehensive understanding, this thought of estimates taken beyond the body and the physical dimension, only can bring us to the reality of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. As long as I think that He is a physical body, I will be restless and perturbed. My friends, name and form, however great, will leave you restless and confuse you because name and form are, after all, finite.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is cosmic DYNAMIC energy
God is nameless and God is formless. He is always with you, in you, above you, below you, around you. If He is the one with the name and form, then right now He is there in the Poornachandra Auditorium. Well, I am here. “I hope to see You all there at 3:00 o’clock this afternoon.” He is not a legislative officer with whom you seek an appointment; He is not a political leader for you to have an audience with. He is a phenomenon. He is an ideal. He is the life breath. He is the cosmic, dynamic energy.
If anyone asks, “Who is Baba?” tell them, “He is energy.” If anyone asks you, “Where is that energy?” tell them it is that energy within them that makes them ask the question. It is that energy that makes your eyes see, that makes your ears hear, that makes your heart beat, your blood circulate, your brain think. That cosmic energy is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. (Applause)
We cannot say Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is 4 feet 5 inches tall, having a crown of hair. That is only the physical form that you see in front of you. Also, you cannot always see that form in a crowd. But we can congratulate ourselves after we see Him in our dreams. Right!
No, the purpose of Baba coming here in human form, standing in front of you, is to make you see Him inside. Baba, in His external form, directs you. It is the same Baba inside – He is the spiritual direction for you to follow. (Applause) The spiritual journey is to seek Him inside. See Him outside; seek Him inside. You find Him there. This is the spiritual journey.
spirituality says you can surpass yourself
Spirituality is an assurance. What kind of assurance is it? Spirituality tells you that you can excel. The world will never tell you that. “You cannot excel, Rockefeller. You cannot excel, Einstein. You cannot excel, Birla. Impossible!” That’s what the world says.
But spirituality says you can surpass yourself; you can excel beyond your self. What is meant by ‘excelling one’s self’? You have to break your own record. You have to set your optimum; you have to set your maximum. Yes! You can excel yourself - that is the teaching of Vedanta (Hindu scriptures) or philosophy.
How can one surpass one’s self? I can excel myself by thinking that I am beyond the body. As long as I think that I am the body, I am limited. When I think that I am not the body, I am everyone, not the single one. I am ample and never single. I think I am clear. When I am not the established body form, I am able to go beyond it. Then I belong to everybody.
Yes, people say, “God has no form.” What does it mean? It means that all forms are His. Therefore, we cannot say, “This is His special form.” God is formless. This does not mean that God has extensive forms. It means that all forms are His.
All hands are His. All heads are His.
All feet are His. All eyes are His.
You cannot say, “That is His hand.” No! So, move to the nameless and formless, and you excel yourself.
The ‘I’ in me is not my body.
The ‘I’ in me is not my mind.
The ‘I’ in me is not my intellect.
The ‘I’ in me is universal, cosmic.
That is the way to surpass, to excel one’s self. I can excel myself when I think that I am infinite.
I may think that I have a birth and death. No! Birth and death are two words used for the appearance of the body and the disappearance of the body. What is appearing is a birthday, what is disappearing is a death. But life is continuous, whereas neither birth nor death is continuous. Thus, I go beyond myself, I excel myself, I surpass myself.
Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya
From untruth to Truth,
From darkness to Light,
From death to Immortality
This is the one sentence which assures us that we are capable of excelling and surpassing ourselves. Enjoy Divine bliss. May Bhagavan be with you forever and ever. Sai Ram. Thank you. (Applause)
(Anil Kumar concluded the talk with a bhajan, “Bhajamana Narayana”.)
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!