October 14th, 2007
The Inner Meaning of Dasara, the Sacrificial Yajna
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna
I am extremely happy to be here amongst you, particularly since this is such a special morning. We are to witness a yajna which is an annual feature in Prashanti Nilayam coinciding with the Dasara festival. This festival extends for a period of nine days and Swami allows the performance of seven days of yajna. The nine day festival is called Nava-rathri (Nava - nine, rathri - festival season). The seven days of yajna in which we will participate and witness is called Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna.
Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna:
Veda - a scripture.
Veda Purusha - the source of the scripture, God Himself
Saptaha - seven days
Jnana - spiritual wisdom
Yajna - a selfless, universal, spiritual activity
So during these seven days we will acquire wisdom. We will acquire the knowledge of the Self, of consciousness. We will obtain knowledge of the Divine - the supreme spiritual knowledge, Saptaha Jnana.
Therefore, my friends, Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna is a sacred spiritual ritual observed over seven days in the Divine presence of the very source of the scriptures. But if we just sit there helplessly without knowing the meaning or significance of yajna, then we are no different than the pillars in the Poornachandra Auditorium (Laughter). The pillars have witnessed yajna for many years, yet they continue to be pillars! We are not pillars, we are thrillers! We are thrilled by seeing a yajna; our hearts are filled with bliss. Thus this yajna has special significance for all of us.
THE Sunday talks ARE available on the Internet and in book form
Details of the yajna in the earlier years of our satsang (spiritual fellowship) were recorded. With Bhagavan’s grace, that information and all the Sunday talks are now available on the internet. The website address is: www.saiwisdom.com. It is there that you can find many of the things shared with our friends during these Sunday talks.
Bhagavan’s grace is so abundant that He gracefully permitted us to offer these talks in book form also. They are published by the Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publication Trust under two titles. One is Sai Sandesh; the second is Saichology. The third volume of our Sunday talks will be hopefully ready by the date of Swami’s Birthday, or at least by Christmas. The title can’t be revealed just yet because of patent rights.
But I should openly admit the whole credit goes to all our friends working as a team. There are those editing the talks, and those putting them on the website. The leader of the team is our good friend, Mr. Lakhi, seated in front of me, who is really ‘lucky’ to have taken up this job! (Laughter) The video man is here too, making a video of the talks, which also can be found on the website, www.saiwisdom.com.
Well, this morning I would like to talk to you about certain aspects related to the Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna performed in the very Divine presence of Bhagavan. This is a continuation of past lectures. It is certainly not a repetition because the earlier talks are there for referral. This is another dimension to the subject.
My friends, most of the rituals that we observe and most of the spiritual practices that we follow are for the fulfillment of our desires. If we are very realistic, we have to accept two things. First, we spend most of our lives in the maintenance and improvement of our body, while the ego improves too! (Laughter) Second, much time is spent in the fulfillment of our desires.
Therefore, we excel in securing the lowest grade possible in the test subject of ahamkara (ego). We maintain the same very high standard, even while on the spiritual path, by being totally identified with the body, dehabhimana: deha - body, and abhimana - body attachment or body identification. Fifty or sixty percent of life is for the ego; the rest of our life is spent on the fulfillment of desires. The result is that we are yet to enjoy the fruits of spirituality. We have not reached the destination.
THE OBJECTIVE IS TO EARN GOD’S GRACE
Let us be very clear from the beginning: before the commencement of yajna, the objective is Daivanugraha. Daiva Anugraha - to earn God’s grace. That is the prime purpose of Navarathri or Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna. We should earn His grace! Well, are we earning His grace?
No doubt, we are earning His grace . . . but we are misusing it. The grace has not been enjoyed or realised objectively. All has been used for worldly benefits and mundane profits. God’s grace is above mundane benefits. God’s grace is to be enjoyed above our physical needs. God’s grace has to be realised above career prospects and family advancement. These are all limited - the worldly pursuits, the mundane life, family - all are the same. Set them all aside. If you look at God’s grace further, you will find something more; you will find something infinite, bliss beyond. Therefore, God’s grace is to be realised; it is to be enjoyed in the correct sense of bliss. That is the fundamental principle behind this yajna.
GOD’S GRACE GIVES US INFINITE BLISS
Well, why should we be so crazy trying to earn God’s grace? Why should we make unending efforts in this line? Some people will say, “How long should I do that?” Others say, “Should I wait instead for the next Dasara?”
Time runs out. It is not to be postponed, no! This process has to be continued. Why? Because God’s grace gives us infinite bliss. The fulfillment of worldly desires gives only worldly, minimal and momentary joy. The worldly desires and their fulfillment give us glimpses or the taste of bliss, but the result is endless sorrow.
Suppose, for example, that I prayed and prayed to become the head man. God’s infinite mercy makes me the boss; but what happens later on? The head will have a headache! (Laughter) He struggles very hard to become a head, but from that evening on, he has a headache. After one year, he has blood pressure problems. (Laughter) After three years, he forgets to smile. (Laughter) After four years, he regrets being a boss. Then he remembers the joy he had previously at the beginning of his career. That is what happens, my friends.
I may be happy that my desire is fulfilled now. Baba is so great; people stop the traffic telling everybody how Baba helped them. Very good. But where or when does it end? The answer is that He grants all that you desire until you stop desiring. Why? When you stop desiring, you start enjoying the bliss. Bliss is higher than desire. Everything within the range of desire is just superficial joy, just a whitewash or paint; and it will all lead us to endless misery and sorrow. Let us not be guilty of that. So what are we to do now?
IT IS THE MIND THAT GOES ON DESIRING
Let us go to the root cause of desire. What is it that desires? What is it that wants? What is it that wants to become? What is that in me that craves for recognition, for fame? What is it in me that craves for personality? Horrible, horrible! There is nothing much worse than looking into one’s own self. There is no greater joke. One is a joker for one’s own self.
So what is it that prompts our desires? It is the mind that goes on desiring. It won’t stop. In those days when I walked on the road, the mind wanted me to have at least a bicycle. The day I got a bicycle, the mind said, “Don’t think that is an achievement. See those fellows on scooters and motorcycles . . . you are not so great.” It condemns me and urges me to search for ever more things. The mind will never allow the state of peacefulness. The mind will never allow me to be contented. The mind will not allow me to laugh. When I laugh, the mind will say, “The other man is happier than you, be quiet!” Understand that. (Laughter)
Those people who don’t laugh are suffering from a mental sickness or some complex. When the mind is free, one can laugh, smile and enjoy life like a child. A child has no agenda; therefore a child goes on laughing. But we have forgotten how to laugh. Our laughter is sarcastic or our smile is unkind. Therefore, my friends, we have to understand that it is the mind which is the root cause for all the desires.
THE MIND OSCILLATES BETWEEN WORLDLINESS AND GODLINESS
The Navarathri festival with the Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna is an attempt to train, tame and befriend the mind. You have to tame, train and divert the mind. Why do I say that again? Well, we don’t tame our mind. We look at our mind as an enemy. Some people say, “My mind is a monkey mind. It is horrible and terrible.” But if you are good, your mind is also all right. There is nothing wrong with our minds. (Kindly refer to Bhagavan’s recent discourses.) So let us befriend, tame and divert our mind.
The mind is such that when it is oriented towards the world, it will be totally worldly. Once it is diverted towards God, it will be godly. Worldliness and godliness are the two extremes here. The mind is like a pendulum oscillating between worldliness and godliness. Let us see that it swings over towards godliness so that we will be able to understand the taste and beauty of Divine grace.
Before I go to the next point, let me conclude with this statement. Take any religion, any philosophy, any ideology, or any theist approach, the aim is only one - the withdrawal or annihilation of the mind. The withdrawal or annihilation of the mind is the very purpose of religion. When, instead, the mind becomes stronger and stronger, thicker than a concrete roof, it is not spiritual; it is in no way religious. So the mind has to be withdrawn.
IF THE MIND IS WITHDRAWN, WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
“Oh, if the mind is withdrawn, where will I be? What will happen to my family? What will happen to my job and salary? What will happen to my properties? If the mind is withdrawn, what will happen to my life?”
My friends, nothing will happen. Leave the mind alone. If we are not there, the world will be much better off. (Laughter) Unfortunately, we think some things are ‘so very important’. Yes, very important! That we should think like that is the biggest joke and the greatest myth. That is the important truth!
I am still teaching botany. But if I should think it is only I who can do this, and I am necessary for the university, then I am a first-class fool. There are ten former students ready to replace me, and their performance would be superior because they are more up-to-date in the subject of botany. I have archaic information belonging to the Stone Age!
It is the same thing at home. We think we are very important at home. No, no, no. If you go on a holiday, you should see how people are happy in your absence! (Laughter) The naked truth is so difficult to accept because we live in myth. We live in our own imaginary world, considering ourselves important. Certainly not.
ALL OF US HAVE EXPERIENCED THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE MIND
Our problem is what will happen if the mind is withdrawn? Nothing will happen except that we will be happier. You may ask, “How can you say that? Have you experienced it?”
All of us have experienced it and will continue to experience the withdrawal of the mind. The whole world experiences that state. Is this nonsense? No. We all go to sleep, don’t we? Does anyone ever say, “I never sleep”? So all of us sleep, and all of us will have at least some undisturbed sleep. Therefore, my friends, the point is that the withdrawal of the mind is experienced universally by everybody in the deep sleep state.
Disturbed sleep is probably caused by a physical ailment or a mental worry. But as I look at all of your faces, you must have had a very nice sleep last night. There is no doubt about it because otherwise there would be drooping faces, red eyes, or a bad temper. Disturbed sleep makes you shout at everybody. A fellow with disturbed sleep will fight with the housewife who is readily available at home. (Laughter) Of course, she gets used to it. She might give him back as good as she gets, or she might choose to be deaf to his shouting. (Laughter)
So in an undisturbed sleep, we enjoy bliss. What is the experience of that state where the mind is withdrawn? I cannot say. What is deep sleep like? What is that state? There is no answer to these questions. We cannot describe our experience in the deep sleep state with words. That which cannot be expressed is bliss; a blissful experience cannot be expressed. The true experience which happens when the mind is withdrawn cannot be expressed because the mind is not there!
When the mind is there, it reports. It records, reproduces, exaggerates, underestimates, and wreaks the havoc of a journalist. A journalist will make a mountain out of a molehill and vice versa. So the mind is a news reporter. I don’t want to offend news reporters, or should I say, a nuisance reporter (for readers of the news, it is new sense, but for the Self, nuisance). So this nuisance reporter (the mind) can report when it is active. When it is not there, who will report? Therefore, the state when the mind is withdrawn is a blissful state because of the absence of the reporter. Withdrawal of the mind is the purpose of Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna, and the main purpose of all spiritual activity.
WE HAVE TO ACT ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES
The Navarathri festival directs us to do what the scriptures say. The scripture is the voice of God, whether it is the Bhagavad Gita, Vedas, Upanishads, the Brahma Suthra, the Bible, the Quran, or the Zorathushtra. We have to act according to the scripture because it is the voice of God.
Some people would like to exercise their choice, but the scripture gives you no choice. The world gives you ample choice, to live or to die. The scriptures are choiceless; it is the Word of God. “Thou shall not lie.” “Thou shall not speak untruth.” “Thou shall not hate.” “Thou shall not kill.” “Thou shall not commit adultery.” The scriptures say this unequivocally, so there is no question of choice as in “I will do numbers 1, 3 and 8 of the Ten Commandments.” No, it is not a question paper and you are not a student. You will not even get grace marks.
So in the spiritual life, you have to follow the scriptures, God’s Word, unconditionally, whether you like it or not.
When Swami says, “That’s all! Finish!” you don’t say, “What about tomorrow? Why finish now?”
“Finish!” Swami says.
There is no question of why and why not. “Not to question why, but to do and die.” Bhagavan Baba lays emphasis on following His commands. When you go off track and do anything wrong, you will regret having trespassed His commands, and repent.
So this Navarathri festival should firmly establish one important fact. We have to follow whatever He says, whether we like it or not. That is the third thing we have to pledge ourselves. (The first was to earn God’s grace and the second was to divert the mind to godliness.)
THE SPIRIT OF SERVICE
The next thing to consider is service. Students at present are going to different areas doing grama seva, village service activity. But what should be the spirit of service for all of us? Service is not a show; service is not a slow process. It is neither slow nor a show. Service is spiritual. Service is above self (ego).
I would like to give you a few examples looking at service from the spiritual angle. Suppose I spend some money to make myself comfortable and happy. Then I do the same for others to make their lives comfortable and happy. Just as I eat, I feed the other man. Just as I get myself cured, I help the other man to cure himself. This is the wrong approach. “Whatever you wish that men would do unto you, do so unto them” is not service at all. I suffer from fever and spend 50 rupees for injections and tablets to cure my ailment. “Oh, what a service I have done to myself!” (Laughter) You have to consider that all these acts are “doing unto yourself.” That is all. It is no service.
Why? Spiritually speaking, there is no second man. There is only the One-without-a-second, Saharsa Sheersa Purushaha Sahasraksha Sahasrapat. “God is One and is present in many forms.” The God in me is the very same God in you as well. That should be the spirit of service. With this attitude, we move away from narrow-minded points of view and short-term gains.
DUALISM IS BECAUSE OF BODY IDENTIFICATION
My friends, we have the dual feeling that I am different from you. You are different from me; let me be very happy about that. (Laughter) This is what we call the philosophy of dualism. In dualism, I and you are separate. This dual feeling is because of body identification. “Well sir, what if this is how I dress? This is my style.” Okay, creative differences will be present.
THREE COMMON DISEASES OF BODY ATTACHMENT
The man who has this body attachment also has three diseases. The first of the three common diseases is fear of disease. No animal has any sense of fear unless its life is under threat; otherwise it is fearless. But we live in constant fear.
One gentleman was running for darshan. I said, “Slow down, man, why are you running?”
“Swami, Swami is coming.”
“You should have left earlier. Why run like that now?”
“Swami may notice my absence.”
People go there to see their presence noticed by their beloved Swami. This man is running so that his absence is not noticed. To pray that He notices my presence is because of love; to run there so my absence won’t be noted is because of fear.
The second disease: a dualistic mind will be continually restless. No peace; peace less. Why? You are afraid of tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. Today, Swami looked at me, fine. Tomorrow, He may not look at me, not fine. A dualistic mind lives in constant fear and restlessness.
The third disease of the dualistic mind is desire. You may ask me, “Mr. Anil Kumar, don’t you have desire?” Let me humbly submit this to you. None of us have desires, strictly speaking. We have needs, that is all. A need in excess, a need that is extravagant or superfluous, becomes a desire. So let us have needs, but not desires. A man of needs is always contented. A man of desires does not know the spelling of contentment. Therefore, the third disease is allowing desires to come into being.
How can you tell the difference between a need and a desire? A desire can never be fulfilled. If it is, then it is not a desire. Why? Swami Himself gave this example. (Whatever I say to you is from Sai literature, my friends. It is not my knowledge and I don’t interpret either. There are hundreds of books on and by Swami available.) Swami compares desire with fire. Put some paper into the fire and the fire will burn it. It will not say ‘thank you’. If you give the fire some oil, it will not say ‘thank you’. You can go on feeding the fire, but it will never be satisfied. So desire is like fire. Therefore, a dual mind suffers from these three diseases: constant fear, restlessness, and desire.
A WAY TO MAKE THE DUAL MIND INTO A NON-DUAL MIND
The Navarathri festival with the Veda Purusha Jnana Saptaha Yajna should help us to convert the dual mind into a non-dual blissful mind. How can that be done? Our Bhagavan is very, very practical, so He gives us a way that is very simple and very practical.
The first point: self-examination, that is, self audit. But we don’t do that. We go on examining and assessing others: “You are good, he is bad, he is better, he is hopeless”. But let us examine ourselves. When I examine myself within, in introspection, I will begin to see all my pitfalls, weaknesses and lapses as if they were displayed in a museum. “I am a man of temper,” “I am a man of unhealthy rivalry,” “I am a man of endless desires,” “I am a demanding man,” “I want everybody to accept whatever I say.”
When you begin to analyse yourself, you will come to the conclusion that every other man is better than you. Then you will stop judging and criticising others. Those who criticise have a greater number of faults than those whom they criticise. So to have a non-dualistic mind, begin with self-examination so that all your lapses will surface and be seen clearly by you.
Ramana Maharshi goes one step further. He says, “How can you say that your sadhana (spiritual practice) is correct? How can you tell if your sadhana is in the right direction? The answer is simple: the moment when all the dirt, the mistakes and faults within you become known, then you can say you are on the right path. Sadhana is the process of cleansing all the mistakes noticed during self-examination. It is like cleaning a house. It is not sitting up straight in meditation.” So that is one way of having a non-dual mind.
YAJNA, DANA, AND THAPAS ARE ESSENTIAL WORDS TO KNOW
The second point is this. Three words are often used during this season. One is yajna, the second is dana and the third one is thapas, Sanskrit words. I am aware of all the non-Sanskrit students and non-Telugu aspirants here. Well, I have a working knowledge of Sanskrit but I don’t know it in depth, and coming from this region, I know Telugu but I don’t know the significance of every word. This is nothing to worry about.
I met some foreigners who said to me, “Anil Kumar, we do not know Sanskrit. We don’t know how to chant the Veda, what shall we do?”
I said, “God knows English also.” (Laughter)
You can pray in English; the Lord’s Prayer will be heard by the Lord. There is no Sanskrit Lord, English Lord, French Lord, Spanish Lord, thank God. Therefore, let us not worry about trying to learn other languages, and in the process forget the language already known. Every language has its own beauty. Let us not think that some other language is more beautiful. Each has its own majesty, flavour and taste.
But these words, yajna, dana and thapas. are very essential to know. There are many people here, though, who do not know Telugu and Sanskrit and thus I have to go slowly in my explanation.
WHAT IS ‘YAJNA’?
What is ‘yajna’, which you are going to witness from tomorrow? You will see a priest sitting on the dais making offerings to the sacrificial fire while uttering mantras or Vedic hymns. We don’t understand what is going on. But yet let us listen to those mantras. Let us witness what is going on, though not understanding it completely.
A simple example: you can smell perfume or a burning incense stick. When there is a loud frightening sound, you jump. Or you listen to some music with a good beat and you nod your head and tap your feet. When you enjoy the music, you become immersed in it – the body responds. We don’t know the meaning of all the bhajans (devotional songs) we sing, but still we hum the music. Therefore, my friends, as we listen to the mantras tomorrow, the meaning may not be known; yet its effect will be felt. It is similar to enjoying the fragrance of a flower, or the effect of a loud sound or music. In like fashion, you receive good vibrations from the sounds of the mantras. As well, inhaling the smoke from the sacrificial fire solves so many health problems. So we close our eyes, thinking of God within, and listen to the mantras. The greatest sadhana is to witness the yajna. So personally you will be benefited.
Is it possible for us to have the yajna performed? It is a very costly affair and we can’t do it. Our houses don’t have the living space for it either. What about the priests and the sacrificial fire? No, no, no. The yajna performed here during this period is symbolic, like the national flag hoisted on Independence Day. You salute and honour the national flag on that day, but that does not mean you dishonour it the next day, or the following days. No, just as on the day you salute it symbolically, so on all days you have to respect it.
Similarly, the yajna that takes place this season is symbolic. What does it symbolise? This is what Baba said: “Any selfless act, anything that is done selflessly, is yajna.” You don’t need so many priests and so many tins of oil. Anything that is done beyond the physical and psychological state, beyond the body and mind, is yajna. Why? At the psychological level, the mind always desires. At the physical level, the body always requires comforts and conveniences. So any selfless act beyond the level of body and mind is yajna. That is the undercurrent of this yajna which you are going to witness.
WHAT IS ‘DANA’?
The second word is dana. The English translation is ‘charity’ but what kind of charity it is? What is dana, given in the true spirit? Can it be dana if I give away surplus money? Can it be dana if the donation qualifies as an income tax exemption? Or perhaps the money is given in return for a blessing. I attended a function recently where the fellow gave just 10 rupees to the singer. The singer was so happy. He cried out, “Oh God, may You bless such a man for seven generations.” That was cheap - 10 rupees, countless blessings for seven generations! I have not seen such a wholesale deal before! (Laughter)
Here is a story given by Baba long ago. It seems a person went to a rich man’s house to ask for some money. He saw the rich man kneeling down in prayer. What was he praying for? Then he heard, “Oh God, give me more money so that my almariah (cupboard) will be full of cash.” He was praying for more money.
This person was intelligent and he thought, “He is praying to God for money, so let me do likewise and pray directly to God for money. Why should I deal with him and be second in line?” (Laughter)
What does Baba say about dana? “You are the giver when you give something. The other person who receives it is the receiver. So there is a giver and a receiver. But in true dana, true charity, there is no giver and there is no receiver.”
“But I am giving!” No, you are not giving; the God in you is giving. Therefore, why is your name in the newspaper? Foolishness! Why do you want everybody to know about your donations? Stupidity! You are not the giver; God in you is giving. The other man is not receiving; God in him is receiving. Suppose I transfer this watch from the right hand to the left hand or vice versa. Then who is the giver and who is the receiver? Who is superior to whom? So both are the same.
When God is the owner of all that there is, He is the One giving, He is the One receiving. Therefore, there is no giver who is superior or receiver who is inferior. The giver cannot be ‘the donor’, nor the recipient, ‘the beggar’. In true dana or charity, the giver and receiver do not exist – there is only One. That should be the spirit of sacrifice or dana.
THERE SHOULD BE RESPECT AND LOVE IN GIVING AND RECEIVING
A second point is that in the process of giving and receiving there should be respect and love. Suppose I give some money to somebody and say, “Yes, take it, go, and don’t disturb me!” If we are unwilling to give charity, or annoyed, then it is better that we don’t give at all. The process of giving should be full of respect and love because, “Oh God, you have given me a chance to give. Oh God, You are in front of me to take that which You have given me.” That should be the spirit of dana or charity.
WHAT IS ‘THAPAS’?
The third word is thapas. The translation of thapas is ‘penance’. What is penance? Our ordinary understanding is that it a spiritual exercise undertaken by yogis (renunciants) in a forest. No, no. That is absolutely wrong. Thapas is not only for yogis.
What does Baba say about it? Go through Sai literature, which is a mighty ocean of knowledge. You can collect any number of gems from it, provided you dive deeply enough. We go to the shallows and collect a little foam or sand along the shore and think we now know everything. That is a tragedy. You have to go into the depths.
What does Swami say about penance? My friends, please follow this as it is very valuable. One: food habits should be regulated. Sometimes we overeat and sometimes we don’t eat for several reasons. Some people keep on eating – the jaws are always active. (The poor fellow must have been a grinding mill in his previous life.) (Laughter) We eat hot or preserved food. No, no, no. Partaking of a limited (mitha) quantity of food which is naturally tasty (hitha) is thapas. The food should be fresh also. These eating regulations are satwic (pious).
ACCEPT THE DIVINE WILL.
The second thapas is this: follow God’s command scrupulously whatever the cost, whether we like it or not. Ha! It is a difficult job because many of the things we dislike are what He wants us to do. Somebody asked, “Why does Baba speak of prema (Love) and bhakthi (devotion) so often?” He speaks repeatedly of Prema (Love), Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Right Conduct), Shanti, (Peace), Ahimsa (Non-violence) because they are missing in our lives. It is simple – they are needed and we don’t have them.
Therefore, my friends, let us accept what we must do, whether we like it or not. Or I will put it this way: “Oh Bhagavan, let my likes and dislikes agree completely with Your likes and dislikes. Whatever you like, let that be my wish; whatever You dislike, let me also dislike it.” My friends, we have not understood the spirit of acceptance of the Divine law. “Thy Will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven.”
You cannot have Swami fit His ‘timetable’ to your railway timetable or flight times, and say, “Grant me an interview on the 26th of October because I have to leave that evening.”
Somebody said, “Sir, we waited and waited, but Swami did not call me.” He did not ask you to wait. How can you blame Him?
“Sir, He did not come this morning.” He may not come in the evening either. So what?
Instead of saying, “Swami, You did not come” say, “Swami, I have come.” You cannot say “Swami, You did not come.” because He neither comes nor goes. He is already there! And because you are there, you can think of Him more often. You will be in the company of spiritual people. You will be sitting in the place made for you by Bhagavan. You will be where He walks, breathing the same air. What more could you want?
You won’t get that in other places. Go and sit at the airport or railway station. Each fellow is preoccupied with his own thoughts. If you sit near an angry man, you will become angry sooner rather than later. His powerful vibrations contaminate faster than an infectious epidemic.
In a temple or mandir, there are good vibrations. Why is that? All are waiting for Bhagavan. All are thinking of Bhagavan. All love Swami. Therefore, the vibrations of Love and Divine thought, the vibrations of Divine yearning felt as you are all waiting, affect you. Therefore, my friends, let us not think that sitting in the Mandir is useless when Swami does not come. No, no, no. You will not find such a sacred place anywhere else. You cannot have that caliber of company or peace of mind anywhere else. You cannot experience that calmness and single-pointed attention anywhere else. We could not afford to pay for each of these gems, if they were on sale. So we receive many benefits by just being there. This is possible only if we accept the Divine will.
REDUCE BODY ATTACHMENT’
Finally, penance or thapas also means ‘reduce body attachment’. Some people complain that sitting cross legged for a long time causes them joint or back pain. All right, please go. Why continually talk about your back pain until the other man starts to suffer from the same pain, too? Let us not have such body attachment. This is possible by training ourselves to sit silently for prolonged periods. It is not easy; it is spiritual practice. But by practice and discipline one will be able to do that. Observe the college students in the evening. (What were we doing at that time, at that age? It is wiser not to mention certain things that we did at that age!) But what of the PhD, MSc, MBA college boys, sitting there? What better example can there be of that level of discipline?
TRUE PENANCE IS DEVELOPING SWEETNESS AND BLISS WITHIN
So, true penance is developing that sweetness and bliss within. Our words will be sweet and pleasing and our actions helpful. I am not speaking from a higher pedestal. No, we are all fellow travelers. Thus, in our actions – moderate; in our words – quiet, sweet and pleasing. When some people speak (whose words are full of venom, enmity and hatred), you are disturbed for the rest of the day. When you look at certain faces, you feel like turning away because there is no sweetness or bliss within. That is why you don’t feel like talking and meeting with all and sundry.
Baba said your mind should follow you; you should not follow the mind. For instance, I want to go to the Mandir, but my mind wants me to go to the canteen. But your ‘canteen mind’ should follow you to the Mandir.
Further He said to never leave the mind idle. When I see boys whose minds are obviously in idle mode, I immediately ask, “What is wrong with you? Your parents are expecting you to come back home victorious and successful. If they saw your vacant faces, I don’t think they would survive!” The idle mind is the devil’s workshop – if you are not home, a robber can gain entry to your flat.
ENGAGE YOUR MIND IN HEALTHY ACTIVITY
So engage your mind in healthy activity or else high blood pressure can be guaranteed! There is worry over the children. What is happening to them? They are very happy there, you are unhappy here. People are unhappy thinking that their children are unhappy. No, no, no. Children are very happy in our absence. (Laughter) Why should you buy unhappiness when they are very happy that you are here? But we think of them and are unhappy.
Here are some ways to engage your mind.
So my friends, let us employ our mind in a healthy activity. That is the message of Navarathri.
WHAT IS THE FINAL RESULT OF WITNESSING THE FESTIVAL OF NAVARATHRI?
The final question is this. How would you know that the festival of Navarathri has ended? “I witnessed the whole nine days!” Ha, ha, good, good.
A doctor gives you tablets for a fever. After nine days, he asks, “Has the fever come down or not?”
You say, “Sir, the fever has gone up.” Oh, oh, either it is the wrong medicine, or you have not taken the medicine.
Similarly, what should you expect within yourself after having witnessed and participated in the nine days of Navarathri, the Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna? What was the end result for you?
Baba clearly said, “You should have the same feeling in regard to a friend or an enemy. The same feeling! Very, very difficult. That decides whether we have achieved anything from being present at the Navarathri or not.
Second, a most important point. When we see Swami, we are very happy. Why? Your nature is happiness. You see that happiness embodied in the form of Baba in front of you. That has to be recognised and be experienced. This is the final result of your experience of Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna.
Really, we can congratulate ourselves for having been here on these holy days. We are specially privileged to witness Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna. The scriptures also say this is a very holy period to begin any spiritual sadhana. If you want to do japa (recite the holy Name 108 times or 1008 times), this season is very advantageous to make that beginning. Any sadhana, perhaps reading the scripture, can be initiated because this festival gives us the encouragement to start on a spiritual activity; to commence our spiritual sadhana. May Bhagavan bless every one of us.
Prof. Anil Kumar ended his talk by chanting the bhajan, “Ksheerabdhi Sayana Narayana.”
Sainath Baba Maharaj Ki Jai!
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 Babaji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji Ki Jai!