March 20th, 2005
“The Question and Answer Session”
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Sai devotees and other spiritual organisations
I have with me just two questions yet to be answered. We have completed the maximum number of questions last week. Just one or two remain, as they were received two days ago. One question is this:
“Can a Sai devotee/member of Sathya Sai organisation attend discourses, lectures, meetings and gatherings of other spiritual leaders organised by other Indian communities in our country?”
I repeat the question: “A member of Sai organisation/a devotee, can he/she attend the discourses given by any other spiritual guru organised by Indian communities in our country?”
I think this question should not arise because spiritual leaders may be many, but what they say is one and the same. This is my personal opinion - wherever I go, whenever I happen to hear others' discourses, or I go through the books of any great spiritual leader, believe me, I find only similarities and parallels between Swami’s teachings and those others' teachings. I never find them contradictory; I find them totally complementary.
The philosophies may differ but spiritual content is one
For example, when I read the Holy Bible, I find Swami’s teachings being in perfect agreement. The biblical teachings are very much the same as Sai teachings. They never oppose each other. When I read the teachings of Ramana Maharishi, the Gospel of Ramana Maharishi is in perfect agreement with Sai teachings. When I go through the voluminous work of Master M. on the message of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, I find it quite similar to the message given by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Therefore, the problem does not arise at all. We can listen to anybody’s discourses, but the spiritual content will be found to be one and the same. The religions and the philosophies may differ, so far as the rituals and procedures and routines are concerned. But basically, the spiritual content will be one and the same. So far as my observation goes, this I can say with all conviction.
Sai devotees as office bearers of OTHER
At the same time, the second point that I should also draw your attention to is this: We cannot be office bearers of other spiritual organisations because as members of other spiritual organisation/as office bearers of any other spiritual organisation, we will not be able to do justice to the work. As in the Sri Sathya Sai Service organisation, we are not able to manage the time in relationship to all the work there is to be done. We have the service wing - service activity, spiritual wing - the devotional aspect, and the education wing with all the spiritual content. So when we have three wings as an organisation, each wing again divided into a number of branches and sub-branches, and each having its' own activities, I don’t think that anybody will be able to do justice if he/she accepts to serve as an office bearer in another spiritual organisation.
It is not that we are ideologically different; not that we are ideologically separate. Not that we are opposed to any other spiritual organisation. Definitely not. Do not misunderstand me in that way. We simply cannot do justice to other organisations. Therefore, we can listen, we can attend, nothing wrong about that; but to be an active member of other spiritual organisations or more so as an office bearer, it is certainly not desirable in the interest of the other organisation, because you can’t do full justice to the work. That is guaranteed.
Establishing unity of faiths
Point three: I believe, subject to correction as it is my absolute personal view, all those spiritual teachings which agree with Swami’s message are valid. This will be so in the majority of cases. All my reading should strengthen my existing faith. If I am losing my existing faith, if my faith is going to be diluted or confused, if I choose a path which necessitates leaving the existing path, better I hold to the existing path. This is only because things will become confusing at one stage or other. When we can overcome that confusion, when we have that firm conviction that nothing can confuse us, that whatever we read will strengthen our existing faith in Swami, yes, then that reading is most welcome because unity of religions is one of the important Sai missions. The Sai mission is to establish the unity of faiths. In that case, there cannot be any contradictions. We must be careful on this point so that we don’t get confused, and just be diverted, sometimes even perverted.
HAVE One responsibility
I will give you one example: The first vice chancellor of this university happened to be Prof. V.K Gokak. He was offered the opportunity to serve as the Chairman of Shirdi Sansthan, Shirdi Baba’s Sansthan. He came to Swami for permission. Bhagavan said, “No doubt you can certainly accept; you can certainly go. God is one, after all; nothing wrong about it. But as you are here as the vice chancellor, with so much work and responsibility, how do you expect to discharge the expected duties of yours there in Shirdi as a convenor of Shirdi Sansthan? Impossible! Being here with one responsibility, how can you rise to the occasion there? It is not possible.” That’s what Swami said. So in that respect, we have got to be extra cautious not to lose the existing responsibility, leave alone gaining anything from the other, avoiding others' disappointment and most importantly, avoiding confusion at any stage, at any time.
THE BEST WAY TO CONTROL THE MIND
Then the next question is this: I have a doubt in my mind, involving the control of the mind. What is the best way to control it?
Mind cannot be controlled. The more we want to control the mind, the more uncontrollable will it be. It’s just like a child. When a child makes mischief, if you beat the child, he will be more mischievous. If you scold the child, he will be more mischievous. So punishing or scolding is not the way to correct a child. However, we can divert the attention of the child. We are not supposed to beat; we are not supposed to scold; we only need to divert the child's attention. Then he cannot be mischievous any longer.
The mind is also like that. The more you want to control it, the stronger it will become. The more you want to fight with it, the more it will retaliate. Just like a dog, when you run away, it will chase you. So never make your mind an enemy. Making your mind an enemy is not at all a correct path. No! The only thing is that we have to give sufficient work to our mind. We have to direct it, channel it, tame it and tune it, that’s all.
TRAINING AND TAMING THE MIND
Mind is a mad monkey, as Bhagavan has said. The very same mad monkey, when it is trained, will be perfect. It will also help you earn some money. In a circus, a large elephant is made to sit on a three-legged stool. A snake is trained to dance to the melody of the snake charmer. When a snake can be tamed, when an elephant or lion can be trained, why not the human mind? Is my mind worse than a snake? Is my mind worse than an elephant? It is a matter of shame. I am not going to accept that my mind is more poisonous than a snake.
UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF MIND
So my friends, we have to understand the nature of the mind. It is such a soft, delicate, sensitive, receptive, responsive, tender gift of God. We have not manufactured mind in any company or any factory. We are not here to kill it. Our job is only to tame it, to train it, to direct it, to guide it. The very same mind, when it is trained, will become your best friend. Untrained or made an enemy, the mind will become a devil; it will inflict itself upon you. The mind is a devil if it is not treated in a friendly way. Depression and frustration are a sort of a reaction when we ill-treat the mind. Madness is the result, because we do not have a technique relating to mind management. I know business management, but not mind management. So mind management is a most important subject, particularly to all those on the spiritual path.
BEFRIEND THE MIND
I’ll give you a few examples, as stated by Bhagavan. First, what is mind, according to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba? “Mind is nothing but a cloth with threads closely interwoven. Mind is the cloth, and the threads are the thoughts and counter-thoughts, closely interwoven. Therefore, mind is like a cloth.” That’s what Baba said. When once the threads are removed, the cloth is gone. Similarly, when thoughts are arrested, when counter-thoughts come to a stop, the mind becomes null and void. Mind turns into a non-existent entity. It becomes dismissed, non-functional, placid, dull, silenced. If I fight with the mind, it becomes stronger and stronger. Nobody can ever fight with the mind. Nobody is ever successful by fighting with the mind. We have to befriend our mind; we have to direct it. According to Baba, mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts and counter-thoughts.
DIRECT THE MIND TOWARDS GOD -- LIBERATION
Second point: Baba has often repeated this quote. Body is a lock; mind is the key. If you turn the key to the right, it is locked. If you turn the key to the left, it is unlocked. We don’t have two keys; we have only one -- one mind. The same key locks and unlocks. The difference is only in the direction in which we turn the key. The body is the lock; the mind is the key. If the mind is turned towards God, it experiences liberation -- unlocked. When the mind is turned towards the world, it is in bondage. Turning the key clockwise is the same as turning the mind towards the world -- bondage. Unlocking -- turning the key anti-clockwise -- is turning the mind towards God, which means liberation. Towards the world – bondage; towards God - liberation. Am I clear? So only in the turning lies the difference. One way leads to bondage, while the other turning leads to liberation.
“Which side is liberation? God-side. Which side is bondage? World-side. Same key, same mind.” That’s what Baba said.
KEEP THE MIND CONSTANTLY ENGAGED IN A POSITIVE DIRECTION
Third point: Baba has said, “Mind has to be given some assignments.” That’s why Swami gives enough work to us all. A man’s empty mind is a devil’s workshop. It should constantly be given work. That is the reason why Swami engages everybody, irrespective of their age. There are some people who, in the name of jnana, wisdom or self-enquiry, become masters of laziness. Spirituality is not for lazy people. “Laziness is rust and dust. Realisation is rest and best.” That’s what Baba said. So we have to work. The mind has to be engaged in a positive direction. (I am giving you a collection of thoughts from Sai literature, not from my own speculation or imagination. I say this in every one of my talks so that my friends will not misunderstand me.)
MIND IS LIKE A LEAF
The next point: Baba says, “Mind is something like a leaf." The leaves go on tossing by the touch of the wind. When the wind blows, the leaves naturally flutter and start moving. The movement of the leaf is natural. I cannot tell the leaves, ‘Oh leaves, shut your mouth; don’t move, ok?’ They will say, ‘We are helpless. We have to move because of the touch of the wind.’ Therefore, Baba says, “Mind is a leaf.”
By the touch of the wind of desire, it goes on fluttering, it goes on moving. So the movement of the mind is because of the ‘wind’ of desire. When desires are under check, when desires are controlled, the leaf-mind will not move. There is no point in blaming the mind. It is the desire that is responsible for spoiling the mind. One has to know the background of the mind, why it is oscillating? Why it is vacillating? Why it is agitated? Why it is depressed?
WORLDLY MIND AND GODWARD MIND
Another point that Baba makes: When mind turns towards the outside, towards the outer world, it is totally confused, highly ambitious, and full of desire, sunk and drowning in diversity. Mind turned outward is diversified because the world is multi-dimensional. The multi-dimensional world will divert the mind. This is what is called Pravrithi. Pravrithi is the outward mind. Pravrithi is a diversified mind. Pravrithi is a disturbed mind. Pravrithi is a worldly mind.
The same mind turned inwards is called Nivrithi. Nivrithi is an inward mind, a God-ward mind, a mind looking for guidance from consciousness. A mind turned towards outside is ready to be directed by senses. A mind turned inside is looking for guidance from Atman or consciousness. An outward mind is ready to run after the senses. Therefore, the mind gets tired in Pravrithi; an outward mind gets exhausted.
INWARD MIND VS OUTWARD MIND
Suppose you are an accountant. Come on, do the job. Fill up your head with accounts work. After a couple of hours, you say, “I am tired.” You like dancing; come on, start dancing. Eventually you say, “I am tired physically.” You like music; you listen to it for hours.“ Now I am tired.” Exhaustion is the result of an outward mind. An outward mind gets exhausted, tired, bored. It is bored, laborious, mechanical, conditioned, computerised like a robot.
On the other hand, an inward mind looks towards the consciousness, towards the super-consciousness, towards the Self-consciousness, towards alertness, towards awareness. It becomes energised. It becomes silent, like a silent, passive participant, not as an active participant. Outward mind is an active participant; inward mind is a silent participant. When the mind is turned inward, its energy becomes slower and slower until it gets lost (silent). An outward mind gains more and more strength.
Do you follow these things? Baba said this in Sutra Vahini; Baba said it in Upanishad Vahini in clear-cut terms. If we still get confused, well, it is only our bad luck. He made it very, very clear that an outward mind gets confused, exhausted, tired, laboured; that such a life becomes boring, repetitive and competitive.
INWARD MIND IS THE SOURCE OF VITALITY
Everything is repetition in the outward world, Pravrithi marga. When the same mind turns inward, Nivrithi marga, it is full of life. As mind looks at the consciousness, it becomes silent; it is not in a state of exhaustion; it is not tired. A mind turned inward is not conditioned. A mind turned inward is universal. So, the mind turned inward becomes universal, full of life and vitality and slowly it loses its entity.
Finally the witness, the consciousness, remains. Sri Aurobindo calls it ‘mind over mind’. He refers to the over-mind, the super mind, and the different levels of the mind. The super mind is an inward mind that gets lost in identifying with the super consciousness, and the super consciousness remains as the witness. That is called ‘withdrawal of the mind.’ Therefore, in a sentence, outward mind becomes powerful, inward mind slowly gets withdrawn. Outward mind gets its strength from more and more powerful thoughts, more and more desires, more and more ambitions; the inward mind becomes a clean mirror, without any thoughts or ambitions, reflecting consciousness.
THE BIRTH OF ‘I’ CONSCIOUSNESS
Therefore my friends, as an answer to this question of how to control the mind, instead of putting that question to ourselves, let us see what mind is. As I think of Swami and Swami’s literature, I recollect all He has said. Please follow me, my friends, this is a serious subject. But we have got to learn about this; we have got to be serious at one time or other. Life is not always playing with toys. We need a higher goal, a higher dose, an antibiotic to all this worldliness.
Baba said that out of Brahman or Atman or super-consciousness is born ‘I'-ness, consciousness. The thought ‘I’ is conscious. The thought ‘I’ is born out of Brahman. Am I clear? So it is the super-consciousness that gave birth to the thought of ‘I’. This ‘I’ gave birth to ‘mine’. This ‘I’ and ‘mine’ together gave strength to the body, giving it multiplying thoughts, resorting to different kinds of actions in the form of ego, necessitating and leading to the dual experiences of pain and pleasure.
LIFE – A COMBINATION OF PAIN AND PLEASURE
Let us go to the reverse side. We experience both pain and pleasure. Life is not always a honeymoon, nor is life always a torture. No! Life is a combination of both pain and pleasure. Therefore we experience pain and pleasure with this body, right? Good. Why does the experience of pain and pleasure come to us? It is the result of our actions. The dual experience of pain and pleasure are because of our actions. What is the cause for our actions? The cause for our actions is the mind. How is the mind born? The mind is born out of this ‘I’, single-lettered ‘I’ - the conscience. From where is this ‘I’, the conscience, born? It is born out of consciousness or Brahman. This is what He said. I always put it in a tabular form. Consciousness or Brahman gave birth to ‘I’ or conscience, which entertains thoughts. Thoughts lead to actions; actions give results, positive and negative, which are experienced by the body. To experience these results, one has to take a body, be born into a body, be incarnated into a body.
THE CYCLE OF BIRTH AND DEATH
So the cause for the body, the cause for birth, is the consequence of our actions. One has to experience the consequences. This is the cycle of birth and death. Now, we have taken a number of births. This is not the first time that we are here on earth. That is what Baba says: manava, M A N A V A. Nava means ‘new’; Ma means ‘not new’. It is like yesterday's newspaper -- not new; manava - not new. We are caught in the cycle of birth and death. Why? Action, reaction; action, reaction. That is why Baba says no one is free from reaction, reflection, resound.
What is our job here as spiritual seekers? What is our job here in the field of religion? What is our job in spiritual sadhana? Our job is to get out of the cycle of birth and death. How is it possible? It is possible if only the mind is withdrawn. It is only possible if thoughts are totally withdrawn, then actions are stopped. It means thoughts are stopped earlier in the cycle. When thoughts are stopped, it means mind was withdrawn earlier. When mind was withdrawn, it means consciousness is reflecting there.
A mind that is withdrawn from worldly thoughts reflects pure consciousness, like a mirror. When the mind is withdrawn, thoughts are absent. When thoughts are absent, no actions occur. When no actions occur, no consequences follow. When there are no consequences, there is neither pleasure nor pain - no experiencing pleasure or pain. When there is no experience, the body is not required. That is birthlessness; that is deathlessness; that is Immortality.
Therefore, mind control is such a vast topic. Anything can be said, from any dimension, from any angle. It depends upon our own level of understanding and comprehension. It depends upon the audience. It depends upon the occasion.
MIND IS THE CAUSE FOR LIBERATION AND BONDAGE
Given the time, we’ll take this subject up later, again and again. Our entire life is for the study and management of the mind -- how to get over the mind, and how the mind is responsible for the bondage, how the very mind itself can be made a useful tool for liberation. John Milton said it is the mind that makes a heaven out of hell or a hell out of heaven. The Upanishads say:
Mana Eva Manushyanaam Kaaranam Bandha Mokshayoh.
It is mind that is responsible for bandha, bondage, or moksha, liberation.
The study of the mind, tackling the mind, handling the mind, is the most required component in spiritual sadhana, spiritual practice. There are four levels or phases in spiritual sadhana.
FIRST PHASE OF SPIRITUAL SADHANA:
The first phase is worshipping various forms and images of God. In Hinduism, for example, this encompasses the adoration of images. We worship idols that are so dear to us, which represent various aspects of God that are particularly meaningful to us. Some people worship Ganesha, representing the aspect of God which overcomes obstacles. Some people worship Kartikeya or Subrahmanya. Some people worship Rama; some people worship Krishna, the form that is so close to them, the form that they love. Other faiths may choose Buddha or Kwan Yin, for example. This is the first stage, the beginning.
SECOND PHASE OF SPIRITUAL SADHANA: BHAJANS
The second stage is singing the glory, singing in praise. So, singing the glory of your God, singing in praise of your God, called bhajans, kirthana, hymns.
THIRD PHASE OF SPIRITUAL SADHANA: MANTRA
The third stage is repeating nama, the holy name, or mantras, whatever they may be. In your mind throughout, whether you are at home or on the street, while at work, or being relaxed, repeating His Name in the mind continuously is what you call in Sanskrit manasa pooja. Manasa pooja means mental worship, worshipping God at the psychological level, in the psychic or mental domain. There are some people who repeat God’s Name always in their mind. This is third level of sadhana or spiritual practice.
FOURTH PHASE OF SPIRITUAL SADHANA: ENQUIRY
The fourth and highest level is the path of enquiry. In this phase, the emphasis is on being one with the Divine, being one with the consciousness, knowing that I am not separated from the consciousness, that there is no plurality whatsoever. There is no multiplicity whatsoever. There is no diversity whatsoever. If I find many, it is only my imagination. There is only One that exists. This multi-dimensional picture of the whole creation is only my mental projection. It is only my mental imagination. It is only my psychological hallucination. It is delusion, it is illusion, and it is non-existent. This is what Self-enquiry is. That which makes me to think that there is multiplicity is my mind. When once I know this, I will understand that all of creation is only One, appearing as many; One manifested into many. A person stands at the centre, surrounded by big mirrors, reflecting glasses, all around. There he will find so many reflections. It doesn’t mean that there are many people -- only One into many. It is because of the mind. That is how the mind thinks, that there are many.
THE CLIMAX IN SPIRITUAL PATH
Therefore my friends, the consciousness, super-consciousness, mind, higher mind, over-mind -- let us not say ‘never mind’ -- we should be mindful of these. We should be mindful of this knowledge. Otherwise, if I just go on worshipping the idol, it becomes meaningless. If I go on singing, I become just a tape recorder cassette. So I should repeat the Name of God in my mind. When go on repeating God's Name in my mind, it should not become mechanical. It should take me to discrimination, to the path of enquiry, where I will find Atma in everyone. “I am the world; I am the universe; I am ‘I’ ”, says Bhagavan. That is the climax; that is the zenith; that is the ultimate in a spiritual path. That is quite possible to achieve by thorough analysis and understanding of the mind.
SEPARATION OF THE MIND
Another point which I want to make: When once I think my mind is acting like this, when I feel that my mind should be controlled, it implies that I am separate from my mind. That ‘I’ and mind are not one: ‘My mind is not good, my mind is not peaceful; my mind should be controlled,’ I say. What does it mean? It implies that I am separate from my mind.
I am separate from my shirt. I am separate from my glasses. I am separate from my tummy. Similarly, I am separate from my mind. So the very awareness, the very alertness, the very idea that I am separate from my mind, that mind needs management, that my mind requires some study, investigation, enquiry, that my mind needs to definitely turn inward, is all about spirituality, the beginning of sadhana, which leads to the highest goal of Self-realisation.
SWAMI’S VIEWS ON MARRIAGES BETWEEN DIFFERENT RACES AND RELIGIONS
Does Swami allow marriages between Westerners and Indians?
Well, I don’t know what to say about this. ‘Indian’ and ‘Western’ is a classification based on geography. Swami is neither Indian nor Western. Swami is universal; Swami is cosmic; Swami is a world citizen, if I am to have any say at all. I cannot limit Him. A universal God will never identify Himself only with India or the West. He belongs to both, to all.
To marry or not is your problem. You marry and you suffer (Laughter). You marry, get united; then you get separated and divorced -- it is your headache! But Easterners or Westerners, can they inter-marry? It has got nothing to do with Swami as both are His children. He cannot say a Western child is better than an Eastern child. Swami cannot say, “The Eastern child is My child” and give step-motherly treatment to the Western child. He would not say that, as both are His children.
Getting married or not, facing the problems of marriage, is our responsibility and our headache. But in this context, I may refer to one point which He made. Somebody, being foolish, asked Swami Himself a similar question. What did He say? “There is nothing wrong in marrying. On the other hand, you fellow, you quote Me also: ‘There is only one caste, the caste of humanity.’ You quote Me, and then you say to yourself, ‘Why should I not marry a person from the West? Why not?’ You think like that." That’s what Baba said. He said, “My boy, think of the cultural background, think of the culture. Over generations, you have been raised with a particular process of thinking, a particular way of dietary habits, a particular way of life. That cultural background you have to take into consideration.”
The answer to this next question I don’t know, because nobody ever asked this question before. "Can a woman marry a man younger than her?" (Laughter)
I don’t think that anybody has put this question to Swami (Laughter). I don’t know what to say about it, because usually it does not happen. Maybe for physical reasons, a man marries a woman younger than he because a woman, as they say and as experience certifies, (generally speaking) ages earlier than a man. The age will show on the face of a woman. The woman will naturally show her age as she gets older. But rather comparatively or relatively, we cannot tell the age of a man by looking at his face. It is not because I am a man that I am saying this. I am sorry; it’s not that (Laughter). Because of certain biological changes in the body, particularly in the case of a woman, because of giving birth to children, subsequently a woman tends to age much earlier than a man. Therefore it is naturally desirable and preferable to marry a woman much younger than the man. That is what it is said.
But William Shakespeare is a hero who married a woman ten years senior to him -- Anne Hathaway. So, if Shakespeare is your hero, it is left up to you (Laughter). But anyhow, I don’t know why the question has been posed to me. Perhaps the person thinks I am a sociologist, an expert to answer these questions; but I am not.
NO LEVELLING IN SPIRITUALITY
One thing is this: Nothing is impossible. Nothing is impossible, if we put in sincere effort. This morning someone asked, “Can we reach that stage (of spirituality)?" My friends, there cannot be stages; there cannot be levels in spirituality. It is only your awareness, your understanding. There is nothing like one being superior to the other. There is nothing like a person being at a higher or lower level. We are fed up with this idea of higher and lower levels in the world. Why is it occurring in the aspect of God as well? Are we not tired of the levelling? Are we not tired of the stages? Are we not bored with the notions of superiority and inferiority?
Spirituality is beyond. It is neither this nor that. There are no levels; there are no phases. It is an eternal journey. It is a continuous journey. It is a movement, a constant movement. It is a Divine vibration. It is an eternal surge. It is ever-young, evergreen, and dynamic. Therefore my friends, to continue along this way, we need to put in some effort
ENQUIRY IS NECESSARY
There are some people who, when I say that enquiry is the best way, reply, "I am not at that level of enquiry." You're not at that that level? If somebody has picked your pocket, don’t you enquire about him? (Laughter) When you lose something, don’t you enquire about it? When there is some difference in your salary, don't you query it? When you get some amount, say a hundred rupees less than what you normally get, you start enquiring at the highest level. So why do you say that you are not capable of enquiry? In the food you eat, in the curry you eat, in the chutney you eat, when there is more chilli powder than normal, you enquire, “Who has done this? Get me the chef!” (Laughter) Why do you say we don’t have enquiry? We do enquire. There’s no one who can say that he is not capable of enquiry or that he cannot enquire. No.
NATURAL QUALITIES – LOVE, TRUTH, PEACE, BLISS
To enquire is a natural quality. To think is a natural quality. To feel is a natural quality. To love is a natural quality. Somebody asked me, "Anil Kumar, will you tell me how to love?” (Laughter)
I said, “You try for yourself. Why don’t you try? Why do you think that I am an expert in this love affair? Why do you think I can give you the best guidance in this matter of how to love? If it fails, I am afraid that I will not be able to face you.”
What is love? You have to learn that. It’s natural, that’s natural. Love is not to be taught; love is to be caught. Truth is not to be taught; truth is to be caught. Peace is not to be taught; peace is to be caught. These things happen in our life. Truth happens, peace happens, beauty happens, bliss happens, love happens. Love is not ‘done’, truth is not ‘done’, and peace is not ‘done’.
THE MOST VALUABLE THINGS HAPPEN IN LIFE
I have cooked at home; you have done so as well? Good! I have mopped the floor; you have also done it? I was busy with mowing the lawn this morning; oh, you have done that too? Good work! These are the things that are done. But there are many things that happen, like Beauty, Truth, Love, Peace, Divinity. They HAPPEN.
So, those things that happen are most valuable in life. Those that are done are relative, are competitive. Somebody says to me, “Sir, I cooked this rice pudding for you.” OK. Somebody else says, “Here is pizza for you. Come on, your choice -- pizza or rice pudding, what do you want?” Relative. Likewise, “Here sir, I brought a Coke for you. No, I brought Sprite for you. What do you want?” These are things that are done. So, anything that is done is given to choice. Anything that is done is comparative, relative.
THERE IS NO LEVEL, ONLY UNDERSTANDING, IN SPIRITUALITY
But that which happens is unique; that which happens is the only thing without choice. That which happens is Divine. That which happens is spiritual. That which happens is blissful and most valuable.
Therefore, my friends, when you ask me about spirituality, I can tell you that we must make an effort not to attain ‘levels’ or stages in our journey. As we leave this hall at the end of the talk, can I say that you are at a higher level when you close the door? No, no, no. When I am behind you, can you say that I am at a lower level? No, no, no. All the levels are the same. Ground level is the same, unless one falls down!
So there are no levels in spirituality. It is only our understanding. But the understanding becomes deeper and deeper by the grace of God, by the Divine grace of God. That is happening. ‘Oh Bhagavan, help me to have clarity of thought. Oh Bhagavan, help me to experience super-consciousness, Oh Bhagavan, help me to turn the mind inward -- nivrithi.’ It happens. It is not done. That is one point to which I want to draw your attention.
THAT WHICH YOU DOUBT IS NOT TRUE
I can also tell you another thought -- a sign or indication of our progress, of our advancement on the spiritual path. Somebody says, “Anil Kumar, I am doing this. Am I right? I am worshipping everyday, am I right? I am reading Shirdi Sai Charithra, the biography of Shirdi Baba. Is it enough? Swami appeared in my dream, is it correct?” People come forward with such questions. To all those questions, I have only one answer. That which you doubt is not true. “I had a dream. Is it correct?” Yes, it is not correct. “I am doing this. Is it correct?” No, it is not correct.
When you start doubting, it is not correct. It means you have not experienced the reality. It means you have not gone to the totality of experience. It means you have not gone to existential reality; you are only at the superficial level. You have not gone deep enough. When once you have gone deep enough, there will be no doubt.
“Do you love your mother?” “Well, I doubt it very much.” I have to doubt you. You say, “Sir, I doubt whether I love my mother.” If any fellow says that to you, what do you say? “This is not the place to ask that, my dear young man. Consult a psychiatrist. I tell you, go consult him.” Do you doubt your love? When you doubt your love, it only means something is wrong.
PROGRESSING IN THE PATH OF SPIRITUALITY
Therefore my friends, what I would like to tell you is this: If I see my anger clearly, if I see my attachment clearly, I see myself -- my attachments, my indulgences, my weaknesses, my pitfalls, my mistakes, my bondage, my anger. If I see myself clearly -- see my own story, my own reflection -- it means I am progressing. It means I am moving towards the goal and I am advancing. It means I am heading along the right path.
I should see my anger, but I should not identify myself with anger and turn angry. I see anger, but I will not be angry. If I see the greed in me, I will not be greedy. If I see the desire, I will not be desirous. Am I clear? If I identify with anger, I become angry again. If I have too much greed, I will be greedy. But if I just see these weaknesses, I will not be angry and I will not be greedy.
BEING ALONE - SILENT SITTING, MEDITATION
How to see? That is the problem. How to see? We have become totally involved in the world. Because we get hooked up, we get tensed up as we have no patience. We don’t have that much time to wait around. Worry, impatience, tension, and stress are all there.
Ramana Maharishi has made a good point. What is it? Be alone; try to be alone for awhile. When you are alone, you will see your own mind. The mind of agitations, the mind that is restless, the mind that is disturbed, the mind that is ambitious, the mind that is desirous, the mind full of avarice, anger, lust -- all these things you will be able to see in yourself when you are left all alone.
That’s the reason why Bhagavan Baba insisted on silent sitting right from Bal Vikas level. Right from Bal Vikas stage, children are taught silent sitting. The silent sitting will slowly help the child to turn inward as he grows up and becomes older. It matures into meditation and the meditation flowers into realisation. So for realisation, meditation is necessary. For meditation, concentration is necessary. For concentration, aloneness (being left to one’s own self) is absolutely necessary. That is what we call silent sitting, in Bhagavan's terminology.
SELF - AWARENESS
Therefore my friends, as I said earlier, we should be able to judge ourselves. Let not anyone say, “Anil Kumar, you are angry.” Do I need to be told? I know I am angry. That is why my BP, blood pressure, has shot up. Nobody needs to tell me, “You are disturbed”. No, no. My face tells me. I should be able to see myself. Others need not tell you what you are.
My point is this, please understand. This kind of study, this kind of awareness, will help us to be in the Self. The point is that you are the Self. When I am in a disturbed state, I am not in the Self. Though I am the Self, I am not in the Self. By Self, I mean consciousness, super consciousness, Atman, the Brahman. So I am Atma, but I am not in Atma. Do you understand? I am the Self, but I am not in the Self always. What is to be done?
CONSTANT INTEGRATED AWARENESS (CIA) AND
CONSTANT INTERNAL EVALUATION (CIE)
Baba said, “CIA - Constant Integrated Awareness, CIA. Or Constant Internal Evaluation, CIE. Constant Internal Evaluation -- please evaluate your self.” Are you that what you speak of? Are you that which you stand for? Does your experience reflect what you profess? In what direction are you proceeding?
This has to be done constantly. Constant Integrated Evaluation. Once CIE is done, it will take you to CIA - Constant Integrated Awareness. This Constant Integrated Awareness will help us to know the reality.
One example: What is darkness? Darkness is only the absence of light. Absence of light is darkness. Am I clear? Similarly, though I am the Self, I am not yet in the Self. Why? The reason is I have instead gone into the world. I have become involved in worldly matters, sensual pleasures, material objects and mundane thoughts. Therefore, though I am conscious, I am not in a state of spiritual consciousness.
When once these worldly thoughts are gone, the Self is automatically evident. When there is light, there is no more darkness. When there is no light, all is full of darkness. Likewise, when the worldly thought, the mundane thought enters, consciousness becomes worldly. Consciousness is material; consciousness is physical.
So when I am at the level of the conscious state, the material, physical, mundane, the five elements, it is only darkness. Once there is light, radiance, brilliance, illumination, knowledge, awareness, spiritual and Divine, then I am a man of wisdom. Therefore the absence of darkness, the absence of worldly consciousness, is the presence of the light. My friends, this is the point which I really want to share with you.
REALITY IS NON-DUAL
Someone questioned Ramana Maharishi, “When there is only One, why do we find two? When non-duality is reality, how do you justify duality? All are One, but I find you and me being separate. Why?"
The answer that Ramana Maharishi gave is this: Your own raga (attachment), your own dwesha (hatred) are responsible, that’s all. Diversity or dwaitha or plurality, it is of your own making, due to your raga, attachment and dwesha, hatred. You are attached to your own people. ”Oh, I see, he is from my place. Very good. Does he speak the same language? Ahhahaha…Same town… Paradise… Same street…the very Heaven.” Attachment! “Oh, you are from some other country…Oh, you don’t speak the same language…You don’t know English…I see, OK.” You don’t have that attachment. So your attachment and your hatred are responsible for duality, while reality is non-dual, according to Ramana Maharishi.
LIFE IS ONLY ONE
Swami is a blend of all philosophy. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the mother of all philosophies. Therefore, I find His teaching in full agreement with whatever I read, whatever I speak, whatever spiritual teaching I listen to. Bhagavan Baba says this, “If you love anybody, know that you are loving yourself.” I repeat, if you love anybody, it means you are loving yourself. If you hate anybody, it means you are hating yourself. Why? When I hate you, how can I hate myself? Why? There is no other. No, no. There is no other! Life is only One without the other. It is non-dual.
WHEN YOU LOVE, YOU ARE LOVING YOURSELF
Further Baba says, “When I look into your eyes, I see My own reflection in your eyes. When you look into My eyes, you see your own reflection. Then, where is the other?” So to say ‘I and the other’ is totally wrong. There is nothing like anybody being ‘other’. So when you love, there’s no question of another. You are loving yourself. When you hate, there is nothing like hating another; you are hating yourself. Because you - the reality, I - the consciousness, is the reality, is existence. There is no second. That’s what Baba says.
As this is an interesting question and I am afraid that we may not be meeting next week, let me give you a ceremonial end to this at least. I cannot stop this abruptly.
GIVING UP THE FEELING OF ‘I AND MINE’
“Bhagavan, we are really grateful to You for all the opportunities You have given us. We are really thankful to You for allowing us to be near You. We cannot express our gratitude for the bounty of blessings that You have conferred upon us. Please, let us know how to pay the debt of gratitude. Let me know, Bhagavan, how to express my gratitude to You for all that I received from You.”
What does Baba say? That will be the bottom line. Baba said, “If you want to express your gratitude to Me, if you want to remain grateful to Me, what I want from you is to give up ‘I’-ness and the expression of ‘mine’. ‘I – mine.’ ‘I – mine.’ ‘I am here; this is my pen. This is mine.’ I and mine. ‘I’ is not spiritual when identified with worldliness, when identified with material. That is one way of expressing gratitude.” That’s what Baba has said.
WAYS TO EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE
The second point Baba said is: “My dear boys, (we are all His children, irrespective of our age, our cadre, our gender, our country; so we are all His children) first, you can express your gratitude by giving up your ego. Second, you can also express your gratitude to Me by having total understanding that life is nothing but the mind, attachment, hatred, pain, pleasure, greed, gain, loss, profit, success, victory and defeat. They are all of the mind only. Please understand that. That is the way you can express your gratitude to Me.”
“Therefore, I say that you are not the mind; you must transcend the mind. I say to you that the mind is just an instrument, that you are consciousness, that you are the super-consciousness, that you are Divine, and that you should do all your sadhana to realise the Divinity within. That is the gratitude you can show unto Me. I don’t want your donations. I don’t want any gifts from you; just this gift of the realisation of your inner self, this gift of understanding the dual world, which is basically psychological.” This gift, the path of enquiry, to be here and experience the reality itself, these are the ways of expressing gratitude to Bhagavan Baba.
OPPORTUNITY OF UNDERSTANDING PHILOSOPHY AND
SPIRITUALITY IN DEPTH
The academic year that started last June will be coming to a close by the end of this month. And, if there are chances of meeting next week, you are most welcome. If there are no chances, we are mentally prepared. But as an individual here, please believe me, I mean every word I say. I am grateful to every person here, every brother here, every sister here, for their patient hearing, for their gracious presence, for their words of encouragement, for all the things that they have done for me.
If not for this satsang, this Sunday appointment, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity of going deeply into Sai philosophy. I would not have had the opportunity of going through Ramana Maharishi’s literature. I would not have had the opportunity of going deeply into Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s literature. I would not have had the opportunity of going through the Holy Bible.
You have helped me a lot. I really mean it from the bottom of my heart. I humbly bow down to each and every one of you with the tears of joy, with all the fullness of the spirit of gratitude, for your presence, for your encouragement, for all the questions sent to me by email, and for all that you have browsed in your computers, where the website covers all these Sunday talks, in different faraway places and languages.
I am particularly grateful to all those people who have been working on this project of making the Sunday talk available to everybody all over the world. If people ask me what is it that Baba has done for you? Has He made you a millionaire? Has He made you a prime minister? Has He made you a rich man? Has He made you influential? Has He made you handsome? Has He made you intelligent? I do not know, my friends. But He has given me a host of friends, a host of admirers, a host of listeners who have helped me work through philosophy and spirituality in greater depth, more and more than ever before.
I once again thank every one of you here, and those who are not here, who follow the talks on the available computers website and all those people who are really directing me, guiding me, encouraging me (Applause).
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