Anil Kumar’s First Satsang with an Iranian Group
August , 2007
Pranams to the Lotus Feet of Swami
Dear Sai Brothers and Sisters,
what is important?
I know that a number of you are here for the first time, but there are also many others of you here today who have visited from Iran several times before.
There are lessons that we should all seek to learn by coming here. You should not think that this learning depends upon the number of times that you have visited this place. One can make many, many visits here, and yet not transform as a result. Equally, one can achieve enlightenment during their first visit.
Some students retain what they read once and never forget it, while other students might read something ten times and still not retain the teaching. Similarly, one may make several trips here but not transform, while another may transform in just one trip. You may spend years here, but not change as you may have expected; or you may quickly transform beyond your own expectations during one short visit. Therefore, my friends, it is not the number of trips you have made here or the number of years that you have stayed in CONTACT _Con-3F6E9E02185 \c \s \l Prashanti Nilayam that is important.
Awareness, awakening, transformation ARE important
So, what is important? Awareness, awakening, transformation, our spiritual practice--these are important, not the number of trips we have made here. Spirituality is a journey, a path that we walk, a continuous process of transformation. It does not end at a certain point. It has neither beginning nor end. The spiritual path is a continuous process.
We should not stop at any point along the way, thinking somehow we know everything. We should always remember well that the spiritual journey is a continuous learning process. It has neither beginning nor end. Instead of stopping, you might instead pause while you are here to ask yourself to what extent you have improved and in which direction you have moved spiritually.
If you get a degree, an M.S. or Ph.D., you can declare yourself highly knowledgeable. If you are very successful in your business, you can declare yourself a rich and thriving businessman.
In education and business and position, my friends, you can achieve a particular status and know to what extent you have improved and advanced. But in your spiritual development, you never know what you have achieved or should achieve. In spirituality, you will never know what you have and what you don’t have. You cannot say this I know, but that I don’t know.
Spirituality sometimes gives you a false sense of knowing, of believing that you understand something, even though you do not yet understand. A feeling that you know sets in, even when you really don’t know. So we should know that we do not know!
In the Upanishads, it mentions that if anybody says, “I know”, then he doesn’t know. The Upanishads also say that if someone says, “I don’t know”, then he may know something. Therefore we should know that we do not know. Why?
THE whole world is experienced THROUGH THE FIVE SENSES
I know that this is a chair. How do I know? I see it and my mind decides that this is a chair. Having seen the object, my mind declares that it is a chair; so, using the senses, my mind then decides. I also see you, so I recognise you. Again, my senses perceive and the mind identifies. Everything is like that. You taste a fruit and your mind identifies it is banana. You eat a biscuit and your mind says, “Oh yes, this is a biscuit.” You take a sip of water and your mind says, “This is water, not liquor.” When you see a man, the mind recognises that he is a man, not woman. Your five senses perceive the world and your mind comprehends or recognises these perceptions.
So the whole world can be experienced through our five senses, and our mind decides what it is that we perceive. This is the way we comprehend the world. But regarding our perceptions of God, the process does not work in the same way at all.
Indian rupees are useless in Iran. Rials are useless in India. Each country has it is own currency. A thermometer helps you to measure temperature. The scale helps you to measure your weight. A thermometer could not help you to measure your weight, just as a scale could not help you to measure your body temperature.
To experience the world, senses are necessary, and the mind is required for comprehension. Without the mind, the senses can operate, but there is no comprehension. Conversely, if there were no senses, the mind could not see, the mind could not hear, and the mind could not touch. Seeing, hearing and touching are senses. Seeing, hearing and touching are jobs of the senses. The mind cannot see directly. It sees through the eyes. The mind cannot hear. It hears through the ears. The mind cannot touch. It touches through the skin. Therefore, our comprehension of the world is achieved through the combination of our mind and our senses.
Spiritual experiences are beyond the scope of the senses
In the spiritual realms, however, the story is quite a different one. There, the senses are useless. To perceive the spiritual realms, the senses must cease to function and the mind must instead turn inward. When seeking to know the spiritual realms, you need go beyond the stimuli of the senses and the mind’s resulting interpretations.
Though worldly experiences are known by us through our senses, spiritual experiences are beyond the scope of the senses. I can express my worldly experiences, but not my spiritual ones because, with worldly experiences, the mind is involved, interpreting through the senses, and hence it can express what it experiences.
When perceiving God, however, the mind stops functioning. That is why we say God is without form. If God had a form, we could see Him; but since God has no form, how can we? God has never been born, so how can He die? We cannot see Him, we cannot hear Him, and we cannot touch Him. Senses cannot experience God. So to know Him, we must turn the mind inward.
A Breathing Technique to Slow Down the Mind
There is a technique to help one to turn the mind inward. Please close your eyes. Shut your ears. Sit next to each other, but leave a space in-between so as not to touch each other. Sit silently and breathe in slowly, and then breathe out slowly. Concentrate only on the air as it goes in and out. Do not think of your family or of Iran or about the state of your bank account. Only think of your breath, of your breathing in and breathing out.
Concentrate on the breathing process. Inhale deeply and fully so that your lungs fully expand with air. Now slowly, slowly breathe out. Breathe in and breathe out. In this process of breathing, concentrate on breathing only, on the air going in and out. Only think of the air as it goes in and out. When you use this technique, your thoughts can be controlled. When you concentrate on your breathing, worldly thoughts will not come to your mind. Entertain no other thoughts except those of breathing in and breathing out.
This process is called Pranayama, a breathing exercise. When you inhale, oxygen enters your lungs. When you exhale slowly, carbon dioxide comes out. This breathing exercise brings your thoughts under control. Thoughts that are fast become slow. They slow down and slow down, and finally stop. Then you have no more thoughts.
This state of thoughtlessness is a result of this meditation. When there are no thoughts, there is no mind present. When there are no thoughts and no mind, we can go beyond the mind, and there we will experience God. We will feel God. We can feel close to God. This is the process of meditation, of noiselessness, of peace of mind.
Sit in a comfortable position. If you cannot sit crossed-legged, sit on a chair. Slowly concentrate on your breath. The mind will slow down, and you will enter a state of thoughtlessness. This thoughtless state is called samadhi. So the breathing exercise is called Pranayama, and this leads to a state of thoughtlessness, samadhi, and together they are known as meditation, the place where you experience God. Our songs, our music, our worship, and our rituals all take us toward God.
The Goal is to attain the nameless, formless God
To see the formless God, to call the nameless God, these are the goals of spirituality. Sugar dissolves in the glass of water very, very slowly. When the sugar dissolves completely, when you see no more sugar in the water, this is sadhana.
You are sugar, and the water is God. The glass is the mind and the spoon is sadhana. The spoon of sadhana stirs you, the sugar, until you dissolve totally in the water, in God. This is worship of the formless and nameless God. This is attaining the God without beginning or end.
You may use anybody as an intermediate step to perceiving the formless and nameless God. Worship Rama. Meditate on Krishna or Jesus or any other, but your goal must be to attain knowledge of the formless God. You should continue in your spiritual practices until you reach that goal. You should not stop halfway up the mountain.
If I am learning alphabet, I write the letters one by one until I have learned them all. Even once I have learned the letters, however, I still cannot say that I have learned everything. Next, I should learn words. A is for ant. B is for bag. C is for cat. Next, my teacher might show me a picture of a rat, and I will write R A T to describe the name of what is pictured. To understand clearly at this stage, I have to see the picture of the cat to spell its name, C A T, to recognise it and express my understanding to another. Once I master this stage, I advance to making sentences, and I no longer need the pictures of the cat or the rat.
Similarly, Rama, Krishna, Jesus, and Sai Baba are each forms and names, and their forms are part of our path, as they take us toward the formlessness of God. Names help us to reach namelessness. The outer Sai Baba will lead us to inner Sai Baba. The outer Sai Baba has a form, but the inner Sai Baba has no form. Outside, I see a form with the name of Sai Baba, but when I see God without form, there is also no name. Do not misunderstand and misuse religion and spirituality. Use them in the right way, as steps inward toward knowledge of the nameless and formless God.
A simple example: An airplane taxis around the airport preparing to takeoff. Through the window, you will see buildings and trees and even tall mountains in the distance. Then, as the plane actually starts to takeoff, and as the plane goes up and up, rising higher and higher, you can still see the buildings and trees and the mountains below, but they are becoming smaller and smaller in your view. Once you ascend to the highest altitude, there are no more buildings to see, nor trees, nor even mountains. There is nothing there. Nothing. That is how the nameless, formless God is. At the airport, there were buildings. As you took off, you could then see the whole city from the window of the plane, and finally, as the plane ascended higher and higher, you couldn’t even see the city.
the state of samadhi
Similarly, in sadhana, there are names and forms at the time of takeoff, but not when one reaches the highest point. On the way, you can see buildings and trees below, but when you go up still higher, they disappear. Then there is nothing. Only space. What is the form of space? Formlessness. When there is a form, we can call it by a name, be it a building or a tree or a mountain; but when there is no form, there will be no name. They all disappear and there is only formless space. That state is called samadhi.
The moment we forget these planes of time and distance, these places made up of forms and names, we practice a spiritual experience. If you say this is an apartment and the time here is 7:40 pm and this building is located 5 kilometers away from the airport, you are operating according to standards of time and distance. The world is formed of time and distance, but God is beyond these.
Anyone who reaches the highest state of spirituality, the state of samadhi, will love everyone. He is not loving, but rather he is love. He loves the mountains, the rivers, the trees and the animals. When one reaches that highest state of spirit, we love all to the same degree. Love is all there is to the actualized, realised soul.
In this state, one will no longer experience ‘I’-ness because they are at one with the universe. If you pour a spoon of sugar in a tank of water, the sugar will no longer exist by itself, but will simply become part of the water. So in a state of samadhi, you melt into the universe and become one with it, a cosmic creature. Your personal ‘I’ has no more value.
Once you have become this universal cosmic creature in samadhi, you no longer have attachment to the world. You may be married and have children, but still you will remain detached. You might be professional and engaged in a business, but still you will remain detached. Being detached is one of the hallmarks of a spiritually realised man. He always has a smile on his face because there is nothing he wants, and nothing he could not achieve, for he is one with universe.
ENJOY YOUR LIFE
I want all of you be happy. Keep smiling and enjoy your life. Life is God’s gift. Do not take it too seriously. Do not feel it as a burden upon your shoulders. Do not make it tiring and boring. Make it interesting. Love it!
Where is life? When a child smiles, there is life. When a flower blooms, there is life. When stars sparkle, there is life. You must experience life everywhere. Then you may declare yourself alive. If you cannot see life everywhere, though you may be living, you are also dead. A dead body exhibits no movement, and a man alive is full of energy and joy.
Be alive! Don’t just say, “I am living.” Being alive is more than just living. Living is just a mechanical process, but to be alive is to be creative! Just living is a routine, whereas being alive is fresh and noble!
This mat and that chair just exist, but a man alive is full of joy and happiness. He is active! That mat, that chair and I, we all exist; but the difference between us is that I am alive. God is life! Life is God! A man alive is a blissful man. God is bliss! Live in bliss!
We are all one
Books and scriptures speak about God and scholars write about God, but those words about God will never satisfy you. You must experience God! How can we experience inner-God? By seeing Him everywhere! By seeing Him in everyone! By loving everyone! By seeing everyone as one with you. Here you are not Iranian and I am not Indian. We are all one! That’s all! Life plus life equals life, whereas I plus you is we. Life plus life is only life, nothing else.
Therefore, in this hall, you are not Iranian, and I am not Indian. She is not a woman, and I am not a man. Only the life within us is important. The body may come from Iran or India, the body may be a man or a woman, but the life embodied within is neither Iranian nor Indian, neither man nor woman. Life is God!
I thank you for listening to my serious talk today. I always love to speak to Iranians, because I think that you are very serious about looking at these spiritual questions in such depth. I have met so many Iranians who are so far from superficial in their approach to life, who look at spirituality questions so deeply. Therefore, with you I like to discuss deep subjects like that which we have covered today regarding the techniques and deeper goals of meditation. The eagerness in your faces encourages me to always go deeper.
May God bless you! May Baba bless you! Thank you for your time! (Applause)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
We now have time for questions that I will answer if possible. We will publish this satsang on the Sai Wisdom website so that all our readers throughout the world will come to know about our talks. Some of my relatives have traveled to Iran and they have told me many things about your wonderful country, which I pray God grant me opportunity to visit.
An Iranian devotee says, “We all pray for that!”
On behalf of all Iranians, not only the ones who are present here, but on behalf of whole nation and especially of Iranian Sai devotees, I want to thank you and kiss you hand.
Actually, I have to thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on spirituality. Otherwise this sacred time would be wasted in front of a television or idly walking.
I was thinking, before listening to your talk, that you were only going to talk about Baba.
Baba is not separate from this talk. All of the thoughts that I have shared with you are nothing but His teachings. I am a professor, not a philosopher; so these are only thoughts that I have collected from Swami’s teachings.
I consider His teachings more important than His miracles. Miracles can happen anywhere. They just depend on our faith. If you have faith that miracles happen in Mecca, then they will happen there. Hindus believe that miracle happens in Tirupathi, and hence they happen there.
Miracles are just responses to your faith, but a message is universal. A message is cosmic. A message does not belong to any particular religion. A message just refers to religiousness. The names of religions are different, but the practice of religiousness is always similar. Therefore Baba always talks about the essence of religions.
Before coming here, I heard much about Baba from devotees at home, but their talks always centered on Baba rather than on God. This left me a bit confused.
I suppose that it all depends upon your approach and perspective. One person may see this and call it a chair. A student of physics, on the other hand, may call it matter, atoms and molecules. A Ph.D. may even say that it is not atoms and molecules, but rather proton and electrons. So which is true?
It is a chair. It is atoms and molecules. It is protons and neutrons. All of these are true. So it all depends upon your approach, upon your perspective. As you look deeper and deeper, so too will your understanding deepen. The people who speak only of Baba have a somewhat more superficial understanding. Those who only talk about Baba’s miracles are somewhat superficial in their approach. Swami’s message goes far deeper than that. Experiencing Swami yields the deepest understanding of all.
On the sea’s surface, one sees turbulence and waves. Deep in the sea, however, there are no waves, but rather only peace. So seeing physical form, seeing miracles, can confuse your mind; but when you reach that which is nameless, you are in bliss.
Could you explain more about what Swami recently said regarding eleven seconds of concentration that can lead you to the realisation of God?
Swami did specifically mention eleven seconds, but He only wanted to point out how difficult is to concentrate for even eleven seconds. If we can concentrate for eleven seconds, then we can also concentrate for hours.
In such a state of concentration, even Swami does not exist?
Swami is existence itself, not a person. Electricity is existence, but the light bulb is a form. Electricity is existence, but a fan and the breeze are forms. So we should concentrate on God beyond these names and forms. We may start our first step at forms and names, but we should not stop there! Students graduating from primary school should not think that they know everything.
Shirdi Sai was a realised soul. Why should he incarnate again as Sathya Sai Baba?
You and I have been born as the result of our actions in past lives, but God is born because of His own will. He can incarnate and leave at any time. He doesn’t need to realise since He is realisation. Like sun and sunlight, God and realisation, God and enlightenment, are one.
Thank you. Sai Ram.