July 15th, 2007
“The Significance of Guru Purnima”
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We find the whole ashram is full of youth these days. Why? We are going to have the International Youth Conference from the 26th to 28th! I was told that they are going to have the Inaugural function on the 26th morning and the Valedictory function on the 28th evening. Then the culmination is going to be on the 29th, which is Guru Purnima itself.
I also understand that they are going to have a series of meetings, discussions, and question and answer sessions, with a number of youth from different parts of the world participating. They will pose a lot of questions, which will be answered in different sessions by the members of the panel set up for this purpose. So it seems to be quite a busy period. It is so nice to find these international youngsters moving around the ashram!
Religion is for the young; spirituality is for the young. Let us forget the misconception that spirituality is meant only for the old. Let us no longer think that it is only for retired people. No. But let us define who is young: young in spirit, young in thought. Activity, dynamism and leadership . . . these are the qualities of youth, not the date of birth. We find some fellows cannot even stand straight for one hour. So it is not the date of birth or age that determines youth; no, it is the activity. It is the spirit that matters.
Most of us know that Arjuna, when he heard Bhagavad Gita, was above 70 years. Krishna, who gave this teaching in His celestial voice, who taught the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, was nearly 80 at the time. Even the chief captain of the entire battalion of Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, Bhishma, was around 100 years old! There were also quite senior, aged personnel, experts like Dronacharya, who also were pretty aged. So, now tell me who are ‘youth’? How to define youth? The point is that it is the spirit that matters and makes the difference. It is the activity that counts.
Who is THE guru?
Keeping Guru Purnima in view, I would like to share some of my thoughts on this subject this morning. Who is the guru and how to identify a guru? Nowadays, there are many people who claim to be gurus. There are many gurus, and every guru has a following. So, how to identify a true guru?
There are some gurus who charge you. If you want to learn meditation, it costs some $1000. If you want to learn yoga, some $100, or some figure like that. “Learn yoga in twenty days, and meditation in thirty days.” It’s like a marketplace, you know, with various prices like that. Good. You will come to know the period of time required and the amount you are supposed to pay.
My friends, please always remember one important point: Where money is involved, there is no God; where money is involved, there is no true guru. On the other hand, he is baruvu. Baruvu is a Telugu word meaning ‘a burden, a heavy weight, or a dead weight’. So, such a person is not a guru or a preceptor; he is a baruvu, a burden, when money is involved. Why should I say that? All the five elements are given to you totally free of cost. The stars, the sun, the moon, the valleys, the mountains, all gardens and flowers are freely available to you. God is free! It is the ‘intermediary’ guru who is costly and expensive. Therefore, the first thing we have to learn is that when money is involved, there is no true guru at all! Where there is payment and encashment, or fund-raising, he is no guru at all!
The second important point is that we have to be very clear about the role of a guru. He will show you the path, but he will not carry you along the path. If you ask me where the canteen is, I will show you the way. But don’t expect me to carry you there, make you sit and eat . . . that is not my job. My job is only to show you the way, that’s all. It is your responsibility to go along the way shown. Therefore, the role of the guru is to show you the way. It is your duty to walk along the way shown.
Thirdly, nothing can be done on your behalf by anybody else. Please take this from me. We people, in our ignorance and because of the intensity of our problems—the burden of the problems of the world, family and otherwise—we want somebody to come to our rescue. We want somebody to save us from these situations. But the basic truth is this: Nobody can do anything on your behalf. You have to work for your own liberation, for your own salvation. You have to work for yourself. Nobody can do it for you on your behalf.
Guru is a Guidepost
Baba gave one example also. It seems a merchant approached a guru. He said, “Sir, please give me a mantra for my salvation.”
The guru took pity upon him and said, “Don’t worry, this mantra is so simple: Om Namah Shivaya.”
“How many times should I do it, Swami?”
“Just 108 times.”
Then this man asked his guru, “Shall I ask my clerk to do it? (Laughter) Or shall I get it xerox copied repeatedly, or make computer copies?”
Then the guru smiled and told him, “Will you ask your clerk to eat on your behalf? Will you ask your clerk to enjoy all the benefits and profits in your business? When you fall sick, will you ask your clerk to take the medicine on your behalf? Or when your clerk sustains a fracture, are you going to wear the bandage on his behalf?”
So, there is nothing like representation here; there is nothing like someone taking your responsibility. Those who would like to escape from responsibility resort to such things. It is there that we get confused and stuck in our thought process. Therefore, my friends, the guru is a guidepost. The guru is one who directs you, who clearly shows you the path; but he will not be walking down it on your behalf. I think I am very clear.
THREE Important aspects of a guru
There are the three important aspects of a guru. What are they? It is often recited in front of Bhagavan, and at home:
Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwaraha,
It is a prayer in praise of guru as Brahma. Brahma is the creator. You praise the guru as creator, Brahma himself. Is it possible? Can the guru be Brahma, the creator? If so, what is he creating?
Guru Vishnu: Vishnu represents the sustenance or maintenance of the creation. He is the sustainer, who maintains the whole universe. How can guru be Vishnu? How is it possible? I find him everyday in the morning and evening. I move with him closely in his company. So how can I think of him as Brahma and Vishnu?
Then lastly, there is Maheshwara or Shiva, who is the annihilator or destroyer. If my guru also wants to destroy, I would not like to see him again. How can he be Shiva? Let this be the last day we meet, if he wants to be Shiva!
But there is some truth in this prayer. It is not for nothing that this prayer is offered in praise of the guru. There is some meaning. I will explain.
Brahma represents creation. Brahma is the creator. A guru is also one who creates. What does he create? He creates in you novel thoughts, new thoughts, sacred thoughts, willingness to do, the spirit of acceptance, the spirit of devotion, humility, simplicity, the spirit of sacrifice, and love for truth and peace. Therefore, the guru creates certain sacred and noble truths within you. As such, he is the creator. (It is not that he is going to create the whole world in front of you, or make you witness the drama, or create an exhibition, no.)
BHAGAVAN, the transformer
Most strangely enough, in respect to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, we find this creative aspect in a very particular and peculiar way. To my knowledge and with my experience, I could give you a few examples, examples which include most of us.
People, who are full of anger, temper, and other negative emotions, come to Bhagavan. After two or three visits . . . or in the first visit, if the person is fortunate enough . . . he loses his anger and temper. He develops a little more balance; he learns to be little more peaceful. However, there is nothing on record showing Baba spoke to him. Nor do we have any photograph of this man receiving mantras from Bhagavan. Yet he is a transformed person after visiting Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba! It is very strange for his family, and quite unbelievable to his friends and colleagues. “How has this fellow become so calm and balanced? What did Baba tell him without our knowledge?”
This is the peculiar way, the ‘spiritual dynamics’ of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. We could call it ‘spiritual electronics’. He brings about a change within you, unnoticed. You do not know that you are changing; you do not know there is a change taking place within you. But there is a change happening. From what date this started, you do not know. How did it happen? You do not know. In fact, you may not even know you have changed until someone tells you, “You were not like this before!”
Miser #1—someone who has never given anything to anybody, who knows only how to amass wealth—all of a sudden starts sacrificing his money for the activities of his Sai centre, to support some medical camps and all that. We never know when Swami asked him to give money. No, no, we have not witnessed any incident of Swami telling anybody, “You go and donate something.” But we find this fellow starts giving. That fellow, who had been only getting, getting and getting for himself till now, starts giving and giving to others. How did this happen? We do not know. When did he change? He himself does not know. Did Baba tell him anything openly, publicly, like to be charitable, compassionate, and to develop the feeling of sharing? No. But he starts giving. How? That is the mysterious truth of Bhagavan.
BABA, THE CREATOR
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in the role of Brahma, in the role of creator, the Divine Guru, the Divine Master, brings about metamorphosis, development and change in an unnoticed way, in a hidden way, in all secrecy, without anyone’s (including your) knowledge, because He is Bada Chita Chora, a ‘big thief’, an experienced thief. Chita Chora: He steals your heart in such a way that it starts developing certain features without your own knowledge. Baba is the Creator, the Divine Master, and Guru Brahma as He mysteriously instils, imbues and creates in you these noble features and thoughts.
BABA, THE SUSTAINER
Secondly, as Guru Vishnu, the sustainer, He maintains those qualities He created in you. It is not enough if you sow seeds in the garden. It is not enough if the seeds grow into a sapling, a young plant. It is more important that you take care of it. It is more important to see that these saplings are not eaten by a goat or a cow that passes by. You have got to take care of the garden; you have got to maintain it; you have got to protect it. You have to cut the leaves so that the small plant will grow into a bush. You have to nurture it, you have to manure it, and you have to water it. You have to take care of it in every way. This maintenance is the job of Vishnu.
Bhagavan Baba as Guru is also Vishnu. How do you say that? Once you are with Him, once you get into the magnetic field of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, you cannot get out! Please be sure of it. You cannot get out, that is all. He will see to it that you are continuously drawn, and you cannot go. Even if you catch the next flight, you will want to return immediately back by the next flight. You just cannot go. Once you are in His field, you are there on the path.
Later, even if you want to deviate from the path given to you, you will soon come back to that path. He will not allow you to do otherwise. Or He will prevent you from deviating in the first place. We know of many instances when people wanted to deviate from the path or transgress the code of conduct. Ultimately, they rallied round. They cannot disown Him.
I can give you any number of examples. Swami appeared in a dream, telling a person, “Don’t neglect your duty.” Swami appeared physically to another person telling, “Do your job properly.” He does it; it is there on record.
Here is another story: A doctor was there at the operation table. He wanted to operate upon the patient, but the patient was quite old, with a number of complications—sort of a given-up case. (She had undergone earlier operations, so this one was going to be the final one. There would not be a ‘next’ operation, because most likely, she would be ‘on the other planet’, as she was a hopeless case!)
This doctor had earlier said to the old lady, “I am not going to operate on you because so many people have already treated you, and they have all failed. I don’t want to do that. So please go.”
But that night Baba appeared in her dream telling her, “Go to that doctor only.” She went on pestering him until he had to accept her and admit her into his hospital. That young man had started his practice only recently. If he started with this case, you can understand his prospects in the field. But this lady did not leave him. So what to do? He finally accepted.
So she was there on the operation table, and he was just about to start the surgery. (This is clearly recorded for anyone to read. Understand please, my friends, this story is clearly recorded. His name is Dr Ranga Rao.)
Now, this young man sought the assistance of few more doctors because he thought, ‘Let us share the discredit; let us grab the credit (if there is any) and share the discredit (should it come).’ (Laughter) In other words, he wanted the help of few more senior doctors, so that he could save his face, saying she died because of them, not because of him. (Laughter)
To their utter surprise, while the operation was going on, what happened? As the same Ranga Rao was operating, his white apron— the coat he was wearing—turned red in colour! All were watching. And while he was operating, he could feel that his hands were no longer his hands. So, his whole gown or apron turned into the red colour of Swami’s robe, and he felt he had somebody else’s hands, not his hands, doing the surgery.
The other doctors started watching him. (No doctor wears red colour in the theatre because the blood lost during surgery is red enough!) So what happened to this doctor, they were all wondering? But they did not question him because the surgery was going on in full swing; they couldn’t delay the procedures. Then, at the end, after finishing the stitches and all that, his apron turned white once again. Only at that moment could he feel his own hands again, not somebody else’s, as during the procedures of the surgery.
Later he came to Prashanti Nilayam. There Baba told him, “You cannot avoid your responsibilities. You should not drive out any patient like that, when they come to your doorstep. I made her come to you, because you were not prepared to do it. I did the operation. Is it clear to you?” That is what Baba told him.
So, once you believe in Him, once you accept certain principles, you cannot deviate from the path. He will not allow you to do so. Furthermore, He will help you hold on to your principles.
Right now, there is a principal of a college in the ashram here. She is a great devotee of Bhagavan. But last year what happened? There was a strike organised by students there in her college. They could have left the campus; they could have stayed back at home. But unfortunately, these fellows resorted to violence. That poor lady was surrounded by so many people. She had Baba’s picture on her table. She went on praying, “Swami, what is all this?”
Believe me or not, the leader of the students came and said to her, “Madam, we have nothing against you. We have everything to say against the management, but we have nothing against you. You are a very good administrator. Be happy. Nothing will happen to you.” Because she wanted to hold onto Swami’s Feet and was ready to face all the challenges of life come what may, Swami came to her rescue. So, my point is that when we hold on to certain principles, we will receive Divine help and co-operation.
Some of the students asked me,” Sir, is it possible to practice all these values outside?”
I answered, “Why do you think these principles are taught here? (Laughter) Don’t we teach them here in order to practice them outside? Those things that are taught here are very much to be practiced outside. It is not simply to hear about them and then leave. Why else would these principles be taught?”
Then another boy asked, “But sir, is it possible?”
“If they are impossible, why should we teach them here? It would be a waste of time and energy.”
Then another boy asked, “Sir, will we get promotions and professional prospects? Will the boss appreciate us if we follow these principles?”
Then I said, “If you hesitate like that, then you’d better stay at home. Come on, face the challenge! Life is a challenge! Life is not just a matter of relaxation.”
We should be prepared to meet the challenges of life, and then the Divine Hands will always be helping us. God is always there to help us, provided we tread the path that He has given us. In that way, Bhagavan is the sustainer, Guru Vishnu. He maintains and sustains those sacred qualities that He has created in you.
BABA, THE DESTROYER
Then thirdly, Guru Devo Maheshwara . . . guru is Devo Maheshwara, the destroyer. The destroyer? What does that mean? It does not mean destroying people physically. If that were the meaning, the population problem would have been solved long back! This planet would have been left with none other than God Himself, because everyone merits some kind of destruction at some point in time. Then what does ‘destroyer’ mean? It means He totally destroys the evil tendencies and evil traits in you. That’s what He destroys.
I can give one example: Suddenly, when someone wants to be disobedient, Baba will avoid him. Somebody asked Baba, “Swami, how is it that You don’t pass by this side where I am seated. Why do You go that side only? How is it that You are avoiding this line? How is it that You are avoiding me? What is it that I have done? Why do You avoid me?”
Baba said, “Simple answer: When you go in your car, suddenly you have to take diversions. Why? There will be a board—‘Road under repair. Take diversion.’ Since you are under repair, I take a diversion, and go the other way to avoid you. (Laughter) Till the repair work is completed, I continue to take the diversion. Best you repair yourself!” So the Divine mechanic will help you repair from within, tightening all the screws, bolts and nuts. Those who stay here know much better than I, so I don’t need to elaborate!
He does not allow you to go away from the path. A person who is very close to Him may be totally avoided. The reason is best known only to those two, not to a third person. On the other hand, when you start doing good things, He will be very close to you. So Swami encourages you to proceed along a good line of action, avoiding all forbidden things, avoiding all that you are not supposed to do. That is how He is Guru Devo Maheshwaha.
“experience Me within yourselves”
So, Guru Purnima is a celebration of bliss, a chance to express our gratitude to our God, the Guru, praising Him full-throated for playing the role of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the sustainer), and Maheshwara (the annihilator). Guru Purnima is an occasion for thanksgiving. Guru Purnima is a function where we can express our gratitude. Guru Purnima is an occasion to commit once again to the cause and the mission for which we are born.
Baba said on another occasion, “Alright, where is the guru?”
“Swami, if I take You as guru, I will only be able to see You whenever I come here. And if You choose to cancel morning darshan, I will not be able to see You until the afternoon. So then, guru is available only once in a day. And that too, once in a blue moon, when I come from a far-off place! How can I accept You as guru, Bhagavan? How can You be the guru, because You are not available to me!? I am not sure when You are going to come, particularly when I go for a cup of coffee to the canteen! (Laughter) You come on a day when I miss the darshan, or You only look at me when I forget to bring the letter I have at home, which needs to be passed on to You! You ask me, ‘How are you?’ when I have no problems; then You avoid me when I am in deep problems! So how can I take You as my guru? How is it possible?”
Bhagavan gives this important answer: “I am not outside; I am within you. You see Me outside only in order to experience Me within yourselves.”
Therefore, Bhagavan Baba, whom we see during darshan time outside, is to be experienced inside, within. How is it possible? Is it humanly possible? Why not? Don’t you think of your son, who is far away from you? Don’t you think repeatedly of your enemy, who is far away from you, more than your beloved? Don’t we think of our people close to us? So, to say that I cannot think of someone in their physical absence is ridiculous. It simply is not true, because we do think of those people whom we don’t see physically. Similarly, we may not be seeing Swami in the morning, but we can think of seeing Him within because that is the only way to be truly close to Him.
all are close to Him
Physical nearness is illusory; physical closeness is a myth; physical closeness is imagination. Physical closeness makes you feel egoistic. There are some people who say, “I am very close to Baba.” That fellow is forgetting the fact that his chapter of physical closeness is soon coming to a close! (Laughter) Why do you think you are very close? He never says so. Let Him say on the stage, “So-and-so is close to Me.” No, it is only your ego that makes you feel you are close to Him. But He is close to everybody.
He gave an example: Suppose you are travelling in a train to Bangalore. What do you say? “Bangalore is coming, Bangalore is coming.” But Bangalore is not coming. In fact, you are going to Bangalore. (Laughter) When you leave Bangalore and come to Puttaparthi, as the train leaves the platform, you say, “Bangalore has left, Bangalore has left.” But Bangalore has not left. You only have left Bangalore. Bangalore is still where it is. It has not come nor has it gone. You only have come; you only have gone.
Similarly, only you feel that you are close to Him, or that you are distant from Him. Only you feel that you are very intimate, or that you are alien or foreign to Him. This is all our imagination, our illusion, ego trip, a gimmick of the mind. But the truth of truths and the fact of facts is this: Guru is within you, and all are close to Him! I fully believe this. It has been my experience. Furthermore, it is declared so by every spiritual text in all religions. Therefore, my friends, Guru Purnima is an occasion to feel the Guru within, to experience Him within, and to listen to His instructions within.
ONLY WHEN THE OUTER NOISE STOPS CAN THE INNER VOICE be HEARD
Listen to what? God speaks to you. “Does God speak to me?” Why not? “How is it that He does not speak to me?” You don’t give Him a chance to speak to you. “Why do you say that?” You go on speaking to others. So where is the time or chance for Him to speak to you? Suppose we meet, and you go on speaking continuously. Then, how will I speak? If I go on speaking, I don’t give you a chance. Then, how can you speak to me?
Similarly, when we are engaged in continuous speaking, we are not giving God within a chance to speak to us. How often do you listen for Him? So, only when the outer noise stops can the inner voice be heard. The inner voice is not heard because of too much outer noise. Baba does speak to you; God does speak to all. It is what we call our ‘conscience’ or ‘inner voice’.
Suddenly you feel like doing something, or suddenly you feel like saying something. All of a sudden, you have got a plan. All of a sudden, an expression, a thought, an idea (which has not been possible in your lifetime with your limited capacities) comes like a flash! It is because of your conscience . . . things come in a flash. It is a glimpse of Divinity.
A simple example: Sir Isaac Newton was passing under a tree. When he saw the apple fall, he suddenly understood the law of gravitation. We have seen fruits falling any number of times, and Sir Isaac Newton also must have seen fruits fall a number of times. It was not the first time that he saw fruit falling. After all, the fellow lived sufficiently long. How is it that at that moment only the law of gravitation struck his mind? Why? Divine intuition! God’s voice is intuitive. Please understand that.
Another scientist, while taking bath, came forward with the law of density . . . Archimedes. He must have taken bath a number of times. (I don’t think that he had skipped his bath till that day!) (Laughter) He must have taken bath twice a day till that day, but suddenly that law came. Why? How? Intuition--all inventions are intuitive. Therefore, God’s voice is intuition.
But we are used only to outer, private tuition; therefore we don’t understand inner intuition. Intuition is different from tuition. Tuition is outer, while intuition is within. Tuition is physical, while intuition is spiritual. Tuition is personal, while intuition is Divine. Tuition is limited within a particular period of time, whereas intuition is throughout all our lifetime, from womb to tomb, from birth to death. Therefore Guru Purnima is an occasion for us to awaken and pray, to wake up to the opportunity to listen to the intuitive, to God’s voice within, our conscience, rather than just looking for the external tuition. It is intuition that really matters. That is Guru Purnima.
GURU MAKES YOU EXPERIENCE ONENESS
Guru Purnima is also another occasion to realise the ultimate Truth. What is the ultimate Truth? There are two words: ‘this’ and ‘That’. Guru tells you ‘this’ and ‘That’ are one only. ‘This’ and ‘That’ are not separate; they are only one.
Gu-ru: ‘Gu’ stands for twam (That, Brahman), while ‘ru’ represents tat (this, the individual). That and this are one. That thou art: Tat twam asi. So, it is only the guru who makes you experience this oneness of ‘That thou art’ or Tat twam asi. That and this are one and the same.
When I look into the mirror, I find my own reflection. I don’t see somebody else there. If I stand before the mirror and speak as if someone else is there, what will happen? Everybody in the family will get frightened and think something is wrong with me! (Laughter) “It is time to take him to a psychiatrist!” So, the reflection in the mirror is none other than me. Or, if you look into a lake or into a tank, you will also find your reflection there. You cannot say that you see some other fellow there. It is only your own reflection.
Bhagavan gives an example of an innocent rustic boy, who was rearing goats. He was taking care of all the sheep in the valley. One day he felt like shouting. “Ooooooo!” he cried.
He heard the same voice, “Ooooooo!” Some other fellow must have been there!
Then he said, “Ha, Ha, Ha.” Again he heard repeated, “Ha, Ha, Ha.”
He thought, “Some other fellow is there! He is repeating all I am saying.” He became very much annoyed. He started shouting and he heard the same shout coming back to him. He returned home crying.
His mother asked, “My dear child, why do you cry?”
“Mother, I don’t want to go to the field again.”
“There is one fellow out there who is doing all I am doing. I am very much irritated. When I shout, he shouts back. What is all this?”
The mother took pity upon her boy and said, “Let me follow you tomorrow. Let me see what is happening.”
So the next day, his mother went along with him to the field. Then his mother said, “Come on and shout now.” The boy shouted and got the repeated sound again.
Then his mother told him, “There is nobody else there! Don’t get frightened or annoyed or angry. There is no other boy there. It is only your resound or echo. Your own sound is coming back as a resound (or echo). With whom are you going to be annoyed? With whom are you going to fight? It is only your own voice!”
Similarly, ‘That’ and ‘this’ are one. God and you are one. That is what Swami says. “I and you are one.” In a big statement, He made it very clear: “You are not separate from Me. You and I are one.”
We don’t want to agree because we have our own weaknesses. We have our own reservations. We are not prepared to accept it. But the basic truth is that you and God are one. It is only name and form that made you apparently separate entities.
NAME AND FORM
There are three basic qualities—ati, bhati, and priyam or Sat, chit, ananda—which are common to That (Brahman) and this (you), Tat and twam.
But there are two more extra qualities. What are they? They are rupa or form, and nama or name. The rupa and nama, the form and name, make me feel that I am a separate entity. Minus these two, I and He are one. Tat twam asi.
Therefore, my friends, Guru Purnima passes on to all of us this beautiful message that we are basically, essentially, and fundamentally Divine. It is rather unfortunate that we get carried away by the attributes and qualities of prakriti or the world, and behave in a funny way, considering ourselves to be different and not Divine.
STORY OF THE TIGER CUB
Baba gave another example. It seems a cub, young baby tiger, lost its way. This little tiger started moving along with the sheep. It was also behaving like the sheep.
One day the sheep and the tiger cub were moving along. They were noticed by a real tiger. He started attacking. All the sheep ran away. This little cub also wanted to run away.
Then the tiger came up to him and said, “Why do you run away?”
“No, no! Don’t kill me! I am a poor sheep. Don’t kill me! I am running away.”
Then the tiger told him, “No, no! You and I are one and the same! So, why do you go away?”
“No, no! I am different. I am a sheep only.”
Then the big tiger caught hold of the ear of the cub and took him close to the edge of a pond. “Come on and look into the water. See, I have stripes on my body and you also have stripes on your body. I say ‘urrrrrrr’ and you also say ‘urrrrrrr’ . . . not ‘mamamama’. You don’t say that. (Laughter) Our language is ‘urrrrrrr’, not that of the sheep or goat. Plus, we have got stripes. Come on, compare ourselves! Our body, our voice and our language are one and the same!”
Only then did the cub understand that it did not belong to the sheep any longer. It is the big tiger that showed and reminded the little cub about his real nature, which he had forgotten.
GURU PURNIMA IS A REMINDER OF OUR TRUE NATURE
Similarly, Guru Purnima is an occasion for the guru to remind us of our true nature, as we feel we belong to the sheep. No, no, no! Narasimha means the lion. Lion is the topmost in the forest. You are Narasimha, with full realisation of the Divinity within. You are one of courage and valour and strength. Never consider yourself a coward or be timid. No, there is no reason to be like that.
Somebody asked Swami, “When there is some emergency, some serious thing in the family, what should I do?”
Baba said, “Be sure that I am already there before you pray to Me. Be sure that I am already there to solve your problems. Then that emergency will never arise in your lives.” Therefore, my friends, Guru Purnima is a reminder about our true nature, our true identity, which has long ago been forgotten. However, this occasion calls for a special understanding: He is not going to give anything new.
Yesterday evening one student asked me, “When am I going to become God?”
I said, “Are you the devil till now? (Laughter) If you are a devil till now, let us wait and see when you are going to become God.”
So, it is not a question of when and how; it is a question of understanding. Swami says, “Total understanding is awareness.” When we develop this total understanding, we will have the revelation of our true Self, as Bhagavan said.
For that, a certain temperament and attitude is necessary. To know the heartbeat, naturally the doctor will take the stethoscope. When he takes the stethoscope and then observes, he will know the heartbeat. It does not mean that my heart started beating only when the doctor listened with the stethoscope and that it stops thereafter. It is not so. The heart has been beating all along. It is only the doctor who wants to observe it, that is all. The heartbeat was there, is there, and will continue to be there, whether the doctor examines me or not. Am I clear?
Similarly, my friends, this Guru Purnima is an occasion to know that there is not anything special or different coming to you. Nothing extraordinary is going to happen to you. It is not anything unique that is going to come to you. It is the experience of That, which is already in existence. It is only the understanding of That, which you already are. It is not something you will become later, no. As Swami clearly says, “Once maya or illusion goes, it will not come back.”
When you turn off the light, the light is gone. There is darkness. The light will not come back. Suppose you just switch on your torchlight; then there is light. You don’t say, “Darkness may come back.” You don’t say that, do you? So, once darkness is dispelled, it will not come back.
Similarly, once maya or ignorance is gone, it will never come back. The light that has come will never go away. “I am afraid that the light will go away.” No, no, no. You may go back, but the light will never go back. The light, the wisdom, once it comes, will never go away. That is jnana (spiritual wisdom). Ajnana (ignorance), once it goes, will never return. Jnana, once it is there, will never go. But there is One who neither comes nor goes. That is the Divine. That which neither comes nor goes is Divinity, and that happens to be our true nature.
Therefore, my friends, Guru Purnima is an occasion to know the principles of Divinity, and develop the awareness of what we truly are—that which neither comes nor goes. Guru Purnima is a day for realising and understanding that nothing special is coming to us or is going to happen to us.
Some people say, “I don’t know what is happening to me.” If anyone says, “What is happening to me?” please ask him to consult a physician or some doctor. Nothing will happen to you. There is not anything to ‘happen’, no. Guru Purnima is an understanding.
DETACH TOWARDS THE WORLD AND ATTACH TO GOD
Guru Purnima is about awareness, and Guru Purnima is a reminder. But temperamentally, we should have some preparation. For example, before a doctor gives an injection, what does he do? He applies some tincture, and then gives an injection, isn’t it? Take alcohol and cotton, rub it on the skin, and then give the injection. So, there is some preparation. He won’t just give you the injection straightaway. If he does, you shouldn’t go to that doctor in the future. He is not worth his weight in salt. So, he prepares you before giving the injection. Similarly, for this awareness, a preparation is necessary. What preparation? Preparing a table and a chair? Or some money and a bank account? No.
One preparation is a kind of anashakthi. Anashakthi means detachment towards the world. Anashakthi also means attachment towards God. Anashakthi means both attachment and detachment. We should detach from the world and attach ourselves to God. That is why Swami says that ashakthi is marakam. Marakam means ‘worldly--it goes on changing; whereas anashakthi or detachment is tharakam or liberation. Therefore, liberation or realisation requires detachment.
Not that we do not have it. When we develop more attachment towards God, the attachment towards the world becomes less and less day-by-day. But if you have more attachment towards the world yet say, “I want to attach myself to God,” it is impossible. That is why it is said that God and mammon will never go together. You cannot satisfy God and Satan at the same time. The darkness and light cannot be present hand-in-hand. So it is a question of balance. Once we develop more attachment towards God, attachment towards the world will naturally become less and less, something like a compound balance.
So this Guru Purnima should bless us with this mental attitude of developing more and more attachment towards God, and detaching more and more from the world . . . ashakthi and anashakthi.
nature IS THE BEST TEACHER
Bhagavan comes forward with another beautiful message, my dear friends. I have no other job than to repeat His words. I have no other joy than to remind myself of what He has said on different occasions and situations.
He said, “If you have no guru, don’t worry. Nature is the best teacher. You don’t have to go to any other teacher.” I see. Then, who will receive my money? Keep your money! You don’t have to lose any money; you don’t have to pay any money. Nature is the best teacher.
But how do you say that Nature is the best teacher? Bhagavan said so in His poem (which I shall not repeat because the original is in the Telugu language . . . unless I am so vain to show you that I know the poem by quoting it, and . . . well, I am not so vain as yet). So I will give you the substance of what Baba has said: Nature is the best teacher. How?
A tree gives shelter to everybody. A tree will never say, “Only people from Andhra Pradesh can be under me. I will not give shelter to those from Tamil Nadu (different states of India).” The tree will never say, “This shade is only for Asians; it is not for Westerners!” I don’t know what kind of tree it would be if it had such exclusive attitudes. A tree will never be exclusive; instead, it is always all-inclusive. So, the tree teaches us the lesson that all are one; all are the same.
Then the tree bears fruits, but does not eat a single fruit that it so laboriously bears. We pluck it and take it to the market to make business. So the tree also teaches us the lesson of sacrifice. While alive, the tree bears the fruit and gives it freely. Finally, when you cut the tree down and cut it into pieces, it will still serve you, ready to burn as firewood. So, while alive, it gives its fruits, so the tree is useful; after death, the tree is still useful, as it gives its wood for burning. So, the tree represents sacrifice, whether alive or dead. So, Nature is the best teacher.
The second thing Swami said is: “Birds fly.” Birds fly with both the wings across the sky. No bird will ask you, “Please give me a paratrooper.” No bird will ask you, “Please give a balloon.” No, no, no! A bird does not depend upon a parachute. No. The bird depends upon its own wings. The bird knows that it can fly on its own, relying upon its own wings. It does not depend on you or anybody else. So, the bird represents self-confidence.
Also, as it flies, it does not calculate, “There will be more fruits there than here, so let me go there. There will be better accommodation, better facilities, over there, so better I fly there.” No bird thinks of tomorrow; it flies carefree. That is the reason why it is wonderful to watch birds fly across the blue sky.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, at the age of ten, was passing by his village Kamarkhapur (in the State of Bengal) with a little bag, returning from school along with his classmates. He lifted his head and found so many birds moving above in groups. Paramahamsa dropped his books and started watching those birds. He forgot himself, lost in the ecstasy, praising the birds.
So, birds represent total detachment, no care for tomorrow. For birds, there is nothing like making a five-year plan or a ten-year plan. They fly, just like that; they let go. Just let go. The life of a bird renders it happy. How happy the bird is in flying! But we are miserable even in an aeroplane. Why? Though we are in flight, our plight is tomorrow, not this moment, because our thoughts are on tomorrow, not today, not this moment. But the bird lives in this moment . . . this moment. Therefore, birds are extremely happy. So, both the bird and the tree are our teachers.
What about the mountain? How is it our teacher? Severe summer, severe winter, severe downpour of rain—come what may, the mountains remain what they are . . . unshaken. A mountain is like that. It will not ask for a blanket or a rug, nor will it say, “I am burnt as I am directly exposed to sunlight and intense, severe heat.” The mountain remains balanced, irrespective of climate and temperature. So, having equanimity, maintaining a balanced state of mind is the message of the mountain to humanity. See, these are some of the lessons that we can learn from Nature.
Baba has declared in His beautiful poems, “So many things are happening in this world. People come and go; people are born and die. I just watch. I don’t produce any sound because of a birth happening somewhere; I don’t wail because of the deaths happening at some other place. I remain as a witness. Let there be a dead body being taken in a procession; I just witness.”
That is the space (akasha) or the sky. The space or the sky is an eternal witness of that which is happening on the ground. On the ground, several things happen, but the sky is undisturbed, unruffled. That is what Bhagavad Gita, 2nd chapter wants to communicate. It wants us to develop those qualities. So, sky is the teacher, tree is the teacher, bird is the teacher, mountain is the teacher. Therefore, why not view Nature as the best teacher? That is the message of Guru Purnima. That is what Bhagavan tells us.
transformation IS IMPORTANT
I can also tell you another point. Some people, on this day of Guru Purnima, carry some books and start worshipping those books. What is the fun of worshipping a book? Suppose you are hungry, so I bring sweets and some hot delicious items. Do you worship those items? You should eat them to satiate and appease your hunger. You should eat. You don’t worship laddus and pooris, do you? I don’t think so.
Therefore, my point is that books are not to be worshipped; instead, the information contained in the books is to be practiced. Books are not to be kept only on the altar. Rather, books are to be kept in the altar of our heart. The right place for the scriptures is in the altar of our heart. There they should be kept, not on a specially decorated rostrum or a platform with flowers. All that is only external show. That is why Swami says, “Grantha, the book, will help you with argumentation, vadana.”
So grantha, the book, is not for vadana or arguments, but for sadhana or spiritual practice. Life is for sadhana, spiritual practice, not for vadana, arguments. That is the message of Guru Purnima. People have the usual practice of keeping books in the altar and go on worshipping them repeatedly. We are not short of worshippers; there are many people that worship. Just watch the TV . . . any function, any occasion, any procession of any religion will have lakhs of people in the procession who continue to be grief-stricken, whose lives continue to be tragic, who continue to be in hopelessness, who don’t see any ray of hope. Why? Processions and functions are only occasions; they are not for transformation.
It is not the occasion that we want; it is not the information that we want. It is the transformation that is expected here. So Guru Purnima is an occasion for transformation, not for collection of information. Information on transformation is OK, or else it is a burden. That is what Baba said. One may go through Vedas, or one may go through any Holy Scriptures; but if there is no purity in his heart, what is it for? It is something like barren land, unfit for cultivation. So the heart should not be barren; the heart should be a land fit for cultivation. Mere scholarship won’t help you. That is what Bhagavan says.
GOD MANIFESTS AS NATURE – NATURE UNMANIFEST IS GOD
Here is another point that we have to remind ourselves about on this occasion, as we are very close to Guru Purnima. It is this. Swami said, “Actually, God manifests as Nature. Nature unmanifest is God.” That is all. God and Nature are not different. Simple; it is like this. I cover my body with a blanket, so you do not see me. But once I remove the blanket, you can see me. That is all. God has covered Himself with the blanket of Nature. He is hiding Himself behind His Nature; otherwise, how could nature be so beautiful? Nature is so beautiful! Why? God is behind it!
It is something like a playback singer. There is an actor who can’t sing. If this actor sings, even his wife cannot bear to hear it! (Laughter) Though she may love him, his wife won’t appreciate his voice as it is so bad. So they use instead a playback singer (a recording artist), whose melodious voice makes the music most interesting. Similarly, God the Divine Director behind the creation, the Creator Himself, the Director of the creation, makes the creation so interesting, so fantastic, and so fabulous.
Therefore the point is, once I remove this blanket, you see me clearly. Similarly, when you go a little bit beyond the creation, you will experience the Creator. So Creator is to be experienced in creation itself. He is not anything different.
Some people say, “I am fed up with this world.” Please know the world is also equally fed up with you! (Laughter) Some other people say, “I would like to leave home and go into the forest.” Well, it must be a big relief to the family! They are waiting only to hear you say that!
But truly it is not so, my dear friends. God is to be realised in this world, because the world is God’s creation. When I give you this pen, I want you to make use of this pen. I want you to feel proud of this pen, and be happy with it. Similarly, creation is the gift of the Creator. So, God is world affirmative. God is not world negative. Please be sure of it. God is not world negative.
There are some people who say, “Mr Anil Kumar, you love music!”
I say, “Why not?”
“No, no, no! I am a spiritual man; I don’t love music.”
Oh, I see. Good. Let me be away from you! There are some people who don’t love music, poetry, dance and all that, because they think that spirituality is against these things. Poor people! There is no charm in life without music. There is no glamour in life without dance. There is no interest in life without poetry. Life is poetic! Life is the cosmic dance, rasa leela.
Therefore, life is multi-dimensional. If life is uni-directional, it is boring. I always come, and you sit in front of me. For two days, it will be alright. But by the third day, you will feel like spitting on my face! (Laughter) Therefore, life is music, life is dance, and life is joy. Let us enjoy because life is the gift of God. God is not negative life; otherwise, why should He have created life? He can be Himself. God Himself said, “I multiplied Myself in order to love Myself.” That’s what Baba has said many times. “I separated Myself into many in order to love Myself.” So, life is God. Therefore, Guru Purnima is an occasion to inquire, in depth, into this whole creation as a gift of God. We should enjoy it in a befitting style.
Surrender to self is bliss
I also want to bring to your mind, my friends, another point. When once we surrender to the Self within, we will have a life of bliss. When you surrender to another person, your life is going to be miserable. But surrender to one’s Self is Atma adheena. Adheena means ‘control’, while Atma means ‘Self’. Atmadheena means you have surrendered to the Self, to your Self. When you surrender to the Self, Atmadheena, you will have a life of bliss.
But if you surrender and fall at the feet of any Tom, Dick or Harry, it is paradheena. Para means ‘outsider’. Para is different from adheena. When you are under the control of someone else, then all joy is gone because that person will go on monitoring you. He will tell you what to do, what to say, where to go, what to eat, what not to eat, when to sleep, when to get up until you are finished! That is paradheena. Paradheena, surrendering to others, is bondage, and is conditional. Life is circumscribed; life is limited; life loses its taste when you submit to the hands of someone else.
On the other hand, Atmadheena . . . yes! . . . I have the will to do that. I have the desire to do that! I have my own choices; I have my own tastes; I have my own preferences. That is Atmadheena. So Guru Purnima is an occasion to surrender to our Self, not to anybody else.
My friends, I could go on speaking like this, but it is already 11:35! I know we will be anxious to have this evening’s darshan. Next week, God willing, I will carry on this same subject of Guru Purnima. May Bhagavan be with you now and forever!
Anil Kumar concluded with the bhajan, “Ksheerabdi Sayana Narayana Sri Lakshmi Ramana Narayana.”
Sainath Baba Maharaj Ki Jai!
Thank you very much!
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!
Shirdi Vasa Ki Jai! Dwarakamayi Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji Ki Jai!